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The city of Mansoul is visited by Diabolus (Satan) and Incredulous (Unbelief) in this classic.  With Innocence and Resistance destroyed by the enemies of Mansoul, the city soon is taken captive through the Eye Gate and Ear Gate.

Lord Will be Will takes charge as Reason and Understanding are deposed and imprisoned.

This is the stage in John Bunyan’s Holy War.  An allegory depicting the story of stories- the creation of man, his exile from Eden, and God’s ensuing, pursuing love to deliver him from the corruption of his rebellion even as evil is leavened throgh the flesh of man.  With sobering scences and comical characters- the diabolianians, once identified within the city, crucified atop the city gates in full view of Diabolus in the vein of Colossians 3 “mortify your members” (KJV) “put to death whatever is earthly inside of you” or of Mr. Godly Fear and Mr. Carnal Delight- it can be explained to children and doubles as a primer on spiritual warfare. 

The story being told in terms like this is one of the best ways to awaken a knowledge to the truth and a sense of urgency.  As Bunyan commented elsewhere, Praying in the Spirit, one of the best ways to teach children [or anyone] to pray isn’t giving them some creed or scripted prayer, but to tell them, “of damnation and of salvation… of how to avoid the one and enjoy the other…”  This manner of teaching, he says, will be the quickest way to elicit hearty groans flowing from their hearts and chests, to teach them to pray in the Spirit, and to deliver them from the hypocrisy of those who “honor God with their lips while their hearts are far from him.” 

Before picking up the latest “bestseller” think about what are some of the best sayers of the truth.  Will that book on the New York Time’s list persist as a wealth of wisdom and warning in 100 years, or will it crumble away within a generation awaiting the next fad?  Take a step back in time and see that as we hit the big themes, “there is nothing new under the sun.” 

When it comes time to read, Joel R. Beeke says in Feed My Sheep, ask yourself whether or not that book will increase your love for God, help you to conquer sin, or if your time could be better spent reading another book.  For me, this book has been instrumental in appreciating the spiritual war in the heavenlies all around-seeing the enemy of soul’s tempting and entreating entrance at each of the five sesnes-, in awakening an urgency to the battle, equipping with a practicality against it, and in sensing the love and joy of God for his people.

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