THE supernatural has been successfully represented in poetry, painting, or sculpture, only at particular periods of human history, and under peculiar mental conditions. The artist must himself believe in the supernatural, or his description of it will be a sham, without dignity and without credibility. He must feel himself able, at the same time, to treat the subject which he selects with freedom, throwing his own mind boldly into it, or he will produce, at best, the hard and stiff forms of literal tradition. When Benvenuto Cellini was preparing to make an image of the Virgin, he declares gravely that Our Lady appeared to him, that he might know what she was like; and so real was the apparition that, for many months after, he says that his friends, when the room was dark, could see a faint aureole about his head. Yet Benvenuto worked as if his own brain was partly the author of what he produced, and, like other contemporary artists, used his mistresses for his models, and was no servile copyist of phantoms seen in visions. There is a truth of the imagination, and there is a truth of fact, religion hovering between them, translating one into the other, turning natural phenomena into the activity of personal beings; or giving earthly names and habitations to mere creatures of fancy, Imagination creates a mythology. The priest lakes it and fashions out of it a theology, a ritual, or a sacred history. So long as the priest can convince the world that he is dealing with literal facts he holds reason prisoner, and imagination is his servant. In the twilight, when dawn is coming near but has not yet come; when the uncertain nature of the legend is felt, though not intelligently discerned--imagination is the first to resume its liberty; it takes possession of its own inheritance, it dreams of its gods and demigods, as Benevenuto dreamt of the Virgin, and it re-shapes the priest's traditions in noble and beautiful forms. Homer and the Greek dramatists would not have dared to bring the gods upon the stage so freely had they believed Zeus and Apollo were living persons, like the man in the next street, who might call the poet to account for what they were made to do and say; but neither, on the other hand, could they have been actively conscious that Zeus and Apollo were apparitions, which had no existence except in their own brains.
The condition is extremely peculiar. It can exist only in certain epochs, and in its nature is necessarily transitory. Where belief is consciously gone, the artist has no reverence for his work, and, therefore, can inspire none. The greatest genius in the world could not reproduce another Athene like that of Phidias. But neither must the belief be too complete. The poet's tongue stammers when he would bring beings before us who, though invisible, are awful personal existences, in whose stupendous presence we one day expect to stand. As long as the conviction survives that he is dealing with literal truths, he is safe only while he follows with shoeless feet the letter of the tradition. He dares not step beyond, lest he degrade the Infinite to the human level, and if he is wise he prefers to content himself with humbler subjects. A Christian artist can represent Jesus Christ as a man because He was a man, and because the details of the Gospel history leave room for the imagination to work. To represent Christ as the Eternal Son in heaven, to bring before us the Persons of the Trinity, consulting, planning, and reasoning, to take us into their everlasting Council-chamber, as Homer takes us into Olympus, will be possible only when Christianity ceases to be regarded as a history of true facts. Till then it is a trespass beyond the permitted limits, and revolts us by the inadequacy of the result. Either the artist fails altogether by attempting the impossible, or those whom he addresses are themselves intellectually injured by an unreal treatment of truths hitherto sacred. They confound the representation with its object, and regard the whole of it as unreal together.
These observations apply most immediately to Milton's Paradise Lost, and are meant to explain the unsatisfactoriness of it. Milton himself was only partially emancipated from the bondage of the letter; half in earth, half "pawing to get free," like his own lion. The war in heaven, the fall of the rebel angels, the horrid splendours of Pandemonium seem legitimate subjects for Christian poetry. They stand for something which we regard as real, yet we are not bound to any actual opinions about them. Satan has no claim on reverential abstinence; and Paradise and the Fall of Man are perhaps sufficiently mythic to permit poets to take certain liberties with them. But even so far Milton has not entirely succeeded. His wars of the angels are shadowy. They have no substance, like the battles of Greeks and Trojans, or Centaurs and Lapithę; and Satan could not be made interesting without touches of a nobler nature--that is, without ceasing to be the Satan of the Christian religion. But this is not the worst. When we are carried up into heaven, and hear the persons of the Trinity conversing on the mischiefs which have crept into the universe, and planning remedies and schemes of salvation like Puritan divines, we turn away incredulous and resentful. Theologians may form such theories for themselves, if not wisely, yet without offence. They may study the world in which they are placed with the light which can be thrown upon it by the book which they call the Word of God. They may form their conclusions, invent their schemes of doctrine, and commend to their flocks the interpretation of the mystery at which they have arrived. The cycles and epicycles of the Ptolemaic astronomers were imperfect hypotheses, but they were stages on which the mind could rest for a more complete examination of the celestial phenomena. But the poet does not offer us phrases and formulas; he presents to us personalities, living and active, influenced by emotions and reasoning from premises; and when the unlimited and incomprehensible Being whose attributes are infinite, of whom, from the inadequacy of our ideas, we can only speak in negatives, is brought on the stage to talk like an ordinary man, we feel that Milton has mistaken the necessary limits of his art.
When Faust claims affinity with the Erdgeist, the spirit tells him to seek affinities with beings which he can comprehend. The commandment which forbade the representation of God in a bodily form, forbids the poet equally to make God describe his feelings and his purposes. Where the poet would create a character he must himself comprehend it first to its inmost fibre. He cannot comprehend his own Creator. Admire as we may Paradise Lost; try as we may to admire Paradise Regained; acknowledge as we must the splendour of the imagery and the stately march of the verse--there comes upon us irresistibly a sense of the unfitness of the subject for Milton's treatment of it. If the story which he tells us is true, it is too momentous to be played with in poetry. We prefer to hear it in plain prose, with a minimum of ornament and the utmost possible precision of statement. Milton himself had not arrived at thinking it to be a legend, a picture, like a Greek Mythology. His poem falls between two modes of treatment and two conceptions of truth; we wonder, we recite, we applaud, but something comes in between our minds and a full enjoyment, and it will not satisfy us better as time goes on.
