Temptation in the Wilderness,  Med. illum

(tr. mod. in part by L.Dysinger, O.S.B: from  E.C.S. Gibson, , NPNF 2nd ser. , vol 11)






Quae est secunda abbatis Sereni

On Principalities and Powers

De Principatibus Seu Potestatibus









Of the hospitality of Abbot Serenus.



WHEN we had finished the duties of the day, and the congregation had been dismissed from Church we returned to the old man’s cell, and enjoyed a most sumptuous repast. For instead of the sauce which with a few drops of oil spread over it was usually set on the table for his daily meal, he mixed a little decoction and poured over it a somewhat more liberal allowance of oil than usual; I. Consummatis quae diei sollemnitas exigebat et ecclesiae congregatione dimissa reuersi ad cellam senis refecti primum lautissime sumus. Nam pro muria, quae superiecta olei gutta cotidianae refectioni solebat adponi, modicum liquaminis miscuit et olei quiddam solito propensius superfudit.

for each of them when he is going to partake of his daily repast, pours those drops of oil on, not that he may receive any enjoyment from the taste of it (for so limited is the supply that it is hardly enough I will not say to line the passage of his throat and jaws, but even to pass down it) but that using it, he may keep down the pride of his heart (which is certain to creep in stealthily and surely if his abstinence is any stricter) and the incitements to vainglory, for as his abstinence is practised with the greater secrecy, and is carried on without anyone to see it, so much the more subtly does it never cease to tempt the man who conceals it.

Nam illam olei guttam ob hoc unusquisque cotidie refecturus instillat, non ut eius ex hoc gustu quandam percipiat suauitatem (quippe cuius tantus est modus, ut uix ipsius gutturis ac faucium meatus non dicam linire, sed pertransire sufficiat), sed ut hoc usu iactantiam cordis, quae pro abstinentia districtiore blande solet ac latenter inrepere, et stimulos elationis obtundat, quia quanto abstinentia ipsa occultius exercetur nulloque hominum teste perficitur, tanto subtilius occultatorem suum temptare non desinit.

Then he set before us table salt, and three olives each: after which he produced a basket containing parched vetches which they call trogalia, (Cf. Horace, De Arte Poetica, l. 249) from which we each took five grains, two prunes and a fig apiece. For it is considered wrong for anyone to exceed that amount in that desert. And when we had finished this repast and had begun to ask him again for his promised solution of the question, “Let us hear,” said the old man, “your question, the consideration of which we postponed till the present time.”

2. Deinde adposuit salem frictum, oliuas ternas : quibus post haec superintulit canistrum habens cicer frictum quod illi trogalia uocant, ex quibus quina tantum sumpsimus grana, myxaria bina, caricas singulas. Hunc enim numerum in illa heremo quemquam excessisse cuplabile est. Qua refectione transacta repromissam quaestionis absolutionem cum reposcere coepissemus, proferte, inquit senex, interrogationem uestram, cuius in hanc horam distuleramus indaginem.



Statements on the different kinds of spiritual wickednesses.
CAPUT II. Secunda propositio de diversitate nequitiarum coelestium.



GERMANUS: We want to know what is the origin of the great variety of hostile powers opposed to men, and the difference between them, which the blessed Apostle sums up as follows: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places:” (Eph. 6:12) and again: “Neither angels nor principalities nor powers nor any other creature, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38, 39)

II. Tum GERMANVS : Vnde, quaesumus, tanta uarietas aduersariarum potestatum contra hominem ac diuersitas ista processit, quam beatus apostolus ita dinumerat : non est nobis conluctatio aduersus carnem et sanguinem, sed aduersus principatus, aduersus potestates, aduersus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritalia nequitiae in caelestibus , et iterum : neque angeli neque principatus, neque uirtutes neque creatura alia poterit nos separare a caritate dei quae est in Christo Iesu domino nostro ?

Whence then arises the enmity of all this malice jealous of us? Are we to believe that those powers were created by the Lord for this; viz., to fight against men in these grades and orders?

unde ergo tantae malitiae aemula nobis emersit aduersitas? an ad hoc potestates istas a domino conditas esse credendum est, ut his contra hominem gradibus atque ordinibus militarent?



The answer on the many kinds of food provided in holy Scripture.
CAPUT III. Responsio de multiplici esca Scripturarum sanctarum.



SERENUS: The authority of holy Scripture says on those points on which it would inform us some things so plainly and clearly even to those who are utterly void of understanding, that not only are they not veiled in the obscurity of any hidden meaning, but do not even require the help of any explanation, but carry their meaning and sense on the surface of the words and letters: but some things are so concealed and involved in mysteries as to offer us an immense field for skill and care in the discussion and explanation of them.

III. SERENVS : Diuinarum scripturarum auctoritas de his in quibus nos uoluit erudire quaedam etiam his qui acumine ingenii carent tam lucide et euidenter effata est, ut non solum nulla occultioris sensus obscuritate uelentur, sed ne ullo quidem patrocinio interpretationis indigeant et in superficie uocis ac litterae suos intellectus ac sententias praeferant : quaedam uero ita contecta et quibusdam sunt obscurata mysteriis, ut in eorum discussione et intellectu inmensum nobis exercitii campum ac sollicitudinis reseruaret.

And it is clear that God has so ordered it for many reasons: first for fear lest the holy mysteries, if they were covered by no veil of spiritual meaning, should be exposed equally to the knowledge and understanding of everybody, i.e., the profane as well as the faithful and thus there might be no difference in the matter of goodness and prudence between the lazy and the earnest: next that among those who are indeed of the household of faith, while immense differences of intellectual power open out before them, there might be the opportunity of reproving the slothfulness of the idle, and of proving the keenness and diligence of the earnest.

2. Quam rem multas ob causas deum dispensasse manifestum est : primum ne sacramenta diuina nullum habentia spiritalis intellectus uelamen obductum cunctis hominibus, id est tam fidelibus quam profanis aequali scientia et notitia panderentur et per hoc inter inertes ac studiosos nulla esset uirtutis prudentiaeque distantia, tum ut etiam inter ipsos domesticos fidei, dum intellectuum spatia coram eis inmensa tenduntur, esset in quibus et desidiosorum argueretur ignauia et studiosorum alacritas atque industria probaretur.

And so holy Scripture is fitly compared to a rich and fertile field, which, while bearing and producing much which is good for man’s food without being cooked by fire, produces some things which are found to be unsuitable for man’s use or even harmful unless they have lost all the roughness of their raw condition by being tempered and softened down by the heat of fire. But some are naturally fit for use in both states, so that even when uncooked they are not unpleasant from their raw condition, but still are rendered more palatable by being cooked and heated by fire.

3. Ideoque satis proprie scriptura diuina agro opimo ac fertili conparatur, qui cum multa gignat ac proferat quae ad hominum uictum sine aliqua ignis coctione proficiant, quaedam nisi prius flammae calore mitigata atque mollita omnem asperitatem suae deposuerint cruditatis, uel incongrua usibus humanis uel noxia sentientur. Nonnulla uero ita utrique usui apta nascuntur, ut nec incocta sua cruditate displiceant uel offendant et tamen ignis calore decocta salubriora reddantur.

Many more things too are produced only fit for the food of irrational creatures, and cattle, and wild animals and birds, but utterly useless as food for men, which while still in their rough state without being in any way touched by fire, conduce to the health and life of cattle.

Plura quoque ad escam tantummodo inrationabilium iumentorum et animalium uel ferarum ac uolucrum proferuntur, cibis hominum minime profutura, quae etiam in sua asperitate manentia absque ulla ignis confectione uitalem iumentis conferunt sanitatem.

And we can clearly see that the same system holds good in that most fruitful garden of the Scriptures of the Spirit, in which some things shine forth clear and bright in their literal sense, in such a way that while they have no need of any higher interpretation, they furnish abundant food and nourishment in the simple sound of the words, to the hearers: as in this passage: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord;” and: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength.” (Deut. 6:4, 5) But there are some which, unless they are weakened down by an allegorical interpretation, and softened by the trial of the fire of the spirit cannot become wholesome food for the inner man without injury and loss to him; and damage rather than profit will accrue to him from receiving them: as with this passage: “But let your loins be girded up and your lights burning;” and: “whosoever has no sword, let him sell his coat and buy himself a sword;” and: “whosoever taketh not up his cross and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me;” (Lk 12:35; 22:36; Mt. 10:38)

4. Quam rationem satis euidenter aspicimus in hoc uberrimo spiritalium scripturarum paradiso contineri, in quo ita quaedam significatione litterae plana ac luculenta resplendent, ut, cum sublimiore interpretatione non egeant, simplici tantum litterae sono abunde pascant ac nutriant audientes, ut est illud : audi, Israhel, dominus deus tuus dominus unus est , et : diliges dominum deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex tota uirtute tua . Quaedam autem si allegorica explanatione extenuata non fuerint et spiritalis ignis examinatione mollita, nullo modo ad salutarem interioris hominis cibum sine corruptionis labe peruenient magisque ex eorum perceptione laesio quam utilitas aliqua subsequetur, ut est illud : sint lumbi uestri praecincti et lucernae ardentes , et : qui non habet gladium, uendat tunicam suam et emat sibi gladium , et : qui non accipit crucem suam et sequitur me, non est me dignus .

a passage which some most earnest monks, having “indeed a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2) understood literally, and so made themselves wooden crosses, and carried them about constantly on their shoulders, and so were the cause not of edification but of ridicule on the part of all who saw them. But some are capable of being taken suitable and properly in both ways, i.e., the historical and allegorical, so that either explanation furnishes a healing draught to the soul; as this passage: “If any one shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also;” and: “when they persecute you in one city, flee to another;” and: “if thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come follow Me.” (Mt. 5:39; 10:23; 19:21)

5. Quod quidam districtissimi monachorum, habentes quidem zelum dei, sed non secundum scientiam , simpliciter intellegentes fecerunt sibi cruces ligneas easque iugiter umeris circumferentes non aedificationem, sed risum cunctis uidentibus intulerunt. Nonnulla uero ad utramque perceptionem, id est tam historicam quam allegoricam ita conmode ac necessarie capiuntur, ut utraque explanatio uitales sucos animae subministret, ut est illud : si quis te percusserit in dextera maxilla tua, praebe illi et alteram , et : cum persequuntur uos in ciuitate ista, fugite in aliam , et : si uis perfectus esse, uade uende omnia quae habes et da pauperibus, et habebis thesaurum in caelo, et ueni sequere me .

It produces indeed “grass for the cattle” also, (and of this food all the fields of Scripture are full); viz., plain and simple narratives of history, by which simple folk, and those who ar incapable of perfect and sound understanding (of whom it is said “Thou, Lord, wilt save both man and beast”) (P35 (36):7) may be made stronger and more vigorous for their hard work and the labour of actual life, in accordance with the state and measure of their capacity.

6. Producit sane et faenum iumentis , quibus pabulis omnes scripturarum repleti sunt campi, simplicem scilicet puramque narrationem historicae lectionis, qua simpliciores quique ac minus capaces perfectae et integrae rationis, de quibus dicitur : homines et iumenta saluabis domine , secundum status ac mensurae suae condicionem ad opus tantum et laborem actualis uitae uegetiores robustioresque reddantur.



Of the double sense in which Holy Scripture may be taken
CAPUT IV. De gemina sententia super intellectu Scripturarum sanctarum.



