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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 shouting, 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 him.
Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them: to whom it was said by the other two shining ones, These are the men that have loved our Lord, when they were in the world, and that have left all for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, “ Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.”. There came out also at this time to meet them several of the King's trumpeters, clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound. These trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand welcomes from the world, and this they did with shouting and sound of trumpet.
f 1 John iii. 2.
g 1 Thess. iv. 13-17 Jude 14, 15, Dan. vii. 9, 10. I Cor. vi. 2, 3
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 hearing their melodious notes. Here also they had the City itself in view; and they thought they heard all the bells therein to ring, to welcome 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, yet, 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
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 King then commanded to open the gate, “that the righteous nation (said he) that keepeth the truth may
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. Ixiv. 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.
* 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."
Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate ; and, lo! as they entered, they were transfigured; and they had raiment put on, that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the City rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them,
ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF OUR LORD.”
I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying,
BLESSING, AND HONOUR, AND GLORY, AND
k Isa. xxvi. 2.
I Rev. v. 13.
* The righteous nation—who are they? Oh, say the self-righteous pharisees of the day, they are those who, by their good works and righteous actions, have made themselves to differ from others, and are thus become righteous before God. To whom should the Lord command the gate of glory to be opened, but to these good, righteous people ? But Peter tells us, “ The righteous nation is a chosen generation,” elected out from among the rest of the world, and of a different seed and generation to them. They see no righteousness in themselves, and therefore are little, low, and mean in their own eyes ; being begotten by the Word of truth, and born again of the Spirit of truth, they receive and love the truth as it is in Jesus. In him they glory, and of his righteousness they make all their boast; for they are made the righteousness of God in him: his righteousness is their robe of salvation, and their title to the kingdom. This truth keeps them; by this truth they
Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold the City shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold; and in them walked many men with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal.
There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying,
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” And after that they shut up the gates; which when I had seen, I wished myself among them.
Now, while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river-side: but he soon got over, and that without half the difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was then in that place one Vain-hope, * a ferry-man, that with his boat helped him over: so he, as the others I saw, did ascend the hill, to come up to the gate; only he came
IGNORANCE COMES UP THE RIVER.
VAIN-HOPE DOES FERRY HIM OVER.
regulate their life and walk; and this truth they hold fast in life, and keep unto death ; and thus living and dying in the belief of the truth, they can say with Paul, I have kept the faith, and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which Jesus hath painfully obtained for me, and will freely bestow upon me.
O that faith may bring near the view, and hope long for the hour, when the Lord shall say, Enter in!
* Vain-hope ever dwells in the bosom of fools, and is ever ready to assist Ignorance. He wanted him at the last, and he found him. He had been his companion through life, and will not forsake him in the hour of death. You see Ignorance had no bands in his death, no fears, doubts, and sorrows, no terror from the enemy, but all was serene and happy. Vain-hope was his ferryman, and he, as the good folks say, died like a lamb. Ah! but did such lambs see what was to follow when Vain-hope had wasted them over the river, they would roar like lions.