Well, when the Sabbath-day was come, they went to hear their subordinate preacher; but oh, how he did thunder and lighten this day! His text was that in the prophet Jonah: ‘They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.’ But there was then such power and authority in that sermon, and such a dejection seen in the countenances of the people that day, that the like hath seldom been heard or seen. The people, when sermon was done, were scarce able to go to their homes, or to betake themselves to their employs the week after; they were so sermon-smitten, and also so sermon-sick by being smitten, that they knew not what to do.
He did not only show to Mansoul their sin, but did tremble before them, under the sense of his own, still crying out of himself, as he preached to them, ‘Unhappy man that I am! that I should do so wicked a thing! That I, a preacher! whom the Prince did set up to teach to Mansoul his law, should myself live senseless and sottishly here, and be one of the first found in transgression! This transgression also fell within my precincts; I should have cried out against the wickedness; but I let Mansoul lie wallowing in it, until it had driven Emmanuel from its borders!’ With these things he also charged all the lords and gentry of Mansoul, to the almost distracting of them.
About this time also, there was a great sickness in the town of Mansoul, and most of the inhabitants were greatly afflicted. Yea, the captains also, and men of war were brought thereby to a languishing condition, and that for a long time together; so that in case of an invasion, nothing could to purpose now have been done, either by the townsmen or field officers. Oh, how many pale faces, weak hands, feeble knees, and staggering men were now seen to walk the streets of Mansoul! Here were groans, there pants, and yonder lay those that were ready to faint.
The garments, too, which Emmanuel had given them were but in a sorry case; some were rent, some were torn, and all in a nasty condition; some also did hang so loosely upon them, that the next bush they came at was ready to pluck them off.
After some time spent in this sad and desolate condition, the subordinate preacher called for a day of fasting, and to humble themselves for being so wicked against the great Shaddai, and his Son. And he desired that Captain Boanerges would preach. So he consented to do it; and the day being come, and his text was this, ‘Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?’ And a very smart sermon he made upon the place. First, he showed what was the occasion of the words, namely, because the fig-tree was barren; then he showed what was contained in the sentence, namely, repentance, or utter desolation. He then showed also, by whose authority this sentence was pronounced, and that was by Shaddai himself. And, lastly, he showed the reasons of the point, and then concluded his sermon. But he was very pertinent in the application, insomuch that he made poor Mansoul tremble. For this sermon, as well as the former, wrought much upon the hearts of the men of Mansoul; yea, it greatly helped to keep awake those that were roused by the preaching that went before. So that now throughout the whole town, there was little or nothing to be heard or seen but sorrow, and mourning, and woe.
Now, after sermon, they got together and consulted what was best to be done. ‘But,’ said the subordinate preacher, ‘I will do nothing of mine own head, without advising with my neighbour, Mr. Godly-Fear. For if he had aforehand understood more of the mind of our Prince than we, I do not know but he also may have it now, even now we are turning again to virtue.’
So they called and sent for Mr. Godly-Fear, and he forthwith appeared. Then they desired that he would further show his opinion about what they had best to do. Then said the old gentleman as followeth: ‘It is my opinion that this town of Mansoul should, in this day of her distress, draw up and send an humble petition to their offended Prince Emmanuel, that he, in his favour and grace, will turn again unto you, and not keep anger for ever.’
When the townsmen had heard this speech, they did, with one consent, agree to his advice; so they did presently draw up their request, and the next was, But who shall carry it? At last they did all agree to send it by my Lord Mayor. So he accepted of the service, and addressed himself to his journey; and went and came to the court of Shaddai, whither Emmanuel the Prince of Mansoul was gone. But the gate was shut, and a strict watch kept thereat; so that the petitioner was forced to stand without for a great while together. Then he desired that some would go in to the Prince and tell him who stood at the gate, and what his business was. So one went and told to Shaddai, and to Emmanuel his Son, that the Lord Mayor of the town of Mansoul stood without at the gate of the King’s court, desiring to be admitted into the presence of the Prince, the King’s Son. He also told what was the Lord Mayor’s errand, both to the King and his Son Emmanuel. But the Prince would not come down, nor admit that the gate should be opened to him, but sent him an answer to this effect: ‘They have turned their back unto me, and not their face; but now in the time of their trouble they say to me, Arise, and save us. But can they not now go to Mr. Carnal-Security, to whom they went when they turned from me, and make him their leader, their lord, and their protection now in their trouble; why now in their trouble do they visit me, since in their prosperity they went astray?’
