It’s been a while but here’s number three in the occasional Mason’s Notes series. To get the details of what these notes are, and the little bit of who Mason was go to a previous post.
The picture on the left is of Christian (Bunyan calls him Christian though he still has his burden) out of the way that Evangelist had directed him. Having encountered Mr Worldly Wiseman Christian is encouraged to go another easier route to ease his burden. He is directed to the village of Morality ‘…there dwells a gentleman, whose name is Legality; a very judicious man, and a man of a very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine from their shoulders; yea to my knowledge, he hath done a great deal of good this way; and besides, he hath skill to cure those that are somewhat crazed in their wits with their burden.(c)‘
Mason’s Note on this (c)
Mr World Wiseman prefers Morality to Christ, the Straight Gate (to where Evangelist pointed him). This is the exact reasoning of the flesh. Carnal reason opposes spiritual truth. The notion of justification by our own obediance to God’s law, ever works in us, contrary to the law of justification by the obedience of Christ. Self-righteousness is as contrary to the faith of Christ as indulging the lusts of the flesh. The former is the white devil of pride, the latter the black devil of rebellion and disobedience. See the awful consequence of listening to the reasoning of the flesh.
The narrative continues with encouragements to go to the village of Morality ‘…where there are now houses standing empty, one of which thou mayest have at a reasonable rate; provision is there also cheap and good; and that which will make life more happy, is, to be sure that there thou shalt live by honest neighbours, in credit, and good fashion. In other words all will be well by living a good moral life. Not that Bunyan would prefer us all to live immoral lives – but that our morality has no power to save or make us acceptable to a Holy Righteous God. Christian is pointed in the direction of the village which is by the way of ‘yonder high hill’. So Christian turned out of his way to go to Mr Legality’s house for help: (d) but behold, when he was got now hard by the hill, it seemed so high, and also that side of it that was next the way-side did hang so much over, that Christian was afraid to venture farther, lest the hill should fall on his head; wherefore, there he stood still, and knew not what to do. Also, his burden now seemed heavier to him than while he was in his way. There came, also flashes of fire out of the hill, that made Christian afraid that he should be burned; here, therefore, he sweat, and did quake foe fear. And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr Worldly Wiseman’s counsel.
Mason’s Note (d)
And a sad turn it proved to him; for he turned from the work of Christ, for his salvation, to his works and obediaence; so did the Galations of old. Mark the consequence: Christian is afraid that Mount Sinai, all the dreadful curses of the law, would fall on his head.
Evangelist finds Christian and seeks to put him back on the right path. Christian tells Evangelist that Mr Worldly Wiseman ‘looked like a gentleman… (f)‘. Here is Mason’s Note on this.
(f) Beware of taking men by their looks. They may look as gentle as lambs, while the poison of asps is under their tongues; whereby they infect many souls with pernicious errors and pestilent heresies, turning them from Christ, and the hope of justification, and of eternal life, through Him ONLY, to look and rely upon their own works, in whole or in part, for salvation.
The Bible is absolutely clear on this:
Rom 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–
Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom 3:24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Rom 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Rom 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
It cannot be plainer than the above statement by the Apostle Paul. Yet, by nature we argue against our only hope or way of salvation. One should ask – why is this? THe answer is that by nature we are all rebellious sinners and apart from the grace of God in the Gospel of Christ not one would have hope. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.