|Vol. 1||No. 4|
|241||“Lucifer” to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Greeting!||anon (HPB)|
|252||“Emerson and Occultism”||Charles Johnston (1867-1931)|
|258||The Blossom & The Fruit: The True Story of a Magician (4)||Mabel Collins|
|266||Twilight||KDK (? Katie Duncan King)|
|267||The Spirit of Healing||AIR|
|273||Theosophical Society's Convention of 1887 --||HS Olcott (1832-1907)|
|274||A Remarkable Christmas Eve||Constance Wachtmeister (1838/9-1910)|
|281||A Half Convert||Mary N Gale|
|282||Theosophy & Modern Socialism - by a Socialist Student of Theosophy (1)||J Brailsford Bright|
|288||The Great Quest (1)||
Pilgrim (William Scott-Elliot ( - 1919))
|292||“God Speaks for Law & Order”||W Eldon Serjeant (HPB)|
|296||An Infant Genius (Josef Hofmann 1876-1957)||W Ashton Ellis ( - 1919)|
|298||Fear||PHD (? PH Dalbiac)|
|299||The Esoteric Character of the Gospels (2)||HPB|
|310||Similitudes of Demophilus [filler]||anon|
|310||Golden Sentences of Democritus [filler]||anon|
|311||correspondence - A Law of Life: Karma||JH Beatty|
|311||Miscellaneous Notes [within brackets]||(HPB)|
|315||reply to J H Beatty||AK|
|318||“The Latest Attack on Christianity”||TG Headley|
|322||Islam & Christianity||TG Headley|
|323||Hylo-Idealism - An Apology||Robert Lewins|
|323||Hylo-Idealism||Herbert L Courtney|
|325||Answers to Queries||Ed. (HPB)|
bearing on “Let every man prove his own work” ...)
|329||Literary Jottings - Hylo-Idealism versus “Lucifer”, & the “Adversary”||“Adversary” (HPB)|
|330||review - Auto-Centricism by Robert Lewins||Adversary|
|332||review - The Gnostics & Their Remains, Ancient & Mediaeval by CW King||Adversary|
|335||Theosophical & Mystic Publications - various||anon|
of Canterbury — Greeting!
My Lord Primate of all England,—
241] WE make use of an open letter
to your Grace as a vehicle to convey to you, and through you to the clergy,
to their flocks, and to Christians generally — who
regard us as the enemies of Christ — a brief statement of the position
which Theosophy occupies in regard to Christianity as we believe that the
time for making that statement has arrived.
Your Grace is no doubt aware that Theosophy is not a religion, but a philosophy at once religious and scientific; and that the chief work, so far, of the Theosophical Society has been to revive in each religion its own animating spirit, by encouraging and helping enquiry into the true significance of its doctrines and observances. Theosophists know that the deeper one penetrates into the meaning of the dogmas and ceremonies of all religions, the greater becomes their apparent underlying similarity, until finally a perception of their fundamental unity is reached. This common ground is no other than Theosophy — the Secret Doctrine of the ages; which, diluted and disguised to suit the capacity of the multitude, and the requirements of the time, has formed the living kernel of all religion. The Theosophical Society has branches respectively composed of Buddhists. Hindoos, Mahomedans, Parsees, Christians, and Freethinkers, who work together as brethren on the common ground of Theosophy; and it is precisely because Theosophy is not a religion, nor can for the multitude supply the place of a religion, that the success of the Society has been so great, not merely as regards its growing membership and extending influence, but also in respect to the performance of the work it has undertaken — the revival of spirituality in religion, and the cultivation of the sentiment of BROTHERHOOD among men.
We Theosophists believe that a religion is a natural incident in [Page 242] the life of man in his present stage of development; and that although, in rare cases, individuals may be born without the religious sentiment, a community must have a religion, that is to say, a uniting bond — under penalty of social decay and material annihilation. We believe that no religious doctrine can be more than an attempt to picture to our present limited understandings, in the terms of our terrestrial experiences, great cosmical and spiritual truths, which in our normal state of consciousness we vaguely sense, rather than actually perceive and comprehend; and a revelation, if it is to reveal anything, must necessarily conform to the same earth-bound requirements of the human intellect. In our estimation, therefore, no religion can be absolutely true, and none can be absolutely false. A religion is true in proportion as it supplies the spiritual, moral and intellectual needs of the time, and helps the development of mankind in these respects. It is false in proportion as it hinders that development, and offends the spiritual, moral and intellectual portion of man's nature. And the transcendentally spiritual ideas of the ruling powers of the Universe entertained by an Oriental sage would be as false a religion for the African savage as the grovelling fetishism of the latter would be for the sage, although both views must necessarily be true in degree, for both represent the highest ideas attainable by the respective individuals of the same cosmico-spiritual facts, which can never be known in their reality by man while he remains but man.
Theosophists, therefore, are respectors of all the religions, and for the religious ethics of Jesus they have profound admiration. It could not be otherwise, for these teachings which have come down to us are the same as those of Theosophy. So far, therefore, as modern Christianity makes good its claim to be the practical religion taught by Jesus, Theosophists are with it heart and hand. So far as it goes contrary to those ethics, pure and simple, Theosophists are its opponents. Any Christian can, if he will, compare the Sermon on the Mount with the dogmas of his church, and the spirit that breathes in it, with the principles that animate this Christian civilization and govern his own life; and then he will be able to judge for himself how far the religion of Jesus enters into his Christianity, and how far, therefore, he and Theosophists are agreed. But professing Christians, especially the clergy, shrink from making this comparison. Like merchants who fear to find themselves bankrupt, they seem to dread the discovery of a discrepancy in their accounts which could not be made good by placing material assets as a set-off to spiritual liabilities. The comparison between the teachings of Jesus and the doctrines of the churches has, however, frequently been made — and often with great learning and critical acumen — both by those who would abolish Christianity and those who would reform it; and the aggregate result of these comparisons, as your Grace must be well aware, goes to prove that in almost every point the doctrines of the churches and the practices of Christians are in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus. [Page 243]
We are accustomed to say to the Buddhist, the Mahomedan, the Hindoo, or the Parsee: “The road to Theosophy lies, for you, through your own religion”. We say this because those creeds possess a deeply philosophical and esoteric meaning, explanatory of the allegories under which they are presented to the people; but we cannot say the same thing to Christians. The successors of the Apostles never recorded the secret doctrine of Jesus — the “mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven” — which it was given to them (his apostles) alone to know. [ S. Mark iv II; Matthew xiii; Luke viii 10 ]. These have been suppressed, made away with, destroyed. What have come down upon the stream of time are the maxims, the parables, the allegories and the fables which Jesus expressly-intended for the spiritually deaf and blind to be revealed later to the world, and which modern Christianity either takes all literally, or interprets according to the fancies of the Fathers of the secular church. In both cases they are like cut flowers: they are severed from the plant on which they grew, and from the root whence that plant drew its life. Were we, therefore, to encourage Christians, as we do the votaries of other creeds, to study their own religion for themselves, the consequence would be, not a knowledge of the meaning of its mysteries, but either the revival of mediaeval superstition and intolerance, accompanied by a formidable outbreak of mere lip-prayer and preaching — such as resulted in the formation of the 239 Protestant sects of England alone — or else a great increase of scepticism, for Christianity has no esoteric foundation known to those who profess it. For even you, my Lord Primate of England, must be painfully aware that you know absolutely no more of those “mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven” which Jesus taught his disciples, than does the humblest and most illiterate member of your church.
It is easily understood, therefore, that Theosophists have nothing to say against the policy of the Roman Catholic Church in forbidding or of the Protestants churches in discouraging, any such private enquiry into the meaning of the “Christian” dogmas as would correspond to the esoteric study of other religions. With their present ideas and knowledge, professing Christians are not prepared to undertake a critical examination of their faith with a promise of good results. Its inevitable effect would be to paralyze rather than stimulate their dormant religious sentiments; for biblical criticism and comparative mythology have proved conclusively — to those, at least, who have no vested interests, spiritual or temporal, in the maintenance of orthodoxy — that the Christian religion, as it now exists, is composed of the husks of Judaism, the shreds of paganism, and the ill-digested remains of gnosticism and neo-platonism. This curious conglomerate which gradually formed itself round the recorded sayings (λογια )of Jesus, has, after the lapse of ages, now begun to disintegrate, and to crumble away from the pure and precious gems of Theosophic truth which it has so long overlain [Page 244] and hidden, but could neither disfigure nor destroy. Theosophy not only rescues these precious gems from the fate that threatens the rubbish in which they have been so long embedded, but saves that rubbish itself from utter condemnation; for it shows that the result of biblical criticism is far from being the ultimate analysis of Christianity, as each of the pieces which compose the curious mosaics of the Churches once belonged to a religion which had an esoteric meaning. It is only when these pieces are restored to the places they originally occupied that their hidden significance can be perceived, and the real meaning of the dogmas of Christianity understood. To do all this, however, requires a knowledge of the Secret Doctrine as it exists in the esoteric foundation of other religions; and this knowledge is not in the hands of the Clergy, for the Church has hidden, and since lost, the keys.
Your Grace will now understand why it is that the Theosophical Society has taken for one of its three “objects” the study of those Eastern religions and philosophies, which shed such a flood of light upon the inner meaning of Christianity; and you will, we hope, also perceive that in so doing, we are acting not as the enemies, but as the friends of the religion taught by Jesus — of true Christianity, in fact. For it is only through the study of those religions and philosophies that Christians can ever arrive at an understanding of their own beliefs, or see the hidden meaning of the parables and allegories which the Nazarene told to the spiritual cripples of Judea, and by taking which, either as matters of fact or as matters of fancy, the Churches have brought the teachings themselves into ridicule and contempt, and Christianity into serious danger of complete collapse, undermined as it is by historical criticism and mythological research, besides being broken by the sledge-hammer of modern science.
Ought Theosophists themselves, then, to be regarded by Christians as their enemies, because they believe that orthodox Christianity is on the whole, opposed to the religion of Jesus; and because they have the courage to tell the Churches that they are traitors to the MASTER they profess to revere and serve? Far from it, indeed. Theosophists know that the same spirit that animated the words of Jesus lies latent in the hearts of Christians, as it does naturally in all men's hearts. Their fundamental tenet is the Brotherhood of Man, the ultimate realization of which is alone made possible by that which was known long before the days of Jesus as “the Christ spirit”. This spirit is even now potentially present in all men, and it will be developed into activity when human beings are no longer prevented from understanding, appreciating and sympathizing with one another by the barriers of strife and hatred erected by priests and princes. We know that Christians in their lives frequently rise above the level of their Christianity. All Churches contain many noble, self-sacrificing and virtuous men and women, eager to do good in their generation according to their lights and opportunities, [Page 245] and full of aspirations to higher things than those of earth — followers of Jesus in spite of their Christianity. For such as these, Theosophists feel the deepest sympathy; for only a Theosophist, or else a person of your Grace's delicate sensibility and great theological learning, can justly appreciate the tremendous difficulties with which the tender plant of natural piety has to contend, as it forces its root into the uncongenial soil of our Christian civilization, and tries to blossom in the cold and arid atmosphere of theology. How hard, for instance, must it not be to “love” such a God as that depicted in a well-known passage by Herbert Spencer:
“The cruelty of a Fijian God, who, represented as devouring the souls of the dead, may be supposed to inflict torture during the process, is small, compared to the cruelty of a God who condemns men to tortures which are eternal. . . . The visiting on Adam's descendants through hundreds of generations, of dreadful penalties for a small transgression which they did not commit, the damning of all men who do not avail themselves of an alleged mode of obtaining forgiveness, which most men have never heard of, and the effecting of reconciliation by sacrificing a son who was perfectly innocent, to satisfy the assumed necessity for a propitiatory victim, are modes of action which ascribed to a human ruler, would call forth expressions of abhorrence”.
(“Religion: a Retrospect and a Prospect”.)
Grace will say, no doubt, that Jesus never taught the worship of such a
god as that. Even so say we Theosophists. Yet that is the very god whose
worship is officially conducted in Canterbury Cathedral, by you, my Lord
Primate of England; and your Grace will surely agree with us that there
must indeed be a divine spark of religious intuition in the hearts of men,
that enables them to resist so well as they do, the deadly action of such
If your Grace, from your high pinnacle, will cast your eyes around, you will behold a Christian civilization in which a frantic and merciless battle of man against man is not only the distinguishing feature, but the acknowledged principle. It is an accepted scientific and economic axiom today, that all progress is achieved through the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest; and the fittest to survive in this Christian civilization are not those who are possessed of the qualities that are recognized by the morality of every age to be the best — not the generous, the pious, the noble-hearted, the forgiving, the humble, the truthful, the honest, and the kind — but those who are strongest in selfishness, in craft, in hypocrisy, in brute force, in false pretence, in unscrupulousness, in cruelty and in avarice. The spiritual and the altruistic are “the weak”, whom the “laws” that govern the universe give as food to the egoistic and material — “the strong”. That “might is right” is the only legitimate conclusion, the last word of the 19th century ethics, for, as the world has become one huge battlefield, on which “the fittest” descend like vultures to tear out the eyes and the hearts of those who have fallen [Page 246] in the fight. Does religion put a stop to the battle? Do the churches drive away the vultures, or comfort the wounded and the dying? Religion does not weigh a feather in the world at large today, when worldly advantages and selfish pleasures are put in the other scale; and the churches are powerless to revivify the religious sentiment among men, because their ideas, their knowledge, their methods, and their arguments are those of the Dark Ages. My Lord Primate, your Christianity is five hundred years behind the times.
So long as men disputed whether this god or that god was the true one, or whether the soul went to this place or that one after death, you, the clergy, understood the question, and had arguments in hand to influence opinion — by syllogism or torture, as the case might require: but now it is the existence of any such being as God, at all, or of any kind of immortal spirit, that is questioned or denied. Science invents new theories of the Universe which contemptuously ignore the existence of any god; moralists establish theories of ethics and social life in which the non-existence of a future life is taken for granted; in physics, in psychology, in law, in medicine, the one thing needful in order to entitle any teacher to a hearing is that no reference whatever should be contained in his ideas either to a Providence, or to a soul. The world is being rapidly brought to the conviction that god is a mythical conception, which has no foundation in fact, or place in Nature; and that the immortal part of man is the silly dream of ignorant savages, perpetuated by the lies and tricks of priests, who reap a harvest by cultivating the fears of men that their mythical God will torture their imaginary souls to all eternity, in a fabulous Hell. In the face of all these things the clergy stand in this age dumb and powerless. The only answer which the Church knew how to make, to such “objections” as these, were the rack and the faggot; and she cannot use that system of logic now.
It is plain that if the God and the soul taught by the churches be imaginary entities, then the Christian salvation and damnation are mere delusions of the mind, produced by the hypnotic process of assertion and suggestion on a magnificent scale, acting cumulatively on generations of mild “hysteriacs”. What answer have you to such a theory of the Christian religion, except a repetition of assertions and suggestions? What ways have you of bringing men back to their old beliefs but by reviving their old habits? “Build more churches, say more prayers, establish more missions, and your faith in damnation and salvation will be revived, and a renewed belief in God and the soul will be the necessary result”. That is the policy of the churches, and their only answer to agnosticism and materialism. But your Grace must know that to meet the attacks of modern science and criticism with such weapons as assertions and habit, is like going forth against magazine guns, armed with boomerangs and leather shields. While, however, the progress of ideas and the increase of knowledge are undermining the popular theology, every [Page 247] discovery of science, every new conception of European advanced thought, brings the 19th century mind nearer to the ideas of the Divine and the Spiritual, known to all esoteric religions and to Theosophy.
The Church claims that Christianity is the only true religion, and this claim involves two distinct propositions, namely, that Christianity is true religion, and that there is no true religion except Christianity. It never seems to strike Christians that God and Spirit could possibly exist in any other form than that under which they are presented in the doctrines of their church. The savage calls the missionary an Atheist, because he does not carry an idol in his trunk; and the missionary, in his turn, calls everyone an Atheist who does not carry about a fetish in his mind; and neither savage nor Christian ever seem to suspect that there may be a higher idea than their own of the great hidden power that governs the Universe, to which the name of “God” is much more applicable. It is doubtful whether the churches take more pains to prove Christianity “true”, or to prove that any other kind of religion is necessarily “false”; and the evil consequences of this, their teaching, are terrible. When people discard dogma they fancy that they have discarded the religious sentiment also, and they conclude that religion is a superfluity in human life — a rendering to the clouds of things that belong to earth, a waste of energy which could he more profitably expended in the struggle for existence. The materialism of this age is, therefore, the direct consequence of the Christian doctrine that there is no ruling power in the Universe, and no immortal Spirit in man except those made known in Christian dogmas. The Atheist, my Lord Primate, is the bastard son of the Church.
But this is not all. The churches have never taught men any other or higher reason why they should be just and kind and true than the hope of reward and the fear of punishment, and when they let go their belief in Divine caprice and Divine injustice the foundations of their morality are sapped. They have not even natural morality to consciously fall back upon, for Christianity has taught them to regard it as worthless on account of the natural depravity of man. Therefore self-interest becomes the only motive for conduct, and the fear of being found out, the only deterrent from vice. And so, with regard to morality as well as to God and the soul, Christianity pushes men off the path that leads to knowledge, and precipitates them into the abyss of incredulity, pessimism and vice. The last place where men would now look for help from the evils and miseries of life is the Church, because they know that the building of churches and the repeating of litanies influence neither the powers of Nature nor the councils of nations; because they instinctively feel that when the churches accepted the principle of expediency they lost their power to move the hearts of men, and can now only act on the external plane, as the supporters of the policeman and the politician. [Page 248]
The function of religion is to comfort and encourage humanity in its life-long struggle with sin and sorrow. This it can do only by presenting mankind with noble ideals of a happier existence after death, and of a worthier life on earth to be won in both cases by conscious effort. What the world now wants is a Church that will tell it of Deity or the immortal principle in man, which will tell it at least on a level with the ideas and knowledge of the times. Dogmatic Christianity is not suited for a world that reasons and thinks, and only those who can throw themselves into a mediaeval stale of mind, can appreciate a Church whose religious (as distinguished from its social and political) function is to keep God in good humour while the laity are doing what they believe he does not approve; to pray for changes of weather; and occasionally, to thank the Almighty for helping to slaughter the enemy. It is not “medicine men”, but spiritual guides that the world looks for today — a “clergy” that will give it ideals as suited to the intellect of this century, as the Christian Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, were to the ages of dark ignorance and superstition. Do, or can, the Christian clergy fulfil this requirement? The misery, the crime, the vice, the selfishness, the brutality, the lack of self-respect and self-control, that mark our modern civilization, unite their voices in one tremendous cry, and answer — NO!
What is the meaning of the reaction against materialism, the signs of which fill the air today? It means that the world has become mortally sick of the dogmatism, the arrogance, the self-sufficiency, and the spiritual blindness of modern science — of that same Modern Science which men but yesterday hailed as their deliverer from religious bigotry and Christian superstition, but which, like the Devil of the monkish legends, requires, as the price of its services, the sacrifice of man's immortal soul. And meanwhile, what are the Churches doing? The Churches are sleeping the sweet sleep of endowments, of social and political influence, while the world, the flesh, and the devil, are appropriating their watchwords, their miracles, their arguments, and their blind faith. The Spiritualists — oh! Churches of Christ — have stolen the fire from your altars to illumine their séance rooms — the Salvationists have taken your sacramental wine, and make themselves spiritually drunk in the streets; the Infidel has stolen the weapons with which you vanquished him once, and triumphantly tells you that “What you advance, has been frequently said before”. Had ever clergy so splendid an opportunity? The grapes in the vineyard are ripe, needing only the right labourers to gather them. Were you to give to the world some proof, on the level of the present intellectual standard of probability, that Deity — the immortal Spirit in man — have a real existence as facts in Nature, would not men hail you as their saviour from pessimism and despair, from the maddening and brutalizing thought that there is no other destiny for man but an eternal blank, after a few short years of bitter toil and sorrow? — aye; [Page 249] as their saviours from the panic-stricken fight for material enjoyment and worldly advancement, which is the direct consequence of believing this mortal life to be the be-all and end-all of existence?
But the Churches have neither the knowledge nor the faith needed to save the world, and perhaps your Church, my Lord Primate, least of all, with the mill-stone of £8,000,000 a year hung round its neck. In vain you try to lighten the ship by casting overboard the ballast of doctrines which your forefathers deemed vital to Christianity. What more can your Church do now, than run before the gale with bare poles, while the clergy feebly endeavour to putty up the gaping leaks with the “revised version”, and by their social and political deadweight try to prevent the ship from capsizing and its cargo of dogmas and endowments from going to the bottom ?
Who built Canterbury Cathedral, my Lord Primate. Who invented and gave life to the great ecclesiastical organization which makes an Archbishop of Canterbury possible? Who laid the foundation of the vast system of religious taxation which gives you £15,000 a year and a palace? Who instituted the forms and ceremonies, the prayers and litanies, which, slightly altered and stripped of art and ornament, make the liturgy of the Church of England? Who wrested from the people the proud titles of “reverend divine'' and “Man of God” which the clergy of your Church so confidently assume? Who, indeed, but the Church of Rome! We speak in no spirit of enmity. Theosophy has seen the rise and fall of many faiths, and will be present at the birth and death of many more. We know that the lives of religions are subject to law. Whether you inherited legitimately from the Church of Rome, or obtained by violence, we leave you to settle with your enemies and with your conscience; for our mental attitude towards your Church is determined by its intrinsic worthiness. We know that if it be unable to fulfil the true spiritual function of a religion, it will surely he swept away, even though the fault lie rather in its hereditary tendencies, or in its environments, than in itself.
The Church of England, to use a homely simile, is like a train running by the momentum it acquired before steam was shut off. When it left the main track, it got upon a siding that leads nowhere. The train has nearly come to a standstill, and many of the passengers have left it for other conveyances. Those that remain are for the most part aware that they have been depending all along upon what little steam was left in the boiler when the fires of Rome were withdrawn from under it. They suspect that they may be only playing at train now; but the engineer keeps blowing his whistle and the guard goes round to examine the tickets, and the brakemen rattle their brakes, and it is not such bad fun after all. For the carriages are warm and comfortable and the day is cold, and so long as they are tipped all the company's servants are very obliging. But those who know where they want to go, are not so contented. [Page 250]
For several centuries the Church of England has performed the difficult feat of blowing hot and cold in two directions at once — saying to the Roman Catholics “Reason !” and to the Sceptics “Believe!” It was adjusting the force of its two-faced blowing, that it has managed to keep itself so long from falling off the fence. But now the fence itself is giving way. Disendowment and disestablishment are in the air. And what does your Church urge in its own behalf? Its usefulness. It is useful to have a number of educated, moral, unworldly men, scattered all over the country, who prevent the world from utterly forgetting the name of religion, and who act as centres of benevolent work. But the question now is no longer one of repeating prayers, and giving alms to the poor, as it was five hundred years ago. The people have come of age, and have taken their thinking and the direction of their social, private and even spiritual affairs into their own hands, for they have found out that their clergy know no more about “things of Heaven” than they do themselves.
But the Church of England, it is said, has become so liberal that all ought to support it. Truly, one can go to an excellent imitation of the mass, or sit under a virtual Unitarian, and still be within its fold. This beautiful tolerance, however, only means that the Church has found it necessary to make itself an open common, where every one can put up his own booth, and give his special performance if he will only join in the defence of the endowments. Tolerance and liberality are contrary to the laws of the existence of any church that believes in divine damnation, and their appearance in the Church of England is not a sign of renewed life, but of. approaching disintegration. No less deceptive is the energy evinced by the Church in the building of churches. If this were a measure of religion what a pious age this would be! Never was dogma so well housed before, though human beings may have to sleep by thousands in the streets, and to literally starve in the shadow of our majestic cathedrals, built in the name of Him who had not where to lay His head. But did Jesus tell you, your Grace, that religion lay not in the hearts of men, but in temples made with hands? You cannot convert your piety into stone and use it in your lives; and history shows that petrifaction of the religious sentiment is as deadly a disease as ossification of the heart. Were churches, however, multiplied a hundred fold, and were every clergyman to become a centre of philanthropy, it would only be substituting the work that the poor require from their men but not from their spiritual teachers, for that which they ask and cannot obtain. It would but bring into greater relief the spiritual barrenness of the doctrines of the Church.
The time is approaching when the clergy will be called upon to render an account of their stewardship. Are you prepared, my Lord Primate, to explain to YOUR MASTER why you have given His children stones, when they cried to you for bread? You smile in your [Page 251] fancied security. The servants have kept high carnival so long in the inner chambers of the Lord's House, that they think He will surely never return. But He told you He would come as a thief in the night; and lo! He is coming already in the hearts of men. He is coming to take possession of His Father’s Kingdom there, where alone His kingdom is. But you know Him not! Were the Churches themselves not carried away in the flood of negation and materialism which has engulfed Society, they would recognize the quickly growing germ of the Christ-spirit in the hearts of thousands, whom they now brand as infidels and madmen. They would recognize there the same spirit of love, of self-sacrifice, of immense pity for the ignorance, the folly, and the sufferings of the world, which appeared in its purity in the heart of Jesus, as it had appeared in the hearts of other holy Reformers in other ages: and which is the light of all true religion, and the lamp by which the Theosophists of all times have endeavoured to guide their steps along the narrow path that leads to salvation — the path which is trodden by every incarnation of CHRISTOS or the SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
And now, my Lord Primate, we have very respectfully laid before you the principal points of difference and disagreement between Theosophy and the Christian Churches, and told you of the oneness of Theosophy and the teachings of Jesus. You have heard our profession of faith, and learned the grievances and plaints which we lay at the door of dogmatic Christianity. We, a handful of humble individuals, possessed of neither riches nor worldly influence, but strong in our knowledge, have united in the hope of doing the work which you say that your MASTER has allotted to you, but which is so sadly neglected by that wealthy and domineering colossus — the Christian Church. Will you call this presumption, we wonder? Will you in this land of free opinion, free speech, and free effort, venture to accord us no other recognition than the usual anathema, which the Church keeps in store for the reformer? Or may we hope that the bitter lessons of experience, which that policy has afforded the Churches in the past, will have altered the hearts and cleared the understandings of her rulers; and that the coming year, 1888, will witness the stretching out to us of the hand of Christians in fellowship and goodwill? This would only be a just recognition that the comparatively small body called the Theosophical Society is no pioneer of the Anti-Christ, no brood of the Evil one, but the practical helper, perchance the saviour, of Christianity, and that it is only endeavouring to do the work that Jesus. like Buddha, and the other “sons of God” who preceded him, has commanded all his followers to undertake, but which the Churches, having become dogmatic, are entirely unable to accomplish.
And now, if your Grace can prove that we do injustice to the Church of which you are the Head, or to popular Theology we promise to acknowledge our error publicly. But — “SILENCE GIVES CONSENT”. [Page 252]
“ 'Tis thus
at the roaring Loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the garment thou seest Him by”.
— Erd. Geist, FAUST
THE sunset, to the boor a mere mass of evening vapours, presaging
rain for his fields or heat for his harvest, expands for the poet, standing
beside him and beholding the self-same firmament, into a splendid picture,
rich in crimson and purple, in golden light and gleaming colour, mingled in
Whence so great a difference ?
The poet has finer eyes; and within the mere material forms perceives a subtle essence, which flows everywhere through nature, adding to all it touches a new wealth of joy and power. The poet's eyes have opened to a new reality; he no longer values things for themselves; but in proportion as they contain this quality, they become dear to him.
But beyond the poet, there is yet a third rank. The poet, it is true, rejoices in nature, and perceives its beauty and symbolic character. But he rests in the beauty of the symbol, and does not pass to the reality symbolised. Rapt in adoration of the beauty of the garment, he does not pierce through to Him who wears the garment. This remains, for the philosopher — the sage. Yet the boor has his place in Nature. He has tilled and subdued the soil, has brought its latent powers into action; in command of nature, he is far in advance of the mere nomad savage, for whom nature is a maze of uncertain and un-conquered forces.
The savage, the boor, the poet; these types have their parallels in mental life.
When the crude conceptions of nature, which mark dawning civilisation give place to those fair and truer, because more harmonious view which bear the name of Science; when the principle of Continuity, the reign of Universal Law, have displaced the first notions of Chance and Discord, the work of the physical scientist is done; he must stand aside, and make way for the philosopher, the transcendentalist. Modern Science has replaced the crudities of mediaeval theology by the idea of an orderly universe permeated by Law, binding alike the galaxy and the atom, as the tillage of the farmer has replaced the nomadism of the savage.
But within the world of the boor nestles the poet's world, and within the world of the physical scientist lies an ethereal, spiritual universe, with its own powers, its own prophets. The great trilogy of friends at the beginning of this century, who rose like three mountain peaks above [Page 253] their contemporaries, Goethe, Carlyle, and Emerson, were chosen by Destiny as prophets of this nature within nature.
Their gleanings have been rich enough to tempt many to enter the same field, though they have no more exhausted its wealth than Homer and Shakespeare have exhausted poetry.
The new world they have explored, is the land of hope of the future, for which we must leave the impoverished soil of theology, and the arid deserts of materialism.
What these three masters taught, Occultism teaches; and we propose to show them as great natural masters in the mystic knowledge.
To do this with any completeness in the space at our disposal is necessarily impossible; for the present, we must content ourselves with showing from the writings of one of the masters, Emerson, that he recognised some of the chief laws announced by Occultism.
The first truth to be insisted on, concerning this nature within nature, the spiritual universe, is that it exists for its own ends, and not as an adjunct to the material world; in other words, the end of morals is to make archangels rather than good citizens.
Spirit is the reality; matter, the secondary; or, as Goethe says, the Garment of God.
No occultist could insist on the subordinate character of matter more vehemently than Emerson — he writes :
“Nature is a mutable cloud, which is always and never the same. Through the bruteness and toughness of matter, a subtle spirit bends all things to its own will. The world proceeds from the same spirit as the body of man. It is a remoter and inferior incarnation of God, a projection of God into the unconscious.”The Occultist sees in this world of spirit the home of that true joy of which all earthly happiness is the shadow, and whispered intimation. There all ideals find their realization, all highest hopes their fulfilment; there flow abundant fountains of celestial bliss, whose least presence makes earthly things radiant.
“But when following the invisible steps of thought, we come to enquire, Whence is matter ? and where to ? Many truths arise to us out of the recesses of consciousness. We learn that the highest is present to the soul of man, that the dread universal essence which is not wisdom, or love, or beauty, or power; but all in one, and each entirely, is that for which all things exist, and that by which they are; that spirit creates; that behind nature, throughout nature spirit is present. As a plant upon the earth, so a man rests upon the bosom of God; he is nourished by unfailing fountains, and draws, at his need, inexhaustible power”.But to obtain a footing in this world of essential being, is to be emancipated from the domination of Time and Space, to enter a universe where they do not exist; for Space and Time are no realities, but, as Carlyle says, the “deepest of all illusory appearances”. Emancipation from Space and Time; how much more this implies than is at first sight [Page 254] apparent. The first fruit of this freedom is a feeling of eternalness, the real basis of the doctrine of immortality. It is an attainable reality, this sense of eternalness; let the sceptic and materialist say what they will.
