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Charlotte Reihlen with her picture - The Broad and Narrow Way

An image of Charlotte Reihlen with the 1867 1st edition print of the Broad and Narrow Way.
Created by merging two original photos - Digital image restoration and colourization © Peter N Millward

Original Fotos - 1st Edition 1867 - Der breite und der schmale Weg - Farblithografie von Conrad Schacher, Stuttgart, Stuttgarter Urfassung, 1867 Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart
Charlotte Reihlen (1805-1868) 1865, Foto: Friedrich Brandseph (1826-1915) Evangelische Diakonissenanstalt Stuttgart

Explanation of the picture

THE BROAD AND THE NARROW WAY.

Mrs Charlotte Reihlen

(Translated from the original German, by Miss Marriott, Mildmay Deaconess. )

This picture does not really need any explanation, inasmuch as for the most part that which is to be brought home and made important to the beholder speaks in symbolical, and therefore the plainest possible language. Notwithstanding this, many will be glad to have a short general explanation, particularly of those objects and texts, which, owing to want of room, have been but partly given, and (as to the texts) with only the reference. The reader will thus be spared the trouble of looking for the words. Further reflection is by no means excluded. The mystery of God's kingdom and the mystery of iniquity, here represented by two paths, will become really clear only to those who keep the word of truth in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience - (Luke 2:19 and 8:15) The kingdom of this world will continue opposed to God's kingdom, till the latter is fully triumphant.

The chief thought for contemplation is as the title shows, taken from the words of the Lord Jesus in His first public discourse to the people, in the Sermon on the Mount - "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life; and few there he that find it." Matt 7.13-14.

As Moses at the giving of the law from Sinai, and before they entered Canaan, put before the children of Israel blessing and cursing, death and life, so in like manner the foreground of our picture places them side by side. On the right hand we see ears of corn and bunches of grapes, symbols of blessing and fruitfulness, at the same time suggestive of bread and wine, namely, the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, the second Adam.

On the left, thistles, thorns, and poisonous plants appear. These denote the curse which came through the sin of the first Adam, and the unfruitfullness of the earth, which the destructive Serpent sufficiently shows. This at the same time points to the person of Satan, and his evil influence, as the author of all sin. In the midst of this group, shut in by blessing and cursing, and, though ordained to life, containing both life and death, are the tables of the Law; while to the right and left of them, on two rocks, are engraven words which tell us of man's terrible fall, and God's plan of redemption designed from all eternity:— (1) " As in Adam all die (2) even so in Christ shall all be made alive." - 1 Cor, 15:22. On the two tables of the law are the ten commandments, the duties of the love that we have to practice towards God and man.  Man's position in regard to the Divine law is shown by two important passages of Scripture, Romans Ch 5. and Galatians Ch 3, which prove that non-fulfilment of the law condemns us in God's sight. On the other hand, the sinfulness and ruin of our fallen nature, of which we first become conscious through these commands, as also the experience that we are unable, with all our efforts, to keep them so completely as to satisfy God, these drive us to God in Christ.

"The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."— (Gal. 3:24.) Since Jesus alone has fulfilled the law out of Divine love for us, and for our benefit, and in His redemptory offering and blood-shedding has atoned for our sins, and suffered for us, we can only by repentance (ie, change of mind) and by faith in His merit be justified, and filled with the spirit of love, which then enables us to keep the commandments; because nothing is hard to unselfish, God wrought love, and grace is then much more powerful than sin. The text in our picture, written on the tables of the law, refers to this: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."— Romans 13:10.   The foreground of our picture, as above described, is occupied with a descriptive representation, comprehensive and universal, referring to all men without exception. It leads us at once to the place of decision that is so near, and at the same time shows us the great difference between the two gates and the two ways, For evidently the people, standing on the common entrance ground, of high or low rank, old or young, men or women, nobles, burghers, or peasants, are preparing to set out in one direction or the other. Yet before doing so they turn to the wooden sign-post standing in the middle, painted with alternate bright and dark stripes, as if to indicate that the choice of one of the paths leads to the joyous light of everlasting day, but the other to the sad darkness of the hopeless night of despair.   The two arms of the sign-post express this further in a most unmistakable manner, as one of them is turned towards an open and very narrow gate, and bears the inscription — "Life and Salvation." whereas the other is directed towards a beautiful, wide-open portal, and bears the inscription — "Death and Damnation." The large open Bible at the foot of the signpost shows the following texts:—"Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me,"—{John 5:39.) "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." — (2 Timothy. 3:16-17.) These explain to us that the Scriptures, of God's written revelation to man, show us the unveiled truth, and are at the same time the touchstone to prove if a soul be really of the truth or not; if it turn rather to darkness, which for the moment has something apparently good and attractive, or if it turn to the light, which particularly at first for the outward natural man, requires self denial.

