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"The wages of sin is death," says the Bible, and when we sow to the flesh we must expect to reap corruption. Neither should we be surprised that one who is negative of character, like the class described as the Sons of Seth, represented by Marguerite in the Faust myth, falls a prey to this law of nature at an early date after his measure of sin has been filled. The speedy apprehension of Marguerite for the crime of matricide is an illustration of how the law works. The holy horror of the church that was remiss in not guarding her while there was yet time, is an example of how society seeks to cover up its negligence, and holds up its hands, shocked by the crimes for which it is itself, in a great measure, responsible.
Had the priest sought the confidence of Marguerite instead of coveting the jewels, he might have protected her from the fate that befell her, and though she might have suffered by losing her lover, she would have remained pure. It is, however, through the intensity of sorrow that the suffering soul finds its way back to the source of its being, for we have all as prodigal sons left our Father in Heaven; we have wandered afar from the realms of spirit, to feed upon the husks of matter, to gather experience and to gain individuality.
When we are in the slough of despair we being to realize our high parentage and exclaim, "I will arise and go to my Father." Membership in churches, or the study of mysticism from an intellectual point of view, does not bring the realization of the whither, which is necessary before we can follow the Path. But when we are bereft of all earthly support, when we are sick and in prison, we are nearer and dearer to the Saviour than at any other time. Therefore, Marguerite in prison and under the ban of society, is closer to God than the innocent, beautiful and pure Marguerite, who had the world before her when she met Faust in the garden.
The Christ has no message for those who are satisfied and love the world and its ways. So long as they are in that condition of mind he cannot speak to them nor can they hear His voice. But there is an infinite tenderness in the words of the Saviour: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The sinning soul symbolized by Marguerite in her prison cell, standing alone, ostracized by society as a moral and social leper, is impelled to turn her eyes heavenward and her prayer is not in vain. Yet, even to the last moment, temptations beset the seeking soul. The gate of hell and the gate of heaven are equally close to the prison cell of Marguerite, as illustrated by the visit of Faust and Lucifer who endeavor to drag her from prison and impending death to a life of shame and bondage. But she stands firm; she prefers prison and death to life and liberty in the company of Lucifer. She has thus stood the test and qualified for the Kingdom of God.
Solomon was the serf of Jehovah and as a Son of Seth he was bound to the God who created him and his ancestors. But in a later life, as Jesus, he left his former Master at the Baptism and then received the Spirit of the Christ. So every Son of Seth, must some day leave his guardians and take a stand for Christ, regardless of the sacrifice entailed thereby, even though life be the price.
Marguerite in her prison cell takes that important step and qualifies for citizenship in the New Heaven and the New Earth, by faith in Christ. Faust, on the other hand, remains with the Lucifer spirit for a considerable time. He is a more positive character, a true Son of Cain, and though the wages of sin must eventually bring him death, salvation may come through a purer conception of love and through works.
In the second part of Faust we find the hero broken in spirit over the disaster which has befallen Marguerite through his instrumentality. He realizes his fault and begins to climb the road of redemption. He uses the Lucifer spirit, bound to him by the bargain of blood as a means of attaining his end. He becomes an important factor in the affairs of state of the country whither he has journeyed, for all the Sons of Cain delight in statecraft as the Sons of Seth love church craft.
Not content, however, to serve another, under existing conditions, Faust sets the diabolical forces under his command to create a land, to raise it out of the sea and make a New Earth. He dreams a Utopian dream of how this free land shall be the home of a free people who shall dwell there in peace and contentment living up to the highest ideals of life.
These ideals are generated in his soul by the love of a character called Helen, which is a love of the loftiest and most spiritual nature, entirely separate from the thought of sex and passion. In the course of time he sees this land rise from the sea but his eyes are growing blind, for he is shifting this gaze from an earthly to a heavenly condition. While he thus stands looking at the forces marshalled by Lucifer, toiling at his behest day and night, Faust realizes that he has made real the claim of Lucifer, to be
He sees his work with the lower forces nearing completion, but his sight grows dimmer, and with that intense longing which comes to the soul to see the fruitage of its works, he desires to retain his sight until all shall have been accomplished and his Utopian dream shall have become a reality. Therefore, as the vision before him—the land rising from the sea and the happy people who live upon it in good fellowship — fades from his sightless eyes, he utters the fateful words named by him in his bargain with Lucifer:
By terms of that bargain, when Faust has uttered the fateful words the forces of hell are loosed from bondage to him, and he in turn becomes their prey: at least so it would seem. But Faust did not desire to stay the march of time for the purpose of enjoying sensual pleasures nor of gratifying selfish desires, as contemplated by the bargain. It was for the realization of an altruistic and a noble ideal that he wished to stay the passing hour. Therefore, he is really free from Lucifer, and a battle between the angelic forces and the hosts of Lucifer finally results in the triumph of the former, who carry the seeking soul to the haven of rest in the kingdom of the Christ, while they utter the following words:
Thus the Faust of the myth is an entirely different character from the Faust of the stage; and the drama which begins in heaven where permission was given Lucifer to tempt him, as Job was tempted in ancient times, also ends in heaven when the temptation has been overcome and the soul has returned to its Father.
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Goethe, the great mystic, fittingly ends his version with that most mystic of all stanzas found in any literature:
This stanza puzzles all who are not able to penetrate into the realms where it is supposed to be sung, namely heaven.
It speaks of all that is perishable being but a likeness, that is to say, the material forms which are subject to death and transmutation are but a likeness of the archetype seen in heaven. "The unattainable here is accomplished"—that which seemed impossible on Earth is accomplished in heaven. No one knows that better than one able to function in the realm, for there every high and lofty aspiration finds fruition. The indescribable longings, ideas and experiences of the soul, which even it cannot express to itself are clearly defined in heaven; the Eternal Feminine, the great Creative Force in Nature, the mother God, which draws us along the path of evolution, becomes there a reality. Thus the Faust myth tells the story of the World Temple, which the two classes of people are building and which will be finally the New Heaven and the New Earth prophesied in the Book of Books.
[You are welcome to e-mail your answers and/or comments to us. Please be sure to include the course name and Independent Study Module number in your e-mail to us. Or, you are also welcome to use the answer form below. (Java required)]
1. How is the soul led back to the source of its being?
2. Was Jesus a Son of Seth or a Son of Cain?
3. Explain how he broke away from the Jehovistic regime.
4. What quality was developed in Marguerite which brought her into the New Heaven?
5. What does Helen represent?
6. Who finally rescued Faust from Lucifer?
7. What qualifications had Faust built so that he could be delivered by the angels?
8. What is the meaning of the Eternal Feminine?
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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