Years ago in Manchuria a man named Ho, a Confucianist, came to my study accompanied by a boy of seven or eight years of age, whom I supposed to be his son. I noticed that the little fellow was not quite normal, and that he was drooling so that the front of his silk gown was covered with saliva. Over cups of tea, Mr. Ho and I conversed on numerous topics, and when the conventional time had come for my guest to leave, he suddenly said, “I want you to do something for this boy, he is possessed by a demon. Mr. Ho then informed me that the lad had suffered in many different ways. After he had described the child’s experiences, I diagnosed the trouble as convulsive epilepsy and prepared some Cup-rum telling my guest how to administer it. Then Mr. Ho spoke with urgency, “I do not want any medicine for I have taken him to good doctors (native), to priests, to necromancers, to fortune-tellers, and to witches, but no one has been able to do anything for him.” I admit that in those days I did not think that demons could be cast out as in Bible times, and I felt rather helpless as Mr. Ho made his demand. However I was led to pray. I placed my hand on the head of the trembling lad, and in the name of the Lord Jesus I asked God to deliver him from whatever might be the cause of his trouble.
Twenty one years later I went to Pei-piao coal mines for a meeting. Dr Wang, the mining company’s physician was to meet me at the railroad station and to be my host. As I stepped from the train, a well dressed young Chinaman approached saying, “Dr. Wang apologizes for not being able to meet you as he is attending an important case at the hospital, but he will see you at dinner this evening. Then the young man added, “My name is Ho-Kuan-Min, and I am from Ling-Yuanm do you remember me?” I answered in the negative, to which he replied “You ought to know me.” At that moment some Chinese believers came so that I did not have further opportunity to ask young Ho why I ought to have known him. In the evening, while enjoying a delicious Chinese dinner at Dr. and Mrs. Wang’s hospitable board, the doctor again apologized for being unable to meet me, and said, “I sent young Ho to meet you, did you know him?” When I said, “No,” the doctor immediately replied, “You ought to have known Ho.” However, before I could ask why, other believers arrived in order to go with us to the meeting. The next day I left for home, a distance of three and a half days by mule cart.
Two weeks later the Christian gatekeeper of our compound, brought me a card bearing the name of the well known Confucianist, Mr. Ho. I asked the card bearer to show him in and to bring along some tea and melon seeds. As we drank tea and ate melon kernels, my visitor gave me all the news of both the city and county. I finally had the opportunity of speaking about the gospel, and while doing so, I recalled it was Mr. Ho who many years before had brought his son, as I supposed, to me as a sick little lad so I said to him, “I was recently in Pei-Piao and I saw your son there.” He replied that it was not his son who was there but his nephew, and asked if I had recognized him. I assured my guest that I had not, and immediately Mr. Ho said, “You ought to have known him.” In answer I said, “Mr. Ho you are the third person who has told me that I ought to have known your nephew; now, perhaps, you will be kind enough to tell me just why.” Then to my amazement he said, “You cast a demon out of him.” “No,” I retorted, “I have never cast a demon out of anyone.” Mr. Ho, nevertheless, continued, “Do you not recall my having brought the lad to you, and telling you that Ho-Kuan-Min was possessed by a demon? Well, you prepared some medicine for him and told me to give it to him three times a day. I refused to accept the medicine, and in turn begged you to do something for him. You then placed a hand upon his head and chanted something over him and after you were through, I took him home. From that time on he was completely cured and the demon never again troubled him.” My guest then went on to say, “You know I am a Confucianist and it was my purpose to raise Ho-kuan-Min as such, but while He was still young I told him what had happened to him as a child, and how a foreign missionary had placed a hand upon his head and chanted something over him, and how thus he had been cured of his “ping” (that is his sickness). Eventually, quite unknown to me when Ho-Kuan-Min was at school in Peking, he obtained one of your Holy Books, and became a Chi-Tu-T’u, (A Disciple of Christ).”
Ho-kuan-Min had been baptized by Dr. Wang and was in the fellowship of the assembly in Pei-Piao until a few years later when he went to Pao-T’ai-Fu where he was accidently killed.
It was God, Who, all unknown to me, had honoured the name of His Son and had driven the demon out of the lad, and through His word had led him to accept the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
I have already stated believers cannot be possessed by evil spirits, as that would mean that the Holy Spirit had given place to the devil (Eph 4:27); a thing He never would do. However, I have suggested that a born again believer might have his mind obsessed by a demon. We had one such case in Manchuria. Lao-T’sao lived in a mountainous village where there was a small assembly. He was a devout Christian who suffered from tuberculosis. Moreover, because he was so frail, he suffered persecution from his wife for he could only eke out a poor living as a charcoal burner. When feeling strong enough, he would climb to the top of the well-wooded peaks, fell scrub oak and prepare charcoal. Each time T’sao went to and from his work, he was obliged to pass the small hut of a renowned witch who claimed to possess power over demons. Accordingly, she was supposed to have produced wonderful cures in certain sick persons. Each time T’sao passed her door, she would have a pleasant word with him and sympathize with him. On occasion she would say, “T’sao, great brother, if only you should worship the fox, the weasel, or the black snake you would lose your tuberculosis, and be strong like other men to earn more money and to regain the respect of your wife. Having this constantly brought before him, T’sao began to toy with the idea of burning incense to and worshipping one or the other of the renowned powerful spirits which were supposedly under the control of the witch. T’sao did not tell any of the brethren his temptation and finally he succumbed to the blandishments of this witch. However, T’sao said that he would worship the black snake on condition he be allowed to keep his two holy books, meaning his Bible and his hymn book. The witch readily agreed to this, for she knew nothing of the power of the Word of Truth. T’sao had to pay a certain fee, and to buy a bundle of incense sticks. On the morning for the worship rite, the witch made a ring of wood ashes on the ground on the north side of which she placed an incense burner. T’sao had to light all the incense sticks and then kneel outside the ring opposite the burning incense. The witch proceeded to chant incantations and seemingly from nowhere a black snake slithered into the ring and coiled itself. T’sao had then to Ke-Tou, that is, beat his head on the ground a prescribed number of times. Thus the ceremony ended. Some few months following this event, my wife and I visited Puai-Peng-Kou for a series of meetings. We missed T’sao but knew nothing of the circumstances which kept him away. One beautiful evening while we were sitting on the mountain side a strong looking man hurried past without speaking to us which was most unusual. After he had gone, I said to my wife, “That man looked uncommonly like brother T’sao, but it could not possibly be he because he always looks so emaciated.” At meeting that night I enquired after T’sao and was told of what had taken place and informed by the brethren that he was now fat and strong and could do a full day’s work along with any of the other charcoal burners. Special prayer was made nightly for our brother. I recall one night, after we had been three weeks in the district, we were all upon our knees when someone came into the hall. It was a weeping T’sao, he had come to confess his sin and to plead for forgiveness. T’sao was fully restored to the Lord and to the fellowship of the assembly, but within three months he lost all his strength and died from rapid decline. It appears that T’sao had begun to read his Bible while resting at noon. The Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin, and this led to confession and deliverance from this obsession of the devil. I mention this as an instance of how a truly born again child of God may have his mind so influenced by demoniacal power.