|Vol. 1||LONDON, JANUARY 15TH, 1888|
|339||To the Morning Star||Helen Fagg|
|339||The Faith that You called Sacred (reprint Secular Review)||Robert G Ingersoll|
|340||“To the Readers of Lucifer”||anon (HPB)|
Words on Daily Life
(see Letter #82, LMW-2nd, compiled by CJ)
|A Master of Wisdom|
|347||The Blossom & The Fruit: The True Story of a Magician (5)||Mabel Collins|
|364||Speculation, Revolution||Mary W Gale|
|365||Twilight Visions (1)||Wm C Eldon Serjeant|
|368||Esotericism of the Christian Dogma||L'Abbé Roca|
|375||The Great Quest (2)||Pilgrim|
|378||Whisper of a Rose||Mora|
|379||The Seclusion of the Adept: Comments on Light on the Path||Collins, Mabel|
|384||The White Monk (1)||Percy Ross|
|391||Love with an Object||Emanuel|
|394||Self Mastery (A Sonnet)||Dum Spiro, Spero ( = Henrietta M Paget )|
|395||review - A Modern Magician, A Romance by J Fitzgerald Molloy||anon (HPB ?)|
|397||review - The Twin Soul: A Psychological & Realistic Romance, anon||anon|
|399||review - Posthumous Humanity, a Study of Phantoms by Adolphe d'Assier, translated by HS Olcott||anon (HPB ?)|
|401||review - Sepher Yetzirah, The Book of Formation, & the 32 Paths of Wisdom translated by W Wynn Westcott||anon|
|402||review - Treble Chords by Catherine Grant Furley||GM (? Gerald Massey)|
|403||review - The Creator, & What we may know of the method of creation by Dr W H Dallinger||William Oxley|
|406||Miscellaneous Notes [in brackets]||(HPB)|
|408||review - Absolute Monism; or, Mind is Matter & Matter is Mind by Sundaram Iyer||anon (HPB, but BDZ doubtful)|
|412||correspondence - The Church & the Doctrine of the Atonement||TG Headley|
|414||reply to TG Headley by H.P.B.||Ed. (HPB)|
|415||correspondence - Socialism & Theosophy||Thomas B Harbottle|
|417||What is Theosophy? (acc to Schopenhauer) Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)||FH (? Franz Hartmann)|
|418||A Note of Explanation||Gerald Massey|
|421||Hylo-Idealism - The Secret of Jesus [+ H.P.B.'s notes in brackets]||G.M.McC|
|422||Gerald Massey on Shakespeare||anon|
|424||correspondence - Astrological Notes||Nemo|
[Page 337] PEOPLE usually wish that their friends shall have a happy new year, and sometimes “prosperous” is added to “happy”. It is not likely that much happiness or prosperity can come to those who are living for the truth under such a dark number as 1888; but still the year is heralded by the glorious star Venus-Lucifer, shining so resplendently that it has been mistaken for that still rarer visitor, the star of Bethlehem. This too, is at hand; and surely something of the Christos spirit must be born upon earth under such conditions. Even if happiness and prosperity are absent, it is possible to find something greater than either in this coming year. Venus-Lucifer is the sponsor of our magazine, and as we chose to come to light under its auspices, so do we desire to touch on its nobility. This is possible for us all personally, and instead of wishing our readers a happy or prosperous New Year, we feel more in the vein to pray them to make it one worthy of its brilliant herald. This can be effected by those who are courageous and resolute. Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life, persons who can change the colour of a day and make it beautiful to those with whom they come in contact. We claim that there are adepts, masters in life who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live ? That it is the most important is seen at once, when we remember that every person who draws the breath of life affects the mental and moral atmosphere of the world, and helps to colour the day for those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts and lives of others must of necessity either paralyse them by indifference, or actively drag them down. When this point is reached, then the art of life is converted into the science of death; we see the black magician at work. And no one can be quite inactive. Although many bad books and pictures are produced, still not everyone who is incapable of writing or painting well [Page 338] insists on doing so badly. Imagine the result if they were to ! Yet so it is in life. Everyone lives, and thinks, and speaks. If all our readers who have any sympathy with LUCIFER endeavoured to learn the art of making life not only beautiful but divine, and vowed no longer to be hampered by disbelief in the possibility of this miracle, but to commence the Herculean task at once, then 1888, however unlucky a year, would have been fitly ushered in by the gleaming star. Neither happiness nor prosperity are always the best of bedfellows for such undeveloped mortals as most of us are; they seldom bring with them peace, which is the only permanent joy. The idea of peace is usually connected with the close of life and a religious state of mind. That kind of peace will however generally be found to contain the element of expectation. The pleasures of this world have been surrendered, and the soul waits contentedly in expectation of the pleasures of the next. The peace of the philosophic mind is very different from this and can be attained to early in life when pleasure has scarcely been tasted, as well as when it has been fully drunk of. The American Transcendentalists discovered that life could be made a sublime thing without any assistance from circumstances or outside sources of pleasure and prosperity. Of course this had been discovered many times before, and Emerson only took up again the cry raised by Epictetus. But every man has to discover this fact freshly for himself, and when once he has realised it he knows that he would be a wretch if he did not endeavour to make the possibility a reality in his own life. The stoic became sublime because he recognised his own absolute responsibility and did not try to evade it; the Transcendentalist was even more, because he had faith in the unknown and untried possibilities which lay within himself. The occultist fully recognises the responsibility and claims his title by having both tried and acquired knowledge of his own possibilities. The Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibility and endeavours to find knowledge, living, in the meantime, up to the highest standard of which he is aware. To all such LUCIFER gives greeting ! Man's life is in his own hands, his fate is ordered by himself. Why then should not 1888 be a year of greater spiritual development than any we have lived through ? It depends on ourselves to make it so. This is an actual fact, not a religious sentiment. In a garden of sunflowers every flower turns towards the light. Why not so with us ?
