March 7th, 1916.
Received by James Padgett.
I am here, John G. Carlisle:
I am the spirit who wrote you once before and I merely want to say tonight that I am better than I was then and am not in so much darkness; but yet I suffer and am paying the penalty for my sins.
The advice that you gave me and also the help that I received from Mr. Riddle have benefitted me a great deal, and I am hoping that sometime, I may get into the light and be free from my sufferings.
If I could only have faith in what he and other good spirits tell me I believe that I would soon be in a much better condition, but somehow I don't seem to be able to have this faith. My old ideas stick to me, and although I realize that many of them were wrong, yet they cling to me and hold me in the darkness and sufferings. This may seem strange to you, but it is a fact. Beliefs are wonderful things of substance and strength when they have become fixed in a man's mind by long years acquiescence and fostering, and that was my case.
As you may know, my animal appetites were strong and I gave free vent to them, and to ease my conscience I embraced certain beliefs, which as I lived and fostered them, came to be realities to me, and now they stand before me, as it were, like a wall of brass and rarely give me an opening to get beyond or out of them. My friends that you brought to me are trying to help me, and at times I feel that what they tell me must be true. But then comes in the old long years of belief, and I lose the benefit of what influence I may have received from these spirits who I see are so beautiful and happy.
I do not understand this enigma, and because I do not, I sometimes think, that what I think, I see in these others are mere hallucinations of my own mind. And then again these influences come to me with such force that I think I must break away from these band of belief and see the light as they see it. But the struggle is hard and the progress is slow. I tell you that if I could only come again into my earth life, I know that my life or rather the way I lived it would be very different, but it is too late now and I must make my fight here, and it is a hard one.
The thing that gives me greatest hope is that while Riddle may not have been so bad a man as I was on earth yet he was a mere man with no special pretensions to goodness, and now I see him a beautiful and happy spirit, and he says it is not on account of any inherent goodness in himself, but because he has received to some degree what he calls the Divine Love; and he urges me to try to believe in this Love and open up my soul to its inflowing. It may be right, but I don't seem to be able to understand what he means, or to find the way to open up my soul as he advises.
But this I know, he has given me hope, and I at times make the effort to follow his advice, and I even pray, but I am afraid that my faith is not very strong, though I observe that when he is with me I seem to have more power to make this effort than when I am alone. And he is kind to me, for he comes quite frequently, and at times, there comes with him a wonderfully beautiful spirit who he says is your wife, and she seems to have so much love with her. I say she comes with him, and when she does, her influence is wonderful and I feel nearer leaving my old evil thoughts and getting into light than at any other time. And she talks to me in such words of love and encouragement, that it makes me believe that there must be a better place and a better condition for me.
So you see from all this what thoughts and beliefs cemented to a man's soul by an evil life on earth will do for him when he becomes a spirit and all these evil things come before him like a panorama as they do in my case. But I sowed and I am now reaping, a saying which I often heard on earth, but which to me was meaningless as it is, I have no doubt, to many others who are living such lives as I lived.
Well, my friend, I must not write more, but I feel better for I realize that it does me good to come in contact in the way of exchanging thoughts with a mortal for notwithstanding I have no mortal body, yet in thought and desires I am still a mortal.
So, thanking you for your kindness to me I will say goodnight.
Your friend, J. G. C.