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Bunyan Characters - Third Series by Alexander Whyte

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This etext was prepared by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk
from the 1895 Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier edition.


by Alexander Whyte


'--the book of the wars of the Lord.'--Moses.

John Bunyan's Holy War was first published in 1682, six years
before its illustrious author's death. Bunyan wrote this great
book when he was still in all the fulness of his intellectual power
and in all the ripeness of his spiritual experience. The Holy War
is not the Pilgrim's Progress--there is only one Pilgrim's
Progress. At the same time, we have Lord Macaulay's word for it
that if the Pilgrim's Progress did not exist the Holy War would be
the best allegory that ever was written: and even Mr. Froude
admits that the Holy War alone would have entitled its author to
rank high up among the acknowledged masters of English literature.
The intellectual rank of the Holy War has been fixed before that
tribunal over which our accomplished and competent critics preside;
but for a full appreciation of its religious rank and value we
would need to hear the glad testimonies of tens of thousands of
God's saints, whose hard-beset faith and obedience have been
kindled and sustained by the study of this noble book. The
Pilgrim's Progress sets forth the spiritual life under the
scriptural figure of a long and an uphill journey. The Holy War,
on the other hand, is a military history; it is full of soldiers
and battles, defeats and victories. And its devout author had much
more scriptural suggestion and support in the composition of the
Holy War than he had even in the composition of the Pilgrim's
Progress. For Holy Scripture is full of wars and rumours of wars:
the wars of the Lord; the wars of Joshua and the Judges; the wars
of David, with his and many other magnificent battle-songs; till
the best known name of the God of Israel in the Old Testament is
the Lord of Hosts; and then in the New Testament we have Jesus
Christ described as the Captain of our salvation. Paul's powerful
use of armour and of armed men is familiar to every student of his
epistles; and then the whole Bible is crowned with a book all
sounding with the battle-cries, the shouts, and the songs of
soldiers, till it ends with that city of peace where they hang the
trumpet in the hall and study war no more. Military metaphors had
taken a powerful hold of our author's imagination even in the
Pilgrim's Progress, as his portraits of Greatheart and Valiant-for-
truth and other soldiers sufficiently show; while the conflict with
Apollyon and the destruction of Doubting Castle are so many sure
preludes of the coming Holy War. Bunyan's early experiences in the
great Civil War had taught him many memorable things about the
military art; memorable and suggestive things that he afterwards
put to the most splendid use in the siege, the capture, and the
subjugation of Mansoul.

The Divine Comedy is beyond dispute the greatest book of personal
and experimental religion the world has ever seen. The consuming
intensity of its author's feelings about sin and holiness, the
keenness and the bitterness of his remorse, and the rigour and the
severity of his revenge, his superb intellect and his universal
learning, all set ablaze by his splendid imagination--all that
combines to make the Divine Comedy the unapproachable masterpiece
it is. John Bunyan, on the other hand, had no learning to be
called learning, but he had a strong and a healthy English
understanding, a conscience and a heart wholly given up to the life
of the best religion of his religious day, and then, by sheer dint
of his sanctified and soaring imagination and his exquisite style,
he stands forth the peer of the foremost men in the intellectual
world. And thus it is that the great unlettered religious world
possesses in John Bunyan all but all that the select and scholarly
world possesses in Dante. Both Dante and Bunyan devoted their
splendid gifts to the noblest of services--the service of
spiritual, and especially of personal religion; but for one
appreciative reader that Dante has had Bunyan has had a hundred.
Happy in being so like his Master in so many things, Bunyan is
happy in being like his unlettered Master in this also, that the
common people hear him gladly and never weary of hearing him.

It gives by far its noblest interest to Dante's noble book that we
have Dante himself in every page of his book. Dante is taken down
into Hell, he is then led up through Purgatory, and after that
still up and up into the very Paradise of God. But that hell all
the time is the hell that Dante had dug and darkened and kindled
for himself. In the Purgatory, again, we see Dante working out his
own salvation with fear and trembling, God all the time working in
Dante to will and to do of His good pleasure. And then the
Paradise, with all its sevenfold glory, is just that place and that
life which God hath prepared for them that love Him and serve Him
as Dante did. And so it is in the Holy War. John Bunyan is in the
Pilgrim's Progress, but there are more men and other men than its
author in that rich and populous book, and other experiences and
other attainments than his. But in the Holy War we have Bunyan
himself as fully and as exclusively as we have Dante in the Divine
Comedy. In the first edition of the Holy War there is a
frontispiece conceived and executed after the anatomical and
symbolical manner which was so common in that day, and which is to
be seen at its perfection in the English edition of Jacob Behmen.
The frontispiece is a full-length likeness of the author of the
Holy War, with his whole soul laid open and his hidden heart
'anatomised.' Why, asked Wordsworth, and Matthew Arnold in our day
has echoed the question--why does Homer still so live and rule
without a rival in the world of letters? And they answer that it
is because he always sang with his eye so fixed upon its object.
'Homer, to thee I turn.' And so it was with Dante. And so it was
with Bunyan. Bunyan's Holy War has its great and abiding and
commanding power over us just because he composed it with his eye
fixed on his own heart.

My readers, I have somewhat else to do,
Than with vain stories thus to trouble you;
What here I say some men do know so well
They can with tears and joy the story tell . . .
Then lend thine ear to what I do relate,
Touching the town of Mansoul and her state:
For my part, I (myself) was in the town,
Both when 'twas set up and when pulling down.
Let no man then count me a fable-maker,
Nor make my name or credit a partaker
Of their derision: what is here in view
Of mine own knowledge, I dare say is true.

The characters in the Holy War are not as a rule nearly so clear-
cut or so full of dramatic life and movement as their fellows are
in the Pilgrim's Progress, and Bunyan seems to have felt that to be
the case. He shows all an author's fondness for the children of
his imagination in the Pilgrim's Progress. He returns to and he
lingers on their doings and their sayings and their very names with
all a foolish father's fond delight. While, on the other hand,
when we look to see him in his confidential addresses to his
readers returning upon some of the military and municipal
characters in the Holy War, to our disappointment he does not so
much as name a single one of them, though he dwells with all an
author's self-delectation on the outstanding scenes, situations,
and episodes of his remarkable book.

What, then, are some of the more outstanding scenes, situations,
and episodes, as well as military and municipal characters, in the
book now before us? And what are we to promise ourselves, and to
expect, from the study and the exposition of the Holy War in these
lectures? Well, to begin with, we shall do our best to enter with
mind, and heart, and conscience, and imagination into Bunyan's
great conception of the human soul as a city, a fair and a delicate
city and corporation, with its situation, surroundings, privileges
and fortunes. We shall then enter under his guidance into the
famous and stately palace of this metropolitan city; a palace which
for strength might be called a castle, for pleasantness a paradise,
and for largeness a place so copious as to contain all the world.
The walls and the gates of the city will then occupy and instruct
us for several Sabbath evenings, after which we shall enter on the
record of the wars and battles that rolled time after time round
those city walls, and surged up through its captured gates till
they quite overwhelmed the very palace of the king itself. Then we
shall spend, God willing, one Sabbath evening with Loth-to-stoop,
and another with old Ill-pause, the devil's orator, and another
with Captain Anything, and another with Lord Willbewill, and
another with that notorious villain Clip-promise, by whose doings
so much of the king's coin had been abused, and another with that
so angry and so ill-conditioned churl old Mr. Prejudice, with his
sixty deaf men under him. Dear Mr. Wet-eyes, with his rope upon
his head, will have a fit congregation one winter night, and
Captain Self-denial another. We shall have another painful but
profitable evening before a communion season with Mr. Prywell, and
so we shall eat of that bread and drink of that cup. Emmanuel's
livery will occupy us one evening, Mansoul's Magna Charta another,
and her annual Feast-day another. Her Established Church and her
beneficed clergy will take up one evening, some Skulkers in Mansoul
another, the devil's last prank another, and then, to wind up with,
Emmanuel's last speech and charge to Mansoul from his chariot-step
till He comes again to accomplish her rapture. All that we shall
see and take part in; unless, indeed, our Captain comes in anger
before the time, and spears us to the earth when He finds us asleep
at our post or in the act of sin at it, which may His abounding
mercy forbid!

And now take these three forewarnings and precautions.

1. First:- All who come here on these coming Sabbath evenings will
not understand the Holy War all at once, and many will not
understand it at all. And little blame to them, and no wonder.
For, fully to understand this deep and intricate book demands far
more mind, far more experience, and far more specialised knowledge
than the mass of men, as men are, can possibly bring to it. This
so exacting book demands of us, to begin with, some little
acquaintance with military engineering and architecture; with the
theory of, and if possible with some practice in, attack and
defence in sieges and storms, winter campaigns and long drawn-out
wars. And then, impossible as it sounds and is, along with all
that we would need to have a really profound, practical, and at
first-hand acquaintance with the anatomy of the human subject, and
especially with cardiac anatomy, as well as with all the
conditions, diseases, regimen and discipline of the corrupt heart
of man. And then it is enough to terrify any one to open this book
or to enter this church when he is told that if he comes here he
must be ready and willing to have the whole of this terrible and
exacting book fulfilled and experienced in himself, in his own body
and in his own soul.

2. And, then, you will not all like the Holy War. The mass of men
could not be expected to like any such book. How could the vain
and blind citizen of a vain and blind city like to be wakened up,
as Paris was wakened up within our own remembrance, to find all her
gates in the hands of an iron-hearted enemy? And how could her
sons like to be reminded, as they sit in their wine gardens, that
they are thereby fast preparing their city for that threatened day
when she is to be hung up on her own walls and bled to the white?
Who would not hate and revile the book or the preacher who
prophesied such rough things as that? Who could love the author or
the preacher who told him to his face that his eyes and his ears
and all the passes to his heart were already in the hands of a
cruel, ruthless, and masterful enemy? No wonder that you never
read the Holy War. No wonder that the bulk of men have never once
opened it. The Downfall is not a favourite book in the night-
gardens of Paris.

3. And then, few, very few, it is to be feared, will be any better
of the Holy War. For, to be any better of such a terrible book as
this is, we must at all costs lay it, and lay it all, and lay it
all at once, to heart. We must submit ourselves to see ourselves
continually in its blazing glass. We must stoop to be told that it
is all, in all its terrors and in all its horrors, literally true
of ourselves. We must deliberately and resolutely set open every
gate that opens in on our heart--Ear-gate and Eye-gate and all the
gates of sense and intellect, day and night, to Jesus Christ to
enter in; and we must shut and bolt and bar every such gate in the
devil's very face, and in the face of all his scouts and orators,
day and night also. But who that thinks, and that knows by
experience what all that means, will feel himself sufficient for
all that? No man: no sinful man. But, among many other noble and
blessed things, the Holy War will show us that our sufficiency in
this impossibility also is all of God. Who, then, will enlist?
Who will risk all and enlist? Who will matriculate in the military
school of Mansoul? Who will submit himself to all the severity of
its divine discipline? Who will be made willing to throw open and
to keep open his whole soul, with all the gates and doors thereof,
to all the sieges, assaults, capitulations, submissions,
occupations, and such like of the war of gospel holiness? And who
will enlist under that banner now?

'Set down my name, sir,' said a man of a very stout countenance to
him who had the inkhorn at the outer gate. At which those who
walked upon the top of the palace broke out in a very pleasant

'Come in, come in;
Eternal glory thou shalt win.'

We have no longer, after what we have come through, any such
stoutness in our countenance, yet will we say to-night with him who
had it, Set down my name also, sir!


'--a besieged city.'--Isaiah.

