Just as in a caricature the outstanding features of the true picture are to be found, so that a likeness is unmistakable, so phenomena which we find in heathen systems, in theosophy so-called, or new Buddhism, in spiritism, etc., resemble to some extent the Divine manifestations called forth by the working of the Holy Spirit upon the spirit of man. They also produce revelations and prophecies, speaking and singing with tongues, healing and miracles. It is of importance that we should study this subject to find an answer to the question as to how these phenomena are brought about. It is self-evident that they are not manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The numerous and exact investigations which are being made in our day into the subject are giving us increasing insight into this dark realm. Powers and possibilities have been discovered in man, which until now have been totally unsuspected. They are designated "subliminal powers," and we speak of "subconciousness."note 16 What physical occurrences accompany these phenomena? The lower nerve-centres (the ganglionic system, or the "vegetative" nerves, as they are called), which have their chief seat in the region round the pit of the stomach, are excited to increased activity. At the same time the central region of the higher nervous system (the cerebral system), which in a normal state of affairs is the medium of conscious perception and action, becomes paralyzed. There is a reversal of the order of nature. The lower nerves take over the duty of the higher ones (a sort of compensation). This state of things comes to pass negatively by the higher organ losing its natural supremacy under pressure of illness, or artificially by hypnotism, auto-suggestion, etc.; and positively by the lower nerves being in some way excited artificially to increased activity, whereby they get the upper hand. These nerves then display abilities which our ordinary organs of sense do not possess, they receive impressions from a realm usually closed to us, such as clairvoyance, presentiments, prophecy, speaking with tongues, etc.
The Mohammedan sooth-sayer, Dschalal-Ed-Dinrumi, describes the trance-state, as follows: "My eyes are closed, and my heart is at the open gate." Anna Katharina Emmerich (1774-1824): "I see the light, not with my eyes, but it is as though I saw it with my heart, (with the nerves which have their seat in the pit of the stomach) . . . that which is actually around me I see dimly with my eyes like one dosing and beginning to dream; my second sight is drawing me forcibly, and is clearer than my natural sight, but it does not take place through my eyes . . ." When in a state of somnambulism, the inner sense, heightened in its activity, perceives outward things as clearly and more so than when awake, when it recognizes tangible objects with eyes tightly closed and absolutely unable to see, just as well as by sight; this takes place, according to the unanimous declaration of all somnambulists, through the pit of the stomach, i.e., through the nerves, which have their seat in this region . . . . And it is from this part that the nerves are set in action which move the organs of speech (in speaking with tongues, etc.) . . . .
Numberless cases of false mysticisms through all the centuries of Church History display the same characteristics, the sub-consciousness being always the medium of such perception and functions. They are morbid, coming under the garb of Divine manifestations to lead souls astray. Now, it is very significant that according to the assertions of the leaders, it is an activity of the sub-consciousness that we meet with in the "Pentecostal Movement" (so called). We read in a report of an "International Pentecostal Conference."
"On Tuesday, a Pastor introduced the discussion. The main topic was the working of the sub-conscious mind in messages and prophecy. Much confusion prevailed concerning the relation of our consciousness to our sub-consciousness. The Scriptural discrimination was preferable (1 Cor. 14: 14, 15), where they were spoken of as 'understanding' and 'spirit.'"
"When Christ lives in us He lies in our hearts and in the heart are two chambers. In one room lives the conscience and through the conscience I can know that Christ lives in me. In the other room of my heart there is the sub-consciousness, and there also Christ lives. We look at 1 Cor. 14: 14, 'For if I pray in a tongue my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.'"
Notice the expression "my spirit," (my sub-conscious mind), and also the expression "my understanding," i.e.--"When my spirit prays in tongues, my sub-conscious mind prays!"
