Abridged and adapted by Dick Worth © 1994
(To navigate, click on title)
The Journey of Christian
| Part 2
The Journey of Christiana
|City of Destruction||City of Destruction|
|Slough of Despond||Slough of Despond|
|Wicket Gate||Wicket Gate|
|Interpreters' House||Interpreters' House|
|Walls of Salvation||Walls of Salvation|
|Cross and Sepulchre||Cross and Sepulchre|
|Hill of Difficulty||Hill of Difficulty|
|House called Beautiful||House called Beautiful|
|Valley of Humiliation||Valley of Humiliation|
|Valley of Shadow of Death||Valley of Shadow of Death|
|Wilderness||House of Gaius|
|Hill Lucre||Hill Lucre|
|Style and By-Path Meadow||Style|
|Delectable Mountains||Delectable Mountains|
|The Net||The Net|
|Enchanted Ground||Enchanted Ground|
|The River||The River|
A Brief biography of John Bunyan
Some Lessons from Bunyan's Characters
The Journey of Christian
from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City
The City of Destruction [Contents]
In my dream I saw a man clothed in rags and with a great burden on his back. He was reading a book that made him tremble. I heard his cry, "What shall I do?" He went home and eventually told his wife the awful news that their city was going to be destroyed by fire; there seemed to be no possible escape. Not surprisingly his wife and family thought he must be either mad or ill. But he did not sleep. Indeed, by morning his misery was even worse. He went out to walk alone in the surrounding fields. On returning home he went and hid in his room. He read and prayed without relief. For several days he cried, "What must I do to be saved?" (Act 237)
Then I saw a man called Evangelist come and ask him what the trouble was.
Christian "Sir, I am afraid to die because this book tells me that this burden that I carry on my back will make me sink lower than the grave."
So Evangelist gave him a small card that said, "Flee from the wrath to come!" That was just what he needed to make him feel better!
Christian "Flee, yes, but where to?" he cried desperately.
Evangelist "Do you see in the distance a small Wicket-Gate?"
Evangelist "Do you see a shining light?"
Evangelist "Go directly towards it and you will find the Gate. Knock, and you will be told what to do next."
Then I saw in my dream that the man ran towards the light that he could see. Many in the city tried to stop him, but he refused to listen, and ran all the faster. Two men pursued him, resolved to bring him back, by force if necessary. They soon caught up because they had no burden on their backs and immediately tried to persuade him. "No," said Christian (for that was his name), "You live in the City of Destruction where you will die and go to the place that burns with fire. Come and escape with me."
Obstinate "What! Leave all our friends and the life we enjoy so much?"
Christian "Yes. Because all that you leave behind is trivial compared with the joy of the place where I am going. For there our inheritance is incorruptible and lasts for ever. See, it says so in my book."
Obstinate "Rubbish! Will you come back with us - yes or no?"
Christian "Never. I have put my hand to the plough." (Lu 962)
Obstinate "Come on Pliable, let's go home, this man is as stupid as he is determined."
Pliable "But maybe he is right; and the future he seeks is better than ours. I think I will go with him; there is no harm in trying."
Obstinate "Surely you are not going to be led by such a brain-sick person. Listen to me and come on home."
Christian "Come with me Pliable. If you don't believe me, read it here in this book. Its truth is even confirmed by the blood of the Author."
Pliable "Christian, you've convinced me. Do you know how to get to this place?"
Christian "Evangelist gave me directions to a small gate where we will receive further instructions."
So I saw in my dream that Obstinate returned. He did not want to be misled by such fanatical ideas. Meanwhile Christian was telling Pliable about an eternal life, about crowns of glory and shining garments and even of a King who would wipe away all the tears of his subjects.
The Slough of Despond [Contents]
As they talked with such enthusiasm, they were quite unaware that they had come to a bog called The Slough of Despond. Both of them fell in.
Pliable "Where are we now?"
Christian "I don't know."
Pliable "Is this supposed to be the happiness you were speaking of? If this is a taste of what it is like, you can go your way and I'll go mine - if I can get my feet out."
Pliable did get out. But once home, some said he was wise to return, some called him a fool to have gone with Christian, and others mocked his cowardliness.
Now Christian was in a sorry state. The burden on his back made him sink deeper and deeper as he struggled. Then I saw in my dream that a man called Help came to his assistance.
Christian "Why are the steps not easier to find; and why isn't the bog drained so that it would be easier for travellers?"
Help "It is impossible to mend, for it is the collecting place for all the doubts and discouragements that accompany a man convicted of sin. Servants of the King have laboured for two thousand years to make a substantial path across it. And the Lawgiver has placed some good steps but they are very quickly covered again with muck.
Christian walked on by himself until he met a gentleman called Mr Worldly-Wiseman from the town of Carnal-Policy. He had heard of Christian's departure and asked him why he was so burdened and where he was going.
Christian "I am travelling to the Wicket-Gate, where I am told that my heavy burden will be taken away."
W-Wiseman "Will you listen to me?"
Christian "If it is good I will; for I need wise counsel."
W-Wiseman "I advise you to get rid of your burden! Then you can enjoy God's blessings."
Christian "That is just what I want, but there is no one in our country who can remove it."
W-Wiseman "Who told you to go this way?"
Christian "Mr Evangelist, a good and honourable man."
W-Wiseman "Yes, he has sent many down this dangerous path. You mark my words, if you follow his advice it will lead you into nothing but trouble, pain, hunger and needless difficulty. Why do you risk so much on the word of a stranger?"
Christian "But I don't mind what I have to put up with so long as this burden is removed."
W-Wiseman "How did you get your burden?"
Christian "By reading this book."
W-Wiseman "I thought so! Many weak men like you have meddled in matters that are beyond them. They rush out on desperate adventures towards an unknown goal!"
Christian "I know my goal - to have my burden removed!"
W-Wiseman "Let me tell you a much easier way. Less than a mile from here is the village of Morality where the wise old Mr Legality lives with his son Civility. Both of them are very skilled and have helped many men take off their burdens. There are some empty houses there too so you could send for your wife and family and live happily among honest neighbours."
Christian "How do I find this honest man?"
W-Wiseman "You go by this hill and Mr Legality lives in the first house you come to."
Christian left his way to go and find him. As he was passing the hill it seemed to over-hang. Christian stood still with fright and his burden seemed to be even heavier. Suddenly fire came out of the mountain, and he was sorry that he listened to Mr Worldly-Wiseman. At the same moment he saw Mr Evangelist who looked so stern that it made him blush with shame.
Evangelist "Aren't you the man that cried in the City of Destruction and whom I directed to the Wicket-Gate? Why are you over here, so far from the way?"
