Home Pilgrim comes to the hill Difficulty. Part 9.

T. Austin Sparks - Messages.

Pilgrim comes to the Hill Difficulty. Part 9.


                                                                             Part 9.




   I beheld then, that they all went on till they came to the foot of the

   hill Difficulty, at the bottom of which there was a spring. There were

   also in the same place two other ways besides that which came straight

   from the gate: one turned to the left hand, and the other to the right,

   at the bottom of the hill; but the narrow way lay right up the hill,

   and the name of the going up the side of the hill is called Difficulty.

   Christian now went to the spring,  Isa. 49:10, and drank thereof to

   refresh himself, and then began to go up the hill, saying,



   "The hill, though high, I covet to ascend;


   The difficulty will not me offend;


   For I perceive the way to life lies here:


   Come, pluck up heart, let's neither faint nor fear.


   Better, though difficult, the right way to go,


   Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe."


   The other two also came to the foot of the hill. But when they saw that

   the hill was steep and high, and that there were two other ways to go;

   and supposing also that these two ways might meet again with that up

   which Christian went, on the other side of the hill; therefore they

   were resolved to go in those ways. Now the name of one of those ways

   was Danger, and the name of the other Destruction. So the one took the

   way which is called Danger, which led him into a great wood; and the

   other took directly up the way to Destruction, which led him into a

   wide field, full of dark mountains, where he stumbled and fell, and

   rose no more.


   I looked then after Christian, to see him go up the hill, where I

   perceived he fell from running to going, and from going to clambering

   upon his hands and his knees, because of the steepness of the place.


   Now about the midway to the top of the hill was a pleasant Arbor, made

   by the Lord of the hill for the refreshment of weary travellers.

   Thither, therefore, Christian got, where also he sat down to rest him:

   then he pulled his roll out of his bosom, and read therein to his

   comfort; he also now began afresh to take a review of the coat or

   garment that was given to him as he stood by the cross. Thus pleasing

   himself awhile, he at last fell into a slumber, and thence into a fast

   sleep, which detained him in that place until it was almost night; and

   in his sleep his roll fell out of his hand. Now, as he was sleeping,

   there came one to him, and awaked him, saying, "Go to the ant, thou

   sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise."  Prov. 6:6. And with that,

   Christian suddenly started up, and sped him on his way, and went apace

   till he came to the top of the hill.


   Now when he was got up to the top of the hill, there came two men

   running amain; the name of the one was Timorous, and of the other


   Mistrust: to whom Christian said, Sirs, what's the matter? you run the

   wrong way. Timorous answered, that they were going to the city of Zion,


   and had got up that difficult place: but, said he, the farther we go,

   the more danger we meet with; wherefore we turned, and are going back


   Yes, said Mistrust, for just before us lie a couple of lions in the


   way, whether sleeping or waking we know not; and we could not think, if

   we came within reach, but they would presently pull us in pieces.




   Christian: Then said Christian, You make me afraid; but whither shall I

   fly to be safe? If I go back to mine own country, that is prepared for

   fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish there; if I can get to

   the celestial city, I am sure to be in safety there: I must venture. To

   go back is nothing but death: to go forward is fear of death, and life

   everlasting beyond it: I will yet go forward. So Mistrust and Timorous

   ran down the hill, and Christian went on his way. But thinking again of

   what he had heard from the men, he felt in his bosom for his roll, that

   he might read therein and be comforted; but he felt, and found it not.

   Then was Christian in great distress, and knew not what to do; for he

   wanted that which used to relieve him, and that which should have been

   his pass into the celestial city. Here, therefore, he began to be much

   perplexed, and knew not what to do. At last he bethought himself that

   he had slept in the arbor that is on the side of the hill; and falling

   down upon his knees, he asked God forgiveness for that foolish act, and

   then went back to look for his roll. But all the way he went back, who

   can sufficiently set forth the sorrow of Christian's heart? Sometimes

   he sighed, sometimes he wept, and oftentimes he chid himself for being

   so foolish to fall asleep in that place, which was erected only for a

   little refreshment from his weariness. Thus, therefore, he went back,

   carefully looking on this side and on that, all the way as he went, if

   happily he might find his roll, that had been his comfort so many times

   in his journey. He went thus till he came again in sight of the arbor

   where he sat and slept; but that sight renewed his sorrow the more, by

   bringing again, even afresh, his evil of sleeping unto his mind.  Rev.

   2:4; 1 Thess. 5:6-8. Thus, therefore, he now went on, bewailing his

   sinful sleep, saying, O wretched man that I am, that I should sleep in

   the daytime! that I should sleep in the midst of difficulty! that I

   should so indulge the flesh as to use that rest for ease to my flesh

   which the Lord of the hill hath erected only for the relief of the

   spirits of pilgrims! How many steps have I taken in vain! Thus it

   happened to Israel; for their sin they were sent back again by the way

   of the Red Sea; and I am made to tread those steps with sorrow, which I

   might have trod with delight, had it not been for this sinful sleep.

   How far might I have been on my way by this time! I am made to tread

   those steps thrice over, which I needed not to have trod but once: yea,

   now also I am like to be benighted, for the day is almost spent. O that

   I had not slept!


   Now by this time he was come to the arbor again, where for a while he

   sat down and wept; but at last, (as Providence would have it,) looking

   sorrowfully down under the settle, there he espied his roll, the which

   he with trembling and haste catched up, and put it into his bosom. But

   who can tell how joyful this man was when he had gotten his roll again?

   For this roll was the assurance of his life, and acceptance at the

   desired haven. Therefore he laid it up in his bosom, gave thanks to God

   for directing his eye to the place where it lay, and with joy and tears

   betook himself again to his journey. But O how nimbly did he go up the

   rest of the hill! Yet before he got up, the sun went down upon

   Christian; and this made him again recall the vanity of his sleeping to

   his remembrance; and thus he again began to condole with himself: Oh

   thou sinful sleep! how for thy sake am I like to be benighted in my

   journey! I must walk without the sun, darkness must cover the path of

   my feet, and I must hear the noise of the doleful creatures, because of

   my sinful sleep! Now also he remembered the story that Mistrust and

   Timorous told him of, how they were frighted with the sight of the

   lions. Then said Christian to himself again, These beasts range in the

   night for their prey; and if they should meet with me in the dark, how

   should I shift them? how should I escape being by them torn in pieces?

   Thus he went on his way. But while he was bewailing his unhappy

   miscarriage, he lift up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately

   palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful, and it stood by the



   So I saw in my dream that he made haste, and went forward, that if

   possible he might get lodging there. Now before he had gone far, he

   entered into a very narrow passage, which was about a furlong off the

   Porter's lodge, and looking very narrowly before him as he went, he

   espied two lions in the way. Now, thought he, I see the dangers that

   Mistrust and Timorous were driven back by. (The lions were chained, but

   he saw not the chains.) Then he was afraid, and thought also himself to

   go back after them; for he thought nothing but death was before him.

   But the Porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, perceiving that

   Christian made a halt, as if he would go back, cried unto him, saying,

   Is thy strength so small?  Mark 4:40. Fear not the lions, for they are

   chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for

   discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and

   no hurt shall come unto thee.


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