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Simplified Scientific Christianity         

Questions Concerning Rebirth

Question No. 65:

  Why, with a few exceptions, are we reincarnated, without having the slightest knowledge of any previous existence, to suffer blindly in this life for transgressions committed in some former life of which we are now entirely ignorant? Could we not advance better and quicker spiritually if we knew where we had erred before and what acts we must correct before we can progress?

  Answer: It is one of the greatest blessings to man that he does not know his previous experiences until he has attained considerable spiritual advancement, because there are in our past lives (when we were much more ignorant than we are now) dark deeds that call for retribution, and this fate is being gradually liquidated, so that did we know our past lives, did we know how and when the law of cause and effect will bring to us retribution for past misdeeds, we would see this impending calamity hovering over us, and fear of our fate would then be apt to rob us of the strength wherewith to battle against it, and at the time of its arrival we should stand appalled and helpless.

   On the other hand, not knowing what is being us, we escape knowing what is before us, and, therefore, we learn the lessons without being deprived of our strength by fear. Besides, for those who wish to know, there are certain means of knowing what lessons we are to learn and how best to learn them. For instance, our conscience tells what we are to do or not to do. If we care to study the science of astrology the horoscope tells us our tendencies and the lines of least resistance, so that by working with these laws of nature we may advance quickly, and the more we follow the dictates of our conscience the more we study the laws of nature as revealed by astronomy, the quicker we shall be ready for first-hand knowledge.

   In "Zanoni," Bulwer Lytton speaks of a fearsome specter which met Glyndon as he was attempting to enter a step in unfoldment not hitherto attained by him, and that is called in esotericism the "Dweller on the Threshold." Between the time of death and a new birth, this Dweller on the Threshold is not seen by man, but it is the embodiment of all our past evil deeds, that must first be passed by one who wishes to enter the inner worlds consciously and attain to a full knowledge of conditions there; but there is also another Dweller which is the embodiment of all our good deeds, and that one may be said to be our Guardian Angel.

   If we have the courage to pass the hideous one, which is perceived first because formed of coarse desire matter, we shall soon obtain the conscious help of the other and then we shall have the strength to stand fearless in the storms of vilification that come to all who attempt the path of unselfishness. But before we have passed this specter we are not fitted for knowledge of our previous lives; we must rest content with the ordinary view given to mankind.

Question No. 66:

  Are all the human beings that people the Earth at the present time souls that have gone through Earth life before, or are new souls being created all the time?

   Answer: The ingress of the spirits into the human bodies, as constituted at the present time, commenced in the stage of the world's solidification known as the Lemurian Epoch, and was not fully completed until the middle of the Atlantean Epoch, a period of time occupying, perhaps, millions of years. But since that time, there has been no farther ingress; the door is definitely closed because we have now evolved so far that those who had not reached the stage where they could manipulate a human body at that time would be too far behind us to catch up with our further development. Since that time, the spirits which were embodied in human shapes have been evolving by repeated embodiments so that, without exception, every one of the human beings now on earth has been embodied at different times and in different environments.

Question No. 67:

  How do we know beyond a doubt that rebirth is a fact? Is it not possible that those who so state may be suffering from hallucination?

   Answer: The trained clairvoyant who is able to read in the memory of nature may follow the lives of people from their present state backward through the years of childhood. He will then see them in infancy, follow them through the gestatory period to the time when the spirit entered the womb of the mother. He may go back through their heaven life, their life in Purgatory, arriving at the time of death in the previous life, then follow them backward and see the whole life. But in the case of an adult, the time involved is usually a thousand years or more, and of course, it is possible, were there no other means of verification, that this might be hallucination. In the cases of children, however, who have not reached puberty there is a comparatively short interval between incarnations. In such a case it is easy to verify a re-embodiment among one's own acquaintances, and that is in fact part of the education of a pupil of the Elder Brothers. He is shown a child which is about to die and is told to watch that child in the invisible world for perhaps one or two years, following it step by step until it takes a new embodiment—perhaps with the same and possibly with other parents. When the pupil has thus followed an Ego through the invisible worlds from one death to the next birth, he knows absolutely that the law of rebirth is a fact in nature, and he often has occasion on account of his other investigations, to pursue such studies of the past lives of many individuals.

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   Still, it may be urged, is not this clairvoyance of which he speaks as his means of investigation in itself a hallucination? May he not be, although perfectly honest, the victim of a chimerical vision? It may be stated in answer to that suggestion, that he has every day at his disposal the means for verifying his observations. When a man has visited the city of New York and has seen the city he will never be tempted to say, I wonder if I could have been mistaken? He has been there and knows it. So it is with the clairvoyant. At times when he leaves his body he meets and works with people whom he does not know in ordinary life. Later he may be invited to visit these friends from the invisible world; he may travel by their clairvoyant direction to a city where he is a stranger; he may find them in the street and house seen clairvoyantly, recognize them and be himself recognized. He may then converse with these friends of the things they did and the places they visited in their invisible bodies, and if he ever had any doubt of the reality of his life outside the dense physical world, he is then once and for all time convinced of the reality of his experiences while out of the body. He knows that they are not strange, he knows that he cannot have been glamoured, but that his life there, his work there and his experiences there are as real as his life, his work and his experiences here.

Question No. 68:

  Do the souls that have passed into purgatory and the through the first, second and third heavens come back here and reincarnate on this Earth, or do they go to other spheres?

   Answer: They come back to this earth again until they have learned the lessons that can be learned here. It is essentially the same principle as when we send a child to school. We do not send it to kindergarten one day, to grammar school the next, and to college the third day, but we send it to kindergarten day after day for a long time, until it has learned all the lessons that are to be learned there. The knowledge it has gained in kindergarten forms the basis for what it is to learn in the grammar school; that again is the foundation for the lessons of the high school and the college. By a similar process we have learned lessons under different conditions in the past, and in the future, when we have learned all that can be learned from our present earth environment, we shall also find the tasks of higher evolutions awaiting us. There is endless progress, for we are divine as our Father in heaven, and limitations are impossible.

Question No. 69:

  Do we come in contact with the friends of one life when we are born again into a new Earth life?

   Answer: The law of rebirth has for its companion law the law of causation. It will be manifestly apparent that there are many causes set going by all of us which do not bring about effects in this life. For instance, a husband is sick and the wife cares for him with great self- sacrifice. There is obviously a debt there, and if the sickness continues until the end of the husband's life, there is in that life no opportunity for a return of the favor. But if we know what the laws of nature are and how they operate, we shall understand that they are not set aside by such small matters as cessation of life in a certain body. If we break a limb it is not healed the next day, although we may have slept at night unconscious of our hurt; but when we awaken the limb is in about the same condition as on the previous day. So it is with the deeds done in the body in one life. Although we pass through the life between death and a new birth, and are now unconscious of former lives, nevertheless, when we enter upon a new life, the law of association, the causes generated in a former life, will bring us into a new environment where we shall find our old friends and our old foes. We know them, too, although perhaps we do not directly recognize them. Sometimes, however, we meet a person for the first time and are drawn to that person; we feel as if we had known that person all our lives, and that we could trust him or her with everything we have. That is because the spirit within sees an old friend and recognizes him, though unable to impress the recognition upon the brain it now possesses. Or perhaps we may meet a person and feel that we would not care to be in his company; we instinctively dislike him though we have no reason from ordinary points of view; but there also it is the recognition of the spirit which bridges the past and sees an old-time enemy. Thus our instinctive likes and dislikes are guides, dictated by former experiences, and they will usually be found to be reliable in the light of subsequent experience.

