[CONTENTS:—The Diabolonians take courage from the departure of Emmanuel, and plots are formed in hell for a counter- revolution in Mansoul—Covetousness, Lasciviousness, and Anger, by changing their names, are introduced into respectable families, where they corrupt their masters, and do incredible mischief—An army of twenty thousand Doubters raised to surprise the town.]Well, when the Diabolonian lords that were left, perceived that Mansoul had, through sinning, offended Emmanuel their Prince, and that he had withdrawn himself and was gone, what do they but plot the ruin of the town of Mansoul. So upon a time they met together at the hold of one Mr. Mischief, who also was a Diabolonian, and there consulted how they might deliver up Mansoul into the hand of Diabolus again. Now some advised one way, and some another, every man according to his own liking. At last, my Lord Lasciviousness propounded whether it might not be best in the first place, for some of those that were Diabolonians in Mansoul, to adventure to offer themselves for servants to some of the natives of the town. For, said he, if they so do, and Mansoul shall accept of them, they may for us, and for Diabolus our Lord, make the taking of the town of Mansoul more easy than otherwise it will be. But then stood up the Lord Murder, and said, This may not be done at this time, for Mansoul is now in a kind of a rage; because by our friend Mr. Carnal-security she hath been once ensnared already, and made to offend against her Prince; and how shall she reconcile herself unto her Lord again, but by the heads of these men? Besides, we know that they have in commission to take and slay us wherever they shall find us; let us therefore be wise as foxes; when we are dead we can do them no hurt, but while we live we may. Thus when they had tossed the matter to and fro, they jointly agreed that a letter should forthwith be sent away to Diabolus in their name; by which the state of the town of Mansoul should be showed him, and how much it is under the frowns of their Prince; we may also, said some, let him know our intentions, and ask of him his advice in the case.
So a letter was presently framed, the contents of which was this—
'To our great Lord, the Prince Diabolus, dwelling below in the Infernal Cave
'O great Father, and mighty Prince Diabolus, We, the true Diabolonians, yet remaining in the rebellious town of Mansoul, having received our beings from thee, and our nourishment at thy hands, cannot with content and quiet endure to behold, as we do this day, how thou art dispraised, disgraced, and reproached among the inhabitants of this town; nor is thy long absence at all delightful to us, because greatly to our detriment.
'The reason of this our writing unto our Lord is, for that we are not altogether without hope that this town may become thy habitation again; for it is greatly declined from its Prince Emmanuel, and he is up-risen, and is departed from them; yea, and though they send, and send, and send, and send after him to return to them, yet can they not prevail, nor get good words from him.
'There has been also of late, and is yet remaining, a very great sickness and faintings among them, and that not only upon the poorer sort of the town, but upon the lords, captains, and chief gentry of the place; we only, who are of the Diabolonians by nature, remain well, lively, and strong, so that through their great transgression on the one hand, and their dangerous sickness on the other, we judge they lay open to thy hand and power. If therefore it shall stand with thy horrible cunning, and with the cunning of the rest of the Princes with thee, to come and make an attempt to take Mansoul again, send us word, and we shall to our utmost power be ready to deliver it into thy hand. Or, if what we have said, shall not by thy fatherhood be thought best, and most meet to be done, send us thy mind in a few words, and we are all ready to follow thy counsel, to the hazarding of our lives, and what else we have.
'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, Deadman'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 this was 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 rung 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 doth 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 (Matt 12:33-35).
'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; to wit, 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 ye also, O ye brave Diabolonians and true sons of the pit, be ye 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, 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 gladed 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 will perceive 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, to wit, 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 of 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 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 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-countrymen, 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 eater (Nahum 3:12).
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 other did, because the town of Mansoul was now in Lent; but after a while, because Lent was almost out, the Lord Will-be-will 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 of Mr. Profane, the contents of which were this—
'The Lords of Looseness send to the great and high Diabolus, from our dens, caves, holes, and strong-holds, 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 (Rom 7:21; Gal 5:17).
'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, to 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 of 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; to wit, 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 got to be the Lord Will-be-will'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 like 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, to wit, 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; their enemies and their enemies only were now lively and strong, and like 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 before, 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.
CERB. 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.
CERB. 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.
LUCIF. Then said he, The first project of the Diabolonians in Mansoul is like to be lucky, and to take; to wit, 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; this is probatum est. 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 (Num 31:16; Rev 2:14). 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.
BEEL. 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 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.
DIAB. 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 to 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.
APOL. 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 of 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. 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, to wit, 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 was 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, 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 natives ones, in whom from day to day we boast, 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 vaunting 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 of 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; that 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, the 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 (Nahum 3:12). 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 (1 Peter 5:8). 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 matters did 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 is 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 of 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.
CERB. 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 handy-gripes 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 was more than eleven thousand men, women, and children that died by the sickness in Mansoul.
