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Being in a reckless mood, Faust answers contemptuously the demand of Lucifer for his signature in blood to the pact between them, with the following words:
Having been scorned by the powers which make for good and being thoroughly inflamed with a desire for first-hand knowledge, for real power, he is ready to go to any length. But God is represented as saying in the prologue:
Faust is the aspiring soul, and the soul cannot be permanently diverted from the path of evolution.
The statement by Faust of his purpose bears out the assertion that he has a high ideal, even when wallowing in mire—he wants experience:
Before anyone can be truly compassionate, he must feel, as Faust desires to feel, the depth of the sorrows of the human soul as well as its most ecstatic joys; for only when we know these extremes of the human passion can we feel the compassion necessary for those who would aid in the uplift of humanity. By the help of Lucifer, Faust is able to learn both joy and sorrow, and thus Lucifer is indeed, as he says,
By the interference of the Lucifer spirits in the scheme of evolution, the passions of mankind were aroused, intensified and led into a channel which has caused all the sorrow and sickness in the world. Nevertheless, it has awakened the individuality of man and freed him from the leading strings of the angels. Faust, also, by the help of Lucifer, is led out of the conventional paths and becomes thereby individualized. When the bargain has been concluded between Faust and Lucifer we have the replica of the Sons of Cain, who are the progeny and charges of the Lucifer Spirits as we have seen in "Freemasonry and Catholicism."
In the tragedy of Faust, Marguerite is the ward of the Sons of Seth, the priesthood described in the Masonic legend. Presently the two classes represented by Faust and Marguerite are to meet, and between them the tragedy of life will be enacted and out of the sorrows encountered by each in consequence, the soul will grow wings that will raise it again to realms of bliss whence it came. In the meanwhile Lucifer conducts Faust to the witches' kitchen where he is to receive the elixir of youth, so that rejuvenated, he may become desirable in the eyes of Marguerite.
When Faust is presented upon the stage, the witches' kitchen is full of instruments supposed to be used in magic. A hell-fire burns under a kettle wherein love potions are brewed and there is much else which is fantastic. But we may pass by the inanimate objects without even mentioning them, and consider with profit what is meant by the family of apes which we find there, for they also represent a phase of human evolution.
Filled with a passion instilled by the Lucifer spirits, or fallen angels, mankind broke away from the angelic host led by Jehovah. As a consequence of the hardening power of desire, "coats of skin" soon enveloped them and separated them from each other. Egotism supplanted the feeling of brotherhood as the nadir of materiality was approached. Some were more passionate than others, hence their bodies crystallized to a greater extent. They degenerated and became apes. Their size also dwindled as they approached the line where the species must be extinguished. They are, therefore, the especial wards of the Lucifer spirits. Thus the Faust myth shows us a phase of human evolution not included in the Masonic legend, and gives us a fuller and more rounded view of what has actually happened.
Once, all mankind stood at the point where the scientist believes the missing link to have been. Those which are now apes, degenerated from that point while the human family evolved to its present stage of development.We know how indulgence of the passion brutalizes those who give way to them, and we can readily realize that at a time when man was yet in the making, unindividualized, and under direct control of cosmic forces, this indulgence would be unchecked by the sense of selfhood which guards us in a measure today. Therefore, the results would naturally be more far-reaching and disastrous.
Some time the aspiring soul must enter the witches' kitchen as Faust did, and face the object lesson of the consequence of evil as represented by the apes . The soul is then left to meet Marguerite in the garden, to tempt and be tempted, to choose between purity or passion, to fall as Faust did, or to stand staunchly for purity, as did Parsifal. Under the law of compensation it will then receive its reward for the deeds done in the body. Indeed, luck is twin to merit, as Lucifer points out to Faust, and true wisdom is only acquired by patient persistence in well-doing.
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True to his purpose to study life instead of books, Faust demands that Lucifer procure for him admittance to the home of Marguerite, and proceeds to win her affections by a princely gift of jewels smuggled into her closet by Lucifer. The brother of Marguerite is away fighting for his country. Her mother is unable to decide what is best to do with the gift and takes it to the spiritual adviser in the church. The latter loves the shining stones more than the precious souls entrusted to his care. He neglects his duty for a necklace of pearls, more eager to secure the gems for the adornment of an idol, than to guard the child of the church against moral dangers lurking around her. Thus Lucifer gains his point and quickly reaps a reward of blood and human souls, for in order to gain access to Marguerite's chamber, Faust induces her to give her mother a sleeping potion which results in the death of the parent. Valentine, the brother of Marguerite, is killed by Faust. Marguerite is cast into prison and sentenced to suffer capital punishment.
When we remember that the blood is the seat of the soul, and that it clings to the flesh of a person who meets a sudden and untimely end with the same tenacity as the kernel adheres to the flesh of an unripe fruit, it is easy to see that there is considerable torture connected with such a death. The Lucifer spirits revel in the intensity of feeling and evolve by it. The nature of an emotion is not so essential as the intensity, so far as the purpose is concerned. Therefore, they stir the human passions of the lower nature, which are more intense in our present stage of evolution than feelings of joy and love. As a result, they incite to war and bloodshed, and appear evil now but in reality they act as stepping-stones towards higher and nobler ideals, for through sorrow and suffering such as are engendered in the breast of Marguerite, the Ego rises higher in the scale of evolution. It learns the value of virtue by a misstep in the direction of vice.
It was with true appreciation of this fact that Goethe wrote:
[To Be Continued]
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1. Can the soul be permanently diverted from the path of evolution?
2. Why is it necessary for Faust to go through the mire of materiality?
3. What causes the crystallization of the physical body?
4. How is true wisdom acquired?
5. How do the Lucifer spirits evolve?
6. What does this result in for the soul?
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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