"War on the Saints" by Jessie Penn-Lewis


Note.--The page references in all cases refer to preceding chapters in "War on the Saints." The attitude of the Early Fathers to evil spirits. See page 30.

Jessie Penn Lewis

"Tertullian says, in his Apology addressed to the Rulers of the Roman Empire:

. . Let a person be brought before your tribunals who is plainly under demoniacal possession. The wicked spirit, bidden to speak by a follower of Christ, will as readily make the truthful confession that he is a demon, as elsewhere he has falsely asserted that he is a god. Or, if you will, let there be produced one of the god-possessed, as they are supposed--if they do not confess, IN THEIR FEAR OF LYING TO A CHRISTIAN, that they are demons, then and there shed the blood of that most impudent follower of Christ.


Justin Martyr, in his second Apology addressed to the Roman Senate, says:

"Numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world and in your city, many of our Christian men--exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate--have healed and do heal, rendering helpless, and driving the possessing demon out of the men, though they could not be cured by all other exorcists, and those who use incantations and drugs."

CYPRIAN expressed himself with equal confidence. After having said that they are evil spirits that inspire the false prophets of the Gentiles, and deliver oracles by always mixing truth with falsehood to prove what they say, he adds:

"Nevertheless these evil spirits adjured by the living God IMMEDIATELY OBEY US, SUBMIT TO US, OWN OUR POWER, and are forced to come out of the bodies they possess. . . ."

Symptoms of Demon Possession. pp 38, 96.

Gleanings from "Demon Possession," by Dr. J.L. Nevius.

  1. The one under demon-power is an involuntary victim. (The willing soulnote 1 is known as a medium).
  2. The chief characteristic of demonomania is a distinct "other personality"note 2 within. (This is different to demon-influence,note 3 for in this men follow their own wills, and retain their own personality.)
  3. The demons have a longing for a body to possess (Matt. 12: 43, 8: 31), as it seems to give them some relief, and they enter the bodies of animals as well as men. There are distinctly individual peculiarities of the spirits.
  4. They converse through the organs of speech, and give evidence of personality, desire, fear.note 4
  5. They give evidence of knowledge and power not possessed by the subject.note 5 In Germany, Pastor Blumhardt gives instances of demons speaking in all the European languages, and in some languages unrecognizable. In France there were some cases having the "gift of tongues," speaking in German, Latin, Arabic.
  6. The demon in possession of the body, entirely changes the moral character of those they enter, compelling them to act entirely contrary to their normal behaviour.note 6 Reserved, reticent men will weep, sing, laugh, talk, meek souls will rage, ordinarily pure-tongued men and women will speak of things not to be named among children of God, and act in manner and conduct contrary to their normal dignity and behaviour--all of which they are not responsible for whilst under "control" of this other personality within them. In brief, they will exhibit traits of character utterly different from those which belong to them normally.
  7. There are also nervous and muscular symptoms peculiar to demon possession in the body.
  8. There is also an afflatus of the breast, which is a special mark of demon possession, and
  9. Oracular utterances are given in jerks and sentences,note 7 quite unlike the calm coherent sequence of language seen in the utterances of the apostles at Pentecost.
  10. There is "levitation" of the bodynote 8--well known by spiritists--when the subject will say he is quite unconscious of possessing a body--and there is invariably a passive mind.note 9 There is often a distinct voice which speaks through the lips of the subject expressing thoughts, and words unintentionally.

Demoniacal activity in later times. pp 12, 25.

From "Spirit Manifestations." By Sir Robert Anderson.

