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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 3
The Holy War - Part 2 | Index | The Holy War - Part 4

A RELATION OF THE HOLY WAR.

PART THREE

Now this he did for these reasons:-

1. That the town of Mansoul might be yet made weaker and weaker, and so more unable, should tidings come that their redemption was designed, to believe, hope, or consent to the truth thereof; for reason says, The bigger the sinner, the less grounds of hopes of mercy.

2. The second reason was, if perhaps Emmanuel, the Son of Shaddai their King, by seeing the horrible and profane doings of the town of Mansoul, might repent, though entered into a covenant of redeeming them, of pursuing that covenant of their redemption; for he knew that Shaddai was holy, and that his Son Emmanuel was holy; yea, he knew it by woeful experience, for for his iniquity and sin was Diabolus cast from the highest orbs. Wherefore what more rational than for him to conclude that thus, for sin, it might fare with Mansoul? But fearing also lest this knot should break, he bethinks himself of another, to wit:-

Fourthly. To endeavour to possess all hearts in the town of Mansoul that Shaddai was raising an army, to come to overthrow and utterly to destroy this town of Mansoul. And this he did to forestall any tidings that might come to their ears of their deliverance: 'For,' thought he, 'if I first bruit this, the tidings that shall come after will all be swallowed up of this; for what else will Mansoul say, when they shall hear that they must be delivered, but that the true meaning is, Shaddai intends to destroy them? Wherefore he summons the whole town into the market-place, and there, with deceitful tongue, thus he addressed himself unto them:-

'Gentlemen, and my very good friends, you are all, as you know, my legal subjects, and men of the famous town of Mansoul. You know how, from the first day that I have been with you until now, I have behaved myself among you, and what liberty and great privileges you have enjoyed under my government, I hope to your honour and mine, and also to your content and delight. Now, my famous Mansoul, a noise of trouble there is abroad, of trouble to the town of Mansoul; sorry I am thereof for your sakes: for I received but now by the post from my Lord Lucifer, (and he useth to have good intelligence,) that your old King Shaddai is raising an army to come against you, to destroy you root and branch; and this, O Mansoul, is now the cause that at this time I have called you together, namely, to advise what in this juncture is best to be done. For my part, I am but one, and can with ease shift for myself, did I list to seek my own case, and to leave my Mansoul in all the danger; but my heart is so firmly united to you, and so unwilling am I to leave you, that I am willing to stand and fall with you, to the utmost hazard that shall befall me. What say you, O my Mansoul? Will you now desert your old friend, or do you think of standing by me?'

Then, as one man, with one mouth, they cried out together, 'Let him die the death that will not.'

Then said Diabolus again, 'It is in vain for us to hope for quarter, for this King knows not how to show it. True, perhaps, he, at his first sitting down before us, will talk of and pretend to mercy, that thereby, with the more ease, and less trouble, he may again make himself the master of Mansoul. Whatever, therefore, he shall say, believe not one syllable or tittle of it; for all such language is but to overcome us, and to make us, while we wallow in our blood, the trophies of his merciless victory. My mind is, therefore, that we resolve to the last man to resist him, and not to believe him upon any terms, for in at that door will come our danger. But shall we be flattered out of our lives? I hope you know more of the rudiments of politics than to suffer yourselves so pitifully to be served.

'But suppose he should, if he get us to yield, save some of our lives, or the lives of some of them that are underlings in Mansoul, what help will that be to you that are the chief of the town, especially you whom I have set up and whose greatness has been procured by you through your faithful sticking to me? And suppose, again, that he should give quarter to every one of you, be sure he will bring you into that bondage under which you were captivated before, or a worse, and then what good will your lives do you? Shall you with him live in pleasure as you do now? No, no; you must be bound by laws that will pinch you, and be made to do that which at present is hateful to you. I am for you, if you are for me; and it is better to die valiantly than to live like pitiful slaves. But, I say, the life of a slave will be counted a life too good for Mansoul now. Blood, blood, nothing but blood is in every blast of Shaddai's trumpet against poor Mansoul now. Pray, be concerned; I hear he is coming. Up, and stand to your arms that now, while you have any leisure, I may learn you some feats of war. Armour for you I have, and by me it is; yea, and it is sufficient for Mansoul from top to toe; nor can you be hurt by what his force can do, if you shall keep it well girt and fastened about you. Come, therefore, to my castle, and welcome, and harness yourselves for the war. There is helmet, breastplate, sword, and shield, and what not, that will make you fight like men.

