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Celestial Railroad Comparison

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THE CELESTIAL RAILROAD.
BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.
NOT
a great while ago, passing through the gate of dreams, I visited that region of the earth in which lies the famous city of Destruction. It interested me much to learn, that, by the public spirit of some of the inhabitants, a railroad has recently been established between this populous and flourishing town, and the Celestial City. Having a little time upon my hands, I resolved to gratify a liberal curiosity by making a trip thither. Accordingly, one fine morning, after paying my bill at the hotel, and directing the porter to stow my luggage behind a coach, I took my seat in the vehicle, and set out for the Station-house. It was my good fortune to enjoy the company of a gentleman—one Mr. Smooth-it-away—who, though he had never actually visited the Celestial City, yet seemed as well acquainted with its laws, customs, policy, and statistics, as with those of the city of Destruction, of which he was a native townsman. Being, moreover, a director of the railroad corporation, and one of its largest stockholders, he had it in his power to give me all desirable information respecting that praiseworthy enterprise.
Our coach rattled out of the city, and, at a short distance from its outskirts, passed over a bridge, of elegant construction, but somewhat too slight, as I imagined, to sustain any considerable weight. On both sides lay an extensive quagmire, which could not have been more disagreeable either to sight or smell, had all the kennels of the earth emptied their pollution there.
"This," remarked Mr. Smooth-it-away, "is the famous Slough of Despond—a disgrace to all the neighborhood; and the greater, that it might so easily be converted into firm ground."
"I have understood," said I, "that efforts have been made for that purpose, from time immemorial. Bunyan mentions that above twenty thousand cart-loads of wholesome instructions had been thrown in here, without effect."
"Very probably!—and what effect could be anticipated from such unsubstantial stuff?" cried Mr. Smooth-it-away. "You observe this convenient bridge. We obtained a sufficient foundation for it, by throwing into the Slough some editions of books of morality, volumes of French philosophy and German rationalism, tracts, sermons, and essays of modern clergymen, extracts from Plato, Confucius,and various Hindoo sages, together with a few ingenious commentaries upon texts of Scriptureall of which,by some scientific process, have been converted into a mass like granite. The whole bog might be filled up with similar matter."
It really seemed to me, however, that the bridge vibrated and heaved up and down, in a very formidable manner; and, spite of Mr. Smooth-it-away's testimony to the solidity of its foundation, I should be loth to cross it in a crowded omnibus; especially, if each passenger were encumbered with as heavy luggage as that gentleman and myself. Nevertheless, we got over without accident, and soon found ourselves at the Station-house. This very neat and spacious edifice is erected on the site of the little Wicket-Gate, which formerly, as all old pilgrims will recollect, stood directly across the highway, and, by its inconvenient narrowness, was a great obstruction to the traveller of liberal mind and expansive stomach. The reader of John Bunyan will be glad to know, that Christian's old friend Evangelist, who was accustomed to supply each pilgrim with a mystic roll, now presides at the ticket-office. Some malicious persons, it is true, deny the identity of this reputable character with the Evangelist of old times, and even pretend to bring competent evidence of an imposture. Without involving myself in the dispute, I shall merely observe, that, so
far as my experience goes, the square pieces of pasteboard, now delivered to passengers, are much more convenient and useful along the road, than the antique roll of parchment. Whether they will be as readily received at the gate of the Celestial City, I decline giving an opinion.

A large number of passengers were already at the Station-house, awaiting the departure of the cars. By the aspect and demeanor of these persons, it was easy to judge that the feelings of the community had undergone a very favorable change, in reference to the celestial pilgrimage. It would have done Bunyan's heart good to see it. Instead of a lonely and ragged man, with a huge burthen on his back, plodding along sorrowfully on foot, while the whole city hooted after him, here were parties of the first gentry and most respectable people in the neighborhood, setting forth towards the Celestial City, as cheerfully as if the pilgrimage were merely a summer tour. Among the gentlemen were characters of deserved eminence, magistrates, politicians, and men of wealth, by whose example religion could not but be greatly recommended to their meaner brethren. In the ladies' apartment, too, I rejoiced to distinguish some of those flowers of fashionable society, who are so well fitted to adorn the most elevated circles of the Celestial City. There was much pleasant conversation about the news of the day, topics of business, politics, or the lighter matters of amusement; while religion, though indubitably the main thing at heart, was thrown tastefully into the back-ground. Even an infidel would have heard little or nothing to shock his sensibility.
One great convenience of the new method of going on pilgrimage; I must not forget to mention. Our enormous burthens, instead of being carried on our shoulders, as had been the custom of old, were all snugly deposited in the baggage-car, and, as I was assured, would be delivered to their respective owners at the journey's end. Another thing likewise, the benevolent reader will be delighted to understand. It may be remembered that there was an ancient feud between Prince Beelzebub and the keeper of the Wicket-Gate, and that the adherents of the former distinguished personage were accustomed to shoot deadly arrows at honest pilgrims, while knocking at the door. This dispute, much to the credit as well of the illustrious potentate above-mentioned, as of the worthy and enlightened Directors of the railroad, has been pacifically arranged, on the principle of mutual compromise. The Prince's subjects are now pretty numerously employed about the Station-house, some in taking care of the baggage, others in collecting fuel, feeding the engines, and such congenial occupations; and I can conscientiously affirm, that persons more attentive to their business, more willing to accommodate, or more generally agreeable to the passengers, are not to be found on any railroad. Every good heart must surely exult at so satisfactory an arrangement of an immemorial difficulty.
"Where is Mr. Great-heart?" inquired I. "Beyond a doubt, the Directors have engaged that famous old champion to be chief conductor on the railroad?"
"Why, no," said Mr. Smooth-it-away, with a dry cough. "He was offered the situation of brake-man; but, to tell you the truth, our friend Great-heart has grown preposterously stiff and narrow, in his old age. He has so often guided pilgrims over the road, on foot, that he considers it a sin to travel in any other fashion. Besides, the old fellow had entered so heartily into the ancient feud with Prince Beelzebub, that he would have been perpetually at blows or ill language with some of the prince's subjects, and thus have embroiled us anew. So, on the whole, we were not sorry when honest Great-heart went off to the Celestial City in a huff, and left us at liberty to choose a more suitable and accommodating man. Yonder comes the conductor of the train. You will probably recognize him at once."
The engine at this moment took its station in advance of the cars, looking, I must confess, much more like a sort of mechanical demon that would hurry us to the infernal regions, than a laudable contrivance for smoothing our way to the Celestial City. On its top sat a personage almost enveloped in smoke and flame, whichnot to startle the readerappeared to gush from his own mouth and stomach, as well as from the engine's brazen abdomen.
"Do my eyes deceive me?" cried I.

"What on earth is this! A living creature?—if so, he is own brother to the engine that he rides upon!"
"Poh, poh, you are obtuse!" said
Mr. Smooth-it-away, with a hearty laugh. "Don't you know Apollyon, Christian's old enemy, with whom he fought so fierce a battle in the Valley of Humiliation? He was the very fellow to manage the engine; and so we have reconciled him to the custom of going on pilgrimage, and engaged him as chief conductor."
"Bravo
, bravo!" exclaimed I, with irrepressible enthusiasm, "this shows the liberality of the age; this proves, if anything can, that all musty prejudices are in a fair way to be obliterated. And how will Christian rejoice to hear of this happy transformation of his old antagonist! I promise myself great pleasure in informing him of it, when we reach the Celestial City."
The passengers being all comfortably seated, we now rattled away merrily, accomplishing a greater distance in ten minutes than Christian probably trudged over in a day. It was laughable while we glanced along, as it were, at the tail of a thunderbolt, to observe two dusty foot-travellers, in the old pilgrim-guise, with cockle-shell and staff, their mystic rolls of parchment in their hands, and their intolerable burthens on their backs. The preposterous obstinacy of these honest people, in persisting to groan and stumble along the difficult pathway, rather than take advantage of modern improvements, excited great mirth among our wiser brotherhood. We greeted the two pilgrims with many pleasant gibes and a roar of laughter; whereupon, they gazed at us with such woeful and absurdly compassionate visages, that our merriment grew tenfold more obstreperous. Apollyon, also, entered heartily into the fun, and contrived to flirt the smoke and flame of the engine, or of his own breath, into their faces, and envelope them in an atmosphere of scalding steam. These little practical jokes amused us mightily, and doubtless afforded the pilgrims the gratification of considering themselves martyrs.
At some distance from the railroad, Mr. Smooth-it-away pointed to a large, antique edifice, which, he observed, was a tavern of long standing, and had formerly been a noted stopping-place for pilgrims. In Bunyan's road-book it is mentioned as the Interpreter's House.
"I have long had a curiosity to visit that old mansion," remarked I.
"It is not one of our stations, as you perceive," said my companion. "The keeper was violently opposed to the railroad; and well he might be, as the track left his house of entertainment on one side, and thus was pretty certain to deprive him of all his reputable customers. But the foot-path still passes his door; and the old gentleman now and then receives a call from some simple traveller, and entertains him with fare as old-fashioned as himself."