Question No. 70:

  Is the experience gained in each incarnation recorded separately and added to the previous ones, so that in the end the Spirit will be entirely conscious of the complete sum of its experiences, or is the experience of one life more or less unconsciously absorbed by the next succeeding incarnation, so that only a general effect is obtained?

   Answer: When we were children we learned to write and we went through many awkward motions before we had finally cultivated the faculty. In the years that have gone by we have forgotten all about the experiences we went through while learning, but our faculty remains ready for our use at any time required.

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   In a similar manner, experiences we have had in different lives are usually forgotten by the man, but the faculties he has cultivated remain and ready for his use at any time. Thus we sometimes see a man who has never had a lesson in painting who is nevertheless an artist to the very tips of his finger ends, able to paint the most wonderful pictures. He has brought over from past lives a faculty which he is now able to use. When we hear of a Mozart composing at three years of age, that also shows the accumulation of the sense of harmony in the past. Thus it may be said that, although we do not remember, we always have the faculties cultivated in our past lives for use in the present. It is that which makes the difference between man and man; between the dune and the sage.

   There is, however, also a record in nature of our past lives in their minutest detail. The trained clairvoyant who is able to read in the memory of nature can follow the past lives of a man backwards, as, for instance, the film of a moving picture is unrolled in reverse order. He will see the man's present life first, his birth, his previous sojourn in the invisible world, next the death of the previous life, which will then unroll itself in reverse order through old age, manhood, youth, childhood and infancy, back to that birth, and so on through the various lives.

Question No. 71:

  When the Spirit, coming down to rebirth, has drawn to itself its mind stuff and sinks into the Desire World, is it not then in Purgatory again?

   Answer: The difficulty of the inquirer is that he has not fully comprehended what constitutes Purgatory. Purgatory is in the lower regions of the Desire World, but these regions are not Purgatory to those who have nothing to be purged from. The low desires of man are formed of the desire stuff from this region, and as they cannot be gratified, the man suffers. Besides, there the force of repulsion is supreme, and when the Ego is passing outward to the Heaven World it has in its desire body pictures of the evil acts it has committed. These pictures are formed also of coarse desire stuff, because they were generated by the passions of the man at the time he committed the evil act which they depict, and the centrifugal force of repulsion seeks to expel them from his makeup. It is the process of tearing them out that causes the pain he feels. When, on the other hand, the Ego passes through this region on its way to rebirth, the centripetal force of attraction brings new desire matter into its makeup. Then it is not Purgatory at all; neither is it Purgatory for the Invisible Helpers who go among the spirits in prison endeavoring to aid them in learning the lessons that shall make them better men and women. It is only where evil has to be expurgated by a spirit that it feels this region as being purgative.

Question No. 72:

  How can you believe in the theory of reincarnation that we come back here in the body of an animal? Is it not much more beautiful to believe in the Christian doctrine that we go to heaven with God and the Angels?

   Answer: The writer has never advocated the views attributed to him by the inquirer, who, evidently, has not studied the question at all. There is a doctrine among some of the most ignorant tribes in the East teaching the theory of transmigration, that the human spirit may incarnate in the bodies of animals, but that is very different from the doctrine of reincarnation, which holds that man is an evolving being progressing through the school of life by means of repeated embodiments in bodies of gradually improving texture. The Christ said to his disciples, "Be ye therefore perfect, as the Father in heaven is perfect." That was a definite command, and the Christ would never have given it if it were unattainable; but we all know that we cannot reach that goal in one short life. Given time and the opportunities afforded by repeated embodiments and changed environments, however, we shall some time accomplish the work of perfecting ourselves.

   There is no authority in any of the sacred writings of the East, even, for such a belief as transmigration. The only semblance to such an idea is found in the Kathopanishad, Chapter 5, Verse 9, which says that some of the souls, according to their deeds, return to the womb to be reborn, but others go into the motionless. Meaning, in the opinion of some, that they may reincarnate down even as low as the mineral kingdom. The Sanskrit word used in that place is Sthanu, which also means a pillar, and read thus it gives the same idea as the passage in Revelation which says: "Him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the house of my God, thence he shall no more go out." When humanity has reached perfection, there will come a time when they will not more be tied to the wheel of births and deaths, but will remain in the Invisible Worlds to work thence for the upliftment of other beings.

   Besides, transmigration is an impossibility in nature, because there is in every human body an indwelling individual spirit, while each tribe of animals is ruled by a common, or Group Spirit, of which these animals all form a part, and no self-conscious Ego can enter into a body ruled by another.

   The inquirer asks whether it is not much more beautiful to believe in a heaven with God and the angels? Perhaps it is, but we are not concerned so much with that which may be pleasing to our passing fancy as with finding the truth, and although this doctrine of reincarnation is sometimes derided by wiseacres as impossible and a heathen doctrine, it is really not a question of whether it is heathen or not either. When we deal with a mathematical problem, we do not care who first solved it; all we are concerned with is, has it been properly solved? Likewise with this doctrine, no matter who taught it first, it is the only one that will solve all the problems of life in a rational manner, whereas, the theory that a man who perhaps never cared about music and did not know the first thing about harmony, immediately after he has died develops an insatiable passion for music and will remain content to toot in a trumpet or strum on a harp for all eternity, is rather more ridiculous.

Section IV:
Questions Concerning The Bible Teachings

Question No. 73:

  Why is it that every sect interprets the Bible differently and that each one gets an apparent vindication for its ideas from that book?

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   Answer: That question, if asked by a skeptic, affords him a great deal of satisfaction, for he sees in it a vindication for his idea that all sects are wrong in their beliefs and that the Bible is a conglomerate mass of nonsense, while in fact the case is very much the other way. We do not contend for the Divinity of this Book or hold that it is the Word of God from cover to cover; we recognize the fact that it is a poor translation of the originals and that there are many interpolations which have been inserted at different times to support various ideas, but, nevertheless, the very fact that so much truth has been massed into such a small compass is a source of constant wonder to the esotericist, who knows what that Book really is and has the key to its meaning.

   There is one fact that the skeptic fails to see. His idea is that if a certain interpretation is true, all other interpretations must necessarily be false. That idea is most emphatically wrong. Truth is many sided and eternal; the quest for truth must also be all embracing and never ending. We may liken truth to a mountain, and the various interpretations of that truth to different paths leading up to the summit. Many people are traveling along all of these paths and every one thinks his path is the only one while he is at the bottom; he sees only a small part of the mountain and may therefore be justified in crying to his brothers, "You are wrong; come over in my path; this is the only one that leads to the top." But as all these people progress upward, they shall see that the paths converge at the top and that they are all one in the ultimate.

   It may be said most emphatically that no system of thought which has ever been able to attract and hold the attention of a large number of people for a considerable time has been without its truth; and whether we perceive it or not, there is in every sect the kernel of divine teaching which is gradually bringing them upward toward the top of the mountain, and therefore we should practice the utmost toleration for every belief.

Question No. 74:

  What is meant by the Second Aspect of the Triune God?

   Answer: God is one, just as the light is one, but, as the light passing through the atmosphere is refracted into three primary colors—red, yellow and blue—so also God, when he manifests or reflects himself in nature, is threefold in his manifestation. There is first the Creative principle, next there is the Preservative principle, and in the third place there is the principle of Destruction of the forms which have been created, preserved for a time while useful, then to be destroyed in order that the material from which they were constructed may be used in the building of new forms.

