Before the coming of Christ the devil roamed about: then the Lord came and bound him. Someone may say, 'If he is bound, why does he so often prevail?' It is perfectly true, brethren, he does often prevail; but it is the tepid and careless, and those who do not really fear God, that he overcomes.
He is tied up like a dog on a chain, and can only bite someone who, deathly sure of himself, goes near him. Wouldn't you think a man a fool who let himself be bitten by a chained up dog?
He can only bite those who willingly let him. It is not by force, but by persuasion, that he harms: he asks for our consent, he does not drag it from us.
Fools think that while we need God for eternal life, the powers of this world must be worshipped for its goods. Brethren, God does not share his worship with evil spirits. 'What', you say, 'surely we must take them into account? They might do us harm.'
No, they can do nothing unless he permits it; and if you want to know how futile it is to pay them homage, ask yourselves whether those who pray to Neptune are never shipwrecked.
God is the giver of everything the world can offer and will succour you here and make you happy for ever in Heaven.
DAILY READING WITH
St Augustine --- The Heart at Rest