The same objection applies to The Holy War of Bunyan. It is, as I said, a people's version of the same series of subjects--the creation of man, the fall of man, his redemption, his ingratitude, his lapse, and again his restoration. The chief figures are the same, the action is the same, though more varied and complicated, and the general effect is unsatisfactory from the same cause. Prose is less ambitious than poetry. There is an absence of attempts at grand effects. There is no effort after sublimity, and there is consequently a lighter sense of incongruity in the failure to reach it. On the other hand, there is the greaterfulness of detail so characteristic of Banyan's manner; and fulness of detail on a theme so far beyond our understanding is as dangerous as vague grandiloquence. In The Pilgrim's Progress we are among genuine human beings. The reader knows the road too well which Christian follows. He has struggled with him in the Slough of Despond. He has shuddered with him in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. He has groaned with him in the dungeons of Doubting Castle. He has encountered on his journey the same fellow-travellers. Who does not know Mr. Pliable, Mr. Obstinate, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Feeble Mind, and all the rest? They are representative realities, flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. "If we prick them, they bleed; if we tickle them, they laugh," or they make us laugh. "They are warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer" as we are. The human actors in The Holy War are parts of men--special virtues, special vices: allegories in fact as well as in name, which all Bunyan's genius can only occasionally substantiate into persons. The plot of The Pilgrim's Progress is simple. The Holy War is prolonged through endless vicissitudes, with a doubtful issue after all, and the incomprehensibility of the Being who allows Satan to defy him so long and so successfully is unpleasantly and harshly brought home to us. True, it is so in life. Evil remains after all that has been done for us. But life is confessedly a mystery. The Holy War professes to interpret the mystery, and only restates the problem in a more elaborate form. Man Friday, on reading it, would have asked, even more emphatically, "Why God not kill the devil?" and Robinson Crusoe would have found no assistance in answering him. For these reasons I cannot agree with Macaulay in thinking that, if there had been no Pilgrim's Progress, The Holy War would have been the first of religious allegories. We may admire the workmanship, but the same undefined sense of unreality which pursues us through Milton's epic would have interfered equally with the acceptance of this. The question to us is if the facts are true. If true, they require no allegories to touch either our hearts or our intellects.
The Holy War would have entitled Bunyan to a place among the masters of English literature. It would never have made his name a household word in every English speaking family on the globe.
The story, which I shall try to tell in an abridged form, is introduced by a short prefatory poem. Works of fancy, Bunyan tells us, are of many sorts, according to the author's humour. For himself he says to his reader--
"I have something else to do
Than write vain stories thus to trouble you.
What here I say some men do know too 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 ears to what I do
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
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 him owned for Lord,
And to him did submit with one accord.
"When Mansoul trampled upon things
And wallowed in filth as doth a swine,
When she betook herself unto his arms,
Fought her Emmanuel, despised his charms;
Then was I there, and did rejoice to see
Diabolus and Mansoul so agree.
"Let no man count me then 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."
At setting out we are introduced into the famous continent of "Universe," a large and spacious country lying between the two poles--"the people of it not all of one complexion nor yet of one language, mode or way of religion, but differing as much as the planets themselves; some right, some wrong, even as it may happen to be."
In this country of "Universe" was a fair and delicate town and corporation called "Mansoul," a town for its building so curious, for its situation so commodious, for its privileges so advantageous, that with reference to its original (state) there was not its equal under heaven. The first founder was Shaddai, who built it for his own delight. In the midst of the town was a famous and stately palace which Shaddai intended for himself. He had no inten-tion of allowing strangers to intrude there. And the peculiarity of the place was that the walls of Mansoul could never be broken down or hurt unless the townsmen consented. Mansoul had five gates which, in like manner, could only be forced if those within allowed it. These gates were Eargate, Eyegate, Mouthgate, Nosegate, and Feelgate. Thus provided, Mansoul was at first all that its founder could desire. It had the most excellent laws in the world. There was not a rogue or a rascal inside its whole precincts. The inhabitants were all true men.
Now there was a certain giant named Diabolus--king of the blacks or negroes, as Bunyan noticeably calls them--the negroes standing for sinners or fallen angels. Diabolus had once been a servant of Shaddai, one of the chief in his territories. Pride and ambition had led him to aspire to the crown which was settled on Shaddai's Son. He had formed a conspiracy and planned a revolution. Shaddai and his Son, "being all eye," easily detected the plot. Diabolus and his crew were bound in chains, banished, and thrown into a pit, there to "abide for ever." This was their sentence; but out of the pit, in spite of it, they in some way contrived to escape. They ranged about full of malice against Shaddai, and looking for means to injure him. They came at last on Mansoul. They determined to take it, and called a council to consider how it could best be done. Diabolus was aware of the condition that no one could enter without the inhabitants' consent. Alecto, Apollyon, Beelzebub, Lucifer (Pagan and Christian demons intermixed indifferently) gave their several opinions. Diabolus at length, at Lucifer's suggestion, decided to assume the shape of one of the creatures over which Mansoul had dominion; and he selected as the fittest that of a snake, which at that time was in great favour with the people as both harmless and wise.
The population of Mansoul were simple, innocent folks who believed everything that was said to them. Force, however, might be necessary, as well as cunning, and the Tisiphone, a fury of the Lakes, was required to assist. The attempt was to be made at Eargate. A certain Captain Resistance was in charge of this gate, whom Diabolus feared more than any one in the place. Tisiphone was to shoot him.
The plans being all laid, Diabolus in his snake's dress approached the wall, accompanied by one Ill Pause, a famous orator, the Fury following behind. He asked for a parley with the heads of the town. Captain Resistance, two of the great nobles, Lord Innocent, and Lord Will be Will, with Mr. Conscience, the Recorder, and Lord Understanding, the Lord Mayor, came to the gate to see what he wanted. Lord Will be Will plays a prominent part in the drama both for good and evil. He is neither Free Will, nor Wilfulness, nor Inclination, but the quality which metaphysicians and theologians agree in describing as "the Will." "The Will" simply--a subtle something of great importance; but what it is they have never been able to explain.
Lord Will be Will inquired Diabolus's business. Diabolus, "meek as a lamb," said he was a neighbour of theirs. He had observed with distress that they were living in a state of slavery, and he wished to help them to be free. Shaddai was no doubt a great prince, but he was an arbitrary despot. There was no liberty where the laws were unreasonable, and Shaddai's laws were the reverse of reasonable. They had a fruit growing among them, in Man-soul, which they had but to eat to become wise. Knowledge was well known to be the best of possessions. Knowledge was freedom; ignorance was bondage; and yet Shaddai had forbidden them to touch this precious fruit.
At that moment Captain Resistance fell dead, pierced by an arrow from Tisiphone. Ill Pause made a flowing speech, in the midst of which Lord Innocent fell also, either through a blow from Diabolus, or "overpowered by the stinking breath of the old villain Ill Pause." The people flew upon the apple-tree; Eargate and Eyegate were thrown open, and Diabolus was invited to come in; when at once he became King of Mansoul, and established himself in the castle.
