The Heavenly Footman, John Bunyan
The Heavenly Footman
John Bunyan
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John Bunyan was an English writer and Puritan preacher best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. In addition to The Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. The Heavenly Footman Or a Description of The Man That Gets To Heaven: with Directions how to run so as to Obtain was published posthumously in 1698.

The Heavenly Footman

Or
A Description
Of
The Man That Gets To Heaven:
With Directions
How To Run So As To Obtain.

by
John Bunyan


“So run, that ye may obtain.” — 1 Cor. IX. 24.

The Author’s Epistle To All Slothful And Careless People

Friends,

Solomon saith, that “the desire of the slothful killeth him;” and ifso, what will slothfulness itself do to those that entertain it? Theproverb is, “He that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame:”and this I dare be bold to say, no greater shame can befall a man,than to see that he hath fooled away his soul, and sinned away eternallife. And I am sure this is the next way to do it; namely, to beslothful; slothful, I say, in the work of salvation. The vineyard ofthe slothful man, in reference to the things of this life, is notfuller of briers, nettles, and stinking weeds, than he that isslothful for heaven, hath his heart full of heart-choking andsoul-damning sin.

Slothfulness hath these two evils: first, to neglect the time in whichit should be getting heaven; and by that means doth, in the secondplace, bring in untimely repentance. I will warrant you, that he whoshould lose his soul in this world through slothfulness, will have nocause to be glad thereat, when he comes to hell. Slothfulness isusually accompanied with carelessness; and carelessness is for themost part begotten by senselessness; and senselessness doth again putfresh strength into slothfulness; and by this means the soul is leftremediless. Slothfulness shutteth out Christ; slothfulness shameth thesoul.

Slothfulness is condemned even by the feeblest of all the creatures.“Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise.” “Thesluggard will not plow, by reason of the cold;” that is, he will notbreak up the fallow ground of his heart, because there must be somepains taken by him that will do it; “therefore he shall beg inharvest;” that is, when the saints of God shall have their gloriousheaven and happiness given to them; but the sluggard “shall havenothing;” that is, be never the better for his crying for mercy;according to that in Matthew xxv. 10-12.

If you would know a sluggard in the things of heaven, compare him withone that is slothful in the things of this world. As 1. He that isslothful is loath to set about the work he should follow; so is hethat is slothful for heaven. 2. He that is slothful, is one that iswilling to make delays: so is he that is slothful for heaven. 3. Hethat is a sluggard, any small matter that cometh in between, he willmake it a sufficient excuse to keep him off from plying his work; soit is also with him that is slothful for heaven. 4. He that isslothful doeth his work by the halves: and so it is with him that isslothful for heaven. He may almost, but he shall never altogether,obtain perfection of deliverance from hell; he may almost, but heshall never (without he mend) be altogether a saint. 5. They that areslothful do usually lose the season in which things are to be done:and thus it is also with them that are slothful for heaven; they missthe seasons of grace. And therefore, 6. They that are slothful haveseldom, or never, good fruit; so also it will be with thesoul-sluggard. 7. They that are slothful, are chid for the same: soalso will Christ deal with those that are not active for him. ‘Thouwicked and slothful servant! out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.Thou saidst I was thus, and thus; wherefore then gavest thou not mymoney to the bank? &c. Take the unprofitable servant, and cast himinto utter darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing ofteeth.’

What shall I say? 1. Time runs; and will ye be slothful? 2. Much ofyour lives are past; and will you be slothful? 3. Your souls are wortha thousand worlds; and will ye be slothful? 4. The day of death andjudgment is at the door; and will ye be slothful? 5. The curse of Godhangs over your heads; and will you be slothful? 6. Besides, thedevils are earnest, laborious, and seek by all means every day, byevery sin, to keep you out of heaven, and hinder you of salvation; andwill you be slothful? 7. Also, your neighbors are diligent for thingsthat will perish; and will you be slothful for things that will endurefor ever? 8. Would you be willing to be damned for slothfulness? 9.Would you be willing the angels of God should neglect to fetch yoursouls away to heaven, when you lie a dying, and the devils stand byready to scramble for them? 10. Was Christ slothful in the work ofyour redemption? 11. Are his ministers slothful in tendering this untoyou? 12. And lastly, If all this will not move, I tell you God willnot be slothful or negligent to damn you, (their damnation slumberethnot, 2 Pet. ii. 3;) nor will the devils neglect to fetch thee, norhell neglect to shut its mouth upon thee.

Sluggard! art thou asleep still? Art thou resolved to sleep the sleepof death? Will neither tidings from heaven nor hell awake thee? Wiltthou say still, yet a little sleep, a little slumber, and a littlefolding of the arms to sleep? Wilt thou yet turn thyself in thy sloth,as the door is turned upon the hinges? O that I was one that wasskilful in lamentation, and had but a yearning heart towards thee, howwould I pity thee! how would I bemoan thee! O that I could withJeremiah let my eyes run down with rivers of water for thee! Poorsoul, lost soul, dying soul, what a hard heart have I that I cannotmourn for thee! If thou shouldst lose but a limb, a child, or afriend, it would not be so much; but poor man, it is THY SOUL! If itwas to lie in hell but for a day, but for a year, nay, ten thousandyears, it would (in comparison) be nothing; but O it is FOR EVER! Whata soul-amazing word will that be, which saith, “Depart from me, yecursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE!” &c.

Objection. ‘But if I should set in, and run as you would have me,then I must run from all my friends; for none of them are running thatway.’

Answer. And if thou dost, thou wilt run into the bosom of Christ,and of God; and then what harm will that do thee?

Objection. ‘But if I run this way, then I must run from all mysins.’

Answer. That is true indeed; yet if thou dost not, thou wilt runinto hell fire.

Objection. ‘But if I run this way, then I shall be hated, and losethe love of my friends and relations, and of those that I expectbenefit from, or have reliance on, and I shall be mocked of all myneighbors.’

Answer. And if thou dost not, thou art sure to lose the love andfavor of God and Christ, the benefits of heaven and glory, and bemocked of God for thy folly. “I will laugh at your calamity, and mockwhen your fear cometh.” If thou wouldst not be hated and mocked then,take heed thou by thy folly dost not procure the displeasure andmockings of the great God; for his mocks and hatred will be terrible,because they will fall upon thee in terrible times, even whentribulation and anguish take hold on thee; which will be when deathand judgment come, when all the men in the earth, and all the angelsin heaven cannot help thee.

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