'1. My helmet, otherwise called an head-piece, is in hope of doing well at last, what lives soever you live. This is that which they had who said, that they should have peace, though they walked in the wickedness of their heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. A piece of approved armour this is, and whoever has it, and can hold it, so long no arrow, dart, sword, or shield can hurt him. This, therefore, keep on, and thou wilt keep off many a blow, my Mansoul.

'2. My breastplate is a breastplate of iron. I had it forged in mine own country, and all my soldiers are armed therewith. In plain language, it is a hard heart, a heart as hard as iron, and as much past feeling as a stone; the which if you get and keep, neither mercy shall win you, nor judgment fright you. This therefore, is a piece of armour most necessary for all to put on that hate Shaddai, and that would fight against him under my banner.

'3. My sword is a tongue that is set on fire of hell, and that can bend itself to speak evil of Shaddai, his Son, his ways, and people. Use this; it has been tried a thousand times twice told. Whoever hath it, keeps it, and makes that use of it as I would have him, can never be conquered by mine enemy.

'4. My, shield is unbelief, or calling into question the truth of the word, or all the sayings that speak of the judgment that Shaddai has appointed for wicked men. Use this shield; many attempts he has made upon it, and sometimes, it is true, it has been bruised; but they that have writ of the wars of Emmanuel against my servants, have testified that he could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief. Now, to handle this weapon of mine aright, it is not to believe things because they are true, of what sort or by whomsoever asserted. If he speaks of judgment, care not for it; if he speaks of mercy, care not for it; if he promises, if he swears that he would do to Mansoul, if it turns, no hurt, but good, regard not what is said, question the truth of all, for it is to wield the shield of unbelief aright, and as my servants ought and do; and he that doth otherwise loves me not, nor do I count him but an enemy to me.

'5. Another part or piece,' said Diabolus, 'of mine excellent armour is a dumb and prayerless spirit, a spirit that scorns to cry for mercy: wherefore be you, my Mansoul, sure that you make use of this. What! cry for quarter! Never do that, if you would be mine. I know you are stout men, and am sure that I have clad you with that which is armour of proof. Wherefore, to cry to Shaddai for mercy, let that be far from you. Besides all this, I have a maul, firebrands, arrows, and death, all good hand-weapons, and such as will do execution.'

After he had thus furnished his men with armour and arms, he addressed himself to them in such like words as these: 'Remember,' quoth he, 'that I am your rightful king, and that you have taken an oath and entered into covenant to be true to me and my cause: I say, remember this, and show yourselves stout and valiant men of Mansoul. Remember also the kindness that I have always showed to you, and that without your petition I have granted to you external things; wherefore the privileges, grants, immunities, profits, and honours wherewith I have endowed you do call for, at your hands, returns of loyalty, my lion-like men of Mansoul: and when so fit a time to show it as when another shall seek to take my dominion over you into his own hands? One word more, and I have done. Can we but stand, and overcome this one shock or brunt, I doubt not but in little time all the world will be ours; and when that day comes, my true hearts, I will make you kings, princes, and captains, and what brave days shall we have then!'

Diabolus having thus armed and forearmed his servants and vassals in Mansoul against their good and lawful King Shaddai, in the next place, he doubleth his guards at the gates of the town, and he takes himself to the castle, which was his stronghold. His vassals also, to show their wills, and supposed (but ignoble) gallantry, exercise themselves in their arms every day, and teach one another feats of war; they also defied their enemies, and sang up the praises of their tyrant; they threatened also what men they would be if ever things should rise so high as a war between Shaddai and their king.

Now all this time the good King, the King Shaddai, was preparing to send an army to recover the town of Mansoul again from under the tyranny of their pretended king Diabolus; but he thought good, at first, not to send them by the hand and conduct of brave Emmanuel his Son, but under the hand of some of his servants, to see first by them the temper of Mansoul, and whether by them they would be won to the obedience of their King. The army consisted of above forty thousand, all true men, for they came from the King's own court, and were those of his own choosing.

