"the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, like many other personages of especial sanctity, in all ages of the Christian world, was haunted either by Satan himself, or Satan’s emissary"
Temptation of Saint Anthony (c.1515)
Public DomainTemptation of Saint Anthony (c.1515) - Credit: Matthias Grünewald

This indeed places Dimmesdale among revered company. The Book of Matthew tells how Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit in order to face the temptations of Satan, a trial from which he emerges triumphant. Similarly, in the Book of Job, God allows Satan to deprive the saintly Job of his wealth, health and children to try and tempt him into blaspheming against his maker. Again, he resists and is rewarded for his steadfastness with even greater wealth than he previously possessed. Other holy figures the devil has tried to lure from the path of righteousness include Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland; Anthony the Great, a Christian saint hailing from Egypt; and John Bunyan, the great preacher and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress.

The Lamp of the Devil (1797-8)
Public DomainThe Lamp of the Devil (1797-8) - Credit: Francisco Goya
St Wolfgang Altarpiece - Temptation of Christ (1479-81)
Public DomainSt Wolfgang Altarpiece - Temptation of Christ (1479-81) - Credit: Michael Pacher