[CONTENTS:—The principal inhabitants hold a conference, and agree to petition the Prince for their lives—The castle gates broken open—Emmanuel marches into Mansoul—Diabolus is made prisoner, and bound in chains—The inhabitants, greatly distressed, petition again and again—At length a free pardon is obtained, and universal joy succeeds.]Now the old Recorder, and my Lord Understanding, with some others of the chief of the town, to wit, such as knew they must stand and fall with the famous town of Mansoul, came together upon a day, and after consultation had, did jointly agree to draw up a petition, and send it to Emmanuel, now while he sat in the gate of Mansoul. So they drew up their petition to Emmanuel, the contents whereof were this, That they, the old inhabitants of the now deplorable town of Mansoul, confessed their sin, and were sorry that they had offended his princely Majesty, and prayed that he would spare their lives.
Upon this petition he gave no answer at all, and that did trouble them yet so much the more. Now all this while the captains that were in the Recorder's house were playing with the battering-rams at the gates of the castle, to beat them down. So after some time, labour, and travail, the gate of the castle that was called Impregnable was beaten open, and broken into several splinters; and so a way made to go up to the hold in which Diabolus had hid himself. Then was tidings sent down to Ear-gate, for Emmanuel still abode there, to let him know that a way was made in at the gates of the castle of Mansoul. But oh! how the trumpets at the tidings sounded throughout the Prince's camp, for that now the war was so near an end, and Mansoul itself of being set free.
Then the Prince arose from the place where he was, and took with him such of his men of war as were fittest for that expedition, and marched up the street of Mansoul to the old Recorder's house.
Now the Prince himself was clad all in armour of gold, and so he marched up the town with his standard borne before him; but he kept his countenance much reserved all the way as he went, so that the people could not tell how to gather to themselves love or hatred by his looks. Now as he marched up the street, the townsfolk came out at every door to see, and could not but be taken with his person, and the glory thereof, but wondered at the reservedness of his countenance; for as yet he spake more to them by his actions and works, than he did by words or smiles. But also poor Mansoul, as in such cases all are apt to do, they interpreted the carriages of Emmanuel to them, as did Joseph's brethren his to them, even all the quite contrary way. For, thought they, if Emmanuel loved us, he would show it to us by word or carriage; but none of these he doth, therefore Emmanuel hates us. Now if Emmanuel hates us, then Mansoul shall be slain, then Mansoul shall become a dunghill. They knew that they had transgressed his Father's law, and that against him they had been in with Diabolus his enemy. They also knew that the Prince Emmanuel knew all this; for they were convinced that he was as an Angel of God, to know all things that are done in the earth. And this made them think that their condition was miserable, and that the good Prince would make them desolate.
And, thought they, what time so fit to do this in as now, when he has the bridle of Mansoul in his hand. And this I took special notice of, that the inhabitants, notwithstanding all this, could not; no, they could not, when they see him march through the town, but cringe, bow, bend, and were ready to lick the dust of his feet. They also wished a thousand times over, that he would become their Prince and Captain, and would become their protection. They would also one to another talk of the comeliness of his person, and how much for glory and valour he outstripped the great ones of the world. But, poor hearts, as to themselves their thoughts would chance, and go upon all manner of extremes; yea, through the working of them backward and forward, Mansoul became as a ball tossed, and as a rolling thing before the whirlwind (Isa 18:13, 23:18).
Now when he was come to the castle gates, he commanded Diabolus to appear, and to surrender himself into his hands. But oh! how loath was the beast to appear! How he stuck at it! How he shrunk! aye, how he cringed! Yet out he came to the Prince. Then Emmanuel commanded, and they took Diabolus and bound him fast in chains, the better to reserve him to the judgment that he had appointed for him. But Diabolus stood up to entreat for himself, that Emmanuel would not send him into the deep, but suffer him to depart out of Mansoul in peace.
When Emmanuel had taken him and bound him in chains, he led him into the marketplace, and there, before Mansoul, stripped him of his armour in which he boasted so much before. This now was one of the acts of triumph of Emmanuel over his enemy; and all the while that the giant was stripping, the trumpets of the golden Prince did sound amain; the captains also shouted, and the soldiers did sing for joy. Then was Mansoul called upon to behold the beginning of Emmanuel's triumph over him in whom they so much had trusted, and of whom they so much had boasted in the days when he flattered them.
Thus having made Diabolus naked in the eyes of Mansoul, and before the commanders of the Prince, in the next place he commands that Diabolus should be bound with chains to his chariot wheels. Then leaving some of his forces, to wit, Captain Boanerges, and Captain Conviction, as a guard for the castle-gates, that resistance might be made on his behalf, if any that heretofore followed Diabolus should make an attempt to possess it, he did ride in triumph over him quite through the town of Mansoul, and so out at, and before the gate called Eye-gate, to the plain where his camp did lie (Eph 4).
