Compacts with Satan by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer 1901
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Matt. 8:28-32. When Jesus was come the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man could pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out. saying. What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son or God? art Thou come to torment us before the time? Now there was a good way off from them a herd of swine feeding; so the devils besought Him, saying, If Thou castt us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And Jesus said, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine; and, lo! the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep into the sea, and perished in the waters.
Giles of Portugal makes a compact with the devil (a.d. 1190-1265). [We have all read about men making compacts with the devil, and the tale of Dr. Faustus has been repeated in prose, verse, and drama times out of mind; but this biography of Giles of Portugal is given in all good hagiographies, not as a tale, but a serious historic fact. It stands in the Acta Sanctorum of the old Bollandists, and is repeated an authentic history by Mgr. Guerin, chamberlain of pope Leo XIII., in the Petits Bollandistes (1880). Pope Benedict XIV. gives his sanction to the story, and the ancient journal of the kings of Portugal makes mention of this son of Vagliaditos, counsellor of his Majesty Sancho I. of Portugal.
These remarks are necessary to show that what follows is accepted, not as a mere tale or legend, but as a serious and undoubted historic fact.]
St. Oreqory "Thaumaturgns' gives Satan a diploma. St. Gregory, surnamed "Thaumaturgus," cleared the temple of Apollo of "a huge company of devils;" and when, next morning, the heathen priests were about to enter for their daily administration, they were met at the doors with the most hideous yells; the devils clamouring, "We cannot enter with you now, because Gregory has driven us out." They then told the priests which road the thaumaturg had taken, and where they would find him. So the priests and devils started together, and soon overtook him. Like the imagemakers of Ephesus, they heaped abuse on him for spoiling their craft, and taking away their gains. St. Gregory answered them mildly, and asked for a writing tablet. When it was handed to him, he wrote on it these words: "Gregory to Satanas, Enter;" and, banding it to the priest of Apollo, told him to lay it on their altar, and with this diploma the devils returned into the temple, and the priests continued to give responses as before.—St. Gregory of Kyssa, Lives of Saints (a.d. 330-396).
This is one of the most marvellous stories In the legends of the saints, and it is most perplexing to understand in what the merit of the act consists. Certainly the licence given to the devil was not for the glory of God, and it looks very like a compromise with evil, to save personal inconvenience.
St. Wodoal suffers the devil to abide in the river Aisne (a.d. 700). St. Wodoal was a native of Ireland, who went to Gaul, where he was generally called St. Voue. At the time when he lived the devil possessed great power at Soissons, and carried off a thirteenth part of all those who passed down the "rue du Mont-Revers." St. Wodoal, resolved to put an end to this frightful state of affairs, marshalled the people, and commanded them to pass him one by one. The first twelve passed, and nothing occurred; when the thirteenth came up, Satan put in his claim, but St. Wodoal cried aloud, "Avaunt thee, Satan! Off with thee to hell, thy own abode." Forced to obey, the devil besought the saint not to cast him into the pit, but to grant him a dwelling-place less wretched; so St. Wodoal told him he might betake himself to the river Aisne, below the Tower Lardier. Ever after, a priest used to go every year to conjure the devil not to quit the tower.
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