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- BUNYAN CHARACTERS 3RD SERIES - 30/39 -


at all, but always a friend. The Prince had always conveyed his mind about all Mansoul's matters first to Captain Credence, and then that confidential captain conveyed whatever specially concerned God's-peace and Good-hope to those excellent and trusty soldiers. Credence first told all matters to God's-peace and then the two soon talked over Good-hope to their mind and heart. Some say that the three officers, Credence, God's-peace, and Good-hope, were kin, adds our historian, and I, he adds, am of that opinion too. And to back up his opinion he takes an extract out of the Herald's College books which runs thus: 'Romans, fifteenth and thirteenth: Now, the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.' Some say the three officers were of kin, and I am of that opinion too.

4. On account both of his eminent services and his great abilities, the Prince saw it good to set Mr. God's-peace over the whole town. And thus it was that the governor's jurisdiction extended and held not only over the people of the town, but also over all the magistrates and all the other officers of the town, such as my Lord Will-be-will, my Lord Mayor, Mr. Recorder, Mr. Mind, and all. It needed all the governor's authority and ability to keep his feet in his office over all the other rulers of the town, but by far his greatest trouble always was with the Recorder. Old Mr. Conscience, the Town Recorder, had a very difficult post to hold and a very difficult part to play in that still so divided and still so unsettled town. What with all those murderers and man- slayers, thieves and prostitutes, skulkers and secret rebels, on the one hand, and with Governor God's-peace and his so unaccountable and so autocratic ways, on the other hand, the Recorder's office was no sinecure. All the misdemeanours and malpractices of the town,--and they were happening every day and every night,--were all reported to the Recorder; they were all, so to say, charged home upon the Recorder, and he was held responsible for them all; till his office was a perfect laystall and cesspool of all the scum and corruption of the town. And yet, in would come Governor God's-peace, without either warning or explanation, and would demand all the Recorder's papers, and proofs, and affidavits, and what not, it had cost him so much trouble to get collected and indorsed, and would burn them all before the Recorder's face, and to his utter confusion, humiliation, and silence. So autocratic, so despotic, so absolute, and not-to-be-questioned was Governor God's-peace. The Recorder could not understand it, and could barely submit to it; my Lord Mayor could not understand it, and his clerk, Mr. Mind, would often oppose it; but there it was: Mr. Governor God's-peace was set over them all.

5. But the thing that always in the long-run justified the governorship of Mr. God's-peace, and reconciled all the other officers to his supremacy, was the way that the city settled down and prospered under his benignant rule. All the other officers admitted that, somehow, his promotion and power had been the salvation of Mansoul. They all extolled their Prince's far-seeing wisdom in the selection, advancement, and absolute seat of Mr. God's-peace. And it would ill have become them to have said anything else; for they had little else to do but bask in the sun and enjoy the honours and the emoluments of their respective offices as long as Governor God's-peace held sway, and had all things in the city to his own mind. Now, it was on all hands admitted, as we read again with renewed delight, that there were no jars, no chiding, no interferings, no unfaithful doings in the town of Mansoul; but every man kept close to his own employment. The gentry, the officers, the soldiers, and all in place, observed their orders. And as for the women and children, they all followed their business joyfully. They would work and sing, work and sing, from morning till night, so that quite through the town of Mansoul now nothing was to be found but harmony, quietness, joy, and health. What more could be said of any governorship of any town than that? The Heavenly Court itself, out of which Governor God's- peace had come down, was not better governed than that. Harmony, quietness, joy, and health. No; the New Jerusalem itself will not surpass that. 'And this lasted all that summer.'

CHAPTER XXIII--THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH OF MANSOUL, AND MR. CONSCIENCE ONE OF HER PARISH MINISTERS

'The Highest Himself shall establish her.'--David.

The princes of this world establish churches sometimes out of piety and sometimes out of policy. Sometimes their motive is the good of their people and the glory of God, and sometimes their sole motive is to buttress up their own Royal House, and to have a clergy around them on whom they can count. Prince Emmanuel had His motive, too, in setting up an establishment in Mansoul. As thus: When this was over, the Prince sent again for the elders of the town and communed with them about the ministry that He intended to establish in Mansoul. Such a ministry as might open to them and might instruct them in the things that did concern their present and their future state. For, said He to them, of yourselves, unless you have teachers and guides, you will not be able to know, and if you do not know, then you cannot do the will of My Father. At this news, when the elders of Mansoul brought it to the people, the whole town came running together, and all with one consent implored His Majesty that He would forthwith establish such a ministry among them as might teach them both law and judgment, statute and commandment, so that they might be documented in all good and wholesome things. So He told them that He would graciously grant their requests and would straightway establish such a ministry among them.

