Arrive in the Land of Beulah
After this, I beheld until they were come unto the Land of Beulah, where the sun shineth night and day.314 Here, because they were weary, they betook themselves a while to rest; and, because this country was common for pilgrims, and because the orchards and vineyards that were here belonged to the King of the Celestial country, therefore they were licensed to make bold with any of His things. But a little while soon refreshed them here; for the bells did so ring, and the trumpets continually sound so melodiously, that they could not sleep; and yet they received as much refreshing, as if they had slept their sleep ever so soundly. Here also all the noise of them that walked in the streets, was, More pilgrims are come to town. And another would answer, saying, And so many went over the water, and were let in at the golden gates today. They would cry again, There is now a legion of Shining Ones just come to town, by which we know that there are more pilgrims upon the road; for here they come to wait for them, and to comfort them after all their sorrow. Then the Pilgrims got up, and walked to and fro; but how were their ears now filled with heavenly noises, and their eyes delighted with celestial visions! In this land they heard nothing, saw nothing, felt nothing, smelled nothing, tasted nothing, that was offensive to their stomach or mind; only when they tasted of the water of the river over which they were to go, they thought that tasted a little bitterish to the palate, but it proved sweeter when it was down.
In this place there was a record kept of the names of them that had been pilgrims of old, and a history of all the famous acts that they had done. It was here also much discoursed how the river to some had had its flowings, and what ebbings it has had while others have gone over. It has been in a manner dry for some, while it has overflowed its banks for others.
In this place the children of the town would go into the King’s gardens, and gather nosegays for the Pilgrims, and bring them to them with much affection. Here also grew camphire, with spikenard, and saffron, calamus, and cinnamon, with all its trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, with all chief spices. With these the Pilgrims’ chambers were perfumed, while they staid here; and with these were their bodies anointed, to prepare them to go over the river when the time appointed was come.
Now, while they lay here, and waited for the good hour, there was a noise in the town, that there was a post come from the Celestial City, with matter of great importance to one Christiana, the wife of Christian the Pilgrim. So inquiry was made for her, and the house was found out where she was; so the post presented her with a letter; the contents whereof were, “Hail, good woman! I bring thee tidings that the Master calleth for thee, and expecteth that thou shouldest stand in His presence, in clothes of immortality, within these ten days.”
When he had read this letter to her, he gave her therewith a sure token that he was a true messenger, and was come to bid her make haste to be gone. The token was, an arrow with a point sharpened with love, let easily into her heart, which by degrees wrought so effectually with her, that at the time appointed she must be gone.315
When Christiana saw that her time was come, and that she was the first of this company that was to go over, she called for Mr. Great-heart her guide, and told him how matters were. So he told her he was heartily glad of the news, and could have been glad had the post come for him. Then she bid that he should give advice how all things should be prepared for her journey. So he told her, saying, thus and thus it must be; and we that survive will accompany you to the river side.
Then she called for her children, and gave them her blessing, and told them, that she yet read with comfort the mark that was set in their foreheads, and was glad to see them with her there, and that they had kept their garments so white. Lastly, she bequeathed to the poor that little she had, and commanded her sons and her daughters to be ready against the messenger should come for them.
When she had spoken these words to her guide and to her children, she called for Mr. Valiant-for-truth, and said unto him, Sir, you have in all places showed yourself truehearted; “be faithful unto death,” and my King will give you “a crown of life.” I would also entreat you to have an eye to my children; and if at any time you see them faint, speak comfortably to them. For my daughters, my sons’ wives, they have been faithful, and a fulfilling of the promise upon them will be their end. But she gave Mr. Stand-fast a ring.
Then she called for old Mr. Honest, and said of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” Then said he, I wish you a fair day, when you set out for Mount Zion, and shall be glad to see that you go over the river dry-shod. But she answered, Come wet, come dry, I long to be gone; for, however the weather is in my journey, I shall have time enough when I come there to sit down and rest me, and dry me.
Then came in that good man Mr. Ready-to-halt, to see her. So she said to him, Thy travel hither has been with difficulty; but that will make thy rest the sweeter. But watch and be ready; for at an hour when you think not, the messenger may come.
After him came in Mr. Despondency, and his daughter Much-afraid, to whom she said, You ought with thankfulness, forever to remember your deliverance from the hands of Giant Despair, and out of Doubting Castle. The effect of that mercy is, that you are brought with safety hither. Be ye watchful, and cast away fear; “be sober and hope to the end.”
