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Chapter XIII.—Simon Magus:  Secret of His Magic.

“Now when Niceta and I once asked him to explain to us how these things could be effected by magic art, and what was the nature of that thing, Simon began thus to explain it to us as his associates.  ‘I have,’ said he, ‘made the soul of a boy, unsullied and violently slain, and invoked by unutterable adjurations, to assist me; and by it all is done that I command.’  ‘But,’ said I, ‘is it possible for a soul to do these things?’  He answered:  ‘I would have you know this, that the soul of man holds the next place after God, when once it is set free from the darkness of his body.  And immediately it acquires prescience:  wherefore it is invoked for necromancy.’  Then I answered:  ‘Why, then, do not the souls of persons who are slain take vengeance on their slayers?’  ‘Do you not remember,’ said he, ‘that I told you, that when it goes out of the body it acquires knowledge of the future?’  ‘I remember,’ said I.  ‘Well, then,’ said he, ‘as soon as it goes out of the body, it immediately knows that there is a judgment to come, and that every one shall suffer punishment for those evils that he hath done; and therefore they are unwilling to take vengeance on their slayers, because they themselves are enduring torments for their own evil deeds which they had done here, and they know that severer punishments await them in the judgment.  Moreover, they are not permitted by the angels who preside over them to go out, or to do anything.’  ‘Then,’ I replied, ‘if the angels do not permit them to come hither, or to do what they please, how can the souls obey the magician who invokes them?’  ‘It is not,’ said he, ‘that they grant indulgence to the souls that are willing to come:  but when the presiding angels are adjured by one greater than themselves, they have the excuse of our violence who adjure them, to permit the souls which we invoke to go out:  for they do not sin who suffer violence, but we who impose necessity upon them.’  Thereupon Niceta, not able longer to refrain, hastily answered, as indeed I also was about to do, only I wished first to get information from him on several points; but, as I said, Niceta, anticipating me, said:  ‘And do you not fear the day of judgment, who do violence to angels, and invoke souls, and deceive men, and bargain for divine honour to yourself from men?  And how do you persuade us that there shall be no judgment, as some of the Jews confess, and that souls are not immortal, as many suppose, though you see them with your very eyes, and receive from them assurance of the divine judgment?’”

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