   These three principles of God have been called by different names in different religions, and much ink and many goose quills have been used in latter years to defend or decry the idea of a Trinity, though that ought to be manifest to anyone who will look about him in nature with a thoughtful mind. In the Western World, we have been used to calling the Second Aspect of the Triune God, the unified preserving principle, Christ; and it is very appropriate in a certain sense, because the Christ came as the teacher of Love and Universal Brotherhood which was to supersede nations that war against one another, and He Himself said that there was a still higher stage when the kingdom He was to establish should be delivered to the Father and all should be one in Him.

Question No. 75:

  Are the Recording Angels individual beings?

   Answer: Yes, they are mighty Individualities, the ambassadors of the Great Planetary Angels, and as such they are concerned in the birth of man, helping him in the selection of his environment and allotting to each life the right destiny which is ready to be worked out into effects. They guide the stellar influences so that they affect each one in such a way as to facilitate the liquidation of his past indebtedness to others, helping him, also, to reap the benefit of whatever good he has done in past lives.

   In this the Recording Angels are helped by a mighty host of agents and the nature spirits, which are not individualized yet, but work under the direction of these Great Beings unconsciously, much as the animals are guided by group spirits.

Question No. 76:

  Do the Angels and Archangels watch over us individually as well as collectively and know just what our lives are?

   Answer: The Lords of Mind, which Paul calls the "Powers of Darkness" because they were the humanity of the dark Saturn period when the universe was just coming out of chaos, work only with man.

  The Archangels, who were human in the fiery Sun Period where the universe was of the consistency of "desire stuff," work now as the helpers of the Group Spirits of the animals and as Race Spirits for humanity, because these classes of beings have a desire body.

  The Angels, who were the humanity of the Moon Period, work with man, animal and plant, for in the Moon Period the universe was of the consistency of "ether" and the vital bodies of the three kingdoms named is formed of that material. The Angels are, therefore, properly helpers in the vital functions such as assimilation, growth and propagation, and in their work with humanity they are family spirits. They cause the increase in the family, in man's cattle and in the yield of his fields.

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  Man, himself, who is a little lower than the Angels, works with the minerals, which are found in the chemical region of the Physical World, composed of the gases, liquids and solids. He is to the minerals what the Higher Beings are to us. He is gradually waking them to life by molding them into houses, bridges, railways, etc.

   In a future incarnation of the earth, when these minerals have become plant-like, man will have learned to work with life and will then be in a similar position with regard to them as the Angels occupy now with regard to us. Thus there is endless progression, the higher always helping the less evolved, until all shall have reached perfection.

   Answering the question more specifically, we may say that the Archangels work with the nations and the races of the earth, while the Angels are concerned particularly with the families and the individuals in the family. The "Guardian Angel," however, is not exactly an entity from a higher evolution, but is rather the personified embodiment of our good deeds in all our past lives, which, though unseen by us, is still with us always, impelling us toward right action and the doing of more good.

Question No. 77:

  Have Angels wings as shown in pictures?

   Answer: No; none of them have such bird wings as they are shown to have in pictures, but there are some classes of Beings in the Spirit World which have wing-like appendages. These, however, are not for the purpose of flying or moving through space, but are currents of outwelling force that may be hurled in one direction or another, as we use our arms and limbs. Thus an Archangel who is impelling the armies of two nations to battle may send out a current of spiritual force in one direction, numbing the soldiers of one army with fear, and may send another force to imbue the opposing army with added courage, thus influencing the battle in a manner little dreamed of by the contestants.

Question No. 78:

  Do the Rosicrucians accept the Bible as the "Word of God" from cover to cover?

   Answer: Certainly not, and more particularly not in the extremely narrow interpretation of some people who think that the book we now have with us is the only genuine one ever given to humanity. At most, it could be only one of the Books of God, for there are many other sacred writings which have a claim to recognition and cannot be ruled out of court by a few wiseacres such as those who have delegated the so-called apocryphal books to the literary scrap heap.

   In the first place it should be remembered that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew at various times and by numerous writers, and that no collection of these writings was made prior to Ezra. Of these Hebrew writings, there is not now a single scrap in existence. Even as long ago as 280 B.C. the Hebrew language had been abandoned, so far as scriptural writing was concerned, and the Septuagint, or Greek Translation, was in general use. That was the only Bible in existence at the time of the birth of Christ. Later some of the Hebrew writings were collected and collated by the Masoretes, a sect which existed about 700 A.D. This is the best and most accurate text.

   The English translation, most in use today, is the King James Version, but His Majesty was not so much after accuracy in translation as after peace, and the act which authorized the translation of the Bible prohibited the translators from translating any passages in such a way that it would interfere with existing beliefs. This was done to avoid any uprising or dissension in his kingdom, and of the forty-seven translators, only three were Hebrew scholars and two of them died before the Psalms had been translated. A number of the books were thrown aside as apocryphal, and altogether words were wrenched out of their original meaning to conform to the superstition of the age. Martin Luther, in Germany, translated from the Latin text which had itself been translated from the Greek and thus the chances of conveying wrong meanings have been enhanced in many and various ways. Add to this that in the old style Hebrew vowel points are omitted and there is no division into words, so that by inserting vowel points in different ways, words and sentences of entirely different meanings may be obtained from almost any sentence. In view of these facts it is evident that the chances of our getting an accurate version of what was originally written are small indeed.

   Moreover, it was not intended by the original writers to make the Bible an open "Book of God," as can well be seen by the following quotation from the Zohar: "Woe to the man who sees in the Thorah (the law—the Bible) only simple recitals and ordinary words, because if in truth it contained only these, we would even today be able to compose a Thorah more worthy of admiration. But it is not so; each word in the Thorah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery...The recitals of the Thorah are the vestments of the Thorah...Woe to him who takes this vestment of the Thorah for the Thorah itself...The simple take notice of the garments and recitals of the Thorah alone; they know no other thin, they see not that which is concealed under the vestment; the more instructed men do not pay attention to the vestment, but to that which it envelops"...

   In other words, they pay no attention to the letter, but take only the spirit. And, as in a field sown with potatoes there are not only these vegetables, but also the soil in which they are hidden, so in the Bible the pearls of esoteric truth are hidden in what are often hideous garments. The esotericist who has fitted himself to possess these pearls has received the key, and sees them plainly. To others they remain obscure until they also have worked for that key. Thus, while the story of the wanderings of the children of Israel and the dealings of a certain God with them are partially true, there is also a spiritual significance that is far more important than that material history. Even though the Gospels contain the great outlines of the life of an individual called Jesus, they are formulae of initiation showing the experiences which everyone must eventually pass through on the Way to the Truth and the Life.

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   This path was foreseen by the various persons who wrote the Bible and who were thus prophets and seers, but only in so far as that was possible at their time and age. A new era will require a new Bible, a new word.

Question No. 79:

  What is the viewpoint of the Rosicrucian concerning the creation of the world in seven days?

   Answer: There are two creation stories in the Bible. One commences with the first verse of the opening chapter and ends with the third verse of the second chapter of Genesis. Another account commences with the fourth verse.

   These two creation stories seem to be greatly at variance in several particulars. The first account states that in the beginning the earth was covered with water; the second avers that it was dry. The first informs us that man was created last; the second version says he was the first creature, etc. These discrepancies seem to be irreconcilable, and afford the skeptic great satisfaction when he recounts them with a smile of supercilious pity for the poor ignorant fools who believe such silly nonsense. Yet the two accounts are not really incongruous, they are complementary and in harmony with scientific facts. The first account deals with the genesis of form, the second chapter with the evolution of consciousness. The human form as at present constituted is the chef-d'oeuvre of evolution, built upon the basis of all lower forms which have gone before. The life which is man, is without beginning or end, eternal as God Himself, and that life was here before all forms, as told by the second creation story.

