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THAUMATURGIA,

OR

ELUCIDATIONS OF THE MARVELLOUS.

CHAPTER I.

DEMONOLOGY

THE
DEVIL,

A MOST UNACCOUNTABLE PERSONAGE_WHO IS HE? HIS PREDILECTION FOR OLD WOMEN-TRADITIONS CONCERNING EVIL SPIRITS, &c.

CHILDREN and old women have been accustomed to hear so many frightful things of the cloven-footed potentate, and have formed such diabolical ideas of his satanic majesty, exhibiting him in so many horrible and monstrous shapes, that really it were enough to frighten Beelzebub himself, were he by any accident to meet his prototype in the dark, dressed up in the several figures in which imagination has embodied him. And as regards men themselves, it might be presumed that the devil could not by any means terrify them half so

were they actually to meet and con

much,

B

verse with him face to face : so true it is that his satanic majesty is not near so black as he is painted.

However useful the undertaking might prove, to give a true history of this tyrant of the air,” this “ God of the world,” this “ terror and overseer of mankind,” it is not our intention to become the devil's biographer, notwithstanding the facility with which the materials might be collected. Of the devil's origin, and the first rise of his family, we have sufficient authority on record; and, as regards his dealings, he has certainly always acted in the dark; though many of his doings both moral, political, ecclesiastical, and empirical, have left such strong impressions behind them, as to mark their importance in some transactions, even at the present period of the christian world. These discussions, however, we shall leave in the hands of their respective champions, in order to take, as we proceed, a cursory view of some of the diableries with which mankind, in imitation of this great master, has been infected, from the first ages of the world.

The Greeks, and after them the Romans, conferred the appellation of Demon upon certain genii, or spirits, who made themselves visible to men with the intention of either serving them as friends, or doing them an injury as enemies. The followers of Plato distinguished between their gods-or Dei Majorum Gentium ; their demons, or those beings which were not dissimilar in their general character to the good and bad angels of christian belief, -and

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