Chapter VIII.—Uses of Evils.
“But perhaps you will say, that in those things indeed in which the necessity of nature demands the service of arts and works, any one may have it in his power to maintain justice, and to put what restraint he pleases either upon his desires or his actions; but what shall we say of the sicknesses and infirmities which befall men, and of some being harassed with demons, and fevers, and cold fits, and some being attacked with madness, or losing their reason, and all those things which overwhelm the race of man with innumerable misfortunes? To this we say, that if any one consider the reason of the whole mystery, he will pronounce these things to be more just than those that we have already explained. For God has given a nature to men, by which they may be taught concerning what is good, and to resist evil; that is, they may learn arts, and to resist pleasures, and to set the law of God before them in all things. And for this end He has permitted certain contrary powers to wander up and down in the world, and to strive against us, 840 for the reasons which have been stated before, that by striving with them the palm of victory and the merit of rewards may accrue to the righteous.
[On the doctrine of demons compare book iv. 14–22; Homily IX. 8–18.—R.]