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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
ATHENAGORAS: Chapter XXVII.—Artifices of the Demons.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVII.—Artifices of the Demons.

What then? In the first place, the irrational and fantastic movements of the soul about opinions produce a diversity of images (εἴδωλα) from time to time: some they derive from matter, and some they fashion and bring forth for themselves; and this happens to a soul especially when it partakes of the material spirit 798 and becomes mingled with it, looking not at heavenly things and their Maker, but downwards to earthly things, wholly at the earth, as being now mere flesh and blood, and no longer pure spirit. 799 These irrational and fantastic movements of the soul, then, give birth to empty visions in the mind, by which it becomes madly set on idols. When, too, a tender and susceptible soul, which has no knowledge or experience of sounder doctrines, and is unaccustomed to contemplate truth, and to consider thoughtfully the Father and Maker of all things, gets impressed with false opinions respecting itself, then the demons who hover about matter, greedy of sacrificial odours and the blood of victims, and ever ready to lead men into error, avail themselves of these delusive movements of the souls of the multitude; and, taking possession of their thoughts, cause to flow into the mind empty visions as if coming from the idols and the statues; and when, too, a soul of itself, as being immortal, 800 moves comformably to reason, either predicting the future or healing the present, the demons claim the glory for themselves.


Footnotes

143:798

[Kaye, p. 191; and comp. cap. xxiv., supra, p. 142.]

143:799

[Comp. On the Resurrection, cap. xiii., infra., p. 439 of ed. Edinburgh. Also Kaye, p. 199.]

143:800

[Kaye, p. 190.]


Next: Chapter XXVIII.—The Heathen Gods Were Simply Men.

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