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Pilgrim's Progress - Chapter 9

Now I saw in my dream that when the pilgrims had gotten past the enchanted Ground, they, entering into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant and the way lying directly through it, enjoyed themselves there for a season. Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds and saw every day the flowers appear on the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle-dove in the land.

BEULAH LAND

In this country the sun shines night and day; for this was beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant despair; neither could they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle. Here they were within sight of the City they were going to; also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof; for in this land the Shining Ones commonly walked, because it was upon the borders of heaven.

Here they had no lack of corn and wine for in this place they met with abundance of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage. Here they heard voices from out of the City, loud voices, saying, “Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy Salvation cometh! Behold, His reward is with Him!” Here all the inhabitants of the country called them “The holy people and redeemed of the Lord,” “sought out,” etc.

As they drew nearer the City, they had yet a more perfect view thereof. It was builded of pearls and precious stones, also the streets thereof were paved with gold. They walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and their gates opened into the highway. As they came up to these places, the gardener stood in the way; to whom the pilgrims said, “Whose goodly vineyards and gardens are these?” He answered, “They are the King’s, and are planted here for His own delight and also for the solace of pilgrims.”

So the gardener led them into the vineyards, and bade them refresh themselves with the dainties. Here they tarried and slept.

So I saw, when they awoke, they undertook to go up to the City. But, the reflection of the sun upon the City (for the city was pure gold) was so extremely glorious, that they could not, as yet, with open face behold it, but through a glass made for that purpose. So I saw that, as they went on, there met them two men in raiment that shone like gold, and with faces bright as the light.

These men asked the pilgrims whence they came; and they told them. They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures they had met in the way; and they told them.

Then said the men that met them, “You have but two difficulties more to meet with, and then you are in the City.”

Christian and Hopeful asked the men to go along with them; so they told them that they would. “But,” said they, “you must obtain it by your own faith.” So I saw in my dream that they went on together till they came in sight of the gate.

A RIVER INTERVENES

Now I further saw that betwixt them and the gate was a river; but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight of this river, the pilgrims were much stunned.

But the men that went with them said, “You must go through, or you cannot come to the gate.”

The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate; to which they answered, “Yes; but only Enoch and Elijah were permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world; nor shall until the last trumpet shall sound.”

Then they both, but especially Christian, began to be anxious and looked this way and that; but no way could be found by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all the same depth. They said, “No,” yet they could not help them in that case; “for,” said they, “you shall find it deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place.”

They then went into the water; and, entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful he said, “I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head; all His waves go over me.”

Then said Hopeful, “Be of good cheer, my brother; I feel the bottom, and it is good.”

Christian, “Ah! My friend, the sorrows of death have compassed me about; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey.” And with that, a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him.

Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep Christian’s head above the water; sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful would also endeavor to comfort him saying, “Brother, I see the gate and men standing by to receive us.”

Christian would answer, “It is you, it is you they wait for; you have always been hopeful.”

Then said Hopeful, “My brother, these troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that god has forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind what you have received of His goodness, and will live upon Him in your distresses.”

Then I saw in my dream that Christian was silent awhile, and Hopeful added these words, “Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.” With that Christian said with a loud voice, “Oh, I see Him again; and He tells me, ‘When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.’ ”

Then they both took courage, and the enemy was, after that, as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon; and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over.

TWO SHINING MEN

Now upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining ones again, who waited for them. When the pilgrims came out of the river they saluted them, saying, “We are heavenly spirits, sent to minister to those that shall be heirs of salvation.”

Thus they went along toward the gate. Now, you must note that the City stood upon a mighty hill; but the pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them. Also they left their mortal garments behind them in the river; for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They therefore went up with much speed, though the foundation upon which the City was built was higher than the clouds. They therefore went up through the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted because they had safely got over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them.

The talk they had with the Shining Ones was about the glory of the place; they said its beauty and glory were such as could not be put into words.

“There,” said they, “is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect. You are going now,” said they, “to the Paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof; and you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of an eternal life.”

THE HEAVENLY REWARDS

Then they asked, “What must we do in the holy place?” To whom it was answered, “You must there receive comfort for all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit of all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the King by the way. In that place you must wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual visions of the Holy One; for there you shall see Him as He is. There also you shall serve Him continually with praise and thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the weakness of your bodies.

