Of the Devil’s second Kingdom, and how he got footing in the renew’d World by his Victory over Noah and his Race.
The Story of Noah, his building the Ark, his embarking himself and all Nature’s Stock for a new World on board it; the long Voyage they took, and the bad Weather they met with, tho’ it would embellish this Work very well, and come in very much to the Purpose in this Place, yet as it does not belong to the Devil’s Story, for I cannot prove what some suggest (viz.) that he was in the Ark among the Rest, I say, for that Reason I must omit it.
And now having mention’d Satan’s being in the Ark; as I say, I cannot prove it, so there are, I think, some good Reasons to believe he was not there: First, I know no Business he had there; secondly, we read of no Mischief done there, and these joyn’d together make me conclude he was absent; the last I chiefly insist upon, that we read of no Mischief done there, which if he had been in the Ark, would certainly have happen’d; and therefore I suppose rather, that when he saw his Kingdom dissolv’d, his Subjects all ingulph’d in an inevitable Ruin and Desolation, a Sight suitable enough to him, except as it might unking him for a Time; I say, when he saw this, he took care to speed himself away as well as he could, and make his Retreat to a Place of Safety, where that was, is no more difficult to us, than it was to him.
It is suggested that as he is Prince of the Power of the Air, he retired only into that Region. It is most rational to suppose he went no further on many Accounts, of which I shall speak by and by: Here he stay’d hovering in the Earth’s Atmosphere, as he has often done since, and perhaps now does; or if the Atmosphere of this Globe was affected by the Indraft of the Absorption, as some think, then he kept himself upon the Watch, to see what the Event of the new Phænomenon would be, and this Watch, wherever it was, I doubt not, was as near the Earth as he could place himself, perhaps in the Atmosphere of the Moon, or in a Word, the next Place of Retreat he could find.
From hence I took upon me to insist, that Satan has not a more certain Knowledge of Events than we; I say, he has not a more certain Knowledge; that he may be able to make stronger Conjectures and more rational Conclusions from that he sees, I will not deny; and that which he most outdoes us in is, that he sees more to conclude from than we can, but I am satisfied he knows nothing of Futurity more than we can see by Observation and Inference; nor, for Example, did he know whether God would repeople the World any more or no.
I must therefore allow that he only waited to see what would be the Event of this strange Eruption of Water, and what God propos’d to do with the Ark, and all that was in it.
Some Philosophers tell us, besides what I hinted above, that the Devil could have no Retreat in the Earth’s Atmosphere, for that the Air being wholly condens’d into Water, and having continually pour’d down its Streams to deluge the Earth, that Body was become so small, and had suffer’d such Convulsions, that there was but just enough Air left to surround the Water, or as might serve by its Pressure to preserve the natural Position of Things, and supply the Creatures in the Ark with a Part to breath in.
The Atmosphere indeed might suffer some strange and unnatural Motions at that Time, but not (I believe) to that Degree, however, I will not affirm that there could be room in it, or is now for the Devil, much less for all the numberless Legions of Satan’s Host; but there was, and now certainly is, sufficient Space to receive him, and a sufficient Body of his Troops for the Business he had for them at that time, and that’s enough to the Purpose; or if the Earth’s Atmosphere did suffer any particular Convulsion on that Occasion, he might make his Retreat to the Atmosphere of the Moon, or of Mars, or of Venus, or of any of the other Planets; or to any other Place, for he that is Prince of the Air could not want Retreats in such a Case, from whence he might watch for the issue of Things; certainly he did not go far, because his Business lay here, and he never goes out of his Way of doing Mischief.
In particular, his more than ordinary Concern was, to see what would become of the Ark; he was wise enough doubtless to see, that God, who had directed its making, nay even the very Structure of it, would certainly take Care of it, preserve it upon the Water, and bring it to some Place of Safety or other; tho’ where it should be, the Devil with all his Cunning could not resolve, whether on the same Surface the Waters drawing off, or in any other created or to be created Place; and this State of Uncertainty being evidently his Case, and which proves his Ignorance of Futurity, it was his Business, I say, to watch with the utmost vigilance for the Event.
If the Ark was (as Mr. Burnet thinks) guided by two Angels, they not only held it from foundering or being swallow’d up in the Water, but certainly kept the Waters calm about it, especially when the Lord brought a strong Wind to blow over the whole Globe, which by the Way was the first, and, I suppose, the only universal Storm that ever blew, for to be sure it blew over the whole Surface at once; I say, if it was thus guided, to be sure the Devil saw it, and that with Envy and Regret that he could do it no Injury, for doubtless had it been in the Devil’s Power, as God had drown’d the whole Race of Man, except what was in the Ark, he would have taken care to have dispatch’d them too, and so made an End of the Creation at once; but either he was not empower’d to go to the Ark, or it was so well guarded by Angels, that when he came near it he could do it no harm: So it rested at length, the Waters abating on the Mountains of Arrarat in Armenia, or some where else that Way, and where they say a Piece of the Keel is remaining to this Day; of which, however with Dr. ——— I say, I believe not one Word.
The Ark being safe landed, ’tis reasonable to believe Noah prepared to go on Shore, as the Seamen call it, as soon as the dry Land began to appear; and here you must allow me to suppose Satan, tho’ himself cloth’d with a Cloud, so as not to be seen, came immediately, and pearching on the Roof, saw all the Heaven-kept Houshold safely landed, and all the Host of living Creatures dispersing themselves down the Sides of the Mountain, as the Search of their Food or other proper Occasions directed them.
