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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 4
The Holy War - Part 3 | Index | The Holy War - Part 5

A RELATION OF THE HOLY WAR.

PART FOUR

So he went and sounded, and the townsmen came up, but made Ear-gate as sure as they could. Now when they were come up to the top of the wall, Captain Boanerges desired to see the Lord Mayor; but my Lord Incredulity was then Lord Mayor, for he came in the room of my Lord Lustings. So Incredulity came up and showed himself over the wall; but when the Captain Boanerges had set his eyes upon him, he cried out aloud, 'This is not he: where is my Lord Understanding, the ancient Lord Mayor of the town of Mansoul? for to him I would deliver my message.'

Then said the giant (for Diabolus was also come down) to the captain, 'Mr. Captain, you have by your boldness given to Mansoul at least four summonses to subject herself to your King, by whose authority I know not, nor will I dispute that now. I ask, therefore, what is the reason of all this ado, or what would you be at if you knew yourselves?'

Then Captain Boanerges, whose were the black colours, and whose scutcheon was the three burning thunderbolts, taking no notice of the giant or of his speech, thus addressed himself to the town of Mansoul: 'Be it known unto you, O unhappy and rebellious Mansoul, that the most gracious King, the great King Shaddai, my Master, hath sent me unto you with commission' (and so he showed to the town his broad seal) 'to reduce you to his obedience; and he hath commanded me, in case you yield upon my summons, to carry it to you as if you were my friends or brethren; but he also hath bid, that if, after summons to submit you still stand out and rebel, we should endeavour to take you by force.'

Then stood forth Captain Conviction, and said, (his were the pale colours, and for a scutcheon he had the book of the law wide open, etc.,) 'Hear, O Mansoul! Thou, O Mansoul, wast once famous for innocency, but now thou art degenerated into lies and deceit. Thou hast heard what my brother, the Captain Boanerges, hath said; and it is your wisdom, and will be your happiness, to stoop to, and accept of conditions of peace and mercy when offered, specially when offered by one against whom thou hast rebelled, and one who is of power to tear thee in pieces, for so is Shaddai, our King; nor, when he is angry, can anything stand before him. If you say you have not sinned, or acted rebellion against our King, the whole of your doings since the day that you cast off his service (and there was the beginning of your sin) will sufficiently testify against you. What else means your hearkening to the tyrant, and your receiving him for your king? What means else your rejecting of the laws of Shaddai, and your obeying of Diabolus? Yea, what means this your taking up of arms against, and the shutting of your gates upon us, the faithful servants of your King? Be ruled then, and accept of my brother's invitation, and overstand not the time of mercy, but agree with thine adversary quickly. Ah, Mansoul! suffer not thyself to be kept from mercy, and to be run into a thousand miseries, by the flattering wiles of Diabolus. Perhaps that piece of deceit may attempt to make you believe that we seek our own profit in this our service, but know it is obedience to our King, and love to your happiness, that is the cause of this undertaking of ours.

'Again I say to thee, O Mansoul, consider if it be not amazing grace that Shaddai should so humble himself as he doth: now he, by us, reasons with you, in a way of entreaty and sweet persuasions, that you would subject yourselves to him. Has he that need of you that we are sure you have of him? No, no; but he is merciful, and will not that Mansoul should die, but turn to him and live.'

Then stood forth Captain Judgment, whose were the red colours, and for a scutcheon he had the burning fiery furnace, and he said, 'O ye, the inhabitants of the town of Mansoul, that have lived so long in rebellion and acts of treason against the King Shaddai, know that we come not to- day to this place, in this manner, with our message of our own minds, or to revenge our own quarrel; it is the King, my Master, that hath sent us to reduce you to your obedience to him; the which if you refuse in a peaceable way to yield, we have commission to compel you thereto. And never think of yourselves, nor yet suffer the tyrant Diabolus to persuade you to think, that our King, by his power, is not able to bring you down, and to lay you under his feet; for he is the former of all things, and if he touches the mountains, they smoke. Nor will the gate of the King's clemency stand always open; for the day that shall burn like an oven is before him; yea, it hasteth greatly, it slumbereth not.

