|Simplified Scientific Christianity
More than nineteen hundred years ago in Palestine there was born a little child. Children are born every day, every month, from one year's end to another, all over the face of the world, but this birth was something very, very different from any other. It was a birth that took place among and amid great spiritual manifestation. Angel choirs heralded this peacemaker, who was to give man the choicest of gifts — Peace on Earth and Good Will among men. How much it is needed!
The Wise Men came and worshiped, they brought gifts to the little child's cradle, and time passes on. The child grows, becomes a man, and says, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." A very different story that from the way he was heralded as a peacemaker; a very different career he pointed out for himself in the world than that which had been sung about by the angels on that Holy night. And history goes on to show that this prophecy was fulfilled. That Christian religion he came to found has been the bloodiest scourge the world has ever known, without any exception. The Mohammedan has been somewhat akin to the Christian religion and has been akin in that also, that it has been a religion of blood, of war, and of murder.
The gentle Nazarene spoke also of a time of love beyond, but those who came after him have fought like the Indian, they have outdistanced the Indian in cunning, in devising tortures for their victims, and yet they call themselves by his name — Jesuits. The Christian nations maintain and have maintained all along armies and navies. They pay inventors enormous prices for inventing machine guns and high explosives wherewith to destroy their fellow men. All over the Western World has gone the battle cry and nothing has equaled this religion in fierceness and destructiveness. The religion of Buddha has won its many hundred millions without the cost of a single life, but this religion of the Western World has cost rivers and rivers of blood; has brought untold sorrow and misery into this world. We see it gradually spreading its bloody trail as these Western nations go all over the world, carrying the sword of Christ, overcoming and subjecting the nations of the world.
Even when there is peace within the nations we have every day the war of competition. Every man's hand is against every other man's; there is no cooperation in this cruel struggle. We see on every hand the evidence of this in the growth of trust systems. All over there is a great strife and struggle. One must look this fact in the fact when he is a Christian at heart; he feels at heart that there is something wrong when he sees those things and is forced to ask himself, "Was it a lie that was sung by the angels on that Holy night? Was the star of hope that guided the Wise Men a mockery? Was this all a delusion we have heard about, and is it only a cruel religion that we have here in this Western World?"
I hope, friends, tonight to be able to show you that there is a reason for all of this; that there is a good, sound reason for every act of cruelty Christianity has brought in its wake, and that this trouble is only a necessary forerunner for something better, a state of peace, of joy, of love; that the star of hope was indeed a star of hope and is yet a star of hope for all who will seek it, and that the burden of the angel song is but deferred; that the present unhappy condition is just on the same order than when a person cleans house he puts a fairly orderly house in disorder, piling chairs on top of one another, taking up carpets, raising dust, etc. But that is all done with the ultimate idea in view of making the house cleaner, sweeter, better than before. Those historical facts in that past history of the Christian religion are of the same order; a present chaos out of which shall come the brotherhood of love and good will.
In order to understand we must go back in time. We know from the later lectures that man has not always been as he is; that he has lived in different state. We look upon everything in the cosmos not as it is now, but as it has evolved up to the present stage. Above all, we must cease to look at things in a materialistic manner. We must cease to regard ourselves and this Earth as mere forms. We must cease to regard the universe as a vast perpetual-motion machine, and realize that the stars are the organs of a great Being whom we call by the Holy name of God; that these stars are also the bodies of great Spirits and that their motion in the universe means something. When we see a man gesticulate we attach a meaning to it; when we see him hold out his hands with the palms towards us, we attach a meaning to it; he is telling us to go away. We know there is a different significance to it when his palms are turned towards himself; then he is beckoning to us to come to him. So with the stars. As they go around the zodiac year after year every one has a different position with regard to every other, until after countless ages they return to the first position. Every one of them is a feeling, living, thinking organism. The solstices have different meanings. The summer solstice brings about one certain change in the Earth; when the Sun goes to the winter solstice in December there is another influence upon the Earth. So with the vernal and fall equinox. They all mean something; they all have significance in the cosmos.
The Earth itself is a feeling, living organism. When we go out in the summer time and see the harvesters mowing the grain, let us not think there is no feeling about it; the Earth feels it. A cow that gives its life force to its offspring experiences joy and pleasure of having brought forth; it feels relieved when the calf takes the milk. It is so also with the Earth when the grain is taken off by the harvester. It is the same when we pluck flowers. On the other hand, when we pluck plants up by the roots it causes the Earth pain, just as it does us when we have our hair pulled. When we break a stone we give the Earth pleasure, for this Earth is the body of a Spirit, which has incarnated here in our dense Earth in order that we might have the material wherewith to build the dense bodies we function in just now. The Earth Spirit is longing for the day of redemption, when man shall have evolved so far that he shall cease to be under the necessity of having such a dense body and be able to function in a more ethereal vehicle. Then this instrument will have been spiritualized so that we may take the spiritual essence of it and discard the dense body. That is to be gained in a certain way by the initiation we shall hear about later in the lecture.
The Mystery of Golgotha we spoke of the other night, where we heard of this great Christ Spirit going into the Earth. That is only the beginning of the sacrifice. It was not just the death of the body of Jesus, that was over in a moment, but it was the continued incarceration of that Christ, who emanated from the cosmic Christ principle and is now the indwelling Earth Spirit, confined here till He has accomplished the redemption of man.
We remember that at one time we dwelt upon the sun; that is to say, that even in this Earth Period, when we came here to live the last time, we were in that central fire-mist, and we were there up to the time spoken of as the Hyperborean Epoch. There we crystallized until we could not respond to the high vibrations the other solar beings responded to; those who are now the archangels. They could progress in solar vibrations, we could not; therefore we crystallized a part of that fire-mist to shield ourselves, and in consequence we had to be thrown off. Then when we had gone the proper distance away from the Sun we could crystallize again, and later we threw off that part which is now known as the Moon. Those beings who are now on the Moon were too far crystallized; they were behind us; therefore we had to throw them off. From these two sources come two sets of vibrations; spiritual vibrations from the Sun, and hardening tendencies from the Moon. It is the balance between these two sets of vibrations that enables us to hold our bodies together.
At that time man was perfectly unconscious. His eyes had not been opened. He only used his force to build organs inside. Then gradually the Earth crystallized more and more, until in the middle part of Atlantis the Ego had at last drawn into humanity and man had become possessed of all the vehicles that he has now. Then he became conscious of the world, but he was in a far, far different state than now. When consciousness is awakened it begins to work as a leaven in matter. Since we were in Atlantis and had our eyes fully opened, since the atmosphere cleared and we first saw things about us clearly — since then we have worked in the Earth in the materials of our bodies as a leaven works in the loaf and raises it. So we have lightened conditions and are continually lightening them.
In Lemuria man had the three lower bodies — the desire body, the vital body, and the dense body. Outside hovered the Spirit. At that time the Earth was in a condition of fire. There were masses of crust and around them seething, boiling water, and volcanic outbursts were very, very frequent. Man had at that time lungs that were like tubes. He had a bladder like the fishes have now, wherewith he could lift himself and leap great chasms. As the Earth condensed more and more that fire fog atmosphere of Lemuria condensed into a very dense fog in the early part of Atlantis. There those tubes had changed to gill-clefts, and he was breathing more as the fish do. This can be seen now in embryological development, where man goes through the same stages he went through at that time. the embryo lies in the amniotic fluid and has these gill-clefts, such as man had in the early part of Atlantis. He breathed in that manner in the dense watery atmosphere of Atlantis, but gradually that settled more and more, and man began to breathe as we do now.
In the early third of Atlantis there was a brotherhood; separation into nations had not begun. Mankind was a universal brotherhood, and when performing the rite of baptism, which makes us a member of a holy brotherhood, such as the church should be, a community that should be the nucleus for great universal brotherhood, that rite of consecration by water is in remembrance of that time, when man was truly innocent and truly lovable, had no evil in him — the time when he lived in the dense watery atmosphere of early Atlantis.
In the middle third of Atlantis all that is changed. He begins to separate into communities, for the watery atmosphere is clearing somewhat and he is beginning to breathe by the means of lungs. The human Ego was very weak, and had to get help from someone else. Therefore Jehovah, the highest Initiate of the Moon Period, the ruler over the angels and archangels that work with men, breathes into man's nostrils, gives him lungs, and gives him the Race Spirit in the air that is to curb the hardening tendencies of the desire body and help him to get it under control. The desire body has control of the voluntary muscles, every movement we make is caused by desire, and every exertion breaks down tissue, and hardens more and more every particle of our tissue. Therefore Jehovah aimed to help mankind out of their dense condition, by means of law.