"The Gospels testify to the activity of demons during the ministry of Christ on earth; and the Epistles warn us of a RENEWAL OF DEMONIACAL ACTIVITY in the "latter times," before His return. "All Scripture is God-breathed"; but it would seem that sometimes the revelation was made with special definiteness, and this particular warning is prefaced by the words; "the Spirit saith expressly." And it relates not to any new development of moral evil in the world, but to a new apostasy in the professing Church, a cult promoted by "seducing spirits" of a highly sensitive spirituality, and a more fastidious morality than Christianity itself will sanction (1 Tim. 4)

The Gospel narrative indicates that some demons were base and filthy spirits that exercised a brutalizing influence upon their victims. But the Lord plainly indicated that these were a class apart ("this kind" Mark 9: 29). They were all "unclean spirits," but in Jewish use the word akatharios connoted spiritual defilement. That it did not imply moral pollution is proved by the fact that the Lord Jesus was charged with having a demon, though not even His most malignant enemies ever accused Him of moral evil. It was only by prayer that these filthy spirits could be cast out; whereas pious demons acknowledged Christ, and came out when His disciples commanded them to do so in His Name . . ."

The physiology of the spirit. pp 21423.

Gleanings from "Primeval Man unveiled." By James Gall.

"The natural body has its senses, the spirit also has its senses . . ."

"There are busy senses within, examining and judging, approving and condemning, joying and grieving, hoping and fearing, after a fashion of their own, which no bodily sense can imitate . . ."

"There is a spirit within which we call ourselves, and it is perfectly distinct from the body in which we dwell . . ."

"If our spirits, which are generated in or with our bodies, are elaborated from immaterial substances into separate existences, constituting individual spirits . . . these individual spirits must be presumed to be composed of spirit substance or substances, and possessed of different faculties . . ."

"Our very language implies that the human spirit is an organism composed of parts mutually related, which, though individually different, are generically the same . . ."

It is a well established doctrine of Scripture, that the body is animated by an intelligent and immortal spirit, that feels and acts by means of its material mechanism, without being itself material . . ."

Demon Possession among Christians.

The Case of a Christian Lady. pp. 95, 96, 97. Extracts from private letters, by an Evangelist of repute in Germany.

". . . In the Spring of this year (1912) [this servant of God] who was possessed, came here, and the spirits possessing her spoke through her in voices utterly unlike her own. They would utter through her the most awful blasphemies against God, and against our Lord Jesus Christ, and would prophecy concerning the Church . . .

Much prayer has been made for her, and with her. When the frenzy comes upon her, she is fearfully shaken, dashes about the room, made to howl like a dog, and her hands clenched, her face drawn with horrible contortions, etc., etc. But the marvel to everyone is that, although the frenzy is upon her every day, and sometimes once, twice, or more in one day, her health is perfect, she sleeps well, and in the interval is the MOST LOVELY SPIRITED CHRISTIAN WOMAN . . ."note 10

Later. ". . . This sister is not one who has not got faith. She is well grounded in the same faith, and has the same light as we have; but we have here to do with a demon, the like of which I have never met before, nor read about . . . .

It would also be an error if one were to think that PRAYER AND COMMANDING had not been of any use, for in these last three weeks God has done great and glorious things, so that we are full of adoration. The demon is still there, it is true, but he has broken down mightily, so that he cannot any more torment the sister. He is quite powerless in her, and she looks so radiantly happy with a heavenly gladness, fresh and strong. Also the demon has been divested of all power over her lips.note 11

Instead of the blasphemies and ravings, there is only a desperate and plaintive howling . . and that lasts all the time we pray."

Later. "For about a fortnight now the demon has been silent. For eight days he did not speak a single word, only he cried out twice: 'THE AUTHORITY CASTS ME OUT!' The only thing he does is howling and gnashing of teeth. Some days ago we prayed for about one-and-a-half hours. In this way it goes on now for ten or fourteen days--there is only this terrible crying, as if in great fear. There is not any blasphemy, nor cursing God, no more asserting threatenings, and all the sayings that he would not depart, that it would not suit him--all this has ceased. Instead of the dreadful ravings and outbursts of rage, there is now the desperate howling, often a dreadful screaming as if of fear, and the sister is almost free from his tormenting her . . . .

The demon must have received a terrible blow from God, so that his blasphemies have been silenced. It was so last evening; when we prayed, the desperate cry began at once, and I felt once more the impulse to command the demon in the Name of the Lord Jesus to depart.note 12

He then gave a great start, he trembled, howled, stretched out both hands as if imploring mercy, and begging us not to do that, but he was not allowed to utter a single word . But there followed strong reaction and vomiting, and this was repeated as often as I spoke the command in the Name of the Lord Jesus to depart.