In the Declaration of the Second Mulheim "Pentecostal Conference," September 15th, 1909, we read:--
"In 1 Cor 14: 14 Luther's translation Paul makes a distinction between the understanding and the spirit of man. By the word understanding he means the conscious, and by the word spirit the unconscious, spiritual life, life of man. In this unconscious spiritual life--in modern language also termed 'sub-consciousness'--God has placed the gift of speaking with tongues and prophecy . . . . ."
According to this, the spiritual life of the believer is synonymous with the sub-consciousness of the somnambulist. And the more highly developed this sub-consciousness is in any individual, the more highly developed would be their spiritual life. Just try substituting the word sub-consciousness in those passages where the Scripture speaks of the spirit of man; for example Ps. 51: 17, Ps. 77: 6, Isa. 66: 2, Acts 7: 59, Acts 18: 5, Acts 20: 22, Romans 1: 9, Romans 2: 29, Romans 8: 16, 1 Cor. 2: 11, 1 Cor. 4: 21, 1 Cor. 5: 5, Gal. 6: 1, Gal. 6: 18, Eph. 4: 23, 1 Thess. 5: 23.
Those in whom the sub-consciousness becomes active in the manner described above, feel as it were an electric stream passing through the body, which is an exciting of the nerves, which have their central seat in the pit of the stomach. It is from thence that the jaws are moved in speaking with tongues.
One of the leaders of the "Pentecostal Movement," in describing the process of this so-called Baptism of the Spirit in his body, made use of the singular comparison that it seemed to him as though there were in his body an inverted bottle. The simile was incomprehensible to me, but this way of expressing it was most strikingly illuminated when I find an almost identical expression used by a Mohammedan sooth-sayer. Tewekkul Beg, a pupil of Mollah Schah, was receiving instruction from his master as to how he could get into the ecstatic state. He says: "After he had bound my eyes . . . I saw something in my inner being resembling a fallen tumbler . . . When this object was placed upright a feeling of unlimitless bliss filled my being."
This feeling of bliss is another characteristic feature of this class of occurrences. By exciting the lower nervous system a feeling of intense rapture is regularly produced . . . . At first we find connected with it usually, involuntary contraction of the muscles and movement of the limbs, in consequence of the unnatural inversion of the nervous system.
Pastor Paul again says:--
"If anyone is to prophesy in the way I have now learnt, God must be able to move the mouth of the one prophesying, as He formerly moved the mouth of Balaam's ass. The ass understood nothing of the words which she spoke, she only said what she was to say. There is a danger in uttering things we understand. It is so easy to mix in one's own thoughts, and then to utter what one thinks. This occurs without our intending it in the least. That is the reason why God trains His prophets in so preparing them that they utter exactly what the Spirit gives them. Speaking in strange tongues is a good preliminary school. There one learns to speak as the mouth is moved. One speaks without knowing what one is saying by simply following the position of the mouth. Just so in prophecy; there, too, one speaks as led by the position of the mouth. Speaking with tongues and prophesying are both on the same principle."
It is evident that in these phenomena we have the exact opposite of what the Scriptures understand by the communication of the Spirit. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the spirit of man, HE IS BROUGHT BACK TO A NORMAL CONDITION; the SPIRIT acquires the full authority given it by the Creator over the powers of the soul, and through the soul over the body. The conscious personal life is once more completely under the authority of the spirit. The dependency upon God, which man sought to break off, in his mania for exalting himself by setting his reason, his emotions, or the flesh upon the throne, is restored again. The Spirit of God can exercise once more His controlling and quickening power. The deeds of the flesh are put to death by the Spirit, the powers and the gifts of the Spirit developed, the man becomes spiritual, full of the Holy Spirit."
The light given by Herr Lohmann will open the eyes of many perplexed believers, and give them intelligent understanding of much that has distressed them, and caused painful division among the most devoted children of God. It will also confirm the statements we have made concerning the working of evil spirits in the circumference of a believer, at the very same time that, up to the extent of his consciousness, he may know nothing against himself before the Lord; for Satan and his emissaries are well aware of the laws of the human frame, and work along their line, arousing and exciting the natural life, under the guise of its being spiritual.
