In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time… Upton Sinclair
The Bible is very vague. Bits and pieces from lots of now-defunct religions got synthesized: The cloven feet from Pan, the horns from the gods of various cults in the near east. In the 15th and 16th century, these solidified into this personification of evil, seen as the great enemy of Christ, the Church, and mankind: a horned, bestial, furry figure.
He complained in no way of the evil reputation under which he lived, indeed, all over the world, and he assured me that he himself was of all living beings the most interested in the destruction of Superstition, and he avowed to me that he had been afraid, relatively as to his proper power, once only, and that was on the day when he had heard a preacher, more subtle than the rest of the human herd, cry in his pulpit: "My dear brethren, do not ever forget, when you hear the progress of lights praised, that the loveliest trick of the Devil is to persuade you that he does not exist!"
William Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that! Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons (1967), act I, p. 39.
Every man for himself, his own ends, the devil for all.
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section I. Memb, III
The Devil himself, which is the author of confusion and lies.
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section IV. Memb. I. Subsection III
And bid the devil take the hin'most.
Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part I (1663-64), Canto II, line 633. Burns, To a Haggis. John Fletcher, The Tragedy of Bouduca, Act IV, scene 2
Nick Machiavel had ne'er a trick (Though he gave his name to our Old Nick).
The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came.
Lucifer: Why do they blame me for all their little failings? They use my name as if I spent my entire days sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commits acts they would otherwise find repulsive. 'The devil made me do it.' I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.
One is always wrong to open a conversation with the devil, for, however he goes about it, he always insists on having the last word.
André Gide, 1917, in Journals 1889–1949, translated by Justin O'Brien
While the lime-burner was struggling with the horror of these thoughts, Ethan Brand rose from the log, and flung open the door of the kiln. The action was in such accordance with the idea in Bertram's mind, that he almost expected to see the Evil One issue forth, red-hot, from the raging furnace. Hold! hold!" cried he, with a tremulous attempt to laugh; for he was ashamed of his fears, although they overmastered him. "Don't, for mercy's sake, bring out your Devil now!" "Man!" sternly replied Ethan Brand, "what need have I of the Devil? I have left him behind me, on my track. It is with such half-way sinners as you that he busies himself. ..." He stirred the vast coals, thrust in more wood, and bent forward to gaze into the hollow prison-house of the fire, regardless of the fierce glow that reddened his face. ..."I have looked," said he, "into many a human heart that was seven times hotter with sinful passions than yonder furnace is with fire. But I found not there what I sought. No, not the Unpardonable Sin!"
Rowland Hill, sermon, reported in Edward W. Broome, The Rev. Rowland Hill: Preacher and Wit (1881), p. 93, in the sentence: "He did not see any reason why the devil should have all rhe good tunes"
Even a most evil man is better than the devil!
Jan Hus in Booklet against the Cook-priest in response to the rival priest who swore that Hus is worse than any devil. Quoted in A Companion to Jan Hus (2015) by František Šmahel (ed.), pp. 201-202.
We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.
Now it came to be the day when the sons of the [true] God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and even Satan proceeded to enter right among them. Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Where do you come from?” At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: “From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it.”
And war broke out in heaven: Mi′cha·el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8 but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!
Der Teufel ist ein Optimist, wenn er glaubt, daß er die Menschen schlechter machen kann.
The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are.
Karl Kraus, Die Fackel, no. 277/78 (March 31, 1909), translated in Thomas Szasz, Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus's Criticism of Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry (1970), Chapter 8
And now I would ask a strange question: who is the most diligentest bishop and prelate in all England that passeth all the rest in doing his office? I can tell for I know him who it is; I know him well. But now I think I see you listening and hearkening that I should name him. There is one that passeth all the other, and is the most diligent prelate and preacher in all England. And will ye know who it is? I will tell you: it is the devil. He is the most diligent preacher of all other; he is never out of his diocese; he is never from his cure; ye shall never find him unoccupied; he is ever in his parish; he keepeth residence at all times; ye shall never find him out of the way, call for him when you will he is ever at home; the diligentest preacher in all the realm; he is ever at his plough; no lording nor loitering can hinder him; he is ever applying his business, ye shall never find him idle, I warrant you. And his office is to hinder religion, to maintain superstition, to set up idolatry, to teach all kind of popery. He is ready as he can be wished for to set forth his plough; to devise as many ways as can be to deface and obscure God's glory...O that our prelates would be as diligent to sow the corn of good doctrine as Satan is to sow cockle and darnel.