The magistrates were immediately changed. Lord Understanding ceased to be Lord Mayor. Mr. Conscience was no longer left as Recorder. Diabolus built up a wall in front of Lord Understanding's palace, and shut off the light, "so that till Mansoul was delivered the old Lord Mayor was rather an impediment than an advantage to that famous town." Diabolus tried long to bring "Conscience" over to his side, but never quite succeeded. The Recorder became greatly corrupted, but he could not be prevented from now and then remembering Shaddai; and when the fit was on him he would shake the town with his exclamations. Diabolus, therefore, had to try other methods with him. "He had a way to make the old gentleman, when he was merry, unsay and deny what in his fits he had affirmed; and this was the next way to make him ridiculous, and to cause that no man should regard him." To make all secure, Diabolus often said, "Oh, Mansoul, consider that, notwithstanding the old gentleman's rage and the rattle of the high, thundering words, you hear nothing of Shaddai himself." The Recorder had pretended that the voice of the Lord was speaking in him. Had this been so, Diabolus argued that the Lord would have done more than speak. "Shaddai," he said, "valued not the loss nor the rebellion of Mansoul, nor would he trouble himself with calling his town to a reckoning."
In this way the Recorder came to be generally hated, and more than once the people would have destroyed him. Happily his house was a castle near the water-works. When the rabble pursued him, he would pull up the sluices, let in the flood, and drown all about him.
Lord Will be Will, on the other hand, "as high born as any in Mansoul," became Diabolus's principal minister.
He had been the first to propose admitting Diabolus, and he was made Captain of the Castle, Governor of the Wall, and Keeper of the Gates. Will be Will had a clerk named Mr. Mind, a man every way like his master, and Mansoul was thus brought "under the lusts" of Will and Intellect. Mr. Mind had in his house some old rent and torn parchments of the law of Shaddai. The Recorder had some more in his study; but to these Will be Will paid no attention, and surrounded himself with officials who were all in Diabolus's interest. He had as deputy one Mr. Affection, "much debauched in his principles, so that he was called Vile Affection." Vile Affection married Mr. Mind's daughter, Carnal Lust, by whom he had three sons--Impudent, Black Mouth, and Hate Reproof; and three daughters--Scorn Truth, Slight Good, and Revenge. All traces of Shaddai were now swept away. His image, which had stood in the market-place, was taken down, and an artist called Mr. No Truth was employed to set up the image of Diabolus in place of it. Lord Lustings--" who never savoured good, but evil" -- was chosen for the new Lord Mayor. Mr. Forget Good was appointed Recorder. There were new burgesses and aldermen, all with appropriate names, for which Bunyan was never at a loss--Mr. Incredulity, Mr. Haughty, Mr. Swearing, Mr. Hardheart, Mr. Pitiless, Mr. Fury, Mr. No Truth, Mr. Stand to Lies, Mr. False-peace, Mr. Drunkenness, Mr. Cheating, Mr. Atheism, and another; thirteen of them in all. Mr. Incredulity was the eldest, Mr. Atheism the youngest in the company--a shrewd and correct arrangement. Diabolus, on his part, set to work to fortify Mansoul, He built three fortresses --"The Hold of Defiance" at Eyegate, "that the light might be darkened there;" "Midnight Hold" near the old Castle, to keep Mansoul from knowledge of itself; and "Sweet Sin Hold" in the market-place, that there might be no desire of good there. These strongholds being established and garrisoned, Diabolus thought that he had made his conquest secure.
So far the story runs on firmly and clearly. It is vivid, consistent in itself, and held well within the limits of human nature and experience. But, like Milton, Bunyan is now, by the exigencies of the situation, forced upon more perilous ground. He carries us into the presence of Shaddai himself, at the time when the loss of Mansoul was reported in heaven.
The king, his son, his high lords, his chief captains and nobles were all assembled to hear. There was universal grief, in which the king and his son shared, or rather seemed to share--for at once the drama of the Fall of Mankind becomes no better than a Mystery Play. "Shaddai and his son had foreseen it all long before, and had provided for the relief of Mansoul, though they told not everybody thereof--but because they would have a share in condoling of the misery of Mansoul they did, and that at the rate of the highest degree, bewail the losing of Mansoul"--"thus to show their love and compassion."
Paradise Lost was published at the time that Bunyan wrote this passage. If he had not seen it, the coincidences of treatment are singularly curious. It is equally singular, if he had seen it, that Milton should not here at least have taught him to avoid making the Almighty into a stage actor. The Father and Son consult how "to do what they had designed before." They decide that at a certain time, which they preordain, the Son, "a sweet and comely person," shall make a journey into the Universe, and lay a foundation there for Mansoul's deliverance. Milton offends in the scene less than Bunyan; but Milton cannot persuade us that it is one which should have been represented by either of them. They should have left "plans of salvation" to eloquent orators in the pulpit.
Though the day of deliverance by the method proposed was as yet far off, the war against Diabolus was to be commenced immediately. The Lord Chief Secretary was ordered to put in writing Shaddai's intentions, and cause them to be published. Mansoul, it was announced, was to be put into a better condition than it was in before Diabolus took it.
The report of the Council in Heaven was brought to Diabolus, who took his measures accordingly, Lord Will be Will standing by him and executing all his directions. Mansoul was forbidden to read Shaddai's proclamation. Diabolus imposed a great oath on the townspeople never to desert him; he believed that if they entered into a covenant of this kind Shaddai could not absolve them from it. They "swallowed the engagement as if it had been a sprat in the mouth of a whale." Being now Diabolus's trusty children, he gave them leave "to do whatever their appetites prompted to do." They would thus involve themselves in all kinds of wickedness, and Shaddai's son "being Holy" would be less likely to interest himself for them. When they had in this way put themselves, as Diabolus hoped, beyond reach of mercy, he informed them that Shaddai was raising an army to destroy the town. No quarter would be given, and unless they defended themselves like men they would all be made slaves. Their spirit being roused, he armed them with the shield of unbelief, "calling into question the truth of the Word." He gave them a helmet of hope--" hope of doing well at last, whatever lives they might lead;" for a breastplate a heart as hard as iron, "most necessary for all that hated Shaddai;" and another piece of most excellent armour, "a drunken and prayerless spirit that scorned to cry for mercy." Shaddai, on his side, had also prepared his forces. He will not as yet send his son. The first expedition was to fail, and was meant to fail. The object was to try whether Mansoul would return to obedience. And yet Shaddai knew that it would not return to obedience. Bunyan was too ambitious to explain the inexplicable. Fifty thousand warriors were collected, all chosen by Shaddai himself. There were four leaders--Captain Boanerges, Captain Conviction, Captain Judgment, and Captain Execution--the martial saints, with whom Macaulay thinks Bunyan made acquaintance when he served, if serve he did, with Fairfax. The bearings on their banners were three black thunderbolts--the Book of the Law, wide open, with a flame of fire bursting from it; a burning, fiery furnace; and a fruitless tree with an axe at its root. These emblems represent the terrors of Mount Sinai, the covenant of works which was not to prevail.
