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Symbols Of Discipleship

   The seven Parables are lessons pertaining to the teachings on humility, compassion and service — the three columns found in every initiatory Temple.

   It is by demonstrating daily these three character attributes of humility, compassion and willingness to serve others, that the disciple gives proof of worthiness for further inner-plane instruction and work. One who thus faithfully practices these qualities earns the privilege of hearing that treasured promise recorded in Isaiah 48:6, "I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them."

   The need for humility is the keynote of the Parable of the Chief Seats and the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

   That it is the humble who shall be exalted, Christ Jesus taught as a fundamental truth of the spiritual Way. Perhaps the most beautiful example of the importance which He attached to the cultivation of humility is found in the Rite of the Foot Washing. Here the Master declared emphatically that he who does not observe this Rite (meaning one who does not measure the deeds of his daily living by the gauge of humility) "can have no part in me."

   The Parable of the Laborers and the Hours is one most profound and far-reaching in its application to human life upon the physical plane.

   The great, eternal and immutable Cosmic Law which governs the universe is centered in the Spirit of Oneness. Every human being is a child of God (All-Good) which means that all are inherently divine and consequently each has a right to an equal share in the inheritance of the Father's kingdom. The Law operates impartially. An equal share awaits each ego, it is his for the claiming and the taking. Many there are, however, who do not realize this truth and so do not receive the full share of their divine inheritance. "Many bear the burden of the day and the scorching heat," they live, that is, in accordance with the laws of materiality, as yet unawakened to the Law of Spirit by which "all that the Father hath is mine."

   The vineyard is the earth plane. The laborers are our evolving humanity and the householder is God or Cosmic Law. Oft-times in the working of this great Law one who is first in the eyes of men is last in the sight of God.

   Those who are unaware of the impartial measures of Divine Law are the complainers against the householders (the Law in operation). Theirs is the eye that is evil (limited) so that they do not recognize that "I am good." They do not see that when man prepares himself to receive only the highest manifestations of Divine Law, he will know and demonstrate only All-Good. The limitations of disease, poverty, and even death, will be dissolved amid the mists of the evanescent and the unreal. Man will come to inhabit a new world in which Equality, Fellowship, Love and Life shall reign supreme and for all time.

Parable of the Talents and the Pounds

   The stories of The Talents and the Pounds as related in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are twin Parables centered primarily in the twin laws of rebirth and causation. The "old soul" possesses many talents (ten), the "young soul" possesses but few (one). The majority of humanity is represented by the man possessing five talents. The five-talent man typifies the race at its present midway station upon the great evolutionary arc. As man sows in one life, so he must reap in the succeeding incarnation. "I will judge you from your own mouth," has reference to the just action of the law of causation. The "young soul," one who is immersed in material interests, is unaware of this great karmic law, and asserts, "I reap what I have not sown." It is through lives of sorrow and travail that a true understanding of the justice of the karmic law is achieved.

   The Parable states that "unto everyone that hath" it shall be given, and from "him that hath not" it shall be taken away even that which he has. "One that hath" refers to those who have learned to abide in the light of the Spirit. The argument of this story is that divine righteous judgment is made not according to the work accomplished but according to the measure of opportunity. No judgment can be right or just which is not made in the light of past causation and the fruitage of previous lives lived upon the earth.

   We further perceive in this Parable the action of the law according to which like attracts like. The truth of this law is everywhere observable in the physical worlds. It is equally so in the superphysical worlds. The gamester will associate with his kind; musicians will be drawn together by their common profession, and students will seek the opportunities afforded by libraries. Death does not change the real man. Christ Jesus was enunciating this law of attraction in the Parable of the Pounds.

   Ten is a number of power and of the deepest occult significance. It is a most important number in the Old Testament. The man who acquired the ten pounds is representative of one who through previous lives has attained to high spiritual power.

   The number five indicates lower spiritual status; it is the number of intellect and that stage of development where all the five senses are awake and active. Thus the man who had gained five pounds was one who was on the path of intellect, but who had not yet awakened the higher spiritual centers.

   The man possessing only the one pound, which he hid, is the man who is entirely material, one who has not started on the spiritual path and who, moreover, does not even know that such things as occult training and esoteric development exist.

