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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 9
The Holy War - Part 8 | Index | The Holy War - Part 10

A RELATION OF THE HOLY WAR.

PART NINE

But, oh! how this return, and specially this last clause of it, that the prisoners must go out to the Prince into the camp, brake all their loins in pieces! Wherefore, with one voice they set up a cry that reached up to the heavens. This done, each of the three prepared himself to die; (and the Recorder said unto them, 'This was the thing that I feared;') for they concluded that to-morrow, by that the sun went down, they should be tumbled out of the world. The whole town also counted of no other, but that, in their time and order, they must all drink of the same cup. Wherefore the town of Mansoul spent that night in mourning, and sackcloth and ashes. The prisoners also, when the time was come for them to go down before the Prince, dressed themselves in mourning attire, with ropes upon their heads. The whole town of Mansoul also showed themselves upon the wall, all clad in mourning weeds, if, perhaps, the Prince with the sight thereof might be moved with compassion. But, oh! how the busy-bodies that were in the town of Mansoul did now concern themselves! They did run here and there through the streets of the town by companies, crying out as they ran in tumultuous wise, one after one manner, and another the quite contrary, to the almost utter distraction of Mansoul.

Well, the time is come that the prisoners must go down to the camp, and appear before the Prince. And thus was the manner of their going down: Captain Boanerges went with a guard before them, and Captain Conviction came behind, and the prisoners went down, bound in chains, in the midst. So I say, the prisoners went in the midst, and the guard went with flying colours behind and before, but the prisoners went with drooping spirits.

Or, more particularly, thus: The prisoners went down all in mourning: they put ropes upon themselves; they went on, smiting themselves on the breasts, but durst not lift up their eyes to heaven. Thus they went out at the gate of Mansoul, till they came into the midst of the Prince's army, the sight and glory of which did greatly heighten their affliction. Nor could they now longer forbear, but cry out aloud, 'O unhappy men! O wretched men of Mansoul!' Their chains, still mixing their dolorous notes with the cries of the prisoners, made the noise more lamentable.

So, when they were come to the door of the Prince's pavilion, they cast themselves prostrate upon the place; then one went in and told his Lord that the prisoners were come down. The Prince then ascended a throne of state, and sent for the prisoners in; who, when they came, did tremble before him, also they covered their faces with shame. Now, as they drew near to the place where he sat, they threw themselves down before him. Then said the Prince to the Captain Boanerges, 'Bid the prisoners stand upon their feet.' Then they stood trembling before him, and he said, 'Are you the men that heretofore were the servants of Shaddai?' And they said, 'Yes, Lord, yes.' Then said the Prince again, 'Are you the men that did suffer yourselves to be corrupted and defiled by that abominable one, Diabolus?' And they said, 'We did more than suffer it, Lord; for we chose it of our own mind.' The Prince asked further, saying, 'Could you have been content that your slavery should have continued under his tyranny as long as you had lived?' Then said the prisoners, 'Yes, Lord, yes; for his ways were pleasing to our flesh, and we were grown aliens to a better state.' - 'And did you,' said he, 'when I came up against this town of Mansoul, heartily wish that I might not have the victory over you?' - 'Yes, Lord, yes,' said they. Then said the Prince, 'And what punishment is it, think you, that you deserve at my hand, for these and other your high and mighty sins?' - And they said, 'Both death and the deep, Lord; for we have deserved no less.' He asked again if they had aught to say for themselves why the sentence, that they confessed that they had deserved, should not be passed upon them? And they said, 'We can say nothing, Lord: thou art just, for we have sinned.' Then said the Prince, 'And for what are those ropes on your heads?' The prisoners answered, 'These ropes are to bind us withal to the place of execution, if mercy be not pleasing in thy sight.' So he further asked if all the men in the town of Mansoul were in this confession, as they? And they answered, 'All the natives, Lord; but for the Diabolonians that came into our town when the tyrant got possession of us, we can say nothing for them.'

Then the Prince commanded that a herald should be called, and that he should, in the midst and throughout the camp of Emmanuel, proclaim, and that with sound of trumpet, that the Prince, the Son of Shaddai, had, in his Father's name, and for his Father's glory, gotten a perfect conquest and victory over Mansoul; and that the prisoners should follow him, and say Amen. So, this was done as he had commanded. And presently the music that was in the upper region sounded melodiously, the captains that were in the camp shouted, and the soldiers did sing songs of triumph to the Prince; the colours waved in the wind, and great joy was everywhere, only it was wanting as yet in the hearts of the men of Mansoul.

