Jesus was not yet come into the town. —John
There was this town of Mansoul. It was situated between the two worlds, between heaven and hell. Its founder and Builder was Shaddai. The name Shaddai means “to be strong and powerful.” and the Greek translation of the Hebrew name is “the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). Shaddai made Mansoul the crown of His universe, to have dominion over all. In the center of the town there was for glory, a palace: for strength, a castle: for beauty, a paradise, and so large as to have room for eternity (Eccl. 3:11, marg.). The city was so strong that the walls could never be broken down unless the citizens themselves gave consent. Nothing but sin, by an act of their own free will, could have hurt them. The poet expressed it:
Best are all things as the will
Of God ordained them; His creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that He created, much less, man,
Or ought that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the Will, for what obeys
Reason, is free, and Reason He made right,
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Lest by some fair appearing good surpris’d
She dictate false, and misinform the
Will To do what God expressly forbid.
Five gates were in the walls of this town. They were Ear-gate, Eye-gate, Mouth-gate, Nose-gate and Feel-gate. These gates could never be forced or opened except by the will of those within, and they were all good and true men. But there was a mighty black prince from another realm, who plotted to secure the downfall of Mansoul, and make all those in it his slaves. His name is Diabolos. Originally, it was not so; for to begin with, he had been a servant of King Shaddai, in the highest of His principalities and the best of His dominions. But once upon a time he went wrong. He got to raging in his heart for a higher state, to be as Shaddai, lord over all. King Shaddai had this lordship reserved for His Son. Prince Emmanuel, and had already bestowed it on Him. It was then the treasonous design of Diabolos to destroy the King’s Son and with his dark cohorts to take His inheritance for themselves.
Now, in Shaddai’s dominion there was no Eye-gate, since He and His Son were all and always eye, beholding in full vision every sector of His realm. Shaddai, catching Diabolos’s rebellion at its inception and initial execution, convicted the giant and his rabble of horrid conspiracy, cast them out of office and court, and condemned them to eternal judgment. How Diabolos and his rebel crew raged! Not only in pride, but also in malice, they continued a constant smoldering revolution against the King and His Prince. In their infernal minds, they deemed it better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven. So these hellish hordes poured up out of their holes and dens with a horrible roar of Luciferian madness as they sped in attack towards the Town of Mansoul. They had been there when Shaddai had built and beautified Mansoul for Himself. Of their number was one Alecto, of the three furies, who had instead of hair, a huge, tangled, gnarled and electrified spaghetti bowl of snakes. (These furies punished those who escaped public justice.) He proposed that they conceal themselves and their now monstrous guise behind their chief, who could appear as an angel of light. This way they would assault Mansoul with lies, flatteries, pretended things that would never be, and promises that could never be found. Mansoul would be allured to make themselves willing to open their gates and even desire them to come in.
It was also decided to shoot, outright, some chief ruler of the townsman. The man they had consigned to destruction was Capt. Resistance, the man in the town most feared by the giant Diabolos. The one appointed to do the murder was Tisiphone, a fury with a whip of scorpions. This brimstone band marched invisibly on Mansoul, all except one, who did so not in his own depraved and beggarly likeness, but under the shape and in the body of the most subtle of the beasts of the field, the harmless, innocent and beautiful serpent. Within shooting range of Mansoul’s Ear-gate, they emplaced their ambuscade, zeroing in on Capt. Resistance. The giant then approached the gate and called for a hearing. He took with him Di-pause, his clever orator in delicate matters. It was an Ill-pause which had tripped up Eve in the garden, David on his roof, Solomon at his shrines and Peter at the enemy’s fireplace.
At the giant’s trumpet blast, certain looked over the wall of Mansoul to see what was the matter. They were Lord Innocent, Lord Will-be-will, the Lord Mayor, Mr. Recorder (Conscience) and Capt. Resistance. It was Lord Will-be-will who demanded that the giant identify himself and state the purpose of his disturbance. Then Diabolos, delivering an oration in lamblike simplicity, purveyed his subtle lies with false reasoning and holding a false liberty, which, he said, was better than being shut up as they were in a dark and stinking cave. This is what Paradise is hinted to be in comparison to the golden world offered by the one in the serpent. Actually, a fool’s paradise was offered to Mansoul. At this point, while Diabolos was speaking, the assassin got the cross-hairs on Capt. Resistance, shot him through the head, and down dead he fell over the wall, to the amazement of all Mansoul. Then, with the only fighting man in the town dead, and there being no more courage to resist, the giant’s orator, Ill-pause, delivered a speech to those on the wall. He spoke of his master’s love for the town. He pointed to the forbidden tree and, making a low bow to his master, advised looking at it and its promising fruit, and partaking of it to attain divine wisdom.
At this point, Lord Innocency sank right down where he stood and died. How this happened is not exactly known. He may have been shot, as was Capt. Resistance, or perhaps some qualm suddenly shook him mortally to the roots of his being, or, even more likely, perhaps he was fatally asphyxiated by the rotten, stinking halitosis of the treacherous villain, Ill-pause. Now, with these two great men dead, the beauty and glory of Mansoul were destroyed. There was no more spirit in the whole town. They all fell down and surrendered to become slaves to the black prince. They ate of the tree, became immediately insanely drunk, forgot Shaddai and His law and opened the gates of Mansoul to every diabolonian there ever was. The same poet has Eve consider thus the Serpent’s lure:
Here grows the cure of all, this Fruit Divine,
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
Of virtue to make wise: what hinders then
To reach and feed at once both body and mind?
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit she plucked, did eat;
Earth fell the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe, That all was lost.
Diabolos and his minions hated Mansoul because they hate knowledge, righteousness and holiness. They are haters of God because they hate his image. Upright Mansoul was an eyesore to them. But before Diabolos was done with Mansoul he made it an eyesore to God. The enemy cut off its hair, bound it in chains of darkness, bored out its eyes and made it a hack-horse in the house of Dagon. Now the Mansoulians are in midnight darkness with not a glimmering of holy light in them. They were made a little lower than the angels but fell lower than the brute beasts. They became the compound of the evil qualities of the worst creatures. In them is the rapacity of the lion, the stubbornness of the mule and slyness of the fox. They are doggish and swinish, while filled with the poison of asps. They are a generation of vipers. They are so miserably corrupted that in every one of them is a bucket of snakes, making them utterly incapable of doing any good and prone to all wickedness. Not the least good is in them, nothing acceptable to Shaddai. Whatever changes may be found in them are only from evil to evil. One Mansoulian, feeling the weight and horror of that bucket, cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But most feel not the sinking weight. They are dead. Death bears full sway. It is different with one in a life and death struggle. That one has hope in the regeneration of a new life.