Of the Progress of Satan in carrying on his Conquest over Mankind, from the Fall of Eve to the Deluge.
I doubt if the Devil was ask’d the Question plainly, he would confess, that after he had conquer’d Eve by his own wicked Contrivance, and then by her Assistance had brought Adam too (like a Fool as he was) into the same Gulph of Misery, he thought he had done his Work, compassed the whole Race, that they were now his own, and that he had put an End to the grand Design of their Creation; namely, of Peopling Heaven with a new Angelic Race of Souls, who when glorify’d, should make up the Defection of the Host of Hell, that had been expung’d by their Crime; in a Word, that he had gotten a better Conquest than if he had destroy’d them all.
But in the midst of his Conquest, he found a Check put to the Advantages he expected to reap from his Victory, by the immediate Promise of Grace to a Part of the Posterity of Adam, who, notwithstanding the Fall, were to be purchased by the Messiah, and snatch’d out of his (Satan’s) Hands, and over whom he could make no final Conquest; so that his Power met with a new Limitation, and that such, as indeed fully disappointed him in the main thing he aim’d at, (viz.) preventing the Beatitudes of Mankind, which were thus secur’d; (And what if the Numbers of Mankind were upon this account encreased in such a manner, that the selected Number should, by Length of Time, amount to just as many as the whole Race, had they not fallen, would have amounted to in all?) And thus, indeed, the World may be said to be upheld and continued for the Sake of those few, since till their Number can be compleated, the Creation cannot fall, any more than, that without them, or but for them it would not have stood.
But leaving this Speculation, and not having enquir’d of Satan what he has to say on that Subject, let us go back to the Antediluvian World: The Devil to be sure, gain’d his Point upon Eve, and in her upon all her Race: He drew her into Sin; got her turn’d out of Paradise, and the Man with her: The next Thing was to go to work with her Posterity, and particularly with her two Sons Cain and Abel.
Adam having, notwithstanding his Fall, repented very sincerely of his Sin; receiv’d the Promise of Redemption and Pardon, with an humble but believing Heart; Charity bids us suppose that he led a very religious and sober Life ever after; and especially in the first Part of his Time, That he brought up his Children very soberly, and gave them all the necessary Advantages of a Religious Education, and a good Introduction into the World, that he was capable of; and that Eve likewise assisted to both in her Place and Degree.
Their two eldest Sons Cain and Abel; The one Heir apparent to the Patriarchal Empire, and the other Heir presumptive, I suppose also, lived very sober and religious Lives; and as the Principles of natural Religion dictated a Homage and Subjection due to the Almighty Maker, as an Acknowledgment of his Mercies, and a Recognition of their Obedience; so the receiv’d Usage of Religion dictating at that Time that this Homage was to be paid by a Sacrifice, they either of them brought a Free-will-offering to be dedicated to God respectively for themselves and Families.
How it was, and for what Reason that God had respect to the Offering of Abel, which the Learn’d say, was a Lamb of the Firstlings of the Flock, and did not give any Testimony of the like Respect to Cain and his Offering, which was of the first Fruits of the Earth, the Offerings being equally suited to the respective Employment of the Men, that is not my present Business; but this we find made Heart-burnings, and raised Envy and Jealousy in the Mind of Cain; and at that Door the Devil immediately entred; for he, who from the Beginning, was very diligent in his way, never slip’d any Opportunity, or miss’d any Advantages that the Circumstances of Mankind offered him to do Mischief.
What Shape or Appearance the Devil took up to enter into a Conversation with Cain upon the Subject, that Authors do not take upon them to determine; but ’tis generally supposed he personated some of Cain’s Sons or Grandsons to begin the Discourse, who attack’d their Father, or perhaps Grandfather, upon this Occasion, in the following manner, or to that Purpose.
