Three Books of Occult Philosophy
James Freake, trs., (London: 1651)
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What magic is, what are the parts thereof,
and how the professors thereof must be qualified.
Magic is a faculty of wonderful virtue, full of most high mysteries, containing the most profound contemplation of most secret things, together with the nature, power, quality, substance, and virtues thereof, as also the knowledge of whole nature, and it doth instruct us concerning the differing, and agreement of things amongst themselves, whence it produceth its wonderful effects, by uniting the virtues of things through the application of them one to the other, and totheir inferior suitable subjects, joining and knitting them together thoroughly by the powers, and virtues of the superior bodies.
This is the most perfect, and chief science, that sacred, and sublimer kind of philosophy, and lastly the most absolute perfection of all most excellent philosophy. For seeing that all regulative philosophy is divided into natural, mathematical, and theological: (Natural philosophy teacheth the nature of those things which are in the world, searching and enquiring into their causes, effects, times, places, fashions, events, their whole, and parts, also:
The number and the nature of those things,
Called elements, what Fire, Earth, Air forth
From whence the heavens their beginnings had;
Whence tide, whence rainbow in gay colours clad.
What makes the clouds that gathered are,
To send forth lightnings, and a thundering crack;
What doth the nightly flames, and comets
What makes the Earth to swell, and then to
What is the seed of metals, and of gold
What virtues, wealth, doth Nature's coffer hold.
All these things doth natural philosophy, the viewer of nature contain, teaching us according to Virgil's muse:
-------------whence all things flow,
Whence mankind, beast, whence fire,
whence rain, and snow,
Whence earthquakes are, why the whole
Over his banks, and then again retreats:
Whence strength of herbs, whence courage,
rage of brutes,
All kinds of stone, of creeping things, and
But mathematical philosophy teacheth us to know the quantity of natural bodies, as extended into three dimensions, as also to conceive of the motion, and course of celestial bodies:
-----------------as in great haste,
What makes the golden stars to march so
What makes the Moon sometimes to mask
The Sun also, as if in some disgrace.
And as Virgil sings:
How the Sun doth rule with twelve Zodiac
The orb that's measured round about with
It doth the heaven's starry way make known,
And strange eclipses of the Sun, and Moon,
Arcturus also, and the Stars of Rain,
The Seven Stars likewise, and Charles his
Why winter Suns make towards the west
What makes the nights so long ere they be
All which is understood by mathematical philosophy.
--------------hence by the heavens we may foreknow
the seasons all; times for to reap and sow,
And when 'tis fit to launch into the deep,
And when to war, and when in peace to
And when to dig up trees, and them again
To set; that so they may bring forth attain.
Now theological philosophy, or divinity, teacheth what God is, what the mind, what an intelligence, what an angel, what a devil, what the soul, what religion, what sacred institutions, rites, temples, observations, and sacred mysteries are: it instructs us also concerning faith, miracles, the virtues of words and figures, the secret operations and mysteries of seals, and as Apuleius saith, it teacheth us rightly to understand, and to be skilled in the ceremonial laws, the equity of holy things, and rule of religions. But to recollect myself) these three principal faculties magic comprehends, unites, and actuates; deservedly therefore was it by the ancients esteemed as the highest, and most sacred philosophy.
It was, as we find, brought to light by most sage authors, and most famous writers; amongst which principally Zamolxis and Zoroaster were so famous, that many believed they were the inventors of this science. Their track Abbaris the Hyperborean, Charmondas, Damigeron, Eudoxtis, Hermippus followed: there were also other eminent, choice men, as Mercurius Tresmegistus, Porphyrius, Iamblicus, Plotinus, Proclus, Dardanus, Orpheus the Thracian, Gog the Grecian, Germa the Babylonian, Apollonius of Tyana. Osthanes also wrote excellently in this art; whose books being as it were lost, Democritus of Abdera recovered, and set forth with his own commentaries. Besides Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, Plato, and many other renowned philosophers traveled far by sea to learn this art: and being returned, published it with wonderful devoutness, esteeming of it as a great secret. Also it is well known that Pythagoras, and Plato went to the prophets of Memphis to learn it, and traveled through almost all Syria, Egypt, Judea, and the schools of the Chaldeans, that they might not be ignorant of the most sacred memorials, and records of magic, as also that they might be furnished with divine things.
Whosoever therefore is desirous to study in this faculty, if he be not skilled in natural philosophy, wherein are discovered the qualities of things, and in which are found the occult properties of every being, and if he be not skillful in the mathematics, and in the aspects, and figures of the stars, upon which depends the sublime virtue, and property of everything; and if he be not learned in theology, wherein are manifested those immaterial substances, which dispense, and minister all things, he cannot be possibly able to understand the rationality of magic. For there is no work that is done by mere magic, nor any work that is merely magical, that doth not comprehend these three faculties.