This Sight was enough; Satan was at no Loss to conclude from hence that the Design of God was to repeople the World by the Way of ordinary Generation, from the Posterity of these eight Persons, without creating any new Species.
Very well, says the Devil, then my Advantage over them, by the Snare I laid for poor Eve, is good still; and I am now just where I was after Adam’s Expulsion from the Garden, and when I had Cain and his Race to go to work with; for here is the old expung’d Corrupted Race still, as Cain was the Object then, so Noah is my Man now, and if I do not master him one way or another, I am mistaken in my Mark. Pardon me for making a Speech for the Devil.
Noah big with a Sense of his late Condition, and while the Wonders of the Deluge were fresh in his Mind, spent his first Days in the Extasies of his Soul, giving Thanks, and praising the Power that had been his Protection, in and thro’ the Flood of Waters, and which had in so miraculous a Manner, safely landed him on the Surface of the newly discover’d Land; and the Text tells us, as one of the first Things he was employ’d in, He built an Altar unto the Lord, and offered Burnt-Offerings upon the Altar. Gen. viii. 20.
While Noah was thus employ’d he was safe, the Devil himself could no where break in upon him; and we may suppose very reasonably, as he found the old Father invulnerable, he left him for some Years, watching notwithstanding all possible Advantages against his Sons and their Children; for now the Family began to encrease, and Noah’s Sons had several Children; whether himself had any more Children after the Flood or not, that we are not arriv’d to any Certainty about.
Among his Sons the Devil found Japhet and Shem, good, pious, religious, and very devout Persons; serving God daily, after the Example of their good old Father Noah, and he could make nothing of them or of any of their Posterity; but Ham the second, or according to some, the younger Son of Noah, had a Son who was nam’d Canaan, a loose young profligate Fellow, his Education was probably but cursory and superficial, his Father Ham not being near so religious and serious a Man as his Brothers Shem and Japhet were; and as Canaan’s Education was defective, so he prov’d, as untaught Youth generally do, a wild, and in short a very wicked Fellow, and consequently a fit Tool for the Devil to go to work with.
Noah, a diligent industrious Man, being with all his Family thus planted in the rich fruitful Plains of Armenia, or wherever you please, let it be near the Mountains of Caucasus or Arrarat; went immediately to work, cultivating and improving the Soil, encreasing his Cattle and Pastures, sowing Corn, and among other Things planting Trees for Food, and among the Fruit Trees he planted Vines, of the Grapes thereof he made no doubt, as they still in the same Country do make, most excellent Wine, rich, luscious, strong, and pleasant.
I cannot come into the Notion of our Criticks, who to excuse Noah from the guilt of what followed, or at least from the Censure, tell us, he knew not the Strength or the Nature of Wine, but that gathering the heavy Clusters of the Grapes, and their own weight crushing out their balmy Juices into his Hand, he tasted the tempting Liquor, and that the Devil assisting he was charm’d with the delicious Fragrance, and tasted again and again, pressing it out into a Bowl or Dish, that he might take a larger Quantity; till at length the heady Froth ascended and seizing his Brain, he became intoxicate and drunk, not in the least imagining there was any such Strength in the Juice of that excellent Fruit.
But to make out this Story, which is indeed very favourable for Noah, but in it self extremely ridiculous, you must necessarily fall into some Absurdities, and beg the Question most egregiously in some particular Cases, which way of arguing will by no means suppose what is suggested; at first you must support there was no such Thing as Wine made before the Deluge, and that no Body had been ever made drunk with the Juice of the Grape before Noah, which, I say, is begging the Question in the grossest Manner.
If the Contrary is true, as I see no Reason to question, if, I say, it was true that there was Wine drank, and that Men were or had been drunk with it before, they cannot then but suppose that Noah, who was a wise, a great and a good Man, and a Preacher of Righteousness, both knew of it, and without doubt had in his preaching against their Crimes, preach’d against this among the rest, upbraided them with it, reprov’d them for it, and exhorted them against it.
Again, ’tis highly probable they had Grapes growing, and consequently Wines made from them, in the Antediluvian World, how else did Noah come by the Vines which he planted? For we are to suppose, he could plant no Trees or Shrubs, but such as he found the Roots of in the Earth, and which no doubt had been there before in their highest Perfection, and had consequently grown up and brought forth the same luscious Fruit before.
Besides, as he found the Roots of the Vines, so he understood what they were, and what Fruit they bore, or else it may be supposed also he would not have planted them; for he planted them for their Fruit, as he did it in the Provision he was making for his Subsistence, and the Subsistence of his Family: and if he did not know what they were, he would not have set them, for he was not planting for Diversion but for Profit.
Upon the whole it seems plain to me he knew what he did, as well when he planted the Vines as when he pressed out the Grapes; and also when he drank the Juice that he knew it was Wine, was strong and would make him drunk if he took enough of it: He knew that other Men had been drunk with such Liquor before the Flood, and that he had reprehended them for it; and therefore it was not his Ignorance, but the Devil took him at some Advantage, when his Appetite was eager, or he thirsty, and the Liquor cooling and pleasant; and in short, as Eve said, the Serpent beguilded her, and she did eat, so the Devil beguiled Noah, and he did drink; the Temptation was too strong for Noah, not the Wine; he knew well enough what he did, but as the Drunkards say to this Day, it was so good he could not forbear it, and so he got drunk before he was aware; or as our ordinary Speech expresses it, he was overtaken with drink; and Mr. Pool and other Expositors are partly of the same Mind.