Christian "I met a gentleman who persuaded me that my burden could be more easily removed by Mr Legality. I stopped here because of the great danger; but did not know what to do next."
Evangelist "In your book it is written, 'My righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' (Heb 1038) Do not reject what God has told you."
At this Christian fell down crying, "Woe to me, I am ruined." Then he felt Evangelist lift him up and say,
Evangelist "'I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.' (Mk 328) 'Stop doubting and believe.' (Jn 2027) Let me show you where you went wrong. The name of the man you met is Worldly-Wiseman. You must hate these things about his advice:-
1. He caused you to leave the way and the counsel of God. 'Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.' (Math 713,14)
2. He tried to make the Cross seem foolish to you. You must 'regard it as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.' (Heb 1126) For the King has said, 'Whoever wants to save his life will lose it.' (Math 1625)
3. His way leads only to death. Legality is the son of the Bond-Woman. She and all her children will always remain as slaves. The mountain you were so afraid of was Mt Sinai. No one in this village was ever released from their burden. 'By observing the law no-one will be justified'." (Gal 216)
The Wicket Gate [Contents]
Then Evangelist called to the heavens to confirm what he had said. Christian went rigid with fear as he saw fire come out of the mountain and heard a voice say, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law'." (Gal 310) He wondered if there was any hope for him; whether he would ever be forgiven and arrive at the Wicket-Gate. Evangelist then assured him that the Man at the Gate would receive him; and embracing him, warned him to take great care not to turn aside again. Christian then went on in haste. When he arrived at the Gate, he was able to read the words written above it. 'Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' (Math 77) He knocked several times wondering if the Gate would be opened to one so undeserving. At last Mr Good-will came to the Gate and asked who was there.
Christian "It is a poor burdened sinner from the City of Destruction, but I am going to Mount Zion so that I may escape from the wrath to come. Please, Sir, would you let me in?"
Good-will quickly opened the Gate and grabbed Christian, pulling him in. Then he explained that there was a strong castle nearby commanded by Captain Beelzebub, and he took great delight in shooting arrows at anyone trying to enter. Seeing Christian tremble, Good-will said, 'See, I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut.' (Rev 38) He asked him about his journey, who he had met and why was he alone. Good-will then showed him the narrow way. "It is a road that was made by the Patriarchs and prophets, by Christ and his Apostles. It is the only one that is absolutely straight, though there are many others branching off it that look easier."
Christian asked if he could ease the burden on his back. "No," he said, "You must carry it until you come to the place of deliverance. There it will fall off."
Interpreters' House [Contents]
He also told him that he would shortly come to the Interpreter's House, where if he knocked he would be shown many excellent things. Christian thanked his friend and said goodbye.
As he was now much encouraged, he quickly came to the Interpreter's House, where he knocked and asked if he might speak with the Master. Having told him where he came from and where he was going, the Master lit a candle and began to show him many profitable things.
In a bare room there was a picture on the wall of a man with his eyes lifted up to heaven and the best of Books in his hand. The world was behind him. Words of Truth were on his lips as he pleaded with men, showing them the way in difficult times. There was a crown of gold above his head, his certain reward in the world to come.
He took him into another very large room that was full of dust. He asked someone to sweep it, but the air was soon so full of dust that they could hardly breathe. He then asked for some water to be sprinkled on the floor so that it could be swept easily. The room is the heart of a man who knows nothing of the Gospel of grace. The dust is a man's sin. The first sweeper is the Law. The water is the Gospel, without which sweeping only makes more mess.
The next was a small room in which two children were seated. Passion was very discontented, and like Dives, he wanted all the good things now, in this world. But Patience was quiet. She was willing to wait for the good things that are to come. They are not only the better for the waiting, but will last for ever. 'For what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal.' (2 Co 418)
The Interpreter took Christian to a place where there was a fire burning against a wall. There was one who kept pouring on buckets of water to extinguish the flames; but he failed. The flames only burned higher and hotter. The fire is the work of grace in the heart of a man, which the Devil is always trying to extinguish. On the far side of the wall, Christ is secretly and continually pouring the oil of his grace into the fire.
Christian was then shown a palace. In the entrance there was a man seated at a table recording names. He saw one entering, and his name was written down. He then put on his helmet and drew his sword, for to get into the Palace, he had to go past many armed men who barred his way. He fought them all and eventually secured a way through. He was greeted with, "Come in, come in: eternal glory you shall win." Christian desired to continue his journey, but the Interpreter had more to show him.
In a very dark room sat a very sad man in an iron cage. "Once I was on the way to the Celestial city, but now there is no hope, none at all. I have grieved the Spirit and he has gone, I have tempted the Devil and he has come, I have so hardened my heart that I cannot repent. I enjoyed the lusts, the pleasures and profits of this world so much. Now there remains for me nothing but fiery indignation and certain judgment," he wailed. On hearing this, Christian wisely asked God to help him to watch and be sober and to pray, that he might avoid the cause of this man's misery.
Lastly he was shown a man who had dreamed of the great day of Judgement. He saw a Man seated upon the clouds who called for the dead to arise. He had a Book in his hand. "Gather the tares and burn them," he said. "And gather the wheat into my barn." Many were taken away but the man was left behind. He tried to hide, but the Judge kept his eyes on him. When he woke up he trembled greatly because he felt he was not ready for this great day.
As Christian considered each of these things they filled him with both hope and fear. Then the Interpreter said to him, "May the Comforter be always with you, good Christian, to guide you in the way that leads to the City."
Walls of Salvation [Contents]
So Christian continued his journey with the Walls of Salvation on either side. He was so eager, but the load on his back made the going very difficult.
Cross and Sepulchre [Contents]
When he came to a place where there stood a Cross his burden fell off and it rolled into an open Sepulchre that was just below. Christian was so glad: "The Lord has given me rest by his sorrow, and life by his death." As he pondered why the sight of the Cross should release his burden, his eyes filled with tears.
Then I saw in my dream three Shining Ones greet him.
The first then said, "Your sins are forgiven." The second removed his rags and gave him a new set of clean clothes. The third put a mark on his forehead and gave him a scroll with the King's seal on it.
Christian then began to sing:
This far have I come, laden with my sin;
For nothing could ease the grief that I was in,
But here the burden did fall from off my back
And here the strings that bound it to me cracked.
O blessed Cross! and far more blessed be
The Man who here was put to death for me!
When he had finished the song, he came to a bend and found three men sleeping beside the road, Simple, Sloth and Presumption. Christian tried to wake them up and offered to take off their leg-irons. He also warned them of the roaring lion that was hungry for such easy meat.
Simple "I see no danger."
