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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 1
An Advertisement to the Reader | Index | The Holy War - Part 2

A RELATION OF THE HOLY WAR.

PART ONE

IN my travels, as I walked through many regions and countries, it was my chance to happen into that famous continent of Universe. A very large and spacious country it is: it lieth between the two poles, and just amidst the four points of the heavens. It is a place well watered, and richly adorned with hills and valleys, bravely situate, and for the most part, at least where I was, very fruitful, also well peopled, and a very sweet air.

The people are not all of one complexion, nor yet of one language, mode, or way of religion, but differ as much as, it is said, do the planets themselves. Some are right, and some are wrong, even as it happeneth to be in lesser regions.

In this country, as I said, it was my lot to travel; and there travel I did, and that so long, even till I learned much of their mother tongue, together with the customs and manners of them among whom I was. And, to speak truth, I was much delighted to see and hear many things which I saw and heard among them; yea, I had, to be sure, even lived and died a native among them, (so was I taken with them and their doings,) had not my master sent for me home to his house, there to do business for him, and to oversee business done.

Now there is in this gallant country of Universe a fair and delicate town, a corporation called Mansoul; a town for its building so curious, for its situation so commodious, for its privileges so advantageous, (I mean with reference to its origin,) that I may say of it, as was said before of the continent in which it is placed, There is not its equal under the whole heaven.

As to the situation of this town, it lieth just between the two worlds; and the first founder and builder of it, so far as by the best and most authentic records I can gather, was one Shaddai; and he built it for his own delight. He made it the mirror and glory of all that he made, even the top-piece, beyond anything else that he did in that country. Yea, so goodly a town was Mansoul when first built, that it is said by some, the gods, at the setting up thereof, came down to see it, and sang for joy. And as he made it goodly to behold, so also mighty to have dominion over all the country round about. Yea, all were commanded to acknowledge Mansoul for their metropolitan, all were enjoined to do homage to it. Aye, the town itself had positive commission and power from her King to demand service of all, and also to subdue any that anyways denied to do it.

There was reared up in the midst of this town a most famous and stately palace; for strength, it might be called a castle; for pleasantness, a paradise; for largeness, a place so copious as to contain all the world. This place the King Shaddai intended but for himself alone, and not another with him; partly because of his own delights, and partly because he would not that the terror of strangers should be upon the town. This place Shaddai made also a garrison of, but committed the keeping of it only to the men of the town.

The walls of the town were well built, yea, so fast and firm were they knit and compact together, that, had it not been for the townsmen themselves, they could not have been shaken or broken for ever. For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that builded Mansoul, that the walls could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse potentate, unless the townsmen gave consent thereto.

This famous town of Mansoul had five gates, in at which to come, out at which to go; and these were made likewise answerable to the walls, to wit, impregnable, and such as could never be opened nor forced but by the will and leave of those within. The names of the gates were these: Ear-gate, Eye-gate, Mouth-gate, Nose-gate, and Feel-gate.

Other things there were that belonged to the town of Mansoul, which if you adjoin to these, will yet give farther demonstration to all, of the glory and strength of the place. It had always a sufficiency of provision within its walls; it had the best, most wholesome, and excellent law that then was extant in the world. There was not a rascal, rogue, or traitorous person then within its walls; they were all true men, and fast joined together; and this, you know, is a great matter. And to all these, it had always (so long as it had the goodness to keep true to Shaddai the King) his countenance, his protection, and it was his delight, etc.

Well, upon a time, there was one Diabolus, a mighty giant, made an assault upon this famous town of Mansoul, to take it, and make it his own habitation. This giant was king of the blacks, and a most raving prince he was. We will, if you please, first discourse of the origin of this Diabolus, and then of his taking of this famous town of Mansoul.

This Diabolus is indeed a great and mighty prince, and yet both poor and beggarly. As to his origin, he was at first one of the servants of King Shaddai, made, and taken, and put by him into most high and mighty place; yea, was put into such principalities as belonged to the best of his territories and dominions. This Diabolus was made 'son of the morning,' and a brave place he had of it: it brought him much glory, and gave him much brightness, an income that might have contented his Luciferian heart, had it not been insatiable, and enlarged as hell itself.

