Four Narrow Gates All Must Pass Through to Get to Heaven:
1. The Narrow Gate of Humiliation:
God saves none but first, he humbles them. Now, it is hard to pass through the gates and flames of hell; for a heart as stiff as a stake to bow; as hard as a stone to bleed for the least prick; not to mourn for one sin, but all sins; and not for a fit, but all a man’s lifetime. O, it is hard for a man to suffer himself to be laden with sin, and pressed to death for sin, so as never to love sin more, but to spit in the face of that which he once loved as dearly as his life. It is easy to drop a tear or two, and be sermon sick; but to have a heart rent for sin and from sin, this is true humiliation; and this is hard.
2. The Narrow Gate of Faith:
(Ephesians 1:19) It is an easy matter to presume, but hard to believe in Christ. It is easy for a man who was never humbled to believe and say, it is but believing; but it is a hard matter for a man humbled, when he sees all his sins in order before him, the devil and conscience roaring upon him, now to call God Father, is a hard work. Judas had rather be hanged than believe. It is hard to see a Christ as a rock to stand upon when we are overwhelmed with sorrow of heart for sin. It is hard to prize Christ above ten thousand worlds of pearl; it is hard to desire Christ, and nothing but Christ; hard to follow Christ all the day long, and never to be quiet till he is got in thine arms, and then with Simeon to say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”.
3. The Narrow Gate of Repentance:
It is an easy matter for a man to confess himself to be a sinner, and to cry to God for forgiveness until the next time; but to have a bitter sorrow, and so to turn from all sin, and to return to God, and all the ways of God, which is true repentance indeed, this is hard.
4. The Narrow Gate of Opposition:
Of devils, the world, and a man’s own self, who knock a man down when he begins to look toward Christ and heaven.
So learn, that every easy way to heaven is a false way, although ministers should preach it out of their pulpits, and angels should publish it out of heaven.
From, ‘The Sincere Convert and Sound Believer, by Thomas Sheppard)