Above all, this whole scene represents that joint of time, or that period of life, in which, to every man, the truth is brought so near that, in a decided manner, he turns either to good or evil, either to the "kingdom of God" or to the "kingdom of the world" even though he be a heathen; because, even in such an one, although by no means with the clearness and responsibility of Christian knowledge, God does not leave Himself without the witness of conscience.—(Romans 2.) If the glad news of the Gospel is brought home to us by a preacher, as in our picture is the case, this is a special favour that does not by any means happen to all men, for "Faith cometh by hearing." —(Romans 10:17) God's will concerning us is declared by the texts introduced in various places, as "Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation," (2 Corinthians 6:2.) "Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."—{Hebrews 3:7-8) "The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance —(2 Peter 3:9) "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,"—(1 Timothy 2:4) Above all the preacher points on the one hand to the words, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him' — (John 3:36) while on the other hand he brings out the great importance of the warning, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" - John 3:3.    This appears to have brought several persons to serious thought; among others, a young man with a burden on his back sinks down on a seat, exclaiming, "Mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me." (Psalm 38:4) He is comforted by the words, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest — (Matt 11:28)— and "Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37.) The greater part, (particularly of the noble and rich, turn to the showy open gate on the left, and the two ways now separate.

                 THE  BROAD WAY.

As the Lord Jesus says, and as our picture represents it, the Broad Way is entered by a wide gate, so wide that with "boots and spurs, coach and horses," one can enter and pass along. On each side of the entrance there stand the statues of the two chief representatives of unbridled lust - Bacchus, worshiped in ancient times as god of wine, and Venus, goddess of beauty. These support a sign-board with the word "Welcome!" The nature of Bacchus is shown by a company of men and women of all classes, who, in an elegant public-house garden, enjoy the careless amusement of singing, cards, newspapers, eating and drinking, scolding and cursing, in such a measure that one of the guests has already fallen to the ground, while some others can hardly stand. Here, as a warning, we find the two texts: "Woe unto them that are mighty to  drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink." (Isaiah 5:22.) "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them: as it is written. The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." - (1 Corinthians 10:7) These are the enjoyments of the children of the world, of whom in truth it may be said:- "They eat, alas! but to hunger the more: They drink, yet their hearts rest weary and sore; Visions vain of hopeless gain, Hearts forlorn, With anguish torn, Woe unstayed, Is e'er the lot of souls betrayed!" Opposite the shrine of Bacchus, Venus offers her unsatisfying joys. Just opposite, where in contrast, on the narrow way is a church, symbol of the Bride of Christ, stands as sentinel at the entrance of the broad way a little house, at whose open door a woman adorned as a harlot seeks to entice a young passer-by with sweet words. which afterwards are bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword. "Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold on hell."  Proverbs 5:3-5; 7:6-27)