D. Sir, I perceive your Majesty (for the first Race were certainly all Monarchs as great as Kings, to their immediate Posterity) to be greatly disturb’d of late, your Countenance is chang’d, your noble Chearfulness (the Glories of your Face) are strangely sunk and gone, and you are not the Man you used to be; please your Majesty to communicate your Griefs to us your Children, you may be sure, that if it be possible, we would procure you Relief, and restore your Delights, the Loss of which, if thus you go on to subject yourself to too much Melancholy, will be very hurtful to you, and in the End destroy you.
Cain. It is very kind, my dear Children, to shew your Respect thus to your true Progenitor, and to offer your Assistance: I confess, as you say, my Mind is oppress’d and displeased; but tho’ ’tis very heavy, yet I know not which way to look for Relief, for the Distemper is above our Reach, no Cure can be found for it on Earth.
D. Do not say so, Sir; there can be no Disease sure on Earth but may be cur’d on Earth; if it be a mental Evil, we have heard that your great Ancestor, the first Father of us all, who lives still on the great western Plains towards the Sea, is the Oracle to which all his Children fly for Direction in such Cases as are out of the Reach of the ordinary understanding of Mankind; please you to give leave, we will take a Journey to him, and representing your Case to him, we will hear his Advice, and bring it to you with all Speed, for the Ease of your Mind.
Cain. I know not whether he can reach my Case or no.
D. Doubtless he may, and if not, the Labour of our Journey is nothing when plac’d in Competition with the Ease of your Mind; ’tis but a few Days travel lost, and you will not be the worse if we fail of the desired Success.
Cain. The offer is filial, and I accept your affectionate Concern for me, with a just Sense of an oblig’d Parent; go then, and my Blessing be upon you; but alas! why do I bless? can he bless whom God has not bless’d!
D. O! Sir, do not say so, has not God bless’d you? are you not the second Sovereign of the Earth? and does he not converse with you Face to Face? are not you the Oracle to all your growing Posterity, and next after his Sovereign Imperial Majesty Lord Adam, Patriarch of the World?
Cain. But has not God rejected me, and refused to converse any more with me, while he daily Favours and Countenances my younger Brother Abel, as if he resolv’d to set him up to rule over me?
D. No, Sir, that cannot be, you cannot be disturb’d at such a thing; is not the Right of Sovereignty yours by Primogeniture? can God himself take that away, when ’tis once given? are not you Lord Adam’s eldest Son? are you not the firstborn Glory of the Creation? and does not the Government descend to you by the divine Right of Birth and Blood?
Cain. But what does all that signify to me, while God appears to favour and caress my younger Brother, and to shine upon him, while a black Dejection and token of Displeasure surrounds me every Day, and he does not appear to me as he used to do?
D. And what need your Majesty be concern’d at that, if it be so? if he does not appear pleased, you have the whole World to enjoy your self in, and all your numerous and rising Posterity Adore and Honour you; what need those remote Things be any disturbance to you?
Cain. How! my Children, not the Favour of God be valued! yes, yes, in his favour is Life; what can all the World avail without the Smiles and Countenance of him that made it?
D. Doubtless, Sir, he that made the World and plac’d you at the Head of it all, to govern and direct it, has made it agreeable, and it is able to give you a full Satisfaction and Enjoyment, if you please to consider it well, tho’ you were never to converse with him all the while you live in’t.
Cain. You are quite wrong there, my Children, quite wrong.
D. But do you not, great Sir, see all your Children as well as us rejoicing in the Plenty of all Things, and are they not compleatly happy, and yet they know little of this great God? He seldom converses among us, we hear of him indeed by your sage Advices, and we bring our Offerings to you for him, as you direct, and when that’s done, we enjoy whatever our Hearts desire; and so doubtless may you in an abundant manner, if you please.
Cain. But your Felicity is wrong plac’d then, or you suppose that God is pleased and satisfied in that your Offerings are brought to me; but what would you say, if you knew that God is displeased? that he does not accept your Offerings? that when I sacrific’d to him in behalf of you all, he rejected my Offerings, tho’ I brought a princely Gift, being of the finest of the Wheat, the choicest and earliest Fruits, and the sweetest of the Oil, an Offering suited to the Giver of them all?
