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The Holy War

Written by: Bunyan, John    Posted on: 03/20/2003

Category: Classic Christian Library

Source: CCN

**The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Holy War, by John Bunyan** #2 in our series by John Bunyan

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The Holy War

by John Bunyan

January, 1996 [Etext #395]

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The Holy War by John Bunyan. Scanned and proofed by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk



'Tis strange to me, that they that love to tell Things done of old, yea, and that do excel Their equals in historiology, Speak not of Mansoul's wars, but let them lie Dead, like old fables, or such worthless things, That to the reader no advantage brings: When men, let them make what they will their own, Till they know this, are to themselves unknown. Of stories, I well know, there's divers sorts, Some foreign, some domestic; and reports Are thereof made as fancy leads the writers: (By books a man may guess at the inditers.) Some will again of that which never was, Nor will be, feign (and that without a cause) Such matter, raise such mountains, tell such things Of men, of laws, of countries, and of kings; And in their story seem to be so sage, And with such gravity clothe every page, That though their frontispiece says all is vain, Yet to their way disciples they obtain. But, readers, I have somewhat else to do, Than with vain stories thus to trouble you. What here I say, some men do know so well, They can with tears and joy the story tell. The town of Mansoul is well known to many, Nor are her troubles doubted of by any That are acquainted with those Histories That Mansoul and her wars anatomize. Then lend thine ear to what I do relate, Touching the town of Mansoul and her state: How she was lost, took captive, made a slave: And how against him set, that should her save; Yea, how by hostile ways she did oppose Her Lord, and with his enemy did close. For they are true: he that will them deny Must needs the best of records vilify. For my part, I myself was in the town, Both when 'twas set up, and when pulling down. I saw Diabolus in his possession, And Mansoul also under his oppression. Yea, I was there when she own'd him for lord, And to him did submit with one accord. When Mansoul trampled upon things divine, And wallowed in filth as doth a swine; When she betook herself unto her arms, Fought her Emmanuel, despis'd his charms; Then I was there, and did rejoice to see Diabolus and Mansoul so agree. Let no men, then, count me a fable-maker, Nor make my name or credit a partaker Of their derision: what is here in view, Of mine own knowledge, I dare say is true. I saw the Prince's armed men come down By troops, by thousands, to besiege the town; I saw the captains, heard the trumpets sound, And how his forces covered all the ground. Yea, how they set themselves in battle-'ray, I shall remember to my dying day. I saw the colours waving in the wind, And they within to mischief how combin'd To ruin Mansoul, and to make away Her primum mobile without delay. I saw the mounts cast up against the town, And how the slings were placed to beat it down: I heard the stones fly whizzing by mine ears, (What longer kept in mind than got in fears?) I heard them fall, and saw what work they made. And how old Mors did cover with his shade The face of Mansoul; and I heard her cry, 'Woe worth the day, in dying I shall die!' I saw the battering-rams, and how they play'd To beat open Ear-gate; and I was afraid Not only Ear-gate, but the very town Would by those battering-rams be beaten down. I saw the fights, and heard the captains shout, And in each battle saw who faced about; I saw who wounded were, and who were slain; And who, when dead, would come to life again. I heard the cries of those that wounded were, (While others fought like men bereft of fear,) And while the cry, 'Kill, kill,' was in mine ears, The gutters ran, not so with blood as tears. Indeed, the captains did not always fight, But then they would molest us day and night; Their cry, 'Up, fall on, let us take the town,' Kept us from sleeping, or from lying down. I was there when the gates were broken ope, And saw how Mansoul then was stripp'd of hope; I saw the captains march into the town, How there they fought, and did their foes cut down. I heard the Prince bid Boanerges go Up to the castle, and there seize his foe; And saw him and his fellows bring him down, In chains of great contempt quite through the town. I saw Emmanuel, when he possess'd His town of Mansoul; and how greatly blest A town his gallant town of Mansoul was, When she received his pardon, loved his laws. When the Diabolonians were caught, When tried, and when to execution brought, Then I was there; yea, I was standing by When Mansoul did the rebels crucify. I also saw Mansoul clad all in white, I heard her Prince call her his heart's delight. I saw him put upon her chains of gold, And rings, and bracelets, goodly to behold. What shall I say?  I heard the people's cries, And saw the Prince wipe tears from Mansoul's eyes. And heard the groans, and saw the joy of many: Tell you of all, I neither will, nor can I. But by what here I say, you well may see That Mansoul's matchless wars no fables be. Mansoul, the desire of both princes was: One keep his gain would, t'other gain his loss. Diabolus would cry, 'The town is mine!' Emmanuel would plead a right divine Unto his Mansoul: then to blows they go, And Mansoul cries, 'These wars will me undo.' Mansoul! her wars seemed endless in her eyes; She's lost by one, becomes another's prize: And he again that lost her last would swear, 'Have her I will, or her in pieces tear.' Mansoul! it was the very seat of war; Wherefore her troubles greater were by far Than only where the noise of war is heard, Or where the shaking of a sword is fear'd; Or only where small skirmishes are fought, Or where the fancy fighteth with a thought. She saw the swords of fighting men made red, And heard the cries of those with them wounded: Must not her frights, then, be much more by far Than theirs that to such doings strangers are? Or theirs that hear the beating of a drum, But not made fly for fear from house and home? Mansoul not only heard the trumpet's sound, But saw her gallants gasping on the ground: Wherefore we must not think that she could rest With them, whose greatest earnest is but jest: Or where the blust'ring threat'ning of great wars Do end in parlies, or in wording jars. Mansoul! her mighty wars, they did portend Her weal or woe, and that world without end: Wherefore she must be more concern'd than they Whose fears begin, and end the selfsame day; Or where none other harm doth come to him That is engaged, but loss of life or limb, As all must needs confess that now do dwell In Universe, and can this story tell. Count me not, then, with them that, to amaze The people, set them on the stars to gaze, Insinuating with much confidence, That each of them is now the residence Of some brave creatures: yea, a world they will Have in each star, though it be past their skill To make it manifest to any man, That reason hath, or tell his fingers can. But I have too long held thee in the porch, And kept thee from the sunshine with a torch, Well, now go forward, step within the door, And there behold five hundred times much more Of all sorts of such inward rarities As please the mind will, and will feed the eyes With those, which, if a Christian, thou wilt see Not small, but things of greatest moment be. Nor do thou go to work without my key; (In mysteries men soon do lose their way;) And also turn it right, if thou wouldst know My riddle, and wouldst with my heifer plough; It lies there in the window.  Fare thee well, My next may be to ring thy passing-bell.