They came up to Mansoul under the conduct of four stout generals, each man being a captain of ten thousand men, and these are their names and their ensigns. The name of the first was Boanerges, the name of the second was Captain Conviction, the name of the third was Captain Judgment, and the name of the fourth was Captain Execution. These were the captains that Shaddai sent to regain Mansoul.

These four captains, as was said, the King thought fit, in the first place, to send to Mansoul, to make an attempt upon it; for indeed generally in all his wars he did use to send these four captains in the van, for they were very stout and rough-hewn men, men that were fit to break the ice, and to make their way by dint of sword, and their men were like themselves.

To each of these captains the King gave a banner, that it might be displayed, because of the goodness of his cause, and because of the right that he had to Mansoul.

First, to Captain Boanerges, for he was the chief, to him, I say, were given ten thousand men. His ensign was Mr. Thunder; he bare the black colours, and his scutcheon was the three burning thunderbolts.

The second captain was Captain Conviction; to him also were given ten thousand men. His ensign's name was Mr. Sorrow; he did bear the pale colours, and his scutcheon was the book of the law wide open, from whence issued a flame of fire.

The third captain was Captain Judgment; to him were given ten thousand men. His ensign's name was Mr. Terror; he bare the red colours, and his scutcheon was a burning fiery furnace.

The fourth captain was Captain Execution; to him were given ten thousand men. His ensign was one Mr. Justice; he also bare the red colours, and his scutcheon was a fruitless tree, with an axe lying at the root thereof.

These four captains, as I said, had every one of them under his command ten thousand men, all of good fidelity to the King, and stout at their military actions.

Well, the captains and their forces, their men and under officers, being had upon a day by Shaddai into the field, and there called all over by their names, were then and there put into such harness as became their degree and that service which now they were going about for their King.

Now, when the King had mustered his forces, (for it is he that mustereth the host to the battle,) he gave unto the captains their several commissions, with charge and commandment in the audience of all the soldiers, that they should take heed faithfully and courageously to do and execute the same. Their commissions were, for the substance of them, the same in form, though, as to name, title, place and degree of the captains, there might be some, but very small variation. And here let me give you an account of the matter and sum contained in their commission.

A COMMISSION FROM THE GREAT SHADDAI, KING OF MANSOUL, TO HIS TRUSTY AND NOBLE CAPTAIN, THE CAPTAIN BOANERGES, FOR HIS MAKING WAR UPON THE TOWN OF MANSOUL.

'O, thou Boanerges, one of my stout and thundering captains over one ten thousand of my valiant and faithful servants, go thou in my name, with this thy force, to the miserable town of Mansoul; and when thou comest thither, offer them first conditions of peace; and command them that, casting off the yoke and tyranny of the wicked Diabolus, they return to me, their rightful Prince and Lord. Command them also that they cleanse themselves from all that is his in the town of Mansoul, and look to thyself, that thou hast good satisfaction touching the truth of their obedience. Thus when thou hast commanded them, (if they in truth submit thereto,) then do thou, to the uttermost of thy power, what in thee lies to set up for me a garrison in the famous town of Mansoul; nor do thou hurt the least native that moveth or breatheth therein, if they will submit themselves to me, but treat thou such as if they were thy friend or brother; for all such I love, and they shall be dear unto me, and tell them that I will take a time to come unto them, and to let them know that I am merciful.

'But if they shall, notwithstanding thy summons and the producing of thy authority, resist, stand out against thee, and rebel, then do I command thee to make use of all thy cunning, power, might, and force, to bring them under by strength of hand. Farewell.'

Thus you see the sum of their commissions; for, as I said before, for the substance of them, they were the same that the rest of the noble captains had.

Wherefore they, having received each commander his authority at the hand of their King, the day being appointed, and the place of their rendezvous prefixed, each commander appeared in such gallantry as became his cause and calling. So, after a new entertainment from Shaddai, with flying colours they set forward to march towards the famous town of Mansoul. Captain Boanerges led the van, Captain Conviction and Captain Judgment made up the main body, and Captain Execution brought up the rear. They then, having a great way to go, (for the town of Mansoul was far off from the court of Shaddai,) marched through the regions and countries of many people, not hurting or abusing any, but blessing wherever they came. They also lived upon the King's cost in all the way they went.

