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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 14
The Holy War - Part 13 | Index | The Holy War - Part 15

A RELATION OF THE HOLY WAR.

PART FOURTEEN

'Given under our hands the day and date above-written, after a close consultation at the house of Mr. Mischief, who yet is alive and hath his place in our desirable town of Mansoul.'

When Mr. Profane (for he was the carrier) was come with his letter to Hell-Gate Hill, he knocked at the brazen gates for entrance. Then did Cerberus, the porter, for he is the keeper of that gate, open to Mr. Profane, to whom he delivered his letter, which he had brought from the Diabolonians in Mansoul. So he carried it in, and presented it to Diabolus his lord, and said, 'Tidings, my lord, from Mansoul, from our trusty friends in Mansoul.'

Then came together from all places of the den Beelzebub, Lucifer, Apollyon, with the rest of the rabblement there, to hear what news from Mansoul. So the letter was broken up and read, and Cerberus he stood by. When the letter was openly read, and the contents thereof spread into all the corners of the den, command was given that, without let or stop, dead- man's bell should be rung for joy. So the bell was rung, and the princes rejoiced that Mansoul was likely to come to ruin. Now, the clapper of the bell went, 'The town of Mansoul is coming to dwell with us: make room for the town of Mansoul.' This bell therefore they did ring, because they did hope that they should have Mansoul again.

Now, when they had performed this their horrible ceremony, they got together again to consult what answer to send to their friends in Mansoul; and some advised one thing, and some another: but at length, because the business required haste, they left the whole business to the prince Diabolus, judging him the most proper lord of the place. So he drew up a letter as he thought fit, in answer to what Mr. Profane had brought, and sent it to the Diabolonians that did dwell in Mansoul, by the same hand that had brought theirs to him; and these were the contents thereof:-

'To our offspring, the high and mighty Diabolonians that yet dwell in the town of Mansoul, Diabolus, the great prince of Mansoul, wisheth a prosperous issue and conclusion of those many brave enterprises, conspiracies, and designs, that you, of your love and respect to our honour, have in your hearts to attempt to do against Mansoul. Beloved children and disciples, my Lord Fornication, Adultery, and the rest, we have here, in our desolate den, received, to our highest joy and content, your welcome letter, by the hand of our trusty Mr. Profane; and to show how acceptable your tidings were, we rang out our bell for gladness; for we rejoiced as much as we could, when we perceived that yet we had friends in Mansoul, and such as sought our honour and revenge in the ruin of the town of Mansoul. We also rejoiced to hear that they are in a degenerated condition, and that they have offended their Prince, and that he is gone. Their sickness also pleaseth us, as does also your health, might, and strength. Glad also would we be, right horribly beloved, could we get this town into our clutches again. Nor will we be sparing of spending our wit, our cunning, our craft, and hellish inventions to bring to a wished conclusion this your brave beginning in order thereto.

'And take this for your comfort, (our birth, and our offspring,) that shall we again surprise it and take it, we will attempt to put all your foes to the sword, and will make you the great lords and captains of the place. Nor need you fear, if ever we get it again, that we after that shall be cast out any more; for we will come with more strength, and so lay far more fast hold than at the first we did. Besides, it is the law of that Prince that now they own, that if we get them a second time, they shall be ours for ever.

'Do you, therefore, our trusty Diabolonians, yet more pry into, and endeavour to spy out the weakness of the town of Mansoul. We also would that you yourselves do attempt to weaken them more and more. Send us word also by what means you think we had best to attempt the regaining thereof: namely, whether by persuasion to a vain and loose life; or, whether by tempting them to doubt and despair; or, whether by blowing up of the town by the gunpowder of pride, and self- conceit. Do you also, O ye brave Diabolonians, and true sons of the pit, be always in a readiness to make a most hideous assault within, when we shall be ready to storm it without. Now speed you in your project, and we in our desires, to the utmost power of our gates, which is the wish of your great Diabolus, Mansoul's enemy, and him that trembles when he thinks of judgment to come. All the blessings of the pit be upon you, and so we close up our letter.

'Given at the pit's mouth, by the joint consent of all the princes of darkness, to be sent, to the force and power that we have yet remaining in Mansoul, by the hand of Mr. Profane, by me, Diabolus.'