The race religions are all based upon law. "I am a jealous God, and if you fulfill my commandments I will bless you abundantly and make your seed as multitudinous as the sands upon the seashore," says the Race God, "but if you do not obey I will send your enemies upon you and they shall gain the victory over you." Jehovah is the ruler of all the races and all the religions. He gave to each of these races an archangel to be their ruler, to be their special Prince. In Daniel 12:1, it is said that Michael is Prince over the Jews, and in the tenth chapter another race spirit says: "I am going to fight with the Prince of Persia, and the Prince of Persia shall come."
Thus these Race Spirits work with man, punishing him by means of other people, and giving him rewards or punishments for his good or bad deeds. The fear of God and the desire for material reward was pitted against the desires of the flesh and therefore these race religions under Jehovah are such as to build up the national spirit. They subjected, or rather they neglected, the individual for the sake of the nation. The interests of the individual are always made subservient to the interests of the nation. The Jew never thought of himself as Solomon Levi; first and foremost he thought of himself as being of the seed of Abraham. What he wanted most to emphasize was that he was a Jew. If he thought of his status any farther than that he would identify himself with his tribe, but last and least only would he think of himself as an individual.
The Race Spirit took a special care of certain sets of people, for example, the Levites among the Jews, who were destined specially for priesthood and they were herded around the temples and were specially bred to be the forerunners and teachers of their brethren. Their system of mating and regulation of the sex life of these special proteges produced a more lax connection between the vital body and the dense body which was necessary in order that initiation might take place and help man to advance. As long as the Race Spirit works with us we are under the law, we are only overcoming the influence of the desire body; therefore Paul says well that the law was until Christ — not until Christ came 2,000 years ago, but "Until Christ be formed in you." When we release ourselves from the toils of the desire body and live up to the vibrations of the vital body, we become imbued by the Christ Spirit. Then and only then do we rise out of the national, the separating principle. Then do we become capable of being brothers to men.
Now we see why Christ said so emphatically, "Before Abraham was, I am." The Ego was before the nation and must be exalted over the nation. To that end Christ came, because as long as there were nations, there could not be brotherhood. If we have a number of houses, and they built of bricks, they are unavailable for building one building until torn down. When all the bricks have been separated we may begin building. When all nations have been chopped into individuals we may begin to build the grand Universal Brotherhood of man.
That is why the race religions failed, they separate men into antagonistic groups. So the race religions must be abrogated. We cannot do away with nations except we separate the individual. Therefore, we have wars, therefore we have had revolutions, where men have rebelled against kings and rulers, and have instituted republics. But they are not enough. We want to be free individually. We want to be every man a law unto himself — and this is where a great, great danger lies. We cannot be laws unto ourselves — We cannot be free, until we have learned to respect everybody else's rights.
So then, under the race religion, men grew by obedience to the law. Under the Christ regime that is to come in, man is to rise above law, and to be a law unto himself. As Goethe says —
That is the goal, self-mastery, which every one must gain, before he is fit to be a law unto himself — to be above the law — for no one except the very undisciplined man, who calls himself an anarchist, will think to improve matters by having the power to shoot down people. By that means he will make conditions far, far worse than they were. The true anarchist, the one who truly seeks to abolish law, is the one who is living the true life, and the clean life. By obeying every law, he rises above all law. We, for example, have risen above the law against theft. It is not necessary for us to have that law, but some people have not risen so far as that, and they must still have that law. We do not wish to steal, and hence, do not need the law that says, "Thou shalt not steal." By and by, man will rise above the need of all law. Then and only then can he be a law unto himself. In the Christ regime, man will be impelled and guided by love, and "perfect love casteth out fear." The race religions compel man to do right by means of fear, but the Christ religion will impel man through love. Then he cannot do otherwise than right.
All race religions — every one of them, without exception, are looking for someone to come. The Egyptian religion looked forward to Osiris the bright Sun-Spirit; the Persian looked to Mithras; and the Babylonian to Tammuz. All looked for someone to come, to free the Earth. We find the same thing, even in the Norse mythology. We find that the old Norsemen looked for the "Twilight of the Gods," when the present regime must perish, and then out of the South from Muspelheim, the region of heat, should come that bright Sun-Spirit, Sutar, and he should set us a new heaven and a new Earth. Such we hear of in all religions, and even in the Christian religion we find them looking forward to a Sun-Spirit. At one time, in the ritual of the Catholic church, they used the phrase, "Our Lord of the Sun." It is from the visible Sun that every particle of physical energy comes. And it is from the spiritual invisible Sun that all of the spiritual energy comes.
At the present time we cannot bear to look directly at the Sun. It would blind us. But we can look at the reflected sunlight that comes from the Moon. In the same way, man cannot stand the direct spiritual impulse that comes from the Sun, and therefore, it had to be sent by way of the Moon, through the hands, and through the mediumship of Jehovah, the Regent of the Moon. That is the origin of the race religions. Later came the time when man could take the spiritual impulse more directly, and Christ, the present Earth Spirit, came to prepare this. The difference between the Christ of the Earth and the Cosmic Christ is best seen by an illustration. Imagine a lamp in the center of a hollow sphere of polished metal. The lamp will send out rays from itself to all points of the sphere, and will reflect lamps in all different places. So the Cosmic Christ — the highest Initiate of the Sun Period — sends out rays. He is in the spiritual Sun. The Sun is threefold. We see the outside — the physical Sun. Behind that, or hiding in that, is the spiritual Sun whence comes the impulse of the Cosmic Christ spirit. Outside the two others is something we call Vulcan — that can be seen only as a half-globe. In esotericism, we say that is the body of the Father. There we have the Father, then, the spirit in Vulcan. We have the Christ, the Spirit in the Sun; and we have Jehovah, the Spirit in the Moon, that sends the reflected light both physical and spiritual.
Before the advent of Christ all spiritual impulses came to man by way of the Moon as race religions. Only by initiation was it possible to get into direct touch with the spiritual solar impulse. A veil hung before the temple.
When the time arrived that the Christ Spirit could be entertained on the Earth — when we had risen so far — then a ray from the Cosmic Christ came here, and incarnated here in the body of our Elder Brother Jesus. After the sacrifice on Golgotha had been completed, after the death of that body that he had occupied, he drew himself into the Earth. Take his own words for this. In no other way can we account for that saying, "This is my body." He showed the bread, it is the Earth Spirit that brings forth that bread. "This is my blood." The juices that are in the plant make the wine. It was not said, This symbolizes my body or blood; he said unequivocally, "This is my blood."
In John 13:18, in our New Testament, it says: "He that eats my bread hath lifted up his heel against me." Luther, who translated it in Germany, and was not tied by any of the restrictions of the translators of the King James Bible, put it, "He that eats my bread trampled upon me." We do trample, at every step we take, upon the Earth Spirit, and that Spirit's body and blood is consumed among us, and that Spirit waiting for the day of redemption, when we shall be lifted so far from our material conditions that it shall be possible for the Earth Spirit to become liberated from its present cramped and dense existence.
The Christ Spirit, then, is the first incoming of a direct spiritual impulse. We spoke to you of the different motions of the planets, and their various influences at different times of the year. We know that at the time when the Sun's Spirit is in the northern regions — when we have the sun away up here at the summer solstice, then we have all the physical impacts upon the Earth. We get all the good there is in the Sun along physical lines; that is the time when the grain and the grape are ripening, and when everything is bringing forth in the Physical World. The the spiritual impulse is abrogated for the time being; but when, on the other hand, the Sun goes into the winter solstice, in December, the spiritual impulse is strongest. Also, we have the spiritual impulse stronger in the night than in the daytime. There were times when the churches were open all night, but closed in the middle of the day, for that was known to be the time of greatest darkness, so far as spiritual influences were concerned. However, when we remember these things we can see that at the time when the days are the shortest and the nights are the longest, on that Holy Night that we speak of, when the Christ was born as a Sun who was to lighten our darkness — the spiritual influence is then strongest, and can be reached easiest. It was this great truth that is at the bottom of the Star in the Holy night, illuminating the longest and darkest night in the year.
When Parsifal started to go with Gurnemanz to the castle of the Grail, he asked Gurnemanz: "Who is the Grail?"
That means that in the olden times, in the time before Christ came, only a chosen few could follow the path of initiation. Nobody could seek that path — nobody could get beyond the point where the rest of humanity were — save a few chosen ones, such as were the priests and the Levites. These were brought to the temples, and there herded together. They were married to one another in a certain way; certain people were mated with a definite end in view, namely, that they might develop the proper laxity between the vital body and the dense body that is necessary to initiation. A separation has to take place in order that we may lift the two ethers out, and leave the other two. That could not be done with the ordinary humanity. They were yet much in bondage to the desire body. They must wait until a later time.
