The Delectable Mountains was a wondrous sight indeed. Not only were there shepherds and sheep; there were also gardens, orchards, vineyeards, and fountains of pure water that was so clear that you could see the bottom. The Believers were very hungry and thirsty but they felt that they shouldn’t eat the fruit or drink the water without permission. One of the shepherds saw them and walked over:
“Hello, friends! Please help yourself to our finest food and drink as much as you like of the water. It is all a gift from Prince Emmanuel to weary pilgrims and travelers.”
“Thank you very much, Mr. Shepherd,” said Karen as she and the others went to satisfy their needs.
When they had picked all the fruit they had wanted and drank their fill of the pure water, the shepherd invited them to have their meal underneath the trees that overlooked the bright green pasture.
“Thank you for your hospitality,” said Pride.
“It is Prince Emmanuel’s pleasure that you find rest in the Delectable Mountains,” the shepherd replied smiling.
As they ate their food a little lamb trotted over to them. They gave it some of their fruit and petted it gently. The lamb sat next to them like a tame dog. When they were done eating, the shepherd, whose name was Vigilance introduced them to the other shepherds and then gave them a tour of the mountains. The little lamb followed close behind them.
Vigilance told them about the love of Prince Emmanuel and how He was like a shepherd with His people. He would always lead them in the paths of righteousness and watch over them with His caring eyes. And if one of His dear ones should go astray, He would go to search for them and bring them back to His fold. And if they were in danger, He would rescue them by His providence and Word.
“Just like what He did with us when we left the Narrow Path and nearly got caught by Despair the Giant,” said Little Faith. “If it wasn’t for Karen and her Lantern, we would be in Doubting Castle by now and who knows what that brute would have done with us.”
Karen grinned. Though she was in a different time and away from Eddy, she could see that the Good King had a reason for her being where she was. There is no time or place where a Lightbearer can’t be of use to His Majesty’s will. Her grand thoughts were soon interrupted by a moan.
“Who’s moaning?” she asked Watchful.
The others heard it too.
“Sounds like someone is hurt. Let’s go help him!” said Pride.
Vigilance stopped her. “Alas, dear, there is nothing we can do.”
“What do you mean? If someone is hurt we should do something to help!” Pride said, surprised that the shepherd seemed indifferent to the pitiful sound.
Vigilance explained to Pride that they were on top of a mountain called Caution and down below it was a valley filled with people who had turned from the Narrow Path. These poor souls were once captured by Despair and the giant had put their eyes out so that they could no longer see. They were doomed to wander among the tombstones of the valley forever because of their disobedience and unbelief.
The Believers’ hearts were full of pity for these people. “Is there no one who can help these poor things?” Karen asked.
“Only Prince Emmanuel can save them from their condition. But they don’t call out to Him because they think that He can’t help them. If they believed He could they would be free of this torture that the wretched giant put them through.” Vigilance answered.
Karen said a silent prayer for the people. Maybe her prayers could make a difference for them.
“What a mercy that it isn’t us who are wondering among the tombstones of that valley!” said Little Faith dreading the thought of losing his own eyes.
“He sure is being a Good Shepherd to us,” said Pride recalling the lesson that Vigilance had given them. “I sure am going to thank Him a million times for the ways He has saved us on our journey when we reach the Celestial City!”
“Are we close to the Celestial City, Vigilance?” Little Faith asked him.
The shepherd handed him a telescope. “Look through this friend and you will see.”
Little Faith looked into the telescope and his expression became one of great joy. “We are closer to it then before! Hallelujah!”
Pride asked if she could see and Little Faith handed the telescope to her. She looked into it and said, “I see angels waving. They look so happy and eager to welcome us to the Kingdom.” Tears filled her eyes. “The fact that they want a sinner like me to join them is so wonderful to me,” she choked.
“We are all sinners, Pride,” said Little Faith. “The fact that Prince Emmanuel gave His life for us so that we could be with Him is truly wondrous.”
Pride then handed the telescope to Karen. She saw the same things that her friends beheld. She wondered if maybe Eddy was inside the Celestial City with the Good King and His angels. If he was, what a wonderful time he must be having! She then handed the telescope back to Vigilance.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Yes, thank you,” said Pride and Little Faith.
Vigilance was glad that the Believers had found blessings in what they saw. “Remember what you have seen as you travel on. The images will strengthen you when you are tempted to give up. You are almost home.”
Soon it was time for them to leave the Delectable Mountains. They petted the little lamb one last time and then said goodbye to the shepherds.
Apollyon watched them from a distance. He couldn’t attack them because the mountains they were on were holy ground. But now that they were continuing on their journey he could try to get them again. He knew that this would be his last chance. And if he failed, three more souls would live in eternal bliss. He clenched his teeth when he pictured them with Prince Emmanuel and the angels.
“I’ll make sure that they never set foot in that heavenly land!” he said in a deep growl.
He then flew down and carved a picture of Karen, Pride, and Little Faith on a tree with his claws. Then he breathed fire and watched in glee as the carved picture and the tree burned up.
“You three will not live to see Prince Emmanuel’s face! You will be nothing but ashes when I get through with you! Ha ha ha ha!” he cackled.
To Be Continued