Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
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Augustine of Hippo
Consequently it happens that the holy servants of God, when it is useful for them to have this gift, in accord, the power of the most high God, have command over the lowest powers in order to perform certain visible miracles. This power thus becomes publicly known, as if it were imperial law. For it is God himself who rules in them, whose temple they are, and whom they, having despised their own private power, love most fervently. However, in magical imprecation, in order to make the deception attractive so as to subjugate to themselves those [magicians] to whom they grant such things, [the lowest powers] give effect to their prayers and rituals, and they dispense through that private law what they are allowed to dispense to those who honor them and serve them and keep certain covenants with them in their mystery rites. And when the magicians appear to have command, they frighten their inferiors with the names of more elevated [powers] and exhibit to those looking on with wonder some v...
The magicians of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt who was tyrannizing over this people, were permitted to accomplish certain wonders merely that they might be outdone by more genuine miracles. These magicians worked by the kind of sorceries and incantations to which evil spirits or demons are addicted, while Moses was powerful by his holiness and helped by the angels, and so, in the name of God, creator of heaven and earth, he easily triumphed over them.
We read that the magicians of the Egyptians were very skilled in those arts, but they were outdone by Moses, the servant of God. Yet when they performed certain wonders by their forbidden arts, he overturned all their trickery by simply calling on God.
Magicians. Jannes and Mambres, or Jambres, 2 Timothy iii. 8. (Challoner)
The pagans represented Moses as the greatest of magicians. (Pliny, Natural History xxx. 1; Justin xxxvi.)
They also Hebrew has three terms: "wise men, diviners, and magicians "but the two last seem to be of the same import. "The enchanters did the like by their secret practices "either by words or by actions. Some say these operations were real; others affirm they were only apparent, and mere delusions. (Calmet)
"Whoever believes that any thing can be made, or any creature changed or transmuted into another species or appearance, except by the Creator himself, is undoubtedly an infidel, and worse than a pagan. "(Council of Orange.) See St. Augustine, q. 21, de Trin. iii. 7; St. Thomas Aquinas, 2, 2, 9, 17, a 2.
The devil deceived the senses of the beholders; or brought real serpents, thither. (Menochius)