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BEING unable to reconcile the statement that there is no personal Devil, but that what is called the Devil is simply the negation of God, with the evidences of the possession of individuals by devils or evil spirits, I received in my sleep this explanation.

"There is no supreme personal positive evil existence such as the Devil is ordinarily supposed to be. There is only the negation of God, which is to God what darkness is to light, the outermost void to the solar system. But there are evil spirits, the souls of bad men on their downward road to final extinction. And these are wont to associate themselves with persons in the flesh for whom they have affinity, partly in order to gratify their evil propensities by inciting them to wickedness and mischief, and partly to obtain from them the vitality necessary to prolong their own existence. Sometimes they are so low in vitality that a sentence of expulsion from the person in whom they have taken refuge, involves their immediate extinction, unless they can find

p. 47

other location, though it be only in an animal. And this was the case with the devils whom Jesus, on expelling them, suffered to enter into the herd of swine. For it is the fact that the disorders of men do in some cases result from their possession by distinct personal entities as foreign and evil spirits, and are not merely disorders of their own physical constitution. Evil spirits have no chief, no organisation, or solidarity, nothing that corresponds to God. The worse they are the lower they are, and the nearer to extinction. The conditions which attract them are due to men themselves.


46:1 Paris, October 26, 1877.

Next: No. XVII: Concerning The Gods