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 Main Index : Writings : John Bunyan : Holy War Index : The Holy War - Part 15
The Holy War - Part 14 | Index | The Holy War - Part 16



When the lords and princes of the pit saw the flaming desire that was in Diabolus to devour the miserable town of Mansoul, they left off to raise any more objections, but consented to lend him what strength they could, though had Apollyon's advice been taken, they had far more fearfully distressed the town of Mansoul. But, I say, they were willing to lend him what strength they could, not knowing what need they might have of him, when they should engage for themselves, as he. Wherefore they fell to advising about the next thing propounded, namely, what soldiers they were, and also how many, with whom Diabolus should go against the town of Mansoul to take it; and after some debate, it was concluded, according as in the letter the Diabolonians had suggested, that none were more fit for that expedition than an army of terrible doubters. They therefore concluded to send against Mansoul an army of sturdy doubters. The number thought fit to be employed in that service was between twenty and thirty thousand. So then the result of that great council of those high and mighty lords was - That Diabolus should even now, out of hand, beat up his drum for men in the land of Doubting, which land lieth upon the confines of the place called Hell-Gate Hill, for men that might be employed by him against the miserable town of Mansoul. It was also concluded, that these lords themselves should help him in the war, and that they would to that end head and manage his men. So they drew up a letter, and sent back to the Diabolonians that lurked in Mansoul, and that waited for the back-coming of Mr. Profane, to signify to them into what method and forwardness they at present had put their design. The contents whereof now follow:-

'From the dark and horrible dungeon of hell, Diabolus with all the society of the princes of darkness, sends to our trusty ones, in and about the walls of the town of Mansoul, now impatiently waiting for our most devilish answer to their venomous and most poisonous design against the town of Mansoul.

'Our native ones, in whom from day to day we boast, and in whose actions all the year long we do greatly delight ourselves, we received your welcome, because highly esteemed letter, at the hand of our trusty and greatly beloved, the old gentleman, Mr. Profane. And do give you to understand, that when we had broken it up, and had read the contents thereof, to your amazing memory be it spoken, our yawning hollow-bellied place, where we are, made so hideous and yelling a noise for joy, that the mountains that stand round about Hell-Gate Hill, had like to have been shaken to pieces at the sound thereof.

'We could also do no less than admire your faithfulness to us, with the greatness of that subtilty that now hath showed itself to be in your heads to serve us against the town of Mansoul. For you have invented for us so excellent a method for our proceeding against that rebellious people, a more effectual cannot be thought of by all the wits of hell. The proposals, therefore, which now, at last, you have sent us, since we saw them, we have done little else but highly approved and admired them.

'Nay, we shall, to encourage you in the profundity of your craft, let you know, that, at a full assembly and conclave of our princes and principalities of this place, your project was discoursed and tossed from one side of our cave to the other by their mightinesses; but a better, and as was by themselves judged, a more fit and proper way by all their wits, could not be invented, to surprise, take, and make our own, the rebellious town of Mansoul.

'Wherefore, in fine, all that was said that varied from what you had in your letter propounded, fell of itself to the ground, and yours only was stuck to by Diabolus, the prince; yea, his gaping gorge and yawning paunch was on fire to put your invention into execution.

'We therefore give you to understand that our stout, furious, and unmerciful Diabolus is raising, for your relief, and the ruin of the rebellious town of Mansoul, more than twenty thousand doubters to come against that people. They are all stout and sturdy men, and men that of old have been accustomed to war, and that can therefore well endure the drum. I say, he is doing this work of his with all the possible speed he can; for his heart and spirit is engaged in it. We desire, therefore, that, as you have hitherto stuck to us, and given us both advice and encouragement thus far, you still will prosecute our design; nor shall you lose, but be gainers thereby; yea, we intend to make you the lords of Mansoul.

'One thing may not by any means be omitted, that is, those with us do desire that every one of you that are in Mansoul would still use all your power, cunning, and skill, with delusive persuasions, yet to draw the town of Mansoul into more sin and wickedness, even that sin may be finished and bring forth death.

'For thus it is concluded with us, that the more vile, sinful, and debauched the town of Mansoul is, more backward will be their Emmanuel to come to their help, either by presence or other relief; yea, the more sinful, the more weak, and so the more unable will they be to make resistance when we shall make our assault upon them to swallow them up. Yea, that may cause that their mighty Shaddai himself may cast them out of his protection; yea, and send for his captains and soldiers home, with his slings and rams, and leave them naked and bare; and then the town of Mansoul will of itself open to us, and fall as the fig into the mouth of the eater. Yea, to be sure. that we then with a great deal of ease shall come upon her and overcome her.