Sloth "Let me sleep a little longer."
Presumption "Every vat must stand on its own bottom."
[or everyone must stand on their own two feet]
So they went back to sleep. And Christian continued his journey, but he was troubled that they were so careless of their danger.
Formalist and Hypocrisy, who had come from Vain-glory, climbed over the wall just ahead of him. So Christian asked them why they had not come through the Wicket-Gate, 'For the man who does not enter by the gate, but climbs in by another way, is a thief and a robber.' (Jn 101) They said that to go via the Wicket-Gate would add miles to their journey so it had been the custom for many years to take this short-cut. Christian cautioned them that they did so at their own risk and that he doubted whether the Judge would like their excuse. They even laughed when Christian told them how he had been given a mark and a scroll with the King's seal.
Hill of Difficulty [Contents]
Soon they came to the Hill called Difficulty, which the others did not wish to climb. Formalist took the way called Danger, where he was soon lost in a wood. And Hypocrisy opted for the way called Destruction, where he slipped and was fatally injured.
As Christian began to climb, he said to himself:
This hill though high I must ascend,
The difficulty will not offend;
For I perceive the Way of Life lies here.
Come lift my heart, I will not faint or fear!
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.
Soon the going was so tough that Christian had to clamber on his hands and knees. It went on and on, and he still could not see the top. But at last he came to a small hut, which the Lord of the Hill had made, where weary climbers could rest. He began to read his scroll with the seal and thought about how kind God had been to him. Then his eyes closed, he went fast asleep, and the scroll dropped from his hands. It was evening when he woke up. He had just been dreaming that someone had come to him and said, 'Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.' (Prov 66) Christian left in haste and almost ran up the rest of the Hill.
When he reached the top, he met Timorous and Mistrust running in the opposite direction. They told him that the way seemed to become even more difficult and that they had just seen two lions lying in wait for them. It was all too muchfor them, so they were going back home. Christian did not know what to do.
He was about to read the scroll when he realised that he had left it in the hut where he fell asleep. He was most distressed at this loss, and fell to his knees pleading for forgiveness for doing such a foolish thing. He decided to return to the hut. When he came in sight of it he began to weep again. When he entered he could not see his scroll for his tears had half-blinded him. If only he had not been so careless. As he realised that the Lord of the Hill had made the hut for refreshment, not for sleep, his eyes cleared and he was able to see his scroll.
House Called Beautiful [Contents]
Giving thanks to God, Christian re-climbed the hill. It was night now and he reflected that lions seek their prey at night! As he wondered about his chances, he saw a house that was called Beautiful.
A moment later he suddenly saw the lions only two hundred metres from the door. Watchful, the Porter, noticed that Christian had stopped, so he called out to him not to be afraid,"The lions are chained." But Christian could not see the chains, so it was with great fear that he went past them and reached the safety of the house that was built for the relief and security of Pilgrims.
Watchman called Discretion, who asked Christian where he came from and where he was travelling to. Being delighted at his reply, she called the rest of the family, Prudence, Piety and Charity. They welcomed him saying, "Come in, for you are blessed by the Lord."
Piety asked why he had left his old country and what he had learned at the house of the Interpreter. When Prudence asked him if he still thought about the old country, he said yes, but with much shame. Then he told her how much he longed to be in Mt Zion and meet him who hung on the Cross and now lives there. Charity asked about his family and why they were not with him. This caused Christian to weep for he had repeatedly pleaded with them and prayed to no avail.
Their conversation continued over supper and on late into the night. They told Christian much about what the Lord of the Hill had done because he did not want to live in Mt Zion alone. Then Christian was given the room at the top of the house called Peace, where he slept well.
In the morning he saw the sunrise and sang:
Where am I now? Is this the love and care
Of Jesus, for the men that Pilgrims are,
Thus to provide that I should be forgiven,
And dwell already the next door to heaven!
He spent the whole day reading the records of the deeds of many of Lord's servants. How they had stopped the mouths of lions, put out fire, wrought righteousness, obtained promises and had been brave in the fight.
On the following day he was taken to the armoury where the Lord kept many helmets, swords, shields, breastplates and shoes. There he was given one of each. He also saw Moses' rod, Jael's hammer and nail, David's sling, Gideon's trumpets, the jawbone that Samson had used, and even the sword that would one day be used to slay the Man of Sin.
Again the day dawned clear and it was easy to see the beautiful country of Immanuel's Land. From there, he was told you could easily see the gate of the Celestial City. Encouraged by these things, Christian was determined to continue his journey.
Valley of Humiliation [Contents]
But first he had to descend to the Valley of Humiliation. This was dangerous so Discretion, Prudence, Piety and Charity accompanied him; nonetheless he still slipped twice, though not seriously. They gave him some food and drink, and departed.
It seemed no time at all before Christian saw Apollyon, a renowned and formidable dragon, who was blocking his path. He could not run away since he had no armour to cover his back: he could only stand and fight.
Apollyon "I see you are one of my subjects; since I am Prince and god of all the land that you come from. Why do you try to run away from your king?"
Christian "It is true I was born there, but your service was hard and your wages were insufficient to live. For 'the wages of sin is death.'" (Rom 623)
Apollyon "No Prince will willingly lose his men. Go back and I will promise to pay you whatever we can afford."
Christian "I have now given my allegiance to the King of kings, so I will not return as you may wish. To tell you the truth his country better than yours! and I like his service, his wages, and his servants."
Apollyon "You have already failed. You missed the step in the Slough of Despond. You disobeyed and tried to go to see Legality. You went to sleep and lost your scroll. You almost went back at the sight of the lions. Your new King will not be pleased with your performance so far, and there are many, many more sins you will yet commit."
Christian "All that you say is true, but the Prince that I now serve is merciful and he has already pardoned me for each of these offenses."
Apollyon "I hate this Prince; I hate him and his laws, and his people. I shall stop you going another single step forward."
Christian "Beware what you do, Apollyon, for I am in the King's Highway, the Way of Holiness. So beware!"
Apollyon "Prepare yourself to die."
Apollyon was very angry and immediately threw a spear at Christian who deflected it with his shield. He then threw so many darts that there seemed no end to the volley. Some struck Christian and the wounds weakened him. So Apollyon, seizing the opportunity, moved forward and knocked him to the ground so that his sword slipped from his grasp. Apollyon was now sure of victory and was preparing his final blow. But Christian managed to grab his sword and cried out, 'Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.' (Mic 78) And with these words he struck Apollyon a deadly blow. Christian rose to his feet and struck him again saying, 'In all these things we are more than conquerors.' (Rom 837) Apollyon then fled using his dragon's wings and was not seen again.
