But I fear that while I propound the difficulties which are great, as well as many, intending thereby to shake only the pillars of those men’s confidence who consider neither the length of the way, nor the hardness of the task by which salvation is attained; that I may dishearten others, who, after all their travel and labor complain that they have striven much and gained little; and the their hopes of laying hold on Eternal Life do rather languish than increase, doubting that the journey is much too lon for their short life to finish. Gladly therefore I would like up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees that they might be animated in the way and not despair of the end.
Now how can this be better done than by giving such signs and evidence that will best service to manifest their motion and proficiency ; the not discerning of which is the ground of those fears of theirs spending their strength in vain and their laboring for naught. And is not this more readily perceived by looking downward at those objects that are below, than by looking upwards to the heavens which will after all climbing to them seem to be still at the like distance as they were at first.
Suppose that a man after hard labor and toil in reaching the top of some high and steep cliff, should conclude that he had wearied himself to no purpose, in the gaining of a delightful prospect because the sun appears to be at the same distance and also of equal bigness as when he was at the bottom of it; or that the starts seem still to be bus as so many twinkling watch lights without the least increase of their dimensions or variation of their figure: Might he not be easily refuted by bidding him to look down to those plains from whence he had ascended and behold what narrow scantlings and proportions those stately buildings and towers were shrunk and contacted, whose greatness as well as beauty he erewhile so much admired?
And may I not with the like facility answer and resolve the discouraged Christian who calls into question the truth of his heavenly progress, because all those glorious objects which his faith eyes and soul desires to draw nigh unto seem still to be as remote from him as at his first setting out, by wishing him to consider whether he cannot say that though heavenly objects do not increase in their magnitude or luster by the approach that he makes to them, that yet all earthly objects do sensibly lose theirs by the distance that he is gone from them?
And if he can but so do, surely he has no cause of despairing to obtain heaven who has traveled so far on the way as to lose well near the sight of Earth. If once his faith has raised him to that height as to make the glory of the world disappear and to be as a thing of naught, it will quickly land him in heaven where his fears of miscarrying as well as his lassitude in working will be swallowed up in an everlasting rest. And he that did once believe more than he saw, shall forever see far more than he could have ever believed.
Lord, therefore do you
Who gives power to the faith,
And to them that have no might,
Increase strength to me
Who wait upon thee;
Renew my strength
That I may mount up with wings as an eagle
And may run and not be weary
And walk and not faint,
Until come to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills
And behold thy face in glory.