'As to the time of our coming upon Mansoul, we, as yet, have not fully resolved upon that, though at present some of us think as you, that a market-day, or a market-day at night, will certainly be the best. However, do you be ready, and when you shall hear our roaring drum without, do you be as busy to make the most horrible confusion within. So shall Mansoul certainly be distressed before and behind, and shall not know which way to betake herself for help. My Lord Lucifer, my Lord Beelzebub, my Lord Apollyon, my Lord Legion, with the rest, salute you, as does also my Lord Diabolus; and we wish both you, with all that you do, or shall possess, the very self-same fruit and success for their doing as we ourselves at present enjoy for ours.

'From our dreadful confines in the most fearful pit, we salute you, and so do those many legions here with us, wishing you may be as hellishly prosperous as we desire to be ourselves. By the letter-carrier, Mr. Profane.'

Then Mr. Profane addressed himself for his return to Mansoul, with his errand from the horrible pit to the Diabolonians that dwelt in that town. So he came up the stairs from the deep to the mouth of the cave where Cerberus was. Now when Cerberus saw him, he asked how did matters go below, about and against the town of Mansoul.

PROF. Things go as well as we can expect. The letter that I carried thither was highly approved, and well liked by all my lords, and I am returning to tell our Diabolonians so. I have an answer to it here in my bosom, that I am sure will make our masters that sent me glad; for the contents thereof are to encourage them to pursue their design to the utmost, and to be ready also to fall on within, when they shall see my Lord Diabolus beleaguering the town of Mansoul.

CERB. But does he intend to go against them himself?

PROF. Does he! Ay! and he will take along with him more than twenty thousand, all sturdy Doubters, and men of war, picked men from the land of Doubting, to serve him in the expedition.

Then was Cerberus glad, and said, 'And is there such brave preparations a-making to go against the miserable town of Mansoul? And would I might be put at the head of a thousand of them, that I might also show my valour against the famous town of Mansoul.'

PROF. Your wish may come to pass; you look like one that has mettle enough, and my lord will have with him those that are valiant and stout. But my business requires haste.

CERB. Ay, so it does. Speed thee to the town of Mansoul, with all the deepest mischiefs that this place can afford thee. And when thou shalt come to the house of Mr. Mischief, the place where the Diabolonians meet to plot, tell them that Cerberus doth wish them his service, and that if he may, he will with the army come up against the famous town of Mansoul.

PROF. That I will. And I know that my lords that are there will be glad to hear it, and to see you also.

So after a few more such kind of compliments, Mr. Profane took his leave of his friend Cerberus; and Cerberus again, with a thousand of their pit-wishes, bid him haste, with all speed, to his masters. The which when he had heard, he made obeisance, and began to gather up his heels to run.

Thus, therefore, he returned, and went and came to Mansoul; and going, as afore, to the house of Mr. Mischief, there he found the Diabolonians assembled, and waiting for his return. Now when he was come, and had presented himself, he also delivered to them his letter, and adjoined this compliment to them therewith: 'My lords, from the confines of the pit, the high and mighty principalities and powers of the den salute you here, the true Diabolonians of the town of Mansoul. Wishing you always the most proper of their benedictions, for the great service, high attempts, and brave achievements that you have put yourselves upon, for the restoring to our prince Diabolus the famous town of Mansoul.'

This was therefore the present state of the miserable town of Mansoul: she had offended her Prince, and he was gone; she had encouraged the powers of hell, by her foolishness, to come against her to seek her utter destruction.

True, the town of Mansoul was somewhat made sensible of her sin, but the Diabolonians were gotten into her bowels; she cried, but Emmanuel was gone, and her cries did not fetch him as yet again. Besides, she knew not now whether, ever or never, he would return and come to his Mansoul again; nor did they know the power and industry of the enemy, nor how forward they were to put in execution that plot of hell that they had devised against her.

They did, indeed, still send petition after petition to the Prince, but he answered all with silence. They did neglect reformation, and that was as Diabolus would have it; for he knew, if they regarded iniquity in their heart, their King would not hear their prayer; they therefore did still grow weaker and weaker, and were as a rolling thing before the whirlwind. They cried to their King for help, and laid Diabolonians in their bosoms: what therefore should a King do to them? Yea, there seemed now to be a mixture in Mansoul; the Diabolonians and the Mansoulians would walk the streets together. Yea, they began to seek their peace; for they thought that, since the sickness had been so mortal in Mansoul, it was in vain to go to handygripes with them. Besides, the weakness of Mansoul was the strength of their enemies; and the sins of Mansoul, the advantage of the Diabolonians. The foes of Mansoul did also now begin to promise themselves the town for a possession: there was no great difference now betwixt Mansoulians and Diabolonians: both seemed to be masters of Mansoul. Yea, the Diabolonians increased and grew, but the town of Mansoul diminished greatly. There were more than eleven thousand men, women, and children that died by the sickness in Mansoul.