No sooner was the poor old Man conquer’d, and the Wine had lighten’d his Head, but it may be supposed he falls off from the Chair or Bench where he sate, and tumbling backward his Clothes, which in those hot Countries were only loose open Robes, like the Vests which the Armenians wear to this Day, flying abroad, or the Devil so assisting on purpose to expose him, he lay there in a naked indecent Posture not fit to be seen.
In this juncture who should come by but young Canaan, say some; or as others think, this young Fellow first attack’d him by way of Kindness and pretended Affection; prompted his Grandfather to drink, on Pretence of the Wine being good for him, and proper for the Support of his old Age, and subtilly set upon him, drinking also with him, and so (his Head being too strong for the old Man’s) drank him down, and then, Devil like, triumph’d over him; boasted of his Conquest, insulted the Body as it were dead, uncovered him on purpose to expose him, and leaving him in that indecent Posture, went and made Sport with it to his Father Ham, who in that Part, wicked like himself, did the same to his Brethren Japhet and Shem; but they like modest and good Men, far from carrying on the wicked Insult on their Parent, went and cover’d him, as the Scripture expresses it, and as may be supposed inform’d him how he had been abus’d, and by whom.
Why else should Noah, when he came to himself, shew his Resentment so much against Canaan his Grandson, rather than against Ham his Father, and who ’tis supposed in the Story the guilt chiefly lay upon? we see the Curse is (as it were) laid wholly upon Canaan the Grandson, and not a Word of the Father is mention’d, Gen. ix. 25, 26, 27, Cursed be Canaan, a Servant of Servants shall he be, &c.
That Ham was Guilty, that’s certain from the History of Fact, but I cannot but suppose his Grandson was the Occasion of it; and in this Case the Devil seems to have made Canaan the Instrument or Tool to delude Noah, and draw him in to Drunkenness, as he made the Serpent the Tool to beguile Eve, and draw her into Disobedience.
Possibly Canaan might do it without Design at first, but might be brought in to ridicule and make a Jest of the old Patriarch afterward, as is too frequent since in the Practice of our Days; but I rather believe he did it really with a wicked Design, and on Purpose to expose and insult his Reverend old Parent; and this seems more likely too, because of the great Bitterness with which Noah resented it, after he came to be inform’d of it.
But be that as it will, the Devil certainly made a great Conquest here, and as to outward Appearance no less than that which he gain’d before over Adam; nor did the Devil’s Victory consist barely in his having drawn in the only righteous Man of the whole Antediluvian World, and so beginning or initiating the new young Progeny with a Crime; but here was the great Oracle silenc’d at once; the Preacher of Righteousness, for such no doubt he would have been to the new World, as he was to the old, I say, the Preacher was turn’d out of Office, or his Mouth stopt, which was worse; nay, it was a stopping of his Mouth in the worst kind, far worse than stopping his Breath, for had he died, the Office had descended to his sons Shem and Japhet, but he was dead to the Office of an Instructor, tho’ alive as to his Being; For of what Force could his Preachings be, who had thus fallen himself into the most shameful and beastly Excess?
Besides some are of the Opinion, tho’ I hope without Ground, that Noah was not only overtaken once in his Drink, but that being fallen into that Sin it became habitual, and he continued in it a great while, and that it was this which is the meaning of his being uncovered in his Tent, and that his Son saw his Nakedness; that is, he continually exposed himself for a long Time, a hundred Years, say they, and that his Son Ham, and his Grandson Canaan having drawn him into it, kept him in it, encourag’d and prompted it, and all the while Satan still prompting them, join’d their Scoffs and contempt of him, with their wicked Endeavours to promote the Wickedness; and both with as much Success as the Devil himself could wish for.
Then as for his two Sons modestly and decently covering their Father, they tell us, that Represents Shem and Japhet applying themselves in an humble and dutiful Manner to their Father, to entreat and beseech him to consider his ancient Glory, his own pious Exhortations to the late drowned World, and to consider the Offence which he gave by his evil Courses to God, and the Scandal to his whole Family, and also that they are brought in effectually prevailing upon him; and that then Noah cursed the Wickedness of Ham’s degenerate Race, in Testimony of his sincere Repentance after the Fact.
The Story is not so very unlikely as it is certain that it is not to be proved, and therefore we had better take it as we find it (viz.) for one single Act; but suppose it was so, ’tis still certain that Noah’s Preaching was sadly interrupted, the Energy of his Words flatter’d, and the Force of his Persuasions enervated and abated, by this shameful Fall; that he was effectually silenc’d for an Instructor ever after, and this was as much as the Devil had Occasion for; and therefore indeed we read little more of him, except that he lived three hundred and fifty Years after the Flood; nay, we do not so much as read that he had any more Children, but the contrary, nor indeed could Noah have any more Children, except by his old and perhaps super-annuated Wife, who it was very likely he had had four or five hundred Year, unless you will suppose he was allow’d to marry some of his own Progeny, Daughters or Grandaughters, which we do not suppose was allow’d, no not to Adam himself.