Our greatest historians have been wont to leave their books behind
them and to make long journeys in order to see with their own eyes
the ruined sites of ancient cities and the famous fields where the
great battles of the world were lost and won. We all remember how
Macaulay made a long winter journey to see the Pass of
Killiecrankie before he sat down to write upon it; and Carlyle's
magnificent battle-pieces are not all imagination; even that
wonderful writer had to see Frederick's battlefields with his own
eyes before he could trust himself to describe them. And he tells
us himself how Cromwell's splendid generalship all came up before
him as he looked down on the town of Dunbar and out upon the ever-
memorable country round about it. John Bunyan was not a great
historian; he was only a common soldier in the great Civil War of
the seventeenth century; but what would we not give for a
description from his vivid pen of the famous fields and the great
sieges in which he took part? What a find John Bunyan's 'Journals'
and 'Letters Home from the Seat of War' would be to our historians
and to their readers! But, alas! such journals and letters do not
exist. Bunyan's complete silence in all his books about the
battles and the sieges he took his part in is very remarkable, and
his silence is full of significance. The Puritan soldier keeps all
his military experiences to work them all up into his Holy War, the
one and only war that ever kindled all his passions and filled his
every waking thought. But since John Bunyan was a man of genius,
equal in his own way to Cromwell and Milton themselves, if I were a
soldier I would keep ever before me the great book in which
Bunyan's experiences and observations and reflections as a soldier
are all worked up. I would set that classical book on the same
shelf with Caesar's Commentaries and Napier's Peninsula, and
Carlyle's glorious battle-pieces. Even Caesar has been accused of
too great dryness and coldness in his Commentaries, but there is
neither dryness nor coldness in John Bunyan's Holy War. To read
Bunyan kindles our cold civilian blood like the waving of a banner
and like the sound of a trumpet.

The situation of the city of Mansoul occupies one of the most
beautiful pages of this whole book. The opening of the Holy War,
simply as a piece of English, is worthy to stand beside the best
page of the Pilgrim's Progress itself, and what more can I say than
that? Now, the situation of a city is a matter of the very first
importance. Indeed, the insight and the foresight of the great
statesmen and the great soldiers of past ages are seen in nothing
more than in the sites they chose for their citadels and for their
defenced cities. Well, then, as to the situation of Mansoul, 'it
lieth,' says our military author, 'just between the two worlds.'
That is to say: very much as Germany in our day lies between
France and Russia, and very much as Palestine in her day lay
between Egypt and Assyria, so does Mansoul lie between two immense
empires also. And, surely, I do not need to explain to any man
here who has a man's soul in his bosom that the two armed empires
that besiege his soul are Heaven above and Hell beneath, and that
both Heaven and Hell would give their best blood and their best
treasure to subdue and to possess his soul. We do not value our
souls at all as Heaven and Hell value them. There are savage
tribes in Africa and in Asia who inhabit territories that are
sleeplessly envied by the expanding and extending nations of
Europe. Ancient and mighty empires in Europe raise armies, and
build navies, and levy taxes, and spill the blood of their bravest
sons like water in order to possess the harbours, and the rivers,
and the mountains, and the woods amid which their besotted owners
roam in utter ignorance of all the plots and preparations of the
Western world. And Heaven and Hell are not unlike those ancient
and over-peopled nations of Europe whose teeming millions must have
an outlet to other lands. Their life and their activity are too
large and too rich for their original territories, and thus they
are compelled to seek out colonies and dependencies, so that their
surplus population may have a home. And, in like manner, Heaven is
too full of love and of blessedness to have all that for ever shut
up within itself, and Hell is too full of envy and ill-will, and
thus there continually come about those contentions and collisions
of which the Holy War is full. And, besides, it is with Mansoul
and her neighbour states of Heaven and Hell just as it is with some
of our great European empires in this also. There is no neutral
zone, no buffer state, no silver streak between Mansoul and her
immediate and military neighbours. And thus it is that her
statesmen, and her soldiers, and even her very common-soldier
sentries must be for ever on the watch; they must never say peace,
peace; they must never leave for one moment their appointed post.

And then, as for the wall of the city, hear our excellent
historian's own words about that. 'The wall of the town was well
built,' so he says. 'Yea, so fast and firm was it knit and compact
together that, had it not been for the townsmen themselves, it
could not have been shaken or broken down for ever. For here lay
the excellent wisdom of Him that builded Mansoul, that the walls
could never be broken down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse
potentate unless the townsmen gave their consent thereto.' Now,
what would the military engineers of Chatham and Paris and Berlin,
who are now at their wits' end, not give for a secret like that! A
wall impregnable and insurmountable and not to be sapped or mined
from the outside: a wall that could only suffer hurt from the
inside! And then that wonderful wall was pierced from within with
five magnificently answerable gates. That is to say, the gates
could neither be burst in nor any way forced from without. 'This
famous town of Mansoul had five gates, in at which to come, out of
which to go; and these were made likewise answerable to the walls;
to wit, impregnable, and such as could never be opened or forced
but by the will and leave of those within. The names of the gates
were these: Ear-gate, Eye-gate, Mouth-gate; in short, 'the five
senses,' as we say.

In the south of England, in the time of Edward the Confessor and
after the battle of Hastings, there were five cities which had
special immunities and peculiar privileges bestowed upon them, in
recognition of the special dangers to which they were exposed and
the eminent services they performed as facing the hostile shores of
France. Owing to their privileges and their position, the 'Cinque
Ports' came to be cities of great strength, till, as time went on,
they became a positive weakness rather than a strength to the land
that lay behind them. Privilege bred pride, and in their pride the
Cinque Ports proclaimed wars and formed alliances on their own
account: piracies by sea and robberies by land were hatched within
their walls; and it took centuries to reduce those pampered and
arrogant ports to the safe and peaceful rank of ordinary English
cities. The Revolution of 1688 did something, and the Reform Bill
of 1832 did more to make Dover and her insolent sisters like the
other free and equal cities of England; but to this day there are
remnants of public shows and pageantries left in those old towns
sufficient to witness to the former privileges, power, and pride of
the famous Cinque Ports. Now, Mansoul, in like manner, has her
cinque ports. And the whole of the Holy War is one long and
detailed history of how the five senses are clothed with such power
as they possess; how they abuse and misuse their power; what
disloyalty and despite they show to their sovereign; what
conspiracies and depredations they enter into; what untold miseries
they let in upon themselves and upon the land that lies behind
them; what years and years of siege, legislation, and rule it takes
to reduce our bodily senses, those proud and licentious gates, to
their true and proper allegiance, and to make their possessors a
people loyal and contented, law-abiding and happy.

The Apostle has a terrible passage to the Corinthians, in which he
treats of the soul and the senses with tremendous and overwhelming
power. 'Your bodies and your bodily members,' he argues, with
crushing indignation, 'are not your own to do with them as you
like. Your bodies and your souls are both Christ's. He has bought
your body and your soul at an incalculable cost. What! know ye not
that your body is nothing less than the temple of the Holy Ghost
which is in you, and ye are not any more your own? know ye not that
your bodies are the very members of Christ?' And then he says a
thing so terrible that I tremble to transcribe it. For a more
terrible thing was never written. 'Shall I then,' filled with
shame he demands, 'take the members of Christ and make them the
members of an harlot?' O God, have mercy on me! I knew all the
time that I was abusing and polluting myself, but I did not know, I
did not think, I was never told that I was abusing and polluting
Thy Son, Jesus Christ. Oh, too awful thought. And yet, stupid
sinner that I am, I had often read that if any man defile the
temple of God and the members of Christ, him shall God destroy. O
God, destroy me not as I see now that I deserve. Spare me that I
may cleanse and sanctify myself and the members of Christ in me,
which I have so often embruted and defiled. Assist me to summon up
my imagination henceforth to my sanctification as Thine apostle has
here taught me the way. Let me henceforth look at my whole body in
all its senses and in all its members, the most open and the most
secret, as in reality no more my own. Let me henceforth look at
myself with Paul's deep and holy eyes. Let me henceforth seat
Christ, my Redeemer and my King, in the very throne of my heart,
and then keep every gate of my body and every avenue of my mind as
all not any more mine own but His. Let me open my eye, and my ear,
and my mouth, as if in all that I were opening Christ's eye and
Christ's ear and Christ's mouth; and let me thrust in nothing on
Him as He dwells within me that will make Him ashamed or angry, or
that will defile and pollute Him. That thought, O God, I feel that
it will often arrest me in time to come in the very act of sin. It
will make me start back before I make Christ cruel or false, a
wine-bibber, a glutton, or unclean. I feel at this moment as if I
shall yet come to ask Him at every meal, and at every other
opportunity and temptation of every kind, what He would have and
what He would do before I go on to take or to do anything myself.
What a check, what a restraint, what an awful scrupulosity that
will henceforth work in me! But, through that, what a pure,
blameless, noble, holy and heavenly life I shall then lead! What
bodily pains, diseases, premature decays; what mental remorses,
what shames and scandals, what self-loathings and what self-
disgusts, what cups bitterer to drink than blood, I shall then
escape! Yes, O Paul, I shall henceforth hold with thee that my
body is the temple of Christ, and that I am not my own, but that I
am bought with a transporting price, and can, therefore, do nothing
less than glorify God in my body and in my spirit which are God's.
'This place,' says the Pauline author of the Holy War--'This place
the King intended but for Himself alone, and not for another with

But, my brethren, lay this well, and as never before, to heart--
this, namely, that when you thus begin to keep any gate for Christ,
your King and Captain and Better-self,--Ear-gate, or Eye-gate, or
Mouth-gate, or any other gate--you will have taken up a task that
shall have no end with you in this life. Till you begin in dead
earnest to watch your heart, and all the doors of your heart, as if
you were watching Christ's heart for Him and all the doors of His
heart, you will have no idea of the arduousness and the endurance,
the sleeplessness and the self-denial, of the undertaking.

'Mansoul! Her wars seemed endless in her eyes;
She's lost by one, becomes another's prize.
Mansoul! Her mighty wars, they did portend
Her weal or woe and that world without end.
Wherefore she must be more concern'd than they
Whose fears begin and end the self-same day.'

'We all thought one battle would decide it,' says Richard Baxter,
writing about the Civil War. 'But we were all very much mistaken,'
sardonically adds Carlyle. Yes; and you will be very much mistaken
too if you enter on the war with sin in your soul, in your senses
and in your members, with powder and shot for one engagement only.
When you enlist here, lay well to heart that it is for life. There
is no discharge in this war. There are no ornamental old
pensioners here. It is a warfare for eternal life, and nothing
will end it but the end of your evil days on earth.


'Take heed what ye hear.'--Our Lord in Mark.
'Take heed how you hear.'--Our Lord in Luke.

This famous town of Mansoul had five gates, in at which to come,
out at which to go, and these were made likewise answerable to the
walls--to wit, impregnable, and such as could never be opened nor
forced but by the will and leave of those within. 'The names of
the gates were these, Ear-gate, Eye-gate,' and so on. Dr. George
Wilson, who was once Professor of Technology in our University,
took this suggestive passage out of the Holy War and made it the
text of his famous lecture in the Philosophical Institution, and
then he printed the passage on the fly-leaf of his delightful book
The Five Gateways of Knowledge. That is a book to read sometime,
but this evening is to be spent with the master.

For, after all, no one can write at once so beautifully, so
quaintly, so suggestively, and so evangelically as John Bunyan.
'The Lord Willbewill,' says John Bunyan, 'took special care that
the gates should be secured with double guards, double bolts, and
double locks and bars; and that Ear-gate especially might the
better be looked to, for that was the gate in at which the King's
forces sought most to enter. The Lord Willbewill therefore made
old Mr. Prejudice, an angry and ill-conditioned fellow, captain of
the ward at that gate, and put under his power sixty men, called
Deafmen; men advantageous for that service, forasmuch as they
mattered no words of the captain nor of the soldiers. And first
the King's officers made their force more formidable against Ear-
gate: for they knew that unless they could penetrate that no good
could be done upon the town. This done, they put the rest of their
men in their places; after which they gave out the word, which was,
Ye must be born again! And so the battle began. Now, they in the
town had planted upon the tower over Ear-gate two great guns, the
one called High-mind and the other Heady. Unto these two guns they
trusted much; they were cast in the castle by Diabolus's
ironfounder, whose name was Mr. Puff-up, and mischievous pieces
they were. They in the camp also did stoutly, for they saw that
unless they could open Ear-gate it would be in vain to batter the
wall.' And so on, through many allegorical, and, if sometimes
somewhat laboured, yet always eloquent, pungent, and heart-exposing

With these for our text let us now take a rapid glance at what some
of the more Bunyan-like passages in the prophets and the psalms say
about the ear; how it is kept and how it is lost; how it is used
and how it is abused.