   Regarding the time in which this creation of form is said to have taken place, the Rosicrucians do not teach or believe that it was accomplished in seven days of twenty-four hours each, but in our scheme of manifestation seven great transformations of the earth are necessary to facilitate the full evolution of self-consciousness and soul power by the evolving spirits. Three and one-half of these periods have been spent in obtaining vehicles; the remainder will be required for the evolution of consciousness.

   The opening verse of the Bible states that in the beginning the earth was dark and without definite form. That was in the Saturn Period, when the incipient firemist was forming from the root substance of space.

   The third verse informs us that God said "Let there by Light," a passage which has been jeered at as showing the ignorance of the authors and the inconsistency of the account with scientific facts; for, says the scoffer, "When the sun and moon were not created till the fourth day, how could there be light previous to that time? We are not dealing with the world as it is today, a solid mass. That, of course, would be dark without an outside source of light, but at that time the earth was a world in the making, and according to the nebular theory there must first be the stage of dark heat to which we have given the name Saturn Period. Later the mist is ignited and luminous; the light is within and is not dependent upon an exterior sun and moon. This second stage in the development of our planet is called the Sun Period.

   Next we are told that God said, "Let there be 'an expansion' in the waters to divide the water from the water." The word here rendered "expansion" is translated "firmament" in the authorized version, but we use the Masoretic text, which was translated by translators of knowledge, who were unrestricted by a royal edict such as that which hampered King Jame's translators. The use of the term "expansion" harmonizes the Bible with the nebular theory, for, when a firemist appears in space moisture is generated by the contact of this heated mass with the surrounding space, which is cold. This moisture becomes heated and expands into steam which rushes outward from the fiery core, is there cooled, and condensed, and gravitates back to the source of heat. Thus the expansion in the waters divided the water from the water, the dense moisture remaining nearest the fiery core and the steam outside. This stage in the consolidation of the earth is called the Moon Period.

   The continual boiling of the water surrounding the fiery core finally caused an incrustation and dry land appeared. We are told that "God called the dry land Earth."

   During the first part of the present Period the earth was as dark as in the Saturn Period. Only mineral substances existed them. This stage is called the Polarian Period.

   The fiery Sun Period finds its replica in the Hyperborean Epoch, which is described in verses 11-19 as the time when plants were generated, and the earth became a planet lighted from without by sun and moon. This ends the work described as having been performed on the fourth great day in the development of our earth.

   In the Lemurian Epoch we have a recapitulation of conditions during the Moon Period, a fiery core and an atmosphere of fire fog, also the genesis of the lower grades of animals, described in the Bible story as the work of the fifth day.

   In the Atlantean Epoch the vertebrate mammals and man were formed, as described under the heading of the sixth day, and when man became a reasoning being in the present Fifth Epoch, the Gods rested to let him work out his own salvation under the twin laws of Rebirth and Causation.

Question No. 80:

  The Bible teaches the immortality of the Soul in an authoritative manner. The Rosicrucian Philosophy teaches the same professedly by appealing to reason. Are there no positive proofs of immortality?

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   Answer: The inquirer is mistaken when he says that the Bible teaches the immortality of the Soul. There is not a single mention of the word immortality or heaven in the sense of a possession of man in the Old Testament. There it is explicitly stated that "Heaven, even the heavens are the Lord's, but the Earth has he given to the children of men"; Psalms 115, 16th verse. It is explicitly taught that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." If the soul were immortal that would be an impossibility. In the New Testament the word "immortal" or "immortality" is only used six times. It is designated as something to be striven for, or something which is an attribute of God.

   So far as the Spirit is concerned, however, the case is different, and even where that is the theme, the word immortal is not used. Immortality is implied in the same way that doctrine of rebirth is implied in so many passages, but even the doctrine of rebirth has the advantage of the doctrine of rebirth was taught definitely at least once in Matthew 11:14, where the Christ said of John the Baptist, "This is Elijah." In this teaching the doctrine of immortality was again implied, for if the spirit Elijah was reborn as John the Baptist he must have survived bodily death. The teaching of immortality was at that time one of the mystery teachings, and even to this day it can hardly be received until a man has entered the path of initiation and there sees for himself the continuity of life.

   It may be stated, however, in answer to the question, that everything hinges upon what is meant by "positive proof," and what the qualifications of the person are who asks for the proof to judge of these proofs? We cannot prove a problem in trigonometry to an infant, but if the infant is given time to grow and is properly taught the preliminaries, it will be easy to prove the problem. Neither can we prove the existence of color and light to a man who was born blind; they are facts which he cannot appreciate, because lacking in the requisite faculty. But if he acquires the faculty to sight by an operation, it will be unnecessary to prove these facts to him, he will then see their verity. For similar reason no one can appreciate proofs of the immortality of the spirit until he has fitted himself to see the spirit; then it will be easy for him to obtain positive proof of the immortality of spirit, its existence prior to birth and persistence after death. Until he has thus qualified himself, he must be satisfied with reasonable inferences such as may be obtained in many ways.

Question No. 81:

  Is there any authority in the Bible for the theory of rebirth?

   Answer: Yes, there is plenty of authority, although it is only taught directly in one place. The Jewish priests believed in the theory of rebirth, or they would not have sent to ask John the Baptist "Art thou Elijah?" as it is recorded in the first Chapter of John in the twenty-first verse; and in the Gospel of Matthew, we have the words of Christ concerning John the Baptist which are unambiguous and unequivocal. He said, "This is Elijah." Also on the later occasion, at the time when they had been upon the Mount of Transfiguration, the Christ said, "Elijah has come and they have done to him as they listed," and we are told that the disciples "knew He was speaking of John" who had then been beheaded by Herod.

   In Matthew, the 16th chapter, 14th verse, He is asking His disciples "Who do the people say I am?" and the answer which they give Him is "Some say that you are John the Baptist, others say that you are Elijah, and again other say that you are Jeremiah or one of the Prophets." It is noteworthy that the Christ did not contradict them at all, for He was a teacher, and if they had entertained a wrong idea concerning the doctrine of rebirth, it would have been His undoubted duty to set them right. But He did not do that. He moreover taught it directly, as per the above passage.

   There are also cases mentioned in the Bible, where a person has been chosen for a certain work before his birth. An Angel foretold the coming of Samson and his mission—to slay the Philistines. The Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah, "Before thou camest out of the womb, I sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." John and Jesus had their mission allotted to them before they were born. A person is chosen for a mission because of a special fitness. Proficiency presupposes practice and practice prior to birth must have been in a previous life. Thus the doctrine of rebirth is also taught by implication in the cases cited.

Question No. 82:

  According to the Bible only man was given a soul. Why do you then say that the animals have a Group Spirit?

   Answer: In the first chapter of Genesis, verse 20, we are told that God said: "Let the water bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life." The world used in Hebrew is nephesh, which means "breath." That word is also used in the second chapter, verse 7, where it is said that "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (nephesh), and man became a 'nephesh chayim,' a breathing creature." Not a living soul, as there translated. The translation of King James has been modified by people who had a little more regard for the truth than for preconceived ideas; they have consented to put the word "soul" in the margin as an alternative reading of the word in chapter 1, verse 20, where the creation of the animals is recorded, so that even in the Bibles of today, it is admitted that animals have a soul.

