OF THE ORDER OF EVIL SPIRITS, AND THEIR FALL, AND DIFFERENT NATURES.
THERE are some of the school of theologians, who distribute the evil spirits into nine degrees, as contrary to the nine orders of angels. Therefore, the first of these, which are called false gods, who, usurping the name of God, would be worshipped for gods, and require sacrifices and adorations; as that devil who said to Christ, "If thou wilt fall down and worship me, I will give thee all these things," shewing him all the kingdoms of the world; and the prince of these is he who said, I will ascend above the height of the clouds, and will be like to the Most High, who is called Beelzebub, that is, an old god. In the second place, follow the spirits of lies, of which sort was he who went forth, and was a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophet of Ahab; and the prince of these is the serpent Pytho, from whence Apollo is called Pythius, and that woman a Pythoness, or witch, in Samuel, and the other in the gospel, who had Pytho in her belly. Therefore, these kind of devils join themselves to the oracles, and delude men by divinations and predictions, so that they may be deceived. In the third order, are the vessels of iniquity, which are called vessels of wrath: these are the inventors of evil things, and all wicked arts; as in Plato, that devil Theutus, who taught cards and dice; for all wickedness, malice, and deformity, proceeds from these, of which in Genesis, in the benedictions of Simeon and Levi, Jacob said, "vessels of iniquity are in their habitations, into their counsel let not my soul come;" which the Psalmist calls vessels of death, Isaiah, vessels of fury; and Jeremiah, vessels of wrath; Ezekiel, vessels of destroying and slaying; and their prince is Belial, which signifies, without a yoke, and disobedient, a prevaricator, and an apostate; of whom Paul to the Corinthians says, "what agreement has Christ with Belial?" Fourthly, follow the revengers of evil, and their prince is Asmodeus, viz. causing judgment. After these, in the fifth place, come the deluders, who imitate miracles, and serve
Click to view
conjurers and witches, and seduce the people by their miracles, as the serpent seduced Eve, and their prince is Satan, of whom it is written in the Revelation, "that he seduces the whole world, doing great signs, and causing fire to descend from heaven in the sight of men; seducing the inhabitants of the earth by these signs, which are given him to do." Sixthly, the aerial powers offer themselves and join themselves to thunder and lightning, corrupting the air, causing pestilences, and other evils; in the number of which are the four angels of whom the Revelations speak, to whom it is given to hurt the earth and the sea, holding the four winds from the four corners of the earth and their prince is called Meririm: he is the meridian devil, a boiling spirit, a devil raging in the south, whom Paul, to the Ephesians, calls "the prince of the power of the air, and the spirit which works in the children of disobedience." The seventh mansion the furies possess, who are powers of evil, discords, war, and devastation; whose name in the Revelation is called in Greek, Apollyon; in the Hebrew, Abaddon, that is, destroying and wasting. In the eighth place are the accusers or inquisitors, whose prince is Astaroth, that is, a searcher out; in the Greek language he is called Diabolus, that is, an accuser or calumniator; which in the Revelation is called the "accuser of the brethren, accusing them night and day before the face of God." Moreover, the tempters and ensnarers have the last place; one of which is present with every man, which we call the evil genius, and their prince is Mammon, which is interpreted covetousness. But we of the Cabala unanimously maintain that evil spirits do wander up and down this inferior world, enraged against, all whom we call devils; of whom Austin, in his first book of the Incarnation of the Word, to Januarius, says, concerning the devils and his angels contrary to virtues, the ecclesiastical preachers have taught that there are such things, but what they are, and who they are, he has not clear enough expounded: yet there is this opinion among them, that this devil was an angel, and being made an apostate, persuaded many of the angels to fall with him, who to this day are called his angels. Greece, notwithstanding, thinks not that these are damned, nor that they are all purposely evil; but that from the creation of the world the dispensation of things is ordained by
this means, that the tormenting of sinful souls is made over to them. The other theologians say, that no devil was created evil, but that they were driven and cast out of heaven from the orders of good angels, for their pride whose fall not only our and the Hebrew theologians, but also the Assyrians, Arabians, Egyptians, and Greeks, do confirm by their tenets. Pherycies, the Assyrian, describes the fall of the devils; and Ophis, that is, the devilish serpent, was the head of that rebelling army; Trismegistus sings the same fall, in his Pimander; and Homer, under the name of Ararus, in his verses; and Plutarch, in his Discourse on Usury, signifies that Empedocles knew that the fall of the devils was in this manner; the devils themselves often confess their fall. They being cast out into this valley of misery, some that are near to us wander up and down in this obscure air; others inhabit lakes, rivers, and seas; others the earth, and terrify earthly things, and invade those who dig wells and metals, cause the gaping of the earth, to strike together the foundations of the mountains, and vex not only men but also other creatures; some being content with laughter and delusion only, do contrive rather to weary men than to hurt them; some heightening themselves to the length of a giant's body, and again shrinking themselves down to the smallest of pigmies, and changing themselves into different forms, to disturb men with vain fear; others study lies and blasphemies, as we read of one in third book of Kings, saying, "I will go forth and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets of Ahab." But the worst sort of devils are those who lie in wait, and overthrow passengers in their journies, and rejoice in wars and effusion of blood, and afflict men with most cruel stripes: we read of such in Matthew, "for fear of whom no man dare pass that way." Moreover, the Scripture reckons up nocturnal, diurnal, and meridional devils; and describes other spirits of wickedness by different names, as we read in Isaiah of satyrs, screech-owls, sirens, storks, owls; and in the Psalms, of asps, basilisks, lions, dragons; and in the Gospel, we read of scorpions, and Mammon, and the prince of this world, and rulers of darkness, of all whom Beelzebub is the prince, whom the Scripture calls the Prince of wickedness.
Click to view