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Quotes About Demons
Quotes about demons from throughout church history.
Ignatius of Antioch, c. A.D. 110
He truly raised himself up, not, as certain unbelievers [i.e., the gnostics] maintain, that he only seemed to suffer, as they themselves only seem to exist [or, seem to be Christians]. And as they believe, so shall it happen to them, when they shall be divested of their bodies and be mere evil spirits. (Smyrneans 2)
Justin Martyr, c. A.D. 150
For the restraint which human laws could not make happen, the Word, inasmuch as he is divine, would have effected, had not the wicked demons—taking as their ally the lust of wickedness which is in every man and which leads in various ways to many types of vices—scattered many false and profane accusations, none of which attach to us. (First Apology 10)
Let necromancy, the divinations you practise by immaculate children, the evoking of departed human souls, and those who are called among the magi, Dream-senders and Assistant-spirits ... persuade you that even after death souls are in a state of sensation. Also, [be persuaded by] those who are seized and cast about by the spirits of the dead, whom all call dÊmoniacs or madmen, as well as those you repute as oracles ... (First Apology 18)
[The note from The Ante-Nicene Fathers vol. I says: "Justin is not the only author in ancient or recent times who has classed dÊmoniacs and maniacs together; neither does he stand alone among the ancients in the opinion that dÊmoniacs were possessed by the spirits of departed men." They reference "Trollope's note," however, and I don't know to what they're referring. I do know, however, that the Book of Enoch, familiar to all 2nd century Christians, says that the demons are the disembodies spirits of the giants (nephilim) mentioned in Genesis 6, who were judged by God and killed. I'm relatively certain that this is what Justin refers to.]
You [Jews] hesitate to confess that he is Christ, as the Scriptures and the events witnessed and done in his name prove, perhaps for this reason: that you may be persecuted by the rulers, who, under the influence of the wicked and deceitful spirit, the serpent, will not stop putting to death and persecuting those who confess the name of Christ until [Christ] comes again and destroys them all and gives each what they deserve. (Dialogue with Trypho 39)
Tertullian, c. A.D. 210
[Some gnostics] undertake to bring up from Hades the souls of the prophets themselves. I suppose that they can do so under cover of a lying wonder. For, indeed, it was no less than this that was permitted in ancient times to the pythonic [ventriloquist] spirit. It was allowed to represent the soul of Samuel when Saul consulted the dead after [leaving] God. God forbid, however, that we should suppose that the soul of any saint, much less of a prophet, can be dragged out of [Hades] by a demon.
We know that "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light"; how much easier a man of light! … [Satan] hardly hesitated on the before-mentioned occasion to affirm himself to be a prophet of God, especially to Saul, in whom he was then actually dwelling.
You must not imagine that he who produced the phantom was one, and he who consulted it was another. It was one and the same spirit both in the sorceress and in the apostate. It easily pretended an appearance of that which it had already prepared them to believe as real. (A Treatise on the Soul 57)
Commodianus, c. A.D. 240
When Almighty God , to beautify the nature of the world, willed that that earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised His laws. Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside. Then, being contaminated, they could not return to heaven.†Rebels from God, they uttered words against Him.†Then the Highest uttered his judgment against them, and from their seed giants are said to have been born.† They made arts known in the earth, and they taught the dyeing of wool and everything which is done. To them, when they died, men erected images. But the Almighty did not allow them to be brought back from death after they died, because they were of an evil seed.†As a result they now wander and fight for control of people's bodies. It is the likes of these that you [Romans] now worship and pray to as gods. (Instructions of Commodianus 3)
Thus it has pleased the Lord of lords Himself in the heavens, that demons should wander in the world for our discipline. And yet, on the other hand, he has sent out his mandates, that they who forsake their altars [i.e., the altars of idols, which are demons] shall become inhabitants of heaven. (Instructions of Commodianus 22)