Of the wonderful virtues of some kinds of sorceries.
Now I will show you what some of the sorceries are, that by the example of these there may be a way opened for the consideration of the whole subject of them.
Of these therefore the first is menstruous blood, which, how much power it hath in sorcery, we will now consider; for, as they say, if it comes over new wine, it makes it sour, and if it doth but touch the vine it spoils it forever, and by its very touch it makes all plants, and trees barren, and they that be newly set, to die; it bums up all the herbs in the garden, and makes fruit fall off from the trees, it darkens the brightness of a looking glass, dulls the edges of knives, and razors, dims the beauty of ivory, and it makes iron presently rusty, it makes brass rust, and smell very strong: it makes dogs mad, if they do but taste of it, and if they being thus mad shall bite anyone, that wound is incurable: it kills whole hives of bees, and drives them from the hives that are but touched with it: it makes linen black that are boiled: it makes mares cast their foal if they do but touch it, and makes women miscarry if they be but smeared with it: it makes asses barren as long as they eat of the com that hath been touched with it.
The ashes of menstruous clothes, if they be cast upon purple garments that are to be washed, change the colour of them, and takes away colours from flowers. They say that it drives away tertian and quartan agues, if it be put into the wool of a black ram, and tied up in a silver bracelet, as also if the soles of the patients feet be anointed therewith, and especially if it be done by the woman herself, the patients not knowing of it; moreover it cures the fits of the falling sickness. But most especially it cures them that are afraid of water, or drink, after they are bitten with a mad dog, if only a menstruous cloth be put under the cup. Besides, they report, that if menstruous women shall walk naked about the standing corn, they make all cankers, worms, beetles, flies, and all hurtful things fall off from the corn :but they must take heed that they do it before Sun rising, or else they will make the com to wither. Also they say that they are able to expel hail, tempests, and lightnings, more of which Pliny makes mention of.
Know this, that they are a greater poison if they happen in the decrease of the Moon, and yet much greater, if they happen betwixt the decrease, and change of the Moon: but if they happen in the eclipse of the Moon or Sun, they are an incurable poison. But they are of greatest force of all, when they happen in the first years, even in the years of virginity, for if they do but touch the posts of the house there can no mischief take effect in it.
Also they say that the threads of any garment touched there with cannot be burnt, and if they be cast into the fire, it will spread no farther. Also it is said that the root of peony being given with castor, and smeared over with a menstruous cloth, cureth the falling sickness. Moreover if the stomach of a hart be burnt or roasted, and to it be put a perfuming made with a menstruous cloth, it will make crossbows useless for the killing of any game. The hairs of a menstruous women put under dung breed serpents: and if they be burnt, will drive away serpents with their smell. So great a poisonous force is in them, that they are poison to poisonous creatures. There is also Hippomanes, which amongst sorceries is not the least taken notice of, and it is a little venomous piece of flesh as big as a fig, and black, which is in the forehead of a colt newly foaled, which unless the mare herself doth presently eat, she will never after love her foal, or let it suck. And for this cause they say there is a most wonderful power in it to procure love, if it be powdered, and drank in a cup with the blood of him that is in love. There is also another sorcery, which is called by the same name, viz. hippomanes, viz.a venomous humour, issuing out of the share of a mare what time she desires a horse, of which Virgil makes mention, when he sings:
Hence comes that poison which the shepherds call
Hippornanes, and from mares' groins doth fall,
The woeful bane of cruel stepdames use
And with a charm 'mongst powerful drugs
Of this doth Juvenal the satirist make mention:
Hippomanes, poisons that boiled are, and
Are given to sons-in-law, with such like
Apollonius also in his Argonantics makes mention of the herb of Prometheus, which he saith groweth from corrupt blood dropping upon the earth, whilst the vulture was gnawing upon the liver of Prometheus upon the hill Caucasus. The flower of this herb, he saith, is like saffron, having a double stalk hanging out, one farther than another the length of a cubit; the root under the earth, as flesh newly cut ,sends forth a blackish juice as it were of a beech, with which, saith he, if anyone shall after he hath performed his devotion to Proserpina, smear over his body, he cannot be hurt either with sword, or fire. Also Saxo Grammaticus writes, that there was a certain man called Froton, who had a garment, which when he had put on he could not be hurt with the point or edge of any weapon.
The civet cat also abounds with sorceries: for, as Pliny reports the posts of a door being touched with her blood, the arts of jugglers, and sorcerers are so invalid, that the gods cannot be called up, and will by no means be persuaded to talk with them. Also that they that are anointed with the ashes of the ankle bone of her left foot, being decocted with the blood of a weasel, shall become odious to all. The same also is done with the eye, being decocted. Also it is said that the straight gut is administered against the injustice, and corruption of princes, and great men in power, and for success of petitions, and to conduce to ending of suits, and controversies, if anyone hath never so little of it about him; and that if it be bound unto the left arm, it is such a present charm, that if any man do but look upon a woman, it will make her follow him presently; and that the skin of her forehead doth withstand bewitchings.
