Two Ways Souls Can Progress
by Dr. Leslie R. Stone
Love to God and love to your fellow man as taught by Moses and other teachers and reformers, is a beautiful love when lived up to, and leads to the Kingdom of the Perfect Natural Man but not to the Divine Kingdom in the Celestial Heavens, where Jesus dwells. Jesus was the first to obtain the Divine Love, and since he has been in the Celestial Heavens has obtained it in such great and exceeding abundance that he is nearer to the Fountainhead of the Father, and has a greater glory and beauty than any other Celestial Spirit; and because of this greater abundance of the Divine Love in his soul, it gives to him far greater wisdom and knowledge and soul perception of the Great Soul of God and His attributes, and makes him the greatest authority in all the Celestial Heavens of the Father's plans for the salvation of His children.
Moses taught the Ten Commandments, and many other teachers and leaders taught the moral precepts before Jesus came to earth. Jesus was the first man to teach of a greater Love than the mere exercise of the natural love. This Divine Love is no part of the natural love; neither is it that love developed into its purest state. It is a separate and distinct quality of love.
A spirit who had reached the Kingdom of the Perfect Natural Man wrote through Mr. James E. Padgett that "although he was a very bright spirit, his glory as compared to the Celestial spirits who wrote through Mr. Padgett was like a pale moonbeam compared to the glorious sun at midday." This fact is very convincing that these Celestials have obtained in their souls a quality of love that is of the Divine Essence, or Divine Love, which causes that greater glory and beauty that shines through their spirit body countenances--which man perfected in the natural love has not.
Spirits who have progressed to the Kingdom of the Perfect Natural Man, which is the highest sphere of those who develop their natural love and become free from sin and error, find themselves in a condition of stagnation, for they have found the limit of their purifying process that they have passed through. Of course, they are beautiful and glorious spirits, and wonderfully happy in investigating laws both material and spiritual, for there is always something new coming up for them to study. The purifying process they have passed through is the result of good deeds and good thoughts, their natural love to God and their fellowman, renunciation of their sins that are not in harmony with God's laws of harmony, and helping spirits who are in a lower sphere than themselves.
When these spirits reach the condition whereby their souls become free from the perversions of their natural love, they have then reached the sixth sphere, the Kingdom of the Perfect Natural Man, but are still in a condition of stagnation, and become anxious for higher Truth as the soul longing increases.
After a while, these spirits referred to find their souls becoming hungry for something, they know not what, and then the Celestials, who often visit the spheres, are able to instruct them in what their souls are really hungry for, even though they have no idea of what it is. Then these spirits will often listen to the Celestials and take their advice, and seek with all the earnest, sincere longings of their souls for the inflowing of the Divine Love; and when this Love comes into the soul, it transforms the soul into the Divine Nature, and eventually the Love comes into the soul in such abundance that the Celestial Heavens will be reached.
The Celestial Heavens follow the seventh sphere. And the spirit who makes its progress from the lower spheres by earnest and sincere prayers for the Divine Love finds that as the Divine Love enters into the soul in sufficient abundance it is then qualified to enter the sphere above. After it reaches this sphere and seeks for more of the Divine Love, and more of the Love comes into the soul in sufficient degree, the spirit rises into the next sphere that is higher; and, as the Love increases in the soul, the spirit progresses from sphere to sphere, until it reaches the Seventh Sphere. After it reaches the Seventh Sphere, the spirit possesses the Divine Love in almost, but not quite, sufficient abundance to enter the Celestial Heavens, which are immediately above the seventh sphere.