Former Minister Turned Skeptic Finds Hope
In this mediated message, a former minister turned skeptic finds hope and a way out of his predicament of a feeling of hopelessness imposed by false beliefs. For related information, click here.
A Former Minister of the Gospel States That His Religious Beliefs Were Merely Intellectual,
Which Led to His Profound Skepticism and Departure from the Ministry,
and to His Loss of All Hope for Forgiveness in the Spirit World
I AM HERE. (S.B.C.)
I am here, a poor, miserable man who is without hope in this dark and dreary world of lost souls, and who is surrounded by spirits who are, like myself, suffering from the effects of an evil life and a lost soul.
I come to you because I have seen others come and apparently receive some benefits. As you know, hope is a thing which will come to us at all times, even though for a moment; and when I came to you, that moment was mine. But, to be frank, I do not expect that you can help me any, for the moment of hope has gone and only my dark and fixed despair is with me.
But, as I have commenced to write, I will be polite enough to continue and to show to you that I am not unmindful of the benefit of the opportunity which you give us to come to you, nor am I unaware of your kindness in listening to our tales of woe.* And, so, if I am not too troublesome, I would like to tell you a little of my condition and what brought it about—I mean as I now see things in their true nature and relationship to cause and effect, and why I am in the condition of darkness and suffering that now holds out to me no hope of succor.
Well, when on earth, I was at one time a minister of the Gospel of Christ, and, for a number of years, preached, as I thought, his Truths of salvation to men. At the same time, I actually and truly believed in what I taught. But now I see that my belief was wholly intellectual and not arising from the soul’s inspirations, and that my teachings were also merely those, or rather my condition as teacher was merely that, of the teacher of a school or similar institution.
I never enjoyed religion in its true, or soul, sense, and all my endeavors to teach others were made because I had a kind of realization that I was called upon to pursue that course of life. But my teachings, while others have been benefited by them, never benefited myself. Well, after a while, I got tired of this life of the ministry and, in an evil hour, forsook it and became a lawyer. My thoughts were then taken entirely away from things religious, and, as I progressed in the studies and thoughts of my legal profession, there developed in me the mental condition of mind that required every proposition asserted to be proved by convincing and irrefutable evidence. And this condition of mind grew in me to such an extent that I would accept nothing as true where merely faith was all that was given upon which to base the truth. And, as a consequence, I became a reader of books that were called scientific, and they showed me the absurdity of receiving, as an established fact, anything which could not be demonstrated by my five senses in conjunction with my reasoning faculties.
After a while, the question of God’s Existence, the truth of the genuineness of the Bible, and the reality of religion came before my skeptical mind in a new light. And as I had associates whose minds were in a similar condition to my own, I rejected the truth of all these things and became an infidel without a God or savior, even in a mental sense.
And, so, I continued to live in this condition of mind, which became more and more skeptical as the years went by.
And my soul’s development, what little it then had been, as I now see, ceased, and I became soulfully dead beyond resurrection.
In my ministerial life, I taught and mentally believed in the ministrations of the Holy Spirit and Its functions in awakening man’s soul to a realization of the necessity of seeking the Love and Favor of God. I also preached that, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it was impossible for any man to become the possessor of God’s Love or to be accepted by Him as a redeemed child. And I also preached that to reject the benefit or the work of the Holy Spirit (or, as the Bible says: to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit) was to become guilty of the “unpardonable sin” for which there was no forgiveness.
After I became a skeptic, as I have said, I was guilty of this very sin; for, while ever respectful in my declarations as to things religious, I often vowed and asserted that the Holy Spirit was a myth, and that It did not and could not work to save men’s souls. Further, that all who believed in such silly tales were of shallow minds, and that they needed to be educated to the truths which could only be obtained by developing their minds. Finally, they needed to realize that whatever their senses, together with their reasoning powers, did not prove, or, rather, did not accept as proved, should be rejected.
So, you see, according to the Bible teachings, I committed this “unpardonable sin”, though, while on earth, I did not believe that I had. And, in fact, I did not believe there was any such sin to commit! But, alas, how many of my associates—men of bright minds and loving and kindly souls—committed the same great sin!
When I died and became a spirit, my beliefs came with me and remained with me for a long time. I enjoyed considerable happiness in the exercise of my mental qualities and in the pursuit of certain studies with regard to the spirit world. I met many congenial spirits and, in our interchange of thoughts, I found much that was interesting and profitable. But, after a while, and for some unaccountable reason, these pleasures of intellectual enjoyment ceased to have the satisfying properties that they had at first, and I felt that there was something wanting, though I did not realize what it was and my companions could not tell me.
