Demons in Augustine of Hippo, part 10

Herein we conclude, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6,
Herein we conclude, from
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, considering info on Demons in Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD). The fuller complete result consists of quotations of those sections within the text that refer to Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Devil, Satan, demons, serpent and dragon. The point is not to elucidate these references but to provide relevant partial quotations and citations. See my section on Angels here, Cherubim and Seraphim here, Satan here and Demons here.

Demons in Augustine of Hippo’s The City of God, Books XIX-XX, XXII and On Christian Doctrine.

Book XIX
Chapter 4 And what shall I say of those who suffer from demoniacal possession?

Chapter 9 …there is great need of God’s mercy to preserve us from making friends of demons in disguise, while we fancy we have good Angels for our friends; for the astuteness and deceitfulness of these wicked spirits is equalled by their hurtfulness. And is this not a great misery of human life, that we are involved in such ignorance as, but for God’s mercy, makes us a prey to these demons? And it is very certain that the philosophers of the godless city, who have maintained that the gods were their friends, had fallen a prey to the malignant demons who rule that city, and whose eternal punishment is to be shared by it.

Chapter 10 But not even the saints and faithful worshippers of the one true and most high God are safe from the manifold temptations and deceits of the demons.

Chapter 17 But, as the Earthly city has had some philosophers whose doctrine is condemned by the divine teaching, and who, being deceived either by their own conjectures or by demons, supposed that many gods must be invited to take an interest in human affairs.

Chapter 21 Where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God and yields himself to impure demons?…For although, if you choose to regard the matter attentively, you will see that there is nothing advantageous to those who live godlessly, as every one lives who does not serve God but demons, whose wickedness you may measure by their desire to receive the worship of men though they are most impure spirits, yet what I have said of the common acknowledgment of right is enough to demonstrate that, according to the above definition, there can be no people, and therefore no republic, where there is no justice…He must be an uncommonly stupid, or a shamelessly contentious person, who has read through the foregoing books to this point, and can yet question whether the Romans served wicked and impure demons.

Chapter 23 Who is so foolish as not to see that these oracles were either composed by a clever man with a strong animus against the Christians, or were uttered as responses by impure demons with a similar design—that is to say, in order that their praise of Christ may win credence for their vituperation of Christians; and that thus they may, if possible, close the way of eternal salvation, which is identical with Christianity?…And even if they succeeded in this, we for our part would notwithstanding repudiate the testimony of demons, whether favorable or adverse to Christ…“There are,” he says, in a certain place very small Earthly spirits, subject to the power of evil demons. The wise men of the Hebrews, among whom was this Jesus, as you have heard from the oracles of Apollo cited above, turned religious persons from these very wicked demons and minor spirits, and taught them rather to worship the celestial gods, and especially to adore God the Father.
This, he said, “the gods enjoin; and we have already shown how they admonish the soul to turn to God, and command it to worship Him. But the ignorant and the ungodly, who are not destined to receive favors from the gods, nor to know the immortal Jupiter, not listening to the gods and their messages, have turned away from all gods, and have not only refused to hate, but have venerated the prohibited demons. Professing to worship God, they refuse to do those things by which alone God is worshipped. For God, indeed, being the Father of all, is in need of nothing; but for us it is good to adore Him by means of justice, chastity, and other virtues, and thus to make life itself a prayer to Him, by inquiring into and imitating His nature. For inquiry,” says he, “purifies and imitation deifies us, by moving us nearer to Him”…
But in speaking of the Christians he is in error, and caluminates them as much as is desired by the demons whom he takes for gods, as if it were difficult for any man to recollect the disgraceful and shameful actions which used to be done in the theatres and temples to please the gods, and to compare with these things what is heard in our churches, and what is offered to the true God, and from this comparison to conclude where character is edified, and where it is ruined. But who but a diabolical spirit has told or suggested to this man so manifest and vain a lie, as that the Christians reverenced rather than hated the demons, whose worship the Hebrews prohibited?…And that no one might suppose that this prohibition extends only to the very wicked demons and Earthly spirits, whom this philosopher calls very small and inferior—for even these are in the Scripture called gods, not of the Hebrews, but of the nations, as the Septuagint translators have shown in the psalm where it is said, “For all the gods of the nations are demons,” — that no one might suppose, I say, that sacrifice to these demons was prohibited, but that sacrifice might be offered to all or some of the celestials, it was immediately added, “save unto the Lord alone.”

Chapter 25 For what kind of mistress of the body and the vices can that mind be which is ignorant of the true God, and which, instead of being subject to His authority, is prostituted to the corrupting influences of the most vicious demons?

Book XX
Chapter 1 Neither is it without God’s profound and just judgment that the life of demons and men, the one in the air, the other on Earth, is filled with misery, calamities, and mistakes.

Chapter 19 But it is uncertain in what temple he shall sit, whether in that ruin of the temple which was built by Solomon, or in the Church; for the apostle would not call the temple of any idol or demon the temple of God.

Chapter 8 This Earth he had hung up in his bedroom to preserve himself from harm. But when his house was purged of that demoniacal invasion, he began to consider what should be done with the Earth; for his reverence for it made him unwilling to have it any longer in his bedroom…I know also that a bishop once prayed for a demoniac young man whom he never saw, and that he was cured on the spot.

Chapter 10 In reality, the demons wrought these marvels with the same impure pride with which they aspired to be the gods of the nations; but the martyrs do these wonders, or rather God does them while they pray and assist, in order that an impulse may be given to the faith by which we believe that they are not our gods, but have, together with ourselves, one God.

Chapter 11They will answer, Some god or some demon. If a god, is he greater than the God who made the world? If a demon, is he mightier than an Angel who serves the God by whom the world was made? If, then, a lesser god, Angel, or demon could so sustain the weight of this liquid element that the water might seem to have changed its nature, shall not Almighty God, who Himself created all the elements, be able to eliminate from the Earthly body its heaviness, so that the quickened body shall dwell in whatever element the quickening spirit pleases?

Chapter 22 Is innocence a sufficient protection against the various assaults of demons?

On Christian Doctrine
Book II
Chapter 23:36 Accordingly, in regard to all these branches of knowledge, we must fear and shun the fellowship of demons, who, with the Devil their prince, strive only to shut and bar the door against our return.

Book IV
Chapter 19:38 But if He be not worshipped, or if idols, whether they be demons or any created being whatever, be worshipped with Him or in preference to Him, then we ought to speak out with power and impressiveness, show how great a wickedness this is, and urge men to flee from it.

In the next segment, we will consider the Devil in Augustine of Hippo.


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