James Edward Padgett was born on August 25, 1855, in Washington DC. James attended the Polytechnic Academy Institute at Newmarket, Virginia and in 1880 was admitted to the bar in Washington DC, where he practiced law for 43 years until his death on 17th March 1923 at age 71.
James was not a Spiritualist, but a Methodist and taught Sunday School at the Trinity Methodist Church for many years. He had no previous experience with psychic phenomena, his conception of religious doctrine was the doctrine of the Protestant church.
James wife, Helen died in February 1914. Due to his loneliness and longing for Helen, he was willing to investigate the possibility of contacting her through a type of mediumship called automatic writing. In the evenings he began to sit patiently at his desk with a pencil in hand, hoping to hear from his departed wife, Helen. His pencil began to move automatically to produce what he described as ‘fish hooks’ and ‘hangers’. Eventually, he wrote a short readable note signed Helen. In the note, Helen stated she was often present with James in spirit form and how glad she was to be able to write to him in this way.
James was not convinced that the letter he wrote actually came from his deceased wife and wanted to know what proof she could offer him. The writing that followed provided incidents in their lives that could only be known to them. James thought even this could be explained as material coming from his own mind, except that the writings came too quickly for his mind to formulate the thoughts, and the messages kept on insisting that it was not his mind but hers that was operating. He came to accept that his wife was alive and living in another dimension where she was able to transmit her thoughts to her husband and he was able to write them down.
According to his closest friend, Dr. Leslie R. Stone, James didn’t fully know what he had written until reading it afterwards. James was able to learn through his writings, how to improve his soul condition through prayer and receiving Divine Love, which then enabled him to receive messages from Celestial spirits and write their messages accurately.
James Padgett received messages from Jesus, many Celestials and other spirits, over the period 1914 until his death in 1923.
James never practiced the gift of mediumship as a means of earning money. He was dedicated wholly to the reception of the great messages signed Jesus and his many disciples.
When James died, Dr. Stone became entrusted as publisher of more than two thousand channelled messages that James wrote over a nine year period. To publish the first book of Padgett’s writings was a considerable undertaking for Dr. Stone because of James style of automatic writing, where the words were interconnected without breaks or punctuation. Through Dr. Stone’s dedication and desire for the Truths to be known to mankind, the books were published between 1940 & 1967. The last volume was completed after Dr. Stone’s death, by Rev John Paul Gibson.
Below are five Padgett Messages for those that are interested in reading a few now. I have found The Padgett Messages very helpful with my soul growth as they contain information about how to receive Divine Love into my soul and valuable information about God’s Truths and Laws. Having an open mind and using love to measure truth has greatly helped me in my progress as well as the most important, God revealing the Truth to me along the way.
The first message is from Jesus:
September 24th, 1914.
Received by: James Padgett, Washington D.C.
I am here, Jesus.
Be of good cheer for I am with you always. Do not let your heart fear, for the Lord is your keeper and He will be your guide and shield. Only believe and trust in Him and you will soon be born again into the spiritual world of His Kingdom. Let me teach you and give you the thoughts that He gave me while on earth. Let me show you that the things of this world are not the things that save the soul from sin and unhappiness. Be a true follower of your God. (The New Birth?) It is the flowing of the Holy Spirit into the soul of a man and the disappearing of all that tended to keep it in a condition of sin and error. It is not the workings of the man’s own will but the Grace of God. It is the Love of God that passes all understanding. You will soon experience the change, and then you will be a happy man and fit to lead others to the truths of God. Let your heart be open to the knockings of the Spirit, and keep your mind free from thoughts of sin. Be a man who loves his God and his fellow man. Your love is only now of the earthly kind, but it will soon be of the things spiritual.
You must not let the cares of this world keep you from God. Let His Spirit come into your soul. Your will is the thing that determines whether you will become a child of God or not. Unless you are willing to let the Holy Spirit enter into your heart, it will not do so. Only the voluntary submission to or acceptance of the Holy Spirit will make the change.
I was the instrument in God’s hands of leading men to His favor and Love. When I said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” I meant that through my teachings and example men should be able to find God. I was not God and never claimed to be. The worship of me as a God is blasphemous and I did not teach it. I am a son of God as you are. Do not let the teachings of men lead you to worship me as a God. I am not. The trinity is a mistake of the writers of the bible. There is no trinity – only one God, the Father. He is one and alone. I am His teacher of truth, the Holy Spirit is His messenger and dispenser of Love to mankind. We are only His instruments in bringing man to a union with Him. I am not the equal of my Father – He is the only true God. I came from the spirit world to earth and took the form of man, but I did not become a God – only the son of my Father. You also lived as a spirit in that kingdom, and took the form of man merely as a son of your Father. You are the same as I am, except as to spiritual development, and you may become as greatly developed as myself.
I am the only son when on earth who until then had become bested with the Divine love of God to the extent of being wholly free from sin and error. My life was not a life of earthly pleasure or sin, but was given wholly to my Father’s work. I was His only son in that light. He was my Father as I knew Him to be. He is not a spirit of form like myself or yourself.
I was born as you were born. I was the son of Mary and Joseph, and not born of the Holy Spirit as it is written in the Bible. I was only a human being as regards my birth and physical existence. The account in the New Testament is not true, and was written by those who knew not what they wrote. They have done the cause of God’s truths much injury. Let not your belief in that error keep you from seeing that my teachings are the truth.
Be only a believer of God and His truths and you will soon be in the Kingdom.
You will soon be able to understand as I understand.
January 24th, 1915.
Received by: James Padgett, Washington D.C.
I am here, Jesus.
You are now in condition, and I will give you a short message. When I was on earth I was not worshiped as God, but was considered merely as the son of God in the sense that in me were imposed the Truths of my Father and many of His wonderful and mysterious powers. I did not proclaim myself to be God, neither did I permit any of my disciples to believe that I was God, but only that I was His beloved son sent to proclaim to mankind His truths, and show them the way to the Love of the Father. I was not different from other men, except that I possessed to a degree this Love of God, which made me free from sin, and prevented the evils that formed a part of the nature of men from becoming a part of my nature. No man who believes that I am God has a knowledge of the truth, or is obeying the commandments of God by worshiping me. Such worshipers are blaspheming and are doing the cause of God and my teachings great injury. Many a man would have become a true believer in and worshiper of the Father and follower of my teachings, had not this blasphemous dogma been interpolated into the Bible. It was not with my authority, or in consequence of my teachings that such a very injurious doctrine was promulgated or believed in.
I am only a son of my Father as you are, and while I was always free from sin and error, as regards the true conception of my Father’s true relationship to mankind, yet you are His son also; and if you will seek earnestly and pray to the Father with faith, you may become as free from sin and error as I was then, and am now.
The Father is Himself, alone. There is no other God besides Him, and no other God to be worshiped. I am His teacher of truth, and am the Way, the Truth and the Life, because in me are those qualities of good and knowledge which fit me to show the way and lead men to eternal life in the Father, and to teach them that God has prepared a Kingdom in which they may live forever, if they so desire. But not withstanding my teachings, men and those who have assumed high places in what is called the Christian Church, impose doctrines so at variance with the truth, that, in these latter days, many men in the exercise of an enlightened freedom and of reason, have become infidels and turned away from God and His Love, and have thought and taught that man, himself, is sufficient for his own salvation.
The time has come when these men must be taught to know that while the teachings of these professed authorities on the truths of God are all wrong, they, these same men, are in error when they refuse to believe in God and my teachings. What my teachings are, I know it is difficult to understand from the writings of the New Testament, for many things therein contained I never said, and many things that I did say are not written therein. I am now going to give to the world the truths as I taught them when on earth, and many that I never disclosed to my disciples or inspired others to write.
No man can come to the Father’s Love, except he be born again. This is the great and fundamental Truth which men must learn and believe, for without this New Birth men cannot partake of the Divine Essence of God’s Love, which, when possessed by a man, makes him at one with the Father. This Love comes to man by the workings of the Holy Ghost, causing this love to flow into the heart and soul, and filling it, so that all sin and error must be eradicated
I am not going to tell to-night just how this working of the spirit operates, but, I say, if a man will pray to the Father and believe, and earnestly ask that this Love be given him, he will receive it; and when it comes into his soul he will realize it.
Let not men think that by any effort of their own they can come into this union with the father, because they cannot. No river can rise higher than its source; and no man who has only the natural love and filled with error can of his own powers cause that natural love to partake of the Divine, or his nature to be relieved of such sin and error.
Man is a mere creature and cannot create anything higher than himself; so man cannot rise to the nature of the Divine, unless the Divine first comes into that man and makes him a part of Its Own Divinity.
All men who do not get a part of this Divine Essence will be left in their natural state, and while they may progress to higher degrees of goodness and freedom from sin and from everything that tends to make them unhappy, yet, they will be only natural men, still.
I came into the world to show men the way to this Divine Love of the Father and teach them his spiritual truths, and my mission was that in all its perfection, and incidentally, to teach them the way to greater happiness on earth as well as in the spirit world by teaching them the way to the purification of the natural love; even though they neglected to seek for and obtain this Divine Love and become one with the Father.
Let men ponder this momentous question, and they will learn that the happiness of the natural man, and the happiness of the man who has obtained the attributes of Divinity, are very different, and in all eternity must be separate and distinct.My teachings are not very hard to understand and follow, and if men will only listen to them and believe them and follow them, they will learn the way and obtain the one perfect state of happiness which the father has prepared for his children. no man can obtain this state of Celestial bliss, unless he first gets this Divine Love of the Father, and so becomes at one with the Father.
I know it is thought and taught that morality and correct living and great natural love will assure a man’s future happiness, and to a degree this is true, but this happiness is not that greater happiness which God desires His children to have; and to show the way to which I came to earth to teach. But in some hearts and minds my truths found a lodgment, and were preserved to save mankind from total spiritual darkness and a relapse to worship of form and ceremony only.
I have written you this to show that you must not let the teachings of the Bible, and what men wrote or professed to have written therein, keep you from receiving and understanding what I write.
I shall write no more to-night, but I will continue to tell you the Truths which will be “my New Gospel to all men,” and when they have heard my messages they will believe that there is only one God, and only one to be worshiped.
With my love and blessings I close for this time.
January 31st, 1915.
Received by: James Padgett, Washington D.C.
I am here, Jesus:
As I told you I will write my second message to-night. I am not going to tell you of my Father’s Kingdom at this time, but of His Nature as my God and your God.
He is the only one who is supreme and all powerful and loving, and wise. He is not a being of form or individuality as men understand, but is a substance of being and soul. His soul is that part of Him which embraces all the affections and love, and which is bestowed on man in order that he may become like his Father.
I am not yet so possessed of that soul essence, as to make me just like the Father in all His attributes, but I expect that some time in the future, when I have received that divine essence in all its fullness, I will be likened unto the Father; and so may every one of His creatures, if he will only seek for it with true faith and earnestness.
The Father is not capable of being seen with the physical or spiritual sight, but can only be seen with the soul’s eyes of perfect love. He is not in any particular place, or seated on a throne in His Heavens, but His attributes are everywhere, and fills the whole universe. The earth is a very small portion of the universe, and men must not believe that God is only in the heavens, where the sons of earth go when they cease to live as mortals.
God, is a God of Love, above everything else; and the sooner mankind learns and believes that fact, the sooner will happiness exist on the earth, as well as in the heavens. He is not a God of hatred, nor does He chastise His children in wrath or anger. His love is with all mankind, be they saints or sinners, and no man suffers punishment because the Father wants him to suffer. He is also a God of Mercy and Forgiveness; and will forgive the sins of men, and shed His Mercy over them, if they will truly and in sincerity ask His Forgiveness and seek His Mercy.
He is also a God of Wisdom; and His plans for the redemption and salvation of mankind are the only plans that can be adopted for men to try to follow, in order that they may receive this salvation. He is also a God of Power, and in the days to come, when He sees fit to carry out and perfect His plans in their full fruition. He will through the working of His Spirit, which is perfect in its working destroy all sin and error in His Universe, and perfect harmony will reign and man will be at peace and happiness.
So God is everything in nature and attributes which will not only redeem men from their sins, but will make them lovers of one another and brothers in the true sense of the word. The world will not be destroyed as it is taught by some, in the interpreting of the Bible, but when the great day of judgment comes, all sin will be eradicated from the world, and mankind will continue to live upon the earth, free from sin and unhappiness, just as it is supposed Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden.
Never has man seen God, and the stories in the Old Testament about some of the prophets and leaders of the Jews in their early captivity and wanderings, are not true, for God cannot be seen as therein described. His angels and messengers who were at one time mortals of earth, were seen, and spoke to the prophets and represented themselves as being angels of God, but no angel or spirit ever represented himself to be God; not even the angels who delivered to Moses the tablets of stone, as it is written. God works always through His Angels, and never directly, as some of the Bible writers teach. I was His chosen son to do the work of redeeming the earth from sin, and I came as my Father’s representative, I never was God, nor did I ever claim to be, either to my disciples or to the Jews or the Sanhedrin.
It is written in the Bible that the voice of God spoke to my disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, and to John and those present at my baptism, but it was not the voice of God, but the voice of one of God’s Highest Angels.
No man has ever heard the voice of God, for He has no voice. He works in a silent mysterious way, through the operation of His soul upon the soul of men, just as the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. While the Bible says that there was a noise as of a mighty wind, yet that was not perceptible to the physical ears of the disciples, but in their souls they felt the presence of such a manifestation, and in order to have mankind understand that there was this wonderful manifestation, they used the imagery of the voice of a mighty wind. So man must understand that God speaks to man through His angels, or through the communication of His Soul and theirs.
I speak thus because I want it made plain that God is not the person, loving or otherwise, which the Bible may teach man that He is. He is only the personification of love, power, and wisdom, and is without form or personal appearance. This is my knowledge of what God is.
I will not write further tonight. With my blessing and love.
3rd March 1915.
Received by: James Padgett, Washington D.C.
I am here, Jesus.
You are in a better condition to-night and I will continue my messages.
“God is a God of love, and no man can come to Him, unless he receives the Love of the Father in his soul.” As men are by nature sinful and inclined to error and the violation of God’s laws, they can be redeemed from that sin only by obtaining this Love; and that can be obtained only through prayer and faith in the willingness of God to bestow this Love upon whomsoever may ask for it. I do not mean that there must be formal prayers or compliance with any church creeds or dogmas; but the prayer that is efficacious is that which emanates from the soul and earnest aspirations of a man. So let men know, that unless they have the real soul longings for this Love, it will not be given to them – no mere intellectual desires will suffice. The intellect is not that faculty in man that unites him to God. Only the soul is made in the likeness of the Father, and unless this likeness is perfected by a filling of the soul with the Divine Love of the Father, the likeness is never complete.
Love is the one great thing in God’s economy of real existence. Without it, all would be chaos and unhappiness; but where It exists, harmony and happiness also exists. This I say, because I know from personal experience that it is true. Let not men think that God is a God who wants the worship of men with the mere intellectual faculties, that is not true. His Love is the one thing that can possibly unite Him and them. This Love is not the Love that is a part of man’s natural existence; the love that men have, who have not received a part of the Divine Love, is not sufficient to make them one with the Father; nor is that love the kind that will enable them to enter the Celestial Spheres and become as the Angels who are filled with this Divine Love, and who do always the Will of the Father. This Love is found only in the souls of those who have received it through the ministrations of the Holy Spirit – the only instrument of God’s workings, that is used in bringing about the salvation of men.
I have seen the operations of the Spirit upon the souls of men, and know what I tell you to be true. No man must rest in the assurance that any other instrumentality or medium than the Holy Spirit, will enable him to obtain this Love. He must not rest in the thought that without this he can become a part of God’s Kingdom, for no love but this Divine Love can entitle and qualify him to enter that Kingdom.