“To truth, justice, love, the attributes of the soul, the idea of immutableness is essentially associated. In the flowing of love, in the adoration of humility, there is no question of continuance.”Once recognise the truth that we can gain a footing in a world free from the tyranny of time, that the soul exists in such a world, and a new philosophy is at once required. Freedom from Time implies the eternity of the soul, and the facts of life and death take a new position and significance. If the soul be eternal, death must be an illusion, a garment in which Nature wraps some hidden law.
“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight, and afterwards return again. Whatever does not concern us, is concealed from us. As soon as a person is no longer related to our present well-being, he is concealed or dies, as we say. When the man has exhausted for the time the nourishment to be drawn from any one person or thing, that object is withdrawn from his observation, and though still in his immediate neighbourhood, he does not suspect its presence. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new disguise. Jesus is not dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle.”we have an accurate exposition of the occult doctrine of Reincarnation — the progressive discipline of the soul through many lives — which has been parodied in the popular fable of metempsychosis.
“Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty. Crime and punishment grow on one stem; punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of pleasure which concealed it. You cannot do wrong without suffering wrong. The thief steals from himself; the swindler swindles himself. Everything in nature, even motes and feathers, goes by law and not by luck. What a man sows, he reaps.”The picture of an orderly universe, where matter is the garment of spirit — spirit visualised — where souls march onward in orderly procession to boundless perfection; where the life of each permeates and flows through the life of all; where the wrong of each is turned to the benefit of all by the firm hand of an invisible and ever active law, incessantly disciplining and correcting, till the last dross of self and sin is purged away, and instead of man there remains God only, working through the powers that were man's; such is the conception Occultism holds!
“ I know not whether there be, as is alleged, in the upper region of our atmosphere a permanent westerly current, which carries with it all atoms which rise to that height, but I see that when souls reach a certain clearness of perfection, they accept a knowledge and motive above selfishness. A breath of Will blows eternally through the universe of souls in the direction of the Right and Necessary. It is the air which all intellects inhale and exhale, and it is the wind which blows the world into order and orbit.Discipline always and everywhere throughout the universe; to discipline, development, all other facts are subordinate; for their sake, all laws are enunciated, all spiritual facts are insisted on; all truths which tend not to the melioration of human life — if any such there be — are worthless. Discipline, development. What development does Occultism predict for man ? Man's future destiny, in the view of Occultism, is so stupendous, that we prefer merely to erect a finger-post pointing out the direction of the path, using the words of Emerson:
“ Let us build altars to the Beautiful Necessity which rudely or softly educates men to the perception that there are no contingencies, that Law rules through existence, a Law which is not intelligent but intelligence, not personal nor impersonal — it disdains words, and passes understanding; it dissolves persons; it vivifies nature, yet solicits the pure in heart to draw on its all, its omnipotence.”
“The youth puts off the illusions of the child, the man puts off the ignorance and tumultuous passions of the youth; proceeding thence, puts off the egotism of manhood, and becomes at last a public and universal soul. He is rising to greater height, but also to realities; the outer relations and circumstances dying out, he is entering deeper into God, God into him, until the last garment of egotism falls, and he is with God, shares the will and the immensity of the First Cause.”From first to last, Occultism has preached no doctrine more emphatically than the necessity of dependence on the intuitions, and [Page 256] the reality of interior illumination. “Seek out the way by making the profound obeisance of the soul to the dim star that burns within; within you is the light of the world”, writes the Occultist.
“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but that the light is all. The consciousness in each man is a sliding scale, which identifies him now with the First Cause, and now with the flesh of his body; life above life, in infinite degrees. There is for each a Best Counsel, which enjoins the fit word and the fit act for every moment. There is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away, we lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the attributes of God. The simplest person who, in his integrity, worships God, becomes God; yet forever and ever the influx of this better and universal self is new and unsearchable.”The life of one is the life of all. The good of one re-acts on all. The walls by which selfishness conceives itself enclosed and isolated, are unreal, have no existence. Spirit is fluid and all-pervading; its beneficent power flows unchecked from soul to soul, energising, harmonising, purifying. To resist all discordant tendencies which check this salutary flow, this all-permeating love, is to come under the reign of Universal Brotherhood; and to the honour of Occultism be it said, that Universal Brotherhood is blazoned highest on its standard.
“Are we put in training for a love which knows not sex nor person, nor partiality, but which seeks virtue and wisdom everywhere. One day all men will be lovers, and every calamity will be dissolved in universal sunshine. An acceptance of the sentiment of love throughout Christendom for a season would bring the felon and the outcast to our side in tears, with the devotion of his faculties to our service.”But to the axiom “Kill out the sense of separateness” Occultism adds another, “Yet stand alone”. Before the lesson of life can be learnt, the soul must in some sort detach itself from its environment and view all things impersonally, in solitude and stillness. There is an oracle in the lonely recess of the soul to which all things must be brought for trial. Here all laws are tested, all appearances weighed.
“The soul gives itself alone, original, and pure, to the Lonely, Original, and Pure, who on that condition, gladly inhabits, leads, and speaks through it. Then it is glad, young, and nimble. Behold, it saith, I am born into the great, the universal mind. I, the imperfect, adore my own Perfect. I am somehow receptive of the great soul, and thereby I do overlook the sun and the stars, and feel them to be the fair accidents and effects which change and pass. More and more the surges of everlasting nature enter into me, and I become public and human in my regards and actions. So I come to live in thoughts, and act with energies, which are immortal.” [Page 257]The last words of this sentence lead us to the occult idea of Mahatma-hood which conceives a perfected soul as “living in thoughts, and acting with”
“Truth is the summit of being; justice is the application of it to affairs. All individual natures stand in a scale, according to the purity of this element in them. The will of the pure runs down from them into other natures, as water runs down from a higher into a lower vessel; this natural force is no more to be withstood than any other natural force. A healthy soul stands united with the Just and the True, as the magnet arranges itself with the pole, so that he stands to all beholders like a transparent object betwixt them and the sun, and whoso journeys towards the sun, journeys towards that person.”Occultism conceives the outer world and all its accidents to be so many veils, shrouding the splendour of essential nature, and tempering the fiery purity of spirit to the imperfect powers of the understanding soul. This illusory power Occultism considers to be the “active will of God”, a means to the ends of eternal spirit.
........“ We are such stuffWe shall conclude with two passages from Emerson's essays, on the subject of illusions:
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep !”
“Do you see that kitten chasing so prettily her own tail ? If you could look with her eyes, you might see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic and comic issues, long conversations, many characters, many ups and downs of fate; and meantime it is only puss and her tail. How long before our masquerade will end its noise of tambourines, laughter, and shouting, and we shall find it was a solitary performance ?”We must supplement this rather playful passage with one in a higher strain
“There is no chance, and no anarchy, in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere. The young mortal enters the hall of the firmament; there is he alone with them alone, they pouring on him benedictions and gifts, and beckoning him up to their thrones. On an instant, and incessantly, fall snowstorms and illusions. He fancies himself in a vast crowd which sways this way and that, and whose movement and doings he must obey: he fancies himself poor, orphaned, insignificant. The mad crowd drives hither and thither, now furiously commanding this thing to be done, now that. What is he that he should resist their will, and think or act for himself? Every moment new changes and new showers of deceptions to baffle and distract him. And when, by-and-bye, for an instant, the air clears, and the cloud lifts a little, there are the gods still sitting around him on their thrones — they alone with him alone.” [Page 258]
THE BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT
THE TRUE STORY OF A MAGICIAN
by Mabel Collins
SCRIBE OF “THE IDYLL OF THE WHITE LOTUS” AND “THROUGH THE GATES OF GOLD.”
[Some of the readers of LUCIFER have taken great exception to the love passages between Fleta and Hilary, saying that they are not up to the standard of Theosophic thought, and are out of place in the magazine. The author can only beg that time may be given for the story to develope. None of us that is born dies without experiencing human passion; it is the base on which an edifice must rise at last, after many incarnations have purified it, “it is the blossom which has in it the fruit.” Hilary is still only a man, he has not yet learned to the full the lesson of human life and human passion. Fleta promises him all that he can take and that plainly is only what she can give — the deep love of the disciple. But she cannot instantly free his eyes from the illusions caused by his own passionate heart; till he has suffered and conquered, he cannot recognise her for what she is, the pledged servant of a great master, of necessity more white-souled than any nun need be.
Another strange criticism is made, condemning portions of the story as though expressive of the author’s feelings and sentiments; whereas they are simply descriptive of the states through which Hilary is passing. They no more express the author’s feelings than do those later parts which refer to the ordeals of Fleta, the accepted disciple, express the author’s feelings. The two characters of the struggling aspirant and the advanced disciple, are studies from life. The stumbling-block of human passion which stands in Hilary’s way, is the same which lost Zanoni his high estate; in the coming chapters of “The Blossom and the Fruit”, we shall see Fleta back from the high estate she aims at, by this same stumbling-block, in an idealised and subtle form. She has not yet learned the bitter truth that the Occultist must stand absolutely alone, without even companionship of thought, or sympathy of feeling, at the times of the Initiations and the trials which precede them. — M.C.]
CHAPTER VI (Continued)
Hilary found himself in a room which
no longer permitted him to regret his own rooms at home, for it was luxurious.
A great bath stood ready filled with perfumed water, and he hastened to bathe
himself therein, with a sort of idea that he was perhaps suffering from hallucinations,
some of which he might wash away. His scanty luggage has been brought into
the room, and when the bath was over Hilary got out a velvet suit which he
thought would do well for evening-dress in this palace of surprises. He was
but just ready when a knock came at his door, and without further ceremony,
Mark opened it and looked in. [Page
“Come”, he said, “we don't wait for anybody here. The cook won't stand it. He is a very holy father indeed, and nobody dare say him nay, unless it were the Princess herself. She always does as she likes. Are you ready?”
“Quite”, replied Hilary.
Opening out of the entrance was a great oak door, double, and very richly carved. This had been shut when Hilary passed through before; now it stood open, and Mark led the way through it. They entered an immense room, of which the floor was polished so that it shone like a mirror. Two figures were standing in the midst of this room, dressed alike in clouds of white lace; they were the two Fletas, as to Hilary's eyes they still seemed.
His heart was torn as he gazed on them, waiting for a glance of love, a gleam of love-light, to tell him which was his own, his Fleta, his princess, the Fleta whom he served. There was none; they had been talking together very earnestly and both looked sad and a little weary.
As Hilary's eyes wandered from one face to the other his mind grew confused. And then suddenly a flash of bewitchingly beautiful laughter came on one of the faces; and immediately he decided that must be Adine. And yet, had he not seen just such laughter flash across Fleta's face ? But all this passed in a moment, and no more time was given him for thought. A table stood at one end of the hall, set as a king's table might be; covered with the finest linen, edged with deep lace, and with gold dishes of fruit upon it; it was decorated with lovely flowers. Hilary opened his eyes a little even in the midst of his other much greater perplexities, to see this luxury here in the midst of the forest. And was it prepared in honour of Fleta, who ate a crust of dry bread in an alehouse with perfect cheerfulness, or rather, indifference ? Fleta took her place at the end of the table; at least, one sister did so, and the other took her place beside Hilary — he could not yet determine which was which, and his whole soul was absorbed in the attempted solution of that problem. Mark sat at the other end of the table, evidently prepared to do such labours of carving as might be necessary. Two places were set at the other side of the table, but no one came to fill them. A very elaborate dinner was served, and a very good one; and Hilary thought he was satisfied now that it was Adine who sat next him, for she showed herself an unmistakable little gourmand. He had just come to this conclusion when his attention was distracted by the great doors being thrown open again for two persons to enter. Everyone rose, even Fleta, who advanced with a smile to meet these new comers. Hilary rose also and turned from the table. Two men stood there; one a man but little older than himself, and of extremely fine appearance. Little more than a boy, yet he had a dignity which made him something much more, and Hilary felt immediately a kind of jealousy, undefined, vague [Page 260] but still jealousy. For Fleta had put both her hands into those of this handsome young man and greeted him with great warmth. At his side stood a small shrivelled old man, in the same dress that Father Amyot always wore. This circumstance again made Hilary wonder what had become of Father Amyot; but he concluded Adine's account had been the correct one.
There was something familiar in the face of the young man, so Hilary thought; while he was thinking this, Fleta turned and introduced them to each other.
He was the young king to whom Fleta was betrothed.
This is a history of those things which lie behind the scenes, not a history of that which is known to all the world. We will give this young King the name of Alan. Let those who like fix upon his kingdom and assign to him his true name.
He sat down opposite Hilary; and the old priest took his place beside him. Hilary returned to his chair, feeling that all strength, and hope, and power, and life had gone from him. By a fierce and terrible revulsion of his whole nature and all his recent feelings, he returned to his cynical estimate of mankind and most of all of Fleta. She had brought him to this place simply to taunt and harass him and show him his madness and folly in aspiring to her love in the face of such a rival. It cut Hilary's heart like a knife to find the young King so magnificent a creature. And Fleta, why had she come here to meet him ? Why had she brought her unhappy lover with her ? Hilary tore himself with doubts, and fears, and questions; and sat silent, not even noticing the plates that were placed before him and taken away untouched. The others talked and laughed gaily, Alan being apparently possessed of a hundred things to say. Hilary did not hear what they were, but it annoyed him to find his rival speaking so much in that rich, musical voice of his, while he himself sat dumb, silenced by a bitter pain that tore his heart.
“You are sad”, said a soft voice at his side, “it is hard, if you love Fleta, to see her monopolised by some one else. How often have I had to suffer it ? Well, it must be so, I suppose. Why am I sorry for you. I wonder ? For if Alan were not here you would monopolise Fleta, and have no eyes for anyone else. Ah me ! ”
The sigh was very tender, the voice very low and soft; and that voice was Fleta's voice, those lovely eyes uplifted to his were Fleta's eyes Yes, it was so ! He thought as he looked back. Did he not know Fleta well enough by now ?
“Ah, you are playing with me”, he exclaimed eagerly, “it is Fleta now, not Adine ! Is it not so ? Oh, my love, my love, be honest and tell me!”
He spoke like this under cover of the others' voices, but Fleta looked round alarmed. [Page 261]
“Hush!” she said, “ take care. Your life would be lost if you revealed our secret here. After dinner is over, come with me”.
This appointment made Hilary happy again; his heart leaped up, his pulses throbbed; all the world changed. He found some fruit was before him, he began to eat it, and to drink the wine in his glass. Fleta was watching him.
“You have just begun to dine ! ” said Fleta with a soft laugh. “Well, never mind; you are young and strong. Do you think you could live through a great many hardships ? ”
Hilary made the lover's answer, which is so evident that it need not be recorded. He did not know how he said it, but he desired to tell her that for her he would endure anything. She laughed again.
“It may be so ! ” she said thoughtfully; and then he caught her eyes fixed upon him with a searching glance that for an instant seemed to turn the blood cold in his veins. His terrible thoughts and doubts of her returned again the more fiercely for their momentary repulsion. He emptied his glass, but eat nothing more, and was very glad when they all rose from the table together, a few moments later. He followed the figure of the girl who had sat next him since Alan's entrance, believing that Fleta had then changed her place. She went across the great room and led the way into a greenhouse which opened out of it. A very wonderful greenhouse it was, full of the strangest plants. They were extremely beautiful, and yet in some way they inspired in him a great repugnance. They were of many colours, and the blossoms were variously shaped, but evidently they were all of one species.
“These are very precious”, said Fleta, looking at the flowers near her tenderly. “I obtain a rare and valuable substance from them. You have seen me use it”, she added, after a moment's pause. Hilary longed to leave the greenhouse and sit elsewhere; but that was so evidently not Fleta's wish that he could not suggest it. There were seats here and there among the flowers, and she placed herself upon one of them, motioning Hilary to sit beside her.
“Now”, she said, “I am going to tell you a great many things which you have earned the right to know. To begin with, you are now in a monastery, belonging to the most rigid of the religious orders”.
“Are you a Catholic ? ” asked Hilary suddenly. And then laughed at himself for such a question. How could Fleta be catalogued like this ? He knew her to be a creature whose thought could not be limited.
“No”, she answered simply. “I
am not a Catholic. But I belong to this order. I fear such an answer will
be so unintelligible as to be like an impertinence. Forgive me, Hilary”.
Ah, what a tone she spoke in, gentle, sweet — the voice of the woman he loved. Hilary lost all control over himself. He sprang to his feet and stood before her.
“I do not want to know your religion”, he exclaimed passionately, [Page 262] “ I do not want to know where we are, or why we are here. I ask you only this — Are you indeed my love given to me, as you said this morning ?— or is your love given to the king, and are you only laughing at me. It is enough to make me think so, to bring me here to meet him ! Oh, it is a cruel insult, a cruel mockery! For, Fleta, you have made me love you with all my heart and soul. My whole life is yours. Be honest and tell me the truth.”
“You have a powerful rival”, said Fleta deliberately. “Is he not handsome, courtly, all that a king should be ? And I am pledged to him. Yes, Hilary, I am pledged to him. Would you have the woman you love live a lie for your sake, and hourly betray the man she marries ? ”
“I would have her give me her love”, said Hilary despairingly, “at all costs, at all hazards. Oh, Fleta, do not keep me in agony. You said this morning that you loved me, that you would give yourself to me. Are you going to take those words back ? ”
“No”, said Fleta, “I am not. For I do love you, Hilary. Did I not see you first in my sleep ? Did I not dream of you ? Did I not come to your house in search of you ? Unwomanly, was it not ? No one but Fleta would have done it And Fleta would only have done it for love. You do not know what she risked — what she risks now — for you ! Oh, Hilary, if you could guess what I have at stake. Never mind. None can know my own danger but myself”.
“Escape from it! ” said Hilary in a sort of madness. A passionate desire to help her came over him and swept all reasonable thoughts away. “You are so powerful, so free, there is no need for you to encounter danger. Does it lie in these people, in this strange place ? Come back then to the city, to your home. What is there to induce you to run risks, you that have all that the world can offer ? Is there anything you need that you cannot have ? ”
“Yes”, said Fleta, “there is. I need something which no power of royalty can give me. I need something which I may have to sacrifice my life to obtain. Yet I am ready to sacrifice it — oh, how ready! What is my life to me ! What is my life to me ! Nothing !”
She had risen and was impatiently walking to and fro, moving her hands with a strange eager gesture as she did so; and her eyes were all aflame. This was the woman he loved. This, who said her life was nothing to her. Hilary forgot all else that was strange in her words and manner in the thought of this. Could she then return his love — no, it was impossible, if she meant these strange and terrible words that she uttered!
“Ah, this it is that keeps me back”, she said, before he had time to speak. Her voice had altered, and her face had grown pale, so pale that he forgot everything else in watching her.
“This it is that keeps me from my strength, this longing for it!” And [Page 263] with a heavy sigh she moved back to her seat and fell into it with a weariness he had never seen in her before. Her head drooped on her breast, she fell into profound thought. Presently she spoke again, disjointedly, and in such words as seemed unintelligible.
“I have always been too impatient, too eager”, she said sadly, “ I have always tried to take what I longed for without waiting to earn it. So it was long ago, Hilary, when you and I stood beneath those blossoming trees, long ages ago. I broke the peace that kept us strong and simple. I caused the torment of pain and peril to arise in our lives. We have to live it out — alas, Hilary, we have to live it out! — and live beyond it. How long will it take us — how long will it take ! ”
There was a despair, an agony in her voice and manner, that were so new, he was bewildered, he hardly recognised her. Her moods changed so strangely that he could not follow them, for he had not the key; he could not read her thought. He sat dumb, looking in her sad drawn face.
“My love, my love”, he murmured at last, hardly knowing that he spoke, hardly knowing what his thought was that he spoke, only full of longing. “Would that I could help you! Would that I understood you ! ”
“Do you indeed wish to ?” asked
Fleta, her voice melting into a sort of tender eagerness.
“Do you not know it ? ” exclaimed Hilary. “My soul is burning to meet yours and to recognise it, to stand with you and help you. Why are you so far off, so like a star, so removed and unintelligible to me, who love you so ! Oh, help me to change this, to come nearer to you ! ”
Fleta rose slowly, her eyes fixed upon his face.
“Come”, she said. And she held out her hand to him. He put his into it, and together, hand in hand, they left the conservatory. They did not enter the great dining hall, where now there was music and dancing as Hilary could see and hear. They left the house of the strange flowers by a different doorway, which admitted them to a long dim corridor. Fleta opened the door by a key that was attached to a chain hanging from her waist; and she closed it behind her. Hilary asked no questions, for she seemed buried in thought so profound that he did not care to rouse her.
At the end of the corridor was a small and very low doorway. Fleta stooped and knocked, and without waiting for any answer pushed the door open,
“May I come in, Master ? ” she said.
“Come, child”, was the answer, in a very gentle voice.
“I am bringing some one with me.”
“Come”, was repeated.
They entered. The room was small, and was dimly lit by a shaded lamp. Beside the table, on which this stood, sat a man, reading. He [Page 264] put a large book which he had been holding, on to the table, and turned towards his visitors. Hilary saw before him the handsomest man he had ever seen in his life. He was still young, though Hilary felt himself to be a boy beside him; he rose from his chair and stood before them very tall and very slight, and yet there was that in his build which suggested great strength. He looked attentively at Hilary for a moment, and then turned to Fleta.
“Leave him here”. Fleta bowed and immediately went out of the room without another word. Hilary gazed upon her in amazement. Was this the proud, imperious princess who yielded such instant and ready obedience ? It seemed incredible. But he forgot the extraordinary sight immediately afterwards in the interest excited by his new companion, who at once addressed him:
“The Princess has often spoken to me of you”, he said, “and I know she has much wished that this moment should arrive. She will be satisfied if she thinks you appreciate with your inner senses the step you are about to take if you accord with her wishes. But I think it right you should know it in every aspect as far as that is possible. If you really desire to know Fleta, to approach her, to understand her, you must give up all that men ordinarily value in the world”.
“I have it not to surrender”, said Hilary rather bitterly, “my life is nothing splendid”.
“No, but you are only at the beginning of it. To you the future is full of promise. If you desire to be the Princess Fleta's companion, your life is no longer your own.”
“No — it is hers — and it is hers now ! ”
“Not so. It is not hers now, nor will it be hers then. Not even your love does she claim for her own. She has nothing.”
“I don't understand”, said Hilary simply. “She is the Princess of this country; she will soon be the Queen of another. She has all that the world has to give a woman.”
“Do you not know the woman you love better than to suppose that she cares
for her position in the world ?” demanded this man whom Fleta called her
master . “At a word from me, at any hour, at any time she will leave
her throne and never return to it. That she will do this certainly some day
I know very well; and her sister will take her place, the world being no wiser
than it now is, Fleta looks forward to this change eagerly”.
“Well, perhaps”, admitted Hilary.
“Neither has she your love nor your life as her own. In loving her you love the Great Order to which she belongs, and she will gladly give your love to its right owner. She has done this already in bringing you to me.”
Hilary started to his feet, stung beyond endurance.
“This is mere nonsense, mere insult”, he said angrily, “Fleta has accepted my love with her own lips”. [Page 265]
“That is so”, was the answer, “and she is betrothed to King Alan”.
“I know that”, said Hilary in a low voice.
“And what did you hold Fleta to be then ? A mere pleasure seeker, playing with life like the rest, devoid of honour and principle ? Was this your estimate of the woman you loved ? What else indeed could it be, when you said, let her give her hand to King Alan while you know her love is yours ! And you could love such a woman ! Hilary Estanol, you have been reared in a different school than this. Does not your own conscience shame you ? ”
Hilary stood silent. Every word struck home. He knew not what to say. He had been wilfully blinding himself; the bandages were rudely drawn aside. After a long pause he spoke, hesitatingly:
“The Princess cannot be judged as other women would be; she is unlike all others.”
“Not so, if she is what you seem to think her; then she is just like the rest, one of the common herd.”
“How can you speak of her in that way ? ”
“How can you think of her as you do, dishonouring her by your thoughts ?”
The two stood opposite each other now, and their eyes met. A strange light seemed to struggle into Hilary's soul as these bitter words rang sharply on his ear. Dishonouring her? Was it possible? He staggered back and leaned against the wall, still gazing on the magnificent face before him.
“Who are you ? ” he said at last.
“I am Father Ivan, the superior of the order to which the Princess Fleta belongs”, was the reply. But another voice spoke when his ceased, and Hilary saw that Fleta had entered, and was standing behind him.
“And he is the master of knowledge, the master in life, the master in thought, of whom the Princess Fleta is but a poor and impatient disciple. Master, forgive me ! I cannot endure to hear you speak as if you were a monk, the mere tool of a religion, the mere professor of a miserable creed.”
She sank on her knees before Father Ivan, in an attitude strangely full.of humility. The priest bent down and lifted her to her feet. They stood a moment in silence, side by side, Fleta's eyes upon his face devouring his expression with a passionate and adoring eagerness How splendid they looked! Suddenly Hilary saw it, and a wild, fierce, all-devouring flame of jealousy awoke in his heart — a jealousy such as King Alan, no, nor a hundred King Alans, could not have roused in him.
For he saw that this Ivan, who wore a priest's dress, yet was evidently no priest, who spoke as if this world had no longer any meaning for him, yet who was magnificent in his personal presence and power — he saw [Page 266] that this man was Fleta's equal. And more, he saw that Fleta's whole face melted and softened, and grew strangely sweet, as she looked on him. Never had Hilary seen it like that. Never had Hilary dreamed it could look like that. Stumbling like a blind man he felt for the door, which he knew was near, and escaped from the room — how he knew not. Hurriedly he went on, through places he did not see, and at last found himself in the open air. He went with great strides away through the tall ferns and undergrowth until he found himself in so quiet a spot that it appeared as if he were alone in the great forest. Then he flung himself upon the ground and yielded to an agony of despair which blotted out sky and trees and everything from his gaze, like a great cloud covering the earth.
(To be continued.)
I sit alone in the twilight,
Dreaming — but not as of old;
Blind to the flickering fire-light,
Mystic visions my spirit enfold.
What means this struggle within me,
This new hope of a far-off goal ?
This fighting against superstition,
That would fetter my awakening soul?
Why cannot I pray as I once did,
For self before all the world ?
Whence came the flash of lightning
That self from its pedestal hurled ?
But what if I'm struggling blindly,
What if this new hope is vain,
Can I go back to my old faith ?
A voice whispers — “Never again”.
So I will press forward — believing
Hands unseen will guide to the goal,
And tho' dim yet the light on my pathway,
Nirväna breathes peace to my soul. [Page 267]
IT is somewhat difficult to say
what real or theosophical work is when exactly defined, and, in consequence,
it becomes very easy to speak of an effort as untheosophical — that
is not sufficiently unselfish in motive. The fact is that the word Theosophy
has such a very wide meaning, embracing, as it does, the true spirit of all
creeds and religions, and confining itself to none in particular, that no
work done in the spirit of truth and wisdom is really untheosophical. Hence,
unless the speaker is possessed of more knowledge than ordinary men concerning the
causes which underlie our actions, the application of the word untheosophical
is incorrect. In fact, if it is once granted that it is possible to work
from an impersonal standpoint in favour of a particular creed or religion,
that work becomes theosophical in character. Thus it is only work (in the
widest sense of the word and on all planes) from the personal standpoint,
and which, therefore, militates against Universal Brotherhood, which can
really be described as untheosophical. But this by no means presupposes that
work which has outwardly the appearance of theosophical genuineness is not
really selfish. It is, of course, the old story of the wolf in sheep's clothing.
We do but need one example — the truly-called profession of
Medicine. We constantly hear of the wonderful self-sacrifice of medical men;
of men who die at their posts rather than desert a possible case in times of
epidemic and cholera; of men who suck tracheotomy tubes with almost certain
death by diphtheria staring them in the face; finally we hear, though but
seldom, of the honest, earnest devotion of a lifetime in places and districts
where the fees are so small that it is barely possible for the doctor to live
on his earnings. These are the heroes of the profession. Their work, for the
most part, consists of an unselfish devotion to the alleviation of suffering,
culminating in a final sacrifice of their personal selves — for death
is nothing less than this. But we must turn to the less favourable side of
the picture — the
struggle not for a living, but for wealth, and work, fired by ambition and
the search for fame. Of course, apart from the personal, selfish element in
it, the ambitious struggle in other professions than those of the Church or
Medicine is of no great or unnatural harm; but in these two cases it is more
than harmful, it is a degrading betrayal of trust. It is Simonism with a vengeance;
yes, kind friends, it approaches very nearly to the case of Judas, who held
the bag, and betrayed his Master with a kiss. It may be asked why this sweeping
denunciation is made of the two noblest professions; of those two which, considered
from the ethical standpoint, consist of devotion to the service of man ? The
reason [Page 268] is not very far to seek. The
power which true healers possess — healers,
alike of body and soul, is not one which can be sold for money or bartered
for wealth and fame. At least, if the possibility does exist, it bears a suspicious
resemblance to the old idea of selling one's soul to the devil in exchange
for power and prosperity. It may be replied to this that there is no harm in
bartering knowledge of drugs, of pathology, diagnosis of disease, surgical
skill, etc. — in short, all the knowledge acquired by education — for
money. I answer No! for it is material given for material, and nothing more.
But these are not the sole properties of the true healer, and those who do
not possess these other properties I speak of are not healers, and while they
may profess medicine [So medicine is, in the Shakespearian use of the
word, and also from its Greek derivation, not to give drugs, but to cure or
heal.] and may be in it, are yet not of it.