The broad way now begins - There is no lack or eager travelers on it. The road is outwardly, beautifully smooth, and on either side are splendid stone building, pleasant trees, plants, and open squares, so that there is no lack of introduction to the cultivation of worldliness, and no lack of amusements and enjoyments.  There is, for instance, a crowded theatre, regarded as an admirable school for refinement of taste. On the opposite side, assembly rooms, with glittering halls and gaming tables condemned even by respectable worldly people. As a victim to gambling, a man is seen hanging from an open window, reminding us of Judas, who, for  love of gain, "went and hanged himself." (Acts 1:18) As pendant, we perceive at another window a thief breaking in. The Scripture says, Neither...thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." - (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) For the practice of the last named vices ready opportunity is offered.   At a stall a woman is selling brandy for people of vitiated tastes, while the adjoining empty well, round which bad language is used, reminds us of the passage — "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error." (2 Peter 2:17-18)
The different effects or fruits of unbelief show themselves in various vices, of which the  Scriptures mention the following: — "These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto Him : a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." - (Proverbs 6:16-19). With these might be classed that man torturing an animal. An unrighteous man regardeth not the life of his beast, for "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Proverbs 12:10); those pickpockets, transgressing the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal" — (Exodus 20:15); those brawlers, that would be fine gentleman, who, with great self-conceit, accepts honours from man (in this instance from a sentinel), seeking "not the honour that cometh from God only" —(John 5:44); and that rider on the way to sinful pleasure. Further on is a house inhabited by those who “take a pledge of the poor” (Job 24:9), and, lastly, lottery gamblers, of whom it may be said: "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase."   —(Ecclesiastes 5:10)
As in our picture, disobedience, luxury, and intemperance are furthered by inward and outward stimulants, till by degrees a false glare pervades all classes, so there is no lack of Sabbath-breaking institutions, proved by the Tavern "Worldliness." visited especially
on Sundays by young and old, and which, therefore, bears the inscription,"Sabbath Desecration"  A waving flag and frivolous dance-music invite to a voluptuous masked ball. "The harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine, arc in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of His hands.'— (Isaiah 5. 12.) But notwithstanding all earthly pleasures striven for and enjoyed,  the yearning heart becomes ever more desolate and more dissatisfied, so that its constant pursuit is new distraction, whether to be attained by wealth, business, or pleasure. If now, by means of conscience (for God "hath set eternity [R. V. margin) in their heart,") (Ecclesiastes 3:11), or by some well-meaning and devout man, the voice of God is heard, saying, "Come, for all things are now ready" the three kinds of excuses are generally made, either like that land-buyer near the lottery gamblers— "I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused:” or like the cattle dealer — "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them I pray thee have me excused:” or like that bridegroom — "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."— {Luke 14:16-20).
This worldliness, consisting of "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life," —(1 John 2:16), desires not the kingdom of God, neither seeks truth, nor takes time to consider. It is shown by further examples :  buying and selling, eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, without a thought of the near coming of the Lord, “as it was in the days of the flood, and in the time of Lot"— (Luke 17:26-30). This is further illustrated by a miser toiling to carry away his treasures, not remembering that "the love of  money is a root of all kinds of evil" — (1 Timothy 6:10), and finally by murderers, who transgress the law, "Thou shalt not kill" — (Exodus. 20:13)
But neither the ridicule nor the stones of adversaries can prevent that faithful servant of God from going into the highways, and bidding to the Heavenly feast as many as he finds— (Matthew 22:9).  So far does the Lord condescend to us wanderers, that He beseeches, though He might command, "Be ye reconciled to God" —(2 Corinthians 5:20); "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" —(Ezek 33:2); "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." —(Luke 19:10).
An example of this the Prodigal Son, who, having "wasted his substance with riotous living," when the famine came, had to feed swine, without even being able to obtain their husks. "And when he come to himself, he said, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son " —(Luke 15:16-19).
In our picture there are several such ways of escape from the depths of sin, as is said in the Book of Job, "Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit', to be enlightened with the light of the living" — (Job 33:29-30). If a man determines absolutely to withstand the invitations of his  faithful, merciful God, who forces none into the good way, but would gather all, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, God gives over such to deserved punishment. This is shown in our picture by prisoners and slaves, who are driven out from their life of ease, and for their sins given over to their enemies —(Jeremiah 15:14). Further, by fearful war scenes, carried on under the influence of Satanic spirits, in which awful scenes are fulfilled. -(Jeremiah 9:22), and Ezekiel 20:12-13).
As regards the railway train represented in the picture, it may be said that the railway is in itself a good and useful invention which furthers the Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, all things considered, it yet more furthers the kingdom of Antichrist, and is productive of much sin, such as Sabbath desecration, &c. The despair of the ungodly and the awful end of the Broad Way are made still more terribly clear by the destruction of Babylon and of the kingdoms of his world. "A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn into the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains."— (Deuteronomy 32:22) "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall "melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up."— (2 Peter 3:10).  The actual place of the condemned ones, the Lake of Fire, combined with an uninterrupted, ever-ascending smoke of torment, is now seen.


