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Meat and Drink as Factors in Evolution
In previous sections we saw how infant humanity was cared for by superhuman guardians, provided with appropriate food, led out of danger's way, and sheltered in all respects until grown to human stature and fit to enter the school of experience to learn the lessons of life in the phenomenal world. We saw also how the rainbow points to natural laws peculiar to the present age, how man was given free will under these laws, and how the spirit of wine was given to cheer and to stimulate his own timid, fearful spirit, to nerve it for the war of the world.
In an analogous manner the irresponsible little child who has been brought under the waters of baptism by its natural guardians is cared for through the years of childhood while its various vehicles are being organized. When the parental blood stored in the thymus gland has been exhausted and the child thus emancipated from the parents, it awakens to individuality, to the feeling of "I AM." It has then been prepared with a knowledge of good and evil with which to fight the battle of life; and at that time the youth is taken to the church and given the bread and wine to nerve and nourish him spiritually, also as a symbol that henceforth he is a free agent, only responsible to the laws of God. A blessing or a curse, this freedom, according to the way it is used.
In early Atlantis mankind was a universal brotherhood of submissive children with no incentive to war or strife. Later they were segregated into nations, and wars inculcated loyalty to kin and country. Each sovereign was an absolute autocrat with power over life and limb of his subjects, who were numbered in hundreds of millions, and who yielded ungrudging and slavish submission, an attitude maintained to the present day among millions of Asiatics, who are vegetarians and consequently need no alcohol.
As flesh eating came into vogue, wine became a more and more common beverage. In consequence of flesh eating much material progress was made immediately preceding the advent of Christ, and because of the practice of drinking wine an increasing number of men asserted themselves as leaders, with the result that instead of a few large nations such as people Asia, many small nations were formed in the southwestern portion of Europe and Asia Minor.
But though the great mass of people who formed these various nations were ahead of their Asiatic brethren as craftsmen, they continued submissive to their rulers and lived as much in their traditions as did the latter. Christ upbraided them because they gloried in being Abraham's seed. He told them that "before Abraham was, I AM," that is, the ego has always existed.
It is His mission to emancipate humanity from Law and lead it to Love, to destroy "the kingdoms of men" with all their antagonism to one another, and to build upon their ruins " the kingdom of God." An illustration will make the method clear:
If we have a number of brick buildings and desire to amalgamate them into one large structure, it is necessary to break them down first and free each brick from the mortar which binds it. Likewise each human being must be freed from the fetters of family, hence Christ taught, "Unless a man leaves his father and mother he cannot be my disciple." He must outgrow religious partisanship and patriotism and learn to say with the much misunderstood and maligned Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion."
Christ did not mean that we are to forsake those who have a claim upon our help and support, but that we are not to permit the suppression of our individuality out of deference to family traditions and beliefs.
Consequently He came "not to bring peace, but a sword;" and whereas the eastern religions discourage the use of wine, Christ's first miracle was to change water to wine. The sword and the wine cup are signatures of the Christian religion, for by them nations have been broken to pieces and the individual emancipated. Government by the people, for the people, is a fact in northwestern Europe, the rulers being that principally in name only.
But the fostering of the martial spirit as prevails in Europe was only a means to an end. The segregation which it has caused must give place to a regime of brotherhood such as professed by Paine. A new step was necessary to bring this about; a new food must be found which would act upon the spirit in such a way as to foster individuality through assertion of self without oppression of others and without loss of self-respect. We have enunciated it as a law that only spirit can act upon spirit, and therefore that food must be a spirit but differing in other respects from intoxicants.
Before describing this let us see what flesh has done for the evolution of the world.
We have noted previously that during the Polarian Epoch man had only a dense body; he was like the present minerals in this respect, and by nature he was inert and passive.
By absorbing the crystalloids prepared by plants he evolved a vital body during the Hyperborean Epoch and became plant-like both in constitution and by nature, for he lived without exertion and as unconsciously as the plants.
Later he extracted milk from the then stationary animals. Desire for this more readily digestible food spurred him on to exertion, and gradually his desire nature was evolved during the Lemurian Epoch. Thus he became constituted like the present day Herbivora. Though possessed of a passional nature, he was docile and could not be induced to fight save to defend himself, his mate, and family. Hunger alone had the power to make him aggressive.
Therefore, when animals began to move and sought to elude this ruthless parasite, increasing difficulty of obtaining the coveted food aroused his craving to such an extent that when he had hunted and caught an animal, he was no longer content to suck its udders dry but commenced to feed upon its blood and flesh. Thus he became as ferocious as our present day Carnivora.
Digestion of flesh food requires much more powerful chemical action and speedy elimination of the waste than that of a vegetable diet as proved by chemical analysis of the gastric juices from animals, and by the fact that the intestines of Herbivora are many times longer than those of a carnivorous animal of even size. Carnivora easily become drowsy and averse to exertion.
When prodded by the pangs of hunger the ferocious wolf does indeed pursue its prey with unwavering perseverance, and the spring of the crouching king of beasts overmatches the speed of the wing-footed deer. By ambush the feline family foil the fleetest in their attempts to escape. The cunning of the fox is proverbial, and the slinking nocturnal habits of the hyena and kindred scavengers illustrate the depth of depravity resulting from a diet of decayed flesh.
The vices generated by flesh eating may be said to be lassitude, ferocity, low cunning, and depravity. We may tame the herbivorous ox and elephant. Their diet makes them docile and stores enormous power which they obediently use in our service to perform prolonged and arduous labor. The flesh food required by the constitutional peculiarities of Carnivora makes them dangerous and incapable of thorough domestication. A cat may scratch at any moment, and the muzzling ordinances of large cities are ample proof of the danger of dogs. Besides, energy contained in the diet of Carnivora is so largely expended in digestion that they are drowsy and unfitted for sustained labor like the horse or elephant.
The drowsiness following a heavy meal of meat is too well known to require argument, and the custom of taking stimulants with food is an outgrowth of the desire to counteract the deadening effect of dead flesh. The intensified effect of feasting upon flesh in an advanced state of decay is well illustrated in "society," where banquets of game that is "high" are accompanied by orgies of the wildest nature and followed by indulgence of the vilest instincts.
The Westerner who can live upon a clean, sweet, wholesome diet of vegetables, cereals and fruit, does not become drowsy from his food; he needs no stimulant. There are no vegetarian drunkards. The soothing effects of vegetable food manifest as finer feelings, which replace the ferocity fostered by flesh food. Many need the mixed diet yet, for the practice of flesh eating has furthered the progress of the world as nothing else except perhaps its companion vice—drunkenness; and though we cannot say that they have been a blessing in disguise, they have at least not been unmitigated curses, for in the Father's kingdom all seeming evil nevertheless works for good in some respect, though it may not be apparent upon the surface. We shall see how presently.
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A private corporation, the East India Company, commenced and practically achieved the subjugation of India with her three hundred million people, for the English are voracious flesh eaters, while the Hindu's diet fosters docility. But when England fought the flesh eating Boers, Greek met Greek, and the valor displayed by both sides is a matter of brilliant record. Courage, physical as well as moral, is a virtue and cowardice a vice. Flesh has fostered self-assertion and helped us to develop backbone, though unfortunately often at the expense of others who still retain the wishbone. It has done more as will be illustrated:
As said previously, the crouching cat is forced to employ strategy to save strength when procuring its prey, so that it may retain sufficient energy to digest the victim. Thus brain becomes the ally of brawn. In ancient Atlantis desire for flesh developed the ingenuity of primitive man and led him to trap the elusive denizens of field and forest. The hunter's snare was among the first labor-saving devices—which mark the beginning of the evolution of mind, and of the uncompromising, unflagging struggle of the meat fed mind for supremacy over matter.
We say "the meat fed mind," and we reiterate it, because we wish to emphasize that it is by the nations which have adopted flesh food that the most noteworthy progress has been made. The further west we travel, the more the consumption of meat increases as does the disinclination for bodily exercise, and consequently the activity of the mind is increased to a higher and higher pitch in the invention of labor-saving devices. The American agriculturists' acres are counted by thousands, and they harvest large crops with less labor than the farmer of the East who has only a small patch of ground. The reason is that the poor, plodding grain fed Easterner has only his hands and his hoe, which he keeps in motion all day and day after day, while the meat fed, Westerner turns power-driven implements into his fertile fields and sits down in a comfortable seat to watch them work.
Thus the indomitable courage and energy which have transformed the face of the Western World are virtues directly traceable to flesh food, which also fosters love of ease and invention of labor-saving devices; while alcohol stimulates enterprise in execution of schemes thus hatched to procure the maximum of comfort with a minimum of labor.
But the spirit of alcohol is obtained by a process of fermentation. It is a spirit of decay, altogether different from the spirit of life in man. This counterfeit spirit lures man on and on, always holding before his vision the dreams of future grandeur, and goading him to strenuous efforts of body and mind in order to attain and obtain. Then when he has achieved and attained, he awakens to the utter worthlessness of his prize. Possession soon shatters illusion as to the worth of whatever he may have acquired; nothing the world has to give can finally satisfy. Then again the lethal draught drowns disappointment, and the mind conjures up a new illusion. This he pursues with fresh zeal and high hopes, to meet disappointment again and again, for lives and lives, until at last he learns that "wine is a mocker," and that "all is vanity but to serve God and to do His will."
A Living Sacrifice
Volumes, or rather libraries, have been written to explain the nature of God, but it is probably a universal experience that the more we read of other people's explanations, the less we understand. There is one description, given by the inspired apostle John when he wrote "God is Light," which is as illuminating as the others are befogging to the mind. Anyone who takes this passage for meditation occasionally will find a rich reward waiting, for no matter how many times we take up this subject, our own development in the passing years assures us each time a fuller and better understanding. Each time we sink ourselves in these three words we lave in a spiritual fountain of inexhaustible depth, and each succeeding time we sound more thoroughly the divine depths and draw more closely to our Father in heaven.
To get in touch with our subject, let us go back in time to get our bearing and the direction of our future line of progress.
The first time our consciousness was directed towards the Light was shortly after we had become endowed with mind and had entered definitely upon our evolution as human beings in Atlantis, the land of the mist, deep down in the basins of the earth, where the warm mist emitted from the cooling earth hung like a dense fog over the land. Then the starry heights of the universe were never seen, nor could the silvery light of the moon penetrate the dense, foggy atmosphere which hung over that ancient land. Even the fiery splendor of the sun was almost totally extinguished, for when we look in the Memory of Nature pertaining to that time, it appears very much as an arc lamp on a high pole looks to us when it is foggy. It was exceedingly dim, and had an aura of various colors, very similar to those which we observe around an arc light.
But this light had a fascination. The ancient Atlanteans were taught by the divine Hierarchs who walked among them, to aspire to the light, and as the spiritual sight was then already on the wane (even the messengers, or Elohim, being perceived with difficulty by the majority), they aspired all the more ardently to the new light, for they feared the darkness of which they had become conscious through the gift of mind.
Then came the inevitable flood when the mist cooled and condensed. The atmosphere cleared, and the "chosen people" were saved. Those who had worked within themselves and learned to build the necessary organs required to breathe in an atmosphere such as we have today, survived and came to the light. It was not an arbitrary choice; the work of the past consisted of body building. Those who had only gill clefts, such as the fetus still uses in its prenatal development, were unfit physiologically to enter the new era as the fetus would be to be born were it to neglect to build lungs. It would die as those ancient people died when the rare atmosphere made gill clefts useless.
Since the day when we came out of ancient Atlantis our bodies have been practically complete, that is to say, no new vehicles are to be added; but from that time and from now on those who wish to follow the light must strive for soul growth. The bodies which we have crystallized about us must be dissolved, and the quintessence of experience extracted, which as "soul" may be amalgamated with the spirit to nourish it from impotence to omnipotence. Therefore, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was given to the ancients, and the light of God descended upon the Altar of Sacrifice. This is of great significance: The ego had just descended into its tabernacle, the body. We all know the tendency of the primitive instinct towards selfishness, and if we have studied the higher ethics we also know how subversive of good the indulgence of the egotistic tendency is; therefore, God immediately placed before mankind the Divine Light upon the Altar of Sacrifice.