They say also that the blood of a basilisk, which they call the blood of Saturn, hath such great force in sorcery, that it procures for him that carries it about him, good success of his petitions, from great men in power, and of his prayers from God, and also remedies of diseases, and grant of any privilege.
They say also that a tick, if it be pulled out of the left ear of a dog, and if be it altogether black, hath great virtue in the prognostic of life, for if the sick party shall answer him that brought it in, and who standing at his feet, shall ask of him concerning his disease, there is certain hope of life, and that he shall die, if he make no answer. They say also, that a stone that is bit with a mad dog hath power to cause discord, if it be put in drink, and that he shall not be barked at by dogs, that puts the tongue of a dog in his shoe under his great toe, especially if the herb of the same name, viz. Hounds tongue be joined with it. And that a membrane of the secondines of a dog doth the same; and that dogs will shun him that hath a dog's heart.
And Pliny reports that there is a red toad that lives in briars, and brambles, and is full of sorceries, and doth wonderful things: for the little bone which is in his left side, being cast into cold water, makes it presently very hot, by which also the rage of dogs is restrained, and their love is procured, if it be put in drink; and if it be bound to anyone, it stirreth up lust. On the contrary, the little bone which is on the right side, makes hot water cold, and that it can never be hot again, unless that be taken out, also it is said to cure quartans if it be bound to the sick in a snake's skin, as also all other fevers, and restrain love, and lust. And that the spleen, and heart is an effectual remedy against the poisons of the said toad. Thus much Pliny writes.
Also it is said that the sword, with which a man is slain, hath wonderful power in sorceries: for if the snaffle of the bridle, or spurs be made of it, they say that with these any horse, though never so wild, may be tamed, and gentled: and that if a horse should be shod with shoes made with it, he would be most swift and fleet, and never, though never so hard rode, tire. But yet they will that some characters, and names should be written upon it. They say also, if any man shall dip as word, wherewith men were beheaded, in wine; and the sick drink thereof, he shall be cured of his quartan.
They say also that a cup of liquor being made with the brains of a bear, and drank out of the skull, shall make him that drinks of it, be as fierce, and as raging as a bear, and think himself to be changed into a bear, and judge all things he sees to be bears, and so continue in that madness, until the force of that draught shall be dissolved, no other distemper being all the while perceived in him.
Of Fascination, and the art thereof.
Fascination is a binding, which comes from the spirit of the witch, through the eyes of him that is bewitched, entering to his heart.
Now the instrument of fascination is the spirit, viz. a certain pure, lucid, subtle vapour, generated of the purer blood, by the heat of the heart. This doth always send forth through the eyes, rays like to itself, those rays being sent forth, do carry with them a spiritual vapour, and that vapour a blood, as it appears in blear, and redeyes, whose rays being sent forth to the eyes of him that is opposite, and looks upon them, carries the vapour of the corrupt blood, together with itself, by the contagion of which, it doth infect the eyes of the beholder with the like disease.
So the eye being opened, and intent upon anyone with a strong imagination, doth dart its beams, which are the vehiculum of the spirit into the eyes of him that is opposite to him, which tender spirit strikes the eyes of him that is bewitched, being stirred up from the heart of him that strikes, and possesseth the breast of him thatis stricken, wounds his heart, and infects his spirit. Whence Apuleius saith, thy eyes sliding down through my eyes, into mine inward breast, stirs up a most vehement burning in my marrow.
Know therefore that men are then most bewitched, when with often beholding they direct the edge of their sight to the edge of their sight that bewitch them, and when their eyes are reciprocally intent one upon the other, and when rays are joined to rays, and lights to lights, for then the spirit of the one is joined to the spirit of the other, and fixeth its sparks: so are strong ligations made, and so most vehement loves are inflamed with the only rays of the eyes, even with a certain sudden looking on, as if it were with a dart, or stroke penetrating the whole body, whence then the spirit, and amorous blood being thus wounded, are carried forth upon the lover, and enchanter, no otherwise than the blood, and spirit of the vengeance of him that is slain, are upon him that slays him. Whence Lucretius sang concerning those amorous bewitchings:
The body smitten is, but yet the mind
Is wounded with the darts of Cupid blind.
All parts do sympathize in the wound, but
The blood appears in that which had the
So great is the power of fascination, especially when the vapours of the eyes are subservient to the affection. Therefore witches use collyries, ointments, alligations, and such like, to affect, and corroborate the spirit this or that manner. To procure love, they use venereal collyries, as hyppomanes, the blood of doves, or sparrows, and such like. To induce fear, they use martial collyries, as of the eyes of wolves, the civet cat, and the like. To procure misery or sickness, they use saturnine, and so of the rest.