Time has given place to eternity, earth to heaven.


In the clouds, we perceive men falling headlong down, pursued by serpents and demons, according to the words— "Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. — (25:41.
A whole band of hellish monsters show us that the foolish ones, who recognise too late that they have missed the right way, at last have reached the abode of Satan.  Darkness, destitution, and suffering of every kind is the unblest lot of these unhappy ones, who are still further terrified by birds of night; evil spirits, and by flashing lightnings from the Almighty, who rules in the midst of His enemies, and whose righteous balance has decided their well-deserved fate, as the words of Holy Scripture express it of Belshazzar, King of the Chaldeans, who revelled in excesses in Babylon,  "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." — (Daniel. 5:27). With fearful truthfulness, and in a manner exceeding all expectations, are fulfilled the words of this verse taught to our children:-
“The course of vice first smoothly leads through meadows gay and bright, But dangers grow as it proceeds, It's end eternal night.”

                 THE NARROW WAY.

According to the words of the Lord Jesus, the Narrow Way is trodden by few, because it is to the natural man a way of humiliation and self denial. The natural man does not trust God to give him "an hundredfold" and to cause him to "inherit everlasting life" (Matthew 19:29). The entrance is so narrow, because we must leave behind the old wrong life, and forsake all to win "the one thing needful" — Jesus Christ. Blessed is he who obeys the call, "Enter ye in at the strait gate," for at once he is gloriously quickened.    That Jesus whom he cared not for, or despised, of whom he was ashamed, has become a well of living water. Such a fountain flows for the strengthening of travelers on the narrow way, from a beautifully shaded rock close to the strait gate.

On this rock is placed the picture  of the Crucified Redeemer. Close by are these inscriptions - "Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely"  (Revelation 22:17). "And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of  that spiritual rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4) "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24) "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. and with His stripes we are healed" ( Isaiah 53:5)  Before entering the narrow way the Christian pilgrim is called, by the sound of a little bell, into a friendly Church of which as a living member of the true fold of God, he has now become an active worker and communicant. The hand of the church points nearly to twelve, significantly indicating that the last hour, together with the coming of the Bridegroom is at hand. - (1John 2:18) (Matthew 25:6)  

The narrow way now begins - On it we meet, as already mentioned, comparatively few true followers of the Lord. On a steep path that sometimes seems barren, and leads past rocks, thorns and precipices, the Christian is instructed, reproved, or encouraged, according to his need, by many a precious word of God, as "I am the way"— (John 14:6); "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,  of whom I am chief" (1 Timothy 1:15); "He died for all, that they which live should not hence forth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose  again"—(2 Corinthians 5:15); "And you hath he reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable In His sight" - (Colossians 1:21,22); "By grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast" - (Ephesians 2:8-9) "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."— Galatians 3:26)

To a solitary cross bearing pilgrim is given the word, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." - (Luke 9:23)

The different effects or fruits of faith are shown by various virtues, because faith worketh by love, and is manifested by the following corresponding good works:—

1. Feeding the hungry.

2. Giving drink to the thirsty.

3. Entertaining strangers.

4. Clothing the naked.

5. Visiting and nursing the sick (Deaconess Institution).

6. Visiting prisoners.

7. Caring for orphans.

Of these works of love, the Lord Jesus says, whosoever does them, not for gain, but in faith and for His sake, shall be regarded as if he had done them to the Lord Himself — Matthew 25:34-40,  Luke 9:48. As in our picture, Home and Foreign Missions are represented by various charitable institutions, by the proclaiming of the Gospel, and by the Church already mentioned, so also we find in its place the school in the form of a house, with the inscription, "Sunday School." The Lord Jesus, who did not exclude children, taught in the synagogues of the Jews on the sabbath day— Mark 6:2  