But you cannot think unless you had been there, as I was, what a shout there was in Emmanuel's camp when they saw the tyrant bound by the hand of their noble Prince, and tied to his chariot wheels! And they said, He hath led captivity captive; he hath spoiled principalities and powers; Diabolus is subjected to the power of his sword, and made the object of all derision!
Those also that rode Reformades, and that came down to see the battle, they shouted with that greatness of voice, and sung with such melodious notes, that they caused them that dwell in the highest orbs to open their windows, put out their heads, and look down to see the cause of that glory (Luke 15:7-10).
The townsmen also, so many of them as saw this sight, were as it were, while they looked, betwixt the earth and the heavens. True, they could not tell what would be the issue of things as to them, but all things were done in such excellent methods; and I cannot tell how, but things in the management of them seemed to cast a smile towards the town, so that their eyes, their heads, their hearts, and their minds, and all that they had, were taken and held, while they observed Emmanuel's order.
So when the brave Prince had finished this part of his triumph over Diabolus his foe, he turned him up in the midst of his contempt and shame, having given him a charge no more to be a possessor of Mansoul. Then went he from Emmanuel, and out of the midst of his camp to inherit the parched places in a salt land, seeking rest but finding none (Matt 12:43).
Now Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction were both of them men of very great majesty, their faces were like the faces of lions (1 Chron 12:8), and their words like the roaring of the sea; (Isa 5:29-30) and they still quartered in Mr. Conscience's house, of whom mention was made before. When therefore, the high and mighty Prince had thus far finished his triumph over Diabolus, the townsmen had more leisure to view and to behold the actions of these noble captains. But the captains carried it with that terror and dread in all that they did, and you may be sure that they had private instructions so to do, that they kept the town under continual heart-aching, and caused, in their apprehension, the well-being of Mansoul for the future, to hang in doubt before them, so that, for some considerable time, they neither knew what rest, or ease, or peace, or hope meant.
Nor did the Prince himself, as yet, abide in the town of Mansoul, but in his royal pavilion in the camp, and in the midst of his Father's forces. So at a time convenient, he sent special orders to Captain Boanerges to summons Mansoul, the whole of the townsmen, into the castle-yard, and then and there, before their faces, to take my Lord Understanding, Mr. Conscience, and that notable one, the Lord Will-be-will, and put them all three in ward, and that they should set a strong guard upon them there, until his pleasure concerning them were further known. The which orders, when the captains had put them in execution, made no small addition to the fears of the town of Mansoul; for now, to their thinking, were their former fears of the ruin of Mansoul confirmed. Now, what death they should die, and how long they should be in dying, was that which most perplexed their heads and hearts. Yea, they were afraid that Emmanuel would command them all into the deep, the place that the prince Diabolus was afraid of; for they knew that they had deserved it. Also to die by the sword in the face of the town, and in the open way of disgrace, from the hand of so good and so holy a prince, that, too, troubled them sore. The town was also greatly troubled for the men that were committed to ward, for that they were their stay and their guide, and for that they believed that if those men were cut off, their execution would be but the beginning of the ruin of the town of Mansoul. Wherefore what do they, but together with the men in prison, draw up a petition to the Prince, and sent it to Emmanuel by the hand of Mr. Would- live. So he went and came to the Prince's quarters, and presented the petition; the sum of which was this:—
'Great and wonderful Potentate, victor over Diabolus, and conqueror of the town of Mansoul, We, the miserable inhabitants of that most woful corporation, do humbly beg that we may find favour in thy sight, and remember not against us former transgressions, nor yet the sins of the chief of our town, but spare us according to the greatness of thy mercy, and let us not die, but live in thy sight; so shall we be willing to be thy servants, and if thou shalt think fit, to gather our meat under thy table. Anen.'
So the petitioner went as was said with his petition to the Prince, and the Prince took it at his hand, but sent him away with silence. This still afflicted the town of Mansoul, but yet considering that now they must either petition, or die—for now they could not do anything else—therefore they consulted again, and sent another petition, and this petition was much after the form and method of the former.
But when the petition was drawn up, by whom should they send it was the next question; for they would not send this by him by whom they sent the first, for they thought that the Prince had taken some offence at the manner of his deportment before him; so they attempted to make Captain Conviction their messenger with it, but he said that he neither durst, nor would petition Emmanuel for traitors; nor be to the Prince an advocate for rebels. Yet withal, said he, our Prince is good, and you may adventure to send it by the hand of one of your town, provided he went with a rope about his head, and pleaded nothing but mercy.
