If the universality of a belief be a proof of its truth, few creeds have been better established than that of sorcery. Every people, from the rudest to the most refined, we may almost add in every age, have believed in the kind of supernatural agency which we understand by this term. It was founded on the equally extensive creed, that, besides our own visible exis- tence, we live in an invisible world of spiritual beings, by which our actions and even our thoughts are often guided, and which have a certain degree of power over the elements and over the ordinary course of organic life. Many of these powerful beings were supposed to be enemies of mankind, fiendish creatures which thirsted after human blood, or demons whose constant business it was to tempt and seduce their victim, and deprive him of the hope of salvation. These beings were themselves subject to certain mysterious influences, and became the slaves even of mortals, when by their profound penetration into the secrets of nature they obtained a knowledge of those influences. But more frequently their intercourse with man was voluntary.
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