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Upon this altar they were forced by dire necessity to offer their cherished possessions for every transgression, God appearing to them as a hard taskmaster whose displeasure it was dangerous to incur. But still the Light drew them. They knew then that it was futile to attempt to escape from the hand of God. They had never heard the words of John, "God is Light," but they had already learned from the heavens in a measure the meaning of infinitude, as measured by the realm of light, for we hear David exclaim: "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day, for the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
With every year that passes, with the aid of the greatest telescopes which the ingenuity and mechanical skill of man have been able to construct to pierce the depths of space, it becomes more evident that the infinitude of light teaches us the infinitude of God. When we hear that "men loved darkness rather than Light because their deeds were evil," that also rings true to what we unfortunately know as present day facts, and illumines the nature of God for us; for is it not true that we always feel endangered in the dark, but that the light gives us a sense of safety which is akin to the feeling of a child who feels the protecting hand of its father?
To render permanent this condition of being in the Light was the next step in God's work with us, which culminated in the birth of Christ, who as the bodily presence of the Father, bore about in Himself that Light, for the Light came into the world that whosoever should believe in Christ should not perish, but have everlasting life. He said, "I am the Light of the World." The altar in the Tabernacle had illustrated the principle of sacrifice as the medium of regeneration, so Christ said to His disciples: Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends. And forthwith He commenced a sacrifice, which, contrary to the accepted orthodox opinion was not consummated in a few hours of physical suffering upon a material cross, but is as perpetual as were the sacrifices made upon the altar of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, for it entails an annual descent into the earth and an endurance of all that the cramping earth conditions must mean to such a great spirit.
This must continue till a sufficient number have evolved who can bear the burden of this dense lump of darkness which we call the earth, and which hangs as a millstone about the neck of humanity, an impediment to further spiritual growth. Until we learn to follow "in His steps," we can rise no higher towards the Light.
It is related that when Leonardo da Vinci had completed his famous painting "The Last Supper," he asked a friend to look at it and tell him what he thought of it.
The friend looked at it critically for a few minutes and then said:
"I think you have made a mistake in painting the goblets from which the apostles drink so ornamental and to resemble gold. People in their positions would not drink from such expensive vessels."
Da Vinci then drew his brush through the entire set of vessels which had drawn the criticism of his friend, but he was heartbroken, for he had painted that picture with his soul rather than with his hands, and he had prayed over it that it might speak a message to the world. He had put all the greatness of his art and the whole-hearted devotion of his soul into that effort to paint a Christ who should speak the word that would lead men to emulate His deeds.
Can you see Him as He sits there at that festive board, the embodiment of light, and speaks those wonderful, mystic words: This is my body, this is my blood, given for you— a living sacrifice.
In the past period of our spiritual career we have been looking for a Light exterior to ourselves, but now we have arrived at the point where we must look for the Christ light within and emulate Him by making of ourselves "living sacrifices" as He is doing. Let us remember that when the sacrifice which lies before our door seems pleasant and to our liking, when we seem able to pick and choose our work in His vineyard and do what pleases us, we are not making a real sacrifice as He did, nor are we when we are seen of men and applauded for our benevolence. But when we are ready to follow Him from that festive board where He was the honored one among friends, into the garden of Gethsemane where He was alone and wrestled with the great problem before Him while His friends slept, then are we making a living sacrifice.
When we are content to follow "in His steps" to that point of self-sacrifice where we can say from the bottom of our hearts, "Thy will, not mine," then we have surely the light within, and there will never henceforth be for us that which we feel as darkness. We shall walk in the light.
This is our glorious privilege, and the meditation upon the words of the apostle, "God is Light," will help us to realize this ideal provided we add to our faith, works, and say by our deeds as did the Christ of da Vinci, "This is my body and this is my blood," a living sacrifice upon the altar of humanity.
Magic, White and Black
From time to time as occasion requires we warn students of the Rosicrucian Teachings in our private individual letters not to attend spirit séances, hypnotic demonstrations, or places where incense is burned by dabblers in esotericism. Black Magic is practiced both consciously and unconsciously to an extent that is almost unbelievable. "Malicious animal magnetism," which is only another name for the Black Force, is responsible for more failures in business, loss of health, and unhappiness in homes than most people are aware of. Even the perpetrators of such outrages are, as said, often unconscious of what harm they have done. Therefore it seems expedient to devote a section to an explanation of some of the laws of magic, which are the same for the white as for the black. There is only one force, but it may be used for good or evil; and according to the motive behind it and the use that is made of it, it becomes either black or white.
It is a scientific axiom that "Ex nihil, nihil fit" (out of nothing nothing comes). There must be a seed before there can be a flower, but where the first seed came from is something which science has failed to explain. The esotericist knows that all things have come from arche the infinite essence of chaos, used by God, the Grand Architect, for the building of our universe; and , given the nucleus of anything, the accomplished magician can draw upon the same essence for a further supply. Christ, for instance, had some loaves and some fishes; by means of that nucleus He drew upon the primordial essence of chaos for the rest needed in performing the miracle of feeding a multitude. A human magician whose power is not so high can more easily draw upon things which have already materialized out of chaos. He may take flowers or fruit belonging to some one else, miles or hundreds of miles away, disintegrate them into their atomic constituents, transport them through the air, and cause them to assume their regular physical shape in the room where he is entertaining friends in order to amaze them. Such magic is gray at best, even if he sends sufficient of his coin to pay for what he has taken away; if he does not, it is Black Magic to thus rob another of his goods. Magic to be white must always be used unselfishly, and in addition, for a noble purpose—to save a fellow being suffering. The Christ, when He fed the multitude from chaos, gave as His reason that they had been with Him for several days and if they had to journey back to their homes without physical food they would faint by the wayside and suffer privation.
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God is the Grand Architect of the Universe and the Initiates of the White Schools are also arche-tektons, builders from the primordial essence in their beneficent work for humanity. These Invisible Helpers require a nucleus from the patient's vital body, which is, as students of the Rosicrucian Teachings know, given to them in the effluvia from the hand, which impregnates the paper when the patient makes application for help and healing. With this nucleus of the patient's vital body they are able to draw upon virgin matter for whatever they need to restore health by building up and strengthening the organism.
The Black Magicians are despoilers, actuated by hatred and malice. They also need a nucleus for their nefarious operations, and this they obtain most easily from the vital body at spiritualistic or hypnotic seances, where the sitters relax, put themselves into a negative frame of mind, drop their jaws, and sink their individualities by other distinctly mediumistic practices. Even people who do not frequent such places are not immune, for there are certain products of the vital body which are ignorantly scattered by all and which may be used effectively by the Black Magicians. Chief in this category are the hair and fingernails. Practitioners of voodoo magic use the placenta for similar evil purposes. One particularly evil man, whose practices were exposed a decade ago, obtained from boys the vital fluid which he used for his demoniac acts. Even so innocent a thing as a glass of water placed in close proximity to certain parts of the body of the prospective victim, while the Black Magician converses with him can be made to absorb a part of the victim's vital body. This will give the Black Magician the requisite nucleus, or it may be obtained from a piece of the person's clothing. The same invisible emanation contained in the garment, which guides the bloodhound upon the track of a certain person, will also guide the Magician, white or black, to the abode of that person and furnish the Magician with a key to the person's system whereby the former may help or hurt according to his inclination.
But there are methods of protecting oneself from inimical influences, which we shall mention in the latter part of this section. We have debated much whether it were wise or not to call the attention of students to these facts, and have come to the conclusion that it does not help anyone to imitate the ostrich which sticks its head into a hole in the sand at the approach of danger. It is better to be enlightened concerning things that threaten so that we may take whatever precautions are necessary to meet the emergency. The battle between the good and the evil forces is being waged with an intensity that no one not engaged in the actual combat can comprehend. The Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians and kindred orders which, we may say, in their totality represent the Holy Grail, live on the love and essence of the unselfish service which they gather and garner as the bees gather honey, from all who are striving to live the life. This they add to the luster of the Holy Grail, which in turn grows more lustrous and radiates a stronger influence upon all who are spiritually inclined, imbuing them with greater ardor, zeal and zest in the good work and in fighting the good fight. Similarly the evil forces of the Black Grail thrive on hate, treachery, cruelty, and every demoniac deed on the calendar of crime. Both the Black and White Grail forces require a pabulum, the one of good and the other of evil, for the continuance of their existence and for the power to fight. Unless they get it, they starve and grow weaker. Hence the relentless struggle that is going on between them.
Every midnight the Elder Brothers at their service open their breasts to attract the darts of hate, envy, malice, and every evil that has been launched during the past twenty-four hours. First, in order that they may deprive the Black Grail forces of their food; and secondly, that they may transmute the evil to good. Then, as the plants gather the inert carbon dioxide exhaled by mankind and build their bodies therefrom, so the Brothers of the Holy Grail transmute the evil within the temple; and as the plants send out the renovated oxygen so necessary to human life, so the Elder Brothers return to mankind the transmuted essence of evil as qualms of conscience along with the good in order that the world may grow better day by day.
The Black Brothers, instead of transmuting the evil, infuse a greater dynamic energy into it and speed it on its mission in vain endeavors to conquer the powers of good. They use for their purposes elementals and other discarnate entities which, being themselves of a low order, are available for such vile practices as required. In the ages when men burned animal oil or candles made from the tallow of animals, elementals swarmed around them as devils or demons, seeking to obsess whoever would offer an occasion. Even wax tapers offer food for these entities, but the modern methods of illumination by electricity, coal oil, or even paraffin candles, are uncongenial to them. They still flock around our saloons, slaughter houses, and similar places where there are passionate animals, and animal-like men. They also delight in places where incense is burned, for that offers them an avenue of access, and when the sitters at séances inhale the odor of the incense they inhale elemental spirits with it, which affect them according to their characters.
This is where the protection we spoke about before may be used. When we live lives of purity, when our days are filled with service to God and to our fellow men, and with thoughts and actions of the highest nobility, then we create for ourselves the Golden Wedding Garment, which is a radiant force for good. No evil is able to penetrate this armor for the evil then acts as a boomerang and recoils on the one who sent it, bringing to him the evil he wished us.
But alas, none of us are altogether good. We know only too well the war between the flesh and the spirit. We cannot hide from ourselves the fact that like Paul, "the good that we would do, we do not, and the evil that we would shun, that we do." Far too often our good resolutions come to naught and we do wrong because it is easier. Therefore we all have the nucleus of evil within ourselves, which affords the open sesame for the evil forces to work upon. For that reason it is best for us not unnecessarily to expose ourselves at places where séances are held with spirits invisible to us, no matter how fine their teachings may sound to the unsophisticated. Neither should we take part even as spectators at hypnotic demonstrations, for there also a negative attitude lays one liable to the danger of obsession. We should at all times follow the advice of Paul and put on the whole armor of God. We should be positive in our fight for the good against the evil and never let an occasion slip to aid the Elder Brothers by word or deed in the Great War for spiritual supremacy.
Our Invisible Government
It is well known to students of the Rosicrucian Philosophy that each species of animals is dominated by a group spirit, which is their guardian and looks after these, its wards, with a view to bringing them along the path of evolution that is best suited to their development; it does not matter what the geographical position of these animals is; the lion in the jungles of Africa is dominated by the same group spirit as is the lion in the cage of a menagerie in our northern countries. Therefore these animals are alike in all their principal characteristics; they have the same likes and dislikes with respect to diet, and they act in an almost identical manner under similar circumstances. If one wants to study the tribe of lions or the tribe of tigers, all that is necessary is to study one individual, for it has neither choice nor prerogative, but acts entirely according to the dictates of the group spirit. The mineral cannot choose whether it will crystallize or not; the rose is bound to bloom; the lion is compelled to prey; and in each case the activity is dictated entirely by the group spirit.
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But man is different; when we want to study him we find that each individual is as a species by himself. What one does under any given circumstances is no indication of what another may do; "one man's meat is another man's poison"; each has different likes and dislikes. This is because man as we see him in the physical world is the expression of an individual indwelling spirit, seemingly having choice and prerogative.
But as a matter of fact man is not quite as free as he seems; all students of human nature have observed that on certain occasions a large number of people will act as though dominated by one spirit. It is also easy to see without recourse to esotericism that the different nations have certain physical characteristics. We all know the German, French, English, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish types. Each of these nations has characteristics which differ from those of the other nations, thus indicating that there must be a race spirit at the root of these peculiarities. The esotericist who is gifted with spiritual sight knows that such is the case, and that each nation has a different race spirit which broods as a cloud over the whole country. In it the people live and move and have their being; it is their guardian and is constantly working for their development, building up their civilization and fostering ideals of the highest nature compatible with their capacity for progress.
In the Bible we read that Jehovah, Elohim, who was the race spirit of the Jews, went before them in a pillar and a cloud, and in the Book of Daniel we gain considerable insight into the workings of these race spirits. The image seen by Nebuchadnezzar with its head of gold and feet of clay showed plainly how a civilization built up in the beginning with golden ideals degenerated more and more until in the latter part of its existence the feet were of unstable, crumbling clay, and the image was doomed to topple. Thus all civilizations when started by the different race spirits have great and golden ideals, but humanity by reason of having some free will and choice does not follow implicitly the dictates of the race spirits as the animals follow the commands of the group spirits. Hence in the course of time a nation ceases to rise, and as there can be no standing still in the cosmos, it begins to degenerate until finally the feet are of clay and it is necessary to strike a blow to shatter it, that another civilization may be built upon its ruins.
But empires do not fall without a strong physical blow, and therefore an instrument of the race spirit of a nation is always raised up at the time when that nation is doomed to fall. In the tenth and eleventh chapters of Daniel we are given an insight into the workings of the invisible government of the race spirits, the powers behind the throne. Daniel is much disturbed in spirit; he fasts, for fully three weeks, praying for light, and at the end of that time an archangel, a race spirit, appears before him and addresses him: "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days, but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the king of Persia." After he explains to Daniel what is to happen, he says: "Knowest thou wherefore I came unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: And when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come, and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael, your prince." The archangel also says: "In the first year of Darius the Mede, even I stood to confirm and to strengthen him."
So when the handwriting is on the wall, some one is raised up to administer the blow; it may be a Cyrus, a Darius, an Alexander, a Caesar, a Napoleon, or a kaiser. Such a one may think himself a prime mover, a free individual acting by his own choice and prerogative, but as a matter of fact he is only the instrument of the invisible government of the world, the power behind thrones, the race spirits, who see the necessity of breaking up civilizations that have outlived their usefulness, so that humanity may get a new start and evolve under a new and a higher ideal than that which ensouled it before.
Christ himself when upon earth, said: "I came not to bring peace, but a sword," for it was evident to Him that as long as humanity was divided into races and nations there could be no "peace on earth and good will among men." Only when the nations have become united in a universal brotherhood is peace possible. The barriers of nationalism must be done away with, and to this end the United States of America has been made a melting pot where all that is best in the old nations is being brought together and amalgamated, so that a new race with higher ideals and feelings of universal brotherhood may be born for the Aquarian Age. In the meantime the barriers of nationalism have been partially broken down in Europe by the terrible conflict [WWI] just past. This brings nearer the day of universal amity and the realization of the Brotherhood of Man.
There is also another object to be gained. Of all the terrors to which mankind is subjected, there is none so great as death, which separates us from those we love, because we are unable to see them after they have stepped out of their bodies. But just as surely as the day follows the night, so will every teardrop wear away some of the scale that now blinds the eyes of man to the unseen land of the living dead. We have said repeatedly and we now reaffirm that one of the greatest blessings which will come from the war will be the spiritual sight which a great number of people will evolve. The intense sorrow of millions of people, the longing to see again the dear ones who have so suddenly and ruthlessly been torn from us, are a force of incalculable strength and power. Likewise those who have been snatched by death in the prime of life and who are now in the invisible world are equally intense in their desires to reunite with those near and dear to them, so that they may speak the word of comfort and assure them of their well being. Thus it may be said that two great armies comprising millions upon millions are tunneling with frantic energy and intensity of purpose through the wall that separates the invisible from the visible. Day by day this wall or veil is growing thinner, and sooner or later the living and the living dead will meet in the middle of the tunnel. Before we realize it, communication will have been established, and we shall find it a common experience that when our loved ones step out of their worn and sick bodies, we shall feel neither sorrow nor loss because we shall be able to see them in their ethereal bodies, moving among us as they used to do. So out of the great conflict we shall come as victors over death and be able to say: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
Practical Precepts For Practical People
"If I were to do business on the principles laid down in the Sermon on the Mount I would be down and out in less than a year," said a critic recently. "Why, the Bible is utterly impracticable under our present economic conditions; it is impossible to live according to it."
If that is true there is a good reason for the unbelief of the world, but in a court the accused is always allowed a fair trial, and let us examine the Bible thoroughly before we judge. What are the specific charges? "Why, they are countless," answered the critic, "but to mention only a few, let us take such passages as, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven;' 'Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth;' 'Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.' Such ideas point the way to the poorhouse."
"Very well," says the apologist, "let us take the last charge first. King James' version says: 'No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve God and mammon, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grasses of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the Gentiles seek; your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.'"
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If this is intended to mean that we should wastefully squander all we have in prodigal or riotous living, then it is of course not only impractical but demoralizing. Such an interpretation is, however, out of keeping with the tenor and teaching of the whole Book, and it does not say so. The Greek word merimnon means being overly careful or anxious, and if we read the passage with this alteration we shall find that it teaches a different lesson which is entirely practical. Mammon is the Syriac word for riches, desired by foolish people. In the preceding paragraph Christ exhorted them not to become servants or slaves to riches, which they must leave behind when the silver cord is broken and the spirit returns to God, but seek rather to live lives of love and service and lay up treasures of good deeds, which they might take with them into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the meantime, He exhorted, be not overly anxious regarding what you shall eat and drink and clothe yourself with. Why worry? You cannot add a hairbreadth to your height or a hair to your head by worrying. Worry is the most wasteful and depleting of all our emotions, and it does no good whatever. Your heavenly Father knows you need material things, therefore seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all else needed will be added. On at least two occasions when multitudes came to Christ in places far from their homes and distant from towns where refreshment was obtainable, He demonstrated this; He gave them first the spiritual food they sought and then ministered to their bodily needs direct from a spiritual source of supply.
Does it work out in these modern days? Surely there have been so many demonstrations of this that it is not at all necessary to recount any special one. When we work and pray, pray and work, and make our lives a living prayer for opportunities to serve others, then all earthly things will come of their own accord as we need them, and they will keep coming in larger measure according to the degree to which they are used in the service of God. If we regard ourselves only as stewards and custodians of whatever earthly goods we possess, then we are really "poor in spirit" so far as the evanescent earthly treasures are concerned, but rich in the more lasting treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven; and if we are not out and out materialists, surely this is a practical attitude.
It is not so long ago that "caveat emptor," "Let the buyer beware," was the slogan of the merchants who sought after earthly treasures and regarded the buyer as their legitimate prey. When they had sold their wares and received the money, it did not matter to them whether the buyer was satisfied or not. They even prided themselves on selling an inferior article which would soon wear out, as evident in the short-sighted motto, "The weakness of the goods is the strength of the trade." But gradually even people who would scorn the idea of introducing religion into their business are discarding this caveat emptor as a motto, and are unconsciously adopting the precept of Christ, "He that would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all." Everywhere the best business men are insistent in their claim to patronage on the ground of the service they give to the buyer, because it is a policy that pays, and may therefore be classed as another of the practical precepts of the Bible.
But it sometimes happens that in spite of their desire to serve their customers, something goes wrong and an angry, dissatisfied customer comes blustering in, decrying their goods. Under the old shortsighted regime of caveat emptor the merchant would have merely laughed or thrown the buyer out of the door. Not so the modern merchant, who takes his Bible into business. He remembers the wisdom of Solomon that "a soft answer turneth away wrath," and the assertion of Christ that "the meek shall inherit the earth," so he apologizes for the fault in the goods, offers restitution, and sends the erstwhile dissatisfied customer away smiling and eager to sing the praises of the concern that treats him so nicely. Thus by obeying the practical precepts of the Bible, keeping his temper in meekness, the business man gains additional customers who come to him in full faith of fair treatment, and the added profit in sales made to them soon overbalances the loss on goods which may have caused the dissatisfaction of other customers.
It pays dividends in dollars and cents to keep one's temper and be meek; it pays greater dividends from the moral and spiritual standpoints. What better business motto can be found than in Ecclesiastes: "Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Be not rash in thy mouth, be not hasty in thy speech to be angry, for anger resteth in the bosom of fools." Tact and diplomacy are always better than force; as the Good Book says: "If the iron be blunt we must use more strength, but wisdom is profitable to direct." The line of least resistance, so long as it is clean and honorable, is always best. Therefore, "Love your enemies, do good to them that despitefully use you." It is good practical business policy to try to reconcile those who do us harm lest they do more; and it is better for us to get over our ill feeling than to nurse it, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap, and if we sow spite and meanness, we breed and beget in others the same feelings. Furthermore, all these things will apply in private life and in social intercourse just as in ordinary business. How many quarrels could be avoided if we cultivated the virtue of meekness in our homes; how much pleasure would be gained; how much happiness would come into our lives if in social and business relations we learned to do unto others as we would that they should do unto us!
There is no need for the great mental strain that so many of us are working under concerning what we shall eat and what we shall drink. Our Father in Heaven does own the earth and the fullness thereof; the cattle on a thousand hills are His. If we learn truly to cast our cares upon Him, there is no doubt that the way out of our difficulties will be provided.
It is a fact, acknowledged by all authorities who have investigated the subject, that comparatively few people die from lack of necessities of life, but a great many die because of overindulgence of the appetites. It is the practical experience of the writer and numerous others that if we do our work day by day as it appears before us, faithfully and to the best of our ability, the wherewithal for the morrow will always be provided. If we go according to the instruction of the Bible, doing all "as unto the Lord," it does not matter what line of honest work we follow; we are then at the same time seeking the Kingdom of God. But if we are only time servers, working for fear or favor, we cannot expect to succeed in the long run; health, wealth, and happiness may attend us for a little while, but outside the solid foundation of the Bible there can be no lasting joy in life and no real prosperity in business.
Sound, Silence, and Soul Growth
Sincere students of the Science of the Soul are naturally anxious to grow in grace that they may serve so much better in the Great Work of Human Upliftment. Being humble and modest they are only too painfully aware of their shortcomings, and frequently while casting about for means to facilitate progress they ask themselves, "What hinders?" Some, particularly in bygone ages when life was lived less intensely than now, realized that the everyday life among ordinary humanity had many drawbacks. To overcome these and further their soul growth they withdrew from the community to a monastery or to the mountains where they could give themselves over to the spiritual life undisturbed.
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We know, however, that that is not the way. It is too well established in the minds of most of our students that if we run away from an experience today, it will confront us again tomorrow, and that the victor's palm is earned by overcoming the world, not by running away from it. The environment in which we have been placed by the Recording Angels was our own choice when we were at the turning point of our life cycle in the Third Heaven, we then being pure spirit unblinded by the matter which now veils our vision. Hence it is undoubtedly the one that holds lessons needed by us, and we should make a serious mistake if we tried to escape from it altogether.
But we have received a mind for a definite purpose—to reason about things and conditions so that we may learn to discriminate between essentials and non-essentials, between that which is designed to hinder for the purpose of teaching us a virtue by overcoming it, and that which is an out and out hindrance, which jars our sensibilities and wrecks our nerves without any compensating spiritual gain. It will be of the greatest benefit if we can learn to differentiate for the conservation of our strength, accepting only that which we must endure for the sake of our spiritual well-being. We shall then save much energy and have much more zest in profitable directions than now. The details of that problem are different in every life; however, there are certain general principles which it will benefit us all to understand and apply to our lives, and among them is the effect of silence and sound on soul growth.
At first blush it may surprise us when the statement is made that sound and silence are very important factors in soul growth, but when we examine the matter we shall soon see that it is not a far-fetched notion. Consider first the graphic expression, "War is hell," and then call up in imagination a war scene. The sight is appalling, even more so to those who see it with the undimmed spiritual vision than to those who are limited to physical sight, for the latter can at least shut their eyes to it if they want to, but the whole horror lies heavily upon the heart of the Invisible Helper who not only hears and sees but feels in his own being the anguish and pain of all the surrounding suffering as Parsifal felt in his heart the wound of Amfortas, the stricken Grail king; in fact, without that intensely intimate feeling of oneness with the suffering there could be no healing or help given. But there is one thing which no one can escape, the terrible noise of the shells, the deafening roar of the cannon, the vicious spitting of the machine guns, the groans of the wounded, and the oaths of a certain class among the participants. We shall need no further argument to agree that it is really a "hellish noise" and as subversive of soul growth as possible. The battle field is the last place anyone with a sane mind would choose for the purpose of soul growth, though it is not to be forgotten that much of this has been made by noble deeds of self-sacrifice there; but such results have been achieved in spite of the condition and not because of it.