The answer made my Lord Mayor look black in the face; it troubled, it perplexed, it rent him sore. And now he began again to see what it was to be familiar with Diabolonians, such as Mr. Carnal-Security was. When he saw that at court, as yet, there was little help to be expected, either for himself or friends in Mansoul, he smote upon his breast, and returned weeping, and all the way bewailing the lamentable state of Mansoul.
Well, when he was come within sight of the town, the elders and chief of the people of Mansoul went out at the gate to meet him, and to salute him, and to know how he sped at court. But he told them his tale in so doleful a manner, that they all cried out, and mourned, and wept. Wherefore they threw ashes and dust upon their heads, and put sackcloth upon their loins, and went crying out through the town of Mansoul; the which, when the rest of the townsfolk saw, they all mourned and wept. This, therefore, was a day of rebuke and trouble, and of anguish to the town of Mansoul, and also of great distress.
After some time, when they had somewhat refrained themselves, they came together to consult again what by them was yet to be done; and they asked advice, as they did before, of that reverend Mr. Godly-Fear, who told them that there was no way better than to do as they had done, nor would he that they should be discouraged at all with that they had met with at court; yea, though several of their petitions should be answered with nought but silence or rebuke: ‘For,’ said he, ‘it is the way of the wise Shaddai to make men wait and to exercise patience, and it should be the way of them in want to be willing to stay his leisure.’
Then they took courage, and sent again, and again, and again, and again; for there was not now one day nor an hour that went over Mansoul’s head, wherein a man might not have met upon the road one or other riding post, sounding the horn from Mansoul to the court of the King Shaddai; and all with letters petitionary in behalf of and for the Prince’s return to Mansoul. The road, I say, was now full of messengers, going and returning, and meeting one another; some from the court, and some from Mansoul; and this was the work of the miserable town of Mansoul, all that long, that sharp, that cold and tedious winter.
Now, if you have not forgot, you may yet remember that I told you before, that after Emmanuel had taken Mansoul, yea, and after that he had new-modelled the town, there remained in several lurking places of the corporation many of the old Diabolonians, that either came with the tyrant when he invaded and took the town, or that had there, by reason of unlawful mixtures, their birth, and breeding, and bringing up. And their holes, dens, and lurking places were in, under, or about the wall of the town. Some of their names are the Lord Fornication, the Lord Adultery, the Lord Murder, the Lord Anger, the Lord Lasciviousness, the Lord Deceit, the Lord Evil-Eye, the Lord Blasphemy, and that horrible villain, the old and dangerous Lord Covetousness. These, as I told you, with many more, had yet their abode in the town of Mansoul, and that after that Emmanuel had driven their prince Diabolus out of the castle.
Against these the good Prince did grant a commission to the Lord Willbewill and others, yea, to the whole town of Mansoul, to seek, take, secure, and destroy any or all that they could lay hands on, for that they were Diabolonians by nature, enemies to the Prince, and those that sought to ruin the blessed town of Mansoul. But the town of Mansoul did not pursue this warrant, but neglected to look after, to apprehend, to secure, and to destroy these Diabolonians. Wherefore what do these villains but by degrees take courage to put forth their heads, and to show themselves to the inhabitants of the town. Yea, and as I was told, some of the men of Mansoul grew too familiar with some of them, to the sorrow of the corporation, as you yet will hear more of in time and place.