WHEREFORE on those passages which are brought forward with a clear explanation we also can constantly lay down the meaning and boldly state our own opinions. But those which the Holy Spirit, reserving for our meditation and exercise, has inserted in holy Scripture with veiled meaning, wishing some of them to be gathered from various proofs and conjectures, ought to be step by step and carefully brought together, so that their assertions and proofs may be arranged by the discretion of the man who is arguing or supporting them.

IIII. Quamobrem de his, quae aperta explanatione prolata sunt, nos quoque constanter possumus definire audenterque nostram proferre sententiam. Ea uero, quae meditationi et exercitio nostro reseruans obtecta sanctis scripturis spiritus diuinus inseruit, quibusdam ea uolens indiciis et opinionibus colligi, ita pedetemptim debent cauteque conferri, ut sit eorum adsertio uel confirmatio in disputantis uel suscipientis arbitrio conlocata.

For sometimes when a difference of opinion is expressed on one and the same subject, either view may be considered reasonable and be held without injury to the faith either firmly, or doubtfully, i.e., in such a way that neither is full belief nor absolute rejection accorded to it, and the second view need not interfere with the former, if neither of them is found to be opposed to the faith: as in this case: where Elias came in the person of John, (Cf. Mt. 11:14) and is again to be the precursor of the Lord’s Advent: and in the matter of the “Abomination of desolation” which “stood in the holy place,” by means of that idol of Jupiter which, as we read, was placed in the temple in Jerusalem, and which is again to stand in the Church through the coming of Antichrist, (See Dan. 9:27; 2 Macc. 6:2; Mt. 24:15 sq) and all those things which follow in the gospel, which we take as having been fulfilled before the captivity of Jerusalem and still to be fulfilled at the end of this world. In which matters neither view is opposed to the other, nor does the first interpretation interfere with the second.

2. Nonnumquam enim cum super una re diuersa promatur sententia, potest utraque rationabilis iudicari et sine detrimento fidei uel fixe uel medie suscipi, id est ut ei nec plena credulitas nec absoluta refutatio deputetur priorique sequens opinio derogare non debeat, cum neutra earum fidei inueniatur obsistere. Quale est illud, quod Helias uenerit in Iohanne et iterum sit aduentum domini praecursurus , et de abominatione desolationis, quod steterit in loco sancto per illud simulacrum Iouis quod Hierosolymis in templo positum legimus et iterum stare habeat in ecclesia per aduentum Antichristi , illaque omnia quae in euangelio sequuntur, quae et inpleta ante captiuitatem Hierosolymorum et in fine mundi huius intelleguntur inplenda. E quibus neutra opinio inpugnat aliam nec sequentem prior intellectus euacuat.



Of the fact that the question suggested ought to be included among those things to be held in a neutral or doubtful way.
CAPUT V. Quod proposita quaestio inter illa quae medie tenenda sunt debeat accipi.



AND therefore since the question raised by us, does not seem to have been sufficiently or often ventilated among men, and is clear to most people, and from this fact what we bring forward may perhaps appear to some to be doubtful, we ought to regulate our own view (since it does not interfere with faith in the Trinity) so that it may be included among those things which are to be held doubtfully; although they rest not on mere opinions such as are usually given to guesses and conjectures, but on clear Scripture proof.

V. Et idcirco proposita a uobis quaestio licet non satis uideatur nec frequenter inter homines uentilata nec apud plurimos pateat, et ex hoc ipso apud aliquos ea quae proferemus forsitan uideantur ambigua, ita debemus nostram temperare sententiam, quoniam fidei trinitatis nihil praeiudicat, ut inter illa habeatur quae medie sunt tenenda, quamquam non tali opinione qualis suspicionibus tantum et coniecturis colligi solet, sed manifestis scripturarum testimoniis omnia conprobentur.



Of the fact that nothing is created evil by God.
CAPUT VI. Quod nihil a Deo malum creatum sit.



GOD forbid that we should admit that God has created anything which is substantially evil, as Scripture says “everything that God had made was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) For if they were created by God such as they are now, or made for this purpose; viz., to occupy these positions of malice, and ever to be ready for the deception and ruin of men, we should in opposition to the view of the above quoted Scripture slander God as the Creator and author of evil, as having Himself formed utterly evil wills and natures, creating them for this very purpose; viz., that they might ever persist in their wickedness and never pass over to the feeling of a good will. The following reason then of this diversity is what we received from the tradition of the fathers, being drawn from the fount of Holy Scripture.

VI. Absit ergo ut deum quicquam creasse confiteamur quod substantialiter malum sit, dicente scriptura : omnia quae fecit deus, bona ualde . Si enim a deo tales isti creati sunt uel ad hoc facti, ut hos malitiae gradus teneant ac semper deceptionibus et ruinis hominum uacent, contra praedictae scripturae sententiam infamabimus deum uelut creatorem atque inuentorem malorum, quod scilicet pessimas uoluntates ac naturas ipse condiderit, ad hoc eas creans, ut semper in nequitia perseuerantes numquam transire possint in bonae uoluntatis adfectum. Hanc igitur rationem diuersitatis huius traditione patrum de sanctarum scripturarum fonte percepimus.



Of the origin of principalities or powers.
CAPUT VII. De initio principatuum, seu potestatum.



NONE of the faithful question the fact that before the formation of this visible creation God made spiritual and celestial powers, in order that owing to the very fact that they knew that they had been formed out of nothing by the goodness of the Creator for such glory and bliss, they might render to Him continual thanks and ceaselessly continue to praise Him.

VII. Ante conditionem huius uisibilis creaturae spiritales caelestesque uirtutes deum fecisse, quae pro hoc ipso quod scirent se ad tantam beatitudinis gloriam beneficio creatoris ex nihilo fuisse productas perpetuas ei gratias referentes indesinenter eius laudibus inhaererent, nemo fidelium dubitat.

For neither should we imagine that God for the first time began to originate His creation and work with the formation of this world, as if in those countless ages beforehand He had taken no thought of Providence and the divine ordering of things, and as if we could believe that having none towards whom to show the blessings of His goodness, He had been solitary, and a stranger to all bountifulness; a thing which is too poor and unsuitable to fancy of that boundless and eternal and incomprehensible Majesty; as the Lord Himself says of these powers: “When the stars were made together, all my angels praised Me with a loud voice.” (Job 38:7 (LXX))

2. Nec enim existimare debemus creationis et opificii sui principia ab huius mundi constitutione deum primitus inchoasse, quasi in illis anterioribus atque innumeris saeculis ab omni prouidentia et dispensatione diuina fuerit otiosus, ac tamquam non habens in quos bonitatis suae exerceret beneficia solitarius atque ab omni munificentia alienus fuisse credatur. Quod de illa inmensa ac sine principio et inconprehensibili maiestate satis humile est incongruumque sentire, ipso domino de illis potestatibus haec dicente : Quando facta sunt simul sidera, laudauerunt me uoce magna omnes angeli mei .

Those then who were present at the creation of the stars, are most clearly proved to have been created before that “beginning” in which it is said that heaven and earth were made, inasmuch as they are said with loud voices and admiration to have praised the Creator because of all those visible creatures which, as they saw, proceeded forth from nothing. Before then that beginning in time which is spoken of by Moses, and which according to the historic and Jewish interpretation denotes the age of this world (without prejudice to our interpretation, according to which we explain that the “beginning,” of all things is Christ, in whom the Father created all things, as it is said “All things were made by him, and without Him was not anything made,”) (Jn 1:3) before, I say, that beginning of Genesis in time there is no question that God had already created all those powers and heavenly virtues;

3. Qui ergo intersunt creationi siderum, ante istud principium in quo factum dicitur caelum et terra creati fuisse manifestissime conprobantur, quippe qui pro istis omnibus uisibilibus creaturis quas uidebant ex nihilo processisse creatorem magna uoce referuntur et admiratione laudasse. Ante istud ergo temporale principium, quod a Moyse dicitur quodque mundi huius secundum historicum, immo Iudaicum sensum signat aetatem (saluo scilicet nostro sensu, quo nos interpretamur omnium rerum Christum esse principium, in quo omnia creauerit pater secundum illud : omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil ), ante istud, inquam, Geneseos temporale principium omnes illas potestates caelestesque uirtutes deum creasse non dubium est.

which the Apostle enumerates in order and thus describes: “For in Christ were created all things both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be angels or archangels, whether they be thrones or dominions, whether they be principalities or powers. All things were made by Him and in Him.” (Col. 1:16)

4. Quas apostolus per ordinem dinumerans ita describit : quia in Christo creata sunt omnia in caelis et in terra, uisibilia et inuisibilia, siue angeli siue archangeli, siue throni siue dominationes, siue principatus siue potestates. Omnia per ipsum et in ipso creata sunt.



Of the fall of the devil and the angels.
CAPUT VIII. De lapsu diaboli et angelorum.



AND so we are clearly shown that out of that number of them some of the leaders fell, by the lamentations of Ezekiel and Isaiah, in which we know that the prince of Tyre or that Lucifer who rose in the morning is lamented with a doleful plaint:

VIII. De istorum itaque numero nonnullos principes fuisse conlapsos lamentatio Ezechielis siue Esaiae manifestissime docent, in quibus principem Tyri uel illum Luciferum, qui mane oriebatur, flebili planctu cognoscimus lamentari.

and of him the Lord speaks as follows to Ezekiel: “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the prince of Tyre, and say to him: Thus saith the Lord God: Thou wast the seal of resemblance, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty. Thou wast in the pleasures of the paradise of God: every precious stone was thy covering: the sardius, the topaz and the jasper, the chrysolyte and the onyx and the beryl, the sapphire and the carbuncle and the emerald: gold the work of thy beauty, and thy pipes were prepared in the day that thou wast created. Thou wast a cherub stretched out and protecting, and I set thee in the holy mountain of God, thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day of thy creation, until iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise thy inner parts were filled with iniquity and thou hast sinned; and I cast thee out from the mountain of God, and destroyed thee, O covering cherub, out of the midst of the stones of fire. And thy heart was lifted up with thy beauty: thou hast lost thy wisdom in thy beauty, I have cast thee to the ground: I have set thee before the face of kings, that they might behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities and by the iniquity of thy traffic.” (Ez 28:11-18)

2. Et de illo quidem ita dominus ad Ezechiel : fili hominis, leua planctum super principem Tyri : et dices ei : haec dicit dominus deus : tu signaculum similitudinis, plenus sapientia, perfectus decore, in deliciis paradisi dei fuisti : omnis lapis pretiosus operimentum tuum : sardius, topazius et iaspis, chrysolithus et onyx et beryllus, sapphirus et carbunculus et smaragdus : aurum opus decoris tui : et foramina tua in die, qua conditus es, praeparata sunt. Tu cherub extentus et protegens, et posui te in monte sancto dei, in medio lapidum igneorum ambulasti. Perfectus in uiis tuis a die conditionis tuae, donec inuenta est iniquitas in te. In multitudine negotiationis tuae repleta sunt interiora tua iniquitate, et peccasti : et eieci te de monte dei, et perdidi te o cherub protegens, in medio lapidum igneorum. Eleuatum est cor tuum in decore tuo : perdidisti sapientiam tuam a decore tuo, in terram proieci te : ante faciem regum dedi te ut cernerent te. In multitudine iniquitatum tuarum, et iniquitate negotiationis tuae polluisti sanctificationem tuam .

