In part 4 of this occasional series of posts on Mason’s Notes we find Pilgrim (Christian) arriving at the gate or door as he journeys towards the Celestial City.
‘Now Christian looked for nothing but death, and began to cry out lamentably; even cursing the time in which he met with Mr. Worldly Wiseman; still calling himself a thousand fools for hearkening to his counsel. He also was greatly ashamed to think that this gentleman’s arguments, flowing only from the flesh, should have the prevalency with him so far as to cause him to forsake the right way. This done, he applied himself again to Evangelist in words and sense as follows.
Christian: Sir, (o) what think you? Is there any hope? May I now go back, and go up to the wicket-gate? Shall I not be abandoned for this, and sent back from thence ashamed? I am sorry I have hearkened to this man’s counsel; but may my sin be forgiven?’
Mason’s Note (o)
Christian inquires if he may yet be happy. Legal hopes will bring on distress of soul, and despondency of spirit, as well as outward sins, there is no hope of a sinner’s being comforted by the Cross of Cross, till he is made sensible of this.
‘Evangelist: Then said Evangelist to him, Thy sin is very great, for by it thou hast committed two evils: thou hast forsaken the way that is good, to tread in forbidden paths. Yet will the man at the gate receive thee, for he has good-will for men; only, said he, take heed that thou turn not aside again, lest thou “perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” (Psalm 2:12)
‘Then did Christian address himself to go back; and Evangelist, after he had kissed him, gave him one smile, and bid him God speed; (p) So he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor if any asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all the while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he was got into the way which he had left to follow Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel. So, in process of time, Christian got up to the gate. Now, over the gate there was written, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)’
Mason’s Note (p)
Nothing but e gospel of Christ can direct our steps in the right way, and bring peace and comfort to our souls. It salutes us wit a cheering smile, a kiss of peace, and a blessing of consolation; and hence it wings our speed to Christ and holiness.
He knocked, therefore, more than once or twice, (q) saying,
“May I now enter here? Will he within
Open to sorry me, though I have been
An undeserving rebel? Then shall I
Not fail to sing his lasting praise on high.”
Mason’s Note (q)
This is praying and pleading in faith with God, for mercy and forgiveness of sin, through the blood of Christ Jesus.
At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill, who asked who was there, and whence he came, and what he would have.
Christian: Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the city of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come; I would therefore, sir, since I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.
Goodwill: (r) I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate.
Mason’s Note (r)
The gate will be opened to broken-hearted sinners. Here behold the love of Jesus, in freely and heartily recieveing every poor sinner who comes unto him. No matter how vile they have been, nor what sins they have committed: he love them freely, and recieves them graciously. For he has nothing but GOOD-WILL to them. Hence the heavenly host sang at his birth, Good-will towards men. (Luke 2:14)
‘So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull.’ (s)
Mason’s Note (s)
Every saved sinner is a brand plucked out of the fire by the loving arm of Christ. (Zechariah 3:2)