The Heavenly City
The last chapter of "The Pilgrim's Progress"
By John Bunyan
ow 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 season. Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw
every day the flowers appear on the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the
"Thou shalt no more be termed
neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate:
but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah:
for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married."
~ Isaiah 62:4 ~
"My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love,
my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice
of the turtle is heard in our land."
~ Song of Solomon 2:10-12 ~
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 the bridegroom
was renewed; yea, here, "As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so did
their God rejoice over them."
"For as a young man marrieth
a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee:
and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride,
so shall thy God rejoice over thee."
~ Isaiah 62:5 ~
Here they had no want of corn and wine; for in this place they met with abundance
of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage.
"The LORD hath sworn by His
right hand, and by the arm of
His strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to
be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of
the stranger shall not drink thy wine,
for the which thou hast laboured."
~ Isaiah 62:8 ~
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.
"Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed
unto the end of the world,
Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh;
behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.
And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed
of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out,
A city not forsaken."
~ Isaiah 62:11,12 ~
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 builded of pearls and
precious stones, also the street thereof was 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 a while, 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
"When thou comest into thy
then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure."
~ Deuteronomy 23:24 ~
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 I went on, there met
them two men, in raiment that shone like gold; also their faces shone as the light.
"And the building of the wall
of it was of jasper:
and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass."
~ Revelation 21:18 ~
"But we all, with open face beholding
as in a glass the glory
of the Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 ~
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, until 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: the river was very deep. At the sight, therefore, of this river,
the Pilgrims were much stunned; but the men that went in with them said, "You
must go through, or you cannot come at the gate."
Death is not welcome to nature, though by it we pass out of this world into glory.
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."
"Behold, I show you a mystery;
We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 ~
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 hath
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 a while, 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.'
"For there are no bands in
but their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men;
neither are they plagued like other men."
~ Psalm 73:4,5 ~
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.
Christian delivered from his fears in death.
Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful
added this word, 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 me, "When
thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they
shall not overflow thee."
"When thou passest through
I will be with thee; and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
~ Isaiah 43:2 ~
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.
The angels do wait for them, so soon as they are passed out of this world.
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 spirits, sent forth to minister for those
that shall be heirs of salvation." Thus they 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;
also, they had left their mortal garments behind them in the river, 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 regions of the air, sweetly
talking as they went, being comforted, because they safely got over the river, and
had such glorious companions to attend them.
Now, now, look how the holy pilgrims ride, Clouds are their chariots, angels are
their guide: Who would not here for Him all hazards run, That thus provides for His
when this world's done?
The talk 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 the Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels,
and the spirits of just men made perfect."
"But ye are come unto mount
Sion, and unto the city of
the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable
company of angels,To the general assembly and church of the
firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all,
and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus
the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,
that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
~ Hebrews 12:22-24 ~
"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."
"He that hath an ear, let him
hear what the Spirit saith unto
the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to
eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
~ Revelation 2:7 ~
"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled
their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white:
for they are worthy."
~ Revelation 3:4 ~
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away.
And He that sat upon the throne said,
Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me,
Write: for these words are true and faithful.
~ Revelation 21:4,5 ~
"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. You are now going 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 righteous perisheth, and
no man layeth it to heart:
and merciful men are taken away, none considering
that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds,
each one walking in his uprightness.
~ Isaiah 57:1,2 ~
"For, behold, I create new heavens and
a new earth:
and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."
~ Isaiah 65:17 ~
The men then asked, "What must we do in the holy place?" To whom it was
answered, "You must there receive the comforts 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."
"Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever
a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
~ Galations 6:7 ~
"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."
"Beloved, now are we the sons
of God, and it doth
not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that,
when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall
see Him as He is."
~ 1 John 3:2 ~
"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
shall you 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."
"But I would not have you to
be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope. For if we believe
that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also
which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the
Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with
the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16 ~
"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam,
prophesied of these,
saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints."
~ Jude 1:14 ~
"I beheld till the thrones were cast down,
and the Ancient
of Days did sit, Whose garment was white as snow, and
the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was
like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him:
thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand
times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment
was set, and the books were opened.
~ Daniel 7:9,10 ~
"Do ye not know that the saints shall
judge the world?
and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye
unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much
more things that pertain to this life?"
~ 1 Corinthians 6:2,3 ~
"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 which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."
"And he saith unto me, Write,
Blessed are they which are
called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he
saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."
~ Revelation 19:9 ~
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 hearing of 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!
And thus they came up to the gate.
Now, when they were come up to the gate, there was written over it in letters of
gold, "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to
the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
"Blessed are they that do His
commandments, that they may
have right to the tree of life, and may enter in
through the gates into the city."
~ Revelation 22:14 ~
Then I saw in my dream that the Shining Men bid them call at the gate; the which,
when they did, some looked from above 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 to 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, "which keepeth the truth, may enter in."
"Open ye the gates, that the
which keepeth the truth may enter in."
~ Isaiah 26:2 ~
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 was
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 YOUR LORD." I also heard the men themselves, that they sang
with a loud voice, saying, "BLESSING AND HONOUR, AND GLORY, AND POWER, BE UNTO
HIM THAT SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB, FOR EVER AND EVER."
"And every creature which is
in heaven, and on the earth,
and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and
all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and
honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
~ Revelation 5:13 ~
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 the four beasts had each
of them six wings about Him;
and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not
day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord
God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."
~ Revelation 4:8 ~
And after that they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among
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
that difficulty which the other two men met with. For it happened that there was
then in that place, one Vain-hope, a ferryman, that with his boat helped him over;
so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the hill, to come up to the gate, only he came
alone; neither did any man meet him with the least encouragement. When he was come
up to the gate, he looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock,
supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to him; but he was
asked by the men that looked over the top of the gate, "Whence came you, and
what would you have?" He answered, "I have eat and drank in the presence
of the King, and He has taught in our streets." Then they asked him for his
certificate, that they might go in and show it to the King; so he fumbled in his
bosom for one, and found none. "Then said they, Have you none?" But the
man answered never a word. So they told the King, but He would not come down to see
him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that conducted Christian and Hopeful to the
City, to go out and take Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away.
Then they took him up, and carried him through the air to the door that I saw in
the side of the hill, and put him in there. Then I saw that there was a way to hell,
even from the gates of heaven, as well as from the City of Destruction. So I awoke,
and behold it was a dream.
Now, Reader, I have told my dream to thee;
See if thou canst interpret it to me,
Or to thyself, or neighbour; but take heed
Of misinterpreting; for that, instead
Of doing good, will but thyself abuse:
By misinterpreting, evil ensues.
Take heed, also, that thou be not extreme,
In playing with the outside of my dream:
Nor let my figure or similitude
Put thee into a laughter or a feud.
Leave this for boys and fools; but as for thee,
Do thou the substance of my matter see.
Put by the curtains, look within my veil,
Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail,
There, if thou seekest them, such things to find,
As will be helpful to an honest mind.
What of my dross thou findest there, be bold
To throw away, but yet preserve the gold;
What if my gold be wrapped up in ore? -
None throws away the apple for the core.
But if thou shalt cast all away as vain,
I know not but 'twill make me dream again.