Well, they made, through fear, their delays as long as they could, and longer than delays were good; but fearing at last the dangerousness of them, they thought, but with many a fainting in their minds, to send their petition by Mr. Desires-awake; so they sent for Mr. Desires-awake. Now he dwelt in a very mean cottage in Mansoul, and he came at his neighbour's request. So they told him what they had done, and what they would do concerning petitioning, and that they did desire of him that he would go therewith to the Prince.
Then said Mr. Desires-awake, why should not I do the best I can to save so famous a town as Mansoul from deserved destruction? They therefore delivered the petition to him, and told him how he must address himself to the Prince, and wished him ten thousand good speeds. So he comes to the Prince's pavilion, as the first, and asked to speak with his Majesty; so word was carried to Emmanuel, and the Prince came out to the man. When Mr. Desires-awake saw the Prince, he fell flat with his face to the ground, and cried out, oh that Mansoul might live before thee! and with that he presented the petition. The which when the Prince had read, he turned away for a while and wept, but, refraining himself, he turned again to the man, who all this while lay crying at his feet as at the first, and said to him, Go thy way to thy place, and I will consider of thy requests.
Now you may think that they of Mansoul that had sent him, what with guilt, and what with fear, lest their petition should be rejected, could not but look with many a long look, and that too with strange workings of heart, to see what would become of their petition. At last, they saw their messenger coming back; so when he was come, they asked him how he fared, what Emmanuel said, and what was become of the petition. But he told them that he would be silent till he came to the prison to my Lord Mayor, my Lord Will-be-will, and Mr. Recorder. So he went forwards towards the prison- house, where the men of Mansoul lay bound. But oh! what a multitude flocked after to hear what the messenger said. So when he was come and had shown himself at the grate of the prison, my Lord Mayor himself looked as white as a clout, the Recorder also did quake; but they asked and said, Come, good sir, what did the great Prince say to you? Then said Mr. Desires-awake, when I came to my Lord's pavilion, I called, and he came forth; so I fell prostrate at his feet, and delivered to him my petition, for the greatness of his person, and the glory of his countenance would not suffer me to stand upon my legs. Now as he received the petition, I cried, oh that Mansoul might live before thee! So, when for a while he had looked thereon, he turned him about, and said to his servant, Go thy way to thy place again, and I will consider of thy requests. The messenger added, moreover, and said, The Prince to whom you sent me is such a one for beauty and glory, that whoso sees him must both love and fear him; I, for my part, can do no less; but I know not what will be the end of these things. At this answer they were all at a stand; both they in prison, and they that followed the messenger thither to hear the news; nor knew they what or what manner of interpretation to put upon what the Prince had said. Now, when the prison was cleared of the throng, the prisoners among themselves began to comment upon Emmanuel's words. My Lord Mayor said that the answer did not look with a rugged face; but Will-be-will said that it betokened evil; and the Recorder, that it was a messenger of death. Now, they that were left, and that stood behind, and so could not so well hear what the prisoners said, some of them catched hold of one piece of a sentence, and some on a bit of another; some took hold of what the messenger said, and some of the prisoners' judgment thereon; so none had the right understanding of things; but you cannot imagine what work these people made, and what a confusion there was in Mansoul now.
For presently they that had heard what was said, flew about the town; one crying one thing, and another the quite contrary, and both were sure enough they told the truth, for they did hear, they said, with their ears what was said, and therefore could not be deceived. One would say, We must all be killed; another would say, We must all be saved; and a third would say that the Prince would not be concerned with Mansoul; and a fourth that the prisoners must be suddenly put to death. And as I said, every one stood to it that he told his tale the rightest, and that all others but he were out. Wherefore Mansoul had now molestation upon molestation, nor could any man know on what to rest the sole of his foot; for one would go by now, and as he went, if he heard his neighbour tell his tale, to be sure he would tell the quite contrary, and both would stand in it that he told the truth. Nay, some of them had got this story by the end, that the Prince did intend to put Mansoul to the sword. And now it began to be dark; wherefore poor Mansoul was in sad perplexity all that night until the morning.
But, so far as I could gather, by the best information that I could get, all this hubbub came through the words that the Recorder said, when he told them that in his judgment the Prince's answer was a messenger of death. It was this that fired the town, and that began the fright in Mansoul, for Mansoul, in former times, did use to count that Mr. Recorder was a seer, and that his sentence was equal to the best of oracles, and thus was Mansoul a terror to itself.
And now did they begin to feel what was the effects of stubborn rebellion, and unlawful resistance against their Prince. I say they now began to feel the effects thereof by guilt and fear, that now had swallowed them up, and who more involved in the one, but they who were most in the other; to wit, the chief of the town of Mansoul.