Christian gave thanks to God for his deliverance and for sending Michael to his aid. Just then a hand appeared with leaves from the Tree of Life, so that his wounds were instantly healed. Christian was also refreshed by the food and drink which the ladies of Beautiful House had given him.
Valley of Shadow of Death [Contents]
The valley led into another called The Valley of the Shadow of Death - a dark and most solitary place. Jeremiah described it as a 'barren wilderness, a land of deserts and rifts, of drought and darkness where no-one (except a Christian) travels and no-one lives.' (Jer 26) As Christian entered two men ran out and strongly advised him to do the same since it was a most fearful place. On one side of the narrow path there was a deep ditch into which the blind lead the blind. On the other side are quicksands. It was here that King David fell, and would have quickly died if help had not been close at hand. It was dark, so dark that you could not even see one step ahead.
About half-way down the valley, as he was passing the mouth of Hell, there were flames and hideous noises. Try as he might, Christian's sword was useless to stop them. His only weapon was All-Prayer. So he earnestly cried to the Lord to deliver his soul. Several times he felt demons about to attack him so he shouted, 'It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.' (2 Sam 2233)
At times there was so much noise that poor Christian was confused: he didn't know whether it was he who was blaspheming or whether it was the voice of demons in his ear. The possibility that he might have said such things against the Lord he loved, distressed him. At one time he thought he heard someone shouting, 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.' (Ps 234) It was a great encouragement that if God was with this unseen pilgrim, then he would be with Christian too.
At last, the dawn began to break and he could see just how narrow the way was. The demons and fiends kept their distance. But he was not clear of the valley yet; if anything it was more dangerous. There were many snares and traps, nets and deep holes. If it had been as dark as it had been earlier there was no way that he could have made it safely to the end. Thankfully, 'His lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness.' (Job 293)
At the end of the valley Christian saw the bones and blood and ashes of many pilgrims, for nearby was a cave that was the home of two giants, Pope and Pagan. They were both old now and had lost much of their power. Christian only saw Pope grinning at the mouth of the cave. Later he learned that Pagan had died some years earlier.
I saw in my dream that the way was easier now. Christian saw another traveller ahead. He called out for him to wait, but he would not. Christian summoned all his strength and overtook Faithful. He was so pleased to have got ahead of him that he did not notice a stone in the road and he fell down. Faithful helped him up and the two went on together, gladly talking of their adventures. Faithful told him about how he had met Adam the First from Deceit.
Faithful "He told me that his watch-word was Many Delights, and for wages that I could be his heir and have many servants. Also he had three daughters, 'Lust of the Eyes', 'Lust of the Flesh' and 'The pride of Life' (1 Jn 216) - I could marry one of them if I liked. "It all seemed very pleasant and I was inclined to go with him, when I noticed on his forehead was written, 'Put off the old man with his deeds.' (Col 39) Only then did I realise that he was a flatterer and one who made false promises. In reality he only wanted me for one of his slaves. I hurriedly left him although he tried to grab me as I turned away.
"When in the Valley of Humiliation I met Discontent, who tried to persuade me to turn back because the valley was totally without honour. Many of his friends did not like it either: Pride, Arrogance, Conceit and Glory. So I told him that, 'Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honour.' (Prov 1812)
"I also met Shame, but it seemed that he was wrongly named. He said that a tender conscience was unmanly, that religion was pitiful, and anyhow none - or at least very few - of the wise or wealthy had any time for it. Pilgrims were nearly always poor, ignorant people who had no scientific knowledge. I wasn't sure how to answer him at first but then it seemed to me that this Shame tells us much of what man is like, but nothing about God. For God loves a tender conscience: he says that those who are fools for the Kingdom of God are wise. And he considers the poorest man who loves Christ is richer than the greatest man on earth that hates him. So I told him that I was not ashamed to love the Man of Sorrows. Repeatedly he tried to ridicule me and show me how foolish I was. He thought he could persuade me, but eventually he gave up and left."
Christian then told Faithful all about the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For when Faithful passed through the sun had shone; he had experienced none of the trials that Christian had to endure. There was no darkness or demons, nor any horrible cries or foul smells.
The Wilderness [Contents]
The road now was wide and they saw Talkative going in the same direction - a fine, seemingly upright man. Faithful moved over to speak with him for he loved to discuss profitable things as they travelled.
Talkative "What can be more pleasant than to talk of miracles or signs that are so delightfully written of in the Scriptures. Further, a man by so doing can gain much knowledge of new birth and the need for Christ's righteousness. A man may learn what it is to repent and believe, to pray, to suffer, to know the great promises of the Gospel. He may also learn to refute false opinions and to instruct the ignorant."
Faithful "I'm so glad to hear such truth."
Talkative "Yes, it is sad that so few understand the need for faith or the necessity of God's grace in their soul. They feel that just living a good life is sufficient to enter heaven."
Faithful "But all heavenly knowledge is a gift of God. His revelation is not obtained just by talking about it."
Talkative "I agree, for a man cannot receive anything unless it is given to him from heaven. All is of grace, not of works."
Faithful was delighted with his new companion and went back to Christian to tell him. But Christian knew who he was because they came from the same town, so he warned him that the man was called Talkative, the son of Saywell who lived in Prating-Row.
Christian "He may seem good to you here, but at home he is not so. He may talk of prayer, repentance, faith and new birth but he does not practice what he preaches. His home is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of flavour. All who know him say that 'He is a saint abroad, but a devil at home.' We must always remember that 'The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.' (1 Co 420) Besides he has brought up his sons to follow in his ways; if they should ever begin to have a tender conscience, he immediately lays into them and calls them fools and block-heads. He has caused many to stumble and will probably ruin many more."
Faithful "Well, that is surprising. I know you would not tell me such things out of malice. In future I must be more aware of the distinction between saying and doing. It reminds me of what Moses said about clean animals. There are those which not only chew the cud but also part the hoof. This Talkative chews the cud but he does not practice parting the way of sin from that of righteousness."
Christian "That is right. Paul spoke of those without love as being 'only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.' (1 Co 131) Speak to him about the power of religion and when he approves, which he will, then ask him how he puts it into practice in his own home."
Faithful "Come, Mr Talkative let us discuss how the saving grace of God changes the heart of men."
Talkative "I see you wish to talk about the power of things. That is a good subject. My answer to you is quite brief. First, wherever the grace of God is, there is a great outcry against sin. Second, ... "
Faithful "Just a moment. Let us look at your first point. I think you should say there is a great abhorrence of sin."
Talkative "Why, what is the difference?"