As regards the Church and its professors of religion, the case is even worse; they have no material products of education to barter, and for the most part are contented with telling their flock to “do as I bid you, and not as I do”. But among them there are noble examples of unswerving unselfishness and devotion, although for the most part those who enter the Church are too young to understand fully the nature of their high calling. Unfortunately the call in too many cases is not a call to minister and heal souls, but to make a living and heal the souls in the process. But again, it may be asked, what are these wonderful powers which constitute the true healer, and which are not to be bought or sold ? The first one which occurs naturally to the mind is the power of sympathy. The old joke in Punch about “the good bedside manner” has a considerable substratum of truth when divested of its unpleasing folly. The substratum of that manner is that which is given by sympathy; and this is one of the first elements which constitute the power of healing. It gives the power of suffering with the patient and therefore of understanding what the sufferer is enduring. It is beyond diagnosis, although it assists it by being much surer — at least, as to the reality of the suffering. But this power of sympathy only expresses a part of the meaning of the power to heal. Sympathy tends to annihilate the personal distinctions between the healer and the sufferer; it tends to exalt the consciousness of the healer not only to know the remedy for the disease, but to be himself the power of cure, and also it is a vast occult power in virtue of which all the “elder brethren” of the Universal Brotherhood live their lives; in virtue of which the world's great enlighteners have not only lived their lives but lived their death, in order that they might benefit the sufferers who despised and rejected them. But this power of sympathy and the kindred powers which constitute the true healer, are really secret powers and secret remedies. Therefore they are openly tabooed by the medical profession, although the said professors cannot avoid using them. But secret remedies are to some degree justly avoided. For it is but [Page 269] natural to regard secret remedies with suspicion. At best their use seems like working in the dark and blindly, and, consequently, any results obtained must be empirical. Again, the medical profession seems to plume and feather itself upon possessing a slight leaven of its ideal condition, and, by constituting itself into a kind of trades union, declines as a body to have anything to do with any remedy of which the composition is not made fully known. This, at least, is the more charitable view, for, on the other hand, the doctors know only too well how eagerly the public rushes after any new “quack” medicine, and seeks to cure itself without calling in their aid. The doctors reply to this that they will have nothing to do with a medicine whose composition is a secret, and which is therefore devoted, to a great extent, to replenishing the purse of its discoverer, and not to the cure of diseases from a love of man and a hatred of suffering. This is a very high-sounding idea, and a noble one, when it is not what the Americans would call only “high-falutin”. But even when a remedy is made public property, it is not necessarily pro bono publico; in fact, as a rule, it serves only the good of the dispensing chemist. He sees the prescription and notes it, the public does not; and, as a rule, the chemist obtains the drugs cheaply, and compounds them at the same rate as this medicine was originally sold under the patent of its discoverer. Still, with all the dislike of the profession for secret remedies, there is no doubt at all that in the case of the heads of the profession some of the best results are obtained by the use of prescriptions, which practically constitute a secret formula. The especial combination which the particular man has discovered to be of use is his property, and his only until he writes a book, for the various chemists who make it up, and the various patients who drink it, are not to the full aware of its value and use. The difference between this and quack medicine lies merely in the peculiar names and large advertisements, but very often these are balanced by the fame of the particular surgeon or physician. But, in all honour to physicians and surgeons, who do in many cases have and show a large-hearted sympathy for suffering, it must be remembered that many of the greatest and busiest of them give hours of their valuable time to those who are too poor to pay in any other form than that of grateful thanks. There are, again, others who disregard all the rules which govern trades' union society, and boldly take their stand upon Christ's dictum, that “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath”. In other words, they say that any medicine which they personally find valuable in the alleviation of pain and disease must be used even at the risk of themselves being called “unprofessional”. Again, others will use these so-called secret remedies, and say nothing about it, preferring to pin their faith to the wittily termed eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt not be found out”. At this point it is possible to draw a parallel between the use of the terms “un-theosophical” and “unprofessional”. It would seem that both are used [Page 270] in very much the same trades' union sense. In the case of the word “unprofessional”, it is to be regretted that it is due very largely to a lack of charity and of the spirit of enquiry. In the case of the word “untheosophical” it is often used in consequence of a lack of charity, and further in the spirit of scandal and gossip. Unless a man or woman is a theosophist pure and simple, who carries out in their entirety, the objects of the Theosophical Society, the use of the word untheosophical betrays them to be untheosophical and to fail in carrying out those objects which they have promised to further to the best of their power.
In the light of the foregoing it is now possible to examine the manner in which Count Mattei’s remedies have been received. The Count himself is a member of a noble family of Bologna, he has travelled much, but returned there in 1847, and took part in the movement which led to the liberation of Italy. In early life he much wished to study medicine, but was prevented from doing so by his father's wish. Still his desire for knowledge was not quenched, and he attempted to follow the bent of his own mind. He rightly concluded that the instincts of the lower animals would lead them to search for herbs and plants which would cure their ailments, and that careful observation of these instincts might disclose medicines of the greatest value to human sufferers. Thus he adopted the habit of taking walks in the company of a number of dogs which were suffering from various diseases, and carefully watched their proceedings. Gradually the new pharmacopoeia assumed shape, and the instinct of the dogs showed that particular diseases were met by particular remedies. These observations were made more than sixty years ago, and were not forgotten amid the occupations of a busy life. Indeed, when those occupations became less, Count Mattei returned with ardour to his earlier studies. He became a deputy in the Roman Parliament, but retired into private life after finding that his political views were not those of the men by whom he was surrounded. After this retirement the Count devoted himself to the study of medicine, in order that he might fit himself to apply certain principles which he believed he had discovered to be valuable for sick and suffering humanity. By his own account and the testimony of his patients he was not deceived, and the present remedies which bear his name are the result of twenty-five years' unceasing labour and experiment. He rapidly acquired an enormous practice, and during the early years of it his advice and his medicines were entirely gratis. But an unfortunate combination of circumstances, as well as the expense entailed by the preparation of the remedies, rendered it necessary for the Count to demand some small remuneration for his services. Then he learned that his bounty was abused, and that certain doctors, who had asked and obtained the remedies from him, departed from Bologna and retailed the remedies at extravagantly exorbitant prices. To such an extent was this carried that there exist authentic cases where a thaler was demanded for a single globule, and for the [Page 271] globules (20-30) necessary to give a bath, 1,000 francs were asked in New York. Some idea of the extortion may be given when Count Mattei refers to the thaler price as being 1,350 times the price at Bologna. This would be enough to justify any amount of secrecy on Count Mattel's part, more especially as that secrecy entirely prevents the adulteration of the medicines which would inevitably follow, were they to become commercial property.
We have only too familiar an example in the ranks of the medical profession. Many of his confreres have been appealed to for the support of a physician, named Warburg. At this date it seems hardly possible to believe that this gentleman was the happy discoverer of Warburg's Fever Tincture. Perhaps in this country the value of the compound was not so highly appreciated as in India. But it is impossible to open any treatise on either surgery or medicine which is about twenty years old and not find the use of Warburg's tincture specially urged in all cases of high fever, and especially in cases of malarial fever and pyaemia. The compound had an enormous sale, and yielded a very substantial income to its discoverer, but as soon as he yielded to the pressure of professional opinion, and consented to publish his formula so that it might obtain an extended use, he obtained the reward of such philanthropy. Every chemist now prepares the prescription and sells it at very nearly the original price, and what is more, never refunds a fraction of a farthing in the shape of a royalty to the discoverer. Consequently, we have before us the edifying spectacle of the learned discoverer compelled to exist on the charity of his professional confreres. Count Mattei has, at all events, protected himself against this, for although he states that in the event of his death he has provided against the loss of his secret to the world, and intends to leave it carefully as a legacy to suffering humanity, there is not the slightest doubt that he alone is the possessor of his own secret. That it is possible to obtain wealth from using this system is very evident. Certain among the chief of his followers are in the habit of visiting London at intervals, and the number of those who consult them is really wonderful. I am assured by an eye-witness that the crowd is far beyond that which besieges the door of the most fashionable physician of the day. When one reads the literature of the subject, one becomes more and more astonished at its simplicity. All diseases resolve themselves into three main forms, and constitutions vary accordingly. There are sanguine and lymphatic constitutions, and the various combinations of these two; there are also febrile disturbances and diseases of the liver and spleen. Consequently there are three chief medicines, which are used in an extraordinary state of dilution. It is no use, here at least, to discuss the value of these infinitesimal doses, so that may be left for future discussion. To a professional mind the most extraordinary claim on Count Mattel's part will be that of curing cancer by [Page 272] internal and external medicines, and wholly without the use of the knife. He claims positively to cure every case in which the cancer has not ulcerated, and to cure a large proportion even of those which have already done so. Even of those which have been neglected, and have remained long in the ulcerated state, he claims to restore a certain proportion (though not a large one) to health. Of course, to any man who has seen the difficulty which attends the early diagnosis of cancer, these claims are very high-sounding indeed — almost to absurdity. The difficulties which attend diagnosis, even almost to the time when the knife has been used, and the tissue submitted to the microscope, are very great. But in Count Mattei's second division there is no such difficulty. It is then possible by certain indications, as well as by the use of the microscope, to be sure of the nature of the disease. Here Mattei steps in and claims that, by the use of one of his medicines, which exerts an electric influence on cancer, and by one of what he terms his vegetable electricities, he can restore the sufferer to health. Surely conservative surgery, if it be worthy of the name, will investigate such a claim. Of the vegetable electricities there is no doubt whatever. Cases of neuralgia and sciatica and particular rheumatic pain have been seen to yield to them as to magic; consequently, even in the last stages of cancer, when there is no refuge save the grave left to the sufferer, I have reason to believe Count Mattei, to some extent, when he claims to enable the said sufferer to sink gently away in full consciousness, and without the use of morphia.
To those who know anything of the occult uses and powers of plants, the fact that Count Mattei gathers his herbs at particular phases of the moon, will convey a good deal of meaning. Further, they will feel an additional assurance as to their value, and will no longer wonder, on one side at least, that Count Mattei chooses to keep his secret. It would seem probable to some extent that Count Mattei is one of the “elder brethren” of the race, although how far he is consciously so may be a matter for speculation, which could only be set at rest by Mattei himself and his compeers and superiors. What is definitely certain is that his system of medicine in its theories, if not in its practice, is a distinct step in advance in the healing art. Mattei is one of those pioneers of advance who spend the greater part of their lives in introducing for public use a secret of which they have become possessed. Mr. Keeley, of Philadelphia, [The discoverer of the new power now known as the Keeley motor and inter-etheric force ] appears to be another of those pioneers who are in advance of their times. But Mr. Keeley, in his work, resembles Friar Bacon, who blessed (?) the world with gunpowder. No doubt civilization has been enormously extended by its aid; but however much use it may have been to man in adapting the face of nature to his service, it has at any rate subserved the gratification of his passions. Count Mattei appears [Page 273] to have none of these “defects of his qualities”, and to have endeavoured to bless the world without giving to it attendant curses. Still it is always possible that when his secret shall become known it will draw attention to plants which have just as destructive and poisonous an influence as the plants and herbs he uses have of healing power. At all events, at present his secret is of use to the world, and so far as may be seen he makes a just and “brotherly” use of it. Has enough been said above to show that the fact that his medicines are “secret” compounds should be no barrier to their use ? What is still more important is that true theosophists should recognise that Count Mattei has done what they endeavour to do, and devoted his life to Real Work.
SAFELY returned from my long tour
of ten months, my first duty upon reaching home is to remind the Branches
that the time approaches for the Annual Meeting of the Convention of the
General Council — 27th to 30th of December.
It appears that the attendance this year will be much larger than ever before;
some thinking that we shall register between 200 and 300 Delegates: besides
the old, there will be some twenty new Branches entitled to representation
and votes. The yearly extension of our Society is thus steadily augmenting
the strength of the General Council, and the importance of its Annual Convention.
As the Society settles gradually upon its constitutional basis, the volume
of committee and parliamentary work lessens and more time becomes available
for theosophical lectures, the formation of friendships, and the cultivation
of a good mutual understanding as to the work before us.
The Adyar Library, to which considerable gifts of old MSS. and books have been made since, last December, is already being put to use. The Dwaita Catechism was issued at the last Convention, and at this year's the Vishistadvaita and Advaita Catechisms will be ready; as will also a compilation of Buddhistic Morals from the sacred literature of Ceylon. It is hoped that members of our many Branches will kindly bring forward as many ancient works upon every Department of Aryan knowledge as they can procure for this best of national monuments, the Adyar Library.
Every effort will be made to promote the comfort of Delegates, as heretofore. Lectures are being arranged for, but learned Mofussil members who are willing to read discourses upon special topics interesting to Delegates, are requested to at once correspond with the Secretary, and if the MSS. are ready, to send them in for approval.
In conclusion let me assure our colleagues of all races, creeds and colors, that a hearty and brotherly welcome awaits them at their Theosophical home at Adyar.
H.S. Olcott, P.T.S.
Adyar, 17th October, 1887 [Page 274]
IT was a dark and solitary path,
a narrow, hardly perceptible, footway in a dense forest, hemmed in by two
walls of impenetrable thorns and wild creepers, covering, as with a network,
the trunks of the tall, bare, moss-covered trees. The path led through the
woods down to a deep valley in which a few country-houses were nestled. Night
was fast approaching, and the hurricane, that blew across the country, boded
evil to many a traveller, by land and sea. The wind, which had hitherto been
only moaning through the trees, in low sad tones reminding one of a funereal
dirge, was now beginning to roar with fury, filling the forest as with the
howling of a hundred hungry wolves. Very soon a drizzling, ice-cold rain
veiled the whole forest in a damp shroud of fog.
One solitary traveller was wearily wending his way along this deserted path. The hour was late, and the darkening shadows were creeping on steadily, making the gloom in the thicket still more depressing. The young man looked worn and tired, as he again and again brushed aside the entangled briars which impeded his progress forward. He was well-dressed, and wore a marine officer's cap. But his coat was now in rags, torn by the hard, frozen, cruel thorns, and his hands were bleeding in the struggle he had had with the briars for a whole long night and a day since he had lost his way in the huge forest. Panting, he stopped at last; and, as he heaved a deep sigh, he fell down half-insensible at the foot of an old shaggy oak. Then, half-opening his weary eyes, he ' murmured in despair, as he placed his hand on his heart: — “I wonder how long this will yet beat. ... I feel as if it were gradually stopping”.
He closed his eyes once more, and very soon the feeble palpitations he was watching within himself, turned his half-paralysed thought into a new groove of ideas. Now the hardly audible beatings of his heart seemed to transform themselves into the ticking of an old clock quite near to him. He imagined the old Nüremberg timepiece in his mother's room. He was dripping wet, chilled to the marrow of his bones, and was fast losing consciousness. But, forgetting for one moment his situation, and where he was, he caught himself soliloquising as was his custom, when alone.
“This clock”, he thought, “has to be wound up ... else it will stop. So shall this heart. A man has to eat and drink to renew the fuel which feeds life, the clock too ... no ; the clock is different to man. Let it rest for a week, for two, three months, even for a year. . . Still, if wound up again, it will tick on as merrily as ever. But once the supply of the body is stopped — well, what then ? Shall the working power cease for ever, or the ticking of the heart be resumed as that of the clock ? No, [Page 275] no! ... You may feed the dead body of man as much as you please ! it shall awaken to life no more. ... A queer problem to solve, — What becomes of that something which made the body move ? The food is not the cause, is it ? ... No; the food is only the fuel. ... There must be some inward fire ever burning, as long as it is supplied. ... But when the supply of the fuel ceases ? Ah! . . that is it ... where does it go ? , . Does anything really die ? . . What form shall my inner fire take ? . . Shall it return to its primordial light . . . and be no more ? . . Oh, how I suffer! . . No, no; I must not allow this, my fire, to go out. No, not before I see once more my loved ones . . . my mother and Alice. . . .”
Arising with great effort he pursued his way with tottering steps, feeling his way in the darkness. But instantly a wild gust of wind, tearing along the narrow pathway, caused the great trees to sway and rock as if in very agony. Catching in its icy clasp the weakened form of the young man, the hurricane nearly upset him. Being already wet through and through with rain and cold, he shivered and groaned aloud, as he felt a sharp pain penetrating his limbs from the brain downwards. One more short struggle and he heavily fell on the cold hard ground. Clasping his hands over his brow, he could only whisper again: “Mother, I can do no more. . . . Farewell, mother, for ever ! Alice — fare thee well!” . .
His strength was gone. For over thirty hours he had tasted no food. He had travelled night and day in the hope of being with his family on Christmas Eve, that blessed day of joy and peace. Never yet had he spent a Christmas Eve away from home; but that year had been an unusually unfortunate one for him. His vessel had been wrecked and he had lost all. It was only by the greatest of chances that he had been enabled to find his way back to his country, in time to take the train that brought him from a large seaport to the small town some twenty miles' distance from his home. Once there, he had to travel that distance by coach. But just as he was preparing to start on his last journey, he met a poor sailor, a companion of his shipwreck. With tears in his eyes the man told him that having lost all, he had no more money left to take him to his wife and children, who were yet two days' journey by rail from where he was; and that thus, he could not be with them to make merry Christmas together. So the good-hearted young officer, thinking he could easily walk the short distance that separated him from home, had emptied his purse into the sailor's hands and started on his way on foot, hoping to arrive on that same evening.
He set out early in the morning and bethought himself of a short cut through the vast forests of his native place. But on that afternoon he hurt his foot badly, and being able to move only at a very slow pace, the night had overtaken him in the forest in which he had finally lost his way during that terrible night. He had wandered since the morning during the whole long day, until pain, exhaustion, and [Page 276] the hurricane had overpowered him. And now, he was lying helpless on the bare frozen ground, and would surely die before the dawn.
How long he lay there he never remembered; but, when he came back to himself, he thought he could move, and resolved to make a last supreme effort after the short rest. The wind had suddenly fallen. He felt warmer and calmer now, as he sat leaning against a tree. Old habit brought him back to his previous train of thought.
“Never, mother dear, never”, he addressed her in thought, “never have I spent a Christmas away from your dear selves. . . . Never, since my boyhood, when father died twelve years ago! I made a vow then that, come what would, I should spend each Christmas Eve at home; and now, though life seems slowly ebbing out of my body, I want to keep my promise. They must be waiting for me even now, they, and Alice, my sweet fair cousin, who tells me she never loved but me ! Reginald and Lionel, my brothers, who are earnestly waiting for me; my shy pretty May, and little Fanny. . . . They are all longing to see me, my dear ones, all expecting their old brother Hugo to return and decorate their Christmas-tree. . . . Oh, mother, mother, see you I must! I will be with you on this Christmas Eve, come what may !”
This passionate longing appeal seemed to give him a ten-fold strength. He made a desperate effort to rise from his place, and found he could do so quite easily. Then, overcome with joy, he flew rather than walked through the dense black forest. He must have surely mistaken the distance, as a minute later he found himself in the brushwood, and saw the well-known valley so familiar to him, and even discerned in the bright moonlight the home that contained all his dear ones. He ran still faster, more and more rapidly, and even forgot in his excitement to wonder whence he had found the power of using his lame foot so easily. . . . At last he reached the lawn, and approached the cosy old house, all wrapped in its snowy winter garments, and sparkling in moonlight like a palace of King Frost. From a large bay-window poured out torrents of light, and as he drew still nearer, trying to see through it, he caught a glimpse of the loved faces, which he stopped to look at, before knocking at the door. ... .
“Oh, my mother ! I see her there”, he exclaimed. “There she is, seated in her arm-chair, with her knitting by her side, her beautiful silvery hair as soft and glossy as ever under her snow-white cap. I see her kind eyes and placid features still unmarked by the furrows of age. . . . She looks troubled. . . . She listens to the fierce gusts of wind which cause the windows to shake and rattle. How that wind does try to get into the house, and, finding itself no welcome guest, hark, how it rolls away. . . . How strange! . . . I hear, but I do not feel the wind. . . . Oh! . . . Kneeling at my mother's feet there's Alice. Her arms are clasped around mother's knees; her golden curls fall on her back. . . . But — but, why are her large violet eyes filled with tears as she looks [Page 277] with up-turned face into mother's sad eyes ? . . . Hush ! What is she saying ? . . . I hear it, even through that wall. . . .
'“Don't be uneasy, mother, dear, Hugo will come back. You know he told us so in his last letter. He said that after their shipwreck he was kindly, cared for by those who saved the crew. He wrote also that he had borrowed money for the journey, and that he would be with us at the latest on Christmas Eve! . . . Bad roads and the stormy night will have detained him. . . . The coach, you say ? Well, and though the coach has long since passed by, he may have taken a carriage. He will soon be here, mother'.
“Ah, dear Alice, I see — she looks at her finger, with its little ruby ring I placed on it. She puts it to her lips, and I hear her murmuring my name. ...
(From Hugo's diary, where he recorded that night's experience.)
.... I rushed into the house at that appeal, and, as I now remember, without knocking at the door, as if I had passed through the stone walls. I tried to speak, but no sound appeared to reach their ears. Nor did anyone seem to see or greet me. ... I drew Alice by the arm, but she never turned round, only continued to murmur sweet words of consolation into my mother's ear. Good God, what agony ! Why do they not hear, or even see me. . . . Am I really here? I look round the room. The old home is just as I had left it nine months since. There is my father's picture hanging over the mantel-piece, looking at me with his kind smile; the old piano open, with my favourite song on it. ... The cat sleeping as usual, on the hearthrug, and purring, as she stretches out her lazy paws. Albums on the table, my photograph, with its bright and happy look ! How different to my present self! Here am I, standing in an agony of doubt, before my loved ones, seeing them, feeling them, touching them . . . and yet unseen by them, unnoticed, as one who is not there. . . . Not even my shadow on the wall over their own. But who then, am I ? . . . Why have they grown so blind to my presence ? Why do their hearts and senses remain so dense? I try again and again. I call them piteously by their names, but they heed me not. My heart, my love, all is here, but my physical body seems far away. Yes, it is far, far away, and now I see it, as it lies cold and lifeless in that forest, where I must have left it. It is surely for me, not for that body, that they care ! And is it because I am no longer clothed with flesh that I must be as only a breath, an empty naught, to them ? . . .
Full of despair, I turned away, and passing through the folding doors, arrived in the adjoining room, where my young brothers and sisters were busily occupied decorating the Christmas tree. There it stands, the old friend of my youth. I see it, and even discern its resinous perfume. . . . Towering up towards the ceiling, its lower branches are bending to the ground, laden with golden fruits, with toys and wax [Page 278] tapers. My brothers and sisters are gathered around it. But Reginald looks grave. I see him turning to May, and hear him saying:
“Are you not anxious about Hugo ? I wonder what can have become of him !”
“I did not like to tell mother”, May replies with a little shiver, “but I had a dreadful dream last night. I saw Hugo white and cold. He looked sorrowfully at me, but when he tried to speak he could not. His look haunts me still!” she softly sobbed, with tears rolling down her cheeks.
But now little Fanny gives a scream of delight. The child has discovered among the Christmas presents a real pipe, a pipe with silver bells.
“Oh, this shall be for Hugo, and then he will have music whenever he smokes !” exclaims the little one, merrily laughing, and holding out the toy in the direction where I am standing.
For a moment I hope she sees me. I try to take the pipe, but my hand cannot clasp it, and the toy seems to slip away from me as if it were a shadow. ... I try to speak again, but it is of no use .... they see me not, neither do they hear me! ...
Grieved beyond words, I left them, and returning into the next room, went up straight to Alice, who was still at mother's side, murmuring to her loving words. I spoke again, I entreated, I besought them to look at me, and my suffering was so great that I felt that death would be preferable to this!
Then came a last and supreme effort. Concentrating all my will, I bent over Alice, and gasped out with my whole soul:
“If ever you loved me, Alice, know and hear me now !'' I exclaimed, as I pressed my lips to hers.
She gave a shudder, a start, and then, opening her eyes wider and wider, she shrieked in terror:
“Hugo ! Hugo ! Mother, do you see ? Hugo is here !”
She tried to clasp me in her arms, but her hands met together, and only joined as if in prayer.
“Hugo, Hugo, stay, why can I not touch you ? Mother, look ! look ! Here is Hugo !”
She was growing wilder and more excited with every moment.
My mother looked faint and frightened, as she said:
“Alice, what is the matter, child ? What do you see ? Hugo is not here!”
The children, hearing Alice's cry, flew into the room, all eager with expectation.
“Where is Hugo ? Where is he ? ” they prattled.
I felt that I was invisible to all but Alice. She was the only one to see me, Therefore, realizing that the body had to be saved from its danger in the woods without loss of time, I drew her after myself with [Page 279] all my will. I slowly moved towards the door, never taking my look off her eyes. She followed me, as one in a state of somnambulism.
My mother looked stunned and bewildered.
Rising with difficulty from her place, she would have made for the door also, but sank back into her arm-chair powerless and covered her face with her hands.
“Boys, follow Alice”, said May. “Wait . . . the carriage is there ready to go after the doctor's children. Take it. Call the gardener and John to go with you. I will stay with mother”. And whispering to Reginald, she added, “Tell John to take rugs and blankets . . . but I am afraid poor Hugo is dead ! ”
She then turned to mother, who had fainted. I would see no more, but willing Alice to follow me, I left the house.
She came slowly after me, her face all white, her large eyes full of a look of terror, but also of resolution in them. On she would have gone on foot, in the drizzling rain, her golden hair all flying about her head, had she been allowed to do so by my brothers and servants. The strange cortege was ushered into the open carriage, the coachman being ordered to follow her directions. On it went, as speedily as the horse could go. I found myself floating now before them, and, to my own amazement, sliding backwards, with my face turned towards Alice, strongly willing that she should not lose sight of me. Two hours afterwards, the carriage entered the brushwood, and they were obliged to alight.
The night was now very dark and stormy, and notwithstanding the lanterns, the group made way with great difficulty into the thicket. The wind had begun to blow and howl with the same fury as when I had left the wood, and seemed to have caught them all in its chilly embrace. The boys and servants panted and shivered, but Alice heeded nothing. What cared she for that! The only thought of my beloved was I, Hugo. . . . On, on we went, her tender feet wounded with the brambles, and the wet sprays of branches brushing against her white face. On, on she ran, till, with a sudden and loud cry of joy and terror mixed, she fell down.
At the same instant I collapsed, and fell also on the ground, as it seemed to me; and then all became a blank. . . . As I learned later, at that moment the boys drew near, and lowering their lanterns found Alice with her arms clasped around a form, and when the lanterns were placed close to it they saw before them the body of their brother Hugo, a corpse !
“Sure enough he is dead, the poor young master! ” cried John, our old servant, who was close behind. “No, no !” Alice answered. “No, he is not dead. . . . His body is cold, but his heart still beats. Let us carry him home. . . . Quick, quick!” [Page 280]
Lifting up the body gently and placing it in the carriage they covered it with rugs and shawls, and drove at a furious speed back to our home. It was near midnight when the carriage stopped at the gate.
“Reginald, run on quickly and give the good news to mother ! ” cried Alice. “Tell May to have hot bottles and blankets ready, on the sofa in the drawing-room. It is warm there near the fire. . . . Tell them all that Hugo lives, for I know he does”, she went on repeating.
More lights were brought out, and the servants carried carefully their burden into the house, where they placed it on the sofa, hot flannels and restoratives being immediately applied. Noiselessly and breathlessly went on the work of love around the apparently dead body, and was at last rewarded. A sigh was heard, a deeper breath was drawn, and then the eyes slowly opened and I looked round in vague surprise at all those loved and anxious faces crowding eagerly around me.
“Don't speak yet, Hugo”, whispered Alice anxiously. “Don't, till you feel stronger”.
But I could not control my impatience.
“How am I here ? ” I asked. “ Ah, I remember. I lost my way in the old forest. . . . Ah, yes; I recollect now all. . . . The cold biting wind, my lame foot, after I stumbled and fell, knocking my head against a stone, and all became a blank to me !”
“Hush, Hugo, hush my boy”, said my mother wiping tears of joy from her still pale and suffering face. “You will tell us all that presently. . . . Now rest”.
But I could not refrain from speaking, as thoughts crowded into my head, and recollections came vividly back. “No, no, I am better”, I went on. “I am strong again, and I must let you know all that I dreamed. I was here, and I saw you all. . . . Oh, the torture I suffered when you knew me not! . . . Mother, darling, did you not see me, your son ? But she, my Alice, saw and followed me, and it is she who saved me from death ! Ah, yes ! I remember now, you found my body, and then all was darkness again. Kiss me, mother ! Kiss me all, let me feel that I am really with you in body, and am no longer an invisible shadow. . . . Mother I kept my promise; I am here on Christmas Eve ! Light the tree, my little Fan, and give me the pipe with the bells I saw you holding, and heard you say it was for old brother Hugo.”
The child ran into the other room and returned with the pipe I had seen her playing with a few hours before. This was the greatest and final proof for me, as for my family. The event was no vision then, no hallucination, but true to its merest details! As my mother often said afterwards, referring to that wonderful night, it was a weird and strange experience, but one which had happened to others before, and will go on happening from time to time. Of late years, when I had been happily married to my Alice (who will not let me travel far away [Page 281] without her, any longer) I have dived a good deal into such psychic mysteries, and I think I can explain my experience. I think that by privation, cold, and mental agony, I had been thrown into such abnormal conditions, that my astral body, as it is now generally called, my “conscious self”, was able to escape from the physical tenement and take itself to the home I so passionately desired to reach. All my thoughts, and longings being intensely directed towards it, I found myself there where I wished to be, in spirit. Then the agony of mind from the consciousness that I was invisible to all, added to the fear of death unless I could impress them with my presence, became finally productive of the supreme effort of will, the success of which alone could save me. This joined to Alice's sensitiveness and her love for me, enabled her to sense my presence, and even to see my form, whereas others saw nothing. Man is a wonderful and marvellous enigma; but it is one which has to, and will, be completely unriddled some day, the scepticism of the age notwithstanding.
Such is the simple story told to the writer by an old naval officer, about the most “memorable Christmas Eve ” that came within his own experience.
Buddha ! my earthly memory is so dimmed
By this poor passing life which travels a hem
Across my soul, and thought I cannot stem
Pours like a flood to wash all traces limned
Of former selves, that I shall ne'er recall
The steps I came, nor know the fleshly tents
In which I sojourned; — yet the fraying rents
Of time-worn garments I have seen, and all
The dust upon my feet, and I the sin
Of tiger and of cobra passions striven
To crush. These were strait gates, and through them driven
My chariot wheels, so prithee set me free
From other births, lest I seek Peter's key,
O ! Sakya Muni, let me trembling in. [Page 282]
by a Socialist Student
(1) “Socialism, as preached during this nineteenth century, it [the Universal Brotherhood, which is the mainspring of Theosophy] J.B. B.] certainly is not. (2) Indeed, there would be little difficulty in showing that modern materialistic Socialism is directly at variance with all the teachings of Theosophy. (3) Socialism advocates a direct interference with the results of the law of Karma, and would attempt to alter the dénouement of the parable of the talents by giving to the man who hid his talent in a napkin, a portion of the ten talents acquired by the labour of his more industrious fellow”.I will first take the three statements contained in this paragraph separately, and, for convenience's sake, in inverted order. The allegation against Socialism contained in the third is the most specific, and that which, in the eyes of Theosophists, must appear the most serious. This statement — namely, that “Socialism requires a direct interference with the results of the law of Karma, and would attempt, etc..” — constitutes, in fact, the only definite premise in his argument. Of course, if Socialists do advocate, consciously or unconsciously, anything of the sort, they advocate a physical and psychical impossibility, and their movement is doomed to failure. More than this, if they do so consciously, they are sinning against the light, and are impious as well as childish in their efforts. Of such, clearly, the Universal Brotherhood is not.