1. The Psalmist uses a very striking expression in the 94th Psalm
when he is calling for justice, and is teaching God's providence
over men. 'He that planted the ear,' the Psalmist exclaims, 'shall
he not hear?' And, considering his church and his day, that is not
a bad remark of Cardinal Bellarmine on that psalm,--'the Psalmist's
word planted,' says that able churchman, 'implies design, in that
the ear was not spontaneously evolved by an act of vital force, but
was independently created by God for a certain object, just as a
tree, not of indigenous growth, is of set purpose planted in some
new place by the hand of man.' The same thing is said in Genesis,
you remember, about the Garden of Eden,--the Lord planted it and
put the man and the woman, whose ears he had just planted also,
into the garden to dress it and keep it. How they dressed the
garden and kept it, and how they held the gate of their ear against
him who squatted down before it with his innuendoes and his lies,
we all know to our as yet unrepaired, though not always
irreparable, cost.

2. One would almost think that the scornful apostle had the Garden
of Eden in his eye when he speaks so bitterly to Timothy of a class
of people who are cursed with 'itching ears.' Eve's ears itched
unappeasably for the devil's promised secret; and we have all
inherited our first mother's miserable curiosity. How eager, how
restless, how importunate, we all are to hear that new thing that
does not at all concern us; or only concerns us to our loss and our
shame. And the more forbidden that secret is to us, and the more
full of inward evil to us--insane sinners that we are--the more
determined we are to get at it. Let any forbidden secret be in the
keeping of some one within earshot of us and we will give him no
rest till he has shared the evil thing with us. Let any specially
evil page be published in a newspaper, and we will take good care
that that day's paper is not thrown into the waste-basket; we will
hide it away, like a dog with a stolen bone, till we are able to
dig it up and chew it dry in secret. The devil has no need to
blockade or besiege the gate of our ear if he has any of his good
things to offer us. The gate that can only be opened from within
will open at once of itself if he or any of his newsmongers but
squat down for a moment before it. Shame on us, and on all of us,
for our itching ears.

3. Isaiah speaks of some men in his day whose ears were 'heavy'
and whose hearts were fat, and the Psalmist speaks of some men in
his day whose ears were 'stopped' up altogether. And there is not
a better thing in Bunyan at his very best than that surly old churl
called Prejudice, so ill-conditioned and so always on the edge of
anger. By the devil's plan of battle old Prejudice was appointed
to be warder of Ear-gate, and to enable him to keep that gate for
his master he had sixty deaf men put under him, men most
advantageous for that post, forasmuch as it mattered not to them
what Emmanuel and His officers said. There could be no manner of
doubt who composed that inimitable passage. There is all the truth
and all the humour and all the satire in Old Prejudice that our
author has accustomed us to in his best pieces. The common people
always get the best literature along with the best religion in John
Bunyan. 'They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear, and
which will not hearken to the voice of charmers charming never so
wisely,' says the Psalmist, speaking about some bad men in his day.
Now, I will not stand upon David's natural history here, but his
moral and religious meaning is evident enough. David is not
concerned about adders and their ears, he is wholly taken up with
us and our adder-like animosity against the truth. Against what
teacher, then; against what preacher; against what writer; against
what doctrine, reproof, correction, has your churlish prejudice
adder-like shut your ear? Against what truth, human or divine,
have you hitherto stopped up your ear like the Psalmist's serpent?
To ask that boldly, honestly, and in the sight of God, at yourself
to-night, would end in making you the lifelong friend of some
preacher, some teacher, some soul-saving truth you have up till to-
night been prejudiced against with the rooted prejudice and the
sullen obstinacy of sixty deaf men. O God, help us to lay aside
all this adder-like antipathy at men and things, both in public and
in private life. Help us to give all men and all causes a fair
field and no favour, but the field and the favour of an open and an
honest mind, and a simple and a sincere heart. He that hath ears,
let him hear!

4. As we work our way through the various developments and
vicissitudes of the Holy War we shall find Ear-gate in it and in
ourselves passing through many unexpected experiences; now held by
one side and now by another. And we find the same succession of
vicissitudes set forth in Holy Scripture. If you pay any attention
to what you read and hear, and then begin to ask yourselves fair in
the face as to your own prejudices, prepossessions, animosities,
and antipathies,--you will at once begin to reap your reward in
having put into your possession what the Scriptures so often call
an 'inclined' ear. That is to say, an ear not only unstopped, not
only unloaded, but actually prepared and predisposed to all manner
of truth and goodness. Around our city there are the remains, the
still visible tracks, of roads that at one time took the country
people into our city, but which are now stopped up and made wholly
impassable. There is no longer any road into Edinburgh that way.
There are other roads still open, but they are very roundabout, and
at best very up-hill. And then there are other roads so smooth,
and level, and broad, and well kept, that they are full of all
kinds of traffic; in the centre carts and carriages crowd them, on
the one side horses and their riders delight to display themselves,
and on the other side pedestrians and perambulators enjoy the sun.
And then there are still other roads with such a sweet and gentle
incline upon them that it is a positive pleasure both to man and
beast to set their foot upon them. And so it is with the minds and
the hearts of the men and the women who crowd these roads. Just as
the various roads are, so are the ears and the understandings, the
affections and the inclinations of those who walk and ride and
drive upon them. Some of those men's ears are impassably stopped
up by self-love, self-interest, party-spirit, anger, envy, and ill-
will,--impenetrably stopped up against all the men and all the
truths of earth and of heaven that would instruct, enlighten,
convict or correct them. Some men's minds, again, are not so much
shut up as they are crooked, and warped, and narrow, and full of
obstruction and opposition. Whereas here and there, sometimes on
horseback and sometimes on foot; sometimes a learned man walking
out of the city to take the air, and sometimes an unlettered
countryman coming into the city to make his market, will have his
ear hospitably open to every good man he meets, to every good book
he reads, to every good paper he buys at the street corner, and to
every good speech, and report, and letter, and article he reads in
it. And how happy that man is, how happy his house is at home, and
how happy he makes all those he but smiles to on his afternoon
walk, and in all his walk along the roads of this life. Never see
an I incline' on a railway or on a driving or a walking road
without saying on it before you leave it, 'I waited patiently for
the Lord, and He inclined His ear unto me and heard my cry.
Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call
upon Him as long as I live. Incline not my heart to any evil
thing, to practise wicked works with them that work iniquity.
Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. I
have inclined mine heart to perform Thy statutes alway, even unto
the end.'

5. Shakespeare speaks in Richard the Second of 'the open ear of
youth,' and it is a beautiful truth in a beautiful passage. Young
men, who are still young men, keep your ears open to all truth and
to all duty and to all goodness, and shut your ears with an adder's
determination against all that which ruined Richard--flattering
sounds, reports of fashions, and lascivious metres. 'Our souls
would only be gainers by the perfection of our bodies were they
wisely dealt with,' says Professor Wilson in his Five Gateways.
'And for every human being we should aim at securing, so far as
they can be attained, an eye as keen and piercing as that of the
eagle; an ear as sensitive to the faintest sound as that of the
hare; a nostril as far-scenting as that of the wild deer; a tongue
as delicate as that of the butterfly; and a touch as acute as that
of the spider. No man ever was so endowed, and no man ever will
be; but all men come infinitely short of what they should achieve
were they to make their senses what they might be made. The old
have outlived their opportunity, and the diseased never had it; but
the young, who have still an undimmed eye, an undulled ear, and a
soft hand; an unblunted nostril, and a tongue which tastes with
relish the plainest fare--the young can so cultivate their senses
as to make the narrow ring, which for the old and the infirm
encircles things sensible, widen for them into an almost limitless

Take heed what you hear, and take heed how you hear.


'Mine eye affecteth mine heart.'--Jeremiah.

'Think, in the first place,' says the eloquent author of the Five
Gateways of Knowledge, 'how beautiful the human eye is. The eyes
of many of the lower animals are, doubtless, very beautiful. You
must all have admired the bold, fierce, bright eye of the eagle;
the large, gentle, brown eye of the ox; the treacherous, green eye
of the cat, waxing and waning like the moon; the pert eye of the
sparrow; the sly eye of the fox; the peering little bead of black
enamel in the mouse's head; the gem-like eye that redeems the toad
from ugliness, and the intelligent, affectionate expression which
looks out of the human-like eye of the horse and dog. There are
many other animals whose eyes are full of beauty, but there is a
glory that excelleth in the eye of a man. We realise this best
when we gaze into the eyes of those we love. It is their eyes we
look at when we are near them, and it is their eyes we recall when
we are far away from them. The face is all but a blank without the
eye; the eye seems to concentrate every feature in itself. It is
the eye that smiles, not the lips; it is the eye that listens, not
the ear; it is the eye that frowns, not the brow; it is the eye
that mourns, not the voice. The eye sees what it brings the power
to see. How true is this! The sailor on the look-out can see a
ship where the landsman can see nothing. The Esquimaux can
distinguish a white fox among the white snow. The astronomer can
see a star in the sky where to others the blue expanse is unbroken.
The shepherd can distinguish the face of every single sheep in his
flock,' so Professor Wilson. And then Dr. Gould tells us in his
mystico-evolutionary, Behmen-and-Darwin book, The Meaning and the
Method of Life--a book which those will read who can and ought--
that the eye is the most psychical, the most spiritual, the most
useful, and the most valued and cherished of all the senses; after
which he adds this wonderful and heart-affecting scientific fact,
that in death by starvation, every particle of fat in the body is
auto-digested except the cream-cushion of the eye-ball! So true is
it that the eye is the mistress, the queen, and the most precious,
to Creator and creature alike, of all the five senses.

Now, in the Holy War John Bunyan says a thing about the ear, as
distinguished from the eye, that I cannot subscribe to in my own
experience at any rate. In describing the terrible war that raged
round Ear-gate, and finally swept up through that gate and into the
streets of the city, he says that the ear is the shortest and the
surest road to the heart. I confess I cannot think that to be the
actual case. I am certain that it is not so in my own case. My
eye is very much nearer my heart than my ear is. My eye much
sooner affects, and much more powerfully affects, my heart than my
ear ever does. Not only is my eye by very much the shortest road
to my heart, but, like all other short roads, it is cram-full of
all kinds of traffic when my ear stands altogether empty. My eye
is constantly crowded and choked with all kinds of commerce; whole
hordes of immigrants and invaders trample one another down on the
congested street that leads from my eye to my heart. Speaking for
myself, for one assault that is made on my heart through my ear
there are a thousand assaults successfully made through my eye.
Indeed, were my eye but stopped up; had I but obedience and courage
and self-mortification enough to pluck both my eyes out, that would
be half the cleansing and healing and holiness of my evil heart; or
at least, the half of its corruption, rebellion, and abominable
wickedness would henceforth be hidden from me. I think I can see
what led John Bunyan in his day and in this book to make that too
strong statement about the ear as against the eye; but it is not
like him to have let such an over-statement stand and continue in
his corrected and carefully finished work. The prophet Jeremiah, I
feel satisfied, would not have subscribed to what is said in the
Holy War in extenuation of the eye. That heart-broken prophet does
not say that it has been his ear that has made his head waters. It
is his eye, he says, that has so affected his heart. The Prophet
of the Captivity had all the Holy War potentially in his
imagination when he penned that so suggestive sentence. And the
Latin poet of experience, the grown-up man's own poet, says
somewhere that the things that enter by his eye seize and hold his
heart much more swiftly and much more surely than those things that
but enter by his ear. I shall continue, then, to hold by my text,
'Mine eye affecteth mine heart.'