The captains come to the walls of Mansoul, and summon the town to surrender. Their words "beat against Eargate, but without force to break it open." The new officials answer the challenge with defiance. Lord Incredulity knows not by what right Shaddai invades their country. Lord Will be Will and Mr. Forget Good warn them to be off before they rouse Diabolus. The townspeople ring the bells and dance on the walls. Will be Will double-bars the gates. Bunyan's genius is at its best in scenes of this kind. "Old Mr. Prejudice, with sixty deaf men," is appointed to take charge of Eargate. At Eargate, too, are planted two guns, called Highmind and Heady, "cast in the earth by Diabolus's head founder, whose name was Mr. Puffup."
The fighting begins, but the covenant of works makes little progress. Shaddai's captains, when advancing on Mansoul, had fallen in with "three young fellows of promising appearance" who volunteered to go with them --" Mr. Tradition, Mr. Human Wisdom, and Mr. Man's Invention." They were allowed to join, and were placed in positions of trust, the captains of the covenant being apparently wanting in discernment. They were taken prisoners in the first skirmish, and immediately changed sides and went over to Diabolus. More battles follow. The roof of the Lord Mayor's house is beaten in. The law is not wholly ineffectual. Six of the Aldermen, the grosser moral sins--Swearing, Stand to Lies, Drunkenness, Cheating, and others--are overcome and killed. Diabolus grows uneasy, and loses his sleep. Old Conscience begins to talk again. A party forms in the town in favour of surrender, and Mr. Parley is sent to Eargate to treat for terms. The spiritual sins -- False Peace, Unbelief, Haughtiness, Atheism--are still unsubdued and vigorous. The conditions offered are that Incredulity, Forget Good, and Will be Will shall retain their offices; Mansoul shall be continued in all the liberties which it enjoys under Diabolus; and a further touch is added which shows how little Bunyan sympathised with modern notions of the beauty of self-government. No new law or officer shall have any power in Mansoul without the people's consent.
Boanerges will agree to no conditions with rebels. Incredulity and Will be Will advise the people to stand by their rights, and refuse to submit to "unlimited" power. The war goes on, and Incredulity is made Diabolus's universal deputy. Conscience and Understanding, the old Recorder and Mayor, raise a mutiny, and there is a fight in the streets. Conscience is knocked down by a Dia-bolonian called Mr. Benumming. Understanding had a narrow escape from being shot. On the other hand, Mr. Mind, who had come over to the Conservative side, laid about bravely, tumbled old Mr. Prejudice into the dirt, and kicked him where he lay. Even Will be Will seemed to be wavering in his allegiance to Diabolus. "He smiled, and did not seem to take one side more than another." The rising, however, is put down--Understanding and Conscience are imprisoned, and Mansoul hardens its heart, chiefly "being in dread of slavery," and thinking liberty too fine a thing to be surrendered.
Shaddai's four captains find that they can do no more. The covenant of works will not answer. They send home a petition, "by the hand of that good man Mr. Love to Mansoul," to beg that some new general may come to lead them. The preordained time has now arrived, and Emmanuel himself is to take the command. He, too, selects his captains--Credence and Good Hope, Charity, and Innocence, and Patience; and the captains have their squires, the counterparts of themselves--Promise and Expectation, Pitiful, Harmless, and Suffer Long. Emmanuel's armour shines like the sun. He has forty-four battering-rams and twenty-two slings--the sixty-six books of the Bible--each made of pure gold. He throws up mounds and trenches, and arms them with his rams, five of the largest being planted on Mount Hearken, over against Eargate. Bunyan was too reverent to imitate the Mystery Plays, and introduce a Mount Calvary with the central sacrifice upon it. The sacrifice is supposed to have been already offered elsewhere. Emmanuel offers mercy to Mansoul, and when it is rejected he threatens judgment and terror.
Diabolus, being wiser than man, is made to know that his hour is approaching. He goes in person to Mouthgate to protest and remonstrate. He asks why Emmanuel is come to torment him. Mansoul has disowned Shaddai and sworn allegiance to himself. He begs Emmanuel to leave him to rule his own subjects in peace.
Emmanuel tells him "he is a thief and a liar." "When," Emmanuel is made to say, "Mansoul sinned by hearkening to thy lie, I put in and became a surety to my Father, body for body, soul for soul, that I would make amends for Mansoul's transgressions, and my Father did accept thereof. So, when the time appointed was come, I gave body for body, soul for soul, life for life, blood for blood, and so redeemed my beloved Mansoul. My Father's law and justice, that were both concerned in the threatening upon transgression, are both now satisfied, and very well content that Mansoul should be delivered."
Even against its deliverers, Mansoul was defended by the original condition of its constitution. There was no way into it but through the gates. Diabolus, feeling that Emmanuel still had difficulties before him, withdrew from the wall, and sent a messenger, Mr. Loth to Stoop, to offer alternative terms, to one or other of which he thought Emmanuel might consent. Emmanuel might be titular sovereign of all Mansoul, if Diabolus might keep the administration of part of it. If this could not be, Diabolus requested to be allowed to reside in Mansoul as a private person. If Emmanuel insisted on his own personal exclusion, at least he expected that his friends and kindred might continue to live there, and that he himself might now and then write them letters, and send them presents and messages, "in remembrance of the merry times they had enjoyed together." Finally, he would like to be consulted occasionally when any difficulties arose in Mansoul.
It will be seen that in the end Mansoul was, in fact, left liable to communications from Diabolus very much of this kind. Emmanuel's answer, however, is a peremptory No. Diabolus must take himself away, and no more must be heard of him. Seeing that there was no other resource, Diabolus resolves to fight it out. There is a great battle under the walls, with some losses on Emmanuel's side, even Captain Conviction receiving three wounds in the mouth. The shots from the gold slings mow down whole ranks of Diabolonians. Mr. Love no Good and Mr. Ill Pause are wounded. Old Prejudice and Mr. Anything run away. Lord Will be Will, who still fought for Diabolus, was never so daunted in his life: "he was hurt in the leg, and limped."