Of the seven governors of
the world, the planets, and of their
various names serving to magical speeches.
Moreover they did call those seven governors of the world (as Hermes calls them) Satum, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, by many names, and epithets, viz. calling Saturn Coelius, scythe-bearer, the father of the gods, the lord of the time, the high lord, the great, the wise, the intelligent, ingenious, revolutor of a long space, an old man of great profundity, the author of secret contemplation, impressing, or depressing great thoughts in the hearts of men, destroying and preserving all things, overturning force and power, and constituting a keeper of secret things, and a shower of them, causing the loss, and finding of the author of life and death.
So Jupiter is called as it were a helping father, the king of heaven, magnanimous, thundering, lightning, unconquored, high and mighty, great and mighty, good, fortunate, sweet, mild, of good will, honest, pure, walking well, and in honour, the lord of joy and of judgements ,wise, true, the shower of truth, the judge of all things, excellingall in goodness, the lord of riches, and wisdom.
Mars is called Mavors, powerful in war, bloody, powerful in arms, a sword bearer, magnanimous, bold, untamed, generous, lightning, of great power and furious haste, against whom none can defend himself if he resist him, who destroys the strong, and powerful, and deposeth kings from their thrones, the lord of heat and power, the lord of fiery heat, and of the planet of blood; who inflames the hearts of contenders, and gives them boldness.
The Sun is called Phoebus, Diespiter, Apollo, Titan, Pean,Phanes, Horus, Osiris, as it is in that oracle:
The Sun, Osiris, Dionysus gay,
Apollo, Horus, king ruling the day
Who changeth times, who giveth winds
The king of stars, and the immortal flame.
He is called also Arcitenens, burning, fiery, golden, flaming, radiating, of a fiery hair, of a golden hair, the eye of the world, Lucifer, seeing all things, ruling all things, the creator of light, the king of stars, the great lord, good, fortunate, honest, pure, prudent, intelligent, wise, shining over the whole world, governing, and vivifying all bodies that have a soul, the prince of the world keeping all the stars under himself, the light of all the stars darkening, burning, overcoming their virtue by his approach, yet by his light and splendour giving light and splendour to all things: in the nigh the is called Dionysus, but in the day Apollo, as if driving away evil things. Therefore the Athenians called him Alexicacon, and Homer, Vlion, i.e. the driver away of evil things. He is also called Phoebus from his beauty and brightness, and Vulcan from his fiery violence, because the force thereof consists of many fires. He is also called the Sun, because he contains the light of all the stars: hence he is called by the Assyrians *****, Adad, which signifies only, and by the Hebrews ****, Schemesch, which signifies proper.
Venus is called the lady, nourishing, beautiful, white, fair, pleasing, powerful, the fruitful lady of love and beauty, the progeny of ages, the first parent of men, who in the beginning of all things joined diversity of sexes together with a, growing love, and with an eternal offspring propagates kinds of men and animals, the queen of all delights, the lady of rejoicing, friendly, sociable, pitiful, taking all things in good part, always bountiful to mortals, affording the tender affection of a mother to the conditions of them in misery, the safeguard of mankind, letting no moment of time pass without doing good, overcoming all things by her power, humbling the high to the low, the strong to the weak, the noble to the vile, rectifying, and equaling all things: and she is called Aphrodite, because in every sex, she is found to be of every mind: and she is called Lucifera, i.e. bringing light, bringing the years of the Sun to light; and she is called Hesperus, when she follows the Sun, and Phosperus, because she leads through all things though never so hard.
Mercury is called the son of Jupiter, the crier of the gods, the interpreter of gods, Stilbon, the serpent-bearer, the rod-bearer, winged on his feet, eloquent, bringer of gain, wise, rational, robust, stout, powerful in good and evil, the notary of the Sun, the messenger of Jupiter, the messenger betwixt the supernal and infernal gods, male with males, female with females, most fruitful in both sexes; and Lucan calls him the arbitrator of the gods. He is also called Hermes, i.e. interpreter, bringing to light all obscurity, and opening those things which are most secret.
The Moon is called Phebe, Diana, Lucina, Proserpina, Hecate, menstruous, of a half form, giving light in the night, wandering, silent, having two horns, a preserver, a nightwalker, horn bearer, the queen of heaven, the chiefest of the deities, the first of the heavenly gods and goddesses, the queen of spirits, the mistress of all the elements, whom the stars answer, seasons return, elements serve; at whose nod lightnings breathe forth, seeds bud, plants increase, the initial parent of fruit, the sister of Phoebus, light and shining, carrying light from one planet to another, enlightening all powers by its light, restraining the various passings of the stars, dispensing various lights by the circuits of the Sun, the lady of great beauty, the mistress of rain and waters, the giver of riches, the nurse of mankind, the governor of all states, kind, merciful, protecting men by sea and land, mitigating all tempests of fortune, dispensing with fate, nourishing all things growing on the Earth, wandering into divers woods, restraining the rage of goblins, shutting the openings of the Earth, dispensing the light of the heaven, the wholesome rivers of the sea, and the deplored silence of the infernals, by its nods: ruling the world, treading hell under her feet; of whose majesty the birds hasting in the air are afraid, the wild beasts straggling in the mountains, serpents lying hid in the ground, fishes swimming in the sea.