THE GREAT QUEST (1)
Pilgrim (William Scott-Elliot ( - 1919)
“ In many mortal
forms I rashly sought
The shadow of that idol of my thought.”
l’amour éteint si je vécus
C'est pour la vérité, soif aussi qui dévore ! ”
THE loss of youth and love is the perpetual wail of the poets.
A never-changing spring-time of life, where the sweet dreams of youth would
be realised in the fruition of reciprocal love, such would be a heaven to them,
and such is a heaven while it lasts. If we add to this the refined aesthetic
taste that can delicately balance and appreciate to a nicety every joy of the
senses, and the highly-developed intellect which can roam at will over the
accumulated store of past ages of culture, what would there be left for poets
to dream of? With heart, senses and mind worthily employed, and with the well-balanced
nature that knows moderation alone can give continued bliss, could not man
rest satisfied at last ? What more could he desire ?
It is useless to deny that life has very sweet gifts to give, though the number is limited of those who are capable of receiving them in their fulness. But even while these gifts are being enjoyed, it is felt that the horizon is bounded. With what questioning uncertainty — albeit with fascination — does youth open its eyes upon the glamour of the dazzling world! The love of the Springtide, even in fruition, is continually building fairy bowers in the future — it never for long rests content in the present, while to the intellect the bounded scope of utmost learning is a still more definite goad towards a knowledge that shall transcend all past experience.
And even were man content to continue to drink of the one cup of bliss, he is never allowed to do so. The lessons of life, the great teacher, are continually being altered, and the tempest of the heart takes the place of the calm that was never expected to end.
If, then, we must look in vain to find permanent bliss in any of these things — if, beyond the highest intellectual culture of an intellectual age there gleams the vision of a higher knowledge — if behind the artistic refinement of this, as of all past flowers of civilization, the fount of all sweetness lies hid — if even the heart-binding communion of earthly love is but a faint reflex of the deep peace realized by him who has torn aside the veil that hides the Eternal, surely all man's energies should be devoted to the quest which will yield him such results.
The whole philosophy of life may be summed up in the Four great Truths that Buddha taught, and no more convincing description of them [Page 289] can be read than that given in the lovely lines of the eighth book of the Light of Asia.”
He who has once been deeply imbued
with these great truths — who has
realised the transitory nature of all earthly bliss, and the pains and sorrows
that more than counterbalance the joys of life — will never in his truest
moments desire to be again blessed, either in the present or in any future
incarnation, with an uniformly happy life, for there is no such soporific for
the soul as the feeling of satisfaction, as there is no such powerful goad
as the feeling of dissatisfaction. He is bound to pass through periods of joy,
but they will be looked forward to with fear and doubting, for then it is that
the sense-world again fastens its fangs on the soul, to be followed by the
pain of another struggle for freedom.
When first setting out on the great quest, it seems as if many lifetimes would fail to appease the dominant passion of the soul, but nature works quickly in the hottest climates, and from the very intensity of the desire may spring the strength and will to conquer it. Though it is probably the same key-note that is struck throughout, the dominant desire will appear to take a different tone through the ascending scale of life. It is a speculation, but one which would seem to receive endorsement from the analogies of nature; for as the human embryo in its antenatal development, exhibits in rapid succession, but with longer pauses as it approaches the period of birth, the characteristics of the lower races of animal life from which man has evolved, so does the human soul realise in its passage through life the dominant desires and attractions which have affected it through countless past incarnations. The lower desires which in past lives may have been more or less completely conquered, will be experienced in rapid succession and left behind without much difficulty, till the great struggle of the life is reached, from which man must come out more or less victorious if he is to continue the progress at all.
If right intention were the only thing needed, if it were a guarantee against being led astray, or if straying did not necessitate retardation on the road, there would be no such supreme necessity that belief should be in accordance with facts; but even in worldly affairs we see every day that purity of intention is no guard against the failures that come from lack of knowledge. In the great spiritual science therefore, which deals with the problem of life as a whole — not the mere fragment which this earthly existence represents — it will be seen how vitally necessary it is that facts should be conceived correctly.
To us whose eyes are blinded to the heights above, by the mists of our own desires, the only rays of light which can illumine the darkness of our journey on the great quest, are the words (whether or not in the form of recognised revelation) left by the masters who have preceded us on the road, and the counsel of our comrades who are bound for the [Page 290] same goal. But words are capable of many interpretations, and the opinions of our comrades are coloured by their own personality — the ultimate touch-stone of truth must therefore be looked for in the disciple's own breast.
Having stated the necessity for correct belief, let us now consider the question of the great achievement — the annihilation of Karma — the attainment of Nirvana. It must be acknowledged as a logical proposition that Karma can never annihilate Karma, i.e., that no thoughts, words, or acts of the man in his present state of consciousness, can, ever free him from the circle of re-births. This view would seem to necessitate some power external to the man to free him — a power which has touch of him, and which would have to be allied to him.
Now the teachings which have been put before the world in “Light on the Path” state the other side of the question. “Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and the life”. And again, “For within you is the light of the world, the only light that can be shed on the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere”. It would seem that the solution of this great paradox must be sought for in the constitution of man, as described in theosophic writings. Indeed, it is the scientific statement of deep spiritual truths which gives to the Theosophic teachings their remarkable value, and which seems likely to carry conviction of their truth to the Western peoples, who have for too long been accustomed to the mere emotional sentimentality of the orthodox religions, and to the pessimistic negation of science.
The higher principles, as they have been called, in the constitution of man, particularly the divine Atma, through which he is allied to the all-pervading Deity, must ever remain deep mysteries. But at least they are cognisable by the intellect, as providing logical stepping-stones for spanning the great gulf between Humanity and Divinity, — the Power — the correct cognition of which provides the very link between both systems of thought — which is at the same time external to man, and has touch of him by its own divine light which enlightens him, and which is also the very man himself — his highest and truest Self.
For most of us it is the “God hidden in the Sanctuary”, of whose very existence we are unaware, is known under the name of Iswara or the Logos — the primal ray from the Great Unknown. It is the Chrestos of the Christians, but, save, perhaps, to a few mystics in the Roman or Greek churches, it has been degraded past recognition by their materialistic anthropomorphism. A help to its better understanding may be obtained by a reference to Sanscrit philosophy, which describes man's nature as consisting of the three gunas or qualities — Satwa, goodness, Rajas, passion and Tamas, darkness, or delusion — and the nature of most men is made up almost entirely of the two last named — while the Logos is pure Satwa. [Page 291]
The vexed question, therefore, as to whether man is freed by his own dominant will, or by the power of the Logos, will be seen to be very much a distinction without a difference. For the attainment of final liberation the God within and the God without must co-operate.
Desire being, as Buddha taught, the great obstacle in the way, its conquest by the dominant will is the thing that has to be done, but the Divine will cannot arise in its power, till the conviction of the Supreme desirability of attaining the eternal condition is rendered permanent; and it is this that necessitates the goad which the Logos is continually applying by its light on the soul.
We are now face to face with a very difficult problem — it is, in fact the gulf which separates the Occultist from the Religionist, and it is here that it is so necessary to get hold of the correct idea.
“Strong limbs may dare the rugged road which storms,
Soaring and perilous, the mountain's breast;
The weak must wind from slower ledge to ledge,
With many a place of rest.”
The short cut to perfection referred to in the first two lines has been called in Theosophic writings “the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life”. To have faced the fearful abyss of darkness of the first trial, without starting back in terror at the apparent annihilation which the casting aside of the sense-life implies, and out of the still more awful silence of the second trial; to have had the strength to evoke the greater Self — the God that has hitherto been hidden in the sanctuary — such is the language used with reference to the very first — nay, the preliminary — steps on this path, while the further steps are represented by the ascending scale of the occult Hierarchy, where the neophyte or chela, through a series of trials and initiations, may attain the highest Adeptship, and the man may gradually leave behind him his human desires and limitations, and realise instead the attributes of Deity.
(To be continued.) [Page 292]
The readers of the curious article
which follows are requested to remember that the writers of signed papers
in Lucifer, and not the editors, are responsible for their contents. Captain
Serjeant’s views excite much interest among
a large number of earnest people, who use Biblical forms and phraseology to
picture to themselves the hidden things of nature and of spirit — things
which we, the editors, and also the large majority of Theosophists, believe
to be more clearly conveyed under the symbolism of the ancient Wisdom-Religion
of the East, and better expressed in its terminology. The article is an attempt
to explain the significance of a very curious cloud formation observed by many
persons in Scotland, on the 16th of September last, a sketch of which appeared
in the St. Stephen’s Review on the 24th of the same month. In
the centre of the sketch appears a side view of the British Lion rampant, with
his paw on the head of a bearded man, who bears a considerable likeness to
Mr. Parnell; to the right of the Lion is an excellent likeness of Her Majesty,
crowned, as in the Jubilee coinage, and smiling very naturally; and to the
left of the picture is an Irish harp. The appearance, by the testimony of many
witnesses, must have been remarkably perfect and striking. Cloud-forms of a
similar kind have been recorded many times in history, and they are usually
connected in the public mind with some important political event. The Cross
of Constantine will, no doubt, recur to the readers’ mind, but the sword
and reversed crescent, which everyone saw in the sky when the Turks were driven
out of Vienna, may be less generally known; as also the reversed thistles,
with the outline of a Scotchman, armed with claymore and targe, and falling
backward, which was observed in the clouds by the King and
Court at Windsor on the night before the battle of Culloden. [ Fought
April 16, 1738, near Inverness, Scotland, when the Jacobites were totally defeated
by the Duke of Cumberland. This was the last effort of the Stuarts to regain
the throne. This note from Boris De Zirkoff ]
The question of what interpretation is to be put upon remarkable cloud appearances, is of little interest to anyone who believes that such phenomena are merely accidental arrangements of the watery vapours of the atmosphere driven by currents of air. Apart, however, from the obvious consideration that this way of regarding the phenomenon only raises the further question of what causes the currents of air to run in these particular ways, it may be safely said that the chances are millions of millions of millions to one, against the appearance in the clouds of any such perfect and complete picture of well-known persons and emblems, as were seen in Scotland on the 16th of September. Of course it may be argued, on the other hand, that the clouds are for ever forming and re-forming in millions of millions of millions different ways, and that the mathematical chances are that one of these ways will occasionally represent an earth scene. But even if the infinite number of continual permutations and transformations of cloud substance be held to account for the occasional appearance of some graphic picture of human things, it does not in any way explain why these rare pictures, when they do occur, should be perfect and appropriate symbols; neither does it account for their appearance at the particular moment when the extraordinary events, to which they are appropriate, are occurring, or about to occur.
The phenomenon of vapours and fumes taking the shape of persons and things, is one of the oldest and best accredited facts in magic, and these cloud appearances, if they be viewed as having any significance are merely instances of a similar action on a large scale produced by some conscious or unconscious force in nature.
If it be allowed, however, that the occasional assumption by vapours of the shapes and likenesses of terrestrial things is not a “fortuitous concourse of atoms,” but occurs in accordance with some obscure law of nature that in itself is the [Page 293] result of the mutual interaction and interdependence of everything in the Universe, the important question still remains — whether these appearances, when they do occur, are “intended” as warnings or omens? Should the lion, the harp, her Majesty, and Mr. Parnell, of the Scottish cloud-picture, be taken as having any more significance in the affairs of the nation, or of the world at large, than chemical phenomena can be supposed to presage disturbances or rejoicings in the world of nature? To answer this question would involve considerations which only an advanced Occultist would be able to comprehend; so we shall merely say, that although there are natural symbols which carry in them a definite meaning for those who can read that secret language, still symbols are generally significant in proportion as people themselves put a significance into them.
A triangle or a cube is nothing but a triangle or a cube to a yokel, but to an Occultist they contain the philosophy of the Universe. Even so, Captain Serjeant, “the New Dispensationist”, and Theosophist, can put the meaning he likes into this or any other symbolical representation. We do not quite agree with either his methods or his results in the case before us, but the conclusions he draws are the same that are now being reached by many minds pursuing very different paths; and these conclusions may be summed up by saying that great changes are approaching, both in the temporal and in the spiritual life of humanity, and that these changes will eventuate in better things and nobler ideas.
THUS may be interpreted the symbolical appearance represented and described in the St. Stephen's Review of 24th September 1887. The lion [ It is somewhat difficult to follow the argument of this passage, unless the meaning of the words is explained. The Lion of the House of Judah is equivalent to “Lord” and to “the Victor” mentioned below. In the writer’s phraseology “Victor is the symbol of the Trinity of Wisdom, Love, Truth.” Now the Lion is symbolical of Wisdom; but, as it is impossible to sever one element of the Trinity from another, it is necessary to remember that whenever the word wisdom is used it carries with it the other two as well. The above sentence would then seem to mean the conjunction of the male and female principles to effect the purpose of the manifestation of the Trinity above mentioned; by which manifestation all ignorance is dispelled. Editor ] of the house of Judah [Judah means praised; the true idea being the Lord be praised. Too much attention cannot be paid to the meanings of the words used in the sacred writings of all nations and peoples ] arises with Victoria [ i.e. the Queen, on whose lands the Sun never sets; it must be remembered that—“neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman in the Lord.” — (I Corinthians xi, II. ] the female principle of the victor [“And no man can say Jesus is Lord (i.e. Victor) but in the Holy Spirit,”—(I Corinthians xii, 3 Revised Version.) It is especially necessary to remember that whenever allusion is made to Victoria, it is not Her Most Gracious Majesty who is meant but the unseen Victoria whose outward manifestation the Queen is alleged to be. It is as though the Queen is the mouth-piece of the intelligence behind, as the Foreign Secretary may be the mouth-piece of the Foreign policy of the Government. The language used is purely symbolical and by using words as symbols an esoteric meaning is attached to the most commonplace events in life. It is a truly occult argument, but one which matter-of-fact people will regard as nonsensical. Editor ] of this world of ignorance , error, sin, crime and misery. The lion represents that wisdom which is the only true and lasting power on earth. He shall crush out the anarchy and confusion now so manifest in the world which is the state of ignorance existing on this earth. Without a miracle shall all this be accomplished ?
As insidious doubt has crept into the hearts of the children of men, so shall insidious truth creep in to dispel all doubt; ignorance developed into wisdom shall be the destruction of the world. [According to the explanations of the writer (v. supra), The World signifies a state of ignorance and darkness. Taken in this sense the above sentence becomes a truism. Editor ] Ignorance is the former or lower expression of knowledge, and knowledge is the former or lower expression of wisdom — ignorance [Ignorance is the equivalent of the Body, which is the Cross. By this light the Wisdom means the life of the Spirit. Editor] is the cross — wisdom is the crown. Ignorance regarded in a [Page 294] true light is really an incentive to knowledge, for no man would try to attain to knowledge were he not ignorant. And no man would strive to attain to wisdom, did he not possess the knowledge which ever silently proclaims to him its crowning happiness. Wisdom is not only the celestial crown which every embodied soul is ultimately destined to possess, but it is also that particular state of Heaven called the “New Jerusalem” which shall descend from the Spirit (i.e. God, see John iv., 24.) to earth in these latter days (see Revelation xxi.)
Man was created [To say that Man was created ignorant for a great purpose would argue the idea of a creator, according to orthodox ideas. But the writer is known to repudiate this idea entirely. It is difficult, therefore, to see what he means, unless it is that the man of flesh was ushered into existence by an evolution which he has not yet completed — ignorant, to acquire knowledge gradually. Editor ] an ignorant being for a great purpose, which he will ultimately realise and know. Were there no ignorance, there could be no error, without error there could be no sin. Were there no ignorance, no sin, there could be no crime, no unhappiness, no misery existing on the earth. When, therefore, general ignorance shall succumb to the disintegrating power of universal intelligence so rapidly developing in these latter days [This is a very optimistic view of the case, and we can only hope to see it realized. The article “Signs of the Times” agrees with the views of the writer of this article. There is a development going on, but the forces against which it has to contend are too dense for an early realisation of this dreamlike Golden Age. It is too good to be true; but that it is possible to help it is also true. The Kingdom of Heaven may be taken by violence, and an entrance effected in an instant, but the process of attaining the position whence the attack may be delivered, is one extending over years. No student of occultism needs to be told this. Editor ] (see Daniel xii., 4), and which is the quickening of the Spirit of God in man; then the very conditions responsible for evolving error, sin, crime, unhappiness, and misery will be entirely done away with, and thus the consummation of the age — or, as the old translation of the Bible has it, the end of the world — will be brought about as a necessary consequence of purification by the Fire of the Spirit, Truth, which is the Divine Son of the Supreme Spirit, or God. “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He shall guide you into all the Truth”; then shall the princes of the House of David [ David means beloved; he was the first King of Israel, chosen of the Spirit. Israel means one who strives with God — i.e. one who strives against ignorance in order that he may be blessed together with his posterity. It was a name given to Jacob when he wrestled with the Angel (Genesis xxxii, 28) and applies to all who contend on the side of the Deity ] arise from amongst the people to rule the nations in equity and justice, in prosperity and peace, and the reign of the One Almighty Spirit of Wisdom, Love, and Truth shall begin on earth — for the Lion (or wisdom) shall lie down with the Lamb (or innocence), and a little child (or truth, see Rev. xii., the coming man-child) shall lead them.
The soul-stirring and elevating harp of the sweet and trusting daughters of Judah [ In the writer’s phraseology, Judah is the equivalent of Erin in this case. It becomes exceedingly difficult to follow his meaning, for as everything is the equivalent of everything else, we are landed in a hopeless maze of paradox. On the principle that there is not truth without a paradox, there must be a great truth in this article (as there is), but its disentanglement is a matter of much labour and thought. The line of argument is the Judah meaning “be praised” — certain people who praised or followed the Lord (or Wisdom) were “oppressed and laid aside their harps”. There are people unjustly oppressed in Ireland, not by the outer troubles, but by the causes of the undoubted misery which prevails there. Consequently, the daughters of Judah and Erin are equivalent terms and interchangeable as symbols. The fact is that the author uses a peculiar cryptogram, as he himself states. Editor ] is hushed — no crown surmounts it; and angels weep and mourn over the discord now prevailing in the world. Where are the harmonious chords which, through their inherent, soft, loving and sympathetic notes once rendered powerless that enemy of man — the serpent ? Lost, through the ignorance and sin of the puny earth-worms of this world ! Yet Ireland, in common with the whole earth, shall be freed ere long from the yoke of ignorance which is so sorely oppressing all God's creatures, for the crowned female head symbolically represents the “Sign in Heaven” which has appeared, of the Victoria or the woman [ See “The Mother, the woman clothed with the Sun”, Vols I and II; and also the celebrated picture of “The Woman clothed with the Sun,” by Carl Müller ] clothed with the Sun, the Divine Mother from whom will proceed the [Page 295] Child of Wisdom, Love and Truth, who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron, [ i.e. The Sceptre that endureth ] and who shall be caught up unto God and unto His Throne. [Revelation, xii ]
The following quotation from one of the replies to two leading articles, which appeared in the Manchester Courier of May 4th and 13th, may also tend to throw some light on the vision of the crowned female head: “The present year heralds the jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, on whose glorious Empire the sun never sets. It shall also proclaim the jubilee of another Queen Victoria, well known to the ancients as the Bride of God who awaits the arrival of the Bridegroom. This Queen is She of Sheba [The Queen of the South or Zenith (i.e. the most supreme point of the Heavens) who shall rise in judgement with this generation (see Matthew xii, 42) She’ba represents two Hebrew words (Shebhã and Shebhà). The first of these is an obscure term, compared by Gesenius with the Ethiopic for “man”; the second signifies an oath or covenant ] — the female principle of the one who is the Victor [ i.e. The Christ, the Messiah ] of this world of ignorance and darkness, sin and crime; and He is the Solomon, [ i.e. The man of “Sol” or the Sun. Hence, Christians worship on Sunday instead of on the Sabbath or on Saturday, as the Jews worship ] or Man of Light, Truth and Life Eternal. On her glorious empire the golden rays of Love and Peace shall shine forth from the Living Sun which nevermore shall set. She is the woman clothed with the Sun, and from her will proceed the promised man-child who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron, and shall be caught up unto God and unto His Throne. Were the English nation but to realise the mighty import of the grand and everlasting truths which I now proclaim, it would, to a man, support us in that work in which we, the New Dispensationists, daily and hourly labour in the interests of a suffering humanity now being slowly ground to powder in the stern mill of social ignorance and degradation. The time has come for the promise to be made known of the fulfilment of the “Saving health of all nations”; the prophecies of the ancients relating to the ultimatum of the written Word of Truth clearly point to the present age; and the Eternal Fiat has gone forth from the Universal King: “Write, for these words are faithful and true” — “Behold, I make all things new”. (Revelation xxi., 5.)
It is fashionable in the world to covertly sneer at the things of the Spirit, and to regard the Living God in Heaven as a Being either unable or unwilling to manifest His Almighty Power and Presence to the world in this orthodox nineteenth century. To all who may be inclined to ignorantly hold what I have here written to be the outcome of a disordered imagination I would say, in the words of Paul, an apostle: “not of men, neither by men”. — “We speak wisdom among the full-grown, yet a wisdom, not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, which are coming to nought: but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory, which none of the Rulers of this world knoweth”. [ i.e. Theosophy, or the hidden outcome of the hidden wisdom of the ages ] “Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them because they are spiritually examined. But he that is spiritual examineth all things and is himself examined of no man. (See I Corinthians, ii.)
The year 1887 heralds the spiritual activity which will eventually culminate
in the glorious consummation of the age. [Page 296]
THE idea of re-incarnation, that is to say of a succession of earth-lives passed through by each individual monad, seems so new and so daring to the Western World, that we are always being asked, “Where are your proofs ? Are we to take such a startling hypothesis as this simply on your ipse dixit, or on the authority of some ancient Oriental book or “problematical” Mahatma ? ”
To such a question the reply cannot be given in two or three words for, while maintaining that there is at least as much reliance to be placed upon the Sacred Books of the East as on those of any other religion, and while holding firm to the belief that there are beings of a higher order of intelligence living upon this earth, and mixing even in its great life-currents, we cannot expect that merely because we say “Man does not leave this earth for good and all at Death”, we therefore shall gain credence. Before the world of Science our position would have to be that of a Young with his undulatory hypothesis of light, or a Dalton with his atomic theory. We cannot bring proof positive to those who desire an Euclidic demonstration; we can only offer to them a hypothesis, and bid them treat it calmly and dispassionately, not flying straightway into a fury of abuse at our great impudence in daring to suggest a heresy, but weighing it with care, and trying whether or no it will explain some of the dark riddles of existence.
To ourselves, merely as a working hypothesis, the doctrine of reincarnation seems to throw so much long-sought-for light upon the bewildering enigmas of life, and the strange vagaries of a fickle fortune, that we could not, even if we would, lay aside so fluent an interpreter of the utterances of the Sphinx — Existence. The seeming injustices in the lot of man fall into line as units of the great battalion of cause and effect; “What a man sows that must he also reap”. How else account for all the misery that cries aloud on every hand, the starving multitudes, the good man persecuted, the charlatan triumphant ? In the small purview of a life summed up in three-score years and ten, where is the indication of a Divine intelligence that metes to each his due ?
But if this brief existence be not the only one that man incarnate must pass through, if it be, as we are assured, but one short link in a chain that spans a fathomless expanse of myriad years, then does the eternity of justice proclaim itself, handed on from birth to birth in the dark fuel of the torch of life.
Our purpose now, however, is not to strive to catalogue the countless instances where destiny appears to cry aloud, into the deaf ears of man, that life is fraught with dire responsibility for future life, but to point to [Page 297] a case where she, in kindlier mood, has shown the gracious aspect of her face.
For the last few months London has been taken by storm by the marvellous musical talent of a child whose life, in this incarnation at least, is barely ten years old. We allude, of course, to Josef Hofmann. None of our readers who have heard this boy but must have wondered whence this phenomenal skill could have been derived. Other children have come before the public, and roused its listlessness a little with exhibitions of infantile precocity. But this young Josef has taken at once front rank among the stars of the musical world, and won a place only to be compared to that of the fairy-child Mozart.
Whence comes this breadth of feeling, this grasp of musical expression ? It is certain that it comes not from his teacher; for his father alone has filled that capacity, and it does not show itself in his performance; and again, the only unsatisfactory part of the boy's playing is clearly the result of mannerisms such as the second-rate conductor of a provincial orchestra would, without fail, extol and inculcate. No; it is clear that the swing of rhythm, the determination of attack, the delicacy of sentiment, must come from a man's heart beating within that boyish frame, and a man's mind shining through that childish head. Could one forget the name of the performer for one instant, and shut from one's eyes his physical presence, it were a man that was revealing to us the secrets of the notes. The rife experience of years must needs precede such rendering of musical thought; an experience earned in many a fight with varying fortune, in sympathy with many a tale of woe, in rejoicing over many a glimpse of Love and Brotherhood.
Yet ten short years are all his
tale ! What magician could crowd into that tiny space the parti-coloured
pictures of a fevered life of energy ? No, it must be that the child has
lived upon this earth before, has borne his lance in the thickest of the
fray, has achieved distinction in some great branch of art and garnered up
a store of thought and feeling, into the inheritance of which his heir, himself,
has entered. He may squander it again; alas, so many have before; but there
it is, for him to use aright or wrongly, and serious is the charge imposed
upon his guardians that they shall lay the lesson to heart that to whom much
is given, from him shall much be expected. But with that aspect of the case
it is not for us here to deal. We have only adduced this boy's genius as
one of the indications that life is in its succession a far more complex
problem than the materialists or the orthodox religionists would lead us
to believe. There are countless other suggestive little facts of early talent
that must have come within the circle of the daily life of each of us; but
without the thread of Karma whereon to string them, we pass them by; and
it is only when some remarkable phenomenon, such as that of Josef Hofmann,
bursts upon the world, that men fall to wondering. Yet it is by the accumulation
of small [Page 298] details that
a philosopher like Darwin worked out his scheme of natural evolution; and
it is by the testing of such a theory as that of re-incarnation by many a little
hitherto unexplained incident that we shall find its worth. Nor is it merely
as a curious prying into mysteries that we should regard such research; for,
once let a man convince himself that though “Art is long”, yet Life,
in its recurrence, is longer, he will find in the thought that he is really
laying up treasure in heaven (the lives to come), encouragement, despite all
temporary failure, to do whatsoever his hand findeth to do with all his might.
by PHD (? Ph Dalbiac)
Why fearest thou the darksome shades
That creep across the path of life ?
Why tremble at the thought of strife
That oftentimes the soul invades ?
Why sicken at the thought of ills ?
The horrors that invade thy dreams,
The shadowland of forms, that seems
Dark terror to the soul it fills ?
Why weary of the onward way,
Or dread the roughness of the road ?
Why fear to struggle 'gainst the load,
The heavy burthen of life's clay ?
Hast thou not seen ? — when gone the night
And stilled the dropping of the shower,
The weary drooping wayside flower
Drink in new life from sunbeams bright.
Hast thou not loved, at dawn, to feast,
The longing of thy mortal eyes
With vivid colours of the skies,
Burst free from floodgates of the East ?
And hast thou never tried, in thought,
To gain a clearer, truer view ?
A mystic glimpse, a vision new,
That shows the darkness as it ought ?
A phantom of material fear
Unworthy of a moment's dread;
For darkness would itself be dead,
Unless its mother light were near !
Then learn to grasp the purer light,
And learn to know the holier creed —
The brighter glow — the greater need,
The nearer day — the murkier night. [Page 299]
The word Chréstos existed ages before Christianity was heard of. It is found used, from the fifth century B.C., by Herodotus, by Aeschylus and other classical Greek writers, the meaning of it being applied to both things and persons.
Thus in Aeschylus (Choëphoroe, 901) we read of Μαντεὑματα πυθόΧρηστα (pythochrésta), the “oracles delivered by a Pythian God” (Greek-English Lex.) through a pythoness; and Pythochréstos is the nominative singular of an adjective derived from chrao Χράω (Euripides Ion, 1218). The later meanings coined freely from this primitive application, are numerous and varied. Pagan classics expressed more than one idea by the verb Χράομαι, “consulting an oracle”; for it also means “fated”, doomed by an oracle, in the sense of a sacrificial victim to its decree, or - “to the WORD”; as chrésterion is not only “the seat of an oracle” but also “an offering to, or for, the oracle.''[The word χρεν is explained by Herodotus (7.11.7.) as that which an oracle declares, and τὀ χρεὡν is given by Plutarch (Lives: Nicias, xiv, b) as “fate”, “necessity”. Vide Herod. VII, 215; V,108; and Sophocles, Philoctetes, 437 ] Chrestés Χρήοτης is one who expounds or explains oracles, “a prophet, a soothsayer”, [See Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon ] and chrésterios Χρηστἠριος is one who belongs to, or is in the service of, an oracle, a god, or a “Master”; [ Hence of a Guru, “a teacher”, and chela, a “disciple”, in their mutual relations ] this Canon Farrar's efforts notwithstanding [ In his recent work - “The Early Days of Christianity”, Canon Farrar remarks:“Some have supposed a pleasant play of words founded on it as,.... between Chréstos ('sweet' Ps. xxx.,iv.,8) and Christos (Christ)” .....(Volume 1, page 158, foot-note). But there is nothing to suppose, since it began by a “play of words”, indeed. The name Christus was not “distorted into Chrestus”, as the learned author would make his readers believe ( I, p. 19), but it was the adjective and noun Chréstos which became distorted into Christus, and applied to Jesus. In a foot-note on the word “Chrestian”, occurring in the First Epistle of Peter (chap. iv., 16), in which in the revised later MSS. the word was changed into Christian, Canon Farrar remarks again, ...“Perhaps we should read the ignorant heathen distortion, Chréstian”. Most decidedly we should; for the eloquent writer should remember his Master's command to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. His dislike notwithstanding, Mr. Farrar is obliged to admit that the name Christian was first INVENTED, by the sneering, mocking Antiochians, as early as A.D. 44, but had not come into general use before the persecution by Nero. “Tacitus”, he says, “uses the word 'Christians' with something of apology. It is well known that in the New Testament. it only occurs three times, and always involves a hostile sense ( Acts xi. 26, xxvi, 28) as it does in iv. 16)”. (Volume 1, P.147, footnote) It was not Claudius alone who looked with alarm and suspicion on the Christians, so nicknamed in derision for their carnalizing a subjective principle or attribute, but all the pagan nations. For Tacitus, speaking of those whom the masses called “Christians”, describes them as a set of men detested for their enormities and crimes. No wonder, for history repeats itself. There are, no doubt, thousands of noble, sincere, and virtuous Christian-born men and women now. But we have only to look at the viciousness of Christian “heathen” converts; at the morality of those proselytes in India, whom the missionaries themselves decline to take into their service, to draw a parallel between the converts of 1,800 years ago, and the modem heathens “touched by grace”. ]
All this is evidence that the terms Christ and Christians, spelt originally Chrést and Chréstians χρηστιανοί [Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Lactantius, Clemens Alexandrinus, and others spelt it in this way] were directly borrowed from the Temple [Page 300] terminology of the Pagans, and meant the same thing. The God of the Jews was now substituted for the Oracle and the other gods; the generic designation “Chréstos” became a noun applied to one special personage; and new terms such as Chréstianoï and Chréstodoulos “a follower or servant of Chréstos” — were coined out of the old material. This is shown by Philo Judaeus, a monotheist, assuredly, using already the same term for monotheistic purposes. For he speaks of θεόχρηστος ( théochréstos) “God-declared”, or one who is declared by god, and of λόϒια θεόχηστα (logia theochrêsta), “sayings delivered by God” — which proves that he wrote at a time (between the first century B. C., and the first A. D.) when neither Christians nor Chrêstians were yet known under these names, but still called themselves the Nazarenes. The notable difference between the two words, χράω — “consulting or obtaining response from a god or oracle” ( χρεω being the Ionic earlier form of it), and χριω (chrio) “to rub, to anoint” (from which the name Christos), have not prevented the ecclesiastical adoption and coinage from Philo's expression θεόχρηστος of that other term θεόχριστος “anointed by God”. Thus the quiet substitution of the letter ι, for η, for dogmatic purposes, was achieved in the easiest way, as we now see.
The secular meaning of Chréstos runs throughout the classical Greek literature pari passu with that given to it in the mysteries. Demosthenes saying ὢ χρηστέ, [330, 27 ]) means by it simply “you nice fellow”; Plato (in Phaedrus 264B) has χρηστὀς ἒì, ὅτι ήγεἳ - “you are an excellent fellow to think .. . . But in the esoteric phraseology of the temples “chréstos”, [Vide Liddell and Scott's Greek and English Lexicon. Chréstos is really one who is continually warned, advised, guided, whether by oracle or prophet. Mr. G. Massey is not correct in saying that “ . . . . The Gnostic form of the name Chrest, or Chrestos, denotes the Good God, not a human original”, for it denoted the latter, i.e., a good, holy man; but he is quite right when he adds that “Chrestianus signifies ...... 'Sweetness and Light'”. 'The Chrestoi, as the Good People, were pre-extant. Numerous Greek inscriptions show that the departed, the hero, the saintly one — that is, the 'Good' - was styled Chrestos, or the Christ; and from this meaning of the 'Good' does Justin, the primal apologist, derive the Christian name. This identifies it with the Gnostic source, and with the 'Good God' who revealed himself according to Marcion — that is, the Un-Nefer or Good-opener of the Egyptian theology”. — (Agnostic Annual.)] a word which, like the participle Chrêstheis, is formed under the same rule, and conveys the same sense — from the verb χρἁομαι (“to consult a god”) — answers to what we would call an adept, also a high chela, a disciple. It is in this sense that it is used by Euripides (Ion. 1320) and by Aeschylus (I C).This qualification was applied to those whom the god, oracle, or any superior had proclaimed this, that, or anything else. An instance may be given in this case.
The words χοἣεν οικιστἣοα used by Pindar [ P 4-10] mean “the oracle proclaimed him the coloniser”. In this case the genius of the Greek language permits that the man so proclaimed should be called χρηστός (Chréstos). Hence this term was applied to every Disciple recognised by a Master, as also to every good man. Now, the Greek language affords strange etymologies. Christian theology has chosen and decreed that the name Christos should be taken as derived from χρίΩ χοίσω (Chriso), “anointed with scented unguents or oil”. But this word has several significances. It is used by Homer, certainly, as applied to the rubbing with oil of the body after bathing (Iliad 23, 186; also in Odyssey, IV, 252) as other ancient writers do. Yet the word χρίστης (Christes) means rather a white-washer, while the word Chrestes (χρήστης) [Page 301] means priest and prophet, a term far more applicable to Jesus, than that of the “Anointed”, since, as Nork shows on the authority of the Gospels, he never was anointed, either as king or priest. In short, there is a deep mystery underlying all this scheme, which, as I maintain, only a thorough knowledge of the Pagan mysteries is capable of unveiling. [Again I must bring forward what Mr. G. Massey says (whom I quote repeatedly because he has studied this subject so thoroughly and so conscientiously).
“My contention, or rather explanation”,
he says, “is that the author of the Christian name is the Mummy-Christ of
Egypt, called the Karest, which was a type of the immortal spirit
in man, the Christ within (as Paul has it), the divine offspring incarnated,
the Logos, the Word of Truth, the Makheru of Egypt. It did not originate
as a mere type! The preserved mummy was the dead body of any one that
was Karest, or mummified, to be kept by the living; and, through constant
repetition, this became a type of the resurrection from (not of!) the dead”.
See the explanation of this further on ] It is not
what the early Fathers, who had an object to achieve, may affirm or deny,
that is the important point, but rather what is now the evidence for the
real significance given to the two terms Chréstos and Christos by
the ancients in the pre-Christian ages. For the latter had no object to achieve,
therefore nothing to conceal or disfigure, and their evidence is naturally
the more reliable of the two. This evidence can be obtained by first studying
the meaning given to these words by the classics, and then their correct
significance searched for in mystic symbology.
Now Chrestos, as already said, is a term applied in various senses. It qualifies both Deity and Man. It is used in the former sense in the Gospels, and in Luke (vi., 35), where it means “kind”, and “merciful”. χρηστός ἐστιν , ἐπἰ τοὒς [and] in I Peter (ii., 3), where it is said, “Kind is the Lord”, χρηστὀς ό Κύριος. On the other hand, it is explained by Clemens Alexandrinus as simply meaning a good man; i.e., “All who believe in Chrést (a good man) both are, and are called Chréstians, that is good men”. (Strom. lib. chap. II.) The reticence of Clemens, whose Christianity, as King truly remarks in his “Gnostics and Their Remains”, was no more than a graft upon the congenial stock of his original Platonism, is quite natural. He was an Initiate, a new Platonist, before he became a Christian, which fact, however much he may have fallen off from his earlier views, could not exonerate him from his pledge of secrecy. And as a Theosophist and a Gnostic, one who knew, Clemens must have known that Christos was “the WAY”, while Chréstos was the lonely traveller journeying on to reach the ultimate goal through that “Path”, which goal was Christos, the glorified Spirit of “TRUTH”, the reunion with which makes the soul (the Son) ONE with the (Father) Spirit. That Paul knew it, is certain, for his own expressions prove it. For what do the words πάλιν ώδίνω ἄχρις οὒ μορΦωθἣ χριστὂ ἐνὑμἳν , or as given in the authorised translations, “ I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you” mean, but what we give in its esoteric rendering, i.e., “until you find the Christos within yourselves as your only 'way'.” (Vide Galatians iv., 19 and 20.)
Thus Jesus, whether of Nazareth or Lüd, [Or Lydda. Reference is made here to the Rabbinical tradition in the Babylonian Gemara, called Sepher Toledoth Jeshu, about Jesus being the son of one named Pandira, and having lived a century earlier than the era called Christian, namely, during the reign of the Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus and his wife Salome, who reigned from the year 106 to 79 B.C. Accused by the Jews of having learned the magic art in Egypt, and of having stolen from the Holy of Holies the Incommunicable Name, Jehoshua (Jesus) was put to death by the Sanhedrin at Lüd. He was stoned and then crucified on a tree, on the eve of Passover. The narrative is ascribed to the Talmudistic authors of “Sota” and “Sanhedrin”, p. 19, Book of Zechiel. See “Isis Unveiled”, II. 201; Arnobius [ Adv.Gentes, i, 43]; Eliphas Levi's “La Science des Esprits”, and “The Historical Jesus and Mythical Christ”, a lecture by G. Massey. ] was a Chréstos, as undeniably as [Page 302] that he never was entitled to the appellation of Christos, during his life-time and before his last trial. It may have been as Higgins thinks, who surmises that the first name of Jesus may have been χρεισος, the second χρησος and the third χρισςος. The word χρεισος was in use before the H (cap. eta) was in the language”. But Rev.R.Taylor (in his answer to Pye Smith, p. 113) is quoted saying “The complimentary epithet Chrest . . . . signified nothing more than a good man”.
Here again a number of ancient writers may be brought for ward to testify that Christos (or Chreistos, rather) was, along with χρησος= Hrésos, an adjective applied to Gentiles before the Christian era. In Philopatris, it is said , εί τύχοι χρηστσς καἰι èν ěθνεσι i.e., “if chrestos chance to be even among the Gentiles”, etc..
Tertullian denounces in the 3rd chapter of his Apologia the word “Christianus” as derived by “crafty interpretation”; [“Christianus quantum interpretatione de unctione deducitas. Sed ut cum preferam Chrestianus pronunciatus a vobis (nam nec nominis certa est notitia penes vos) de suavitate vel benignitate compositum est”. Canon Farrar makes a great effort to show such lapsus calami by various Fathers as the results of disgust and fear. “There can be little doubt”, he says (in the Early Days of Christianity, Volume 1, Page 60)....... “that the name 'Christian' . . . . was a nick-name due to the wit of the Antiochians . . . . It is clear that the sacred writers avoided the name (Christians) because it was employed by their enemies (Tac. Ann. xv. 44). It only became familiar when the virtues of Christians had shed lustre upon it......... “This is a very lame excuse, and a poor explanation to give for so eminent a thinker as Canon Farrar. As to the “virtues of Christians” ever shedding lustre upon the name, let us hope that the writer had in his mind's eye neither Bishop Cyril of Alexandria, nor Eusebius, nor the Emperor Constantine, of murderous fame, nor yet the Popes Borgia and the Holy Inquisition ] Dr. Jones, on the other hand, letting out the information, corroborated by good sources, that Hrésos (χρησὁς) was the name given to Christ by the Gnostics, and even by unbelievers,“assures us that the real name ought to be χρισὁς or Chrisos — thus repeating and supporting the original “pious fraud” of the early Fathers, a fraud which led to the carnalizing of the whole Christian system. [Quoted by G. Higgins. (See Vol. I., pp. 569-573.) ] But I propose to show as much of the real meaning of all these terms as lies within my humble powers and knowledge. Christos, or the “Christ condition”, was ever the synonym of the “Mahatmic-condition”, i.e., the union of the man with the divine principle in him. As Paul says (Ephes. iii. 17) “κατοικἣσαι τὀν χριστὁν διà τἣς πíοτεως èν ταîς καρδíαις úμŵν” . “That you may find Christos in your inner man through knowledge” not faith, as translated; for Pistis is “knowledge”, as will be shown further on.
There is still another and far more weighty proof that the name Christos is pre-Christian. The evidence for it is found in the prophecy of the Erythrean Sybil. We read in it ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΕΙΣΤΟΣΘΕΟΝ ΥΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡ ΣΤΑΥΡΟΣ. Read esoterically, this string of meaningless detached nouns, which has no sense to the profane, contains a real prophecy — only not referring to Jesus — and a verse from the mystic catechism of the Initiate. The prophecy relates to the coming down upon the Earth of the Spirit of Truth (Christos), after which advent — that has once more nought to do with Jesus — will begin the Golden Age; the verse refers to the necessity before reaching that blessed condition of inner (or subjective) theophany and theopneusty, to pass through the crucifixion of flesh or matter. Read exoterically, [Page 303] the words “Iesous Chreistos theou yios soter stauros”, meaning literally “Iesus, Christos, God, Son, Saviour, Cross”, are most excellent handles to hang a Christian prophecy on, but they are pagan, not Christian.
If called upon to explain the names I ESOUS CHREISTOS, the answer is: study mythology, the so-called “fictions” of the ancients, and they will give you the key. Ponder over Apollo, the solar god, and the “Healer”, and the allegory about his son Janus (or Ion), his priest at Delphos, through whom alone could prayers reach the immortal gods, and his other son Asclepios, called the Soter, or Saviour. Here is a leaflet from esoteric history written in symbolical phraseology by the old Grecian poets.
The city of Chrisa [ In the days of Homer, we find this city, once celebrated for its mysteries, the chief seat of Initiation and the name of Chrestos used as a title during the mysteries. It is mentioned in the Iliad. ii., 520 as “Chrisa” (Χρîσα). Dr. Clarke suspected its ruins under the present site of Krestona, a small town, or village rather, in Phocis, near the Crissaean Bay. (See E. D. Clarke, 4th ed., Vol. viii, p. 239, “Delphi”.) ] (now spelt Crisa), was built in memory of Kreusa (or Creusa), daughter of King Erechtheus and mother of Janus (or Ion) by Apollo, in memory of the danger which Janus escaped. [The root of Χρητός (Chretos) and Χρηστος (Chrestos) is one and the same; Χράω which means “consulting the oracle”, in one sense, but in another one “consecrated”, set apart, belonging to some temple, or oracle, or devoted to oracular services. On the other hand, the word χρε ( χρἕω) means “obligation”, a “bond, duty”, or one who is under the obligation of pledges, or vows taken ] We learn that Janus, abandoned by his mother in a grotto “to hide the shame of the virgin who bore a son”, was found by Hermes, who brought the infant to Delphi, nurtured him by his father's sanctuary and oracle, where, under the name of Chresis Χρησις Janus became first a Chrestis (a priest, soothsayer, or Initiate), and then very nearly a Chresterion, “a sacrificial victim”, [The adjective χρησὀς was also used as an adjective before proper names as a compliment, as in Plat. Theact, p. 166A, “Οὺτος ὀ Σωκράτης ὀ Χρηστός” here Socrates is the Chréstos), and also as a surname, as shown by Plutarch (V. Phocion), who wonders how such a rough and dull fellow as Phocion could be surnamed Chréstos ] ready to be poisoned by his own mother who knew him not, and who, in her jealousy, mistook him, on the hazy intimation of the oracle, for a son of her husband. He pursued her to the very altar with the intention of killing her — when she was saved through the pythoness, who divulged to both the secret of their relationship. In memory of this narrow escape, Creusa, the mother, built the city of Chrisa, or Krisa. Such is the allegory, and it symbolizes simply the trials of Initiation. [There are strange features, quite suggestive, for an Occultist, in the myth (if one) of Janus. Some make of him the personification of Kosmos, others, of Coelus (heaven), hence he is “two-faced” because of his two characters of spirit and matter; and he is not only “Janus Bifrons” (two-faced), but also Quadrifrons — the perfect square, the emblem of the Kabbalistic Deity. His temples were built with four equal sides, with a door and three windows on each side. Mythologists explain it as an emblem of the four seasons of the year, and three months in each season, and in all of the twelve months of the year. During the mysteries of Initiation, however, he became the Day-Sun and the Night-Sun, Hence he is often represented with the number 300 in one hand, and in the other 65, or the number of days of the Solar year. Now Chanoch (Kanoch and Enosh in the Bible) is, as may be shown on Kabalistic authority, whether son of Cain, son of Seth, or the son of Methuselah, one and the same personage. As Chanoch (according to Fuerst), “he is the Initiator, Instructor — of the astronomical circle and solar year”, as son of Methuselah, who is said to have lived 365 years and been taken to heaven alive, as the representative of the Sun (or God). (See Book of Enoch.) This patriarch has many features in common with Janus, who, exoterically, is Ion but Ι A O cabalistically, or Jehovah, the “Lord God of Generations”, the mysterious Yodh, or O N E (a phallic number). For Janus or Ion is also Consivius, a conserendo, because he presided over generations. He is shown giving hospitality to Saturn (Chronos “time”), and is the Initiator of the year, or time divided into 365 ] [Page 304]
Finding then that Janus, the solar God, and son of Apollo, the Sun, means the “Initiator” and the “Opener of the Gate of Light”, or secret wisdom of the mysteries; that he is born from Krisa (esoterically Chris), and that he was a Chrestos through whom spoke the God; that he was finally Ion, the father of the Ionians, and, some say, an aspect of Asclepios, another son of Apollo, it is easy to get hold of the thread of Ariadne in this labyrinth of allegories. It is not the place here to prove side issues in mythology, however. It suffices to show the connection between the mythical characters of hoary antiquity and the later fables that marked the beginning of our era of civilization. Asclepios (Esculapius) was the divine physician, the “Healer”, the “Saviour”, Σωτἠρ as he was called, a title also given to Janus of Delphi; and I A S O, the daughter of Asclepios, was the goddess of healing, under whose patronage were all the candidates for initiation in her father's temple, the novices or chrestoi, called “the sons of Iaso”. (Vide for name, “Plutus”, by Aristoph. 701).
Now, if we remember, firstly, that the names of I E S U S in their different forms, such as Iasius, Iasion, Jason and Iasus, were very common in ancient Greece, especially among the descendants of Jasius (the Jasides), as also the number of the “sons of Iaso”, the Mystoï and future Epoptai (Initiates), why should not the enigmatical words in the Sibylline Book be read in their legitimate light, one that had nought to do with a Christian prophecy? The secret doctrine teaches that the first two words ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΕΙΣΤΟΣ mean simply “son of Iaso, a Chrestos”, or servant of the oracular God. Indeed IASO (Ιασώ ) is in the lonic dialect IESO (Ιησὠ) and the expression Ιησοὒς (lesous) — in its archaic form, ΊΗΣΟΥΣ— simply means “the son of Iaso or Ieso, the “healer”, i.e., ο'Ιησοὓς (υἳος ) . No objection, assuredly, can be taken to such rendering, or to the name being written leso instead of laso, since the first form is attic, therefore incorrect, for the name is lonic. “Ieso” from which “O'lesous” (son of Ieso) — i.e., a genitive, not a nominative — is lonic and cannot be anything else, if the age of the Sibylline book is taken into consideration. Nor could the Sibyl of Erythrea have spelt it originally otherwise, as Erythrea, her very residence, was a town in Ionia (from Ion or Janus) opposite Chios; and that the lonic preceded the attic form.
Leaving aside in this case the mystical signification of the now famous Sibylline sentence, and giving its literal interpretation only, on the authority of all that has been said, the hitherto mysterious words would stand; “Son of I A S O, CHRESTOS (the priest or servant) (of the) S O N of (the) GOD (Apollo) the SAVIOUR from the CROSS” — (Of flesh or matter). [Stauros became the cross, the instrument of crucifixion, far later, when it began to be represented as a Christian symbol and with the Greek letter T, the Tau. (Luc. Jud. Voc.) Its primitive meaning was phallic, a symbol for the male and female elements; the great serpent of temptation, the body which had to be killed or subdued by the dragon of wisdom, the seven-vowelled solar chnouphis or Spirit of Christos of the Gnostics, or, again, Apollo killing Python ] Truly, Christianity can never hope to be understood until every trace of dogmatism is swept away from it, and the dead letter sacrificed to the eternal Spirit of Truth, which is Horus, which is Crishna, which is Buddha, as much as it is the Gnostic Christos and the true Christ of Paul.
In the Travels of Dr. Clarke, the author describes a heathen monument found by him. [Page 305]
Within the sanctuary, behind the altar, we saw the fragments of a marble cathedra, upon the back of which we found the following inscription, exactly as it is here written, no part of it having been injured or obliterated, affording perhaps the only instance known of a sepulchral inscription upon a monument of this remarkable form.
The inscription ran thus: ΧΡΗΣΤΟΣ ΙΙΡΩΤΟΥ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΣ ΛΑΡΙΣΣΑΙΟΣ ΙΙΕΛΑΣΡΙΟΤΗΣ ΕΤΩΝ IH; or, “Chrestos, the first, a Thessalonian from Larissa, Pelasgiot 18 years old Hero”. Chrestos the first (protoo), why? Read literally the inscription has little sense; interpreted esoterically, it is pregnant with meaning. As Dr. Clarke shows, the word Chrestos is found on the epitaphs of almost all the ancient Larissians; but it is preceded always by a proper name. Had the adjective Chrestos stood after a name, it would only mean “a good man”, a posthumous compliment paid to the defunct, the same being often found on our modern tumular epitaphs. But the word Chrestos, standing alone and the other word, “protoo”, following it, gives it quite another meaning, especially when the deceased is specified as a “hero”. To the mind of an Occultist, the defunct was a neophyte, who had died in his 18th year of neophytism, [Even to this day in India, the candidate loses his name and as also in Masonry, his age (monks and nuns also changing their Christian names at their taking the order or veil), and begins counting his years from the day he is accepted a chela and enters upon the cycle of initiations. Thus Saul was “a child of one year”, when he began to reign, though a grown-up adult. See I Samuel ch. xiii. I, and Hebrew scrolls, about his initiation by Samuel.] and stood in the first or highest class of discipleship, having passed his preliminary trials as a “hero”; but had died before the last mystery, which would have made of him a “Christos”, an anointed, one with the spirit of Christos or Truth in him. He had not reached the end of the “Way”, though he had heroically conquered the horrors of the preliminary theurgic trials.
We are quite warranted in reading it in this manner, after learning the place where Dr. Clarke discovered the tablet, which was, as Godfrey Higgins remarks, there, where “I should expect to find it, at Delphi, in the temple of the God I E.,” who, with the Christians became Jah, or Jehovah, one with Christ Jesus. It was at the foot of Parnassus, in a gymnasium, “adjoining the Castalian fountain, which flowed by the ruins of Crisa, probably the town called Crestona”, etc..And again. “In the first part of its course from the (Castalian) fountain, it (the river) separates the remains of the gymnasium . . . from the valley of Castro”, as it probably did from the old city of Delphi — the seat of the great oracle of Apollo, of the town of Krisa (or Kreusa) the great centre of initiations and of the Chrestoi of the decrees of the oracles, where the candidates for the last labour were anointed with sacred oils [Demosthenes, “De Corona”, 313, declares that the candidates for initiation into the Greek mysteries were anointed with oil. So they are now in India, even in the initiation the Yogi mysteries — various ointments or unguents being used ] before being plunged into their last trance of forty-nine hours' duration (as to this day, in the East), from which they arose as glorified adepts or Christoi.”
In the Clementine Recognitions it is announced that the father anointed his son with “oil that was taken from the wood of the Tree of Life, and from this anointing he is called the Christ”: whence the Christian name. This again is Egyptian. Horus was the anointed son of the father. The mode of anointing him from the Tree of Life, portrayed on the monuments, is very primitive indeed; and the Horus of Egypt was continued in the Gnostic Christ, who is reproduced upon the Gnostic stones as the intermediate link betwixt the Karest and the Christ, also as the Horus of both sexes. ( “The name and nature of the Christ ”. - GERALD MASSEY. )
Mr. G. Massey connects the Greek Christos or Christ with the Egyptian [Page 306] Karest, the “mummy type of immortality”, and proves it very thoroughly. He begins by saying that in Egyptian the “Word of Truth” is Ma-Kheru, and that it is the title of Horus. Thus as he shows, Horus preceded Christ as the Messenger of the Word of Truth, the Logos or the manifestor of the divine nature in humanity. In the same paper he writes as follows:
The Gnosis had three phases — astronomical, spiritual, and doctrinal, and all three can be identified with the Christ of Egypt. In the astronomical phase the constellation Orion is called the Sahu or mummy. The soul of Horus was represented as rising from the dead and ascending to heaven in the stars of Orion. The mummy-image was the preserved one, the saved, therefore a portrait of the Saviour, as a type of immortality. This was the figure of a dead man, which, as Plutarch and Herodotus tell us, was carried round at an Egyptian banquet, when the guests were invited to look on it and eat and drink and be happy, because, when they died, they would become what the image symbolised — that is, they also would be immortal! This type of immortality was called the Karest, or Karust, and it was the Egyptian Christ. To Kares means to embalm, anoint, to make the Mummy as a type of the eternal; and, when made, it was called the Karest; so that this is not merely a matter of name for name, the Karest for the Christ.
This image of the Karest was bound up in a woof without a seam, the proper vesture of the Christ! No matter what the length of the bandage might be, and some of the mummy-swathes have been unwound that were 1,000 yards in length, the woof was from beginning to end without a seam. . . . Now, this seamless robe of the Egyptian Karest is a very tell-tale type of the mystical Christ, who becomes historic in the Gospels as the wearer of a coat or chiton, made without a seam, which neither the Greek nor the Hebrew fully explains, but which is explained by the Egyptian Ketu for the woof, and by the seamless robe or swathing without seam that was made for eternal wear, and worn by the Mummy-Christ, the image of immortality in the tombs of Egypt.
Further, Jesus is put to death in accordance with the instructions given for making the Karest. Not a bone must be broken. The true Karest must be perfect in every member. “This is he who comes out sound; whom men know not is his name”.
In the Gospels Jesus rises again with every member sound, like the perfectly preserved Karest, to demonstrate the physical resurrection of the mummy. But, in the Egyptian original, the mummy transforms. The deceased says: “I am spiritualised. I am become a soul. I rise as a God”. This transformation into the spiritual image, the Ka, has been omitted in the Gospel.
This spelling of the name as Chrest or Chrést in Latin is supremely important, because it enables me to prove the identity with the Egyptian Karest or Karust, the name of the Christ as the enbalmed mummy, which was the image of the resurrection in Egyptian tombs, the type of immortality, the likeness of the Horus, who rose again and made the pathway out of the sepulchre for those who were his disciples or followers. Moreover, this type of the Karest or Mummy-Christ is reproduced in the Catacombs of Rome. No representation of the supposed historic resurrection of Jesus has been found on any of the early Christian monuments. But, instead of the missing fact, we find the scene of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This is depicted over and over again as the typical resurrection where there is no real one! The scene is not exactly in accordance with the rising from the grave in the Gospel. It is purely Egyptian, and Lazarus is an Egyptian mummy! Thus Lazarus, in each representation, is the mummy-type of the resurrection; Lazarus is the Karest, who was the Egyptian Christ, and who is reproduced by Gnostic art in the Catacombs of Rome as a form of the Gnostic Christ, who was not and could not become an historical character.
Further, as the thing is Egyptian, it is probable that the name is derived from Egyptian. If so, Laz (equal to Ras) means to be raised up, while aru is the mummy by name. With the Greek terminal 's' this becomes Lazarus. In the course of humanising the mythos the typical representation of the resurrection found in the tombs of Rome and Egypt would become the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This Karest type of the Christ in the Catacombs is not limited to Lazarus.
By means of the Karest type the Christ and the Christians can both be traced in the ancient tombs of Egypt. The mummy was made in this likeness of the Christ. It was the Christ by name, identical with the Chrestoi of the Greek Inscriptions. Thus the honoured dead, who rose again as the followers of Horus-Makheru, the Word of Truth, are found to be the Christians οί Χρηστοί, on the Egyptian monuments. Ma-Kheru is the term that is always applied to the faithful ones who win the crown of life and wear it at the festival which is designated 'Come thou to me' — an invitation by Horus the Justifier to those who are the 'Blessed ones of his father, Osiris' — they who, having made the Word of Truth the law of their lives, were the Justified —,οί Χρηστοί the Christians, on earth. [Page 307]
In a fifth century representation of the Madonna and child from the cemetery of St. Valentinus, the new-born babe lying in a box or crib is also the Karest, or mummy-type, further identified as the divine babe of the solar mythos by the disk of the sun and the cross of the equinox at the back of the infant's head. Thus the child-Christ of the historic faith is born, and visibly begins in the Karest image of the dead Christ, which was the mummy-type of the resurrection in Egypt for thousands of years before the Christian era. This doubles the proof that the Christ of the Christian Catacombs was a survival of the Karest of Egypt.
Moreover, as Didron shows, there was a portrait of the Christ who had his body painted red! [Because he is cabalistically the new Adam, the “celestial man”, and Adam was made of red earth ] It was a popular tradition that the Christ was of a red complexion. This, too, may be explained as a survival of the Mummy-Christ. It was an aboriginal mode of rendering things tapu by colouring them red. The dead corpse was coated with red ochre — a very primitive mode of making the mummy, or the anointed one. Thus the God Ptah tells Rameses II. that he has “re-fashioned his flesh in vermilion”. This anointing with red ochre is called Kura by the Maori, who likewise made the Karest or Christ.
We see the mummy-image continued on another line of descent when we learn that among other pernicious heresies and deadly sins with which the Knights Templars were charged, was the impious custom of adoring a Mummy that had red eyes. Their Idol, called Baphomet, is also thought to have been a mummy. . . . ... The Mummy was the earliest human image of the Christ.
I do not doubt that the ancient Roman festivals called the Charistia were connected in their origin with the Karest and the Eucharist as a celebration in honour of the manes of their departed kith and kin, for whose sakes they became reconciled at the friendly gathering once a year ......... It is here, then, we have to seek the essential connection between the Egyptian Christ, the Christians, and the Roman Catacombs. These Christian Mysteries, ignorantly explained to be inexplicable, can be explained by Gnosticism and Mythology, but in no other way. It is not that they are insoluble by human reason, as their incompetent, howsoever highly paid, expounders now-a-days pretend. That is but the puerile apology of the unqualified for their own helpless ignorance — they who have never been in possession of the gnosis or science of the Mysteries by which alone these things can be explained in accordance with their natural genesis. In Egypt only can we read the matter to the root, or identify the origin of the Christ by nature and by name, to find at last that the Christ was the Mummy-type, and that our Christology is mummified mythology”. - ( Agnostic Annual.)
The above is an explanation on purely scientific evidence, but, perhaps, a little too materialistic, just because of that science, notwithstanding that the author is a well-known Spiritualist. Occultism pure and simple finds the same mystic elements in the Christian as in other faiths, though it rejects as emphatically its dogmatic and historic character. It is a fact that in the terms Ιησοΰς ό Χριστος (See Acts v. 42, ix. 14; I Corinth. iii. 17, etc.), the article 'ὁ' designating “Christos”, proves it simply a surname, like that of Phocion, who is referred to as Φωκίων ό Χρηστός (Plutarch, Vitae) Still, the personage (Jesus) so addressed — whenever he lived — was a great Initiate and a “Son of God”.
For, we say it again, the surname Christos is based on, and the story of the Crucifixion derived from, events that preceded it. Everywhere, in India as in Egypt, in Chaldea as in Greece, all these legends were built upon one and the same primitive type; the voluntary sacrifice of the logoï — the rays of the one LOGOS, the direct manifested emanation from the One ever-concealed Infinite and Unknown — whose rays incarnated in mankind. They consented to fall into matter, and are, therefore, called the “Fallen Ones”. This is one of those great mysteries which can hardly be touched upon in a magazine article, but shall be noticed in a separate work of mine, The Secret Doctrine, very fully.
