September 29th, 1917
Received by James Padgett.
I am here, John C. Carlisle.
Well my friend, I have not written you for some time, not because I did not desire to do so, but because I have not had the opportunity; for I have been present many times when other spirits were here writing you. I have also been present when you and your friends have talked about spiritual things and have listened with very close attention, and have derived much benefit from thinking of what you have declared to be the truths of the spiritual kingdom.
As a consequence, I have progressed very much and am now in considerable light, and have received into my soul sufficient of this Love that you talk of, to be convinced that it is a wonderful redeeming influence from the darkness and suffering that I and spirits like me found ourselves in when we came to the spirit world. I know that prayer is a thing that brings its response and I am praying with all my soul, but it is hard to make a complete surrender of my beliefs and to forget the deeds of my life that cling to me with such very great tenacity. While, as you have said in your conversations, and as some of the bright spirits tell me, the true longings of the soul will bring to my soul this Love, yet I find it difficult to get these longings so that they are not mingled with the thoughts of earthly things that came with me when I became a spirit. As you know, when on earth I accumulated in my memory a large and varied amount of evil and sin, and when I became a spirit I found it very natural that these memories should be with me and control my thoughts and desires as they did on earth. In fact, they seemed to get rid of some member of my body without injuring the body.
So you will see, it is not so easy to have these longings that I speak of, and even if a spirit makes up his mind and will to have the longings, he cannot always succeed. This has been my experience, and I have suffered so very much in consequence of this inability to direct my will to these longings. Intellectually I understand that this is necessary and that the longings, when earnestly possessed, will bring relief and surcease (To bring to an end) from these sufferings, but this intellectual knowledge, I find is not sufficient. The knowledge does not bring the power to will, and the will is controlled by appetites and desires. I know that I must try to control these appetites and desires, but oh, how hard is the task!
It is very foolish for men to suppose that they can cultivate and exercise these desires and appetites until a time convenient to them, and then by the mere wish control these desires and have these longings and aspirations come to them so that the help that comes in response to prayer will be theirs. No, they will find themselves greatly disappointed, for they will realize that these desires and the results of their indulgences will bind them in bands of iron, that a mere intellectual attempt to sever will not prove efficacious. The spirits who all have this Love of which they tell me, teach me that this Love is sufficient to bring happiness to me, and that it will come in response to earnest prayer, but they do not tell me that by the sudden exercise of my will I can obtain these true longings, and if they should so teach, I could hardly believe them, for I have had such a will and have attempted to pray, and as I think wanted to be in all earnestness, but still the longings would not come free from the memories of my sinful life on earth; and I find, that I have to continue to pray in order to progress the little that I have progressed.
I have no doubt that the Love is waiting for me and that I will be enabled to obtain it by the proper condition of my longings, but the trouble is to get the proper longings. It is not so easy to get rid of the effects of evil deeds and evil thoughts on earth, and the mere praying with the mind will not help except such prayers become merged into the prayers of true longings.
Well, I realize all this in my own experience and I am praying and longing, and sometimes I feel the true longings, and then comes the response and I progress just that much. I mean in proportion to the strength of these true longings.
When men believe that by merely saying that they believe on Jesus Christ or by asking forgiveness of the priests and when absolved believe that they have done all that is necessary, they are mistaken, and if they rest in that contentment, they will find themselves as I was when they come to spirit life. No belief of this kind or absolution by the priests will put them in such condition of memory or soul as will enable them to have these longings of which I speak.
You may think that I am quite a preacher, but I am very ignorant of the bulk of the spiritual truth and what I have said is the result of my own experience. Well, I will not write more now, except to thank you and your friends for the opportunities that I have enjoyed in listening to your conversation on spiritual matters. I will not cease to come to you even though I may not be able to write. So with my love and hope that you will pray for me, I am
Your friend and well-wisher.