Devil in Augustine of Hippo, part 6

Herein we continue, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, considering info on the Devil in Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD).

Herein we continue, from part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, considering info on the Devil 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.

Devil in Augustine of Hippo’s The City of God, Books XXI-XXII.

Book XXI
Chapter 1 I Propose, with such ability as God may grant me, to discuss in this book more thoroughly the nature of the punishment which shall be assigned to the devil and all his retainers, when the two cities, the one of God, the other of the devil, shall have reached their proper ends through Jesus Christ our Lord, the Judge of quick and dead. And I have adopted this order, and preferred to speak, first of the punishment of the devils

Chapter 3 But, say they, there is no body which can suffer and cannot also die. How do we know this? For who can say with certainty that the devils do not suffer in their bodies, when they own that they are grievously tormented?

Chapter 6 For to this inextinguishable lamp we add a host of marvels wrought by men, or by magic — that is, by men under the influence of devils, or by the devils directly—for such marvels we cannot deny without impugning the truth of the sacred Scriptures we believe. That lamp, therefore, was either by some mechanical and human device fitted with asbestos, or it was arranged by magical art in order that the worshippers might be astonished, or some devil under the name of Venus so signally manifested himself that this prodigy both began and became permanent. Now devils are attracted to dwell in certain temples by means of the creatures (God’s creatures, not theirs), who present to them what suits their various tastes.
They are attracted not by food like animals, but, like spirits, by such symbols as suit their taste, various kinds of stones, woods, plants, animals, songs, rites. And that men may provide these attractions, the devils first of all cunningly seduce them, either by imbuing their hearts with a secret poison, or by revealing themselves under a friendly guise, and thus make a few of them their disciples, who become the instructors of the multitude…And yet these very deeds forward my present arguments. For if such marvels are wrought by unclean devils, how much mightier are the holy Angels! And what can not that God do who made the Angels themselves capable of working miracles!…by the help of magicians, whom Scripture calls sorcerers and enchanters, the devils could gain such power that the noble poet Virgil should consider himself justified in describing a very powerful magician.

Chapter 10 For it is undoubtedly the same fire which is to serve for the punishment of men and of devils, according to the words of Christ: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his Angels;” unless, perhaps, as learned men have thought, the devils have a kind of body made of that dense and humid air which we feel strikes us when the wind is blowing…But if any one maintains that the devils have no bodies, this is not a matter either to be laboriously investigated, or to be debated with keenness…
Therefore, though the devils have no bodies, yet their spirits, that is, the devils themselves, shall be brought into thorough contact with the material fires, to be tormented by them; not that the fires themselves with which they are brought into contact shall be animated by their connection with these spirits, and become animals composed of body and spirit…But that hell, which also is called a lake of fire and brimstone, will be material fire, and will torment the bodies of the damned, whether men or devils,— the solid bodies of the one, aerial bodies of the others; or if only men have bodies as well as souls, yet the evil spirits, though without bodies, shall be so connected with the bodily fires as to receive pain without imparting life. One fire certainly shall be the lot of both, for thus the truth has declared.

Chapter 16 Whoever, therefore, desires to escape eternal punishment, let him not only be baptized, but also justified in Christ, and so let him in truth pass from the devil to Christ.

Chapter 17 Origen was even more indulgent; for he believed that even the devil himself and his Angels, after suffering those more severe and prolonged pains which their sins deserved, should be delivered from their torments, and associated with the holy Angels…And yet they dare not extend their pity further, and propose the deliverance of the devil himself.

Chapter 18 And yet they who hold this opinion do not extend it to the acquittal or liberation of the devil and his Angels. Their human tenderness is moved only towards men, and they plead chiefly their own cause, holding out false hopes of impunity to their own depraved lives by means of this quasi compassion of God to the whole race. Consequently they who promise this impunity even to the prince of the devils and his satellites make a still fuller exhibition of the mercy of God.

Chapter 23 First of all, it behooves us to inquire and to recognize why the Church has not been able to tolerate the idea that promises cleansing or indulgence to the devil even after the most severe and protracted punishment…“Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his Angels.” “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his Angels”…And therefore no other reason, no reason more obvious and just, can be found for holding it as the fixed and immovable belief of the truest piety, that the devil and his Angels shall never return to the justice and life of the saints, than that Scripture, which deceives no man, says that God spared them not, and that they were condemned beforehand by Him, and cast into prisons of darkness in hell, being reserved to the judgment of the last day, when eternal fire shall receive them, in which they shall be tormented world without end…How can this be believed without enervating our faith in the eternal punishment of the devils? For if all or some of those to whom it shall be said, “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his Angels,” are not to be always in that fire, then what reason is there for believing that the devil and his Angels shall always be there?

Chapter 24 Otherwise there is no reason why the Church should not even now pray for the devil and his Angels, since God her Master has ordered her to pray for her enemies…For what does she especially beg for them but that “God would grant them repentance,” as the apostle says, “that they may return to soberness out of the snare of the devil, by whom they are held captive according to his will?”. But if the Church were certified who those are, who, though they are still abiding in this life, are yet predestinated to go with the devil into eternal fire, then for them she could no more pray than for him…But when the Judge of quick and dead has said, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” and to those on the other side, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, which is prepared for the devil and his Angels,” and “These shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life,” it were excessively presumptuous to say that the punishment of any of those whom God has said shall go away into eternal punishment shall not be eternal, and so bring either despair or doubt upon the corresponding promise of life eternal.

Chapter 25 But let us now reply to those who promise deliverance from eternal fire, not to the devil and his Angels (as neither do they of whom we have been speaking), nor even to all men whatever, but only to those who have been washed by the baptism of Christ, and have become partakers of His body and blood, no matter how they have lived, no matter what heresy or impiety they have fallen into.

Book XXII
Chapter 8 A gouty doctor of the same city, when he had given in his name for baptism, and had been prohibited the day before his baptism from being baptized that year, by black woolly-haired boys who appeared to him in his dreams, and whom he understood to be devils…Thither a young man was carried, who, when he was watering his horse one summer day at noon in a pool of a river, had been taken possession of by a devil…At this sound the young man, as if electrified, was thoroughly aroused, and with frightful screaming seized the altar, and held it as if he did not dare or were not able to let it go, and as if he were fixed or tied to it; and the devil in him, with loud lamentation, besought that he might be spared, and confessed where and when and how he took possession of the youth…But his sister’s husband, who had brought him there, said, “God, who has banished the devil, is able to restore his eye at the prayers of His saints”…I know that a young woman of Hippo was immediately dispossessed of a devil, on anointing herself with oil, mixed with the tears of the prebsyter who had been praying for her.

Chapter 24 For in condemning it He did not withdraw all that He had given it, else it had been annihilated; neither did He, in penally subjecting it to the devil, remove it beyond His own power; for not even the devil himself is outside of God’s government, since the devil’s nature subsists only by the supreme Creator who gives being to all that in any form exists.

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

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