The Holy War
John Bunyan
Novels
11:44 h
Level 8
The Holy War Made by King Shaddai Upon Diabolus, to Regain the Metropolis of the World, Or, The Losing and Taking Again of the Town of Mansoul is a 1682 novel by John Bunyan. This novel, written in the form of an allegory, tells the story of the town "Mansoul" (Man's soul). Though this town is perfect and bears the image of Shaddai (Almighty), it is deceived to rebel and throw off his gracious rule, replacing it instead with the rule of Diabolus. Though Mansoul has rejected the Kingship of Shaddai, he sends his son Emmanuel to reclaim it.

The Holy War

by
John Bunyan


To the Reader

‘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 anatomise.
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, despised 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 arm’d 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 combined
To ruin Mansoul, and to make away
Her primum mobilewithout 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 ope 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 seem’d 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 trumpets 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 parleys, 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,
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.
John Bunyan.


An Advertisement to the Reader

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’ patronise.
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 wrote 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 scandalise.
Witness my name, if anagram’d to thee,
The letters make — ‘Nu hony in a B.’
John Bunyan.


Relation of the Holy War

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. Ay, 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.