Now, I will not enter to-night on the abstract benefits of such an Establishment. I will rather take one of the ministers who was presented to one of the parishes of Mansoul, and shall thus let you see how that State Church worked out practically in one of its ministers at any rate. And the preacher and pastor I shall so take up was neither the best minister in the town nor the worst; but, while a long way subordinate to the best, he was also by no means the least. The Reverend Mr. Conscience was our parish minister's name; his people sometimes called him The Recorder.

1. Well, then, to begin with, the Rev. Mr. Conscience was a native of the same town in which his parish church now stood. I am not going to challenge the wisdom of the patron who appointed his protege to this particular living; only, I have known very good ministers who never got over the misfortune of having been settled in the same town in which they had been born and brought up. Or, rather, their people never got over it. One excellent minister, especially, I once knew, whose father had been a working man in the town, and his son had sometimes assisted his father before he went to college, and even between his college sessions, and the people he afterwards came to teach could never get over that. It was not wise in my friend to accept that presentation in the circumstances, as the event abundantly proved. For, whenever he had to take his stand in his pulpit or in his pastorate against any of their evil ways, his people defended themselves and retaliated on him by reminding him that they knew his father and his mother, and had not forgotten his own early days. No doubt, in the case of Emmanuel and Mansoul and its minister, there were counterbalancing considerations and advantages both to minister and people; but it is not always so; and it was not so in the case of my unfortunate friend.

Forasmuch, so ran the Prince's presentation paper, as he is a native of the town of Mansoul, and thus has personal knowledge of all the laws and customs of the corporation, therefore he, the Prince, presented Mr. Conscience. That is to say, every man who is to be the minister of a parish should make his own heart and his own life his first parish. His own vineyard should be his first knowledge and his first care. And then out of that and after that he will be able to speak to his people, and to correct, and counsel, and take care of them. In Thomas Boston's Memoirs we continually come on entries like this: 'Preached on Ps. xlii. 5, and mostly on my own account.' And, again, we read in the same invaluable book for parish ministers, that its author did not wonder to hear that good had been done by last Sabbath's sermon, because he had preached it to himself and had got good to himself out of it before he took it to the pulpit. Boston kept his eye on himself in a way that the minister of Mansoul himself could not have excelled. Till, not in his pulpit work only, but in such conventional, commonplace, and monotonous exercises as his family worship, he so read the Scriptures and so sang the psalms that his family worship was continually yielding him fruit as well as his public ministry. As our family worship and our public ministry will do, too, when we have the eye and the heart and the conscience that Thomas Boston had. 'I went to hear a preacher,' said Pascal, 'and I found a man in the pulpit.' Well, the parish minister of Mansoul was a man, and so was the parish minister of Ettrick. And that was the reason that the people of Simprin and Ettrick so often thought that Boston had them in his eye. Good pastor as he was, he could not have everybody in his eye. But he had himself in his eye, and that let him into the hearts and the homes of all his people. He was a true man, and thus a true minister.

2. Both Boston and the minister of Mansoul were well-read men also; so, indeed, in as many words, their fine biographies assure us. But that is just another way of saying what has been said about those two ministers over and over again already. William Law never was a parish minister. The English Crown of that day would not trust him with a parish. But what was the everlasting loss of some parish in England has become the everlasting gain of the whole Church of Christ. Law's enforced seclusion from outward ministerial activity only set him the more free to that inward activity which has been such a blessing to so many, and to so many ministers especially. And as to this of every minister being well read, that master in Israel says: 'Above all, let me tell you that the book of books to you is your own heart, in which are written and engraven the deepest lessons of divine instruction. Learn, therefore, to be deeply attentive to the presence of God in your own hearts, who is always speaking, always instructing, always illuminating the heart that is attentive to Him.' Jonathan Edwards called the poor parish minister of Ettrick 'a truly great divine.' But Law goes on to say, 'A great divine is but a cant expression unless it signifies a man greatly advanced in the divine life. A great divine is one whose own experience and example are a demonstration of the reality of all the graces and virtues of the gospel. No divine has any more of the gospel in him than that which proves itself by the spirit, the actions, and the form of his life: the rest is but hypocrisy, not divinity.' Let all our parish ministers, then, give themselves to this kind of reading. Let them all aim at a doctor's degree in the divinity of their own hearts.

3. We are done at last, and we are done for ever, in Scotland, with patrons and with presenters; but I daresay our most Free Church people would be quite willing to surrender their dear-bought franchise if the old plan could even yet be made to work in all


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