They went then till they came to the Delectable Mountains; which mountains belong to the Lord of that hill, of which we have spoken before: so they went up to the mountains to behold-the gardens and orchards, the vine-yards, and fountains of water, where also they drank and washed themselves, and did freely eat of the vine-yards. Now there were on the tops of those mountains, shepherds feeding their flocks, and they stood by the highway side. The pilgrims therefore went to them, and leaning upon their staves, as it is common with weary pilgrims, when they stand to talk with any by the way: they asked, whose Delectable Mountains are these, and whose be the sheep that feed upon them?
Shep. These mountains are Emanuel's Land, and they are within sight of his city ; and the sheep also are his, and he laid down his life fur them. Chr. Is this the way to the ccclestial city? Shep. You are just in the way. Chr. How far is it thither? i'hep. Too far for any, but those that shall get thither indeed.
Chr. Is the way safe or dangerous?
Skcp. Safe for those for whom it is to be safe, "but trani;rcssors shull fall therein (a)."
Chv. Is there in this plat e any relief for pilgrims, that arc weary and faint in the way?
Shep. The Lord of these mountains hath given us a charge " not to be forgetful to entertain strangers," therefore the good of the place is before you (b).
I saw also in my dream, that when the Shepherds perceived they were way-faring men, they also put questions to them, (to which they made answer as in other places) as, Whence came you? And how got you into the way? And by what means have you so persevered therein? for, but few of them that begin to come hither, do show their face on these mountains. But when the Shepherds heard their answers, being pleased therewith, they looked very lovingly upon them, and said, Welcome to the Delectable Mountains.
The Shepherds, I say,.whose names were Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere, took them by the hand, and had them to their tents, and made them partake of that which was ready at present. They said, moreover, We would that you should stay here awhile, to be acquamted with us, and yet more to solace yourselves with the good of the DeIt ctable Mountains. They then told them, that they were content to stay ; so they went to their rest that nigh:, because it was very late.
Then I saw in my dream, that in the morning the Shepherds called up Christian and Hopeful, to walk with them upon the mountains: so they went forth with them, awd walked awhile, having a pleasant prospect on every tide. Then said the Shepherds one to another, shall we show these pilgrims some wonders r 'So when they had concluded to do it, they had them hist to the top of a hill, called Error, which was very steep on the farthest side, and hid
(a) Hosea xiv. 9. (6) Hcb. xiii. 1, 2.
then look down to the bottom. So Christian and Hopeful looked down, and saw at the bottom several men dashed all to pieces by a fall that they had from the top. Then said Christian, What meaneth this? The S.iepherds answered, have you not' heard of' them that were made to err, by hearkening to Hymeneus and Philetus, as concerning the faith of the resurrection of the body (c)? They answered, Yes. Then said the Shepherds: These that you. see dashed in pieces at the bottom of this mountain, are they; and they have continued to this day unburied (as yeu see) for an example for others to take heed how they clamber too high, or how they come too near to the brink of this mountain.
Then I saw that they had them to the top of ano-' ther mountain, and the name of tins is Cautionj and. hid them look afar off: which, when they did, they perceived as they thought, several men, walking up and d«wn among the tombs that were there : and tbey perceived that the men were blind, because they stumbled sometimes upon the tombs, and because they could not get out from among them. Then said Christian, Woat means this?
The Shepherds then answereJ, Did you not see a little below these mountains, a stile that led into a meadow, on the left hand of this way? They .answered, Yes. Then said the Siiephcrds, from that stile there goes a path, that leads directly to DoubtingC.istle, which is kept by Giant Despair; and these men (pointing to them among the tombs) came once on pilgrimage, as you do now, even tii! they came to that same stile. And because the riyht way was rough in that place, they chose to go out of it into that meadow, and there were taken by Giant Despair, and cast into Doubting-Castle; where, alter they had been awhile kept in tiie dungeon, he at last did put out their eyes, and led tiiem among those tombs,
(c) 2 Tim. ii. 17, 13.
where he has Iti't them to wander to this vefy day, that the saying of .^e wise man might be fulfilled, "He that wandereth out of the way of understanding, shall remain in the congregation of the dead (d)." Then Christian and Hopeful looked upon one another, with tears gushing out, but yet said nothing to the Shepherds.
