Now, Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction were, both of them, men of very great majesty; their faces were like the faces of lions, and their words like the roaring of the sea; and they still quartered in Mr. Conscience’s house, of whom mention was made before.
When, therefore, the high and mighty Prince had thus far finished his triumph over Diabolus, the townsmen had more leisure to view and to behold the actions of these noble captains.
But the captains carried it with that terror and dread in all that they did (and you may be sure that they had private instructions so to do), that they kept the town under continual heart-aching, and caused (in their apprehension) the well-being of Mansoul for the future to hang in doubt before them, so that for some considerable time they neither knew what rest, or ease, or peace, or hope, meant.
Nor did the Prince himself as yet abide in the town of Mansoul, but in his royal pavilion in the camp, and in the midst of his Father’s forces. So, at a time convenient, he sent special orders to Captain Boanerges to summons Mansoul, the whole of the townsmen into the castle-yard, and then and there, before their faces, to take my Lord Understanding, Mr.
Conscience, and that notable one, the Lord Willbewill, and put them all three in ward and that they. should set a strong guard upon them there, until his pleasure concerning them was further known: the which orders, when the captains had put them in execution, made no small addition to the fears of the town of Mansoul; for now, to their thinking, were their former fears of the ruin of Mansoul confirmed. Now, what death they should die, and how long they should be in dying, was that which most perplexed their heads and hearts; yea, they were afraid that Emmanuel would command them all into the deep, the place that the Prince Diabolus was afraid of, for they knew that they had deserved it. Also to die by the sword in the face of the town, and in the open way of disgrace, from the hand of so good and so holy a Prince, that, too, troubled them sore. The town was also greatly troubled for the men that were committed to ward, for that they were their stay and their guide, and for that they believed that, if those men were cut off, their execution would be but the beginning of the ruin of the town of Mansoul. Wherefore, what do they, but, together with the men in prison, draw up a petition to the Prince, and sent it to Emmanuel by the hand of Mr.
Would-Live. So he went, and came to the Prince’s quarters, and presented the petition, the sum of which was this:— ‘Great and wonderful Potentate, victor over Diabolus, and conqueror of the town of Mansoul, we, the miserable inhabitants of that most woful corporation, do humbly beg that we may find favour in thy sight, and remember not against us former transgressions, nor yet the sins of the chief of our town; but spare us according to the greatness of thy mercy, and let us not die, but live in thy sight. So shall we be willing to be thy servants, and, if thou shalt think fit, to gather our meat under thy table. Amen.’
So the petitioner went, as was said, with his petition to the Prince; and the Prince took it at his hand, but sent him away with silence. This still afflicted the town of Mansoul; but yet, considering that now they must either petition or die, for now they could not do anything else, therefore they consulted again, and sent another petition; and this petition was much after the form and method of the former.
But when the petition was drawn up, By whom should they send it? was the next question; for they would not send this by him by whom they sent the first, for they thought that the Prince had taken some offence at the manner of his deportment before him: so they attempted to make Captain Conviction their messenger with it; but he said that he neither durst nor would petition Emmanuel for traitors, nor be to the Prince an advocate for rebels. ‘Yet withal,’ said he, ‘our Prince is good, and you may adventure to send it by the hand of one of your town, provided he went with a rope about his head, and pleaded nothing but mercy.’
Well, they made, through fear, their delays as long as they could, and longer than delays were good; but fearing at last the dangerousness of them, they thought, but with many a fainting in their minds, to send their petition by Mr. Desires-Awake; so they sent for Mr.
Desires-Awake. Now he dwelt in a very mean cottage in Mansoul, and he came at his neighbours’request. So they told him what they had done, and what they would do, concerning petitioning, and that they did desire of him that he would go therewith to the Prince.
Then said Mr. Desires-Awake, ‘Why should not I do the best I can to save so famous a town as Mansoul from deserved destruction?’ They therefore delivered the petition to him, and told him how he must address himself to the Prince, and wished him ten thousand good speeds. So he comes to the Prince’s pavilion, as the first, and asked to speak with his Majesty.