Diabolus, when the fight was over, came again to the gate with fresh proposals to Emmanuel. "I," he said, "will persuade Mansoul to receive thee for their Lord, and I know that they will do it the sooner when they understand that I am thy deputy. I will show them wherein they have erred, and that transgression stands in the way to life. I will show them the Holy Law to which they must conform, even that which they have broken. I will press upon them the necessity of a reformation according to thy law. At my own cost I will set up and maintain a sufficient ministry, besides lecturers, in Mansoul." This obviously means the Established Church. Unable to keep mankind directly in his own service, the devil offers to entangle them in the covenant of works, of which the Church of England was the representative. Emmanuel rebukes him for his guile and deceit. "I will govern Mansoul," he says, "by new laws, new officers, new motives, and new ways. I will pull down the town and build it again, and it shall be as though it had not been, and it shall be the glory of the whole universe."
A second battle follows. Eargate is beaten in. The Prince's army enters and advances as far as the old Recorder's house, where they knock and demand entrance. "The old gentleman, not fully knowing their design, had kept his gates shut all the time of the fight. He as yet knew nothing of the great designs of Emmanuel, and could not tell what to think." The door is violently broken open, and the house is made Emmanuel's headquarters. The townspeople, with Conscience and Understanding at their head, petition that their lives may be spared; but Emmanuel gives no answer, Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction carrying terror into all hearts. Diabolus, the cause of all the mischief, had retreated into the castle. He came out at last, and surrendered, and in dramatic fitness he clearly ought now to have been made away with in a complete manner. Unfortunately, this could not be done. He was stripped of his armour, bound to Emmanuel's chariot-wheels, and thus turned out of Mansoul "into parched places in a salt land, where he might seek rest and find none." The salt land proved as insecure a prison for this embarrassing being as the pit where he was to have abode forever.
Meanwhile, Mansoul being brought upon its knees, the inhabitants were summoned into the castle - yard, when Conscience, Understanding, and Will be Will were committed to ward. They and the rest again prayed for mercy, but again without effect. Emmanuel was silent. They drew another petition, and asked Captain Conviction to present it for them. Captain Conviction declined to be an advocate for rebels, and advised them to send it by one of themselves, with a rope about his neck. Mr. Desires Awake went with it. The Prince took it from his hands, and wept as Desires Awake gave it in. Emmanuel bade him go his way till the request could be considered. The unhappy criminals knew not how to take the answer. Mr. Understanding thought it promised well. Conscience and Will be Will, borne down by shame for their sins, looked for nothing but immediate death. They tried again. They threw themselves on Emmanuel's mercy. They drew up a confession of their horrible iniquities. This, at least, they wished to offer to him whether he would pity them or not. For a messenger some of them thought of choosing one Old Good Deed. Conscience, however, said that would never do. Emmanuel would answer, "Is Old Good Deed yet alive in Mansoul? Then let Old Good Deed save it." Desires Awake went again with the rope on his neck, as Captain Conviction recommended. Mr. Wet Eyes went with him, wringing his hands.
Emmanuel still held out no comfort; he promised merely that in the camp the next morning he would give such an answer as should be to his glory. Nothing but the worst was now looked for. Mansoul passed the night in sackcloth and ashes. When day broke, the prisoners dressed themselves in mourning, and were carried to the camp in chains, with ropes on their necks, beating their breasts. Prostrate before Emmanuel's throne, they repeated their confession. They acknowledged that death and the bottomless pit would be no more than a just retribution for their crimes. As they excused nothing and promised nothing, Emmanuel at once delivered them their pardons sealed with seven seals. He took off their ropes and mourning, clothed them in shining garments, and gave them chains and jewels.
Lord Will be Will "swooned outright." When he recovered, "the Prince" embraced and kissed him. The bells in Mansoul were set ringing. Bonfires blazed. Emmanuel reviewed his army; and Mansoul, ravished at the sight, prayed him to remain and be their King for ever. He entered the city again in triumph, the people strewing boughs and flowers before him. The streets and squares were rebuilt on a new model. Lord Will be Will, now regenerate, resumed the charge of the gates. The old Lord Mayor was reinstated. Mr. Knowledge was made Recorder, "not out of contempt for old Conscience, who was by-and-bye to have another employment." Diabolus's image was taken down and broken to pieces, and the inhabitants of Mansoul were so happy that they sang of Emmanuel in their sleep.
Justice, however, remained to be done on the hardened and impenitent.
There were "perhaps necessities in the nature of things," as Bishop Butler says, and an example could not be made of the principal offender. But his servants and old officials were lurking iu the lanes and alleys. They were apprehended, thrown into gaol, and brought to formal trial. Here we have Bunyan at his best. The scene in the court rises to the level of the famous trial of Faithful in Vanity Fair. The prisoners were Diabolus's Aldermen --Mr. Atheism, Mr. Incredulity, Mr. Lustings, Mr. Forget Good, Mr. Hardheart, Mr. Falsepeace, and the rest. The proceedings were precisely what Bunyan must have witnessed at a common English Assizes. The Judges were the new Recorder and the new Mayor. Mr. Do-right was Town Clerk. A jury was empanelled in the usual way.
Mr. Knowall, Mr. Telltrue, and Mr. Hatelies were the principal witnesses.
Atheism was first brought to the bar, being charged "with having pertinaciously and doltingly taught that there was no God." He pleaded Not Guilty. Mr. Know-all was placed in the witness-box and sworn.
"My Lord," he said, "I know the prisoner at the bar. I and he were once in Villains' Lane together, and he at that time did briskly talk of diverse opinions. And then and there I heard him say that for his part he did believe that there was no God. 'But,' said he, 'I can profess one and be religious too, if the company I am in and the circumstances of other things,' said he, 'shall put mo upon it.'"
Telltrue and Hatelies were next called.
"Telltrue. My Lord, I was formerly a great companion of the prisoner's, for the which I now repent me; and I have often heard him say, and with very great stomach-fulness, that he believed there was neither God, Angel, nor Spirit.
"Town Clerk. Where did you hear him say so?
"Telltrue. In Blackmouth Lane and in Blasphemers' Row, and in many other places besides.
"Town Clerk. Have you much knowledge of him?
"Telltrue. I know him to be a Diabolonian, the son of a Diabolo-nian, and a horrible man to deny a Deity. His father's name was Never be Good, and he had more children than this Atheism.
"Town Clerk. Mr. Hatelies. Look upon the prisoner at the bar. Do you know him.
"Hatelies. My Lord, this Atheism is one of the vilest wretches that ever I came near or had to do with in my life. I have heard him say that there is no God. I have heard him say that there is no world to come, no sin, nor punishment hereafter; and, moreover, I have heard him say that it was as good to go to a bad-house as to go to hear a sermon.