Having said so much, a few more facts may be added to the etymology of the two terms. Χριστὀς being the verbal adjective in Greek of Χρίω “to be rubbed on”, as ointment or salve, and the word being finally brought to mean “the [Page 308] Anointed One”, in Christian theology; and Kri, in Sanskrit, the first syllable in the name of Krishna, meaning “to pour out, or rub over, to cover with”, [ Hence the memorialising of the doctrine during the MYSTERIES. The pure monad, the “god” incarnating and becoming Chrestos, or man, on his trial of life, a series of those trials led him to the crucifixion of flesh, and finally into the Christos condition ] among many other things, this may lead one as easily to make of Krishna, “the anointed one”. Christian philologists try to limit the meaning of Krishna's name to its derivation from Krish, “black”; but if the analogy and comparison of the Sanskrit with the Greek roots contained in the names of Chrestos, Christos, and Chrishna, are analyzed more carefully, it will be found that they are all of the same origin. [ On the best authority the derivation of the Greek Christos is shown from the Sanskrit root ghársh = “rub”; thus: ghársh-a-mi-to, “to rub”, and ghársh-tá-s “flayed, sore”. Moreover, Krish, which means in one sense to plough and make furrows, means also to cause pain, “to torture to torment”, and ghrsh-ta-s “rubbing” — all these terms relating to Chrestos and Christos conditions. One has to die in Chrestos, i.e., kill one's personality and its passions, to blot out every idea of separateness from one's “Father”, the Divine Spirit in man; to become one with the eternal and absolute Life and Light (SAT) before one can reach the glorious state of Christos, the regenerated man, the man in spiritual freedom.]
“In Bockh's 'Christian Inscriptions', numbering 1,287, there is no single instance of an earlier date than the third century, wherein the name is not written Chrest or Chreist.” (The Name and Nature of the Christ, by G. Massey, “The Agnostic Annual”.)
Yet none of these names can be unriddled, as some Orientalists imagine, merely with the help of astronomy and the knowledge of zodiacal signs in conjunction with phallic symbols. Because, while the sidereal symbols of the mystic characters or personifications in Puranâs or Bible, fulfill astronomical functions, their spiritual anti-types rule invisibly, but very effectively, the world. They exist as abstractions on the higher plane, as manifested ideas on the astral, and become males, females and androgyne powers on this lower plane of ours. Scorpio, as Chrestos-Meshiac, and Leo, as Christos-Messiah antedated by far the Christian era in the trials and triumphs of Initiation during the Mysteries, Scorpio standing as symbol for the latter, Leo for the glorified triumph of the “sun” of truth. The mystic philosophy of the allegory is well understood by the author of the “Source of Measures”; who writes: “One (Chrestos) causing himself to go down into the pit (of Scorpio, or incarnation in the womb) for the salvation of the world; this was the Sun, shorn of his golden rays, and crowned with blackened ones [The Orientalists and Theologians are invited to read over and study the allegory of Viswakarman, the “Omnificent”, the Vedic God, the architect of the world, who sacrificed himself to himself or the world, after having offered up all worlds, which are himself, in a “Sarva Madha” (general sacrifice) — and ponder over it. In the Purânic allegory, his daughter Yoga-siddha “Spiritual consciousness”, the wife of Surya, the Sun, complains to him of the too great effulgence of her husband; and Viswakarmâ, in his character of Takshaka, “wood cutter and carpenter”, placing the Sun upon his lathe cuts away a part of his brightness. Surya looks, after this, crowned with dark thorns instead of rays, and becomes Vikarttana (“shorn of his rays”). All these names are terms which were used by the candidates when going through the trials of Initiation. The Hierophant-Initiator personated Viswakarman; the father, and the general artificer of the gods (the adepts on earth), and the candidate — Surya, the Sun, who had to kill all his fiery passions and wear the crown of thorns while crucifying his body before he could rise and be re-born into a new life as the glorified “Light of the World” — Christos. No Orientalist seems to have ever perceived the suggestive analogy, let alone to apply it! ] (symbolizing this loss) as the thorns; the other was the triumphant Messiah, mounted up to the summit of the arch of heaven, personated as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In both instances he had the Cross; once in [Page 309] humiliation (as the son of copulation), and once holding it in his control, as the law of creation, he being Jehovah” — in the scheme of the authors of dogmatic Christianity. For, as the same author shows further, John, Jesus and even Apollonius of Tyana were but epitomizers of the history of the Sun “under differences of aspect or condition”. [The author of the “Source of Measures” thinks that this “serves to explain why it has been that the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, by Philostratus, has been so carefully kept back from translation and popular reading”. Those who have studied it in the original have been forced to the comment that either the “Life of Apollonius has been taken from the New Testament, or that New Testament narratives have been taken from the Life of Apollonius, because of the manifest sameness of the means of construction of the narrative”. (p. 260).] The explanation, he says, “is simple enough, when it is considered that the names Jesus, Hebrew ׳ש and Apollonius, or Apollo, are alike names of the Sun in the heavens, and, necessarily, the history of the one, as to his travels through the signs, with the personifications of his sufferings, triumphs and miracles, could be but the history of the other, where there was a wide-spread, common method of describing those travels by personification”. The fact that the Secular Church was founded by Constantine, and that it was a part of his decree “that the venerable day of the Sun should be the day set apart for the worship of Jesus Christ as Sun-day”, shows that they knew well in that “Secular Church”, “that the allegory rested upon an astronomical basis”, as the author affirms. Yet, again, the circumstance that both Purânas and Bible are full of solar and astronomical allegories, does not militate against that other fact that all such scriptures in addition to these two are closed books to the scholars “having authority”. (!) Nor does it affect that other truth, that all those systems are not the work of mortal man, nor are they his invention in their origin and basis.
Thus “Christos”, under whatever name, means more than Karest, a mummy, or even the “anointed” and the elect of theology. Both of the latter apply to Chréstos, the man of sorrow and tribulation, in his physical, mental, and psychic conditions, and both relate to the Hebrew Mashiac (from whence Messiah) condition, as the word is etymologised [ “The word ישח shiac, is in Hebrew the same word as a verbal, signifying to go down into the pit. As a noun, place of thorns, pit. The hifil participle of this word is מישח or Messiach, or the Greek Messias, Christ, and means “he who causes to go down into the pit” (or hell, in dogmatism). In esoteric philosophy, this going down into the pit has the most mysterious significance. The Spirit “Christos” or rather the “Logos” (read Logoï), is said to “go down into the pit”, when it incarnates in flesh, is born as a man. After having robbed the Elohlm (or gods) of their secret, the pro-creating “fire of life”, the Angels of Light are shown cast down into the pit or abyss of matter, called Hell, or bottomless pit, by the kind theologians. This, in Cosmogony and Anthropology. During the Mysteries, however, it is the Chréstos, neophyte, (as man), etc., who had to descend into the crypts of Initiation and trials; and finally, during the “Sleep of Siloam” or the final trance condition, during the hours of which the new Initiate has the last and final mysteries of being divulged to him. Hades, Schéol, or Patala, are all one. The same takes place in the East now, as took place 2,000 years ago in the West, during the MYSTERIES. ] by Fuerst, and the author of “The Source of Measures”, p. 255. Christos is the crown of glory of the suffering Chréstos of the mysteries, as of the candidate to the final UNION, of whatever race and creed. To the true follower of the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, it matters little, therefore, whether Jesus, as man and Chrestos, lived during the era called Christian, or before, or never lived at all. The Adepts, who lived and died for humanity, have existed in many and all the ages, and many were the good and holy men in antiquity who bore the surname or title of Chrestos [Page 310] before Jesus of Nazareth, otherwise Jesus (or Jehoshua) Ben Pandira was born. [Several classics bear testimony to this fact. Lucian, c. 16 says Φωκίων ὂχρηστὂς, and Φωκίων ὂ επικλην (λεγὁμενος”, surnamed “χρηστὀς ) In Phaedr. p. 226 E; it is written, “you mean Theodorus the Chrestos” , τὀν χρηστὀν λελεις θεὀδωρον . Plutarch shows the same; and χρᾓοτος — Chrestus, is the proper name (see the word in Thesaur. Steph.) of an orator and disciple of Herodes Atticus. ] Therefore, one may be permitted to conclude, with good reason, that Jesus, or Jehoshua, was like Socrates, like Phocian, like Theodorus, and so many others surnamed Chréstos, i.e., the “good, the excellent”, the gentle, and the holy Initiate, who showed the “way” to the Christos condition, and thus became himself “the Way” in the hearts of his enthusiastic admirers. The Christians, as all the “Hero-worshippers” have tried to throw into the background all the other Chréstoï, who have appeared to them as rivals of their Man-God. But if the voice of the MYSTERIES has become silent for many ages in the West, if Eleusis, Memphis, Antium, Delphi, and Crèsa have long ago been made the tombs of a Science once as colossal in the West as it is yet in the East, there are successors now being prepared for them. We are in 1887 and the nineteenth century is close to its death. The twentieth century has strange developments in store for humanity, and may even be the last of its name.
To be continued
SIMILITUDES OF DEMOPHILUS
IT is the business of a musician to harmonize every instrument, but of a well educated man to adapt himself harmoniously to every fortune.
It is necessary that a well educated man should depart from life elegantly, as from a banquet.
GOLDEN SENTENCES OF DEMOCRITUS
IT is beautiful to impede an unjust man; but if this be not possible, it is
beautiful not to act in conjunction with him.
Sin should be abstained from, not through fear, but, for the sake of the becoming.
Many who have not learnt to argue rationally, still live according to reason.
Vehement desires about any one thing render the soul blind with respect to other things.
The equal is beautiful in everything, but excess and defect to me do not appear to be so.
It is the property of a divine intellect to be always intently thinking about the beautiful. [Page 311]
A LAW “OF LIFE” : KARMA
by J. H. Beatty
[THE following letter has been received by the editors, in criticism on Mr. Keightley's article on “Karma”; and as it raises many rather important points, an attempt has been made to answer them. Mr. Beatty's letter is somewhat difficult to deal with, for though it asks many questions, they are so inextricably mingled with its author's thoughts that it would be unfair to disentangle them from the context. It is a pity that Mr. Beatty, in his haste to criticize, did not wait for the conclusion of the article, as he might have saved himself some trouble. If his real desire is to learn, it would be well that he should approach the endeavour in a less flippant spirit and evolve the critic out of the criticaster. In many of his arguments he has, so to say, “given himself away”, but, in the interests of space and of the readers of LUCIFER, only those questions and arguments which bear directly on the points at issue have been selected for answer. The point which Mr. Beatty does “not care to discuss”, and which refers to the mystery of Godliness, has been omitted. Perhaps, if Mr. Beatty continues to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, he may in some future incarnation solve the mystery.]
In an article in LUCIFER, under the above heading, Mr. Keightley declares it to be “ very difficult, if not well-nigh impossible”, to understand Karma, and I grant him that his essay is a practical demonstration of his allegation. The difficulty (1.) does not, however, hinder him from attempting to define the refractory term. “Karma”, he says, “is the working of the great law which governs reincarnation” or “a manifestation of the One, Universal, Divine Principle in the phenomenal world”, or again, “the great law of harmony which governs the universe”. Now, waiving altogether the question of reincarnations, I shall proceed to examine whether Mr. Keightley makes good his contention that “harmony”, in his sense of the word, “governs the Universe”. He says, “the man who denies the existence of harmony in the universe has transgressed the law and is experiencing punishment. He does this unconsciously to himself, because the law of harmony forms an unconscious impulse to its readjustment when it has been broken”. Here there are several things to be considered. In the first place, it may be asked: (2.) Does a man, by merely denying the existence of a law of Nature or the universe, trangress that law? I think not. [ Mr Keightley’s meaning (and it is difficult for the words to bear any other interpretation) was that the denial of harmony is evidence that, at some previous time, the man who denies has set himself in opposition to the law, in virtue of those very desires and instincts of his animal personality to which Mr Beatty alludes later on. In this sense, Mr Beatty is right in saying that a law of the universe cannot be broken; but its limits may be transgressed, and consequently an attempt made by man to make himself into a small but rival universe. It is the old story of the china pot and the iron kettle, and that fact that china gets the worst of it is conclusive that the china is struggling against Nature ] Secondly. Can a law of the universe be “broken” ? Here again I must reply in the negative; for who is going to contend that the law of gravitation has ever been “broken”, [Will Mr Beatty explain the phenomenon of a comet flirting its tail round the sun in defiance of the “law of gravitation”?] has ever ceased to act, has ever required “re-adjustment” ? A man [Page 312] can break no law of Nature in the sense of bringing that law into abeyance. If then, a law of harmony governs the universe there can be no such thing as discord. (3.) Yet Mr. Keightley admits that there is discord, that the law of harmony has been “broken” and needs “readjustment”. This is a surrendering of his position and a patent admission that harmony is not constant or universal. He then proceeds to draw an illustration from music. “ In musical chords, the composing notes, if taken by twos and threes, will be found in discord, but, when taken together, produce a harmony”. This is a particularly unfortunate subject of illustration. For does it not show that discord is an element in the universe as well as harmony ? Why are discords introduced into music ? Simply to make the harmony more effective. The reason for this, however, does not lie in any so-called universal law of harmony, but rather in the constitution of animate existences. Fundamentally, sensation is the consciousness of difference. Where the difference is great the feeling is great. If we wish to have the keenest sensation of sweetness we must first taste something bitter. Thus it is that occasional discords heighten harmony. But are the discords any less real on that account ? Certainly not; for there can no more be harmony without discord, than there can be an up without a down. This, moreover, is only another illustration of the fact that human knowledge is merely relative. Must we, however, admit that the universal law may be harmony while our experience tells us that there are discords without number ? Unless ignorance be considered as superior to positive knowledge, I see no room for the admission. If a man's house tumbles about his ears, does it become any less a fact by trying to persuade himself and his neighbours that it is still standing ? This seems to be the method of Mr. Keightley. He has, however, yet another argument. “The universe ... is essentially an evidence of harmony; otherwise it could not exist, for it would fall to pieces”. This is a palpable begging of the question, and, besides, very absurd. The universe is a harmony, because a universe must be a harmony ! “Otherwise it could not exist”. Now how does our harmonist know whether it could exist or not ? Of what other universe has he experience or knowledge ? “It would fall to pieces”. Where, I wonder, would it fall to ? Perhaps it is even now fast falling to pieces, and who can tell us differently ? As far as ordinary people ran judge, it seems, as regards the parts we are acquainted with, to be falling into more or less concrete masses, but not many sane people believe it can fall into nothingness. After all this vain contention for universal harmony we find Mr. Keightley settling down like ordinary mortals to the conviction that the world is far from harmonious or perfect. One unfortunate individual who cannot be persuaded that all is harmony, is told that “he is incapable of understanding it because his attention is solely devoted to that which produces discord”. How comes it that the universe does not fall to pieces as a result of this discord ? Surely we are in a precarious condition, if every obstinate fool who persists in crying out when he has been hurt, endangers the stability of the universe. Did ever anyone meet with a universe where there is less evidence of harmony ? One brute force ever in conflict with another. Infernal forces piling up mountain on the top of mountain; supernal forces blasting, rending, excoriating and tumbling these mountains down again into the valleys; the oak struggling against the inwarping ivy, the fawn attempting vainly to escape from the claws of the [Page 313] tiger, the child agonising while parasites eat slowly and mercilessly into its lungs, liver, or brain; the strong everywhere victorious over the weak; each sect and each party exerting itself ferociously to scoop out the viscera of its rival. Such is the world, such all records declare it to have been, and such it gives ample promise of continuing. But if the world is not really so, and on the contrary is one immensity of joyous harmony, who can tell us why the evidence is so deceptive ? Here again, Mr. Keightley introduces to us a most remarkable statement. “The one Divine principle is divided by man's actions into two opposing forces of good and evil, and man's progress depends on the exertion of his will to preserve harmony and prevent deviation to one side or the other”. Give us by all means in preference to this for common sense, for rationality and for every other quality that makes it digestible, the childish story of Eve, the apple and the fall.
Beyond doubt, Mr. Keightley has a profound faith in man as a power in the universe and an instrument for evil. By a most singular process of metaphysical alchemy man decomposes the “Divine principle” into “two opposing forces of good and evil”. It seems from this revised version of an old story that man introduced evil into the universe. Why is man so important that a universe should be polluted for his sake ? Surely man did not make himself, and whatever powers were in him for evil or for good must have been potential in that from which he sprang. Man can create nothing, neither evil nor good, neither a tendency to do right nor an inclination to do wrong. “Man's will” is always a tremendous force for good or evil in the hands of theologians and metaphysicians. Did man make his own “will ?” If not, how can he be responsible for what he does ? Everybody knows that man can act according to his likes or dislikes. But does anybody imagine that he can make his own likes or dislikes ? (4.) He can do as he wishes, but he wishes according to his nature, and this he cannot transcend, consequently he is not responsible to the Author of his nature for what his nature inclines him to do. But what are we to understand by the rest of the sentence ? Man's will is “to preserve harmony and prevent deviation to one side or the other”. First the will brings about evil in the “Divine principle”, destroying harmony, then it is to reproduce harmony and at the same time to maintain a balance between good and evil, and “prevent deviation to the one side or the other”. This to Mahatmas and possessors of the “sixth sense” may seem plain logic, but it far surpasses my comprehension. [Very little doubt that it does. Mankind is only very gradually developing its fifth sense on the intellectual plane. Intuition might have carried our critic over the difficulty, but in some parts of his criticism he seems hardly to have begun to evolute the intellectual sense ] I am, perhaps, as averse to “the pernicious doctrine of reward and punishment after death, in heaven or in hell” as Mr. Keightley can be, but I can by no means deduce from it the results which to him appear so inevitable. “Nothing”, he says, “could have been found more calculated to circumscribe the view of life as a whole, and concentrate man's attention on temporary matters. . . . He either rejected the idea of soul as altogether worthless, or else he transferred his interest to the soul's welfare in heaven — in either case concentrating his attention on what is inevitably transient”. How the idea of never-ending existence in heaven or in hell can have the effect of circumscribing “the view of life as a whole”, and of concentrating “man's attention on [Page 314] temporary matters”, is to me an insolvable puzzle. That it should have quite the opposite effect, does not seem to require proof. Why, in the name of mystery, should he “reject the idea of soul as worthless”, and how can transferring “his interest to the soul's welfare in heaven” be called a concentrating of “his attention on what is inevitably transient ?” Truly this Karma is a bewildering subject ! [ “This Karma”, as Mr Beatty expresses it, would not be quite so bewildering a subject if critics would bear in mind the context and not fall foul of a detached expression — not even a sentence. The “interest of the soul’s welfare in heaven” is concentrated by John Smith on John Smith as John Smith in heaven, and in order that the said John Smith may go on enjoying the things he loved on earth. As his earth life has ended, John Smith has changed and is “transient”. If he were not transient a very natural inference would follow, that progress, evolution, etc., on whatever plane of being does not prevail ]
Do plants and animals come under the law of Karma ? is the next question discussed by Mr. Keightley. An extract from the Theosophist seems to discountenance such a thing. But are its arguments really conclusive against it ? I do not think so. It says, “A piece of iron is attracted to a magnet without having any desire in the matter” Now, in the first place, this is pure assumption, and has its origin in vainglorious human egotism. [ Mr Beatty hardly maintains his position of consistent materialism here; and it is at least as vainglorious to deny as to assert ] It is evident that from objective data alone we cannot decide what is the subjective state of the molecules of the attracted iron. In the second place, we are only acquainted with the iron as a cause producing changes in us. No matter how we interpret these changes, they cannot even tell us the real nature of iron, merely considered objectively. Again the extract proceeds: “An animal usually follows the instincts of its nature without any merit or demerit for so doing; a child or an idiot may smilingly kick over a lamp, which may set a whole city on fire. ... A person can only be held responsible according to his ability to perceive justice, and to distinguish between good and evil”. According to this doctrine, man is not an “animal”, and does not follow his instincts. To those who are acquainted, even slightly, with the method and regularity of Nature, this contention will appear, on the face of it, untenable. For why should there be an exception in the case of man ? [ Man has the “animal” in him of course, but he has also the power of judgment or discrimination. Mr Beatty’s wish to be critically pessimistic seems here to run away with his power of discrimination ] Has man instincts, desires, and inclinations, or has he not ? If he has, why should he have them if he is not to follow them ? And if in any case he does not follow them, is it not with him as with the “animals” ? Is it not because he is deterred by influences from without, or hereditary influences from within ? And of all these instincts, desires and influences, how is he to know which to obey, to know which is of Divine sanction ? He has conscience, of course, but conscience is a very variable quantity, and indeed, it might not be too much to say that there is hardly a crime in the world that has not, at one time or another, been commended by conscience. Conscience is only one phase of the man's mental activity, and was no more created by him than was his power of vision. We talk of “children and idiots”, and their being irresponsible, but are not untamed savages also irresponsible ? And if we admit that there may be beings as much [Page 315] higher than we, as we are higher than children, idiots, and savages, will they not, with reason and justice, regard us as irresponsible ? The truth is, there never was a greater chimera conjured up by unreasoning fancy than that one of man's responsibility to a Supreme Power. Man is responsible only to man, and man's conduct is without merit except from a human view-point. We are good or bad by reason of all the forces that act on and through us.
My object in writing
what I have written is to show to Theosophists the dense darkness in which
I wander. Will some God-illumined mind not take pity upon, and draw me
up from the labyrinthian gloom, where illusions mislead me at every step
? My “sixth sense” seems
wholly dormant, and Nirvana, that haven of rest, seems distant, by many a
weary league of rocky path and burning desert. Pity me.
J. H. BEATTY.
5, Christie Street, Paisley.
(I.) The difficulty experienced in fathoming the mysteries of Karmic Law arises from the conditions of our present intellectual environment and general evolutionary status. It has been, also, frequently stated that a complete comprehension of its workings is reserved for the Initiate who has transcended the domain of terrestrial activity — viz., the necessity for soul-evolution through successive births. But, passing over this consideration, it is evident that, in the process of bringing down fragments of the Divine Truth on to the plane of mere intellectual interpretation, an inevitable distortion must ensue. The rays of spiritual light will be split up and refracted as they pass through the prism of the brain. Mr. Beatty will recognise this fact more clearly owing to his belief “that human knowledge is merely relative”. Surely, when that most familiar fact of our experience, the “perception of matter”, is, metaphysically speaking, an illusion, the relativity of mental conceptions of spiritual truths would appear to be a necessity. According to Huxley, Spencer, Du Bois Reymond, and all leading thinkers, we know nothing of things as they are even on this plane, which to the materialist is “All in all”. The essence of the thing “perceived” escapes us; all we really grasp is its presentation in consciousness. It is, therefore, clear that in interpreting realities on the super-physical plane, we cannot advance beyond word-symbols and adumbrations. The intuition of the individual must effect the rest.
Such considerations, however, in no way militate against the successful defence of Esoteric philosophy on purely intellectual lines. Translated into terms of human thought, its metaphysics must be shown to blend intimately with the facts of science and psychology, and its ability to solve the enigmas of life demonstrated. “Philosophy is chaos”, remarks the author of “Absolute Relativism”, referring to modern thought. If we are to avoid the spectacle of a future “moral chaos”, also, as the fruit of the materialistic Upas tree, some fresh impulse must be infused into the dry bones of Western metaphysics — some raison d'être assigned to life, and an ideal worthy of man's noblest efforts presented to the multitude of laissez-faire pessimists. Such is an aspect of the work now before us.
(2.) A man may certainly injure himself [ No law of Nature can be set aside, but a man transgresses a law of his [mental] being when he deliberately places himself under the sway of certain “evil” forces. The gist of Mr Beatty’s criticism is not quite evident here ] by shutting his eyes to a spiritual [Page 316] interpretation of the Universe and its workings. The only acquisition he can carry with him after physical death is the aroma of the vast aggregate of mental states generated in one incarnation. The personality or brain-consciousness of the physical man is, after all, a mere feeler projected into this objective plane to harvest experience for its individual Self. It does not at all follow that any experience may be acquired which the Monad is enabled to assimilate. Abstract thinking, religious aspirations, scientific lore, poetry, the nobler emotions, and all such efflorescences of human consciousness, furnish the “material” which go to build up the transcendental individuality of the Ego progressing towards the Nirvana. The materialist presents a frequent instance of soul-death — so far as the fruitage of the personality is concerned. His knowledge may be enormous, but being un-spiritualised, a mere creature of the physical brain, it cannot blossom into luxuriance in the Devachanic interim between successive births. Consequently, as the True Self — the “transcendental subject” of the neo-Kantian German school — only assimilates experience suitable to its own exalted nature, it becomes evident that, ideals apart, the philosophy of a man is of very great importance. At the same time, it need not be said that sectarian “religion” is almost more pernicious than materialism, inasmuch as it combines the two factors of crass ignorance and spiritual torpor.
(3.) Harmony is essentially the law of the Universe. The contrasted aspects of Nature come into being subsequently to the differentiation of matter from its several protyles in the commencement of a cycle of becoming, or Manwantara, and can have no reality except in the experience of conscious Egos. [The phenomenal contrast is not denied, but it is representative of no fundamental want of harmony. In the same way the contrast of Subject and Object is essential to our present finite consciousness, although it has no basis of reality beyond the limits of conditional being. Moreover, even in this phenomenal Universe, equilibrium (harmony) is most certainly maintained by the very conflict of the contrasted forces alluded to ] For beneath the surface of the great ocean of cosmic illusion — beneath the clash of apparently clashing forces — lies the Eternal Harmony. The semblance of discord is but a ripple on the stream of Maya, or illusion. One aspect of esoteric solution of apparent evils is dealt with in the last issue of LUCIFER (vide art., “Origin of Evil”). But Mr. Beatty will not find himself in a position to accept its validity so long as he continues to “waive the question of reincarnation”, the acceptance of that doctrine lying at the root of the real explanation.
The Universe must, at bottom, be a Harmony. Why ? [ Mr Beatty asks how the Universe would come to a stand-still, if the law of Harmony was suspended. Now suppose, for instance, the law of “gravity” was not counterbalanced by the action of other “forces” what would happen? Science assures us that everything would have long before gravitated to a common centre, and a universal dead-lock have ensued! Vice versa, if “gravity” were to lapse. Verb. Sap.] The equilibrating action of the forces around us is a sufficient proof of the fact; the apparent discord existing, as argued by Spinoza, solely in the sensations of conscious beings. The matter in reality involves the re-opening of the much debated question as to whether an optimistic or pessimistic pantheism is the creed of the true philosopher. Can we with von Hartmann postulate the strange contradiction of an absolutely wise (though from our standpoint unconscious) cause [Page 317] behind phenomena confronted with a “worthless universe” ?. Obviously not. Moreover, as pantheists necessarily regard the individual mind as only a rushlight compared with the blazing sun of the Universal Mind, its source, how is a final conclusion as to the “unfathomable folly” of manifested being possible ? On the other hand, a non-recognition of the Maya of appearances is a tacit impeachment of the wisdom of the Absolute. The pantheist — and pantheism alone accounts for consciousness itself — is, at least, logically driven into the admission that the “nature of things” is sound and that, probably, apparent flaws in the mechanicism of the Universe would, if viewed from a wider standpoint than the human, altogether vanish.
If, however, the Spinozistic axiom that evil exists only in us, is true — and it is not for a relativist of our critic's type to deny the fact — pessimism is routed in the recognition of the equilibrating action of the law of Karma. The examples cited by Mr. Beatty of brute forces “one in conflict with another”, of the sufferings of animals in the struggle for existence; and more especially of human suffering in no way controvert the views of the “Harmonists”. The first group is representative of those forces which balance one another by oscillating about a common centre of equilibrium, producing harmony by conflict, just as in the case of the so-called centripetal and centrifugal forces, which regulate the earth's orbital journey. The second group is, undoubtedly, characterised by the infliction of much incidental pain. But in all instances where Nature immolates the individual organism on the altar of natural selection, she does it for the benefit of the species or the “survival of the fittest” — the individuals borne down by violence in the struggle, reaping, one and all, the results of a compensatory Karma. In the domain of human suffering, moral debasement, etc., an entirely new factor supervenes — the equilibrating influence of a positive Karma, which in biblical language demands “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.
(4). “Why”, asks our critic, “is man so important that the Universe was polluted for his sake ? ” In the first place, Humanity is, by no means, unimportant; the panorama of evolution only existing in order to evolve the Ego from the animal stage up to that of a conscious God. The designation of nature as divided into “good” and “evil” principles, has been taken by Mr. Beatty in its absolute, as opposed to its relative, aspect. Man pollutes only himself and his fellows by “sin”; nature remaining constant per se. “How can he be responsible for what he does ? ” he continues. He is only so within certain wide limits defined by his previous Karma — the tendencies moral, mental and spiritual, generated in previous lives, continually driving him on to certain lines of action. The “Free Will absolute” of the theologians is as unpsychological and worthless a concept as it is possible to formulate. Not so the doctrine that the Ego is able to mould its tendencies of thought and emotion within “constitutional limits”. It was the recognition of this fact which led John Stuart Mill to take up a midway position between the equally absurd extremes of Free Will and Necessarianism. The same conviction led the prophet of Materialism, Dr. Louis Büchner, to contradict his whole system by admitting human liberty within a certain area mapped [Page 318] out by “Heredity” and Environment, and Professor Clifford to invest the “conscious, automaton” Man with the power to control his own ideas !! Responsibility varies enormously, and is, perhaps, almost wanting in the savage (who, however, is in all cases the degraded relic of primaeval civilisation). In all cases, the human Ego must be held to be the evolver of the group of tendencies which make up the personality of each re-birth. The sensualist is the victim of a “Frankenstein's monster”, into which he has infused strength through many lives. We really cannot follow Mr. Beatty when he writes: “Has man instincts, desires, and inclinations, or has he not ? If he has, why should he have them if he is not to follow them ? ” He has them because they are the heritage handed down to him from past lives, and also because his Karma as an individual is bound up with that of the race to which he belongs. It rests with him as to how far he chooses to modify them “for weal or woe”, for every moment the exhaustion of past Karma runs parallel with the creation of new. It is certainly a strange doctrine here enunciated by Mr. Beatty, that the possession of certain “instincts, etc.,” justifies their gratification. Crime, debauchery and cruelty would be difficult to deal with on this hypothesis ! It is certainly true — to some extent — that “we are good or bad by reason of all the forces that act on or through us”. These latter are the stimuli to action (subject to the control of the will), but are in their turn the resultant of previous Karma. Judging from the general tone of his criticism, it would appear that his first acquaintance with the esoteric philosophy does not date back to a very remote antiquity.
LATEST ATTACK ON CHRISTIANITY”
by T G Headley
IN the July number of the Quarterly Review there is an article reviewing the recent book of J. C. Morrison upon “The Service of Man or the Future Religion”. And although Mr. Morrison, in his book, writes to urge that the chief and primary principle of religion is “to promote the spirit of self-sacrifice, and to direct men's energies to the service of their fellow creatures”, yet the Quarterly Review pours every kind of insult and obloquy on Mr. Morrison.
