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CHAPTER 18

But there were three of those that came from the land of Doubting, who, after they had wandered and ranged the country a while, and perceived that they had escaped, were so hardy as to thrust themselves, knowing that yet there were in the town Diabolonians,-I say, they were so hardy as to thrust themselves into Mansoul among them. (Three, did I say? I think there were four.) Now, to whose house should these Diabolonian Doubters go, but to the house of an old Diabolonian in Mansoul, whose name was Evil-Questioning, a very great enemy he was to Mansoul, and a great doer among the Diabolonians there. Well, to this Evil-Questioning’s house, as was said, did these Diabolonians come (you may be sure that they had directions how to find the way thither), so he made them welcome, pitied their misfortune, and succoured them with the best that he had in his house. Now, after a little acquaintance (and it was not long before they had that), this old Evil-Questioning asked the Doubters if they were all of a town (he knew that they were all of one kingdom), and they answered, ‘No, nor not of one shire neither; for I,’ said one, ‘am an Election Doubter:’ ’I,’ said another, ‘am a Vocation Doubter:’ then said the third, ‘I am a Salvation Doubter:’ and the fourth said he was a Grace Doubter. ‘Well,’ quoth the old gentleman, ‘be of what shire you will, I am persuaded that you are down boys: you have the very length of my foot, are one with my heart, and shall be welcome to me.’ So they thanked him, and were glad that they had found themselves an harbour in Mansoul.

Then said Evil-Questioning to them, ‘How many of your company might there be that came with you to the siege of Mansoul?’ And they answered, ‘There were but ten thousand Doubters in all, for the rest of the army consisted of fifteen thousand Blood-men. These Blood-men,’ quoth they, ‘border upon our country; but, poor men! as we hear, they were every one taken by Emmanuel’s forces.’ ‘Ten thousand!’ quoth the old gentleman; ‘I will promise you, that is a round company. But how came it to pass, since you were so mighty a number, that you fainted, and durst not fight your foes?’ ‘Our general,’ said they, ‘was the first man that did run for it.’ ‘Pray,’ quoth their landlord, ‘who was that, your cowardly general?’ ‘He was once the Lord Mayor of Mansoul,’ said they: ‘but pray call him not a cowardly general; for whether any from the east to the west has done more service for our prince Diabolus, than has my Lord Incredulity, will be a hard question for you to answer. But had they catched him, they would for certain have hanged him; and we promise you, hanging is but a bad business.’ Then said the old gentleman, ‘I would that all the ten thousand Doubters were now well armed in Mansoul, and myself at the head of them; I would see what I could do.’ ‘Ay,’ said they, ‘that would be well if we could see that; but wishes, alas! what are they?’ and these words were spoken aloud. ‘Well,’ said old Evil-Questioning, ‘take heed that you talk not too loud; you must be quat and close, and must take care of yourselves while you are here, or, I will assure you, you will be snapped.’ ‘Why?’ quoth the Doubters. ‘Why!’ quoth the old gentleman; ‘why! because both the Prince and Lord Secretary, and their captains and soldiers, are all at present in town; yea, the town is as full of them as ever it can hold. And besides, there is one whose name is Willbewill, a most cruel enemy of ours, and him the Prince has made keeper of the gates, and has commanded him that, with all the diligence he can, he should look for, search out, and destroy all, and all manner of Diabolonians. And if he lighteth upon you, down you go, though your heads were made of gold.’

And now, to see how it happened, one of the Lord Willbewill’s faithful soldiers, whose name was Mr. Diligence, stood all this while listening under old Evil-Questioning’s eaves, and heard all the talk that had been betwixt him and the Doubters that he entertained under his roof.

The soldier was a man that my lord had much confidence in, and that he loved dearly; and that both because he was a man of courage, and also a man that was unwearied in seeking after Diabolonians to apprehend them.

Now this man, as I told you, heard all the talk that was between old Evil-Questioning and these Diabolonians; wherefore what does he but goes to his lord, and tells him what he had heard. ‘And sayest thou so, my trusty?’ quoth my lord. ‘Ay,’ quoth Diligence, ‘that I do; and if your lordship will be pleased to go with me, you shall find it as I have said.’ ‘And are they there?’ quoth my lord. ‘I know Evil-Questioning well, for he and I were great in the time of our apostasy: but I know not now where he dwells.’ ‘But I do,’ said his man; ‘and if your lordship will go, I will lead you the way to his den.’ ‘Go!’ quoth my lord, ‘that I will. Come, my Diligence, let us go find them out.’