So word was carried to Emmanuel, and the Prince came out to the man. When Mr. Desires-Awake saw the Prince, he fell flat with his face to the ground, and cried out, ‘Oh that Mansoul might live before thee!’ and with that he presented the petition; the which when the Prince had read, he turned away for a while and wept; but refraining himself, he turned again to the man, who all this while lay crying at his feet, as at the first, and said to him, ‘Go thy way to thy place, and I will consider of thy requests.’
Now, you may think that they of Mansoul that had sent him, what with guilt, and what with fear lest their petition should be rejected, could not but look with many a long look, and that, too, with strange workings of heart, to see what would become of their petition.
At last they saw their messenger coming back. So, when he was come, they asked him how he fared, what Emmanuel said, and what was become of the petition. But he told them that he would be silent till he came to the prison to my Lord Mayor, my Lord Willbewill, and Mr. Recorder. So he went forwards towards the prison-house, where the men of Mansoul lay bound. But, oh! what a multitude flocked after, to hear what the messenger said. So, when he was come, and had shown himself at the gate of the prison, my Lord Mayor himself looked as white as a clout; the Recorder also did quake. But they asked and said, ‘Come, good sir, what did the great Prince say to you?’ Then said Mr. Desires-Awake, ‘When I came to my Lord’s pavilion, I called, and he came forth. So I fell prostrate at his feet, and delivered to him my petition; for the greatness of his person, and the glory of his countenance, would not suffer me to stand upon my legs. Now, as he received the petition, I cried, “Oh that Mansoul might live before thee!” So, when for a while he had looked thereon, he turned him about, and said to his servant, “Go thy way to thy place again, and I will consider of thy requests.”’ The messenger added, moreover, and said, ‘The Prince to whom you sent me is such a one for beauty and glory, that whoso sees him must both love and fear him. I, for my part, can do no less; but I know not what will be the end of these things.’
At this answer they were all at a stand, both they in prison, and they that followed the messenger thither to hear the news; nor knew they what, or what manner of interpretation to put upon what the Prince had said. Now, when the prison was cleared of the throng, the prisoners among themselves began to comment upon Emmanuel’s words. My Lord Mayor said that the answer did not look with a rugged face; but Willbewill said that it betokened evil; and the Recorder, that it was a messenger of death. Now, they that were left, and that stood behind, and so could not so well hear what the prisoners said, some of them catched hold of one piece of a sentence, and some on a bit of another; some took hold of what the messenger said, and some of the prisoners’judgment thereon; so none had the right understanding of things. But you cannot imagine what work these people made, and what a confusion there was in Mansoul now.
For presently they that had heard what was said, flew about the town, one crying one thing, and another the quite contrary; and both were sure enough they told true; for they did hear, they said, with their ears what was said, and therefore could not be deceived. One would say, ‘We must all be killed;’ another would say, ‘We must all be saved;’ and a third would say that the Prince would not be concerned with Mansoul; and a fourth, that the prisoners must be suddenly put to death. And, as I said, every one stood to it that he told his tale the rightest, and that all others but he were out. Wherefore Mansoul had now molestation upon molestation, nor could any man know on what to rest the sole of his foot; for one would go by now, and as he went, if he heard his neighbour tell his tale, to be sure he would tell the quite contrary, and both would stand in it that he told the truth. Nay, some of them had got this story by the end, that the Prince did intend to put Mansoul to the sword.
And now it began to be dark, wherefore poor Mansoul was in sad perplexity all that night until the morning.
But, so far as I could gather by the best information that I could get, all this hubbub came through the words that the Recorder said when he told them that, in his judgment, the Prince’s answer was a messenger of death. It was this that fired the town, and that began the fright in Mansoul; for Mansoul in former times did use to count that Mr. Recorder was a seer, and that his sentence was equal to the best of orators; and thus was Mansoul a terror to itself.
And now did they begin to feel what were the effects of stubborn rebellion, and unlawful resistance against their Prince. I say, they now began to feel the effects thereof by guilt and fear, that now had swallowed them up; and who more involved in the one but they that were most in the other, to wit, the chief of the town of Mansoul?
