2. See again, on the other side, the children of the devil, because they are not willing, how many shifts and starting holes they will have. ‘I have married a wife;’ ‘I have a farm;’ ’I shall offend my landlord;’ ‘I shall offend my master;’ ‘I shall lose my trading;’ ’I shall lose my pride, my pleasures;’ ’I shall be mocked and scoffed,—therefore I dare not come.’—’I,’ saith another, ’will stay till I am older, till my children are out, till I am got a little afore-hand in the world; till I have done this, and that, and the other business.’ But alas! the thing is, they are not willing; for were they but soundly willing, these, and a thousand such as these, would hold them no faster than the cords held Samson when he broke them like burnt flax.
I tell you the will is all; that is one of the chief things which turns the wheel either backwards or forwards; and God knoweth that full well, and so likewise doth the devil; and therefore they both endeavor very much to strengthen the will of their servants. God is for making his a willing people to serve him; and the devil doth what he can to possess the will and affection of those that are his with love to sin. And therefore when Christ comes close to the matter, indeed, saith he, “Ye will not come to me.” “How often would I have gathered you as a hen doth her chickens; but ye would not.” The devil had possessed their wills and so long he was sure enough of them.
O therefore cry hard to God to inflame thy will for heaven and Christ. Thy will, I say, if that be rightly set for heaven, thou wilt not be beat off with discouragements; and this was the reason that when Jacob wrestled with the angel, though he lost a limb as it were; (for the hollow of his thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him;) yet, saith he, “I will not” mark, “I WILL NOT LET THEE GO, EXCEPT THOU BLESS ME.” Get thy will tipt with the heavenly grace, and resolution against all discouragements, and then thou goest full speed for heaven; but if thou falter in thy will, and be not sound there, thou wilt run hobbling and halting all the way thou runnest, and also to be sure thou wilt fall short at last. The Lord give thee a will and courage.
Thus have I done with directing thee how to run to the kingdom. Be sure thou keep in memory what I have said unto thee lest thou lose thy way. But because I would have thee think of them, take all in short in this little bit of paper. 1. Get into the way. 2. Then study on it. 3. Then strip, and lay aside every thing that would hinder. 4. Beware of by-paths. 5. Cry hard to God for an enlightened heart, and a willing mind;—and God give thee a prosperous journey?
MOTIVES TO PURSUE THIS HEAVENLY COURSE.
Yet before I do quite take my leave of thee, let me give thee a few motives to take along with thee. It may be they will be as good as a pair of spurs to prick on thy lumpish heart in this rich journey.