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LIVERED PROM HIS
WAIT FOR THEM
ARE PASSED OUT
words, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.* And with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells Christian DEme, “ When thou passest through the PEAE waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow : thus they got over.
Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them. Wherefore being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering THE ANGELS Do spirits, sent forth to minister for those that so soon as they shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they OF THIS world. went along towards the gate.
Now, you must note, that the City stood upon a mighty hill : but the pilgrims went up that hill with ease, because they had these two men to lead them up by the arms: they had likewise left their TH mortal garments behind them in the river ; OFF for though they went in with them, they came out without them. They therefore went up here with much agility and speed, though the foundation upon which the City was framed was higher than the clouds : they therefore went up through the region of the air, sweetly talking as they went, being comforted, because they
a Isa. xliii. 2. * Jesus Christ; he is indeed the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last the beginning of our hope, and the end of our confidence. We begin and end the Christian pilgrimage with him; and all our temptations and trials speak loudly, and fully confirm to us that truth of our Lord, “Without me ye can do nothing," John xv. 5.
THEY HAVE PUT OFF MORTALITY.
safely got over the river, and had such glorious companions to attend them.*
The talk that they had with the shining ones was about the glory of the place; who told them, that the beauty and glory of it was inexpressible. There, said they, is “ Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect." You are going now, said they, to the paradise of God, wherein you shall see the tree of life, and eat of the never-fading fruits thereof: and when you come there, you shall have white robes given you, and your walk and talk shall be every day with the King, even all the days of eternity. There you shall not see again such things as you saw when you were in the lower region upon the earth; to wit, sorrow, sickness, affliction, and death; “ for the former things are passed away."d You are going now to Abraham, to Isaac, and Jacob, and to the prophets, men that God hath taken away from the evil to come, and that are now “ resting upon their beds, each one walking in his righteousness.” The men then asked, What must we do in the holy place? To whom it was answered, You must there receive the comfort of all your toil, and have joy for all your sorrow; you must reap what you have sown, even the fruit of all your prayers, and tears, and sufferings for the King by the way. In that place you must wear crowns of gold, and enjoy the perpetual sight and vision of the Holy One; for “ there you shall see him as he is.” There also you shall serve him continually with praise, with sbouting, and thanksgiving, whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the Mighty One. There you shall enjoy your friends again that are gone thither before you ; and there you shall with joy receive even every one that follows into the holy place after you. There also you shall be clothed with glory and majesty, and put into an equipage fit to ride out with the King of Glory. When he shall come with sound of trumpet in the clouds, as upon the wings of the wind, you shall come with him; and, when he shall sit upon the throne of judgment, you shall sit by him; yea, and when he shall pass sentence upon all the workers of iniquity, let them be angels or men, you also shall have a voice in that judgment, because they were his and your enemies. Also, when he shall again return to the City, you shall go too, with sound of trumpet, and be ever with bim.
b Heb. xii. 22–24.
c Rcv. ii. 7. iii. 4. 5. xxii. 5.
e Gal. vi. 7, 8.
d Isa. Ixv. 16, 17.
* Ah, Christian, none can conceive or describe what it is to live in a state separate froin a body of sin and death. Surely, in some happy, highly-favoured moments, we have had a glimpse, a foretaste of this, and could realize it by faith. O for more and more of this, till we possess and enjoy it in all its fulness. If Jesus be so sweet to faith below, who can tell what he is in full fruition above ? This we must die to know.
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
f 1 John iii. 2.
& 1 Thess. iv. 13-17 Jude 14, 15. Dan, vii. 9, 10. 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3.
that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.”k; 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, 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 at it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and with bearing their melodious notes. Here also they had the City itself in view ; and they thonght they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome them 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.
h Rev. xix. 9.
• Though Mr. Bunyan has been very happy in this spirited description, yel, were he alive, I am sure he would not be offended, though I were to say, it is short and faint, infinitely so, of the reality; and were i Rev. xxii. 14. he permitted to come in person, and give another description, he could only say, what the prophet and apostle tells us, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,"Isa. lxiv. 4. 1 Cor.ii.9. O for the increase of faith, to behold more clearly the heavenly vision ! and for love to Jesus, the God of our salvation, that we may have more of heaven in our souls, even while we are pilgrims here on the earth! for none but those who love him on earth, can enjoy him in heaven.
Now, when they were come up to the gates there was written over it, in letters of gold,
“ BLESSED ARE THEY THAT DO HIS COM-
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, &c.; 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 : and 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
* Let us not imagine from hence, that our keeping the commandments entitles us, by way of right or claim, to God's favour and kingdom; for, this is subversive of faith in Jesus, hope in the gracious promises which are in him, and reliance in his atonement and righteousness, through which alone our right and title comes freely, and is secured eternally, according to free grace, gift, and grant. But, right here signifies power or privilege, as in John i. 12. “To as many as received Christ, to them gave he power (right or privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."