To be brief, when the fame of the fright was out of the town, and the prisoners had a little recovered themselves, they take to themselves some heart, and think to petition the Prince for life again. So they did draw up a third petition, the contents whereof were this:—
'Prince Emmanuel the Great, Lord of all worlds, and Master of mercy, We, thy poor, wretched, miserable, dying town of Mansoul, do confess unto thy great and glorious Majesty that we have sinned against thy Father and thee, and are no more worthy to be called thy Mansoul, but rather to be cast into the pit. If thou wilt slay us, we have deserved it. If thou wilt condemn us to the deep, we cannot but say thou art righteous. We cannot complain, whatever thou dost, or however thou carriest it towards us. But oh! let mercy reign; and let it be extended to us! Oh let mercy take hold upon us, and free us from our transgressions, and we will sing of thy mercy and of thy judgment. Amen.'
This petition, when drawn up, was designed to be sent to the Prince as the first, but who should carry it, that was the question. Some said, Let him do it that went with the first; but others thought not good to do that, and that because he sped no better. Now there was an old man in the town, and his name was Mr. Good-deed; a man that bare only the name, but had nothing of the nature of the thing. Now some were for sending of him, but the Recorder was by no means for that, for, said he, we now stand in need of, and are pleading for mercy, wherefore to send our petition by a man of this name will seem to cross the petition itself. Should we make Mr. Good-deed our messenger when our petition cries for mercy?
'Besides,' quoth the old gentleman, 'should the Prince now, as he receives the petition, ask him and say, What is thy name? as nobody knows but he will, and he should say, Old Good-deed, what, think you, would Emmanuel say but this, Aye! is old Good-deed yet alive in Mansoul? then let old Good-deed save you from your distresses? And if he says so, I am sure we are lost; nor can a thousand of old Good-deeds save Mansoul.'
After the Recorder had given in his reasons why old Good- deed should not go with this petition to Emmanuel, the rest of the prisoners and chief of Mansoul opposed it also, and so old Good-deed was laid aside, and they agreed to send Mr. Desires-awake again; so they sent for him, and desired him that he would a second time go with their petition to the Prince, and he readily told them he would. But they bid him that in anywise he would take heed that in no word or carriage he gave offence to the Prince, for by doing so, for ought we can tell, you may bring Mansoul into utter destruction, said they.
Now Mr. Desires-awake, when he saw that he must go of this errand, besought that they would grant that Mr. Wet-eyes might go with him. Now this Mr. Wet-eyes was a near neighbour of Mr. Desires, a poor man, a man of a broken spirit, yet one that could speak well to a petition. So they granted that he should go with him. Wherefore they address themselves to their business. Mr. Desires put a rope upon his head, and Mr. Wet-eyes went with hands wringing together. Thus they went to the Prince's pavilion.
Now when they went to petition this third time, they were not without thoughts that by often coming they might be a burden to the Prince. Wherefore, when they were come to the door of his pavilion, they first made their apology for themselves, and for their coming to trouble Emmanuel so often; and they said that they came not hither to-day for that they delighted in being troublesome, or for that they delighted to hear themselves talk, but for that necessity caused them to come to his Majesty: they could, they said, have no rest day nor night, because of their transgressions against Shaddai, and against Emmanuel, his Son. They also thought that some misbehaviour of Mr. Desires-awake the last time, might give distaste to his Highness, and so cause that he returned from so merciful a Prince empty, and without countenance. So when they had made this apology, Mr. Desires-awake cast himself prostrate upon the ground as at the first, at the feet of the mighty Prince, saying, Oh that Mansoul might live before thee! and so he delivered his petition. The Prince then having read the petition, turned aside awhile, as before, and, coming again to the place where the petitioner lay on the ground, he demanded what his name was, and of what esteem in the account of Mansoul; for that he, above all the multitude in Mansoul, should be sent to him upon such an errand. Then said the man to the Prince, 'Oh let not my Lord be angry; and why inquirest thou after the name of such a dead dog as I am? Pass by, I pray thee, and take no notice of who I am, because there is, as thou very well knowest, so great a disproportion between me and thee. Why the townsmen chose to send me on this errand to my Lord, is best known to themselves, but it could not be for that they thought that I had favour with my Lord. For my part, I am out of charity with myself; who then should be in love with me? Yet live I would, and so would I that my townsmen should, and because both they and myself are guilty of great transgressions, therefore they have sent me, and I am come in their names to beg of my Lord for mercy. Let it please thee therefore to incline to mercy, but ask not what thy servants are.'
