|Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916.|
Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
|Letters to and from Diabolus|
|By John Bunyan (16281688)|
From The Holy WarTO our great Lord, the Prince Diabolus, dwelling below in the Infernal Cave.
| Oh 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 nourishment 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.|| 2|
| 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 after him to return to them, yet can they not prevail, nor get good words from him.|| 3|
| 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 unto 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.|| 4|
| 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.|| 5|
LETTER II 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 doth 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 wicked conclusion this your brave beginning in order thereto.|| 7|
| 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.|| 8|
| 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 the town by the gunpowder of pride and self-conceit. Do you also, oh 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, Mansouls 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.|| 9|
| Given at the pits 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,|
LETTER III The Lords of Looseness send to the great and high Diabolus from our dens, caves, holes, and strongholds, in and about the walls of the town of Mansoul, greeting.
| Our great lord, and the nourisher of our lives, Diabolushow glad we were when we heard of your Fatherhoods 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.|| 12|
| 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 be but 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 more facile and easy to your lordships, and to us.|| 13|
| First, we considered of that most hellishly cunning compacted three-fold 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 Willbewills lacquey; but he has made his master very wanton. Anger changed his name to 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.|| 14|
| Now these have 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.|| 15|
| 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 subtle Dragons, and our highly esteemed lords, can find out a better way than this, let us quickly know your minds.|| 16|
| To the monsters of the infernal cave, from the house of Mr. Mischief in Mansoul, by the hand of Mr. Profane.|| 17|