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Rebirth and Consequence
The real object of life is not present happiness but experience whereby we may unfold our latent spiritual powers and develop them into faculties for greater service in God's plan of evolution. God is evolving through us. We are cells in the cosmic body of God. We are spiritualizing matter for Him so that it may be a vehicle in which He may function. We are as necessary to God as God is to us. It is our business, therefore, to develop our spiritual qualities and our latent talents to the utmost in order that we may co-operate with this great plan.
The three great objects of evolution through matter are: First, the spiritualizing of the character; second, the development of the will, whereby we direct the faculties gained by experience; third, the development of the creative mind, by which we shall eventually create directly and consciously. If we co-operate with the plan, happiness will be a constant by-product.
To gain all this development it is necessary for the Ego to be reborn in a physical body many times. When all the experience of any life has been spiritually assimilated in the higher worlds, the spirit feels the urge to gain new experience. This desire impels it irresistibly to rebirth. Our knowledge of rebirth does not rest upon speculation. Rebirth is one of the first facts demonstrated to the pupil of the Mystery School. He is taught to watch a child in the act of dying; then to follow that child through the invisible world, day by day, until it comes to rebirth within a period of a few years. After the pupil has done this, he knows with absolute certainty that rebirth is a fact and not merely a metaphysical theory.
The first step when the Ego starts towards rebirth is to select its parents or have them selected for it. This is not a matter of blind chance. We ordinarily have parents assigned to us whom we have served in preceding lives so that they are in duty bound to do this service for us. In this connection we may see our duty to provide when possible the means whereby Egos may come back to us as children in order that later they may do us a similar service. When the Ego has to its credit a certain amount of good destiny, it is given a panoramic view of several different lives involving different parents and allowed to make a selection. After the choice has been made, the main outlines of the life have been determined, and the Ego no longer has free will with reference to them. It still, however, has free will as to details. These may be executed in a spirit of love, helpfulness, and tolerance, or in a rebellious spirit, hating the environment in which the Ego has been placed. Thus may it generate for itself either good or bad destiny for a future life.
In the actual process of coming back to rebirth the various seed atoms first attract to themselves the materials for a new set of vehicles, namely, a mind, a desire body, a vital body, and a physical body. These materials are eventually built into the new vehicles, at which time the Ego comes to physical rebirth. This occurs at a time when the planetary forces are in harmony with the destiny engendered by the Ego in preceding lives. It cannot be reborn at any other time, because the forces inherent in its seed atoms will prevent it. After birth the planetary forces impinging upon the vehicles of the Ego from day to day impel it in certain directions in harmony with its previously created destiny, and thus become the automatic executors of that destiny. Planetary forces, however, do not compel. When a man uses his will to work with evolution, he masters and directs the planetary forces.
The Law of Consequence or the Law of Cause and Effect is continually operating. From the minute of birth the forces which were set into operation in preceding lives and which have not yet expended themselves begin to operate upon the child and its vehicles. All the old hates and loves come to the surface. Ancient enemies present themselves in order that the Ego may work out its destiny with them and transform them into friends. Former friends help the Ego and work with it to the mutual advantage of both. Thus do we slowly but irresistibly move onwards towards universal friendship. Through the Law of Consequence man learns that every act carries responsibility, and that every force which he sets into operation must have a corresponding effect. If by carelessness or selfishness he causes pain or loss to others, the Law of Consequence will bring similar conditions upon him at a later date, and thus he will learn the injustice of acting in this manner. If he does not heed the lesson, nature will give him even harder experiences until he finally makes the necessary effort and actually obtains the power to control himself.
If the acts which we now perform are constructive and considerate of the rights of others, then in a future life we shall be born under conditions which will bring us success and happiness. If, on the contrary, we yield to our passions, disregard others, or are indolent and careless, we shall surely be reborn under conditions and among people who will make our lives apparent failures and bring us much unhappiness. By these failures, however, we shall learn where we erred in preceding lives, and also what it is necessary for us to do in order to retrieve the past. Then when we apply our wills to the solution of the problem, we shall achieve success, and the Law of Consequence thenceforth will work for us instead of against us.
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Throughout life the quality which the Rosicrucians call Epigenesis is at work; that is, the power to set into operation a limited number of new causes which are not determined or forced upon us by our acts of the past. If we were totally bound by the past and unable to generate new causes, we should be unable to develop original creative power or free will. But the spiritual faculty of Epigenesis here comes to our rescue, and enables us, if we will, to work our way into ever greater spheres of power and usefulness.
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1. What is our relation and our duty to God?
2. What are the object of life and evolution?
3. How are the outlines and environment of an earth life determined?
4. How do we acquire a new set of bodies, and how do planetary forces influence us?
5. Describe the operation of the Law of Consequence?
6. How is the era of universal friendship being brought about?
7. How may we retrieve the past?
8. What is Epigenesis?
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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