Then the Prince called for the prisoners to come and to stand again before him, and they came and stood trembling. And he said unto them, 'The sins, trespasses, iniquities, that you, with the whole town of Mansoul, have from time to time committed against my Father and me, I have power and commandment from my Father to forgive to the town of Mansoul, and do forgive you accordingly.' And having so said, he gave them, written in parchment, and sealed with seven seals, a large and general pardon, commanding my Lord Mayor, my Lord Willbewill, and Mr. Recorder, to proclaim and cause it to be proclaimed to-morrow, by that the sun is up, throughout the whole town of Mansoul.

Moreover, the Prince stripped the prisoners of their mourning weeds, and gave them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Then he gave to each of the three jewels of gold and precious stones, and took away their ropes, and put chains of gold about their necks, and ear-rings in their ears. Now, the prisoners, when they did hear the gracious words of Prince Emmanuel, and had beheld all that was done unto them, fainted almost quite away; for the grace, the benefit, the pardon, was sudden, glorious, and so big, that they were not able, without staggering, to stand up under it. Yea, my Lord Willbewill swooned outright; but the Prince stepped to him, put his everlasting arms under him, embraced him, kissed him, and bid him be of good cheer, for all should be performed according to his word. He also did kiss, and embrace, and smile upon the other two that were Willbewill's companions, saying, 'Take these as further tokens of my love, favour, and compassions to you; and I charge you that you, Mr. Recorder, tell in the town of Mansoul what you have heard and seen.'

Then were their fetters broken to pieces before their faces, and cast into the air, and their steps were enlarged under them. Then they fell down at the feet of the Prince, and kissed his feet, and wetted them with tears: also they cried out with a mighty strong voice, saying, 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord from this place.' So they were bid rise up, and go to the town, and tell to Mansoul what the Prince had done. He commanded also that one with a pipe and tabor should go and play before them all the way into the town of Mansoul. Then was fulfilled what they never looked for, and they were made to possess that which they never dreamed of.

The Prince also called for the noble Captain Credence, and commanded that he and some of his officers should march before the noble men of Mansoul with flying colours into the town. He gave also unto Captain Credence a charge, that about that time that the Recorder did read the general pardon in the town of Mansoul, that at that very time he should with flying colours march in at Eye-gate with his ten thousands at his feet and that he should so go until he came by the high street of the town, up to the castle gates, and that himself should take possession thereof against his Lord came thither. He commanded, moreover, that he should bid Captain Judgment and Captain Execution to leave the stronghold to him, and to withdraw from Mansoul, and to return into the camp with speed unto the Prince.

And now was the town of Mansoul also delivered from the terror of the first four captains and their men.

Well, I told you before how the prisoners were entertained by the noble Prince Emmanuel, and how they behaved themselves before him, and how he sent them away to their home with pipe and tabor going before them. And now you must think that those of the town that had all this while waited to hear of their death, could not but be exercised with sadness of mind, and with thoughts that pricked like thorns. Nor could their thoughts be kept to any one point; the wind blew with them all this while at great uncertainties; yea, their hearts were like a balance that had been disquieted with a shaking hand. But at last, as they with many a long look looked over the wall of Mansoul, they thought that they saw some returning to the town; and thought again, Who should they be, too? Who should they be? At last they discerned that they were the prisoners: but can you imagine how their hearts were surprised with wonder, specially when they perceived also in what equipage and with what honour they were sent home. They went down to the camp in black, but they came back to the town in white; they went down to the camp in ropes, they came back in chains of gold; they went down to the camp with their feet in fetters, but came back with their steps enlarged under them; they went also to the camp looking for death, but they came back from thence with assurance of life; they went down to the camp with heavy hearts, but came back again with pipe and tabor playing before them. So as soon as they were come to Eye-gate, the poor and tottering town of Mansoul adventured to give a shout; and they gave such a shout as made the captains in the Prince's army leap at the sound thereof. Alas! for them, poor hearts! who could blame them? since their dead friends were come to life again; for it was to them as life from the dead to see the ancients of the town of Mansoul shine in such splendour. They looked for nothing but the axe and the block; but, behold, joy and gladness, comfort and consolation, and such melodious notes attending them that was sufficient to make a sick man well.