Even with those people who were around those temples, it was very dangerous work to free them. It could be done best at certain times, and this longest night was one of those times. When the greatest spiritual impulse is here, they had a better chance to get in touch with it, than at any other time of the year. So on the Holy Night, which we call Christmas, it was usual for the Wise Men — those who were beyond the ordinary humanity — to take the ones who were also becoming wise, and therefore entitled to initiation, into the temples. Certain ceremonies were performed and the candidates were entranced. They could not at that time be given an initiation in their full waking state, it had to be done in trance. When the spiritual perception was awakened in them, they could look through the Earth — not seeing any detail, but the Earth became transparent, as it were — and they saw the Star at midnight, the spiritual sun.
Previous to the coming of Christ, the Earth was worked upon from without, as the Group Spirit works upon the animals. Christ came to work from within. Before that, when neophytes were to be brought in touch with him, they could see, in that Holy Night, the Star of the Christ, just as the Immaculate Virgin was on the Eastern horizon, and the little Sun-child of the coming year was starting towards the Northern hemisphere, to save us from the darkness, hunger and want that would result without him. Then these Wise Men could see the Star, in the Holy Night, which is the spiritual hope of man as the physical sun then born is his material savior.
Do not think it shone only at that time; it is easier now than then to see it, for when Christ came he altered the vibrations of the Earth and is changing them all the time since. He "rent the temple veil" — He made the Holy of Holies — the place of initiation — open to "whosoever will!" From that time on, there is no more trance needed — no more subjective states in order to go through initiation. There is a conscious going forth into the Temple, by every one who wills to come.
And in time that religion that He brought to us will drive away all the sorrows; will dry the tears from all eyes. Where there has been war, there will be peace, and sure, as sure as he came to bring that sword that shall liberate man from the national spirit and make him an individual that is capable of being a brother to every man, so surely as He came to do this work, so surely as the first part of His prophecy has been fulfilled — so will that other grand and glorious prophecy be fulfilled, that men shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks.
We have one more thing to consider, and that is the gifts that these Wise Men brought — the gifts that were to be laid at the feet of the Savior, as we hear of in the old legend. This legend tells us that one brought gold, one brought myrrh, and the third brought frankincense. The gold we always hear spoken of in symbology as the emblem of the Spirit. That Spirit is symbolized thus in the Niebelungen Ring, for instance. There in the opening scene, we see the Rhinegold. The river Rhine is taken as the emblem of the water, and there the gold is seen shining on the rock, symbolizing the universal spirit in its perfect purity. Later it is stolen and made into a ring by Alberich, representing mankind in the middle of Atlantis, when the Spirit had drawn into them. Then the gold became debased, was lost, and was the cause of all sorrow in the earth. Later still we hear of the alchemists who tried to transmute base metal into gold; that is the spiritual way of saying that they wanted to purify this dense body, to refine it and extract the spiritual essence.
Therefore, the gift of one wise man is the Spirit. The next one brings myrrh. Myrrh is the extract of an aromatic plant that grows in Arabia, a very rare plant, very rare indeed. Therefore, it symbolizes the thing that man extracts when he cleanses himself. When he has cleansed his blood of passion he becomes plantlike, chaste and pure. He became the inverted plant before he became the pure plant, symbolized by the Rosy Cross, symbolized by the Diamond Soul, and so forth, then his body is an aromatic essence. It is an actual fact — we are not speaking in similes — when we say that there are Holy men, who are so Holy that they emit an aroma from them. It is thus said of some Catholic saints, and it is true. Therefore, the myrrh stands for that soul essence that is drawn out of the experience of the body. It is the soul.
The third gift was incense. Incense is a physical substance of a very light character, that is often used in religious services; it serves as an embodiment for the ministering unseen influences. An illustration of the properties of incense is also found in the story of the Serbian regicides. The Minister of the Interior has issued his Memoirs, and he mentions as a curious circumstance that every time they used a certain kind of incense to get others into the conspiracy, they succeeded: but at times when they used no incense, they failed. It shows — he had on certain occasions, unconsciously, of course, furnished an embodiment for certain spirits who wanted to and did aid the conspirators.
There is the key to the three gifts that were offered up by the Wise Men — the Spirit, the soul, and the body. As Christ said, "If you want to follow me, you must sell all you have. You are not to keep anything for yourself." You are to give up body, soul, and Spirit, everything, for the higher life, everything for the Christ. Not to an exterior Christ, but to the Christ within. The three Wise Men are said in the legend to be yellow, black, and white, representatives of the three races that we have on Earth, the Oriental, the African, and the Caucasian man. Therefore, we see that it is very well shown in the legend that eventually they will all come into this beneficent Christ religion. "To him every knee shall bow." Each one will in time be led by the star to the Christ. But let us emphasize that very strongly — not to an exterior Christ, but to the Christ that is within. As Angelus Silesius says:
In this lecture we are to consider one of the old-time Mysteries which existed in many parts of the Western World during the Middle Ages, and which has existed, in different forms, in different countries, ever since the dawn of man's consciousness.
As stated, in Europe in the Middle Ages there were a number of these Mysteries; in Northern Russia the Trottes taught a certain phase of the World-Mystery; in Ireland the Druids flourished. Where we are told our forefathers worshiped under the oak tree, that implies the direction of the Druids, for Druid means oak, and when we are told that Boniface felled the oak, we may infer that Boniface put an end to the instructions of the Druids. In the northern part of Spain the Mystery of the Holy Grail existed.
This Mystery was administered by a band of holy knights, who dwelt in the castle Montsalvat, and it was their purpose to proclaim to humanity great spiritual truths in a manner which it could understand, to give in pictures that which could not be given directly to the intellect.
Man has grown up to his present stage from a state where he had no consciousness at all outwardly in the body; he is to go higher yet and these myths and symbols were the means of preparing him for the intellectual perception of the way he was to go; so those who came in contact with these Mysteries, those who were taught, and those who listened, are the ones who today are inclined to take an interest in these things, while the majority of people, who, of course, did not come under these instructions, are those who cannot yet feel the inner craving to live the spiritual life. Therefore, if we feel at all the spiritual influence within us, it shows that at some time, in some of these Mysteries, we have been prepared for the reception of these truths in an intellectual manner, and it is the repeated impact given by the early teachers which brings humanity to the higher stage; for repetition is not senseless. On the contrary, it is of the very highest importance that a spiritual truth should be given utterance again and again.
It has been stated here that humanity, the largest part of them at least, are working today upon their desire bodies, and trying to curb their desires by means of law. Where esoteric development is to take place, however, where a man is to become a pioneer, it is the vital body that is to be worked upon, and the vital body is particularly and peculiarly acted upon by repetition.
The vital body is the most important principle of the plant; it is that which makes the plant grow stem and leaf in alternating succession, so that the plant grows taller and taller; but there is no variety, the plant goes on repeating all the time. Stem, leaf, and branch; ever the same.
That is the way everything acts that has only a vital body; so when we wish to act upon the vital body we must do it by this method of repetition. We have the four ethers present in our vital body and the two lower ethers take care of the physical functions, as we remember particularly from the lecture on Spiritual Sight and Insight (No. 11), we saw there that the two higher ethers had to be taken out when we wanted to function in the higher worlds; and this repeated impact is what makes the division between the two lower and the two higher ethers possible. That is where the churches are still factors in spiritual development, because they tell the devotee that he must pray without ceasing. But we are not to pray selfishly, we are to pray unselfishly, and in harmony with the Universal Good. When we pray for rain and our neighbor for dry weather chaos must prevail, if prayers were to be granted. Neither let us imagine that God is to be bargained with, as would seem to be the conception of some who are loudest at prayer meetings. There is a certain spiritual attitude attained which the mystic knows so well when he enters into his closet.
Prayer is like the turning on of an electric switch. It does not create the current, it simply provides a channel through which the electric current may flow. In like manner prayer creates a channel through which the divine life and light may pour itself into us for our spiritual illumination.
If the switch were made of wood or glass it would be of no use; in fact, it would be a barrier that the electric current could not possibly pass, because that is contrary to its nature. To be effective the switch must be made of a conducting metal; then it is in harmony with the laws of electrical manifestation.
