Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 423
Christian and Hopeful finally make it through the Enchanted Ground and enter the Country of Beulah, where the air is sweet and pleasant. The sun shines day and night; this land is beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death and beyond the reach of the Giant Despair. The Shining Ones continually walk about because it is close to the Celestial City.
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As the pilgrims approach the Celestial City, they see that it is built of pearls and precious stones, and the streets are paved with gold. Christian and Hopeful feel sick with desire for the city.
A gardener tells them that the vineyards belong to the King and are planted for the solace of all pilgrims who approach the city. They sleep in the vineyards, talking in their sleep.
When they awaken, they prepare to enter the city. They come to a river, which they are told they must cross to reach the gates. They are warned that it is shallow or deep depending on their belief in the King.
Christian and Hopeful enter the river; Christian finds it deep, though to Hopeful it is shallow. Christian struggles to cross, being reminded of all his failures and struggles, seeing visions of hobgoblins and evil spirits. Hopeful holds his head above water and reminds him to look to Jesus. Christian does so and is suddenly able to reach the other side.
The pilgrims find that their mortal garments have been washed away in their river. Although the city is on a hill, they have no earthly weights to hold them back. They hear the voices of the heavenly host inside. They are surrounded by the residents of the city and enter the gates, clothed in gold and glory, with crowns on their heads and harps in their hands.
Ignorance soon follows close behind Christian and Hopeful. When he comes to the gates, he knocks, expecting to be allowed entrance. He is asked for certificate such as was given to Christian at the Wicket Gate, without which he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Ignorance has no certificate, sure of his own efforts and understanding to make him worthy of being included in the Celestial City. Finding that he is without a certificate, the Shining Ones conduct him to a door that is by the city gate. This door leads him to the gates of Hell.
The narrator then awakens and realizes that he was dreaming. He urges the reader to interpret without focusing on the surface story but searching for the inner meaning.