Then she said to Mr. Feeble-mind, Thou wast delivered from the mouth of Giant Slay-good, that thou mightest live in the light of the living forever, and see thy King with comfort; only I advise thee to repent thee of thine aptness to fear and doubt of His goodness, before He sends for thee; lest thou shouldest, when He comes, be forced to stand before Him, for that fault, with blushing.
Now the day drew on, that Christiana must be gone. So the road was full of people to see her take her journey. But, behold, all the banks beyond the river were full of horses and chariots, which were come down from above to accompany her to the city gate. So she came forth, and entered the river, with a beckon of farewell to those that followed her to the river side. The last words that she was heard to say here, were, I come, Lord, to be with Thee, and bless Thee.316
So her children and friends returned to their place, for that those that waited for Christiana had carried her out of their sight. So she went and called, and entered in at the gate with all the ceremonies of joy that her husband Christian had done before her.
At her departure her children wept. But Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Valiant played upon the well-tuned cymbal and harp for joy. So all departed to their respective places.317
In process of time there came a post to the town again, and his business was with Mr. Ready-to-halt. So he inquired him out, and said to him, I am come to thee in the name of Him whom thou hast loved and followed, though upon crutches; and my message is to tell thee, that He expects thee at His table to sup with Him, in His kingdom, the next day after Easter; wherefore prepare thyself for this journey.318
Then he also gave him a token that he was a true messenger, saying, I have broken thy golden bowl, and loosed thy silver cord (Eccl. 12:6).
After this, Mr. Ready-to-halt called for his fellow-pilgrims, and told them, saying, I am sent for, and God shall surely visit you also. So he desired Mr. Valiant to make his will; and because he had nothing to bequeath to them that should survive him, but his crutches, and his good wishes, therefore thus he said, These crutches I bequeath to my son that shall tread in my steps, with a hundred warm wishes that he may prove better than I have done.
Then he thanked Mr. Great-heart for his conduct and kindness, and so addressed himself to his journey. When he came at the brink of the river, he said, Now I shall have no more need of these crutches, since yonder are chariots and horses for me to ride on. The last words he was heard to say was, Welcome life!319 So he went his way.
After this, Mr. Feeble-mind had tidings brought him, that the post sounded his horn at his chamber door. Then he came in, and told him, saying, I am come to tell thee, that thy Master hath need of thee; and that, in very little time, thou must behold His face in brightness. And take this as a token of the truth of my message, “Those that look out of the windows shall be darkened”320 (Eccl. 12:3).
Then Mr. Feeble-mind called for his friends, and told them what errand had been brought unto him, and what token he had received of the truth of the message. Then he said, Since I have nothing to bequeath to any, to what purpose should I make a will As for my feeble mind, that I will leave behind me, for that I have no need of that in the place whither I go. Nor is it worth bestowing upon the poorest pilgrim; wherefore, when I am gone, I desire that you, Mr. Valiant, would bury it in a dunghill. This done, and the day being come in which he was to depart, he entered the river as the rest. His last words were, Hold out, faith and patience. So he went over to the other side.
When days had many of them passed away, Mr. Despondency was sent for; for a post was come, and brought this message to him: Trembling man, these are to summon thee to be ready with thy King by the next Lord’s Day, to shout for joy for thy deliverance from all thy doubtings.
And, said the messenger, that my message is true, take this for a proof; so he gave him the grasshopper to be a burden unto him (Eccl. 12:5). Now, Mr. Despondency’s daughter, whose name was Much-afraid, said, when she heard what was done, that she would go with her, father. Then Mr. Despondency said to his friends, Myself and my daughter, you know what we have been, and how troublesomely we have behaved ourselves in every company. My will and my daughter’s is, that our desponds and slavish fears be by no man ever received, from the day of our departure, forever; for I know that after my death they will offer themselves to others.321 For, to be plain with you, they are ghosts the which we entertained when we first began to be pilgrims, and could never shake them off after; and they will walk about and seek entertainment of the pilgrims; but, for our sakes, shut ye the doors upon them.322
When the time was come for them to depart, they went to the brink of the river. The last words of Mr. Despondency were, Farewell night, welcome day. His daughter went through the river singing, but none could understand what she said.323
Then it came to pass, a while after, that there was a post in the town that inquired for Mr. Honest. So he came to his house where he was, and delivered to his hand these lines: Thou art commanded to be ready against this day sevennight, to present thyself before thy Lord, at His Father’s house. And for a token that my message is true, “All thy daughters of music shall he brought low” (Eccl. 12:4). Then Mr. Honest called for his friends, and said unto them, I die, but shall make no will. As for my honesty, it shall go with me; let him that comes after be told of this. When the day that he was to be gone was come, he addressed himself to go over the river. Now the river at that time overflowed the banks in some places; but Mr. Honest in his lifetime had spoken to one Good-conscience to meet him there, the which he also did, and lent him his hand, and so helped him over. The last words of Mr. Honest were, Grace reigns. So he left the world.