Faithful "O there is a world of difference. A man can easily talk about how sinful it is to commit adultery, yet still lust greatly in his heart without abhorring the sin. Potiphar's wife did just that when she pretended that she was pure and so unjustly accused Joseph. Many men preach against the evil of sin from their pulpits, but bear no sorrow of sin in their hearts. But what was your second proof of saving grace going to be?"
Talkative "That there is great knowledge of the Gospel mysteries."
Faithful "This is lacking in the same way as your first proof. A man may know his Master's will, but decide not to do it. For Christ said to the disciples 'Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.' (Jn 1317) Indeed, knowledge pleases men, especially proud men; it is those who do good that please God. There are two types of knowledge. One that seems good but remains only in the head, and another that does what the mind has heard. The true Christian can never be content with the first, he must both hear and obey, or he will die. But maybe you have a third sign?"
Talkative "No, I don't. All you want to do is to try to pick holes in what I have said. There is no purpose in my continuing."
Faithful "May I do so then? Saving grace is well known to anyone who has received this gift of God. He hates his sinful nature, and is deeply ashamed at any remembrance of sin. He has heard God say, 'Your sins are forgiven.' (Lu 748) His constant desire is then to serve and obey his Master. He is not so much hungry for the blessings of God but is hungry for God himself. He delights in holiness; it is no longer something that he just knows he ought to be. Saving grace is therefore not only well known to the receiver but is also obvious to others because they see a changed life."
"Now may I ask another question? What is your experience of this saving grace? And please take care to say no more than God will confirm as being true."
Talkative "I did not expect such a question, and I am certainly not going to answer it. Why should I make you my teacher or my judge? Anyway, why do you ask me?"
Faithful "Because you were so quick to talk, but from what I have heard your own life is somewhat different from what you speak about. Your falsehood, your desire for wealth, your scheming and your lust have already caused many pilgrims to stumble."
Talkative "If you believe all that you are told so easily then I have no wish to continue in your company. Good-bye!"
Then Christian, who had heard their conversation, came up to Faithful.
Christian "Your word and his desires could never agree. He would rather leave your company than reform his life."
Faithful "Let us hope that my plain speaking with him may yet cause him to change."
Christian "You did well. I wish more men had the courage to speak as you did."
When they were nearly through the Wilderness, they saw their good friend Evangelist. He eagerly asked them about their journey and was thrilled that they had been victorious under their various trials.
Evangelist "I have sowed but you have reaped; one day we shall rejoice together. Remember that 'At the proper time we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up.' (Gal 69) Do not let any man steal your crown. For 'In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.' (Heb 124) So you must not take your eyes off your goal or allow yourselves to be deceived. You have experienced much already but remember that 'we must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.' (Act 1422) Paul testified that 'in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships await me.' (Act 2023) He says the same for you, for you are shortly coming to a town where one of you will be killed. 'Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer ... be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.' (Rev 210) The one who dies will have the better part. He will not only arrive at the Celestial City sooner, but he will not have to endure the many miseries that the other will meet on the rest of his journey. Now, commit your souls to God, who always keeps his word."
They soon came to Vanity, the town Evangelist had warned them of. For over five thousand years people had come to enjoy themselves and to buy and sell at the Vanity Fair. It was especially set up by Beelzebub and Apollyon, who ensured that it would be on the only route for pilgrims on their way to the Celestial City. Even the Prince of princes passed this way. They wanted to make him the Lord of the Fair, they offered him kingdoms, but he would have none of it. He passed through without buying anything. All forms of enticing merchandise are advertised for sale here, houses, lands, gold, jewels, honours, pleasures, drink, drugs and lusts of all sorts. Theft, murder, divorce, sodomy and abortion are common. And the language would make a sailor blush! But 'all is vanity.' (Ecc 12)
There was a great commotion when Christian and Faithful entered Vanity. They were wearing such strange clothes, and talked in what seemed to them to be a foreign language. The traders made them many sparkling offers and at rock bottom prices, but they put their fingers in their ears and cried, 'Turn my eyes away from worthless things.' (Ps 11937) They seemed offended by this and other things they said, like "we buy the truth."
The mocking and the commotion grew till the police had to be called. Christian and Faithful were taken for questioning. 'They confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers.' (Heb 1113) Also that although their country of origin was this world, their new nationality was the Heavenly Jerusalem. They claimed that the traders had abused them without any reason, except that they had walked passed without buying anything. The examining magistrates did not believe them, so they were beaten and put in a cage to be mocked and ridiculed by all. But they bore it all with patience and dignity. So much so that a few even said that they were quiet and sober and intended nobody any harm. This so angered the others that they demanded that they should die.
At a suitable time Christian and Faithful were brought before Judge Hate-good on a charge of being enemies of trade and of having contempt for their Prince.
Faithful "The first part of the charge I deny, but on the second part, your prince is only Beelzebub, and he is an enemy of my Lord, the Prince of princes. So he is my enemy too, and I will deny him all authority."
Envy gave evidence that the two pilgrims had many disloyal notions and 'Principles of Faith and Holiness' which could never be reconciled with the Laws of Vanity. They therefore condemn all our commendable works.
Superstition gave evidence (also on oath) that he had heard them say that the religion of their town was worthless; it could never please God.
Pick-thank told the court how he had heard that they had spoken against Prince Beelzebub and also against Lord Old-man, Lord Carnal-Delight, Lord Luxurious, Lord Desire-of-Vain-glory, Lord Lechery and Sir Having Greedy. They even called Judge Hate-good an ungodly villain.
The Judge told Faithful that he did not deserve to live a moment longer, but, so that all could see their justice, he should be allowed to defend himself.
Faithful "The evidence of Envy only requires me to remind you that any law of custom that is contrary to the Word of God cannot be reconciled with Christianity. If this is wrong then please tell me. In answer to Superstition, I say that the worship of God requires faith and divine revelation. Without this truth no amount of human effort can make it acceptable. Mr Pick-thank's evidence is quite correct. The Prince of this town and his supporting rabble are more fit to be in Hell than here. So may the Lord have mercy upon me."
Hate-good "Men of the jury, I must instruct you from case history. Pharaoh, a servant of our Prince, once gave orders that all the male children should be killed. Nebuchadnezzar (another worthy servant of the Prince) made a Law that whoever would not worship his golden image should be thrown in a fiery furnace. Later Darius also made a decree that anyone who prayed to any god but him should be fed to the lions. This man Faithful has likewise, by his own confession, disobeyed our law. He therefor deserves the death penalty."
It was not surprising that the Jury, led by the foreman, Mr Blindman, confirmed a guilty verdict. So Faithful was condemned to die by the most cruel death that could be invented. He was beaten, cut with knives, stoned and finally burnt. Then I saw a chariot and two horses waiting for Faithful. He was carried up through the clouds and went by the shortest way to the Celestial City. And I heard the trumpets sound.