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   This translation is not correct, however; nephesh means breath and not soul; the Hebrew word for soul is neshamah. Soul is not synonymous with spirit, which is called ruach, so that Genesis does not mention the Spirit of either man or animal, for spirit has no genesis, it is. The forms of animal and man which are sustained by breath had a beginning and that is what Genesis records. That idea is perfectly in line with the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:19, where we are told that (so far as the body formed of the dust is concerned) man has no pre-eminence above the beast, for as one dieth so dieth the other, they have all one breath (nephesh) and as one dieth so dieth the other. All go unto one place (namely, the Desire World).

   If the inquirer accepts only the English word and version of the Bible, as if that book had been written directly in our language, it would seem fair to ask: If man obtained his soul as described in the Bible, where did woman receive her soul; or is she without a soul?

Question No. 83:

  Is it true that Eve was taken out of Adam's side?

   Answer: Among the forty-seven translators of King James's Bible only three understood Hebrew and two of them died before the Psalms had been translated. Besides, in the Hebrew language, particularly the old style writing, the vowel points are never put in, and thus a word may be given different meanings, according to the way these points are entered. In the case of the story of Adam's rib, the word translated "rib" when pointed in one way reads tsad, which really means rib, but pointed another way it reads tsela, which means side. The esoteric teaching concerning the development of the earth and man states that there was a time when man was like the God or Elohim who created him, in one particular—sex. He was both male and female, a hermaphrodite, capable of generating another being from himself. Later it became necessary to his further evolution that a brain should be evolved, and whereas he had previously sent out from himself the double creative force, positive and negative, half of that was then retained for the purpose of building a brain, a larynx, and a nervous system, as organs of thought and a keyboard whereby the spirit might manipulate its organism and express itself vocally. Some of the spirit retain the positive creative force and send out only the negative, or female force, while others retain the female or negative force and send out the positive. Thus it may be said that God took away from the one side of their being, but not the rib. This reading of the word has as good a claim to recognition as the translation rib, and also has the further merit that it helps to explain an otherwise unexplainable fact.

Question No. 84:

  If God made man in His images and likeness, supposedly perfect, why were the different epochs prior to the fall of Adam and Eve necessary?

   Answer: The inquirer is laboring under a misapprehension. The Bible says that God saw his work, and that is was "good," but not perfect. Had it been perfect, there would have been nothing further to do, and evolution would have been superfluous. The human race did not become definitely human until the latter part of the Lemurian Epoch when the spirit commenced to draw into the bodies. The humanity of that time, Adam and Eve, were very different from our present day humanity. They were also products of evolution, for there is no instantaneous creation. These beings had progressed through stage of plant-like and animal-like development from the mineral kingdom wherein they started, and it was not a single pair, as is usually understood by orthodox religionists, but a humanity that was both male and female at the time mentioned in the Bible. It is said that male and female created He them, moreover, it was not the first time that man had been upon the earth, or that the earth had been peopled, as can be seen from Genesis 1:28, where they were commanded to go out and re-plenish the earth, showing that the earth had been the abode of certain other beings previous to the advent of those which are called Adam and Eve. Josephus says that Adam means "red earth" and the Hebrew "admah," from which Adam is derived, means "firm ground"; that described the state very well. Adm (as it is given in the Hebrew text), did not come upon the earth until it had solidified and become firm, yet he came before the earth had become properly cooled as it is now, an so the earth was really in a red and fiery state at that time. He had been here before. During the earlier Epochs before the Lemurian, the spirits hovered over the fiery earth and helped to form and mold it as it is now. The human spirits were at that time learning lesson with which we have no present concern. We were unconscious at that time, but did the work just as well as, for instance, our digestive organs perform the chemical operations necessary to digestion and assimilation although we are unaware of these processes in our conscious mind. It must be plain, however, that as the work of children in the kindergarten and grammar school is the all important foundation for the later teachings of high school and college, so were the earlier epochs the foundation stones for our present conditions. They were as necessary as it is to learn the alphabet before we attempt to read.

Question No. 85:

  What was the sin or fall in Eden?

   Answer: When the earth came out of chaos, it was at first in the dark red stage known as the Polarian Epoch. There humanity first evolved a dense body, not at all like our present vehicle, of course. When the condition of the earth became fiery, as in the Hyperborean Epoch, The vital body was added and man became plant-like, that is to say, he had the same vehicles as our plants have today, and also a similar consciousness, or, rather, unconsciousness, to that which we have in dreamless sleep when the dense and vital bodies are left upon the bed.

   At that time, in the Hyperborean Epoch, the body of man was as an enormous gas bag, floating outside the fiery earth, and it threw off plant-like spores, which then grew and were used by other incoming entities. At that time man was double sexed, a hermaphrodite.

   In the Lemurian Epoch, when the earth had somewhat cooled and islands of crust had begun to form amid boiling seas, then also man's body ha somewhat solidified and had become more like the body we see today. It was ape-like, a short trunk with enormous arms and limbs, the heels projecting backward and almost no head—at least the upper part of the head was nearly entirely wanting. Man lived in the atmosphere of steam which esotericists call fire-fog, and had no lungs, but breathed by means of tubes. He had a bladder-like organ inside, which he inflated with heated air to help him leap enormous chasms when volcanic eruptions destroyed the land upon which he was living. From the back of his head there projected an organ which has now been drawn into the head and is called by anatomists the pineal gland, or the third eye, although it was never an eye, but a localized organ of feeling. The body was then devoid of feeling, but when man came too close to a volcanic crater, the heat was registered by this organ to warn him away before his body was destroyed.

   At that time the body had already so far solidified that it was impossible for man to continue to propagate by spores, and it was necessary that he should evolve an organ of thought, a brain. The creative force which we now use to build railways, steamships, etc., in the outer world, was then used inwardly for the building of organs. Like all forces it was positive and negative. One pole was turned upward to build the brain, leaving the other pole available for the creation of another body. Thus man was not longer a complete creative unit. Each possessed only half the creative force, and it was therefore necessary for him to seek his complement outside himself.

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   But at that time, "their eyes had not been opened," and the human beings of that age were unconscious of each other in the Physical World, though well aware and awake in the Spiritual World. Therefore, under the guidance of the Angels, who were particularly fitted to help them in respect to propagation, they were herded together in great temples at certain times of the year when the lines of force running between the planets were propitious, and there the creative act was performed as a religious sacrifice. And when this primal man Adam came into the intimate sexual contact with the woman, the spirit for the moment pierced the flesh and "Adam knew (or became aware of) his wife;" he sensed her physically. It is this which the Bible has recorded, using that chaste expression all through its leaves, for we are told that "Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and she bore Samuel." Even in the New Testament where the angel comes to Mary telling her that she is to be the mother of the Savior, she answers, "How shall that be possible seeing I know not a man?"

   Sin is action contrary to law, and while humanity propagated under the guidance of the Angels, who understood the cosmic lines of force, parturition was painless, as it is now among wild animals, which propagate only at the proper time of the year under the guidance of the group spirit. But when man, acting on the advice of certain spirits half-way between humanity and the Angels, undertook to create at any and all times of the year, regardless of cosmic lines of force, that sin, or "eating of the tree of knowledge," caused the painful parturition which the Angel proclaimed to Eve. He did not curse her, but simply stated what would be the result of the ignorant and indiscriminate use of the creative function.

Question No. 86:

  Is the tree of life spoken of in the Bible the same as the philosopher's stone of the alchemists?