To be brief: when the fame of the fright was out of the town, and the prisoners had a little recovered themselves, they take to themselves some heart, and think to petition the Prince for life again. So they did draw up a third petition, the contents whereof were these:— ‘Prince Emmanuel the Great, Lord of all worlds, and Master of mercy, we, thy poor, wretched, miserable, dying town of Mansoul, do confess unto thy great and glorious Majesty that we have sinned against thy Father and thee, and are no more worthy to be called thy Mansoul, but rather to be cast into the pit. If thou wilt slay us, we have deserved it. If thou wilt condemn us to the deep, we cannot but say thou art righteous. We cannot complain whatever thou dost, or however thou carriest it towards us. But, oh! let mercy reign, and let it be extended to us! Oh! let mercy take hold upon us, and free us from our transgressions, and we will sing of thy mercy and of thy judgment. Amen.’
This petition, when drawn up, was designed to be sent to the Prince as the first; but who should carry it?—that was the question. Some said, ‘Let him do it that went with the first;‘but others thought not good to do that, and that because he sped no better Now, there was an old man in the town, and his name was Mr. Good-Deed; a man that bare only the name, but had nothing of the nature of the thing. Now, some were for sending him; but the Recorder was by no means for that. ‘For,’ said he, ‘we now stand in need of, and are pleading for mercy: wherefore, to send our petition by a man of this name, will seem to cross the petition itself. Should we make Mr. Good-Deed our messenger, when our petition cries for mercy?
‘Besides,’ quoth the old gentleman, ‘should the Prince now, as he receives the petition, ask him, and say, “What is thy name?” as nobody knows but he will; and he should say, “Old Good-Deed,” what, think you, would Emmanuel say but this? “Ay! is old Good yet alive in Mansoul? then let old Good-Deed save you from your distresses.” And if he says so, I am sure we are lost; nor can a thousand of old Good-Deeds save Mansoul.’
After the Recorder had given in his reasons why old Good-Deed should not go with this petition to Emmanuel, the rest of the prisoners and chief of Mansoul opposed it also, and so old Good-Deed was laid aside, and they agreed to send Mr. Desires-Awake again.
So they sent for him, and desired him that he would a second time go with their petition to the Prince, and he readily told them he would. But they bid him that in anywise he should take heed that in no word or carriage he gave offence to the Prince; ‘for by doing so, for aught we can tell, you may bring Mansoul into utter destruction,’ said they.
Now Mr. Desires-Awake, when he saw that he must go on this errand, besought that they would grant that Mr. Wet-Eyes might go with him. Now this Mr. Wet-Eyes was a near neighbour of Mr. Desires, a poor man, a man of a broken spirit, yet one that could speak well to a petition; so they granted that he should go with him. Wherefore, they address themselves to their business: Mr. Desires put a rope upon his head, and Mr. Wet-Eyes went with his hands wringing together. Thus they went to the Prince’s pavilion.
Now, when they went to petition this third time, they were not without thoughts that, by often coming, they might be a burden to the Prince. Wherefore, when they were come to the door of his pavilion, they first made their apology for themselves, and for their coming to trouble Emmanuel so often; and they said that they came not hither to-day for that they delighted in being troublesome, or for that they delighted to hear themselves talk, but for that necessity caused them to come to his Majesty. They could, they said, have no rest day nor night because of their transgressions against Shaddai and against Emmanuel, his Son.
They also thought that some misbehaviour of Mr. Desires-Awake the last time might give distaste to his Highness, and so cause that he returned from so merciful a Prince empty, and without countenance. So, when they had made this apology, Mr. Desires-Awake cast himself prostrate upon the ground, as at the first, at the feet of the mighty Prince, saying, ‘Oh that Mansoul might live before thee!’ and so he delivered his petition. The Prince then, having read the petition, turned aside awhile as before, and coming again to the place where the petitioner lay on the ground, he demanded what his name was, and of what esteem in the account of Mansoul, for that he, above all the multitude in Mansoul, should be sent to him upon such an errand. Then said the man to the Prince, ‘O let not my Lord be angry; and why inquirest thou after the name of such a dead dog as I am? Pass by, I pray thee, and take not notice of who I am, because there is, as thou very well knowest, so great a disproportion between me and thee. Why the townsmen chose to send me on this errand to my Lord is best known to themselves, but it could not be for that they thought that I had favour with my Lord. For my part, I am out of charity with myself; who, then, should be in love with me? Yet live I would, and so would I that my townsmen should; and because both they and myself are guilty of great transgressions, therefore they have sent me, and I am come in their names to beg of my Lord for mercy. Let it please thee, therefore, to incline to mercy; but ask not what thy servants are.’