SOME say the 'Pilgrim's Progress' is not mine, Insinuating as if I would shine In name and fame by the worth of another, Like some made rich by robbing of their brother. Or that so fond I am of being sire, I'll father bastards; or, if need require, I'll tell a lie in print to get applause. I scorn it: John such dirt-heap never was, Since God converted him.  Let this suffice To show why I my 'Pilgrim' patronize. It came from mine own heart, so to my head, And thence into my fingers trickled; Then to my pen, from whence immediately On paper I did dribble it daintily. Manner and matter, too, was all mine own, Nor was it unto any mortal known Till I had done it; nor did any then By books, by wits, by tongues, or hand, or pen, Add five words to it, or write half a line Thereof: the whole, and every whit is mine. Also for THIS, thine eye is now upon, The matter in this manner came from none But the same heart, and head, fingers, and pen, As did the other.  Witness all good men; For none in all the world, without a lie, Can say that this is mine, excepting I I write not this of my ostentation, Nor 'cause I seek of men their commendation; I do it to keep them from such surmise, As tempt them will my name to scandalize. Witness my name, if anagram'd to thee, The letters make - 'Nu hony in a B.'



IN my travels, as I walked through many regions and countries, it was my chance to happen into that famous continent of Universe.  A very large and spacious country it is: it lieth between the two poles, and just amidst the four points of the heavens.  It is a place well watered, and richly adorned with hills and valleys, bravely situate, and for the most part, at least where I was, very fruitful, also well peopled, and a very sweet air.

The people are not all of one complexion, nor yet of one language, mode, or way of religion, but differ as much as, it is said, do the planets themselves.  Some are right, and some are wrong, even as it happeneth to be in lesser regions.

In this country, as I said, it was my lot to travel; and there travel I did, and that so long, even till I learned much of their mother tongue, together with the customs and manners of them among whom I was.  And, to speak truth, I was much delighted to see and hear many things which I saw and heard among them; yea, I had, to be sure, even lived and died a native among them, (so was I taken with them and their doings,) had not my master sent for me home to his house, there to do business for him, and to oversee business done.

Now there is in this gallant country of Universe a fair and delicate town, a corporation called Mansoul; a town for its building so curious, for its situation so commodious, for its privileges so advantageous, (I mean with reference to its origin,) that I may say of it, as was said before of the continent in which it is placed, There is not its equal under the whole heaven.