If our prayers are selfish, worldly, and inconsiderate of our neighbor, they are like the wooden switch, they defeat the very purpose they wee intended to serve, because contrary to God's purpose. To be of avail prayer must be in harmony with the nature of God, which is love. The following lines appeared in London Light a number of years ago and have been treasured by the writer as —
That is the kind of a prayer that lifts, that ennobles a man, and the more a man or woman cultivates that attitude of mind, and entertains those lofty aspirations the more he is lifting the two higher ethers out of the vital body, and so the churches say, Pray, pray, pray; and they are well within the esoteric teaching, for in that way the vital body is being worked upon by the constant repetition of lofty aspirations. Before we can proceed along the esoteric path we must of necessity have laxity between the upper and the lower ethers so that we can function outside, leaving the dense body to be taken care of by the two lower ethers, and herein lies the trouble with the medium, and others who develop a certain phase of involuntary clairvoyance by breathing exercises. When such a person goes out of the body he does it involuntarily; he takes three ethers along with him, and the body therefore is not taken care of. On this road lie mental and moral decline, and ofttimes insanity.
There is only one safe way to develop our latent faculties. No matter what any one may say to the contrary, experience will prove that attainment to spiritual powers depends upon purification and unselfish aspiration; and that is what the mysteries taught in those olden times.
In order to understand the Mystery of the Holy Grail, it is necessary for us to go away back along the different epochs from the time when the Earth first came out of chaos. Then the Earth was dark, and man was embedded in the Earth. Life was working in it to dig him out. — Adam was of the earth earthly, as the minerals are now.
Then we come to the second, the Hyperborean Epoch, where man has a dense and a vital body; that was the plant stage. His food was the plants, and we hear of Cain as an agriculturist. Next comes the Lemurian Epoch, and man gets the desire body. He has three vehicles, like the animals.
Then we have that stage where he is to have food of a nature that will feed all three bodies. This he gets from living animals, as when Abel was a shepherd.
Next we come to the fourth epoch, the Atlantean, where man evolved mind. Thought always breaks down tissue, and causes decay, therefore man must have something in the food line which is prone to decay in his body, and so he begins to eat the decaying carcasses of animals, so we hear that Nimrod was a mighty hunter.
Finally he comes to that stage where he is to forget his spiritual nature, he is to think only of this life as the one life for him, and therefore he must have something to help him to forget. That stage is ushered in by Noah and the few that were saved with him, who were the pioneers in the present Fifth Epoch; and he is the one who cultivates the wine stock, and makes the wine that is to help man to forget. Man is temporarily to forget the spiritual part of his nature in order to fully develop the material aspect, so Christ changes the water to wine, which is symbolically represented in his first miracle.
In the earliest religions only water was used in the temple service. The God of wine, Bacchus, had come in Greece previous to Christ, to prepare the time of material debauch necessary to make man forget. And so man became more and more material. The Christian religion is the only one that sanctioned the use of wine. Man has consequently become more thoroughly immured in this physical vehicle. Now an impulse must be given to lift him out, and we are able to note evidences of this impulse in many directions at the present moment. We see it in the great temperance movement which has been sweeping over this country, this America, which has aptly been called the melting pot.
Wine is being changed back to water. We have accomplished the conquest of the material world, as evidenced in our wonderful progress here in the West. Now we are to return to the use of water, that we may regain on a higher level that spiritual vision which we have lost. That is what this mystery of the Holy Grail aimed at; to purify man so that he might be able to regain that spiritual sight; and as we give our children picture- books today, we were given these myths in previous times, that they might work upon our feelings and prepare us to understand.
There were two characteristics which were very marked about these knights: purity and harmlessness, and these two qualities, purity and harmlessness, go together.
We saw in the later lectures that when an entity, it does not matter whether a group spirit or an individual, is taken out of its body violently, with a jerk as it were, as by killing, then there is always something left behind.
If we take a ripe peach and cut it the kernel falls out freely. It has no more connection with the flesh of the fruit.
On the other hand, if we take a fruit which is unripe, a little of the flesh will cling to the stone. It will exhibit a tenacious tendency which is entirely foreign to the way in which the flesh of the ripe fruit acts. Consider this body the stone, it is the hard, crystallized part, while the Spirit is the subtle part. If we take this subtle part away suddenly, with a jerk, what happens? — The physical body retains a part of that soul, whether it is of a human being or an animal, and that part is always the lowest part. When Christ went out in that violent manner, by death on the cross, something clung to the body of Jesus, that was the lowest part of Jesus' higher principles, for even he, the most perfect man, had something that was imperfect, and it was necessary that it should be left behind, that only the absolutely pure part should be extracted.
In the sudden killing of the animal the lowest part of the soul clings to the body, the Group Spirit has lost the passions which remain in the flesh which we eat. That Group Spirit is thinking continuously, however, "I must get another vehicle." That idea is impressed on every cell because of our wholesale murder, and so we have that intense sex craving in every particle of meat we eat, impelling us to satisfy its demand.
It was Nimrod, the Atlantean, who first killed to eat, who inaugurated the social evil. And so we see that although we injure the animals when we kill them, we injure ourselves the more, for we have ever that social evil in consequence, that stays with us, and when we speak of the social evil we do not mean only that which we commonly call the social evil, that unhallowed thing of church and state, but any intercourse whatsoever except that which is performed as a sacrifice to provide a body for an incoming Ego. Other use of the creative function, whether in greater or less degree is nevertheless social evil.
Now when we understand the connection between the social evil and flesh eating, the taking away of life from others, then we can understand why the Knights of the Holy Grail were pure and harmless, and until that time comes, the time when Parsifal breaks his bow, when he will no longer take life, when he says, "I will no longer take these particles into my body that cry out for separate existence, and want to create all the time, but I will live the pure and harmless life"; only when a man comes to that stage in life can he feel compassion. So long as we go out and kill we cannot feel the true compassion.
You and I who live under such complex conditions where killing is concentrated in one place, of course never seethe animals killed, yet we are as responsible for the fear and anguish which ensoul them as if we had a personal hand on it. Could you and I go into that bloody pen and lift the knife, look into those dying eyes, and then go and enjoy our victim's flesh? We could not. We have gone too far in evolution for that. It is only because we are able to get the flesh without having the noisome sights of the slaughter house before us, and yet you and I are doing a great harm to another fellow being. Because you and I do not want to go there he has to stand there day after day, month after month, and year after year, and kill, and kill, and kill. You and I are escaping the brutality which we see concentrated in him, concentrated to such an extent that the law holds him as an outcast in certain respects; it will not allow him to sit on a jury where capital punishment is involved because he has become so brutalized that he has lost all regard for life.
Friends! let us cease to be destructive. Let us aim to be constructive, and let all creatures live. They have as much right to life as we have. Ella Wheeler Wilcox prefers their claim in the following beautiful words:
Now we have come so far that we begin to see the application of these things more and more that we have seen in Parsifal and the Holy Grail. We see it is the beginning of compassion when we leave off our lower appetites. We become pure in thought, desire, and body, and so we are going onwards. Here we have in this myth as presented by Wagner one of the most wonderful interpretations of the fact that a certain class of us may go forward and become helpers of humanity. Parsifal is the man who has purified himself and has become harmless. That was seen and felt spiritually by Wagner on yon Good Friday morning when he sat by the Zurich Sea and saw all around him life forces operating. Innumerable seeds were sprouting, all around this wonderful flow of life, and Wagner asked himself what connection could there be between the Savior's death upon the cross and this sprouting forth of everything in nature? And there he struck upon the very heart of the Mystery of the Holy Grail.
We remember from the last lecture particularly how man is the inverted plant.
Plato gave this esoteric view when he said the World Soul is crucified. The horizontal limb of the cross represents the lines of influence of the animal group spirits which circle the Earth, manifesting through the horizontal spine of the animals — they are between the plants and the human kingdom. The plants are represented by the lower limb of the cross, and man by the upper limb.
We know that the Group Spirits of the plants are in the center of the Earth and that they are radiating lines of force which are continually passing through the trees and plants. Man, on the other hand, receives his spiritual influence from the Sun through the head, and is therefore the inverted plant in that sense. We also know that the plant takes its food through the roots and man through the head. The plant is chaste and passionless; it stretches its creative organ chastely towards the sun, a thing of beauty, the flower; man stretches his passion-filled creative organ towards the Earth.
Man exhales the poisonous carbon dioxide, while the plant sends out the life-giving oxygen; so man is the opposite to the plant. Now, in the Mystery of the Holy Grail man was brought to use, or rather he was brought to feel these truths. He was told:
"Look around you; see everywhere in nature all these innumerable plants growing, all these seeds sprouting.
"That creative force which you see in them is nothing but what is in you, and in every human being; but in the plants it expresses itself in the opposite way. There is the chasm of passion between the plant and the god.
"The animals are also passion filled; they have the red passion-giving blood; but in the plant we see chastity, and that chastity must be regained.
"There are certain stages of advancement which you are to go through; you are to become pure and passionless again. Therefore, this emblem — the Grail Cup — which you see here, is like the pod of the plant that holds the seed. That is the emblem of purity, which you are to hold before your gaze all the time in order to aspire to that high ideal — that purity which is embodied in the plant."
This conception is also embodied in the communion cup used in the churches, which is emblematic of the ideal we are to strive for, and in the German the communion cup has the same name as the pod of the flower, kelch. In different other languages its name has also a similar meaning.
Thus the holy Communion Cup is not a wine cup; but it is a cup which we may look upon as containing the very essence of life in pristine purity — a quickening spiritual essence. Not the paralyzing spirit that Noah brought, not the fermented spirit of decay, but that life-giving fluid which is the blood of the plant. There we have a description of one of the emblems held up to the pupils of the Mysteries as ideals to be realized in him.
The other was the holy spear, symbolized by the sunbeam that comes down and opens the flower. the sunbeam is the representation of the spiritual power which is working to bring forth all through the universe; a power most potent, but also most dangerous when used without discrimination, or abused, as we see so forcibly accentuated in the legend of Parsifal, where Parsifal, Amfortas, and Klingsor represent three classes — Amfortas, who used the spiritual power without discrimination; Klingsor, who used it for selfish purposes, and Parsifal, who used it in the only way it should be used. The power is the same, but produces different effects as it is variously used. Fire is man's greatest ally when under control and used for good purposes; but used with evil intent or ignorantly, it becomes dangerous.
Parsifal represents the mystic whose feelings have become aroused. He is not fit to have the spiritual power until he has been tempted and tried, for one whose feelings are intense is very apt to make mistakes. Against the manifestly evil he is secure, because of his very innocence, as when Parsifal fails to perceive anything sensual in the advances of the Flower-maidens. He is so guileless and pure that that does not affect him at all, but innocence is not by any means synonymous with virtue. Innocence is a negative purity such as we find in all children, and is very, very different from the virtue which has come unscathed through the fire of temptations, and is kept on the path of rectitude, guided by an innate feeling of right. Innocence is untried and inferior to the virtue of the sinner who has repented and reformed and is strong for the right as the path of peace and joy, because he has known the sufferings which are encountered upon the pathway of wrong.
Amfortas is tempted and falls and suffers. Parsifal witnesses his suffering and can sympathize with his pain, because of having broken the bow and become harmless. The man who can kill cannot also feel compassion. The one who is harmless is tender of heart, and sees what a benefit pain is. Usually Parsifal is so glad and joyous he has left Herzleide — Sorrow — behind. See him in the garden with the Flower-maidens, his face beaming with innocent joy. Then comes the temptation of Kundry, and it causes a pain — something Parsifal is not used to, and by the power of association there comes before his inner vision that other scene where he felt pain — the scene in the Grail Castle, where the stricken king was ministering at the sacred rite. He sees and he understands, because of sympathy which his harmlessness has engendered. But for that, he too might have fallen to the subtle temptations of Kundry.
Klingsor is the very antithesis of Parsifal. He is no fool; he has knowledge, and by knowledge he wields his power entirely apart from feeling. He has mutilated himself; he has killed all feeling instead of seeking to control it. When we go along the mystical path the feelings are most potently aroused, and unless we have become harmless also and ceased to live upon food imbued with the lower feelings, we are extremely apt to fall, as witness the well-known fact that ultra-devotional people are exceedingly strongly sexed and have been the cause of great Church scandals, denounced as hypocrites, when in reality they were as true as steel, but were unable to control the intense waves of feeling which swept them away, because of impure food.
Klingsor is not minded to run such chances, so he has mutilated his sex organ and thus made it impossible for him to gratify that craving and lose his power, as Amfortas did when he fell before the charms of Kundry.
Also in the Niebelungen Ring we hear the same principle enunciated — that the one who desires power must forswear love. Alberich, the Niebelung, does that in order to possess the Rheingold, and it becomes a curse to gods and man.
When the head or the intellect rules apart from the feelings, as it does in the intellectual esotericist, the black path lies before that man, but in the blending of head and heart is the true balance, the only safety.
Amfortas could not have fallen if he had been harmless, but he was contemplating a misuse of the spiritual power symbolized by the spear. He was going to use it without due discrimination against Klingsor; therefore, it reached upon him and wounded him. the black and the white magician both use the same force — a spiritual power — and it is as impossible to use a spiritual force to harm a spiritual man as it is to drown a fish in water. Therefore, when Klingsor hurls the spiritual power — the spear — at Parsifal, it floats harmlessly above him and Parsifal directs it against the Castle only, not against Klingsor.
The good cannot use good for direct destruction of evil, but only indirectly by showing them the greater power of Good.
As the flower draws the vital force, the spiritual power, from the sunbeam in a pure and chaste manner as it unfolds its harmless beauty, so must we unfold in purity and harmlessness the spiritual powers latent in man. Neither must we kill or cut ourselves off from the expression of the feelings, as some have done who have taken vows and have entered monasteries or like sheltered environments, where they are out of the way of temptation — or at least where temptation cannot mature to acts. Desire may be as strong in a monk as in a Knight, but the monk has made it impossible by his vow to gratify desire, while the Knight is free to choose good or evil. If he manfully overcomes the temptation, as Parsifal did, he evokes in his being that higher love which is as far removed from sensual passion as heaven from hell. We as Christians are like King Amfortas — we have lost our spiritual powers temporarily on account of our abuses and impurities; but out of the ashes of that state shall come the New Christianity symbolized by Parsifal, which shall heal the sufferings of the old and take its place. That personal condition of which the Holy Grail is emblematical is the state where the evanescent gives way to the lasting and permanent.
We build our bodies on flesh foods, which leave it very quickly. Even vegetables are not stable. Our bodies change altogether in a few years. The plant, on the other hand, has a body that lasts for ages, even after the life has left it, as seen in wooden buildings that last a century or more. What is the secret?
The tree is almost purely carbon. Where did it get the carbon? From the carbon dioxide exhaled by animal and man. In other words, we are in every breath throwing away that which would build a stable body if kept. What becomes of that wood? In millenniums it is transmuted to coal — black carbon. The hardest and most durable substance on Earth is white carbon — the diamond.
If we could find a way of retaining that carbon we would become what the Hindu calls the Diamond Soul — the perfect immortal body. We should be manufacturing what the Rosicrucian calls the Philosopher's Stone, which is the liquor vitae, the panacea for all the world's woe. We should then know the meaning of the sea of glass in the New Jerusalem and understand the significance of "the molten sea" which was the last work of Hiram Abiff the Grand Architect of Solomon's Temple, built without hands. For these all express the same truth as the Holy Grail, and are only attainable by those who are pure in heart, who have overcome the world and are helpers of humanity.
Many people who have thought seriously upon the problems of the higher life have unfortunately forsaken the methods of their earlier days, they have ceased to believe in the teachings of the church regarding the atonement, the saving power of faith, the efficacy of prayer, and kindred dogmas. While from the standpoint of such people, who are honestly and sincerely seeking for truth, these ideas may seem palpably fallacious, we would nevertheless bespeak for the following views an unbiased hearing in order that they may then be judged. Thus viewed, the teachings of the Church will appear in a light probably not heretofore perceived which will give them a new, a grander meaning, more satisfactory to the heart and perfectly acceptable to the intellect.
Many among us have been impelled by Reason to withdraw from the Church, although with a bleeding heart. Intellectual conceptions of God and of the purpose of life cannot satisfy, and our lives have since been barren. That the new light may make it possible for those who still feel the heart's desire for the fellowship of the Church to return and take their places with renewed zeal born of deeper understanding of the cosmic truths embodied in the teachings of the Church is the earnest prayer of the writer and his motive in enunciating the following teachings.
There is one fact very noticeable to the student of Comparative Religion, namely, that as man advances, so do his religious ideas. Materialistic investigators draw from these facts the conclusion that all religions are man-made, that all conceptions of God are rooted in human imagination. The fallacy of that idea is readily seen when we consider the tendency of all that lives toward self-preservation. Where only the law of the survival of the fittest governs, as it does among the animals, where might is right, there is no religion. Not until a higher extraneous power makes itself felt can that law be abrogated and the Law of Self-abnegation comes into play as a factor of life, as it does in a small measure in even the most crude religion. Huxley recognized that fact in his last lecture, where he pointed out that while the Law of Survival of the Fittest marks the animal's line of progression, the Law of Sacrifice is the heart of human advancement, impelling the strong to care for the weak, giving gladly what they might easily withhold, yet growing by such giving.
The reason for this anomaly cannot be found by the materialist; from his viewpoint it must ever remain an insoluble riddle, but once we understand that man is a composite being: Spirit, soul, and body; that Spirit expresses itself in thought, soul in feeling, and body in action; and that is three-fold man is an image of the triune God, we shall readily understand the seeming anomaly, for by his constitution such a composite being would be peculiarly fitted to respond to both spiritual vibrations and physical impacts.
When we see how little the majority care for the higher life today, we may infer that there must have been a time when man was nearly entirely callous to the spiritual vibrations in the universe. He sensed vaguely a higher power in Nature, and being then partially endowed with clairvoyance, he recognized the existence of powers not now perceived, though working as potently as ever.
Man was to be led for his future good, so in order to guide him aright and aid the higher nature in obtaining mastery over the lower nature, the personality, the latter was at first worked upon by fear. To have given him a religion of Love, to have tried moral suasion would have been absolutely useless when the human Ego was in its earliest infantile stage and the animal nature of the lower personality was paramount. The God who is to help such a humanity must be a strong God who can wield the thunderbolt and strike with lightning.
When man had been brought a little further along he was taught to look to God also as the giver of all, he was imbued with the idea that if he followed the laws of this God material prosperity would follow. Disobedience on the other hand resulted in famine, war, and pestilence. In order to lead man up higher he must be taught the Law of Sacrifice, but at that stage man prized material possessions highly, and therefore he was prompted to sacrifice his sheep and oxen through faith in the promise that "the lord will repay an hundredfold," that he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord who always returns abundantly. There was then no promise of a heaven, that was yet beyond man's capacity of appreciation. It was emphatically stated that "Heaven, even the heavens are the Lord's, but the Earth has He given to the children of men" (Ps: 115-16).
Next man is taught to sacrifice himself for a future reward in heaven. Instead of performing an occasional act of sacrificing a material possession, a bull or a sheep which the Lord quickly restores, it was now required that he should give up his evil desires and by "continuance in well-doing" "lay up treasure in heaven," caring nothing for material possessions which thieves may steal or moth and rust corrupt.
Almost anyone may for a short time work himself up to a pitch of exaltation where it is easy to lay down all in one supreme act of renunciation. It is comparatively easy to die for one's faith, as in martyrdom, but that is not enough; the Christian Religion requires of us the courage to live our faith from day to day all through life by faith in a future reward in a heaven which is but very dimly adumbrated. Truly, the labors of Hercules seem small in comparison, and what wonder if doubts come to weigh us down with a burden like that of Atlas, robbing us of faith in the beneficent, all-sustaining power of God.
As a matter of fact, whether we know it or not, we live by faith every minute of our lives, and in proportion that we so live, are we happy or miserable. At night we lie down to sleep secure in the faith that no harm will disturb our slumbers, that we shall wake in the morning and be able to go through our appointed tasks the next day. Were it not for that faith, were doubts on the above points to assail, would we dare to lay our heads upon our pillows? could we close our eyes in calm slumber? Surely not; and in a short time we should be physical and mental wrecks, hastened into a premature grave by the demon of doubt. When we go to the store to buy provisions we have faith in the rectitude of the merchant, we are satisfied that he will give us wholesome viands and not poisoned good. If not, how miserable our lives would be, and instead of enjoying our food, doubt would take away our appetite so that we should be unable to eat a wholesome meal, for even food would be poisoned by out mental state of doubt and fear, as is well known to physiologists.
By faith we leave our homes in the morning trusting to the law of gravity to keep them in the same place till we return at night.
Very few among us have watched the shadow of the Earth when projected upon the Moon at an eclipse of the Moon and realized that that round shadow is the only positive proof of the rotundity of the Earth, yet everyone says he knows that the Earth is round. He knows it by faith in other people's statements. So with the fact that we are traveling through space at the rate of one thousand miles an hour by virtue of the Earth's motion on its own axis, and the still more astonishing, scientific fact that this Earth which appears to be so still and motionless is in reality traveling in its orbit around the sun at the rate of 1,600,000 miles in twenty-four hours. These and many other similar facts which we cannot possibly investigate for ourselves we accept and live by every day of our lives; we call them knowledge and we stake our lives and our happiness upon them by virtue of faith.
It has been said in previous lectures that faith is the force in man which opens up the channel of communication with God and brings us into touch with his Life and Power. Doubt, on the other hand, has a most withering and blighting influence on the spiritual life. That such are the effects of faith and doubt can easily be seen by examining their influence in our daily life. We know how expressions of faith and trust buoy us up and how depressing is the effect on us when we are doubted by others. The same holds good in the higher realms, as the following incident will show:
When visiting Columbus, Ohio, in 1907, we heard a lecture on "New Evidences of a Future Life," by Professor Hyslop. The writer could not find one single scrap of new evidence or anything which has not been adduced in the reports of the Society for Psychical Research in hundreds of similar cases, and wondered why a man like Professor Hyslop, who must know these reports, should call it new evidence. The riddle was not solved till a question by someone brought out the fact that Mr. Hyslop had no faith in Professor Crook's experiments or in the results of the researches of any one else for that matter; he was not prepared to believe one iota of which he was not personally cognizant. and therefore what he had presented was new, it had been newly perceived (by him). But although Professor Hyslop refused to accept the evidence of other investigators he was not in the least backward in asking his audience to accept his testimony as the only reliable brand, and unwittingly he furnished an illustration of his inefficiency as an investigator because of ultra-scepticism when he related how he had one day at a sitting with a medium had a communication from Richard Hodgson (who has died) to meet him at another medium's where Hodgson was to give certain communications then agreed upon.
At the appointed hour Professor Hyslop "sat" with the medium and Mr. Hodgson commenced to make his communications. Mr. Hodgson seems to be entirely unable to answer questions, and Professor Hyslop asked in a irritated tone: "What is the matter with you, Richard ? when you were in Earth-life you were always ready enough with an answer, why cannot you answer now?" Then, said Professor Hyslop, in telling the story, then came the answer as quick as lightning — 'Oh! Every time I get into your wretched atmosphere I seem to go all to pieces.' . . .Professor Hyslop's attitude of ultra-scepticism had the same benumbing effect on the communicating spirit of Mr. Hodgson, as for instance, the mental attitude of an examining board has upon a candidate. If the board has made up its mind that the candidate is a dunce he may be ever so well prepared, he will stutter, stumble, and fail while even the dunce may comport himself creditably if supported by the mental encouragement of the board.
Thus we see that doubt and scepticism have a withering and blighting effect upon the object directed against, while faith opens and expands our mental capacity as sunlight unfolds the beautiful flower, and we can thus understand the necessity for faith in approaching spiritual teachings. Met in that manner they show themselves in true light, while doubt, higher criticism, or agnosticism wither and wilt the beauty of spiritual conception as biting frost blights the fairest flower. Christ Jesus said: "Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter therein." In that sentence is hidden the key to the proper mental attitude. The grown person when confronted with a new teaching either rejects it off- hand because it is something he has not though or heretofore come into contact with, or he accepts it without question if it supports his own theories. He makes his own viewpoint and knowledge the absolute measure of truth whereby he gauges all ideas presented, but however wide his view may be, it must be narrow from a cosmic standpoint.
A little child is unhampered by the limitation of previous knowledge, its mind is open to all truth, and it takes unhesitatingly every teaching on faith. Time will bring out facts to show whether it is true or not and that test alone is conclusive. The pupil of the esoteric school cultivates such a childlike attitude of mind, forgetting always when examining a new teaching or investigating phenomena not previously perceived, all else, so as to obviate any bias of mind. Of course, he does not believe offhand that black is white, but he is ready always when a proposition is made to him to admit that there may be a viewpoint he has not hitherto perceived whence an object he thought white might appear black, or vice versa, and that is an exceedingly advantageous attitude of mind, for the man who cultivates it is capable of learning, of increasing his knowledge in the same ratio as does the child which listens rather than argues.
Thus the childlike attitude is particularly conducive to the acquisition of knowledge which is symbolically spoken as the Kingdom of God, in contra-distinction to that ignorance which is the estate of man. Let it be clearly understood that faith which is required is not a blind faith, not an unreasoning faith which clings to a creed or dogma contrary to reason, but it is an open and unbiased state of the mind which is ready to entertain any proposition until thorough investigation has proven it untenable.