Then said the Prince, 'And what is he that is become thy companion in this so weighty a matter?' So Mr. Desires told Emmanuel that he was a poor neighbour of his, and one of his most intimate associates, and his name, said he, may it please your most excellent Majesty, is Wet-eyes, of the town of Mansoul. I know that there are many of that name that are naught, but I hope it will be no offence to my Lord that I have brought my poor neighbour with me.
Then Mr. Wet-eyes fell on his face to the ground, and made this apology for his coming with his neighbour to his Lord:—
'O my Lord,' quoth he, 'what I am I know not myself, nor whether my name be feigned or true, especially when I begin to think what some have said, namely, that this name was given me because Mr. Repentance was my father. Good men have bad children, and the sincere do oftentimes beget hypocrites. My mother also called me by this name from the cradle, but whether because of the moistness of my brain, or because of the softness of my heart, I cannot tell. I see dirt in mine own tears, and filthiness in the bottom of my prayers. But I pray thee'—and all this while the gentleman wept—'that thou wouldest not remember against us our transgressions, nor take offence at the unqualifiedness of thy servants, but mercifully pass by the sin of Mansoul, and refrain from the glorifying of thy grace no longer.'
So at his bidding they arose, and both stood trembling before him, and he spake to them to this purpose:—
'The town of Mansoul hath grievously rebelled against my Father, in that they have rejected him from being their King, and did choose to themselves for their captain a liar, a murderer, and a runagate slave. For this Diabolus, and your pretended prince, though once so highly accounted of by you, made rebellion against my Father and me, even in our palace and highest court there, thinking to become a prince and king. But being there timely discovered and apprehended, and for his wickedness bound in chains, and separated to the pit with those who were his companions, he offered himself to you, and you have received him.
'Now this is, and for a long time hath been an high affront to my Father, wherefore my Father sent to you a powerful army to reduce you to your obedience. But you know how those men, their captains, and their counsels, were esteemed of you, and what they received at your hand. You rebelled against them, you shut your gates upon them, you bid them battle, you fought them, and fought for Diabolus against them. So they sent to my Father for more power, and I with my men are come to subdue you. But as you treated the servants, so you treated their Lord. You stood up in hostile manner against me, you shut up your gates against me, you turned the deaf ear to me, and resisted as long as you could; but now I have made a conquest of you. Did you cry me mercy so long as you had hopes that you might prevail against me? But now I have taken the town, you cry. But why did you not cry before, when the white flag of my mercy, the red flag of justice, and the black flag that threatened execution, were set up to cite you to it? Now I have conquered your Diabolus, you come to me for favour, but why did you not help me against the mighty? Yet I will consider your petition, and will answer it so as will be for my glory.
'Go, bid Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction bring the prisoners out to me into the camp to-morrow, and say you to Captain Judgment and Captain Execution, Stay you in the castle, and take good heed to yourselves that you keep all quiet in Mansoul until you hear further from me.' And with that he turned himself from them, and went into his royal pavilion again.
So the petitioners having received this answer from the Prince, returned as at the first to go to their companions again. But they had not gone far, but thoughts began to work in their minds that no mercy as yet was intended by the Prince to Mansoul; so they went to the place where the prisoners lay bound; but these workings of mind about what would become of Mansoul, had such strong power over them, that by that they were come unto them that sent them, they were scarce able to deliver their message.
But they came at length to the gates of the town—now the townsmen with earnestness were waiting for their return— where many met them, to know what answer was made to the petition. Then they cried out to those that were sent, What news from the Prince? and what hath Emmanuel said? But they said that they must, as before, go up to the prison, and there deliver their message. So away they went to the prison, with a multitude at their heels. Now, when they were come to the grates of the prison, they told the first part of Emmanuel's speech to the prisoners; to wit, how he reflected upon their disloyalty to his Father and himself, and how they had chose and closed with Diabolus, had fought for him, hearkened to him, and been ruled by him, but had despised him and his men. This made the prisoners look pale; but the messengers proceeded, and said, He, the Prince, said, moreover, that yet he would consider your petition, and give such answer thereto as would stand with his glory. And as these words were spoken, Mr. Wet-eyes gave a great sigh. At this they were all of them struck into their dumps, and could not tell what to say. Fear also possessed them in a marvelous manner; and death seemed to sit upon some of their eyebrows. Now, there was in the company a notable sharp-witted fellow, a mean man of estate, and his name was old Inquisitive. This man asked the petitioners if they had told out every whit of what Emmanuel said. And they answered, Verily, no. Then said Inquisitive, I thought so, indeed. Pray, what was it more that he said unto you? Then they paused awhile; but at last they brought out all, saying, The Prince did bid us bid Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction bring the prisoners down to him to- morrow; and that Captain Judgment and Captain Execution should take charge of the castle and town till they should hear further from him. They said also that when the Prince had commanded them thus to do, he immediately turned his back upon them, and went into his royal pavilion.
