Posted by Gary on December 18, 2008
I have found another treasure. I have related in other posts how God brought John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” into my life and has used it to help me more than any other book except the Bible.
Having read Pilgrim’s Progress, I later came across another of Bunyan’s books entitled, “The Holy War”. It is another allegory, meaning that it is a story with people, places and events that all signify something spiritual. A person’s name for example will teach you something, like “Hopeful” or the town named, “Vanity Fair” from Pilgrim’s Progress.
I have had the Holy War for some time and even started it a few years ago. I thought it was pretty good but found I could put it down which I could not do with Pilgrim’s Progress.
I recently found myself in need to decide about something to read to my children (having recently finished “Little Pilgrim’s Progress”). I thought I might try the Holy War but wondered about the antiquated English. I knew I would have to “translate” on the fly and wondered if the story would hold their interest.
The story is about a great king named “Shaddai” (Genesis 17:1-Shaddai meaning “Almighty”). Shaddai builds a city which He names, “Mansoul”. The town of Mansoul is approached by an enemy of the King’s named “Diablous” who entices the town to surrender itself to him. Diablous lies about the great king Shaddai and makes many promises to the people of the town, primarily that they will be able to govern themselves and choose their own life as opposed to being under the restrictive, oppressive rules (so he lied and said) of King Shaddai.
The story tells of King Shaddai’s determination to take back his beloved town of Mansoul. The town of Mansoul has five gates one for example is the Eye Gate, another the Ear Gate (you can ponder the importance of these). Under Shaddai the town was governed by powerful leaders like Mr. Understanding and Mr. Conscience but now these men are given to the influence and power of Diablous.
The King sends threats of war to retake the town. His threats (and offers of mercy) are extended through Captain Conviction and Captain Execution. But the townspeople refuse to listen (Diablous all the while stirring them up in their resistance against King Shaddai).
Eventually King Shaddai decides to send His Son, Prince Emmanuel to wage war and win back the town of Mansoul.
My friends, there is much more to say. I will post further on some particulars but I will stop now and urge you to read the Holy War. You can read it online here or buy it here for an amazing $4.99 (How is it that true treasure in Christian books can be bought for nothing and are found in bargain bins? I’m glad in one way but it is tragic revealer of where we are when gems are sold for pennies and heresy and trash are given the prominent place in our Christian bookstores and their prices would lead us to think that something very faithful and helpful is contained within).
I don’t know what you’re reading right now but I would suggest that the next book you read be the Holy War. You will need to take your time. You will have to do some God guided thinking or you will miss much of the treasure, stop and consider every name and every event carefully. I guarantee you that a humble, determined reading of this book will be food for your soul.
(I will relate that recently my in-laws were with us for a visit and one evening I was reading aloud to my children and my father-in-law idled over to the living room listening. He eventually sat down next to me to listen. When I stated at a certain point that I was going to stop for the night my children moaned in unhappiness and asked for more. My father-in-law then sincerely said, “Yes, read some more” and I did).