D. But if you offered them, Sir, how are you sure they were not accepted?
Cain. Yes, yes, I am sure; did not my Brother Abel offer at the same Time a Lamb of his Flock, for he, you know, delights in Cattle, and covers the Mountains with his Herds? over him, all the while he was sacrificing, a bright Emanation shone chearing and enlivening; a Pledge of Favour, and light ambient Flames play’d hovering in the lower Air, as if attending his Sacrifice; and when ready prepar’d, immediately descended and burnt up the Flesh, a Sweet odoriferous Savour ascending to him, who thus testified his Acceptance; whereas, over my Head a black Cloud, misty, and distilling Vapour, hung dripping upon the humble Altar I had raised, and wetting the finest and choicest Things I had prepar’d, spoil’d and defac’d them; the Wood unapt to burn by the Moisture which fell, scarce receiv’d the Fire I brought to kindle it, and even then, rather smother’d and choaked, than kindled into a Flame; in a Word, it went quite out, without consuming what was brought to be offer’d up.
D. Let not our truly reverenc’d Lord and Father be disquieted at all this; if he accepts not what you bring, you are discharg’d of the Debt, and need bring no more; nor have the Trouble of such labour’d Collections of Rarities any more; when he thinks fit to require it again, you will have Notice, no Question, and then it being call’d for, will be accepted or else why should it be requir’d?
Cain. That may indeed be the Case, nor do I think of attempting any more to bring an Offering, for I rather take it, that I am forbidden for the present; but then, what is it that my younger Brother Triumphs in? and how am I insulted, in that he and his House are all Joy and Triumph, as if they had some great Advantage over me, in that their Offering was accepted when mine was not?
D. Does he Triumph over your Majesty, our Lord and Sovereign? give us but your Order, and we will go and pull him and all his Generation in pieces; for to triumph over you who are his elder Brother, is a horrid Rebellion and Treason, and he ought to be expell’d the Society of Mankind.
Cain. I think so too, indeed; however, my dear Children and faithful Subjects, tho’ I accept your Offer of Duty and Service, yet I will consider very well, before I take up Arms against my Brother; besides, our Sovereign Father and patriarchal Lord, Adam, being yet alive, it is not in my Right to act offensively without his Command.
D. We are ready therefore to carry your Petition to him, and doubt not to obtain his Licence and Commission too, to empower you to do your self Justice upon your younger Brother; who being your Vassal, or at least inferior, as he is junior in Birth, insults you upon the fancied Opinion of having a larger Share in the Divine Favour, and receiving a Blessing on his Sacrifices, on Pretence of the same Favour being denied you.
Cain. I am content, go then, and give a just Account of the State of our Affairs.
D. We shall soon return with the agreeable answer; let not our Lord and Father continue sad and dejected, but depend upon a speedy Relief, by the Assistance of thy numerous Issue, all devoted to thy Interest and Felicity.
Cain. My Blessing be with you in your Way, and give you a favourable Reception at the venerable Tent of our universal Lord and Father.
Note, Here the cursed Race being fully given up to the Direction of the Evil-Spirit, which so early possess’d them, and swelling with Rage at the innocent Abel and his whole Family, they resolved upon forming a most wicked and detestable lie, to bring about the Advice which they had already given their Father Cain a touch of; and to pretend that Adam being justly provok’d at the undutiful Behaviour of Abel, had given Cain a Commission to chastise him, and by Force to cut him off and all his Family, as guilty of Rebellion and Pride.
Fill’d with this mischievous and bloody Resolution, they came back to their Father Cain, after staying a few Days, such as were Sufficient to make Cain believe they had been at the spacious Plains, where Adam dwelt; the same which are now call’d the blessed Valleys, or the Plains of Mecca in Arabia Fælix, near the Banks of the Red-Sea.
