Meditation for January 7, 2018.

‘Now, captains, from whencesoever you come, and though your designs be ever so right, yet know ye that neither my lord Diabolus, nor I, his servant, Incredulity, nor yet our brave Mansoul, doth regard either your persons, message, or the King that you say hath sent you. His power, his greatness, his vengeance, we fear not; nor will we yield at all to your summons.

‘As for the war that you threaten to make upon us, we must therein defend ourselves as well as we can; and know ye, that we are not without wherewithal to bid defiance to you; and, in short (for I will not be tedious), I tell you, that we take you to be some vagabond runagate crew, that having shaken off all obedience to your King, have gotten together in tumultuous manner, and are ranging from place to place to see if, through the flatteries you are skilled to make on the one side, and threats wherewith you think to fright on the other, to make some silly town, city, or country, desert their place, and leave it to you; but Mansoul is none of them.

‘To conclude: we dread you not, we fear you not, nor will we obey your summons. Our gates we keep shut upon you, our place we will keep you out of. Nor will we long thus suffer you to sit down before us: our people must live in quiet: your appearance doth disturb them. Wherefore arise with bag and baggage, and begone, or we will let fly from the walls against you.’

This oration, made by old Incredulity, was seconded by desperate Willbewill, in words to this effect: ‘Gentlemen, we have heard your demands, and the noise of your threats, and have heard the sound of your summons; but we fear not your force, we regard not your threats, but will still abide as you found us. And we command you, that in three days time you cease to appear in these parts, or you shall know what it is once to dare offer to rouse the lion Diabolus when asleep in his town of Mansoul.’

The Recorder, whose name was Forget-Good, he also added as followeth: ‘Gentlemen, my lords, as you see, have with mild and gentle words answered your rough and angry speeches: they have, moreover, in my hearing, given you leave quietly to depart as you came: wherefore, take their kindness and be gone. We might have come out with force upon you, and have caused you to feel the dint of our swords; but as we love ease and quiet ourselves, so we love not to hurt or molest others.’

Then did the town of Mansoul shout for joy, as if by Diabolus and his crew some great advantage had been gotten of the captains. They also rang the bells, and made merry, and danced upon the walls.

Diabolus also returned to the castle, and the Lord Mayor and Recorder to their place; but the Lord Willbewill took special care that the gates should be secured with double guards, double bolts, and double locks and bars; and that Ear-gate especially might the better be looked to, for that was the gate in at which the King’s forces sought most to enter. The Lord Willbewill made one old Mr. Prejudice, an angry and ill-conditioned fellow, captain of the ward at that gate, and put under his power sixty men, called deaf men; men advantageous for that service, forasmuch as they mattered no words of the captains, nor of the soldiers.

From The Holy War by John Bunyan

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