Hugh Latimer, "Sermon on the Plough'", 29 January 1548. (G. E. Corrie (ed.), Sermons by Hugh Latimer, sometime Bishop of Worcester, Martyr, 1555 (Cambridge University Press, 1844), pp. 70-1)
It is Lucifer, The son of mystery; And since God suffers him to be, He, too, is God's minister, And labors for some good By us not understood.
Tell your master that if there were as many devils at Worms as tiles on its roofs, I would enter.
Martin Luther (April 16, 1521). See Bunsen's Life of Luther, p. 61
The demons have always effected that all those who ever so little strived to live by logos and shun vice be hated.
Justin Martyr Second Apology, in Readings in World Christian History (2013), p. 40
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.”
The true name for Satan, the Kabalists say, is that of Yahveh reversed; for Satan is not a black god, but the negation of God. The Devil is the personification of Atheism or Idolatry. For the Initiates, this is not a Person, but a Force, created for good but which may serve for evil. It is the instrument of Liberty or Free Will. (p. 102)
Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States: Charleston, 1871. p.102
When there is question of saving souls, or preventing greater harm to souls, We feel the courage to treat with the devil in person.
Pope Pius XI, speech to the students of the Mondragone college (May 14, 1929); reported as unverified but recounted in Robert A. Graham, Vatican Diplomacy (1959), p. 351.
T-Bird: Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.
In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: "All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Jesus, as we know, answered and said "Get thee behind me, Satan!" And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with "temporal power;" he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. And for two or three centuries his church followed in his footsteps, cherishing his proletarian gospel. The early Christians had "all things in common, except women;" they lived as social outcasts, hiding in deserted catacombs, and being thrown to lions and boiled in oil. But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus' church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise of no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world's greatest religion.
Upton Sinclair, in The Profits of Religion : An Essay in Economic Interpretation (1918), Book Seven : The Church of the Social Revolution, "Christ and Caesar".
Without Satan, with God only, how poor a universe, how trite a music!
We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents.
Mark Twain, "Concerning the Jews", Harper's Magazine (September 1899)
A person [Satan] who has during all time maintained the imposing position of spiritual head of four-fifths of the human race, and political head of the whole of it, must be granted the possession of executive abilities of the loftiest order.
Mark Twain, "Concerning the Jews", Harper's Magazine (September 1899)
Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk.
Tom Waits"Heartattack and Vine", Heartattack and Vine (1980)
Wow! I like that, see? Because that's the way the devil does it. Everytime you make an error, everytime you make a mistake and I mean it's nothing but a mistake; the first thing he says is 'if you are what you say you are', 'If you are a preacher', 'If you were a Christian'. That's the devil, everytime you hear it from somebody. Did you hear what I said? Everytime you hear somebody make a suggestion like that, remember that's not them, that's the devil! And I don't want to go too much further without telling you this: Before the devil even opens his mouth you ought already know who you are. It won't shake you, it won't bother you, because you already know who you are!"
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 192-93.
Renounce the Devil and all his works.
Book of Common Prayer, Baptism of Infants
Therefore it behooveth hire a full long spoon That shal ete with a feend.
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Squire's Tale, line 602. Same idea in George Meriton, Praise of Yorkshire Ale. Dekker, Batchelars' Banquet, Works, I. 170. (Grosart's ed). Heywood, Proverbs, Part II, Chapter V. Kemp, Nine Days Wonder (1600). Marlowe, Jew of Malta, III, IV. Comedy of Errors, IV, III. 64. Tempest, II. 2
Auch die Kultur, die alle Welt beleckt, Hat auf den Teufel sich erstreckt.
Culture which smooth the whole world licks, Also unto the devil sticks.
I call'd the devil, and he came, And with wonder his form did I closely scan; He is not ugly, and is not lame, But really a handsome and charming man. A man in the prime of life is the devil, Obliging, a man of the world, and civil; A diplomatist too, well skill'd in debate, He talks quite glibly of church and state.
From his brimstone bed, at break of day, A-walking the Devil is gone, To look at his little snug farm of the world, And see how his stock went on.
Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Devil's Walk, Stanza 1. Title originally Devils' Thoughts. Coleridge assigns to Southey the first four stanzas. See his Sibylline Leaves. (1817), p. 98. Claim of Porson a hoax.