“When he shall come with sound of trumpet in the clouds, you shall come with Him; and when He shall sit upon the throne of judgment, you shall sit by Him; and when He shall pass sentence upon all the workers of evil, you also shall have a voice in that judgment because they were His and your enemies. Also, when he shall again return to the City, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with Him.”

THE HEAVENLY WELCOME

Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold, a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; to whom the Shining Ones said, “These are the men that have loved our Lord when in the world, and that have left all for His holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy.”

Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

There came out also at this time to meet them a host of the King’s trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters saluted Christian and Hopeful with ten thousand welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting and sound of trumpet.

This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left (as it were to guard them through the upper regions), continually sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high: so that the very sight was to them that could behold it as if heaven itself was come down to meet them.

Thus they walked on together; and, as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters, even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and gestures, still signify to Christian and Hopeful how welcome they were and with what gladness they came to meet them. And now were these two men as it were in heaven before they came to it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with hearing of their melodious notes.

THE CELESTIAL CITY

Here also they had the city itself in view, and thought they heard all its bells ringing to welcome them. But, above all, the warm and joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there with such company, and that for ever and ever! Oh! by what tongue or pen can their glorious joy be expressed!

And thus they came up to the gate.

When they came up to the gate, they saw written over it in letters of gold, “BLESSED ARE THEY THAT DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, THAT THEY MAY HAVE RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE, AND MAY ENTER IN THROUGH THE GATES INTO THE CITY.”

Then I saw, in my dream, that the shining Ones bade them call at the gate; when they did some from above looked over the gate, such as Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, and others, to whom it was said, “These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for the love that they bear to the King of this place.”

Then the pilgrims gave to them their certificates, which they had received in the beginning; these therefore were carried into the King who, when He had read them, said, “Where are the men?”

To whom they answered, “They are standing without.”

The King then commanded to open the gate, “that the righteous nation,” said He, “which keepeth the truth, may enter in.”

THE KINGLY ROBE AND CROWN

Then the pilgrims went in at the gate; and lo! as they entered, their looks were changed so that their faces became bright; and they had garments put on that shone like gold. There were also given them harps and crowns, the harps of praise withal, and the crowns in token of honor.

Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the City rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, “Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” I also heard the pilgrims themselves sing with loud voices, “Blessing, and honor, and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever!”

Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold, the City shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold; and in them walked many men with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal.

THE SONG OF THE SERAPHS

There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without ceasing, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!” And, after that, they shut up the gates; which when I had seen I wished myself among them.

IGNORANCE FAILS TO ENTER

Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the riverside; but he soon got over, and that without half the difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was then in the place one Vain-Hope, a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over; so he, as the others I saw, did ascend the hill to come up to the gate; only he came alone, neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement.

When he was come up to the gate, he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock, supposing that entrance should have been quickly given to him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, “Whence came you? and what would you have?” He answered, “ I have eaten and drunk in the presence of the King, and he has taught in our streets.” Then they asked him for his certificate, that they might go in and show it to the King: so he fumbled in his bosom for one, and found none. Then said they, “ Have you none?” But the man answered never a word.

So they told the King; but he would not come down to see him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the city, to go out and take Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and take him away. Then they took him up and carried him through the air to the door that I saw in the side of the hill, and put him in there. Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven, as well as from the city of destruction!

So I awoke, and behold, it was a dream.

CONCLUSION
Now reader, I have told my dream to thee,
See if thou canst interpret it to me,
Or to thyself or neighbor; but take heed
Of misinterpreting; for that, instead
Of doing good, will but thyself abuse:
By misinterpreting, evil ensues.
Take heed also that thou be not extreme
In playing with the outside of my dream;
Nor let my figure or similitude
Put thee into a laughter of feud.
Leave this for boys and fools; but as for thee,
Do thou the substance of my matter see.
Put by the curtains, look within my veil;
Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail,
There, if thou seekest them, such things to find
As will be helpful to an honest mind.
What of my dress thou findest there, be bold
To throw away; but yet preserve the gold.
What if my gold be wrapped up in ore?-
None throws away the apple for the core.
But if thou shalt cast all away as vain,
I know not but ’twill make me dream again.

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 24:22

For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?