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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 23: Superstition and the aspects of this false devotion,   pp. 1-5

Page 2


the aim, as when they carry about with them words from the Scriptures
written on a scrap of paper, or herbs collected on a particular day or at
a particular hour, etc. But normally a new agreement is always invoked
and rarely does the magician depend on the repetition of a particular
invocation without such a new agreement.
By his nature the devil has much power and knowledge, but he acts in
only three ways. First, /f.107/ by moving an object from one place to
another, for instance, by transporting a snake from its normal place to a
place where it has never been seen, indicating that the devil has great
power over the lower elements (of the natural world). This transportation
happens so quickly that great distances are covered in the blinking of an
eye. The second way is to achieve novel effects, not by personal intervent-
ion, but/ cret application of natural causes, while hastening their action.
As the devil knows the nature of stones, herbs, animals and all things in
the world, their properties and where they are to be found, he can make a
tree grow up in a brief space of time, by stimulating the seed and other
necessary factors; and he can do the same with fruits and animals. Very
often he cures the sick, by applying secret medicines and entering their
bodies to drive out ill humours. Furthermore, he can deceive the senses,
by presenting actual objects not in their normal appearance but in   strange
forms, and thus he makes us see lions and other animals which he shapes in
the air, after first convincing us of their reality. Working in another
way, he disturbs the senses so that they do not detect external influences,
and mants imagination is excited so that it seems something is present which
is not, as happens in dreams. If persisted in, it is heresy to believe that
the devil can do all these things without divine permission, since he can
only work with the permission of the Creator (Book III, Kings, chapter 18
[I Kings, 18: Elijah and the prophets of Baal]). This may be deduced
from what happened to Micaiah before King Ahab : "I will be a lying
in the mouth of Fall] his prophets"    HI Kings, 22:22_7.
Now let us discuss divination, the announcement out of time of events
which in the order of nature cannot yet be known about. To learn about
events by invoking the devil, is that divination? Neither man nor the devil
can know the predestined fate of the good or the punishment of the evil,
what depends on mants free will, these being future contingencies which do
not yet exist.  The same applies to those things which are hidden in such
way that man-cannot-kaow how to discover them at the order of the evil spirit;
and if he tries it is the measure of his malice. The devil can surmise
certain things which have not yet been done by men, through his experience
of man and mants tendencies, so that he is aided by the sublety of his
nature. Also it is by the revelation of the Good Angel, when God permits


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