But of these and the like names of stars and planets, and their epithets, surnames, and callings upon, he that will know more, and make more curious inquiry, must betake himself to the Hymns of Orpheus, which he that truly understands, hath attained to a great understanding of natural magic.
Of intelligences and spirits, and of the
threefold kind of them, and of their divers
names, and of infernal and subterraneal spirits.
Now consequently we must discourse of intelligences, spirits and angels. An intelligence is an intelligible substance, free from all gross and putrifying mass of a body, immortal, insensible, assisting all, having influence over all; and the nature of all intelligences, spirits and angels is the same.
But I call angels here, not those whom we usually call devils, but spirits so called from the propriety of the word, as it were, knowing, understanding and wise. But of these according to the tradition of the magicians, there are three kinds, the first of which they call supercelestial, and minds altogether separated from a body, and as it were intellectual spheres, worshipping the one only God, as it were their most firm and stable unity or center; wherefore they even call them gods, by reason of a certain participation of the divinity; for they are always full of God, and overwhelmed with the divine nectar. These are only about God, and rule not the bodies of the world, neither are they fitted for the government of inferior things, but infuse the light received from God unto the inferior orders, and distribute everyone's duty to all of them.
The celestial intelligences do next follow these in the second order, which they call worldly angels, viz. being appointed besides the divine worship for the spheres of the world, and for the government of every heaven and star, whence they are divided into so many orders, as there are heavens in the world, and as there are Stars in the heavens: and they called those saturnine, who rule the heaven of Saturn and Saturn himself; others jovial, who rule the heaven of Jupiter and Jupiter himself; and in like manner they name divers angels, as well for the name, as the virtue of the other stars.
And because the old astrologers did main tain fifty-five motions, therefore they invented so many intelligences or angels; they placed also in the starry heaven, angels, who might rule the signs, triplicities, decans, quinaries, degrees and stars; for although the school of the Peripatetics assign one only intelligence to each of the orbs of the stars: yet seeing every star and small part of the heaven hath its proper and different power and influence, it is necessary that it also have his ruling intelligence, which may confer power and operate.
Therefore they have established twelve princes of the angels, which rule the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and thirty-six which may rule the so many decans, and seventy-two, which may rule the so many quinaries of heaven, and the tongues of men and the nations, and four which may rule the triplicities and elements, and seven governors of the whole world, according to the seven planets.
And they have given to all of them names, and seals, which they call characters, and used them in their invocations, incantations, and carvings, describing them in the instruments of their operations, images, plates, glasses, rings, papers, wax lights and such like; and if at anytime they did operate for the Sun, they did invocate by the name of the Sun, and by the names of solar angels, and so of the rest.
Thirdly they established angels as ministers' for the disposing of those things which are below, which Origen calleth certain invisible powers to the which those things which are on Earth, are committed to be disposed of. For sometimes they being visible to none do direct our journeys and all our businesses, are oft present at battles, and by secret helps do give the desired successes to their friends, for they are said, that at their pleasures they can procure prosperity, and inflict adversity.
In like manner they distribute these into more orders, so as some are fiery, some watery, some aerial, some terrestrial; which four species of angels are computed according to the four powers of the celestial souls, viz. the mind, reason, imagination, and the vivifying and moving nature; hence the fiery follow the mind of the celestial souls, whence they concur to the contemplation of more sublime things, but the aerial follow the reason, and favour the rational faculty, and after a certain manner separate it from the sensitive and vegetative; therefore it serveth for an active life, as the fiery for a contemplative; but the watery following the imagination, serve for a voluptuous life; the earthly following nature, favour vegetable nature.
Moreover they distinguish also this kind of angels into saturnine and jovial, according to
the names of the stars, and the heavens; further, some are oriental, some occidental, some meridional, some septentrional.
Moreover there is no part of the world destitute of the proper assistance of these angels, not because they are there alone, but because they reign there especially, for they are everywhere, although some especially operate and have their influence in this place, some elsewhere; neither truly are these things to be understood, as though they were subject to the influences of the stars, but as they have correspondence with the heaven above the world, from whence especially all things are directed, and to the which all things ought to
Whence as these angels are appointed for divers stars, so also for divers places and times, not that they are limited by time or place, neither by the bodies which they are appointed to govern, but because the order of wisdom hath so decreed; therefore they favour more, and patronize those bodies, places, times, stars; so they have called some diurnal, some nocturnal, other meridional; in like manner some are called woodmen, some mountaineers, some fieldmen, some domestics.
