« السابقةمتابعة »
power, is not able to bring you down, and lay you under his feet: for he is the Former of all things; and if he touches the mountains, they smoke. Nor will the gate of the king's clemency stand always open: for the day that shall burn like an oven, is before him; yea, it hasteth greatly, and slumbereth not, Mal. iv. 1. i Pet. ii. 3. O Mansoul, is it little in thine eyes, that our king does offer thee mercy, and that after so many provocations? Yea, he still holdeth out his golden sceptre to thee, and will not suffer his gate to be shut against thee:. wilt thou provoke him to do it? Consider of what I say; to thee it shall be opened no more for ever, Job xxśvi. 14, 18. Ps. ix. 7. Isa. lxvi. 15. “If thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. Yea, because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his ' stroke; then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will he esteem thy riches ? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. He hath prepared his throne for judgment; for he will come with fire, and with his chariots, like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and rebukes with flames of fire.” Therefore, O Mansoul, take heed, lest, after thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked, justice and judgment should take hold of thee.'
Now, while Captain Judgment was making this oration to the town of Mansoul, it was observed On hearing this by some, that Diabolus trembled." speech, Diabolus But he proceeded in his speech, trembles. and said, () thou woful town of Mansoul! wilt thou not yet set open the gate to
11 So, when Paul reasoned of Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment to come, Felix trembled. Alas! many tremble who never turn.
receive us, the deputies of the king, and those that would rejoice to see thee live? Ezek. xxii. 14. “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the day that he shall deal in judgment with thee?” I say, canst thou endure to be forced to drink, as one would drink sweet wine, the sea of wrath that our king has prepared for Diabolus and his angels? Consider, betimes consider.” Then stood forth the fourth captain, the noble
Captain Execution, and said: “O town Captain Execu- of Mansoul, once famous, but now
pure like the fruitless bough; once the delight of the high ones, but now a den for Di., abolus: hearken also to me, and to the words that I shall speak to thee in the name of the great Shaddai. Behold, “the axé is laid to the root of the tree; every tree, therefore, that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire,” Mat. iii. 7—10.
Thou, O Town of Mansoul, hast hitherto been this fruitless tree; thou bearest nought but thorns and briars, Deut. xxxii. 32. Thy evil fruit forespeaks thee not to be a good tree; thy grapes are grapes of gall, thy clusters are bitter. Thou hast rebelled against thy king; and lo, we, the power and force of Shaddai, are the axe that is laid to thy roots. What sayest thou? Wilt thou turn? I say again, Tell me, before the first blow is given, wilt thou turn? Our axe must first be laid to thy root, before it be laid at thy root: it must first be laid to thy root in a way of threatening, before it is laid at thy root by way of execution; and between these two is required thy repentance, and this is all the time thou hast. What wilt thou do? Wilt thou turn, or shall I smite? If I fetch my blow, Mansoul, down you go: for I have commission to lay my axe at, as well as. to, thy root; nor will any thing, but yielding to our king, prevent doing of execution. What art thou fit for, O Mansoul, if mercy preventeth not, but to be hewn down, and cast into the fire, and burnt?
"O Mansoul! patience and forbearance do not act for ever: a year or two, or three, they may; but if thou provoke by a three years rebellion (and thou hast already done more than this), then what follows, “but cut it down?” nay, after that, “thou shalt cut it down,” Luke xiii. 8. And dost thou think that these are but threatenings, or that our king has not power to execute his words? O Mansoul, thou wilt find in the words of our king, when they are by sinners made little or light of, there is not only threatening, but burning coals
“Thou bast been a cumber-ground long already, and wilt thou continue so still? Thy sin has brought his army to thy walls, and shall it bring in judgment to do execution to thy town? Thou hast heard what the captains have said, but as yet thou shuttest thy gates: speak out, Mansoul, wilt thou do so still; or wilt thou accept of conditions of peace?" 12
These brave speeches of these four noble captains, the town of Mansoul refused to hear; yet a
12 There is much energy in this speech. In this manner faithful ministers, knowing the terrors of the Lord, should persuade men. These pungent addresses to the conscience are often blessed of God to the conversion of souls. Yet all this, without the power of his spirit, will not prove effectual. Sinners will consult with flesh and blood, and, though partly convinced, will pause and delay, and defer submission to the call of God. The captains therefore require that Ill-pause should be thrown over the wall to them, for indeed, no good will be slone in the soul, till this spirit of procrastination be destroyed.
sound thereof did beat against Ear-gate, though
o the force thereof could not break it Mansoul desires time to make
open. In fine, the town desired a
demands. The captains then told them, that if they would throw out to them one Ill-pause that was in the town, that they might reward him according to his works, then they ,
at would give them time to consider; conditions the but if they would not cast him to captains would them over the wall of Mansoul, then give them time. they would give them none: for, said they, we know, that so long as Ill-pause draws breath in Mansoul, all good considerations will be confounded, and nothing but mischief will come thereon. · Then Diabolus, who was there present, being
inter loth to lose Ill-pause, because he rupts them, and was his orator (and yet be sure he sets Incredulity had, could the captains have laid to answer them. their fingers on him), was resolved at this instant to give them answer by himself, but then changing his mind, he commanded the then lord mayor, the Lord Incredulity, to do it; saying, My lord, do you give these renegades an answer, and speak out, that Mansoul may hear and understand you. So Incredulity, at Diabolus's command, began
and said, 'Gentlemen, you have here,
it as we do behold, to the disturbance of our prince, and molestation of the town of Mansoul, encamped against it: but from whence you come, we will not know; and what you are, we will not believe. Indeed, you tell us in your terrible speech, that you have this authority from Shaddai; but by what right he commands you to do it, of that we shall be yet ignorànt.
lord Diabrave Man or the greatnes at
"You have also, by the authority aforesaid, summoned this town to desert her lord, and for protection to yield up herself to the great Shaddai your king: flatteringly telling her, that if she will do it, he will pass by, and not charge her with her past offences.
“Further, you have also, to the terror of the town of Mansoul, threatened with great and sore destruction to punish this corporation, if she consent not to do as your wills would have her. Now, captains, from whencesoever you come,
and though your designs be ever so The true picture right, yet know ye, that neither my of unbelief.
e lord Diabolus, nor I his servant Incredulity, nor yet our brave Mansoul, doth regard either your persons, message, or the king that you say hath sent you: his power, his greatness, his vengeance we fear not; nor will we yield at all to your summons.
“As for the war that you threaten to make upon us, we must therein defend ourselves as well as we can: and know ye, that we are not without wherewithal to bid defiance to you. And in short, (for I will not be tedious,) I tell you, that, we take you to be some vagabond runagate crew, who, having shaken off all obedience to your king, have gotten together in a tumultuous manner, and are ranging from place to place, to see if, through those fatteries you are skilled to make, on the one side, and threats wherewith you think to fright on the other, you can make some silly town, city, or country, to desert their place, and leave it to you: but Mansoul is none of them.
" To conclude: We dread you not, we fear you not, nor will we obey your summons: our gates we will keep shut against you, our place we will