January 8th, 1917
Received by James Padgett
I am here St. Luke.
I want to write a few lines upon a subject that may be of interest to you both. You have remarked upon the expression obtained in the letter that you have just received, "that it is hard to learn of heavenly things in hell." It is a statement in a succinct way of a great truth, and one, if it were known and fully appreciated by mortals, it would cause them to realize the necessity of thinking and learning of these heavenly things while on earth.
I know that many say, they will not believe in the orthodox hell, or in the necessity of troubling themselves about the future, or that they will take their chance in the hereafter, if there be one. If these persons could realize the meaning of such a course of life, they would not leave their future to chance, but would, while on earth, seek for these heavenly things, and make a start for the realization of these things now, and not wait until they had left the form of flesh.
They say that a just God will not punish them by condemning them to eternal torment, and they are correct; and while this just God does not condemn them at all, yet they are condemned by a law that is just as invariable as is the Love of that God, and that law brings its certain punishment, even though it may not be eternal. But it is certain, and upon the spirit itself depends very largely its duration. If the spirit finds itself in that condition that it cannot make a start towards its redemption, until a long time after its coming into the spirit world, then that punishment will longer continue; and, if the start depends, as it does very frequently, upon the ability and capacity of the spirit to receive and understand those things that will start it upon its progress, then many spirits will remain for years and years in the condition in which they find themselves when they first come to their homes in the hells.
There is nothing in these places to induce or help the understanding of these heavenly things, but, on the contrary, everything to prevent and obstruct such understanding; even hopelessness and beliefs in an eternity of punishment, and, frequently, want of knowledge that there is any other or better place than where they find themselves.
And I want to say here, that within the spirit there is nothing that has the qualities or powers to start it on a progression, and in this sense, the old Bible expression, "that as a tree falleth so shall it lie," is true. Even as to the natural love these spirits in the hells, cannot initiate a start towards high thoughts and beliefs, and only when some influence from without comes to them, can they have an awakening of their dormant better and true natures, so that their progress may commence. I don't mean by this that it is necessary that some high and spiritual helper shall come to them, but only that some influence from outside of themselves must come in order for them to have an awakening. This influence may be from a spirit in an apparently similar condition to their own, but which has received some glimpse of uplifting truth that it may convey to the dark brother spirit.
All spirits can help others who are in a lower or more stagnant condition than themselves, and sometimes they do; but the great trouble here is, that unless the possibly helping spirits have some desire to benefit their fellow spirits of darkness, they do not try to help. and so as your friend says, "it is hard to learn of heavenly things in hell." He realizes that fact fully, and even with the help that has been offered and will be given him, he will find it difficult to make a start.
The mortal life is not the only place of probation, but it is the most important place, and the easiest for man to make his start in, and understand the beginning of these heavenly things.
I will not write more now, but will soon come and write a formal message.
So with my love to you and friend, I will say to you both, have faith and let not doubt come to you as to the heavenly things that we have written you about.
Your brother in Christ,