When on earth I taught the doctrine of salvation only through the workings of the Holy Spirit in fulfilling the commandments of the Father. Mere belief in me or in my name without this Love, will never enable any man to become the possessor of this Love. Hence the saying, “that all sins against me or even against God’s commandments may be forgiven men, but the sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven them, neither while on earth nor when in the spirit world.” unpardonable This means that so long as a man rejects the influences of the Spirit he sins against it, and such sin prevents him from receiving this Divine Love; and hence, in that state he cannot possibly be forgiven, and be permitted to enter into the Celestial Kingdom of the Father.
God’s Love is not that which needs the love of man to give it a Divine Essence, but on the contrary, the love of man in order to become Divine in its nature, must be completely enveloped in or absorbed by the Divine Love of the Father. So, let man know that his love is but the mere shadow of what the Father’s Love is, and that so long as he refuses to receive this Love of the Father, he will be compelled to remain apart from the Father, and enjoy only the happiness which his natural love affords him.
I am so certain that all men may receive this Love, if they will only seek for it in the true way and with earnest desire and faith, that I know it is possible for all men to be saved. But men have the great gift of free will, and the exercise of that gift towards the seeking and finding of this Love seems to be a difficulty that will prevent a large majority of the human race from receiving this great redemptive boon.
My Father is not desirous that any man should live through all eternity without this Love; but the time will come, and very soon, when the privilege of obtaining this Love will be withdrawn from mankind; and when that great event takes place, never afterwards will the privilege be restored; and men who are then without It will be compelled to live through all eternity with only their natural love to comfort them and get whatever happiness they may be able to obtain from such love. Men may think that this time of separation will never come, but in that they are mistaken, and when too late, they will realize it.
The harmony of my Father’s universe is not depending on all men receiving this Divine Love because in the workings of God’s laws of harmony on men’s souls all sin and error will be eradicated, and only truth will remain; but the mere absence of sin does not mean that all parts of God’s creation will be peopled by spirits and men who are equally happy, or who are filled with the same kind of love. The man who is free from sin and has only his natural love, will be in perfect harmony with other men possessing the same kind of love; but he will not be in harmony with those spirits who have this Divine Love and the supreme happiness which It gives. And yet, such differences in love and happiness will not create discord or want of harmony in the universe.
Adam and Eve, or whom they personify, had not this Celestial Love – only the natural love that belonged to their creation as human beings, and yet, they were comparatively happy; but their happiness was not like that of the angels who live in the Celestial Heavens where only this Divine Love of God exists. They were mortals, and when temptation came to them, the love that they possessed was not able to resist it, and they succumbed. So, even though man may hereafter live forever and be free from sin and error, yet, he will always be subject to temptations which this natural love may not be able to resist. I mean that his nature will be merely the nature that Adam and Eve had – nothing greater or less.
Even in that condition he may be able to resist all temptations that may assail him, yet, he will always be subject to fall from his state of happiness, and so become more or less unhappy. This is the future of men who have not received the Divine Love.
But the spirit who has this Divine Love becomes, as it were, a part of Divinity Itself, and will never be subject to temptation or unhappiness. He will be free from all powers that may possibly exist for leading him to unhappiness – as if he were a very God. I mean that His Divinity cannot possibly be taken from him by any power or influence or instrumentality in all the universe of God.
This love makes a mortal and sinful man an Immortal and sinless spirit, destined to live through all eternity in the presence of and at one with the Father.
So, if men would only think and realize the importance of obtaining this Divine Love, they would not be so careless in their thoughts and aspirations concerning those things which will determine their future state through all eternity.
The importance of these truths cannot be too forcibly placed before men for their consideration; and, when the time comes for them to pass over, the more they have pondered on and obtained a knowledge of these truths, the better will be their condition in the spirit world. The spirit world will not help them so very much to obtain a more enlightened insight into these spiritual matters, because in this world men differ and have their opinions just as on earth.
Of course, they have not all the temptations to indulge their passions and appetites, which they had when in the flesh; but as regards their opinion of spiritual things, the opportunities are not very much greater, except in this, that because of the freedom from the passions and influences of the flesh, they may sooner turn their thoughts to higher things, and in this way sooner realize that only this New Birth in Love of the Divine can save them entirely from the natural results that follow the possession of only the natural love.
A spirit is only a man without an earthly body, and the cares that necessarily belong to the obligations of earth ties. Even as a spirit, some retain these cares for a long time after coming over, and then are relieved of them by paying the penalties of a violated law.
Well, I have written long and must stop. So I say with my blessings and love, good-night.
Your fellow spirit,
April 13th, 1915.
Received by: James Padgett, Washington D.C.
I am here, Professor Joseph Salyards.
Well, I am here as I agreed, and will endeavor to write you my thoughts on the subject: “What may spirits know about the laws of the spirit world after they have been in that world for a short time.”
As you know, I have been here for a comparatively short time, and while my studies have been to a considerable extent in the study of these laws, yet, I find that I have limited knowledge of the same, and much of my information has been gathered from other spirits who have lived here a great many years, and who have devoted their study and investigation to these laws.
Well, I want first to say that no spirit, by the mere fact of having shortly before made his advent to this world, has received any much greater knowledge than he had when on earth.
My knowledge of spiritual laws when on earth was not very extensive, and I found, when I came into the spirit world, that I did not know much more than I did before I came; and such is the experience of every spirit. But, as I continued to investigate these matters, I discovered that my capacity for learning was greatly increased, and that my mind was more plastic and received this knowledge more easily than when I was a mortal. This is largely due to the fact that the brain, I mean the mortal brain, is, when compared to what you might call the spirit brain, a thing of much inferior quality, and not so capable of learning the cause and effect of phenomena.
I am now undergoing a course of study that will, I have no doubt, give me wonderful information of these laws, so that ultimately I may become what you mortals might call a learned man.
The first and, to me, the most important law that I have learned is that man continues to live in the spirit world without his earthly body. This great law, while to you and to many others is well known and is an established fact, yet, to me, was not known, as I had never had any experience in spiritualism and had never given any study to the subject.
When I arrived in the spirit world, I learned that this law is one of God’s truths, and that it is fixed and will never change, for all will survive the change of so-called death.The next great law that I learned is, that no man can of his own power make his condition or position in the spirit world just what and where he would have it be. This is another fixed truth, and one, which many spirits even, do not fully comprehend; for they think, or so express themselves, that all they have to do is to exercise a little will power and they can move from certain conditions. But this is not true, for the law controlling this matter never has any exceptions in its operations.
Man or spirit can, in a way, determine what his destiny may be, but when once fixed by this great power of will which God has conferred on man, he cannot by the exercise of that will change that fixed condition until the laws of compensation have been satisfied; and even then the change is not brought about by the exercise of his will, but by the operation of the laws releasing him from memories and recollections which hold him to the conditions that his life has placed him in. So when men think that they, by the exercise of their own will, can release themselves from a condition which they have made for themselves, they are mistaken.
Many spirits here have this idea, and believe that if they only chose to exercise their vaunted will power, they could relieve themselves of their darkened condition and get into happier conditions. But strange, they never try this and the reason therefore is apparent. They could not if they tried, and will not try because they cannot. And yet they think that when they get ready, they will only have to exercise this will and the change will follow. No, this law is as fixed as any law of this great universe of God.
Of course, while man or spirit cannot by the exercise of his will change his condition, yet, in order to secure that change, the will has to be exercised, because the help which comes from without, and which is absolutely necessary to man, and which causes the change, and will not come unless man exercises the will in the way of desiring and asking for it.
So let not man think that he is his own savior, because he is not; and if the help did not come from without, he would never be saved from the condition which he finds himself in, when he enters the spirit world. You hear in your spirit circles and read in the publications about spiritualism that progression is a law of the spirit world. Well that is true; but it does not mean that a spirit by the mere fact of being in the spirit world necessarily progresses, either mentally or spiritually, for this is not true. Many spirits who have been here for years are in no better condition than when they first became spirits.
All progression depends upon the help that comes from outside the mind or soul of man. Of course when this help comes, man has to cooperate, but without this help there would be nothing with which to cooperate, and no progress could possibly be made. Many of the spiritualists make this great mistake when they speak or write on this subject. But let them know, that if a man depends upon his own powers, exclusively, he will never progress. And this law does not apply only to the soul’s progress, of which you have heard us speak so often, but to the progress of the mere mind, and also to what might be called the purely moral qualities. My observation, and my information from the other spirits that I have mentioned, confirms the truth of what I have said: man, of himself, cannot elevate himself either mentally or morally, and the sooner he learns that fact, the better for him.
