UNDERSTANDING THE LATENT POWER OF THE SOUL
Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, denied that there was death, sickness, or pain. Yet she died. But the Church of Christ, Scientist, that she founded still exists and seems to have become more prosperous. Today they tell others that a patient only needs to believe he has no illness and he will not feel pain, and that a dying person only needs to believe he will not die, and he will not die. As a result of this, many receive healing. Actually, the Church of Christ, Scientist, has nothing to do with Christianity or with science. It is only a relief of man’s physical bondage and a strengthening of man’s psychic power. It merely tries to develop the latent power of the soul in an effort to overcome the weakness of the physical body.
Through the development of the latent power of the soul, more and more works of wonders are happening. Among them there are some which are very supernatural and miraculous. However, all of these are just the manifestation of the latent power of the soul. Though I am not a prophet, I have studied the prophetic books. I know that in the future there will be more manifestations of the latent power of the soul, because the enemy will lay hold of the power of man’s soul at the end of the ages to accomplish his work. If he succeeds in laying hold of it, he will advance to do more and more works of wonder.
There are two groups of people who lean toward different extremes. One group says that miraculous things no longer exist; they do not listen to anything about any miracles such as divine healing. On the other hand, there is the other group of people who pay attention only to the miraculous things; they do not care where these miracles come from, whether they are from God or the enemy. We should be careful not to lean toward either extreme. Whenever we see or hear of any works of wonders, we should ask, "Was this done by God or by the enemy? Was this done by the Holy Spirit of God, or was this done by the psychic law of man?"
Today we should exercise our faculties, such as our mind, emotion, and will, to work. We should not try to release the latent power that lies dormant within us. The mind, emotion, and will are man’s original psychological organs; man has to use them. If man does not use these organs, the evil spirit will use them instead. However, if we try laboriously to invoke the latent power behind these abilities, the evil spirit will give us many false miracles. Working by the principle of the soul and psychology will result in falsehood. Only the work which is done through the power of the Holy Spirit is genuine. The Holy Spirit works according to a law, because Romans 8:2 speaks of "the law of the Spirit of life." Thanks be to God, the Holy Spirit is a fact, and the law of the Spirit is also a fact. Only the works of wonders done through the law of the Spirit are from God.
It is extremely difficult for the Moslems to believe in the Lord Jesus. Comparatively speaking, there are very few Moslems who believe in the Lord (I do not mean none). When Moslems pray, how do they pray? They must go to their mosques to pray three times a day. They claim that the accomplishment of a certain matter only requires thousands and tens of thousands to pray for it in one accord. There is a huge mosque in Mecca, the most famous place among all the Moslems. It can accommodate one hundred thousand people. At one time there were one hundred thousand Moslems praying within the mosque. After their prayer another one hundred thousand who were waiting outside went in to pray. What did they pray for? There was one sentence which they shouted in one accord: "We want the recovery of Turkey; we want to be free from the dominion of the white race." When hundreds of thousands prayed inside and outside the mosque, the psychological power gained the victory. Consequently, Turkey was freed from the dominion of the white race and was restored. It is a pity that the prayers of many believers are not answered by God, but by the projection of the latent power of their soul. Their purpose is accomplished in the same way that the Moslems accomplished theirs.
Consider again the power in Hinduism. In Hinduism, some can walk on fire without being scorched. This is a fact. When they walk on fire, it is not for just a few steps, but for quite a long distance. Every step they tread is on red-hot iron; yet, they are not hurt. In Hinduism, some can also sleep on a bed of many pointed nails but without being hurt. Beginners cannot bear it and feel the pain. These are also related to the development of the power of the soul. Many wonders performed by believers are done with the same power as those in Hinduism.
Christians often feel that they are being oppressed by a certain power during a meeting or feel bored and troubled while praying and reading the Word. This is because Satan is oppressing and attacking us through the soul’s power. Not only do we feel this way, all experienced Christians all over the world feel the same way; they feel that in this age, the attacks from Satan are particularly severe. Those with deep experiences in the Lord can sense that the atmosphere of the whole world is saturated with the soul’s power. Therefore, we should hide ourselves under the precious blood of the Lord and be protected by it.
While listening to a message in a huge church meeting hall, one can discern right away if the soul’s power is moving there. One can also feel right away if something is trying to stir someone up. The preacher may say, "Today, some have repented and are saved." But we have to watch the result of those who claim that they have repented and are saved. Among them, there is the mixture of an improper power. If the power is from God and the Holy Spirit, one will feel extremely clear and relaxed. If the power is from the enemy or the soul, it will be developed by the fact that there is a great crowd. This is where the difference lies. I hope we will all have the discernment and not be deceived.
The time is near. Satan is trying his best to stir up the latent power by means which are commonly used by religionists, scientists, and even Christians. The fact lies clearly before us. May we pray to the Lord to give us the light so that we can have the true discernment! Amen.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)