But O how this return, and specially this last clause of it, that the prisoners must go out to the Prince into the camp, brake all their loins in pieces! Wherefore, with one voice, they set up a cry that reached up to the heavens. This done, each of the three prepared himself to die; and the Recorder [conscience] said unto them, This was the thing that I feared; for they concluded that to-morrow, by that the sun went down, they should be tumbled out of the world. The whole town also counted of no other but that, in their time and order, they must all drink of the same cup. Wherefore the town of Mansoul spent that night in mourning, and sackcloth, and ashes. The prisoners also, when the time was come for them to go down before the Prince, dressed themselves in mourning attire, with ropes upon their heads. The whole town of Mansoul also showed themselves upon the wall, all clad in mourning weeds, if, perhaps, the Prince, with the sight thereof, might be moved with compassion. But O how the busy-bodies [vain thoughts] that were in the town of Mansoul did now concern themselves! They did run here and there through the streets of the town by companies, crying out as they ran in tumultuous wise, one after one manner, and another the quite contrary, to the almost utter distraction of Mansoul.
Well, the time is come that the prisoners must go down to the camp, and appear before the Prince. And thus was the manner of their going down. Captain Boanerges went with a guard before them, and Captain Conviction came behind, and the prisoners went down bound in chains in the midst; so, I say, the prisoners went in the midst, and the guard went with flying colours behind and before, but the prisoners went with drooping spirits.
Or, more particularly, thus:
The prisoners went down all in mourning; they put ropes upon themselves; they went on smiting themselves on the breasts, but durst not lift up their eyes to heaven. Thus they went out at the gate of Mansoul, till they came into the midst of the Prince's army, the sight and glory of which did greatly heighten their affliction. Nor could they now longer forbear, but cry out aloud, O unhappy men! O wretched men of Mansoul! Their chains still mixing their dolorous notes with the cries of the prisoners, made noise more lamentable.
So, when they were come to the door of the Prince's pavilion, they cast themselves prostrate upon the place. Then one went in and told his Lord that the prisoners were come down. The Prince then ascended a throne of state, and sent for the prisoners in; who when they came, did tremble before him, also they covered their faces with shame. Now as they drew near to the place where he sat, they threw themselves down before him. Then said the Prince to the Captain Boanerges, Bid the prisoners stand upon their feet. Then they stood trembling before him, and he said, Are you the men that heretofore were the servants of Shaddai? And they said, Yes, Lord, yes. Then said the Prince again, Are you the men that did suffer yourselves to be corrupted and defiled by that abominable one Diabolus? And they said, We did more than suffer it, Lord; for we chose it of our own mind. The Prince asked further, saying, Could you have been content that your slavery should have continued under his tyranny as long as you had lived? Then said the prisoners, Yes, Lord, yes; for his ways were pleasing to our flesh, and we were grown aliens to a better state. And did you, said he, when I came up against this town of Mansoul, heartily wish that I might not have the victory over you? Yes, Lord, yes, said they. Then said the Prince, And what punishment is it, think you, that you deserve at my hand for these and other your high and mighty sins? And they said, Both death and the deep, Lord; for we have deserved no less. He asked again if they had aught to say for themselves, why the sentence that they confessed that they had deserved should not be passed upon them? And they said, We can say nothing, Lord; thou art just, for we have sinned. Then said the Prince, And for what are those ropes on your heads? The prisoners answered, These ropes [sins] are to bind us withal to the place of execution, if mercy be not pleasing in thy sight. So he further asked, if all the men in the town of Mansoul were in this confession as they? And they answered, All the natives [powers of the soul], Lord; but for the Diabolonians [corruptions and lusts] that came into our town when the tyrant got possession of us, we can say nothing for them.
Then the Prince commanded that a herald should be called, and that he should, in the midst, and throughout the camp of Emmanuel, proclaim, and that with sound of trumpet, that the Prince, the Son of Shaddai, had, in his Father's name, and for his Father's glory, gotten a perfect conquest and victory over Mansoul, and that the prisoners should follow him, and say, Amen. So this was done as he had commanded. And presently the music that was in the upper region sounded melodiously. The captains that were in the camp shouted, and the soldiers did sing songs of triumph to the Prince, the colours waved in the wind, and great joy was everywhere, only it was wanting as yet in the hearts of the men of Mansoul.
Then the Prince called for the prisoners to come and to stand again before him, and they came and stood trembling. And he said unto them, The sins, trespasses, iniquities, that you, with the whole town of Mansoul, have from time to time committed against my Father and me, I have power and commandment from my Father to forgive to the town of Mansoul; and do forgive you accordingly. And having so said, he gave them written in parchment, and sealed with seven seals, a large and general pardon, commanding both my Lord Mayor, my Lord Will-be-will, and Mr. Recorder, to proclaim, and cause it to be proclaimed to-morrow by that the sun is up, throughout the whole town of Mansoul.
