The Four Traits of Satan (an excerpt from Daemonologia Sacra, 1867)


“How great is this mystery of darkness! Who shall be able to open the depths of it? Who shall declare it fully to the sons of men, to bring these ‘hidden things to light?’ Especially seeing these hellish secrets which are yet undiscovered, are double to those that have been observed, by any that have escaped from its power. He only whose prerogative it is ‘to search the hearts of men’ (Rev. ii 23) can know, and make known, what is in the heart of Satan; he views all his goings, even those paths which the ‘vulture’s eye hath not seen,’ (Job xxviii. 7), and can trace those footsteps of his, which leave no more print or track behind them than ‘a ship in the sea, or a bird in the air, or a serpent on a stone’ (Prov. xxx. 19).

These are found in him whatsoever may render an adversary dreadful.

1. As, first, malice and enmity. … it particularly hints that when he hath in malice tempted a poor wretch to sin, he spares not to accuse him for it, and to load him with all things that may aggravate his guilt or misery, accusing him for more than he hath really done, and for a worse estate than he is really in.

2. Secondly, His power. Under the metaphor of a ‘lion,’ a beast of prey, whose innate property is to destroy, and is accordingly fitted with strength, with tearing paws and a devouring mouth; that as a lion would rend a kid with ease and without resistance, so are men swallowed up by him as with open mouth …

3. Thirdly, His cruelty; a ‘roaring lion’ implying not only his innate property to destroy, which must be a strange fierceness, but also that this innate principle is heightened and whetted on, as hunger in a lion sharpens and enrages that disposition till he gets his prey, so that he becomes raving and roaring, putting an awful majesty upon cruelty, and frighting them out of endeavors or hopes of resistance, and increasing their misery with affrightments and tremblings. Thus Satan shews a fierce and truculent temper, whose power being put forth from such an implacable malice, must needs become rage and fierceness.

4. Fourthly, His diligence; which, together with his cruelty, are consequences of his malice and power; he ‘goes about and seeks.’ He is restless in his pursuit, and diligent, as one that promiseth himself a satisfaction or joyful contentment in his conquests.”

– Richard Gilpin, M.D., Daemonologia Sacra; A Treatise of Satan’s Temptations


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