This was certainly a Master-piece of the Devil’s Policy, and a fatal Instance of his unhappy Diligence, (viz.) that the Door of the Ark was no sooner open, and the Face of the World hardly dry from the universal Destruction of Mankind, but he was at work among them; and that not only to form a general Defection among the Race, upon the Foot of the original Taint of Nature, but like a bold Devil he strikes at the very Root, and flies at the next general Representative of Mankind, attacks the Head of the Family, that in his Miscarriage the Rise and Progress of a Reformation of the new World should receive an early Check, and should be at once prevented; I say, like a bold Devil, he strikes at the Root, and alas! poor unhappy Noah, he proved too weak for him, Satan prevail’d in his very first Attempt, and got the Victory over him at once.
Noah thus overcome, and Satan’s Conquest carried on to the utmost of his own Wishes, the Devil had little more to do in the World for some Ages, than to carry on an universal Degeneracy among Mankind, and to finish it by a like diligent Application, in deluding the Generality of the Race, and them as they came on gradually into Life; this he found the less difficult, because of the first Defection which spread like a Contagion upon the Earth immediately after.
The first Evidence we have of his Success in this mischievous Design was in the Building that great stupendious Stair-case, for such it seems it was intended, call’d Babel, which if the whole World had not been drunk, or otherwise infatuated, they would never have undertaken; even Satan himself could never have prevail’d with them to undertake such a preposterous Piece of Work, for it had neither End or Means, Possibility or Probability in it.
I must confess I am sometimes apt to vindicate our old Ancestors, in my Thoughts, from the Charge it self, as we generally understand it, namely, that they really design’d to build a Tower which should reach up to Heaven, or that it should secure them in case of another Flood; and Father Casaubon is of my Opinion, whether I am of his or no, is a Question by it self; his opinion is that the Confusion was nothing but a Breach among the Undertakers and Directors of the Work, and that the Building was design’d chiefly for a Store-house for Provisions, in Case of a second Deluge; as to their Notion of its reaching up to Heaven, he takes the Expression to be allegorical rather than little, and only to mean that it should be exceeding high; perhaps they might not be Astronomers enough to measure the Distance of Space between the Earth and Heaven, as we pretend to do now; but as Noah was then alive, and as we believe all his three Sons were so too, they were able to have inform’d them how absurd it was to suppose either the one or the other (viz.) (1.) that they could build up to Heaven, or (2.) that they could build firm enough to resist, or high enough to overtop the Waters, supposing such another Flood should happen; I would rather think it was only that they intended to build a most glorious and magnificent City, where they might all inhabit together; and that this Tower was to be built for Ornament and also for Strength, or as above, and for a Store-house to lay up vast Magazines of Provisions, in Case of extraordinary Floods or other Events, the City being built in a great Plain, namely, the Plains of Shimar near the River Euphrates.
But the Story, as it is recorded, suits better with Satan’s Measures at that Time; and as he was from the Beginning prompting them to every Thing that was contrary to the Happiness of Man, so the more preposterous it was, and the more inconsistent with common Sense, the more to his Purpose; and it shew’d the more what a compleat Conquest he had gain’d over the Reason as well as the Religion of Mankind at that Time.
Again, ’tis evident in this Case, they were not only acting contrary to the Nature of Things, but contrary to the Design and to the Command of Heaven; for God’s Command was that they should replenish the Earth, that is, that they should spread their Habitations over it, and People the whole Globe; whereas they were pitching in one Place, as if they were not to multiply sufficient to take up any more.
But what car’d the Devil for that, or to put it a little handsomer, that was what Satan aimed at; for it was enough to him, to bring Mankind to act just contrary to what Heaven had directed or commanded them in any thing, and if possible in every Thing.
But God himself put a stop to this foolish Piece of Work, and it was time indeed to do so, for a madder thing the Devil himself never proposed to them; I say, God himself put a stop to this new Undertaking, and disappointed the Devil; and how was it done? not in Judgment and Anger, as perhaps the Devil expected and hop’d for, but as pitying the Simplicity of that dreaming Creature Man, he confused their Speech, or as some say, divided and confused their Councils, so that they could not agree with one another, which would be the same Thing as not to understand one another; or he put a new Shibboleth upon their Tongues, thereby separating them into Tribes or Families, for by this every Family found themselves under a Necessity of keeping together, and this naturally encreased that Differing Jargons of Language, for at first it might be no more.
What a Confusion this was to them we all know, by their being oblig’d to leave off their building, and immediately separating one from another; but what a Surprize it was to the old Serpent, that remains to be considered of, for indeed it belongs to his History.
Satan had never met with any Disappointment in all his wicked Attempts till now; for first, he succeeded even to triumph upon Eve, he did the like upon Cain, and in short upon the whole World, one Man (Noah) excepted; when he blended the Sons of God, and the Daughters of Hell, for so the Word is understood, together, in promiscuous voluptuous Living as well as Generation.
As to the Deluge, Authors are not agreed whether it was a Disappointment to the Devil or no, it might be indeed a Surprize to him, for tho’ Noah had preach’d of it for a hundred Year together, yet as he (Satan) daily prompted the People not to heed or believe what that old Fellow Noah said to them, and to ridicule his whimsical Building a monstrous Tub to swim or float in, when the said Deluge should come; so I am of the Opinion he did not believe it himself, and am positive he could not foresee it, by any insight into Futurity that he was Master of.
’Tis true the Astronomers tell us, there was a very terrible Comet seen in the Air, that it appeared for 180 Days before the Flood continually; and that as it approach’d nearer and nearer every Day all the while, so that at last it burst and fell down in a continual Spout or Stream of Water, being of a watry Substance, and the Quantity so great, that it was forty Days a falling; so that this Comet not only foretold the Deluge or drowning of the Earth, but actually perform’d it, and drown’d it from it self.