Then I saw in my dream, that the Shepherds had them to another place in a bottom, where was a door, on the side of a hill, and the)' opened the door, and hid them look in : they looked in therefore, and saw that within it was very dark and smoky; they also thought that they heard here a rumbling noise, as of fire, and a cry of some tormented, and that they smelt the scent of brimstone. Then said Christian, What means this? The Shepherds told them, This is a byway to Hell, away that Hypocrites go in at; namely, such as sell their hirth-right with Esau; such as selL their master, with Judas ; such as blaspheme the gospel, with Alexander; and that lie and dissemble', with Ananias and Sapphira his wife.
Then said Hopeful to the Shepherds, I perceive that these had on them, even every one, a show of pilgrimage, as we have now; had they not?
Shep. Yes, and held it a long time too.
Hope. How far might they go on pilgrimage in their days, since they, notwithstanding, were thus miserably cast away?
Shep. Some further, and some not so far as these mountains.
Then said tne pilgrims one to another, We have need to cry to the Strong for strength.
Shep. Ay, and you will have need to use it, when you have it, too.
By this time the pilgrims had a desire to go forwards, and the Shepherds a desire they should; se
(d) Prov. xxi. 16.
they walked together towards the end of the mountains. Then said the shepherds one to another, Let us here show the pilgrims the gates to the coelestial city, if they have skill to look through our perspective-glass. The pilgrims then lovingly accepted the motion: so they had them to the top of a high hill, called Clear, and gave them the glass to look.
Then they tried to look, but the remembrance of that last thing, that the shepherds had showed them, made their hands shake; by means of which impediment they could not look steadily through the glass; yet they thought they saw«somethinglike the gate, and also some of the glory of the place. Then thejr went away, and sung:
Thus by the Shepherds secrets are reveal'd,
Which from all other men are kept conceal'd:
Come to the Shepherds then, if you would see,
Things deep, things hid, and that mysterious be.
When tliey were about to depart, one of the Shepherds gave them a note of the way. Another of tlicm hid them beware of the Flatterer. Tlie third bid them take heed that they slept not upon Knchanted Ground. And the fourth hid them God speed. So I awoke from my dream.
CHRISTIAN and Hopeful, for the refreshment of their
Winds after their late imprisonment, are favoured again with a glorious prospect from the Delectable Mountains. Here they have the pleasure of meeting with some Shepherds, whose names, Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere, are descriptive of the qualifications of gaspel ministers. Their entertainment here, may signify, both the advantage which believers derive from the ministry, example, watch, and conversation of able and faithful pastors; and the delight whii h 'Christians enjoy in an advaiiced'state of experience. When they get above the world, they arc enabled to behold the things within the veil. Having-lest" their way before, they now ask, with much solicitude, "Is this the way?" Dearbought experience had taught them caution. The Shepherds also asked them such questions as tended to edification; and they are told (what, alas, is an awful truth !) that few of those who set out on pilgrimage, reach so far as these mountains. Many persons fetl religious impressions, but are too slothful to attain to this happy and confirmed state.
Here the pilgrims were shown the mountain of Error, and the sad fate of many who had fallen from it. Many errors abound in our day, some of which are not only hurtful, but destructive: of these we have need to be cautioned, especially as a false moderation, and unscriptural charity now prevail, and the grossest heresies are by some held to be harmless sentiments, while all zeal for truth is accounted bigotry.
Another mountain they say was called Caution ; and here, by the deplorable condition of some who fell into the hands of Giant Despair, their own mistake is recollected, and the goodness of God affectionately remembered. This is the true temper of Christians, when they see other professors entangled and ruined. The likeness of their, sins, and the difference of their state, fill them at once with shame and gratitude.
Here also they beheld the door of a by-way to hell, the way that hypocrites go, who seem to shun the commoji broad-road, but having only the mask of religion, while their hearts are not right with God, are as effectually ruined as the most profligate and open offenders. This sight caused our pious travellers to exclaim, " We have need to cry to the Strong for strength." Every christian reader will say so too.
Bv a perspective glass, put into their hands by the Shepherd's, they beheld, though in an imperfect manner, the gate of the ccelestial city; but servile fear made their hands shake, and prevented a more distinct view. O for a strong and lasting faith, so to credit the good promise of God, that from Pisgah's top, we might view with Moses the heavenly land; and with enraptured souls cry out, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly."