In which the experienced tempter Screwtape (The Screwtape Letters) attempts to give advice to Crowley (Good Omens), a talented but lazy demon who has spent too much time in the human world.
My dear Crowley,
The Lower Offices have given me to understand that you require some tutoring in the field of direct human temptation. I have taken a look at your record in the dossier, and though I find many excellent achievements and talents that have proved most useful in gathering souls for Our Father Below, I have to admit that I have found some of the trends in your conduct on Earth to be worrying. Indeed, they tread far too closely to what the opposite side calls perseverance, and occasionally you seem to go so far as to actually be attempting to do good.
I wish to start with your undeniable talent in creating institutions and phenomena that cause human beings to fall into those petty vices that do so much to bring their souls to us. The invention of the road system as it is constructed in London, for instance, has turned many of these roadways into hotbeds of anger, impatience, blasphemy, and idleness that have paved the way for many tempters to make their mark on human souls. Your capability with disturbing electronic devices has done wonders for elevating the anger levels of the human race, and you appear to have a solid grasp of the circumstances under which human beings are prone to vice.
However you never once make use of that understanding.
Your career has been marked by exceptional laziness when it comes to the actual steps of approaching a soul and implanting the seeds of the thorns that will eventually choke the thing. And you appear, from your statement made to the Lower Officials, to have no qualms about this. As I recall your defense was something along the lines that “Demons cannot do anything to humans that humans themselves cannot surpass.”
This is a very dangerous method of thinking, Crowley. It encourage tempters to sit back and allow humans to muddle through life themselves, which is extremely undesirable because of the Enemy’s loathsome trait of giving the humans forgiveness if He deems they would have come to Him under more favorable circumstances (and He is always looking for an excuse to do this). Such thinking also implies that human beings might actually be on some level our spiritual equals or superiors, and such thinking is utterly inconsistent with the teachings and ideals of Our Father Below. You know as well as I do that the creation and elevation of these mud-spawn by giving them souls and allowing them glimpses of the eternity that should rightfully belong only to those of pure spirit was a factor in our Father’s defection from the Enemy’s camp. By stating their abilities at the level you did, you are putting yourself at serious risk of a charge of heresy.
Your acquaintance with the emissary of the Other Side has also been brought to my attention, and I view it with the gravest doubts. There is certainly something to be said for studying the methods of Other Side and learning how to best combat them, but when your penchant for laziness is taken into account, I am forced to conclude that there is only one reason for your interactions with this Aziraphale: friendship.
Such a quality is a very serious taint on your character; indeed, it is a deep flaw that risks undermining all of your other works for Our Father Below. By engaging in friendship, you are going against the very underpinnings of Hell’s founding philosophy- that nothing is done without an ulterior motive, and that every sentient being, by virtue of their existence, is in strife with every other sentient being. One being’s gain is always another’s loss, and there is absolutely no way around that fact. With rumors swirling that you and this angel have actually helped one another on occasion, your file is being regarded more closely than ever by the moderators of the Bureau of Demonic Activity and Conduct, and I feel obliged to tell you that the House of Correction is now being consulted in your case. Though at the moment it has gone no further than a consultation, you are in very bad standing with the Lowerarchy and would do very well to modify your actions and outlook starting immediately. You have undeniable talent, Crowley, one that Hell would not like to lose to heresy and virtue.
I shall be forwarding you a series of tips and suggestions I have compiled for the best ways to approach a soul, and shall look forward to hearing from you on the subject at your earliest convenience.
Abysmal Sublimity Under Secretary Screwtape, T.E. B.S., etc
A/N: As soon as I finished Good Omens I knew this crossover had to happen. It’s been quite a while since I read The Screwtape Letters, but hopefully this was true to their spirit. Hope you enjoyed!