AN INVISIBLE WAR and The Battle for Mansoul

AN INVISIBLE WAR   (please click for entire essay)

The Holy War: The Battle for Mansoul  John Bunyan

Eargate first appeared in English usage through an allegory penned by John Bunyan in 1682.  Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress was the most widely read and translated book in the English language apart from the Bible: it was also an educational staple and considered to be required reading in the US from Colonial times through World War II. While The Pilgrim’s Progress allegorizes the encounters and obstacles of a man seeking salvation, Bunyan’s The Holy War or The losing and taking again of the town of Mansoul recounts the cosmic conflict for the souls of mankind with Peretti-like descriptions and precision.

The town of Mansoul, designed in the image of the almighty, Shaddai, is the target of the deceptive and malevolent giant, Diabolus.  Mansoul is a city of five gates: the Ear-gate, Eye-Gate, Mouth-Gate, Nose-Gate and Feel-Gate.  The first and most strategic gate is the first gate breached: the Ear-Gate.

19th century theologian, Rev. Robert Maguire comments on the importance of the Eargate:

This was the gate of audience, and through this gate the words of the tempter must penetrate, if the temptation is to be successful.  Into the ears of our first mother did the wily serpent whisper the glozing words of his seductive wiles and through the Ear-gate, he assailed her heart and won it. To give audience to the tempter is the next step to yielding up obedience to his will.

One of the two principal powers in Mansoul, Resistance, quickly succumbs to an arrow from the army of Diabolus.  The promises of Diabolus are familiar: to enlarge the town of man-soul, to augment their freedom and in the subtlety of pattern identical to Eden, challenging the prohibition of the Tree of Knowledge itself.

Dr. Maguire continues to describe this initial incursion at the Eargate with the introduction of Mr. Ill-Pause, another of the diabolical army that visits Mansoul:

Satan has many mysterious angels who are ready to second their master’s temptations and to commend his wily overtures.  Thus Ill-Pause persuades the men of Mansoul; and, lo! to the temptation from without (which was utterly powerless in itself), there answers the yielding from within.  This is the fatal act; and is straightaway followed by another grave disaster – the death of Innocency, one of the chiefest and most honorable townsmen.  His sensitive soul was poisoned by the contact of the breath of the lost.

The Holy War continues with civil war raging within Mansoul and the defeat of the giant Diabolus and his demonic army by the son of Shaddai, Emmanuel, but the allegory perhaps finds more direct application in the 21st century than earlier.

essay continues:  An Invisible War

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