'O Mansoul, is it little in thine eyes that our King doth offer thee mercy, and that after so many provocations? Yea, he still holdeth out his golden sceptre to thee, and will not yet suffer his gate to be shut against thee: wilt thou provoke him to do it? If so, consider of what I say; to thee it is opened no more for ever. If thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. Yea, because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke; then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will he esteem thy riches? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. He hath prepared his throne for judgment, for he will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebukes with flames of fire. Therefore, O Mansoul, take heed lest, after thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked, justice and judgment should take hold of thee.'

Now while the Captain Judgment was making this oration to the town of Mansoul, it was observed by some that Diabolus trembled; but he proceeded in his parable and said, 'O thou woful town of Mansoul, wilt thou not yet set open thy gate to receive us, the deputies of thy King, and those that would rejoice to see thee live? Can thine heart endure, or can thy hands be strong, in the day that he shall deal in judgment with thee? I say, canst thou endure to be forced to drink, as one would drink sweet wine, the sea of wrath that our King has prepared for Diabolus and his angels? Consider, betimes consider.'

Then stood forth the fourth captain, the noble Captain Execution, and said, 'O town of Mansoul, once famous, but now like the fruitless bough, once the delight of the high ones, but now a den for Diabolus, hearken also to me, and to the words that I shall speak to thee in the name of the great Shaddai. Behold, the axe is laid to the root of the trees: every tree, therefore, that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.

'Thou, O town of Mansoul, hast hitherto been this fruitless tree; thou bearest nought but thorns and briars. Thy evil fruit bespeaks thee not to be a good tree; thy grapes are grapes of gall, thy clusters are bitter. Thou hast rebelled against thy King; and, lo! we, the power and force of Shaddai, are the axe that is laid to thy root. What sayest thou? Wilt thou turn? I say again, tell me, before the first blow is given, wilt thou turn? Our axe must first be laid TO thy root before it be laid AT thy root; it must first be laid TO thy root in a way of threatening, before it is laid AT thy root by way of execution; and between these two is required thy repentance, and this is all the time that thou hast. What wilt thou do? Wilt thou turn, or shall I smite? If I fetch my blow, Mansoul, down you go; for I have commission to lay my axe AT as well as TO thy roots, nor will anything but yielding to our King prevent doing of execution. What art thou fit for, O Mansoul, if mercy preventeth not, but to be hewn down, and cast into the fire and burned?

'O Mansoul, patience and forbearance do not act for ever: a year, or two, or three, they may; but if thou provoke by a three years' rebellion, (and thou hast already done more than this,) then what follows but, 'Cut it down'? nay, 'After that thou shalt cut it down.' And dost thou think that these are but threatenings, or that our King has not power to execute his words? O Mansoul, thou wilt find that in the words of our King, when they are by sinners made little or light of, there is not only threatening, but burning coals of fire.

'Thou hast been a cumber-ground long already, and wilt thou continue so still? Thy sin has brought this army to thy walls, and shall it bring it in judgment to do execution into thy town? Thou hast heard what the captains have said, but as yet thou shuttest thy gates. Speak out, Mansoul; wilt thou do so still, or wilt thou accept of conditions of peace?'

These brave speeches of these four noble captains the town of Mansoul refused to hear; yet a sound thereof did beat against Ear-gate, though the force thereof could not break it open. In fine, the town desired a time to prepare their answer to these demands. The captains then told them, that if they would throw out to them one Ill-Pause that was in the town, that they might reward him according to his works, then they would give them time to consider; but if they would not cast him to them over the wall of Mansoul, then they would give them none; 'for,' said they, 'we know that, so long as Ill- Pause draws breath in Mansoul, all good consideration will be confounded, and nothing but mischief will come thereon.'

Then Diabolus, who was there present, being loath to lose his Ill-Pause, because he was his orator, (and yet be sure he had, could the captains have laid their fingers on him,) was resolved at this instant to give them answer by himself; but then changing his mind, he commanded the then Lord Mayor, the Lord Incredulity, to do it, saying, 'My lord, do you give these runagates an answer, and speak out, that Mansoul may hear and understand you.'