Well, when the Diabolonian lords that were left perceived that Mansoul had, through sinning, offended Emmanuel their Prince, and that he had withdrawn himself and was gone, what do they but plot the ruin of the town of Mansoul. So upon a time they met together at the hold of one Mr. Mischief, who was also a Diabolonian, and there consulted how they might deliver up Mansoul into the hands of Diabolus again. Now some advised one way, and some another, every man according to his own liking. At last my Lord Lasciviousness propounded, whether it might not be best, in the first place, for some of those that were Diabolonians in Mansoul to adventure to offer themselves for servants to some of the natives of the town; ‘for,’ said he, ‘if they so do, and Mansoul shall accept of them, they may for us, and for Diabolus our lord, make the taking of the town of Mansoul more easy than otherwise it will be.’ But then stood up the Lord Murder, and said, ‘This may not be done at this time; for Mansoul is now in a kind of a rage, because by our friend, Mr. Carnal-Security, she hath been once ensnared already, and made to offend against her Prince; and how shall she reconcile herself unto her lord again, but by the heads of these men? Besides, we know that they have in commission to take and slay us wherever they shall find us; let us therefore be wise as foxes: when we are dead, we can do them no hurt; but while we live, we may.’ Thus, when they had tossed the matter to and fro, they jointly agreed that a letter should forthwith be sent away to Diabolus in their name, by which the state of the town of Mansoul should be showed him, and how much it is under the frowns of their Prince. ‘We may also,’ said some, ‘let him know our intentions, and ask of him his advice in the case.’
So a letter was presently framed, the contents of which were these:— ‘To our great lord, the prince Diabolus, dwelling below in the infernal cave.
‘O great father and mighty prince Diabolus, we, the true Diabolonians yet remaining in the rebellious town of Mansoul, having received our beings from thee, and our nourish-ment at thy hands, cannot with content and quiet endure to behold, as we do this day, how thou art dispraised, disgraced, and reproached among the inhabitants of this town; nor is thy long absence at all delightful to us, because greatly to our detriment.
‘The reason of this our writing unto our lord, is for that we are not altogether without hope that this town may become thy habitation again; for it is greatly declined from its Prince Emmanuel; and he is uprisen, and is departed from them: yea, and though they send, and send, and send, and send after him to return to them, yet can they not prevail, nor get good words from him.
‘There has been also of late, and is yet remaining, a very great sickness and fainting among them; and that not only upon the poorer sort of the town, but upon the lords, captains, and chief gentry of the place (we only who are of the Diabolonians by nature remain well, lively, and strong), so that through their great transgression on the one hand, and their dangerous sickness on the other, we judge they lie open to thy hand and power. If, therefore, it shall stand with thy horrible cunning, and with the cunning of the rest of the princes with thee, to come and make an attempt to take Mansoul again, send us word, and we shall to our utmost power be ready to deliver it into thy hand. Or if what we have said shall not by thy fatherhood be thought best and most meet to be done, send us thy mind in a few words, and we are all ready to follow thy counsel to the hazarding of our lives, and what else we have.
‘Given under our hands the day and date above-written, after a close consultation at the house of Mr. Mischief, who yet is alive, and hath his place in our desirable town of Mansoul.’
When Mr. Profane (for he was the carrier) was come with his letter to Hell-Gate Hill, he knocked at the brazen gates for entrance. Then did Cerberus, the porter, for he is the keeper of that gate, open to Mr. Profane, to whom he delivered his letter, which he had brought from the Diabolonians in Mansoul. So he carried it in, and presented it to Diabolus his lord, and said, ‘Tidings, my lord, from Mansoul, from our trusty friends in Mansoul.’
Then came together from all places of the den, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Apollyon, with the rest of the rabblement there, to hear what news from Mansoul. So the letter was broken up and read, and Cerberus he stood by. When the letter was openly read, and the contents thereof spread into all the corners of the den, command was given that, without let or stop, dead man’s bell should be rung for joy. So the bell was rung, and the princes rejoiced that Mansoul was likely to come to ruin. Now, the clapper of the bell went, ‘The town of Mansoul is coming to dwell with us: make room for the town of Mansoul.’ This bell therefore they did ring, because they did hope that they should have Mansoul again.