Isaiah also says of another: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the ground, that didst wound the nations? and thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High.” (Is 4:12-14) But Holy Scripture relates that these fell not alone from that summit of their station in bliss, as it tells us that the dragon dragged down together with himself the third part of the stars. (Cf. Rev. 12:4) One of the Apostles too says still more plainly: “But the angels who kept not their first estate, but left their own dwelling, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6)

3. Esaias quoque de alio : quomodo cecidisti de caelo Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris? Conruisti in terram, qui uulnerabas gentes? Qui dicebas in corde tuo : In caelum conscendam, super astra dei ponam solium meum, sedebo in monte testamenti, in lateribus aquilonis. Ascendam super altitudinem nubium, ero similis altissimo . Quos tamen non solos ex illo beatissimae stationis apice conruisse scriptura conmemorat, dicens tertiam partem stellarum draconem illum secum pariter pertraxisse . Vnus quoque apostolorum euidentius dicit : Angelos uero qui non seruauerunt suum principatum, sed reliquerunt domicilium suum, in iudicium magni diei uinculis aeternis sub caligine reseruauit .

This too which is said to us: “But ye shall die like men and fall like one of the princes,” (P81 (80):7) what does it imply but that many princes have fallen? And by these testimonies we can gather the reason for this diversity; viz., either that they still retain those differences of rank (which adverse powers are said to possess, after the manner of holy and heavenly virtues) from the station of their former rank in which they were severally created, or else that, though themselves cast down from heavenly

 places, yet, as a reward for that wickedness of theirs in which they have graduated in evil, they claim in perversity these grades and titles of rank among themselves, by way of copying those virtues which have stood firm there.

4. Illud etiam quod ad nos dicitur : Vos autem sicut homines moriemini : et sicut unus de principibus cadetis , quid aliud quam multos principes cecidisse significat? Quibus indiciis ratio diuersitatis huius ista colligitur, has differentias ordinum, quas instar sanctarum caelestiumque uirtutum aduersae potestates habere dicuntur, uel ex illius anterioris ordinis gradu in quo unaquaeque creata fuerat nunc etiam retentare, uel certe de caelestibus deuolutas ad similitudinem illarum uirtutum, quae ibidem perseuerant, pro nequitiae suae merito, in qua unaquaeque in malum creuit, hos inter se gradus et ordinum uocabula in parte contraria uindicasse.



An objection stating that the fall of the devil took its origin from the deception of Eve.
CAPUT IX. Objectio, quod ruina diaboli a deceptione Evae principium sumpserit.



GERMANUS: Up till now we used to believe that the reason and commencement of the ruin and fall of the devil, in which he was cast out from his heavenly estate, was more particularly envy, when in his spiteful subtlety he deceived Adam and Eve.

VIIII. GERMANVS : Nos hactenus credebamus causam atque initium ruinae seu praeuaricationis diabolicae, qua de angelica statione deiectus est, inuidiam specialiter extitisse, quando Adam et Euam liuida calliditate decepit.



The answer about the beginning of the devil’s fall.
CAPUT X. Responsio de initio lapsus diaboli.



SERENUS: The passage in Genesis shows that that was not the beginning of his fall and ruin, as before their deception it takes the view that he had already been branded with the ignominy of the name of the serpent, where it says: “But the serpent was wiser” or as the Hebrew copies express it, “more subtle than all the beasts of the earth, which the Lord God had made.” (Gen. 3:1) You see then that he had fallen away from his angelic holiness even before he deceived the first man, so that he not only deserved to be stamped with the ignominy of this title, but actually excelled all other beasts of the earth in the subterfuges of wickedness. For Holy Scripture would not have designated a good angel by such a term, nor would it say of those who were still continuing in that state of bliss: “But the serpent was wiser than all the beasts of the earth.”

X. SERENVS : Non esse istud praeuaricationis illius seu deiectionis initium Geneseos lectio manifestat, quae ante illorum deceptionem serpentini nominis nota cum credidit inurendum ita dicens : Serpens autem erat sapientior siue, ut Hebraici exprimunt libri, callidior cunctis bestiis terrae quas fecit dominus deus . Intellegitis ergo, quod ante illam circumuentionem primi hominis de angelica discesserat sanctitate, ita ut non solum nominis huius insigniri mereretur infamia, sed etiam in nequitiae tergiuersatione ceteris praeferretur bestiis terrae. Non enim tali uocabulo scriptura bonum angelum designasset nec de his qui in illa beatitudine perseuerant diceret : Serpens autem erat sapientior omnibus bestiis terrae.

For this title could not possibly be applied I say not to Gabriel or Michael, but it would not even be suitable to any good man. And so the title of serpent and the comparison to beasts most clearly suggests not the dignity of an angel but the infamy of an apostate. Finally the occasion of the envy and seduction, which led him to deceive man, arose from the ground of his previous fall, in that he saw that man, who had but recently been formed out of the dust of the ground, was to be called to that glory, from which he remembered that he himself, while still one of the princes, had fallen.

2. Nam hoc cognomen non solum Gabriheli siue Michaeli nullo modo posset aptari, sed ne bono quidem cuiquam homini conueniret. Apertissime itaque et serpentis uocabulum et conparatio bestiarum non sonat angeli dignitatem, sed praeuaricatoris infamiam. Denique liuoris ac seductionis materia, qua ut hominem deciperet instigatus est, de anterioris ruinae extitit causa, quod scilicet de limo terrae nuperrime figuratum ad illam eum gloriam cerneret euocandum, unde, cum esset unus de principibus, se meminerat conruisse.

And so that first fall of his, which was due to pride, and which obtained for him the name of the serpent, was followed by a second owing to envy: and as this one found him still in the possession of something upright so that he could enjoy some interchange of conference and counsel with man, by the Lord’s sentence he was very properly cast down to the lowest depth, that he might no longer walk as before erect, and looking up on high, but should cleave to the ground and creep along, and be brought low upon his belly and feed upon the earthly food and works of sins, and henceforward proclaim his secret hostility, and put between himself and man an enmity that is to our advantage, and a discord that is to our profit, so that while men are on their guard against him as a dangerous enemy, he can no longer injure them by a deceptive show of friendship.

3. Et idcirco priorem eius lapsum quo superbiendo conruerat, quo etiam serpens meruerat nuncupari, secunda ruina per inuidiam subsecuta est. Quae inueniens eum adhuc aliquid in sese erectum habentem, ita ut etiam cuiusdam conloquii atque consilii cum homine posset habere consortium, sententia domini utiliter in ima deiectus est, ut non iam sicut ante sublime aliquid intuens et excelsus incederet, sed ut solo cohaerens reperet et humiliatus super uentrem terrenis uitiorum escis et operibus pasceretur, occultum deinceps publicans inimicum ac ponens inter ipsum et hominem utiles inimicitias salutaremque discordiam, ut dum cauetur tamquam hostis noxius, amicitiis fraudulentis ulterius homini nocere non posset.



The punishment of the deceiver and the deceived.
CAPUT XI. De ejus qui decipit, sive decipitur, poena.



BUT we ought in this matter, in order that we may shun evil counsels, to learn a special lesson from the fact that though the author of the deception was visited with a fitting punishment and condemnation, yet still the one who was led astray did not go scot free from punishment, although it was somewhat lighter than that of him who was the author of the deception. And this we see was very plainly expressed. For Adam who was deceived, or rather (to use the Apostle’s words) “was not deceived” but, acquiescing in the wishes of her who was deceived, seems to have come to yield a consent that was deadly, is only condemned to labour and the sweat of his brow, which is assigned to him not by means of a curse upon himself, but by means of a curse upon the ground, and its barrenness.

XI. In quo tamen et illud nos praecipue debet instruere, ut a malis consiliis declinemus, quod licet deceptionis auctor congrua poena et condemnatione plectatur, ne ille quidem qui seducitur supplicio careat, licet aliquantulo leuiore quam ille qui auctor deceptionis extiterit. Quod hic expressum planissime cernimus. Adam namque qui seductus est, immo ut apostoli uerbis eloquar qui seductus non est , sed seductae adquiescens in exitiabilem uidetur accessisse consensum, sudore uultus ac labore tantummodo condemnatur, qui tamen illi non per suam, sed per terrae maledictionem sterilitatemque decernitur.

But the woman, who persuaded him to this, is visited with an increase of anguish, and pains and sorrow, and also given over to the yoke of perpetual subjection. But the serpent who was the first to incite them to this offence, is punished by a lasting curse. Wherefore we should with the utmost care and circumspection be on our guard against evil counsels, for as they bring punishment upon their authors, so too they do not suffer those who are deceived by them to go free from guilt and punishment.

2. Mulier uero quae huius rei persuasor extitit multiplicationem gemituum ac dolorum atque tristiae promeretur, perpetuo pariter iugo subiectionis addicta. Serpens autem, qui primus incentor huius offensae est, perenni maledictione multatur. Quamobrem summa sollicitudine et circumspectione cauendum est a consiliis prauis, quia sicut auctorem puniunt, ita deceptum nec peccato faciunt carere nec poena.



Of the crowd of the devils, and the disturbance which they always raise in our atmosphere
CAPUT XII. De constipatione daemonum et inquietudine quam in hoc aere semper exercent.



BUT the atmosphere which extends between heaven and earth is ever filled with a thick crowd of spirits, which do not fly about in it quietly or idly, so that most fortunately the divine providence has withdrawn them from human sight. For through fear of their attacks, or horror at the forms, into which they transform and turn themselves at will, men would either be driven out of their wits by an insufferable dread, and faint away, from inability to look on such things with bodily eyes, or else would daily grow worse and worse, and be corrupted by their constant example and by imitating them, and thus there would arise a sort of dangerous familiarity and deadly intercourse between men and the unclean powers of the air, whereas those crimes which are now committed among men, are concealed either by walls and enclosures or by distance and space, or by some shame and confusion:

XII. Tanta uero spirituum densitate constipatur ae¬r iste qui inter caelum terramque diffunditur, in quo non quieti otiosique peruolitant, ut satis utiliter humanis aspectibus eos prouidentia diuina subtraxerit. Aut enim terrore concursus eorum uel horrore uultuum, in quos se pro uoluntate sua cum libitum fuerit transformant atque conuertunt, intolerabili formidine homines consternarentur atque deficerent, nequaquam ualentes haec carnalibus oculis intueri, aut certe nequiores cotidie redderentur exemplis eorum iugibus et imitatione uitiati, et per hoc inter homines et immundas atque ae¬rias potestates fieret noxia quaedam familiaritas ac perniciosa coniunctio, quia haec flagitia quae nunc inter homines admittuntur uel parietum saeptis uel locorum interuallo et quadam uerecundiae confusione celantur.

but if they could always look on them with open face, they would be stimulated to a greater pitch of insanity, as there would not be a single moment in which they would see them desist from their wickedness, since no bodily weariness, or occupation in business or care for their daily food (as in our case) forces them sometimes even against their will to desist from the purposes they have begun to carry out.

2. Quae si aperta iugiter uisione conspicerent, ad maiorem furoris incitarentur insaniam, nullo scilicet interueniente temporis puncto quo ab istis sceleribus eas cernerent desinentes, quippe quas nulla lassitudo carnalis seu occupatio familiaris rei ac sollicitudo cotidiani uictus quemadmodum nos a coeptis intentionibus etiam inuitissimos nonnumquam cessare conpellunt.



