By Jessie Penn Lewis
"THE forces of psuche (soul) arrayed against the forces of pneuma (spirit)," is the expressive sentence used by a correspondent in India, to describe the conflict in the unseen realm in these solemn days. This is his description of the real issues in India at the present time, but to those able to distinguish between " soul and spirit " the words just as vividly depict what is taking place in Great Britain as well as in the East. The situation is undoubtedly changing. The Church of Christ in her advance in the things of God is meeting with new phases of testings, in which all she has hitherto known seems inadequate to meet her need. Fresh light from God the Holy Spirit is therefore an imperative necessity, and this He is giving as new situations arise.
" The forces of psuche arrayed against the forces of pneuma ! " What does this " soul-force " mean ? Our correspondent writes at length as follows:
" The forces of the pit have gone forth to deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:. 7-I2). The consequence is that great upheavals are taking place in the political world. It becomes us to take account of these happenings, as they vitally affect the Church of Christ.
" I once met a man in North India, who had access to the highest circles of society in Simla, the summer seat of the Government of India, who told me one evening of his connection with the Mahatmas in India and in other countries of Asia. He said that he knew of great political events weeks and months before they came to pass. ' I do not depend for news on telegrams and newspapers. They only record past events, we know events before they take place,' he said. How can a man in London know the events happening in India and vice versa ?
" It was explained to me that it was through ' soul-force' being projected by men who knew the secret of the Mahatmas. What is soul force ? To the believer taught of the Spirit of God, in the light of the Word of God, it is the power of the pit projected upon the nations of the world to deceive them, so as to bring about catastrophic changes.
" ' Soul-force' is a word whose charm and magic is only known in the East. It is the power believed to have been exercised by holy men, known as Mahatmas, who were the spiritual leaders in India in centuries gone by, and who are credited with supernatural powers as much to-day as in ages past. It is said to have power, not only to energize, but also to control the will of the people.
" To illustrate the power of this word in the Indian mind, it is sufficient to point to the revision of the Treaty of Sevres, under which all that was lost to Turkey has to be restored. A greater triumph of one Eastern nation over all Western nations put together, cannot be imagined. The explanation given, and believed in by millions in India, is expressed in the word ' soul force '.
" This ' soul-force ' is believed to be cultivated by prayer, fasting, and religious meditation. The Mohammedans point with pride to their gatherings for prayer in their Mosques. Consider the mass of Mohammed's at prayer in the great Jumna Mosque of Delhi, where an hundred thousand followers of Mahomet assemble inside the Mosque, with a still larger crowd engaged in prayer outside. It is here where ' soul-force ' is generated ! In the Mosques of India, which count by thousands upon thousands, where devout Mohammed's meet three times for prayer every day. It is here that the hidden springs of Islam lie. Every Mohammedan believes that the secret of world-power is in prayer, and what he believes, hepractices. They ' pray', and lo (they believe) the council of European nations is set aside. What a lesson to Christendom !
" And how is soul-force cultivated amongst the vast Hindu population of India? If the gatherings of Mahomedans for prayer are large, those of Hindus, who meet for devotional exercise at their great festivals, are ten times larger. The Hindus point with pride to their sacred places of pilgrimage, where they assemble by hundreds of thousands. At the great Magh Festival at Allahabad, millions of Hindus assemble every seven years.
" Prayer-an exercise of devotion which unites Hindu and Mohammedan into one common action, to generate ' soul-force ' in order that it may be projected upon Western nations, to undermine their power and prestige in the East. It is the greatest revolt known in history ! ... "
There is a passage in Pember's " Earth's Earliest Ages " which throws light upon this matter. He writes, that the man who would generate " soul-force " must " so bring his body under the control of his own soul, that he can project his soul and spirit, and, while living on this earth, act as if he were a dis-embodied spirit ". The " man who attains to this power is called an ' adept' and ... can consciously see the minds of others. He can act by his ' soul-force ' on external spirits.... He can subdue ferocious wild beasts and send his soul to a distance ", and he can " exhibit to his distant friends his spiritual body in the likeness of that of the flesh ". We read that the " development of these faculties . . . can only be compassed by a long . . . training, the object of which is to break down the body to a complete subjection, and to produce apathy in regard to all the pleasures, pains and emotions of this life...."
