Faust #3

THE HISTORIA OF FAUSTUS

III.

How the Spirit Explained unto Faustus

The Hierarchy of the Empire of Hell

and Why No Mortal Can Command over its Emperor

Doctor Faustus returned to his living quarters pale as ash and shaking, and sat by the window while the other guests and servants slept and watched the run rise. But when his shaking had subsided and his hands were calm, he locked himself in his study and with chalk drew the circles of power on the floor and once more commanded the spirit to appear. And again the spirit did so, this time unaccompanied by fire and trumpeting, simply stepping into the air beside Faust's circle, dressed again as a gray friar, and softly asked, "What is it you desire of me?"

Of all the astonishing things that happened in the history of Doktor Faust, the most astonishing of all is the bare fact that the Lord God would withdraw his hand so that a demon can speak directly to man to deceive him and lead him down the path to hell, when the opposite is not true: The angels do not appear to us and speak to us directly to tempt us up to heaven. What glorious heavenly purpose is served by this, we mortals cannot know.

When the spirit of evil had appeared, Faust laid before him Three Laws of Demonics, which, said Faust, could never he transgressed for any reason. They were as follows:

First, that the demon will always serve and obey him in all that Faust might request, ask or even expect, at any time in his life and at any place and instantly without hesitation, up to the time of Faust's death.

Second, that the demon will keep back no information that Faustus might require, but that he might provide that information instantly and at the moment needed.

Third, that the demon will say nothing untruthful or lead Faust astray in any matter of truth in any of their dealings.

"You must be proud for yourself for devising such rules that you believe will protect you," said the gray friar. "But I must immediately reject them and refuse to accept any such laws in any form."

Faust was taken aback and asked for the reason, which the demon supplied: "I do not have the proper authority to make any such accommodation, but must instead obtain it from my Lord who rules over me. Sweet Faust," spoke the demon, "to fulfill this desire of yours is neither within my will nor within my authority, but can be fulfilled only by the Hellish God himself."

Faustus replied: "How am I to understand you? I summoned the devil – are you not he?"

The spirit answered: "No."

"Explain to me why this is not so."

"I will now reveal unto you a thing which few other mortal souls know, Sweet Faust," whispered the demon. "Among us hellish spawn there rules a strict government with laws and authorities and lawgivers. Our sovereign is Lucifer, who rules over a court of higher demons like unto your dukes and landgraves and abbots and bishops. And each of these have their own sinecures where they also give laws unto their vassals – Hellish knights and demonic barons – who in turn have vassals of their own – squires, monks and peasants – and of these, I am but one. But above all is our Hellish God who rules over us just as your kings and emperors on Earth and who must take advice from his subjects but whose voice is the final law at all times."

"Tell me now, O Demon," said Faust, "Are our kingdoms on earth like unto yours in hell because we learned these ways from the likes of you?"

"But Sweet Faust, you underestimate the imagination and creativity of your own mortal kind. Indeed, you forget that your kind has been blessed with the divine spark and are surely in a position to create such a kingdom on your own. The truth is, Sweet Faust, that it was your kind that created this hierarchy; my Hellish God only saw that it was efficient and powerful, especially for doing evil, and therefore instituted exactly the same hierarchy in Hell."

"Then what must I do to command over your Hellish Lord, for it is he I wish to do my bidding," said Faust in all his horrifying arrogance.

"But Sweet Faust," said the demon, laughing softly, "No man with all his dark arts nor any amount of power, yea, not with a thousand times more power than you possess, can ever command the Highest Emperor of Hell. The most a mortal can do is ask that a spirit be sent, and if he who asks is pleasing to the barons, dukes, abbots and bishops of Hell and especially to our most High Lord, then a mere knight or monk or peasant among demons is sent, as I have been."

"Are you then authorized to reveal to me anything at all that I desire?"

"There are many things I can reveal unto you, and many more things that I cannot, but that should not worry you, O Man, for if you are anything like all your mortal brethren, you will not possess the imagination necessary to think up most of those questions that are forbidden. But let me tell you two things which are chief among these things that you will never know: The first being knowledge of the true fundament of our dwelling place; the second being what does truly occur after the death to the damned human being – to learn that, Sweet Faust, you must be damned and experience it for yourself."

Reminded of damnation and the terms of a pact with the devil, Doktor Faustus became alarmed once more and cursed the demon and swore he would have nothing more to do with the Kingdom of Hell, and said: "I will not be damned for thy sake, oh peasant among spirits."

The demon answered: "Wilt though not? But thou art surely damned already, Sweet Faust, for thine is an insolent heart, and no matter how long thou wouldst struggle with thyself, thou wilt surely call upon me again and willingly embrace thine own damnation."

Then Doctor Faustus cursed and said: "The devil take thee! Return to Hell, oh wicked Spirit, and never return to torment me again! Be gone!"

And so the gray friar now withdrew just as quietly and simply as had come, but even in that moment, Doktor Faustus knew he would conjure the spirit once more, that very night, at vespers.

To be continued…

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