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specific oppression as will best satisfy and gratify his diabolical pleasure in seeing the followers of his rival suffer. He oppresses only such as he is unable to possess. Many have been so troubled mentally that Christian living becomes a life and death struggle. Here we find another example of “wrestling not with flesh and blood."
But some of Satan's greatest victories and rejoicings come from soul oppression. We believe this to be the real secret of our Lord's agony in the garden ; it was the Devil's last opportunity to thwart the great plan of salvation. Oh, to cheat Calvary ; put our “ Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” in such physical, mental, and soul burdened agony He would refuse at the last moment to do all the will of His Father. How near he came to accomplishing the diabolical scheme we learn from the story as given by inspiration. We remember His piteous remark as they left the Paschal room : “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death "; then He cries out in anguish : “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Never was He nearer the great Father heart, and never was He more a man than at this time; and as a man, perhaps during the terrible crisis, He did not analyze His sufferings and emotions. All the powers of hell were combined to crush Him at the hour for which He came into the world.
Every student of soul tragedy can appreciate, in a limited degree, the experiences of Gethsemane. Paul had this exact experience in mind when he wrote of the “evil days " in which we had to
« wrestle." What are evil days ? Days when the heavens are brass, and the fountains of prayer are dried up; a cold, sinking sensation clutches the heart. The mind is in a jumble, plans are thwarted, the mail brings a message of some deception or betrayal, the hand slips, fires go out, trains missed, pressing duties remain undone ; nervous anxiety and evil forebodings chill the soul. The mind and heart are filled with dread; cold perspiration swells into beads upon the brow. Evil days! Oh, how we stumble and blunder; we cannot even think of advancement. Paul says we can only stand still, and having done all, stand. Many who are not familiar with the nature of such “ days " will cast away their faith, believing that their “ feelings
feelings ” are the index to the state of grace in the heart.
But, thank God, a crushing defeat came to this traitor-prince in that the full programme leading up to the world's great Atonement was carried out to the letter. It was not the physical fear of death which caused the blood-sweating agony of our Lord; if so, thousands have met the martyr's end far more triumphantly than did He. Some believe it was the weight of the world's sin breaking His heart. Both the physical dread of death and sin burden may have entered into the garden tragedy; but it was, we repeat with emphasis, the myrmidons of hell taking the advantage of His humanity at the crisis of His life: It was Devil Oppression.
Devil oppression does not always come in a diseased body, a confused mind, or in days of soul depression. But sometimes they are new, instan
taneous, fierce, overwhelming, and always from different angles and approaches. A vile suggestion, a remembered sin, long ago under the blood, a strong inclination to commit revolting deeds. An eminent, and deeply-pious divine of the South tells in his autobiography that while alone in his study, in meditation and prayer, he was strangely assaulted by the Devil. For more than an hour the inclination to blaspheme was almost beyond his control; it seemed that vile oaths would well up in his mouth and almost leap from his tongue. So terrible was the attack that deliverance came only after a long struggle on his face crying out audibly to God. Then the dark cloud of bat-winged vampires, almost visible, left as mysteriously as they came. It was Devil Oppression.
DEVIL ABDUCTION “ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits.”1 Timothy iv. 1.
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”—2 Corinthians xi. 14.
We used the above Scriptures in a former chapter, but with special reference to "doctrines"; the part we wish to emphasize now, “ giving heed to seducing spirits ": that is to say, be led away or abducted by the Devil or demon. There are four classes of people who may be subjected to the seductive influence of evil spirits. We should keep in mind that the prince of this world” and his emissaries were once angels, and of course, when necessary, can bring their angelic attributes into seductive usefulness.
One of the problems facing the Church and all religious workers is to keep the converts or communicants in line; steady them in the presence of deflecting influences. The Church is suffering from the inroads of every conceivable brand : isms, cults, fads, worldliness, etc., which always mean, not only usefulness paralyzed, but the loss of Church and Bible ideals. How many among us who once ran well, but are now tilted, side-tracked, derailed, and ditched. We are encompassed about with ten thousand plausible, seductive tenets, arguments and theories, which if yielded to will result in utter religious ruin. There are four classes of possible victims, all sincere
and conscientious, none of which are basely wicked. First: the unregenerate who are blindly seeking the light, but following the inner voice and promptings, rather than the Word of God. These become easy victims to the charms (?) of Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritualism, Mormonism, etc. Once inducted, there follows a mental refreshing, and a carnal peace, which bring the “ soul rest” and “assurance” they eagerly sought. These cults are lauded and believed as modern “ revelations,” but they are only new clothes stretched over the dried mental mummies which lived and moved in the early centuries and dead civilizations. Various shades and deductions from old Hindoo philosophy, Egyptian magic, Gnosticism, Stoicism, Æstheticism, Asceticism are paraded so as to catch the cultured, twentieth century devotee. In whatever form it may come, the beauty worshippers of Æstheticism, the mental anesthetics of Christian Science, or the debasing sensuality of Mormonism, it is “ led away by the Devil or a demon."
A writer on modern Spirits says: “Extraordinary spiritism of to-day is but the continuation of the worship of the old idol Tammuz, as worshipped by the corrupt Israelites and Canaanites, and the Adonis, as worshipped by the Greeks. The indecent practices of these mediums made it necessary to seek darkness to cover their vileness." Ezekiel, in the eighth chapter, speaks of it; the Delphic Oracle practiced the same iniquity: the personification of lust.
The second class of possible victims is the regenerated believer or nominal professor of religion. It is