A companion piece, ‘Never Yours, Soul’, was published a few days later.

Dear Soul,

I am concerned that you have developed such a hostile attitude towards me of late. As you know, I have been with you all your life and always do my utmost to bring you pleasure. Yet you seem to have been persuaded that somehow I am out to destroy you! This grieves me very much. So, as your affectionate companion, allow me to remind you of some facts.

I never make you do anything you do not want to. Do you not already feel your desire for those things I urge you towards? I know that you want them, you know that you want them, so do not pretend otherwise. The notion that I am driving you against your will is simply ridiculous. If I stir your imagination, it is only to show you just how much we want the same things. Indeed, I merely tell you the secret desires you try to hide from (goodness knows why). Tell me there is not a great satisfaction and relief whenever you do as I encourage! You see, I know you. And all I advise is purely for your benefit.

On the contrary, this new Spirit of yours seems to be bent on your misery. Such a long list of dos and don’ts I do not know how you abide it. I sense your weariness before you even begin one of his “good works”— and who can blame you, when such things spell the exact opposite of fun for us both? Does he ever allow you to take your pleasure? Why would he not allow you to do what comes naturally? Why instead is he intent on making you suffer?

Look, I do understand the concern about your eternal destination. I have heard the rumours that disobeying the Holy One lands souls in a place of everlasting torment where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. But I am not sure that you are thinking clearly even on this point. Again, let us review the facts.

The Holy One is said to be a fearsome judge, but so far, all we have observed is his mercy and forgiveness. Did he not forgive you all your so-called misdeeds and wrongdoing when you simply asked him, based on the Lamb’s sacrifice? Doubtless he will do it again. I seem to recall, actually, that the more “infractions” there are to forgive, the more his grace is shown. So why are you worried?

As for the shorter-term consequences of following my lead: well, I can hardly be blamed for them. It is you who clumsily flops between following your lusts and fighting against them. Your sudden spurts of conscience are what make you miserable and allow you to be found out and punished. More single-mindedness is what you must learn, more committed secrecy—then there need not be any consequences but pleasure. I am most willing to teach you if you would only stop this nonsense and listen.

But if you must set yourself against me, why not wait a little while? You are yet young and there is time. The Holy One is far more likely to show you mercy than actually go through with his threats. He understands your nature and how hard it is for you to go against it. Surely he will not begrudge you a few more years of doing your pleasure; then you may repent when you are old and your desires less fierce.

I know I am making sense to you. A more reasonable or generous master you could not find. So let us forget this falling-out and ally ourselves again. I promise you will not regret it.

Ever yours,



She is ready: tempt away.