Well, he seeing himself thus exalted to greatness and honour, and raging in his mind for higher state and degree, what doth he but begins to think with himself how he might be set up as lord over all, and have the sole power under Shaddai. (Now that did the King reserve for his Son, yea, and had already bestowed it upon him.) Wherefore he first consults with himself what had best to be done; and then breaks his mind to some other of his companions, to the which they also agreed. So, in fine, they came to this issue that they should make an attempt upon the King's Son to destroy him, that the inheritance might be theirs. Well, to be short, the treason, as I said, was concluded, the time appointed, the word given, the rebels rendezvoused, and the assault attempted. Now the King and his Son being all and always eye, could not but discern all passages in his dominions; and he, having always love for his Son as for himself, could not at what he saw but be greatly provoked and offended: wherefore what does he, but takes them in the very nick and first trip that they made towards their design, convicts them of the treason, horrid rebellion, and conspiracy that they had devised, and now attempted to put into practice, and casts them altogether out of all place of trust, benefit, honour, and preferment. This done, he banishes them the court, turns them down into the horrible pits, as fast bound in chains, never more to expect the least favour from his hands, but to abide the judgment that he had appointed, and that for ever.

Now they being thus cast out of all place of trust, profit, and honour, and also knowing that they had lost their prince's favour for ever, (being banished his court, and cast down to the horrible pits,) you may he sure they would now add to their former pride what malice and rage against Shaddai, and against his Son, they could. Wherefore, roving and ranging in much fury from place to place, if, perhaps, they might find something that was the King's, by spoiling of that, to revenge themselves on him; at last they happened into this spacious country of Universe, and steer their course towards the town of Mansoul; and considering that that town was one of the chief works and delights of King Shaddai, what do they but, after counsel taken, make an assault upon that. I say, they knew that Mansoul belonged unto Shaddai; for they were there when he built it and beautified it for himself. So when they had found the place, they shouted horribly for joy, and roared on it as a lion upon the prey, saying, 'Now we have found the prize, and how to be revenged on King Shaddai for what he hath done to us.' So they sat down and called a council of war, and considered with themselves what ways and methods they had best to engage in for the winning to themselves this famous town of Mansoul, and these four things were then propounded to be considered of.

First. Whether they had best all of them to show themselves in this design to the town of Mansoul.

Secondly. Whether they had best to go and sit down against Mansoul in their now ragged and beggarly guise.

Thirdly. Whether they had best show to Mansoul their intentions, and what design they came about, or whether to assault it with words and ways of deceit.

Fourthly. Whether they had not best to some of their companions to give out private orders to take the advantage, if they see one or more of the principal townsmen, to shoot them, if thereby they shall judge their cause and design will the better be promoted.

1. It was answered to the first of these proposals in the negative, to wit, that it would not be best that all should show themselves before the town, because the appearance of many of them might alarm and frighten the town; whereas a few or but one of them was not so likely to do it. And to enforce this advice to take place it was added further, that if Mansoul was frighted, or did take the alarm, 'It is impossible,' said Diabolus (for he spake now), 'that we should take the town: for that none can enter into it without its own consent. Let, therefore, but few, or but one, assault Mansoul; and in mine opinion,' said Diabolus, 'let me be he.' Wherefore to this they all agreed.

2. And then to the second proposal they came, namely, Whether they had best go and sit down before Mansoul in their now ragged and beggarly guise. To which it was answered also in the negative, By no means; and that because, though the town of Mansoul had been made to know, and to have to do, before now, with things that are invisible, they did never as yet see any of their fellow-creatures in so sad and rascally condition as they; and this was the advice of that fierce Alecto. Then said Apollyon, 'The advice is pertinent; for even one of us appearing to them as we are now, must needs both beget and multiply such thoughts in them as will both put them into a consternation of spirit, and necessitate them to put themselves upon their guard. And if so,' said he, 'then, as my Lord Diabolus said but now, it is in vain for us to think of taking the town.' Then said that mighty giant Beelzebub, 'The advice that already is given is safe; for though the men of Mansoul have seen such things as we once were, yet hitherto they did never behold such things as we now are; and it is best, in mine opinion, to come upon them in such a guise as is common to, and most familiar among them.' To this, when they had consented, the next thing to be considered was, in what shape, hue, or guise Diabolus had best to show himself when he went about to make Mansoul his own. Then one said one thing, and another the contrary. At last Lucifer answered, that, in his opinion, it was best that his lordship should assume the body of some of those creatures that they of the town had dominion over; 'for,' quoth he, 'these are not only familiar to them, but, being under them, they will never imagine that an attempt should by them be made upon the town; and, to blind all, let him assume the body of one of those beasts that Mansoul deems to be wiser than any of the rest.' This advice was applauded of all: so it was determined that the giant Diabolus should assume the dragon, for that he was in those days as familiar with the town of Mansoul as now is the bird with the boy; for nothing that was in its primitive state was at all amazing to them. Then they proceeded to the third thing, which was:

