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Chapter XV.—Heathen Worshippers Under the Power of the Demon.

“And why do ye take pleasure in these doings?  Since the serpent which lurks in you, which has sown in you fruitless lust, will not tell you, I shall speak and put it on record.  Thus the case stands.  According to the worship of God, the proclamation is made to be sober, to be chaste, to restrain passion, not to pilfer other men’s goods, to live uprightly, moderately, fearlessly, gently; rather to restrain one’s self in necessities, than to supply his wants by wrongfully taking away the property of another.  But with the so-called gods the reverse is done.  And ye renounce some things as done by you, in order to the admiration of your righteousness; whereas, although you did all that you are commanded, ignorance with respect to God is alone sufficient for your condemnation.  But meeting together in the places which you have dedicated to them, you delight in making yourselves drunk, and you kindle your altars, of which the diffused odour through its influence attracts the blind and deaf spirits to the place of their fumigation.  And thus, of those who are present, some are filled with inspirations, and some with strange fiends, and some betake themselves to lasciviousness, and some to theft and murder.  For the exhalation of blood, and the libation of wine, 288satisfies even these unclean spirits, which lurk within you and cause you to take pleasure in the things that are transacted there, and in dreams surround you with false phantasies, and punish you with myriads of diseases.  For under the show of the so-called sacred victims you are filled with dire demons, which, cunningly concealing themselves, destroy you, so that you should not understand the plot that is laid for you.  For, under the guise of some injury, or love, or anger, or grief, or strangling you with a rope, or drowning you, or throwing you from a precipice, or by suicide, or apoplexy, or some other disease, they deprive you of life.

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