Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bunyan's "The Holy War": The Duties of Mansoul to Mr. Recorder and other "High and Noble Captains"

One more Holy War insight:  After the appointment of Mr. Conscience as preacher to Mansoul, Emmanuel lays out the duties of the people to their minister, as well as to other “high and noble captains” that might be sent from “the Father’s court” to Mansoul:

When the Prince had thus put Mr. Recorder (that once so was) into the place and office of a minister to Mansoul, and the man had thankfully accepted thereof, then did Emmanuel address himself in a particular speech to the townsmen themselves.

'Behold,' said the Prince to Mansoul, 'my love and care towards you; I have added to all that is past, this mercy, to appoint you preachers; the most noble Secretary to teach you in all high and sublime mysteries; and this gentleman,' pointing to Mr. Conscience, 'is to teach you in all things human and domestic, for therein lieth his work. He is not, by what I have said, debarred of telling to Mansoul anything that he hath heard and received at the mouth of the lord high Secretary; only he shall not attempt to presume to pretend to be a revealer of those high mysteries himself; for the breaking of them up, and the discovery of them to Mansoul lieth only in the power, authority, and skill of the lord high Secretary himself. Talk of them he may, and so may the rest of the town of Mansoul; yea, and may, as occasion gives them opportunity, press them upon each other for the benefit of the whole. These things, therefore, I would have you observe and do, for it is for your life, and the lengthening of your days.

'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 with them is worn out;) but for that you must wholly and solely have recourse to, and make stay upon his doctrine that is your Teacher after 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 point of doctrine, that is not communicated to him by his Superior Teacher, nor yet within the precincts of his own formal knowledge.'

Now, after the Prince had thus settled things in the famous town of Mansoul, he proceeded to give to the elders of the corporation a necessary caution, to wit, how they should carry it to the high and noble captains that he had, from his Father's court, sent or brought with him, to the famous town of Mansoul.

'These captains,' said he, 'do love the town of Mansoul, and they are picked men, picked out of abundance, as men that best suit, and that will most faithfully serve in the wars of Shaddai against the Diabolonians, for the preservation of the town of Mansoul. 'I charge you therefore,' said he, 'O ye inhabitants of the now flourishing town of Mansoul, that you carry it not ruggedly or untowardly to my captains, or their men; since, as I said, they are picked and choice men - men chosen out of many for the good of the town of Mansoul. I say, I charge you, that you carry it not untowardly to them: for though they have the hearts and faces of lions, when at any time they shall be called forth to engage and fight with the King's foes, and the enemies of the town of Mansoul; yet a little discountenance cast upon them from the town of Mansoul will deject and cast down their faces, will weaken and take away their courage. Do not, therefore, O my beloved, carry it unkindly to my valiant captains and courageous men of war, but love them, nourish them, succour them, and lay them in your bosoms; and they will not only fight for you, but cause to fly from you all those the Diabolonians that seek, and will, if possible, be, your utter destruction.

'If, therefore, any of them should at any time be sick or weak, and so not able to perform that office of love, which, with all their hearts, they are willing to do (and will do also when well and in health), slight them not, nor despise them, but rather strengthen them and encourage them, though weak and ready to die, for they are your fence, and your guard, your wall, your gates, your locks, and your bars. And although, when they are weak, they can do but little, but rather need to be helped by you, than that you should then expect great things from them, yet, when well, you know what exploits, what feats and warlike achievements they are able to do, and will perform for you.

'Besides, if they be weak, the town of Mansoul cannot be strong; if they be strong, then Mansoul cannot be weak; your safety, therefore, doth lie in their health, and in your countenancing them. Remember, also, that if they be sick, they catch that disease of the town of Mansoul itself.

'These things I have said unto you because I love your welfare and your honour: observe, therefore, O my Mansoul, to be punctual in all things that I have given in charge unto you, and that not only as a town corporate, and so to your officers and guard, and guides in chief, but to you as you are a people whose well-being, as single persons, depends on the observation of the orders and commandments of their Lord.


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