   Answer: Yes and no. To understand the matter it is necessary to go back in the history of mankind. There was a time when humanity was double sexed and capable of generating a body without the help of another. But when it became necessary to build the brain in order that the spirit might be able to create by thought as well as in the Physical World, one-half the sex force was retained to build an organ of thought. Then it became necessary for each to seek the cooperation of another who expressed the opposite pole of the creative force which he had available himself for sex purposes. Having no brain, and as "their eyes had not been opened," they were of course unconscious in the Physical World and unable to guide themselves. Therefore, the Angels herded them together at certain times of the year when the planetary forces were propitious to perform the generative act as a religious sacrifice, whereby they gave up part of their bodies for the generation of a vehicle for another spirit. In that close embrace, the spirit first pierced the veil of the flesh and Adam "knew" his wife. Later on, when the consciousness of humanity had become focused a little more upon the Physical World and a few among them had begun dimly to perceive the bodies of which we now are so thoroughly conscious, these pioneers began to preach the gospel of the body, telling the others that they possessed a physical body, for the majority were then unconscious of that instrument as we are now of having a stomach when in good health.

   Then it was noticed that those bodies died, and the question arose among the pioneers as to how such a body could be replaced. The solution was given to man by a certain class of spirits who were stragglers from the evolution of the Angels, demi-gods, as we might say. These Lucifer Spirits, or light givers, enlightened nascent humanity regarding their powers of generating a body at any time. But these bodies were not perfect then—they are not perfect today—and of course generation without reference to the planetary conditions has produced even inferior bodies to what would have been otherwise generated, in addition to the painful parturition prophesied by the Angel.

   Since then the generative function has been exercised unrestrictedly by the ignorant human race. But by the fact of death it has been possible for the Angels to teach humanity between death and a new birth how to build a gradually improving body. Had man learned in that far past how to renew his vital body, a he was taught to generate a dense vehicle at his own pleasure, then death would indeed have been an impossibility and man would have become immortal as the Gods. But he would then have immortalized his imperfections and made progress an impossibility. It is the renewal of this vital body which is expressed in the Bible as "eating of the Tree of Life." At the time of his enlightenment concerning generation man was a spiritual being whose eyes were not yet blinded by the material world, and he might have learned the secret of vitalizing his body at will, thus frustrating evolution. Thus we see that death, when it comes naturally, is not a curse but our greatest and best friend, for it frees us from an instrument from which we can learn no more; it takes us out of an environment which we have outgrown, that we may learn to build a better body in an environment of wider scope in which we can make more progress toward the goal of perfection.

   In this pilgrimage there comes at last a time when man is fitted to have the powers of life. The body which he has made for himself becomes pure and is of service for a much longer time than heretofore. Then he begins to seek after the philosopher's stone, the elixier vitae, or whatever name he may choose to employ. The alchemists aimed to manufacture this pure and holy vehicle, but not by a chemical process in a laboratory, as supposed by the ignorant multitude. Nomenclature which gave color to that idea was made necessary because they lived in an age when a dominant and apostate church could have brought them to death had the truth been known. When they spoke of transmuting base metals to gold, they spoke the truth not only from the material standpoint but also from the spiritual, for gold has ever been the symbol of spirit and these alchemists aimed to spiritualize their bodies, which are of baser mixture.

   Everywhere the pure and beautiful symbol of transparency has been given to designate the power of purity. In the Old Testament we hear of the Temple of Solomon that was "built without sound of hammer." The most beautiful ornament there was the Molten Sea. Hiram Abiff, the master-workman, as his final achievement, succeeded in smelting all the metals of the earth into an alloy as transparent as glass. In the New Testament we are told the last about a beautiful city having in its midst a sea of glass. In the East, the initiate aims to become the diamond-soul, pure and transparent. In the West the Philosopher's Stone is the symbol of the purified soul extracted from the bodies which have been transmuted and spiritualized. The soul that sinneth, it shall die, but the pure soul is immortalized by the elixir vitae, the "Tree of Life," into a vital body that will last milleniums as a vehicle for the spirit.

Question No. 87:

  The Lord had respect unto Abel and his bloody offering, but unto Cain and his sweet and clean offering, he had not respect. Why?

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   Answer: The inquirer is under a misapprehension. The offering of Abel was not a bloody offering. It is nowhere stated that Abel killed an animal. The legend of the esoteric free masons, which we will give in part, tells the story:

   Once upon a time, the Elohim created Eve; he united with her and she bore Cain; he left her before the birth of Cain and Cain was thus "the son of a widow." Then the Elohim Jehovah created Adam who united with Eve and she bore Abel. In time Cain and Abel brought their offerings to Jehovah. Abel brought of his flocks created by God while Cain brought the work of his own hands, the grain. And Jehovah received the gift which Abel had found ready to his hand, made by nature, but he despised the sacrifice which was the outcome of the creative ability of Cain. Then Cain slew Abel and was cursed. Adam again united with Eve, and she bore Seth.

   From Cain and Seth came two classes of people. The descendants of Cain were Tubal-Cain and Hiram Abiff, cunning master workmen, who knew how to fashion things with their hands, having within themselves the divine ability of creation, of making two blades of grass grow where there was only one before, and from them come all those who work with their hands and strive to conquer the earth and its resources.

   From Seth descended the kings and the priests, who received their wisdom ready made from the Gods, and took things as they found them. Among them was Solomon, the wisest of men, but he had not worked for his wisdom himself, he received it as a gift of God. These two classes are still found upon earth today and are battling for supremacy. One is the progressive temporal Powers, the other the conservative Priest-craft.

   The reason, then, why Jehovah accepted the offering of Abel was because he had taken things as they were found created; he was a Son of Man, and did not aspire to divine creatorship. But Cain was of a divine nature; he had within him the creative instinct; and that was not to the liking of the God.

Question No. 88:

  What is the esoteric significance of the Ark of the Covenant?

   Answer: We read in the earliest chapters of the Bible about the Fall in Eden, when man took the creative force into his own hands, used it ignorantly and thus sinned against the laws of nature. Propagation is a faculty of the vital body which is the shadow of the life spirit, the second aspect of the threefold spirit in man.

   Cherubim are described as having been put on guard with a flaming sword when man was driven out from Eden, lest he eat of the Tree of Life and become immortal, for they are the great creative hierarchy which had charge over the earth in the Sun Period, when the vital body germinated and the life spirit was awakened.

   Then commenced the long pilgrimage through the wilderness of matter, and the ark of the covenant was the symbol of man in this migratory phase of his existence. During the pilgrimage in the wilderness, the staves which were used to carry the ark were always left in their places to show that it had no abiding place, but when it came to the temple made without sound of hammer, the Temple of Solomon, its pilgrimage was ended, and the staves were removed.

   In its character as a symbol of man the ark contained the Book of the Law, given to teach man right action. There was the rod of Aaron which budded, a wand of power, symbolizing the spiritual force latent in every man. This rod was a replica of the spear of Parsifal, which was an instrument of harm in the hands of Klingsor, the Black Magician, and likewise in the hands of the Roman soldier, but the pure and spiritual Parsifal used it to heal the wounds of Amfortas. The rod of Aaron had been used among the Egyptians to cause distress and sorrow, an was the hidden within the Ark, symbolical of the fact that man had at one time possessed and misused the spiritual power now hidden within.

   There was the pot of manna. This was not a food for the body as materialistically explained. The word manna is almost universal. In the Sanskrit we have "manas," the thinker. In German, the English, the Scandinavian languages, and in many others, we have the same word "man" to designate the thinker. The placing of the pot of manna within the ark commemorates the time when the Ego drew into the form it had built and became an indwelling individual spirit.

