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In some he has part, and some he has whole,
The pretty and witty are devils in masque;
The beaux walk about like the shadows of men,
Thus all his affairs he drives on in disguise,
Creeps in at one's ear, and looks out at our eyes,
He raises the vapours and prompts the desires,
Thus he walks up and down in complete masquerade
Sells in every shop, works at every trade,
And ev'ry thing doubtful perplexes.
The Jewish traditions concerning evil spirits are various, some of which are founded on Scripture, some borrowed from the opinions of the Pagans, some are fables of their own invention, and some are allegorical.
The demons of the Jews were considered either as
the distant progeny of Adam or Eve, resulting from an improper intercourse with supernatural
beings, or of Cain. As the doctrine, however, was extremely revolting to some few of the early Christians, they maintained that demons were the souls of departed human beings, who were still permitted to interfere in the affairs of the Earth, either to assist their friends or to persecute their enemies. But this doctrine did not obtain.
About two centuries and a half ago an attempt, in a condensed form, was made, to give the various opinions entertained of demons at an early date of the christian era; and it was not until a much later period of Christianity, that a more decided doctrine relative to their origin and nature was established. These tenets involved certain very knotty points respecting the fall of those angels, who, for disobedience, had forfeited their high abode in Heaven. The gnostics of early christian times, in imitation of a classification of the different orders of spirits by Plato, had attempted a similar arrangement with respect to an hierarchy of angels, the gradation of which stood as follows.
The first, and highest order, was named SERAPHINS; the second, CHERUBINS; the third was the order of THRONES; the fourth, of DOMINIONS; the fifth, of VIRTUES; the sixth, of POWERS; the seventh, of PRINCIPALITIES; the eighth, of ARCHANGELS; the ninth, and lowest, of ANGELS. This fable was, in a pointed manner, censured by the Apostles: yet strange to say, it almost outlived the pneumatologists of the middle ages. These schoolmen, in reference to "the account that Lucifer rebelled against heaven, and that Michael the archangel warred against him, long
agitated the momentous question, what order of angels fell on the occasion. At length it became the prevailing opinion that Lucifer was of the order of Seraphins. It was also proved after infinite research, that Agares, Belial, and Barbatos, each of them deposed angels of great rank, had been of the order of Virtues; that Beleth, Focalor, and Phoenix, had been of the order of Thrones; that Gaap had been of the order of Powers, and Virtues; and Murmur of Thrones and Angels. The pretensions of many noble devils were, likewise, canvassed, and, in an equally satisfactory manner, determined; a multiplicity of incidents connected therewith were arranged, which previously had been matter of considerable doubt and debate. These sovereign devils, to each of whom was assigned a certain district, had many noble spirits subordinate to them whose various ranks and precedence were settled with all the preciseness of heraldic distinction:-there were, for instance, devil-dukes; devil-marquises; devil-earls ; devil-knights; devil-presidents, devil-archbishops, and bishops; prelates; and, without question, devil-physicians, and apothecaries.
In the middle ages, when conjuration had attained a certain pitch of perfection, and was regularly practised in Europe, devils of distinction were supposed to make their appearance under decided forms, by which they were as well recognised, as the head of any ancient family would be by his crest and armorial bearings. The shapes they were accustomed to adopt were registered among their names and characters.
Although the leading tenets of Demonology may be
traced to the Jews and early Christians, yet they were matured by our early communications with the Moors of Spain, who were the chief philosophers of the dark ages, and between whom and the natives of France and Italy, a great communication existed. Toledo, Seville and Salamanca, became the greatest schools of magic. At the latter city predilections on the black art from a consistent regard to the solemnity of the subject were delivered within the walls of a vast and gloomy cavern. The schoolmen taught that all knowledge might be obtained from the assistance of the fallen angels. They were skilled in the abstract sciences, in the knowledge of precious stones, in alchymy, in the various languages of mankind and of the lower animals; in the Belles-Lettres, Moral Philosophy, Pneumatology, Divinity, Magic, History, and Prophecy. They could controul the winds and waters, and the stellar influences. They could cause earthquakes, induce diseases or cure them, accomplish all vast mechanical undertakings, and release souls out of Purgatory. They could influence the passions of the mind, procure the reconciliation of friends or of foes, engender mutual discord, induce mania, melancholy, or direct the force and objects of human affection. Such was the Demonology taught by its orthodox professors. Yet other systems of it were devised, which had their origin in the causes attending the propagation of christianity; for it must have been a work of much time to eradicate the almost universal belief in the pagan deities, which had become so numerous as to fill every creek and corner of the universe with fabulous beings.
Many learned men, indeed, were induced to side with the popular opinion on the subject, and did nothing more than endeavour to unite it with their acknowledged systems of Demonology. They taught that the objects of heathen reverence were fallen angels in league with the Prince of Darkness, who, until the appearance of our Saviour, had been allowed to range on the earth uncontrolled, and to involve the world in spiritual darkness and delusion.
According to the various ranks which these spirits held in the vast kingdom of Lucifer, they were suffered, in their degraded state, to take up their abode in the air, in mountains, in springs, or in seas. But although the various attributes ascribed to the Greek and Roman deities, were, by the early teachers of christianity, considered in the humble light of demoniacal delusions, yet, for many centuries they possessed great influence over the minds of the vulgar. The notion of every man being attended by an evil genius was abandoned much earlier than the far more agreeable part of the same doctrine which taught that, as an antidote to their influence, each individual was also accompanied by a benignant spirit. "The ministration of angels," says a writer in the Athenian Oracle, " is certain; but the manner how, is the knot to be untied." It was an opinion of the early philo.. sophers that not only kingdoms* had their tutelary guardians, but that every person had his particular
Thus the Penates, or household gods presided over newborn infants. Every thing had its guardian or peculiar genius cities, groves, fountains, hills, were all provided with keepers of this kind, and to each man was allotted no