Having travelled thus for many days, at last they came within sight of Mansoul; the which when they saw, the captains could for their hearts do no less than for a while bewail the condition of the town; for they quickly saw how that it was prostrate to the will of Diabolus, and to his ways and designs.

Well, to be short, the captains came up before the town, march up to Ear-gate, sit down there (for that was the place of hearing). So, when they had pitched their tents and entrenched themselves, they addressed themselves to make their assault.

Now the townsfolk at first, beholding so gallant a company, so bravely accoutred, and so excellently disciplined, having on their glittering armour, and displaying of their flying colours, could not but come out of their houses and gaze. But the cunning fox Diabolus, fearing that the people, after this sight, should, on a sudden summons, open the gates to the captains, came down with all haste from the castle, and made them retire into the body of the town, who, when he had them there, made this lying and deceivable speech unto them:

'Gentlemen,' quoth he, 'although you are my trusty and well- beloved friends, yet I cannot but a little chide you for your late uncircumspect action, in going out to gaze on that great and mighty force that but yesterday sat down before, and have now entrenched themselves in order to the maintaining of a siege against the famous town of Mansoul. Do you know who they are, whence they come, and what is their purpose in sitting down before the town of Mansoul? They are they of whom I have told you long ago, that they would come to destroy this town, and against whom I have been at the cost to arm you with CAP-A-PIE for your body, besides great fortifications for your mind. Wherefore, then, did you not rather, even at the first appearance of them, cry out, "Fire the beacons!" and give the whole town an alarm concerning them, that we might all have been in a posture of defence, and been ready to have received them with the highest acts of defiance? Then had you showed yourselves men to my liking; whereas, by what you have done, you have made me half afraid - I say, half afraid - that when they and we shall come to push a pike, I shall find you want courage to stand it out any longer. Wherefore have I commanded a watch, and that you should double your guards at the gates? Wherefore have I endeavoured to make you as hard as iron, and your hearts as a piece of the nether millstone? Was it, think you, that you might show yourselves women, and that you might go out like a company of innocents to gaze on your mortal foes? Fie, fie! put yourselves into a posture of defence, beat up the drum, gather together in warlike manner, that our foes may know that, before they shall conquer this corporation, there are valiant men in the town of Mansoul.

'I will leave off now to chide, and will not further rebuke you; but I charge you, that henceforwards you let me see no more such actions. Let not henceforward a man of you, without order first obtained from me, so much as show his head over the wall of the town of Mansoul. You have now heard me; do as I have commanded, and you shall cause me that I dwell securely with you, and that I take care, as for myself, so for your safety and honour also. Farewell."

Now were the townsmen strangely altered; they were as men stricken with a panic fear; they ran to and fro through the streets of the town of Mansoul, crying out, 'Help, help! the men that turn the world upside down are come hither also.' Nor could any of them be quiet after; but still, as men bereft of wit, they cried out, 'The destroyers of our peace and people are come.' This went down with Diabolus. 'Ah,' quoth he to himself, 'this I like well: now it is as I would have it; now you show your obedience to your prince. Hold you but here, and then let them take the town if they can.'

Well, before the King's forces had sat before Mansoul three days, Captain Boanerges commanded his trumpeter to go down to Ear-gate, and there, in the name of the great Shaddai, to summon Mansoul to give audience to the message that he, in his Master's name, was to them commanded to deliver. So the trumpeter, whose name was Take-heed-what-you-hear, went up, as he was commanded, to Ear-gate, and there sounded his trumpet for a hearing; but there was none that appeared that gave answer or regard, for so had Diabolus commanded. So the trumpeter returned to his captain, and told him what he had done, and also how he had sped; whereat the captain was grieved, but bid the trumpeter go to his tent.

Again Captain Boanerges sendeth his trumpeter to Ear-gate, to sound as before for a hearing; but they again kept close, came not out, nor would they give him an answer, so observant were they of the command of Diabolus their king.

