PART II., QUESTION I.
CHAPTER IX CONTINUED
Now concerning this it may be asked, whether the devils appeared thus in
assumed shapes without the presence of the witches, or whether the witches
were actually present, converted by some glamour into the shapes of those
beasts. And in answering this it should be said that, although it was
equally possible for the devils to act in either way, it is rather presumed
that it was done in the second manner. For when the devils attacked the
workman in the shapes of cats, they could suddenly, by local motion through
the air, transfer the women to their houses with the blows which they
received as cats from the workman; and no on doubts that this was because of
a mutual pact formerly made between them. For in the same way they can
cause injury or wound in a person whom they wish to bewitch, by means of
puncturing a painted or molten image which represents the person whom they
wish to injure. Many examples of this could be adduced.
And it cannot be validly objected that perhaps those women who were so
injured were innocent, because according to previously quoted examples it is
shown that injuries may happen even to the innocent, when someone is
unknowingly hurt by a witch by means of an artificial image. The example is
not apposite; for it is one thing to be hurt by a devil through a witch, and
another thing to be hurt by the devil himself without any witch. For the
devil receives blows in the form of an animal, and transfers them to one who
is bound to him by a pact, when it is with such an one's consent that he
acts in this manner in such a shape. Therefore he can in this way hurt only
the guilty who are bound to him by a pact, and never the innocent. But when
devils seek to do injury by means of witches, then, with the permission of
God for the avenging of so great a crime, they often afflict even the
Nevertheless, devils at times, with God's permission, in their own persons
hurt even the innocent; and formerly they injured the Blessed Job, although
they were not personally present, nor did the devils make use of any such
illusory apparition as in the example we have quoted, when they used the
phantasm of a cat, an animal which is, in the Scriptures, an appropriate
symbol of the perfidious, just as a dog is the symbol of preachers; for cats
are always setting snares for each other. And the Order of Preaching Friars
was represented in its first Founder by a dog barking against heresy.
Therefore it is presumed that those three witches attacked the workman in
the second manner, either because the first manner did not please them so
much, or because the second suited more with their curiosity.
And this was the order which they observed. First, they were urged to do
this at the instance of the devils, and not the devils at the instance of
the witches. For so we have often found in their confessions, that at the
instance of devils who constantly spur them on to commit evil, they have to
do more than they would. And it is likely that the witches would not, on
their own account, have thought of attacking the poor man.
And there is no doubt that the reason why the devils urged them to do this
is that they knew well that, when a manifest crime remains unpunished, God
is the more offended, the Catholic Faith is brought into disrepute, and the
number of witches is the more increased. Secondly, having gained their
consent, the devils transported their bodies with that ease which belongs to
a spiritual power over a bodily power. Thirdly, having in the way which has
been told been turned into the forms of beasts by some glamour, they had to
attack the workman; and the devils did not defend them from the blows,
although they could have done so just as easily as they had transported
them; but they permitted them to be beaten, and the one who beat them to be
known, in the knowledge that those crimes would, for the reasons we have
mentioned, remain unpunished by faint-hearted men who had no zeal for the
We read also of a certain holy man, who once found the devil preaching in
the form of a devout priest preaching in a church, and knowing in his spirit
that is was the devil, observed his words, whether he was teaching the
people well or ill. And finding him irreproachable and inveighing against
sin, he went up to him at the end of the sermon and asked him the reason for
this. And the devil answered: I preach the truth, knowing that, because they
are hearers of the word only, and not doers, God is the more offended and
my gain is increased.
Page 2 of 2
Question I, Chapter X
This chapter was transcribed by Wicasta Lovelace.
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