Of the fact that opposing powers turn the attack, which they aim at men, even against each other.
CAPUT XIII. Quod impugnationem quam erga homines impendunt angeli, etiam adversum se commoveant.



FOR it is quite clear that they aim these attacks, with which they assault men, even against each other, for in like manner they do not cease to promote with unwearied strife the discords and struggles which they have undertaken for some peoples because of a sort of innate love of wickedness which they have: and this we read of as being very clearly set forth in the vision of Daniel the prophet, where the angel Gabriel speaks as follows: “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy words have been heard: and I am come for thy words.

XIII. Has namque inpugnationes quibus homines inpetunt etiam contra se inuicem eos adfectare certissimum est. Nam discordias atque conflictus super nonnullis gentibus pro quadam sibi nequitiae uernacula familiaritate susceptis indefesso certamine similiter exercere non desinunt. Quod etiam in uisione Danihelis prophetae manifestissime legimus figuratum, angelo Gabrihele ita narrante : Noli timere Danihel : quia ex die primo, quo posuisti cor tuum ad intellegendum ut te adfligeres in conspectu dei tui, exaudita sunt uerba tua : et ego ueni propter sermones tuos.

 But the prince of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me one and twenty days: and behold Michael one of the chief princes came to help me, and I remained there by the king of the Persians. But I am come to teach thee what things shall befall thy people in the latter days.” (Dan. 10:12-14)

Princeps autem regni Persarum restitit mihi uiginti et uno diebus : et ecce Michael unus de principibus primis uenit in adiutorium meum, et ego remansi ibi iuxta regem Persarum. Veni autem ut docerem te quae uentura sunt populo tuo in nouissimis diebus .

And we can not possibly doubt that this prince of the kingdom of the Persians was a hostile power, which favoured the nation of the Persians an enemy of God’s people; for in order to hinder the good which it saw would result from the solution of the question for which the prophet prayed the Lord, by the archangel, in its jealousy it opposed itself to prevent the saving comfort of the angel from reaching Daniel too speedily, and from strengthening the people of God, over which the archangel Gabriel was: and the latter said that even then, owing to the fierceness of his assaults, he would not have been able to come to him, had not Michael the archangel come to help him, and met the prince of the kingdom of the Persians, and joined battle with him, and intervened, and defended him from his attack, and so enabled him to come to instruct the prophet after twenty-one days.

2. Quem principem regni Persarum aduersariam potestatem esse, quae fauebat genti Persarum inimicae populo dei, minime dubitandum est, quique ad inpediendam utilitatem, quam uidebat per absolutionem quaestionis pro quo propheta dominum exorauerat ab archangelo ministrandam, liuens semet ipsum, ne ocius ad Danihelem salutaris angeli consolatio perueniret deique populum cui Gabrihel archangelus praeerat confortaret, obiecit. Qui tamen ait ne tunc quidem ob inpugnationis illius uehementiam se ad eum peruenire potuisse, nisi in adiutorium sibi Michael archangelus aduenisset et occurrens principi regni Persarum seseque conflictui eius interserens et obponens eumque ab ipsius inpugnatione defendens ad instructionem prophetae post uicensimum et unum diem peruenire fecisset.

And a little later on it says: “And the angel said: Dost thou know wherefore I am come to thee? And now I will return to fight against the prince of the Persians. For when I went forth, there appeared the prince of the Greeks coming. But I will tell thee what is written down in the Scriptures of truth: and none is my helper in all these things but Michael your prince.” (Dan. 10:20, 21) And again: “At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people.” (Dan. 12:1)

3. Et post pauca et ait, inquit, angelus : Numquid scis quare uenerim ad te? Et nunc reuertar ut proelier aduersus principem Persarum. Cum enim ego egrederer, apparuit princeps Graecorum ueniens. Verumtamen adnuntiabo tibi quod expressum est in scriptura ueritatis : et nemo est adiutor meus in his omnibus, nisi Michael princeps uester . Et iterum : In tempore illo consurget Michael princeps magnus, qui stat pro filiis populi tui .

So then we read that in the same way another was called the prince of the Greeks, who since he was patron of that nation which was subject to him seems to have been opposed to the nation of the Persians as well as to the people of Israel. From which we clearly see that antagonistic powers raise against each other those quarrels of nations, and conflicts and dissensions, which they show among themselves at their instigation, and that they either exult at their victories or are cast down at their defeats, and thus cannot live in harmony among themselves, while each of them is always striving with restless jealousy on behalf of those whom he presides over, against the patron of some other nation.

4. Legimus ergo Graecorum quoque principem similiter alium nuncupari, qui utique fauens genti sibi subditae tam populo Israheli quam nationi Persarum uidebatur aduersus. Ex quo liquido peruidetur, quod discordias gentium et conflictus ac simultates, quas inter se istis instigantibus gerunt, etiam contra se aduersae exerceant potestates et illarum uel uictoria gaudeant uel deminutione crucientur et ob hoc non possint inter se esse concordes, dum unusquisque pro his quibus praest contra alterius gentis praesulem inquieta semper aemulatione contendit.



 How it is that spiritual wickednesses obtained the names of powers or principalities
CAPUT XIV.Unde factum sit ut potestatum seu principatuum nomina spiritales nequitiae sortirentur.



WE can then see clear reasons, in addition to those ideas which we expounded above, why they are called principalities or powers; viz., because they rule and preside over different nations, and at least hold sway over inferior spirits and demons, of which the gospels give us evidence by their own confession that there exist legions. For they could not be called lords unless they had some over whom to exercise the sway of lordship; nor could they be called powers or principalities, unless there were some over whom they could claim power:

XIIII. Hos ergo praeter illas quas superius exposuimus opiniones etiam idcirco dici principatus uel potestates euidenti possumus ratione colligere, quod scilicet uel diuersis gentibus dominentur ac praesint, uel certe quod in inferiores spiritus atque daemonia, de quibus etiam euangelia legiones esse propria ipsorum confessione testantur , suos exerant principatus. Non enim dominationes dici possunt, nisi habeant in quos dicionem suae dominationis exerceant, nec potestates aut principatus uocari queunt, nisi fuerint super quos sibi uindicent principatus.

and this we find pointed out very clearly in the gospel by the Pharisees in their blasphemy: “He casteth out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils,” (Lk 11:15) for we find that they are also called “rulers of darkness,” (Eph. 6:12) and that one of them is styled “the prince of this world.” (Jn 14:30) But the blessed Apostle declares that hereafter, when all things shall be subdued to Christ, these orders shall be destroyed, saying: “When He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father, when He shall have destroyed all principalities and powers and dominions.” (1 Cor. 15:24) And this certainly can only take place if they are removed from the sway of those over whom we know that powers and dominions and principalities take charge in this world.

2. Quod etiam in euangelio designari a blasphemantibus Pharisaeis manifestissime repperimus : In Beelzebub principe daemoniorum hic eicit daemones . Nam et rectores tenebrarum legimus appellari et alium mundi huius principem nuncupari. quos tamen gradus beatus apostolus in futurum, cum omnia fuerint Christo subiecta, adserit uacuandos cum tradiderit, inquiens, regnum deo et patri, cum euacuauerit omnem principatum et potestatem et dominationem . Quod utique non aliter fiet, nisi fuerint de ipsorum dicione sublati, supra quos in hoc saeculo potestates seu dominationes uel principatus administrare noscuntur.



Of the fact that it is not without reason that the names of angels and archangels are given to holy and heavenly powers.
CAPUT XV. Quod non sine causa sanctis coelestibusque virtutibus angelorum sive archangelorum nomina sint indita.



FOR no one doubts that not without cause or reason are the same titles of rank assigned to the better sort, and that they are names of office and of worth or dignity, for it is plain that they are termed angels, i.e., messengers from their office of bearing messages, and the appropriateness of the name teaches that they are “archangels” because the preside over angels, “dominions” because they hold dominion over certain persons, and “principalities” because they have some to be princes over, and “thrones” because they are so near to God and so privy and close to Him that the Divine Majesty specially rests in them as in a Divine throne, and in a way reclines surely on them.

XV. Nam quia bonae parti eadem ordinum uocabula non sine ratione causaue sint indita et officiorum uel meritorum seu dignitatum sint nomina, nulli dubium est. Etenim de officio nuntiandi angelos, id est nuntios manifestum est appellari, et archangelos eo quod ipsis angelis praesint, nominis ipsius proprietas docet, dominationes etiam ab eo quod quibusdam dominentur, principatus quoque quod habeant quorum sint principes, et sedes quod ita scilicet deo cohaereant et domesticae ac familiares ei sint, ut in ipsis uelut in quadam sede diuina maiestas peculiarius requiescat et quodammodo in eis firmius reclinetur.



Of the subjection of the devils, which they show to their own princes, as seen in a brother’s victim.
CAPUT XVI. De subjectione daemonum, quam suis principatibus praebent.



BUT that unclean spirits are ruled over by worse powers and are subject to them we not only find from those passages of Scripture, recorded in the gospels when the Pharisees maligned the Lord, and He answered “If I by Beelzebub the prince of the devils cast out devils,” (Lk 11:19) but we are also taught this by clear visions and many experiences of the saints, for when one of our brethren was making a journey in this desert, as day was now declining he found a cave and stopped there meaning to say his evening office in it, and there midnight passed while he was still singing the Psalms.

XVI. Regi autem inmundos spiritus a nequioribus potestatibus eisque esse subiectos praeter illa scripturarum testimonia, quae in euangeliis quoque calumniantibus Pharisaeis domini legimus responsione descripta : Si ego in Beelzebub principe daemoniorum eicio daemones , etiam perspicuae uisiones et experimenta sanctorum multa nos edocent. Nam cum unus e fratribus nostris in hac solitudine iter ageret, aduesperante iam die antrum quoddam repperiens ibidem substitit, uespertinam uolens in eo synaxin celebrare : ubi dum psalmos ex more decantat, tempus mediae noctis excessit.

And when after he had finished his office he sat down a little before refreshing his wearied body, on a sudden he began to see innumerable troops of demons gathering together on all sides, who came forward in an immense crowd, and a long line, some preceding and others following their prince; who at length arrived, being taller and more dreadful to look at than all the others; and, a throne having been placed, he sat down as on some lofty tribunal, and began to investigate by a searching examination the actions of each one of them; and those who said that they had not yet been able to circumvent their rivals, he commanded to be driven out of his sight with shame and ignominy as idle and slothful, rebuking them with angry wrath for the waste of so much time, and for their labour thrown away: but those who reported that they had deceived those assigned to them, he dismissed before all with the highest praise amidst the exultation and applause of all, as most brave warriors, and most renowned as an example to all the rest:

2. Cumque finita solemnitate refecturus lassum corpus paululum resedisset, repente coepit cateruas daemonum undique confluentium innumerabiles intueri, quae infinita constipatione atque ordine longissimo procedentes aliae praeibant principem suum, aliae sequebantur. Qui tandem aliquando et magnitudine procerior cunctis et aspectu terribilior aduenit, ac posito solio cum in tribunali quodam sublimissimo consedisset, uniuscuiusque actus diligenti coepit examinatione discutere : illosque qui necdum se circumuenire aemulos suos potuisse dicebant uelut inertes ignauosque a conspectu suo cum nota et iniuria iubebat expelli, spatia temporis tanti et opus inaniter inpensum cum fremitu furoris exprobrans, illos uero qui se nuntiabant consignatos sibimet decepisse summis laudibus cum exultatione ac fauore cunctorum ut fortissimos bellatores ad exemplum cunctorum gloriosissimos coram omnibus emittebat.

and when in this number some most evil spirit had presented himself, in delight at having to relate some magnificent triumph, he mentioned the name of a very well known monk, and declared that after having incessantly attacked him for fifteen years, he had at last got the better of him, so as to destroy him that very same night by the sin of fornication, for that he had not only impelled him to commit adultery with some consecrated maid, but had actually persuaded him to keep her and marry her. And when there arose shouts of joy at this narrative, he was extolled with the highest praise by the prince of darkness, and departed crowned with great honours.