Hence the gods of the woods, country gods, satyrs, familiars, fairies of the fountains, fairies of the woods, nymphs of the sea, the Naiades, Neriades, Dryades, Pierides, Hamadryades, Potumides, Hirmides, Agapte, Pales, Pareades, Dodonae, Feniliae, Lavernae, Pareae, Muses, Aonides, Castalides, Heliconides, Pegasides, Meonides, Phebiades, Camenae, the Graces, the Genii, hobgoblins and such like; whence they call them vulgar superiors,some the demigods and goddesses.
Some of these are so familiar and acquainted with men, that they are even affected with human perturbations, by whose instruction Plato thinketh that men do oftentimes wonderful things, even as by the instruction of men, some beasts which are most nigh unto us, as apes, dogs, elephants, do often strange things above their species.
And they who have written the Chronicles of the Danes and Norwegians, do testify, that spirits of divers kinds in those regions are subject to men's commands; moreover some of these to be corporeal and mortal, whose bodies are begotten and die, yet to be long lived, is the opinion of the Egyptians and Platonists, and especially approved by Proclus. Plutarch also and Demetrius the philosopher, and Aemilianus the rhetorician affirrn the same.
Therefore of these spirits of the third kind, as the opinion of the Platonists is; they report that there
are so many legions, as there are stars in the heaven, and so many spirits in every legion, as in heaven
itself stars, but there are (as Athanasius delivereth) who think, that the true number of the good spirits,
is according to the number of men, ninety-nine parts, according to the parable of the hundred sheep; others think only nine parts, according to the parable of the ten groats; others suppose the number of the angels equal
with men, because it is written, he hath appointed the bounds of the people according to the number
of the angels of God.
And concerning their number many have written many things, but the latter theologians, following the Master of the Sentences, Austin, and Gregory, easily resolve themselves, saying, that the number of the good angels transcendeth human capacity; to the which on the contrary, innumerable unclean spirits do correspond, there being so many in the inferior world, as pure spirits in the superior, and some divines affirm that they have received this by revelations.
Under these they place a kind of spirits, subterrany or obscure, which the Platonists call angels that failed, revengers of wickedness, and ungodliness, according to the decree of the divine justice, and they call them evil angels and wicked spirits, because they oft annoy and hurt even of their own accords; of these also they reckon more legions, and in like manner distinguishing them according to the names of the stars and elements, and parts of the world, they do place over them kings, princes and rulers and the names of them.
Of these, four most mischievous kings do rule over the others, according to the four parts of the world; under these many more princes of legions govern, and also many of private offices. Hence the wicked Gorgons, the Furies. Hence Tisiphone, Alecto, Megera, Cerberus.
They of this kind of spirits, Porphyry saith, inhabit a place nigh to the Earth, yea within the Earth itself-, there is no mischief, which they dare not commit; they have altogether a violent and hurtful custom, therefore they very much plot and endeavour violent and sudden mischiefs; and when they make incursions, sometimes they are wont to lie hid, but sometimes to offer open violence, and are very much delighted in all things done wickedly and contentiously.
Of these according to
The opinion of the theologians.
But our theologians, together with Dionysius, maintained the three distinctions of angels, everyone of which they divided into three orders; they call these hierarchies, those quires, whom Proclus also distinquisheth by number nine.
They place therefore in the superior hierarchy, Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones, as it were supercelestial angels contemplating the order of the divine providence; the first in the goodness of God; the second in the essence of God, as the form; the third in the wisdom.
In the middle hierarchy they place the Dominations, Virtues, and Powers, as it were worldly angels concurring to the government of the world; the first of these command that which the other execute; the second are ministers to the heavens and sometimes conspire to the working of miracles; the third drive away those things which seem to be able to disturb the divine law.
But in the inferior hierarchy they place the Principalities, Archangels, and Angels, whom also Jamblicus reckoneth up, these as ministering spirits descend to take care of inferior things; the first ofthese take care of public things, princes and magistrates, provinces and kingdoms, every one those that belong to themselves; when we read in Daniel, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and Jesus the son of Sirach testifieth, that for every nation a ruling angel is appointed; which also Moses by his song in Deuteronomy seemeth to show forth, saying, when the Most High divided the nations, he appointed them bounds according tothe number of the angels of God. The second are present at sacred duties, and direct the divine worship about every man, and offer up the prayers and sacrifices of men before the gods. The third dispose every smaller matter, and to each thing each one is a preserver. There are also of these, who afford virtue to the least plants and stones and to all inferior things; to whom many things are common with God, many with men, and they are mediating ministers.