On the other hand, consider a church filled with the noble strain of a Gregorian chant or a Handel oratorio upon which the prayers of the aspiring soul wing their way to the Author of our Being. That music may surely be termed "heavenly" and the church designated as offering an ideal condition for soul growth, but if we stayed there permanently to the neglect of our duties we should be failures in spite of the ideal condition.
There remains, therefore, only one safe method for us, namely, to stay in the din of the battle field of the world, endeavoring to wrest from even the most unpromising conditions the material of soul growth by unselfish service, and at the same time to build within our own inner selves a sanctuary filled with that silent music which sounds ever in the serving soul as a source of upliftment above all the vicissitudes of earthly existence. Having that "living church" within, being in fact under that condition "living temples," we may turn at any moment when our attention is not legitimately required by temporal affairs to that spiritual house not made with hands and lave in its harmony. We may do that many times a day and thus restore continually the harmony that has been disturbed by the discords of terrestrial intercourse.
How then shall we build that temple and fill it with the heavenly music we so much desire? What will help and what will hinder? are the questions which call for a practical solution, and we shall try to make the answer as plain and practical as possible, for this is a very vital matter. The little things are particularly important, for the neophyte needs to take even the slightest things into account. If we light a match in a strong wind it is extinguished before it has gained a fair start, but if the little flame is laid on a brush heap and given a chance to grow in comparative calm, a rising wind will fan the flame instead of extinguishing it. Adepts or Great Souls may remain serene under conditions which would upset the ordinary aspirant, hence he should use discrimination and not expose himself unnecessarily to conditions subversive of soul growth; what he needs more than anything is poise, and nothing is more inimical to that condition than noise.
It is undeniable that our communities are "Bedlams," and that we have a legitimate right to escape some noises if possible, such as the screeching made by street cars rounding a curve. We do not need to live on such a corner to the detriment of our nerves or endeavors at concentration, but if we have a sick, crying child that requires our attention day and night, it does not matter how if affects our nerves, we have no right in the sight of God or man to run away or neglect it in order to concentrate. These things are perfectly obvious and produce instant assent, but the things that help or hinder most are, as said, the things that are so small that they escape our attention entirely. When we now start to enumerate them, they may provoke a smile of incredulity, but if they are pondered upon and practiced they will soon win assent, for judged by the formula that "by their fruits ye shall know them," they will show results and vindicate our assertion that "Silence is one of the greatest helps in soul growth," and should therefore be cultivated by the aspirant in his home, his personal demeanor, his walk, his habits, and paradoxical as it seems, even his speech.
It is a proof of the benefit of religion that it makes people happy, but the greatest happiness is usually too deep for outward expression. It fills our whole being so full that it is almost awesome, and a boisterous manner never goes together with that true happiness for it is the sign of superficiality. The loud voice, the coarse laugh, the noisy manner, the hard heels that sound like sledge hammers, the slamming of doors, and the rattling of dishes are the signatures of the unregenerate, for they love noise, the more the merrier, as it stirs their desire bodies. For their purpose church music is anathema; a blaring brass band is preferable to any other form of entertainment, and the wilder the dance, the better. But it is otherwise, or should be, with the aspirant to the higher life.
When the infant Jesus was sought by Herod, with murderous intent, his only safety lay in flight, and by that expedient were preserved his life and power to grow and fulfill his mission. Similarly, when the Christ is born within the aspirant he can best preserve this spiritual life by fleeing from the environment of the unregenerate where these hindering things are practiced, and seek a place among others of kindred ambitions provided he is free to do so; but if placed in a position of responsibility to a family; it is his duty to strive to alter conditions by precept and example, particularly by example, so that in time that refined, subdued atmosphere which breathes harmony and strength may reign over the whole house. It is not essential to the happiness of children that they be allowed to shout at the top of their voices or to race pell-mell through the house, slamming doors and wrecking furniture in their mad race; it is indeed decidedly detrimental, for it teaches them to disregard the feelings of others in self-gratification. They will benefit more than mother by being shod with rubber heels and taught to reserve their romps for outdoors and to play quietly in the house, closing doors easily, and speaking in a moderate tone of voice such as mother uses.
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In childhood we begin to wreck the nerves that bother us in later years, so if we teach our children the lessons above indicated, we may save them much trouble in life as well as further our own soul growth now. It may take years to reform a household of these seemingly unimportant faults and secure an atmosphere conducive to soul growth, especially if the children have grown to adult age and resent reforms of that nature, but it is well worth while. We can and must at least cultivate the virtue of silence in ourselves, or our own soul growth will be very small. Perhaps if we look at the matter from its esoteric point of view in connection with that important vehicle, the vital body, the point of this necessity will be more clear.
We know that the vital body is ever storing up power in the physical body which is to be used in this "School of Experience," and that during the day the desire body is constantly dissipating this energy in actions which constitute experience that is eventually transmuted to soul growth. So far so good, but the desire body has the tendency to run amuck if not held in with a tight reign. It revels in unrestrained motion, the wilder the better, and if unbridled makes the body whistle, sing, jump, dance, and do all the other unnecessary and undignified things which are so detrimental to soul growth. While under such a spell of inharmony and discord the person is dead to the spiritual opportunities in the physical world, and at night when he leaves his body the process of restoration of that vehicle consumes so much time that very little, if any, time is left for work, even if the person has the inclination to think seriously of doing such work.
Therefore, we ought by all means to flee from noises which we are not obliged to hear, and cultivate personally the quiet yet kindly demeanor, the modulated voice, the silent walk, the unobtrusive presence, and all the other virtues which make for harmony, for then the restorative process is quickly accomplished and we are free the major part of the night to work in the invisible worlds to gain more soul growth. Let us in this attempt at improvement remember to be undaunted by occasional failures, remembering Paul's admonition to continue in well-doing with patient persistence.
The "Mysterium Magnum" of the Rose Cross
Occasionally we get letters from students voicing their regret that they are alone in the study of the Rosicrucian Philosophy, that their husbands, wives, children or other relatives are unsympathetic or even antagonistic to the teachings, despite all efforts of the said student to interest favorably these friends and thus obtain companionship in their studies, or at least freedom to follow their bent. This friction causes them a certain amount of unhappiness according to their various temperaments, and we are asked by these students to advise them how to overcome the antagonism and convert their relatives. This we have done by personal letters and have been privileged to help conditions in not a few homes when our advice has been followed; but we know that frequently those who suffer most acutely are silent, and we have therefore decided to devote a little time to a discussion of the subject.
It is truly said, very truly, that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," and this applies with the same force to the Rosicrucian teachings as to any other subject. Therefore, the very first step is to find out if you have enough knowledge to be on the safe side. So let me ask the question: What is the Rosicrucian teaching which you are so anxious to have others share and to which they object? Is it the twin laws of "Causation" and "Rebirth?" They are excellent for explaining a great many problems of life, and they are a great comfort when the grim reaper appears and robs our home of some one near and dear. But then you must remember that there are many who do not feel the need of any explanation whatever. They are constitutionally as unfit to apply it as a deaf mute is to use the telephone. It is true that we work to better advantage when conscious of the law and its purpose, but let us take comfort from the fact that these laws work for good to all whether they know it or not, and therefore this knowledge is not essential. They will suffer no great loss because they do not embrace this doctrine, and they may escape the danger incident to the possession of "a little knowledge."
In India where these truths are known and believed by millions, people make little effort at material progress because they know that they have endless time, and what they do not accomplish in this life may wait till the next or a later life. Many Westerners who have embraced the doctrine of rebirth have ceased to be useful members of their community by adopting a life of indolence, thereby bringing reproach on these so-called higher teachings. If your friends will have none of this teaching, leave them alone. Making converts is by no means the essential point of the Rosicrucian teaching. The Guardian of the Gate will not examine them as to knowledge, and he may admit some who are entirely ignorant of this matter and shut the door in the face of others who have devoted their lives to studying, lecturing on, and teaching these laws.
Then if the doctrines of "Causation" and "Rebirth" are unessential, what about the complex constitution of Man? Surely it is essential to know that we are not merely this visible body, but have a vital body to charge it with energy, a desire body to spend this force, a mind to guide our exertions in channels of reason, and that we are virgin spirits enmeshed in a threefold veil as egos. Is it not essential to know that the physical body is the material counterpart of the Divine Spirit, that the vital body is a replica of the Life Spirit, and that the desire body is the shadow of the Human Spirit, the mind forming the link between the threefold spirit and the threefold body?
No, it is not essential to know these things. Properly used, this knowledge is an advantage, but it may also be a very decided disadvantage in the case of those who have only "a little knowledge" in that direction. There are many such who are always meditating on "the higher self" while entirely forgetful of the many "lower selves" groaning in misery at their very doors. There are many who dream day and night of the time when they will take their daily soul flights as "invisible helpers" and ease the sufferings of the sick and sorrowful, yet would not spend a five cent car fare and an hour's time to bring a poor, friendless soul in a city hospital a flower and a word of cheer. Again I say that the Guardian of the Gate is more likely to admit him who did what he could than him who dreamed much and did nothing to help his suffering fellow man.
If you could get people to study the Rosicrucian teachings about death and the life after, you would feel it important that they should also know about the silver cord remaining unbroken for a period approximately three and one-half days after the spirit has left the body, and that it must be left undisturbed while the panorama of its past life is being etched into the desire body to serve as arbiter of its life in the invisible world. You would like them to know all about the spirit's life in purgatory—how the evil acts of its life react upon it as pain to create conscience and keep it from repeating in a later life the acts that cause the suffering. You would have them know how the good acts of life are transmuted into virtues usable in later lives as set forth in our philosophy.
You have no doubt been surprised at the assertion that a knowledge of the great twin laws in unessential. Probably the next assertion that it is immaterial whether others learn about the constitution of man as we know it may have scandalized you; and you will undoubtedly feel shocked to have it stated that the Rosicrucian teachings concerning death and the passing of the spirit into the unseen worlds are also comparatively unnecessary to the purpose we aim to accomplish. It really does not matter whether your relatives understand or believe in these teachings. So far as your own passing is concerned, an earnest request that they leave your body quiet and undisturbed for the proper period will probably be carried out to the letter, for people have an almost superstitious regard for such "last requests"; and if any of your friends pass over, you are there with your knowledge and can do the right thing for them. So never mind if they refuse to take up that part of the Rosicrucian teaching.
But the student may say, "If a knowledge of the before mentioned subjects which seems of such practical value is immaterial to advancement, then it follows that study of the Periods, Revolutions, World Globes, etc., is entirely so. That disposes of everything taught in the 'Cosmo' and there is nothing left of the Rosicrucian teaching which we have embraced and to which we have pinned our faith!
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Is nothing left? Yes, indeed, all is left, for those things mentioned are only the husks which you must remove to get at the meat in the nut, the kernel of it all. You have read the "Cosmo" many times perhaps. Maybe you have studied it and feel proud of your knowledge of the world mystery, but have you ever read the mystery hidden in every line? That is the great and essential teaching, the one teaching to which your friends will respond, if you can find it and give it to them. The Cosmo preaches on every page the gospel of service.
For our sakes Deity manifested the universe. The great creative Hierarchies have all been and some of them still are our servants. The luminous star angels, whose fiery bodies we see whirling through space, have worked with us for ages, and in due time Christ came to bring us the spiritual impetus needed at that time. It is also significant in the extreme that in the parable of the last judgment Christ does not say, "Well done, thou great and erudite philosopher, who knoweth the Bible, the Kabala, the Cosmo and all the other mysterious literature which reveals the intricate workings of nature" but He says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: .... enter thou into the joy of thy lord. .... For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; ....." Not one single word about knowledge; the whole emphasis was laid upon faithfulness and service.
There is a deep esoteric reason for this: service builds the soul body, the glorious wedding garment without which no man can enter into the kingdom of the heavens, esoterically termed "The New Galilee," and it does not matter whether we are aware of what is going on, so long as we accomplish the work. Moreover, as the luminous soul body grows in and around a person, this light will teach him or her about the Mysteries without the need of books, and one who is thus God-taught knows more than all the books in the world contain. In due time the inner vision will be opened and the way to the Temple shown. If you want to teach your friends, no matter how skeptical they may be, they will believe you if you preach the gospel of service.