But to leave this Tale to them that told it, let us consider the Devil, surpris’d, and a little amaz’d at the Absorption or Inundation, or whatever we are to call it, of the Earth in the Deluge, not, I say, that he was much concern’d at it, perhaps just the Contrary; and if God would drown it again, and as often as he thought fit, I do not see by any thing I meet with in Satan’s History, or in the Nature of him, that he would be at all disturb’d at it; all that I can see in it, that could give Satan any Concern, would be that all his Favourites were gone, and he had his Work to do over again, to lay a Foundation for a new Conquest in the Generation that was to come; But in this his Prospect was fair enough, for why should he be discouraged, when he had now eight People to work upon, who met with such Success when he had but two? and why should he question breaking in now where Nature was already vitiated and corrupted, when he had before conquer’d the same Nature, when in its primitive Rectitude and Purity, just come out of the Hands of its Maker, and fortify’d with the Awe of his high and solemn Command just given them, and the threatning of Death also annext to it, if broken?
But I go back to the Affair of Babel: This Confusion of Language or of Councils, take it which way you will, as the first Disappointment that I find the Devil met with, in all his Attempts and Practices upon Mankind, or upon the new Creature, which I mentioned above; for now he foresaw what would follow; namely, that the People would separate and spread themselves over the whole Surface of the Earth, and a thousand new Scenes of Actions would appear, in which he therefore prepares himself to behave as he should see Occasion.
How the Devil learn’d to speak all the Languages that were now to be used, and how many languages they were, the several ancient Writers of the Devil’s Story have not yet determined; some tell us they were divided only into fifteen, some into seventy two, others into one hundred and eighty, and others again into several Thousands.
It also remains a doubt with me, and, I suppose, will be so with others also, whether Satan has yet found out a Method to converse with Mankind, without the Help of Language and Words, or not: Seeing Man has no other Medium of Conversing, no not with himself: This I have not time to enter upon here; however, this seems plain to me (viz.) that the Devil soon learn’d to make Mankind understand him, whatever Language he spoke, and no doubt but he found Ways and Means to understand them, whatever Language they spoke.
After the Confusion of Languages, the People necessarily sorted themselves into Families and Tribes, every Family understanding their own particular Speech, and that only; and these Families multiplying grew into Nations, and those Nations wanting Room, and seeking out Habitations wandred some this Way, some that, till they found out Countries respectively proper for their settling, and there they became a Kingdom, spreading and possessing still more and more Land as their People encreased, till at last the whole Earth was scarce big enough for them: This presented Satan with an Opportunity to break in upon their Morals at another Door, (viz.) their Pride; for Men being naturally Proud and Envious, Nations and Tribes began to jostle with one another for Room; either one Nation enjoy’d better Accommodations, or had a better Soil or a more favourable Climate than another; and these being numerous and strong thrust the other out, and encroach’d upon their Land; the other liking their Situation, prepare for their Defence, and so began Oppression, Invasion, War, Battle and Blood, Satan all the while beating the Drums, and his Attendants clapping their Hands, as Men do when they set Dogs on upon one another.
The bringing Mankind thus to War and Confusion, as it was the first Game the Devil play’d after the confounding of Languages and Divisions at Babel so it was a Conquest upon Mankind, purely devilish, born from Hell, and so exactly tinctured with Satan’s original Sin Ambition, that it really transform’d Men into meer Devils; for when is Man transform’d into the very Image of Satan himself, when is he turn’d into a meer Devil, if it is not when he is fighting with his fellow Creatures and dipping his Hands in the Blood of his own Kind? Let his Picture be consider’d, the Fire of Hell flames or sparkles in his Eyes, a voracious Grin sits upon his Countenance; Rage and Fury distort the Muscles of his Face; his Passions agitate his whole Body, and he is metamorphos’d from a comely Beauteous angelic Creature into a Fury, a Satyr, a terrible and frightful Monster, nay, into a Devil; for Satan himself is describ’d by the same Word which on his very Account is chang’d into a Substantive, and the Devils are call’d Furies.
This sowing the Seeds of Strife in the World, and bringing Nations to fight and make War upon one another, would take up a great Part of the Devil’s History, and abundance of extraordinary Things would occur in relating the particulars; for there have been very great Conflagrations kindled in the World, by the Artifice of Hell, under this Head, (viz.) of making War; in which it has been the Devil’s Master-piece, and he has indeed shewn himself a Workman in it, that he has wheedled Mankind into strange unnatural Notions of things, in order to propagate and support the fighting Principle in the World; such as Laws of War, fair Fighting, behaving like Men of Honour, fighting at the last Drop, and the like, by which killing and murdering is understood to be justifiable. Virtue and a true Greatness in Spirit is rated now by Rules which God never appointed, and the Standard of Honour is quite different from that of Reason and of Nature: Bravery is denominated not from a fearless undaunted Spirit in the just Defence of Life and Liberty, but from a daring Defiance of God and Man, fighting, killing and treading under Foot his fellow Creatures, at the ordinary Command of the Officer, whether it be right or wrong, and whether it be in a just Defence of Life, and our Country’s Life, that is Liberty, or whether it be for the Support of Injury and Oppression.
A prudent avoiding causeless Quarrels is call’d Cowardice, and to take an affront Baseness, and Meanness of Spirit; to refuse fighting, and putting Life at a Cast on the Point of a Sword, a Practice forbid by the Laws of God and of all good Government, is yet call’d Cowardice; and a Man is bound to die duelling, or live and be laugh’d at.