3. Whether they had best to show their intentions, or the design of his coming, to Mansoul, or no. This also was answered in the negative, because of the weight that was in the former reasons, to wit, for that Mansoul were a strong people, a strong people in a strong town, whose wall and gates were impregnable, (to say nothing of their castle,) nor can they by any means be won but by their own consent. 'Besides,' said Legion, (for he gave answer to this,) 'a discovery of our intentions may make them send to their king for aid; and if that be done, I know quickly what time of day it will be with us. Therefore let us assault them in all pretended fairness, covering our intentions with all manner of lies, flatteries, delusive words; feigning things that never will be, and promising that to them that they shall never find. This is the way to win Mansoul, and to make them of themselves open their gates to us; yea, and to desire us too to come in to them. And the reason why I think that this project will do is, because the people of Mansoul now are, every one, simple and innocent, all honest and true; nor do they as yet know what it is to be assaulted with fraud, guile, and hypocrisy. They are strangers to lying and dissembling lips; wherefore we cannot, if thus we be disguised, by them at all be discerned; our lies shall go for true sayings, and our dissimulations for upright dealings. What we promise them they will in that believe us, especially if, in all our lies and feigned words, we pretend great love to them, and that our design is only their advantage and honour.' Now there was not one bit of a reply against this; this went as current down as doth the water down a steep descent. Wherefore they go to consider of the last proposal, which was:

4. Whether they had not best to give out orders to some of their company to shoot some one or more of the principal of the townsmen, if they judge that their cause may be promoted thereby. This was carried in the affirmative, and the man that was designed by this stratagem to be destroyed was one Mr. Resistance, otherwise called Captain Resistance. And a great man in Mansoul this Captain Resistance was, and a man that the giant Diabolus and his band more feared than they feared the whole town of Mansoul besides. Now who should be the actor to do the murder? That was the next, and they appointed one Tisiphone, a fury of the lake, to do it.

They thus having ended their council of war, rose up, and essayed to do as they had determined; they marched towards Mansoul, but all in a manner invisible, save one, only one; nor did he approach the town in his own likeness, but under the shade and in the body of the dragon.

So they drew up and sat down before Ear-gate, for that was the place of hearing for all without the town, as Eye-gate was the place of perspection. So, as I said, he came up with his train to the gate, and laid his ambuscado for Captain Resistance within bow-shot of the town. This done, the giant ascended up close to the gate, and called to the town of Mansoul for audience. Nor took he any with him but one Ill- pause, who was his orator in all difficult matters. Now, as I said, he being come up to the gate, (as the manner of those times was,) sounded his trumpet for audience; at which the chief of the town of Mansoul, such as my Lord Innocent, my Lord Willbewill, my Lord Mayor, Mr. Recorder, and Captain Resistance, came down to the wall to see who was there, and what was the matter. And my Lord Willbewill, when he had looked over and saw who stood at the gate, demanded what he was, wherefore he was come, and why he roused the town of Mansoul with so unusual a sound.

