April 6th, 1915
Received by:James Padgett
I am here, your old partner, A. G. Riddle:
Well, I want to tell you of that man with the wonderful mind, who surpasses every other spirit in his knowledge of the laws of the spirit world. I had a conversation with him and I found that he knew comparatively little of anything.
His knowledge consisted in not knowing what there is for him to know. He had certain ideas about the spirit world, but they were few and superficial. He was so convinced that he had learned everything there is to know that he was not capable of learning more.
I soon found that his capacity for learning was limited by his horizon of what he didn't know, that is, he thought that as he knew everything there was nothing in all God's universe that was left to him to learn.
His was the greatest case of a man who was possessed of all knowledge that I have ever met. Just as soon as we commenced to converse, I saw that the only way to deal with him was to let him think that his is the great mind that he believed it to be, and so I posed as one who was inferior to him in intellect, and one willing to sit at the feet of Gamaliel* to learn.
He commenced to tell me about his wonderful mind and the great knowledge which it possessed and how he was quite lonely in the spirit world, because he could find no one who was competent to discuss subjects which only minds of his greatness could grasp and understand.
As a seeker after some of his great knowledge, I commenced in a very modest way to ask him certain questions for information as he thought, and to his surprise, but not to mine, I will confess he said that he had never considered them, and that because they did not appear to be of sufficient importance for his gigantic intellect to bother with. Well, I kept putting questions after question and his only answer was that he had not considered them for the reason above stated. At last he commenced to see that I had an object in approaching him in this way and that I was not as unsophisticated as I first appeared.
Finally he said that maybe there were some things which he didn't know, and which were worthy of his investigation, and that he would give his mind to their consideration.
Then I commenced to tell him of spiritual things and of the great love of the Father, and what a power it had to beautify and make happy the souls of spirits. At first he declared that there was no such thing as the soul and reiterated that the mind is the only thing that belongs and determines the character and qualities of a spirit. That God is only the creature of man's mind, and that love is a thing of the imagination only.
Well, you may imagine what a task it was to convince him that he had a soul, and that the soul is the real thing in his existence, and that mind is merely a subordinate part of the soul. He didn't seem to grasp the proposition, but after a while I showed him the beauty and happiness of several of our band and asked him if the mind is the greatest thing and as he knew that none of these spirits has a mind equal to his own why is it that they are so much more beautiful and happy than he.
He hesitated a moment and said, that his mind did not run in the direction of creating beauty or happiness, but if he had devoted it to those things he would be more beautiful and happier than any of these spirits.
I confess this argument was difficult to meet from his standpoint, but I called into concentration my argumentative faculties and knowing he was wrong, I asked him why he had not devoted his mind to these subjects as he must surely know that beauty and happiness are more desirable than anything to which he could possibly direct his mental strivings. He said that he knew that these qualities or possessions are very desirable but he doubted if there could be any happiness equal to that of great mental development and its resultant delights. I asked him why he was willing to remain in his condition of darkness and surrounded by such unhappy beings if the mind could bring such delights, and why he had not left the plane of darkness a long time ago, and sought the companionship of brighter and more intellectual spirits. He said that was one of the few things that he did not understand. He was anxious to get into different associations and wanted more congenial companionship, but yet no matter how much he exercised his mental powers he did not seem to be able to change his condition or leave the plane on which he lived.
I then said to him, suppose there is a power so great that it can take you out of that condition and place you among these congenial spirits, where you say you have desired to go, what would your great mind say of you if you refuse to learn what this great power is, and rest content to remain in ignorance of this great power and ignore its existence. He said, that he supposed his mind would say that he is a fool, and does not do its greatness the justice to which is was entitled, and that such a position on his part would show him that he was not making the best use of his mind to which it is entitled.
Well, after letting him think a while on this phase of the matter, I said to him, my friend, what I have put to you as a supposition is a truth - there is a power which is able to elevate you above your present condition and one which your mind will tell you to seek for, if you will only let it do so. And that power is one of spiritual qualities not depending on the mere mind, but upon a source which is the mind of all minds, and of which your great mind is only a shadow, and merely reflects its possibilities. He said, well, since you seem to know of this great power suppose you describe it to me, and if you can show my mind that such a power can have any possible existence, I will try and learn what that power really is.
I then told him of the greatness of the soul, and its wonderful capacity for growth and expansion and love. He listened to me intently, and said, what you say may be true and I will investigate, but I am sure that there must be some mistake as to its superiority over the mind, but as you are an honorable and intelligent spirit I will consider the question in all seriousness; and if I find that there is any probability of such power existing as you describe, I will let my mind acknowledge it and will seek to obtain the means of attaining to this power. I am as you see, a very reasonable man and susceptible to conviction when the evidence to prove your assertions are reasonably certain.
I told him to think the matter over and come again and discuss the question with me. He said he would, but I am afraid that he is hopelessly bound up with the idea that he knows everything, and outside of his mind there is nothing in all God's universe. Such spirits are the most to be pitied because to them repentance will never come, or if it does, it is a long way ahead of them.
I must confess that I rather enjoyed the interview, because it recalled somewhat some of the old times when on earth I engaged in arguments and debates. But, of course, it had a deeper and holier meaning than that, because I hoped that he might come to the light of God's great provisions for the spiritual awakening, and learn the way to the Father's Love.
So, I must say that I am indebted to you for bringing me in contact with such a spirit. I know how apparently hopeless the task is of convincing him that his great mind can be surpassed by any other thing, but I pray that something I may say may help a little light to enter into that hidebound and all-sufficient mind of his.
I intended to write about another subject tonight, but as I thought you would be interested in knowing the result of our interview I concluded to tell you rather than write on the other subject. So I will not write more as there are other spirits waiting to write. So my dear boy and partner, I am your loving friend and brother, as ever.
A. G. Riddle