   That was the "fall" into material conditions, necessitating the generation of dense bodies. When man arrogated to himself the power to generate at any time, he was exiled from the Etheric Region lest he possess himself of the secret of vitalizing the imperfect bodies he generates and render evolution impossible.

   It is stated in the first part of our answer, the Cherubim were the authors of our vital powers, so they must guard them until man is qualified to have control himself. Therefore they are said to have been placed at the garden of Eden with a Flaming Sword, and it is of the greatest significance that upon the doors to the Temple of Solomon there stood the Cherubim, holding in their hands no longer the Flaming Sword, but an open flower. The flower is the generative organ of the plant, which accomplishes the act of generation in a pure, passionless manner, and when man has learned how to become pure and passionless so that each and every form is immaculately conceived, he can enter into the temple of God as the ark entered the Temple of Solomon, and he may remain there, as signified by the removal of the staves, and as prophetically told in Revelation where the spirit said: "Him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the House of God: Thence he shall no more go out."

Question No. 89:

  Is there an esoteric significance in the various Christian feasts of the year?

   Answer: Yes, the feasts of the year have the very deepest esoteric significance. From the material point of view, the planets are but so many masses of matter going about in their orbits in obedience to so-called blind laws, but to the esotericists they appear as Great Spirits, moving about in space as we move in the world.

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   When a man is seen gesticulating, we attach a certain significance to his gestures. If he shakes his head, we know that he is negativing a certain proposition, but if he nods, we infer he agrees. If he beckons, having the palms of his hands turned toward him, we know that he is motioning for someone to come to him, but if he turns the palms outward, we understand that he is warning someone to stay away. In the case of the universe, we usually do not think that there is any significance to the altered position of the planets, but to the esotericist there is the very deepest meaning in all the varied phenomena of the heavens. They correspond to the gestures of man.

   Krishna means anointed, and anyone who had a special mission to perform was so anointed in olden times. When, in the winter time, the sun is below the equator at the nadir point of its travel, the spiritual impulses are the greatest in the world. For our material welfare, however, it is necessary that the sun should come again into the northern hemisphere, and so we speak of the time when the sun starts upon its journey northward as Christmas, the birthday of the Savior, anointed to save us from the famine and cold which would ensue if he were to stay at the nadir point always.

   As the sun passes toward the equator, it goes through the sign Aquarius, the water-man, at that time the earth is deluged with rain, symbolizing the baptism of the Savior. Then comes the passage of the sun through the sign Pisces, the fishes, in the month of March. The stores of the past year have been all consumed, and the food of man is scant, hence we have the long fast of Lent, where the eating of fish symbolizes this feature of the solar journey. Then comes the Passover, when the sun passed over the equator. This is the time of Easter, when the sun is at his eastern node, and this crossing of the equator is symbolized by the crossification or crucifixion, so called, of the Savior; the sun then goes into the sign of Aries, the Ram, and becomes the Lamb of God, which is given for the salvation of the world at the time when the plants begin to sprout. In order that the sacrifice may be of benefit to man, however, he (the sun) must ascend into the heavens where his rays will have power to ripen the grape and the corn, and so we have the feast of the Ascension of the Savior to the Throne of the Father, which is at the summer solstice in June. There the sun remains for three days, when the saying "Thence he shall return" takes effect as the sun commences his passage toward the western node. At the time when he enters the sign Virgo, the Virgin, we have the feast of the assumption and later on, when he leaves the sign Virgo, the Nativity of the virgin, who seems, as it were, to be born from the sun.

   The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles occurred at the time when the sun was crossing the equator on its passage into the winter months, and this feast was accompanied by the weighing in of the corn and the harvest of the wine, which were the gifts of the solar God to his human worshipers.

   Thus all the feasts of the year are connected with the motions of the stars through space.

Question No. 90:

  I understand you to say that the Christ has been incarnated only once in Jesus; was He not previously incarnated in Gautama Buddha and still earlier in Krishna?

   Answer: No. Jesus Himself was a spirit belonging to our human evolution, and so was Guatama Buddha. The writer has no information concerning Krishna, but is inclined to believe that he was also a spirit belonging to the human race, because the Indian stories concerning him tell of how he entered heaven and what took place there. The Christ spirit which entered the body of Jesus when Jesus himself vacated it, was a ray from the cosmic Christ. We may follow Jesus back in his previous incarnations, and we can trace his growth to the present day. The Christ spirit, on the contrary, is not to be found among our human spirits at all.

   We may say that before the coming of Christ, He worked upon the earth from the outside, much as the group spirit works with the animals from without, guiding and helping them, until they become sufficiently individualized to be the abode of an individual spirit. There was no indwelling spirit in the earth prior to the coming of Christ, but at the time when the sacrifice upon Golgotha had been consummated and the Christ spirit was liberated from the body of Jesus, it drew into the earth and is now the indwelling Earth Spirit, which Paul says "is groaning and travailing, waiting for the day of liberation," for, contrary to the accepted opinion, the sacrifice upon Golgotha was not completed with the death of the body of Jesus; in fact, that event may be said to be only the beginning; the sacrifice will continue until such time as we shall have evolved the altruism and love that will liberate the Earth Spirit from the cramping conditions of material existence, when the necessity for guiding us shall have passed away.

Question No. 91:

  We are told that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him should not die but have everlasting life." How can we reconcile that idea with the words of Christ, "I came not to bring peace but a sword"?

   Answer: It is said that the "law and the prophets were until Christ," and there are four steps whereby man lifts himself to God. At first, when he awakens to a consciousness in the Physical World and is in the savage state, he finds himself surrounded by other men, who by the very stress of circumstances are forced to fight for life, men among whom "might is right"; here he learns to rely upon his own strength to save him from the onslaughts of wild animals and other men. But he perceives around him the nature powers, and of them he is afraid, for he knows their ability to kill and his own impotence to cope with them. He therefore begins to worship, seeking to propitiate the God he fears by bloody sacrifices.

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   Then comes the time when he begins to look to God as the giver of things, who will reward him here and now for obedience to his law and punish him instantly for disobedience. A mighty ally against his enemies but a powerful enemy, and therefore, much to be feared also. And so, he worships and sacrifices animals through fear and avarice.

   Then comes the stage when he is taught to worship a God of love and to sacrifice himself from day to day, through his whole life, for a reward in a future state which he is to believe in by faith and which is not even clearly outlined.

   Finally man will reach a stage when he will recognize his divinity and do right because it is right without thought of fear or bribe.

   The Jews had reached the second of these stages and were under the law. The Christian religion is gradually working through the third stage, though not yet freed from the second. All of us are yet under laws made by God and by man in order to curb our desire bodies by fear, but to advance us spiritually from now on we must sensitize our vital body which is amenable to love while not at all cognizant of law which governs the desire nature.

   In order to prepare this coming state the priests, who were more advanced than the ordinary people, kept separate and apart from them. We hear in the East that only a certain caste, the Brahmins, were allowed to enter the temples and perform the temple services. Among the Jews, only the Levites were allowed to approach the holy place, and among other nations it was the same. The priests were always a distinct class, who were not allowed to marry among the ordinary people. They were separate and apart in every respect.