Before our talk on this subject came to a conclusion, we were rushing by the place where Christian's burthen fell from his shoulders, at the sight of the Cross. This served as a theme for Mr. Smooth-it-away, Mr. Live-for-the-world, Mr. Hide-sin-in-the-heart, Mr. Scaly-conscience, and a knot of gentlemen from the town of Shun-repentance, to descant upon the inestimable advantages resulting from the safety of our baggage. Myself, and all the passengers indeed, joined with great unanimity in this view of the matter; for our burthens were rich in many things esteemed precious throughout the world; and, especially, we each of us possessed a great variety of favorite Habits, which we trusted would not be out of fashion, even in the polite circles of the Celestial City. It would have been a sad spectacle to see such an assortment of valuable articles tumbling into the sepulchre. Thus pleasantly conversing on the favorable circumstances of our position, as compared with those of past pilgrims, and of narrow-minded ones at the present day, we soon found ourselves at the foot of the Hill Difficulty. Through the very heart of this rocky mountain a tunnel has been constructed, of most admirable architecture, with a lofty arch and a spacious double-track; so that, unless the earth and rocks should chance to crumble down, it will remain an eternal monument of the builder's skill and enterprise. It is a great though incidental advantage, that the materials from the heart of the Hill Difficulty have been employed in filling up the Valley of Humiliation; thus obviating the necessity of descending into that disagreeable and unwholesome hollow.

"This is a wonderful improvement, indeed," said I. "Yet I should have been glad of an opportunity to visit the Palace Beautiful, and be introduced to the charming young ladies—Miss Prudence, Miss Piety, Miss Charity, and the rest—who have the kindness to entertain pilgrims there."
"Young ladies!" cried Mr. Smooth-it-away, as soon as he could speak for laughing. "And charming young ladies! Why, my dear fellow, they are old maids, every soul of them—prim, starched, dry, and angular—and not one of them, I will venture to say, has altered so much as the fashion of her gown, since the days of Christian's pilgrimage."
"Ah, well," said I, much comforted, "then I can very readily dispense with their acquaintance."
The respectable Apollyon was now putting on the steam at a prodigious rate; anxious, perhaps, to get rid of the unpleasant reminiscences connected with the spot where he had so disastrously encountered Christian. Consulting Mr. Bunyan's road-book, I perceived that we must now be within a few miles of the Valley of the Shadow of Death; into which doleful region, at our present speed, we should plunge much sooner than seemed at all desirable. In truth, I expected nothing better than to find myself in the ditch on one side, or the quag on the other. But, on communicating my apprehensions to Mr. Smooth-it-away, he assured me that the difficulties of this passage, even in its worst condition, had been vastly exaggerated, and that, in its present state of improvement, I might consider myself as safe as on any railroad in Christendom.
Even while we were speaking, the train shot into the entrance of this dreaded Valley. Though I plead guilty to some foolish palpitations of the heart, during our headlong rush over the causeway here constructed, yet it were unjust to withhold the highest encomiums on the boldness of its original conception, and the ingenuity of those who executed it. It was gratifying, likewise, to observe how much care had been taken to dispel the everlasting gloom, and supply the defect of cheerful sunshine; not a ray of which has ever penetrated among these awful shadows. For this purpose, the inflammable gas, which exudes plentifully from the soil, is collected by means of pipes, and thence communicated to a quadruple row of lamps, along the whole extent of the passage. Thus a radiance has been created, even out of the fiery and sulphurous curse that rests for ever upon the Valley; a radiance hurtful, however, to the eyes, and somewhat bewildering, as I discovered by the changes which it wrought in the visages of my companions. In this respect, as compared with natural daylight, there is the same difference as between truth and falsehood; but if the reader have ever travelled through the dark Valley, he will have learned to be thankful for any light that he could get; if not from the sky above, then from the blasted soil beneath. Such was the red brilliancy of these lamps, that they appeared to build walls of fire on both sides of the track, between which we held our course at lightning speed, while a reverberating thunder filled the Valley with its echoes. Had the engine run off the track—a catastrophe, it is whispered, by no means unprecedented—the bottomless pit, if there be any such place, would undoubtedly have received us. Just as some dismal fooleries of this nature had made my heart quake, there came a tremendous shriek, careering along the Valley as if a thousand devils had burst their lungs to utter it, but which proved to be merely the whistle of the engine, on arriving at a stopping-place.
The spot, where we had now paused, is the same that our friend Bunyan—a truthful man, but infected with many fantastic notions—has designated, in terms plainer than I like to repeat, as the mouth of the infernal region. This, however, must be a mistake; inasmuch as Mr. Smooth-it-away, while we remained in the smoky and lurid cavern, took occasion to prove that Tophet has not even a metaphorical existence. The place, he assured us, is no other than the crater of a half-extinct volcano, in which the Directors had caused forges to be set up, for the manufacture of railroad iron. Hence, also, is obtained a plentiful supply of fuel for the use of the engines. Whoever had gazed into the dismal obscurity of the broad cavern-mouth, whence ever and anon darted huge tongues of dusky flame,—and
had seen the strange, half-shaped monsters, and visions of faces horribly grotesque, into which the smoke seemed to wreathe itself,—and had heard the awful murmurs, and shrieks, and deep shuddering whispers of the blast, sometimes forming itself into words almost articulate,—would have seized upon Mr. Smooth-it-away's comfortable explanation, as greedily as we did. The inhabitants of the cavern, moreover, were unlovely personages, dark, smoke-begrimed, generally deformed, with mis-shapen feet, and a glow of dusky redness in their eyes; as if their hearts had caught fire, and were blazing out of the upper windows. It struck me as a peculiarity, that the laborers at the forge, and those who brought fuel to the engine, when they began to draw short breath, positively emitted smoke from their mouth and nostrils.
Among the idlers about the train, most of whom were puffing cigars which they had lighted at the flame of the crater, I was perplexed to notice several who, to my certain knowledge, had heretofore set forth by railroad for the Celestial City. They looked dark, wild, and smoky, with a singular resemblance, indeed, to the native inhabitants; like whom, also, they had a disagreeable propensity to ill-natured gibes and sneers, the habit of which had wrought a settled contortion of their visages. Having been on speaking terms with one of these persons—an indolent, good-for-nothing fellow, who went by the name of Take-it-easy—I called to him, and inquired what was his business there.
"Did you not start," said I, "for the Celestial City?"
"That's a fact," said Mr. Take-it-easy, carelessly puffing some smoke into my eyes. "But I heard such bad accounts, that I never took pains to climb the hill, on which the city stands. No business doingno fun going onnothing to drink, and no smoking allowedand a thrumming of church-music from morning till night! I would not stay in such a place, if they offered me house-room and living free."
"But, my good Mr. Take—it-easy," cried I, "why take up your residence here, of all places in the world?"
"Oh," said the loafer, with a grin, "it is very warm hereabouts, and I meet with plenty of old acquaintances, and altogether the place suits me. I hope to see you back again, some day soon. A pleasant journey to you!"
While he was speaking, the bell of the engine rang, and we dashed away, after dropping a few passengers, but receiving no new ones. Rattling onward through the Valley, we were dazzled with the fiercely gleaming gas-lamps, as before. But sometimes, in the dark of intense brightness, grim faces, that bore the aspect and expression of individual sins, or evil passions, seemed to thrust themselves through the veil of light, glaring upon us, and stretching forth a great dusky hand, as if to impede our progress. I almost thought, that they were my own sins that appalled me there. These were freaks of imagination—nothing more, certainly,—mere delusions, which I ought to be heartily ashamed of—but, all through the Dark Valley, I was tormented, and pestered, and dolefully bewildered, with the same kind of waking dreams. The mephitic gases of that region intoxicate the brain. As the light of natural day, however, began to struggle with the glow of the lanterns, these vain imaginations lost their vividness, and finally vanished with the first ray of sunshine that greeted our escape from the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Ere we had gone a mile beyond it, I could well nigh have taken my oath, that this whole gloomy passage was a dream.
At the end of the Valley, as John Bunyan mentions, is a cavern, where, in his days, dwelt two cruel giants, Pope and Pagan, who had strewn the ground about their residence with the bones of slaughtered pilgrims. These vile old troglodytes are no longer there; but into their deserted cave another terrible giant has thrust himself, and makes it his business to seize upon honest travellers, and fat them for his table with plentiful meals of smoke, mist, moonshine, raw potatoes, and saw-dust. He is a German by birth, and is called Giant Transcendentalist; but as to his form, his features, his substance, and his nature generally, it is the chief peculiarity of this huge miscreant, that neither he for himself, nor anybody for him, has ever been able to describe them. As we rushed by the cavern's mouth, we caught a hasty glimpse of him, looking somewhat
like an ill-proportioned figure, but considerably more like a heap of fog and duskiness.
He shouted after us, but in so strange a phraseology, that we knew not what he meant, nor whether to be encouraged or affrighted.
It was late in the day, when the train thundered into the ancient city of Vanity, where Vanity Fair is still at the height of prosperity, and exhibits an epitome of whatever is brilliant, gay, and fascinating, beneath the sun. As I purposed to make a considerable stay here, it gratified me to learn that there is no longer the want of harmony between the townspeople and pilgrims, which impelled the former to such lamentably mistaken measures as the persecution of Christian, and the fiery martyrdom of Faithful. On the contrary, as the new railroad brings with it great trade and a constant influx of strangers, the lord of Vanity Fair is its chief patron, and the capitalists of the city are among the largest stockholders. Many passengers stop to take their pleasure or make their profit in the Fair, instead of going onward to the Celestial City. Indeed, such are the charms of the place, that people often affirm it to be the true and only heaven; stoutly contending that there is no other, that those who seek further are mere dreamers, and that, if the fabled brightness of the Celestial City lay but a bare mile beyond the gates of Vanity, they would not be fools enough to go thither. Without subscribing to these, perhaps, exaggerated encomiums, I can truly say, that my abode in the city was mainly agreeable, and my intercourse with the inhabitants productive of much amusement and instruction.