"Town Clerk. Where did you hear him say these things?
"Hatelies. In Drunkards' Row, just at Rascal Lane's End, at a house in which Mr. Impiety lived.''
The next prisoner was Mr. Lustings, who said that he was of high birth, and "used to pleasures and pastimes of greatness." He had always been allowed to follow his own inclinations, and it seemed strange to him that he should be called in question for things which not only he but every man secretly or openly approved.
When the evidence had been heard against him he admitted frankly its general correctness.
"I," he said, "was ever of opinion that the happiest life that a man could live on earth was to keep himself back from nothing that he desired; nor have I been false at any time to this opinion of mine, but have lived in the love of my notions all my days. Nor was I ever so churlish, having found such sweetness in them myself, as to keep the commendation of them from others."
Then came Mr. Incredulity. He was charged with having encouraged the town of Mansoul to resist Shaddai. Incredulity, too, had the courage of his opinions.
"I know not Shaddai," he said. "I love my old Prince. I thought it my duty to be true to my trust, and to do what I could to possess the minds of the men of Mansoul to do their utmost to resist strangers and foreigners, and with might to fight against them. Nor have I nor shall I change my opinion for fear of trouble, though you at present are possessed of place and power."
Forget Good pleaded age and craziness. He was the son of a Diabolonian called Love Naught. He had uttered blasphemous speeches in Allbase Lane, next door to the sign of "Conscience Seared with a Hot Iron;" also in Flesh Lane, right opposite the Church; also in Nauseous Street; also at the sign of the "Reprobate," next door to the "Descent into the Pit."
Falsepeace insisted that he was wrongly named in the indictment. His real name was Peace, and he had always laboured for peace. When war broke out between Shaddai and Diabolus, he had endeavoured to reconcile them, &c. Evidence was given that Falsepeace was his right designation. His father's name was Flatter. His mother, before she married Flatter, was called Mrs. Sootheup. When her child was born she always spoke of him as Falsepeace. She would call him twenty times a day, my little Falsepeace, my pretty Falsepeace, my sweet rogue Falsepeace! &c.
The court rejected his plea. He was told "that he had wickedly maintained the town of Mansoul in rebellion against its king, in a false, lying, and damnable peace, contrary to the law of Shaddai. Peace that was not a companion of truth and holiness, was an accursed and treacherous peace, and was grounded on a lie.
No Truth had assisted with his own hands in pulling down the image of Shaddai. He had set up the horned image of the beast Diabolus at the same place, and had torn and consumed all that remained of the laws of the king.
Pitiless said his name was not Pitiless, but Cheer Up. He disliked to see Mansoul inclined to melancholy, and that was all his offence. Pitiless, however, was proved to be the name of him. It was a habit of the Diabolonians to assume counterfeit appellations. Covetousness called himself Good Husbandry; Pride called himself Handsome; and so on.
Mr. Haughty's figure is admirably drawn in a few lines. Mr. Haughty, when arraigned, declared "that he had carried himself bravely, not considering who was his foe, or what was the cause in which he was engaged. It was enough for him if he fought like a man and came off victorious."
The jury, it seems, made no distinctions between opinions and acts. They did not hold that there was any divine right in man to think what he pleased, and to say what he thought. Bunyan had suffered as a martyr; but it was as a martyr for truth, not for general licence. The genuine Protestants never denied that it was right to prohibit men from teaching lies, and to punish them if they disobeyed. The persecution of which they complained was the persecution of the honest man by the knave.
All the prisoners were found guilty by a unanimous verdict. Even Mr. Moderate, who was one of the jury, thought a man must be wilfully blind who wished to spare them. They were sentenced to be executed the next day. Incredulity contrived to escape in the night. Search was made for him, but he was not to be found in Mansoul. He had fled beyond the walls, and had joined Diabolus near Hell Gate. The rest, we are told, were crucified-- crucified by the hands of the men of Mansoul themselves. They fought and struggled at the place of execution so violently that Shaddai's secretary was obliged to send assistance. But justice was done at last, and all the Diabolonians, except Incredulity, were thus made an end of.
They were made an end of for a time only. Mansoul, by faith in Christ, and by the help of the Holy Spirit, had crucified all manner of sin in its members. It was faith that had now the victory. Unbelief had, unfortunately, escaped. It had left Mansoul for the time, and had gone to its master the devil. But unbelief, being intellectual, had not been crucified with the sins of the flesh, and thus could come back, and undo the work which faith had accomplished. I do not know how far this view approves itself to the more curious theologians. Unbelief itself is said to be a product of the will; but an allegory must not be cross-questioned too minutely.
The cornucopia of spiritual blessings was now opened on Mansoul. All offences were fully and completely forgiven. A Holy Law and Testament was bestowed on the people for their comfort and consolation, with a portion of the grace which dwelt in the hearts of Shaddai and Emmanuel themselves. They were to be allowed free access to Emmanuel's palace at all seasons, he himself undertaking to hear them and redress their grievances, and they were empowered and enjoined to destroy all Diabolonians who might be found at any time within their precincts.
These grants were embodied in a charter which was set up in gold letters on the castle door. Two ministers were appointed to carry on the government--one from Shaddai's court; the other a native of Mansoul. The first was Shaddai's Chief Secretary, the Holy Spirit. He, if they were obedient and well-conducted, would be "ten times better to them than the whole world." But they were cautioned to be careful of their behaviour, for if they grieved him he would turn against them, and the worst might then be looked for. The second minister was the old Recorder, Mr. Conscience, for whom, as was said, a new office had been provided. The address of Emmanuel to Conscience, in handing his commission to him, contains the essence of Bunyan's creed:
"Thou must confine thyself to the teaching of moral virtues, to civil and natural duties. But thou must not attempt to presume to be a revealer of those high and supernatural mysteries that are kept close in the bosom of Shaddai, my father. For those things knows no man; nor can any reveal them but my father's secretary only. . . .