This letter, as was said, was sent to Mansoul, to the Diabolonians that yet remained there, and that yet inhabited the wall, from the dark dungeon of Diabolus, by the hand of Mr. Profane, by whom they also in Mansoul sent theirs to the pit. Now, when this Mr. Profane had made his return, and was come to Mansoul again, he went and came as he was wont to the house of Mr. Mischief, for there was the conclave, and the place where the contrivers were met. Now, when they saw that their messenger was returned safe and sound, they were greatly gladded thereat. Then he presented them with his letter which he had brought from Diabolus for them; the which, when they had read and considered, did much augment their gladness. They asked him after the welfare of their friends, as how their Lord Diabolus, Lucifer, and Beelzebub did, with the rest of those of the den. To which this Profane made answer, 'Well, well, my lords; they are well, even as well as can be in their place. They also,' said he, 'did ring for joy at the reading of your letter, as you well perceived by this when you read it.'

Now, as was said, when they had read their letter, and perceived that it encouraged them in their work, they fell to their way of contriving again, namely, how they might complete their Diabolonian design upon Mansoul. And the first thing that they agreed upon was to keep all things from Mansoul as close as they could. 'Let it not be known, let not Mansoul be acquainted with what we design against it.' The next thing was, how, or by what means, they should try to bring to pass the ruin and overthrow of Mansoul; and one said after this manner, and another said after that. Then stood up Mr. Deceit, and said, 'My right Diabolonian friends, our lords, and the high ones of the deep dungeon, do propound unto us these three ways.

'1. Whether we had best to seek its ruin by making Mansoul loose and vain.

'2. Or whether by driving them to doubt and despair.

'3. Or whether by endeavouring to blow them up by the gunpowder of pride and self-conceit.

'Now, I think, if we shall tempt them to pride, that may do something; and if we tempt them to wantonness, that may help. But, in my mind, if we could drive them into desperation, that would knock the nail on the head; for then we should have them, in the first place, question the truth of the love of the heart of their Prince towards them, and that will disgust him much. This, if it works well, will make them leave off quickly their way of sending petitions to him; then farewell earnest solicitations for help and supply; for then this conclusion lies naturally before them, "As good do nothing, as do to no purpose."' So to Mr. Deceit they unanimously did consent.

Then the next question was, But how shall we do to bring this our project to pass? and it was answered by the same gentleman - that this might be the best way to do it: 'Even let,' quoth he, 'so many of our friends as are willing to venture themselves for the promoting of their prince's cause, disguise themselves with apparel, change their names, and go into the market like far country-men, and proffer to let themselves for servants to the famous town of Mansoul, and let them pretend to do for their masters as beneficially as may be; for by so doing they may, if Mansoul shall hire them, in little time so corrupt and defile the corporation, that her now Prince shall be not only further offended with them, but in conclusion shall spue them out of his mouth. And when this is done, our prince Diabolus shall prey upon them with ease: yea, of themselves they shall fall into the mouth of the cater.'

This project was no sooner propounded, but was as highly accepted, and forward were all Diabolonians now to engage in so delicate an enterprise: but it was not thought fit that all should do thus; wherefore they pitched upon two or three, namely, the Lord Covetousness, the Lord Lasciviousness, and the Lord Anger. The Lord Covetousness called himself by the name of Prudent-Thrifty; the Lord Lasciviousness called himself by the name of Harmless-Mirth; and the Lord Anger called himself by the name of Good-Zeal.

So upon a market-day they came into the market-place, three lusty fellows they were to look on, and they were clothed in sheep's russet, which was also now in a manner as white as were the white robes of the men of Mansoul. Now the men could speak the language of Mansoul well. So when they were come into the market-place, and had offered to let themselves to the townsmen, they were presently taken up; for they asked but little wages, and promised to do their masters great service.

Mr. Mind hired Prudent-Thrifty, and Mr. Godly-Fear hired Good-Zeal. True, this fellow Harmless-Mirth did hang a little in hand, and could not so soon get him a master as the others did, because the town of Mansoul was now in Lent, but after a while, because Lent was almost out, the Lord Willbewill hired Harmless-Mirth to be both his waiting man and his lackey: and thus they got them masters.