If a Christian lets his light shine before men for the glory of God, his hidden life shines yet more brightly in God's sight ; that is, his inner heavenly mindedness, which seeks only God, and strives unceasingly to do His will in all things. But notwithstanding the exercise of Christian virtues and the growth in all points, the path becomes steeper and more threatened with danger, for a soldier of the Lord must be tried and tempted. "If one battle is fought and won, Think therefore not the task is done." "Faith, Hope and Love will be fought against in many ways, and, like silver or gold, be purified in the fire. And yet a Christian has not only to fight against his own flesh and blood, which tempt him to impatience and to various passions and desires, nor against the world and the lust thereof, like Demas, who loved "this present world"—(2 Tim. 4:10), but also "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" — (Ephesians 6:12). Above all, he has to fight, partly against the deceit, partly against the power of the prince of these spirits, who is visible in our picture under the form of a lion while the Christian fights him with spiritual weapons by Divine help  —(Ephesians 6:11). "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But it is worthwhile to be steadfast, unmovable, for this mighty foe only attacks those who labour to oppose his kingdom of darkness. They may well rejoice and take courage from the following words: "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid : for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation "— (Isaiah 12:2); and "If  God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:31-34) This gives courage to the pilgrim to go on in the narrow way already entered, and not to allow himself to be enticed into a bye-path leading back into the broad way, but rather to "follow peace with all men, and holiness, without  which no man shall see the Lord." - (Hebrews 12:14). Such faithfulness is always rewarded. For as it is said of Christ that after the temptation endured, "angels came and ministered unto Him," so to His children "there ariseth light in the darkness" "and gladness for the upright in heart" — (Psalm psalm 112:4 and  Psalm 97:11), The Lord helps, and suffers none to be tempted above that he is able  —(1 Corinthians 10:13), for those who love Him experience the support of the holy angels -"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"— (Hebrews 1:14). Hence flows heartfelt thankfulness, as shown by that man of prayer, who having climbed a steep mountain height, exclaims, "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name" — (Psalm 103:1)

Should there be for such a traveler still higher rocks to climb, and new difficulties to overcome, yet he is ever drawing nearer to his glorious goal, and can truly say, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). For the Lord Jesus says, " I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live — (John 11:25). Only once again, and for the last time do we see the weary pilgrim bowed beneath the burden of the cross. He has but the one desire, to be at home with the Lord. Let him endure a little longer, and to him will be granted, as expressed in these words—There is a rest awaiting thee, Rise, weary heart, grow light once more; Thou sighest in  Captivity, And thy bright Sun is clouded o'er. Behold the Lamb who joyfully from His bright throne shall shepherd thee, Cast off thy load, implore His grace, Soon will the weary course be run, Soon, soon the bitter struggle won, Then shalt thou find His resting place. A rainbow, symbol of peace, now appears.  

Time has given place to eternity, earth to heaven.

In the clouds we see palms, emblems of victory - (Revelation 7:9), also a crown according to the words, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I  will give thee a crown of life." — (Revelation. 2:10)    

A bridge leads to one of the twelve gates of pearl of the Heavenly Jerusalem, where an angel majestically keeps watch. Now are the words literally fulfilled to our pilgrim, "Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly, and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven." (Hebrews 12:22,23).   In the midst of the city, with it's golden streets, rises Mount Zion, where Christ stands in the form of a Lamb, who, as the Sun of Righteousness, sends forth rays of  glory —(Revelation, 21:23).

The adoration of all created beings is thus described by the venerable Apostle John "I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders : and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands : saying, with a loud  voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And  the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped Him that liveth for ever and ever." (Revelation 5:11-14). How true are the words of the following verse of a hymn  learnt in our childhood, and how clearly are they now realised and fulfilled in a higher sense:— "Where virtue's path begins, 'tis steep and thorny to ascend ; Yet labour on. and joy thou'lt reap, And glory without end."
 