In my wanderings, I met many spirits and, always being eager in the search of truth, I did not hesitate to ask questions of those whom I thought might be able to enlighten me. And, at last, in my pursuits, I came across a very beautiful and bright spirit—the most beautiful that I had seen. Being curious, in the best sense, I asked what was the cause of his beauty and brightness and apparent happiness. And in a voice that was all love, and with a look of great pity and sympathy, he told me that there was only one cause: that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit he had received the Love of God in his soul, and that, as a result of that Love, from an ugly and dark spirit, he had come into the condition in which I saw him.
You can imagine my surprise! It was like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky. It was proof—plain, palpable, and convincing—that the Holy Spirit was a real thing, that It does cause the Love of God to flow into the souls of men and spirits, and that Its work brings such glorious results. Where now was my belief that the five senses and the reasoning powers of my mind were the only things that could show me the truth? Oh, I tell you, it was a shock! And then there came back to me the teachings of the Bible and my early life as a minister. And with these recollections came the conviction of the awful mistake that I had made while on earth. Worst of all, and what sounded my everlasting doom, came the memory that I had blasphemed and committed the “unpardonable sin” against the Holy Ghost, and that, for me, never through all eternity was there any possibility of forgiveness!
Why should not all hope die within? It did. And can you be surprised when I tell you there can be no hope, and that I must suffer and remain in this condition of darkness and soul death through all the long years of the future?
So, you see, one moment of hope caused me to trouble you with my unhappy story of why I am beyond all hope of forgiveness or expectation of any happiness or life in the outstretching future.
So, my friend, I am in the position of Dives [the rich man from the Bible parable (Luke 16:19-31)]. I cannot be benefited myself by this knowledge of the Truth of the Holy Spirit, and the certain doom which arises from blaspheming Its work and mission. Yet, I can tell you to sound the warning to all mortals that they must not deny the Holy Spirit or speak words of blasphemy against It.
Well, I have taken up more of your time than I should have done, and I will stop writing.
My name was S.B.C. and I lived in Glasgow, Scotland, and I died in 1876 in a fatal and false belief, and a traitor to my young faith.
(Response: My dear friend, you are mistaken in your belief that you are beyond all hope for forgiveness or ultimate happiness. While it is true that neglecting to pray for God’s Divine Love, conveyed through the ministration of His Holy Spirit, is indeed a sin of omission, it is not true, as you say, that you are now beyond redemption. Just as the Father, in His Great Love and Mercy, extends His Forgiveness on earth to the truly penitent, likewise, in the spirit world, His forgiveness is no less available to you now for the sincere asking for His Love through prayer.
I would like to suggest that you put my words to the test by praying to the Father with all true longings for His Love to flow into your soul, and see whether or not you will receive His Loving Response. And, to instruct you further in this, I would urge you to receive the counsel of bright spirits about you who have themselves experienced the wonderful effects of having prayed for and received God’s redeeming Love as spirits.)
I should say that, if you could show me that what you say is true, I would be the happiest man in all the spirit world, and that I would seek for this Love of God with all my heart and soul. But I feel that you are raising false hope in me. If you are speaking what you know, I will try to believe what may be said to me, and I assure you that I will listen most attentively and respectfully to what may be said. And, of course, if there is any hope held out to me, I will grasp it and never let it go away from me. But it will be hard for me to believe that there is any forgiveness for me.
(Response: Well, in order for your hope to be realized, you must be prepared to listen to these spirits with an open heart and mind, and without preconceived notions.)
Yes, I promise that I will try to listen as much as I can without having my present beliefs influence me.
(Look about you and tell me what you see.)
Well, I see a great number of spirits. Some are very unhappy and some not so unhappy, but they are still dark and forbidding.
(Look carefully. Do you not also see some who appear bright and happy?)
Yes, I see some bright ones, just like the one who told me that his beauty and happiness came from the work of the Holy Ghost in his soul.
(I want you now to ask one of these spirits to have my grandmother, Ann Rollins, come to you. When she does so, explain to her what you have said to me, and please tell me the result of your conversation.)
I have told her what you said, and she says to me:
“My dear brother, you are mistaken in thinking that you are beyond forgiveness, for the Father’s Mercy is so great and His Love so abundant that they are sufficient to redeem the vilest sinner that ever existed, or ever will exist, in all His Great Universe. So, if you will come with me, I will show you the results of this Mercy and Love of the Father, and you will soon realize that this Mercy and Love is for you, even though you now believe that you are past redemption.”
She looks on me with such love and sympathy that I already feel that I may be wrong. I am going with her. So, my very dear friend, I will come to you again and tell you my experience with your grandmother.
So, believe that I am so thankful to you for your interest, and permit me to subscribe myself,
Your thankful friend, S.B.C.
* Mr. Padgett devoted one evening each week to helping dark spirits find relief from their sufferings.—Ed.
For related messages and PDF download of the whole book, click here.
Header photo by Kyle Eaker from FreeImages.com