Being naturally of a serious turn, my attention was directed to the solid advantages derivable from a residence here, rather than to the effervescent pleasures, which are the grand object with too many visitants. The Christian reader, if he have had no accounts of the city later than Bunyan's time, will be surprised to hear that almost every street has its church, and that the reverend clergy are nowhere held in higher respect than at Vanity Fair. And well do they deserve such honorable estimation; for the maxims of wisdom and virtue which fall from their lips, come from as deep a spiritual source, and tend to as lofty a religious aim, as those of the sagest philosophers of old. In justification of this high praise, I need only mention the names of the Rev. Mr. Shallow-deep; the Rev. Mr. Stumble-at-Truth; that fine old clerical character, the Rev. Mr. This-to-day, who expects shortly to resign his pulpit to the Rev. Mr. That-to-morrow; together with the Rev. Mr. Bewilderment; the Rev. Mr. Clog-the-spirit; and, last and greatest, the Rev. Dr. Wind-of-doctrine. The labors of these eminent divines are aided by those of innumerable lecturers, who diffuse such a various profundity, in all subjects of human or celestial science, that any man may acquire an omnigenous erudition, without the trouble of even learning to read. Thus literature is etherealized by assuming for its medium the human voice; and knowledge, depositing all its heavier particles—except, doubtless, its gold—becomes exhaled into a sound, which forthwith steals into the ever-open ear of the community. These ingenious methods constitute a sort of machinery, by which thought and study are done to every person's hand, without his putting himself to the slightest inconvenience in the matter. There is another species of machine for the whole-sale manufacture of individual morality. This excellent result is effected by societies for all manner of virtuous purposes; with which a man has merely to connect himself, throwing, as it were, his quota of virtue into the common stock; and the president and directors will take care that the aggregate amount be well applied. All these, and other wonderful improvements in ethics, religion, and literature, being made plain to my comprehension by the ingenious Mr. Smooth-it-away, inspired me with a vast admiration of Vanity Fair.
It would fill a volume, in an age of pamphlets, were I to record all my observations in this great capital of human business and pleasure. There was an unlimited range of society—the powerful, the wise, the witty, and the famous in every walk of life—princes, presidents, poets, generals, artists, actors, and philanthropists, all making their own market at the Fair, and deeming no price too exorbitant for such commodities as hit their fancy. It was well worth one's while, even if he had no idea of buying or selling, to
loiter through the bazaars, and observe the various sorts of traffic that were going forward.
Some of the purchasers, I thought, made very foolish bargains. For instance, a young man, having inherited a splendid fortune, laid out a considerable portion of it in the purchase of diseases, and finally spent all the rest for a heavy lot of repentance and a suit of rags. A very pretty girl bartered a heart as clear as crystal, and which seemed her most valuable possession, for another jewel of the same kind, but so worn and defaced as to be utterly worthless. In one shop, there were a great many crowns of laurel and myrtle, which soldiers, authors, statesmen, and various other people, pressed eagerly to buy; some purchased these paltry wreaths with their lives; others by a toilsome servitude of years; and many sacrificed whatever was most valuable, yet finally slunk away without the crown. There was a sort of stock or scrip, called Conscience, which seemed to be in great demand, and would purchase almost anything. Indeed, few rich commodities were to be obtained without paying a heavy sum in this particular stock, as a man's business was seldom very lucrative, unless he knew precisely when and how to throw his hoard of Conscience into the market. Yet as this stock was the only thing of permanent value, whoever parted with it was sure to find himself a loser, in the long run. Several of the speculations were of a questionable character. Occasionally, a member of Congress recruited his pocket by the sale of his constituents; and I was assured that public officers have often sold their country at very moderate prices. Thousands sold their happiness for a whim. Gilded chains were in great demand, and purchased with almost any sacrifice. In truth, those who desired, according to the old adage, to sell anything valuable for a song, might find customers all over the Fair; and there were innumerable messes of pottage, piping hot, for such as chose to buy them with their birth-rights. A few articles, however, could not be found genuine at Vanity Fair. If a customer wished to renew his stock of youth, the dealers offered him a set of false teeth and an auburn wig; if he demanded peace of mind, they recommended opium or a brandy-bottle.
Tracts of land and golden mansions, situate in the Celestial City, were often exchanged, at very disadvantageous rates, for a few years' lease of small, dismal, inconvenient tenements in Vanity Fair. Prince Beelzebub himself took great interest in this sort of traffic, and sometimes condescended to meddle with smaller matters. I once had the pleasure to see him bargaining with a miser for his soul, which, after much ingenious skirmishing on both sides, his Highness succeeded in obtaining at about the value of sixpence. The prince remarked, with a smile, that he was a loser by the bargain.
Day after day, as I walked the streets of Vanity, my manners and deportment became more and more like those of the inhabitants. The place began to seem like home; the idea of pursuing my travels to the Celestial City was almost obliterated from my mind. I was reminded of it, however, by the sight of the same pair of simple pilgrims at whom we had laughed so heartily, when Apollyon puffed smoke and steam into their faces, at the commencement of our journey. There they stood amid the densest bustle of Vanity—the dealers offering them their purple, and fine linen, and jewels; the men of wit and humor gibing at them; a pair of buxom ladies ogling them askance; while the benevolent Mr. Smooth-it-away whispered some of his wisdom at their elbows, and pointed to a newly-erected temple,—but there were these worthy simpletons, making the scene look wild and monstrous, merely by their sturdy repudiation of all part in its business or pleasures.
One of them—his name was Stick-to-the-right—perceived in my face, I suppose, a species of sympathy and almost admiration, which, to my own great surprise, I could not help feeling for this pragmatic couple. It prompted him to address me.
"Sir," inquired he, with a sad, yet mild and kindly voice, "do you call yourself a pilgrim?"
"Yes," I replied, "my right to that appellation is indubitable. I am merely a sojourner here in Vanity Fair, being bound to the Celestial City by the new railroad."
"Alas, friend," rejoined Mr. Stick-to-the-right, "I do assure you, and beseech you to receive the truth of my words, that that whole concern is a
bubble. You may travel on it all your life-time, were you to live thousands of years, and yet never get beyond the limits of Vanity Fair! Yea; though you should deem yourself entering the gates of the Blessed City, it will be nothing but a miserable delusion."
"The Lord of the Celestial City," began the other pilgrim, whose name was Mr. Go-the-old-way, "has refused, and will ever refuse, to grant an act of incorporation for this railroad; and unless that be obtained, no passenger can ever hope to enter his dominions. Wherefore, every man who buys a ticket, must lay his account with losing the purchase-money—which is the value of his own soul."
"Poh, nonsense!" said Mr. Smooth-it-away, taking my arm and leading me off, "these fellows ought to be indicted for a libel. If the law stood as it once did in Vanity Fair, we should see them grinning through the iron bars of the prison window."
This incident made a considerable impression on my mind, and contributed with other circumstances to indispose me to a permanent residence in the city of Vanity; although, of course, I was not simple enough to give up my original plan of gliding along easily and commodiously by railroad. Still, I grew anxious to be gone. There was one strange thing that troubled me; amid the occupations or amusements of the fair, nothing was more common than for a person—whether at a feast, theatre, or church, or trafficking for wealth and honors, or whatever he might be doing, and however unseasonable the interruption—suddenly to vanish like a soap-bubble, and be never more seen of his fellows; and so accustomed were the latter to such little accidents, that they went on with their business, as quietly as if nothing had happened. But it was otherwise with me.
Finally, after a pretty long residence at the Fair, I resumed my journey towards the Celestial City, still with Mr. Smooth-it-away at my side. At a short distance beyond the suburbs of Vanity, we passed the ancient silver-mine, of which Demas was the first discoverer, and which is now wrought to great advantage, supplying nearly all the coined currency of the world. A little further onward was the spot where Lot's wife had stood for ages, under the semblance of a pillar of salt. Curious travellers have carried it away piecemeal. Had all regrets been punished as rigorously as this poor dame's were, my yearning for the relinquished delights of Vanity Fair might have produced a similar change in my own corporeal substance, and left me a warning to future pilgrims.
The next remarkable object was a large edifice, constructed of moss-grown stone, but in a modern and airy style of architecture. The engine came to a pause in its vicinity with the usual tremendous shriek.
"This was formerly the castle of the redoubted giant Despair," observed Mr. Smooth-it-away; "but, since his death, Mr. Flimsy-faith has repaired it, and now keeps an excellent house of entertainment here. It is one of our stopping-places."
"It seems but slightly put together," remarked I, looking at the frail, yet ponderous walls. "I do not envy Mr. Flimsy-faith his habitation. Some day it will thunder down upon the heads of the occupants."
"We shall escape, at all events," said Mr. Smooth-it-away; "for Apollyon is putting on the steam again."