   That was because the leaders of humanity could only use the strain where there existed a certain laxity between the vital body and the dense body. And so they bred these priests and herded them around the temples, regulating their life, sexually and otherwise, in every respect. But at the time when Christ was liberated from the body of Jesus and diffused His Being throughout the whole earth, the veil was rent, as a symbol of the fact, that the need for any special condition had passed away. From that time on the ether has been changing in the earth. An increasingly higher rate of vibration allows for the expression of altruistic qualities. It was the starting of that enormous vibration which caused the darkness said to have attended crucifixion. That was not darkness at all, but an intense light which blinded people for the time being until the vibrations slowed down by immersion in the dense, physical earth. A few hours later the radiant Christ Spirit had drawn into the earth sufficiently to restore normal conditions. But gradually that power from within is gaining the ascendency, and the etheric vibrations are being accelerated, increasing altruism and spiritual growth. Thus the conditions are now such that no special or privileged class need exist, but each and every one may aspire to eneter the Path of Initiation.

   Old conditions die hard, however; under the regime of Jehovah, the Spirit of the Moon, humanity had been broken up into nations, and in order that He might guide them it was necessary that He should at times use one nation to punish another, for humanity was not then amenable to love—it would only obey under the lash of fear. Before the great Universal Brotherhood of Love can be inaugurated it is necessary to break up these nations on the same principle that if we have a number of buildings, composed of bricks and we wish to build them into one grand structure, it is necessary first to break them to pieces so that the individual bricks will be available for use in the larger building. Therefore the Christ said, "I come not to bring peace, but a sword."

   We must outgrow patriotism and learn to say as that great soul, Thomas Paine, "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion." Until that time, the wars must go on and the more the better, for thereby the sooner will the horror become sufficiently appalling to compel peace.

   On the holy night when the Christ child was born, the angels sang a song, "Peace on Earth and Good Will among Men." Later the child grew up and said, "I came not to bring peace, but a sword," and the Christian religion has been the bloodiest of all religions of humanity. It has carried desolation and sorrow with it wherever it has gone, but out of all that travail there will yet come the day when the song of? the Angels will become a fact and the words of the Christ uttered at other times concerning love to one's neighbor will be lived. When the sword has done its work it will be beaten into plow shares, and there will be no more war, for there will be no more nations.

Question No. 92:

  What is meant by everlasting salvation and damnation?

   Answer: The orthodox religions say that those who have done well in this life are saved, that is to say, they will go to a heaven not very clearly defined, and those who fail to reach this salvation are plunged into a hell of which not very much is known save that it is a place of misery. The good and the bad stay in their respective places, once they have been judged; there is no redemption for the lost souls, and no danger of a fall for those once saved.

   Such an interpretation is radically wrong, if the Greek dictionary is taken as authority, for obviously the meaning hinges upon the word translated "everlasting." That word is aionian, and in the dictionary it is translated to mean "an age, an indefinite period, a lifetime," etc. What, then, is the true meaning of the passage quoted we may ask ourselves, and in order to find that meaning it will be necessary to take a comprehensive view of life.

   In the beginning of manifestation, God, a great flame, differentiates a vast number of incipient flames or sparks within Himself, not from Himself, for it is an actual fact that "in we live and move and have our being." Nothing can exist outside God. So within Himself, God differentiates these countless souls. Each of them is potentially divine, each enfolds all His powers as the seed enfolds the plant, but as the seed must be buried in the ground to bring forth the plant, so it is necessary that these divine sparks should be immersed in material vehicles in order that they may learn lessons that can be mastered only in such a separative existence as there is in the world.

   The world may be regarded as a training school for the evolving spirits. Some of them started early and applied themselves diligently to the task before them; consequently they progressed rapidly. Others started later and are laggards; but all will ultimately attain the goal of perfection. In consequence of the foregoing fact there are a number of classes of these pilgrim spirits, and before one set, or class, of spirits can be moved up another step in evolution it is necessary that they should have attained a certain standard of proficiency. They are saved from a lower condition which they have outgrown. Once this measure of efficiency has been acquired, they are promoted into another epoch. But among a large number there are always laggards, and these are condemned to stay in the class where they are until they have arrived at the stage of growth required for advancement. The plan is similar to the method in which children in a school are promoted into the next higher class at the early examinations if they have attained a certain standard of knowledge; if not, they are condemned to stay behind—not forever, but only until year's examination proves that they have qualified.

   The foregoing is not a distorted or a wrong representation of the meaning of the word aionian. It has been used other places in the Bible in a manner which bears out our contention. For instance, in Paul's letter to Philemon, where he returns to him the slave Onesimus with the words, "Perhaps it was well that you should lose him for a time that he might be given back to you forever." The word "forever" is the same word aionian which is translated everlasting in connection with damnation and salvation, and it will be readily seen that in this case it can only mean a part of a lifetime, for neither Paul or Philemon, as such, would live forever.

Question No. 93:

  What is the teaching of the Rosicrucians concerning the Immaculate Conception?

   Answer: The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is, perhaps, one of the most sublime mysteries of the Christian religion, and perhaps for that reason it has suffered more from being dragged down into materiality than any of the other mysteries. It has suffered alike from the interpretation of its clumsy supporters and the sneers of the skeptics. When, for instance, we see in churches a picture of God as an old man sitting up in the skies with a blow-pipe in his mouth in the act of blowing the infant Jesus into the side of Mary, it is more than ridiculous, it is pathetic!

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   The popular, but erroneous, idea is that about 2000 years ago an individual named Jesus Christ was born of a mother without the cooperation of an earthly father, and this incident is regarded as unique in the history of the world. In reality, it is not unparalleled; the immaculate conception has taken place many times in the history of the world and will become universal in the future.

   The anticipated history of man is written in the stars—man being the little world as the stars are great worlds. There the ideal, the prototype of the Immaculate Conception is dramatically presented from year to year. The Sun is the life giver of the world; it is the light of the world also. And as the more advanced beings who are saviors of mankind appear when the greatest spiritual darkness is upon earth, so the sun is born anew at the winter solstice and starts its journey toward the equator on the darkest night of the year, the night between the 24th and the 25th of December. At that time, the zodiacal sign Virgo rises upon the eastern horizon in all norther latitudes, which are the most populous parts of the earth.

   Thus, the light of the world is each year immaculately conceived by the celestial virgin mother and starts upon his journey northward to give his life for humanity as he ripens the corn and the grape. By analogy the spiritual teachers are born at time when spiritual darkness is greatest, and they give to man the bread of life which feeds the soul.

   Men do not gather grapes of thorns, but like always begets like; an entity that is vile must be born of a mother who is vile, and before a savior can be born a pure virgin mother must be found. But when we say "virgin," we do not mean virgin in a physical sense. We all possess physical virginity in the early years of our lives, but virginity of the spirit is a quality of soul acquired by lives of pure thought and lofty aspirations. It is not dependent upon the state of the body. A true virgin may bear several children and remain "virgin."

   Whether a child is conceived in sin or immaculately conceived is thus dependent upon its own inherent soul quality, for if the Ego to be born is pure and chaste it will naturally be born to a mother who is also of the same pure and beautiful nature. And the physical act, which in the case of most people is dictated by passion and desire for sensual gratification, is performed by the pure and the chaste of soul in a spirit of prayer as a sacrifice. Thus the child is begotten without the sin of passion; it is immaculately conceived.

   Such a one is never an accidental child. His coming has been heralded and looked forward to with anticipation of pleasure and joy, and there are many cases at the present day where people come very close to an imitation of the Immaculate Conception; cases where both the parents are pure and chaste; where they perform the generative act in the spirit of pure love; where the mother is unmolested during the gestatory period and the child is born in almost as pure a manner as foreshadowed in the symbolical immaculate conceptions. In time, when humanity grows more and more altruistic, passion will be superseded by pure love and all men will be immaculately begotten.

Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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