Of God and His Creatures

That the Subsistent Intelligence, which lends Efficacy to Magical Performances, is not Good in both Categories of Being*

IT remains to be further investigated, what that intelligent nature is, by whose power these operations are carried into effect. To begin with, it is apparent that it is no good and praiseworthy nature. For it is not the behaviour of an intelligence well disposed to lend countenance to acts contrary to virtue. But that is what is done by magical arts: they usually serve to bring about adulteries, thefts, killing, and the like evil practices. Hence they who use such arts are called 'evil practitioners' (malefici).

3. The working of a benignant intelligence is to bring men to the proper good things of men, which are the good things of reason: but to draw men away from those good things, and allure them to trifles, is the conduct of an intelligence of a perverse bent. Now by these magical arts men make no profit in the good things of reason, which are sciences and virtues, but only in such trifles as the finding of things stolen, the catching of robbers, and the like.

4. There seems to be a certain grimace and character of unreasonableness attaching to the proceedings of the aforesaid arts. Thus they require an agent who abstains from sexual intercourse, and yet they are frequently employed for the procurement of sexual intercourse in its illicit forms.

6. As it belongs to the good to lead on to goodness, one might expect any right-minded intelligence to lead on to truth, truth being the proper good of the understanding. But the proceedings of magicians are generally of a character to mock men and deceive them.

8. It is not the way of a rightly ordered intelligence, supposing it to be a superior being, to take orders from an inferior; or, supposing it to be an inferior, to suffer itself to be entreated as though it were a superior being. But magicians invoke those whose assistance they use, with supplication, as though they were superior beings; and then, when they have come, they command them as though they were inferiors.

3.105 : Whence the performances of Magicians derive their Efficacy
3.107 : That the Subsistent Intelligence, whose aid is employed in Magic, is not Evil by Nature