Of Antichrist, and His Ruin
by John Bunyan
WHERE ANTICHRIST FIRST APPEARED.
The devil then, made use of the church of God to midwife this monster into the world, as the Apostle plainly shews, there he first sat, shewing himself. (2 Thess 2:4) Here therefore was his first appearance, even in the church of God: Not that the church of God did willingly admit him there to sit as such; he had covered his cloven foot; he had plumbs in his dragon's mouth, and so came in by flatteries; promising to do for Christ and his church, that which he never meant to perform. For he shewed himself that he was God, and in appearance, set his heart to do as the heart of God. (Eze 28:2-6) And who could have found in their hearts to shut the door upon such an one? True, he came, when he came thither, out of the bottomless-pit; but there came such a smoke out thence with him, and that smoke so darkened the light of the sun, of the moon, of the stars, and of the day, that had they [the church] been upon their watch, as they were not, they could not have perceived him from another man. Besides, there came with him so many locusts to usher him into the house of God (Rev 9:2,3), and they so suited the flesh and reason of the godly of that day, that with good words and fair speeches, by their crafty and cunning sleights, whereby they lay in wait to deceive, they quite got him in, and set him up, and made him a great one, even the chief, before they were aware. Further, He quickly got him a beast to ride on, far, for sumptuous glory, beyond (though as to nature, as assish a creature as) that on which Baalam was wont to ride: And by this exaltation he became not only more stately, but the horns of the beast would push for him. (Rev 17:3-6)
Again, This man of sin, when he came into the world, had the art of metamorphosing, and could change himself, both in form and shape, into the likeness of a beast, a man, or woman; and the kings of the earth, with the inhabitants of the world, began then to love such women dearly; wherefore they went to her into the bed of love, and defiled themselves with the filthiness of her fornications, gave her their troth, and became her husbands, and beloved sons; took up helmet and shield, and stood to defend her; yea, though Christ himself, and some of the chief of his followers, cried out of her shame, and of the evil of their doings; yet would she be audacious.
Also this woman had now arrayed herself in flesh-taking ornaments, of the colour of purple and scarlet, and was decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, after the manner or attire of harlots. Thus came she to them, and lay in their bosoms, and gave them out of her golden cup of the wine of her fornication; of the which they bibbed till they were drunken; and then, in requital, they also gave her of such liquors as they could, to wit, to drink of the blood of saints, and of martyrs of Jesus, till she, like these beasts, was drunken also.
Now when they were drunken, they did as drunkards do, revel, roar, and belch out their own shame, in the sight of them that were sober: Wherefore they cried out upon such doings, and chose rather to die, than to live with such company. And so 'tis still with them where she yet sitteth, and so will be till she shall fall into the hands of the strong Lord, who will judge her according to her ways. And that she must do, as is implied by this, That her fornications are in a cup; she has therefore but her cup to be drank out; wherefore when it is empty, then, whether she will or no, the Lord God will call her to such a reckoning, that all the clothes on her back, with what pearls and jewels she has, shall not be able to pay the shot.