Bunyan Characters (3rd Series) by Alexander Whyte

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Bunyan Characters - Third Series, by
Alexander Whyte

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: Bunyan Characters - Third Series
The Holy War

Author: Alexander Whyte

Release Date: April 13, 2005 [eBook #2308]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1895 Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier edition by David
Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

Lectures Delivered in St. George's Free Church Edinburgh
By Alexander Whyte, D.D.


'--the book of the wars of the Lord.'--_Moses_.

John Bunyan's _Holy War_ was first published in 1682, six years before
its illustrious author's death. Bunyan wrote this great book when he was
still in all the fulness of his intellectual power and in all the
ripeness of his spiritual experience. The _Holy War_ is not the
_Pilgrim's Progress_--there is only one _Pilgrim's Progress_. At the
same time, we have Lord Macaulay's word for it that if the _Pilgrim's
Progress_ did not exist the _Holy War_ would be the best allegory that
ever was written: and even Mr. Froude admits that the _Holy War_ alone
would have entitled its author to rank high up among the acknowledged
masters of English literature. The intellectual rank of the _Holy War_
has been fixed before that tribunal over which our accomplished and
competent critics preside; but for a full appreciation of its religious
rank and value we would need to hear the glad testimonies of tens of
thousands of God's saints, whose hard-beset faith and obedience have been
kindled and sustained by the study of this noble book. The _Pilgrim's
Progress_ sets forth the spiritual life under the scriptural figure of a
long and an uphill journey. The _Holy War_, on the other hand, is a
military history; it is full of soldiers and battles, defeats and
victories. And its devout author had much more scriptural suggestion and
support in the composition of the _Holy War_ than he had even in the
composition of the _Pilgrim's Progress_. For Holy Scripture is full of
wars and rumours of wars: the wars of the Lord; the wars of Joshua and
the Judges; the wars of David, with his and many other magnificent battle-
songs; till the best known name of the God of Israel in the Old Testament
is the Lord of Hosts; and then in the New Testament we have Jesus Christ
described as the Captain of our salvation. Paul's powerful use of armour
and of armed men is familiar to every student of his epistles; and then
the whole Bible is crowned with a book all sounding with the
battle-cries, the shouts, and the songs of soldiers, till it ends with
that city of peace where they hang the trumpet in the hall and study war
no more. Military metaphors had taken a powerful hold of our author's
imagination even in the _Pilgrim's Progress_, as his portraits of
Greatheart and Valiant-for-truth and other soldiers sufficiently show;
while the conflict with Apollyon and the destruction of Doubting Castle
are so many sure preludes of the coming _Holy War_. Bunyan's early
experiences in the great Civil War had taught him many memorable things
about the military art; memorable and suggestive things that he
afterwards put to the most splendid use in the siege, the capture, and
the subjugation of Mansoul.

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