Moreover, the Prince stripped the prisoners of their mourning weeds, and gave them 'beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness' (Isa 61:3)
Then he gave to each of the three, jewels of gold, and precious stones, and took away their ropes, and put chains of gold about their necks, and ear-rings in their ears. Now the prisoners, when they did hear the gracious words of Prince Emmanuel, and had beheld all that was done unto them, fainted almost quite away; for the grace, the benefit, the pardon, was sudden, glorious, and so big, that they were not able, without staggering, to stand up under it. Yea, my Lord Will-be-will swooned outright; but the Prince stepped to him, put his everlasting arms under him, embraced him, kissed him, and bid him be of good cheer, for all should be performed according to his word. He also did kiss, and embrace, and smile upon the other two that were Will-be- will's companions, saying, Take these as further tokens of my love, favour, and compassion to you; and I charge you, that you, Mr. Recorder, tell in the town of Mansoul what you have heard and seen.
Then were their fetters broken to pieces before their faces, and cast into the air, and their steps were enlarged under them. Then they fell down at the feet of the Prince, and kissed his feet, and wetted them with tears; also they cried out with a mighty strong voice, saying, 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord from this place' (Eze 3:12). So they were bid rise up, and go to the town, and tell to Mansoul what the Prince had done. He commanded also that one with a pipe and tabor should go and play before them all the way into the town of Mansoul. Then was fulfilled what they never looked for, and they were made to possess that which they never dreamed of. The Prince also called for the noble Captain Credence, and commanded that he and some of his officers should march before the noble men of Mansoul with flying colours into the town. He gave also unto Captain Credence a charge, that about that time that the Recorder did read the general pardon in the town of Mansoul, that at that very time he should with flying colours march in at Eye-gate with his ten thousands at his feet, and that he should so go until he came by the high street of the town, up to the castle gates, and that himself should take possession thereof against his Lord came thither. He commanded, moreover, that he should bid Captain Judgment and Captain Execution to leave the stronghold to him, and to withdraw from Mansoul, and to return into the camp with speed unto the Prince.
And now was the town of Mansoul also delivered from the terror of the first four captains and their men.
[ Content ]
[ Content ]
Footnotes175. 'Behold he prayeth.' Prayer is the first sign of spiritual life; Emmanuel was in Mansoul; the answer may be deferred, but praying breath was never spent in vain.—Ed. Back
176. When the conscience is alarmed, and sends its battering-rams against the heart or affections, the castle, and so the whole soul, will be quickly reduced, and fall into the arms of Divine mercy.—Ed. Back
177. There is joy in heaven over the repenting sinner. The heart, which was deemed impregnable, is taken by invincible grace.—Burder. Back
178. Bunyan was for seven or eight weeks in this painful state. Peace in and out twenty times a day; comfort now, and trouble presently; peace now, and before I could go a furlong as full of fear and guilt as ever heart could hold.— Grace Abounding, No. 205. Back
179. At our Lord's ascension, when he triumphed over all the force of death and hell, obtained eternal redemption for us, and received all power in heaven and earth for his elect, till their number is accomplished. Then will be the everlasting triumph.—Mason. Back
180. By the Reformades we are to understand the angel volunteers, who desire to look into the wonders of salvation, and who rejoice over every sinner who finds salvation in Christ. It is here very strikingly and beautifully expressed.—Ed. Back
181. Compare this, and the two following paragraphs, with the Grace Abounding, Nos. 189-192.—Ed. Back
182. Sin-sick soul, Christ is an all-sufficient physician; only follow his advice, and the efficacious prescriptions of his Word (Hosea 6:3).—Mason. Back
183. It is common with convinced sinners, before they obtain clear views of the gospel, to remain in terror and alarm. They feel themselves condemned by the faithful preaching of the Word; but all will be well—will issue in fervent prayer and happy peace.—Burder. Back
184. Neither the bearer of this petition, nor the prayer itself, can be acceptable. It is the language of those who have been conquered by terror and power, and not by love; thus it ends with the words of Abonibezek, relative to the seventy kings that he had brought down to slavery (Judg 1:7).—Ed. Back
185. Heady and Highmind are long since slain—Mansoul feels her misery. As a condemned malefactor, expecting execution, what can she sue for but mercy? 'God be merciful to me a sinner.' For the ropes about their heads, see 1 Kings 20:31.—Ed. Back
186. It is a token of true conversion when the soul can, as it were, with one eye, behold its total defilement by sin, and abhor itself in dust and ashes; and with the other be struck with the glory and excellency of Christ's person and work, and the all-sufficiency of his salvation.—Mason. Back
