Short post on Bunyan’s Holy War

John Bunyan in his work, The Holy War, tells about the experiences, trials, battles, and ultimate deliverance of the city of Mansoul. The story begins with Mansoul’s origin and innocence and then chronicles her fall through the deception of Diabolus, her deliverance and pardon from Prince Emmanuel, her later unfaithfulness to the Prince, and finally her deliverance from the renewed attacks of Diabolus and the Diabolonians. The history of Mansoul and her interaction with various people (such as Lord Will-be-will, Mr. Conscience, Lord Incredulity, Mr. Carnal Security, and Mr. Godly-fear) parallels the real experiences of the human soul and Bunyan effectively presents the story on both literal and allegorical levels. The allegorical level of the story presents the human soul as it progresses through the whole salvation experience from its sinful beginning (the reign of Diabolus in Mansoul) to its regeneration (initial conquest and pardon of Emanuel), its various spiritual struggles (Mr. Carnal Security and the indwelling Diabolonians) to its spiritual maturity (Emmanuel’s second deliverance of Mansoul). Bunyan writes in classic Elizabethan English and the story is easy to read and flows pretty smoothly. The level of detail and the way most elements have a dual meaning is unparalleled by few other works except for maybe The Pilgrim’s Progress. The clear presentation of the gospel combined with the realistic storyline creates a unique and effective vehicle for conveying Bunyan’s message. Somehow Bunyan is able to write an exciting and worthwhile story while also preaching a sermon on the nature and salvation of man. This book should be read by believers of all ages and it would profit them well. Bunyan’s warnings and exhortations are applicable even to this day.

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