In all high and supernatural things thou must go to him for information and knowledge. Wherefore keep low and be humble; and remember that the Diabolonians that kept not their first charge, but left their own standing, are now made prisoners in the pit. Be therefore content with thy station. I have made thee my father's vicegerent on earth in the things of which I have made mention before. Take thou power to teach them to Mansoul; yea, to impose them with whips and chastisements if they shall not willingly hearken to do thy commandments. . . . And one thing more to my beloved Mr. Recorder, and to all the town of Mansoul. You must not dwell in nor stay upon anything of that which he hath in commission to teach you, as to your trust and expectation of the next world. Of the next world, I say; for I purpose to give another to Mansoul when this is worn out. But for that you must wholly and solely have recourse to and make stay upon the doctrine of your teacher of the first order. Yea, Mr. Recorder himself must not look for life from that which he himself revealeth. His dependence for that must be founded in the doctrine of the other preacher. Let Mr. Recorder also take heed that he receive not any doctrine or points of doctrine that are not communicated to him by his superior teacher, nor yet within the precincts of his own formal knowledge."
Here, as a work of art, The Holy War should have its natural end. Mansoul had been created pure and happy. The devil plotted against it, took it, defiled it. The Lord of the town came to the rescue, drove the devil out, executed his officers and destroyed his works. Mansoul, according to Emmanuel's promise, was put into a better condition than that in which it was originally placed. New laws were drawn for it. New ministers were appointed to execute them. Vice had been destroyed. Unbelief had been driven away. The future lay serene and bright before it; all trials and dangers being safely passed. Thus we have all the parts of a complete drama--the fair beginning, the perils, the struggles, and the final victory of good. At this point, for purposes of art, the curtain ought to fall.
For purposes of art -- not, however, for purposes of truth; for the drama of Mansoul was still incomplete, and will remain incomplete till man puts on another nature or ceases altogether to be. Christianity might place him in a new relation to his Maker, and, according to Bunyan, might expel the devil out of his heart. But for practical purposes, as Mansoul too well knows, the devil is still in possession. At intervals--as in the first centuries of the Christian era, for a period in the middle ages, and again in Protestant countries for another period at the Reformation--mankind made noble efforts to drive him out, and make the law of God into reality. But he comes back again, and the world is again as it was. The vices again flourish which had been nailed to the Cross. The statesman finds it as little possible as ever to take moral right and justice for his rule in politics. The Evangelical preacher continues to confess and deplore the desperate wickedness of the human heart. The devil had been deposed, but his faithful subjects have restored him to his throne. The stone of Sisyphus has been brought to the brow of the hill only to rebound again to the bottom. The old battle has to be fought a second time, and, for all we can see, no closing victory will ever be in "this country of Universe." Bunyan knew this but too well. He tries to conceal it from himself by treating Mansoul alternately as the soul of a single individual from which the devil may be so expelled as never dangerously to come back, or as the collective souls of the Christian world. But, let him mean which of the two he will, the overpowering fact remains that, from the point of view of his own theology, the great majority of mankind are the devil's servants through life, and are made over to him everlastingly when their lives are over; while the human race itself continues to follow its idle amusements and its sinful pleasures as if no Emmanuel had ever come from heaven to rescue it. Thus the situation is incomplete, and the artistic treatment necessarily unsatisfactory--nay, in a sense even worse than unsatisfactory--for the attention of the reader, being reawakened by the fresh and lively treatment of the subject, refuses to be satisfied with conventional explanatory commonplaces. His mind is puzzled; his faith wavers in its dependence upon a Being who can permit His work to be spoilt, His power defied, His victories even, when won, made useless.
Thus we take up the continuation of The Holy War with a certain weariness and expectation of disappointment. The delivery of Mansoul has not been finished after all, and, for all that we can see, the struggle between Shaddai and Diabolus may go on to eternity. Emmanuel, before he withdraws his presence, warns the inhabitants that many Diabolonians are still lurking about the outside walls of the town. The names are those in St. Paul's list --Fornication, Adultery, Murder, Anger, Lasciviousness, Deceit, Evil Eye, Drunkenness, Revelling, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Variance, Emulation, Wrath, Strife, Sedition, Heresy. If all these were still abroad, not much had been gained by the crucifixion of the Aldermen. For the time, it was true, they did not show themselves openly. Mansoul after the conquest was clothed in white linen, and was in a state of peace and glory. But the linen was speedily soiled again. Mr. Carnal Security became a great person in Man-soul. The Chief Secretary's functions fell early into abeyance. He discovered the Recorder and Lord Will be Will at dinner in Mr. Carnal Security's parlour, and ceased to communicate with them. Mr. Godly Fear sounded an alarm, and Mr. Carnal Security's house was burnt by the mob; but Mansoul's backslidings grew worse. It had its fits of repentance, and petitioned Emmanuel, but the messenger could have no admittance. The Lusts of the Flesh came out of their dens. They held a meeting in the room of Mr. Mischief, and wrote to invite Diabolus to return. Mr. Profane carried their letter to Hell Gate. Cerberus opened it, and a cry of joy ran through the prison. Beelzebub, Lucifer, Apollyon, and the rest of the devils came crowding to hear the news. Deadman's bell was rung. Diabolus addressed the assembly, putting them in hopes of recovering their prize. "Nor need you fear, he said, that if ever we get Mansoul again, we after that shall be cast out any more. It is the law of that Prince that now they own, that if we get them a second time they shall be ours forever." He returned a warm answer to his friend, "which was subscribed as given at the Pit's mouth, by the joint consent of all the Princes of Darkness, by me, Diabolus." The plan was to corrupt Mansoul's morals, and three devils of rank set off disguised to take service in the town, and make their way into the households of Mr. Mind, Mr. Godly Fear, and Lord Will be Will. Godly Fear discovered his mistake, and turned the devil out. The other two established themselves successfully, and Mr. Profane was soon at Hell Gate again to report progress.
Cerberus welcomed him with a "St. Mary, I am glad to see thee." Another council was held in Pandemonium, and Diabolus was impatient to show himself again on the scene. Apollyon advised him not to be in a hurry. "Let our friends," he said, "draw Mansoul more and more into sin--there is nothing like sin to devour Mansoul;" but Diabolus would not wait for so slow a process, and raised an army of Doubters "from the land of Doubting, on the confines of Hell Gate Hill." "Doubt," Bunyan always admitted, had been his own most dangerous enemy.