The road now plunged into a gorge of the Delectable Mountains, and traversed the field where, in former ages, the blind men wandered and stumbled among the tombs. One of these ancient tomb-stones had been thrust across the track, by some malicious person, and gave the train of cars a terrible jolt. Far up the rugged side of a mountain, I perceived a rusty iron door, half overgrown with bushes and creeping plants, but with smoke issuing from its crevices.
"Is that," inquired I, "the very door in the hill-side, which the shepherds assured Christian was a by-way to Hell?"
"That was a joke on the part of the shepherds," said Mr. Smooth-it-away, with a smile. "It is neither more nor less than the door of a cavern, which they use as a smoke-house for the preparation of mutton hams."
My recollections of the journey are now, for a little space, dim and confused, inasmuch as a singular drowsiness here overcame me, owing to the fact that we were passing over the enchanted ground, the air of which encourages a disposition to sleep. I
awoke
, however, as soon as we crossed the borders of the pleasant land of Beulah. All the passengers were rubbing their eyes, comparing watches, and congratulating one another on the prospect of arriving so seasonably at the journey's end. The sweet breezes of this happy clime came refreshingly to our nostrils; we beheld the glimmering gush of silver fountains, over-hung by trees of beautiful foliage and delicious fruit, which were propagated by grafts from the celestial gardens. Once, as we dashed onward like a hurricane, there was a flutter of wings, and the bright appearance of an angel in the air, speeding forth on some heavenly mission. The engine now announced the close vicinity of the final Station House, by one last and horrible scream, in which there seemed to be distinguishable every kind of wailing and woe, and bitter fierceness of wrath, all mixed up with the wild laughter of a devil or a madman. Throughout our journey, at every stopping-place, Apollyon had exercised his ingenuity in screwing the most abominable sounds out of the whistle of the steam-engine; but, in this closing effort he outdid himself, and created an infernal uproar, which, besides disturbing the peaceful inhabitants of Beulah, must have sent its discord even through the celestial gates.
While the horrid clamor was still ringing in our ears, we heard an exulting strain, as if a thousand instruments of music, with height, and depth, and sweetness in their tones, at once tender and triumphant, were struck in unison, to greet the approach of some illustrious hero, who had fought the good fight and won a glorious victory, and was come to lay aside his battered arms for ever. Looking to ascertain what might be the occasion of this glad harmony, I perceived, on alighting from the cars, that a multitude of shining ones had assembled on the other side of the river, to welcome two poor pilgrims, who were just emerging from its depths. They were the same whom Apollyon and ourselves had persecuted with taunts and gibes, and scalding steam, at the commencement of our journey—the same whose unworldly aspect and impressive words had stirred my conscience, amid the wild revellers of Vanity Fair.
"How amazingly well those men have got on!" cried
I to Mr. Smooth-it-away. "I wish we were secure of as good a reception."
"Never fear—never fear!" answered
my friend. "Come—make haste; the ferry-boat will be off directly; and in three minutes you will be on the other side of the river. No doubt you will find coaches to carry you up to the city gates."
A steam ferry-boat
, the last improvement on this important route, lay at the river side, puffing, snorting, and emitting all those other disagreeable utterances, which betoken the departure to be immediate. I hurried on board with the rest of the passengers, most of whom were in great perturbation; some bawling out for their baggage; some tearing their hair and exclaiming that the boat would explode or sink; some already pale with the heaving of the stream; some gazing affrighted at the ugly aspect of the steersman; and some still dizzy with the slumberous influences of the Enchanted Ground. Looking back to the shore, I was amazed to discern Mr. Smooth-it-away waving his hand in token of farewell!
"Don't
you go over to the Celestial City?" exclaimed I.
"Oh, no!" answered he with a queer smile, and that same disagreeable contortion of visage which I had remarked in the inhabitants of the Dark Valley. "Oh, no! I have come thus far only for the sake of your pleasant company. Goodbye! We shall meet again."
And then
did my excellent friend, Mr. Smooth-it-away, laugh outright; in the midst of which cachinnation, a smoke-wreath issued from his mouth and nostrils, while a twinkle of livid flame darted out of either eye, proving indubitably that his heart was all of a red blaze. The impudent fiend! To deny the existence of Tophet, when he felt its fiery tortures raging within his breast! I rushed to the side of the boat, intending to fling myself on shore. But the wheels, as they began their revolutions, threw a dash of spray over me, so cold—so deadly cold, with the chill that will never leave those waters, until Death be drowned in his own river—that, with a shiver and a heart-quake, I awoke. Thank heaven, it was a Dream!




18440223 Bible Examiner
Change

We are indebted to Mr. Hawthorne for the idea itself of a Celestial Rail-road; also for all on page 5, after "It was my good fortune," &c.; pages 6 and 7; page 8, excepting the first two sentences, and "We patronise—Creed-ality;" page 9, except "I should not omit—from the sight;" pages 10, 11, and 12, but only down to "of slaughtered pilgrims;" pages 13, 14, and 15, but only down to "an auburn wig;" the last half of page 17, commencing, "Day after day;" page 18, except the sentences, "Are we not told," &c., to "cannot be the right way," also excepting the words "are Millerites and," in the middle of the page, and except the last paragraph, commencing, "One day, moreover;" page 21, from "At a short distance," &c., down to "a disposition to sleep," on page 22. A few verbal alterations have been made in these parts, but not affecting the sense or style. The rest is not from Mr. Hawthorne's pen, and may contain sentiments he would not be willing to endorse.



THE CELESTIAL RAIL-ROAD.
LIKE Bunyan's pilgrim, I, too, was reared in the
city of Destruction. The mercy of Heaven has hitherto delayed sending down fire to consume it as was threatened in his day. From year to year, however, new warnings have been given, with assurances that the seeming delay in the execution of the sentence, is not because God is slack concerning his promise, but because he is long suffering, not willing that any should perish. Indeed the warnings of late have been so frequent, and have spread so much alarm through the community, that very many persons have been induced to leave the place and go to the Celestial city. Owing to the public spirit of some of the inhabitants, a rail-road has recently been established for the better accommodation of these numerous pilgrims. For a long time I had regarded the stories about an impending destruction as the mere dreams of some silly persons, which the gossip of the town had magnified into grave threatenings. One day, however, two men passed me in the street, so peculiar in their whole appearance, having each a burthen on his back, and a staff in his hand, and a countenance so full of alarm and earnestness, and they were moving so rapidly toward the gate of the city, that they arrested my attention. The one looked to me exactly like the picture which my fancy had formed of Bunyan's pilgrim, and the other was enough like him to be his brother. Involuntarily I called to them, and asked them why they seemed in so much haste, and whither they were going? "We are fleeing from the wrath to come," they said; "for we have been warned by God's 'two witnesses' that the Judgment which for a long time has lingered, is just about to be executed, and all these things shall be dissolved. Come with us, and lay hold on eternal life." I hesitated. They continued, "can you dwell with devouring fire? We were told to say to all we met, 'come to the Celestial city; yes, whosoever will, let him come.'" I began to speak of my business; but they replied
with earnestness, "what is
a man profited, if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Seeing that all these things shall be destroyed, how unwise it is to cling to thorn until the dreadful fire wraps both you and them in common ruin. Do, therefore, escape immediately." "But," said I, "why trudge along in this old and inconvenient way, when so direct and pleasant a route, by rail-road, has been established?" They answered, "'Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.' The old path has been tried, and it has always led the persevering pilgrim safely to the Celestial city. As for this rail-road, we are assured that it does not go to the city; and, if it did, that the proprietors have so insulted the Lord, that he would not suffer the gates to be opened to any one whose certificate has been received from them. Moreover, although our burthen is oppressive, and although we shall meet with a slough of Despond, a hill of Difficulty and other disagreeable things, yet, on the whole, this is a much pleasanter route than the new one; for in it we shall pass the Cross, shall have the society of the Comforter, and shall see and learn so much all along the journey, and shall be so refreshed by the kind shepherds on the Delectable mountains, and shall feel, too, all the while, that we are running no risk of an entrance into the city. But we can tarry no longer. We entreat you to come with us; but, if you will not, we warn you." So saying, they pursued their course with quickened step, and soon disappeared. But their words continued to ring in my ears, until my knees smote together from fear, and I wished I had consented to join in the pilgrimage. "What," I exclaimed, "if this city should be destroyed while I am in it" ! ! ! and, in my fright, I spoke so loud that an old man passing by heard me. His countenance beamed with intelligence and love, as he turned and said, "I perceive that you have heard of the impending destruction. My name is Evangelist, the same that gave the parchment roll to Bunyan's pilgrim. It you also wish to escape, here is one for you, and if you follow its directions, you will have no difficulty in finding the road." I thankfully accepted his offer, and he bid me God-speed. Having consulted no one, however, I did not feel prepared to start immediately; so locking up the roll carefully for safe keeping, I called on my friends, to know what they
thought of my removing to the Celestial city. The most of them did not discourage the proposed change in the place of residence; but, with one voice, they ridiculed the idea of travelling in the old fashioned way in this age of improvement; and recommended the rail-road in such extravagant terms that
I deemed it unnecessary to consult my Roll on this point. In the course of three days I had collected together my most valuable goods, had settled all unsettled business; and, taking my seat in the vehicle, I set out for the station-house. It was my good fortune to enjoy the company of a gentleman—one Mr. Smooth-it-away—who, though he had never actually visited the Celestial City, yet seemed as well acquainted with its laws, customs, policy, and statistics, as with those of the city of Destruction, of which he was a native townsman. Being, moreover, one of the largest stockholders in the rail-road corporation, he had it in his power to give me all desirable information respecting that enterprise.