Meanwhile Christian was remanded back to prison, where he stayed until God, who overrules all things, opened a way for him to escape. So Christian sang:
Well, Faithful, you have faithfully professed
Unto your Lord, with whom you shall be blessed;
When faithless ones, with all their vain delights
Are crying out under their hellish plights,
Sing, Faithful, sing, and let your name survive;
For, though they killed you, you are yet alive.
Christian did not leave Vanity alone. Hopeful had observed the witness of both Christian and Faithful, and it had convinced him that theirs was the true way to eternal life. He told Christian that there were many others who would almost certainly follow later on. So it proved again the truth, 'that a martyr never dies in vain.'
Christian and Hopeful set off at a good pace and soon caught up with Mr By-ends from Fair-speech. Knowing little about that town they asked him about it, and who lived there.
By-ends "It is a wealthy place. There are not many
of us, but I am related to most of the people. There is Lord Turnabout, Mr
Smooth-Man, Mr Face-Both-Ways, Mr Anything, and the parson is Rev Two-Tongues.
My grandfather was just a waterman, looking one way and rowing another. My
wife is Lady Feigning's daughter. Concerning religion we have two main
1. Never strive against wind and tide.
2. We love the religious occasions, when the sun shines and all the people clap and cheer."
Christian "What you say makes me think that your name is By-ends."
By-ends "It is not really my name but some do call me that. I have to bear it as other good men have had to bear such jests. But I hope that it will not prevent my continuing in your company?"
Christian "If you wish to go with us you will have to go against both wind and tide. We often have to walk in poverty and rags. And you will rarely receive the praise of men."
By-ends "You cannot impose such restrictions on my liberty as this."
Christian "Then we can no longer walk together."
By-ends "I will never desert my old principles for they are both harmless and profitable. You carry on; many others will be glad of my company."
And sure enough there soon appeared Hold-the-World, Money-Love and Save-All, who were three old school friends of By-ends. Their teacher had been Mr Gripeman of Love-Gain in County Coveting. From this schoolmaster they had learned the art of getting what they wanted by violence, flattery, lies or even by pretending to be religious. So it was not surprising that they agreed that Christian and Hopeful were far too strict and intolerant for them. They needed to learn from the bees and only fly when the sun shines and then lie still in their hive when winter comes. Besides why shouldn't a Christian be rich and enjoy life if he has the opportunity? After all, Abraham and Solomon did. Thinking their argument had no flaws, they decided to ask Christian this question. With a little effort By-ends and his 3 friends managed to catch up with the pilgrims.
Christian "Why do you ask such a simple question? Surely you know that it is not lawful to follow Christ for loaves. And there are many other examples. Jesus roundly condemned some Pharisees, who said long prayers to impress the audience, but their real intent was to gain widows' houses. There was Judas who loved the money-bag; he ended up a traitor and hanged himself. Simon the wizard was foolish enough to try to buy the Holy Spirit. Any man who takes up religion for gain in this world will just as easily forsake it for the world. I perceive that your question was hypocritical and devilish; may your reward be like your works."
The four stood still, amazed and silent. So Christian said to Hopeful, "If they cannot stand the sentence of men, what will they do with the sentence of God?"
Hill Lucre [Contents]
Christian and Hopeful made good progress through the district of Ease, a pleasant but short part of the journey. Then they came to a hill called Lucre, where there was a silver mine. Close by stood Demas. He had been very successful in persuading travellers to visit the mine. Many had died doing so and all the rest had been badly maimed. It seemed very interesting to Hopeful and he had half a mind to go and see. He was only saved because Christian showed him just how dangerous it was. They were not surprised to notice that By-ends and his friends responded immediately to the invitation of Demas. What happened to them nobody knew, but they were never seen again.
The pilgrims came next to an old Monument that seemed to have the form of a woman. After careful examination they found that on the head were the words 'Remember Lot's wife.' (Lu 1732) Because of her covetous heart, she looked backed with longing to Sodom and became a pillar of salt. Then they realised that the invitation of men like Demas are most dangerous to those who would be pilgrims. For Lot's wife did not go back to Sodom, she had only looked back. Hopeful was greatly convicted of his foolishness in wanting to go to see the mine. And was amazed that God had spared him. It seemed to him that his sin had been as great if not greater than hers.
This led them to recall the judgement of men who rebelled against God. Korah, Dathan, Abiram and many others. They therefore resolved to do all they could to stay in the way of righteousness. They also wondered how Demas could continue to seek treasure when reminded of such foolishness every time he saw this Monument.
Christian and Hopeful came next to a most pleasant river from which they drank. It very quickly revived their weary spirits. There were trees on each side laden with fruit and leaves which were excellent for healing wounds and diseases. Lilies grew in the meadow; their smell was heavenly. What better or safer place to rest for a few days than by the 'River of the Water of Life'? It would have been lovely to have stayed longer, but their journey was not yet complete.
Style and By-Path Meadow [Contents]
The path soon became rough with many sharp stones, which discouraged the Pilgrims. It so happened that as they continued they noticed a grass field, By-path Meadow, which ran alongside as far as they could see. There was even a stile. Christian was delighted at the prospect of an easier surface to walk on, but Hopeful was not so sure it was the right way. They crossed the style and soon met Vain-Confidence who confirmed that the path in the meadow led to the Celestial City. When night fell it was cloudy, there was no moon or stars. Vain-confidence, who had gone on ahead, fell head-first into a quarry (The quarry had been made by the Prince of that land especially to kill such proud, careless men.) It began to rain hard and the thunder was so loud that they were very frightened. Hopeful groaned to himself, wishing he had kept to the stony path. And Christian said how sorry he was that he had persuaded him it was the right way. Hopeful forgave him saying that even this would be for their good. They tried hard to find the stile again but the flood made it impossible. They did find a little shelter beside a tree where they waited till daybreak. But being tired they fell asleep.
Doubting Castle [Contents]
Giant Despair found them in the morning as he was out walking in his fields. Since they were trespassers on his land he took them to Doubting Castle and locked them in a dark dungeon. They saw no one for four days. Christian had a double sorrow since he blamed himself for their plight.
Giant Despair told his wife, Diffidence, about his new prisoners. She thought they should be beaten without mercy. This the Giant was glad to do.
The following day, when she learned that they were somehow still alive, she suggested that they should be given knives to end their own lives. When Despair saw how sore they were from the previous day's beating he gloated over them. Then following his wife's suggestion, he told them that they should kill themselves, since they would never come out of the dungeon alive.