But now, as Shaddai would have it, there was one whose name was Mr. Prywell, a great lover of the people of Mansoul. And he, as his manner was, did go listening up and down in Mansoul to see, and to hear, if at any time he might, whether there was any design against it or no. For he was always a jealous man, and feared some mischief sometime would befal it, either from the Diabolonians within, or from some power without. Now upon a time it so happened, as Mr. Prywell went listening here and there, that he lighted upon a place called Vilehill, in Mansoul, where Diabolonians used to meet; so hearing a muttering, (you must know that it was in the night,) he softly drew near to hear; nor had he stood long under the house-end, (for there stood a house there,) but he heard one confidently affirm, that it was not, or would not be long before Diabolus should possess himself again of Mansoul; and that then the Diabolonians did intend to put all Mansoulians to the sword, and would kill and destroy the King's captains, and drive all his soldiers out of the town. He said, moreover, that he knew there were above twenty thousand fighting men prepared by Diabolus for the accomplishing of this design, and that it would not be months before they all should see it.

When Mr. Prywell had heard this story, he did quickly believe it was true: wherefore he went forthwith to my Lord Mayor's house, and acquainted him therewith; who, sending for the subordinate preacher, brake the business to him; and he as soon gave the alarm to the town; for he was now the chief preacher in Mansoul, because, as yet, my Lord Secretary was ill at ease. And this was the way that the subordinate preacher did take to alarm the town therewith. The same hour he caused the lecture bell to be rung; so the people came together: he gave them then a short exhortation to watchfulness, and made Mr. Prywell's news the argument thereof. 'For,' said he, 'an horrible plot is contrived against Mansoul, even to massacre us all in a day, nor is this story to be slighted; for Mr. Prywell is the author thereof. Mr. Prywell was always a lover of Mansoul, a sober and judicious man, a man that is no tattler, nor raiser of false reports, but one that loves to look into the very bottom of matters, and talks nothing of news, but by very solid arguments.

'I will call him, and you shall hear him your own selves;' so he called him, and he came and told his tale so punctually, and affirmed its truth with such ample grounds, that Mansoul fell presently under a conviction of the truth of what he said. The preacher did also back him, saying, 'Sirs, it is not irrational for us to believe it, for we have provoked Shaddai to anger, and have sinned Emmanuel out of the town; we have had too much correspondence with Diabolonians, and have forsaken our former mercies: no marvel then, if the enemy both within and without should design and plot our ruin; and what time like this to do it? The sickness is now in the town, and we have been made weak thereby. Many a good meaning man is dead, and the Diabolonians of late grow stronger and stronger.

'Besides,' quoth the subordinate preacher, 'I have received from this good truth-teller this one inkling further, that he understood by those that he overheard, that several letters have lately passed between the furies and the Diabolonians in order to our destruction.' When Mansoul heard all this, and not being able to gainsay it, they lift up their voice and wept. Mr. Prywell did also, in the presence of the townsmen, confirm all that their subordinate preacher had said. Wherefore they now set afresh to bewail their folly, and to a doubling of petitions to Shaddai and his Son. They also brake the business to the captains, high commanders, and men of war in the town of Mansoul, entreating them to use the means to be strong, and to take good courage; and that they would look after their harness, and make themselves ready to give Diabolus battle by night and by day, shall he come, as they are informed he will, to beleaguer the town of Mansoul.

When the captains heard this, they being always true lovers of the town of Mansoul, what do they but like so many Samsons they shake themselves, and come together to consult and contrive how to defeat those bold and hellish contrivances that were upon the wheel by the means of Diabolus and his friends against the now sickly, weakly, and much impoverished town of Mansoul; and they agreed upon these following particulars:-

1. That the gates of Mansoul should be kept shut, and made fast with bars and locks, and that all persons that went out, or came in, should be very strictly examined by the captains of the guards, 'to the end,' said they, 'that those that are managers of the plot amongst us, may, either coming or going, be taken; and that we may also find out who are the great contrivers, amongst us, of our ruin.'