So, when they came up, they saluted each other with, 'Welcome, welcome! and blessed be he that has spared you!' They added also, 'We see it is well with you; but how must it go with the town of Mansoul? And will it go well with the town of Mansoul?' said they. Then answered them the Recorder and my Lord Mayor, 'Oh! tidings! glad tidings! good tidings of good, and of great joy to poor Mansoul!' Then they gave another shout, that made the earth to ring again. After this, they inquired yet more particularly how things went in the camp, and what message they had from Emmanuel to the town. So they told them all passages that had happened to them at the camp, and everything that the Prince did to them. This made Mansoul wonder at the wisdom and grace of the Prince Emmanuel. Then they told them what they had received at his hands for the whole town of Mansoul, and the Recorder delivered it in these words: ' PARDON, PARDON, PARDON for Mansoul! and this shall Mansoul know to-morrow!' Then he commanded, and they went and summoned Mansoul to meet together in the market-place to-morrow, then to hear their general pardon read.

But who can think what a turn, what a change, what an alteration this hint of things did make in the countenance of the town of Mansoul! No man of Mansoul could sleep that night for joy; in every house there was joy and music, singing and making merry: telling and hearing of Mansoul's happiness was then all that Mansoul had to do; and this was the burden of all their song: 'Oh! more of this at the rising of the sun! more of this to-morrow!' 'Who thought yesterday,' would one say, 'that this day would have been such a day to us? And who thought, that saw our prisoners go down in irons, that they would have returned in chains of gold? Yea, they that judged themselves as they went to be judged of their judge, were by his mouth acquitted, not for that they were innocent, but of the Prince's mercy, and sent home with pipe and tabor. But is this the common custom of princes? Do they use to show such kind of favours to traitors? No; this is only peculiar to Shaddai, and unto Emmanuel, his Son!'

Now morning drew on apace; wherefore the Lord Mayor, the Lord Willbewill, and Mr. Recorder came down to the market-place at the time that the Prince had appointed, where the townsfolk were waiting for them: and when they came, they came in that attire, and in that glory that the Prince had put them into the day before, and the street was lightened with their glory. So the Mayor, Recorder, and my Lord Willbewill drew down to Mouth-gate, which was at the lower end of the market- place, because that of old time was the place where they used to read public matters. Thither, therefore, they came in their robes, and their tabrets went before them. Now, the eagerness of the people to know the full of the matter was great.

Then the Recorder stood up upon his feet, and, first beckoning with his hand for silence, he read out with a loud voice the pardon. But when he came to these words: 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, pardoning iniquity, transgressions, and sins, and to them all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven,' etc., they could not forbear leaping for joy. For this you must know, that there was conjoined herewith every man's name in Mansoul; also the seals of the pardon made a brave show.

When the Recorder had made an end of reading the pardon, the townsmen ran up upon the walls of the town, and leaped and skipped thereon for joy, and bowed themselves seven times with their faces toward Emmanuel's pavilion, and shouted out aloud for joy, and said, 'Let Emmanuel live for ever!' Then order was given to the young men in Mansoul that they should ring the bells for joy. So the bells did ring, and the people sing, and the music go in every house in Mansoul.

When the Prince had sent home the three prisoners of Mansoul with joy, and pipe and tabor, he commanded his captains, with all the field officers and soldiers throughout his army, to be ready in that morning, that the Recorder should read the pardon in Mansoul, to do his further pleasure. So the morning, as I have showed, being come, just as the Recorder had made an end of reading the pardon, Emmanuel commanded that all the trumpets in the camp should sound, that the colours should be displayed, half of them upon Mount Gracious, and half of them upon Mount Justice. He commanded also that all the captains should show themselves in all their harness, and that the soldiers should shout for joy. Nor was Captain Credence, though in the castle, silent in such a day; but he, from the top of the hold, showed himself with sound of trumpet to Mansoul and to the Prince's camp.

Thus have I showed you the manner and way that Emmanuel took to recover the town of Mansoul from under the hand and power of the tyrant Diabolus.

Now, when the Prince had completed these, the outward ceremonies of his joy, he again commanded that his captains and soldiers should show unto Mansoul some feats of war: so they presently addressed themselves to this work. But oh! with what agility, nimbleness, dexterity, and bravery did these military men discover their skill in feats of war to the now gazing town of Mansoul!