Our coach rattled out of the city, and at a short distance from its outskirts, passed over a bridge of elegant construction, but somewhat too slight, as I imagined, to sustain any considerable weight. On both sides lay an extensive quagmire, which could not have been more disagreeable, either to sight or smell, had all the kennels of the earth emptied their pollution there.
"This," remarked Mr. Smooth-it-away, "is the famous Slough of Despond—a disgrace to all the neighborhood; and the greater that it might so easily be converted into firm ground."
"I have understood," said I, "that efforts have been made for that purpose from time immemorial."
"Very probablyand what effect could be anticipated from such unsubstantial stuff?" cried Mr. Smooth-it-away. "You observe this convenient bridge. We obtained a sufficient foundation for it by throwing into the Slough some editions of books of morality, volumes of French philosophy and German rationalism, tracts, sermons, and essays of modern clergymen, extracts from Plato, Confucius, and various Hindoo sages, together with a few ingenious commentaries upon texts of Scripture; all of which, by some scientific process, have been converted into a mass like granite. The whole bog might be filled up with similar matter."
It really seemed to me, however, that the bridge vibrated and heaved up and down in a very formidable manner;
and spite of Mr. Smooth-it-away's testimony to the solidity of its foundation, I should be loath to cross it in a crowded omnibus, especially if each passenger were encumbered with as heavy luggage as that gentleman and elf. Nevertheless, we got over without accident, and soon found ourselves at the Station house.
A large number of passengers were already assembled there, awaiting the departure of the cars. By the aspect and demeanor of the persons, it was easy to judge that the feelings of the community had undergone a very favorable change in reference to the celestial pilgrimage. It would have done Bunyan's heart good to see it. Instead of a lonely and ragged man with a huge burden on his back, plodding along sorrowfully on foot while the whole city hooted after him, here were parties of the first gentry and most respectable people in the neighborhood setting forth toward the Celestial City as cheerfully as if the pilgrimage were merely a summer tour. Among the gentlemen were characters of deserved eminence, magistrates, politicians, and men of wealth, by whose example religion could not but be greatly recommended to their meaner brethren. It was especially gratifying to perceive in our company young Messrs. Pliable, Worldly-wise-man, Presumption, Talkative, Love-lust, By-ends and Hold to-the-world, descendants of the gentlemen who lived in Bunyan's day. In the ladies' apartment, too, I rejoiced to distinguish some of those flowers of fashionable society, Miss Ornament, Miss Thoughtless, and Miss Novelize, who are so well fitted to adorn the most elevated circles of the Celestial City. There was much pleasant conversation about the news of the day, topics of business, politics, or the lighter matters of amusement; while religion, though indubitably the main thing at heart, was thrown tastefully into the back-ground. Even an infidel would have heard little or nothing to shock his sensibility.
One great convenience of the new method of going on pilgrimage I must not forget to mention. Our enormous burthens, instead of being carried on our shoulders, as had been the custom of old, (and lost before the journey was half finished) were all snugly deposited in the baggage car; and, as I was assured, would be delivered to their respective owners at the journey's end. Another thing, likewise, the benevolent reader will be delighted to understand. It may be remembered that there was an ancient feud between Prince Beelzebub and the keeper of the Wicket
Gate
, and that the adherents of the former distinguished personage were accustomed to shoot deadly arrows at honest pilgrims while knocking at the door. This dispute, much, to the credit, as well of the illustrious potentate above mentioned, as of the worthy and enlightened directors of the rail-road, has been pacifically arranged on the principle of mutual compromise. The Prince's subjects are now pretty numerously employed about the Station house, some in taking care of the baggage, others in collecting fuel, feeding the engines, and such congenial occupations; and I can conscientiously affirm that persons more attentive to their business, more willing to accommodate, or more generally agreeable to the passengers, are not to be found on any rail-road. Every good heart must surely exult at so satisfactory an arrangement of an immemorial difficulty.
"Where is Mr. Great-heart?" inquired I. "Beyond a doubt the Directors have engaged that famous old champion to be chief conductor on the railroad?"
"Why, no;" said Mr. Smooth-it-away, with a dry cough. "He was offered the situation of brakeman; but, to tell you the truth, our friend Great-heart has grown preposterously stiff and narrow in his old age. He has so often guided pilgrims over the road on foot, that he considers it a sin to travel in any other fashion. Besides, the old fellow had entered so heartily into the ancient feud with Prince Beelzebub that he would have been perpetually at blows or ill language with some of the Prince's subjects, and thus have embroiled us anew. So, on the whole, we were not sorry when he decidedly refused to accept our offer.
The engine at this moment took its station in advance of the cars, looking, I must confess, much more like a sort of mechanical demon, that would hurry us to the infernal regions, than a laudable contrivance for smoothing our way to the Celestial City. On its top sat a personage almost enveloped in smoke and flame, which—(not to startle the reader)—appeared to gush from his own mouth and stomach, as well as from the engine's brazen abdomen. But Mr. Smooth-it-away soon relieved our fears, by assuring us that the appearance was not reality, and was to be accounted for from the situation, amid smoke and flame, in which the able and worthy conductor stood.
The passengers being all comfortably seated, we now commenced our journey, accomplishing a greater distance in ten minutes than Christian probably trudged over in a day.
We soon passed the town of Morality, which has grown very much since Bunyan's day. We also passed the newly settled but thriving towns of Deism, Universalism and Restoration, it was laughable while we glanced along to observe two dusty foot-travellers in the old pilgrim guise, their rolls of parchment in their hands, and their intolerable burthens on their backs. The preposterous obstinacy of these honest people in persisting to groan and stumble along the difficult pathway, rather than take advantage of modern improvements, excited great mirth among our wiser brotherhood. We greeted the two pilgrims with many pleasant gibes and a roar of laughter; whereupon they gazed at us with such compassionate visages, that our merriment was considerably increased. The conductor, also, entered heartily into the fun, and contrived to flirt the smoke and flame of the engine, or of his own breath, into their faces, and envelope them in an atmosphere of scalding steam. These little practical jokes amused us mightily, and doubtless afforded the pilgrims the gratification of considering themselves martyrs.
At some distance from the rail-road, Mr. Smooth-it-away pointed to a large, antique edifice. In Bunyan's road-book it is mentioned as the Interpreter's House.
"I have long had a curiosity to visit that old mansion," remarked I.
"It is not one of our stations, as you perceive," said my companion. "The keeper was violently opposed to the rail-road; and well he might be, as the track left his house of entertainment on one side, and thus was pretty certain to deprive him of all his reputable customers. But the foot-path still passes his door, and the old gentleman now and then receives a call from some simple traveller, and entertains him with fare as old-fashioned as himself. We patronise the new house opened by Mr. Creed-ulity."
Before our talk on this subject came to a conclusion, we were rushing by the place where Christian's burthen fell from his shoulders, at the sight of the cross. This served as a theme for Mr. Smooth-it-away, Mr. Live-for-the-world, Mr. Hide-sin-in-the-heart, and Mr. Scaly-conscience, and a knot of gentlemen from the town of Shun-repentance, to descant upon the inestimable advantages resulting from the safety of our baggage. Myself, and all the passengers, indeed, joined with great unanimity in this view of the matter; for our burthens were rich in many things esteemed precious throughout the world; and especially,
we each of us possessed a great variety of favorite habits, which we trusted would not be out of fashion, even in the polite circles of the Celestial City. It would have been a sad spectacle, to see such an assortment of valuable articles tumbling into the sepulchre. I should not omit to mention, also, that out of respect to the more refined feelings of a class of persons who patronize the rail-road very liberally, the company have caused a grove of trees to be planted between the road and the Cross, so as to conceal the latter object entirely from view, and thus prevent any unpleasant associations that might arise from the sight. While pleasantly conversing on the favorable circumstances of our position as compared with those of past pilgrims, and of narrow-minded ones of the present day, we soon found ourselves at the foot of the Hill Difficulty. Through the very heart of this rocky mountain a tunnel has been constructed of most admirable architecture, with a lofty arch and a spacious double track ; so that unless the earth and rocks should chance to crumble down, it will remain an eternal monument of the builder's skill and enterprise. It is a great though incidental advantage, that the materials from the heart of the Hill Difficulty have been employed in filling up the Valley of Humiliation—at least that part of it over which the road passed—thus obviating the necessity of descending into that disagreeable and unwholesome hollow.
"This is a wonderful improvement, indeed," said I. "Yet I should have been glad of an opportunity to visit the Palace Beautiful, and be introduced to the charming young ladies—Miss Prudence, Miss Piety, Miss Charity, and the rest—who have the kindness to entertain pilgrims there."
"Young ladies!" cried Mr. Smooth-it-away, as soon as he could speak for laughing. "And charming young ladies! Why, my dear fellow, they are old maids, every soul of them—prim, starched, dry and angular—and not one of them, I will venture to say, has altered so much as the fashion of her gown, since the days of Christian's pilgrimage."
"Ah, well," said I, much comforted, "then I can very well dispense with their acquaintance."
