I’m currently reading a modernised version of John Bunyan’s classic allegory The Holy War.
Apparently this particular version is out-of-print but the Tabernacle Bookshop presents another modern edition that could be helpful.
One part of the book that struck me was when Diabolus (the Devil), the giant who had taken over the city of Mansoul, addressed the people and prepared for the coming of the forces of King Shaddai (God the Father) as he sought to reclaim his beloved city. As the speech winds to a close, Diabolus goes into the “armour” he provides for the people of Mansoul to ward off the advances of Shaddai and his army:
1. My helmet, otherwise called an head-piece, is hope of doing well at last, what lives soever you live. This is that which they had who said, that they should have peace, though they walked in the wickedness of their heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. A piece of approved armour this is, and whoever has it, and can hold it, so long no arrow, dart, sword, or shield can hurt him. This, therefore, keep on, and thou wilt keep off many a blow, my Mansoul.
2. My breastplate is a breastplate of iron. I had it forged in mine own country, and all my soldiers are armed therewith. In plain language, it is a hard heart, a heart as hard as iron, and as much past feeling as a stone; the which if you get and keep, neither mercy shall win you, nor judgment fright you. This, therefore, is a piece of armour most necessary for all to put on that hate Shaddai, and that would fight against him under my banner.
3. My sword is a tongue that is set on fire of hell, and that can bend itself to speak evil of Shaddai, his Son, his ways, and people. Use this; it has been tried a thousand times twice told. Whoever hath it, keeps it, and makes that use of it as I would have him, can never be conquered by mine enemy.
4. My shield is unbelief, or calling into question the truth of the word, or all the sayings that speak of the judgment that Shaddai has appointed for wicked men. Use this shield: many attempts he has made upon it, and sometimes, it is true, it has been bruised; but they that have writ of the wars of Emmanuel against my servants, have testified that he could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief. Now, to handle this weapon of mine aright, it is not to believe things because they are true, of what sort or by whomsoever asserted. If he speaks of judgment, care not for it; if he speaks of mercy, care not for it; if he promises, if he swears that he would do to Mansoul, if it turns, no hurt, but good, regard not what is said, question the truth of all, for it is to wield the shield of unbelief aright, and as my servants ought and do; and he that cloth otherwise loves me not, nor do I count him but an enemy to me.
5. Another part or piece,said Diabolus, of mine excellent armour is a dumb and prayerless spirit, a spirit that scorns to cry for mercy: wherefore be you, my Mansoul, sure that you make use of this. What! cry for quarter! Never do that, if you would be mine. I know you are stout men, and am sure that I have clad you with that which is armour of proof. Wherefore, to cry to Shaddai for mercy, let that be far from you. Besides all this, I have a maul, firebrands, arrows, and death, all good hand-weapons, and such as will do execution.’