Happily the towns-people became aware of the peril which threatened them. Mr. Prywell, a great lover of Mansoul, overheard some Diabolonians talking about it at a place called Vile Hill. He carried his information to the Lord Mayor; the Recorder rang the Alarm Bell; Man-soul flew to penitence, held a day of fasting and humiliation, and prayed to Shaddai. The Diabolonians were hunted out, and all that could be found were killed. So far as haste and alarm would permit, Mansoul mended its ways. But on came the Doubting army, led by Incredulity, who had escaped crucifixion--"none was truer to Diabolus than he"--on they came under their several captains, Vocation Doubters, Grace Doubters, Salvation Doubters, &c.; figures now gone to shadow; then the deadliest foes of every English Puritan soul. Mansoul appealed passionately to the Chief Secretary; but the Chief Secretary "had been grieved," and would have nothing to say to it. The town legions went out to meet the invaders with good words, Prayer, and singing of Psalms. The Doubters replied with "horrible objections," which were frightfully effective. Lord Reason was wounded in the head, and the Lord Mayor in the eye; Mr. Mind received a shot in the stomach, and Conscience was hit near the heart; but the wounds were not mortal. Mansoul had the best of it in the first engagement. Terror was followed by boasting and self-confidence; a night sally was attempted--night being the time when the Doubters were strongest. The sally failed, and the men of Mansoul were turned to rout. Diabolus's army attacked Eargate, stormed the walls, forced their way into the town, and captured the whole of it except the castle. Then "Mansoul became a den of dragons, an emblem of Hell, a place of total darkness." "Mr. Conscience's wounds so festered that he could have no rest day or night." "Now a man might have walked for days together in Mansoul, and scarce have seen one in the town that looked like a religious man. Oh, the fearful state of Mansoul now!" "Now every corner swarmed with outlandish Doubters; Red Coats and Black Coats walked the town by clusters, and filled the houses with hideous noises, lying stories, and blasphemous language against Shaddai and his Son."
This is evidently meant for fashionable London in the time of Charles II. Bunyan was loyal to the King. He was no believer in moral regeneration through political revolution. But none the less he could see what was under his eyes, and he knew what to think of it.
All was not lost, for the castle still held out. The only hope was in Emmanuel, and the garrison proposed to petition again in spite of the ill-reception of their first messengers. Godly Fear reminded them that no petition would be received which was not signed by the Lord Secretary, and that the Lord Secretary would sign nothing which he had not himself drawn up. The Lord Secretary, when appealed to in the proper manner, no longer refused his assistance. Captain Credence flew up to Shaddai's court with the simple words that Mansoul renounced all trust in its own strength and relied upon its Saviour. This time its prayer would be heard.
The devils, meanwhile, triumphant though they were, discovered that they could have no permanent victory unless they could reduce the castle. "Doubters at a distance," Beelzebub said, "are but like objections repelled by arguments. Can we but get them into the hold, and make them possessors of that, the day will be our own." The object was, therefore, to corrupt Mansoul at the heart.
Then follows a very curious passage. Bunyan had still his eye on England, and had discerned the quarter from which her real danger would approach. Mansoul, the devil perceived, "was a market-town, much given to commerce." "It would be possible to dispose of some of the devil's wares there." The people would be filled full, and made rich, and would forget Emmanuel. "Mansoul," they said, "shall be so cumbered with abundance that they shall be forced to make their castle a warehouse." Wealth once made the first object of existence, "Diabolus's gang will have easy entrance, and the castle will be our own."
Political economy was still sleeping in the womb of futurity. Diabolus was unable to hasten its birth, and an experiment which Bunyan thought would certainly have succeeded was not to be tried. The Deus ex Machinā appeared with its flaming sword. The Doubting army was cut to pieces, and Mansoul was saved. Again, however, the work was imperfectly done. Diabolus, like the bad genius in the fairy tale, survived for fresh mischief. Diabolus flew off again to Hell Gate, and was soon at the head of a new host; part composed of fugitive Doubters whom lie rallied, and part of a new set of enemies called Blood-men, by whom we are to understand persecutors, "a people from a land that lay under the Dog Star." "Captain Pope" was chief of the Bloodmen. His escutcheon "was the stake, the flame, and good men in it." The Bloodmen had done Diabolus wonderful service in time past. "Once they had forced Emmanuel out of the Kingdom of the Universe, and why, thought he, might they not do it again?"
Emmanuel did not this time go in person to the encounter. It was enough to send his captains. The Doubters fled at the first onset. "The Bloodmen, when they saw that no Emmanuel was in the field, concluded that no Emmanuel was in Mansoul. Wherefore, they, looking upon what the captains did to be, as they called it, a fruit of the extravagancy of their wild and foolish fancies, rather despised them than feared them." "They proved, nevertheless, chicken-hearted, when they saw themselves matched and equalled." The chiefs were taken prisoners, and brought to trial like Atheism and his companions, and so, with an address from the Prince, the story comes to a close.
Thus at last The Holy War ends, or seems to end. It is as if Bunyan had wished to show that though the converted Christian was still liable to the assaults of Satan, and even to be beaten down and overcome by him, his state was never afterwards so desperate as it had been before the redemption, and that he had assistance ready at hand to save him when near extremity. But the reader whose desire it is that good shall triumph, and evil be put to shame and overthrown, remains but partially satisfied; and the last conflict and its issues leave Mansoul still subject to fresh attacks. Diabolus was still at large. Carnal Sense broke prison, and continued to lurk in the town. Unbelief "was a nimble Jack: him they could never lay hold of, though they attempted to do it often." Unbelief remained in Mansoul till the time that Mansoul ceased to dwell in the country of the Universe; and where Unbelief was, Diabolus would not be without a friend to open the gates to him. Bunyan says, indeed, that "he was stoned as often as he showed himself in the streets." He shows himself in the streets much at his ease in these days of ours after two more centuries.
Here lies the real weakness of The Holy War. It may be looked at either as the war in the soul of each sinner that is saved, or as the war for the deliverance of humanity. Under the first aspect it leaves out of sight the large majority of mankind who are not supposed to be saved, and out of whom, therefore, Diabolus is not driven at all. Under the other aspect the struggle is still unfinished; the last act of the drama has still to be played, and we know not what the conclusion is to be.
To attempt to represent it, therefore, as a work of art, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, is necessarily a failure. The mysteries and contradictions which the Christian revelation leaves unsolved are made tolerable to us by Hope. We are prepared to find in religion many things which we cannot understand; and difficulties do not perplex us so long as they remain in a form to which we are accustomed. To emphasise the problem by offering it to us in an allegory, of which we are presumed to possess a key, serves only to revive Man Friday's question, or the old dilemma which neither intellect nor imagination has ever dealt with successfully. "Deus aut non vult tollere mala, aut nequit. Si non vult non est bonus. Si nequit non est omnipotens." It is wiser to confess with Butler that "there may be necessities in the nature of things which we are not acquainted with."
 Bunyan says, in a marginal note, that by this palace he means the heart.
 The body.
 The heart.
 The Scriptures.
 The heart.
 The Flesh.
Next: Chapter IX. The Pilgrim's Progress