Simon Oomius and Gisbertus Voetius on how the Devil influences our hearts and minds

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Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
Seemingly most scholars under the papacy claim that these invasions and influences only take place in an indirect way by means of invitations, excitations, and a stirring of the emotions, and consequently by deception of the imagination, and thus not directly and immediately in or from the mind of man.
In his 6th Book of 'the Conscience', Martinus Bresserus emphasizes that the devil cannot immediately reach and touch the higher part of the soul, such as for example the memory, the mind and the will; because, in his opinion, this only belongs to God. But the Highly learned Doctor Gisbertus Voetius rightly pointed out that he confuses the touching, projecting, insistence, moving, presenting and speaking to the soul intellectually and internally and mixes it with invading into the soul, to see from within and to work and act within what human beings understand and want. Only the latter belongs to God, but not the former.

[....]

However, whoever asks us further, how the devil presents these defamatory communications and deceptions to the mind inwardly, and how he so directly and immediately works on the mind itself, we add the well-liked answer from the aforementioned Dr. Gisbertus Voetius. He says:
"Once the doctrine, which we have in common with the (Roman) Scholastics, has been established concerning the speaking of the Angels and spiritual or mental signs (that through the outer, physical and emotional - such as the language of man and his imitated language of the devil or angel is formed and the audience's hearing is added), we say, to improve a person's understanding, that the devil throws in the slanderous insinuations, for he speaks to the human heart from within, or expresses them through a man, but a spiritual and intellectual sign for it, like an angel to an angel, a devil to a devil and one individual soul to the other to communicate the concepts of their minds and to make them known for exactly as with the mind of another devil, namely by means of an intervening intellectual and spiritual sign or with the help of an intervening person speaking - voluntarily produced and added - that serves as a gutter, bringing him to the mind of another, who influences and moves the affections. In this way he does not touch or move anyone's mind as a natural flowing-out cause, which would make something understandable and comprehensible in her, that all other minds would be able understand her intellect." Because, for example the mind of Beelzebub is not the mind of another devil, nor is it inside, nor is it common and confused and mixed with another: so is the actual intellect of this not the actual intellect of the other, or is his inner word or species intelligibly expressed not simultaneously that of the other. Because the other person cannot understand anything about it, only insofar as and when he expresses it according to his will and makes it known and working together with the other.

Simon Oomius, Satans Vuistslagen or Satans Punches (1663) Translation my own.
 
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Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Bob, and others, could you retell in simpler terms how Satan presents communications and deceptions to the Christian’s mind inwardly, according to Voetius?

I have been resistant to that idea, since in Scripture the only examples we see of Satan directly tempting are with Eve and with Christ, with whom he spoke directly. I haven’t seen any teaching or warning about it in the Epistles.

In Charismatic circles, one is always attributing things to the devil. But I’ve taken the Bible’s teaching to be that our own hearts are sinful enough to account for our evil thoughts and deeds.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Bob, and others, could you retell in simpler terms how Satan presents communications and deceptions to the Christian’s mind inwardly, according to Voetius?

I have been resistant to that idea, since in Scripture the only examples we see of Satan directly tempting are with Eve and with Christ, with whom he spoke directly. I haven’t seen any teaching or warning about it in the Epistles.

In Charismatic circles, one is always attributing things to the devil. But I’ve taken the Bible’s teaching to be that our own hearts are sinful enough to account for our evil thoughts and deeds.
I know we can say every sin can be attributed to the devil in that even our fallen flesh was a result of his work.
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
Bob, and others, could you retell in simpler terms how Satan presents communications and deceptions to the Christian’s mind inwardly, according to Voetius?

I have been resistant to that idea, since in Scripture the only examples we see of Satan directly tempting are with Eve and with Christ, with whom he spoke directly. I haven’t seen any teaching or warning about it in the Epistles.

In Charismatic circles, one is always attributing things to the devil. But I’ve taken the Bible’s teaching to be that our own hearts are sinful enough to account for our evil thoughts and deeds.
There is a portion of text in between the two I did here where Oomius has a few bullet points further explaining his view contra the papists. I did not translate that because, well.... I did it on my phone during a lunch break.... :)

I will have some time today to translate that and post it as well, hopefully that will give some clarification. I will also see where Oomius is quoting Voetius from, but that is most likely from a Latin source.
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
Here is the potion of text that I omitted and goes in between that what I originally posted. I believe point 4 is speaking of schizophrenia.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge of Catholic theology can help, but it seems to me that he is making the argument that the devil can directly influence our minds and that the papists only believe that temptation comes from external temptation and suggestions.