The whole tenor of Indian religious life undoubtedly develops these soul-powers, for what can be the effect ofintense " prayer " fixed on a given object by a hundred thousand men, who know not the Gospel of Christ, but the " projecting " of soul-forces, directed by the god of this world, upon the object desired.
" Soul force " verses " spirit force ". What does this mean in England? Just this. That the same development of psychic power is taking place knowingly, and unknowingly, all round us, bringing into action forces which are at the disposal of the invisible powers of evil. " The forces of psuche arrayed against the forces of pneuma." What are the " forces of psuche " but the " natural man " drawing out of his nature latent powers which are not of the Spirit of God. And the forces of "pneuma ", what are they? The power of God Himself as " Spirit " brought into action through the spiritual man, born of the Spirit, walking after the Spirit, and praying to God on the ground of the Blood of Calvary. (See Revelation 8:3-5, as an example.)
How this ignorant bringing into action of psychic force can affect spiritual believers has come to me in a recent letter. The writer says: " I have just come through a terrible onslaught of the enemy. Haemorrhage, heart affection, panting and exhaustion. My whole body in a state of collapse. It suddenly burst upon me while at prayer to pray against all psychic power exercised upon me by (psychic) 'prayer'. By faith in the power of the Blood of Christ, I cut myself off from it, and the result was remarkable. Instantly my breathing became normal, the haemorrhage stopped, exhaustion vanished, all pain fled, and life came back into my body. I have been refreshed and invigorated ever since. God let me know in confirmation of this deliverance, that my condition was the effect of a group of deceived souls who are in opposition to me ' praying' about me ! God has used me to the deliverance of two of them, but the rest are in an awful pit...."
This is not the only instance which has come to my knowledge within the last few months of the fresh dangers coming upon spiritual believers, through the deepening tribulation conditions which are coming to pass throughout the whole inhabited earth. Through these other instances it appears that this generation of soul-force under the guise of prayer, is most likely to take place in those who have had great supernatural experiences, and have in some way opened themselves to evil spirits. These souls seem, in some way, to get what might be called a fanatical spirit of insistence that other believersshould come into the same experience that they have had, and if they in any way refuse to seek these experiences, or appear to these souls to be a block in the path of others obtaining these supernatural manifestations, they direct, as they think, " prayer " upon them, that they should be punished by God with judgment, or that they should be compelled to yield to what these souls call " the truth ".
But this is very much like the disciples who said to the Lord, when they came to a village where they would not receive Him, " Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them ? " And the Lord replied, " Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of ". God never uses compulsion to force any soul into receiving Him, even for their own benefit. God the Holy Ghost recognizes the human responsibility of a man's own choice, whether God shall save him or not.
So we would earnestly warn God's servants-truly God's servants-who seem to be concerned about others who will not seek their own particular line of " blessing " -and pray them to commit these other believers to God, and not to lay themselves open to the danger of generating soul-force by directing, what might be called evil prayers upon them. In any case it behoves all who give themselves to intense prayer, to carefully avoid praying for others what they think is the " will of God " for them, and above all things, never to direct " prayer " upon others, but upward toward God, thus leaving those for whom they pray free from the possible danger of soul-force working upon them through the aerial currents of the hour. As an example of this a minister writes " We have recently had a Convention in this town and one of the 'speakers' was 'out' to enforce his own supernatural experience on others-his own particular line of ' blessing'. I was the subject of much ' prayer' on this line, and I have since seriously felt the effect ... This concentrating the mind (i.e., soul-force) in prayer on something that one wants is fraught with evil...."
Let us remember that true Spirit-born prayer has its origination in the spirit, and that it is not the mind concentrating upon something the person desires under the cover of " prayer " language.