their nature, the former went outside the realm of his human nature to blight by supernatural means the happiness of others and to destroy the peace of the Church. He was therefore held in execration—the enemy of God and man. And after a time—i. e., in the fourth century—the Church obtained secular power, Christianity became the state religion. Then began those awful persecutions that have left an indelible stain upon the Christian name. Constantine, the first Christian emperor, had been reared a pagan. He was inclined, therefore, to be lenient. But Constantius and his successors enacted the severest laws. "All who attempted to foretell the future were emphatically condemned. Magicians who were captured in Rome were to be thrown to the wild beasts, and those who were seized in the provinces to be put to excruciating torments and at last crucified. If they persisted in denying their crime, their flesh was to be torn from their bones with hooks of iron. These fearful penalties were directed against rites which had long been universal; and which, if they were not regarded as among the obligations, were at least among the highest privileges of paganism." Of course, the sufferings produced by these laws may have been exaggerated—the laws are plain, they are still preserved in the official Latin—and of course a large part of the barbarity is to be laid not to the Christian priests or to the better classes of the Christians, but to fanatical mobs and cruel officers. But still two things are plain: the Christians believed in magic and witchcraft as the results of Satanic agency; and, again, they indulged in very severe persecution against suspected persons. These laws, however, proved ineffective; they but showed two things which the world has not quite learned even yet: First, that the mere passing of a law does not change human nature; and, second, that a law that is not sustained very strongly by public opinion is worse than useless. It was thus found impossible by law to suppress the old pagan magic handed down from generation to generation among those who had not become Christians. And so, by a very natural process, there grew up in the Church a counter-system, a sort of rival, the talismans of which were holy water, crucifixes, and other signs and symbols, which became in the succeeding centuries the visible means wherewith the designs of the evil spirits were thwarted.
Gradually paganism grew weaker, but it did not entirely disappear. It merged itself into Christianity, a fact never to lose sight of, for it explains so many apparent mysteries. Just as the Roman Catholic Church to-day in various lands—e. g., in Spanish America—has accepted old heathen customs and festivals, and has changed them into Christian customs and festivals; just as, to take another group of examples, the Druidical May day and Harvest Home, and the Oriental Christmas were adopted by the