Now, when they had performed this their horrible ceremony, they got together again to consult what answer to send to their friends in Mansoul; and some advised one thing, and some another: but at length, because the business required haste, they left the whole business to the prince Diabolus, judging him the most proper lord of the place. So he drew up a letter as he thought fit, in answer to what Mr. Profane had brought, and sent it to the Diabolonians that did dwell in Mansoul, by the same hand that had brought theirs to him; and these were the contents thereof:— ‘To our offspring, the high and mighty Diabolonians that yet dwell in the town of Mansoul, Diabolus, the great prince of Mansoul, wisheth a prosperous issue and conclusion of those many brave enterprises, conspiracies, and designs, that you, of your love and respect to our honour, have in your hearts to attempt to do against Mansoul.
‘Beloved children and disciples, my Lord Fornication, Adultery, and the rest, we have here, in our desolate den, received, to our highest joy and content, your welcome letter, by the hand of our trusty Mr. Profane; and to show how acceptable your tidings were, we rang out our bell for gladness; for we rejoiced as much as we could, when we perceived that yet we had friends in Mansoul, and such as sought our honour and revenge in the ruin of the town of Mansoul. We also rejoiced to hear that they are in a degenerated condition, and that they have offended their Prince, and that he is gone. Their sickness also pleaseth us, as does also your health, might, and strength. Glad also would we be, right horribly beloved, could we get this town into our clutches again. Nor will we be sparing of spending our wit, our cunning, our craft, and hellish inventions to bring to a wished conclusion this your brave beginning in order thereto.
‘And take this for your comfort (our birth, and our offspring), that shall we again surprise it and take it, we will attempt to put all your foes to the sword, and will make you the great lords and captains of the place. Nor need you fear, if ever we get it again, that we after that shall be cast out any more; for we will come with more strength, and so lay far more fast hold than at the first we did. Besides, it is the law of that Prince that now they own, that if we get them a second time, they shall be ours for ever.
‘Do you, therefore, our trusty Diabolonians, yet more pry into, and endeavour to spy out the weakness of the town of Mansoul. We also would that you yourselves do attempt to weaken them more and more. Send us word also by what means you think we had best to attempt the regaining thereof: namely, whether by persuasion to a vain and loose life; or, whether by tempting them to doubt and despair; or, whether by blowing up of the town by the gunpowder of pride and self-conceit. Do you also, O ye brave Diabolonians, and true sons of the pit, be always in a readiness to make a most hideous assault within, when we shall be ready to storm it without. Now speed you in your project, and we in our desires, to the utmost power of our gates, which is the wish of your great Diabolus, Mansoul’s enemy, and him that trembles when he thinks of judgment to come. All the blessings of the pit be upon you, and so we close up our letter.
‘Given at the pit’s mouth, by the joint consent of all the princes of darkness, to be sent, to the force and power that we have yet remaining in Mansoul, by the hand of Mr. Profane, by me, Diabolus.’
This letter, as was said, was sent to Mansoul, to the Diabolonians that yet remained there, and that yet inhabited the wall, from the dark dungeon of Diabolus, by the hand of Mr. Profane, by whom they also in Mansoul sent theirs to the pit. Now, when this Mr. Profane had made his return, and was come to Mansoul again, he went and came as he was wont to the house of Mr. Mischief, for there was the conclave, and the place where the contrivers were met. Now, when they saw that their messenger was returned safe and sound, they were greatly gladded thereat. Then he presented them with his letter which he had brought from Diabolus for them: the which, when they had read and considered, did much augment their gladness. They asked him after the welfare of their friends, as how their lord Diabolus, Lucifer, and Beelzebub did, with the rest of those of the den. To which this Profane made answer, ‘Well, well, my lords; they are well, even as well as can be in their place. They also,’ said he, ‘did ring for joy at the reading of your letter, as you well perceived by this when you read it.’