The false conception of "surrender" as yielding the body to supernatural power, with the mind ceasing to act, is the highest subtlety of the enemy, and is exposed as such in this paper, for it brings about--as Herr Lohmann explains--the paralysis of the "cerebral" system, i.e., the action of the mind, and allows the "vegetative nerves" full control and activity, excited by evil spirits, for the Holy Spirit dwells in, and acts through the spirit of man, and not through either nerve centre, which have both to be under the control of the spirit.
We have also pointed out again and again that "claiming the Blood" cannot protect us from the enemy if in any way he is given ground, e.g., if the cerebral nerves cease to act by "letting the mind go blank" (!) and the vegetative nerves are awakened to act in their place, so that the latter are excited to give "thrills" and "streams of life" through the body, no claiming of the precious Blood of Christ will prevent these physical laws acting when the conditions for action are fulfilled. Hence, the strange fact which has perplexed many, that abnormal experiences manifestly contrary to the Spirit of God, have taken place whilst the person was earnestly repeating words about the "Blood."
Moreover, the arousing of the "vegetative nerves" to such abnormal activity that "floods of life" have appeared to pour through the whole body--the enemy whispering at the same moment, "this is Divine"--(1) dulls the mind and makes it inert in action, (2) causes a craving in the recipient for more of this "Divine" life, (3) leads to the danger of ministration of it to others, and all that follows as this path is pursued in honest faith and confidence of being "specially advanced" in the life of God.
Should any reading this discover their own case depicted let them thank God for knowledge of the truth, and (1) simply reject by an attitude of will, all that is not of God; (2) consent to trust God in His word without any "experiences"; (3) stand on Rom. 6: 11, with James 4: 7, in respect to the Adversary. John 16: 13, "Through the Eternal Spirit."
1. THE MANIFESTATION OF DEMON POWER.
The agency of demons is always brought more conspicuously into notice, in proportion to the manifestation and power of God's work among souls. When the Son of God was manifest in the flesh, it called forth the activity and outspoken agency of demons more than ever before.
2. VARIOUS KINDS OF DEMONS.
Demons are of a multiplied variety. They are of various types, greater in diversity than human beings, and these demons always seek to possess a person congenial to them in some characteristic. The bible tells us of unclean demons, with craft and fortune-telling demons, of insanity, of drunkenness, of gluttony, of idleness, of wonder or miracle working, of despotic demons, theological demons, screeching and yelling demons. There are demons that act more particularly on the body, or some organ or appetite of the body. There are others that act more directly upon the intellect, or the sensibilities, and emotions, and affections. There are others of a higher order that act directly on man's spiritual nature, upon the conscience, or the spiritual perceptions. These are the ones that act as angels of light, and side-track and delude many who are real Christians.
3. HOW DEMONS FASTEN ON HUMAN BEINGS.
They seek out those whose make-up and temperament is most congenial to themselves and then seek to fasten themselves on to some part of the body, or brain, or some appetite, or some faculty of the mind, either the reason, or imagination, or perception; and when they get access, they bury themselves into the very structure of the person, so as to identify themselves with the personality of the one they possess. In a great many instances they do not get possession of the individual, but obtain such a hold on some part of the mind as to torment the person with periodical attacks of something strange and abnormal, out of all proportion to the general character and make-up of the individual.
4. THE OBJECT OF DEMONS SEEKING HUMAN BEINGS.
These demons feed themselves on the person with whom they are allied . . . There are allusions in Scripture, and facts gathered from experience, sufficient to prove that certain varieties of demons live on the juices in human blood . . . . .