These villains now being got thus far into the houses of the men of Mansoul, quickly began to do great mischief therein; for, being filthy, arch, and sly, they quickly corrupted the families where they were; yea, they tainted their masters much, especially this Prudent-Thrifty, and him they call Harmless-Mirth. True, he that went under the visor of Good- Zeal, was not so well liked of his master; for he quickly found that he was but a counterfeit rascal; the which when the fellow perceived, with speed he made his escape from the house, or I doubt not but his master had hanged him.

Well, when these vagabonds had thus far carried on their design, and had corrupted the town as much as they could, in the next place they considered with themselves at what time their prince Diabolus without, and themselves within the town, should make an attempt to seize upon Mansoul; and they all agreed upon this, that a market-day would be best for that work; for why? Then will the townsfolk be busy in their ways: and always take this for a rule, when people are most busy in the world, they least fear a surprise. 'We also then,' said they, 'shall be able with less suspicion to gather ourselves together for the work of our friends and lords; yea, and in such a day, if we shall attempt our work, and miss it, we may, when they shall give us the rout, the better hide ourselves in the crowd, and escape.'

These things being thus far agreed upon by them, they wrote another letter to Diabolus, and sent it by the hand to Mr. Profane, the contents of which were these:-

'The lords of Looseness send to the great and high Diabolus from our dens, caves, holes, and strongholds, in and about the wall of the town of Mansoul, greeting:

'Our great lord, and the nourisher of our lives, Diabolus - how glad we were when we heard of your fatherhood's readiness to comply with us, and help forward our design in our attempts to ruin Mansoul, none can tell but those who, as we do, set themselves against all appearance of good, when and wheresoever we find it.

'Touching the encouragement that your greatness is pleased to give us to continue to devise, contrive, and study the utter desolation of Mansoul, that we are not solicitous about: for we know right well that it cannot but be pleasing and profitable to us to see our enemies, and them that seek our lives, die at our feet, or fly before us. We therefore are still contriving, and that to the best of our cunning, to make this work most facile and easy to your lordships, and to us.

'First, we considered of that most hellishly cunning, compacted, threefold project, that by you was propounded to us in your last; and have concluded, that though to blow them up with the gunpowder of pride would do well, and to do it by tempting them to be loose and vain will help on, yet to contrive to bring them into the gulf of desperation, we think will do best of all. Now we, who are at your beck, have thought or two ways to do this: first we, for our parts, will make them as vile as we can, and then you with us, at a time appointed, shall be ready to fall upon them with the utmost force. And of all the nations that are at your whistle, we think that an army of doubters may be the most likely to attack and overcome the town of Mansoul. Thus shall we overcome these enemies, else the pit shall open her mouth upon them, and desperation shall thrust them down into it. We have also, to effect this so much by us desired design, sent already three of our trusty Diabolonians among them; they are disguised in garb, they have changed their names, and are now accepted of them; namely, Covetousness, Lasciviousness, and Anger. The name of Covetousness is changed to Prudent-Thrifty, and him Mr. Mind has hired, and is almost become as bad as our friend. Lasciviousness has changed his name to Harmless-Mirth, and he is got to be the Lord Willbewill's lackey; but he has made his master very wanton. Anger changed his name into Good-Zeal, and was entertained by Mr. Godly-Fear; but the peevish old gentleman took pepper in the nose, and turned our companion out of his house. Nay, he has informed us since that he ran away from him, or else his old master had hanged him up for his labour.

'Now these have much helped forward our work and design upon Mansoul; for notwithstanding the spite and quarrelsome temper of the old gentleman last mentioned, the other two ply their business well, and are likely to ripen the work apace.

'Our next project is, that it be concluded that you come upon the town upon a market-day, and that when they are upon the heat of their business; for then, to be sure, they will be most secure, and least think that an assault will be made upon them. They will also at such a time be less able to defend themselves, and to offend you in the prosecution of our design. And we your trusty (and we are sure your beloved) ones shall, when you shall make your furious assault without, be ready to second the business within. So shall we, in all likelihood, be able to put Mansoul to utter confusion, and to swallow them up before they can come to themselves. If your serpentine heads, most subtile dragons, and our highly esteemed lords can find out a better way than this, let us quickly know your minds.

'To the monsters of the infernal cave, from the house of Mr. Mischief in Mansoul, by the hand of Mr. Profane.'

