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(for he spoke now,) that we should take the town: for that none can enter it without its own consent. * Let therefore but a few, or but one, assault Mansoul, and, in my opinion, said Diabolus, let me be he. Wherefore to this they all agreed: and then to the second proposal they came, namely,
II. Whether they had best to go and sit down before Mansoul, in their now ragged and beggarly guise?
To which it was answered also in the negative, By no means; and that because, though the town of Mansoul had been made to know, and to have to do with before now, things that are invisible; they never did as yet see any of their fellow creatures in so bad and rascally a condition as they: and this was the advice of the fierce Alecto.+
Then said Apollyon, The advice is pertinent; for even one of us appearing to them as we are now, must needs both beget and multiply such thoughts in them, as will both put them into a consternation of spirit, and necessitate them to put themselves upon their guard: and if so, said he, then, as Diabolus said but now, it is in vain for us to think of taking the town.
Then said the mighty giant Beelzebub, § The advice
* Satan was not able to gain any advantage over Adam, in paradise, without the concurrence of his judgment, and consent of his will? but these being overcome, by listening to the temptation, he became an easy prey to his subtle and powerful enemy. Even so it is now for Satan cannot compel men to sin, but only tempt them to it; for, as the apostle James remarks, ch. i 4. Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed;" the tempter works upon our corrupt nature, which is ever prone to, and susceptible of evil; for by reason of that depravity inherent in, and ever cleaving to us, even believers themselves are liable, were it not for the restraining power of divine grace, to yield to any temptation., † An heathen appellation for one of the furies of hell.
A name given to one of the devils; a destroyer.
Or Belzebub, the lord of flies; a supposed prince of devils, Bext in command to Satan.
that is already given is safe; for though the men of Mansoul have seen such things as we once were, yet hitherto they never did behold such things as we now are. And it is best, in my opinion, to come upon them in such a guise as is common to, and most familiar among them.* To this, when they had consented, the next thing to be considered was, in what shape, hue, or guise, Diabolus had best to shew himself, when he went about to make Mansoul his own. Then one said one thing, and another the contrary. At last Lucifer+ answered, That in his opinion, it was best that his lordship should assume the body of one of those creatures that they of the town had dominion over: for, quoth he, those are not only familiar to them, but, being under them, they will never imagine that any attempt should by them be made upon the town; and, to blind all, let him assume the body of one of those beasts that Mansoul deems to be wiser than any of the rest, Gen. iii. 1. Rev. xx. 1, 2. This advice was applauded of all; so it was determined that the giant Diabolus should assume the dragon; for he was, in those days, as fami
*Thus we see that unanimity prevailed among those infernal spirits, in conferring about the destruction of man; and, for that purpose, they agree to prefer the assumed form of one of the creatures, to such an appearance as might create a suspicion of their hellish intentions.— Would to God there were as firm concord and union amongst christians, to promote the glory of God, his interest, and their own happiness in the world! and this the rather, as the devils are as full of subtlety and malicious rage now, in their attempts to prevent the good of mankind, and destroy immortal souls, as they were upwards of 5000 years ago: it therefore behoves all who belong to Christ, to be sober and vigilant, as well as earnest at the throne of mercy, for grace, wisdom, and the whole armour of God, wherewith to oppose and frustrate all the mischievous attempts of this restless and irreconcileable foe to our peace and salvation: so that we may be enabled to withstand in the evil day: and having done all, to stand, Eph. vi. 13.
+ Literally, light-bearer; the morning-star: the name of one of the fallen angels.
liar with the town of Mansoul, as now is the bird with the boy; for nothing that was in it's primitive state was at all amazing to them. They then proceeded to the third thing, which was,
III. Whether they had best shew, their inclinations, or the design of their coming to Mansoul, or no?
This also was answered in the negative, because of the weight that was in their former reasons, to wit, for that Mansoul were a strong people, a strong people in a strong town, whose walls and gates were impregnable, (to say nothing of their castles,) nor can they by any means be won but by their own consent. Besides, said Legion,* (for he gave answer to this,) a discovery of our intentions may make them send to their King for aid; and if that be done, I know what time of the day it will be with us: therefore let us assault them in all pretended fairness, covering our intentions with all manner of lies, flatteries, delusive words: feigning things that will never be, and promising that to them which they shall never find: this is the way to win Mansoul, and to make them willingly open their gates to us yea, and desiré us also to come in to them.