Diabolus, then, as if he had been a lamb, began his oration, and said: 'Gentlemen of the famous town of Mansoul, I am, as you may perceive, no far dweller from you, but near, and one that is bound by the king to do you my homage and what service I can; wherefore, that I may be faithful to myself and to you, I have somewhat of concern to impart unto you. Wherefore, grant me your audience, and hear me patiently. And first, I will assure you, it is not myself, but you - not mine, but your advantage that I seek by what I now do, as will full well be made manifest, by that I have opened my mind unto you. For, gentlemen, I am (to tell you the truth) come to show you how you may obtain great and ample deliverance from a bondage that, unawares to yourselves, you are captivated and enslaved under.' At this the town of Mansoul began to prick up its ears. And 'What is it? Pray what is it?' thought they. And he said, 'I have somewhat to say to you concerning your King, concerning his law, and also touching yourselves. Touching your King, I know he is great and potent; but yet all that he hath said to you is neither true nor yet for your advantage. 1. It is not true, for that wherewith he hath hitherto awed you, shall not come to pass, nor be fulfilled, though you do the thing that he hath forbidden. But if there was danger, what a slavery is it to live always in fear of the greatest of punishments, for doing so small and trivial a thing as eating of a little fruit is. 2. Touching his laws, this I say further, they are both unreasonable, intricate, and intolerable. Unreasonable, as was hinted before; for that the punishment is not proportioned to the offence: there is great difference and disproportion between the life and an apple; yet the one must go for the other by the law of your Shaddai. But it is also intricate, in that he saith, first, you may eat of all; and yet after forbids the eating of one. And then, in the last place, it must needs be intolerable, forasmuch as that fruit which you are forbidden to eat of (if you are forbidden any) is that, and that alone, which is able, by your eating, to minister to you a good as yet unknown by you. This is manifest by the very name of the tree; it is called the "tree of knowledge of good and evil;" and have you that knowledge as yet? No, no; nor can you conceive how good, how pleasant, and how much to be desired to make one wise it is, so long as you stand by your King's commandment. Why should you be holden in ignorance and blindness? Why should you not be enlarged in knowledge and understanding? And now, O ye inhabitants of the famous town of Mansoul, to speak more particularly to yourselves you are not a free people! You are kept both in bondage and slavery, and that by a grievous threat; no reason being annexed but, "So I will have it; so it shall be." And is it not grievous to think on, that that very thing which you are forbidden to do might you but do it, would yield you both wisdom and honour? for then your eyes will be opened, and you shall be as gods. Now, since this is thus,' quoth he, 'can you be kept by any prince in more slavery and in greater bondage than you are under this day? You are made underlings, and are wrapped up in inconveniences, as I have well made appear. For what bondage greater than to be kept in blindness? Will not reason tell you that it is better to have eyes than to be without them? and so to be at liberty to be better than to be shut up in a dark and stinking cave?'

And just now, while Diabolus was speaking these words to Mansoul, Tisiphone shot at Captain Resistance, where he stood on the gate, and mortally wounded him in the head; so that he, to the amazement of the townsmen, and the encouragement of Diabolus, fell down dead quite over the wall. Now, when Captain Resistance was dead, (and he was the only man of war in the town,) poor Mansoul was wholly left naked of courage, nor had she now any heart to resist. But this was as the devil would have it. Then stood forth he, Mr. Ill-pause, that Diabolus brought with him, who was his orator; and he addressed himself to speak to the town of Mansoul; the tenour of whose speech here follows:-

'Gentlemen,' quoth he, 'it is my master's happiness that he has this day a quiet and teachable auditory; and it is hoped by us that we shall prevail with you not to cast off good advice. My master has a very great love for you; and although, as he very well knows, that he runs the hazard of the anger of King Shaddai, yet love to you will make him do more than that. Nor doth there need that a word more should be spoken to confirm for truth what he hath said; there is not a word but carries with it self-evidence in its bowels; the very name of the tree may put an end to all controversy in this matter. I therefore, at this time, shall only add this advice to you, under and by the leave of my lord;' (and with that he made Diabolus a very low congee;) 'consider his words, look on the tree and the promising fruit thereof; remember also that yet you know but little, and that this is the way to know more: and if your reasons be not conquered to accept of such good counsel, you are not the men that I took you to be.'

But when the townsfolk saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eye, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, they did as old Ill-pause advised; they took and did eat thereof. Now this I should have told you before, that even then, when this Ill-pause was making his speech to the townsmen, my Lord Innocency (whether by a shot from the camp of the giant, or from some sinking qualm that suddenly took him, or whether by the stinking breath of that treacherous villain old Ill-pause, for so I am most apt to think) sunk down in the place where he stood, nor could be brought to life again. Thus these two brave men died - brave men, I call them; for they were the beauty and glory of Mansoul, so long as they lived therein; nor did there now remain any more a noble spirit in Mansoul; they all fell down and yielded obedience to Diabolus; and became his slaves and vassals, as you shall hear.

Now these being dead, what do the rest of the townsfolk, but, as men that had found a fool's paradise, they presently, as afore was hinted, fall to prove the truth of the giant's words. And, first, they did as Ill-pause had taught them; they looked, they considered they were taken with the forbidden fruit; they took thereof, and did eat; and having eaten, they became immediately drunken therewith. So they open the gate, both Ear-gate and Eye-gate, and let in Diabolus with all his bands, quite forgetting their good Shaddai, his law, and the judgment that he had annexed, with solemn threatening, to the breach thereof.