So Incredulity, at Diabolus' command, began, and said, 'Gentlemen, you have here, as we do behold, to the disturbance of our prince and the molestation of the town of Mansoul, camped against it: but from whence you come, we will not know; and what you are, we will not believe. Indeed, you tell us in your terrible speech that you have this authority from Shaddai, but by what right he commands you to do it, of that we shall yet be ignorant.

'You have also, by the authority aforesaid, summoned this town to desert her lord, and, for protection, to yield up herself to the great Shaddai, your King; flatteringly telling her, that if she will do it, he will pass by and not charge her with her past offences.

'Further, you have also, to the terror of the town of Mansoul, threatened with great and sore destructions to punish this corporation, if she consents not to do as your wills would have her.

'Now, captains, from whencesoever you come, and though your designs be ever so right, yet know ye that neither my Lord Diabolus, nor I, his servant, Incredulity, nor yet our brave Mansoul, doth regard either your persons, message, or the King that you say hath sent you. His power, his greatness, his vengeance, we fear not; nor will we yield at all to your summons.

'As for the war that you threaten to make upon us, we must therein defend ourselves as well as we can; and know ye, that we are not without wherewithal to bid defiance to you; and, in short, (for I will not be tedious,) I tell you, that we take you to be some vagabond runagate crew, that having shaken off all obedience to your King, have gotten together in tumultuous manner, and are ranging from place to place to see if, through the flatteries you are skilled to make on the one side, and threats wherewith you think to fright on the other, to make some silly town, city, or country, desert their place, and leave it to you; but Mansoul is none of them.

'To conclude: we dread you not, we fear you not, nor will we obey your summons. Our gates we will shut upon you, our place we will keep you out of. Nor will we long thus suffer you to sit down before us: our people must live in quiet: your appearance doth disturb them. Wherefore arise with bag and baggage, and begone, or we will let fly from the walls against you.'

This oration, made by old Incredulity, was seconded by desperate Willbewill, in words to this effect: 'Gentlemen, we have heard your demands, and the noise of your threats, and have heard the sound of your summons; but we fear not your force, we regard not your threats, but will still abide as you found us. And we command you, that in three days' time you cease to appear in these parts, or you shall know what it is once to dare offer to rouse the lion Diabolus when asleep in his town of Mansoul.'

The Recorder, whose name was Forget-Good, he also added as followeth: 'Gentlemen, my lords, as you see, have with mild and gentle words answered your rough and angry speeches: they have, moreover, in my hearing, given you leave quietly to depart as you came; wherefore, take their kindness and be gone. We might have come out with force upon you, and have caused you to feel the dint of our swords; but as we love ease and quiet ourselves, so we love not to hurt or molest others.'

Then did the town of Mansoul shout for joy, as if by Diabolus and his crew some great advantage had been gotten of the captains. They also rang the bells, and made merry, and danced upon the walls.

Diabolus also returned to the castle, and the Lord Mayor and Recorder to their place; but the Lord Willbewill took special care that the gates should be secured with double guards, double bolts, and double locks and bars; and that Ear-gate especially might the better be looked to, for that was the gate in at which the King's forces sought most to enter. The Lord Willbewill made one old Mr. Prejudice, an angry and ill- conditioned fellow, captain of the ward at that gate, and put under his power sixty men, called deaf men; men advantageous for that service, forasmuch as they mattered no words of the captains, nor of the soldiers.

Now when the captains saw the answer of the great ones, and that they could not get a hearing from the old natives of the town, and that Mansoul was resolved to give the King's army battle, they prepared themselves to receive them, and to try it out by the power of the arm. And, first, they made their force more formidable against Ear-gate; for they knew that, unless they could penetrate that, no good could be done upon the town. This done, they put the rest of their men in their places; after which, they gave out the word, which was, 'YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.' Then they sounded the trumpet; then they in the town made them answer, with shout against shout, charge against charge, and so the battle began. Now they in the town had planted upon the tower over Ear-gate two great guns, the one called High-mind, and the other Heady. Unto these two guns they trusted much; they were cast in the castle by Diabolus' founder, whose name was Mr. Puff-up, and mischievous pieces they were. But so vigilant and watchful, when the captains saw them, were they, that though sometimes their shot would go by their ears with a whiz, yet they did them no harm. By these two guns the townsfolk made no question but greatly to annoy the camp of Shaddai, and well enough to secure the gate; but they had not much cause to boast of what execution they did, as by what follows will be gathered.

The famous Mansoul had also some other small pieces in it, of the which they made use against the camp of Shaddai.

They from the camp also did as stoutly, and with as much of that as may in truth be called valour, let fly as fast at the town and at Ear-gate; for they saw that, unless they could break open Ear-gate, it would be but in vain to batter the wall. Now the King's captains had brought with them several slings, and two or three battering-rams; with their slings, therefore, they battered the houses and people of the town, and with their rams they sought to break Ear-gate open.

The camp and the town had several skirmishes and brisk encounters, while the captains with their engines made many brave attempts to break open or beat down the tower that was over Ear-gate, and at the said gate to make their entrance; but Mansoul stood it out so lustily, through the rage of Diabolus, the valour of the Lord Willbewill, and the conduct of old Incredulity, the Mayor, and Mr. Forget-Good, the Recorder, that the charge and expense of that summer's wars, on the King's side, seemed to be almost quite lost, and the advantage to return to Mansoul. But when the captains saw how it was they made a fair retreat, and entrenched themselves in their winter quarters. Now, in this war, you must needs think there was much loss on both sides, of which be pleased to accept of this brief account following.

The King's captains, when they marched from the court to come up against Mansoul to war, as they came crossing over the country, they happened to light upon three young fellows that had a mind to go for soldiers: proper men they were, and men of courage and skill, to appearance. Their names were Mr. Tradition, Mr. Human-Wisdom, and Mr. Man's-Invention. So they came up to the captains, and proffered their service to Shaddai. The captains then told them of their design, and bid them not to be rash in their offers; but the young men told them they had considered the thing before, and that hearing they were upon their march for such a design, came hither on purpose to meet them, that they might be listed under their excellencies. Then Captain Boanerges, for that they were men of courage, listed them into his company, and so away they went to the war.

Now, when the war was begun, in one of the briskest skirmishes, so it was, that a company of the Lord Willbewill's men sallied out at the sallyport or postern of the town, and fell in upon the rear of Captain Boanerges' men, where these three fellows happened to be; so they took them prisoners, and away they carried them into the town, where they had not lain long in durance, but it began to be noised about the streets of the town what three notable prisoners the Lord Willbewill's men had taken, and brought in prisoners out of the camp of Shaddai. At length tidings thereof were carried to Diabolus to the castle, to wit what my Lord Willbewill's men had done, and whom they had taken prisoners.

Then Diabolus called for Willbewill, to know the certainty of this matter. So he asked him, and he told him. Then did the giant send for the prisoners, and, when they were come, demanded of them who they were, whence they came, and what they did in the camp of Shaddai; and they told him. Then he sent them to ward again. Not many days after, he sent for them to him again, and then asked them if they would be willing to serve him against their former captains. They then told him that they did not so much live by religion as by the fates of fortune; and that since his lordship was willing to entertain them, they should be willing to serve him. Now while things were thus in hand, there was one Captain Anything, a great doer, in the town of Mansoul; and to this Captain Anything did Diabolus send these men, and a note under his hand, to receive them into his company, the contents of which letter were thus:

'Anything, my darling, - The three men that are the bearers of this letter have a desire to serve me in the war; nor know I better to whose conduct to commit them than to thine. Receive them, therefore, in my name, and, as need shall require, make use of them against Shaddai and his men. Farewell.'

So they came, and he received them; and he made of two of them sergeants; but he made Mr. Man's-Invention his ancient- bearer. But thus much for this, and now to return to the camp.

They of the camp did also some execution upon the town; for they did beat down the roof of the Lord Mayor's house, and so laid him more open than he was before. They had almost, with a sling, slain my Lord Willbewill outright; but he made a shift to recover again. But they made a notable slaughter among the aldermen, for with one only shot they cut off six of them; to wit, Mr. Swearing, Mr. Whoring, Mr. Fury, Mr. Stand-to-Lies, Mr. Drunkenness, and Mr. Cheating.