Note here also, that Cain having received a wicked Hint from these Men, his Children and Subjects, as before, intimating that Abel had broken the Laws of Primogeniture in his Behaviour towards him, (Cain) and that he might be justly punish’d for it; Satan, that cunning Manager of all our wayward Passions, fan’d the Fire of Envy and Jealousy with his utmost Skill all the while his other Agents were absent; and by the Time they came back had blown it up into such a Heat of Fury and Rage, that it wanted nothing but Air to make it burn out, as it soon afterwards did in a furious Flame of Wrath and Revenge, even to Blood and Destruction.
Just in the very critical Moment, while Things stood thus with Cain, Satan brings in his wicked Instruments, as if just arriv’d with the Return of his Message from Adam, at whose Court they had been for Orders; and thus they, that is the Devil assuming to speak by them, approach their Father with an Air of solemn but chearful Satisfaction at the Success of their Embassy.
D. Hail Sovereign, Reverend, Patriarchal Lord! we come with Joy to render thee an Account of the Success of our Message.
Cain. Have you then seen the venerable Tents where dwell the Heaven-born, the Angelic Pair, to whom all human Reverence highly due, is and ought always to be humbly paid?
D. We have.
Cain. Did you, together with my grand Request, a just, a humble Homage for me pay, to the great Sire and Mother of Mankind?
D. We did.
Cain. Did you in humble Language represent the Griefs and Anguish which oppress my Soul?
D. We did, and back their Blessing to thee bring.
Cain. I hope with humblest Signs of filial Duty you took it for me on your bending Knees?
D. We did, and had our Share; the Patriarch lifting his Hands to Heaven express’d his Joy to see his spreading Race, and bless’d us all.
Cain. Did you my solemn Message too deliver, my Injuries impartially lay down, and due Assistance and Direction crave?
D. We did.
Cain. What spoke the Oracle? he’s God to me; what just Command d’ye bring, what’s to be done? am I to bear the insulting Junior’s Rage? and meekly suffer what unjustly he, affronting Primogeniture and Laws of God and Man, imposes by his Pride unsufferable! Am I to be crush’d, and be no more the firstborn Son on Earth, but bow and kneel to him?
D. Forbid it Heaven! as Adam too forbids, who with a justice God-like and peculiar to injur’d Parents, Abel’s Pride resents, and gives his high Command to thee to punish.
Cain. To punish? say you, did he use the Word, the very Word? am I commission’d then to punish Abel?
D. Not Abel only, but his rebel Race, as they alike in Crime alike are join’d in Punishment.
Cain. The Race indeed have shar’d the Merit with him; how did they all insult, and with a Shout of Triumph mock my Sorrow, when they saw me from my Sacrifice dejected come, as if my Disappointment was their Joy?
D. This too the venerable Prince resents, and to preserve the Race in Bounds of Laws subordinate and limited to Duty, Commands that this first Breach be not pass’d by, lest the Precedent upon Record stand to future Times to encourage like Rebellion.
Cain. And is it then my Sovereign Parent’s Will?
D. It is his Will, that thou his eldest Son, his Image, his belov’d, should be maintain’d in all the Rights of Sovereignty deriv’d to thee from him; and not be left expos’d to injury and Power usurped, but should do thy self Justice on the rebel Race.
Cain. And so I will; Abel shall quickly know what ’tis to trample on his elder Brother; shall know that he’s thus sentenc’d by his Father, and I’m commission’d but to execute his high Command, his Sentence, which is God’s, and that he falls by the Hand of Heavenly Justice.
So now Satan had done his Work, he had deluded the Mother to a Breach against the first and only Command, he had drawn Adam to the same Snare, and now he brings in Cain prompted by his own Rage, and deluded by his, (Satan’s,) Craft, to commit Murder, nay a Fratricide, an aggravated Murther.