Of course we have to go on praying just as earnestly, but as God has done such great things, and if we go on praying, also the last blow will be given. The demon will have to depart."

Note: Further particulars of this case are given in "The Strong Man Spoiled," by A.R. Habershon. (id. Morgan & Scott, London). The lady is now quite set free, and has been able to return to her mission work. It is stated clearly that her mental faculties were unimpaired, and she was able to prepare all the accounts and balance sheet of the mission she was engaged in, not long before the attacks became manifested.

In this book, the demon's acknowledgment of the power and authority granted to those who commanded him, and the other spirits to depart, is striking. The spirit in possession said:

"Oh, this authority, this authority which they have now recognized, is an awful thing for hell!"

Pleading for mercy at another time the e.s. said, "Do leave off your commanding. For three weeks I have suffered unbearable torments because of it. Do not tell anybody that we had to yield to the authority . . . . Oh, these prayers of believers . . . they always pray, they are no longer afraid . . . ."

The working of evil spirits in Christian gatherings.

1. Supposed "conviction of sin" by deceiving spirits.note 13 See pp. 132, 134.

". . . I united with a number of brethren and sisters one whole week every month, in prayer to God to pour out more of His Spirit, gifts and power. After having done this for some time with great earnestness, such powerful and wonderful manifestations of God and His Holy Spirit (apparently) took place, that we no longer doubted God had heard our prayer, and His Spirit had descended into our midst, and on our gathering. Amongst other things this spirit, which we thought to be the Holy Spirit, used a 15-year-old girl as his instrument, through whom everyone belonging to our gathering, and having any sin or burden of conscience, had it revealed to the gathering. Nobody could remain in the meeting with any burden of conscience without it being revealed to the meeting by this spirit. For example: A gentleman of esteem and respect from the neighbourhood came to the meeting, and all his sins were exposed in the presence of the gathering by the 15-year-old girl. Thereupon he took me into an adjoining room, so broken down, and admitted to me, with tears, that he had committed all these sins which the girl had exposed. He confessed this and all other sins known to him. Then he came again into the meeting, but hardly had he entered when the same voice said to him, 'Ha! You have not confessed all yet, you have stolen 10 gulden, that you have not confessed.' In consequence, he took me again into the adjoining room and said, 'It is true, I have also done this . . . This man had never seen this 15-year-old girl in his life, neither she him.

With such events, was it astonishing that a spirit of holy awe came over all at the meeting, and there was one controlling note which can only be expressed in the words, 'Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?' Fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. There was a most earnest spirit of adoration, and who could doubt when even the strong were broken down, and nobody dared remain in the meeting if they were a hindrance.

And, yet we had to unmask this spirit which had brought about these things--and which we took to be the Holy Ghost--as a terrible power of darkness. I had such an uneasy feeling of distrust which could not be overcome . . . As I made this known for the first time to an older brother and friend . . . he said, 'Brother Seitz, if you continue to foster unbelief, you can commit the sin against the Holy Ghost which will never be forgiven.' These were terrible days and hours for me, because I did not know whether we had to do with the power of God or a disguised spirit of Satan, and one thing only was clear to me, viz., that I and this meeting should not let ourselves be led by a spirit when we did not have clear light, and confirmation whether this power was from above or below. Thereupon I took the leading brethren and sisters to the uppermost room of the house, and made known to them my position, and said we must all cry and pray that we may be able to prove whether it was a power of light or darkness.

As we came downstairs the voice of this power said, using the 15-year-old girl as his instrument, 'What is this rebellion in your midst? You will be sorely punished for your unbelief.' I told this voice that it was true we did not know with whom we had dealings. But we wanted to be in that attitude, that if it was an angel of God, or the Spirit of God, we would not sin against Him, but if it was a devil we would not be deceived by him. 'If you are the power of God, you will be in accord as we handle the Word of God.' 'Try the spirits whether they be of God.' We all knelt down and cried and prayed to God in such earnestness, that He would have mercy upon us, and reveal to us in some manner, whom we had dealings with. Then the power had to reveal itself on its own accord. Through the person which he had been using as his instrument he made such abominable and terrible grimaces, and shrieked in such a piercing tone, 'Now I am found out, now I am found out . . . ."