As to the situation of this town, it lieth just between the two worlds; and the first founder and builder of it, so far as by the best and most authentic records I can gather, was one Shaddai; and he built it for his own delight.  He made it the mirror and glory of all that he made, even the top-piece, beyond anything else that he did in that country.  Yea, so goodly a town was Mansoul when first built, that it is said by some, the gods, at the setting up thereof, came down to see it, and sang for joy.  And as he made it goodly to behold, so also mighty to have dominion over all the country round about.  Yea, all were commanded to acknowledge Mansoul for their metropolitan, all were enjoined to do homage to it.  Aye, the town itself had positive commission and power from her King to demand service of all, and also to subdue any that anyways denied to do it.

There was reared up in the midst of this town a most famous and stately palace; for strength, it might be called a castle; for pleasantness, a paradise; for largeness, a place so copious as to contain all the world.  This place the King Shaddai intended but for himself alone, and not another with him; partly because of his own delights, and partly because he would not that the terror of strangers should be upon the town.  This place Shaddai made also a garrison of, but committed the keeping of it only to the men of the town.

The walls of the town were well built, yea, so fast and firm were they knit and compact together, that, had it not been for the townsmen themselves, they could not have been shaken or broken for ever.  For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that builded Mansoul, that the walls could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse potentate, unless the townsmen gave consent thereto.

This famous town of Mansoul had five gates, in at which to come, out at which to go; and these were made likewise answerable to the walls, to wit, impregnable, and such as could never be opened nor forced but by the will and leave of those within.  The names of the gates were these: Ear-gate, Eye-gate, Mouth-gate, Nose-gate, and Feel-gate.

Other things there were that belonged to the town of Mansoul, which if you adjoin to these, will yet give farther demonstration to all, of the glory and strength of the place.  It had always a sufficiency of provision within its walls; it had the best, most wholesome, and excellent law that then was extant in the world.  There was not a rascal, rogue, or traitorous person then within its walls; they were all true men, and fast joined together; and this, you know, is a great matter.  And to all these, it had always (so long as it had the goodness to keep true to Shaddai the King) his countenance, his protection, and it was his delight, etc.

Well, upon a time, there was one Diabolus, a mighty giant, made an assault upon this famous town of Mansoul, to take it, and make it his own habitation.  This giant was king of the blacks, and a most raving prince he was.  We will, if you please, first discourse of the origin of this Diabolus, and then of his taking of this famous town of Mansoul.

This Diabolus is indeed a great and mighty prince, and yet both poor and beggarly.  As to his origin, he was at first one of the servants of King Shaddai, made, and taken, and put by him into most high and mighty place; yea, was put into such principalities as belonged to the best of his territories and dominions.  This Diabolus was made 'son of the morning,' and a brave place he had of it: it brought him much glory, and gave him much brightness, an income that might have contented his Luciferian heart, had it not been insatiable, and enlarged as hell itself.

Well, he seeing himself thus exalted to greatness and honour, and raging in his mind for higher state and degree, what doth he but begins to think with himself how he might be set up as lord over all, and have the sole power under Shaddai.  (Now that did the King reserve for his Son, yea, and had already bestowed it upon him.)  Wherefore he first consults with himself what had best to be done; and then breaks his mind to some other of his companions, to the which they also agreed.  So, in fine, they came to this issue that they should make an attempt upon the King's Son to destroy him, that the inheritance might be theirs.  Well, to be short, the treason, as I said, was concluded, the time appointed, the word given, the rebels rendezvoused, and the assault attempted.  Now the King and his Son being all and always eye, could not but discern all passages in his dominions; and he, having always love for his Son as for himself, could not at what he saw but be greatly provoked and offended: wherefore what does he, but takes them in the very nick and first trip that they made towards their design, convicts them of the treason, horrid rebellion, and conspiracy that they had devised, and now attempted to put into practice, and casts them altogether out of all place of trust, benefit, honour, and preferment.  This done, he banishes them the court, turns them down into the horrible pits, as fast bound in chains, never more to expect the least favour from his hands, but to abide the judgment that he had appointed, and that for ever.