In a previous lecture, Prayer was said to be an opening up of a channel along which the divine Life and Light may flow into the Spirit, in the same way that the turning of a switch opens the way for the electric current to flow from the power-house into our house. Faith in prayer is like the energy which turns the switch. Without muscular force we can not turn the switch to obtain physical light, and without faith we cannot pray in such a manner as to secure spiritual illumination. If we pray for worldly ends, for that which is contrary to the law of love and universal good, our prayers will prove as unavailing as a glass switch in an electrical circuit. Glass is non-conductor, a bar to the electric power, and selfish prayers are, likewise, bars to divine purposes and must therefore remain unanswered. To pray to a purpose we much pray aright, and in the Lord's Prayer we have a most wonderful pattern, for it caters to the needs of man as no other formula could do. Within a few short sentences it encompasses all the complexities of the relationship of God to man.
Properly to understand this sublime prayer and to be able to render it understandingly and efficiently, let us briefly state some of the teachings given in earlier lectures.
The Father is the highest Initiate of the Saturn Period.
The Son is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period.
The Holy Spirit is the highest Initiate of the Moon Period.
The Divine Spirit and the dense body of man started their evolution in the Saturn Period and are therefore under the special care of the Father.
The Life Spirit and the vital body started their evolution in the Sun Period and are consequently the particular charges of the Son.
The Human Spirit and the desire body commenced to evolve in the Moon Period and are therefore the special wards of the Holy Spirit.
The Mind was added in the Earth Period and is not cared for by other or outside beings, but is to be subdued by man himself, without any outside assistance.
In the Lord's Prayer there are seven prayers; or rather, there are three sets of two prayers and one single supplication. Each of the three sets has reference to the needs of one of the aspects of the threefold spirit and its counterpart in the threefold body. The opening sentence, Our Father who art in Heaven, is merely as the address upon an envelope. The student is referred to Diagram 16 for a key to this prayer, showing diagrammatically the relation between the Trinity, the threefold Spirit, the three-fold body, and the mind, each aspect of the Spirit being connected by a line with the prayer specifically suited to its counterpart in the threefold body and addressed to its guardian aspect in the Trinity.
The Human Spirit lifts itself upon wings of devotion to its parents aspects in the Holy Trinity and intones the opening incantation, Hallowed be Thy name.
The Life Spirit raises itself upon pinions of love and addresses the fount of its being, The Son: Thy Kingdom come.
The Divine Spirit soars with superior insight to the fountain head whence it sprang at the dawn of time, The Father, and manifests its confidence in that all-embracing Intelligence in the words, Thy Will be done.
Having thus reached the Throne of Grace, the threefold Spirit in man prefers its requests concerning the personality, the threefold body.
The Divine Spirit prays to The Father for its counterpart, the dense body, Give us our daily bread.
The Life Spirit prays to The Son for its counterpart, the vital body, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
The Human Spirit utters the supplication for the desire body in the words, Lead us not into temptation.
Then all join in a concentrated appeal concerning the mind, Deliver us from Evil.
The affix, For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever, are not given by Christ and are not prayers.
Looking at the foregoing explanation from the analytical standpoint, we find that there are three religious teachings to be given to man in helping him to attain to perfection. One is the Religion of The Holy Spirit the next is the Religion of The Son, and the last is the Religion of the Father.
Under the regime of the Holy Spirit the human race was divided into nations and peoples segregated by their adherence to one group from fellowship with other nations. Each group was further cut off from the rest because speaking another language. They were all put under certain laws and were taught to reverence the name of their God. One people worshiped him as Iao, another as Tao, others as Bel. Everywhere the name of this lawgiver was holy. The method of segregation had the advantage that the Race Spirit in chief, Jehovah, could use one people to punish another who had transgressed his law, but it has the disadvantage that if fosters egotism and separates humanity in a manner detrimental to universal good. It is an axiomatic truth that what does not benefit all cannot really benefit any. Therefore ways and means must be found to reunite the scattered nations and weld them into one universal Brotherhood. That is to be the work of the Religion of the Son — Christianity. The warring of nations is fostered by the Race Spirit, but the Christian Religion will eventually unit them, cause them to beat their swords into plowshares and bring peace and good will on Earth when the kingdom of the Son has superseded the tribes and races. Then a still higher religious teaching, the religion of the Father, is to unite mankind still closer. In the Kingdom of the Son there will be a Universal Brotherhood of separate individuals having varying interests, but ready to give and take through love, sinking individual preferences for the common good, but when the religion of the Father becomes a fact in life, the self will be entirely submerged in a common purpose, a single will. The will of God will then be done on earth as it is in heaven, where there is neither me nor thee, but where God is All and in All.
In the meantime a certain work has to be performed by the threefold Spirit upon the threefold body, to spiritualize it and extract the threefold soul.
The dense body is but an irresponsible tool, but, nevertheless, it is a most valuable instrument, to be cared for and prized as a mechanic cares for and prizes a valuable tool. We hold firmly before out mental vision that we are not the body, any more than the mechanic is identical with his tools, or the carpenter is in the house. That is plainly evident when we consider that our body is a constantly changing aggregation of cells, while we keep our "I"-dentity amid and despite all the changes, which would be impossible if we were identical with our dense body. That body is to be valued and cared for. "Give us out daily bread," says the fourth prayer. Most people eat too much, and for them an occasional fast may be good, but fasting is unnecessary for those who do not feast, but live the simple life from day to day. When the body is over-fed, the Spirit may be ever so willing, but the flesh will be correspondingly weak. Therefore, when a young Spirit gains ascendancy, it seeks to overcome the lower nature by fastings, tortures, etc., as best explained in Hindu Yogis who emaciate the body, causing the limbs to wither, etc., that the Spirit may shine.
That is a mistake as much subversive of true spiritual growth as is the habit of overeating. As said, where a man can control his appetite and feed his body on pure food he need not fast, but may give to his body its daily bread.
In Asia, where the Laws of Consequence and Rebirth are commonly known, and clearly enunciated, people readily see that their action will, in time, raise humanity to a state of supernal glory, but it is necessary to the evolution of accuracy of thought, whereby man will, in time, create, that his whole attention should for a time be focused in the dense Physical World, and his knowledge of spiritual matters must therefore be curtailed. To attain that end, the leaders of man gave the pioneers of the human race the lethal drink — Wine — and they have forgotten temporarily the above. They have come to look upon the present life as the only one to be lived here, and are therefore at the greatest pains to make the most of it; thus occidental energy is conquering the material world by leaps and bounds, while oriental lassitude is looking on. In coming ages they will also have to forget for a time and follow our path of conquest.
But as the Western Religion, Christianity, does not teach how a cosmic law makes haste slowly to purge man and raise him to Godhood through many lives, there must be given him a compensatory teaching, or he would despair, for this intelligence tells him his imperfection and forces him to realize the utter impossibility of spiritual attainment in a single life which he is, by force of circumstance, compelled to devote mainly to material pursuits. Therefore, he was taught the doctrine of the remission of sins, by faith in the righteousness of the Christ, the Beacon of Light of Hope, the "Sun of Righteousness."
It is self-evident that in a universe of law and truth the Great Leaders could not teach a lie to save man from despair which must inevitably have crushed all spiritual effort if he had had only the teaching of the Law of Consequence which decrees that we reap as we have sown. Therefore, the doctrine of the remission of sins must be a law in Nature as much as the Law of Consequence; in fact, it must be a higher law as it is able to supersede the Law of Consequence. Both have a certain scope in human life, and the Catholic Church still teaches the scientific way of obtaining remission of sins when it encourages its members to go over the happenings of the day each evening when retiring, blaming themselves for any wrong deed, substantially as has been taught in our previous lectures where, however, the esoteric teaching is more clearly enunciated, and the far-reaching efforts of this exercise are particularly set forth in Lecture No. 11. The beneficent action of the Law of Consequence in purging us of evil not repented of and forgiven is also enunciated in the Catholic teaching concerning Purgatory, though they mistake by regarding that state as a punishment, and fail to see —
— that even if there were a personal devil to torment us while there, the pain he would cause in cleansing us from sin would be analogous to the pain a surgeon would cause in extracting a bullet from a self-inflicted wound; the devil would be no more vindictive than the surgeon.
The vital body being the storehouse of the panorama of our life, our own sins and the wrong we have suffered at the hands of others are there inscribed, hence the fifth prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," enunciated the needs of the vital body, and be it noted that this prayer teaches the doctrine of the remission of sins, in the words, forgive us, and the Law of Consequence in the words, as we forgive, making our attitude to others the measure of our emancipation.