2. Supposed unity for "Revival." pp. 61, 75, 116, 130, 173.

For some time now it has been on my mind to try to put into language some of the things which it has been my painful experience to witness, and pass through, in connection with the workings of Satan as an "angel of light," but everything seemed so complicated and confused . . . .

First, his attacks seem to be made upon the most spiritual souls--those who have made the fullest surrender to God, and who recognize a spiritual affinity, which they believe if broken, mars the whole purpose of God (1 Cor. 1: 10). The lying spirit insists on one mind, and judgment, and one expression. These souls thus "joined" form the "Assembly," so called, and claim Psalm 89: 7. Everything is brought into the "Assembly" for decision, the assertion being that no individual soul can get the mind of the Lord, based on Prov. 11: 14, 5: 22, and 20: 18. Hours were spent in bringing the tiniest details of daily life before the Lord. The leader spread each matter, asking that all might be brought to one mind. The response was then given by each one in some word of Scripture. The attitude taken to receive the supposed "word of the Lord," was the RESISTANCE OF ANY THOUGHT OR REASON, and LETTING THE MIND BECOME A PERFECT BLANK. If anyone ventured to give an opinion--or any judgment--they were ruled out of fellowship; the fact of reasoning being the proof of the "flesh-life."

The discipline ministered to such was severe indeed. They were not allowed to speak to anyone, or to do any kind of work. In some cases this lasted for weeks, and even months. The effect upon the mind was very terrible. The only way back was by making a statement in the "Assembly" which satisfied them that there was true repentance.

Prov. 21: 4, and Isaiah 59: 3, are the words given for not working, and Rom. 8: 8. Prayer and reading the word--all adds to sin--consequently the soul is shut up in torment and despair, being excluded from all meetings.

Second. The "manifestation of the Spirit" in prophecy, prayer and travail. One person would often pray for an hour, and sometimes two hours, without a break. Messages, too, would often last for two hours, and the whole meeting for eight or nine hours. Anyone yielding to sleep or exhaustion, was at once pronounced "in the flesh," and a hindrance to the meeting.

"Travail" was manifested by tears, groans and twisting of the body; and with some it was exactly like hysterics, and would last for hours. This was greatly encouraged as the means whereby God would work for the deliverance of souls--and those who did not come under this manifestation, were judged as preserving their own life, not willing to "let go"--lovers of themselves; and it was believed that when the whole company were unitedly under the so-called "manifestation of the Spirit" then God would break through in Revival. I might say here, that all this began with a nightly prayer meeting for Revival, with no limit as to time.

The paralyzing fear of resisting God by any lack of submission, and evading the Cross by an unwillingness to suffer, just sways the soul; and it dare not yield to one thought contrary to the "mind of Christ" in the "Assembly . . ."

3. Supposed manifestations of the Holy Spirit. pp. 95, 96, 118, 119.

From a book recently published, said to contain the very words of the Lord Jesus, spoken THROUGH some of His children, and written down as spoken in the first person, the following brief extract is taken, showing the extract of the mediumistic control by deceiving spirits, which some are believed to be the work of the Holy Spirit.note 14

The Lord Jesus is supposed to have said:--

"The manifestations of the Spirit, in some things, are very strange. Sometimes He will twist the body this way, and that, and the meaning is dark to you. I want you to know some things about this part of the Spirit's work. I want you to see that they are not useless.

If you had spoken in your own tongue, when the Spirit came in, it would have graciously blessed you; but perhaps you might have thought it was yourself , as many have. So the Spirit comes in and speaks in an unknown tongue to you, that you might know that it was NOT YOURSELF SPEAKING . . .

Your hands He has often lifted up, and again He has raised your fingers in various ways. Your eyes open and shut by the Spirit now, as they did not before. Your very head has been shaken by the Spirit, and you have not known why He did this. You have thought sometimes, it was just to show He was living there, and that is true, but there is more in it than that, and He will show you as well as He can, in a few words, what some of these things are . . .