Our skilful conductor was now putting on the steam at a prodigious rate, anxious perhaps to get rid of the unpleasant reminiscences connected with the spot where formerly Christian had fought so fierce a battle. Consulting
Mr. Bunyan's road-book, I perceived that we must now be within a few miles of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, into which doleful region, at our present speed, we should plunge much sooner than seemed at all desirable. In truth, I expected nothing better than to find myself in the ditch on one side, or the quag on the other. But, on communicating my apprehensions to Mr. Smooth-it-away, he assured me that the difficulties of this passage, even in its worst condition, had been vastly exaggerated, and that in its present state of improvement, I might consider myself as safe as on any rail-road in christendom.
Even while we were speaking, the train shot into the entrance of this dreaded valley. Though I plead guilty to some foolish palpitations of the heart during our headlong rush over the causeway here constructed, yet it were unjust to withhold the highest encomiums on the boldness of its original conception, and the ingenuity of those who executed it. It was gratifying, likewise, to observe how much care had been taken to dispel the everlasting gloom and supply the defect of cheerful sunshine, not a ray of which has ever penetrated among these awful shadows. For this purpose the inflammable gas, which exudes plentifully from the soil, is collected by means of pipes, and thence communicated to a quadruple row of lamps along the whole extent of the passage. Thus a radiance has been created, even out of the fiery and sulphurous curse that rests for ever upon the valley; a radiance hurtful, however, to the eyes, and somewhat bewildering, as I discovered by the changes which it wrought in the visages of my companions. In this respect, as compared with natural daylight, there is the same difference as between truth and falsehood; but if the reader has ever travelled through the dark valley, he will have learned to be thankful for any light that he could get; if not from the sky above, then from the blasted soil beneath. Such was the red brilliancy of these lamps that they appeared to build walls of fire on both sides of the track, between which we held our course at lightning speed, while a reverberating thunder filled the valley with its echoes. Suddenly a tremendous shriek was heard, as the voice of a thousand demons; but which proved to be merely the whistle of the engine on arriving at a stopping place.
The spot where we had now paused is the same that our friend Bunyan—a truthful man, but infected with many fantastic notions—has designated, in terms plainer than I
like to repeat, as the mouth of the infernal region. This, however, must be a mistake, inasmuch as Mr. Smooth-it-away, while we remained in the smoky and lurid cavern, took occasion to prove that Tophet has not even a metaphorical existence. The place, he assured us, is no other than the crater of a half extinct volcano, in which the directors had caused forges to be set up fur the manufacture of rail-road iron. Here also is obtained a plentiful supply of fuel for the use of the engines. Whoever had gazed into the dismal obscurity of the broad cavern mouth, whence, ever and anon darted huge tongues of dusky flame, and had seen the strange, half shaped monsters, and visions of faces horribly grotesque into which the smoke seemed to wreathe itself, and had heard the awful murmurs, and shrieks, and deep shuddering whispers of the blast, sometimes forming itself into words almost articulatewould have seized upon Mr. Smooth-it-away 's comfortable explanation as greedily as we did. The inhabitants of the cavern, moreover, were unlovely personages, dark, smoke-begrimed, generally deformed, with mis-shapen feet, and a glow of dusky redness in their eyes, as if their hearts had caught fire, and were blazing out of the upper windows. It struck me as a peculiarity that the laborers at the forge and those who brought fuel to the engine, when they began to draw short breath, positively emitted smoke from their mouth and nostrils.
Among the idlers about the train, most of whom were puffing cigars which they had lighted at the flame of the crater, I was perplexed to notice several who, to my certain knowledge, had heretofore set forth by rail-road for the Celestial City. They looked dark, wild, and smoky, with a singular resemblance, indeed, to the native inhabitants, like whom, also, they had a disagreeable propensity to ill-natured gibes and sneers, the habit of which had wrought a settled contortion on their visages. Having been on speaking terms with one of them—an indolent, good-for-nothing fellow, who went by the name of Take-it-easy—I called to him, and inquired what was his business there.
"Did you not start," said T, "for the Celestial City?"
"That's a fact," said Mr. Take-it-easy, carelessly puffing some smoke into my eyes. "But I heard such bad accounts of it that I never took pains to climb the hill on which the city stands. No business doing, no fun going on, nothing to drink and no smoking allowed, and
a thrumming of church music from morning till night. I would not stay in such a place, if they offered me house-room and living free."
"But, my good Mr. Take-it-easy," cried I, "why take up your residence here, of all places in the world?"
"Oh," said he with a grin, "I meet with plenty of old acquaintances, and altogether the place suits me. I hope to see you back again, some day soon. A pleasant journey to you."
While he was speaking, the bell of the engine rang, and we dashed away, after dropping a few passengers, but receiving no new ones. Rattling onward through the valley, we were dazzled with the fiercely gleaming gas lamps, as before; but sometimes, grim faces, that bore the aspect and expression of individual sins or evil passions, seemed to thrust themselves before us, glaring upon us, and stretching forth a great dusky hand, as if to impede our progress. I almost thought that they were my own sins that appalled me there. All through the dark Valley, I was tormented, and pestered, and dolefully bewildered with the same kind of waking dreams. As the light of natural day, however, began to struggle with the glow of the lanterns, these vain imaginations lost their vividness, and finally vanished with the first ray of sunshine that greeted our escape from the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Ere we had gone a mile beyond it, I could well nigh have taken my oath that this whole gloomy passage was a dream.
At the end of the valley, as John Bunyan mentions, is a cavern, where, in his days, dwelt two cruel giants, Pope and Pagan, who had strewn the ground about their residence with the bones of slaughtered pilgrims. Pagan still lives there; but his strength has failed him very much, from old age. Pope no longer slaughters pilgrims as formerly; but now occupies a spacious building near by, where, with great splendor, beautiful paintings, and exquisite music, he entices pilgrims to tarry with him, and then mingles some narcotic drug with their food, which they unwittingly eat and soon are sleeping the sleep of death. He is at present re-adorning his edifice, and sending out his servants far and near to allure unwary pilgrims.
A few miles further on, we passed the castle of
another giant who has moved there since Bunyan's time, and makes it his business to sieze upon honest travellers; and,
after confining them in his castle, to feed them with nothing but refined fog and duskiness. He is a German by birth, and is called Giant Transcendentalist. He shouted after us, but in so strange a phraseology, that we knew not what he meant, nor whether to be encouraged or affrighted.
It was late in the day, when the train thundered into the ancient city of Vanity, where Vanity Fair is still at the height of prosperity, and exhibits an epitome of whatever is brilliant, gay, and fascinating, beneath the sun. As I purposed to make a considerable stay here, it gratified me to learn that there is no longer the want of harmony between the towns-people and pilgrims, which impelled the former to such lamentably mistaken measures as the persecution of Christian, and the fiery martyrdom of Faithful. On the contrary, as the new rail-road brings with it great trade and a constant influx of strangers, the lord of Vanity Fair is its chief patron, and the capitalists of the city are among the largest stockholders. Many passengers stop to take their pleasure or make their profit in the Fair, instead of going onward to the Celestial City. Indeed, such are the charms of the place, that people often affirm it to be the true and only heaven; stoutly contending that there is no other, that those who seek further, are mere dreamers, and that, if the fabled brightness of the Celestial City lay but a bare mile beyond the gates of Vanity, they would not go thither. Without subscribing to these, perhaps exaggerated encomiums, I can truly say, that my abode in the city was mainly agreeable, and my intercourse with the inhabitants productive of much amusement and instruction.
Being naturally of a serious turn, my attention was directed to the solid advantages derivable from a residence here, rather than to the effervescent pleasures, which are the grand object with too many visitants. The Christian reader, if he has had no accounts of the city later than Bunyan's time, will be surprised to hear that almost every street has its church, and that the reverend clergy are no where held in higher respect than at Vanity Fair. And well do they deserve such honorable estimation; for the maxims of wisdom and virtue which fall from their lips, come from as deep a spiritual source, and tend to as lofty a religious aim, as those of the sagest philosophers of old. In justification of this high praise, I need only mention the names of the Rev. Prof. Shallow-deep; the Rev.
Mr. Stumble at-Truth; that fine old clerical character, the Rev. Mr. This-to-day, who expects shortly to resign his pulpit to the Rev. Mr. That-to-morrow; together with the Rev. Mr. Bewilderment; the Rev. Mr. Clog-the-spirit; and, last and greatest, the Rev. Dr. Wind-of-doctrine. The labors of these eminent divines are aided by those of innumerable lecturers, who diffuse such a richness and variety in all subjects of human or celestial science, that any man may acquire an omnigenous erudition, without the trouble of even learning to read. Thus literature is etherealized by assuming for its medium the human voice; and knowledge, depositing all its heavier particles, becomes exhaled into a sound, which forthwith steals into the ever-open ear of the community. These ingenious methods constitute a sort of machinery, by which thought and study are done to every person's hand, without his putting himself to the slightest inconvenience in the matter. There is another species of machine for the wholesale manufacture of individual morality. This excellent result is effected by societies for all manner of virtuous purposes; with which a man has merely to connect himself, throwing, as it were, his quota of virtue into the common stock; and the president and directors will take care that the aggregate amount be well applied. All these, and other wonderful improvements in ethics, religion, and literature, being made plain to my comprehension by the ingenious Mr. Smooth-it-away, inspired me with a vast admiration of Vanity Fair.
