The Man in the Iron Cage

Now, said Christian, let me go hence. Nay, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have shewed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go on thy way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an Iron Cage.

Now the Man, to look on, seemed very sad; he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together; and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, What means this? At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.

Then said Christian to the Man, What art thou? The Man answered, I am what I was not once.

Chr. What wast thou once?

Man. The Man said, I was once a fair and flourishing Professor, both in mine own eyes, and also in the eyes of others; I once was, as I thought, fair for the Coelestial City, and had then even joy at the thoughts that I should get thither.

Chr. Well, but what art thou now?

Man. I am now a man of Despair, and am shut up in it, as in this Iron Cage. I cannot get out; O now I cannot.

Chr. But how camest thou in this condition?

Man. I left off to watch and be sober; I laid the reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the Word and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone [in the unbelieving apostate’s case the Spirit was never “there” to begin with in any way (no so-called Westminster Confession of Faith “common operations” either–CD]; I tempted the Devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and he has left me; I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.

Then said Christian to the Interpreter, But are there no hopes for such a man as this? Ask him, said the Interpreter.

Chr. Then said the Christian, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the Iron Cage of Despair?

Man. No, none at all.

Chr. Why? the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.

Man. I have crucified him to myself afresh, I have despised his Person, I have despised his Righteousness, I have counted his Blood an unholy thing; I have done despite to the Spirit of Grace: Therefore I have shut myself out of all the Promises, and there now remains to me nothing but threatnings, dreadful threatnings, fearful threatnings of certain Judgment and fiery Indignation, which shall devour me as an Adversary.

Chr. For what did you bring yourself into this condition?

Man. For the Lusts, Pleasures, and Profits of this World; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight; but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.

Chr. But canst thou not now repent and turn?

Man. God hath denied me repentance: his Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, himself hath shut me up in this Iron Cage; nor can all the men in the world let me out. O Eternity! Eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in Eternity!

Inter. Then said the Interpreter to Christian, Let this man’s misery be remembered by thee, and be an everlasting caution to thee.

Chr. Well, said Christian, this is fearful; God help me to watch and be sober, and to pray that I may shun the cause of this man’s misery.

Who is this Man in the Iron Cage?

“These are sunken rocks in your love feasts, feasting together with you, feeding themselves without fear, waterless clouds being carried about by winds, fruitless autumn trees, having died twice, having been plucked up by the roots” (Jude 1:12).

“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask; and He shall give life to him, to the ones not sinning unto death. There is a sin unto death. I do not say that he should ask about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not unto death. We know that everyone being generated from God does not sin, but the one having been generated from God keeps himself, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the evil. And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given to us an understanding that we may know the true One, and we are in the true One, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and the life everlasting. Little children, guard yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:16-21).

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13)..

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:4-6).

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