March 29th, 1917
Received by James Padgett
I am here, Robert G. Ingersoll.
Well, I come first because I am more modest than the other spirits who are present, and will say a few words and then give place to the others.
I have been with you while you were reading the work of Swedenborg, and was much interested in the impression made upon your mind by what he said, and found that your impressions were not very different from those that I had when I read his book while on earth, except this, that I had no belief in the spirit world, while you have. Of course, you know from the knowledge that you have received through the messages that have come to you that many of his assertions are erroneous and the creatures of a mind that was fitted with a great knowledge of scientific things as accepted in his day, and also of a desire on his part to reconcile his knowledge of science and of theological teachings with what he supposed had been imparted to him by spirits and angels. But the result was that they could not be reconciled, and the consequence was that he declared doctrines and teachings that were utterly at variance with spiritual truths; and no one knows better than he does at this time of the falsity of many of his teachings.
Swedenborg had many opportunities for receiving and imparting the truth, but his great learning in the sciences and his beliefs in the old orthodox doctrines of the church in which he had been reared led him to conclusions and declarations of truths – as he believed – that were contrary to both science and religion in its higher and true sense.
Well, you may wonder that I write on this subject, and to answer any question that may arise from your surprise, I only desire to say that since I have received a knowledge of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind and some of His Divine Love, I have been investigating with all the energies of my soul the great truths that exist and which are never changed. And in such investigation I have talked with Swedenborg and have learned from him the sources of his wonderful declarations and doctrines as set forth in his works. He is now in full knowledge of the truth, and also of his errors of his own learned disquisitions, as his followers believe and pronounce them to be.
He can best explain to you the causes of his erroneous beliefs and what led him to attempt to explain the teachings that he received in the spirit world and his experiences in the mystical way that he did. I will not write more on the subject.
But I, Ingersoll, who was truly and honestly an agnostic, can and do say that in this spirit world I had less darkness and less erroneous beliefs to get rid of than had Swedenborg; and while he had more of this Divine Love in his soul than had I – for I had none – yet his mind was so warped by his intellectual conceptions of the truth that it was easier for me to find the true way and progress in it towards the Father’s Love and the Celestial heavens than it was for him. This he has told me, and I have listened to him with much interest, and have learned that the way of the narrow and bigoted orthodox believer is a harder road to travel than that of the agnostic who has not in his soul been too much defiled by sin and evil.
I am still progressing and praying, and believing and receiving, the inflow of this Wonderful Love. Oh, I tell you that this Love is the greatest thing in all the spirit world, as well as on earth, and the only thing that brings the soul in close union and harmony with the Father.
I will not write more now, but soon I will come and write my promised letter.
So, my dear friend, with my love and gratitude, I will say good night.
Your brother in Christ,
R. G. Ingersoll