It would fill a volume, in this age of pamphlets, were I to record all my observations in this great capital of human business and pleasure. There was an unlimited range of society—the powerful, the wise, the witty and the famous in every walk of life—princes, presidents, poets, generals, artists, actors, and philanthropists, all making their own market at the Fair, and deeming no price too exorbitant for such commodities as met their fancy. It was well worth one's while, even if he had no idea of buying or selling, to loiter through the bazaars, and observe the various sorts of traffic that were going forward. Some of the purchasers, I thought, made very foolish bargains. For instance, a young man having inherited a splendid fortune, laid out a considerable portion of it in the purchase of diseases, and finally spent all the rest for a heavy lot of repentance and a suit of rags.—There was a sort of stock or scrip, called
Conscience, whch seemed to be in great demand, and would purchase almost any thing. Indeed, few rich commodities were to be obtained without paying a heavy sum in this particular stock, as a man's business was seldom very lucrative, unless he knew precisely when and how to throw his hoard of Conscience into the market. Yet as this stock was the only thing of permanent value, whoever parted with it was sure to find himself a loser, in the long run. Thousands sold their happiness for a whim. Gilded chains were in great demand, and purchased with almost any sacrifice. I observed, moreover, there were innumerable messes of pottage, for such as chose to buy them with their birth-rights. A few articles, however, could not be found genuine at Vanity Fair. If a customer wished to renew his stock of youth, the dealers offered him a set of false teeth and an auburn wig; if he demanded peace of mind, they recommended lively music, or the dance, or peradventure a draught of that most powerful sedative—Universalism—so called from the town before mentioned in which it is manufactured.
Tracts of land and golden mansions, situate in the Celestial City, were often exchanged, at very disadvantageous rates, for a few years' lease of small, dismal, inconvenient tenements in Vanity Fair.
While sojourning here, it was my privilege to listen to a course of eloquent lectures, delivered in the Rev. Mr. Bewilderment's church, by several of the most eminent divines of the place. Unlike the discourses I had been accustomed to hear, they were full of new ideas; indeed the improvements in theology are as great as those in any other science. The first lecture was by the pastor of the church himself, in which he proved that the Bible, although truly called a Revelation, is nevertheless an unrevealed revelation to man; and is designed mainly for the saints after they shall have been gathered home to glory—to scatter light in their path then whenever it may happen to be dark, and to comfort them whenever they may be afflicted, &c.
The second lecture was by the Rev. Bishop Facing-both-ways, who, after exhibiting the most satisfactory evidence that the true succession of the apostles had descended unbroken to him, turned to the prophecies and showed that they can never be understood till after accomplishment; and that the declaration of Christ, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that
it is near, even at the doors," was a slip of the tongue, owing
to the fact that he was speaking extemporaneously. Christ meant to say, that, after the event, they would see that it had been immediately preceded by other events such as he had just detailed. The Bishop took occasion from this to descant most eloquently upon the impropriety of preaching discourses without first writing them.
Rev. Dr. Spiritualizer delivered the third lecture, and took for his subject the millenium. I was peculiarly gratified in listening to
him; for he completely cleared up the apparent contradictions which had for a long time perplexed me. He treated the subject under three heads: 1. The church is soon to spread from shore to shore, and there shall be none for a thousand years to say know the Lord; for all shall know him from the least even to the greatest. 2.Yet, during all this while tares shall grow with the wheat, the tares being not men, but temptations, 3. All who live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution during the millenium as truly as at any other time, and when they enter the Celestial City, it will be said of all that these are they which came out of great tribulation. This tribulation, however, during the millenium will not be caused by wicked men, for all shall know the Lord; nor by Satan, for he will be bound; but by the Christians themselves, whose zeal will be so great that they will not overlook the infirmities of nature, but persecute one another on account of any foibles which each may possess; and the persecution will be so much the more difficult to bear, as coming from those who are fellow-travellers to glory.
The fourth lecture was by old Father Any-thing, on the resurrection, showing that each man receives a resurrection body when he dies, and that there is to be no general resurrection.
The fifth was on the Jews, by Rev. Mr. Two-tongues. He showed that while Gentile Christians are God's people, the Jews, although still unbelieving, are his peculiar people, and that the partition wall was not so completely broken down by Christ as to place the Gentile on a perfect footing with the Jew,——only to make salvation possible for him. Paul's words,
he said, were to be understood with great limitation.
Rev. Professor Shallow-deep took for the subject of the sixth lecture the 2300 days of Daniel. He contended that they were literal days; because history proves that the
rise and fall of the several great kingdoms did actually occur within so many literal days. He
was sorry to say that the historical records are not now extant, having been destroyed by Omar, when he burnt the Alexandrian library. This being the case, he contended that the Christian who attempts to number these 2300 days is as assuredly accursed, as the Jew who attempts to number the first 70 weeks of them.
The Rev. Dr. Neologian, in the seventh lecture, proved that the chronology of the Bible is uninspired; that God has designedly and wisely hidden from us the chronology of the world, and that the 2300 days, and many other portions of scripture making mention of time, are mere expletives, as every student skilful in biblical exegesis will allow.
The last lecture was by Rev. Mr. Stumble-at-truth, who showed that inasmuch as the world is yet in its infancy, nearly as much so as at the time of the flood, God, as a God of love, cannot destroy it now, and he should think not for at least three hundred and sixty thousand years to come.

Day after day, as I walked the streets of Vanity, my manners and deportment became more and more like those of the inhabitants.—The place began to seem like home; the idea of pursuing my travels to the Celestial City was almost obliterated from my mind. I was reminded of it, however, by the sight of the same pair of simple pilgrims at whom we laughed so heartily, when the conductor puffed smoke and steam into their faces, at the commencement of our journey. There they stood amid the densest bustle of Vanity—the dealers offering them their purple, and fine linen, and jewels ; the men of wit and humor gibing at them; the ladies ogling them askance; while the benevolent Mr. Smooth-it-away whispered some of his wisdom at their elbows, and pointed to a newly-erected temple,—but there were these worthy simpletons, making the scene look wild and monstrous, merely by their sturdy repudiation of all part in its business or pleasures. They did not seem to recognise me, as being the same person they had seen in the city of Destruction; and I did not introduce myself, from fear of being laughed at.
One of them, however—his name was Stick-to-the-right—perceived in my face, I suppose, a species of sympathy and almost admiration, which I could not help feeling for this strange couple.

"Sir," inquired he, with a sad, yet mild and kindly voice, "do you call yourself a pilgrim?"
"Yes," I replied. "I am merely a sojourner here in Vanity Fair, being bound to the Celestial City by the new rail-road."
"Alas, friend," rejoined Mr. Stick-to-the-right, I do assure you, and beseech you to receive the truth of my words, that whole concern is a bubble. Are we not told, to put on the whole armor of God, to carry the shield of faith, and to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel? Surely there can be no need of being thus equipped, if we can travel in a rail-road car. Therefore that cannot be the right way."
"The Lord of the Celestial City," began the other pilgrim, whose name was Mr. Go-the-old-way, "has refused, and will ever refuse, to grant an act of incorporation for this rail-road; and unless that be obtained, no passenger can ever hope to enter his dominions. Wherefore, every man who buys a ticket, must lay his account with losing the purchase money—which is the value of his own soul."
"Poh, nonsense!" said Mr. Smooth-it-away, taking my arm and leading me off, "these fellows are Millerites, and ought to be indicted for a libel. If the law stood as it once did in Vanity Fair, we should see them grinning through the iron bars of the prison window."
This incident made a considerable impression on my mind, and contributed with other circumstances to indispose me to a permanent residence in the city of Vanity; although, of course, I was not simple enough to give up my original plan of gliding along easily and commodiously by railroad. Still, I grew anxious to be gone. There was one strange thing that troubled me; amid the occupations or amusements of the fair, nothing was more common than for a person—whether at a feast, theatre, or church, or trafficking for wealth and honors, or whatever he might be doing, and however unseasonable the interruption—suddenly to vanish like a soap-bubble, and be never more seen of his fellows; and so accustomed were the latter to such little accidents, that they went on with their business, as quietly as if nothing had happened. But it was otherwise with me.
One day, moreover, I was met in the street by my old counsellor Evangelist, who accosted me thus: "Well, friend, are you pursuing the pilgrimage still, or have you taken up your abode here?" I told him that I came hither
by the rail-road, and expected soon to leave by the same mode of conveyance. "Were such" he said "the directions given in the parchment Roll I handed you?" I told him I had not consulted the Roll on this point; but had carefully locked it up for safe keeping, intending to read and examine it carefully
after I reached the Celestial City, where I should be able to study it without distraction. "Then," he said, "it will be of no use to you; for it contains directions how you are to travel thither, what to do on the road, and what not to do, so that the King shall give you a welcome within the city. Depend upon it, if you do not follow those directions, the gates will remain closed against you forever, and you will be with the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers, and whore-mongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars,' and with them 'shall have part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.'"
Perceiving that
I began to tremble, he handed me a slip of paper containing a few extracts from the Roll, which he urged me to write upon my heart. He also urged me to commence examining the Roll immediately, and to examine it carefully every day until I might reach the very gate of the city. Such he said, had been the course pursued by Humble-mind, Love-truth, Deny-self, and a host of others who had already been admitted within the gate; and only on such conditions could he promise me an entrance; and, so saying, he left me.