 
 

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Truly these separate ways, divided from the beginning by ever increasing heights and depths (of opinions); can never unite; and where they pass into eternity the gulf cannot be passed over. (Luke 16:26) But there is something, exalted high over both ways, and therefore over both goals, even over all created things, also over time and eternity, resting in itself, without beginning and without end, and yet, as the eternal wisdom, power, and love governs all things, rules, and is glorified in them, according to God's purpose of love in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. This is the ever-open eye of the Triune God, which is therefore surrounded by a triangle, from which rays of light proceed in all directions. There is quoted the passage, "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil "—(1 Peter 3:12.)         To Him, whose enemies shall once be made His footstool" (1 Corinthians 15:25-26), and of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things, be glory forever. Amen.— (Rom. 11:36). 

And now, dear reader, permit me in conclusion to address a few words to you, whether or not you have already decided for one of these two ways, which our picture and this explanation are intended to make clear.

If in truth you are already on the narrow way, your walk and your conscience bearing you witness, I have only to say, " Follow on." "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  - (John 20:29). If, however, you are on the broad way, I pity you the more that I myself once walked on it so long, until I was convinced of the vanity of all that is earthly, and, on the contrary, of the great truth— "Immortal souls must live on food eternal, Must drink e'en at the Fount of Life, that springs Unlimited, in regions ever vernal, From the Almighty's Throne, the Giver of all things." 

But if you do not yourself know, my dear fellow traveller on the road to eternity, whether you are to be counted among those on the right or the left, remember that no man can serve two masters, because Christ and Belial do not agree, and of the lukewarm heart it is said, " I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." — (Revelation 3:15-16. Therefore decide, for the decision must be made," that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear."— Revelation 3:18). Think you, perhaps, dear reader, that only gross sinners are condemned, and therefore at last lost; but forget not, for instance, that the rich man did not find himself in hell and in torment because of gross sin, but because he had nothing good to show, and had not exercised love, whereby a heavenly and God-wrought spirit would have been manifested. In our picture there are many things on the broad way, which are not in themselves bad, but are placed there because of the abuse of necessary and lawful things. There are, too, many who in the eyes of the world appear quite respectable people, whose hearts are turned away from God and from the Lord Jesus, and ensnared in secret sins. The number of these last is legion. You would therefore be deceived were you to justify yourself with such phrases as I have found in an earlier representation of the two ways, where several persons are trying to quiet themselves about not walking in the narrow way, by saying, "We go regularly to church," "We take the Lord's Supper," "We attend Christian meetings," "I give freely to the poor," "I have a good conscience," "To be honest is my endeavour," "God is not so exact," "I am very busy," "Innocent pleasures are lawful," "Who can refuse young people joy, if they turn in old age," " Who would be such a fool as not to enjoy life?"  "We go with the crowd," " I hope to be saved too." With these and similar superficial excuses one can indeed for a time stifle heart and conscience. Before the holy God, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, none can stand. The Lord Jesus says, with decision that admits of no doubt, " Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."— (John 3:3). Therefore be satisfied with God's way; turn, and decide willingly before Divine judgment is passed on you against your will. In the consideration of both these ways, act like that wise young man who turned into the narrow way, saying to himself, " Not the path, but the goal, decides my choice. How beautiful and glorious will be the rest above!" Do the same to-day. Confer not with flesh and blood, but "follow on." May God grant it!  

(Translated from the original German, by Miss Marriott, Mildmay Deaconess. ) 

Republished from the original  "History and Explanation of the picture "The Broad and The Narrow Way".
                       (Private Collection - © Peter N Millward)

First part of the History and Explanation can be read here - Gawin Kirkham's Narrative

Pictures With A Message

For Prints, Posters, cards of the 1883 English Edition
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Victorian Broad and Narrow Way picture    

This edition is republished from private collection © Peter N Millward.

 2018 © Peter N Millward.