1. Turning then, to the prophets and proverb-makers of Israel, and
then to the New Testament for the true teaching on the eye, I come,
in the first place, on that so pungent saying of Solomon that 'the
eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.' Look at that born
fool, says Solomon, who has his eyes and his heart committed to him
to keep. See him how he gapes and stares after everything that
does not concern him, and lets the door of his own heart stand open
to every entering thief. London is a city of three million
inhabitants, and they are mostly fools, Carlyle once said. And let
him in this city whose eyes keep at home cast the first stone at
those foreign fools. I will wager on their side that many of you
here to-night know better what went on in Mashonaland last week
than what went on in your own kitchen downstairs, or in your own
nursery or schoolroom upstairs. Some of you are ten times more
taken up with the prospects of Her Majesty's Government this
session, and with the plots of Her Majesty's Opposition, than you
are with the prospects of the good and the evil, and the plots of
God and the devil, all this winter in your own hearts. You rise
early, and make a fight to get the first of the newspaper; but when
the minister comes in in the afternoon you blush because the
housemaid has mislaid the Bible. Did you ever read of the
stargazer who fell into an open well at the street corner? Like
him, you may be a great astronomer, a great politician, a great
theologian, a great defender of the faith even, and yet may be a
stark fool just in keeping the doors and the windows of your own
heart. 'You shall see a poor soul,' says Dr. Goodwin, 'mean in
abilities of wit, or accomplishments of learning, who knows not how
the world goes, nor upon what wheels its states turn, who yet knows
more clearly and experimentally his own heart than all the learned
men in the world know theirs. And though the other may better
discourse philosophically of the acts of the soul, yet this poor
man sees more into the corruption of it than they all.' And in
another excellent place he says: 'Many who have leisure and parts
to read much, instead of ballasting their hearts with divine truth,
and building up their souls with its precious words, are much more
versed in play-books, jeering pasquils, romances, and feigned
staves, which are but apes and peacocks' feathers instead of pearls
and precious stones. Foreign and foolish discourses please their
eyes and their ears; they are more chameleons than men, for they
live on the east wind.'

2. 'If thine eye offend thee'--our Lord lays down this law to all
those who would enter into life--'pluck it out and cast it from
thee; for it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye,
rather than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire.' Does
your eye offend you, my brethren? Does your eye cause you to
stumble and fall, as it is in the etymology? The right use of the
eye is to keep you from stumbling and falling; but so perverted are
the eye and the heart of every sinner that the city watchman has
become a partaker with thieves, and our trusted guide and guardian
a traitor and a knave. If thine eye, therefore, offends thee; if
it places a stone or a tree in thy way in a dark night; if it digs
a deep ditch right across thy way home; if it in any way leads thee
astray, or lets in upon thee thine enemies--then, surely, thou wert
better to be without that eye altogether. Pluck it out, then; or,
what is still harder to go on all your days doing, pluck the evil
thing out of it. Shut up that book and put it away. Throw that
paper and that picture into the fire. Cut off that companion, even
if he were an adoring lover. Refuse that entertainment and that
amusement, though all the world were crowding upto it. And soon,
and soon, till you have plucked your eye as clean of temptations
and snares as it is possible to be in this life. For this life is
full of that terrible but blessed law of our Lord. The life of all
His people, that is; and you are one of them, are you not? You
will know whether or no you are one of them just by the number of
the beautiful things, and the sweet things, and the things to be
desired, that you have plucked out of your eye at His advice and
demand. True religion, my brethren, on some sides of it, and at
some stages of it, is a terribly severe and sore business; and
unless it is proving a terribly severe and sore business to you,
look out! lest, with your two hands and your two feet and your two
eyes, you be cast, with all that your hands and feet and eyes have
feasted on, into the everlasting fires! Woe unto the world because
of offences, but woe much more to that member and entrance-gate of
the body by which the offence cometh! Wherefore, if thine eye
offend thee -!

3. 'Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look
straight before thee.' Now, if you wish both to preserve your
eyes, and to escape the everlasting fires at the same time, attend
to this text. For this is almost as good as plucking out your two
eyes; indeed, it is almost the very same thing. Solomon shall
speak to the man in this house to-night who has the most
inflammable, the most ungovernable, and the most desperately wicked
heart. You, man, with that heart, you know that you cannot pass up
the street without your eye becoming a perfect hell-gate of lust,
of hate, of ill-will, of resentment and of revenge. Your eye falls
on a man, on a woman, on a house, on a shop, on a school, on a
church, on a carriage, on a cart, on an innocent child's
perambulator even; and, devil let loose that you are, your eye
fills your heart on the spot with absolute hell-fire. Your
presence and your progress poison the very streets of the city.
And that, not as the short-sighted and the vulgar will read
Solomon's plain-spoken Scripture, with the poison of lewdness and
uncleanness, but with the still more malignant, stealthy, and
deadly poison of social, professional, political, and
ecclesiastical hatred, resentment, and ill-will. Whoredom and wine
openly slay their thousands on all our streets; but envy and spite,
dislike and hatred their ten thousands. The fact is, we would
never know how malignantly wicked our hearts are but for our eyes.
But a sudden spark, a single flash through the eye falling on the
gunpowder that fills our hearts, that lets us know a hundred times
every day what at heart we are made of. 'Of a verity, O Lord, I am
made of sin, and that my life maketh manifest,' prays Bishop
Andrewes every day. Why, sir, not to go to the street, the
direction in which your eyes turn in this house this evening will
make this house a very 'den,' as our Lord said--yes, a very den to
you of temptation and transgression. My son, let thine eyes look
right on. Ponder the path of thy feet, turn not to the right hand
nor to the left--remove thy foot from all evil!

4. There is still another eye that is almost as good as an eye out
altogether, and that is a Job's eye. Job was the first author of
that eye and all we who have that excellent eye take it of him. 'I
have made a covenant with mine eyes,' said that extraordinary man--
that extraordinarily able, honest, exposed and exercised man. Now,
you must all know what a covenant is. A covenant is a compact, a
contract, an agreement, an engagement. In a covenant two parties
come to terms with one another. The two covenanters strike hands,
and solemnly engage themselves to one another: I will do this for
you if you will do that for me. It is a bargain, says the other;
let us have it sealed with wax and signed with pen and ink before
two witnesses. As, for instance, at the Lord's Table. I swear,
you say, over the Body and the Blood of the Son of God, I swear to
make a covenant with mine eyes. I will never let them read again
that idle, infidel, scoffing, unclean sheet. I will not let them
look on any of my former images or imaginations of forbidden
pleasures. I swear, O Thou to whom the night shineth as the day,
that I will never again say, Surely the darkness shall cover me!
See if I do not henceforth by Thy grace keep my feet off every
slippery street. That, and many other things like that, was the
way that Job made his so noble covenant with his eyes in his day
and in his land. And it was because he so made and so kept his
covenant that God so boasted over him and said, Hast thou
considered my servant Job? And then, every covenant has its two
sides. The other side of Job's covenant, of which God Himself was
the surety, you can read and think over in your solitary lodgings
to-night. Read Job xxxi. 1, and then Job xl. to the end, and then
be sure you take covenant paper and ink to God before you sleep.
And let all fashionable young ladies hear what Miss Rossetti
expects for herself, and for all of her sex with her who shall
subscribe her covenant. 'True,' she admits, 'all our life long we
shall be bound to refrain our soul, and keep it low; but what then?
For the books we now refrain to read we shall one day be endowed
with wisdom and knowledge. For the music we will not listen to we
shall join in the song of the redeemed. For the pictures from
which we turn we shall gaze unabashed on the Beatific Vision. For
the companionship we shun we shall be welcomed into angelic society
and the communion of triumphant saints. For the amusements we
avoid we shall keep the supreme jubilee. For all the pleasures we
miss we shall abide, and for evermore abide, in the rapture of

5. And then there is the Pauline eye. An eye, however, that Job
would have shared with Paul and with the Corinthian Church had the
patriarch been privileged to live in our New Testament day. Ever
since the Holy Ghost with His anointing oil fell on us at
Pentecost, says the apostle, we have had an eye by means of which
we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are
not seen. Now, he who has an eye like that is above both plucking
out his eyes or making a covenant with them either. It is like
what Paul says about the law also. The law is not made for a
righteous man. A righteous man is above the law and independent of
it. The law does not reach to him and he is not hampered with it.
And so it is with the man who has got Paul's splendid eyes for the
unseen. He does not need to touch so much as one of his eye-lashes
to pluck them out. For his eyes are blind, and his ears are deaf,
and his whole body is dead to the things that are temporal. His
eyes are inwardly ablaze with the things that are eternal. He
whose eyes have been opened to the truth and the love of his Bible,
he will gloat no more over your books and your papers filled with
lies, and slander, and spite, and lewdness! He who has his
conversation in heaven does not need to set a watch on his lips
lest he take up an ill report about his neighbour. He who walks
every day on the streets of gold will step as swiftly as may be,
with girt loins, and with a preoccupied eye, out of the slippery
and unsavoury streets of this forsaken earth. He who has fast
working out for him an exceeding and eternal weight of glory will
easily count all his cups and all his crosses, and all the crooks
in his lot but as so many light afflictions and but for a moment.
My Lord Understanding had his palace built with high perspective
towers on it, and the site of it was near to Eye-gate, from the top
of which his lordship every day looked not at the things which are
temporal, but at the things which are eternal, and down from his
palace towers he every day descended to administer his heavenly
office in the city.

Your eye, then, is the shortest way into your heart. Watch it
well, therefore; suspect and challenge all outsiders who come near
it. Keep the passes that lead to your heart with all diligence.
Let nothing contraband, let nothing that even looks suspicious,
ever enter your hearts; for, if it once enters, and turns out to be
evil, you will never get it all out again as long as you live.
'Death is come up into our windows,' says our prophet in another
place, 'and is entered into our palaces, to cut off our children in
our houses and our young men in our streets.' Make a covenant,
then, with your eyes. Take an oath of your eyes as to which way
they are henceforth to look. For, let them look this way, and your
heart is immediately full of lust, and hate, and envy, and ill-
will. On the other hand, lead them to look that way and your heart
is as immediately full of truth and beauty, brotherly kindness and
charity. The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine
eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine
eye be evil, thy whole body is full of darkness. If, therefore,
the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!


'The palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.'--David.

'Now, there is in this gallant country a fair and delicate town, a
corporation, called Mansoul: a town for its building so curious,
for its situation so commodious, for its privileges so
advantageous, that I may say of it, there is not its equal under
the whole heaven. Also, there was reared up in the midst of this
town a most famous and stately palace: for strength, it might be
called a castle; for pleasantness, a paradise; and for largeness, a
place so copious as to contain all the world. This place the King
intended for Himself alone, and not for another with Him, so great
was His delight in it.' Thus far, our excellent allegorical
author. But there are other authors that treat of this great
matter now in hand besides the allegorical authors. You will hear
tell sometimes about a class of authors called the Mystics. Well,
listen at this stage to one of them, and one of the best of them,
on this present matter--the human heart, that is. 'Our heart,' he
says, 'is our manner of existence, or the state in which we feel
ourselves to be; it is an inward life, a vital sensibility, which
contains our manner of feeling what and how we are; it is the state
of our desires and tendencies, of inwardly seeing, tasting,
relishing, and feeling that which passes within us; our heart is
that to us inwardly with regard to ourselves which our senses of
seeing, hearing, feeling, and such like are with regard to things
that are without or external to us. Your heart is the best and
greatest gift of God to you. It is the highest, greatest,
strongest, and noblest power of your nature. It forms your whole
life, be it what it will. All evil and all good come from your
heart. Your heart alone has the key of life and death for you.' I
was just about to ask you at this point which of our two authors,
our allegorical or our mystical author upon the heart, you like
best. But that would be a stupid and a wayward question since you
have them both before you, and both at their best, to possess and
to enjoy. To go back then to John Bunyan, and to his allegory of
the human heart.