Upon this he sends out Cain, while the bloody Rage was in its Ferment, and wickedly at the same Time bringing Abel, innocent and fearing no ill, just in his Way, he suggests to his Thoughts such Words as these.
Look you Cain, see how Divine Justice concurs with your Father’s righteous Sentence, see there’s thy Brother Abel directed by Heaven to fall into thy Hands unarm’d, unguarded, that thou may’st do thy self Justice upon him without Fear; see thou may’st kill him, and if thou hast a Mind to conceal it, no Eyes can see, or will the World ever know it, so that no Resentment or Revenge upon thee, or thy Posterity, can be apprehended, but it may be said some wild Beast had rent him; nor will any one suggest that thou, his Brother, and Superior, could possibly be the Person.
Cain prepar’d for the Fact, by his former avow’d Rage and Resolution of Revenge, was so much the less prepar’d to avoid the Snare thus artfully contriv’d by the Master of all Subtilty, the Devil; so he immediately runs upon his Brother Abel, and after a little unarm’d Resistance, the innocent poor Man expecting no such Mischief, was conquer’d and murther’d; after which, as is to be supposed, the exasperated Crew of Cain’s outrageous Race, over-run all his Family and Houshold, killing Man, Woman and Child.
It is objected here that we have no Authority in Scripture to prove this Part of the Story; but I answer, ’tis not likely but that Abel, as well as Cain, being at Man’s Estate long before this, had several Children by their own Sisters, for they were the only Men in the World who were allow’d the Marrying their own Sisters, there being no other Women then in the World; and as we never read of any of Abel’s Posterity, ’tis likewise as probable they were all murther’d, as that they should kill Abel only, whose Sons might immediately fall upon Cain for the Blood of their Father, and so the World have been involv’d in a Civil War as soon as there were two Families in it.
But be it so or not, ’tis not doubted the Devil wrought with Cain in the horrid Murther, or he had never done it; whether it was directly or by Agents is not material, nor is the Latter unlikely; and if the Latter, then there is no Improbability in the Story, for why might not he that made Use of the Serpent to tempt Eve, be as well supposed to make a Tool of some of Cain’s Sons or Grandsons to prompt him in the wicked Attempt of murthering his Brother? and why must we be oblig’d to bring in a Miracle or an Apparition into the Story, to make it probable that the Devil had any Hand in it, when ’twas so natural to a degenerate Race to act in such a Manner?
However it was, and by whatever Tool the Devil wrought, ’tis certain that this was the Consequence, poor Abel was butcher’d, and thus the Devil made a second Conquest in God’s Creation; for Adam was now, as may be said, really Childless, for his two Sons were thus far lost, Abel was killed, and Cain was curst and driven out from the Presence of the Lord, and his Race blasted with him.
It would be a useful enquiry here, and worthy our giving an Account of, could we come to a Certainty in it, namely, what was the Mark that God set upon Cain, by which he was kept from being fallen upon by Abel’s Friends or Relations? but as this does not belong to the Devil’s History, and it was God’s Mark, not the Devil’s, I have nothing to do with it here.
The Devil had now gain’d his Point, the Kingdom of Grace, so newly erected, had been as it were extinct without a new Creation, had not Adam and Eve been alive, and had not Eve, tho’ now 130 Years of Age, been a breeding young Lady, for we must suppose the Woman, in that State of Longevity, bare Children till they were seven or eight hundred Year old: This Teeming of Eve peopled not the World so much as it restored the blessed Race; for tho’ Abel was kill’d Cain had a numerous Offspring presently, which had Seth, (Adam’s third Son) never been born, would soon have replenish’d the World with People, such as they were; the Seed of a Murtherer, cursed of God, branded with a Mark of Infamy, and who afterwards fell all together in the universal Ruine of the Race by the Deluge.
But after the Murther of Abel, Adam had another Son born, namely, Seth, the Father of Enos, and indeed the Father of the holy Race; for during his Time and his Son Enos, the Text says that Men began to call on the Name of the Lord; that is to say, they began to look back upon Cain and his wicked Race, and being convinc’d of the Wickedness they had committed, and led their whole Posterity into, they began to sue to Heaven for Pardon of what was past, and to lead a new sort of Life.