Then said the Prince, ‘And what is he that is become thy companion in this so weighty a matter?’ So Mr. Desires told Emmanuel that he was a poor neighbour of his, and one of his most intimate associates. ‘And his name,’ said he, ‘may it please your most excellent Majesty, is Wet-Eyes, of the town of Mansoul. I know that there are many of that name that are naught; but I hope it will be no offence to my Lord that I have brought my poor neighbour with me.
Then Mr. Wet-Eyes fell on his face to the ground, and made this apology for his coming with his neighbour to his Lord:— ‘O, my Lord,’ quoth he, ‘what I am I know not myself, nor whether my name be feigned or true, especially when I begin to think what some have said, namely, That this name was given me because Mr. Repentance was my father. Good men have bad children, and the sincere do oftentimes beget hypocrites. My mother also called me by this name from the cradle; but whether because of the moistness of my brain, or because of the softness of my heart, I cannot tell. I see dirt in mine own tears, and filthiness in the bottom of my prayers.
But I pray thee’ (and all this while the gentleman wept) ‘that thou wouldest not remember against us our transgressions, nor take offence at the unqualifiedness of thy servants, but mercifully pass by the sin of Mansoul, and refrain from the glorifying of thy grace no longer.’
So at his bidding they arose, and both stood trembling before him, and he spake to them to this purpose:— ‘The town of Mansoul hath grievously rebelled against my Father, in that they have rejected him from being their King, and did choose to themselves for their captain a liar, a murderer, and a runagate slave. For this Diabolus, your pretended prince, though once so highly accounted of by you, made rebellion against my Father and me, even in our palace and highest court there, thinking to become a prince and king. But being there timely discovered and apprehended, and for his wickedness bound in chains, and separated to the pit with those that were his companions, he offered himself to you, and you have received him.
‘Now this is, and for a long time hath been, a high affront to my Father; wherefore my Father sent to you a powerful army to reduce you to your obedience. But you know how these men, their captains and their counsels, were esteemed of you, and what they received at your hand. You rebelled against them, you shut your gates upon them, you bid them battle, you fought them, and fought for Diabolus against them. So they sent to my Father for more power, and I, with my men, are come to subdue you. But as you treated the servants, so you treated their Lord. You stood up in hostile manner against me, you shut up your gates against me, you turned the deaf ear to me, and resisted as long as you could; but now I have made a conquest of you. Did you cry me mercy so long as you had hopes that you might prevail against me? But now I have taken the town, you cry; but why did you not cry before, when the white flag of my mercy, the red flag of justice, and the black flag that threatened execution, were set up to cite you to it? Now I have conquered your Diabolus, you come to me for favour; but why did you not help me against the mighty? Yet I will consider your petition, and will answer it so as will be for my glory.
‘Go, bid Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction bring the prisoners out to me into the camp to-morrow, and say you to Captain Judgment and Captain Execution, “Stay you in the castle, and take good heed to yourselves that you keep all quiet in Mansoul until you shall hear further from me.”’ And with that he turned himself from them, and went into his royal pavilion again.
So the petitioners, having received this answer from the Prince, returned, as at the first, to go to their companions again. But they had not gone far, but thoughts began to work in their minds that no mercy as yet was intended by the Prince to Mansoul. So they went to the place where the prisoners lay bound; but these workings of mind about what would become of Mansoul had such strong power over them, that by that they were come unto them that sent them, they were scarce able to deliver their message.
But they came at length to the gates of the town (now the townsmen with earnestness were waiting for their return), where many met them, to know what answer was made to the petition. Then they cried out to those that were sent, ‘What news from the Prince? and what hath Emmanuel said?’ But they said that they must, as afore, go up to the prison, and there deliver their message. So away they went to the prison, with a multitude at their heels.