Some things in the manifestations are very peculiar to you. You have gone on wondering about them. Don't think it strange that the Spirit works in you in many ways. His work is more than a two-fold work. It is manifold. This is puzzling many minds. They see the Spirit shaking. They hear Him singing. They FEEL HIM LAUGHING, and they are sometimes tried with His various twistings and jerkings, as though He would tear them to pieces.

Sometimes it seems He is imitating the animals in various sounds and doings. This has been all a mystery to the saints. His work, I say, is manifold. He seeks, in some, to show them that they are all one with each other, in the whole creation . . . If He shows you, by making a noise as of some wild animal, and that you are like that, you must not despise His way of working, for the Holy Spirit knows why He does it. He makes these noises in the animals, can't He make them in you?

Light on "Abnormal" Experiencesnote 15.

Extract from a book published in Germany by Pastor Ernst Lohmann, Translated from the German.

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."

Note by Mrs. Penn-Lewis (Editor of The Overcomer).

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."

How demons attack advanced believers.

Extracts from an article contributed to an American paper and reprinted in "The Christian" some years ago. We do not know the writer's name.


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.


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.


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.


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 . . . . .


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 . . . . .


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 . . . . .


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.


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.

The Scriptural Basis for "Warfare" against the powers of darkness.note 17

By Evan Roberts.

"So that the man of God . . . may be perfectly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3: 17, Wymouth)


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

  1. Prayer must be made "against" all evil, and "for" all good.
  2. God needs the co-operation of His church to carry out the destruction of sin and Satan.

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.


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.

Brief Notes.

  1. Thoughts of impatience, pp. 158, 159. i.e. directly physical, not moral, and result of d.p. Remedy is regaining of normal condition, and refusal of d.p. as cause. Rom. 6: 11 must be kept as spiritual basis in all cases.
  2. Daydreams in meetings, p. 158. Resist by active refusal of e.s. interference, and choosing to concentrate in attention.
  3. Assurance of safety may be deception, p. 187. How then can a believer become sure? Only by seeking light from God, persistently, on all things, and definite reliance on Him apart from experiences.
  4. Weakness, p. 91. Weakness is not given by e.s., but produced by them, by their counteracting man's own strength or force coming into action.
  5. Terror of God; slavish fear, p. 112. "Awe" and terror are distinct. God inspires reverence and awe, as well as filial fear, but no terror.
  6. The purpose of assertion, p. 193. The believer must counteract lies with truth and he says a thing aloud to counteract impressions on his own mind.
  7. "Craving," p. 145. It may be said generally that all cravings whether they be in the physical realm, i.e., for drink, or in the soul-realm, i.e., for love, fellowship, etc., are not from God.
  8. Self-discrimination, p. 57. Every believer should discriminate or "judge" himself; the true "self," or person, must come to the bar of the man's judgment. The basis of judgment must not only be the purpose of the will, or the desires of the heart, but ACTIONS and life. Perpetual discrimination, or self judgment, is not introspection.
  9. Cessation of action, p. 86. The believer must never stop action for "God to act," i.e., stop the memory for God to remind. Men stop for e.s. to work, but never for God, who energizes the man to act. Sudden stoppage of mind is followed by mechanical words, caused by the interference of e.s., misnamed sometimes as "absentmindedness." See pp. 154-157.
  10. Burdens, p. 280. False burdens may be the result of d.p. and will not pass away as long as looked upon as pure spirit-burdens. They will, on the contrary, develop and grow, especially if the man prides himself on his "burdens," proving the evil of their character. If relief comes after getting rid of a burden, the inference cannot always be drawn that the burden was of God, because the enemy can give burdens, and when obedience is yielded to the purport of the burden, it goes.
  11. Identity of e.s. with believer's personality, pp. 145, 180. A letter speaks of a Christian worker with a "peculiar sense of not realizing her own identity, but feels like one in a dream." At times she would be thrown into "convulsions," yet is a devoted worker for Christ. Those who have this sense of no "identity," should definitely assert their personal experience. The e.s. in possession move such persons to constantly say "we" instead of "I". They should refuse temptation to plurality in thought and word. This sense of loss of personal identity can come about by constantly saying "not I" but Christ, until such a believer finds it difficult to use the personal pronoun at all. The suppression of personality in thought and language, gives place to e.s. to identify themselves with the person, since God does not identify Himself with believers in such a way as to make them automatons. See p. 85.
  12. Symptoms of insanity and d.p. indistinguishable, p. 173. On account of this the person may be constantly accused by e.s. of "going mad." He must refuse such a thought at all costs. If there is natural ground, there is hope of its removal if e.s. are resisted in their attempts to drive the person to accept--or practically, by acceptance, give consent to their suggestion. The same may be said in regard to temptation to suicide.
  13. Healing by "suggestion," p. 212. What is cured by suggestion was caused by suggestion.
  14. Fear in casting out, p. 272. The refusal of all fear of evil spirits is absolutely essential for victory over them. There is no cause for true fear in view of the complete victory of Christ on Calvary, and His authority over all the emissaries of Satan. Any fear which cannot be got rid of is the result of obsession or possession.
  15. Keeping under the body, p. 82. In some cases of d.p. "soul" manifestations dominate, and in others bodily ones. One form expresses every form of indulgence of the flesh, the other the utmost austerity and abstemiousness in food, sleep, and ordinary bodily comfort. Even in these cases the man is deceived in thinking all is under control, because the spiritual manifestations feed the senses in another form.
  16. Talkativeness, p. 165. Dumbness or evil silence is a symptom of d.p. with the effect of periodical lack of control of speech, caused by passivity of the human speaking in order for God to speak. Cf. pp. 119, 120 and examples of the contrary causes on page 308.
  17. Counterfeit speaking of God, p. 137. How the lying spirits counterfeit the speaking of God, was seen in one child of God who was suffering from what was though a "breakdown in health," but what she and her family afterwards knew was possession. Praying one night to know God's will whether she was to recover, a soft and gentle voice said, "To-day, thou shalt be with me in Paradise." Answering so quickly her prayer, she took this as the "Voice of God" and yielded herself to it, when there came the suggestion to drink some poison at hand. Under the supernatural power her judgment and conscience became passive, and she was found at the moment of drinking the poison, and restrained. This lady is now delivered.