But Athanasius, besides Thrones, Cherubins, and Seraphims, who are next to God, and magnify him uncessantly with hymns and continual praises, praying for our salvation, nameth the other orders, which by a common name he calleth the militia of heaven.
The first of these is the Doctrinal order, of the which he was, who spake to Daniel, saying, come, that I may teach thee what shall come to thy people in the last days.
Then there is the Tutelar order, of the which we read also in Daniel, behold, Michael one of the princes cometh to my help; and there, in that time shall rise up Michael a great prince, who standeth for the sons of thy people; of this order was that Raphael also, who carried forth and brought back Tobiah the younger.
After this is the Procuratory order, of the which mention is made in Job, where we read, if the angel shall speak for him, he will entreat the Lord, and the Lord will be pleased with him; and of the same order is expounded also that which is written in the sixteenth chapter of Ecclesiasticus, about the end, the works of the Lord have been made by his appointment from the beginning, and he hath distributed their portions from the time they have been made, he hath adorned their works forever, they have not hungered, nor been wearied, and have not desisted from their works, none of them shall oppress his neighbour even forever.
The Ministerial order followeth, of the which Paul to the Hebrews saith, are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
After these is the Auxiliary order, of the which we read in Esay, the angels of the Lord went forth and slew in the tent of the Assyrians 185 thousands.
The Receptory order of souls followeth this, of which we read in Luke, the soul of Lazarus was carried by angels into the bosom of Abraham, and there we are taught, that we should make to ourselves friends of the unrighteous Mammon, that we may be received into eternal tabernacles.
Moreover, there is the order of the Assistants, of the which we read in Zachary, these are the two sons of the oil of splendour, who assist the ruler of the whole Earth.
But the theologians of the Hebrews do otherwise number and call these orders.
For in the highest place are those which they call Haioth Hacadosh ********, that is, Creatures of Sanctity, or by the which God **** giveth the gift of being.
In the second place succeed Ophanim *****, that is Forms or Wheels, by the which God *** distinguisheth the chaos.
In the third place are Aralim **** great, strong, and mighty angels, by the which Jehova Elohim pronounced, or Jehova joined with He, administereth form to the liquid matter.
In the fourth place are Hasmalim ****, by which EL **** God framed the effigies of bodies.
The fifth order is Seraphim by the which God Elohim Gibor draweth forth the elements.
The sixth is Malachim, that is of Angels, by the which God Eloha **** produceth metals.
The seventh Elohim **** that is the Gods, by the which God Jehovah Sabaoth ****** produceth vegetables.
The eighth Beni Elohim ***** that is the Sons of God, by the which God Elohim Sabaoth ****** procreateth animals.
The ninth and lowest Cherubim **** by the which God Sadai **** createth mankind.
Under these is the order anamasticus called Issim ***, that is Nobles, Strong Men, or Blessed, by the which God Adonai **** bestoweth prophecy.
Of the orders of evil Spirits,
and of their fall, and divers natures.
There are some of the school of the theologians, who distribute the evil spirits into nine degrees, as contrary to the nine orders of the angels.
Therefore the first of these are those 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 saith to Christ, if thou wilt fall down and worship me, I will give thee all these things, showing 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 therefore 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 prophets of Achab; and the prince of these is the serpent Pytho; from whence Apollo is called Pythius, and that woman a witch in Samuel, and the other in the Gospel, who had Pytho in their belly.Thereforethis kind of devils joineth himself to the oracles, and deludeth men by divinations, and predictions, so that he may deceive.
In the third order are the Vessels of Iniquity, which are also called the Vessels of Wrath; these are the inventors of evil things and of all wicked arts, as in Plato, that devil Theutus who taught cards and dice; for all wickedness, malice and deformity proceedeth from these; of the which in Genesis, in the benedictions of Simeon and Levi, Jacob saith, Vessels of Iniquity are in their habitations; into their counsel let not my soul come; whom the Psalmist calleth Vessels of Death, Esay Vessels of Fury, and Jeremy Vessels of Wrath, Ezekiel Vessels of Destroying and Slaying; and their prince is Belial, which is interpreted without a yoke or disobedient, a prevaricator and an apostate, of whom Paul to the Corenthians saith, what agreement hath Christ with Belial?
Fourthly follow the Revengers of Evil, and their prince is Asmodeus, viz. causing judgement.
After these in the fifth place come the Deluders, who imitate miracles, and serve wicked conjurers and witches, and seduce the people by their miracles, as the serpent seduced Eve, and their prince is Satan, of whom is written in the Revelations, that he seduced 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 reason of the signs, which are given him to do.