Now, when they were come to the gates of the prison, they told the first part of Emmanuel s speech to the prisoners, to wit, how he reflected upon their disloyalty to his Father and himself, and how they had chosen and closed with Diabolus, had fought for him, hearkened to him, and been ruled by him; but had despised Him and his men. This made the prisoners look pale; but the messengers proceeded and said, ‘He, the Prince, said, moreover, that yet he would consider your petition, and give such answer thereto as would stand with his glory.’
And as these words were spoken, Mr. Wet-Eyes gave a great sigh. At this they were all of them struck into their dumps, and could not tell what to say: fear also possessed them in a marvellous manner, and death seemed to sit upon some of their eyebrows. Now, there was in the company a notable, sharp-witted fellow, a mean man of estate, and his name was old Inquisitive. This man asked the petitioners if they had told out every whit of what Emmanuel said, and they answered, ‘Verily, no.’ Then said Inquisitive, ‘I thought so, indeed. Pray, what was it more that he said unto you?’ Then they paused awhile; but at last they brought out all, saying, ‘The Prince bade us bid Captain Boanerges and Captain Conviction bring the prisoners down to him to-morrow; and that Captain Judgment and Captain Execution should take charge of the castle and town till they should hear further from him.’ They said also that when the Prince had commanded them thus to do, he immediately turned his back upon them, and went into his royal pavilion.
But, oh! how this return, and specially this last clause of it, that the prisoners must go out to the Prince into the camp, brake all their loins in pieces! Wherefore, with one voice they set up a cry that reached up to the heavens. This done, each of the three prepared himself to die (and the Recorder said unto them, ‘This was the thing that I feared’); for they concluded that to-morrow, by that the sun went down, they should be tumbled out of the world. The whole town also counted of no other, but that, in their time and order, they must all drink of the same cup. Wherefore the town of Mansoul spent that night in mourning, and sackcloth and ashes. The prisoners also, when the time was come for them to go down before the Prince, dressed themselves in mourning attire, with ropes upon their heads. The whole town of Mansoul also showed themselves upon the wall, all clad in mourning weeds, if, perhaps, the Prince with the sight thereof might be moved with compassion. But, oh! how the busy-bodies that were in the town of Mansoul did now concern themselves! They did run here and there through the streets of the town by companies, crying out as they ran in tumultuous wise, one after one manner, and another the quite contrary, to the almost utter distraction of Mansoul.
Well, the time is come that the prisoners must go down to the camp, and appear before the Prince. And thus was the manner of their going down: Captain Boanerges went with a guard before them, and Captain Conviction came behind, and the prisoners went down, bound in chains, in the midst. So, I say, the prisoners went in the midst, and the guard went with flying colours behind and before, but the prisoners went with drooping spirits.
Or, more particularly, thus:—The prisoners went down all in mourning; they put ropes upon themselves; they went on, smiting themselves on the breasts, but durst not lift up their eyes to heaven. Thus they went out at the gate of Mansoul, till they came into the midst of the Prince’s army, the sight and glory of which did greatly heighten their affliction. Nor could they now longer forbear, but cry out aloud, ‘O unhappy men! O wretched men of Mansoul!’ Their chains, still mixing their dolorous notes with the cries of the prisoners, made the noise more lamentable.
So, when they were come to the door of the Prince’s pavilion, they cast themselves prostrate upon the place; then one went in and told his Lord that the prisoners were come down. The Prince then ascended a throne of state, and sent for the prisoners in; who, when they came, did tremble before him, also they covered their faces with shame. Now, as they drew near to the place where he sat, they threw themselves down before him. Then said the Prince to the Captain Boanerges, ‘Bid the prisoners stand upon their feet.’ Then they stood trembling before him, and he said, ‘Are you the men that heretofore were the servants of Shaddai?’ And they said, ‘Yes, Lord, yes.’ Then said the Prince again, ‘Are you the men that did suffer yourselves to be corrupted and defiled by that abominable one, Diabolus?’ And they said, ‘We did more than suffer it, Lord; for we chose it of our own mind.’ The Prince asked further, saying, ‘Could you have been content that your slavery should have continued under his tyranny as long as you had lived?’ Then said the prisoners, ‘Yes, Lord, yes; for his ways were pleasing to our flesh, and we were grown aliens to a better state.’—‘And did you,’
said he, ‘when I came up against this town of Mansoul, heartily wish that I might not have the victory over you?’—‘Yes, Lord, yes,’ said they. Then said the Prince, ‘And what punishment is it, think you, that you deserve at my hand, for these and other your high and mighty sins?’ And they said, ‘Both death and the deep, Lord; for we have deserved no less.’ He asked again if they had aught to say for themselves why the sentence, that they confessed that they had deserved, should not be passed upon them? And they said, ‘We can say nothing, Lord: thou art just, for we have sinned.’ Then said the Prince, ‘And for what are those ropes on your heads?’ The prisoners answered, ‘These ropes are to bind us withal to the place of execution, if mercy be not pleasing in thy sight.’ So he further asked if all the men in the town of Mansoul were in this confession, as they? And they answered, ‘All the natives, Lord; but for the Diabolonians that came into our town when the tyrant got possession of us, we can say nothing for them.’
