5. They that will have heaven must run for it; because the devil, the law, sin, death, and hell, follow them. There is never a poor soul that is going to heaven, but the devil, the law, sin, death, and hell, make after that soul. “Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” And I will assure you the devil is nimble; he can run apace, he is light of foot; he hath overtaken many, he hath turned up their heels and hath given them an everlasting fall. Also the law, that can shoot a great way: have a care to keep out of the reach of those great guns, the ten commandments. Hell also hath a wide mouth; it can stretch itself farther than you are aware of. And as the angel said to Lot: “Take heed, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain,” that is, any where between this and heaven, “lest thou be consumed;” so say I to thee. Take heed, tarry not, lest either the devil, hell, death, or the fearful curses of the law of God, do overtake thee, and throw thee down in the midst of thy sins, so as never to rise and recover again. If this were well considered, then thou, as well as I, would say, they that will have heaven must run for it.
6. They that will go to heaven must run for it; because perchance the gates of heaven may shut shortly. Sometimes sinners have not heaven-gates open to them so long as they suppose; and if they be once shut against a man, they are so heavy, that all the men in the world, or all the angels in heaven, are not able to open them. “I shut, and no man can open,” saith Christ. And how if thou shouldst come but one quarter of an hour too late? I tell thee it will cost thee an eternity to bewail thy misery in! Francis Spira can tell thee what it is to stay till the gates of mercy be quite shut; or to run so lazily, that they be shut before thou get within them. What! to be shut out! What! out of heaven! Sinner, rather than lose it, run for it; yea, and “so run that thou mayst obtain.”
7. Lastly, Because if thou lose, thou losest all. Thou losest soul, God, Christ heaven, ease, peace, &c. Besides, thou layest thyself open to all the shame, contempt, and reproach, that either God, Christ, saints, the world, sin, the devil, and all, can lay upon thee. As Christ saith of the foolish builder, so will I say of thee, if thou be such a one who runs and misseth; I say, even all that go by will begin to mock at thee, saying, This man began to run well, but was not able to finish. But more of this anon.
DIRECTIONS FOR THIS HEAVENLY COURSE.
Question. “But how should a poor soul do, so to run?” For this very thing is that which afflicteth me sore, (as you say,) to think that I may run and yet fall short. Methinks to fall short at last, Oh! it fears me greatly! Pray, tell me, therefore, how I should run.’