Sixthly the Aerial Powers offer themselves; they join themselves to thundering and lightnings, corrupting the air, causing pestilences and other evils; in the number of which, are the four angels, of whom the Revelation speaketh, to whom it is given to hurt the earth and sea, holding the four winds, from the four comers 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 calleththe prince of the power of this air, and the spirit which worketh in the children of disobedience.
The seventh mansion the Furies possess, which are powers of evil, discords, war and devastations, whose prince in theRevelations is called in Greek Apollyon, in Hebrew Abaddon, that is destroying and wasting.
In the eighth place are the Accusers, or the Inquisitors, whose prince is Astarath, that is, a searcher out: in the Greek language he is called Diabolos, that is an accuser, or calumniator, which in the Revelations is called the accuser of the brethren, accusing them night and day before the face of our God.
Moreover the Tempters and Ensnarers have the last place, one of which is present with every man, which we therefore call the evil genius, and their prince is Mammon, which is interpreted covetousness.
But all unanimously maintain that evil spirits do wander up and down in this inferior world, enraged against all, whom they therefore call devils, of whom Austine in his first book of the incarnation of the word to Januarius, saith: concerning the devils and his angels contrary to virtues, the Ecclesiastical preaching hath taught, that there are such things; but what they are and how they are, he hath not clear enough expounded: yet there is this opinion amongst most, that this Devil was an angel, and being made an apostate, persuaded very many of the angels to decline with himself, who even unto this day are called his angels: Greece notwithstanding thinketh not that all these are damned, nor that they are all purposefully 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 not any devil was created evil, but that they were driven and cast forth 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; Pherecydes the Syrian describeth the fall of the devils, and that Ophis, that is the devilish serpent, was the head of that rebelling army; Trismegistus sings the same fall in his Pyrnander, and Homer under the name of Ararus, in his verses; and Plutarch in his speech Of Usury, signifieth, that Empedocles knew that the fall of the devils was after this manner: the devils also themselves often confess their fall.
They therefore being cast forth into this valley of misery, some that are nigh to us wander up and down in this obscure air, other sin habit lakes, rivers and seas, others the earth, and terrify earthly things, and invade those who dig wells and metals, cause the gapings of the earth, strike together the foundations of 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 up to the smallness of the pygmy's, and changing themselves into divers forms, do disturb men with vain fear: others study ties and blasphemies, as we read of one in the first book of Kings, saying, I will go forth and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets of Achab: but the worst sort of devils are those, who lay wait and overthrow passenger sin their journeys, 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 durst pass that way.
Moreover the Scripture reckoneth up nocturnal, diurnal, andmeridional devils, and describeth other spirits of wickedness by divers names, as we read in Esay of satyrs, screech owls, sirens, storks, owls; and in the Psalms of apes, 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 which Beelzebub is the prince, whom Scripture calleth the prince of wickedness.
Porphyry saith, their prince is Serapis, who is also called Pluto by the Greeks, and also Cerberus is chief amongst them, that three-headed dog: viz. because he is conversant in three elements, Air, Water and Earth, a most pernicious devil; whence also Proserpina, who can do very much in these three elements, is their princess, which she testifies of herself in her answers, in these verses:
Of threefold nature I Lucina fair,
The daughter am, sent from above the air;
The golden Phoebe am, and with heads
Whom many forms do change, and the
Which I bear with forms of earth, fire,
I for black mastiffs of the earth do care.
Origen's opinion concerning the devils is: the spirits who act of their own free will, left the service of God with their prince the Devil; if they begin to repent a little, are clothed with human flesh; that further by this repentance, after the resurrection, by the same means by the which they came into the flesh, they might at the last return to the vision of God, being then also freed from etheria land aerial bodies, and then all knees are to be bowed to God, of celestial, terrestrial, and infernal things, that God may be all in all.
Moreover Saint Iraneus approveth the opinion of Justine Martyr, who hath said, Satan never durst speak blasphemy against God, before that the Lord came on the Earth, because that he knew not as yet his condemnation; but there are many of the devils who are fallen, who hope for their salvation.
Very many think by the history of Paul the Hermit, written by Jerome, and reverenced by the Church with canonical hours, also by the legend of Brandan, they are so taught; and even by this argument they maintain that their prayers are heard; that we read in the Gospels, that Christ heard the prayers of the devils, and granted that they should enter into the herd of swine; to these also agreeth the 71 psalm, according to our supputation, but according to the supputation of the Hebrews the 72, where we read, the Ethiopians shall fall before him, and his enemies lick the dust; there it is read according to the Hebrew text, they that inhabit the desert, shall bend their knees before him, that is, the airy spirits shall adore him, as the Cabalists affirm, and his enemies shall lick the dust, which they understand of Zazel, and his army: of which we read in Genesis, dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life, and elsewhere the Prophet saith, because the dust of the Earth is his bread; hence the Cabalists think, that even some devils shall be saved, which opinion also it is manifest that Origen was of.