Pilgrim’s Progress: The Celestial City

I am away on a mission, so while I am away I thought I’d share seven sections of the best book (save the Bible) that anyone could ever read and from which this blog acquired its name. I hope you are spurred on to pick up a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress and read it.

Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them: to whom it was said by the other two Shining Ones, ‘These are the men that have loved our Lord when they were 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 that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’

There came out also at this time to meet them several 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 his fellow 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, and 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, therefore, 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 his brother how welcome they were into their company, 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. Here also they had the city itself in view; and they thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome thereto. 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! Thus they came up to the gate.

Now when they were come up to the gate, there was written on 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 men bid them call at the gate: the which when they did, some from above looked over the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, etc., 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 in unto them each man his certificate, which they had received in the beginning: those therefore were carried in unto the King, who, when he had read them, said, ‘Where are the men?’ To whom it was answered, ‘They are standing without the gate.’ The King then commanded to open the gate, ‘That the righteous nation (said he) that keepeth the truth may enter in.’

Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured; and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that they sang with a loud voice, saying, ‘Blessing, and honour, 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 were also 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. There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, 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.

Now, while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side; 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 that place one Vain-Hope, a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over; so he, as the other 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 administered to him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, ‘Whence come 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 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 have 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 gate of heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction. So I awoke, and behold it was a dream.

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