187. See Grace Abounding, No. 186.—Ed. Back
188. No unconverted person can imagine with what rapidity these ideas pass through the mind of the convinced sinner, nor the distraction and misery of such a state of wretched uncertainty. The recollection of these feelings is the only key to the forty-second Psalm. 'Deep calleth unto deep; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.'—Ed. Back
189. 'Fame'; or rumour, or public report; thus, Genesis 45:16. Back
190. Although the spirit of prayer prevails, yet what a clinging is there to old Gooddeeds. O you that hope for salvation in some supposed good deeds, listen to the answer which naturally suggests itself, 'Let good works save thee'; what need of grace. If salvation be attainable by the law, then the death of Christ was needless.—Ed. Back
191. How humbling to human pride is this! But unless our desires for mercy be accompanied with a broken and a contrite spirit, they will be rejected; but the broken heart God will not despise (Psa 34:18, 51:17; Isa 57:15). 'He will regard the prayer of the destitute' (Psa 102:17).—Ed. Back
192. This language is peculiarly striking; there may be a mixture of pride in our deepest humility, and sin mingled with our holiest duties.—Ed. Back
193. Will-be-will is brought low; Boastings, Bragman, Ill- pause are dead; the soul is humbled, and uses such striking but just terms, 'I see dirt in mine own tears.' Redemption draws nigh. Beveridge says, 'Repentance needs to be repented, our tears want washing, and the very washing of these tears needs still to be washed over again in the blood of the Redeemer.'—Ed. Back
194. All converted souls will confess that if God the Spirit had not arrested and stopped them in their mad career, they would have lived, died, and perished for ever in their sins.—Mason. Back
195. How much must this have deepened their sense of sin. The law enters that sin may abound, that it my appear exceedingly sinful, and render the grace of God infinitely precious.—Burder. The recollection of such dreadful suspense is invaluable to prevent backsliding, by hatred to sin.—Ed. Back
196. See Grace Abounding, Nos. 210-212.—Ed. Back
197. 'O! how gladly now would I have been anybody but myself, anything but a man, and in any condition but my own; for there was nothing did pass more frequently over my mind than that it was impossible for me to be forgiven my transgression, and to be saved from wrath to come.'—Grace Abounding, No. 149; see also No. 140.—Ed. Back
198. I thought also of Benhadad's servants, who went with ropes upon their heads to their enemies for mercy (1 Kings 20:31).—Grace Abounding, No. 251.—Ed. Back
199. This godly sorrow was a prelude to joy unspeakable and full of glory. This sort of weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. They went forth weeping, bearing precious seed, but were soon to return with joy, bringing their sheaves with them.—Burder. Back
200. 'Death and the deep'; or bottomless pit.—Ed. Back
201. The distinction between inbred sins and the evil suggestions of the enemy is very difficult to be drawn. The gold, silver, and precious stones will be purified and polished; while the wood, hay, and stubble will be burned up (1 Cor 3:12,13). The natives or powers of the soul are pardoned, while the corruptions and lusts are to be crucified. Reader, this is solemn, searching heart-work.—Ed. Back
202. The work of conversion is accomplished—the heart taken; the victory of Emmanuel over Mansoul is proclaimed; the heavenly host rejoices; Diabolus is driven from the town, but the King of glory has not yet entered—his gracious presence is not yet felt in the soul; the gates are open; he will enter, and will not tarry. Is this to show that Heart Castle is to be prepared for him, after it has been occupied by infernals? 'The preparation of the heart is with him,' and then comes 'the answer of the tongue' (Prov 16:1).—Ed. Back
203. I had such strange apprehensions of the grace of God that I could hardly bear up under it; it was so out of measure amazing, when I thought it could reach me, that I do think, if that sense of it had abode long upon me, it would have made me incapable of business.—Grace Abounding, No 252.—Ed. Back
204. For the meaning of 'their steps were enlarged,' consult Psalm 18:36 and Proverbs 4:12. It is here most admirably introduced. After having been shut up and environed by the most distressing fears and awful alarms of conscience, the soul is now at liberty, and walks in peace; the Rock of ages supporting their hopes, full of heavenly anticipations and holy enjoyments.—Ed. Back
205. What a change! 'When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. Who is like unto thee, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin? Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. Blessed is the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works' (Rom 4:6).—Burder. Back
206. 'There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.' The four captains no longer denounce the wrath of God; the end of their ministry is accomplished, and their awful speeches are no more heard. This is well expressed in the margin. When faith and pardon meet together, judgment and execution depart from the heart.—Burder. Back
[ Chapter IX ]