May 24th, 1917
Received by James Padgett
I am here, James, and I came to write on the subject of: "The frailties of the human mind and moral qualities".
I have heard you read the Master's message, and believe that in it, you will find much truth upon which to reflect, and I desire to add a little to what has been therein said. And here I want further to say, that while that message was intended for you personally, yet the truth and advice therein given may be applied to every mortal, and the good results will follow, no matter who that mortal may be.
I have, as you know, been in the spirit world a great many centuries, as you conceive of time, and have during that long period been very close to mortals in all parts of the earth and of all nationalities and beliefs and education and enlightenment, and in my experiences with these mortals, I have observed the nature and temptations and the various ways in which mortals have been assailed by such temptations, and their efforts to overcome the same, together with their successes and failures.
Now, first let me say, that the nature of man is, today, the same as it was when I lived on earth, and the perversions and sins of the souls of men are just as many and of the same kind as they were in my day in the flesh, and temptations, both outward and inward, are just as hard to overcome as they were when first the glad tidings of Love and redemption were proclaimed by the Master; except that prior to that time man had not the Divine Love to help him overcome and subdue these temptations, as he now has. And the regret is, that while this Great Helper and Regenerator, and Conqueror of sin and temptation is now in the world of mortals, and subject to their call, yet so comparatively few make the call, or realize the fact that this helper is always waiting to enable them to overcome temptations.
Prior to this time of the coming of the Divine Love, moral truths were taught to men just as they are today, and many men, and not necessarily among the Jews, understood and attempted to apply these truths to their daily lives, and endeavored to overcome the temptations arising from the sins that so constantly formed a part of their existence, and that also came from the influence of the evil spirits. It is all wrong to suppose that in these early times and among these early races of earth, moral perceptions were not developed and taught; men then made the fight to overcome temptations and become good and noble beings, so far as these moral truths and principles were then understood and used by men, would make them.
In all ages since the fall of the first parents, men have, to a more or less degree, had knowledge of what is called the moral truths, and the natural love of man has existed in a more or less imperfect condition. Men have been kind and loving and true, and have to an extent controlled their appetites and tendencies to evil lives; and to suppose that men of today are not subject to so great temptations, and are of themselves better able to resist the same, is a mistake. The present great war proves the fact, for men were never - I mean those who make a pretense to culture and civilization - so brutal in their acts, and so apparently devoid of all conception of right and wrong and of mercy, as are many of those who are engaged in the present struggle.
So I say, men of today can lay no greater claim to moral qualities than could those of the times when they were supposed to be heathens and undeveloped in these moral qualities.
Of course there is in the world today more of what may be called education and conventionality, but behind these things, which are largely the results of merely intellectual development, men have the same perverted souls, or rather appetites and desires, and are subject to the same temptations as were men of old; and if mankind were left dependent upon the cultivation and improvement of these merely moral powers, I fear that temptation would continue to have all its influence and harmful power on the souls of men that it had in the past.
I know, it is said, "that the world is growing better"; but the question is, is that assertion true; and if so, what is the cause?
Go to India and to China and to some other countries where the teachings of the supposed moral laws only obtain, and learn if there has been any improvement in the condition of men's souls, and if they have in any degree succeeded in overcoming the temptations that the human race is subject to; and in learning, you will find, that except in the case of a few of these people, the conditions of their minds and souls are just as perverted as they were in centuries past, and that it is only in those countries where the influence of Christian nations have control, do these people suppress the tendencies of perverted minds to do those things that arise from the want of the exercise of moral precepts or knowledge.
This is the truth of what mere moral teachings have accomplished where only the mere moral truths, as is supposed, are taught.Temptations are with men, and will be with them forever, unless they be controlled or overcome by something greater or more certain than what men conceive to be moral truths. Now, you will see from this that merely moral concepts will not necessarily, or, at least, for a long time to come, be able to bring about the destruction of the powers of temptation that arises from the perverted nature of mortals.
I must stop now, and in doing so will leave you my love and blessings. Good night.
Your brother in Christ,
brother of John.