But you must preach by practice. You must become a servant of men yourself if you would have them believe in you. If you want them to follow, you must lead, or they will have the right to question your sincerity. Remember, "ye are a city upon a hill," and when you make professions they have a right to judge you by your fruits; therefore say little, serve much.
There are many who love to discuss the harmless, peaceful life at dinner, oblivious of the fact that the red roast on the table and the cigar in the mouth dull the effect. There are others who make a god of the stomach and would rather study dietetics than the Bible; they are always ready to buttonhole their friends and discourse upon the latest food fad. I knew one man who was at the head of an esoteric group. His wife was antagonistic to esotericism and the meatless diet. He forced her to cook his vegetables at home, and told her that if she ever dared to bring meat into his kitchen or contaminate his dishes with it, he would pitch her and the dishes into the street, adding that if she must make a pig of herself she could go and get flesh food in a restaurant.
Is it to be wondered at that she judged the religion by the man and would have none of it? Surely he was to blame, being "his brother's keeper," and though this is an extreme case, it makes the lesson more obvious. It is to the everlasting praise of Mohammad that his wife became his first disciple, and it speaks volumes for his kindness and consideration in the home. His is an example we should all do well to follow if we would win our friends to the higher life, for though all religious systems differ outwardly the kernel of all is Love.
Not infrequently the remark is made by people who have no sympathy with our aspirations to live the higher life, that it unfits people for the world's work. Unfortunately it cannot be denied that there is seeming justification for the assertion, though in reality the very first requisite for living the higher life involves an obligation to comport oneself irreproachably in dealing with material matters, for unless we are faithful in the little things, how can we expect to be trusted with greater responsibilities? It has therefore been deemed expedient to devote a lesson to the discussion of some of the things which act as stumbling blocks in the life of aspirants.
In the Bible story where the king sent out his servants with invitations to the feast he had prepared, we are told that his invitations were refused on various grounds. Each one had material cares, buying, selling, marrying, therefore they could not attend to the spiritual things, and such people we may say represent the greater number of humanity today, who are too engrossed in the cares of the world to devote even a thought to aspiration in the higher direction. But there are others who become so enthusiastic upon the first taste of the higher teachings that they are ready to give up all work in the world, repudiate every obligation, and devote their time to what they are pleased to call "helping humanity." They will readily admit that it takes time to learn how to be a watchmaker, a shoemaker, an engineer, or a musician, and they would not for a moment dream of giving up their present material business to establish themselves as shoemaker, watchmaker, or music teacher just because they felt enthusiastic about or inclined to take up such work. They would know that lacking the proper preparation and training they would be doomed to failure, and yet they think that just because they have become enthusiastic over the higher teachings they are at once fitted to step out of the world's work and devote their time to service similar, even though in a lesser degree, to that rendered by the Christ in His ministry.
One writes to Headquarters: "I have given up flesh eating, and I long to live the ascetic life, far from the world's noise that jars upon me. I want to give my life for humanity." Another says: "I want to live the spiritual life, but I have a wife who needs my care and support. Do you think I would be justified in leaving her to help my fellow men?" Still another says: " I am in a business which is unspiritual; every day I must do things which are against my higher nature, but I have a daughter dependent upon me for an education. What shall I do: continue or give up?" There are of course many other problems presented to us, but these serve as fair samples, for they represent a class which is ready to give up the world at the slightest word of encouragement, and rush off to the hills in the expectation of sprouting wings immediately. If the people who are in that class have any ties, they break them without a scruple or a moment's consideration.
Another class still feels some obligation, but could be easily persuaded to repudiate it in order that they might live what they call " the spiritual life." It cannot be denied that when people get into this state of mind, when they lose their ambition to work in the world, when they become shiftless and neglectful of their duties, they merit the reproach of the community.
But as already said such conduct is based upon a misunderstanding of the higher teachings and is not at all sanctioned by the Bible or the Elder Brothers.
It is a step in the right direction when a person ceases to feed on flesh because he feels compassion for the suffering of the animals. There are many people who abstain from flesh foods for health's sake, but theirs being a selfish motive, the sacrifice carries with it no merit. Where the aspirant to the higher life is prompted to abstain from flesh food because he realizes that the refining influence of a meatless diet upon the body will aid him in his quest by making the body more sensitive to spiritual influences, there is no real merit either. Truly, the person who abstains from flesh foods for the sake of health will be much benefited, and the person who abstains to make his body more sensitive will also get his reward in that respect, but from the spiritual point of view neither will be very much better. On the other hand, whoever abstains from flesh food because he realizes that God's life is immanent in every animal just as in himself, that in the final analysis God feels all suffering felt by the animal, that it is a divine law, "Thou shalt not kill," and that he must abstain out of compassion, this person is not only benefited in health and by making his body more sensitive to spiritual impacts, but because of the motive which prompts him he reaps a reward in soul growth immeasurably more precious than any other consideration. Therefore we would say by all means abstain from flesh food, but be sure to do so prompted by the right spiritual motive or it will not affect your spiritual interests one iota.
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When the enthusiast says that he wants to get away from the world and the noise that jars upon him to live the ascetic life, it is truly a strange idea of service. The reason why we are here in this world is that we may gather experience, which is then transmuted into soul growth. If a diamond in the rough were laid away in a drawer for years and years, it would be no different than before, but when it is placed against the grindstone by the lapidary the harsh grinding process removes the last atom of the rough coating and brings out the beautiful, luminous gem. Every one of us is a diamond in the rough, and God, the Great Lapidary, uses the world as a grindstone which rubs off the rough and ugly coating, allowing our spiritual selves to shine forth and become luminous. The Christ was a living example of this. He did not go away from the centers of civilization, but moved constantly among the suffering and the poor, teaching, healing, and helping until by the glorious service rendered, His body was made luminous on the Mount of Transfiguration, and He who had trodden the Way exhorted His followers to be "in the world but not of it." That is the great lesson that every aspirant has to learn.
It is one thing to go out in the mountains where there is no one to contradict or to jar upon our sensibilities and keep our poise there; it is another thing entirely to maintain our spiritual aspirations and keep our balance in the world where everything jars upon us; but when we stay on this path, we gain a self-control which is unattainable in any other manner.
However, though we are careful to prepare our food well and to abstain from flesh eating or any other contaminating outward influence, though we want to get away to the mountains to escape the sordid things of city life, and we want to rid ourselves of every outward thing that may prove a stumbling block to our progress, still what about the things that come from within, the thoughts we have in our minds and our mental food? It will avail us not one iota of good if we could feed our bodies upon nectar and ambrosia, the ethereal food of the gods, when the mind is a charnel house, a habitat of low thoughts, for then we are only as whited sepulchers, beautiful to behold from without but inwardly full of a nauseating stench; and this mental delinquency can be maintained just as easily and perhaps it is even more apt to be maintained in the solitude of the mountains or in a so-called spiritual retreat than in a city where we are busy with the work of our vocation. It is indeed a true saying that "an idle brain is the devil's workshop," and the safest way to attain to interior purity and cleanliness is to keep the mind busy all the time, guiding our desires, feelings, and emotions toward the practical problems of life, and working, each one in his own immediate environment, to find the poor and the needy that he may give them whatever help their cases require and merit. That class which has not ties of its own may profitably make ties of love and friendship with those who are loveless and friendless.
Or if it is the care of a relative—wife, daughter, husband, or anyone else that claims us, let us remember the words of Christ when He said, "Who are my mother and my brother?" and answered the question by saying, "Those who do the will of my Father." This saying has been misconstrued by some to mean that Christ repudiated His physical relationships for the spiritual, but it is only necessary to remember that in the last moments of His life on earth He called to Him the disciple whom He loved and brought him to His mother, giving him to her as a son and charging the disciple to care for His parent. Love is the unifying force in life, and according to the higher teachings we are required to love our kin, but also to extend our love natures so that they may also include everyone else. It is good that we love our own mother and father, but we should also learn to love other people's mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, for universal brotherhood can never become a fact so long as our love is confined only to the family. It must be made all inclusive.
There was one among the disciples of Christ whom He loved especially, and following His example we also may bestow a particular affection upon certain ones, though we ought to love everyone and do good even to them that despitefully use us. These are high ideals and difficult of accomplishment at our present stage of development, but as the mariner steers his ship by a guiding star and reaches his desired haven though never the star itself, so also by setting our ideals high we shall live nobler and better lives than if we do not aspire, and in time and through many births we shall eventually attain, because the inherent divinity in ourselves makes it imperative.
Finally then, to sum up, it does not really matter where we are placed in life, whether in a high station or a low. Present environment with its opportunities and limitations is such as suits our individual requirements as determined by our self-made destinies in previous existences. Therefore it holds for us the lesson we must learn in order to progress properly. If we have a wife, a daughter, or other family relations to hold us to that environment, they must be considered as part of what we have to reckon with, and by doing our duty to them we learn the required lesson. If they are antagonistic to our belief, if they have no sympathy with our aspirations, if we have on their account to stay in a business and do things which we are not pleased with, it is because we must learn something from these things, and the proper way for the earnest aspirant is to look conditions squarely in the face with a view to finding out just what it is that is needed. This may not be an easy matter. It may take weeks, months, or years to solve the problem, but so long as the aspirant applies himself prayerfully to the task, he may be sure that the light will shine some day, and then he will see what is required and why these conditions were imposed upon him. Then having learned the lesson or found out its purpose, he will if he has the right spirit prayerfully bear the burden, for he will know that he is upon the right road and that it is an absolute certainty that as soon as the lesson of that environment has been learned a new way will be opened up showing him the next step upon the path of progress. Thus the "stumbling blocks" will have been turned into "stepping stones," which would never have happened if he had run away from them. In this connection we would quote the beautiful poem:
"Let us not waste our time in longing
For bright but impossible things.
Let us not sit supinely waiting
For the sprouting of angel wings.
Let us not scorn to be rush-lights,
Everyone can't be a star,
But let us fulfill our mission
By shining just where we are.
"There is need of the tiniest candle
As well as the garish sun;
And the humblest deed is ennobled
When it is worthily done.
We may never be called on to brighten
Those darkened regions afar,
So let us fulfill our mission
By shining just where we are."
The Lock of Upliftment
Have you ever seen how ships going up a canal or river are lifted from one level to another? It is a very interesting and instructive process. First the ship is floated into a small enclosure where the water level is the same as that of the lower part of the river where the ship has previously been sailing. Then the gates of the enclosure are shut and the ship is cut off from the outside world by the high wall of the lock. It cannot go back to the river without; even the light is dimmed around it, but above the moving clouds or the brightest sunshine are seen beckoning. The ship cannot rise without assistance, and the law of gravity make it impossible for the water in that part of the river where the ship has been sailing to float it to a higher level, hence no help may be looked for from that source.
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There are also gates in the upper part of the lock which prevent the waters on the higher levels from rushing into the lock from above, otherwise the inrushing water would flood the lock in a moment and crush the ship lying at the bottom level because acting in conformity with that same law of gravitation. It is from above, nevertheless, that the power must come if the ship is ever to be lifted to the higher level of the river, and so to do this safely a small stream is conducted to the bottom of the lock, which lifts the ship very slowly and gradually but safely to the level of the river above. When that level has been reached, the upper gates may be opened without danger to the ship, and it may sail forth upon the expansive bosom of the higher waterway. Then the lock is slowly emptied and the water it contained added to the water at the lower level, which is thereby raised even if but slightly. The lock is then ready to raise another vessel.
This is, as said in the beginning, a very interesting and instructive physical operation, showing how human skill and ingenuity overcome great obstacles by the use of nature's forces. But it is a source of still greater enlightenment in a spiritual matter of vital importance to all who aspire and endeavor to live the higher life, for it illustrates the only safe method whereby man can rise from the temporal to the spiritual world, and it confutes those false teachers who for personal gain play upon the too ardent desires of the unripe, and who profess ability to unlock the gates of the unseen worlds for the consideration of an initiation fee. Our illustration shows that this is impossible, because the immutable laws of nature forbid.