[ Content ]
[ Content ]
Footnotes289. Thus poor sinners are in league with hell against their own souls. May the Lord, by his Word and Spirit, break the horrid confederacy!—Mason. Back
290. The gate-keeper of Pluto's palace in hell, with three heads, every hair being a snake; supposed by some to represent the word, flesh, and devil; or the consumer of mankind.—Ed. Back
291. As there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, so likewise is there joy in hell over one backsliding saint. But almighty grace must prevail. O for watchfulness unto prayer!—Mason. Back
292. Satan renews his temptations with double force; while lasciviousness, murder, and mischief unite with him in cunning devices to ruin the soul. Three means of destruction are proposed in hell:—1. A vicious life; 2. Despair of mercy; 3. Prevailing pride. Either of these would prove our ruin, did not grace prevent.—Burder. Beware, O believer, lest a moment's want of watchfulness produce the bitter fruits of repentance!—Ed. Back
293. Ignorance and carnal security, or idleness, are the strongholds of sin in the soul. The more we study to become acquainted with Divine truth, and labour to show forth the glory of God, the safer and happier we must become.—Ed. Back
294. Well may our pious author reiterate the caution—'Take heed, Mansoul!' Vices in the disguise of virtues are especially dangerous. So when the pilgrims were led astray, and entangled in a net, by a black man in white raiment, they said, 'We did not imagine that this fine-spoken man had been the flatterer.'—Ed. Back
295. Coarse, home-spun, brown woollen cloth.—Ed. Back
296. Bunyan does not pretend to fast forty days; and he shows the evils of Lent, because after so long a fast, there was a need of mirth; and thus Lord Lasciviousness, alias Harmless-mirth, is hired, and soon produces great mischief. Who can tell the miseries that have followed Easter festivities, after Lenten hypocrisies?—Ed. Back
297. A reckless, profligate fellow; under the disguise of good zeal.—Ed. Back
298. By a market-day is meant any time when the affairs of this world most occupy the mind: a honey-moon, birthdays, or other periods of rejoicing—as Christmas or Twelfth-day; and on times when deeply occupied with the cares of life. These are the times for Satan's attacks. Take heed then, Mansoul; while diligent in business, be fervent in spirit, watching unto prayer.—Ed. Back
299. This scheme is contrived with consummate skill. First let the Christian be drawn into a light, vain, worldly walk— 'Make him as vile as you can'; and then assault him with doubts and fears about his salvation.—Burder. 'Look to it; take heed, Mansoul!'—Ed. Back
300. 'Took pepper in the nose.' Godly-fear was easily excited, and quickly saw the disguise which Anger had put on, and turned him out neck and crop. This proverb was often used in Bunyan's time; thus—
'For every man takes pepper i' the nose
For the waggynge of a strawe, God knowse,
With every waveryinge wynd that blowese.'
Elderten's Lenten Stuffe, 1570.—Ed. Back
301. Backsliding from God naturally produces clouds that grow blacker and blacker as corruptions grow stronger and stronger; grace in the soul becomes sick and weakly.—Burder. Back
302. This is one of those shrewd hits which abound in Bunyan's works. The devil swears by the mother of God, 'Saint Mary'—a singular mode of connecting his Satanic majesty and Popery, by his using a common popish oath.—Ed. Back
303. In the same proportion as sin is encouraged, the ordinances, ways, and will of God will be neglected.—Mason. Back
304. To get a foot in, or footing, is to gain admittance. 'A foot in their dish' is the further familiarity of eating and drinking together.—Ed. Back
305. The immoral contagion had spread; evil thoughts abounded. 'For this cause many are sickly among you' (1 Cor 11:30).—Ed. Back
306. A swift and lively, but disorderly dance. The prospect of the misery and destruction of Mansoul set all the devils a-dancing.
'Wherein that dancer greatest praise hath won Which with best order can all order shun.'—Sir John Davies.
Where could Bunyan have picked up this very expressive but rare word?—Ed. Back
307. To back a friend, is to support him. To turn the back upon him, or give him the back, is to desert him.—Ed. Back
308. Although Satan is the father of lies, he certainly speaks truth here. Sin will do more hurt to the soul than a legion of devils.—Burder. Back
309. Here again we have Satan telling truth.—Ed. Apostacy is generally a gradual affair; a sure poison, but slow.—Burder. Back
310. Satan's malice is like a throat and stomach— 'insatiable.' He seeks to fill it with the souls and bodies of men; but his torment is, that it is a gulf bottomless and for ever insatiable.—Ed. Back
311. Doubts are dangerous and potent, as well as numberless enemies; they are dishonourable to God's free, sovereign, unasked, unmerited, and everlasting love and mercy in Christ Jesus.—Mason. Back
312. At the season when the affairs of the world fill the heart, beware of being 'overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this world.' Be sober, be vigilant, O my soul; attend to the author's repeated warning, 'Take heed, Mansoul!'—Ed. Back
313. Some may imagine this to be an incredible number of doubts, but when the nine divisions of this army are presently enumerated, it will be readily acknowledge that our doubts are innumerable.—Ed. Back
314. According to Milton, Cerberus was the parent of Melancholy, a fit leader of Doubters.
'Hence, loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian caves forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy!'— L'Allegro.—Ed. Back
315. To 'gather up the heels,' or 'take to the heels,' implies great haste.—Ed. Back
316. This is an awful state, when we encourage evil thoughts and propensities in the heart, and pray to God against them. 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me' (Psa 66:18).—Ed. Back
317. Hand-to-hand combat; wrestling.—Ed. Back
318. Awful is the state of that soul, when it is difficult, by the conduct, to know whether it is a professor or one of the profane. Alas, how common a case! Eleven thousand acts of piety, holy thoughts, and aspirations after God, were lost by the wretched backslider.—Ed. Back
[ Chapter XIV ]