Time would fail me, to shew distinctly how sin, by his Subtlety, generally prevailed in those Days, by alluring the Hearts of Men and Women with Musical Instruments, and other Pleasures and sensual Delights and Profits of this World. Yet God to preserve a godly Seed, that he might have a Church in all Ages, and fulfill his Promise to Adam, gave Eve another Son instead of Abel whom Cain slew, who she called Seth, Who was born (saith Ainsworth) not till One hundred and thirty Years after the Creation....
This Seth begat Enos, so he is called in Greek; in Hebrew, Ænosh; that is by Interpretation, sorrowful, sick, miserable; so named 'tis thought, from the Consideration of the woeful State of those Days. For, it seems, that Sin prevailed wonderfully (as worthy Annotationers make report) by profane calling on the Almighty, and by calling Idols by the Name of the Lord, and by making Images and Representations of Him. So high had Apollyon raised his Throne, in those Times that scarce one in a Thousand ('tis thought) but were subdued under his Feet, and became mere Vassals and Slaves to him. Yet Godliness, soon after, had one most choice and renowned Champion, who bravely overcame this hellish Enemy, and walked with God three hundred Years. But the Lord, seeing how Ungodliness every where abounded, took this holy Person from these Lower Regions, to dwell with Him Above. But Sin, as on Eagle's Wings, pursu'd his Progress, and like a devouring and unsatisfied Monster, resolved to destroy the whole World again at once, or provoke the dreadful God of Heaven to do it; which, in a short Space after, he almost effected, by corrupting the Earth, i.e. the Inhabitants of the Earth; nay, and the Earth itself, (saith Ainsworth) with the abominable Pollution of that Generation, was defiled; which agrees with another Text, Isa. 24. (Sin is of an infectious and poisonous Nature, fitly compared to the Plague of the Leprosy) the Earth was defiled under the Inhabitants thereof. And this Corruption is especially applied to Idolatry, and depraving of God's true Worship as appears by other Scriptures; Exod. 52, 7. Deut. 32. 5. Judg. 2. 19 which was the grand Design Apollyon labour'd to effect by this his Hell-bred Agent. Nay, and the Disease was Epidemical: All Flesh was defiled, and their Way corrupted; that is, their Faith and Religion, and their Manners, Works, and Course of Life also, &c. Every Imagination, and Though of their Hearts, were only Evil, and that continually, all were in love with, receiv'd and harbour'd this cursed Enemy: Every Dorr was open, and all Hearts prepar'd to embrace him, and bid him welcome: Every Faculty of their Souls being depraved, and overcome by him so that none but Sin and the Devil was regarded and subjected to by them of that Congregation: God and Godliness were had in a great Contempt. The whole World is become but a Mass of Filth and detestable Corruption. The Sons of God, i.e. Men of the Church , or Children of Seth, were, by the Power of this Enemy, brought to mix or mingle themselves by unlawful Marriage; &c. with the Daughters of Men, viz. The Off-spring of Cain, the cursed Seed. Nothing but Violence, Oppression, injurious and cruel Dealing over spread the whole World. No Fear of God, nor Regard of Men; Rapine, Spoil and Murder abounded in all Places; and yet they seem'd to live free from Fear, and in the greatest Security imaginable; Buying and Selling, Building and Planting, Marrying, and being given in Marriage.
But now see what followeth: The Vengeance of God pursues the Traveller: Heaven could not bear longer with such prodigious Wickedness; and therefore, that God might shew his Wrath upon those who had cast him off; from whom they had their Breath and Being: Behold! what a mighty Flood of Water approaches! Now, nothing but Death! Their Joy is turn'd to Sorrow, and their Mirth into Mourning. Now, the Heavens weep, and their Eyes pour forth Showers too: But their Cries and Tears will not atone for their Sins; for the Flood came and took them all away.
Adieu, false World; see, see, thy fearful Fate.
Alas, thou would'st not see it, till too late!
What has thou got (come speak) by letting in,
And entertaining of that Monster Sin?
See, how thy Enemy, and Hellish Foe Doth laugh at this thy fatal Overthrow:
Vengeance pursues, and will o'ertake all those,
Who God despise, and with the Devil close.
But all were not destroyed: For Noah before this Time, had entertain'd True Godliness, and thereby was delivered from the Flood. Thee (saith the Lord) only have I found Righteous before Me, in this Generation: Come Thou, and thy House, into the Ark. And by this Means was Ham spared, who was of the Seed of the Serpent.
And hereby Apollyon had the better Opportunity to save the Cursed Traveller, who brought that fearful Overthrow upon the Old World, the Effect of God's Wrath; but the cause was not utterly removed: The Sinner was drown'd, but not Sin; but contrariwise, he got fresh Strength and Power, and pursued his Progress with as great Rage as ever; and like another great and overflowing Deluge, threatened spiritually to drown and destroy the World again in such sort, as if that Flood was but a Type of Figure of this.
Two Flood I read of; one was caus'd by Sin,
That was external, the Other flows within.
Noah, escap'd the First, such Favour found;
But Afterwards, by This, was almost drown'd.
The former Flood of Water did extend
But some few Days: When will the other end?
They both destroyed; But Sin is far the worst:
And 'tis more general too than was the First,
Waters shall drown no more, a Sign God hath giv'n
When shall we see a Rainbow after Sin?
For When Apollyon saw that the inward Life, Power, and Efficacy of the Christian Religion, was generally gone; and yet the People affected the Name of Christ? and would not be satisfied without some Way, Mode, or Manner of Worship, then he began to erect this false Form and Image of Christianity, or set up Counterfeit Godliness; And since Men knew not what belonged to the inward Beauty and Glory of Grace and True Godliness, he was resolved to make it up in an Outward and External Manner, that it might appear amiable to all such that had no more than Fleshly Eyes to see with.
The Enemy at this Time roared like a mighty and over grown Monster, and sent out Bulls threatening to destroy and devour all, who would not worship the Beast, and his Image or receive his Mark in their Foreheads: Nay, in good earnest those who would not sacrifice their Reason Conscience and Religion, to the Lust and Ambition of this Tyrant, and adore his Golden Image, were not to be suffered to Buy nor Sell, nor indeed to Live, and therefore he devised, by the Help of Apollyon, all sort of cruel Tortures and Torments, to be inflicted on all manner of People, both Young and Old, High and Low, Rich and Poor, Bond and Free, who refused to Worship Gods of Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron; nay, and a strange Idol, he had made of a Wafer-cake, by which Means, they murdered many Thousands, if not Millions of Thousands, of the poor, innocent Saints and Servants of God, in such sort, that every Street of the great City Babylon, became like a meer bambles, to quarter out the Limbs of Men, Women, and Children; Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, an Hundred, nay, two Hundred Thousand Souls have been sacrificed at one time; I mean, before they did give over; as witness the Irish Massacre, &c. Some he caused to be burned, some to be roasted alive, some their Skins slead off, others hanged by their Hairs of their Heads, Poisoning, starving, drowning; and any other kind of Death Apollyon could devise, were the poor Saints and Lovers of True Godliness put to, and that by such who called themselves Christians.