صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

nian in Mansoul, whose name was Evil-questioning: a very great enemy he was to Mansoul, and a great doer among the Diabolonians there. Well, to this Evil-questioning's house, as was said, did these Diabolonians come (you may be sure that they had their directions how to find their way thither,) so he made them welcome, pitied their misfortune, and succoured them with the best that he had in his house. Now after a little acquaintance, and it was not long before they had that, this Evil-questioning asked the Doubters if they were all of a town (he knew that they were all of one kingdom,) and they answered, No, nor of one shire neither; for I, said one, am an electiondoubter; I, said another, am a vocation-doubter; then said the third, I am a salvation-doubter; and the fourth said, he was a grace-doubter. Well, quoth the old gentleman, be of what shire you will, I am persuaded that you are town-boys, you have the very length of my foot, are one with my heart, and shall be welcome to me. So they thanked him, and were glad that they had found themselves an harbour in Mansoul. Then said Talk betwixt

Evil-questioning to them, How many the Doubters of your company might there be that and old Evil

came with you to the siege of Manquestioning.

soul? And they answered, There were but ten thousand doubters in all, for the rest of the army consisted of fifteen thousand bloodmen ; these blood-men, quoth they, border upon our country ; but, poor men, we hear, they were every one taken by Immanuel's forces. Ten thousand ! quoth the old gentleman, I'll promise you, that's a round company. But how came it to pass, since you were so mighty a number, that you fainted, and durst not fight your foes ? Our general, said they, was the first man that ran for it. Pray, quoth their landlord, who was that your cowardly general? He was once the lordmayor of Mansoul said they. But pray call him not a cowardly general, for whether any from the east to the west has done more service for our prince Diabolus than has my Lord Incredulity, will be a hard question for you to answer. But, had they catched him, they would for certain have hanged him, and we promise you, hanging is but a bad business

Then said the old gentleman, I would that all the ten thousand Doubters were now well armed in Mansoul, and myself at the head of them, I would see what I could do. Ah, said they, that would be well, if we could see that: but wishes, alas! what are they? And these words were spoken aloud. Well, said old Evil-questioning, take heed that ye talk not too loud, you must be quiet and close, and must take care of yourselves while you are here, or I will assure you you will be snapped.

Why? quoth the Doubters.

Why? quoth the old gentleman : why, because both the prince and lord secretary, and their captains and soldiers, are all at present in town; yea, the town is as full of them as it can hold, And besides, there is one whose name is Will-be-will, a most cruel enemy of our's, and him the prince hath made keeper of the gates, and has commanded him, that with all the diligence he can, he should look for, search out, and destroy all and all manner of Diabolonians. And if he lighteth upon you, down you go, though your heads be made of gold.

10 Doubts will return again and again, and while there is such a thing as evil-questioning in the heart they will find a harbour there. Unbelief, however, was obliged to fly,


And now, to see how it happened, one of the

Lord Will-be-will's faithful soldiers, They are over- whose name was Mr. Diligence, heard.

stood all the while listening under old Evil-questioning's eaves, and heard all the talk that had been betwixt him and the Doubters that he entertained under his roof. This soldier was a man that


lord had much confidence in, and that he loved dearly, and that both because he was a man of courage, and also a man that was unwearied in seeking after Diabolonians to apprehend them

Now this man, as I told you, heard all the talk that was between 'old Evil-questioning and these Diabolonians; wherefore what does he, but goes to his lord, and tells him what he had heard. And sayest thou so, my trusty ? quoth my lord. Ay, quoth Diligence, that I do, and if your lordship will be pleased to go with me, you shall find it as I have said. And are they there ? quoth my lord. I know Evil-questioning well, for he and I were great at the time of our apostacy; but I know not now where he dwells. But I do, said this man, and if your lordship will go, I will lead you the way to his den. Go! quoth my lord, that I will. Come, my Diligence, let us go

find them out. So my lord and his man went together the direct way to his house. Now his man went before, to shew him the way, and they went till they came even under old Mr. Evil-questioning's wall. Then said Diligence, Hark (my lord,) do you know the old gentleman's tongue when you hear it ? Yes, said my lord, I know it well, but I have not seen him many a day. This I know, he is cunning, I wish he may not give us the slip. 11 Diligence is of special use in detecting sin. 2 Pet i. 10.


Let me alone for that, said his servant Diligence. But how shall we find the door? quoth my lord. Let me alone for that too, said his man. So he had my Lord Will-be-will about, and shewed him the way to the door. Then my lord, without more ado, broke open the door, rushed into the house, and caught them all five together, even as They are ap

Diligence his man had told him. So prehended and my lord apprehended them, and led committed to them away, and

committed them to prison.

the hand of Mr. Trueman the gaoler, and he commanded, and put them in ward. This done, my lord-mayor was acquainted in the morning with what my Lord Will-be-will had done over night, and his lordship rejoiced much at the news, not only because there were Doubters apprehended, but because that old Evil-questioning was taken; for he had been a very great trouble to Mansoul, and much affliction to my lord-mayor himself. He had also been sought for often, but no hand could ever be laid upon him till now.

Well, the next thing was, to make preparations to try these five that by my lord had been apprehended, and that were in the hands of Mr. True

man the gaoler. So the day was set, They are and the court called and came togebrought to trial.

ther, and the prisoners brought to the bar. My Lord Will-be-will had power to have slain them when at first he took them, and that without any more ado, but he thought it at this time more for the honour of the prince, the comfort of Mansoul, and the discouragement of the enemy, to bring

them forth to public judgment. But I say, Mr. Trueman brought them in chains to the bar, to the town-hall, for that was the place of judgment. So, to be short, the jury was pannelled, the witnesses sworn, and the prisoners

tried for their lives; the jury was the same that tried Mr. No-truth, Pitiless, Haughty, and the rest of their companions.

And first, old Evil-questioning himself was set to the bar; for he was the receiver, the entertainer, and comforter of these Doubters, that by nation were outlandishmen; then he was bid to hearken to his charge, and was told that he had liberty to object, if he had aught to say for himself. So his indictment was read, the manner and form here follows:

" Mr. Questioning, Thou art here indicted by the name of Evil-questioning, an intruder upon the town of Mansoul, for that thou art a Diabolonian. by nature, and also a hater of the Prince Immanuel, and one that hast studied the ruin of Mansoul. Thou art also here indicted, for entertaining the king's enemies, after wholesome laws made to the contrary : For, 1. Thou hast questioned the truth of her doctrine and state. 2. In wishing that ten thousand Doubters were in her. In receiving, entertaining, and encouraging of her enemies, that came from their army unto thee. What sayest thou to this indictment ? art thou guilty, or not guilty ?” My lord, quoth he, I know not the meaning of

this indictment, forasmuch as I am Evil-questioning not the man concerned ‘in it; the denies his name.

man that standeth by this charge accused before this bench, is called by the name of Evil-questioning, which name I deny to be mine, mine being Honest-inquiring '2. The one

12 Evil-questioning denies his name, and would fain pass for Honest-inquiry. So all the enemies of truth shelter themselves under the pretence of free-inquiry and free-thinking.

« السابقةمتابعة »