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Bunyan
written by "Froude, James Anthony, 1818-1894"
...s' is simple. 'The Holy War' is prolonged through endless vicissitudes, with a doubtful issue after all, and the incomprehensibility of the Being who allows Satan to defy him so long and so successfully is unpleasantly and harshly brought home to us. True it is so in life. Evil remains after all that has been done for us. But life is confessedly a mystery. 'The Holy War' professes to interpret the mystery, and only restates the problem in a more elaborate form. Man Friday on reading it would have asked even more emphatically, 'Why God not kill the Devil?' and Robinson Crusoe would have found no assistance in answering him. For these reasons, I cannot agree with Macaulay in thinking that if there had been no 'Pilgrim's Progress,' 'The Holy War' would have been the first of religious allegories. We may admire the workmanship, but the same undefined sense of unreality which pursues us through Milton's epic would have interfered equally with the acceptance of this. The question to us is if the facts[120] are true. If true they require no allegories to touch either our hearts or our intellects. 'The Holy War' would have entitled Bunyan to a place among the masters of English literature. It would never have made his name a household word in every English-speaking family on the globe. The story which I shall try to tell in an abridged form is introduced by a short prefatory poem. Works of fancy, Bunyan tells us, are of many sorts, according to the author's humour. For himself he says to his reader: I have something else to do Than write vain stories thus to trouble you. What here I say some men do know too well; They can with tears and joy the story tell. The town of Mansoul is well known to many, Nor are her troubles doubted of by any That are acquainted with those histories That Mansoul and her wars anatomize. Then lend thine ears to what I do relate Touching the town of Mansoul and her state, How she was lost, took captive, ma...

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