For the purpose of elucidation we may call our river the river of life, and we as individuals are the ships sailing upon it; the lower river is the temporal world, and when we have sailed its length and breadth for many lives, we inevitably come to the lock of upliftment which is placed at the end. We may for a long time cruise about the entrance and look in, impelled by an inner urge to enter but drawn by another impulse towards the broad river of life without. For a long time this lock of upliftment with its high, bare walls looks forbidding and solitary, while the river of life is gay with bunting and full of kindred craft gaily cruising about; but when the inner urge has become sufficiently intense, it imbues us with a determination not to go back to the river of worldly life. But even at that stage there are some who falter and fear to shut the gate behind them; they aspire ardently at times to the life on the higher level, but it makes them feel less alone to look back upon the river of worldly life, and sometimes they stay in this condition for lives, wondering why they do not progress, why they experience no spiritual downpouring, why there is no uplift in their lives. Our illustration makes the reason very plain; no matter how hard the captain might beg, the lock keeper would never think of releasing the stream of water from above until the gate had been closed behind the ship, for it could never lift the ship an inch under such conditions but would flow through the open gates to waste in the lower river. Neither will the guardians of the gates of the higher worlds open the stream of upliftment for us, no matter how hard we pray, until we have shut the door to the world behind us, and shut it very tight with respect to the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, the sins that so easily beset us and are fostered by us in the careless worldly days. We must shut the door on them all before we are really in a condition to receive the stream of upliftment, but once we have thus shut the door and irrevocably set our faces forward, the downpouring begins, slowly but surely as the stream of the lock keeper which lifts the vessel.
But having left the temporal world with all its deeds behind and having set his face towards the spiritual worlds, the yearning of the aspirant becomes more intense. As time passes he feels in increasing measure the void on both sides of himself. The temporal world and its deeds have dropped from him as a garment; he may be bodily in that world, performing his duties, but he has lost interest; he is in the world but not of it, and the spiritual world where he aspires to citizenship seems equally distant. He is all alone and his whole being cries and writhes in pain, longing for light.
Then comes the turn of the tempter: "I have a school of initiation, and am able to advance my pupils quickly for a fee," or words to that effect, but usually more subtle; and who shall blame the poor aspirants who fall before the wiles of these pretenders? Lucky are they if, as is generally the case, they are merely put through a ceremonial and given an empty degree, but occasionally they meet one who has really dabbled in magic and is able to open the flood gates from the higher level. Then the inrush of spiritual power shatters the system of the unfortunate dupe as the waters of the river above would wreck a vessel at the bottom of the lock if an ignorant or malicious person were to open the gates. The vessel must be lifted slowly for safety's sake, and so must the aspirant to spiritual upliftment; patience and unwavering persistence in well-doing are absolutely indispensable, and the door to the pleasures of the world must be kept closed. If that is done we shall surely and certainly accomplish the ascent to the heights of the unseen world with all the opportunities for further soul growth there found, for it is a natural process governed by natural laws, just as is the elevation of a ship to the higher levels of a river by a system of locks.
But how can I stay in the lock of upliftment and serve my fellow man? If soul growth comes only by service, how can I gain by isolation? These are questions that may not unnaturally present themselves to students. To answer them we must again emphasize that no one can lift another who is not himself upon a higher level, not so far above as to be unreachable, but sufficiently close to be within grasp of the reaching hand. There are, alas, too many who profess the higher teachings but live lives on the level with ordinary men and women of the world or even below that level. Their professions make the higher teachings a byword and call down the scorn of scoffers. But those who live the higher teachings have no need to profess them orally; they are isolated and marked in spite of themselves, and though handicapped by the misdeeds of the "professors," they do in time win the respect and confidence of those about them; eventually they call out in their associates the desire of emulation, they convert them in spite of themselves, reaping in return for this service a commensurate soul growth.
Now is the time of the year (Christmas) when the crest wave of spiritual power envelops the world. It culminates at the winter solstice, when the Christ is reborn into our planet, and though hampered by the present (from the limited viewpoint) deplorable war conditions, His life given for us may be most easily drawn upon by the aspirant at this season to further spiritual growth; therefore all who are desirous of attaining the higher levels would do well to put forth special efforts in that direction during the winter season.
The Cosmic Meaning of Easter—Part I
On the morning of Good Friday, 1857, Richard Wagner, the master artist of the nineteenth century, sat on the verandah of a Swiss villa by the Zurich Sea. The landscape about him was bathed in the most glorious sunshine; peace and good will seemed to vibrate through nature. All creation was throbbing with life; the air was laden with the fragrant perfume of budding pine forests—a grateful balm to a troubled heart or a restless mind.
Then suddenly, as a bolt from an azure sky, there came into Wagner's deeply mystic soul a remembrance of the ominous significance of that day—the darkest and most sorrowful in the Christian year. It almost overwhelmed him with sadness, as he contemplated the contrast. There was such a marked incongruity between the smiling scene before him, the plainly observable activity of nature, struggling to renewed life after winter's long sleep, and the death struggle of a tortured Savior upon a cross; between the full throated chant of life and love issuing from the thousands of little feathered choristers in forest, moor and meadow, and the ominous shouts of hate issuing from an infuriated mob as they jeered and mocked the noblest ideal the world has ever known; between the wonderful creative energy exerted by nature in spring, and the destructive element in man, which slew the noblest character that ever graced our earth.
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While Wagner meditated thus upon the incongruities of existence, the question presented itself: Is there any connection between the death of the Savior upon the cross at Easter, and the vital energy which expresses itself so prodigally in spring when nature begins the life of a new year?
Though Wagner did not consciously perceive and realize the full significance of the connection between the death of the Savior and the rejuvenation of nature, he had, nevertheless, unwittingly stumbled upon the key to one of the most sublime mysteries encountered by the human spirit in its pilgrimage from clod to God.
In the darkest night of the year, when earth sleeps most soundly in Boreas' cold embrace, when material activities are at the very lowest ebb, a wave of spiritual energy carries upon its crest the divine creative "Word from Heaven" to a mystic birth at Christmas; and as a luminous cloud the spiritual impulse broods over the world that "knew it not," for it "shines in the darkness" of winter when nature is paralyzed and speechless.
This divine creative "Word" has a message and a mission. It was born to "save the world," and "to give its life for the world." It must of necessity sacrifice its life in order to accomplish the rejuvenation of nature. Gradually it buries itself in the earth and commences to infuse its own vital energy into the millions of seeds which lie dormant in the ground. It whispers "the word of life" into the ears of beast and bird, until the gospel of good news has been preached to every creature. The sacrifice is fully consummated by the time the sun crosses its Easter(n) node at the spring equinox. Then the divine creative Word expires. It dies upon the cross at Easter in a mystical sense, while uttering a last triumphant cry, "It has been accomplished" (Consummatum est).
But as an echo returns to us many times repeated, so also the celestial song of life is re-echoed from the earth. The whole creation takes up the anthem. A legion-tongued chorus repeats it over and over. The little seeds in the bosom of Mother Earth commence to germinate; they burst and sprout in all directions, and soon a wonderful mosaic of life, a velvety green carpet embroidered with multicolored flowers, replaces the shroud of immaculate wintry white. From the furred and feathered tribes "the word of life" re-echoes as a song of love, impelling them to mate. Generation and multiplication are the watchwords everywhere—the Spirit has risen to more abundant life.
Thus, mystically, we may note the annual birth, death, and resurrection of the Savior as the ebb and flow of a spiritual impulse which culminates at the winter solstice, Christmas, and has egress from the earth shortly after Easter when the "word" "ascends to Heaven" on Whitsunday. But it will not remain there forever. We are taught that "thence it shall return," "at the judgment." Thus when the sun descends below the equator through the sign of the scales in October, when the fruits of the year are harvested, weighed, and assorted according to their kind, the descent of the spirit of the new year has its inception. This descent culminates in birth at Christmas.
Man is a miniature of nature. What happens on a large scale in the life of a planet like our earth, takes place on a smaller scale in the course of human events. A planet is the body of a wonderfully great and exalted Being, one of the Seven Spirits before the Throne (of the parent Sun). Man is also a spirit and "made in their likeness." As a planet revolves in its cyclic path around the sun whence it emanated, so also the human spirit moves in an orbit around its central source—God. Planetary orbits, being ellipses, have points of closest approach to and extreme deviation from their solar centers. Likewise the orbit of the human spirit is elliptical. We are closest to God when our cyclic journey carries us into the celestial sphere of activity—heaven, and we are farthest removed from Him during earth life. These changes are necessary to our soul growth. As the festivals of the year mark the recurring events of importance in the life of a Great Spirit, so our births and deaths are events of periodical recurrence. It is as impossible for the human spirit to remain perpetually in heaven or upon earth as it is for a planet to stand still in its orbit. The same immutable law of periodicity which determines the unbroken sequence of the seasons, the alternation of day and night, the tidal ebb and flow, governs also the progression of the human spirit, both in heaven and upon earth.
From realms of celestial light where we live in freedom, untrammeled by limitations of time and space, where we vibrate in tune with infinite harmony of the spheres, we descend to birth in the physical world where our spiritual sight is obscured by the mortal coil which binds us to this limited phase of our existence. We live here awhile; we die and ascend to heaven, to be reborn and to die again. Each earth life is a chapter in a serial life story, extremely humble in its beginnings, but increasing in interest and importance as we ascend to higher and higher stations of human responsibility. No limit is conceivable, for in essence we are divine and must therefore have the infinite possibilities of God dormant within. When we have learned all that this world has to teach us, a wider orbit, a larger sphere of super-human usefulness, will give scope to our greater capabilities.
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea."
Thus says Oliver Wendell Holmes, comparing the spiral progression in the widening coil of a chambered nautilus to the expansion of consciousness which is the result of soul growth in an evolving human being.
"But what of Christ?" someone will ask. "Don't you believe in Him? You are discoursing upon Easter, the feast which commemorates the cruel death and the glorious, triumphant resurrection of the Savior, but you seem to be alluding to Him more from an allegorical point of view than as an actual fact."
Certainly we believe in the Christ; we love Him with our whole heart and soul, but we wish to emphasize the teaching that Christ is the first fruits of the race. He said that we shall do the things He did, "and greater." Thus we are Christs-in-the-making.
"Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
And not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn.
The cross on Golgotha thou lookest to in vain,
Unless within thyself it be set up again."
Thus proclaims Angelus Silesius, with true mystic understanding of the essentials of attainment.
We are too much in the habit of looking to an outside Savior while harboring a devil within; but till Christ be formed in us, as Paul says, we shall seek in vain, for as it is impossible for us to perceive light and color, though they be all about us, unless our optic nerve registers their vibrations, and as we remain unconscious of sound when the tympanum of our ear is insensitive, so also must we remain blind in the presence of Christ and deaf to His voice until we arouse our dormant spiritual natures within. But once these natures have become awakened, they will reveal the Lord of Love as a prime reality; this on the principle that when a tuning fork is struck, another of identical pitch will also commence to sing, while tuning forks of different pitches will remain mute. Therefore the Christ said that His sheep knew the sound of His voice and responded, but the voice of the stranger they heard not (John 10:5). No matter what our creed, we are all brethren of Christ, so let us rejoice, the Lord has risen! Let us seek Him and forget our creeds and other lesser differences.
The Cosmic Meaning of Easter—Part II
Once more we have reached the final act in the cosmic drama involving the descent of the solar Christ Ray into the matter of our earth, which is completed at the Mystic Birth celebrated at Christmas, and the Mystic Death and Liberation, which are celebrated shortly after the vernal equinox when the sun of the new year commences its ascent into the higher spheres of the northern heavens, having poured out its life to save humanity and give new life to everything upon earth. At this time of the year a new life, an augmented energy, sweeps with an irresistible force through the veins and arteries of all living beings, inspiring them, instilling new hope, new ambition, and new life, impelling them to new activities whereby they learn new lessons in the school of experience. Consciously or unconsciously to the beneficiaries, this outdwelling energy invigorates everything that has life. Even the plant responds by an increased circulation of sap, which results in additional growth of the leaves, flowers, and fruits whereby this class of life is at present expressing itself and evolving to a higher state of consciousness.
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But wonderful though these outward physical manifestations are, and glorious though the transformation may be called which changes the earth from a waste of snow and ice into a beautiful, blooming garden, it sinks into insignificance before the spiritual activities which run side by side therewith. The salient features of the cosmic drama are identical in point of time with the material effects of the sun in the four cardinal signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, for the most significant events occur at the equinoctial and solstitial points.
