How the powers of darkness counterfeit the presence of God to those ignorant of his devices may be somewhat as follows. At some moment when the believer is yearning for the sense of God's presence, either alone, or in a meeting, and certain conditions are fulfilled, the subtle foe approaches, and wrapping the senses round with a soothing, lulling feeling - sometimes filling the room with light, or causing what is apparently a "breath from God" by a movement of the air - either whispers "This is the presence you have longed for," or leads the believer to infer that it is what he has desired.
Then, off his guard, and lulled into security that Satan is far away, some thoughts are suggested to the mind, accompanied by manifestations which appear to be Divine; a sweet voice speaks, or a vision is given, which is at once received as "Divine guidance," given in the "Divine presence," and hence beyond question as from God. If accepted as from God, when from the spirits of evil, the first ground is gained.
The man is now so sure that God has bidden him do this or that. He is filled with the thought that he has been highly favoured of God, and chosen for some high place in His Kingdom. The deeply hidden self-love is fed and strengthened by this, and he is able to endure all things by the power of this secret strength. He has been spoken to by God! He has been singled out for special favour! His support is now within upon his experience, rather than upon God Himself, and the written Word. Through this secret confidence that God has specially spoken to him, the man becomes unteachable and unyielding, with a positiveness trending on infallibility. He cannot listen to others now, for they have not had this "direct" revelation from God. He is in direct, special, personal communion with God, and to question any "direction" given to him, becomes the height of sin. Obey he must, even though the direction given is contrary to all enlightened judgment, and the action commanded opposed to the spirit of the Word of God. In brief, when the man at this stage believes he has a "command" from God, he will not use his reason, because he thinks it would be "carnal" to do so - "common-sense" is lack of faith, and therefore sin - and "conscience" for the time being, has ceased to speak.
Some of the suggestions made to the believer by deceiving spirits at this time, may be:
1) "You are a special instrument for God," working to feed self-love;
2) "You are more advanced than others" working to blind the soul to sober knowledge of itself;
3) "You are different from others," working to make him think he needs special dealing by God;
4) "You must take a separate path," a suggestion made to feed the independent spirit;
5) "You must give up your occupation, and live by faith," aiming at causing the believer to launch out on false guidance, which may result in the ruin of his home, and sometimes the work for God in which he is engaged.
All these suggestions are made to give the man a false conception of his spiritual state; for he is made to believe he is more advanced than he actually is, so that he may act beyond his measure of faith and knowledge ( Rom. 12:3; top ), and consequently be more open to the deceptions of the beguiling foe.
Upon the basis of the supposed revelation of God, and the special manifestation of His presence, and the consequent full possession of the believer by Him, the lying spirits afterwards build their counterfeits.
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