After this, it was noised abroad, that Mr. Valiant-for-truth was taken with a summons, by the same post as the other; and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain” (Eccl. 12:6). When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then, said he, I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles, who now will be my Rewarder. When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, “Death, where is thy sting?” And as he went down deeper, he said, “Grave, where is thy victory?” So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.324
Then there came forth a summons for Mr. Stand-fast-this Mr. Stand-fast was he that the rest of the Pilgrims found upon his knees in the Enchanted Ground-for the post brought it him open in his hands. The contents whereof were, that he must prepare for a change of life, for his Master was not willing that he should be so far from Him any longer. At this Mr. Stand-fast was put into a muse. Nay, said the messenger, you need not doubt of the truth of my message, for here is a token of the truth thereof: “Thy wheel is broken at the cistern” (Eccl. 12:6). Then he called unto him Mr. Great-heart, who was their guide, and said unto him, Sir, although it was not my hap to be much in your good company in the days of my pilgrimage; yet, since the time I knew you, you have been profitable to me. When I came from home, I left behind me a wife and five small children; let me entreat you, at your return (for I know that you will go, and return to your Master’s house, in hopes that you may yet be a conductor to more of the holy pilgrims), that you send to my family, and let them be acquainted with all that hath, or shall happen unto me. Tell them, moreover, of my happy arrival to this place, and of the present [and] late blessed condition that I am in. Tell them also of Christian, and Christiana his wife, and how she and her children came after her husband. Tell them also of what a happy end she made, and whither she is gone. I have a little or nothing to send to my family, except it be prayers and tears for them; of which it will suffice if thou acquaint them, if peradventure they may prevail.
When Mr. Stand-fast had thus set things in order, and the time being come for him to haste him away, he also went down to the river. Now there was a great calm at that time in the river; wherefore Mr. Stand-fast, when he was about half-way in, stood a while and talked to his companions that had waited upon him thither; and he said, This river has been a terror to many; yea, the thoughts of it also have often frightened me. Now, methinks, I stand easy, my foot is fixed upon that upon which the feet of the priests that bare the ark of the covenant stood, while Israel went over this Jordan (Josh. 3:17). The waters, indeed, are to the palate bitter, and to the stomach cold; yet the thoughts of what I am going to, and of the conduct that waits for me on the other side, doth lie as a glowing coal at my heart.
I see myself now at the end of my journey, my toilsome days are ended. I am going now to see that Head that was crowned with thorns, and that Face that was spit upon for me.325
I have formerly lived by hearsay and faith; but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with Him in whose company I delight myself.
I have loved to hear my Lord spoken of; and wherever I have seen the print of His shoe in the earth, there I have coveted to set my foot too.
His name has been to me as a civet-box; yea, sweeter than all perfumes. His voice to me has been most sweet; and His countenance I have more desired than they that have most desired the light of the sun. His Word I did use to gather for my food, and for antidotes against my faintings. “He has held me, and hath kept me from mine iniquities; yea, my steps hath He strengthened in His way.”326
Now, while he was thus in discourse, his countenance changed, his strong man bowed under him; and after he had said, Take me, for I come unto Thee, he ceased to be seen of them.
But glorious it was to see how the open region was filled with horses and chariots, with trumpeters and pipers, with singers and players on stringed instruments, to welcome the Pilgrims as they went up, and followed one another in at the beautiful gate of the city.327
As for Christian’s children, the four boys that Christiana brought with her, with their wives and children, I did not stay where I was till they were gone over. Also, since I came away, I heard one say that they were yet alive, and so would be for the increase of the CHURCH in that place where they were, for a time.328
Shall it be my lot to go that way again, I may give those that desire it an account of what I here am silent about.329 Meantime, I bid my reader ADIEU.