1. To begin with, then, there was reared up in the midst of this
town of Mansoul a most famous and stately palace. And that palace
and the town immediately around it were the mirror and the glory of
all that its founder and maker had ever made. His palace was his
very top-piece. It was the metropolitan of the whole world round
about it; and it had positive commission and power to demand
service and support of all around. Yes. And all that is
literally, evidently, and actually true of the human heart. For
all other earthly things are created and upheld, are ordered and
administered, with an eye to the human heart. The human heart is
the final cause, as our scholars would say, of absolutely all other
earthly things. Earth, air, water; light and heat; all the
successively existing worlds, mineral, vegetable, animal,
spiritual; grass, herbs, corn, fruit-trees, cattle and sheep, and
all other living creatures; all are upheld for the use and the
support of man. And, then, all that is in man himself is in him
for the end and the use of his heart. All his bodily senses; all
his bodily members; every fearfully and wonderfully made part of
his body and of his mind; all administer to his heart. She is the
sovereign and sits supreme. And she is worthy and is fully
entitled so to sit. For there is nothing on the earth greater or
better than the heart, unless it is the Creator Himself, who
planned and executed the heart for Himself and not for another with
Him. 'The body exists,' says a philosophical biologist of our day,
'to furnish the cerebral centres with prepared food, just as the
vegetable world, viewed biologically, exists to furnish the animal
world with similar food. The higher is the last formed, the most
difficult, and the most complex; but it is just this that is most
precious and significant--all of which shows His unrolling purpose.
It is the last that alone explains all that went before, and it is
the coming that will alone explain the present. God before all,
through all, foreseeing all, and still preparing all; God in all is
profoundly evident.' Yes, profoundly evident to profound minds,
and experimentally and sweetly evident to religious minds, and to
renewed and loving and holy hearts.

2. For fame and for state a palace, while for strength it might be
called a castle. In sufficiently ancient times the king's palace
was always a castle also. David's palace on Mount Zion was as much
a military fortress as a royal residence; and King Priam's palace
was the protection both of itself and of the whole of the country
around. In those wild times great men built their houses on high
places, and then the weak and endangered people gathered around the
strongholds of the powerful, as we see in our own city. Our own
steep and towering rock invited to its top the castle-builder of a
remote age, and then the exposed country around began to gather
itself together under the shelter of the bourg. And thus it is
that the military engineering of the Holy War makes that old
allegorical book most excellent to read, not only for common men
like you and me, who are bent on the fortification and the defence
of our own hearts, but for the military historians of those old
times also, for the experts of to-day also, and for all good
students of fortification. And the New Testament of the Divine
peace itself, as well as the Old Testament so full of the wars of
the Lord--they both support and serve as an encouragement and an
example to our spiritual author in the elaboration of his military
allegory. Every good soldier of Jesus Christ has by heart the
noble paradox of Paul to the Philippians--that the peace of God
which passeth all understanding shall keep their hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus. Let God's peace, he says, be your man of
war. Let His surpassing peace do both the work of war and the work
of peace also in your hearts and in your minds. Let that peace
both fortify with walls, and garrison with soldiers, and watch
every gate, and hold every street and lane of your hearts and of
your minds all around your hearts. And all through the Prince of
Peace, the Captain of all Holy War, Jesus Christ Himself. No
wonder, then, that in a strength--in a kind and in a degree of
strength--that passeth all understanding, this stately palace of
the heart is also here called a well-garrisoned castle.

3. And then for pleasantness the human heart is a perfect
paradise. For pleasantness the human heart is like those famous
royal parks of Nineveh and Babylon that sprang up in after days as
if to recover and restore the Garden of Eden that had been lost to
those eastern lands. But even Adam's own paradise was but a poor
outside imitation in earth and water, in flowers and fruits, of the
far better paradise God had planted within him. Take another
Mystic at this point upon paradise. 'My dear man,' exclaims Jacob
Behmen, 'the Garden of Eden is not paradise, neither does Moses say
so. Paradise is the divine joy, and that was in their own hearts
so long as they stood in the love of God. Paradise is the divine
and angelical joy, pure love, pure joy, pure gladness, in which
there is no fear, no misery, and no death. Which paradise neither
death nor the devil can touch. And yet it has no stone wall around
it; only a great gulf which no man or angel can cross but by that
new birth of which Christ spoke to Nicodemus. Reason asks, Where
is paradise to be found? Is it far off or near? Is it in this
world or is it above the stars? Where is that desirable native
country where there is no death? Beloved, there is nothing nearer
you at this moment than paradise, if you incline that way. God
beckons you back into paradise at this moment, and calls you by
name to come. Come, He says, and be one of My paradise children.
In paradise,' the Teutonic Philosopher goes on, 'there is nothing
but hearty love, a meek and a gentle love; a most friendly and most
courteous discourse: a gracious, amiable, and blessed society,
where the one is always glad to see the other, and to honour the
other. They know of no malice in paradise, no cunning, no
subtlety, and no sly deceit. But the fruits of the Spirit of God
are common among them in paradise, and one may make use of all the
good things of paradise without causing disfavour, or hatred, or
envy, for there is no contrary affection there, but all hearts
there are knit together in love. In paradise they love one
another, and rejoice in the beauty, loveliness, and gladness of one
another. No one esteems or accounts himself more excellent than
another in paradise; but every one has great joy in another, and
rejoices in another's fair beauty, whence their love to one another
continually increases, so that they lead one another by the hand,
and so friendly kiss one another.' Thus the blessed Behmen saw
paradise and had it in his heart as he sat over his hammer and
lapstone in his solitary stall. For of such as Jacob Behmen and
John Bunyan is the kingdom of heaven, and all such saintly souls
have paradise restored again and improved upon in their own hearts.

4. And for largeness a place so copious as to contain all the
world. Over against the word 'copious' Bunyan hangs for a key,
Ecclesiastes third and eleventh; and under it Miss Peacock adds
this as a note--'Copious, spacious. Old French, copieux; Latin,
copiosus, plentiful.' The human heart, as we have already read to-
night, is the highest, greatest, strongest, and noblest part of
human nature. And so it is. Fearfully and wonderfully made as is
the whole of human nature, that fear and that wonder surpass
themselves in the spaciousness and the copiousness of the human
heart. For what is it that the human heart has not space for, and
to spare? After the whole world is received home into a human
heart, there is room, and, indeed, hunger, for another world, and
after that for still another. The sun is--I forget how many times
bigger than our whole world, and yet we can open our heart and take
down the sun into it, and shut him out again and restore him to his
immeasurable distances in the heavens, and all in the twinkling of
an eye. As for instance. As I wrote these lines I read a report
of a lecture by Sir Robert Ball in which that distinguished
astronomer discoursed on recent solar discoveries. A globe of
coal, Sir Robert said, as big as our earth, and all set ablaze at
the same moment, would not give out so much heat to the worlds
around as the sun gives out in a thousandth part of a second.
Well, as I read that, and ere ever I was aware what was going on,
my heart had opened over my newspaper, and the sun had swept down
from the sky, and had rushed into my heart, and before I knew where
I was the cry had escaped my lips, 'Great and marvellous are Thy
works, Lord God Almighty! Who shall not fear Thee and glorify thy
name?' And then this reflection as suddenly came to me: How good
it is to be at peace with God, and to be able and willing to say,
My Father! That the whole of the surging and flaming sun was
actually down in my straitened and hampered heart at that idle
moment over my paper is scientifically demonstrable; for only that
which is in the heart of a man can kindle the passions that are in
the heart of that man; and nothing is more sure to me than that the
great passions of fear and love, wonder and rapture were at that
moment at a burning point within me. There is a passage well on in
the Holy War, which for terror and for horror, and at the same time
for truth and for power, equals anything either in Dante or in
Milton. Lucifer has stood up at the council board to second the
scheme of Beelzebub. 'Yes,' he said, amid the plaudits of his
fellow-princes--'Yes, I swear it. Let us fill Mansoul full with
our abundance. Let us make of this castle, as they vainly call it,
a warehouse, as the name is in some of their cities above. For if
we can only get Mansoul to fill herself full with much goods she is
henceforth ours. My peers,' he said, 'you all know His parable of
how unblessed riches choke the word; and, again, we know what
happens when the hearts of men are overcharged with surfeiting and
with drunkenness. Let us give them all that, then, to their
heart's desire.' This advice of Lucifer, our history tells us, was
highly applauded in hell, and ever since it has proved their
masterpiece to choke Mansoul with the fulness of this world, and to
surfeit the heart with the good things thereof. But, my brethren,
you will outwit hell herself and all her counsellors and all her
machinations, if, out of all the riches, pleasures, cares, and
possessions, that both heaven and earth and hell can heap into your
heart, those riches, pleasures, cares, and possessions but produce
corresponding passions and affections towards God and man. Only
let fear, and love, and thankfulness, and helpfulness be kindled
and fed to all their fulness in your heart, and all the world and
all that it contains will only leave the more room in your
boundless heart for God and for your brother. All that God has
made, or could make with all His counsel and all His power laid
out, will not fill your boundless and bottomless heart. He must
come down and come into your boundless and bottomless heart
Himself. Himself: your Father, your Redeemer, and your Sanctifier
and Comforter also. Let the whole universe try to fill your heart,
O man of God, and after it all we shall hear you singing in famine
and in loneliness the doleful ditty:

'O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

5. 'Madame,' said a holy solitary to Madame Guyon in her misery--
'Madame, you are disappointed and perplexed because you seek
without what you have within. Accustom yourself to seek for God in
your own heart and you will always find Him there.' From that hour
that gifted woman was a Mystic. The secret of the interior life
flashed upon her in a moment. She had been starving in the midst
of fulness; God was near and not far off; the kingdom of heaven was
within her. The love of God from that hour took possession of her
soul with an inexpressible happiness. Prayer, which had before
been so difficult, was now delightful and indispensable; hours
passed away like moments: she could scarcely cease from praying.
Her domestic trials seemed great to her no longer; her inward joy
consumed like a fire the reluctance, the murmur, and the sorrow,
which all had their birth in herself. A spirit of comforting
peace, a sense of rejoicing possession, pervaded all her days. God
was continually with her, and she seemed continually yielded up to
God. 'Madame,' said the solitary, 'you seek without for what you
have within.' Where do you seek for God when you pray, my
brethren? To what place do you direct your eyes? Is it to the
roof of your closet? Is it to the east end of your consecrated
chapel? Is it to that wooden table in the east end of your chapel?
Or, passing out of all houses made with hands and consecrated with
holy oil, do you lift up your eyes to the skies where the sun and
the moon and the stars dwell alone? 'What a folly!' exclaims
Theophilus, in the golden dialogue, 'for no way is the true way to
God but by the way of our own heart. God is nowhere else to be
found. And the heart itself cannot find Him but by its own love of
Him, faith in Him, dependence upon Him, resignation to Him, and
expectation of all from Him.' 'You have quite carried your point
with me,' answered Theogenes after he had heard all that Theophilus
had to say. 'The God of meekness, of patience, and of love is
henceforth the one God of my heart. It is now the one bent and
desire of my soul to seek for all my salvation in and through the
merits and mediation of the meek, humble, patient, resigned,
suffering Lamb of God, who alone has power to bring forth the
blessed birth of those heavenly virtues in my soul. What a comfort
it is to think that this Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Light of
the World; this Glory of heaven and this Joy of angels is as near
to us, is as truly in the midst of us, as He is in the midst of
heaven. And that not a thought, look, or desire of our heart that
presses toward Him, longing to catch one small spark of His
heavenly nature, but is as sure a way of finding Him, as the
woman's way was who was healed of her deadly disease by longing to
touch but the border of His garment.'