* This term among the ancient Romans, signified a body of sol diers, consisting of about five thousand men. We find this name assumed in the New Testament, by the furious demoniac who issued from the tombs, of whom Jesus asked, saying, "What is thy name? And he said Legion, because many devils were entered into him."See Mark v. 9. and Luke viii. 30.
Thus with craft and dissimulation were the parents of mankind overcome, not suspecting the baneful views of the tempter: therefore Satan accosts them in such a guise as might best cover his design, induce them to turn away their eye from God, and consent to a parley with a too potent enemy. May this teach us, who are by nature infinitely weaker than they were, to look to the strong for strength, and apply incessantly to the God of all grace, by prayer; which as we shall find it a source of new strength, so it will be a certain fore, runner of victory: "Pray without ceasing," should be the christian's
And the reason why I think that this project will do, is, because the people of Mansoul are now every one simple and innocent? all honest and true: nor do they as yet know what it is to be assaulted with fraud, guile, and hypocrisy. They are strangers to lying and dissembling lips; wherefore we cannot, if thus we be disguised, by them at all be discerned; our lies shall go for true sayings, and our dissimulation for upright dealings.What we promise them, they will in that believe us; especially if in all our lies and feigned words we pretend great love to them, and that our design is only their advantage and honour. Now there was not one bit of a reply against this, for it went as current down as doth the water down a steep descent: wherefore they go to Consider of the last proposal, which was,.
IV. Whether they had hot best to give out orders to some of their company, to shoot some one or more of the principal of the townsmen; if they judge that their cause might be promoted thereby.
This was carried in the affirmative, and the man that was designed by this stratagem to be destroyed, was one Mr. Resistance, otherwise, called Captain Resistance, and a great man in Mansoul this captain Resistance was, and a man that the giant Diabolus, and his band, more feared,
*It is certainly much easier to nip a disorder in the bud, than to remove it when it has taken root in the constitution. Had Eve resisted with abhorrence the first suggestion of the tempter, she would undoubtedly have repulsed him, and retained her integrity, la, like manner we are exhorted to resist the devil, and he will fee from us, James iv. 7. Satan is a coward, when manfully resisted; but grows bolder, if given way to. A victory cannot be obtained, unless we are strong in the Lord, and go forth in the power of his might, Eph. vi. 10. In our own strength, which is perfect weakness, we shall be unequal to the combat: but in the strength of Christ, the captain of our salvation, we shall come off more than conquerors. The Lord give us watchful hearts, and an earnest looking for grace and strength in every time of need, that, being stedfast in the faith, we may be enabled to resist and escape the snares of the wicked one, 1 Pet. v. 9.
feared, than they feared the whole town of Mansoul besides. Now who should be the actor to do the murder; that was the next: and they appointed one Tisiphone,* a fury of the lake to do it.
They thus having ended the council of war, rose up, and essayed to do as they had determined: they marched towards Mansoul, but all in a manner invisible, save only one; nor did he approach the town in his own likeness, but under the shape, and in the body of the dragon.
So they drew up, and sat down before Ear-gate; for that was the place for hearing for all without the town, as Eye-gate was the place of perception. So, as I said, he came up with his train to the gate, and laid his ambuscade for captain Resistance, within bow-shot of the town. This done, the giant ascended up close to the gate, and called to the town of Mansoul for audience.. Nor took he any with him but one Ill-pause, who was his orator in all difficult matters. Now, as I said, he being come up to the gate, (as the manner of those times was,) sounded his trumpet for audience; at which the chief of the town of Mansoul, such as my lord Innocent, my lord Will-be-will, my lord mayor, Mr. Recorder, and captain Resistance, came down to the wall to see who was there, and what was the matter.And my lord Will-be-will, when he looked over, and saw who stood at the gate, demanded what he was, and wherefore
One of the heathen furies, whose head was said to be covered with snakes, instead of hair.
We have before observed, that while the will remained unshaken, the enemy could gain no advantage.
The conscience. It appears from many places in scripture, that there is in man a conscience: see Rom, ix. 1, &c. which is as a light or witness for God in the soul. St. Paul, speaking of the heathens, observes, that their conscience bears them witness, either by accusing, or else excusing them, Rom. ii. 15.