   The man possessing only one pound of which he made no use was the young soul who had lived only a comparatively few lives upon earth and had not learned how to forget himself in service for others. The man possessing five pounds had been longer upon the way; he had begun to learn the lessons of service and brotherhood, and to consider the welfare of those about him. The man possessing the ten pounds, and to whom an extra one was given (eleven signifies polarity), was the old soul who through many lives of love and service had built the "golden wedding garment." He represents the nobleman who had journeyed to a far country and was ready to return, having received for himself a kingdom.

Parable of the Sower

   The Parable of the Sower was given during the second year of the Ministry, upon the shores of the Sea of Galilee, probably at Capernaum. On account of the great multitudes surging about Him, some attracted by His words and others seeking to be healed, the Christ was compelled to set out a short distance from shore in a small boat in order to speak to them.

   Christ Jesus used Parables freely in His teachings because they were so easily adapted to the varied nature of His audiences. A child could see the profoundest truth in this charming story setting, while those who were ready for the harder things found there many pearls of wisdom. Here the seed represents the mighty power of Truth always waiting for man to receive it — that Truth which is the comer stone of the Temple of Evolution, yet is ever rejected by the multitudes. The sower represents those who give out spiritual Truth. "As he sowed, some fell by the wayside and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up." The seed which fell by the wayside and was devoured is a picture of the emotionally inconstant type of person, one who receives spiritual teaching with avidity, who is lavish with promises and enthusiastic to meet the hardest tests that the spiritual life can give; but who, when these tests come (for they must always come) loses courage, and in the wane of enthusiasm he departs from the Way. Perhaps it is the call of the world which is heard. Frequently it is another school of thought offering what appears to be a more attractive, or, in many cases, a quicker, method of development; and so he flits from one thing to another, always seeking, never finding, never building a foundation anywhere. For him the seed of Truth has in this life fallen by the wayside indeed and the birds of the air have come and devoured it.

   "And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth; but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away." The Master here was referring to the purely mental type of person whose heart has not yet been awakened. This person can give an excellent discourse on the, meaning of religion and the living of the spiritual life; he can perhaps repeat accurately passages of philosophy upon the subject, and quote verbatim whole chapters from the Bible. But when put to the actual task of living the life, when the opportunity comes to really give up self in the service of others, he is generally found wanting. It is love that teaches the selfless life. The purely mental person can tell others how to live the life that leads to Christ, but it is only the one who has learned to love purely and unselfishly who attains unto this goal himself.

   "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit." The thorns represent the lower desire nature. Since that far-off Atlantean time when the link of mind was first given to general humanity and this mind coalesced with the desire body, the power of the desire nature has been the most fruitful source of evil in the world. Knowing this, the Master of occult wisdom gave a lesson to His disciples and preached a sermon to the multitudes, in which He stressed the dire consequences which follow the wrong use of the creative force. He here states that the misuse of this force within man causes a life to yield no fruit. The fruit is the perfection of the tree and fruit trees are the most advanced life of the plant kingdom. It is the power of the purified desire nature that causes man to become the perfected fruit of our scheme of evolution. This great truth, so little understood at the present time, will be basic to the Aquarian religion. What is now taught esoterically will in Aquaria be shouted from the housetops. Christ Jesus more than two thousand years ago made this spiritual fact the pivot of each of His messages to humanity.

   "And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred." The good ground represents the united powers of head and heart — the ideal attainment for those who seek to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. It was this attainment alone which yielded growing and increasing fruit. Such fruitage is proportional to individual ability and capacity for growth. There are some who have earned a wider sphere of usefulness than others, and God's love may be depended upon to mete out impartially to each one exactly what is his just desert under the law of causation. Meditation on this Parable will yield deep mystic meaning. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

   In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ enunciated the truest definition of discipleship as loving, self-forgetting service. It is not enough to be a priest and minister only to the souls of men. It is not enough to be a Levite and officiate in the Temple service. True discipleship demands of us also practical service in the physical betterment of humankind. This means true neighborliness, the giving of one's time, one's substance and oneself for the welfare of others.

   Love thy neighbor (whomsoever it is given thee to serve) as thyself, is the supreme commandment.

 — Corinne Heline


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