But herein is the gross contradiction, that the Quarterly Review admits that the primary principle of Christianity has the very same objects in view, as Mr. Morrison urges the future religion should have. And yet the Quarterly Review ridicules Mr. Morrison, and describes his book as an attack upon Christianity.
Then, surely, when two persons thus fall out with one another, whilst both advocate the same lofty and noble principles, there must be some gross misunderstanding between them !
The error thus which they both labour under, is one and the same; for the Quarterly Review errs, in assuming that the teaching or doctrine of the Church is indisputably, and infallibly, the teaching or doctrine of Christ. And Mr. Morrison errs in assuming that the teaching or doctrine of Christ is the same as the doctrine of the Church.
So that if the teaching of the Church is not the teaching of Christ, then Mr. Morrison in attacking the supposed Christianity of the Church is not really [Page 319] attacking Christianity, but only attacking the spurious doctrine of the Church, which has passed current as Christianity; ex gr Isaiah, Jeremiah and Elijah, in denouncing the religion of the priests, did not attack true religion (as the priests would assert), but only their adulterated and spurious religion.
And Christ tells us that the Priests and Pharisees made the word of God of none effect by their traditions. And St. Paul tells us that, with the authority of the Chief Priest, he had, before conversion, imprisoned and put men to death, and made them blaspheme (Acts xxvi.,II) against God and the Church.
Therefore, before we accept the Church and Christianity to be synonymous terms, and not only signifying but being actually the Church of Christ, and so, verily, Christianity, we must have a clear and definite understanding as to what we mean, and wish others to understand what we mean, by “the Church”.
For the world, outside of Christianity, and often inside, is at its wits' end to know which of the numerous churches and sects, which all claim to be the Church of Christ, is really and truly the Church of Christ because the World witnesses that they all reject one another.
Then surely, whilst the world witnesses rival and hostile churches all claiming to be “the Church” and Christianity, Mr. Morrison is not at all necessarily attacking the Church of Christ, or true Christianity, when he attacks the doctrine, or the Christianity of the churches.
And this proposition of course, opens and raises the question as to what is Christianity, which the Quarterly Review either avoids or assumes to be established, as being “a sound belief in the merits of the Saviour” which of course means belief in the Atonement as commonly taught. But how can the truth of Christianity be possibly established, whilst to this day the doctrine of Atonement taught by the Church as Christianity, cannot be reconciled as either good or true; and is moreover a mystery to the leaders of it, a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the world, making the preaching of the Church as Canon Liddon admits, utterly powerless ? The Quarterly Review assumes that the doctrine of the Church has been taught as Christianity for 1,800 years; and that I,800 years' teaching of it has proved it to be Christianity, because the Quarterly Review assumes that there has been liberty for 1,800 years to disprove the doctrine of the Church, and that the doctrine of the Church, not having been disproved, is a proof that it cannot be disproved. But the fact that to this very day there is no liberty allowed in the pulpits of the National Churches to discuss the doctrine of the Church (it being a law with the rulers of the Church that “the doctrine of the Church may not be touched”), utterly refutes all the assumptions of the Quarterly Review.
For whilst there is no liberty, even for fair and candid criticism in the pulpit, on the doctrine of the Church, even in this age of liberty and education, there could have been none when the Church, for centuries, had power to imprison, slay, and excommunicate or boycott; and used it against those who even questioned the doctrine of the Church.
But we are told, by the great Bishop Butler, in his “Analogy of Religion” (and whom the Quarterly Review admits to be an authority of the very highest class), that the doctrine of Atonement is positively immoral, excepting for the supposed divine authority; and the Bishop himself looked forward to the day, [Page 320] when the progress of liberty and education should throw greater light upon this doctrine of the Church, and indisputably determine whether or no it has the divine authority, it was then supposed or asserted to have.
So great has been our progress in education and liberty that The Guardian of the 3rd August, in its review of this book of Mr. Morrison's, says, if Christianity is Calvinism with its doctrine of substitution and justification, then it is madness any longer to attempt defending the morality of Christianity.
It is true that it is one thing to make this admission in the review of a book, and another thing to publish it from the pulpit; and it is true that the admission would be withdrawn or crucified by silence; but the Quarterly Review itself, in its argument by analogy of the human and divine mind, admits that this doctrine of Atonement is immoral, because it admits that no authority could be divine which called immorality morality, as it asserts that whatever is moral humanly speaking, is also moral divinely speaking, only in an infinitely greater degree, and the converse. So that an attack on an immoral doctrine of the Church is not an attack on Christianity, if the doctrine of the Church is not the teaching of Christ, as it can be shown that it is not, as soon as liberty is allowed in the pulpits of the National Churches, for explaining the truth of a Crucified Christ, and removing the mystery that has been created, which causes it to be a stumbling block to the Jews, and foolishness to the world.
We are told that the late Archbishop Whately said, that if the Christian Religion did not come from God, miraculously (in the sense commonly taught), yet the religion, nevertheless, exists, and therefore the phenomenon has to be explained how it could have arisen and been propagated without miracles.
But the Quarterly Review asserts that for I,800 years all the attempts to explain it, without the aid of miracles, have utterly failed, and therefore it must foe assumed to be miraculous.
But before there can be any justification for such a bold assumption, as that what is taught as Christianity is infallibly, and indisputably, the teaching of Jesus Christ, what is meant by the term Christianity, or Christian religion must be clearly defined: for the Roman Catholic Church denounces the Protestant, and the Protestant denounces the Roman Church, as having naught to do with Christianity; so that even if there is anything held in common between these Churches (as “the faith of the Primitive Church”, or “the faith once delivered to the Saints”, or any other faith), yet whatever it is, or is called, it would seem to be of not the slightest value whatever, in saving them from rejecting one another absolutely.
Canon Liddon, however, asserts that all the doctrine and teaching of the Church derives its authority from a miraculous resurrection of Jesus with a material and physical body of flesh, blood, and bones, in direct defiance of the teaching of Jesus, that the flesh profiteth nothing, and that it was the words which He spoke, ''They were spirit, they were life”. (John vi., 63.)
And if we believe that the Holy Spirit of God could speak without the aid of a material body, composed of flesh, blood, and bones, in a still small voice to the conscience or soul of Moses and Elijah (i Kings xix., 12); and if we believe that the same Holy Spirit is present even now (where two or three are gathered together — Matt, xvii., 23), why should not the presence of the still [Page 321] small voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to the conscience or soul of the Apostles, be of itself deemed sufficient, without needing the aid of a material body ?
Again, if the presence of the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to the soul of man, has been deemed sufficient by the world both before the crucifixion of Christ, and since the crucifixion of Christ, why should it be deemed necessary to raise up the crucified One, with a body of flesh, blood and bones, only to teach what the still small voice of the Holy Spirit was able, willing, and present to teach, and to doubt which would be Atheism ? And, moreover, whilst such teaching was sufficient, it would be a contradiction to vouchsafe more.
Therefore, if the still small voice of the Holy Spirit is sufficient and present to guide us into all truth, it must have been sufficient for the Apostles also (John xvi., 13); and, therefore, Christ's religion is not dependent upon a material resurrection of the body, with flesh, blood and bones.
Here, once more, we see the necessity of liberty being allowed in the pulpit, for fair and candid criticism on the doctrine of the Church, for the purpose of eliminating error and eliciting truth; so that it may be clearly seen and known what is Christ's religion, as it might indeed be possible that a material resurrection would seem necessary to support the doctrine of the Church, though wholly unnecessary for the support of Christ's religion, or gospel.
Although the Quarterly Review asserts that men have failed for 1,800 years to account for the existence of Christianity, unless it had a miraculous resurrection to support it, yet it by no means follows that, because a miracle is supposed to be needed to support a doctrine of the Church, therefore a miracle is needed for supporting the doctrine, gospel, or religion of Christ; which exists, and will continue to exist, without needing the aid of belief in a miraculous resurrection of the material body, to support it. And it only needs that there should be liberty allowed in the pulpits of the National Churches to show the deficiency of faith in Christ's spiritual resurrection, to see there is no need for belief in that carnal, gross, and material resurrection of the body, with flesh, blood and bones.
Then, let there be liberty allowed in the pulpits of the National Churches; because it is not true that there has ever been liberty for 1,800 years to explain the Mystery of a Crucified Christ; for, it is refused to the present day. If any man, on behalf of the Church, contradicts this, and asserts there is liberty to explain, in the Church, the truth of a crucified Christ, let him mention one Church, or one clergyman that will allow it, and I will test its truth by asking for the same permission that the rulers of the Synagogue accorded to St. Paul at Antioch, Acts xiii., 15.
The Quarterly Review says
the clergy have no objection to free discussion — that
it is the very air they breathe, and that it has been the life of Christian
Truth. These are bold and brave words, but where is there even one clergyman
that will endorse them, and act upon them ? Where ?
Isaiah says, “Open ye the gates that the truth may enter in” (xxvi., 2). But instead of reverencing the just and righteous “Son of Man”, the chief priests and rulers of the Ancient Church condemned “the Just One”, to be slain as a blasphemer, whose blood ought to be shed for an Atonement. And the chief priests of our Church have combined that this doctrine should not be [Page 322] touched, so that by their practice they make their statement of the Quarterly Review utterly untrue. For if there is one clergyman, A.D. 1887, who will support the Quarterly Review's statement, and open his pulpit for explaining the truth of “Christ crucified” and proclaiming Christian truth, as taught by Christ — Where is he ? and who is he ?
And if there is not one, then need the Church be surprised that men attack,
not the Christianity of Jesus Christ, but only an erroneous doctrine of the
Church, miscalled Christianity ?
(REV.) T. G. HEADLEY.
Manor House, Petersham, S. W.
P.S. — Although the Quarterly Review admits that Mr. Morrison has established a high position in literature, and that he seeks to promote the same lofty and noble principles as true Christianity inculcates; yet it speaks of Mr. Morrison's book as bad and incomplete; feeble and illogical; full of perversities, monstrosities, misrepresentations, and misquotations; adding, that it is bitter, unscrupulous, ignorant, inconsistent, offensive, bullying, brow-beating, overbearing, absurd, and ridiculous, as well as indecent and false; insulting and flagrant; inconsecutive and unjust; full of jugglery and a disgrace.
Is this an exhibition of how theologians, or the clergy, as the reviewer is
most probably a clergyman, love free discussion, and crucify those from whom
they differ by damning them in this gross manner ?
ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
by T G Headley
To the Editors of LUCIFER.
IN the numerous letters that have repeatedly appeared recently in the Times opposing the statements of the Rev. Canon Isaac Taylor, in his speech at the late Church Congress, on the very great progress of Islam, and the comparative failure of Christianity (as taught), in India and Africa, it is frequently asserted that “Islam is the only religion that has laid an immutable barrier on human progress”; and that no system could have been devised with more consummate skill (than the Koran of Islam) for shutting out the light of truth, from the Nations over which Islam has sway”.
But surely this is
equally as true of our Church, whilst it also makes it an immutable law,
as it has done to this day, that “the doctrine of
the Church may not be touched” ? For how could any system have
been devised with more consummate skill for shutting out the light of truth,
than to delude the people to crucify “the Just One”, as a blasphemer
whose blood ought to be shed for an atonement, and afterwards to quote Scripture
in support of this doctrine (as necessary to be believed in order to escape
being cursed here and damned hereafter), and stamp out and boycott all who
doubted it ?
And yet this is the present state of things.
And therefore, whilst the clergy have power to say that “the doctrine of the Church may not be touched” how is the mystery of a Crucified Christ to be explained and translated, so that it may be seen to be “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and also the glory of Israel” instead of being, as it is now, a stumbling block to the Jews, foolishness to the world, and a mystery to the [Page 323] teachers of it, making those who accept it, in India and Africa, worse than they were before?
Then is there not a cause for demanding that liberty should be allowed in
the Church, for explaining, in the pulpit, the mystery of a Crucified Christ,
so that it may no longer remain a mystery for want only of this liberty ?
(REV.) T. G. HEADLEY.
MY attention has been directed to a somewhat slighting notice of the above theory of human nature, on pages 72 and 75 of your issue for September, the contents of which are, doubtless, most suggestive of the nouvelles couches mentales at the basis of all nouvelles couches sociales, and which Physical Science, in its vulgar realism, has altogether missed.
My main position, to which all else is but subsidiary, is that the worlds both of thought and thing, which thus become identified and unified, must be a product of our own personality or Egoity, which thus constitutes each Ego Protagonist and Demiurge, from whose tribunal there can be no possible appeal. This being granted, and even Max Müller, in his “Science of Thought”, considers the position impregnable, it matters not one jot, at least in the first line and as far as my main object is concerned, whether the Ego be a Body or a “Spirit”. Our own individuality, as sum and substance of all “things”, is the only essential point of the question. So that it may be argued either on the somatic (hylo-zoic) or “Spiritual” hypothesis of life and mind. I have always contended that Hylo-Idealism, or Auto-centricism, is the only thorough and legitimate outcome of the phenomenal world theory — this representative Weltanschanung having been, for some generations past, the accredited creed both of physical science and philosophy. It is well summed up in Kant's negation of “Das Ding an sich”. Vulgar Physical Science, as interpreted by its greatest hierophants, from Newton to Huxley and Darwin, from its incarnate dualism, is fatally handicapped in its search after the final “good, beautiful, and true”. Even Cardinal Newman is in a similar case, when he predicates two luminous spectra, God and Self, as the sole entities. The former Spectrum, on the Hylo-ideal, or visional, or phenomenal hypothesis, must be only the functional imago of the latter; Self being thus proved to be “Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending, first and last”. Beyond Self, it is manifest, mortal mind can never range. Whether Self be body or “spirit” is, I repeat, for my chief contention, quite immaterial — I sit on both sides of the stile, facing both ways.
by Herbert L Courtney
To the Editors of LUCIFER.
As a hostile notice
of the above philosophy has appeared in your columns, will you kindly permit
me to say a few words in its defence ? Not, of course, that I can hope
in these few lines to really make clear to the casual reader the greatest
change in human thought ever witnessed on earth (a change not merely as
regards the form or matter of existence, but as regards its very nature) — yet [Page
may hope that a few seasonable words may be the means of inducing at least
a few to enquire further into a theory, the self-evident simplicity of which
is so great, that, I am convinced, it needs but to be understood to command
The term Hylo-Ideaism is no self-contradiction, but undeniable verity, based on the first two facts of all existence; viz., the assumption of the material on the one hand, and the actuality of the ideal on the other. The primary, undeniable and necessary assumption of the “reality” of existence supplies us with the first half of our designation, and the recognition of the correlative truism that this existence — based on our own assumption — is, therefore, only our own idea, completes our title, and amply vindicates the self-sufficiency of Hylo-Ideaistic philosophy. For here is not a mere unended argument, leaving us at both ends stranded on mere metaphysical speculation, but a self-sustaining circle [ Yet, unless metaphysical speculation comes to the rescue of the new philosophy, and, completing, explains it on the old Vedantic lines, the “circle”, instead of being a “self-sustaining” one, is more than likely to become a — “vicious circle” — Editor ] where both ends meet, and materiality and ideality are blended as one, and indissoluble.
It matters not on what basis we proceed, whether we speak of existence as material or ideal, or “spiritual” or anything else — a moment's reflection is sufficient to establish us in a position of consistent monism. For all thought or knowledge is but sensation, and sensation is and must be purely subjective, existing in, and by, the ego itself. As now we cannot outstrip our own sensations (only a madman could controvert this proposition — which includes everything) — therefore are we absolutely, and for ever, limited to self-existence, and the same holds good of all possible or imaginary existence whatsoever. For the first essential of any conscious existence — that which indeed constitutes it — is a sentient subject, and inasmuch as all connected with this subject — thought, knowledge, feeling, fancy, sentiment — are all purely subjective, i.e., in the subject itself, so must the subject be to itself the sum of all things, and objective existence only its own fancy by which it realises itself. This then utterly disposes of all fancied objective dualism by reducing all existence within the ring-fence of the ego itself, and this not as mere speculative theory but as positive fact, which, whether we recognise it or not, remains fact still — we are limited to Self, whether we know it or not.
Then finally, in self, we harmonise the antithesis between the material and the ideal by recognising the two as absolutely inter-dependent, each upon the other, and therefore one consistent and indivisible whole. The ideal (thought, fancy, sentiment) is, and must be, but the property and outcome of the material (the nominal reality), which, on the other hand, is itself (and can be) but the assumption of the ideal. Destroy reality and thought is dead, blind thought and reality is a blank; and thus are the ideal and the material but the two sides of one and the self-same shield, and the line of our argument joins itself in one consistent circle, which constitutes the existence of the Ego — He who creates light and darkness, heaven and earth, pleasure and pain, God and devil — who is, in Himself, the sum of all things, ( viz. “thinks”) beyond which is naught, [Page 325] naught, naught, for the fancy of His own which imagines a “beyond” is, itself, but fancy — self-contained in Self.
Thou Unity of force sublime,
Th' eternal mystery of thy time
Runs on unstay'd for ever;
Yet, self-containing God of all,
As raptur'd at thy feet I fall
In thee myself I worship.
HERBERT L. COURTNEY.
Cambridge, November, 1887
[EDITOR'S NOTE. — In reference to the supposed “slighting remark” of which Dr. Lewins speaks, and the no less supposed “hostile notice”, as Mr. Herbert L. Courtney puts it — contained in our September number — we demur to the accusation. Both gentlemen will find it, however, fully answered in the “Literary Jottings” of this number; where, also, their respective pamphlets “AUTO-CENTRICISM”, “HUMANISM versus THEISM” and “The New Gospel of Hylo-Idealism” — are amply noticed by the “Adversary”]
A CORRESPONDENT from New York writes:
.............The Editors of Lucifer would confer a great benefit on those who are attracted to the movement which they advocate, if they would state:
“1.) Whether a would be theosophist occultist s required to abandon his wordily ties and duties such as family affection, love of parents, wife, children friends, etc.?
“I ask this question because it is rumoured here that some theosophical publication have so stated, and would wish to know whether such a sine quâ non condition really exists in your Rules? The same however, is found in the New Testament. 'He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me, etc., etc.,' is said in Matthew (x.37) Do the Masters of Theosophy demand as much?
Yours in the Search of Light,
This is an old, old question, a still older charge against theosophy, started first by its enemies. We emphatically answer, NO; adding that no theosophical publication could have rendered itself guilty of such a FALSEHOOD and Calumny. No follower of theosophy, least of a a disciple of the “Masters of Theosophy” (the chela of a guru), would ever be accepted on such conditions. May were the candidates, but “few the chosen”. Dozens were refused, simply because married and having a sacred duty to perform to wife and children . [We know but two cases of married “chelas” being accepted; but both these were Brahmins and had child-wives, according to Hindu custom, and they were Reformers more than chelas, trying to abrogate child-marriage and slavery. Others had to obtain the consent of their wives before entering the “Path” as is usual in India since long ages. ] None have ever been asked to forsake father or mother; for he who, being necessary to his parent for his support, leaves him or her to gratify his own selfish consideration or thirst for knowledge, however great and sincere, is “unworth ” of the Science of Sciences, “or ever to approach a holy MASTER”.
Our correspondent must surely have confused in his mind Theosophy with Roman Catholicism, and Occultism with the dead-letter teachings of the Bible. For it is only in the Latin Church that it has become a meritorious action, which is called serving God and Christ, to “abandon father and mother, wife and children”, and every duty of an honest man and citizen,in order to become a monk. And it is in St. Luke's Gospel that one reads the terrible words, put in the mouth of Jesus: “If any man comes to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, his own life also, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE”. (XIV.26)
Saint (?) Jerome teaches, in one of his writings, “If thy father lies down [Page 326] across thy threshold, if thy mother uncovers to thine eyes the bosom which sucked thee, trample of thy father's lifely body, TRAMPLE ON THEY MOTHER'S BOSOM, and with eyes unmoistened and dry, fly to the Lord, who calleth thee!”
Surely then, it is not from any theosophical publication that our correspondent could have learnt such an infamous charge against theosophy and its MASTERS — but rather in some anti-Christian, or too dogmatically “Christian” paper.
Our society has never been “more Catholic than the Pope”. It has done its best to follow out the path prescribed by the Masters; and if it has failed in more than one respect to fulfil its arduous task, the blame is certainly not to be thrown on either Theosophy, nor its Masters, but on the limitations of human nature. The Rules, however, of chelaship, or discipleship, are there, in many a Sanskrit and Tibetan volume. In Book iv. of Kiu-ti, in the chapter on “the Laws of Upasans” (disciples), the qualifications expected in a “regular chela” are: (1) Perfect physical health. [This rule 1, applies only to the “temple chelas”, who must be perfect.] (2) Absolute mental and physical purity. (3) Unselfishness of purpose; universal charity; pity for all animate beings. (4) Truthfulness and unswerving faith in the laws of Karma. (5) A courage undaunted in the support of truth, even in face of peril to life. (6) An intuitive perception of one's being the vehicle of the manifested divine Atman (spirit). (7) Calm indifference for, but a just appreciation of, everything that constitutes the objective and transitory world. (8) Blessing of both parents [Or one, if the other is dead ] and their permission to become an Upasan (chela); and (9) Celibacy, and freedom from any obligatory duty”.
The last two rules are most strictly enforced. No man convicted of disrespect to his father or mother, or unjust abandonment of his wife, can ever be accepted even as a lay chela.
This is sufficient, it is hoped. We have heard of chelas, who, having failed, perhaps in consequence of the neglect of some such duty, for one or another reason, have invariably thrown the blame and responsibility for it on the teachings of the Masters. This is but natural in poor and weak human beings who have not even the courage to recognise their own mistakes, or the rare nobility of publicity confessing them, but are always trying to find a scapegoat. Such we pity, and leave to the Law of Retribution, or Karma. It is not these weak creatures, who can ever be expected to have the best of the enemy described by the wise Kirátárjuniya of Bharavi: —
“The enemies which rise within the body,
Hard to be overcome — the evil passions —
Should manfully be fought, who conquers these
Is equal to the conqueror of worlds”. (xi.32)
We have received several communications for publication, bearing on the subjects discussed in the editorial .of our last issue, “Let every man prove his own work”. A few brief remarks may be made, not in reply to any of the letters — which, being anonymous, and containing no card from the writers, cannot be published (nor are such noticed, as a general rule) — but to the ideas and accusations contained in one of them, a letter signed “M”. Its author takes up the cudgels on behalf of the Church. He objects to the statement that this institution lacks the enlightenment necessary to carry out a true system of philanthropy. He appears, also, to demur to the view that “the practical people either go on doing good unintentionally and often do harm”, and points to the workers amid our slums as a vindication of Christianity — which, by-the-bye, was in no sense attacked in the editorial so criticized.
To this, repeating what was said, we maintain that more mischief has been done by emotional charity than sentimentalists care to face. Any student of political economy is familiar with this fact, which passes for a truism with all those who have devoted attention to the problem. No nobler sentiment than [Page 327] that which animates the unselfish philanthropist is conceivable; but the question at issue is not summed up in the recognition of this truth. The practical results of his labours have to be examined. We have to see whether he does not sow the seeds of a greater — while relieving a lesser — evil.
The fact that “thousands are making great efforts in all the cities throughout our land” to meet want, reflects immense credit on the character of such workers. It does not affect their creed, for such natures would remain the same, whatever the prevailing dogmas chanced to be. It is certainly a very poor illustration of the fruits of centuries of dogmatic Christianity that England should be so honeycombed with misery and poverty as she is — especially on the biblical ground that a tree must be judged by its fruits ! It might, also, be argued, that the past history of the Churches, stained as it is with persecutions, the suppression of knowledge, crime and brutality, necessitates the turning over of a new leaf. The difficulties in the way are insuperable. “Churchianity'' has, indeed, done its best to keep up with the age “by assimilating the teachings of, and making veiled truces with, science, but it is incapable of affording a true spiritual ideal to the world.
The same Church-Christianity assails with fruitless pertinacity, the ever-growing host of Agnostics and Materialists, but is as absolutely ignorant, as the latter, of the mysteries beyond the tomb. The great necessity for the Church according to Professor Flint, is to keep the leaders of European thought within its fold. By such men it is, however, regarded as an anachronism. The Church is eaten up with scepticism within its own walls; free-thinking clergymen being now very common. This constant drain of vitality has reduced the true religion to a very low ebb, and it is to infuse a new current of ideas and aspirations into modern thought, in short, to supply a logical basis for an elevated morality, a science and philosophy which is suited to the knowledge of the day, that Theosophy comes before the world. Mere physical philanthropy, apart from the infusion of new influences and ennobling conceptions of life into the minds of the masses, is worthless. The gradual assimilation by mankind of great spiritual truths will alone revolutionize the face of civilization, and ultimately result in a far more effective panacea for evil, than the mere tinkering of superficial misery. Prevention is better than cure. Society creates its own outcasts, criminals, and profligates, and then condemns and punishes its own Frankensteins, sentencing its own progeny, the “bone of its bone, and the flesh of its flesh,” to a life of damnation on earth. Yet that society recognises and enforces most hypocritically Christianity — i.e. “Churchianity”. Shall we then, or shall we not, infer that the latter is unequal to the requirements of mankind? Evidently the former, and most painfully and obviously so, in its present dogmatic form, which makes of the beautiful ethics preached on the Mount, a Dead Sea fruit, a whitened sepulchre, and no better.
Furthermore, the same “M” alluding to Jesus as one with regard to whom there could be only two alternatives, writes that he “was either the Son of God or the vilest imposter who ever trod this earth”. We answer, not at all. Whether the Jesus of the New Testament ever lived or not, whether he existed as an historical personage, or was simply a lay figure around which the Bible allegories clustered — the Jesus of Nazareth of Matthew and John, is the ideal for every would-be sage and Western candidate Theosophist to follow. That such an one as he, was a “Son of God,” is as undeniable as that he was neither the only “Son of God,” nor the first one, nor even the last who closed the series of the “Sons of God,” or the children of Divine Wisdom, on this earth. Nor is that other statement that in “His life he (Jesus) has ever spoken of himself as co-existent with Jehovah, the Supreme, the Centre of the Universe,” correct, whether in it its dead letter, or hidden mystic sense. In no place does Jesus ever allude to “Jehovah”; but, on the contrary, attacking the Mosaic laws and the alleged Commandments given on Mount Sinai, he disconnects himself and his “Father” most distinctly and emphatically from the Sinaitic tribal God. [Page 328] The whole of Chapter V, in the Gospel of Matthew, is a passionate protest or the “man of peace, love and charity,” against the cruel, stern, and selfish commandments of “the man of war,” the “Lord” of Moses (Exod. xv.3) “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old times”, — so and so — “But I say unto you,” quite the reverse. Christians who still hold to the Old Testament and the Jehovah of the Israelites, are at best schismatic Jews. Let them be that, by all means, if they will so have it; but they have no right to call themselves even Chréstians, let alone Christians. [See “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels”, in this number.]
It is a gross injustice and untruth to assert, as our anonymous correspondent does, that “the freethinkers are notoriously unholy in their lives.” Some of the noblest characters, as well as deepest thinkers of the day, adorn the ranks of Agnosticism, Positivism and Materialism. The latter are the worst enemies of Theosophy and Mysticism; but this is no reason why strict justice should not be done unto them. Colonel Ingersoll, a rank materialist and the leader of free-thought in America, is recognized, even by his enemies, as an ideal husband, father, friend and citizen, one of the noblest characters that grace the United States. Count Tolstoi is a freethinker who has long parted with the orthodox Church, yet his whole life is an exemplar of Christ-like altruism and self-sacrifice. Would to goodness every “Christian” should take those two “infidels” as his models in private and public life. The munificence of many freethinking philanthropists stands out in startling contrast with the apathy of the monied dignitaries of the Church. The above fling at the “enemies of the Church,” is as absurd as it is contemptible.
“What can you offer to the dying woman who fears to tread alone the DARK UNKNOWN?” we are asked. Our Christian critic here frankly confesses (a) that Christian dogmas have only developed fear of death, and (b) the agnosticism of the orthodox believer in Christian theology as to the future post-mortem state. It is, indeed, difficult to appreciate the peculiar type of bliss which orthodoxy offers its believers in — damnation.
The dying man — the average Christian — with a dark retrospect in life can scarcely appreciate this boon; while the Calvinist or the Predestinarian, who is brought up in the idea that God may have pre-assigned him from eternity to everlasting misery , through no fault of that man, but simply because he is God, is more than justified in regarding the latter as ten times worse than any devil or fiend that unclean human fancy could evolve.
Theosophy, on the contrary, teaches that perfect, absolute justice reigns in nature, though short-sighted man fails to see it in its details on the material and even psychic plane, and that every man determines his own future. The true Hell is life on Earth, as an effect of Karmic punishment following the preceding life during which the evil causes were produced. The Theosophist fears no hell, but confidently expects rest and bliss during the interim between two incarnations, as a reward for all the unmerited suffering he has endured in an existence into which he was ushered by Karma, and during which he is, in most cases, as helpless as a torn-off leaf whirled about by the conflicting winds of social and private life. Enough has been given out at various times regarding the conditions of post-mortem existence, to furnish a solid block of information on this point. Christian theology has nothing to say on this burning question, except where it veils its ignorance by mystery and dogma; but Occultism, unveiling the symbology of the Bible, explains it thoroughly. — [Editor] [Page 329
HYLO-IDEALISM VERSUS “LUCIFER,” AND THE “ADVERSARY.”
“Under the head of “CORRESPONDENCE” in the present number, two remarkable letters are published (See Text ). Both come from fervent Hylo-Idealists — a Master and Disciple, if we mistake not — and both charge the “Adversary”, one, of a “slighting”, the other, of a “hostile notice” of Hylo-Idealism, in the September number of Lucifer.
Such an accusation is better met, and answered in all sincerity; and, therefore, the reply is, a flat denial of the charge. No slight — nor hostility either, could be shown to “Hylo-Idealism”, as the “little stranger” in the happy family of philosophies was hitherto as good as unknown to Lucifer’s household gods. It was chaff, if anything, but surely no hostility; and even that was concerned with only some dreadful words and sentences, with reference to the new teaching, and had nothing whatever to do with Hylo-Idealism proper — a terra incognita for the writer at the time. But now that three pamphlets from the pens of our two correspondents have been received in our office, for review, and carefully read, Hylo-Idealism begins to assume a more tangible form before the reviewer’s eye. It becomes easier to separate the grain from the chaff, the theory from the (no doubt) scientific, nevertheless, most irritating, words in which it is presented to the reader.