So my lord and his man went together the direct way to his house. Now his man went before to show him his way, and they went till they came even under old Mr. Evil-Questioning’s wall. Then said Diligence, ‘Hark! my lord, do you know the old gentleman’s tongue when you hear it?’ ‘Yes,’ said my lord, ‘I know it well, but I have not seen him many a day. This I know, he is cunning; I wish he doth not give us the slip.’ ‘Let me alone for that,’ said his servant Diligence. ‘But how shall we find the door?’ quoth my lord. ‘Let me alone for that, too,’ said his man. So he had my Lord Willbewill about, and showed him the way to the door. Then my lord, without more ado, broke open the door, rushed into the house, and caught them all five together, even as Diligence his man had told him. So my lord apprehended them, and led them away, and committed them to the hand of Mr. True-Man, the gaoler, and commanded, and he did put them in ward. This done, my Lord Mayor was acquainted in the morning with what my Lord Willbewill had done over -night, and his lordship rejoiced much at the news, not only because there were Doubters apprehended, but because that old Evil-Questioning was taken; for he had been a very great trouble to Mansoul, and much affliction to my Lord Mayor himself. He had also been sought for often, but no hand could ever be laid upon him till now.

Well, the next thing was to make preparation to try these five that by my lord had been apprehended, and that were in the hands of Mr. True-Man, the gaoler. So the day was set, and the court called and come together, and the prisoners brought to the bar. My Lord Willbewill had power to have slain them when at first he took them, and that without any more ado; but he thought it at this time more for the honour of the Prince, the comfort of Mansoul, and the discouragement of the enemy, to bring them forth to public judgment.

But, I say, Mr. True-Man brought them in chains to the bar, to the town -hall, for that was the place of judgment. So, to be short, the jury was panelled, the witnesses sworn, and the prisoners tried for their lives: the jury was the same that tried Mr. No-Truth, Pitiless, Haughty, and the rest of their companions.

And, first, old Questioning himself was set to the bar; for he was the receiver, the entertainer, and comforter of these Doubters, that by nation were outlandish men: then he was bid to hearken to his charge, and was told that he had liberty to object, if he had ought to say for himself. So his indictment was read: the manner and form here follows:—

‘Mr. Questioning, thou art here indicted by the name of Evil-Questioning, an intruder upon the town of Mansoul, for that thou art a Diabolonian by nature, and also a hater of the Prince Emmanuel, and one that hast studied the ruin of the town of Mansoul. Thou art also here indicted for countenancing the King’s enemies, after wholesome laws made to the contrary: for, 1. Thou hast questioned the truth of her doctrine and state: 2. In wishing that ten thousand Doubters were in her: 3. In receiving, in entertaining, and encouraging of her enemies, that came from their army unto thee. What sayest thou to this indictment? Art thou guilty, or not guilty?’

‘My lord,’ quoth he, ‘I know not the meaning of this indictment, forasmuch as I am not the man concerned in it; the man that standeth by this charge accused before this bench is called by the name of Evil-Questioning, which name I deny to be mine, mine being Honest-Inquiry. The one indeed sounds like the other; but, I trow, your lordships know that between these two there is a wide difference; for I hope that a man, even in the worst of times, and that, too, amongst the worst of men, may make an honest inquiry after things, without running the danger of death.’

Then spake my Lord Willbewill, for he was one of the witnesses: ‘My lord, and you the honourable bench and magistrates of the town of Mansoul, you all have heard with your ears that the prisoner at the bar has denied his name, and so thinks to shift from the charge of the indictment. But I know him to be the man concerned, and that his proper name is Evil-Questioning. I have known him, my lord, above these thirty years, for he and I (a shame it is for me to speak it) were great acquaintance, when Diabolus, that tyrant, had the government of Mansoul; and I testify that he is a Diabolonian by nature, an enemy to our Prince, and a hater of the blessed town of Mansoul. He has, in times of rebellion, been at and lain in my house, my lord, not so little as twenty nights together, and we did use to talk then, for the substance of talk, as he and his Doubters have talked of late: true, I have not seen him many a day. I suppose that the coming of Emmanuel to Mansoul has made him change his lodgings, as this indictment has driven him to change his name; but this is the man, my lord.’

Then said the Court unto him, ‘Hast thou any more to say?’

‘Yes,’ quoth the old gentleman, ‘that I have; for all that as yet has been said against me is but by the mouth of one witness; and it is not lawful for the famous town of Mansoul, at the mouth of one witness, to put any man to death.’

Then stood forth Mr. Diligence, and said, ‘My lord, as I was upon my watch such a night at the head of Bad Street, in this town, I chanced to hear a muttering within this gentleman’s house. Then, thought I, what is to do here? So I went up close, but very softly, to the side of the house to listen, thinking, as indeed it fell out, that there I might light upon some Diabolonian conventicle. So, as I said, I drew nearer and nearer; and when I was got up close to the wall, it was but a while before I perceived that there were outlandish men in the house; but I did well understand their speech, for I have been a traveller myself. Now, hearing such language in such a tottering cottage as this old gentleman dwelt in, I clapped mine ear to a hole in the window, and there heard them talk as followeth. This old Mr. Questioning asked these doubters what they were, whence they came, and what was their business in these parts; and they told him to all these questions, yet he did entertain them. He also asked what numbers there were of them; and they told him ten thousand men. He then asked them why they made no more manly assault upon Mansoul; and they told him: so he called their general coward, for marching off when he should have fought for his prince. Further, this old Evil-Questioning wished, and I heard him wish, would all the ten thousand Doubters were now in Mansoul, and himself at the head of them. He bid them also to take heed and lie quat; for if they were taken they must die, although they had heads of gold.’