To sum up. 'There is reared up in the midst of Mansoul a most
famous and stately palace: for strength, it may be called a
castle; for pleasantness, a paradise; and for largeness, a place so
copious as to contain all the world. This palace the King intends
but for Himself alone, and not another with Him, and He commits the
keeping of that palace day and night to the men of the town.'


- 'to will is present with me.'--Paul

There is a large and a learned literature on the subject of the
will. There is a philosophical and a theological, and there is a
religious and an experimental literature on the will. Jonathan
Edwards's well-known work stands out conspicuously at the head of
the philosophical and theological literature on the will, while our
own Thomas Boston's Fourfold State is a very able and impressive
treatise on the more practical and experimental side of the same
subject. The Westminster Confession of Faith devotes one of its
very best chapters to the teaching of the word of God on the will
of man, and the Shorter Catechism touches on the same subject in
Effectual Calling. Outstanding philosophical and theological
schools have been formed around the will, and both able and learned
and earnest men have taken opposite sides on the subject of the
will under the party names of Necessitarians and Libertarians.
This is not the time, nor am I the man, to discuss such abstruse
subjects; but those students who wish to master this great matter
of the will, so far as it can be mastered in books, are recommended
to begin with Dr. William Cunningham's works, and then to go on
from them to a treatise that will reward all their talent and all
their enterprise, Jonathan Edwards's perfect masterpiece.

1. But, to come to my Lord Willbewill, one of the gentry of the
famous town of Mansoul:- well, this Lord Willbewill was as high-
born as any man in Mansoul, and was as much a freeholder as any of
them were, if not more. Besides, if I remember my tale aright, he
had some privileges peculiar to himself in that famous town. Now,
together with these, he was a man of great strength, resolution,
and courage; nor in his occasion could any turn him away. But
whether he was too proud of his high estate, privileges, and
strength, or what (but sure it was through pride of something), he
scorns now to be a slave in Mansoul, as his own proud word is, so
that now, next to Diabolus himself, who but my Lord Willbewill in
all that town? Nor could anything now be done but at his beck and
good pleasure throughout that town. Indeed, it will not out of my
thoughts what a desperate fellow this Willbewill was when full
power was put into his hand. All which--how this apostate prince
lost power and got it again, and lost it and got it again--the
interested and curious reader will find set forth with great
fulness and clearness in many powerful pages of the Holy War.

John Bunyan was as hard put to it to get the right name for this
head of the gentry of Mansoul as Paul was to get the right name for
sin in the seventh of the Romans. In that profoundest and
intensest of all his profound and intense passages, the apostle has
occasion to seek about for some expression, some epithet, some
adjective, as we say, to apply to sin so as to help him to bring
out to his Roman readers something of the malignity, deadliness,
and unspeakable evil of sin as he had sin living and working in
himself. But all the resources of the Greek language, that most
resourceful of languages, utterly failed Paul for his pressing
purpose. And thus it is that, as if in scorn of the feebleness and
futility of that boasted tongue, he tramples its grammars and its
dictionaries under his feet, and makes new and unheard-of words and
combinations of words on the spot for himself and for his subject.
He heaps up a hyperbole the like of which no orator or rhetorician
of Greece or Rome had ever needed or had ever imagined before. He
takes sin, and he makes a name for sin out of itself. The only way
to describe sin, he feels, the only way to characterise sin, the
only way to aggravate sin, is just to call it sin; sinful sin; 'sin
by the commandment became exceeding sinful.' And, in like manner,
John Bunyan, who has only his own mother tongue to work with, in
his straits to get a proper name for this terrible fellow who was
next to Diabolus himself, cannot find a proud enough name for him
but just by giving him his own name, and then doubling it. Add
will to will, multiply will by will, and multiply it again, and
after you have done all you are no nearer to a proper name for that
apostate, who, for pride, and insolence, and headstrongness, in one
word, for wilfulness, is next to Diabolus himself. But as
Willbewill, if he is to be named and described at all, is best
named and described by his own naked name; so Bunyan is always best
illustrated out of his own works. And I turn accordingly to the
Heavenly Footman for an excellent illustration of the wilfulness of
the will both in a good man and in a bad; as, thus: 'Your self-
willed people, nobody knows what to do with them. We use to say,
He will have his own will, do all we can. If a man be willing,
then any argument shall be matter of encouragement; but if
unwilling, then any argument shall give discouragement. The saints
of old, they being willing and resolved for heaven, what could stop
them? Could fire and fagot, sword or halter, dungeons, whips,
bears, bulls, lions, cruel rackings, stonings, starvings,
nakedness? So willing had they been made in the day of His power.
And see, on the other side, the children of the devil, because they
are not willing, how many shifts and starting-holes they will have!
I have married a wife; I have a farm; I shall offend my landlord; I
shall lose my trade; I shall be mocked and scoffed at, and
therefore I cannot come. But, alas! the thing is, they are not
willing. For, were they once soundly willing, these, and a
thousand things such as these, would hold them no faster than the
cords held Samson when he broke them like flax. I tell you the
will is all. The Lord give thee a will, then, and courage of

2. Let that, then, suffice for this man's name and nature, and let
us look at him now when his name and his nature have both become
evil; that is to say, when Willbewill has become Illwill. You can
imagine; no, you cannot imagine unless you already know, how evil,
and how set upon evil, Illwill was. His whole mind, we are told,
now stood bending itself to evil. Nay, so set was he now upon
sheer evil that he would act it of his own accord, and without any
instigation at all from Diabolus. And that went on till he was
looked on in the city as next in wickedness to very Diabolus
himself. Parable apart, my ill-willed brethren, our ill-will has
made us very fiends in human shape. What a fall, what a fate, what
a curse it is to be possessed of a devil of ill-will! Who can put
proper words on it after Paul had to confess himself silent before
it? Who can utter the diabolical nature, the depth and the
secrecy, the subtlety and the spirituality, the range and the
reach-out of an ill-will? Our hearts are full of ill-will at those
we meet and shake hands with every day. At men also we have never
seen, and who are totally ignorant even of our existence. Over a
thousand miles we dart our viperous hearts at innocent men. At
great statesmen we have ill-will, and at small; at great churchmen
and at small; at great authors and at small; at great, and famous,
and successful men in all lines of life; for it is enough for ill-
will that another man be praised, and well-paid, and prosperous,
and then placed in our eye. No amount of suffering will satiate
ill-will; the very grave has no seal against it. And, now and
then, you have it thrust upon you that other men have the same
devil in them as deeply and as actively as he is in you. You will
suddenly run across a man on the street. His face was shining with
some praise he had just had spoken to him, or with some recognition
he had just received from some great one; or with some good news
for himself he had just heard, before he caught sight of you. But
the light suddenly dies on his face, and darkness comes up out of
his heart at his sudden glimpse of you. What is the matter? you
ask yourself as he scowls past you. What have you done so to
darken any man's heart to you? And as you stumble on in the
sickening cloud he has left behind him, you suddenly recollect that
you were once compelled to vote against that man on a public
question: on some question of home franchise, or foreign war, or
church government, or city business; or perchance, a family has
left his shop to do business in yours, or his church to worship God
in yours, or such like. It will be a certain relief to you to
recollect such things. But with it all there will be a shame and a
humiliation and a deep inward pain that will escape into a cry of
prayer for him and for yourself and for all such sinners on the
same street. If you do not find an escape from your sharp
resentment in ejaculatory prayer and in a heart-cleansing great
good-will, your heart, before you are a hundred steps on, will be
as black with ill-will as his is. But that must not again be.
Would you hate or strike back at a blind man who stumbled and fell
against you on the street? Would you retaliate at a maniac who
gnashed his teeth and shook his fist at you on his way past you to
the madhouse? Or at a corpse being carried past you that had been
too long without burial? And shall you retaliate on a miserable
man driven mad with diabolical passion? Or at a poor sinner whose
heart is as rotten as the grave? Ill-will is abroad in our learned
and religious city at all hours of the day and night. He glares at
us under the sun by day, and under the street lamps at night. We
suddenly feel his baleful eye on us as we thoughtlessly pass under
his overlooking windows: it will be a side street and an
unfrequented, where you will not be ashamed and shocked and pained
at heart to meet him. Public men; much purchased and much praised
men; rich and prosperous men; men high in talent and in place; and,
indeed, all manner of men,--walk abroad in this life softly. Keep
out of sight. Take the side streets, and return home quickly. You
have no idea what an offence and what a snare you are to men you
know, and to men you do not know. If you are a public man, and if
your name is much in men's mouths, then the place you hold, the
prices and the praises you get, do not give you one-tenth of the
pleasure that they give a thousand other men pain. Men you never
heard of, and who would not know you if they met you, gnaw their
hearts at the mere mention of your name. Desire, then, to be
unknown, as A Kempis says. O teach me to love to be concealed,
prays Jeremy Taylor. Be ambitious to be unknown, Archbishop
Leighton also instructs us. And the great Fenelon took Ama nesciri
for his crest and for his motto. No wonder that an apostle cried
out under the agony and the shame of ill-will. No wonder that to
kill it in the hearts of men the Son of God died under it on the
cross. And no wonder that all the gates of hell are wide open, day
and night, for there is no day there, to receive home all those who
will entertain ill-will in their hearts, and all the gates of
heaven shut close to keep all ill-will for ever out.

3. But, bad enough as all that is, the half has not been told, and
never will be told in this life. Butler has a passage that has
long stumbled me, and it stumbles me the more the longer I live and
study him and observe myself. 'Resentment,' he says, in a very
deep and a very serious passage--'Resentment being out of the case,
there is not, properly speaking, any such thing as direct ill-will
in one man towards another.' Well, great and undisputed as
Butler's authority is in all these matters, at the same time he
would be the first to admit and to assert that a man's inward
experience transcends all outward authority. Well, I am filled
with shame and pain and repentance and remorse to have to say it,
but my experience carries me right in the teeth of Butler's
doctrine. I have dutifully tried to look at Butler's inviting and
exonerating doctrine in all possible lights, and from all possible
points of view, in the anxious wish to prove it true; but I dare
not say that I have succeeded. The truth for thee--my heart would
continually call to me--the best truth for thee is in me, and not
in any Butler! And when looking as closely as I can at my own
heart in the matter of ill-will, what do I find--and what will you
find? You will find that after subtracting all that can in any
proper sense come under the head of real resentment, and in cases
where real resentment is out of the question; in cases where you
have received no injury, no neglect, no contempt, no anything
whatsoever of that kind, you will find that there are men innocent
of all that to you, yet men to whom you entertain feelings,
animosities, antipathies, that can be called by no other name than
that of ill-will. Look within and see. Watch within and see. And
I am sure you will come to subscribe with me to the humbling and
heart-breaking truth, that, even where there is no resentment, and
no other explanation, excuse, or palliation of that kind, yet that
festering, secret, malignant ill-will is working in the bottom of
your heart. If you doubt that, if you deny that, if all that kind
of self-observation and self-sentencing is new to you, then observe
yourself, say, for one week, and report at the end of it whether or
no you have had feelings and thoughts and wishes in your secret
heart toward men who never in any way hurt you, which can only be
truthfully described as pure ill-will; that is to say, you have not
felt and thought and wished toward them as you would have them, and
all men, feel and think and wish toward you.

4. 'To will is present with me, but how to perform I find not,'
says the apostle; and again, 'Ye cannot do the things that ye
would.' Or, as Dante has it,

'The power which wills
Bears not supreme control; laughter and tears
Follow so closely on the passion prompts them,
They wait not for the motion of the will
In natures most sincere.'