This is meant in all truth and sincerity. The remarks which our two correspondents have mistaken for expressions of hostility, were as justified then, as they are now. What ordinary mortal, we ask, before he had time (to use Dr. Lewins’ happiest expressions) to “asself or cognose” — let alone intercranialise [Auto-Centricism; or The Brain Theory of Life and Mind [London, 1888], p. 41. ] (!!) — the hylo-idealistic theories, however profound and philosophical these may be who, having so far come into direct contact with only the images thereof “subjected by his own egoity” (i.e., as words and sentences), who could avoid feeling his hair standing on end, over “his organs of mentation”, while spelling out such terrible words as “vesiculo-neurosis in conjunction with medico-psychological symptomatology”, “autocentricism”, and the like? Such interminable, outlandish, multisyllabled and multicipital, newly-coined compound terms and whole sentences, maybe, and no doubt, are, highly learned and scientific. They may be most expressive of true, real meaning, to a specialist of Dr. Lewins’ powers of thought; nevertheless, I make bold to say, that they are far more calculated to obscure than to enlighten the ordinary reader. In our modern day, when new philosophies spring out from the spawn of human overworked intellect like mushrooms from their mycelium after a rainy morning, the human brain and its capacities ought to be taken into a certain thoughtful consideration, and spared useless labour. Notwithstanding Dr. Lewins’ praiseworthy efforts to prove that brain (as far as we understand his aspirations and teachings) is the only reality in the whole kosmos, its limitations are painfully evident, on the whole. As philanthropists and theosophists, we entreat the founder of Hylo-Idealism and his disciples to be merciful to their new god, the “Ego-Brain”, and not tax too heavily its powers, if they would see it happily reign. For otherwise, it is sure to collapse before the new theory — or, let us call it philosophy — is even half appreciated by that “Ego-Brain.”
By speaking as we do, we are only pursuing a life-long policy. We have criticized and opposed the coinage of hard Greek and Latin words by the New York Pantarchists; laugned at Haeckel’s pompous tendency to invent thirty-three syllabled terms, and speak of the perigenesis of plastidules, instead of honest whirling atoms — or whatever he means; and derided the modern psychists for calling simple thought transference “telepathic impact.” And now, we tearfully beg Dr. Lewins, in the interests of humanity, to have pity on his poor readers: for, unless he hearkens to our advice, we shall be compelled, in dire self-defence, to declare an open war to his newly-coined words. We shall fight the usurper “Solipsism” in [Page 330] favour of the legitimate king of the Universe — EGOISM — to our last breath.
At the same time, as we have hitherto been ignorant of the latest philosophy, described by Mr. H. L. Courtney as “the greatest change in human thought,” may we be permitted to enquire whether it is spelt as its Founder spells it, namely, “Hylo-Idealism”, or as his disciple, Mr. Courtney does, who writes Hylo-Ideaism? Is the latter a schism, an improvement on the original name, a lapsus calami, or what? And now, having disburdened our heart of a heavy weight, we may proceed to give an opinion (so far very superficial), on the three Hylo-Idealistic (or Ideaistic) pamphlets.
Under the extraordinary title of “AUTO-CENTRICISM” and “HUMANISM versus THEISM”, or “Solipsism (Egoism)=Atheism” (W. Stewart & Co., 41, Farringdon Street, E.C. ; and Freethought Publishing Co., 63, Fleet Street, E.C.) — Dr. Lewins publishes a series of letters on the subject of the philosophy of which he is the founder. It is impossible not to feel admiration for the manner in which these letters are written. They show a great deal of sincere conviction and deep thought, and give evidence of a most wide and varied reading. However his readers may dissent from the writer's conclusions, the research with which he has strengthened his theory, cannot fail to attract their attention, and smooth their way through the somewhat tortuous labyrinth of arguments before them. But —
Dr. Lewins is among those who regard consciousness as a function of the nerve-tissue; and in this aspect, he is an uncompromising materialist. Yet, on the other hand, he holds that the Universe, God, and thought, have no reality whatever, apart from the individual Ego. The Ego is again resolvable into brain-process. We thus arrive at the doctrine that Brain is the workshop in which all our ideas of external things are originated. Apart from brain there is no Ego, no external world. What, then, is the Brain itself— this solitary object in a void universe ? Hylo-Idealism does not say. Thus, the author cannot escape the confusion of thought which his unique working-union of materialism and idealism involves. The oscillation between these two poles is strikingly apparent in the subjoined quotations. At one point Matter is discussed as if it were an objective reality; at another, it is regarded as a mere “phantasm of the Ego”. The Brain alone survives throughout in solitary state. We quote from the two pamphlets—
“Matter, organic and inorganic, is now fully known .... to perform all material operations.”
— Auto-Centricism, p. 40.
“Man is all body and matter.”
— Do, p. 40.
“Abstract thought [is] neuropathy . . disease of the nervous centres.”
— Humanism versus Theism, p. 25.
“What we call mind .... is a function of certain nerve structures in the organism.”
— Humanism versus Theism, p. 24.
“All discovery is .... a subjective phenomenon.”
— Humanism versus Theism, p. 17.
“All things are for us but modes of perception” — [Mental figments].
The “celestial vault and garniture of Earth”, are “a mere projection of our own inner consciousness ”
— Humanism versus Theism, p. 17.
'' We get rid of Matter altogether.'
— Humanism versus Theism, p, 17.
'' The whole objective world .... is phenomenal or ideal.”
— Auto-Centricism. p. 9.
“Everything is spectral ” (i.e., unreal).
— Auto-Centricism, p. 13.
Matter is at one time credited with a real being, and again resolved into a mere mental figment as circumstances demand. If Matter is, as the author frequently states, unreal, it is, at least clear that the brain, one of its many phases, goes with it! !
As to the learned doctor's assertion that perception is relative, a theory which runs through his whole work, we have but one answer. This conception is, in no sense whatever, a monopoly of Hylo-Idealists, as Dr. Lewins appears to think. The illusory nature of the phenomenal world — of the things of sense — is not only a belief common to the old Brahminical metaphysics, and to the majority of modern psychologists, but it is also a vital tenet of Theosophy. The latter distinctly realises matter as a “bundle of attributes”, ultimately resolvable into the subjective sensations of a “percipient”. The connection of this simple truth with the hylo-idealistic denial of soul is not apparent. Its acceptance has, also, no bearing on the problem as to whether there may not exist a duality — within the limits of manifested being — or contrast between Mind and the Substance of matter. This Cosmic Duality is symbolised by the Vedantins in the relations between the Logos and Mulaprakriti — i.e., the Universal Spirit and the “material” basis (or root) of the objective planes of nature. The Monism, then, of Dr. Lewins and other negative thinkers of the day, is evidently [Page 331] at fault, when applied to unify the contrast of mental and material facts in the conditioned universe. Beyond the latter, it is indeed valid, but that is scarcely a question for practical philosophy.
To close with a reference
this once to Dr. Lewins' letter (see “Correspondence” in
the text), in which he makes his subsequent assertion to the effect that
God is the “functional ( sic) image”, of the Ego, we should
prefer to suggest that all individual “selves” are but dim reflections
of the universal soul of the Kosmos. The orthodox concept of God is not,
as he contends, a myth or phantasm of the brain; it is rather an expression
of a vague consciousness of the universal, all-pervading Logos. It is because
SELF pinions man within a narrow sphere “beyond which mortal mind
can never range”, that the destruction of the personal sense of separateness
is indispensable to the Occultist.
“THE NEW GOSPEL OF HYLO-IDEALISM, or Positive Agnosticism? (Freethought Publishing Co., 73, Fleet Street, E. C. Price 3d.), is another pamphlet on the same subject, in which Mr. Herbert L. Courtney contributes his quota to the discussion of the “Brain Theory of mind and matter”. He is, if we mistake not, an avowed disciple of Dr. Lewins, and, perhaps, identical with the “C. N.”, who watched over the cradle of the “new philosophy”. The whole gist of the latter may be summed up as an attempt to frame a working-union of Materialism and Idealism. This result is effected on two lines (I) in the acceptance of the idealistic theorem, that the so-called external world only exists in our consciousness; and (2) in the designation of that consciousness, in its turn, as a mere function of Brain. The first of these contentions is unquestionably valid, in so far as it concerns the world of appearances, or Maya; it is, however, as “old as the hills”, and incorporated into the Hylo-Ideal argument from anterior sources. The second is untenable, for the simple reason that on the premises of the new creed itself, the brain, as an object of perception, can possess no reality outside of the Ego. Hegelians might reply that Brain is but an idea of the Ego, and cannot hence determine the existence of the latter — its creator.
however, find much to interest them in Mr. Courtney's brochure, representative,
as it is, of the new and more subtle phase into which modern scepticism
is entering. Some expressions we may demur to — e.g., “That
which we see is not Sirius, but the light-wave”. So far from the light-wave
being “seen”, it is a mere working hypothesis of Science. All
we experience is the retinal sensation, the objective counterpart to which
is a matter of pure inference. So far as we can learn, Hylo-Idealism is chiefly
based upon gigantic paradoxes, and even contradictions in terms. For, with
regard to the speculations anent the Noumenon (p. 8.) what justification
can be found for terming it “MATTER”, especially as it is said
to be “unknowable”?
Obviously it may be of the nature of mind, or — something HIGHER.
How is the Hylo-Idealist to know ?
“LAYS OF ROMANCE AND CHIVALRY”, by Mr. W. Stewart Ross. (Stewart and Co., Farringdon Street.) In this neat little volume the author presents to the reader a collection of vigorous verse, mostly of chivalrous character. Some of these pieces, such as the “Raid of Vikings” and “Glencoe”, are of merit, despite an occasional echo of Walter Scott, whose style seems to have had a considerable modifying influence on the author's diction. It is in the “Bride of Steel” that this feature is most noticeable —
“ I love thee with a warrior's love,
My Sword, my Life, my Bride !
Dear, dear as ever knighthood bore,
Though yet no gout of battle-gore
Thy virgin blade hath dyed ! ”
Apart from this unconscious influence of the great Scottish bard, the ring
of originality and feeling which characterises Mr. Stewart Ross's poetry is
most refreshing. The little volume sparkles with the vein of romance, and after
perusing it, in spite of occasional anachronisms and other literary errors,
we are not surprised to hear of the favourable reception hitherto accorded
In the Secular Review for November 26th, Mr. Beatty makes an attack upon a former article in LUCIFER, entitled “The Origin of Evil”. We find, however, Mr. Beatty exhibiting crass ignorance of the ideas he criticises, as when, for instance, he speaks of the “Buddhistic” Parabram (sic). To begin with, every tyro in Oriental philosophy knows that “Parabrahm” is a Hindu Vedantic idea, and has no connection whatever with Buddhist thought. If Mr. Beatty wishes to become a serious critic, he must first learn the a, b, c, of the subject with which he professes to deal. His article is unfinished, but it seems only fair at the present stage to call his attention to so glaring an error. [Page 332]
THE GNOSTICS AND THEIR REMAINS, ANCIENT AND MEDIAEVAL — By C. W. King, M.A. . Second Edition. David Nutt, 270 Strand, London, 1887. pp. 466, 8vo.
It would be unfair to the erudite and painstaking author of The Gnostics and Their Remains for a reviewer to take the title of his book as altogether appropriate, for it suggests too high a standard of criticism. Mr. King says in the introduction that his book is intended to be subsidiary to the valuable treatise of M. Matter, adding: “ I refer the reader to him for the more complete elucidation of the philosophy of Gnosticism, and give my full attention to its Archaeological side”. The italics are the author's, and they disarm criticism as far as the philosophical side of Gnosticism is concerned; for thus italicized, this passage is, at the outset, as plain a confession as could, in conscience, be expected of an author of a fact which the reader would probably have found out for himself, before he closed the volume: namely, that the work is chiefly valuable as an Archaeological compendium of “Gnostic Remains”. Unfortunately, the most interesting point about the Gnostics is their philosophy, of which their Archaeological remains are, properly speaking, little more than illustrations. But the fact is, that the hard-shelled Archaeologist is the last man in the world to appreciate the real esoteric signification of symbolism. All true symbols have many meanings, and for the purposes of descriptive Archaeology the more superficial of these meanings are sufficient. Ignorance of the deeper meaning may indeed be bliss for the Archaeologist, for it necessitates an amount of ingenuity in the fitting together of “remains”, that commands the admiration of the public, and is productive in the Archaeological bosom of that agreeable sensation known as “fancying oneself”. As a laborious collector and compiler, and an ingenious worker-up of materials into interesting reading, too much can hardly be said in Mr. King's praise, and had he a greater intuitional power, and a knowledge of esoteric religion, his great industry and erudition would make his writings valuable even to students of Occultism.
Since the publication of the former edition of his work, twenty-three years ago, Mr. King has come across and read the Pistis Sophia. The discovery of this, the only remaining Gnostic Gospel, or rather, Gospel fragment, is attributed to Schwartze, and the Latin translation to Petermann (in 1853). But Mr. King does not seem to be aware that as far back as 1843, another and ampler copy than that in the British Museum was in the hands of a Russian Raskolnik (dissident), a Cossack, who lived and married in Abyssinia; and another is in the possession of an Englishman, an Occultist, now in the United States, who brought it from Syria. It seems a pity that in the interim Mr. King did not also read Isis Unveiled, by H. P. Blavatsky, published by Bouton in New York in 1876, as its perusal would have saved him a somewhat absurd and ludicrous blunder. In his Preface, Mr. King says: — “There seems to be reason for suspecting that the Sibyl of Esoteric Buddhism drew the first notions of her new religion from the analysis of the inner man, as set forth in my first edition”. [ This modest assumption is followed by the generous promise to furnish “investigators of the same order” as the supposed “Sibyl”, with “a still more profound theosophy”. This is extremely considerate and kind. But it is Pistis Sophia which the author had in his mind, then he had better apply to Theosophists for the explanation of the most recondite points in that gnostic fragment, while translating it, as he proposes doing from Latin. For though the world of the Orientalists “of the same order” as himself, may labour under the mistaken impression that no one except themselves knew or know anything about Pistis-Sophia till 1853 – Theosophists know better. Does Mr King really imagine that no one besides himself knows anything about the Gnostics”and their remains,” or what he knows is the only correct thing to know? Strange delusion, if so; yet quite a harmless one, we confess ] The only person to whom this passage could apply is one of the Editors, the author of Isis Unveiled. And this, her first publication, contains the same and only doctrine she has always, or ever, promulgated. Isis Unveiled has passed through eight editions, and has been read by many thousands of persons; and not only they, but everyone who is not strangely ignorant of the very literature with which it was Mr. King's business to make himself conversant, are perfectly aware that the two large volumes which compose that work are entirely devoted to a defence of the philosophy, science, and religion of the ancients, especially of the old Aryans, whose religion can hardly be called a “new” one, still less — “Esoteric Buddhism”. If properly spelt, however, the latter word, or Buddhism, ought to be written with one “d”, as in this case it means Wisdom. But “Budhism”, or the wisdom-religion of the Aryans, was still less a religion, in the exoteric sense, than is Buddhism, but rather a philosophy. In that part of Isis Unveiled which treats of the Gnostics, Mr. King will find a few quotations from his writings side by side with quotations from other writers on the same subject; but he will find no new [Page 333] religion “there, or anywhere else, in the works of H. P. Blavatsky. And, if anyone drew the “first notions” of their religion from his “analysis of the inner man”, it must have been the early Aryans, who, unfortunately, have neglected to acknowledge the obligation. What makes Mr. King's self-complacency the more ridiculous, is that in his preface he himself accuses someone else of “the grave error of representing their (the Gnostics') doctrines as novel, and the pure inventions of the persons who preached them”. And in another place he confesses that he owes to Matter the first idea which has now become a settled conviction with him, that “the seeds of the gnosis were originally of Indian growth”. If Matter “faintly discerned” this truth, on the other hand Bailly, Dupuis, and others had seen it quite clearly, and had declared it most emphatically. So that Mr. King's “discovery” is neither very new nor very original.
Mr. King must be aware that of late years immense additions have been made to western knowledge of eastern philosophies and religions — a new region in ancient literature having, in fact, been opened up by the labours of Orientalists, both European and Eastern. A study of these Oriental systems throws a strong though often a false light upon the inner meaning of Gnostic symbolism and ideas generally, which Mr. King acknowledges to have come from Indian sources; and certainly the reader has a right to expect a little more knowledge in that direction from a writer of Mr. King's pretensions, than is displayed. For example, in the section about Buddhism in the work before us: one is tempted sometimes to ask whether it is flippancy or superficiality that is the matter with the author — when he calls the ancient Indian gymnosophists “fakirs”, and confounds them with Buddhists. Surely he need hardly be told that fakirs are Mahomedans, and that the Gymnosophists he mentions were Brahmin Yogis.
The work, however, is a valuable one in its way; but the reader should not forget that “there seems reason for suspecting” that the author does not always know exactly what he is talking about, whenever he strays too far from Archaeology, on which he is no doubt an authority.
THE JEWISH WORLD enters bravely enough (in its issue of the 11th November 1887) on its new character of professor of symbology and History. It accuses in no measured terms one of the editors of LUCIFER of ignorance; and criticises certain expression used in our October number, in a foot-note inserted to explain why the “Son of the Morning” LUCIFER is called in Mr. G. Massey's little poem, “Lady of Light”. The writer objects, we see, to Lucifer-Venus being called in one of its aspects “the Jewish Astoreth”; or to her having ever been offered cakes by the Jews. As explained in a somewhat confused sentence: “There was no Jewish Astoreth, though the Syrian goddess, Ashtoreth, or Astarte, often appears in Biblical literature, the moon goddess, the complement of Baal, the Sun God”.
This, no doubt, is extremely learned and conveys quite new information. Yet such an astounding statement as that the whole of the foot-note in LUCIFER is “pure imagination and bad history” is very risky indeed. For it requires no more than a stroke or two of our pen to make the whole edifice of this denial tumble on the Jewish World and mangle it very badly. Our contemporary has evidently forgotten the wise proverb that bids one to let “sleeping dogs lie”, and therefore, it is with the lofty airs of superiority that he informs his readers that though the Jews in Palestine lived surrounded with (? sic) this pagan form of worship, and may at times, (? !) have wandered towards it, they HAD NOTHING IN THEIR WORSHIP IN COMMON WITH CHALDEAN OR SYRIAN BELIEFS IN MULTIPLICITY OF DEITIES? (! !)
This is what any impartial reader might really term “bad history”, and every Bible worshipper describe as a direct lie given to the Lord God of Israel. It is more than suppressio veri suggestio falsi, for it is simply a cool denial of facts in the face of both Bible and History. We advise our critic of the Jewish World to turn to his own prophets, to Jeremiah, foremost of all. We open “Scripture” and find in it: “the Lord God” while accusing his “backsliding Israel and treacherous Judah” of following in “the ways of Egypt and of Assyria”, of drinking the waters of Sihor, and “serving strange Gods” enumerating his grievances in this wise:
“According to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah, (Jer. ii. 28.).
“Ye have turned back to the iniquities of your forefathers who went after other gods to serve them (xi. ) . . . according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars unto Baal (Ib).
So much for Jewish monotheism. And is it any more “pure imagination” to say that the Jews offered cakes to their Astoreth and called her “Queen of Heaven” ? Then the “Lord God” must, indeed, be guilty of more than “a delicate expansion of facts” when thundering to, and through, Jeremiah: — [Page 334]
“Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough TO MAKE CAKES to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto the gods.” (Jer. vii. 17-18).
“The Jews may AT TIMES” only (?) have wandered towards pagan forms of worship but “had nothing in common in it with Syrian beliefs in multiplicity of deities”. Had they not ? Then the ancestors of the editors of the Jewish World must have been the victims of “suggestion”, when, snubbing Jeremiah (and not entirely without good reason), they declared to him:
“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the Queen of Heaven [Astoreth-Diana, Isis, Melita, Venus, etc, etc.] . . . . as we have done, we, AND OUR FATHERS, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her .... and (to) make her cakes to worship her.... we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. . . . ' (Jer. xliv. 16, 17, 18, 19).
Thus, according to their own confession, it is not “at times” that the Jews made cakes for, and worshipped Astoreth and the strange gods, but constantly: doing, moreover, as their forefathers, kings and princes did.
“Bad history ” ? And what was the “golden calf” but the sacred heifer, the symbol of the “Great Mother”, first the planet Venus, and then the moon ? For the esoteric doctrine holds (as the Mexicans held) that Venus, the morning star, was created before the sun and moon; metaphorically, of course, not astronomically, [Because the stars and planets are the symbols and houses of Angels and Elohim, who were, of course, “created,” or evoluted before the physical or cosmic sun or moon. “The sun god was called the child of the moon god Sin, in Assyria, and the lunar god Taht, is called the father of Osiris, the sun god ‘in Egypt.’ “ (G. Massey.) ] the assumption being based upon, and meaning that which the Nazars and the Initiate alone understood among the Jews, but that the writers of the Jewish World are not supposed to know. For the same reason the Chaldeans maintained that the moon was produced before the sun ( see Babylon — Account of Creation, by George Smith ). The morning star, Lucifer-Venus was dedicated to that Great Mother symbolized by the heifer or the “Golden Calf”. For, as says Mr. G. Massey in his lecture on “The Hebrews and their Creations”, “This (the Golden Calf) being of either sex, it supplied a twin-type for Venus, as Hathor or Ishtar (Astoreth), the double star, that was male at rising, and female at sunset”. She is the “Celestial Aphrodite”, Venus Victrix νιχηφόροϛ associated with Ares (see Pausanias I, 8, 4, 11,25, I).
We are told that “happily
for them (the Jews)there was no Jewish Astoreth”. The Jewish
yet to learn, we see, that there would have been no Greek Venus Aphrodite;
no Ourania, her earlier appellation; nor would she have been confounded
with the Assyrian Mylitta (Herod, I, 199; Pausan., I, 14, 7; Hesiod, Μυλήταν τῂν Οὐρανιαν Ασσύριοι)
had it not been for the Phoenicians and other Semites. We say the “Jewish
Astoreth”, and we maintain what we say, on the authority of the
Iliad, the Odyssey, of Renan, and many others. Venus Aphrodite is one with
the Astarte, Astoreth, etc. of the Phoenicians, and she is one (as a planet)
with “Lucifer” the “Morning
Star”. So far back as the days of Homer, she was confounded with
Kypris, an Oriental goddess brought by the Phoenician Semites from
their Asiatic travels ( Iliad, V, 330, 422, 260). Her worship
appears first at Cythere, a Phoenician settlement depôt or trade-establishment
(Odys., VIII. 362 ; Walcker, griech.
götterl. I, 666) Herodotus shows that the sanctuary of Ascalon,
in Syria, was the most ancient of the fanes of Aphrodite Ourania (I, 105):
and Decharme tells us in his Mythologie de la Grèce Antique,
that whenever the Greeks alluded to the origin of Aphrodite they designated
her as Ourania,
an epithet translated from a semitic word, as Jupiter Epouranios of
the Phoenician inscriptions, was the Samemroum of Philo of Byblos,
according to Renan (Mission
de Phenicie). Astoreth was a goddess of generation, presiding at human
birth (as Jehovah was god of generation, foremost of all).
She was the moon-goddess, and a planet at the same time, whose worship
originated with the Phoenicians and Semites. It flourished most in the
Phoenician settlements and colonies in Sicily, at Eryax. There hosts of Hetairae were
attached to her temples, as hosts of Kadeshim, called by a more
sincere name in the Bible, were, to the house of the Lord, where the women
wove hangings for the grove” (II. Kings,
xxiii, 7). All this shows well the Semitic provenance of Astoreth-Venus in
her capacity of “great Mother”. Let us pause. We advise sincerely
the Jewish World to abstain from throwing stones at other peoples'
beliefs, so long as its own faith is but a house of glass. And though Jeremy
Taylor may think that “to be proud of one's learning is the greatest
in this case it is but simple justice to say that it is really desirable
for our friends the Jews that the writer in LUCIFER of the criticised note
about Astoreth should know less of history and the Bible, and her unlucky
critic in the Jewish World learn a little more about it.
“ADVERSARY.” [Page 335]
THE THEOSOPHIST for October opens with the first of a series of articles on the “Elohistic Cosmogony.” The views put forward by the writer are certainly both striking and original, and, although Dr. Pratt diverges very considerably from the recognised standard of kabalistic orthodoxy, his interpretation of the Jewish version of cosmic evolution will assuredly excite considerable interest.
Following on Dr. Pratt’s learned article, come a few — unfortunately, too few — pages of extremely interesting notes on the Folk-lore of the Himalayan tribes, contributed by Captain Banon. The Theosophist has often been indebted to Captain Banon for similar notes respecting such little known tribes and people; and it is much to be regretted that the many members of the Theosophical Society who reside in or visit such out-of-the way places, do not make it a rule to collect these traditions and send them for publication in the Theosophist or one of the other Theosophical magazines.
Dr. Hartmann continues his series of “Rosicrucian Letters” with a number of extracts from the papers of Karl von Eckartshausen, who died in 1792. Dr. Hartmann deserves the gratitude of all students for rendering accessible these records and notes of past generations of “ seekers after the Truth.”
Dr Buck contributes a pithy and thoughtful article on “The Soul Problem”, and Mr Lazarus continues his exposition of the kabalistic doctrine of the Microcosm. Besides these there are further instalments of two valuable translations from Hindu works of great antiquity and authority; the “Crest Jewel of Wisdom”, by Sankaracharya and the Kaivalyanita.” It is much to be desired that one of our Hindu brothers, who adds to a knowledge of his own mystic literature, an acquaintance with Western modes of thought and expression, would devote a series of articles to the exposition of the fundamental standpoint and ideas of such works as these. Such an article would add enormously to the value of these translations to the Western world.
In the November number, Dr. Pratt takes up the Jehovistic cosmogony, which he contrasts and compares with the Elohistic version already referred to. In his view, the Jehovistic teaching embodies the conception of the world as “created” and “ruled” by an extra-natural and personal deity, as opposed to the more philosophical and pantheistic conception of the earlier Elohistic writers.
Under the title of An Ancient Weapon, this issue contains an instructive account of the evocation of certain astral forces according to the ancient Vedic rites. As here described, the evil intention with which the rite is performed, transforms it into a ceremony of Black Magic, but this does not render the account any less valuable.
This is followed by the first of a series of articles on The Allegory of the Zoroastrian Cosmogony, which promises to furnish much food for thought and study.
Rosicrucian Letters contains this time an extract from an old MS., headed The Temple of Solomon, which is well worthy of careful attention.
Besides these we have a sketch of the life and writings of Madvachary, the great teacher of Southern India, and some further testimonies to the fact of “self-levitation” from eye-witnesses. Rama Prasad gives some most valuable details of the “Science of Breathing,” one of the most curious branches of occult physics, while the remainder of the number is occupied by an article on “Tetragrammaton,” which may be interesting to students of the Kabbala, and continuations of the “Kabbala and the Microcosm,” and of the translations from Indian books mentioned in connection with the October number.
These two numbers contain much valuable matter and well maintain the reputation which the Theosophist originally gained for itself.
In THE PATH for October we notice especially the following articles:
Nature’s Scholar, a most poetically-conceived and well-worked-out Idyll, by J.C. Ver Plank, in which the underlying occult truth is presented to the reader in a most attractive form.
Following this is a much needed warning against the dangers of Astral Intoxication. Admirably expressed, it points out the true, and indicates the false, path [Page 336] with great clearness; and we desire to call the earnest attention of such of our readers as are engaged in psychic development to its importance.
“Pilgrim” contributes some further Thoughts in Solitude, the leading idea of which may be indicated by its concluding lines, which are quoted from Sir Philip Sydney of heroic fame:
“Then farewell, World! thy uttermost I see,
Eternal Love, maintain thy life in me!”
Tea-Table Talk is even more interesting and suggestive than usual, and, besides those above mentioned, this well-filled number contains Part IV. of the series of articles on The Poetry of Re-incarnation in Western Literature, which deals with the Platonic Poets.
The November number opens with an able continuation of Mr Brehon’s article on The Bhagavat-Gita, commenced so long ago as last April, of which we hope to peruse a further instalment. Following this is a short article indicating the term “Medium” from the loathsome connotations which phenomenal spiritualism has attached to it. We then come to a paper on Goethe’s Faust, read before one of the branches of the Theosophical Society in America. It is of great interest to students of literature and will furnish a clue to the real meaning of much of the poet’s writing.
Mr. Johnston makes some most suggestive remarks on Cain and Abel; Harij speaks in no uncertain tones of Personalities and Truth, while Hadji Erinn points out the Path of Action, and warns the members of the T.S. that they must not expect their road to become easier and plainer before them, while yet the society is undergoing the trials of its education.
Zadok gives some able answers to questions on various points of practical occultism, and Julius, in Tea-Table Talk, points out how many people are really entering on the path of Theosophy — even though unconsciously.
LE LOTUS, for October and November, is even more interesting than usual. In the October number are contained two very valuable articles. The first of these is a paper on Paracelsus from the pen of Dr. Hartmann, who is especially qualified to handle the subject by his profound study of the work, and especially the manuscripts of that great occultist. M. “Papus” contributes a most lucid and able exposition of some Kabbalistic doctrines, the practical value of which has been hitherto but little realized even by professed students of mysticism.
The opening article in the November issue is headed, The Constitution of the Microcosm. It is written in a clear and attractive style, and contains a most thorough and complete explanation of the various classifications of the principles which enter into the constitution of man.
“Amaravella” has evidently studied the whole subject very deeply, and he shows the relation of these various classifications to one another in a way which will clear up many of the misconceptions which have arisen.
M. “Papus” writes on Alchemy in a manner which shows how conversant he is with this little-understood topic. We therefore look forward with great anticipations to the perusal of his book “Traité élémentaire de science occulte”, the fourth chapter of which contains the article referred to.
It is very evident that Theosophy is making great and rapid progress in France, and this is in great measure due to the untiring and unselfish devotion of the editor of Le Lotus, M. Gaboriau, whom we congratulate most warmly on the success which has attended his efforts.
L’Aurore for October contains an article on the so-called “Star of Bethlehem”, which repeats the assurance that the world is entering on a new and happier life-phase.
Unfortunately, it seems more than probable that before this amelioration takes place, the world must pass through the valley of the shadow of Death, and endure calamities far worse than any it has yet seen. Lady Caithness continues her erudite and interesting article on the lost ten tribes of Israel. Her thesis is put forward in admirable language , and supported by a great wealth of biblical quotations. Unfortunately, the task undertaken is an impossible one. There never were twelve tribes of Israel — two only — Judah and the Levites, having had a real existence in the flesh. The remainder are but euhemerizations of the signs of the Zodiac, and were introduced because they were necessary to the Kabalistic scheme on which the “History” of the Jews was written.
Lady Barrogill relates the well-known story of an English bishop and the ghost of a Catholic priest, who haunted his former residence in order to secure the destruction of some notes he had taken (contrary to the rule of the Church) of an important confession which he had heard.
Besides these articles we find the continuation of the serial romance, “L’amour Immortel”, and LUCIFER has to thank the editor for the appreciative notice contained in this number.
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