Now, as was said, when they had read their letter, and perceived that it encouraged them in their work, they fell to their way of contriving again, namely, how they might complete their Diabolonian design upon Mansoul. And the first thing that they agreed upon was to keep all things from Mansoul as close as they could. ‘Let it not be known, let not Mansoul be acquainted with what we design against it.’ The next thing was, how, or by what means, they should try to bring to pass the ruin and overthrow of Mansoul; and one said after this manner, and another said after that. Then stood up Mr. Deceit, and said, ‘My right Diabolonian friends, our lords, and the high ones of the deep dungeon, do propound unto us these three ways:
‘1. Whether we had best to seek its ruin by making Mansoul loose and vain.
‘2. Or whether by driving them to doubt and despair.
‘3. Or whether by endeavouring to blow them up by the gunpowder of pride and self-conceit.
‘Now I think, if we shall tempt them to pride, that may do something; and if we tempt them to wantonness, that may help. But, in my mind, if we could drive them into desperation, that would knock the nail on the head; for then we should have them, in the first place, question the truth of the love of the heart of their Prince towards them, and that will disgust him much. This, if it works well, will make them leave off quickly their way of sending petitions to him; then farewell earnest solicitations for help and supply; for then this conclusion lies naturally before them, “As good do nothing, as do to no purpose.”’ So to Mr. Deceit they unanimously did consent.
Then the next question was, But how shall we do to bring this our project to pass? and it was answered by the same gentleman-that this might be the best way to do it: ‘Even let,’
quoth he, ‘so many of our friends as are willing to venture themselves for the promoting of their prince’s cause, disguise themselves with apparel, change their names, and go into the market like far-country men, and proffer to let themselves for servants to the famous town of Mansoul, and let them pretend to do for their masters as beneficially as may be; for by so doing they may, if Mansoul shall hire them, in little time so corrupt and defile the corporation, that her now Prince shall be not only further offended with them, but in conclusion shall spue them out of his mouth. And when this is done, our prince Diabolus shall prey upon them with ease: yea, of themselves they shall fall into the mouth of the eater.’
This project was no sooner propounded, but was as highly accepted, and forward were all Diabolonians now to engage in so delicate an enterprise: but it was not thought fit that all should do thus; wherefore they pitched upon two or three, namely, the Lord Covetousness, the Lord Lasciviousness, and the Lord Anger. The Lord Covetousness called himself by the name of Prudent-Thrifty; the Lord Lasciviousness called himself by the name of Harmless-Mirth; and the Lord Anger called himself by the name of Good-Zeal.
So upon a market-day they came into the market-place, three lusty fellows they were to look on, and they were clothed in sheep’s russet, which was also now in a manner as white as were the white robes of the men of Mansoul. Now the men could speak the language of Mansoul well. So when they were come into the market-place, and had offered to let themselves to the townsmen, they were presently taken up; for they asked but little wages, and promised to do their masters great service.
Mr. Mind hired Prudent-Thrifty, and Mr. Godly-Fear hired Good-Zeal. True, this fellow Harmless-Mirth did hang a little in hand, and could not so soon get him a master as the others did, because the town of Mansoul was now in Lent; but after a while, because Lent was almost out, the Lord Willbewill hired Harmless-Mirth to be both his waiting man and his lacquey: and thus they got them masters.
These villains now being got thus far into the houses of the men of Mansoul, quickly began to do great mischief therein; for, being filthy, arch, and sly, they quickly corrupted the families where they were; yea, they tainted their masters much, especially this Prudent-Thrifty, and him they call Harmless-Mirth. True, he that went under the visor of Good-Zeal, was not so well liked of his master; for he quickly found that he was but a counterfeit rascal; the which when the fellow perceived, with speed he made his escape from the house, or I doubt not but his master had hanged him.
