Unformatted text preview: f all our labours—the anguish and bewilderment
of a human soul—and it has gone to your head. I can hardly blame you. I do not expect old heads on young shoulders.
Did the patient respond to some of your terror-pictures of the future? Did you work in some good self-pitying glances at
the happy past?—some fine thrills in the pit of his stomach, were there? You played your violin prettily did you? Well,
well, it's all very natural. But do remember, Wormwood, that duty comes before pleasure. If any present
self-indulgence on your part leads to the ultimate loss of the prey, you will be left eternally thirsting for that draught of
which you are now so much enjoying your first sip. If, on the other hand, by steady and cool-headed application here
and now you can finally secure his soul, he will then be yours forever—a brim-full living chalice of despair and horror
and astonishment which you can raise to your lips as often as you please. So do not allow any temporary excitement to
distract you from the real business of undermining faith and preventing the formation of virtues. Give me without fail in
your next letter a full account of the patient's reactions to the war, so that we can consider whether you are likely to do
more good by making him an extreme patriot or an ardent pacifist. There are all sorts of possibilities. In the meantime, I
must warn you not to hope too much from a war.
Of course a war is entertaining. The immediate fear and suffering of the humans is a legitimate and pleasing
refreshment for our myriads of toiling workers. But what permanent good does it do us unless we make use of it for
bringing souls to Our Father Below? When I see the temporal suffering of humans who finally escape us, I feel as if I
had been allowed to taste the first course of a rich banquet and then denied the rest. It is worse than not to have tasted it
at all. The Enemy, true to His barbarous methods of warfare, allows us to see the short misery of His favourites only to
tantalise and torment us—to mock the incessant hunger which, during this present phase of the great conflict, His
blockade is admittedly imposing. Let us therefore think rather how to use, than how to enjoy, this European war. For it
has certain tendencies inherent in it which are, in themselves, by no means in our favour. We may hope for a good deal
of cruelty and unchastity. But, if we are not careful, we shall see thousands turning in this tribulation to the Enemy,
while tens of thousands who do not go so far as that will nevertheless have their attention diverted from themselves to
values and causes which they believe to be higher than the self. I know that the Enemy disapproves many of these
causes. But that is where He is so unfair. He often makes prizes of humans who have given their lives for causes He
thinks bad on the monstrously sophistical ground that the humans thought them good and were following the best they
knew. Consider too what undesirable deaths occur in wartime. Men are killed in places where they knew they might be
killed and to which they go, if they are at al...
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2014 for the course MIS 304 taught by Professor Mejias during the Spring '07 term at Arizona.
- Spring '07