Now, just here lies a deep distinction that has not been enough
taken account of by our popular, or even by our more profound,
spiritual writers. The will is often regenerate and right; the
will often bends, as Bunyan has it, to that which is good; but
behind the will and beneath the will the heart is still full of
passions, affections, inclinations, dispositions that are evil;
instinctively, impulsively, involuntarily evil, even 'in natures
most sincere.' And hence arises a conflict, a combat, a death-
grip, an agony, a hell on earth, that every regenerate and
advancing soul of man is full of His will is right. If his will is
wrong; if he chooses evil; then there is no mystery in the matter
so far as he is concerned. He is a bad man, and he is so
intentionally and deliberately and of set purpose; and it is a rule
in divine truth that 'wilfulness in sinning is the measure of our
sinfulness.' But his will is right. To will is present with him.
He is every day like Thomas Boston one Sabbath-day: 'Though I
cannot be free of sin, God Himself knows that He would be welcome
to make havoc of my sins and to make me holy. I know no lust that
I would not be content to part with to-night. My will, bound hand
and foot, I desire to lay at His feet.' Now, is it not as clear as
noonday that in the case of such a man as Boston his mind is one
thing and his heart another? Is it not plain that he has both a
good-will and an ill-will within him? A will that immediately and
resolutely chooses for God, and for truth, and for righteousness,
and for love; and another law in his members warring against that
law of his mind? 'Before conversion,' says Thomas Shepard, 'the
main wound of a man is in his will. And then, after conversion,
though his will is changed, yet, ex infirmitate, there are many
things that he cannot do, so strong is the remnant of malignity
that is still in his heart. Let him get Christ to help him here.'
In all that ye see your calling, my brethren.

5. 'Now, if I do that I would not,' adds the apostle, extricating
himself and giving himself fair-play and his simple due among all
his misery and self-accusation--'Now, if I do that I would not, it
is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.' Or, again,
as William Law has it: 'All our natural evil ceases to be our own
evil as soon as our will turns away from it. Our natural evil then
changes its nature and loses all its poison and death, and becomes
an holy cross on which we die to self and this life and enter the
kingdom of heaven.' My dear brethren, tell me, is your sin your
cross? Is your sinfulness your cross? Is the evil that is ever
present with you your holy cross? For, every other cross beside
sin is a cross of straw, a cross of feathers, a paste-board and a
painted cross, and not a real and genuine cross at all. The wood
and the nails and the spear all taken together were not our Lord's
real cross. His real cross was sin; our sin laid on His hands, and
on His heart, and on His imagination, and on His conscience, till
it was all but His very own sin. Our sin was so fearfully and
wonderfully laid upon Christ that He was as good as a sinner
Himself under it. So much so that all the nails and all the
spears, all the thirst and all the darkness that His body and His
soul could hold were as nothing beside the sin that was laid upon
Him. And so it is with us; with as many of us as are His true
disciples. Our sin is our cross; not our actual transgressions,
any more than His; but our inward sinfulness. And not the
sinfulness of our will; that is no real cross to any man; but the
sinfulness of our hearts against our will, and beneath our will,
and behind our will. And this is such a cross that if Christ had
something in His cross that we have not, then we have something in
ours that He had not. He made many sad and sore Psalms His own;
but even if He had lived on earth to read the seventh of the
Romans, He could not have made it His own. His true people are
beyond Him here. The disciple is above his Master here. The
Master had His own cross, and it was a sufficient cross; but we can
challenge Him to come down and look and say if He ever saw a cross
like our cross. He was made a curse. He was hanged on the tree.
He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. But his people are
beyond Him in the real agony and crucifixion of sin. For He never
in Gethsemane or on Calvary either cried as Paul once cried, and as
you and I cry every day--To will is present with me! But the good
that I would I do not! And, oh! the body of this death!

6. Now, if any total stranger to all that shall ask me: What good
there is in all that? and, Why I so labour in such a world of
unaccustomed and unpleasant things as that? I have many answers to
his censure. For example, and first, I labour and will continue to
labour more and more in this world of things, and less and less in
any other world, because here we begin to see things as they are--
the deepest things of God and of man, that is. Also, because I
have the precept, and the example, and the experience of God's
greatest and best saints before me here. Because, also, our full
and true salvation begins here, goes on here, and ends here.
Because, also, teaching these things and learning these things will
infallibly make us the humblest of men, the most contrite, the most
self-despising, the most prayerful, and the most patient, meek, and
loving of men. And, students, I labour in this because this is
science; because this is the first in order and the most fruitful
of all the sciences, if not the noblest and the most glorious of
all the sciences. There is all that good for us in this subject of
the will and the heart, and whole worlds of good lie away out
beyond this subject that eye hath not seen nor ear heard.


'This know, that men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,
boasters, proud, unthankful, without natural affection, truce-
breakers, false accusers, traitors, heady, high-minded: from all
such turn away.'--Paul.

'Pray, sir, said Academicus, tell me more plainly just what this
self of ours actually is. Self, replied Theophilus, is hell, it is
the devil, it is darkness, pain, and disquiet. It is the one and
only enemy of Christ. It is the great antichrist. It is the
scarlet whore, it is the fiery dragon, it is the old serpent that
is mentioned in the Revelation of St John. You rather terrify me
than instruct me by this description, said Academicus. It is
indeed a very frightful matter, returned Theophilus; for it
contains everything that man has to dread and to hate, to resist
and to avoid. Yet be assured, my friend, that, careless and merry
as this world is, every man that is born into this world has all
those enemies to overcome within himself; and every man, till he is
in the way of regeneration, is more or less governed by those
enemies. No hell in any remote place, no devil that is separate
from you, no darkness or pain that is not within you, no antichrist
either at Rome or in England, no furious beast, no fiery dragon,
without you or apart from you, can do you any real hurt. It is
your own hell, your own devil, your own beast, your own antichrist,
your own dragon that lives in your own heart's blood that alone can
hurt you. Die to this self, to this inward nature, and then all
outward enemies are overcome. Live to this self, and then, when
this life is out, all that is within you, and all that is without
you, will be nothing else but a mere seeing and feeling this hell,
serpent, beast, and fiery dragon. But, said Theogenes, a third
party who stood by, I would, if I could, more perfectly understand
the precise nature of self, or what it is that makes it to be so
full of evil and misery. To whom Theophilus turned and replied:
Covetousness, envy, pride, and wrath are the four elements of self.
And hence it is that the whole life of self can be nothing else but
a plague and torment of covetousness, envy, pride, and wrath, all
of which is precisely sinful nature, self, or hell. Whilst man
lives, indeed, among the vanities of time, his covetousness, his
envy, his pride, and his wrath, may be in a tolerable state, and
may help him to a mixture of peace and trouble; they may have their
gratifications as well as their torments. But when death has put
an end to the vanity of all earthly cheats, the soul that is not
born again of the supernatural Word and Spirit of God must find
itself unavoidably devoured by itself, shut up in its own
insatiable, unchangeable, self-tormenting covetousness, envy,
pride, and wrath. O Theogenes! that I had power from God to take
those dreadful scales off men's eyes that hinder them from seeing
and feeling the infinite importance of this most certain truth!
God give a blessing, Theophilus, to your good prayer. And then let
me tell you that you have quite satisfied my question about the
nature of self. I shall never forget it, nor can I ever possibly
after this have any doubt about the truth of it.'

1. 'All my theology,' said an old friend of mine to me not long
ago--'all my theology is out of Thomas Goodwin to the Ephesians.'
Well, I find Thomas Goodwin saying in that great book that self is
the very quintessence of original sin; and, again, he says, study
self-love for a thousand years and it is the top and the bottom of
original sin; self is the sin that dwelleth in us and that doth
most easily beset us. Now, that is just what Academicus and
Theophilus and Theogenes have been saying to us in their own
powerful way in their incomparable dialogue. All sin and all
misery; all covetousness, envy, pride, and wrath,--trace it all
back to its roots, travel it all up to its source, and, as sure as
you do that, self and self-love are that source, that root, and
that black bottom. I do not forget that Butler has said in some
stately pages of his that self-love is morally good; that self-love
is coincident with the principle of virtue and part of the idea;
and that it is a proper motive for man. But the deep bishop, in
saying all that, is away back at the creation-scheme and Eden-state
of human nature. He has not as yet come down to human nature in
its present state of overthrow, dismemberment, and self-
destruction. But when he does condescend and comes close to the
mind and the heart of man as they now are in all men, even Butler
becomes as outspoken, and as eloquent, and as full of passion and
pathos as if he were an evangelical Puritan. Self-love, Butler
startles his sober-minded reader as he bursts out--self-love rends
and distorts the mind of man! Now, you are a man. Well, then, do
you feel and confess that rending and distorting to have taken
place in you? Butler is a philosopher, and Goodwin is a preacher,
but you are more: you are a man. You are the owner of a human
heart, and you can say whether or no it is a rent and a distorted
heart. Is your mind warped and wrenched by self-love, and is your
heart rent and torn by the same wicked hands? Do you really feel
that it needs nothing more to take you back again to paradise but
that your heart be delivered from self-love? Do you now understand
that the foundations of heaven itself must be laid in a heart
healed and cleansed and delivered from self-love? If you do, then
your knowledge of your own heart has set you abreast of the
greatest of philosophers and theologians and preachers. Nay,
before multitudes of men who are called such. It is my meditation
all the day, you say. I have more understanding now than all my
teachers; for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more
than the ancients; because now I keep Thy precepts.

2. 'Self-love has made us all malicious,' says John Calvin. We
are Calvinists, were we to call any man master. But we are to call
no man master, and least of all in the matters of the heart. Every
man must be his own philosopher, his own moralist, and his own
theologian in the matters of the heart. He who has a heart in his
bosom and an eye in his head can need no Calvin, no Butler, no
Goodwin, and no Law to tell him what goes on in his own heart.
And, on the other hand, his own heart will soon tell him whether or
no Calvin, and Butler, and Goodwin, and Law know anything about
those matters on which some men would set them up as our masters.
Well, come away all of you who own a human heart. Come and say
whether or no your heart, and the self-love of which it is full,
have made you a malicious man. I do not ask if you are always and
to everybody full of maliciousness. No; I know quite well that you
are sometimes as sweet as honey and as soft as butter. For, has
not even Theophilus said that whilst a man still lives among the
vanities of time, his covetousness, his envy, his pride, and his
wrath may be in a tolerable state, and may help him to a mixture of
peace and trouble; these vices may have their gratifications as
well as their torments. No; I do not trifle with you and with this
serious matter so as to ask if you are full of malice at all times
and to all men. No. For, let a man be fortunate enough to be on
your side; let him pass over to your party; let him become
profitable to you; let him be clever enough and mean enough to
praise and to flatter you up to the top of your appetite for praise
and flattery, and, no doubt, you will love that man. Or, if that
is not exactly love, at least it is no longer hate. But let that
man unfortunately be led to leave your party; let him cease being
profitable to you; let him weary of flattering you with his praise;
let him forget you, neglect you, despise you, and go against you,
and then look at your own heart. Do you care now to know what
malice is? Well, that is malice that distorts and rends your heart
as often as you meet that man on the street or even pass by his
door. That is malice that dances in your eyes when you see his
name in print. That is malice with which you always break out when
his name is mentioned in conversation. That is malice that heats
your heart when you suddenly recollect him in the multitude of your
thoughts within you. And you are in good company all the time.
'We, ourselves,' says Paul to Titus, 'we also at one time lived in
malice and in envy. We were hateful and we hated one another.'
'Hateful,' Goodwin goes on in his great book, 'every man is to
another man more or less; he is hated of another and he hateth
another more or less; and if his nature were let out to the full,
there is that in him, "every man is against every man," as is said
of Ishmael. Homo homini lupus,' adds our brave preacher. And Abbe
Grou speaks out with the same challenge from the opposite church
pole, and says: 'Yes; self-love makes us touchy, ready to take
offence, ill-tempered, suspicious, severe, exacting, easily
offended; it keeps alive in our hearts a certain malignity, a
secret joy at the mortifications which befall our neighbour; it
nourishes our readiness to criticise, our dislike at certain
persons, our ill-feeling, our bitterness, and a thousand other
things prejudicial to charity.'