Footnotes for Appendix

  1. Note 1 In the case of believers the consent is obtained by guile. See pages 101, 104, 111, 183.
  2. Note 2 See pages 96, 145.
  3. Note 3 See obsession, page 108, 109.
  4. Note 4 See pages 36, 37.
  5. Note 5 See pages 118, 119.
  6. Note 6 See pages 95, 143, 145, 162 to 174.
  7. Note 7 See page 165.
  8. Note 8 Page 143.
  9. Note 9 See Chapter 4 on passivity.
  10. Note 10 Cf. pages 96, 110. Also Appendix p. 318.
  11. Note 11 Cf. pages 164-166.
  12. Note 12 Cf. pp. 27072.
  13. Note 13 By Herr Seltz. An evangelist of repute in Germany.
  14. Note 14 This book is circulating amongst deeply devoted believers, and is held by some as of equal value with the Bible.
  15. Note 15 From The Overcomer of 1910.
  16. Note 16 J. Grasset, "Le psychisme inferieur," 1906, writes:--"Psychical proceedings fall into two groups; (1) those of a higher order--conscious, volitional, free; (2) those of a lower class--unconscious, mechanical, involuntary." On this subject Dr. Naum Kotik says in "The Emanation of Psycho-physical Energy":--"Under ordinary conditions in the activity of the brain, the sub-consciousness hardly makes itself felt, and for this reason we have no suspicion of its existence. There are conditions of the psyche, however, such as somnambulism, in which the sub-consciousness comes to the front, takes over the complete control, and forces the super-consciousness back into the position in which it (viz., the sub-consciousness) rightfully belongs. The actions which attest the activity of the sub-consciousness independently of the super-consciousness, are usually termed automatic.
  17. Note 17 From The Overcomer.
  18. Note 18 Prayer is a great factor in keeping the body thus in its right place, i.e., dominated by the spiritual.

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