ness of the revelations, there was given me a needle in the flesh, an angel of Satan who buffeted me." 195. "And so," they ask, "is the devil good, because he is useful?" On the contrary, he is evil insofar as he is the devil, but God who is good and almighty draws many just and good things out of the devil's malice. For the devil has to his credit only his will by which he tries to do evil, not the providence of God that draws good out of him. 196.
He Compares the Teachings of the Church
with the Errors of the Manichees
43. Finally, we are discussing with the Manichees the question of religion, and the question of religion is: what does piety demand that we think concerning God? Since they cannot deny that the human race is in the misery of sin, they say that that nature of God is in misery. 197. We deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing is in misery and that it came to this state, not under compulsion, but by the will to sin. They say that the nature of God is forced by God himself to do penance for sins; we deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing is forced, after it sinned, to do penance for its sins. They say that the nature of God receives pardon from God himself; we deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing receives pardon for its sins, if it turns from its sins to its God. They say that the nature of God is by necessity changeable; we deny this and say that the nature that God made from nothing has been changed by its own will. They say that the sins of others harm the nature of God; we deny this and say that sins harm only the nature____________________