279. Ascendency is exercised over the inferior spirits only by moral superiority.
The perverse spirits feel their masters in good men ; with those who oppose to them only strength of will, a kind of brute force, they struggle, and are often the stronger. A person tried in this way to tame a rebellious'spirit, by his will; the spirit answered him, " Let me alone, with your bullying airs, you who are no better than I; they might say, a thief preaching to a thief.'
One is astonished that the name of God invoked against them should often be powerless. St. Louis has given the reason in the following answer: — "The name of God has influence over imperfect spirits only in the mouth of him who can use it with authority by his virtues; in the mouth of a man who has no moral superiority over the spirit, it is a word the same as another. It is the same with the holy things opposed to them. The most terrible arms are inoffensive in hands unskilled in their use, or incapable of bearing them."