3. In quorum numero cum quidam nequissimus spiritus, utpote quendam triumphum sublimissimum delaturus, laetior aduenisset, nomen monachi optime cogniti designauit, adserens post quindecim annos quibus eum iugiter obsedisset tandem aliquando se praeualuisse, ut eum eadem ipsa nocte ruina fornicationis elideret : nam cum quadam sacra puella non solum inpulisse ut stupri crimen incurreret, sed etiam persuasisse ut eam sibimet iure coniugii retentaret. Super cuius relatione cum inmane cunctorum gaudium fuisset exortum, summis a principe tenebrarum laudibus eleuatus magnisque praeconiis coronatus abscessit.

And so when at break of day the whole swarm of demons had vanished from his eyes, the brother being doubtful about the assertion of the unclean spirit, and rather thinking that he had desired to entice him by an ancient customary deceit, and to brand an innocent brother with the crime of incest, being mindful of those words of the gospel; viz., that “he abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and its father,” (Jn 8:44) he made his way to Pelusium, where he knew that the man lived, whom the evil spirit declared to be destroyed: for the brother was very well known to him, and when he had asked him, he found that on the same night on which that foul demon had announced his downfall to his company and prince, he had left his former monastery, and sought the town, and had gone astray by a wretched fall with the girl mentioned.

4. Aurora itaque superueniente cum omnis ab oculis euanuisset daemonum multitudo, dubitans frater de adsertione spiritus inmundi magisque id ratus quod inolita consuetudinis suae fallacia sibi uoluisset inludere et innocenti fratri inurere crimen incesti, memor euangelicae sententiae, quod in ueritate non stetit, quia non est ueritas in eo : cum loquitur mendacium, de propriis loquitur, quia mendax est et pater eius , Pelusium petit, ubi illum quem spiritus inmundus adseruit esse deiectum nouerat conmorari. Erat siquidem illi etiam notissimus frater. Quem cum requisisset, repperit, quod eadem nocte, qua taeterrimus ille daemon ruinam eius suae cohorti uel principi nuntiarat, monasterio pristino derelicto uicum petisset et cum designata puella fuisse lapsu miserabili deuolutus.



Of the fact that two angels always cling to every man.
CAPUT XVII. Quod singulis hominibus duo semper angeli adhaereant.



FOR Holy Scripture bears witness that two angels, a good and a bad one, cling to each one of us. And of the good ones the Saviour says: “Do not despise one of these little ones; for I say unto you that their angels in heaven do always behold the face of thy Father which is in heaven:” (Mt. 18:10) and this also: “the angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him, and deliver them.” (Ps 33 (34):8) Moreover this also which is said in the Acts of the Apostles, of Peter, that “it is his angel.” (Acts 12:15) But of both sorts the book of the Shepherd teaches us very fully.

XVII. Nam quod unicuique nostrum duo cohaereant angeli, id est bonus ac malus, scriptura testatur. Et de bonis quidem saluator ne contemnatis, inquiens, unum ex pusillis istis : dico enim uobis quod angeli eorum in caelis semper uident faciem patris mei qui in caelis est . Illud quoque : Inmittet angelus domini in circuitu timentium eum : et eripiet eos . Nec non etiam quod in Actibus apostolorum de Petro dicitur, quia angelus eius est . De utrisque uero liber Pastoris plenissime docet.

* But if we consider about him who attacked the blessed Job we shall clearly learn that it was he who always plotted against him but never could entice him to sin, and that therefore he asked for power from the Lord, as he was worsted not by his (Job’s) virtue but by the Lord’s protection which ever shielded him. Of Judas also it is said: “And let the devil stand at his right hand

2. Si autem consideremus et illum qui beatum Iob expetiit, apertissime instruimur illum fuisse, qui semper insidiatus ei numquam eum ad peccatum potuerit incitare, et idcirco potestatem a domino poposcisse, uelut qui non uirtute illius, sed domini defensione qui illum semper protexerit uinceretur. De Iuda quoque dicitur : Et diabolus stet a dextris eius .

*The reference is to the Pastor or Shepherd of Hermas, a work of the second century. The passage to which Cassian alludes is found in Book II. “Commandm”. vi.; where it is said that “there are two angels with a man, one of righteousness and the other of iniquity,” and suggestions are given how to recognize each of them and to distinguish the suggestions of the one from those of the other. The passage is also alluded to by Origen, De Principiis, Book III. c. ii. and Hom. xxxv. in (Lucam); and Cassian refers to it again in Conf. XIII. c. xii




Of the degrees of wickedness which exist in hostile spirits, as shown in the case of two philosophers
CAPUT XVIII. Differentiam nequitiae quae malis spiritibus inest duorum philosophorum testimonio confirmat.



BUT of the difference that there is between demons we have learnt a great deal by means of those two philosophers who formerly by acts of magic had oftentimes great experience both of their laziness and of their courage and savage wickedness. For these looking down on the blessed Antony as a boor and rustic, and wanting, if they could not injure him any further, at least to drive him from his cell by illusions of magic and the devices of demons, despatched against him most foul spirits, for they were impelled to this attack upon him by the sting of jealousy because enormous crowds came daily to him as the servant of God.

XVIII. De differentiis sane daemonum etiam per illos duos philosophos, qui quondam magicis artibus uel inertiam eorum uel fortitudinem saeuamque nequitiam fuerant frequenter experti, multum cognitionis accepimus. Hi namque despicientes beatum Antonium uelut inperitum ac sine litteris uirum uolentesque eum, si nihil amplius laedere potuissent, saltim de cella sua magicis praestigiis et circumuentione daemonum proturbare, spiritus ei nequissimos inmiserunt, ad inpugnationem hanc morsu liuoris adducti, eo quod maximae hominum turbae ad eum uelut famulum dei cotidie conuenirent.

And when these most savage demons did not even venture to approach him as he was now signing his breast and forehead with the sign of the cross, and, now devoting himself to prayer and supplication, they returned without any result to those who had directed them; and these again sent against him others more desperate in wickedness, and when these too had spent their strength in vain, and returned without having accomplished anything, and others still more powerful were nevertheless told off against the victorious soldier of Christ, and could prevail nothing against him, all these great plots of theirs devised with all the arts of magic were only useful in proving the great value that there is in the profession of Christians, so that those fierce and powerful shadows, which they thought would veil the sun and moon if they were directed towards them, could not only not injure him, but not even draw him forth from his monastery for a single instant.

2. Cumque illo nunc quidem inprimente pectori suo frontique signaculum crucis, nunc uero orationi suppliciter incubante ne adproximare quidem dirissimi daemones eidem prorsus auderent atque ad eos qui illos direxerant absque ullo reuerterentur effectu et alios illi in nequitia uehementiores rursus inmitterent itidemque ipsis in cassum suas expendentibus uires atque inaniter redeuntibus potentiores nihilominus aduersus militem Christi uictorem iterum destinati nihil penitus praeualerent, eo profecerunt tales tantaeque eorum insidiae tota magica arte quaesitae, ut per haec euidentissime conprobarent magnam professioni Christianorum inesse uirtutem, quibus illae tam saeuae et tam potentes umbrae, quas aestimabant solem lunamque, si ad eas directae fuissent, obducere potuisse, hunc non solum nihil laedere, sed ne ad punctum quidem de monasterio suo ualuerint proturbare.



Of the fact that devils cannot prevail at all against men unless they have first secured possession of their minds.
CAPUT XIX. Quod daemones nihil adversus homines praevaleant, nisi obsederint eorum prius mentes.



AND when in their astonishment at this they came straight to Abbot Antony and disclosed the extent of their attacks and the reason of them and their plots, they dissembled their jealousy and asked that they might forthwith be made Christians. But when he had asked of them the day when the assault was made, he declared that at that time he had been afflicted with the most bitter pangs of thought.

XVIIII. Cumque pro hac admiratione confestim uenientes ad abbatem Antonium inpugnationum suarum magnitudinem et causas atque insidias patefecissent liuoris occulti, Christianos se fieri protinus poposcerunt. Requisito autem ab illis proditae inpugnationis die adseruit se amarissimis cogitationum stimulis tunc fuisse pulsatum.

And by this experience the blessed Antony proved and established the opinion which we expressed yesterday in our Conference, that demons cannot possibly find an entrance into the mind or body of anyone, nor have they the power of overwhelming the soul of anyone, unless they have first deprived it of all holy thoughts, and made it empty and free from spiritual meditation. But you must know that unclean spirits are obedient to men in two ways. For either they are by divine grace and power subject to the holiness of the faithful, or they are captivated by the sacrifices of sinners, and certain charms, and are flattered by them as their worshippers.

2. Quo experimento sententiam nostram quam hesterno die in conlatione protulimus probauit ac definuit beatus Antonius, nullatenus daemonas posse mentem cuiusquam uel corpus inuadere nec habere facultatem in cuiuslibet animam penitus inruendi, nisi eam primo destituerint omnibus cogitationibus sanctis ac spiritali contemplatione uacuam nudamque reddiderint. Sciendum tamen duobus modis spiritus immundos hominibus oboedire. Aut enim sanctitati fidelium diuina gratia ac uirtute subduntur aut sacrificiis inpiorum seu quibusdam carminibus deleniti uelut familiaribus adulantur.

And the Pharisees too were led astray by this notion and fancied that by this device even the Lord the Saviour gave commands to devils, and said “By Beelzebub the prince of the devils He casteth out devils,” in accordance with that plan by which they knew that their own magicians and enchanters--by invoking his name and offering sacrifices, with which they know he is pleased and delighted--have as his servants power even over the devils who are subject to him.

3. Qua opinione Pharisaei quoque decepti arbitrati sunt etiam dominum saluatorem hac arte daemoniis imperasse, dicentes : In Beelzebub principe daemoniorum hic eicit daemones , secundum illam scilicet consuetudinem, qua norant suos magos uel maleficos per inuocationem nominis illius ac ritum sacrificiorum, quo eum delectari et gaudere cognoscunt, uelut domesticos eius habere etiam in daemonas ei subditos potestatem.



A question about the fallen angels who are said in Genesis to have had intercourse with the daughters of men.
CAPUT XX. Interrogatio de apostatis angelis, qui in Genesi cum filiabus hominum concubuisse dicuntur.



GERMANUS: Since a passage of Genesis was a little while ago by the providence of God brought forward in our midst, and happily reminded us that we can now conveniently ask about a point which we have always longed to learn, we want to know what view we ought to take about those fallen angels who are said to have had intercourse with the daughters of men, and whether such a thing can literally take place with a spiritual nature. And also with regard to this passage of the gospel which you quoted of the devil a little while back, “for he is a liar and his father,” we should like in the same way to hear who is to be understood by “his father.”