Now all the while that the raging runagates and hellish Diabolonians were thus contriving the ruin of the town of Mansoul, they (namely, the poor town itself) was in a sad and woeful case; partly because they had so grievously offended Shaddai and his Son, and partly because that the enemies thereby got strength within them afresh; and also because, though they had by many petitions made suit to the Prince Emmanuel, and to his Father Shaddai by him, for their pardon and favour, yet hitherto obtained they not one smile; but contrariwise, through the craft and subtilty of the domestic Diabolonians, their cloud was made to grow blacker and blacker, and their Emmanuel to stand at further distance.

The sickness also did still greatly rage in Mansoul, both among the captains and the inhabitants of the town; and their enemies only were now lively and strong, and likely to become the head, whilst Mansoul was made the tail.

By this time the letter last mentioned, that was written by the Diabolonians that yet lurked in the town of Mansoul, was conveyed to Diabolus in the black den, by the hand of Mr. Profane. He carried the letter by Hell-Gate Hill as afore, and conveyed it by Cerberus to his lord.

But when Cerberus and Mr. Profane did meet, they were presently as great as beggars, and thus they fell into discourse about Mansoul, and about the project against her.

'Ah! old friend,' quoth Cerberus, 'art thou come to Hell-Gate Hill again? By St. Mary, I am glad to see thee!'

PROF. Yes, my lord, I am come again about the concerns of the town of Mansoul.

CERB. Prithee, tell me what condition is that town of Mansoul in at present?

PROF. In a brave condition, my lord, for us, and for my lords, the lords of this place, I trow for they are greatly decayed as to godliness, and that is as well as our heart can wish; their Lord is greatly out with them, and that doth also please us well. We have already also a foot in their dish, for our Diabolonian friends are laid in their bosoms, and what do we lack but to be masters of the place! Besides, our trusty friends in Mansoul are daily plotting to betray it to the lords of this town; also the sickness rages bitterly among them; and that which makes up all, we hope at last to prevail.'

Then said the dog of Hell-Gate, 'No time like this to assault them. I wish that the enterprise be followed close, and that the success desired may be soon effected: yea, I wish it for the poor Diabolonians' sakes, that live in the continual fear of their lives in that traitorous town of Mansoul.'

PROF. The contrivance is almost finished, the lords in Mansoul that are Diabolonians are at it day and night, and the other are like silly doves; they want heart to be concerned with their state and to consider that ruin is at hand. Besides you may, yea, must think, when you put all things together, that there are many reasons that prevail with Diabolus to make what haste he can.

CERB. Thou hast said as it is; I am glad things are at this pass. Go in, my brave Profane, to my lords, they will give thee for thy welcome as good a CORANTO as the whole of this kingdom will afford. I have sent thy letter in already.

Then Mr. Profane went into the den, and his lord Diabolus met him, and saluted him with, 'Welcome, my trusty servant: I have been made glad with thy letter.' The rest of the lords of the pit gave him also their salutations. Then Profane, after obeisance made to them all, said, 'Let Mansoul be given to my lord Diabolus, and let him be her king for ever.' And with that, the hollow belly and yawning gorge of hell gave so loud and hideous a groan, (for that is the music of that place,) that it made the mountains about it totter, as if they would fall in pieces.

Now, after they had read and considered the letter, they consulted what answer to return; and the first that did speak to it was Lucifer.

Then said he, 'The first project of the Diabolonians in Mansoul is likely to be lucky, and to take; namely, that they will, by all the ways and means they can, make Mansoul yet more vile and filthy: no way to destroy a soul like this. Our old friend Balaam went this way and prospered many years ago; let this therefore stand with us for a maxim, and be to Diabolonians for a general rule in all ages; for nothing can make this to fail but grace, in which I would hope that this town has no share. But whether to fall upon them on a market-day, because of their cumber in business, that I would should be under debate. And there is more reason why this head should be debated, than why some other should; because upon this will turn the whole of what we shall attempt. If we time not our business well, our whole project may fail. Our friends, the Diabolonians, say that a market-day is best; for then will Mansoul be most busy, and have fewest thoughts of a surprise. But what if also they should double their guards on those days? (and methinks nature and reason should teach them to do it;) and what if they should keep such a watch on those days as the necessity of their present case doth require? yea, what if their men should be always in arms on those days? then you may, my lords, be disappointed in your attempts, and may bring our friends in the town to utter danger of unavoidable ruin.'