2. The next thing was, that a strict search should be made for all kind of Diabolonians throughout the whole town of Mansoul; and that every man's house from top to bottom should be looked into, and that, too, house by house, that if possible a further discovery might be made of all such among them as had a hand in these designs.

3. It was further concluded upon, that wheresoever or with whomsoever any of the Diabolonians were found, that even those of the town of Mansoul that had given them house and harbour, should to their shame, and the warning of others, take penance in the open place.

4. It was, moreover, resolved by the famous town of Mansoul, that a public fast, and a day of humiliation, should be kept throughout the whole corporation, to the justifying of their Prince, the abasing of themselves before him for their transgressions against him, and against Shaddai, his Father. It was further resolved, that all such in Mansoul as did not on that day endeavour to keep that fast, and to humble themselves for their faults, but that should mind their worldly employs, or be found wandering up and down the streets, should be taken for Diabolonians, and should suffer as Diabolonians for such their wicked doings.

5. It was further concluded then, that with what speed, and with what warmth of mind they could, they would renew their humiliation for sin, and their petitions to Shaddai for help; they also resolved, to send tidings to the court of all that Mr. Prywell had told them.

6. It was also determined, that thanks should be given by the town of Mansoul to Mr. Prywell, for his diligent seeking of the welfare of their town: and further, that forasmuch as he was so naturally inclined to seek their good, and also to undermine their foes, they gave him a commission of scout- master-general, for the good of the town of Mansoul.

When the corporation, with their captains, had thus concluded, they did as they had said; they shut up their gates, they made for Diabolonians strict search, they made those with whom any were found to take penance in the open place: they kept their fast, and renewed their petitions to their Prince, and Mr. Prywell managed his charge and the trust that Mansoul had put in his hands, with great conscience and good fidelity; for he gave himself wholly up to his employ, and that not only within the town, but he went out to pry, to see, and to hear.

And not many days after he provided for his journey, and went towards Hell-Gate Hill, into the country where the Doubters were, where he heard of all that had been talked of in Mansoul, and he perceived also that Diabolus was almost ready for his march, etc. So he came back with speed, and, calling the captains and elders of Mansoul together, he told them where he had been, what he had heard, and what he had seen. Particularly, he told them that Diabolus was almost ready for his march, and that he had made old Mr. Incredulity, that once brake prison in Mansoul, the, general of his army; that his army consisted all of Doubters, and that their number was above twenty thousand. He told, moreover, that Diabolus did intend to bring with him the chief princes of the infernal pit, and that he would make them chief captains over his Doubters. He told them, moreover, that it was certainly true that several of the black den would, with Diabolus, ride reformades to reduce the town of Mansoul to the obedience of Diabolus, their prince.

He said, moreover, that he understood by the Doubters, among whom he had been, that the reason why old Incredulity was made general of the whole army, was because none truer than he to the tyrant; and because he had an implacable spite against the welfare of the town of Mansoul. Besides, said he, he remembers the affronts that Mansoul has given him, and he is resolved to be revenged of them.

But the black princes shall be made high commanders, only Incredulity shall be over them all; because, which I had almost forgot, he can more easily, and more dexterously, beleaguer the town of Mansoul, than can any of the princes besides.

Now, when the captains of Mansoul, with the elders of the town, had heard the tidings that Mr. Prywell did bring, they thought it expedient, without further delay, to put into execution the laws that against the Diabolonians their Prince had made for them, and given them in commandment to manage against them. Wherefore, forthwith a diligent and impartial search was made in all houses in Mansoul, for all and all manner of Diabolonians. Now, in the house of Mr. Mind, and in the house of the great Lord Willbewill, were two Diabolonians found. In Mr. Mind's house was one Lord Covetousness found; but he had changed his name to Prudent- Thrifty. In my Lord Willbewill's house, one Lasciviousness was found; but he had changed his name to Harmless-Mirth. These two the captains and elders of the town of Mansoul took, and committed them to custody under the hand of Mr. Trueman, the gaoler; and this man handled them so severely, and loaded them so well with irons, that in time they both fell into a very deep consumption, and died in the prison- house; their masters also, according to the agreement of the captains and elders, were brought to take penance in the open place to their shame, and for a warning to the rest of the town of Mansoul.

Now, this was the manner of penance in those days: the persons offending being made sensible of the evil of their doings, were enjoined open confession of their faults, and a strict amendment of their lives.