Another law of the spirit world is, that when a spirit once commences to progress, that progress increases in geometrical progression, as we used to say when teaching on earth.
Just as soon as the light breaks into a man’s soul or mind, and he commences to see that there is a way for him to reach higher things, and make greater expansion of either his mind or soul, he will find that his desire to progress will increase as that progression continues, and with that desire will come help in such abundance that it will be limited only by the desire of the spirit. His will then becomes a great force in his success in progressing and working in conjunction with the help that calls it into operation. It becomes a wonderful thing of power and irresistible force.
This progression may be illustrated by the history of the snowball, which started rolling from the top of a hill. As it continues its descent; not only does its velocity increase, but it continually enlarges its form and body by the outside snow attaching itself to the ball. So with the mind or soul of a spirit: as it ascends, it not only becomes more rapid in its flight, but it meets this outside help that I speak of, which help attaches itself to the spirit, and, as it were, becomes a part of it.
So you see that the great problem is to make the start; and this principle will apply to mortals as well as to spirits, because, if the start be made on earth, the mere fact of becoming a spirit will not halt or in any way interfere with the progress of the soul of that spirit. Of course, this means that a correct start be made. If the start be a false one or based on things other than the truth, instead of progress continuing when the man becomes a spirit, there may have to be a retracing of the way, and a new start made, in order to get on the right road.
And this applies to the progress of the mind as well as to the progress of the soul. The mind of a mortal learns many things which seem to that mind to be the truth, and which, in its opinion, must lead to progress and greater knowledge. But when the earth life gives place to the spirit life, that mind may find that its basis of knowledge were all wrong, and that to continue in the way that it had been moving would lead to increased error; and consequently, a new start must be made. And frequently, the retracing of that mind over the course that it had followed, and the elimination of errors that it had embraced, is more difficult and takes a longer time to accomplish, than the learning of the truth does after the mind makes its correct start.
So sometimes the mind of great learning (according to the standards of earthly learning) is more harmful, and retards more the progress of that man in the ways and acquirements of truth, than does the mind that is, as you might say, a blank; that is, without preconceived ideas of what the truth is on a particular subject.
This unfortunate experience exists to a greater extent in matters pertaining to religion than to any other matters, because the ideas and convictions which are taught and possessed of these religious matters affect innumerably more mortals than do ideas and convictions in reference to any other matters.
A spirit who is filled with these erroneous beliefs, that may have been taught him from his mortal childhood, and fostered and fed upon by him until he becomes a spirit, is, of all the inhabitants of this world, the most difficult to teach and convince of the truths pertaining to religious matters. It is much easier to teach the agnostic, or even the infidel, of these truths, than the hide-bound believer in the dogmas and creeds of the church.
So, I say, let the minds of mortals be opened to the teachings of the truth, and even if they are convinced that what they believe is the truth, yet let not that belief stand in the way of them being able to see the truth, when it actually is presented to them.
Another law is, that not all who know that life in the spirit world is continuous, are certain that continuous life means immortality. I mean by this, that the mere fact of living as a spirit, does not of itself prove that such spirit is immortal.
This is a subject that spirits discuss as much as do mortals, and it is just as much a question of uncertainty, as is the immortality of the soul as taught among mortals, now and for all ages past.
While men know that the death of the body does not mean the death of the spirit, and that such spirit, which is the real man, continues to live with all its qualities of a spiritual nature, yet there has never been any proof presented to man that that spirit will live for all eternity, or, in other words, that it is immortal.
I say this, because I have read the histories and beliefs of most of the civilized, and some not called civilized, nations of the world. And I was not able to find in all my readings that it was ever demonstrated that man is immortal. Of course, many pagan and sacred writers taught this, but their statements were all based on belief and nothing more; and, so I say, immortality has never to mortals become demonstrated as a fact.