Then said the great Beelzebub, 'There is something in what my lord hath said; but his conjecture may, or may not fall out. Nor hath my lord laid it down as that which must not be receded from; for I know that he said it only to provoke to a warm debate thereabout. Therefore we must understand, if we can, whether the town of Mansoul has such sense and knowledge of her decayed state, and of the design that we have on foot against her, as doth provoke her to set watch and ward at her gates, and to double them on market-days. But if, after inquiry made, it shall be found that they are asleep, then any day will do, but a market-day is best; and this is my judgment in this case.'

Then quoth Diabolus, 'How should we know this?' and it was answered, 'Inquire about it at the mouth of Mr. Profane.' So Profane was called in, and asked the question, and he made his answer as follows:-

PROF. My lords, so far as I can gather, this is at present the condition of the town of Mansoul: they are decayed in their faith and love; Emmanuel, their Prince, has given them the back; they send often by petition to fetch him again, but he maketh not haste to answer their request, nor is there much reformation among them.

DIAB. I am glad that they are backward in a reformation, but yet I am afraid of their petitioning. However, their looseness of life is a sign that there is not much heart in what they do, and without the heart things are little worth. But go on, my masters; I will divert you, my lords, no longer.

BEEL. If the case be so with Mansoul, as Mr. Profane has described it to be, it will be no great matter what day we assault it; not their prayers, nor their power will do them much service.

When Beelzebub had ended his oration, then Apollyon did begin. 'My opinion,' said he, 'concerning this matter, is, that we go on fair and softly, not doing things in a hurry. Let our friends in Mansoul go on still to pollute and defile it, by seeking to draw it yet more into sin (for there is nothing like sin to devour Mansoul). If this be done, and it takes effect, Mansoul, of itself, will leave off to watch, to petition, or anything else that should tend to her security and safety; for she will forget her Emmanuel, she will not desire his company, and can she be gotten thus to live, her Prince will not come to her in haste. Our trusty friend, Mr. Carnal-Security, with one of his tricks did drive him out of the town; and why may not my Lord Covetousness, and my Lord Lasciviousness, by what they may do, keep him out of the town? And this I will tell you, (not because you know it not,) that two or three Diabolonians, if entertained and countenanced by the town of Mansoul, will do more to the keeping of Emmanuel from them, and towards making the town of Mansoul your own, than can an army of a legion that should be sent out from us to withstand him. Let, therefore, this first project that our friends in Mansoul have set on foot, be strongly and diligently carried on, with all cunning and craft imaginable; and let them send continually, under one guise or another, more and other of their men to play with the people of Mansoul; and then, perhaps, we shall not need to be at the charge of making a war upon them; or if that must of necessity be done, yet the more sinful they are, the more unable, to be sure, they will be to resist us, and then the more easily we shall overcome them. And besides, suppose (and that is the worst that can be supposed) that Emmanuel should come to them again, why may not the same means, or the like, drive him from them once more? Yea, why may he not, by their lapse into that sin again, be driven from them for ever, for the sake of which he was at the first driven from them for a season? And if this should happen, then away go with him his rams, his slings, his captains, his soldiers, and he leaveth Mansoul naked and bare. Yea, will not this town, when she sees herself utterly forsaken of her Prince, of her own accord open her gates again unto you, and make of you as in the days of old? But this must be done by time, a few days will not effect so great a work as this.'

So soon as Apollyon had made an end of speaking, Diabolus began to blow out his own malice, and to plead his own cause; and he said, 'My lords, and powers of the cave, my true and trusty friends, I have with much impatience, as becomes me, given ear to your long and tedious orations. But my furious gorge, and empty paunch, so lusteth after a repossession of my famous town of Mansoul, that whatever comes out, I can wait no longer to see the events of lingering projects. I must, and that without further delay, seek, by all means I can, to fill my insatiable gulf with the soul and body of the town of Mansoul. Therefore lend me your heads, your hearts, and your help, now I am going to recover my town of Mansoul.'

The Holy War - Part 13 | Index | The Holy War - Part 15




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