Then the captains and other field officers called a council of war, to consider what further was to be done for the gaining of the town of Mansoul; and, after some close and thorough debate upon the contents of their commissions, they concluded yet to give to the town, by the hand of the fore- named trumpeter, another summons to hear; but if that shall be refused, said they, and that the town shall stand it out still, then they determined, and bid the trumpeter tell them so, that they would endeavour, by what means they could, to compel them by force to the obedience of their King.

So Captain Boanerges commanded his trumpeter to go up to Ear- gate again, and, in the name of the great King Shaddai, to give it a very loud summons to come down without delay to Ear-gate, there to give audience to the King's most noble captains. So the trumpeter went, and did as he was commanded: he went up to Ear-gate, and sounded his trumpet, and gave a third summons to Mansoul. He said, moreover, that if this they should still refuse to do, the captains of his prince would with might come down upon them, and endeavour to reduce them to their obedience by force.

Then stood up my Lord Willbewill, who was the governor of the town, (this Willbewill was that apostate of whom mention was made before,) and the keeper of the gates of Mansoul. He therefore, with big and ruffling words, demanded of the trumpeter who he was, whence he came, and what was the cause of his making so hideous a noise at the gate, and speaking such insufferable words against the town of Mansoul.

The trumpeter answered, 'I am servant to the most noble captain, Captain Boanerges, general of the forces of the great King Shaddai, against whom both thyself, with the whole town of Mansoul, have rebelled, and lift up the heel; and my master, the captain, hath a special message to this town, and to thee, as a member thereof; the which if you of Mansoul shall peaceably hear, so; and if not, you must take what follows.'

Then said the Lord Willbewill, 'I will carry thy words to my lord, and will know what he will say.'

But the trumpeter soon replied, saying. 'Our message is not to the giant Diabolus, but to the miserable town of Mansoul; nor shall we at all regard what answer by him is made, nor yet by any for him. We are sent to this town to recover it from under his cruel tyranny, and to persuade it to submit, as in former times it did, to the most excellent King Shaddai.'

Then said the Lord Willbewill, 'I will do your errand to the town.'

The trumpeter then replied, 'Sir, do not deceive us, lest, in so doing, you deceive yourselves much more.' He added, moreover, 'For we are resolved, if in peaceable manner you do not submit yourselves, then to make a war upon you, and to bring you under by force. And of the truth of what I now say, this shall be a sign unto you, - you shall see the black flag, with its hot, burning thunder-bolts, set upon the mount to-morrow, as a token of defiance against your prince, and of our resolutions to reduce you to your Lord and rightful King.'

So the said Lord Willbewill returned from off the wall, and the trumpeter came into the camp. When the trumpeter was come into the camp, the captains and officers of the mighty King Shaddai came together to know if he had obtained a hearing, and what was the effect of his errand. So the trumpeter told, saying, 'When I had sounded my trumpet, and had called aloud to the town for a hearing, my Lord Willbewill, the governor of the town, and he that hath charge of the gates, came up when he heard me sound, and, looking over the wall, he asked me what I was, whence I came, and what was the cause of my making this noise. So I told him my errand, and by whose authority I brought it. "Then," said he, "I will tell it to the governor and to Mansoul;" and then I returned to my lords.'

Then said the brave Boanerges, 'Let us yet for a while lie still in our trenches, and see what these rebels will do.'

Now when the time drew nigh that audience by Mansoul must be given to the brave Boanerges and his companions, it was commanded that all the men of war throughout the whole camp of Shaddai should as one man stand to their arms, and make themselves ready, if the town of Mansoul shall hear, to receive it forthwith to mercy; but if not, to force a subjection. So the day being come, the trumpeters sounded, and that throughout the whole camp, that the men of war might be in a readiness for that which then should be the work of the day. But when they that were in the town of Mansoul heard the sound of the trumpets throughout the camp of Shaddai, and thinking no other but that it must be in order to storm the corporation, they at first were put to great consternation of spirit; but after they a little were settled again, they also made what preparation they could for a war, if they did storm; else, to secure themselves.

Well, when the utmost time was come, Boanerges was resolved to hear their answer; wherefore he sent out his trumpeter again to summon Mansoul to a hearing of the message that they had brought from Shaddai.

The Holy War - Part 2 | Index | The Holy War - Part 4




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