In the spirit world, the spirits of not only the lower spheres, but those of the higher intellectual or moral spheres, are still debating the question among themselves. I am informed that there are some who lived on earth many centuries ago, and who have become exceedingly wise and learned in the knowledge of the laws of the universe, and have become so free from the sins and errors of their earth life that they may be called perfect men, and yet they do not know that they are immortal. Many of them think that they are just such men or spirits as were they who were represented by Adam and Eve; they know not that they are any less liable to death than were the ones just mentioned. And hence immortality is a thing which may or may not exist for spirits as well as for mortals.
I know that many of your spiritualist friends on earth claim that the mere fact that spiritualism has demonstrated the continuity of life, establishes the fact of immortality. But a few moments consideration will show you the falsity of this reasoning.
Change is the law eternal, both on earth and in the spirit world, and nothing exists the same for any length of time; and in the succession of these changes, how can it be said that in the future, far or near, changes may not come by which the existence of the spirit – the ego of man – may be ended, and that ego take some other form or enter into some other condition, so that it will not be the same ego, and not the same spirit which is now living as a demonstration of the continuity of life?
And so, many spirits, as well as mortals, do not know what is necessary to obtain, to have the certain knowledge of immortality.
But many other spirits know that there is an immortality for spirits who choose to seek that immortality in the way that God in his great wisdom and providence has provided. I will not discuss this phase of immortality now, but will at some later time.
There is another law, which enables spirits to become, by the mere operation of their natural affections and loves, pure and free from the consequences and evils of their mortal lives, and again become perfect, like the first parents before the fall.
This does not mean that the law of compensation does not operate to the fullest, and that it does not demand the last farthing, because such is the exactness in the operation of this law, that no spirit is released from its penalties, until he has satisfied the law.
As you believe, and as many other mortals believe, a man’s punishment for the sins committed by him on earth are inflicted by his conscience and memories. There is no special punishment inflicted by God on any particular man, but the law of punishment operates alike on every man. If the facts that brings that punishment into operation are the same, that punishment will be the same, no matter whether the object of its infliction be the same or different persons. So you see, it cannot be escaped, on any ground of special dispensation, so long as the facts which call for its operation exist, and the conscience and memories of the spirit realize these facts.
When a spirit first enters the spirit life it does not necessarily feel the scourging of these memories, and this is the reason why you will so often hear the spirit, who has so recently left his mortal life, assure his friends or sorrowing relatives at the public seances that he is very happy, and wouldn’t be again in the earth life, and similar assurances. But after a little while, memory commences to work, as the soul is awakened, and then never ceases until the penalties are paid. I don’t mean that the spirit is, necessarily, continuously in a condition of torment, but substantially that, and relief does not come until these memories cease their awful lashings. Some spirits live here a great number of years before they receive this relief; while others more quickly obtain it.
The greatest cause which operates to relieve these spirits of these memories, is love. I now mean the natural love; and this love embraces many qualities, such as remorse and sorrow, and the desire to make amends for injuries done, etc. Until a spirit’s love is awakened, none of these feelings come to him. He cannot possibly feel remorse or regret or the desire to atone, until love, no matter how slight, comes into his heart. He may not realize just what the cause of these feelings may be, but it is love just the same.
Well, as these various feelings operate, and he acts in accordance with them, a memory here and there will leave him, never to return; and as these memories in turn leave him, his sufferings become less, and after awhile, when they have all left him, he becomes free from the law, and it, as to him, becomes extinct. But it must not be understood that this is a work of quick operation, for it may be years – long, weary years of suffering – before he becomes thus free and once more a spirit without sin or these memories. This is the way the great law of compensation is satisfied; it cannot be avoided, but all its demands must be met, until sin and error are eradicated, and the soul returned to a pure state.
But this gradual release from these penalties does not mean that a spirit is progressing in his journey to the higher and brighter spheres; because even without this torture and torment, he may still remain stationary as to the development of his higher nature, mental and moral. But when he has been relieved of these sufferings, he is then in a condition to start towards the progression that I have spoken of.
As you are tired, I will continue the balance of my discourse when I write again.
With all my love I am,
Your true friend and professor,
Joseph H. Salyards.