XX. GERMANVS : Quia Geneseos lectio paulo ante in medium dei dispensatione prolata est, quae nos oportune commonuit, ut id quod semper discere cupiebamus nunc possimus congrue sciscitari, quid etiam de illis apostatis angelis sentiendum sit optamus agnoscere, qui se cum filiabus hominum miscuisse dicuntur , utrum hoc possit spiritali naturae secundum litteram conuenire. Illud quoque euangelii testimonium quod de diabolo paulo ante dixisti : Quia mendax est et pater eius similiter desideramus audire quinam eius pater intelligendus sit.

*Jn 8:44. We find from Augustine (Tract. xxiv. in Johan.) that the Manichees interpreted this text as implying that the devil had a father, translating it “For he is a liar, and so is his father.” Augustine himself explains it as Abbot Serenus does below in c. xxv.; viz., that the devil is not only a liar himself but the parent of lies




The answer to the question raised.
CAPUT XXI. Solutio propositae quaestionis.



SERENUS: You have propounded two not unimportant questions, to which I will reply, to the best of my ability, in the order in which you have raised them. We cannot possibly believe that spiritual existences can have carnal intercourse with women. But if this could ever have literally happened how is it that it does not now also sometimes take place, and that we do not see some in the same way born of women by the agency of demons without intercourse with men? especially when it is clear that they delight in the pollution of lust, which they would certainly prefer to bring about through their own agency rather than through that of men, if they could possibly manage it, as Ecclesiastes declares: “What is it that hath been? The same that is. And what is it that hath been done? The same that is done. And there is nothing new that can be said under the sun, so that a man can say: Behold this is new; for it hath already been in the ages which were before us.” (Eccl. 1:9, 10)

XXI. SERENVS : Duas quaestiones non mediocres pariter protulistis, de quibus quantum possum eodem quo proposuistis ordine respondebo. Nullo modo credendum est spiritales naturas coire cum feminis carnaliter posse. Quodsi aliquando hoc secundum litteram fieri potuisset, quomodo nunc quoque id ipsum non uel raro contingeret et absque semine uel coitu uiri aliquos nasci similiter de mulieribus conceptu daemonum cerneremus? cum praesertim constet eos libidinum sordibus admodum delectari, quas procul dubio per semet ipsos exercere quam per homines mallent, si id ullo modo posset inpleri, Ecclesiaste quoque id ipsum pronuntiante : Quid est quod fuit? ipsum quod est : et quid est quod factum est? ipsum quod fiet : et non est omne recens sub sole quod loquatur et dicat : ecce hoc nouum est, iam fuit in saeculis quae fuerunt ante nos .

But the question raised may be resolved in this way. After the death of righteous Abel, in order that the whole human race might not spring from a wicked fratricide, Seth was born in the place of his brother who was slain, to take the place of his brother not only as regards posterity, but also as regards justice and goodness. And his offspring, following the example of their father’s goodness, always remained separate from intercourse with and the society of their kindred descended from the wicked Cain, as the difference of the genealogy very clearly tells us, where it says: “Adam begat Seth, Seth begat Enos, Enos begat Cainan, but Cainan begat Mahalaleel, but Mahalaleel begat Jared, Jared begat Enoch, Enoch begat Methuselah, Methuselah begat Lamech, Lamech begat Noah.” (Gen. 5:4-40) And the genealogy of Cain is given separately as follows: “Cain begat Enoch, Enoch begat Cainan, Cainan begat Mahalaleel, Mahalaleel begat Methuselah, Methuselah begat Lamech, Lamech begat Jabal and Jubal.” (Gen. 4:17-21)

2. Sed ita quaestio huius propositionis absoluitur. Post necem Abel iusti, ne a fratricida et impio omne hominum genus exordium sumeret, in locum fratris extincti nascitur Seth, qui non solum posteritati sed etiam fraternae iustitiae pietatique succederet. Cuius progenies patris secuta iustitiam a societate et coniunctione cognationis illius quae ex Cain sacrilego descendebat semper diuisa permansit, sicut etiam genealogiae discretio manifeste declarat ita dicens : Adam genuit Seth, Seth genuit Enos, Enos genuit Cainam, Cainam autem genuit Maleleel, Maleleel autem genuit Iaret, Iaret genuit Enoc, Enoc genuit Mathusalam, Mathusalam genuit Lamec, Lamec genuit Noe¬ . Item genealogia Cain ita diuisa describitur : Cain genuit Enoc, Enoc genuit Cainam, Cainam genuit Maleleel, Maleleel genuit Mathusalam, Mathusalam genuit Lamec, Lamec genuit Iobel et Iubal .

And so the line which sprang from the seed of righteous Seth always mixed with its own kith and kin, and continued for a long while in the holiness of its fathers and ancestors, untouched by the blasphemies and the wickedness of an evil offspring, which had implanted in it a seed of sin as it were transmitted by its ancestors. As long then as there continued that separation of the lines between them, the seed of Seth, as it sprang from an excellent root, was by reason of its sanctity termed “angels of God,” or as some copies have it “sons of God;” and on the contrary the others by reason of their own and their fathers’ wickedness and their earthly deeds were termed “children of men.”

3. Itaque illa generatio quae de Seth iusti propagine descendebat suae lineae iugiter agnationique permixta in patrum atque ataui sanctitate longa aetate durauit, nequaquam scilicet sacrilegiis ac malitia nequissimae prolis infecta, quae insemet inpietatis germen uelut auita traditione retinebat insertum. Donec ergo perseuerauit inter illos generationis eorum ista discretio, semen illud Seth, utpote de optima radice procedens, pro merito sanctitatis angeli dei siue ut exemplaria continent filii dei uocati sunt, et e contrario illi propter inpietatem uel suam uel patrum suorum et opera terrena filii hominum nuncupantur.

Though then there was up to this time that holy and salutary separation between them, yet after this the sons of Seth who were the sons of God saw the daughters of those who were born of the line of Cain, and inflamed with the desire for their beauty took to themselves from them wives who taught their husbands the wickedness of their fathers, and at once led them astray from their innate holiness and the single-mindedness of their forefathers. To whom this saying applies with sufficient accuracy: “I have said: Ye are Gods, and ye are all the children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes;” (P81 (82):6, 7) who fell away from that true study of natural philosophy, handed down to them by their ancestors, which the first man who forthwith traced out the study of all nature, could clearly attain to, and transmit to his descendants on sure grounds,

4. Cum esset ergo inter ipsos usque ad illud tempus haec utilis sanctaque diuisio, uidentes post haec filii Seth qui dei filii erant filias eorum qui de Cain progenie nascebantur desiderio pulchritudinis earum succensi acceperunt de ipsis sibimet uxores, quae uiris suis parentum suorum nequitias infundentes ab illa eos ingenita sanctitate ac simplicitate paterna protinus conruperunt. Ad quos satis congrue directum est illud eloquium : ego dixi : dii estis, et filii excelsi omnes. Vos autem sicut homines moriemini : et sicut unus de principibus cadetis , quique ab illa uera physicae philosphiae disciplina tradita sibi a maioribus exciderunt, quam primus homo ille, qui uniuersarum naturarum institutionem e uestigio subsecutus est, potuit euidenter adtingere suisque posteris certa ratione transmittere.

inasmuch as he had seen the infancy of this world, while still as it were tender and throbbing and unorganized; and as there was in him not only such fulness of wisdom, but also the grace of prophecy given by the Divine inspiration, so that while he was still an untaught inhabitant of this world he gave names to all living creatures, and not only knew about the fury and poison of all kinds of beasts and serpents, but also distinguished between the virtues of plants and trees and the natures of stones, and the changes of seasons of which he had as yet no experience, so that he could well say: “The Lord hath given me the true knowledge of the things that are, to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements, the beginning and the ending and the midst of times, the alterations of their courses and the changes of their seasons, the revolutions of the year and the disposition of the stars, the natures of living creatures and the rage of wild beasts, the force of winds, and the reasonings of men, the diversities of plants and the virtues of roots, and all such things as are hid and open I have learnt.” (Wi7:17-21)

5. Quippe qui mundi ipsius infantiam adhuc teneram et quodammodo palpitantem rudemque conspexerat et in quem tanta fuit non solum sapientiae plenitudo, sed etiam gratia prophetiae diuina illa insufflatione transfusa, ut uniuersis animantibus nomina rudis adhuc mundi huius habitator inponeret ac non solum omnigenum bestiarum atque serpentum furores uirusque discerneret, sed etiam uirtutes herbarum et arborum lapidumque naturas ac temporum necdum expertorum uicissitudines partiretur, ita ut efficaciter potuerit dicere : Dominus dedit mihi eorum, quae sunt, scientiam ueram : ut sciam dispositionem orbis terrarum et uirtutes elementorum, initium et consummationem et medietatem temporum, uicissitudinum inmutationnes et diuisiones temporum, annorum cursus et stellarum dispositiones, naturas animalium et iras bestiarum, uim spirituum et cogitationes hominum, differentias arborum et uirtutes radicum, et quaecumque sunt abscondita et in promptu cognoui .

This knowledge then of all nature the seed of Seth received through successive generations, handed down from the fathers, so long as it remained separate from the wicked line, and as it had received it in holiness, so it made use of it to promote the glory of God and the needs of everyday life. But when it had been mingled with the evil generation, it drew aside at the suggestion of devils to profane and harmful uses what it had innocently learnt, and audaciously taught by it the curious arts of wizards and enchantments and magical superstitions, teaching its posterity to forsake the holy worship of the Divinity and to honour and worship either the elements or fire or the demons of the air.

6. Hanc ergo scientiam omnium naturarum per successiones generationum semen Seth paterna traditione suscipiens, donec diuisum a sacrilega propagine perdurauit, quemadmodum sancte perceperat, ita etiam uel ad dei cultum uel ad utilitatem uitae communis exercuit. Cum uero impiae generationi fuisset admixtum, ad res profanas ac noxias quae pie didicerat instinctu quoque daemonum deriuauit curiosasque ex ea maleficiorum artes atque praestigias ac magicas superstitiones audaciter instituit, docens posteros suos, ut sacro illo cultu diuini numinis derelicto uel elementa haec uel ignem uel ae¬rios daemonas uenerarentur et colerent.

How it was then that this knowledge of curious arts of which we have spoken, did not perish in the deluge, but became known to the ages that followed, should, I think, be briefly explained, as the occasion of this discussion suggests, although the answer to the question raised scarcely requires it. And so, as ancient traditions tell us, Ham the son of Noah, who had been taught these superstitions and wicked and profane arts, as he knew that he could not possibly bring any handbook on these subjects into the ark, into which he was to enter with his good father and holy brothers, inscribed these nefarious arts and profane devices on plates of various metals which could not be destroyed by the flood of waters, and on hard rocks,

7. Haec igitur quam diximus curiosarum rerum notitia quomodo in diluuio non perierit ac superuenientibus saeculis innotuerit, licet hoc minime absolutio propositae quaestionis exposcat, tamen, quia nos occasio huius expositionis admonuit, praestringendum breuiter puto. Quantum itaque antiquae traditiones ferunt, Cham filius Noe, qui superstitionibus istis et sacrilegis ac profanis erat artibus institutus, sciens nullum se posse super his memorialem librum in arcam prorsus inferre, in qua erat una cum patre iusto ac sanctis fratribus ingressurus, scelestas artes ac profana commenta diuersorum metallorum lamminis, quae scilicet aquarum conrumpi inundatione non possent, et durissimis lapidibus insculpsit.

and when the flood was over he hunted for them with the same inquisitiveness with which he had concealed them, and so transmitted to his descendants a seed-bed of profanity and perpetual sin. In this way then that common notion, according to which men believe that angels delivered to men enchantments and diverse arts, is in truth fulfilled. From these sons of Seth then and daughters of Cain, as we have said, there were I born still worse children who became mighty hunters, violent and most fierce men who were termed giants by reason of the size of their bodies and their cruelty and wickedness.