3. 'Myself is my own worst enemy,' says Abbe Grou. That is to
say, we may have enemies who hate us more than we hate ourselves,
and enemies who would hurt us, if they could, as much as we hurt
ourselves; but the Abbe's point is that they cannot. And he is
right. No man has ever hurt me as I have hurt myself. There are
men who hate me so much that they would poison my life of all its
peace and happiness if they could. But they cannot. They cannot;
but let them not be cast down on that account, for there is one who
can do, and who will do as long as he lives, what they cannot do.
A man's foes, to be called foes, are in his own house: they are in
his own heart. Let our enemies attend to their own peace and
happiness, and our self-love will do all, and more than all, that
they would fain do. At the most, they and their ill-will can only
give occasion to our self-love; but it is our self-love that seizes
upon the occasion, and through it rends and distorts our own
hearts. And were our hearts only pure of self-love, were our
hearts only clothed with meekness and humility, we could laugh at
all the ill-will of our enemies as leviathan laughs at the shaking
of a spear. 'Know thou,' says A Kempis to his son, 'that the love
of thyself doth do thee more hurt than anything in the whole
world.' Yes; but we shall never know that by merely reading The
Imitation. We must read ourselves. We must study, as we study
nothing else, our own rent and distorted hearts. Our own hearts
must be our daily discovery. We must watch the wounds our hearts
take every day; and we must give all our powers of mind to tracing
all our wounds back to their true causes. We must say: 'that sore
blow came on my mind and on my heart from such and such a quarter,
from such and such a hand, from such and such a weapon; but this
pain, this rankling, poisoned, and ever-festering wound, this
sleepless, gnawing, cancerous sore, comes from the covetousness,
the pride, the envy, and the wrath of my own heart.' When we begin
to say that, we shall then begin to understand and to love Thomas;
we shall sit daily at his feet and shall be numbered among his

4. And this suffering at our own hands goes on till at last the
tables are completely turned against self-love, and till what was
once to us the dearest thing in the whole world becomes, as Pascal
says, the most hateful. We begin life by hating the men, and the
things, who hurt us. We hate the men who oppose us and hinder us;
the men who speak, and write, and act, and go in any way against
us. We bitterly hate all who humble us, despise us, trample upon
us, and in any way ill-use us. But afterwards, when we have become
men, men in experience of this life, and, especially, of ourselves
in this life; after we gain some real insight and attain to some
real skill in the life of the heart, we come round to forgive those
we once hated. We have come now to see why they did it. We see
now exactly how much they hurt us after all, and how little. And,
especially, we have come to see,--what at one time we could not
have believed,--that all our hurt, to be called hurt, has come to
us from ourselves. And thus that great revolution of mind and that
great revulsion of feeling and of passion has taken place, after
which we are left with no one henceforth to hate, to be called
hating, but ourselves. We may still continue to avoid our enemies,
and we may do that too long and too much; we may continue to fear
them and be on the watch against them far too much; but to
deliberately hate them is henceforth impossible. All our hatred,--
all our deliberate, steady, rooted, active hatred,--is now at
ourselves; at ourselves, that is, so far and so long as we remain
under the malignant and hateful dominion of self-love. When Butler
gets our self-love restored to reasonableness, and made coincident
with virtue and part of the idea; when our self-love becomes
uniformly coincident with the principle of obedience to God's
commands, then we shall love ourselves as our neighbour, and our
neighbour as ourselves, and both in God. But, till then, there is
nothing and no one on earth or in hell so hateful to us as
ourselves and our own hateful hearts. And if in that we are
treading the winepress alone as far as our fellow-men are
concerned, all the more we have Him with us in all our agony who
wept over the heart of man because He knew what was in it, and what
must always come out of it. Evil thoughts, He said, and
fornications, and murders, and thefts, and covetousness, and
wickedness, and deceit, and an evil eye, and pride, and folly, and
what not. And Paul has the mind of Christ with him in the text. I
do not need to repeat again the hateful words. Now, what do you
say? was Pascal beyond the truth, was he deeper than the truth or
more deadly than the truth when he said with a stab that self is
hateful? I think not.

5. 'Oh that I were free, then, of myself,' wrote Samuel Rutherford
from Aberdeen in 1637 to John Ferguson of Ochiltree. 'What need we
all have to be ransomed and redeemed from that master-tyrant, that
cruel and lawless lord, ourself! Even when I am most out of
myself, and am best serving Christ, I have a squint eye on myself.'
And to the Laird of Cally in the same year and from the same place:
'Myself is the master idol we all bow down to. Every man blameth
the devil for his sins, but the house devil of every man that
eateth with him and lieth in his bosom is himself. Oh blessed are
they who can deny themselves!' And to the Irish ministers the year
after: 'Except men martyr and slay the body of sin in sanctified
self-denial, they shall never be Christ's. Oh, if I could but be
master of myself, my own mind, my own will, my own credit, my own
love, how blessed were I! But alas! I shall die only minting and
aiming at being a Christian.'


'Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the
waters of Israel?'--Naaman.

'Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?'--Nathanael.

' . . observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by

Old Mr. Prejudice was well known in the wars of Mansoul as an
angry, unhappy, and ill-conditioned old churl. Old Mr. Prejudice
was placed by Diabolus, his master, as keeper of the ward at the
post of Ear-gate, and for that fatal service he had sixty
completely deaf men put under him as his company. Men eminently
advantageous for that fatal service. Eminently advantageous,--
inasmuch as it mattered not one atom to them what was spoken in
their ear either by God or by man.

1. Now, to begin with, this churlish old man had already earned
for himself a very evil name. For what name could well be more
full of evil memories and of evil omens than just this name of
Prejudice? Just consider what prejudice is. Prejudice, when we
stop over it and take it to pieces and look well at it,--prejudice
is so bad and so abominable that you would not believe it could be
so bad till you had looked at it and at how it acts in your own
case. For prejudice gives judgment on your case and gives orders
for your execution before your defence has been heard, before your
witnesses have been called, before your summons has been served,
ay, and even before your indictment has been drawn out. What a
scandal and what an uproar a malfeasance of justice like that would
cause if it were to take place in any of our courts of law! Only,
the thing is impossible; you cannot even imagine it. We shall have
Magna Charta up before us in the course of these lectures. Well,
ever since Magna Charta was extorted from King John, such a scandal
as I have supposed has been impossible either in England or in
Scotland. And that such cases should still be possible in Russia
and in Turkey places those two old despotisms outside the pale of
the civilised world. And yet, loudly as we all denounce the Czar
and the Sultan, eloquently as we boast over Magna Charta, Habeas
Corpus, and what not, every day you and I are doing what would cost
an English king his crown, and an English judge his head. We all
do it every day, and it never enters one mind out of a hundred that
we are trampling down truth, and righteousness, and fairplay, and
brotherly love. We do not know what a diabolical wickedness we are
perpetrating every day. The best men among us are guilty of that
iniquity every day, and they never confess it to themselves; no one
ever accuses them of it; and they go down to death and judgment
unsuspicious of the discovery that they will soon make there. You
would not steal a stick or a straw that belonged to me; but you
steal from me every day what all your gold and mine can never
redeem; you murder me every day in my best and my noblest life.
You me, and I you.

2. Old Mr. Prejudice. Now, there is a golden passage in Jonathan
Edwards's Diary that all old men should lay well to heart and
conscience. 'I observe,' Edwards enters, 'that old men seldom have
any advantage of new discoveries, because these discoveries are
beside a way of thinking they have been long used to. Resolved,
therefore, that, if ever I live to years, I will be impartial to
hear the reasons of all pretended discoveries, and receive them, if
rational, how long soever I have been used to another way of
thinking. I am too dogmatical; I have too much of egotism; my
disposition is always to be telling of my dislike and my scorn.'
What a fine, fresh, fruitful, progressive, and peaceful world we
should soon have if all our old and all our fast-ageing men would
enter that extract into their diary! How the young would then love
and honour and lean upon the old; and how all the fathers would
always abide young and full of youthful life like their children!
Then the righteous should flourish like the palm-tree; he should
grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They that be planted in the house of
the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still
bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.
What a free scope would then be given to all God's unfolding
providences, and what a warm welcome to all His advancing truths!
What sore and spreading wounds would then be salved, what health
and what vigour would fill all the body political, as well as all
the body mystical! May the Lord turn the heart of the fathers to
the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest
the earth be smitten with a curse!

3. Mr. Prejudice was an old man; and this also has been handed
down about him, that he was almost always angry. And if you keep
your eyes open you will soon see how true to the life that feature
of old Mr. Prejudice still is. In every conversation, discussion,
debate, correspondence, the angry man is invariably the prejudiced
man; and, according to the age and the depth, the rootedness and
the intensity of his prejudices, so is the ferocity and the
savagery of his anger. He has already settled this case that you
are irritating and wronging him so much by your still insisting on
bringing up. It is a reproach to his understanding for you to
think that there is anything to be said in that matter that he has
not long ago heard said and fully answered. Has he not denounced
that bad man and that bad cause for years? You insult me, sir, by
again opening up that matter in my presence. He will have none of
you or of your arguments either. You are as bad yourself as that
bad man is whose advocate you are. We all know men whose hearts
are full of coals of juniper, burning coals of hate and rage, just
by reason of their ferocious prejudices. Hate is too feeble a word
for their gnashing rage against this man and that cause, this
movement and that institution. There is an absolutely murderous
light in their eye as they work themselves up against the men and
the things they hate. Charity rejoices not in iniquity; but you
will see otherwise Christian and charitable men so jockeyed by the
devil that they actually rejoice in iniquity and do not know what
they are doing, or who it is that is egging them on to do it. You
will see otherwise and at other times good men so full of the rage
and madness of prejudice and partiality that they will storm at
every report of goodness and truth and prosperity in the man, or in
the cause, or in the church, or in the party, they are so demented
against. Jockey is not the word. There is the last triumph of
pure devilry in the way that the prince of the devils turns old
Prejudice's very best things--his love of his fathers, his love of
the past, his love of order, his love of loyalty, his love of the
old paths, and his very truest and best religion itself--into so
much fat fuel for the fires of hate and rage that are consuming his
proud heart to red-hot ashes. If the light that is in us be
darkness, how great is that darkness; and if the life that is in us
be death, how deadly is that death!

4. Old, angry, and ill-conditioned. Ill-conditioned is an old-
fashioned word almost gone out of date. But, all the same, it is a
very expressive, and to us to-night a quite indispensable word. An
ill-conditioned man is a man of an in-bred, cherished, and
confirmed ill-nature. His heart, which was a sufficiently bad
heart to begin with, is now so exercised in evil and so accustomed
to evil, that,--how can he be born again when he is so old and so
ill-natured? All the qualities, all the passions, all the emotions
of his heart are out of joint; their bent is bad; they run out
naturally to mischief. Now, what could possibly be more ill-
conditioned than to judge and sentence, denounce and execute a man
before you have heard his case? What could be more ill-conditioned
than positively to be afraid lest you should be led to forgive, and
redress, and love, and act with another man? To be determined not
to hear one word that you can help in his defence, in his favour,
and in his praise? Could a human heart be in a worse state on this
side hell itself than that? Nay, that is hell itself in your evil
heart already. Let prejudice and partiality have their full scope
among the wicked passions of your ill-conditioned heart, and lo!
the kingdom of darkness is already within you. Not, lo, here! or,
lo, there! but within you. Look to yourselves, says John to us
all, full as we all are of our own ill-conditions. Look to
yourselves. But we have no eyes left with which to see ourselves;
we look so much at the faults and the blames of our neighbour.
'Publius goes to church sometimes, and reads the Scriptures; but he
knows not what he reads or prays, his head is so full of politics.
He is so angry at kings and ministers of state that he has no time
nor disposition to call himself to account. He has the history of
all parliaments, elections, prosecutions, and impeachments by
heart, and he dies with little or no religion, through a constant
fear of Popery.' Poor, old, ill-conditioned Publius!

5. And, then, his sixty deaf men under old, angry, ill-conditioned
Prejudice. We read of engines of sixty-horse power. And here is a
man with the power of resisting and shutting out the truth equal to
that of sixty men like himself. We all know such men; we would as

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