5. THE CLASS OF DEMONS WHICH ATTACK ADVANCED CHRISTIANS.
There are religious demons, not holy, but nevertheless religious, and filled with a devilish form of religion which is the counterfeit of true, deep spirituality. These pseudo-religious demons very rarely attack young beginners, but they hover around persons who advance into deeper experiences , and seek every opportunity to fasten themselves upon the conscience, or the spiritual emotions of persons of high states of grace, and especially if they are of a vivid or energetic temperament. These are the demons that play havoc among many professors of holiness. One way they get hold of persons is as follows: A soul goes through a great struggle, and is wonderfully blessed. Floods of light and emotion sweep through the being. The shore lines are all cut. The soul is launched out into a sea of extravagant experience. At such a juncture these demons hover round the soul, and make strange suggestions to the mind of something odd, or outlandish, or contrary to common sense or decent taste. They make these suggestions under the profession of being the Holy Ghost. They fan the emotions, and produce a strange, fictitious exhilaration, which is simply their bait to get into some faculty of the soul . . . . .
6. SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW DEMONS TAKE HOLD OF SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIANS.
A very holy and useful woman says, that soon after receiving the baptism of the Spirit, there came to her one night in the church, a wild abnormal impulse to throw the hymn-book at the preacher, and to run over the church screaming; and it took all her will power to keep her hand from throwing that book, but she had common sense to know that the Holy Spirit was not the author of such a suggestion. If she had yielded to that sudden feeling, it would have likely given that fanatical demon admission to her emotional nature and ruined her life-work. She is a person who knows the mighty demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, and understands God sufficiently to know He is not the source of wild and indecent conduct . . . . . .
Another person said he felt like rolling on the floor, and groaning and pulling the chairs around, but he distinctly perceived that the impulse to do so had something wild in it; and a touch of self-display contrary to the gentleness and sweetness of Jesus; and, as quick as he saw it was an attack of a false spirit, he was delivered. But another man had the same impulse, and fell down groaning and roaring, beating the floor with his hands and feet, and the demon entered into him as the angel of light, and got him to think that his conduct was of the Holy Ghost, and it became a regular habit in the meetings he attended, until he would ruin every religious meeting he was in . . . . .
7. THE MOST DANGEROUS CLASS OF DEMONS.
It requires great humility to try these spirits and detect the false ones. Other demons in existence are those pseudo pious ones who SOAR ROUND THE HIGH ALTITUDES OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE, like eagles around great mountain tops, and seek to fasten their talons upon the lofty and conspicuous prey. These are the demons of spiritual pride, of religious ambition, of false prophetic vision, of strained and far-fetched illuminations, of wild fantastic notions. These are the demons that flit over the sunlit regions in the land of Canaan, and attack very seldom any but advanced believers.
8. SOME EFFECTS OF DEMON INFLUENCE.
The effects of being influenced by this sort of demons are manifold, and plainly legible to a well-poised mind. They cause people to run off into things that are odd and foolish, unreasonable and indecent. It leads them to adopt a peculiar voice or twang, or unnatural shouting, or some shaking of the body, or such an influence is manifested by peculiar heresies in the mind, of which there is a nameless variety. It produces a certain wildness in the eye, and harshness in the voice. Such persons invariably break the law of love, and severely condemn people who do not conform to themselves . As a rule such persons lose their flesh, for demoniac possession is very wearing on the vital forces and produce a terrible strain on the heart and nervous system.
I AM ASKED WHERE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS IT IMPLIED THAT WE CAN PRAY AGAINST (a) ENVIRONMENT, (b) EVIL SPIRITS, (c) SATAN, (d) THE FOE, (e) SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS, (f) FORCES OF DARKNESS? IS THE POSITION A SCRIPTURAL ONE, AND SPIRITUALLY CORRECT TO TRUTH AND FACT?
Praying "against" the powers of darkness is Scriptural, and in accord with truth, and attested facts of Christian experience.
It can be clearly seen in Scripture and in the history of the Christian church, that
The "things of God" are "spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2: 14), and only those who are "spiritual" can understand them; and such words as "stand," "withstand," "wrestle" (Ephes. 6: 12), "resist" (Jas. 4: 7), "labour" in prayer, etc., need spiritual discernment and experience to interpret them, for they describe facts in a spiritual realm, not comprehended by the natural man. A questioner should ask himself, "Am I 'spiritual'"? (Gal. 6: 1). If he is not "spiritual" he cannot understand, or interpret in a spiritual sense, the language used by the Apostle in connection with the warfare with the forces of darkness.
