Excerpt from The Dialogues of Devils: On the Many Vices Which Abound in the Civil and Religious World
Nothing can be more various and opposite than the opinions of mankind, respecting the influence and agency of infernal spirits. Some continually throw the blame of their vices upon the poor devil. Take their word for it, and they are upon all occasions the innocent dupes to his subtilty and malice. They represent him as the prime agent in all their complicated schemes of wickedness; and would fain persuade us that, so far from being the objects of our just aversion, they deserve all our commiseration and pity. From such representations one would be tempted to think, that if malicious and busy devils did but stay in their own country, mankind would be as harmless as lambs, and every species of wickedness be soon banished from our then agreeable world.
Others there be, who fall into the opposite extreme, and with all their power endeavor to clear the devil of the slanders thrown upon him. Whether he hath retained them as his advocates I pretend not to say: but they tell you that he has no hand in all the wickedness committed under the sun; that it is impossible he should have any influence on the minds and manners of men. Nay, some go farther still, even doubt of his very existence, and are confident that all their wickedness ariseth from another quarter.
My mind, I must confess, was long agitated between these widely different opinions: now I verged towards the one, now towards the other extreme; and for a long time continued in such painful suspense, that I would have given a world to have been satisfied in a matter of such vast importance in human life.
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