"Lead us not into temptation" is the prayer for the desire body which is the storehouse of energy, and furnishes incentive to action through desire. An oriental maxim says, "Kill out desire," and the Orientals furnish good examples of the indolence resultant upon the attempt to do that. "Kill out your temper" is the foolish admonition sometimes given those who lose their temper. Desire or temper is a valuable asset, too valuable to be stunted or killed; the man without desire is like the steel devoid of temper — of no account. In Revelation, while the six churches are praised, the seventh is utterly anathematized for being "neither hot nor cold," a wishy-washy community. "The greater the sinner, the greater the saint" is a true adage, for it takes energy to sin and when that energy is turned in the right direction, it is as much of a power for good as previously it was for evil. A man may be good because he cannot summon up sufficient energy to be bad, then he is so good that he is good for nothing, like the Nicolaitanes. While we are weak our desire nature masters us and may lead us into temptation, but as we learn to control our desire nature, our temper, we may guide it in harmony with the laws of God and man.
The guiding power which directs this energy of the desire nature is the mind, hence the seventh prayer, "Deliver us from evil," is made with regard to the mind.
The animals follow desire blindly and commit no sin. To them there is not evil; that only comes to our cognition by and through the discriminating mind which enables man to see various courses of action and to choose. If he chooses to act in harmony with universal good, he cultivates virture, if the contrary, he becomes tainted with vice. It should be noted that the much-vaunted "innocence" of a child is not by many means virtue. The child has not yet been tempted and tried, therefore it is innocent. In time, temptations from the desire nature will come to test its mettle, and it depends upon the control of the mind over desire whether it will stand for the right or fall by the wayside. If the mind is strong enough to "deliver us from evil" desires, we have become virtuous, which is a positive quality and even if we fall for a time before we realize our wrong, we acquire virtue as soon as we repent and reform. We exchange negative innocence for the positive quality of virtue.
Thus does the Lord's Prayer cover the various parts of the human constitution and enunciate the need of the all, showing the marvelous wisdom laid down in that simple formula.
So much is written and spoken of the inner worlds from the esoteric point of view, so much stress is laid upon the fact that we possess higher vehicles, are capable of developing them and functioning consciously in them, that it seems needful to emphasize at times the enormous value of the dense body and of the visible world to which it correlates us, to counteract as far as may be done the disdain with which some people regard the world in which we now live.
Let us rest assured, that there are Great and Exalted Intelligences behind evolution who order all things with a wisdom which neglects no factor, and let us try to understand the aim and object of our present mode of existence. Then we shall soon see that all is well, that there are good and sufficient reasons for our placement in the present phase of concrete existence and for the limitations which result in consequence.
We see that at the present time the Western World is going through a phase of material development and many among us who are grappling with the things of the spirit are prone to look down upon the activities of the ordinary man with a feeling of "thank God that I am holier than you" which is entirely gratuitous.
The much despised "Ordinary Person" on his side looks askance at us who talk with glib familiarity of both heaven and hell, but are not very up to date in our knowledge of material affairs. He has a very strong feeling that it is our first and foremost duty to know something about the material world, to do our duty here to the best of our ability before we aim to soar into the clouds. To emphasize his argument he will point to India where the people suffer death by famine yet are too indolent to work; they think of "nirvana" and forget present conditions. The ordinary person will bid us look at the backward condition of these Orientals and attribute it to their belief in the doctrine of rebirth, which inculcates habitual disregard for the present phase of existence in them. He will then contend that spiritual development, particularly outside the methods of the recognized churches, is detrimental in the highest degree, and he is largely right in his assertion, but there is also a deeper view to be dealt with later.
To develop in a safe and a sane manner we must positively have a correct appreciation of the mission of this world in the divine plan of unfoldment which we call evolution, and we must do our full share of the world's work. On the other hand it may also be said that esoteric viewpoint gives a deeper insight and a wider scope for usefulness than the mere surface view. Let us therefore examine the path of advancement in the material world from both viewpoints.
It has been stated in Lecture No. 2 that all things in this visible material world are crystallized thought-forms and an illustration was given of how an architect forms a house in his mind, of how from that thought-form he draws the plans and the workmen build the house. Graham Bell's imagination crystallized into the telephone, Fulton's to a steamboat, etc. But of course those ideas were not perfect at once; a great deal of experimental work was necessary before the inventions cited were brought to sufficient efficiency to become useful in life.
If we imagine this world in which we live to be a World of Thought wherein we might form images like mental pictures, but which would provide no way of concreting our images in metal or wood such as we now use, what would have happened in the case of the telephone or the steamboat? The inventor would have been through with his invention in a trice, there would be no material condition to show the imperfections in his thought and consequently he would not have learned to think right.
It is the mission of the concrete material world to make our mistakes manifest. We are developing an enormous power within ourselves and we have in the dense Physical World the most ideal condition for developing the requisite ability to use it properly. Apart from such ability, and given subtler conditions of matter it would work immense harm. What is that coming force will be seen when a backward glance at the past development has given us the gauge of true perspective.
In the earliest dawn of man's existence he dealt principally with the solids; his first implements were such stones, sharp or blunt, as he found ready at hand. Later he commenced to trust himself to the liquids when propelling his first crude craft on water or to turn the primitive water mill. Still later he learned to use a gas — wind — as a force of propulsion for ships and mills.
That was an immense advancement; it brought the most distant parts of the world into communication, and widened the scope of man's knowledge immeasurably, but even the progress attained by the use of air power fades into insignificance before the strides we have made wince we started to use the more ethereal gas — steam power. That has turned the wheels of progress at a rate which leaves us dumb with astonishment. Yet even the wonders accomplished by steam are as nothing when compared to the thousand and one improvements in communication and knowledge development by the utilization of that still finer force — electricity, which circles the globe with a message in fewer seconds than the years it would have required by earlier means of propulsion.
Thus we see that human progress has been accomplished by the use of finer and finer forces and that each time we have learned to utilize a subtler energy than heretofore used we have made a wonderful stride in civilization.
This view is one we have not usually accustomed ourselves to take; we usually associate solidity and strength as if they were synonymous terms, but a little observation will readily show us the fallacy of that idea.
The waves of the sea, which are fluid will raze the decks of a ship if a few moments, twist and bent the strongest iron stanchions as if they were but wires. The winds may blow the masts of a ship overboard in the twinkle of an eye, yet winds are but air, a gas. Water, a fluid, is tearing down the hills of Seattle, Washington, and making the city level at a rate impossible to the solid pick and shovel. When we look at the great locomotives with their extremely heavily built trains and we admire their ponderous bulk, do we ever realize that the reason why they have to be so solidly built is because they are to be acted upon by an invisible elastic gas-steam?
The waterwheel was of no use as a power producer except when in direct contact with a stationary source of energy, a waterfall. Wind power was better, it could be used as a force of propulsion all over the world, but was fickle and uncertain. Steam was more nearly ideal, as it is procurable at will almost anywhere, but required ponderous machinery to be moved around wherever the force is to be used, as best illustrated by the locomotive, which is such a movable power plant. Electricity may be transmitted for many miles by means of little wire and can be used anywhere along that line; it may be stored, bottled in fact, and taken along; it may even be transmitted from place to place without wires along the all-pervading ether.
We have now shown that man's progress in the past has been accomplished by the utilization of forces of increasing subtlety — water, air, steam, electricity — and that the increasing utility of each of these forces is further enhanced by the facility with which it may be transmitted and utilized at various places. The latest advancement is the transmission of energy from a central source to various points without visible material connection as in the wireless telegraphy.
Having reviewed past accomplishments, it must be evident that the further progress of the human race depends upon the discovery and utilization of a yet finer energy transmissible with still greater facility than either of the forces yet known.
What is that new force — what will it accomplish in the advancement of the human race — and along what lines are we to look for its discovery? Such is the natural threefold question, and we shall attempt to answer it.
In his "Coming Race," Bulwer Lytton gave us an inkling of what that coming force will be. Like all other such stories it has never been taken seriously, but regarded only as the fantastic imagination of a clever writer. Jules Verne's stories met with a like attitude of admiration for this vivid fancy (?) upon the part of the public, yet how much in them has already been realized? "Around the World in Eighty Days" is too slow for the twentieth century globe trotter. Submarine navigation and bird-like flights are facts today.
In truth, the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that cannot be achieved. That seems an extravagant statement, but it is not justifiable in view of what has been done? And reverting to our main line of argument, something akin to the vril of Bulwer must be discovered before man can take the next great step in advancement. True, great and marvelous discoveries lie ahead of us in the further exploitation of the forces we already possess, but the next great step depends upon the discovery of and the preparation for the use of the coming force. Attempts at making the steam engine were made many centuries ago by the ancients before we succeeded in the latter days. Electricity was known in a very small way also by them, but it took a long time to ripen these ideas sufficiently to make them directly available for use; similarly, while we go ahead and exploit these forces we know we must also prepare for the coming force and if we can find it we may be able to find the means of using it the quicker. Let us look a little closer at Bulwer Lytton's Vril, it may be that beneath the fantastic garb a valuable clue is hidden.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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