Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XXXII. Of the different desires and wishes which exist in the powers of the air.
Of the different desires and wishes which exist in the powers of the air.
But it is clearly proved that there exist in unclean spirits as many desires as there are in men. For some of them, which are commonly called Plani, 1508 are shown to be so seductive and sportive that, when they have taken continual possession of certain places or roads, they delight themselves not indeed with tormenting the passers by whom they can deceive, but, contenting themselves merely with laughing at them and mocking them, try to tire them out rather than to injure them: while some spend the night merely by harmlessly taking possession of men, though others are such slaves to fury and ferocity that they are not simply content with hurting the bodies of those of whom they have taken possession, by tearing them in a dreadful manner, but actually are eager to rush upon those who are passing by at a distance, and to attack them with most savage slaughter: like those described in the gospel, for fear of whom no man dared to pass by that way. And there is no doubt that these and such as these in their insatiable fury delight in wars and bloodshed. Others we find affect the hearts of those whom they have seized with empty pride, (and these are commonly called Bacucei 1509 ) so that they stretch themselves up beyond their proper height and at one time puff themselves up with arrogance and pomposity, and at another time condescend in an ordinary and bland manner, to a state of calmness and affability: and as they fancy that they are great people and the wonder of everybody, at one time show by bowing their body that they are worshipping higher powers, while at another time they think that they are worshipped by others, and so go through all those movements which express true service either proudly or humbly. Others we find are not only keen for lies, but also inspire men with blasphemies. And of this we ourselves can testify as we have heard a demon openly confessing that he had proclaimed a wicked and impious doctrine by the mouths of Arius and Eunomius. And the same thing we read that one of them openly proclaimed in the fourth book of Kings: “I will go forth,” he said, “and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” 1510 On which the Apostle, when reproving those who are deceived by them, adds as follows: “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils speaking lies in hypocrisy.” 1511 And that there are other kinds of devils which are deaf and dumb the gospels testify. And that some spirits incite to lust and wantonness the prophet maintains saying: “The spirit of fornication deceived them and they went astray from their God.” 1512 In the same way the authority of Scripture teaches us that there are demons of the night and of the day and of the noonday: 1513 But it would take too long to search through the whole of Scripture and run through the different kinds of them, as they are termed by the prophets onocentaurs, satyrs, sirens, witches, howlers, ostriches, urchins; and asps and basilisks in the Psalms; and are called lions, dragons, scorpions in the gospel, and are named by the Apostle the prince of this world, rulers of this darkness, and spirits of wickedness. 1514 And all these names we ought not to take as given at random or hap-hazard, but as alluding to their fierceness and madness under the sign of those wild beasts which are more or less harmful and dangerous among us, and by comparing them to the poisonous wickedness or power which among other beasts or serpents, some pre-eminence in evil confers on them, they are called by their names, in such a way that to one is assigned the name of lion because of the fury of his rage and the madness of his anger, to another that of basilisk because of his deadly poison, which kills a person before it is perceived, and to another that of onocentaur or urchin or ostrich because of his sluggish malice.
“Πλανοί,” “Seducers,” if the reading be correct: but some mss. have “Fauni.”374:1509
The origin of this term is obscure.374:1510
1 Kings xxii. 22.374:1511
1 Tim. 4:1, 2.374:1512
Hos. iv. 12.374:1513
Ps. 91:5, 6.374:1514
Cf. Isa. 13:21, 22, Isa. 34:13, 15, Ps. 91:13, Luke 10:19, John 14:30, Eph. 6:12.
Next: Chapter XXXIII. A question as to the origin of such differences in powers of evil in the sky.
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