8. Quae peracto diluuio eadem qua celauerat curiositate perquirens sacrilegiorum ac perpetuae nequitiae seminarium transmisit in posteros. Hac itaque ratione illa uulgi opinio, qua credunt angelos uel maleficia uel diuersas artes hominibus tradidisse, in ueritate conpleta est. De illis ergo quemadmodum diximus filiis Seth et filiabus Cain nequiores filii procreati sunt, qui fuerunt robustissimi uenatores, uiolentissimi ac truculentissimi uiri qui pro inormitate corporum uel crudelitatis atque malitiae gigantes nuncupati sunt.

For these first began to harass their neighbours and to practise pillaging among men, getting their living rather by rapine than by being contented with the sweat and labour of toil, and their wickedness increased to such a pitch that the world could only be purified by the flood and deluge. So then when the sons of Seth at the instigation of their lust had transgressed that command which had been for a long while kept by a natural instinct from the beginning of the world, it was needful that it should afterwards be restored by the letter of the law: “Thou shalt not give thy daughter to his son to wife, nor shalt thou take a wife of his daughters to thy son; for they shall seduce your hearts to depart from your God, and to follow their gods and serve them.”

9. Hi namque finitimos populari ac rapinas inter homines primi exercere coeperunt, praeda potius exigentes uitam suam quam sudore operis ac labore contenti, et quorum usque eo scelera supercreuerant, ut expiari mundus alias nisi diluuii inundatione non posset. Ita ergo filiis Seth libidinis instigatione transgressis illud mandatum, quod ab exordio mundi huius naturali instinctu diutissime fuerat custoditum, necesse fuit per litteram legis postea reparari : filiam tuam non dabis filio eius uxorem nec de filiabus eorum accipies filio tuo, quia seducent corda uestra, ut discedatis a deo uestro et sequamini deos earum ac seruiatis eis .

(Deut. 8:3; Exod. 34:16; cf. 1 Kings 11:2)*In Gen. 6:2 the MSof the LXX. fluctuate between angeloi tou Theou and huioi tou Theou. The interpretation of the passage which Cassian here rejects is adopted by Philo and Josephus, the book of Enoch, and several of the early fathers, including Justin Mktyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Lactantius and otherThe explanation, which Cassian here gives, taking the “sons of God” of the Sethites, and the “daughters of men” of the line of Cain, is apparently first found in Julius Africanus (hoi apo tou Seth dikaioi), and is adopted among others by Augustine, De Civitate Dei, Book XV. xxiii., where the passage is fully discussed




An objection, as to how an unlawful intermingling with the daughters of Cain could be charged against the line of Seth before the prohibition of the law.
CAPUT XXII Objectio quemadmodum generi Seth cum filiabus Cain profana commixtio ante interdictum legis potuerit imputari.



GERMANUS: If that command had been given to them, then the sin of breaking it might fairly have been brought against them for their audacity in so marrying. But since the observance of that separation had not yet been established by any rule, how could that intermingling of races be counted wrong in them, as it had not been forbidden by any command? For a law does not ordinarily forbid crimes that are past, but those that are future.

XXII. GERMANVS : Merito potuisset illis ex hac praesumptione coniugii crimen transgressionis adscribi, si data fuisset eis ista praeceptio. At cum seiunctionis istius obseruantia necdum aliqua fuisset constitutione praefixa, quemadmodum illis permixtio generis ad noxam debuit inputari, quae nullo fuerat interdicta mandato? lex enim non praeterita solet crimina, sed futura damnare.



The answer, that by the law of nature men were from the beginning liable to judgment and punishment.
CAPUT XXIII. Responsio quod naturali lege ab initio homines judicio seu poenae fuerunt obnoxii.



SERENUS: God at man’s creation implanted in him naturally complete knowledge of the law, and if this had been kept by man, as at the beginning, according to the Lord’s purposes, there would not have been any need for another law to be given, which He afterwards proclaimed in writing: for it were superfluous for an external remedy to be offered, where an internal one was still implanted and vigorous. But since this had been, as we have said, utterly corrupted by freedom and the opportunity of sinning, the severe restrictions of the law of Moses were added as the executor and vindicator of this (earlier law) and to use the expressions of Scripture, as its helper, that through fear of immediate punishment men might be kept from altogether losing the good of natural knowledge, according to the word of the prophet who says “He gave the law to help them:” (Is 8:20 (LXX))

XXIII. SERENVS : Deus hominem creans omnem naturaliter ei scientiam legis inseruit. Quae si fuisset ab homine secundum propositum domini ut coeperat custodita, non utique necessarium fuisset aliam dari quam litteris postea promulgauit : erat enim superfluum extrinsecus offerri remedium quod adhuc intrinsecus uigebat insertum. Sed quia haec ut diximus penitus corrupta iam fuerat libertate usuque peccandi, uelut huius exsecutor ac uindex et ut ipsis scripturae uerbis eloquar adiutrix adposita est Moysaicae legis seuera districtio, ut uel metu poenae praesentis non penitus bonum scientiae naturalis extinguerent, secundum prophetae sententiam dicentis : legem dedit in adiutorium .

and it is also described by the Apostle as having been given as a schoolmaster (Cf. Gal. 3:24) to little children, as it instructs and guards them to prevent them from departing through sheer forgetfulness from the teaching in which they had been instructed by the light of nature: for that the complete knowledge of the law was implanted in man at his first creation, is clearly proved from this; viz., that we know that before the law, aye, and even before the flood, all holy men observed the commands of the law without having the letter to read. For how could Abel, without the command of the law, have known that he ought to offer to God a sacrifice of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof, (Gen. 4:4) unless he had been taught by the law which was naturally implanted in him? How could Noah have distinguished what animals were clean and what were unclean, (Gen. 7:2) when the commandment of the law had not yet made a distinction, unless he had been taught by a natural knowledge?

2. Quae etiam secundum apostolum paedagogus uelut paruulis data fuisse describitur , erudiens scilicet eos atque custodiens, ne ab illa disciplina in qua naturaliter fuerant instituti quadam obliuione discederent. Nam quia sit homini omnis scientia legis ab initio creationis infusa, hinc manifeste probatur, quod mandata legis absque litterae lectione ante legem, immo ante diluuium omnes sanctos obseruasse cognoscimus. Quemadmodum enim scire potuit Abel necdum lege mandante, quod de primitiuis ouium suarum et de adipe ipsarum sacrificium deo deberet offerre, nisi per insitam sibi legem naturaliter fuisset edoctus? Quemadmodum Noe¬ quod mundum uel quod inmundum esset animal discreuisset nondum haec legali distinguente mandato, nisi scientia naturali fuisset instructus?

Whence did Enoch learn how to “walk with God,” (Gen. 5:22) having never acquired any light of the law from another? Where had Shem and Japheth read “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father,” so that they went backwards and covered the shame of their father? (Gen. 9:23; Lev. 18:7)How was Abraham taught to abstain from the spoils of the enemy which were offered to him, that he might not receive any recompense for his toil, or to pay to the priest Melchizedec the tithes which are ordered by the law of Moses? (Gen. 14:20, 22) How was it too that the same Abraham and Lot also humbly offered to passers by and strangers offices of kindness and the washing of their feet, while yet the Evangelic command had not shone forth? (Gen. 18, 19; cf. Jn 13:34)

3. unde Enoc didicit ambulare cum deo, nullam legis inluminationem ab aliquo consecutus? ubi Sem et Iapheth legerant : Turpitudinem patris tui non reuelabis , ut incedentes retrorsum patris uerecunda uelarent? unde monitus Abraham spoliis hostium quae sibi offerebantur, ne retributionem laboris sui consequeretur, abstinuit, uel decimas sacerdoti Melchisedec , quae Moysaica lege praecipiuntur, exsoluit? unde idem ipse Abraham , unde Loth transeuntibus ac peregrinis humanitatis iura et ablutionem pedum necdum euangelico coruscante mandato suppliciter obtulerunt?

Whence did Job obtain such earnestness of faith, such purity of chastity, such knowledge of humility, gentleness, pity and kindness, as we now see shown not even by those who know the gospels by heart? Which of the saints do we read of as not having observed some commandment of the la before the giving of the law? Which of them failed to keep this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord?” (Deut. 4:4) Which of them did not fulfil this: “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything which is in heaven or in the earth or under the earth?”

4. unde Iob tantam deuotionem fidei, tantam castimoniae puritatem, tantam humilitatis, mansuetudinis, misericordiae, humanitatis scientiam consecutus est, quantam nunc ne ab illis quidem qui euangelia memoriter tenent uidemus inpleri? quem sanctorum legimus ante legem ullum legis non obseruasse mandatum? quis illorum non custodiuit : audi Israhel, dominus deus tuus dominus unus est ? quis non inpleuit illorum : non facies tibi sculptile neque ullam similitudinem eorum quae in caelo sunt siue quae in terra uel eorum quae sunt in aquis sub terra ?

Which of them did not observe this: “Honour thy father and thy mother,” or what follows in the Decalogue: “Thou shalt do no murder; Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness; Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife,” (Exod. 20:4-17) and many other things besides, in which they anticipated the commands not only of the law but even of the gospel?

5. quis eorum non obseruauit : honora patrem tuum et matrem uel illa quae in Decalogo subsequuntur : non occides, non adulterabis, non facies furtum, non falsum testimonium dices, non concupisces uxorem proximi tui aliaque his multo maiora, quibus non solum legis, sed etiam euangelii praeuenere mandata?



Of the fact that they were justly punished, who sinned before the flood.
CAPUT XXIV. Quod juste puniti sunt hi qui ante diluvium peccaverunt.



AND so then we see that from the beginning God created everything perfect, nor would there have been need for anything to have been added to His original arrangement--as if it were shortsighted and imperfect--if everything had continued in that state and condition in which it had been created by Him.

XXIIII. Ita ergo intelligimus ab initio deum omnia creasse perfecta nec fuisse quod ordinationi eius principali uelut inprouidae et inperfectae necesse esset adiungi, si in illo statu ac dispositione qua ab ipso creata sunt uniuersa mansissent.

And therefore in the case of those who sinned before the law and even before the flood we see that God visited them with a righteous judgment, because they deserved to be punished without any excuse, for having transgressed the law of nature; nor should we fall into the blasphemous slanders of those who are ignorant of this reason, and so depreciate the God of the Old Testament, and run down our faith, and say with a sneer: Why then did it please your God to will to promulgate the law after so many thousand years, while He suffered such long ages to pass without any law?

Et idcirco in eos qui ante legem, immo ante diluuium peccauerunt, iusto iudicio animaduertisse deum probamus, quia transgressi naturalem legem sine ulla meruerunt excusatione puniri, nec in illorum incidemus blasphemam calumniam, qui ignorantes hanc rationem derogant deo ueteris testamenti ac detrahentes nostrae fidei subsannantesque respondent : quid ergo placuit deo uestro, ut post tot annorum milia legem uoluerit promulgare, tanta saecula passus sine lege transire?