It is really and actually true that "in God we live and move and have our being." Outside Him we could have no existence; we live by and through His life; we move and act by and through His strength; it is His power which sustains our dwelling place, the earth, and without His unflagging, unwavering efforts the universe itself would disintegrate. Now we are taught that man was made in the likeness of God, and we are given to understand that according to the law of analogy we are possessed of certain powers latent within us which are similar to those we see so potently expressed in the labor of Deity in the universe. This gives us a particular interest in the annual cosmic drama involving the death and resurrection of the sun. The life of the God Man, Christ Jesus was molded in conformity with the solar story, and it foreshadows in a similar manner all that may happen to the Man God of whom this Christ Jesus prophesied when He said: The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works shall ye do; whither I go thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
Nature is the symbolic expression of God. She does nothing in vain or gratuitously, but there is a purpose behind every thing and every act. Therefore we should be alert and regard carefully the signs in the heavens for they have a deep and important meaning concerning our own lives. The intelligent understanding of their purpose enables us to work so much more efficiently with God in His wonderful efforts for the emancipation of our race from bondage to the laws of nature, and for its liberation into a full measure of the stature of the sons of God—crowned with glory, honor, and immortality, and free from the power of sin, sickness, and suffering which now curtail our lives by reason of our ignorance and nonconformity to the laws of God. The divine purpose demands this emancipation, but whether it is to be accomplished by the long tedious process of evolution or by the immensely quicker pathway of Initiation depends upon whether or not we are willing to lend our cooperation. The majority of mankind go through life with unseeing eyes and with ears that do not hear. They are engrossed in their material affairs, buying and selling, working and playing, without an adequate understanding or appreciation of the purpose of existence, and were it unfolded to them it is scarcely to be expected that they would conform and cooperate because of the sacrifice it involves.
It is no wonder that the Christ appeals particularly to the poor and that He emphasizes the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom of heaven, for even to this day when humanity has advanced in the school of evolution for two millennia since His day, we find that the great majority still value their houses and lands, their pretty hats and gowns, the pleasures of society, dances, and dinners more than the treasures of heaven which are garnered by service and self-sacrifice. Although they may intellectually perceive the beauty of the spiritual life, its desirability fades into insignificance in their eyes when compared with the sacrifice involved in attaining it. Like the rich young man they would willingly follow Christ were there no such sacrifice involved. They prefer rather to go away when they realize that sacrifice is the one condition upon which they may enter discipleship. So for them Easter is simply a season of joy because it is the end of winter and the beginning of the summer season with its call of outdoor sports and pleasures.
But for those who have definitely chosen the path of self-sacrifice that leads to Liberation, Easter is the annual sign given them as evidence of the cosmic basis of their hopes and aspirations. As Paul properly states in that glorious fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
"Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up if so be that the dead rise not.
"For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.
"And if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
"If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me if the dead rise not?
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept."
But in the Easter sun which at the vernal equinox commences to soar into the northern heavens after having laid down its life for the earth, we have the cosmic symbol of the verity of resurrection. When taken as a cosmic fact in connection with the law of analogy that connects the macrocosm with the microcosm, it is an earnest that some day we shall all attain the cosmic consciousness and know positively for ourselves by our own experience that there is no death, but that what seems so is only a transition into a finer sphere.
It is an annual symbol to strengthen our souls in the work of well-doing that we may grow the golden wedding garment required to make us sons of God in the highest and holiest sense. It is literally true that unless we walk in the light as God is in the light, we are not in fellowship; but by making the sacrifices and rendering the services required of us to aid in the emancipation of our race we are building the soul body of radiant golden light which is the special substance emanated from and by the Spirit of the Sun, the Cosmic Christ. When this golden substance has clothed us with sufficient density, then we shall be able to imitate the Easter sun and soar into the higher spheres.
With these ideals firmly fixed in our minds, Easter time becomes a season when it is in order to review our life during the preceding year and make new resolutions for the coming season to serve in furthering our soul growth. It is a season when the symbol of the ascending sun should lead us up to a keen realization of the fact that we are but pilgrims and strangers upon earth, that our real home as spirits is in heaven, and that we ought to endeavor to learn the lessons in this life school as quickly as is consistent with proper service, so that as Easter Day marks the resurrection and liberation of the Christ Spirit from the lower realms, so we also may continually look for the dawn of that day which shall permanently free us from the meshes of matter, from the body of sin and death, together with our brethren in bondage, for no true aspirant would conceive of a liberation that did not include all who were similarly placed.
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This is a gigantic task; the contemplation of it may well daunt the bravest heart, and were we alone it could not be accomplished; but the divine hierarchies who have guided humanity upon the path of evolution from the beginning of our career are still active and working with us from their sidereal worlds, and with their help we shall eventually be able to accomplish this elevation of humanity as a whole and attain to an individual realization of glory, honor, and immortality. Having this great hope within ourselves, this great mission in the world, let us work as never before to make ourselves better men and women, so that by our example we may waken in others a desire to lead a life that brings liberation.
The Newborn Christ
It has often been said in our literature that the sacrifice of Christ was not an event which, taking place on Golgotha, was accomplished in a few hours once and for all time, but that the mystic births and deaths of the Redeemer are continual cosmic occurrences. We may therefore conclude that this sacrifice is necessary for our physical and spiritual evolution during the present phase of our development. As the annual birth of the Christ Child approaches, it presents a never old, ever new theme for meditation, from which we may profit by pondering it with a prayer that it may create in our hearts a new light to guide us upon the path of regeneration.
The inspired apostle gave us a wonderful definition of Deity when he said that "God is Light," and therefore "light" has been used to illustrate the nature of the Divine in the Rosicrucian teachings, especially the mystery of the Trinity in Unity. It is clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures of all times that God is one and indivisible. At the same time we find that as the one white light is refracted into three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, so God appears in threefold role during manifestation by the exercise of the three divine functions of creation, preservation, and dissolution.
When He exercises the attribute of creation, God appears as Jehovah, the Holy Spirit; He is the Lord of law and generation and projects the solar fertilizing principle indirectly through the lunar satellites of all planets where it is necessary to furnish bodies for their evolving beings.
When He exercises the attribute of preservation for the purpose of sustaining the bodies generated by Jehovah under the laws of nature, God appears as the Redeemer, Christ, and radiates the principles of love and regeneration directly into any planet where the creatures of Jehovah require this help to extricate themselves from the meshes of mortality and egotism in order to attain to altruism and endless life.
When God exercises the divine attribute of dissolution, He appears as The Father who calls us back to our heavenly home to assimilate the fruits of experience and soul growth garnered by us during the day of manifestation. This Universal Solvent, the ray of the Father, emanates from the Invisible Spiritual Sun.
These divine processes of creation and birth, preservation and life, and dissolution, death and return to the Author of our being we see everywhere about us, and we recognize the fact that they are activities of the Triune God in manifestation. But have we ever realized that in the spiritual world there are no definite events, no static conditions; that the beginning and the end of all adventures of all ages are present in the eternal "here" and "now"? From the bosom of the Father there is an everlasting outdwelling of the essence of things and events, which enters the realms of "time" and "space." There it gradually crystallizes and becomes inert, necessitating dissolution that there may be room for other things and other events.
There is no escape from this cosmic law; it applies to everything in the realm of time and space, the Christ ray included. As the lake which empties itself into the ocean is replenished when the water that left it has been evaporated and returns to it as rain, to flow again ceaselessly toward the sea, so the Spirit of Love is eternally born of the Father, day by day, hour by hour, endlessly flowing into the solar universe to redeem us in its death grip. Wave upon wave is thus impelled outward from the sun to all the planets, giving a rhythmic urge to the evolving creatures there.
And so it is in the very truest and most literal sense a newborn Christ that we hail at each approaching Yule-feast, and Christmas is the most vital annual event for all humanity whether we realize it or not. It is not merely a commemoration of the birth of our beloved Elder Brother, Jesus, but the advent of the rejuvenating love of life of our Heavenly Father, sent by Him to redeem the world from the wintry death grip. Without this new infusion of divine life and energy we should soon perish physically, and our orderly progress would be frustrated so far as our present lines of development are concerned. This is a point we should endeavor to realize thoroughly in order that we may learn to appreciate Christmas as keenly as we should.
We may learn a lesson in this respect as in many others from our children or from reminiscences of our own childhood. How keen were our anticipations of the approaching feast! How eagerly we waited for the hour when we should receive the gifts which we knew would be forthcoming from Santa Claus, the mysterious universal benefactor who brought the toys for the coming year! How would we have felt had our parents given us the dismembered dolls and broken drums of yesteryear? It would surely have been felt as an overwhelming misfortune and would have left a deep sense of broken trust which even time would have found it difficult to heal; yet it would have been as nothing compared with the cosmic calamity that would befall mankind if our Heavenly Father should fail to provide the newborn Christ for our cosmic Christmas gift.
The Christ of last year cannot save us from physical famine any more than last year's rain can drench the soil again and swell the millions of seeds that slumber in the earth awaiting the germinal activities of the Father's life to begin their growth; the Christ of last year cannot kindle anew in our hearts the spiritual aspirations which urge us onward in the Quest any more than last summer's heat can warm us now. The Christ of last year gave us His love and His life to the last breath without stint or measure; when He was born into the earth last Christmas, He endued with life the sleeping seeds which have grown and gratefully filled our granaries with the bread of physical life; He lavished the love given Him by the Father upon us, and when He had wholly spent His life, He died at Eastertide to rise again to the Father, as the river by evaporation rises to the sky.
But endlessly wells the divine love; as a father pities his children, so does our Heavenly Father pity us, for He knows our physical and spiritual frailty and dependence. Therefore we are now confidently awaiting the mystic birth of the Christ of another year, laden with new life and love sent by the Father to preserve us from the physical and spiritual famine which would ensue were it not for this annual love offering.
Younger souls usually find it difficult to disabuse their minds of the personality of God, of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, and some can only love Jesus, the man. They forget Christ, the Great Spirit, who ushered in a new era in which the nations established under the regime of Jehovah will be broken to pieces that the sublime structure of Universal Brotherhood may be built upon their ruins. In time all the world will realize that "God is spirit, to be worshiped in spirit and truth." It is well to love Jesus and to imitate him; we know of no nobler ideal and none more worthy. Could a nobler one have been found, Jesus would not have been chosen as a vehicle of that Great One, the Christ, in whom dwelt the Godhead. We shall therefore do well to follow "in His steps."
At the same time we shall exalt God in our own consciousness by taking the word of the Bible that He is spirit, and that we cannot make any likenesses which will portray Him for He is like nothing in heaven or on earth. We can see the physical vehicles of Jehovah circling as satellites around the various planets; we can also see the sun, which is the visible vehicle of the Christ; but the Invisible Sun, which is the vehicle of the Father and the source of all, appears to the greatest of human seers only as a higher octave of the photosphere of the sun, a ring of violet-blue luminosity behind the sun. But we do not need to see; we can feel His love, and that feeling is never so great as at Christmas time when He is giving us the greatest of all gifts, the Christ of the new year.
Why I am a Rosicrucian
Not infrequently we find that some one takes the platform to explain why he is a Baptist, Methodist, or Christian Scientist, and what his particular faith may be. We have often been asked by our students for something which would help make plain to their associates why they had embraced the teachings of the Elder Brothers given through the Rosicrucian Teachings, in preference to the faith which they had left. We will, therefore, endeavor to give a succinct resume of reasons which appeal to us as sufficient, but students will doubtless find many other reasons equally good or better, which they may add verbally to what is here said.
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It should be made clear in the very beginning that students in the Rosicrucian Teachings do not call themselves Rosicrucians. That title applies alone to the Elder Brothers, who are the Hierophants of the Mystic Christian Teaching. They are as far beyond the greatest living saint in spiritual development as that saint is above the lowest fetish worshiper.
When the bark of our life sails lightly upon smooth summer seas, wafted along by the fair winds of health and prosperity, when friends are present on every hand, eager to help us plan pleasures which will increase our enjoyment of this world's goods, when social favors or political powers come to us to gratify our every wish in whatever sphere our inclinations seek expression, then, indeed, we may say and seem justified in saying with our whole heart and soul: "This world is good enough for me." But when we come to the end of the smiling sea of success; when the whirlwind of adversity has blown us upon the rocky shores of disaster, and a wave of suffering threatens to engulf us; when friends have failed and every human help is as far off as it is unavailing, then we must look for guidance to the skies as does the mariner when he steers his ship over the waste of waters.