Christian "Brother, what shall we do? I do not know whether it is better to live or to die. The grave seems easier to me than this dungeon."
Hopeful "Death would be more welcome to me than to remain here. But the Lord of the country to which we are going has said, 'You shall not murder.' (Exd 2013) Therefore we must not kill another person, or ourselves. Besides, 'No murderer has eternal life in him.' (1 Jn 315) It may be that God who made the world will provide a way for us to escape."
That evening Despair came to the dungeon and was very angry to find that they had not taken his advice. He warned them severely that it would be the worse for them and they would wish they had never been born. At this Christian and Hopeful trembled greatly for they knew that the giant meant what he had said.
Hopeful "My Brother, let us remember the past, how even Apollyon could not kill you, how you overcame your fear in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and the courage you demonstrated in Vanity Fair. There you did not fear chain or cage or even a bloody death. So let us endeavour to be patient in our suffering."
Next morning Giant Despair took his prisoners to the castle yard to see a pile of bones and skulls. "They were all trespassers like you, and none of them escaped." He then beat them all the way back to the dungeon, where he locked them in again. At about midnight they began to pray and continued for several hours. It was almost dawn when Christian suddenly stood up.
Christian "What a fool I have been to lie in a stinking dungeon when I could walk free! In my pocket there is a key called Promise that will open any lock in Doubting Castle."
This was good news indeed. The key turned easily In the dungeon lock. Then it also opened the door that led into the castle yard. The big iron gate was more difficult but the key unlocked that one too. When they opened the door, the hinges creaked loud enough to wake the Giant. He was so annoyed that he had one of his fits and was unable to pursue them.
So Christian and Hopeful came to the King's Highway again. At the stile where they went astray, they engraved a notice. Many future travellers had good cause to be grateful for this warning and escape the danger of straying into the land of Giant Despair and Doubting Castle.
Out of the way we went, and then we found
That we were treading upon forbidden ground;
Let them that come after have a care
Lest heedless they as we did fare,
Lest they for trespass, his prisoners are,
Whose castle's Doubting and whose name's Despair.
Delectable Mountains [Contents]
Soon they came to the Delectable Mountains. These belong to the Lord of Glory who had planted vineyards and where there were many springs of clear water. At the top they met the shepherds who told them this was commonly called Immanuel's Land, from which you can see the Celestial City. The Lord of these Mountains had told them, 'Do not forget to entertain strangers.' (Heb 132)
So seeing the pilgrims' dress and hearing their story, Knowledge, Experience, Watchful and Sincere welcomed Christian and Hopeful. They were fed well, and as it was late in the evening, they were given tents in which to sleep the night.
In the morning the shepherds showed them the precipice called Error. At the bottom were the bones of Hymenaeus, Philetus and several others. (2 Tim 217) They remain unburied as a perpetual example.
The shepherds pointed out the place called Caution, where there were many blind men wandering among the graves - men who had crossed the stile and took the easy way through By-path Meadow. They had been found by Giant Despair who put out their eyes and left them to wander there. At this Christian and Hopeful said nothing, but their eyes filled with tears.
Near the bottom of the mountains there was a door in the side of the cliff. The shepherds opened it and told them to look inside. They smelled the smoke and saw the fire and heard the cries of tormented men. "It is a By-way to Hell, the way that hypocrites go. Men like Esau who sold his birthright, Judas who sold his Master, Ananias and Sapphira his wife who lied when they sold a field. These had been on pilgrimage, like you, but they did not complete the journey." Christian and Hopeful agreed that they needed to cry all the more to the Lord for strength.
Lastly they all climbed the hill called Clear. There the shepherds gave them a telescope, but their hands were still shaking from seeing the By-way to Hell, so they only vaguely saw the Celestial City.
As they departed:
Knowledge gave them a map of the way,
Experience told them to beware of the Flatterer,
Watchful warned them not to sleep on the Enchanted Ground and
Sincere bid them, "God speed."
In the country of Conceit they met Ignorance who said that he was going to the Celestial City.
Christian "Do you have anything to show at the Gate, that it should be opened for you?"
Ignorance "I know my Lord's will and have lived well; I pray and give to charity and I have left my old country."
Christian "But obviously you did not enter the way by the Wicket-Gate and you have not travelled along the Walls of Salvation, else you would be wearing different clothes and would have a scroll with a seal. I am afraid that you may be thought to be 'a robber and a thief'." (Jn 101)
Ignorance "We come from different countries and so we have different means of arriving at the way. The Gate you mentioned is far too far away for men from our country. It is best if you keep to your religion and I keep to mine."
It was obvious to them both that Ignorance was so wise in his own eyes that he was unwilling to hear any correction. They therefore decided to press on and maybe speak to him again later.
Christian told Hopeful the story of a man called Little-Faith from Sincere. He was going on pilgrimage when three rogues, Faint-heart, Mistrust, and Guilt, attacked him and took his silver. They ran away when they thought that they heard Great-Grace from Good-Confidence. The robbery weakened him for the rest of his life; he could not stop thinking about his awful experience. But fortunately they did not find his scroll.
The Net [Contents]
So I saw in my dream that they came to where there was a fork in the road and as both seemed to be going towards their goal, they did not know which one to take. Then they saw a man standing in a white robe who said that he was going their way and would direct them. So they followed. As they went they noticed that their path slowly turned away from the Celestial City, but they continued to follow the man. Suddenly they were caught in a net and the white robe fell off the man. Only then did they realise that he was Flatterer; the very person that the shepherds had warned them of. 'Whoever flatters his neighbour is spreading a net for his feet.' (Prov 295)
Then they remembered that they had also been given a map but they hadn't bothered looking at it. They deeply regretted their folly and lay crying in the net until a Shining One appeared. He set them free from the net and led them back to the pathway. Then he asked them how they became trapped. They told him everything and did not make any excuses, for truly there was none that held any water. The Shining One told them to lie down. Then he chastised them with a small whip and said, "'Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.' (Rev 319) So be earnest and repent." Then he told them to continue their way and to take heed to all the directions of the shepherds.
After some time they met a man with his back towards Zion. Atheist was his name and he laughed loudly when they told him they were on their way to Mt Zion.
Atheist "How can you be so ignorant? All this difficult journey and nothing at the end of it!" Then he laughed even more. "You're just a pair of dreamers! I have been seeking such a place for over 20 years and have been much farther than you. No, I am on my way home and suggest you do the same."
Hopeful then cautioned Christian.
Hopeful "Take care. He is another of the Flatterers. Remember the shepherds showed us Mt Zion when we were on the Delectable Mountains. We have seen it with our own eyes. Remember? Let us go on and let us be 'of those who believe and are saved'." (Heb 1039)
Christian "You are right. This man is blinded by the god of this world. Let us go on."