But if He afterwards discovered something better, then it appears that at the beginning of the world His wisdom was inferior and poorer, and that afterwards as if taught by experience He began to provide for something better, and to amend and improve His original arrangements. A thing which certainly cannot happen to the infinite foreknowledge of God, nor can these assertions be made about Him by the mad folly of heretics without grievous blasphemy, as Ecclesiastes says: “I have learnt that all the words which God hath made from the beginning shall continue forever: nothing can be added to them, and nothing can be taken away from them,” (Eccl. 3:14 (LXX)) and therefore “the law is not made for the righteous, but for the unrighteous, and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the wicked and profane.” (1 Tim. 1:9)

2. quodsi postea melius aliquid adinuenit, apparet eum in primordio mundi inferiora uel deteriora sapuisse et post haec uelut experimentis edoctum coepisse rectiora prospicere ac principales ordinationes suas in melius emendare. Quod immensae praescientiae dei penitus conuenire non poterit nec sine ingenti blasphemia haec de ipso ab haeretica insania proferentur, dicente Ecclesiaste : cognoui quoniam omnia quae fecit deus ab initio ipsa erunt in aeternum : super illa non est quod addatur, et ab illis non est quod auferatur . Et idcirco iustis lex non est posita, iniustis autem et non subditis, inpiis et peccatoribus, sceleratis et contaminatis .

For as they had the sound and complete system of natural laws implanted in them they had no need of this external law in addition, and one committed to writing, and what was given as an aid to that natural law. From which we infer by the clearest of reasonings that that law committed to writing need not have been given at the beginning (for it was unnecessary for this to be done while the natural law still remained, and was not utterly violated) nor could evangelical perfection have been granted before the law had been kept.

3. Illi namque habentes naturalis atque insitae legis sanam atque integram disciplinam nequaquam lege hac extrinsecus abhibita litterisque descripta quaeque in adiutorium illi naturali data est indigebant. Ex quibus apertissima ratione colligitur nec legem istam perscriptam litteris dari ab initio debuisse (erat enim hoc superfluum fieri stante adhuc naturali lege nec ad integrum uiolata) nec euangelicam perfectionem tradi ante legis potuisse custodiam.

For they could not have listened to this saying: “If a man strikes thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,” (Mt. 5:39) who were not content to avenge wrongs done to them with the even justice of the lex talionis, but repaid a very slight touch with deadly kicks and wounds with weapons, and for a single truth sought to take the life of those who had struck them. Nor could it be said to them, “love your enemies,” (Mt. 5:44) among whom it was considered a great thing and most important if they loved their friends, but avoided their enemies and dissented from them only in hatred without being eager to oppress and kill them.

4. Non enim poterant audire : qui te percusserit in dextera maxilla tua, praebe illi et alteram , qui contenti non erant talionis aequalitate iniurias proprias uindicare, sed letales calces ac telorum uulnera pro alapa leuissima rependebant et pro uno dente percutientium animas expetebant. Sed nec dici illis poterat : Diligite inimicos uestros , in quibus magnus fructus et utilitas ducebatur, ut amicos suos diligerent, declinarent uero ab inimicis et solo ab eis odio dissiderent nec obprimere illos et interficere festinarent.




How this that is said of the devil in the gospel is to be understood; viz., that “he is a liar, and his father.”
CAPUT XXV. Quomodo intelligendum sit quod in Evangelio dicitur de diabolo, quia mendax est, et pater ejus



BUT as for this which disturbed you about the devil, that “he is a liar and his father,” (Jn 8:44) as if it seemed that he and his father were pronounced by the Lord to be liars, it is sufficiently ridiculous to imagine this even cursorily. For as we said a little while ago spirit does not beget spirit just as soul cannot procreate soul, though we do not doubt that the compacting of flesh is formed from man’s seed, as the Apostle clearly distinguishes in the case of both substances; viz., flesh and spirit, what should be ascribed to whom as its author, and says: “Moreover we have had fathers of our flesh for instructors, and we reverenced them: shall we not much more be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Heb. 12:9)

XXV. Illud uero quod uos de diabolo mouerat : quia mendax est et pater eius , quod uidelicat tam ipse quam pater suus mendax pronuntiari uideatur a domino, satis absurdum est hoc uel leuiter opinari. Vt enim paulo ante diximus spiritus spiritum non generat, sicut ne animam quidem potest anima procreare, licet concretionem carnis non dubitemus humano semine coalescere, ita de utraque substantia, it est carnis et animae, quae cui adscribatur auctori, apostolo manifestius distinguente : deinde patres, inquit, carnis nostrae habuimus eruditores et reuerebamur : non multo magis subiciemur patri spirituum et uiuemus ?

What could show more clearly than this distinction, that he laid down that men were the fathers of our flesh, but always taught that God alone was the Father of souls. Although even in the actual compacting of this body a ministerial office alone must be attributed to men, but the chief part of its formation to God the Creator of all, as David says: “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me:” (P118 (119):73) And the blessed Job: “Hast thou not milked me as milk, and curdled me as cheese? Thou hast put me together with bones and sinews;” (Job 10:10, 11) and the Lord to Jeremiah: “Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee.” (Jer. 1:5)

2. quid hac diuisione clarius potuit definire, ut carnis quidem nostrae patres homines pronuntiaret, animarum uero deum solum esse patrem constanter exprimeret? quamquam et in ipsa corporis huius concretione ministerium tantummodo sit hominibus adscribendum, summa uero conditionis deo omnium creatori, dicente Dauid : manus tuae fecerunt me, et plasmauerunt me . Et beatus Iob : nonne sicut lac, inquit, mulsisti me, coagulasti me ut caseum? ossibus et neruis inseruisti me . Et dominus ad Hieremiam : priusquam te in utero formarem, noui te .

But Ecclesiastes very clearly and accurately gathers the nature of either substance, and its beginning, by an examination of the rise and commencement, from which each originated, and by a consideration of the end to which each is tending, and decides also of the division of this body and soul, and discourses as follows: “Before the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:7) But what could be said with greater plainness than that he declares that the matter of the flesh which he styled dust, because it springs from the seed of man, and seems to be sown by his ministration, must, as it was taken from the earth, again return to the earth, while he points out that the spirit which is not begotten by intercourse between the sexes, but belongs to God alone in a special way, returns to its creator?

3. Ecclesiastes uero utriusque substantiae naturam atque originem examinatione ortus atque initii, ex quo uidelicet unaquaeque processit, et consideratione finis ad quem unaquaeque contendit satis euidenter ac proprie colligens pariterque de huius corporis atque animae separatione disceptans ita disseruit : priusquam conuertatur puluis in terram sicut fuit, et spiritus reuertatur ad deum, qui dedit eum . Quid apertius dici potuit quam ut materiam carnis, quam puluerem nominauit, quia de hominis semine sumit exordium eiusque uidetur ministerio seminari, uelut e terra sumptam iterum reuerti pronuntiaret ad terram, spiritum uero, qui non per conmixtionem sexus utriusque generatur, sed peculiariter a deo solo tribuitur, ad auctorem suum redire signaret?

And this also is clearly implied in that breathing by God, through which Adam in the first instance received his life. And so from these passages we clearly infer that no one can be called the Father of spirits but God alone, who makes them out of nothing whenever He pleases, while men can only be termed the fathers of our flesh. So then the devil also in as much as he was created a spirit or an angel and good, had no one as his Father but God his Maker. But when he had become puffed up by pride and had said in his heart: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High,” (Is 14:14) he became a liar, and “abode not in the truth;” (Jn 8:44) but brought forth a lie from his own storehouse of wickedness and so became not only a liar, but also the father of the actual lie, by which when he promised Divinity to man and said “Ye shall be as gods,” (Gen. 3:5) he abode not in the truth, but from the beginning became a murderer, both by bringing Adam into a state of mortality, and by slaying Abel by the hand of his brother at his suggestion.

4. quod etiam per illam dei insufflationem, qua Adam primitus animauit, euidenter exprimitur. Itaque his testimoniis manifeste colligimus patrem spirituum dici neminem posse nisi deum solum, qui eos ex nihilo cum uoluerit facit, homines uero carnis nostrae patres tantummodo nominari. Igitur et diabolus secundum hoc quod uel spiritus uel angelus uel bonus creatus est patrem neminem habuit nisi deum conditorem suum. Qui cum superbia fuisset elatus et dixisset in corde suo : ascendam super altitudinem nubium, ero similis altissimo , factus est mendax et in ueritate non stetit , sed de proprio nequitiae thesauro mendacium proferens non solum mendax, sed etiam pater ipsius mendacii factus est, quo deitatem homini repromittens ac dicens : eritis sicut dii , in ueritate non stetit, sed ab initio factus est homicida, uel Adam in condicionem mortalitatis inducens uel Abel instigatione sua per manum fratris interimens.

But already the approach of dawn is bringing to a close our discussion, which has occupied nearly two whole nights, and our brief and simple words have drawn our bark of this Conference from the deep sea of questions to a safe harbour of silence, in which deep indeed, as the breath of the Divine Spirit drives us further in, so is there ever opened out a wider and boundless space reaching beyond the sight of our eye, and, as Solomon says, “It will become much further from us than it was, and a great depth; who shall find it out?” (Eccl. 7:25)

5. Sed iam disputationem nostram duarum ferme noctium lucubratione confectam subsequens aurora concludit ac de profundissimo quaestionum pelago cumbam conlationis huiusce ad tutissimum silentii portum conpendium nostrae rusticitatis adtraxit. In quo quidem profundo quanto nos interius diuini spiritus introduxerit flatus, tanto diffusior praecedens oculorum aciem semper aperietur immensitas ac secundum sententiam Salomonis longius fiet a nobis magis quam erat, et alta profunditas, quis inueniet eam ?

Wherefore let us pray the Lord that both His fear and His love, which cannot fail, may continue steadfast in us, and make us wise in all things, and ever shield us unharmed, from the darts of the devil. For with these guards it is impossible for anyone to fall into the snares of death. But there is this difference between the perfect and imperfect, that in the case of the former love is steadfast, and so to speak riper and lasts more abidingly and so makes them persevere in holiness more steadfastly and more easily, while in the case of the latter its position is weaker and it more easily grows cold, and so quickly and more frequently allows them to be entangled in the snares of sin. And when we heard this, the words of this Conference so fired us that when we went away from the old man’s cell we longed with a keener ardour of soul than when we first came, for the fulfilment of his teaching.

6. Quamobrem dominum deprecemur, ut in nobis uel timor eius uel caritas quae nescit cadere inmobilis perseueret , quae nos et sapientes in omnibus faciet et a diaboli telis proteget semper inlaesos. His etenim custodibus inpossibile est quempiam laqueos mortis incurrere. Inter perfectos autem et inperfectos ista distantia est, quod in illis quidem fixa et ut ita dixerim maturior caritas tenacius perseuerans firmius eos ac facilius facit in sanctitate durare, in his uero uelut infirmius conlocata ac facilius refrigescens cito ac saepius eos peccatorum conpellit laqueis inplicari. quibus auditis ita nos conlationis huius sermo flammauit, ut maiore mentis ardore abeuntes a cella senis quam ante uenientes doctrinae eius plenitudinem sitiremus.






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