This picture is taken from the cover of The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson [published by Puritan Paperbacks]. It depicts a scene from The Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian arrives at the cross and his burden falls off and tumbles into a sepulchre never to be seen again.
The experience of unloading the burden of condemnation is not something Christian believers need just at the beginning of the Christian life but everyday as we stuff things up and make a mess. As Paul writes “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! [Romans 7:24], so Christians should daily turn to Christ and unload their sense of condemnation.
This daily turning to the cross should lead Christians to be glad and “lightsome” as Christian experienced:
Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which Christian was to go, was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation. Isaiah 26:1. Up this way, therefore, did burdened Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was Christian glad and lightsome, and said with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death.” Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked, therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.