They marched, they counter-marched; they opened to the right and left; they divided and subdivided; they closed, they wheeled, made good their front and rear with their right and left wings, and twenty things more, with that aptness, and then were all as the were again, that they took - yea, ravished, the hearts that were in Mansoul to behold it. But add to this, the handling of their arms, the managing of their weapons of war, were marvellously taking to Mansoul and me.

When this action was over, the whole town of Mansoul came out as one man to the Prince in the camp to thank him, and praise him for his abundant favour, and to beg that it would please his grace to come unto Mansoul with his men, and there to take up their quarters for ever: and this they did in most humble manner, bowing themselves seven times to the ground before him. Then said he, 'All peace be to you.' So the town came nigh, and touched with the hand the top of his golden sceptre; and they said, 'Oh! that the Prince Emmanuel, with his captains and men of war, would dwell in Mansoul for ever; and that his battering-rams and slings might be lodged in her for the use and service of the Prince, and for the help and strength of Mansoul. For,' said they, 'we have room for thee, we have room for thy men, we have also room for thy weapons of war, and a place to make a magazine for thy carriages. Do it, Emmanuel, and thou shalt be King and Captain in Mansoul for ever. Yea, govern thou also according to all the desire of thy soul, and make thou governors and princes under thee of thy captains and men of war, and we will become thy servants, and thy laws shall be our direction.'

They added, moreover, and prayed his Majesty to consider thereof; 'for,' said they, 'if now, after all this grace bestowed upon us, thy miserable town of Mansoul, thou shouldest withdraw, thou and thy captains, from us, the town of Mansoul will die. Yea,' said they, 'our blessed Emmanuel, if thou shouldest depart from us now, now thou hast done so much good for us, and showed so much mercy unto us, what will follow but that our joy will be as if it had not been, and our enemies will a second time come upon us with more rage than at the first? Wherefore, we beseech thee, O thou, the desire of our eyes, and the strength and life of our poor town, accept of this motion that now we have made unto our Lord, and come and dwell in the midst of us, and let us be thy people. Besides, Lord, we do not know but that to this day many Diabolonians may be yet lurking in the town of Mansoul, and they will betray us, when thou shalt leave us, into the hand of Diabolus again; and who knows what designs, plots, or contrivances have passed betwixt them about these things already? Loath we are to fall again into his horrible hands. Wherefore, let it please thee to accept of our palace for thy place of residence, and of the houses of the best men in our town for the reception of thy soldiers and their furniture.'

Then said the Prince, 'If I come to your town, will you suffer me further to prosecute that which is in mine heart against mine enemies and yours? - yea, will you help me in such undertakings?'

They answered, 'We know not what we shall do; we did not think once that we should have been such traitors to Shaddai as we have proved to be. What, then, shall we say to our Lord? Let him put no trust in his saints; let the Prince dwell in our castle, and make of our town a garrison; let him set his noble captains and his warlike soldiers over us; yea, let him conquer us with his love, and overcome us with his grace, and then surely shall he be but with us, and help us, as he was and did that morning that our pardon was read unto us. We shall comply with this our Lord, and with his ways, and fall in with his word against the mighty.

'One word more, and thy servants have done, and in this will trouble our Lord no more. We know not the depth of the wisdom of thee, our Prince. Who could have thought, that had been ruled by his reason, that so much sweet as we do now enjoy should have come out of those bitter trials wherewith we were tried at the first! But, Lord, let light go before, and let love come after: yea, take us by the hand, and lead us by thy counsels, and let this always abide upon us, that all things shall be the best for thy servants, and come to our Mansoul, and do as it pleaseth thee. Or, Lord, come to our Mansoul, do what thou wilt, so thou keepest us from sinning, and makest us serviceable to thy Majesty.'

Then said the Prince to the town of Mansoul again, 'Go, return to your houses in peace. I will willingly in this comply with your desires; I will remove my royal pavilion, I will draw up my forces before Eye-gate to-morrow, and so will march forwards into the town of Mansoul. I will possess myself of your castle of Mansoul, and will set my soldiers over you: yea, I will yet do things in Mansoul that cannot be paralleled in any nation, country, or kingdom under heaven.' Then did the men of Mansoul give a shout, and returned unto their houses in peace; they also told to their kindred and friends the good that Emmanuel had promised to Mansoul. 'And to-morrow,' said they, 'he will march into our town, and take up his dwelling, he and his men, in Mansoul.'