This trumping up these imaginary Things call’d Bravery and Gallantry, naming them Virtue and Honour, is all from the Devil’s new Management, and his subtil influencing the Minds of Men to fly in the Face of God and Nature, and to act against his Senses; nor but for his Artifice in the Management, could it be possible that such Inconsistencies could go down with Mankind, or they could pass such absurd Things among them for reasoning; for Example, A is found in Bed with B’s Wife, B is the Person injur’d, and therefore offended, and coming into the Chamber with his Sword in his Hand, A exclaims loudly, Why Sir, you won’t murder me, will you? as you are a Man of Honour let me rise and take my Sword.
A very good Story indeed! fit for no body but the Devil to put into any Man’s Head; But so it is, B being put in mind, forsooth, that he is a Man of Honour, starts back and must act the honourable Part; so he lets A get up, put on his Clothes and take his Sword; then they fight, and B is kill’d for his Honour; whereas had the Laws of God, of Nature and of Reason taken Place, the Adulterer and the Adulteress should have been taken Prisoners and carried before the Judge, and being taken in the Fact, should have been immediately sentenc’d, he to the Block and she to the Stake, and the innocent abus’d Husband had no Reason to have run any Risque of his Life for being made a Cuckold.
But thus has Satan abus’d the Reason of Man; and if a Man does me the greatest Injury in the World, I must do my self Justice upon him, by venturing my life upon an even Lay with him, and must fight him upon equal Hazard, in which the injur’d Person is as often kill’d as the Person offering the Injury: Suppose now it be in the same Case as above, a Man abuses my Wife, and then to give me Satisfaction, tells me, he will fight me, which the French call doing me Reason; No Sir, say I, let me lie with your Wife too, and then if you desire it, I may fight you; then I am upon even Terms with you; but this indeed is the Reasoning which the Devil has brought Mankind too at this Day: But to go back to the Subject, viz. the Devil bringing the Nations to fall out, and to quarrel for Room in the World, and so to fight in order to dispossess one another of their Settlements: This began at a Time when certainly there were Places enough in the World for every one to choose in, and therefore the Devil, not the want of Elbow-room, must be the Occasion of it; and ’tis carried on ever since, as apparently from the same Interest, and by the same original.
But we shall meet with this Part again very often in the Devil’s Story, and as we bring him farther on in the Management of Mankind, I therefore lay it by for the Present, and come to the next Steps the Devil took with Mankind after the Confusion of Languages, and this was in the Affair of Worship; It does not appear yet that ever the Devil was so bold, as either,
1. To set himself up to be worship’d as a God, or which was still worse,
2. To persuade Man to believe there was no God at all to worship.
Both these are introduc’d since the Deluge, one indeed by the Devil, who soon found Means to set himself up for a God in many Parts of the World, and holds it to this Day; but the last is brought in by the Invention of Man, in which it must be confess’d Man has out-sin’d the Devil; for to do Satan justice, he never thought it could ever pass upon Mankind, or that any Thing so gross would go down with them; so that, in short, these modern Casuists, in the Reach of our Days, have, I say, out-sin’d the Devil.
As then both these are modern Inventions, Satan went on gradually, and being to work upon human Nature by Stratagem, not by Force, it would have been too gross to have set himself up as an Object of Worship at first, it was to be done Step by Step; for Example.
1. It was sufficient to bring Mankind to a Neglect of God, to worship him by halves, and give little or no Regard to his Laws, and so grow loose and immoral, in direct Contradiction to his Commands; this would not go down with them at first, so the Devil went on gradually.
2. From a Negligence in worshiping the true God, he by Degrees introduc’d the worship of false Gods; and to introduce this he began with the Sun, Moon, and Stars, call’d in the holy Text the Host of Heaven; these had greater Majesty upon them, and seem’d fitter to command the Homage of Mankind; so it was not the hardest Thing in the World, to bring Men, when they had once forgotten the true God, to embrace the Worship of such Gods as those.
3. Having thus debauch’d their Principles in Worship, and led them from the true and only Object of Worship to a false, it was the easier to carry them on; so in a few Gradations more he brought them to downright Idolatry, and even in that Idolatry he proceeded gradually too; for he began with awful Names, such as were venerable in the Thoughts of Men, as Baal or Bell, which, in Chaldaick and Hebrew, signifies Lord or Sovereign, or Mighty and Magnificent, and this was therefore a Name ascrib’d at first to the true God; but afterwards they descended to make Images and Figures to represent him, and then they were call’d by the same Name, as Baal, Baalim, and afterwards Bell; from which, by a hellish Degeneracy, Saturn brought Mankind to adore every Block of their own hewing, and to worshipping Stocks, Stones, Monsters, Hobgoblins, and every sordid frightful Thing, and at last the Devil himself.
What Notions some People may entertain of the Forwardness of the first Ages of the World, to run into Idolatry, I do not enquire here; I know they tell us strange Things, of its being the Product of meer Nature, one remove from its primitive State; but I, who pretend to have so critically enquir’d into Satan’s History, can assure you, and that from very good Authority, that the Devil did not find it so easy a task to obliterate the Knowledge of the true God, in the Minds and Consciences of Men, as those People suggest.