Now they being thus cast out of all place of trust, profit, and honour, and also knowing that they had lost their prince's favour for ever, (being banished his court, and cast down to the horrible pits,) you may he sure they would now add to their former pride what malice and rage against Shaddai, and against his Son, they could.  Wherefore, roving and ranging in much fury from place to place, if, perhaps, they might find something that was the King's, by spoiling of that, to revenge themselves on him; at last they happened into this spacious country of Universe, and steer their course towards the town of Mansoul; and considering that that town was one of the chief works and delights of King Shaddai, what do they but, after counsel taken, make an assault upon that.  I say, they knew that Mansoul belonged unto Shaddai; for they were there when he built it and beautified it for himself.  So when they had found the place, they shouted horribly for joy, and roared on it as a lion upon the prey, saying, 'Now we have found the prize, and how to be revenged on King Shaddai for what he hath done to us.'  So they sat down and called a council of war, and considered with themselves what ways and methods they had best to engage in for the winning to themselves this famous town of Mansoul, and these four things were then propounded to be considered of.

First.  Whether they had best all of them to show themselves in this design to the town of Mansoul.

Secondly.  Whether they had best to go and sit down against Mansoul in their now ragged and beggarly guise.

Thirdly.  Whether they had best show to Mansoul their intentions, and what design they came about, or whether to assault it with words and ways of deceit.

Fourthly.  Whether they had not best to some of their companions to give out private orders to take the advantage, if they see one or more of the principal townsmen, to shoot them, if thereby they shall judge their cause and design will the better be promoted.

1. It was answered to the first of these proposals in the negative, to wit, that it would not be best that all should show themselves before the town, because the appearance of many of them might alarm and frighten the town; whereas a few or but one of them was not so likely to do it.  And to enforce this advice to take place it was added further, that if Mansoul was frighted, or did take the alarm, 'It is impossible,' said Diabolus (for he spake now), 'that we should take the town: for that none can enter into it without its own consent.  Let, therefore, but few, or but one, assault Mansoul; and in mine opinion,' said Diabolus, 'let me be he.'  Wherefore to this they all agreed.

2. And then to the second proposal they came, namely, Whether they had best go and sit down before Mansoul in their now ragged and beggarly guise.  To which it was answered also in the negative, By no means; and that because, though the town of Mansoul had been made to know, and to have to do, before now, with things that are invisible, they did never as yet see any of their fellow-creatures in so sad and rascally condition as they; and this was the advice of that fierce Alecto.  Then said Apollyon, 'The advice is pertinent; for even one of us appearing to them as we are now, must needs both beget and multiply such thoughts in them as will both put them into a consternation of spirit, and necessitate them to put themselves upon their guard.  And if so,' said he, 'then, as my Lord Diabolus said but now, it is in vain for us to think of taking the town.'  Then said that mighty giant Beelzebub, 'The advice that already is given is safe; for though the men of Mansoul have seen such things as we once were, yet hitherto they did never behold such things as we now are; and it is best, in mine opinion, to come upon them in such a guise as is common to, and most familiar among them.'  To this, when they had consented, the next thing to be considered was, in what shape, hue, or guise Diabolus had best to show himself when he went about to make Mansoul his own.  Then one said one thing, and another the contrary.  At last Lucifer answered, that, in his opinion, it was best that his lordship should assume the body of some of those creatures that they of the town had dominion over; 'for,' quoth he, 'these are not only familiar to them, but, being under them, they will never imagine that an attempt should by them be made upon the town; and, to blind all, let him assume the body of one of those beasts that Mansoul deems to be wiser than any of the rest.'  This advice was applauded of all: so it was determined that the giant Diabolus should assume the dragon, for that he was in those days as familiar with the town of Mansoul as now is the bird with the boy; for nothing that was in its primitive state was at all amazing to them.  Then they proceeded to the third thing, which was:

3. Whether they had best to show their intentions, or the design of his coming, to Mansoul, or no.  This also was answered in the negative, because of the weight that was in the former reasons, to wit, for that Mansoul were a strong people, a strong people in a strong town, whose wall and gates were impregnable, (to say nothing of their castle,) nor can they by any means be won but by their own consent.  'Besides,' said Legion, (for he gave answer to this,) 'a discovery of our intentions may make them send to their king for aid; and if that be done, I know quickly what time of day it will be with us.  Therefore let us assault them in all pretended fairness, covering our intentions with all manner of lies, flatteries, delusive words; feigning things that never will be, and promising that to them that they shall never find.  This is the way to win Mansoul, and to make them of themselves open their gates to us; yea, and to desire us too to come in to them.  And the reason why I think that this project will do is, because the people of Mansoul now are, every one, simple and innocent, all honest and true; nor do they as yet know what it is to be assaulted with fraud, guile, and hypocrisy.  They are strangers to lying and dissembling lips; wherefore we cannot, if thus we be disguised, by them at all be discerned; our lies shall go for true sayings, and our dissimulations for upright dealings.  What we promise them they will in that believe us, especially if, in all our lies and feigned words, we pretend great love to them, and that our design is only their advantage and honour.'  Now there was not one bit of a reply against this; this went as current down as doth the water down a steep descent.  Wherefore they go to consider of the last proposal, which was:

4. Whether they had not best to give out orders to some of their company to shoot some one or more of the principal of the townsmen, if they judge that their cause may be promoted thereby.  This was carried in the affirmative, and the man that was designed by this stratagem to be destroyed was one Mr. Resistance, otherwise called Captain Resistance.  And a great man in Mansoul this Captain Resistance was, and a man that the giant Diabolus and his band more feared than they feared the whole town of Mansoul besides.  Now who should be the actor to do the murder?  That was the next, and they appointed one Tisiphone, a fury of the lake, to do it.

They thus having ended their council of war, rose up, and essayed to do as they had determined; they marched towards Mansoul, but all in a manner invisible, save one, only one; nor did he approach the town in his own likeness, but under the shade and in the body of the dragon.

So they drew up and sat down before Ear-gate, for that was the place of hearing for all without the town, as Eye-gate was the place of perspection.  So, as I said, he came up with his train to the gate, and laid his ambuscado for Captain Resistance within bow-shot of the town.  This done, the giant ascended up close to the gate, and called to the town of Mansoul for audience.  Nor took he any with him but one Ill- pause, who was his orator in all difficult matters.  Now, as I said, he being come up to the gate, (as the manner of those times was,) sounded his trumpet for audience; at which the chief of the town of Mansoul, such as my Lord Innocent, my Lord Willbewill, my Lord Mayor, Mr. Recorder, and Captain Resistance, came down to the wall to see who was there, and what was the matter.  And my Lord Willbewill, when he had looked over and saw who stood at the gate, demanded what he was, wherefore he was come, and why he roused the town of Mansoul with so unusual a sound.

Diabolus, then, as if he had been a lamb, began his oration, and said: 'Gentlemen of the famous town of Mansoul, I am, as you may perceive, no far dweller from you, but near, and one that is bound by the king to do you my homage and what service I can; wherefore, that I may be faithful to myself and to you, I have somewhat of concern to impart unto you.  Wherefore, grant me your audience, and hear me patiently.  And first, I will assure you, it is not myself, but you - not mine, but your advantage that I seek by what I now do, as will full well be made manifest, by that I have opened my mind unto you.  For, gentlemen, I am (to tell you the truth) come to show you how you may obtain great and ample deliverance from a bondage that, unawares to yourselves, you are captivated and enslaved under.'  At this the town of Mansoul began to prick up its ears.  And 'What is it?  Pray what is it?' thought they.  And he said, 'I have somewhat to say to you concerning your King, concerning his law, and also touching yourselves.  Touching your King, I know he is great and potent; but yet all that he hath said to you is neither true nor yet for your advantage.  1. It is not true, for that wherewith he hath hitherto awed you, shall not come to pass, nor be fulfilled, though you do the thing that he hath forbidden.  But if there was danger, what a slavery is it to live always in fear of the greatest of punishments, for doing so small and trivial a thing as eating of a little fruit is.  2. Touching his laws, this I say further, they are both unreasonable, intricate, and intolerable.  Unreasonable, as was hinted before; for that the punishment is not proportioned to the offence: there is great difference and disproportion between the life and an apple; yet the one must go for the other by the law of your Shaddai.  But it is also intricate, in that he saith, first, you may eat of all; and yet after forbids the eating of one.  And then, in the last place, it must needs be intolerable, forasmuch as that fruit which you are forbidden to eat of (if you are forbidden any) is that, and that alone, which is able, by your eating, to minister to you a good as yet unknown by you.  This is manifest by the very name of the tree; it is called the "tree of knowledge of good and evil;" and have you that knowledge as yet? No, no; nor can you conceive how good, how pleasant, and how much to be desired to make one wise it is, so long as you stand by your King's commandment.  Why should you be holden in ignorance and blindness?  Why should you not be enlarged in knowledge and understanding?  And now, O ye inhabitants of the famous town of Mansoul, to speak more particularly to yourselves you are not a free people!  You are kept both in bondage and slavery, and that by a grievous threat; no reason being annexed but, "So I will have it; so

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