They also dismounted the two guns that stood upon the tower over Ear-gate, and laid them flat in the dirt. I told you before that the King's noble captains had drawn off to their winter quarters, and had there entrenched themselves and their carriages, so as with the best advantage to their King, and the greatest annoyance to the enemy, they might give seasonable and warm alarms to the town of Mansoul. And this design of them did so hit, that I may say they did almost what they would to the molestation of the corporation. For now could not Mansoul sleep securely as before, nor could they now go to their debaucheries with that quietness as in times past; for they had from the camp of Shaddai such frequent, warm, and terrifying alarms, yea, alarms upon alarms, first at one gate and then at another, and again at all the gates at once, that they were broken as to former peace. Yea, they had their alarms so frequently, and that when the nights were at longest, the weather coldest, and so consequently the season most unseasonable, that that winter was to the town of Mansoul a winter by itself. Sometimes the trumpets would sound, and sometimes the slings would whirl the stones into the town. Sometimes ten thousand of the King's soldiers would be running round the walls of Mansoul at midnight, shouting and lifting up the voice for the battle. Sometimes, again, some of them in the town would be wounded, and their cry and lamentable voice would be heard, to the great molestation of the now languishing town of Mansoul. Yea, so distressed with those that laid siege against them were they, that, I dare say, Diabolus, their king, had in these days his rest much broken.

In these days, as I was informed, new thoughts, and thoughts that began to run counter one to another, began to possess the minds of the men of the town of Mansoul. Some would say, 'There is no living thus.' Others would then reply, 'This will be over shortly.' Then would a third stand up and answer, 'Let us turn to the King Shaddai, and so put an end to these troubles.' And a fourth would come in with a fear, saying, 'I doubt he will not receive us.' The old gentleman, too, the Recorder, that was so before Diabolus took Mansoul, he also began to talk aloud, and his words were now to the town of Mansoul as if they were great claps of thunder. No noise now so terrible to Mansoul as was his, with the noise of the soldiers and shoutings of the captains.

Also things began to grow scarce in Mansoul; now the things that her soul lusted after were departing from her. Upon all her pleasant things there was a blast, and burning instead of beauty. Wrinkles now, and some shows of the shadow of death, were upon the inhabitants of Mansoul. And now, O how glad would Mansoul have been to have enjoyed quietness and satisfaction of mind, though joined with the meanest condition in the world!

The captains also, in the deep of this winter, did send by the mouth of Boanerges' trumpeter a summons to Mansoul to yield up herself to the King, the great King Shaddai. They sent it once, and twice, and thrice; not knowing but that at some times there might be in Mansoul some willingness to surrender up themselves unto them, might they but have the colour of an invitation to do it under. Yea, so far as I could gather, the town had been surrendered up to them before now, had it not been for the opposition of old Incredulity, and the fickleness of the thoughts of my Lord Willbewill. Diabolus also began to rave; wherefore Mansoul, as to yielding, was not yet all of one mind; therefore they still lay distressed under these perplexing fears.

I told you but now that they of the King's army had this winter sent three times to Mansoul to submit herself.

The first time the trumpeter went he went with words of peace, telling them that the captains, the noble captains of Shaddai, did pity and bewail the misery of the now perishing town of Mansoul, and were troubled to see them so much to stand in the way of their own deliverance. He said, moreover, that the captains bid him tell them, that if now poor Mansoul would humble herself and turn, her former rebellions and most notorious treasons should by their merciful King be forgiven them, yea, and forgotten too. And having bid them beware that they stood not in their own way, that they opposed not themselves, nor made themselves their own losers, he returned again into the camp.

The second time the trumpeter went, he did treat them a little more roughly; for, after sound of trumpet, he told them that their continuing in their rebellion did but chafe and heat the spirit of the captains, and that they were resolved to make a conquest of Mansoul, or to lay their bones before the town walls.

He went again the third time, and dealt with them yet more roughly; telling them that now, since they had been so horribly profane, he did not know, not certainly know, whether the captains were inclining to mercy or judgment. 'Only,' said he, 'they commanded me to give you a summons to open the gates unto them.' So he returned, and went into the camp.

The Holy War - Part 3 | Index | The Holy War - Part 5




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