The writing on the paper was as follows:
"By the deeds of the law, shall no flesh living be justified, [but] surely he [even Christ] hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and
with his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all; [and] he that believeth [thus] shall be saved. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; whosoever will let him take the water of life freely. Repent, therefore, and be converted, [not doubting that,] God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. [Take heed.] He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.—[And Jesus said] Let not your heart
be troubled, for I will come again, and receive you unto myself; [but remember,] without holiness no man shall see the Lord [in peace.] [O be not of those who say,] My Lord delayeth his coming; [recollecting that] unto them that look for him [with desire] shall he appear the second time, without sin [a sin offering] unto salvation. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne."
I read the whole,, and read it over again, and again, and was thinking how simple and beautiful, how safe for man and every way worthy of God is the plan of salvation, and was just about to prostrate myself and say, Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief, when Messrs. Pride and
Smooth-it-away accosted me in haste, saying, "the car in which you came from the city of Destruction will leave this station in a few hours, and if you wish to resume the journey at this time, we shall be very happy in having your company." Without stopping to think, I thanked them, and said I also should be gratified, in having them for fellow passengers. Accordingly, laying aside the manuscript for the time being, I went to the station-house at the hour appointed, and took my seat in the car, where were Messrs. Pride and Smooth-it-away, and others of our old fellow passengers, besides Messrs. Blind-man, No-good, Live-loose, Heady, High-mind, Boasting, Love-self, Hate-light, Heedless, Formalist, Money-love, Evil-thoughts, Vain-confidence, Shame, Prejudice, Unbelief, and several others whose names it would be tedious to mention, all of whom had hitherto been residents of the town of Vanity.
During our long sojourn, the car had been repainted, carpeted anew, and ornamented with splendid engravings hung all around the inside, for the amusement of the passengers. Among these were some excellent caricatures; one of farmer Miller preaching in the big tent; another of the two pilgrims we had passed, as trudging along with such inexpressibly wo-be-gone countenances, and dressed off altogether in so old-fashioned and ridiculous a way, that none of us could help laughing at it. The man who painted this was indisputably a man of wit. But the best caricature of all was one representing the burning of the world. The subject was almost too solemn; but, as a caricature, the picture was inimitable.
In a convenient part of the car, also, a table had been placed loaded with entertaining works, among which f noticed Shakspeare, Scott's novels, a splendid edition of all the
writings of Boz, Dowling's Refutation, Moses Stuart's late work on the Prophecies, Whitby's Treatise on the Millenium, files of the New York Observer, New York Evangelist, and Christian Advocate and Journal, a Review of Channing on Slavery, republished in pamphlet form from the Biblical Repertory, Swedenborg on the last Judgment, the complete works of Lord Byron and of Thomas Moore, handsomely embellished with engravings, four sermons by Dr. Jarvis, Prof. Wayland's work on Moral Philosophy, and many other works of this stamp, some designed for Sunday and others for week-day reading.

At a short distance beyond the suburbs of Vanity, we passed the ancient silver-mine, of which Demas was the first discoverer, and which is now wrought to great advantage, supplying nearly all the coined currency of the world. A little further onward was the spot where Lot's wife had stood for ages, under the semblance of a pillar of salt. Curious travellers have carried it away piecemeal. Had all regrets been punished as rigorously as this poor woman's were, my yearning for the relinquished delights of Vanity Fair might have left me a similar warning to future pilgrims.
The next remarkable object was a large edifice, constructed of moss-grown stone—the castle of the redoubted giant Despair; and immediately adjoining it was another castle built in a modern and airy style of architecture. The engine came to a pause in its vicinity with the usual tremendous shriek.
"This," observed Mr. Smooth-it-away, is the castle of Mr. Flimsy-faith, who keeps an excellent house of entertainment here. It is one of our stopping places.
"It seems but slightly put together," remarked I, looking at the frail, yet ponderous walls. "I do not envy Mr. Flimsy-faith his habitation. Some day it will thunder down upon the heads of the occupants."
"We shall escape, at all events," said Mr. Smooth-it-away; for they are putting on the steam again."
The road now plunged into a gorge of the Delectable Mountains, and traversed the field where, in former ages, the blind men wandered and stumbled among the tombs. Far up the rugged side of a mountain, I perceived a rusty iron door, half overgrown with bushes and creeping plants, but with smoke issuing from its crevices.
"Is that," inquired I, "the very door in the hill-side,
which the shepherds assured Christian was a by-way to Hell?"
"That was a joke on the part of the shepherds," said Mr. Smooth-it-away, with a smile. "It is neither more nor less than the door of a cavern, which they use as a smoke-house.
My recollections of the journey are now, for a little space, dim and confused, inasmuch as a singular drowsiness here overcame me, owing to the fact that we were passing over the enchanted ground, the air of which encourages a disposition to sleep.
The rail-road here runs in quite a different direction from the foot path, so that, instead of entering the land of Beulah, we first passed through the province of Diabolia, where Adam the first has moved and opened a house of entertainment on the rail-road, kept by his three daughters, Lust-of-the-flesh, Lust-of-the-eye, and Pride-of-life. We also passed through the provinces of Carnality and Formality, in which we observed the flourishing towns of Mormonism, Love-gain, Community, Puseyism, Self-righteousness, and False-peace.
I examined Bunyan's road book again and again; but it
was very evident that we were on a different route, and were passing entirely different objects.
Every now and then strange sights were seen, which in spite
of Mr. Smooth-it-way's plausible explanations, still frightened some of us very much; such as the stars falling from heaven, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. Then an angel was seen flying through heaven, and saying with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come." At another time two anointed ones fluttered about our car, crying the second wo is past; and, behold, the third wo cometh quickly. Then again fearful sights in the heavens and in the earth alarmed us—blood and fire and pillars of smoke. At one of our stopping places, also, we heard a man expound the Book of Daniel, who said that not unto himself but unto us he did minister when he testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and of the glory that should follow. And then he spake of the everlasting kingdom, and of the burning flame, and of the 1260 days as having been completed, and of the 2300 and 1335 days as being just about to terminate; and he said, Consider the vision, consider the vision! At another stopping-place the Book of Revelation was
expounded by another person
, who said "Thus saith the King of kings and Lord of lords, Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be! Six angels have already sounded, and in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished." Moreover, through every town and village that we passed, we perceived that there was distress and perplexity; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. One town was called Scoffers-town. We perceived that here all sorts of sensualism appeared to be popular, and we were told by some from a neighboring village that evil men and seducers waxed worse and worse, at the same time that they went to church most punctually, and often made long and eloquent prayers. We stopped at this place for some time, when, to my great surprise, I beheld my faithful friend Evangelist approaching the station-house. His hoary head and benevolent countenance should have saved him from the gibes and ridicule of the multitude that followed him, but they appeared to be lost to all feeling—raging waves of the sea foaming out their own shame. He turned to us, and, opening his roll, read, "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming? But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also; and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Then, with an earnestness that I can never describe, he said, "Prepare to meet your God. The picture of the last days, drawn 1800 years ago, you now see verified in real life; and know hereby that you are in the last days. Why, having eyes, do you not see that Apollyon is the conductor of your car, and is leading you to wo? As you would not dwell with devouring fire, abandon this delusive route, and hasten yonder to that wicket gate and inquire for the old road, peradventure you may yet have time to run the race." Greatly startled by what Evangelist had said of our conductor, whom we had never before dreamed of as being the arch-fiend Apollyon, and also by his mention of the wicket gate, I looked in the direction towards which he pointed, and saw it was the very gate that Christian entered at the commencement of his pilgrimage. The rail-road, it seemed, did not lead to the
Celestial City
, but had a turn in it, by which we were already brought back almost to the City of Destruction.
The greater part of the passengers did not seem to be much displeased with the idea of returning to their native city
, or else they did not believe what Evangelist had said. But myself and a few others felt exceedingly indignant that we had been thus deceived; and, quitting the car, we resolved to commence a new journey on foot. Instead, however, of hurrying to the wicket gate, without delay, as Evangelist had urged us to do, some strange fatuity made us tarry where we were for the night, intending to move as soon as morning dawned. The morning came, but who shall describe it!!!—The earth reeling to and fro as a drunken man—the heavens above, black as sackcloth of hair, rolling away as a scroll—the great white throne and Him that sat upon it—the mighty trump pealing forth its dreadful note—angels flying in every direction to gather the wicked in bundles to burn them—the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth,—men calling on the rocks to fall on them and hide them! How I shrieked when that mighty angel laid his hand on me, and—!!!
My readers, perhaps, consider
the foregoing a "dream;" yet will I assure them it is a most perfect reality, saving merely the anticipation of the second personal coming of Christ, which there is reason to believe is just at hand. May the brief, cutting, but truly faithful description here given of the journey to the heavenly city by this most deceitful route, prove the saving of the soul to some who are about to take their seats in the car of Popular Profession. May they mark well the journey's direful close; and, choosing the good old path of Faith, Repentance and Holiness, be prepared for, and "love His appearing," (2 Tim. iv. 8) even as the Christian, Faithful, Hopeful disciples of the early days.
"For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek
a country . . . . a better country, that is an heavenly. Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city." Heb. xi. 14—16.




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