It is true he carried Things a great Length under the Patriarchal Government of the first Ages, but still he was sixteen hundred Years bringing it to pass; and tho’ we have Reason to believe the old World, before the Flood was arrived to a very great Height of Wickedness, and Ovid very nobly describes it by the War of the Titans against Jupiter, yet we do not read that ever Satan was come to such a Length as to bring them to Idolatry; indeed we do read of Wars carried on among them, whether it was one Nation against another, or only Personal, we cannot tell; But the World seem’d to be swallow’d up in a Life of Wickedness, that is to say, of Luxury and Lewdness, Rapine and Violence, and there were Giants among them, and Men of Renown, that is to say, Men fam’d for their mighty Valour, great Actions of War we may suppose, and their Strength, who personally oppos’d others. We read of no considerable Wars indeed, but ’tis not to be doubted but there was such Wars, or else it is to be understood that they liv’d (in common) a Life somewhat like the Brutes, the Strong devouring the Weak; for the Text says, the whole Earth was filled with Violence, hunting and tearing one another in Pieces, either for Dominion or for Wealth, either for Ambition or for Avarice, we know not well which.
Thus far the old Antediluvian World went, and very wicked they were, there is no doubt of that; but we have Reason to believe that was no Idolatry, the Devil had not brought them to that Length yet: perhaps it would soon have follow’d, but the Deluge interven’d.
After the Deluge, as I have said, he had all his Work to do over again, and he went on by the same Steps; first he brought them to Violence and War, then to Oppression and Tyranny, then to neglect of true Worship, then to false worship, and then Idolatry by the meer natural Consequence of the Thing; who were the first Nation or People that fell from the Worship of the true God, is something hard to determine; the Devil, who certainly of all God’s Creatures is best able to inform us, having left us nothing upon Record upon that Subject, but we have Reason to believe it was thus introduc’d.
Nimrod was the Grandson of Ham, Noah’s second Son, the same who was cursed by his Father for exposing him in his Drunkenness: This Nimrod was the first who it seems Satan pick’d out for a Hero: Here he inspir’d him with ambitious Thoughts, dreams of Empire, and having the Government of all the Rest, that is to say, universal Monarchy; the very same Bait with which he has plaid upon the Frailty of Princes, and ensnar’d the greatest of them ever since, even from his most August Imperial Majesty King Nimrod the first, to his most Christian Majesty Louis the XIV. and many a mighty Monarch between.
When these mighty Monarchs and Men of Fame went off the Stage, the World had their Memories in esteem many Ages after; and as their great Actions were no otherwise recorded than by oral Tradition, and the Tongues and Memories of fallible Men, Time and the Custom of magnifying the past Actions of Kings, Men soon fabl’d up their Histories, Satan assisting, into Miracle and Wonder: Hence their Names were had in Veneration more and more; Statues and Bustoes representing their Persons and great Actions were set up in public Places, till from Heroes and Champions they made Gods of them, and thus (Satan prompting) the World was quickly fill’d with Idols.
This Nimrod is he, who according to the received Opinion, tho’ I do not find Satan’s History exactly concurring with it, was first call’d Belus, then Baal, and worship’d in most of the eastern Countries under those Names; sometimes with Additions of Sir-names, according to the several countries, or People, or Towns where he was particularly set up, as Baal Peor, Baal Zephon, Baal Phegor, and in other Places plain Baal, as Jupiter in after Times had the like Additions; as Jupiter Ammon, Jupiter Capitolinus, Jupiter Pistor, Jupiter Feretrius, and about ten or twelve Jupiters more.
I must acknowledge, that I think it was a Master-piece of Hell to bring the World to Idolatry so soon after they had had such an eminent Example of the infinite Power of the true God, as was seen in the Deluge, and particularly in the Escape of Noah in the Ark, to bring them (even before Noah or his Sons were dead) to forget whose Hand it was, and give the Homage of the World to a Name, and that a Name of a mortal Man dead and rotten, who was famous for nothing when he was alive but Blood and War; I say, to bring the World to set up this Nothing, this meer Name, nay the very Image and Picture of him for a God, it was first a Mark of most prodigious Stupidity in the whole Race of Men, a monstrous Degeneracy from Nature, and even from common Sense; and in the next Place ’twas a token of an inexpressible Craft and Subtilty in the Devil, who had now gotten the People into so full and compleat a Management, that in short, he could have brought them, by the same Rule, to have worship’d any thing; and in a little while more, did bring many of them to worship himself, plain Devil as he was, and knowing him to be such.
As to the Antiquity of this horrible Defection of Mankind, tho’ we do not find the beginning of it particularly recorded, yet we are certain it was not long after the Confusion of Babel; for Nimrod, as is said, was no more than Noah’s great Grandson and Noah himself, I suppose, might be alive some Years after Nimrod was born; and as Nimrod was not long dead, before they forgot that he was a Tyrant and a Murtherer, and made a Baal, that is a Lord or Idol of him, I say, he was not long dead, for Nimrod was born in the Year of the World 1847, and built Babylon the Year 1879; and we find Terah the Father of Abraham, who liv’d from the Year 1879 was an Idolater, as was doubtless Bethuel, who was Terah’s Grandson; for we find Laban, who was Bethuel’s Son, was so, and all this was during the Life of the first Post-Diluvian Family, for Terah was born within one hundred ninety three Years after the Flood, and one hundred fifty seven Years before Noah was dead; and even Abram himself was eight and fifty Years old before Noah died, and yet Idolatry had been then, in all probability, above an hundred Years practised in the World.