After this, the captains and elders of Mansoul sought yet to find out more Diabolonians, wherever they lurked, whether in dens, caves, holes, vaults, or where else they could, in or about the wall or town of Mansoul. But though they could plainly see their footing, and so follow them by their track and smell to their holds, even to the mouths of their caves and dens, yet take them, hold them, and do justice upon them, they could not; their ways were so crooked, their holds so strong, and they so quick to take sanctuary there.

But Mansoul did now with so stiff an hand rule over the Diabolonians that were left, that they were glad to shrink into corners: time was when they durst walk openly, and in the day; but now they were forced to embrace privacy and the night: time was when a Mansoulian was their companion; but now they counted them deadly enemies. This good change did Mr. Prywell's intelligence make in the famous town of Mansoul.

By this time, Diabolus had finished his army which he intended to bring with him for the ruin of Mansoul; and had set over them captains, and other field officers, such as liked his furious stomach best: himself was lord paramount, Incredulity was general of his army, their highest captains shall be named afterwards; but now for their officers, colours, and scutcheons.

1. Their first captain was Captain Rage: he was captain over the election doubters, his were the red colours; his standard-bearer was Mr. Destructive, and the great red dragon he had for his scutcheon.

2. The second captain was Captain Fury: he was captain over the vocation doubters; his standard-bearer was Mr. Darkness, his colours were those that were pale, and he had for his scutcheon the fiery flying serpent.

3. The third captain was Captain Damnation: he was captain over the grace doubters; his were the red colours, Mr. No- Life bare them, and he had for his scutcheon the black den.

4. The fourth captain was Captain Insatiable; he was captain over the faith doubters: his were the red colours, Mr. Devourer bare them, and he had for a scutcheon the yawning jaws.

5. The fifth captain was Captain Brimstone: he was captain over the perseverance doubters; his also were the red colours, Mr. Burning bare them, and his scutcheon was the blue and stinking flame.

6. The sixth captain was Captain Torment: he was captain over the resurrection doubters; his colours were those that were pale; Mr. Gnaw was his standard-bearer, and he had the black worm for his scutcheon.

7. The seventh captain was Captain No-Ease; he was captain over the salvation doubters; his were the red colours, Mr. Restless bare them, and his scutcheon was the ghastly picture of death.

8. The eighth captain was the Captain Sepulchre: he was captain over the glory doubters; his also were the pale colours, Mr. Corruption was his standard-bearer, and he had for his scutcheon a skull, and dead men's bones.

9. The ninth captain was Captain Past-Hope; he was captain of those that are called the felicity doubters; his standard- bearer was Mr. Despair; his also were the red colours, and his scutcheon was a hot iron and the hard heart.

These were his captains, and these were their forces, these were their standards, these were their colours, and these were their scutcheons. Now, over these did the great Diabolus make superior captains, and they were in number seven: as, namely, the Lord Beelzebub, the Lord Lucifer, the Lord Legion, the Lord Apollyon, the Lord Python, the Lord Cerberus, and the Lord Belial; these seven he set over the captains, and Incredulity was lord-general, and, Diabolus was king. The reformades also, such as were like themselves, were made some of them captains of hundreds, and some of them captains of more. And thus was the army of Incredulity completed.

So they set out at Hell-Gate Hill, for there they had their rendezvous, from whence they came with a straight course upon their march toward the town of Mansoul. Now, as was hinted before, the town had, as Shaddai would have it, received from the mouth of Mr. Prywell the alarm of their coming before. Wherefore they set a strong watch at the gates, and had also doubled their guards: they also mounted their slings in good places, where they might conveniently cast out their great stones to the annoyance of their furious enemy.

Nor could those Diabolonians that were in the town do that hurt as was designed they should; for Mansoul was now awake. But alas! poor people, they were sorely affrighted at the first appearance of their foes, and at their sitting down before the town, especially when they heard the roaring of their drum. This, to speak truth, was amazingly hideous to hear; it frighted all men seven miles round, if they were but awake and heard it. The streaming of their colours was also terrible and dejecting to behold.

When Diabolus was come up against the town, first he made his approach to Ear-gate, and gave it a furious assault, supposing, as it seems, that his friends in Mansoul had been ready to do the work within; but care was taken of that before, by the vigilance of the captains. Wherefore, missing of the help that he expected from them, and finding his army warmly attended with the stones that the slingers did sling, (for that I will say for the captains, that considering the weakness that yet was upon them by reason of the long sickness that had annoyed the town of Mansoul, they did gallantly behave themselves,) he was forced to make some retreat from Mansoul, and to entrench himself and his men in the field without the reach of the slings of the town.

The Holy War - Part 14 | Index | The Holy War - Part 16

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