PART II., QUESTION I.
CHAPTER X CONTINUED
Now it would be a miracle if anyone in this life could thoroughly explain
in what and in how many ways the devil possesses or injures men: yet we can
say that, leaving out of account his method of injuring men in their
temporal fortunes, there are five ways. For some are affected only in their
own bodies; some both in their bodies and in their inner perceptions; some
only in their inner perceptions; some are so punished at to be at times
only deprived of their reason; and others are turned into the semblance of
irrational beasts. Now the priest we have just mentioned was possessed in
the fourth manner. For he was not touched in his worldly fortunes or in his
own body, as it happened to the Blessed Job, over whom the Scripture clearly
tells us that God gave the devil power, saying to Satan: Behold, all that
he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. And
this refers to exterior things. But afterwards He gave him power over his
body, saying: Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
And it can also be said that Job was tormented in the third manner, that is,
in the inner perceptions of his soul as well as his body; for it is said in
Job xii: If it is said to the Lord, My bed will console me, and I
will take comfort to myself on my couch, then Thou wilt terrify me with
dreams, and shake me with the horror of visions: though these dreams were
caused by the devil, according to Nicolas of
Lyra and S. Thomas: Thou wilt terrify me with dreams, which appear
to me in sleep, and with visions which come to me waking by a distortion of
my inner perceptions. For the phantasms which occur to the thoughts in the
day-time can become the terror of sleepers, and such were visited upon Job
through the infirmity of his body. Therefore he was so shut off from all
comfort that he saw no remedy or way of escaping from his misery except in
death, and said that he was shaken with horror. And no one doubts that
witches can injure men in these ways through devils, as will be shown in
what follows, how they bring injuries upon the fortunes of men and upon the
bodies of men and animals by means of hailstorms.
And there is a third way of injuring the body and the inner perceptions,
without taking away the reason, which is shown when witches, as has been
said, so inflame the minds of men with unlawful lust that they are compelled
to travel long distances in the night to go to their mistresses, being too
fast bound in the net of carnal desire.
We may mention an example which is said to have happened in Hesse, in the
diocese of Marburg. A certain priest was possessed, and during an exorcism
the devil was asked for how long he had inhabited that priest. He answered,
For seven years. And when the exorcist objected, But you have tormented him
for hardly three years; where were you for the rest of the time? He
answered, I was hiding in his body. And when he asked in what part of the
body, he answered, Generally in his head. And when he was again asked where
he was when the priest was celebrating the Sacrament, he said, I hid myself
under his tongue. And the other said: Wretch! How were you so bold as not to
flee from the presence of your Creator? Then the devil said: Anyone may hide
under a bridge while a holy man is crossing, as long as he does not pause
in his walk. But with the help of Divine grace the priest was delivered,
whether he told the truth or not; for both he and his father are liars.
The fourth method applies to the case of the priest who was liberated in
Rome, under the proposition that the devil can enter the body, but not the
soul, which only God can enter. But when I say that the devil can enter the
body, I do not mean that he can occupy the essential limits of the body.
I will explain this further; and in doing so it will be shown how devils
sometimes substantially occupy a man, and at times deprive him of his
reason. For we may say that the limits of the body can be considered in
two ways: they may be physical or essential limits. Whenever any Angel, good
or bad, works within the physical limits of the body, he enters the body in
such a way as to influence its physical capacities. And in this way the good
Angels cause imaginary visions in the good. But they are never said to enter
into the essence of the body, since they cannot do so, either as part of it
or as a quality of it. Not as a part, for the angelic and the human essence
are entirely different from each other; and not as a quality, as if giving
it its character, for it has its character by creation from God. Wherefore
He alone is able to influence its inner essence, and to preserve it when He
is pleased in His mercy to preserve it.
So we conclude that, speaking of all other perfections in the good or
defects in the wicked, when these are caused by a spirit operating in the
head and its attributes, such a spirit enters into the head within the
physical limits of the physical capacities of the body.
But if the spirit is working upon the soul, then again it works from the
outside, but in various ways. And they are said to work on the soul when
they represent phantasms or shapes to the intellect, and not only to the
common understanding and the outer perceptions. And when bad Angels so
operate, there follow temptations and evil thoughts and affections, caused
by an indirect influence upon the intellect. But good Angels cause
phantasms of revelation which enlighten the understanding. And there is
this difference between them; that good Angels can even directly impress
enlightening fancies upon the intellect; but bad Angels are said not to
enlighten but rather to darken by means of their phantasms, and they cannot
influence the intellect directly, but only indirectly, in so far as the
intellect is bound to take such phantasms into consideration.
But even a good Angel is not said to enter into the soul, although he
enlightens it: similarly a superior Angel is not said to enter into an
inferior, although he enlightens it; but he works only from the outside, and
co-operates in the way we have said. Therefore far less can a bad Angel
enter the soul.
And so the devil occupied the body of the priest in three ways. First, as
he could enter his body within its physical limits, so he occupied his head
by substantially inhabiting it. Secondly, he could extrinsically work upon
his reason. And he could have so tormented him without any intermission or
respite; but we may say that the priest had this gift from God, that he
should not be tormented by the devil without intermission. Thirdly, that
although he was deprived of the power of the sane use of words, yet he was
always conscious of his words, though not of their meaning. And this differs
from the other methods of obsession, for we generally read that those who
are possessed are afflicted by devils without intermission; as is clear in
the case of the lunatic in the Gospel, whose father said to Jesus: Lord,
have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic, and sore vexed (S. Matthew
xvii); and of the woman whom Satan had crippled for eighteen years, who was
bowed together and could in no wise lift herself up (S. Luke xiii).
And in these ways devils can without doubt at the instance of witches and
with God's permission inflict torments.
Page 2 of 2
Question I, Chapter XI
This chapter was transcribed by Wicasta Lovelace.
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