Let any questioner take to God the whole matter, and ask for a leading into all truth concerning it; then he will be shown the true meaning of the words, not from intellectual reasoning, but from Divine enlightenment, and the experiences of life.
There is a "natural" view and interpretation of the fight of faith, so often referred to in Paul's epistles, which has its source in natural wisdom, and is part of the uncrucified "old man." This hinders the receiving of the spiritual knowledge given by the Holy spirit, but the spiritual man taught of the Holy Ghost "discerneth all things" (1 Cor. 2: 15).
Take the word "wrestle." What is the meaning of physical wrestling in the natural realm? The object of the one who is wrestling with another is that he should overthrow his opponent, and keep him under. This is body wrestling with body. Spiritual wrestling means also the overthrow of the powers of darkness, and the keeping of them under, and that by any lawful means you can use. And in this is not prayer a factor in overthrowing the Devil?
Take the word "resist"--it is not a physical resistance such as body with body. It may mean an intellectual resistance, as with Christ in the wilderness answering the Devil, mind to mind--a lie with truth, temptation with victory, Scripture with Scripture, and a misleading quotation of Scripture with a correct quotation of Scripture. The resistance may also be by the mind, on behalf of the body, as was the case with Christ in the first temptation of the Devil, when the Tempter said, "Make these stones into bread, and thus satisfy your physical need"; and Jesus answered, "It is written."
There is also a resistance by the spirit, not against physical force nor against expressed thoughts, but purely against evil spiritual force.
There is no place for physical wrestling in the spiritual realm, for the body in that realm is not dominating but dominated.note 18 But there is an intellectual and spiritual wrestling, and this may be a wrestling for the body, and for the soul, and for the spirit, and for anything the devil may contend for, either within or without the man.
The man's spirit and mind must co-operate in resistance against the Devil, for the protection of the body, so that the body does not cause the man to sin.
So also they must combine in resistance to protect the mind from the enemy, as when Christ tempted to cast Himself down from the temple used the sword of the spirit, resisting the Tempter. This temptation was not suggested to meet His physical need, but to a possible response of the soul.
The resistance may be for the spirit in like manner. It all depends upon what the Devil is attacking. The whole being must act as one--spirit, soul, and body--in the defense of the man, and in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
PRAYER IS AN INDISPENSABLE WEAPON IN EVERY ASPECT OF RESISTANCE AND WRESTLING AGAINST THE ENEMY. You cannot resist, or wrestle, or stand, or withstand without PRAYER. It is a powerful defensive and offensive weapon against the spiritual enemy. The church as a whole does not experience victory over the Devil in these ways because it does not pray AGAINST the foe. It is when you are engaged in battle against the spiritual foe that you become really conscious of the existence of the foe, and become aware of the need of weapons to wield against the foe.
As to prayer against evil spirits we have this indicated in the Lord's words, "This kind goeth not forth but by PRAYER and fasting."
In 1 John 3: 8, it is written, "The Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil," but how will He, how does He, and how has He destroyed them? Have they all been destroyed? Have any been destroyed? Are there still any to be destroyed?
God needs the co-operation of His church to carry out the overthrow of sin and Satan, just as God needed the co-operation of Israel in His dealing with the Canaanites.
Christ said, "First bind the strong man." This implies and involves praying against the strong man. How does the binding take place, and what is it that binds but PRAYER?
In saying that the enemy is "not bound" when you claim victory in the Name of Jesus you admit a lie from Satan, for God would not tell you that. Do not confuse faith and fact. When you claim the victory the devil is "bound" by faith, but you must let God have His time to make it fact. If you go by appearances you admit the Adversary's workings as facts, instead of God's statements in His Word.