But the Devil had met with too much Success in his first Attempts, not to go on with his general Resolution of debauching the Minds of Men, and bringing them off from God; and therefore as he kept his Hold upon Cain’s cursed Race, embroil’d already in Blood and Murther; so he proceeded with his degenerate Offspring, till in a Word he brought both the holy Seed and the degenerate Race to joyn in one universal Consent of Crime, and to go on in it with such aggravating Circumstances, as that it repented the Lord that he had made Man, and he resolv’d to overwhelm them again with a general Destruction, and clear the World of them.
The Succession of Blood in the royal original Line of Adam, is preserv’d in the sacred Histories and brought down as low as Noah and his three Sons, for a continu’d series of 1450 Years, say some, 1640 say others; in which Time Sin spread it self so generally thro’ the whole Race, and the Sons of God, so the Scripture calls the Men of the righteous Seed, the Progeny of Seth, came in unto the Daughters of Men, that is, join’d themselves to the curs’d Race of Cain, and married promiscuously with them, according to their Fancies, the Women it seems being beautiful and tempting; and tho’ the Devil could not make the Women handsome or ugly in one or other Families, yet he might work up the Gust of wicked Inclination on either Side, so as to make both the Men and Women tempting and agreeable to one another, where they ought not to have been so; and perhaps, as it is often seen to this Day, the more tempting for being under legal Restraint.
It is objected here, that we do not find in the Scripture that the Men and Women of either Race were at that Time forbidden intermarrying with one another; and it is true, that literally it is not forbid; but if we did not search rather to make doubts than to explain them, we might suppose it was forbidden by some particular Command at that Time; seeing we may reasonably allow every Thing to be forbidden, which they are tax’d with a Crime in committing; and as the Sons of God taking them Wives as they thought fit to choose, tho’ from among the Daughters of the cursed Race, is there charg’d upon them as a general Depravation, and a great Crime; and for which, ’tis said, God even repented that he had made them, we need go no farther to satisfy our selves that it was certainly forbidden.
Satan no doubt too had a Hand in this Wickedness; for as it was his Business to prompt Men to do every Thing which God had prohibited, so the Reason given why the Men of those Days did this Thing was, they saw the Daughters of Men, that is of the wicked Race or forbidden Sort, were fair, he tempted them by the Lust of the Eye; in a word, the Ladies were beautiful and agreeable, and the Devil knew how to make use of the Allurement; the Men liked and took them by the meer Direction of their Fancy and Appetite, without regarding the supreme Prohibition; They took them Wives of all which they chose, or such as they lik’d to choose.
But the Text adds, that this promiscuous Generation went farther than the meer outward Crime of it, for it shew’d that the Wickedness of the Heart of Man was great before God, and that he resented it; In short, God perceived a Degeneracy or Defect of Virtue had seiz’d upon the whole Race, that there was a general Corruption of Manners, a Depravity of Nature upon them, that even the holy Seed was tainted with it, that the Devil had broken in upon them, and prevail’d to a great Degree; that not only the Practice of the Age was corrupt, for that God could easily have restrain’d, but that the very Heart of Man was debauch’d, his Desires wholly vitiated, and his Senses engag’d in it; so that in a Word, it became necessary to shew the divine Displeasure, not in the ordinary Manner, by Judgment and Reproofs of such kind as usually reclaim Men, but by a general Destruction to sweep them away, clear the Earth of them, and put an End to the Wickedness at once, removing the Offence and the Offenders all together; this is signify’d at large, Gen. vi. 5. God saw that the Wickedness of Man was great in the Earth, and that every Imagination of the Thoughts of his Heart was only evil continually. And again ℣ 11, 12. The Earth also was corrupt before God; and the Earth was fill’d with Violence. And God look’d upon the Earth and behold it was corrupt; for all Flesh had corrupted his Way upon the Earth.