Then went out the inhabitants of the town of Mansoul with haste to the green trees and to the meadows, to gather boughs and flowers, therewith to strew the streets against their Prince, the Son of Shaddai, should come; they also made garlands and other fine works to betoken how joyful they were, and should be to receive their Emmanuel into Mansoul; yea, they strewed the street quite from Eye-gate to the castle-gate, the place where the Prince should be. They also prepared for his coming what music the town of Mansoul would afford, that they might play before him to the palace, his habitation.

So, at the time appointed he makes his approach to Mansoul, and the gates were set open for him; there also the ancients and elders of Mansoul met him to salute him with a thousand welcomes. Then he arose and entered Mansoul, he and all his servants. The elders of Mansoul did also go dancing before him till he came to the castle gates. And this was the manner of his going up thither:- He was clad in his golden armour, he rode in his royal chariot, the trumpets sounded about him, the colours were displayed, his ten thousands went up at his feet, and the elders of Mansoul danced before him. And now were the walls of the famous town of Mansoul filled with the tramplings of the inhabitants thereof, who went up thither to view the approach of the blessed Prince and his royal army. Also the casements, windows, balconies, and tops of the houses, were all now filled with persons of all sorts, to behold how their town was to be filled with good.

Now, when he was come so far into the town as to the Recorder's house, he commanded that one should go to Captain Credence, to know whether the castle of Mansoul was prepared to entertain his royal presence (for the preparation of that was left to that captain), and word was brought that it was. Then was Captain Credence commanded also to come forth with his power to meet the Prince, the which was, as he had commanded, done; and he conducted him into the castle. This done, the Prince that night did lodge in the castle with his mighty captains and men of war, to the joy of the town of Mansoul.

Now, the next care of the townsfolk was, how the captains and soldiers of the Prince's army should be quartered among them; and the care was not how they should shut their hands of them, but how they should fill their houses with them; for every man in Mansoul now had that esteem of Emmanuel and his men that nothing grieved them more than because they were not enlarged enough, every one of them to receive the whole army of the Prince; yea, they counted it their glory to be waiting upon them, and would, in those days, run at their bidding like lackeys.

At last they came to this result:-

1. That Captain Innocency should quarter at Mr. Reason's.

2. That Captain Patience should quarter at Mr. Mind's. This Mr. Mind was formerly the Lord Willbewill's clerk in time of the late rebellion.

3. It was ordered that Captain Charity should quarter at Mr. Affection's house.

4. That Captain Good-Hope should quarter at my Lord Mayor's. Now, for the house of the Recorder, himself desired, because his house was next to the castle, and because from him it was ordered by the Prince that, if need be, the alarm should be given to Mansoul, - it was, I say, desired by him that Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction should take up their quarters with him, even they and all their men.

5. As for Captain Judgment and Captain Execution, my Lord Willbewill took them and their men to him, because he was to rule under the Prince for the good of the town of Mansoul now, as he had before under the tyrant Diabolus for the hurt and damage thereof.

6. And throughout the rest of the town were quartered Emmanuel's forces; but Captain Credence, with his men, abode still in the castle. So the Prince, his captains, and his soldiers, were lodged in the town of Mansoul.

Now, the ancients and elders of the town of Mansoul thought that they never should have enough of the Prince Emmanuel; his person, his actions, his words, and behaviour, were so pleasing, so taking, so desirable to them. Wherefore they prayed him, that though the castle of Mansoul was his place of residence, (and they desired that he might dwell there for ever,) yet that he would often visit the streets, houses, and people of Mansoul. 'For,' said they, 'dread Sovereign, thy presence, thy looks, thy smiles, thy words, are the life, and strength, and sinews of the town of Mansoul.'

Besides this, they craved that they might have, without difficulty or interruption, continual access unto him, (so for that very purpose he commanded that the gates should stand open,) that they might there see the manner of his doings, the fortifications of the place, and the royal mansion-house of the Prince.

When he spake, they all stopped their mouths and gave audience; and when he walked, it was their delight to imitate him in his goings.

The Holy War - Part 8 | Index | The Holy War - Part 10




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