by A.C.W.

as published in "Theosophical Siftings" - Volume -2- 1889-1890

Now that the Theosophical movement is becoming more widely known, there seems to be danger lest misconception should arise concerning it. Many people talk vaguely of Theosophy, with only the faintest, most meagre idea of what Theosophy really is, of its motives and designs.

It is a fact that cannot be disputed that, at the present time, there is a growing revolt against what has been well named "Churchianity." The priests have lost their power, their words are but idly listened to, and are practically disregarded. Christianity is acknowledged to be beautiful in theory, but utterly impossible in practice. And yet humanity must have religion — that binding force cannot be dispensed with.

If it be granted that the various forms of religion at present extant fail to satisfy this pressing need, the question that presents itself is, where shall we look for a substitute ? Christianity, both Catholic and Anglican, has had its day. The dreary creed of the Positivists will never satisfy struggling humanity. Those among us whose path is strewn with roses, may be content to think that with death there comes annihilation, may feel no desire for justice and compensation hereafter; but the suffering, the sorrowful, cry out against the cruel hopelessness of such teachings.

It is the part of religion to comfort and soothe, to elevate and ennoble, and when we are forced sadly to own that no extant form of religion is able to satisfy us, where shall we look for help ? I reply, To Theosophy. And if asked why, I say, Because it is wide, deep, grand, and all-embracing; "it is not a religion but religion itself " — the soul and pith of all religions.

There is in Theosophy no formalism, no narrowness, all its conceptions are wide and lofty, and, therefore, satisfying. Unlike Christianity it does not depend on written testimony; Theosophy is philosophical in its nature. And Theosophists believe and assert that " There is no religion higher than Truth".

We do not say, with the Christians: " Believe as we do, or you will be damned". We ask you to join us in the search for Truth, which is higher, far higher than empty faith. Faith is a word often on the lips of a Christian; but if we look into this so-called faith, what do we find ? — in nine cases out of ten nothing but credulity. To the man of stagnant mind belief is easy. And to all [Page 4] of us, of course, it is more comfortable to believe what we are told, than it is to search for what is true.

There is an Italian proverb which says: “We believe what we can, not what we will". This is profoundly true; many of us would willingly believe, and honestly endeavour to do so; but doubts and misgivings crowd upon our minds, and we find ourselves submerged in Agnosticism against our will.

Theosophy steps forward and says: " Do not look outside for help, look into yourselves, cultivate your inner vision, increase your Intuition." Some may ask: What is this Intuition ? I should call it the voice of God speaking to, and encouraging the human entity. There is in each one of us a spark of the Divine, though in many of us, alas! it is obscured and clouded, existing only as a latent potentiality. Is it not a comforting and exalting thought — that each entity is spiritually a part of God, thrown off from the Infinite — placed here for progress, to increase the spirituality by discipline, and, finally, after successive re-incarnations, to return to the Infinite whence it came.

Let this divine spark, this hidden gem, shine about our path with a steady light, driving before it the phantoms of error, superstition, and bigotry. True knowledge can only be obtained through intuition, and those who earnestly cultivate this vision of the soul will find truth, and help, and guidance, in the battle of life.

St. George Mivart says of intuitive perception: “The greatest certainty to which the human intellect can attain is the certainty of intuition — the certainty of things which require no proof, because they are self-evident. Such intuitional certainty is that of our existence and present feelings, thoughts and volitions; the certainty of things directly perceived by several of our senses at once, and, above all, the certainty of universal and necessary truths, such as that things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other, and that nothing can simultaneously both be and not be."

The whole scheme of Theosophy is, as I have said before, so large and grand, that those who go deeply into it, who really follow it, cannot but realize that their own individual troubles are small and insignificant. For example, if, when trouble encompasses me, I turn from my sorrow, and contemplate the far greater misery of many around me, and further than that, of numbers whom I know not of, how can I selfishly dwell and brood upon my trials. Rather should the knowledge that there are but a few infinitesimal drops in the great sea of human misery, make me resolve to endure bravely, and help others to endure.

The true Theosophist throws off sorrow, he refuses to dwell in an atmosphere of depression. He does not allow his mind to be engrossed by ephemeral cares. He has glorious hopes for the future of his race: how can he then suffer himself to be cast down by petty personal cares in the present ?

Frequently has the thought occurred to me when unhappy: What does it signify if this little ego of mine suffers ? many whom I know are happy; the [Page 5] happiness is not mine, it is true, but it is there, the happiness truly exists, though not for me. “Progress, not happiness, is the law of this world" — and Theosophy holds out a helping hand to all who wish for progress. Theosophy appeals to the dissatisfied, to those who feel that their religion, with its forms and ceremonies, is not enough; it appeals to the active-minded, to those who long for knowledge for its own sake; it appeals to the solitary, to these it offers a spiritual Brotherhood, whose members counsel, and advise, and support each other. The members of this fraternity are of all classes, all creeds, all nationalities: the bigoted and the exclusive find no other great religion. It proves the necessity of an absolute divine principle in nature. It denies Deity no more than it does the sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature, nor Deity as the absolute and abstract eus. It only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so-called monotheistic religions — gods created by man in his own image and likeness


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