Imatges de pÓgina
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XLV.

THE GOLDEN CITY.

season.

Now I saw in my dream that by this time the pilgrims were got over the Enchanted Ground, and entering into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant, the way lying directly through it, they solaced themselves there for a

Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land. In this country the sun shineth night and day; wherefore 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. In this land, also, the contract between the bride and bridegroom was renewed; yea, here,

as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so did their God rejoice over them.” Here they had no. want of corn and wine ; for in this place they met 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, the redeemed of the Lord, sought out,” etc.

Now, as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts more remote from the kingdom to which they were bound ; and drawing near to the city, they had yet a more perfect view thereof: it was built of pearls and precious stones, also the streets thereof were paved with gold; so that, by reason of the natural glory of the city, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire fell sick; Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease; wherefore here they lay by it awhile, crying out, because of their pangs, “If ye find my Beloved, tell Him that I am sick of love."

But being a little strengthened, and better able to bear their sickness, they walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and their gates opened into the highway. Now, as they came up to these places, behold 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 had them into the vineyards, and bid them refresh themselves with dainties; he also showed them there the King's walks and the arbours where he delighted to be; and here they tarried and slept.

Now, I beheld in my dream that they talked more in their sleep at this time than ever they did in all their journey; and being in a muse thereabout, the gardener said even to me, Wherefore musest thou at the matter? It is the nature of the fruit of the grapes of these vineyards to go down so sweetly, as to cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak.

So I saw that when they awoke, they addressed themselves to go up to the city. But, as I said, 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 an instrument made for that purpose. So I saw that, as they went on, there met them two men in raiment that shone like gold; also their faces shone 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 then and his companion asked the men to go along with them; so they told them 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.

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, therefore, of this river, the pilgrims were much stunned ; but the men that went with them said You must go through, or you cannot come at the gate.

The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate. To which they answered, Yes, but there hath not any, save two, to wit Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world, nor shall, until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then (especially Christian) began to despond in their minds, and looked this way and that; but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a 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 addressed themselves to 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. Selah.

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother; I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said 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. Also here, he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here, also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits; for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words. Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then ere awhile he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us; but Christian would answer, It is you ; it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother, said he, surely if I was right, He would now arise to help me; but for my sins He hath brought me into the snare and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, “There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm; they are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men." These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of His goodness, and live upon Him in your distresses.

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