With the assistance of the devil’s staff, Goodman Brown continues to fly through the forest until he comes upon a clearing where the surrounding trees are on fire. He hears a familiar hymn from his village transform into a haunting cry blending the voices of people and the sounds of the wilderness. Goodman Brown cries out as well, but his sound blends in with the rest. As the cry dies out, he boldly steps to the edge of the clearing to see a large, altar-like rock surrounded by four trees burning like candles, the tops aflame but the bottoms intact. He also looks around and observes the congregation that has gathered, identifying many women, honorable members of his community, and known sinners. Goodman Brown cannot find Faith among them, however, and this gives him hope that perhaps his initial suspicions were wrong.
The members of the congregation continue to sing dark, mournful hymns about how everyone can sin. Once the music finally reaches its end, the trees around the rock begin to burn even brighter, a ring of fire bursts forth over the altar, and a figure appears above it all. A voice instructs the congregation to “bring forth the converts,” and Goodman Brown emerges from the trees and approaches the congregation. He believes that he sees the shape of his father beckon him forward while a woman, possibly his mother, begs him to turn away. Deacon Gookin and the minister grab a hold of him while Goody Cloyse and Martha Carrier bring a veiled woman into the center of the clearing.
The dark figure above the altar welcomes Goodman Brown and the veiled woman, telling them that they have found their destiny. The identities of the congregation become clear and, as the devil explains, they will soon learn the dark secrets of those they once believed to be pure of heart. They all belong to the devil’s assembly, and they cannot resist the temptations of evil. When the devil finally instructs the converts to look at each other, Goodman Brown turns to see his beloved Faith standing before the altar. Both the devil and the congregation at large welcome the pair, but the husband and wife both hesitate to accept the notion that evil is the basis of human nature. As he gazes at his wife, Goodman Brown cries out to her and tells her to resist the devil by gazing up to heaven.
At that moment, Goodman Brown finds himself alone in the calm nighttime air of the forest. Not knowing whether Faith listened to him, he despairingly staggers over to a nearby rock to collect himself. The next morning, Goodman Brown returns to Salem Village, still haunted by the events of the night before. He sees the minister and rejects his blessing, questions what God Deacon Gookin really prays to, and pulls a little girl away from Goody Cloyse as she attempts to catechize her. Goodman Brown even rejects Faith as she attempts to joyfully welcome him home. Even if the devil’s congregation in the forest had been a mere dream, the visions he saw ultimately change Goodman Brown’s perspective forever. His suspicions cause him to become an outsider living a lonely, gloomy life. Even when he dies, no holy verse appears on his tomb.