N. B. It is worth Remark here, what a terrible Advantage the Devil gain’d by the debauching poor Noah, and drawing him into the Sin of Drunkenness; for by this, as I said, he silenc’d and stop’d the Mouth of the great Preacher of Righteousness, that Father and Patriarch of the whole World, who not being able for the Shame of his own foul Miscarriage, to pretend to instruct or reprove the World any more, the Devil took hold of them immediately, and for want of a Prophet to warn and admonish, ran that little of Religion which there might be left in Shem and Japhet, quite out of the World, and delug’d them all in Idolatry.
How long the whole World may be said to be thus overwhelm’d in Ignorance and Idolatry, we may make some tolerable guess at by the History of Abraham; for it was not till God call’d him from his Father’s House, that any such Thing as a Church was establish’d in the World; nor even then, except in his own Family and Successors for almost four hundred Years after that Call; and till God brought the Israelites back out of Egypt, the whole World may be said to be involv’d in Idolatry and Devil worship.
So absolute a Conquest had the Devil made over Mankind immediately after the Flood, and all taking its Rise and Beginning at the fatal Defeat of Noah, who had he liv’d untainted and invulnerable, as he had done for six hundred Years before, would have gone a great way to have stem’d the Torrent of Wickedness which broke in upon Mankind; and therefore the Devil, I say, was very cunning and very much in the Right of it, take him as he is a meer Devil, to attack Noah personally, and give him a Blow so soon.
It is true, the Devil did not immediately raze out the Notion of Religion and of a God from the Minds of Men, nor could he easily suppress the Principle of Worship and Homage to be paid to a Sovereign Being, the Author of Nature and Guide of the World; the Devil saw this clearly in the first Ages of the new World, and therefore, as I have said, he proceeded politically and by Degrees: That it was so, is evident from the Story of Job and his three Friends, who, if we may take it for a History, not a Fable, and may judge of the Time of it by the Length of Job’s Life, and by the Family of Eliphaz the Temanite, who it is manifest was at least Grandson or Great Grandson to Esau Isaac’s eldest Son, and by the Language of Abimilech King of Gerar to Abraham, and of Laban to Jacob, both the Latter being at the same Time Idolaters; I say, if we may judge of it by all these, there were still very sound Notions of Religion in the Minds of Men; nor could Satan with all his Cunning and Policy deface those Ideas, and root them out of the Minds of the People.
And this put him upon taking new Measures to keep up his Interest and preserve the Hold he got upon Mankind; and his Method was like himself, subtle and politick to the last Degree, as his whole History makes appear; for seeing he found they could not but believe the Being of a God, and that they would needs worship something, it is evident, he had no Game left him to play but this, namely, to set up wrong Notions of Worship, and bring them to a false Worship instead of a True, supposing the Object worship’d to be still the same.
To finish this Stratagem, he first insinuates that the true God was a terrible, a dreadful, unapproachable Being; that to see him was so frightful, that it would be present Death; that to worship him immediately, was a Presumption which would provoke his Wrath; and that as he was a consuming Fire in himself, so he would burn up those in his Anger that dar’d to offer up any Sacrifice to him, but by the Interposition of some Medium which might receive their Adorations in his Name.
Hence it occur’d presently, that subordinate Gods were to be found out and set up, to whom the People might pay the Homage due to the supreme God, and who they might worship in his Name; this I take from the most ancient Account of Idolatry in the World; nor indeed could the Devil himself find out any other Reason why Men should Cannonise or rather Deify their Princes and Men of Fame, and worship them after they were dead, as if they could save them from Death and Calamity, who were not able to save themselves when they were alive; much less could Satan bring Men to swallow so gross, so absurd a Thing as the bowing the Knee to a Stock or a Stone, a Calf, an Ox, a Lion, nay the Image or Figure of a Calf, such as the Israelites made at Mount Sinai, and say, These be thy Gods, O Israel, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt.
Having thus, I say, brought them to satisfy themselves that they worship’d the true God and no other, under the Figures and Appearances which they made to represent him, it was easy after that to worship any thing for the true God; and thus in a few Ages they worship’d nothing but Idols, even throughout the whole World; nor has the Devil lost this hold in some Parts of the World, nay not in most Parts of the World to this Day; He holds still all the Eastern Parts of Asia, and the Southern Parts of Africa, and the Northern Parts of Europe, and in them the vast Countries of China and Tartary, Persia and India, Guinea, Ethiopia, Zanquebar, Congo, Angola, Monomotapa, &c. in all which, except Ethiopia, we find no Vestiges of any other worship but that of Idols, Monsters, and even the Devil himself; till after the very coming of our Saviour, and even then, if it be true that the Gospel was preach’d in the Indies and China by St. Thomas, and in other remote Countries by other of the Apostles; we see that whatever Ground Satan lost, he seems to have recovered it again; and all Asia and Africa is at present overrun with Paganism or Mahometanism, which I think of the two is rather the worst; Besides all America, a Part of the World, as some say, equal in Bigness to all the other, in which the Devil’s Kingdom was never interrupted from its first being inhabited, whenever it was, to the first Discovery of it by the European Nations in the sixteenth Century.
In a Word, the Devil got what we may call an entire Victory over Mankind, and drove the Worship of the true God, in a Manner quite out of the World, forcing, as it were, his Maker in a new kind of Creation, the old one proving thus ineffectual to recover a certain Number by Force and meer Omnipotence to return to their Duty, serve him and worship him; But of that hereafter.