Then said the Court: ‘Mr. Evil-Questioning, here is now another witness against you, and his testimony is full: 1. He swears that you did receive these men into your house, and that you did nourish them there, though you knew that they were Diabolonians, and the King’s enemies. 2. He swears that you did wish ten thousand of them in Mansoul. 3. He swears that you did give them advice to be quat and close, lest they were taken by the King’s servants. All which manifesteth that thou art a Diabolonian; but hadst thou been a friend to the King, thou wouldst have apprehended them.’

Then said Evil-Questioning: ‘To the first of these I answer, The men that came into mine house were strangers, and I took them in; and is it now become a crime in Mansoul for a man to entertain strangers? That I did also nourish them is true; and why should my charity be blamed? As for the reason why I wished ten thousand of them in Mansoul, I never told it to the witnesses, nor to themselves. I might wish them to be taken, and so my wish might mean well to Mansoul, for aught that any yet knows. I did also bid them take heed that they fell not into the captains’ hands; but that might be because I am unwilling that any man should be slain, and not because I would have the King’s enemies as such escape.’

My Lord Mayor then replied: ‘That though it was a virtue to entertain strangers, yet it was treason to entertain the King’s enemies. And for what else thou hast said, thou dost by words but labour to evade and defer the execution of judgment. But could there be no more proved against thee but that thou art a Diabolonian, thou must for that die the death by the law; but to be a receiver, a nourisher, a countenancer, and a harbourer of others of them, yea, of outlandish Diabolonians, yea, of them that came from far on purpose to cut off and destroy our Mansoul—this must not be borne.’

Then said Evil-Questioning: ‘I see how the game will go: I must die for my name, and for my charity.’ And so he held his peace.

Then they called the outlandish Doubters to the bar, and the first of them that was arraigned was the Election Doubter. So his indictment was read; and because he was an outlandish man, the substance of it was told him by an interpreter; namely, ‘That he was there charged with being an enemy of Emmanuel the Prince, a hater of the town of Mansoul, and an opposer of her most wholesome doctrine.’

Then the judge asked him if he would plead; but he said only this-That he confessed that he was an Election Doubter, and that that was the religion that he had ever been brought up in. And said, moreover, ‘If I must die for my religion, I trow I shall die a martyr, and so I care the less.’

Judge.Then it was replied: ‘To question election is to overthrow a great doctrine of the gospel, namely, the omnisciency, and power, and will of God; to take away the liberty of God with his creature, to stumble the faith of the town of Mansoul, and to make salvation to depend upon works, and not upon grace. It also belied the word, and disquieted the minds of the men of Mansoul; therefore by the best of laws he must die.’

Then was the Vocation Doubter called, and set to the bar; and his indictment for substance was the same with the other, only he was particularly charged with denying the calling of Mansoul.

The judge asked him also what he had to say for himself.

So he replied: ‘That he never believed that there was any such thing as a distinct and powerful call of God to Mansoul; otherwise than by the general voice of the word, nor by that neither, otherwise than as it exhorted them to forbear evil, and to do that which is good, and in so doing a promise of happiness is annexed.’

Then said the judge: ‘Thou art a Diabolonian, and hast denied a great part of one of the most experimental truths of the Prince of the town of Mansoul; for he has called, and she has heard a most distinct and powerful call of her Emmanuel, by which she has been quickened, awakened, and possessed with heavenly grace to desire to have communion with her Prince, to serve him, and do his will, and to look for her happiness merely of his good pleasure. And for thine abhorrence of this good doctrine, thou must die the death.’

Then the Grace Doubter was called, and his indictment was read, and he replied thereto: ‘That though he was of the land of Doubting, his father was the offspring of a Pharisee, and lived in good fashion among his neighbours, and that he taught him to believe, and believe it I do, and will, that Mansoul shall never be saved freely by grace.’

Then said the judge: ‘Why, the law of the Prince is plain: 1. Negatively, “not of works.” 2. Positively, “by grace you are saved.” And thy religion settleth in and upon the works of the flesh; for the works of the law are the works of the flesh. Besides, in saying as thou hast done, thou hast robbed God of his glory, and given it to a sinful man; thou hast robbed Christ of the necessity of his undertaking, and the sufficiency thereof, and hast given both these to the works of the flesh. Thou hast despised the work of the Holy Ghost, and hast magnified the will of the flesh and of the legal mind. Thou art a Diabolonian, the son of a Diabolonian; and for thy Diabolonian principles thou must die.’

The Court then, having proceeded thus far with them, sent out the jury, who forthwith brought them in guilty of death. Then stood up the Recorder, and addressed himself to the prisoners: ‘You the prisoners at the bar, you have been here indicted, and proved guilty of high crimes against Emmanuel our Prince, and against the welfare of the famous town of Mansoul, crimes for which you must be put to death, and die ye accordingly.’

So they were sentenced to the death of the cross. The place assigned them for execution was that where Diabolus drew up his last army against Mansoul; save only that old Evil-Questioning was hanged at the top of Bad Street, just over against his own door.

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