Hopeful "Now I rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God."
Enchanted Ground [Contents]
The air in the next part of their journey made them drowsy. So much so that Hopeful wanted to lie down and sleep. But Christian would not allow him to do so, for he feared that if they did, they would never wake up again.
Christian "This is the Enchanted Ground. 'So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled'." (1 Thes 56)
Hopeful "Now I see why it is said that 'two are better than one.' (Ecc 49) If I had been alone then I would certainly have been lost."
Christian "Let us have a good discussion to ward off this drowsiness."
So they talked for some time together about how they first desired to go on pilgrimage; how God had brought their conscience to life and stirred up such a conviction of sin that they wept greatly. They spoke of how the grace of God and the Word of God brought hope because Jesus Christ was revealed. Their hearts were greatly gladdened when they learned of his sacrifice and his forgiveness, which was accompanied by a desire to live a holy life and to bring honour to their Saviour. It was a goodly conversation.
They had nearly come to the end of the Enchanted Ground so they waited for Ignorance hoping that he might have changed his mind.
Christian "How is your soul before God?"
Ignorance "Well, I hope, for my mind is full of God and of heaven."
Christian "But even devils and damned souls do that."
Ignorance "Yes, but I also desire them."
Christian "So do many who are unlikely to receive them.
'The sluggard craves and gets nothing'." (Prov 134)
Ignorance "I prove my desire by leaving all for them."
Christian "Very few really do that. How do know that you have left all?"
Ignorance "Because my own heart confirms it."
Christian "The wise man says, 'He who trusts in himself is a fool.' (Prov 2826) The Word of God says, 'every inclination of the thoughts of his heart are only evil all the time'." (Gen 55 821 and Jer 118)
Ignorance "I will never believe that my heart is that bad."
Christian "Then you consider yourself wiser than the Word of God! It also shows that you think your need of Christ is much less than it is."
Ignorance "O I believe that Christ died for sinners. How else could he make all that I do acceptable to the Father."
Christian "No man can earn God's acceptance. For 'the wages of sin is death.' And a dead man can neither work nor earn anything. But righteousness and 'eternal life are in Christ Jesus our Lord, it is the gift of God.' (Rom 623) It is given only to those who know that Jesus has done for us what we can never do. He offered himself to God the only perfect sacrifice for sin - and God accepted it because it was perfect. When considering salvation, even my best is very imperfect. 'All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.' (Is 646) No man can earn God's approval, it is solely by the grace and mercy of God that any man may be saved."
Ignorance "But it is not only what Christ has done. I must also prove my decision to live a good life. God will not save me unless I cease to do evil."
Christian "Your name is Ignorance; and rightly so! For you will not hear what Jesus and the Word of God say about how a man may be saved. You would rather trust your own thoughts than cry to God for him to reveal the only way to heaven. You need to see your own wretchedness and need to plead with God for him to reveal the truth."
Ignorance then decided that he could not keep up with Christian and Hopeful, so he told them to go on ahead. This they did, though they were sad that he should remain so blind and not realise it.
They continued their conversation together by considering how 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' (Prov 910) It not only brings conviction of sin but it continues to keep men in reverence of God, and afraid of anything that may dishonour their Lord. They recalled Temporary and Turnback who lived nearby in Graceless, both of whom started on pilgrimage but gave up after they became friends of Mr Save-self. As it is written, 'a dog returns to its vomit.' (2 Pe 222)
This shows that guilt may cause a man to depart from some sin but unless there is a real work of God in his soul, the enjoyment of sin will cause him to return to it. The fear of the Lord will help to wither the attraction of sin, so that it soon dies. This is also true when presumption of righteousness causes the heart to become proud. It loses all sense of Hell and the coming judgement. Fear is a friend of humility. Together they keep the conscience tender and the eyes alert to the first sign of sin.
By now Christian and Hopeful had nearly finished their journey, for here the Spring air was fresh, the birds sang, the flowers were in full bloom, the sun never set and it was common to meet the Shining Ones. They heard many voices saying, 'Daughter of Zion, see, your Saviour comes.' (Is 6211) and 'as the Bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.' (Is 625)
As they walked through the King's vineyards and gardens they could see the City and were so beside themselves for joy that they hardly knew whether to sing or cry.
The River [Contents]
Then I saw in my dream that two men whose clothes that shone like gold in bright sunlight spoke with Christian and Hopeful as they completed the last part of their journey. But when they came to the River they were puzzled to see that there was no bridge or boat to cross it. The Shining Ones told them that they had to go through the waters alone or they could not arrive at the Gate. There was no other way; only Enoch and Elijah had ever been allowed to enter without going through the river. So the two friends began to cross over.
Christian "'I am come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me'." (Ps 692)
Hopeful "Have courage, my brother, I can feel the bottom and it is firm."
Christian "'The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me'." (2 Sam 225)
Here Christian was troubled by the thought of sins he had committed and he thought he saw evil spirits. Hopeful had great difficulty in keeping the head of his friend above water.
Hopeful "I see the Gate and men standing on the bank to receive us."
Christian "It is you they are waiting for, not me. You have been hopeful ever since I met you."
Hopeful "And so have you. These troubles are not a sign that God has forsaken you. They are only meant to test your spirit; to see if you will now call to mind the goodness of our God. Behold, 'Jesus Christ makes you whole'." (Acts 934)
Christian "I see him again! and he tells me, 'when you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you'." (Is 432)
With these words they were both encouraged and the Enemy became as still as a stone.
When they reached the other side their mortal garments were left behind in the river and two Shining Ones helped them up the steep hill. This was very high but they did not become tired.
The Celestial City [Contents]
In a few moments they were surrounded by a Heavenly Host who said, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb." (Rev 199) Then the trumpets sounded as they came to the Gates where it was written, 'Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.' (Rev 2214)
Here the two Pilgrims handed in the scroll with the seal that they had received at the Cross. The King commanded the Gates to be opened and immediately the whole city rang with joy. I heard the words 'Come and share your Master's happiness,' (Math 2521) and also what Christian and Hopeful said, "To him who sits on the throne be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever." (Rev 513) Then the gates were closed - and I very much desired to be among them.
But looking back to the river I saw Ignorance arrive a little further downstream, where there was a ferryman called Vain-hope. He was rowed across the river and even managed to climb up the hill to the Gate. But there was no singing and no welcome when he knocked. They asked for his scroll, but he could only say that the King had taught in the streets of his town. The King then commanded the two Shining Ones to bind his hands and feet and take him away to the door in the side of the hill that Christian had seen earlier - and had trembled.
Then I woke up: it had been a dream.