Diabolus, having now obtained entrance in at the gates of the town, marches up to the middle thereof, to make his conquest as sure as he could; and finding, by this time, the affections of the people warmly inclining to him, he, as thinking it was best striking while the iron is hot, made this further deceivable speech unto them, saying, 'Alas, my poor Mansoul! I have done thee indeed this service, as to promote thee to honour, and to greaten thy liberty; but, alas! alas! poor Mansoul, thou wantest now one to defend thee; for assure thyself that when Shaddai shall hear what is done, he will come; for sorry will he be that thou hast broken his bonds, and cast his cords away from thee. What wilt thou do? Wilt thou, after enlargement, suffer thy privileges to be invaded and taken away, or what wilt resolve with thyself?'

Then they all with one consent said to this bramble, 'Do thou reign over us.' So he accepted the motion, and became the king of the town of Mansoul. This being done, the next thing was to give him possession of the castle, and so of the whole strength of the town. Wherefore, into the castle he goes; it was that which Shaddai built in Mansoul for his own delight and pleasure; this now was become a den and hold for the giant Diabolus.

Now, having got possession of this stately palace or castle, what doth he but makes it a garrison for himself, and strengthens and fortifies it with all sorts of provision, against the King Shaddai, or those that should endeavour the regaining of it to him and his obedience again.

This done, but not thinking himself yet secure enough, in the next place he bethinks himself of new modelling the town; and so he does, setting up one, and putting down another at pleasure. Wherefore my Lord Mayor, whose name was my Lord Understanding, and Mr. Recorder, whose name was Mr. Conscience, these he put out of place and power.

As for my Lord Mayor, though he was an understanding man, and one too that had complied with the rest of the town of Mansoul in admitting the giant into the town, yet Diabolus thought not fit to let him abide in his former lustre and glory, because he was a seeing man. Wherefore he darkened him, not only by taking from him his office and power, but by building a high and strong tower, just between the sun's reflections and the windows of my lord's palace; by which means his house and all, and the whole of his habitation, were made as dark as darkness itself. And thus, being alienated from the light, he became as one that was born blind. To this, his house, my lord was confined as to a prison; nor might he, upon his parole, go farther than within his own bounds. And now, had he had a heart to do for Mansoul, what could he do for it, or wherein could he be profitable to her? So then, so long as Mansoul was under the power and government of Diabolus, (and so long it was under him, as it was obedient to him, which was even until by a war it was rescued out of his hand,) so long my Lord Mayor was rather an impediment in, than an advantage to the famous town of Mansoul.

As for Mr. Recorder, before the town was taken, he was a man well read in the laws of his king, and also a man of courage and faithfulness to speak truth at every occasion; and he had a tongue as bravely hung as he had a head filled with judgment. Now, this man Diabolus could by no means abide, because, though he gave his consent to his coming into the town, yet he could not, by all the wiles, trials, stratagems, and devices that he could use, make him wholly his own. True, he was much degenerated from his former king, and also much pleased with many of the giant's laws and service; but all this would not do, forasmuch as he was not wholly his. He would now and then think upon Shaddai, and have dread of his law upon him, and then he would speak against Diabolus with a voice as great as when a lion roareth. Yea, and would also at certain times, when his fits were upon him, (for you must know that sometimes he had terrible fits,) make the whole town of Mansoul shake with his voice: and therefore the now king of Mansoul could not abide him.

Diabolus, therefore, feared the Recorder more than any that was left alive in the town of Mansoul, because, as I said, his words did shake the whole town; they were like the rattling thunder, and also like thunder-claps. Since, therefore, the giant could not make him wholly his own, what doth he do but studies all that he could to debauch the old gentleman, and by debauchery to stupefy his mind, and more harden his heart in the ways of vanity. And as he attempted, so he accomplished his design: he debauched the man, and by little and little so drew him into sin and wickedness, that at last he was not only debauched, as at first, and so by consequence defiled, but was almost (at last, I say) past all conscience of sin. And this was the farthest Diabolus could go. Wherefore he bethinks him of another project, and that was, to persuade the men of the town that Mr. Recorder was mad, and so not to be regarded. And for this he urged his fits, and said, 'If he be himself, why doth he not do thus always? But,' quoth he, 'as all mad folks have their fits, and in them their raving language, so hath this old and doating gentleman.'

An Advertisement to the Reader | Index | The Holy War - Part 2




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