Then the Prince commanded that a herald should be called, and that he should, in the midst and throughout the camp of Emmanuel, proclaim, and that with sound of trumpet, that the Prince, the Son of Shaddai, had, in his Father’s name, and for his Father’s glory, gotten a perfect conquest and victory over Mansoul; and that the prisoners should follow him, and say Amen. So this was done as he had commanded. And presently the music that was in the upper region sounded melodiously, the captains that were in the camp shouted, and the soldiers did sing songs of triumph to the Prince; the colours waved in the wind, and great joy was everywhere, only it was wanting as yet in the hearts of the men of Mansoul.
Then the Prince called for the prisoners to come and to stand again before him, and they came and stood trembling. And he said unto them, ‘The sins, trespasses, iniquities, that you, with the whole town of Mansoul, have from time to time committed against my Father and me, I have power and commandment from my Father to forgive to the town of Mansoul, and do forgive you accordingly.’And having so said, he gave them, written in parchment, and sealed with seven seals, a large and general pardon, commanding my Lord Mayor, my Lord Willbewill, and Mr. Recorder, to proclaim and cause it to be proclaimed to-morrow, by that the sun is up, throughout the whole town of Mansoul.
Moreover, the Prince stripped the prisoners of their mourning weeds, and gave them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Then he gave to each of the three, jewels of gold and precious stones, and took away their ropes, and put chains of gold about their necks, and earrings in their ears. Now, the prisoners, when they did hear the gracious words of Prince Emmanuel, and had beheld all that was done unto them, fainted almost quite away; for the grace, the benefit, the pardon, was sudden, glorious, and so big, that they were not able, without staggering, to stand up under it. Yea, my Lord Willbewill swooned outright; but the Prince stepped to him, put his everlasting arms under him, embraced him, kissed him, and bid him be of good cheer, for all should be performed according to his word. He also did kiss, and embrace, and smile upon the other two that were Willbewill’s companions, saying, ‘Take these as further tokens of my love, favour, and compassion to you; and I charge you that you, Mr. Recorder, tell in the town of Mansoul what you have heard and seen.’
Then were their fetters broken to pieces before their faces, and cast into the air, and their steps were enlarged under them. Then they fell down at the feet of the Prince, and kissed his feet, and wetted them with tears: also they cried out with a mighty strong voice, saying, ‘Blessed be the glory of the Lord from this place.’ So they were bid rise up, and go to the town, and tell to Mansoul what the Prince had done. He commanded also that one with a pipe and tabor should go and play before them all the way into the town of Mansoul.
Then was fulfilled what they never looked for, and they were made to possess that which they never dreamed of.
The Prince also called for the noble Captain Credence, and commanded that he and some of his officers should march before the noble men of Mansoul with flying colours into the town. He gave also unto Captain Credence a charge, that about that time that the Recorder did read the general pardon in the town of Mansoul, that at that very time he should with flying colours march in at Eye-gate with his ten thousands at his feet; and that he should so go until he came by the high street of the town, up to the castle gates, and that himself should take possession thereof against his Lord came thither. He commanded, moreover, that he should bid Captain Judgment and Captain Execution to leave the stronghold to him, and to withdraw from Mansoul, and to return into the camp with speed unto the Prince.
And now was the town of Mansoul also delivered from the terror of the first four captains and their men.