It must be confess’d it was a strange Conquest the Devil had made in the Antediluvian World, that he had, as I may say, brought the whole Race of Mankind into a general Revolt from God; Noah was indeed a Preacher of Righteousness, and he had preach’d about 500 Years to as little Purpose as most of the good Ministers ever did; for we do not read there was one Man converted by him, or at least not one of them left, for that at the Deluge there was either none of them alive, or none spar’d but Noah and his three Sons, and their Wives; and even they are (’tis evident) recorded, not so much to be sav’d for their own Goodness, but because they were his Sons; Nay, without Breach of Charity we may conclude, that at least one went to the Devil even of those three, namely, Ham or Cham for triumphing in a brutal Manner over his Father’s Drunkenness; for we find the Special Curse reach’d to him and his Posterity for many Ages; and whether it went no farther than the present State of Life with them, we cannot tell.
We will suppose now that thro’ this whole 1500 Years the Devil having so effectually debauch’d Mankind, had advanc’d his infernal Kingdom to a prodigious Height; for the Text says, the whole Earth was fill’d with violence; in a Word, Blood, Murder, Rape, Robbery, Oppression and Injustice prevail’d every where, and Man, like the wild Bear in the Forest, liv’d by Prey, biting and devouring one another.
At this Time Noah begins to preach a new Doctrine to them, for as he had before been a Preacher of Righteousness, now he becomes a Preacher of Vengeance; first he tells them they shall be all overwhelm’d with a Deluge, that for their Sins God repented they were made, and that he would destroy them all, adding, that to prevent the Ruin of himself and Family, he resolv’d to build him a Ship to have recourse to when the Water should come over the Rest of the World.
What Jesting, what Scorn, what Contempt did this Work expose the good old Man to for above a 100 Years? for so long the Work was building, as antient Authors say; let us represent to our selves in the most lively Manner how the witty World at that Time behav’d to poor old Noah; how they took their Evening Walks to see what he was doing, and passed their Judgment upon it, and upon the Progress of it; I say, to represent this to our selves, we need go no farther than to our own Witicisms upon Religion, and upon the most solemn Mysteries of Divine Worship; how we damn the Serious for Enthusiasts, think the Grave mad, and the Sober melancholy; call Religion it self Flatus and Hyppo; make the Devout ignorant, the Divine mercenary, and the whole Scheme of Divinity a Frame of Priestcraft; and thus no doubt the building an Ark or Boat, or whatever they call’d it, to float over the Mountains, and dance over the Plains, what could it be but a religious Frenzy, and the Man that so busied himself, a Lunatick? and all this in an Age when divine Things came by immediate Revelation into the Minds of Men! the Devil must therefore have made a strange Conquest upon Mankind to obliterate all the Reverence, which but a little before was so strangely impress’d upon them concerning their Maker.
This was certainly the Height of the Devil’s Kingdom, and we shall never find him arrive to such a Pitch again; he was then truly and literally the universal Monarch, nay the God of this World; and as all Tyrants do, he governs them with an arbitrary absolute sway; and had not God thought fit to give him a Writ of Ejectment, and afterwards drown him out of Possession I know not what would have been the Case, he might have kept his Hold for ought I know till the Seed of the Woman came to bruise his Head, that is to say, cripple his Government, Dethrone him and Depose his Power, as has been fulfill’d in the Messiah.
But as he was, I say, drown’d out of the World, his Kingdom for the present was at an End; at least, if he had a Dominion he had no Subjects, and as the Creation was in a Manner renewed, so the Devil had all his Work to do over again: Unhappy Man! how has he, by his weak Resistance, made the Devil, recovering his Hold too easy to him, and given him all the Advantages, except as before excepted, which he had before? Now whether he retired in the mean Time, and how he got footing again after Noah and his Family were landed upon the New Surface, that we come next to enquire.