But when the skipper scans the sky in search of a star whereby to steer the ship safely, he finds that the whole heavens are in motion. Therefore to follow almost any one of the myriad of wandering stars visible to the eye would be disastrous. To meet the requirements the guiding star must be perfectly steadfast and immovable, and there is only one such, namely, the North Star. By its guiding light the mariner may steer in full confidence and bring his ship to a haven of rest and safety. Likewise one who is looking for a guide which he may trust in days of sorrow and trouble should embrace a religion founded on eternal laws and immutable principles, able to explain the mystery of life in a logical manner so that his intellect may be satisfied, and at the same time containing a system of devotion that may satisfy the heart, so that these twin factors in life may receive equal satisfaction. Only when man has a clear intellectual conception of the scheme of human development is he in a position to range himself in line therewith. When it is made clear to him that this scheme is beneficent and benevolent in the very highest degree, that all is truly ruled by divine love, then this understanding will sooner or later call out in him a true devotion and heartfelt acquiescence which will awaken in him a desire to become a co-worker with God in the world's work. When seeking souls come to the door of the church to seek surcease from sorrow, they cannot be satisfied with the platitudes that it is the will of God that sorrow and suffering have come to them, that in His divine providence He has seen fit to scourge them, and that they must take it as an indication that He regards them as His beloved children and be satisfied no matter what happens. They cannot see that Deity does justice when He makes some rich and many poor, a few healthy and many sickly; and it is only too often in evidence that iniquity is prosperous while rectitude is in rags.
The Rosicrucian Teaching gives clear and logical information concerning the world and man; it invites questions instead of discouraging them, so that the seeker after spiritual truth may receive full satisfaction intellectually; and its explanations are as strictly scientific as they are reverently religions. It refers us for information regarding life's problems to laws that are unchangeable and immutable in their realm of action as the North Star is in the heavens.
Though the world whirls upon its axis at the rate of one thousand miles an hour, we stand safely anywhere upon its surface because the principle of gravity prevents us from being hurled into space by the terrific speed. We know that the law of gravity is eternal; it will not act today and suspend action tomorrow. When we enter a hydraulic elevator we rest safely upon a column of water because that fluid is more incompressible than most solids, and this property is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Were its action suspended for even a few moments, thousands of people would fall to their death; but it is steadfast and sure, therefore we trust it implicitly.
The law of cause and effect is also immutable; if we throw a stone into the air, the act is not complete until by gravitation it has returned to earth. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," is the way this law is expressed in the realm of morals. "The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small," and once an act has been done, the reaction will come some time, some where, as surely as the stone that was thrown into the air will return to the earth.
But it is manifest that all of the causes that we set going in life do not ripen in the present existence, and it therefore follows that they must find their fruition somewhere else at some other time, or the law would be invalidated, a proposition that would be as absolutely impossible as that the law of gravitation could be suspended, for either would make chaos out of cosmos. The Rosicrucian Teachings explain this by a statement that man is a spirit attending the School of Life for the purpose of unfolding latent spiritual power, and that for this purpose he lives many lives in earthly bodies of increasingly finer texture, which enable him to express himself better and better. In the lower grades of this school of evolution man has few faculties. Each life-day he comes to school in the morning of childhood, and is given lessons to learn, and at night when old and gray the nurse maid of nature, "Death," puts him to sleep that he may rest from his labors until the dawn of another life-day, when he is given a new child body and new lessons. Each day "Experience," the teacher of the school helps him to learn some of the lessons of life, and gradually he becomes more and more proficient. Some day he will have learned the entire curriculum of the school, which includes building of bodies as well as using them.
Thus when we see one who has few faculties, we know that he is a young soul who has gone to life's school only a few days; and when we find a beautiful character, we recognize an old soul who has spent much time in mastering its lessons. Therefore we do not despair of God's love when we see the inequalities of life, for we know that in time all will be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
The Rosicrucian teachings also take the sting of sorrow out of the greatest of all trials, the loss of loved ones, even if they have been what is called wayward or black sheep; for we know that it is an actual fact that in God we life and move and have our being; hence, if one single soul were lost, a part of God would be lost, and such a proposition is absolutely impossible. Under the immutable law of cause and effect we are bound to meet these loved ones some time in the future under other circumstances, and there the love that binds us together must continue until it has found its fullest expression. The laws of nature would be violated if a stone thrown from the earth were to remain suspended in the atmosphere, and under the same immutable laws those who pass into the higher spheres must return. Christ said, "Ye must be born again," and "If I go to my Father, I will return."
But although our reason may reach into the mysteries of life, there is still a higher stage, actual first-hand knowledge. As a matter of fact the foregoing propositions are capable of verification by each one, for we all have a sixth sense latent in our being, which will sometime enable us to view the spiritual world with the same distinctness as that with which we see the temporal. This sixth sense will be developed by all in the course of evolution, and there are certain means whereby it may be developed now by all who care to take the necessary time and trouble to do so. Some have done this, and they have told us of their travels in the land of the soul. We believe their testimony concerning that place just as we believe what people who have traveled in Africa, Australia or other foreign destinations tell us of those countries. And just as we say that we know the earth rotates upon its axis and revolves in its orbit around the sun because we have been thus informed by scientists who have made the investigations and calculations that establish these facts, so also we say that we know the dead live, and that whether dead or alive, in the body or out of it, we are all enfolded in the love of our Father in Heaven, without whose Will not the smallest sparrow falls to the ground, and that He cares for all and orders our steps in harmony with His plans to develop our spiritual powers to the highest possible degree.
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So because of the logical, soul-satisfying philosophy of life given by the Rosicrucians, we follow their teachings in preference to other systems, and invite others who wish to share the blessings thereof to investigate.
The Object of the Rosicrucian Teachings
The object of the Rosicrucian Teachings has been clearly stated in this website, as have the means whereby it is hoped to attain the end in view, but in response to requests for a succinct summary we devote this section to that subject.
The world is God's training school. During the past we have learned to build different vehicles, among other the physical body. By this work we are promoted from class to class, each with its particular scope of consciousness. We evolved eyes that we might see, ears that we might hear, and other organs that we might taste, smell, and feel. But not all egos were promoted at every step. When the mist in the air at the time of Atlantis condensed and filled the basins of the earth with oceans of water, driving men to the highlands, many perished by asphyxiation because they had not evolved lungs. They could not pass through the portal of the rainbow, which was, so to speak, the entrance gate to the new age with its dry atmospheric conditions.
Another great world transformation is coming, we know not when; even the Christ confessed His ignorance of the day and the hour; but He warned us that the day would come as a thief in the night, and He prophesied that the conditions in the world would then be similar to those prevailing in the days of Noah; they were living then in carefree enjoyment of life when suddenly the floodgates of heaven were opened, and death and destruction spread before them.
Christ told us that it is possible to take the kingdom of God by storm and attain to the consciousness and conditions there prevailing. But Paul informs us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; he states that we have a soul body (soma psuchicon—1 Cor. 15: 44), and that we shall meet the Lord in the air when He comes. This soul body is therefore as necessary to entrance into the new age of the kingdom of God, as a body equipped with lungs was to the Atlanteans who desired to enter into the age in which we are now living. Therefore it is necessary that we make our calling and election sure by preparing the Golden Wedding Garment, the soul body, which alone can secure our admission to the mystic marriage.
The multitude is slowly moving in the right direction as led by the different churches, but there is an ever growing class that, so to speak, feels the wings of the soul body sprouting, people who feel an inner urge to take the kingdom of God by storm. Though unaware of any definite ideal, they sense a greater truth and more certain light than those which the Church radiates; they are tired of parables and long to learn the underlying facts at the very feet of Christ.
The Rosicrucian Teachings have been publicly offered for the purpose of reaching this class, to show them the way to illumination, to help them build their soul body and evolve the soul powers which will enable them to enter consciously into the kingdom of God and obtain first-hand knowledge.
This is a large undertaking, none greater and even under the most favorable existing conditions progress must be slow, but if the aspirant will continue with patient perseverance in well doing, it can be done.
The methods are definite, scientific, and religious; they have been originated by the Western School of the Rosicrucian Order, and are therefore specially suited to western people. Sometimes, but very rarely, they bring results in a short time; generally it requires years and even lives before the aspirant attains, but the following system will in the end bring all to their heart's desire.
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness was a symbolic representation of the way to God, and, as Paul says, held a shadow of better things to come. Everything in it had its spiritual meaning. The table of shew-bread gives us an important lesson germane to our present consideration. Students will remember that the ancient Israelites were commanded to bring the shewbread to the tabernacle at stated intervals. The grain from which this was made was given them by God but they must prepare the soil in which it was to grow, they must plant and cultivate, they must weed and water, so as to secure the greatest possible increase; they must harvest and thresh, grind and bake, before they had the loaves which they brought to the tabernacle as bread to shew for their toil. Similarly, God gives to all the grain of opportunity to serve, but it is our duty to cultivate these opportunities and nurse and nourish them in the soil of loving kindness so that they may bring a great increase. We must always bear in mind the words of Christ that He came to minister and to serve. Therefore anyone aspiring to follow in His steps and to be great in the kingdom of God must ever be on the lookout for opportunities to serve his fellows. Each day must be filled as full as possible with kind and considerate deeds, for they are the warp and woof of which the golden wedding garment is woven. Without these "works" no amount of prayer, fasting, or other religious exercise will avail. It is useless to repair to the temple without this bread to shew that we have really worked in the Master's service.
The foregoing is also the teaching of the exoteric churches; but the following is the exclusively Rosicrucian scientific teaching and method, based upon the deepest knowledge of spiritual facts whereby the aspirant is enabled to gain the maximum soul growth in each life, so that his spiritual advancement is accelerated beyond his very wildest dreams. Therefore this is the most important spiritual teaching that has been given to man in modern times, and no one who tries honestly to follow this simple method can fail to be enormously benefited:
Ether is the medium of transmission of light, that which etches a picture on the photographic film. It permeates the air, and with every breath we draw from birth to death ether enters our system and etches a picture of our surroundings and actions on a little atom in the heart. Thus each carries with him a complete record of his life, which is assimilated after death. Expiation of the evil deeds causes pain and anguish in purgatory. These are thus transmuted to conscience to prevent repetition of the same mistakes in succeeding lives: the good deeds are transmuted to love and benevolence. Instead of waiting for this post-mortem transmutation of the shewbread of life, the aspirant who desires to take heaven by storm may assimilate the fruits of each day after retiring and before going to sleep by running over the deeds done. The events of the day are considered in reverse order so that that which happened in the evening is taken first, then the happenings of the afternoon, forenoon, and morning. This is important for it conforms to the way the life panorama acts after death, taking first the events just prior to death, last the events of infancy. The object is to show the effects and then refer them to their antecedent causes.
In this retrospection it will do the aspirant no good to run over the events of the day and mildly blame himself where he did wrong—he is usually sure enough to praise himself sufficiently for his good deeds. But he must remember the altar of burnt offerings where the sacrifices for sin were offered. They were first rubbed with salt and then placed on the altar to be consumed by a divinely enkindled fire. Anyone knows what an intense pain is caused when salt is rubbed into a wound, and this rubbing with salt is symbolic of the pain the aspirant must feel for his wrongdoing. Now mark that it was not permissible to place the sacrifice on the altar until it had thus rubbed with salt. God would not accept it before, but when it had been salted it was consumed by a fire kindled by God Himself.
This tells us that unless we have washed our evil deeds of the day in the salt of our tears and heartfelt contrition, God will not accept our sacrifice of repentance; but when we have really repented, our sins will be washed away and our recording atom will be clean as the driven snow. With respect to our good deeds we may remember that there were two little piles of frankincense on the top of the shew bread. These were offered upon the altar of incense, where the smoke ascended as a sweet savor to the Lord, so different from the nauseating stench that went up from the altar where the sin offerings were burned. Is it any wonder that God took no delight in the sacrifice of bulls and calves, but delighted in a contrite heart and repentant spirit?
It is this spiritual aromatic extract of our good deeds that builds our soul body. By the ordinary natural process it takes about one-third as many years in our post-mortem existence as we lived in the body, to reap what we have sowed. But when an aspirant has assimilated the fruits of life by faithful retrospection at the end of each day, he is free as soon as he leaves the body and may use the years spent by others in purgatory and the first heaven as he pleases. Furthermore, as he needs neither food, shelter, nor sleep, he may spend twenty-four hours a day doing good. Thus he has practically as many years of service and soul growth after death as the number of his earth life; and being trained and schooled in this work his attainments are probably greater than could be made in a number of lives in the ordinary way.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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