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On Christian Doctrine In Four Books by St. Augustine

Chapter 36. All arts of this sort, therefore, are either nullitiesà

36. All arts of this sort, therefore, are either nullities, or are part of a guilty superstition, springing out of a baleful fellowship between men and devils, and are to be utterly repudiated and avoided by the Christian as the covenants of a false and treacherous friendship. Not as if the idol were anything,| says the apostle; |but because the things which they sacrifice they sacrifice to devils and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.| Now what the apostle has said about idols and the sacrifices offered in their honour, that we ought to feel in regard to all fancied signs which lead either to the worship of idols, or to worshipping creation or its parts instead of God, or which are connected with attention to medicinal charms and other observances; for these are not appointed by God as the public means of promoting love towards God and our neighbour, but they waste the hearts of wretched men in private and selfish strivings after temporal things. Accordingly, in regard to all these branches of knowledge, we must fear and shun the fellowship of demons, who, with the Devil their prince, strive only to shut and bar the door against our return. As, then, from the stars which God created and ordained, men have drawn lying omens of their own fancy, so also from things that are born, or in any other way come into existence under the government of God's providence, if there chance only to be something unusual in the occurrence, -- as when a mule brings forth young, or an object is struck by lightning, -- men have frequently drawn omens by conjectures of their own, and have committed them to writing, as if they had drawn them by rule.
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