From the text:

All, or at least many of our theologians, do not seem to explain sufficiently and distinctly how the devil tempts, whether they believe this happens immediately or indirectly through the turmoil of imagination. In our opinion, it cannot be denied that the defamatory instructions are immediately presented to the mind; for the following reasons:

1. Because these defamatory inspirations concern spiritual, general and abstract things which cannot fall within the imagination.

2. Because the devil immediately reveals hidden things to blind and sleepy people, and to those who are slaves to him. Things that happen elsewhere, or in unknown languages, arts, sciences, and finally in false and heretical theology. It is now known that these things are understood by human reason and not with our imaginations.

3. Because the devil can insert or propose subtle arguments into the mind,
which are not the object of fantasy.

4. Because those who are plagued with these inserted temptations say that someone is speaking to them from within them, that he objects and insists, that he rejects and refutes his words and again he replies, and that he is able to give an answer; so that they clearly distinguish between their own and Satan's thoughts, between the words and promptings of their minds and those of Satan; of which they attribute the former to themselves, but the latter to curse and abhor themselves as strange, defamatory, false and nasty ones.

5. Because of the ways in which Scripture speaks and give the devil an "inspiration in the heart," John 13:2; a "blindness of mind," 2 Corinthians 4:4; a "sifting of the faith in the heart," Luke 22:31; an "entry into man," Luke 22:3, John 13:27; a 'fulfillment of the heart', Acts 5:3; and a "spirit of temptation and a lie in the mouth" of the prophets of Ahab, 1 Kings 22. Now it would seem harsh, too distorted and forced, to have all these ways of expression exclusively refer to the working in and on the imagination (that man has in common with the animals) rather than on and in the mind.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Here is the potion of text that I omitted and goes in between that what I originally posted. I believe point 4 is speaking of schizophrenia.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge of Catholic theology can help, but it seems to me that he is making the argument that the devil can directly influence our minds and that the papists only believe that temptation comes from external temptation and suggestions.

From the text:

All, or at least many of our theologians, do not seem to explain sufficiently and distinctly how the devil tempts, whether they believe this happens immediately or indirectly through the turmoil of imagination. In our opinion, it cannot be denied that the defamatory instructions are immediately presented to the mind; for the following reasons:

1. Because these defamatory inspirations concern spiritual, general and abstract things which cannot fall within the imagination.

2. Because the devil immediately reveals hidden things to blind and sleepy people, and to those who are slaves to him. Things that happen elsewhere, or in unknown languages, arts, sciences, and finally in false and heretical theology. It is now known that these things are understood by human reason and not with our imaginations.

3. Because the devil can insert or propose subtle arguments into the mind,
which are not the object of fantasy.

4. Because those who are plagued with these inserted temptations say that someone is speaking to them from within them, that he objects and insists, that he rejects and refutes his words and again he replies, and that he is able to give an answer; so that they clearly distinguish between their own and Satan's thoughts, between the words and promptings of their minds and those of Satan; of which they attribute the former to themselves, but the latter to curse and abhor themselves as strange, defamatory, false and nasty ones.

5. Because of the ways in which Scripture speaks and give the devil an "inspiration in the heart," John 13:2; a "blindness of mind," 2 Corinthians 4:4; a "sifting of the faith in the heart," Luke 22:31; an "entry into man," Luke 22:3, John 13:27; a 'fulfillment of the heart', Acts 5:3; and a "spirit of temptation and a lie in the mouth" of the prophets of Ahab, 1 Kings 22. Now it would seem harsh, too distorted and forced, to have all these ways of expression exclusively refer to the working in and on the imagination (that man has in common with the animals) rather than on and in the mind.
Thanks Bob, I have some thoughts I’ll try to share later. I’be been looking at this issue off and on for several years, trying to work through it.
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks Bob, I have some thoughts I’ll try to share later. I’be been looking at this issue off and on for several years, trying to work through it.
You are so welcome! It looks like the quote from Voetius is from a Latin source, De Natura et Operanone Daemonum', Disp., Utr.; 1648, p. 906 (no. 47).it is such a shame not more of his works are in Dutch or English.

He also refers to John Downame, the footnote says: Down., Warfarr, part I, Liber III, Cap. IX, par. 8. Perhaps @Reformed Covenanter knows the source?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
You are so welcome! It looks like the quote from Voetius is from a Latin source, De Natura et Operanone Daemonum', Disp., Utr.; 1648, p. 906 (no. 47).it is such a shame not more of his works are in Dutch or English.

He also refers to John Downame, the footnote says: Down., Warfarr, part I, Liber III, Cap. IX, par. 8. Perhaps @Reformed Covenanter knows the source?
It is John Downame's book, The Christian Warfare.
 
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