Well, when these vagabonds had thus far carried on their design, and had corrupted the town as much as they could, in the next place they considered with themselves at what time their prince Diabolus without, and themselves within the town, should make an attempt to seize upon Mansoul; and they all agreed upon this, that a market-day would be best for that work; for why? then will the townsfolk be busy in their ways: and always take this for a rule, When people are most busy in the world, they least fear a surprise. ‘We also then,’ said they, ‘shall be able with less suspicion to gather ourselves together for the work of our friends and lords; yea, and in such a day, if we shall attempt our work, and miss it, we may, when they shall give us the rout, the better hide ourselves in the crowd, and escape.
These things being thus far agreed upon by them, they wrote another letter to Diabolus, and sent it by the hand of Mr. Profane, the contents of which were these:— ‘The lords of Looseness send to the great and high Diabolus from our dens, caves, holes, and strongholds, in and about the wall of the town of Mansoul, greeting: ‘Our great lord, and the nourisher of our lives, Diabolus-how glad we were when we heard of your fatherhood’s readiness to comply with us, and help forward our design in our attempts to ruin Mansoul, none can tell but those who, as we do, set themselves against all appearance of good, when and wheresoever we find it.
‘Touching the encouragement that your greatness is pleased to give us to continue to devise, contrive, and study the utter desolation of Mansoul, that we are not solicitous about; for we know right well that it cannot but be pleasing and profitable to us to see our enemies, and them that seek our lives, die at our feet, or fly before us. We therefore are still contriving, and that to the best of our cunning, to make this work most facile and easy to your lordships, and to us.
‘First, we considered of that most hellishly cunning, compacted, threefold project, that by you was propounded to us in your last; and have concluded, that though to blow them up with the gunpowder of pride would do well, and to do it by tempting them to be loose and vain will help on, yet to contrive to bring them into the gulf of desperation, we think will do best of all. Now we, who are at your beck, have thought of two ways to do this: first we, for our parts, will make them as vile as we can, and then you with us, at a time appointed, shall be ready to fall upon them with the utmost force. And of all the nations that are at your whistle, we think that an army of Doubters may be the most likely to attack and overcome the town of Mansoul. Thus shall we overcome these enemies, else the pit shall open her mouth upon them, and desperation shall thrust them down into it. We have also, to effect this so much by us desired design, sent already three of our trusty Diabolonians among them; they are disguised in garb, they have changed their names, and are now accepted of them; namely, Covetousness, Lasciviousness, and Anger. The name of Covetousness is changed to Prudent-Thrifty, and him Mr. Mind has hired, and is almost become as bad as our friend. Lasciviousness has changed his name to Harmless-Mirth, and he is got to be the Lord Willbewill’s lacquey; but he has made his master very wanton. Anger changed his name into Good-Zeal, and was entertained by Mr. Godly-Fear; but the peevish old gentleman took pepper in the nose, and turned our companion out of his house. Nay, he has informed us since that he ran away from him, or else his old master had hanged him up for his labour.
‘Now these have much helped forward our work and design upon Mansoul; for notwithstanding the spite and quarrelsome temper of the old gentleman last mentioned, the other two ply their business well, and are likely to ripen the work apace.
‘Our next project is, that it be concluded that you come upon the town upon a market-day, and that when they are upon the heat of their business; for then, to be sure, they will be most secure, and least think that an assault will be made upon them. They will also at such a time be less able to defend themselves, and to offend you in the prosecution of our design. And we your trusty (and we are sure your beloved) ones shall, when you shall make your furious assault without, be ready to second the business within. So shall we, in all likelihood, be able to put Mansoul to utter confusion, and to swallow them up before they can come to themselves. If your serpentine heads, most subtile dragons, and our highly esteemed lords can find out a better way than this, let us quickly know your minds.
‘To the monsters of the infernal cave, from the house of Mr. Mischief in Mansoul, by the hand of Mr. Profane.’