And let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance
to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and
man with it; and as a day can be coloured so can a year. The astral life of
the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form
their wishes now will have added strength to fulfil them consistently. [Page
Lucifer, Lucifer Son of the Morning,
Trembling and fair on the opening skies,
Heralding, truly, a day that is dawning,
Telling the “Light of the World” shall arise.
Lucifer, Lucifer, all through the Ages
Weary hearts struggled and watched for the light,
Now it is coming, and thou the forerunner,
Mystical prophet, the herald of Right.
There in the desert of Night where thou dwellest,
Round thee in myriads the feebler lights stand;
Lucifer, Lucifer, ever thou tellest
The glorious Kingdom of Right is at hand.
Rising and setting, O, Star of the Morning !
Strangely prophetic, thou atom of light;
Revealing in silence the law of creation.
Out from the unseen abyss of the night,
Into a world where the stars, sympathetic,
Seem to be fraught with a pulsating breath;
Brilliant, yet shining like tear-drops pathetic,
But sinking at last in oblivion of death !
Sinking, but wrapped in the shroud of the Morning,
Folded in splendour as light shall arise;
Lucifer, herald of Truth that is dawning,
Ride through thy glorious pathway, the skies !
Soon in the east, with a splendour triumphant,
Morning shall break like a great altar-fire,
Ignorance, darkness, and gross superstition,
Shall melt in its beams, and in silence expire !
FAITH THAT YOU CALL SACRED
by Robert G. Ingersoll
— “ The faith that you
call sacred — 'sacred as the most
delicate or manly or womanly sentiment of love and honour' — is the faith
that nearly all of your fellow men are to be lost. Ought an honest man to be
restrained from denouncing that faith because those who entertain it say that
their feelings are hurt ? You say to me: 'There is a hell. A man advocating
the opinions you advocate will go there when he dies.' I answer: 'There is
no hell, the Bible that teaches it is not true'. And you say: 'How can you
hurt my feelings ?' ”
— R. G. INGERSOLL. — Secular Review. [Page 340]
Our magazine is only four numbers old, and already its young life is full of cares and trouble. This is all as it should be; i.e., like every other publication, it must fail to satisfy all its readers, and this is only in the nature of things and the destiny of every printed organ. But what seems a little strange in a country of culture and free thought is that Lucifer should receive such a number of anonymous, spiteful, and often abusive letters. This, of course, is but a casual remark, the waste-basket in the office being the only addressee and sufferer in this case; yet it suggests strange truths with regard to human nature. [ “VERBUM SAP”. It is not our intention to notice anonymous communications, even though they should emanate in a round-about way from Lambeth Palace. The matter “Verbum Sap” refers to is not one of taste; the facts must be held responsible for the offence; and, as the Scripture hath it, “Woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! [Matt., xviii, 7.]”
Sincerity is true
wisdom, it appears, only to the mind of the moral philosopher. It is rudeness
and insult to him who regards dissimulation and deceit as culture and politeness,
and holds that the shortest, easiest, and safest way to success is to let
sleeping dogs and old customs alone. But, if the dogs are obstructing the
highway to progress and truth, and Society will, as a rule, reject the wise
words of (St.) Augustine, who recommends that “no
man should prefer custom before reason and truth”, is it a sufficient
cause for the philanthropist to walk out of or even deviate from, the track
of truth, because the selfish egoist chooses to do so? Very true, as remarked
somewhere by Sir Thomas Browne that not every man is a proper champion for
the truth, nor fit to take up the gauntlet in its cause. Too many of such
defenders are apt, from inconsideration and too much zeal, to charge the
troops of error so rashly that they “remain themselves as trophies
to the enemies of truth”. Nor ought all of us (members of the Theosophical
Society) to do so personally, but rather leave it only to those among our
numbers who have voluntarily and beforehand sacrificed their personalities
for the cause of Truth. Thus teaches us one of the Masters of Wisdom in some
fragments of advice which are published further on for the benefit of the
Theosophists (see the article that follows this). While enforcing upon such
public characters in our ranks as editors, and lecturers, etc., the
duty of telling fearlessly “ the Truth to the face of LIE”,
he yet condemns the habit of private judgment and criticism in every individual
Unfortunately, these are not the ways of the public and readers. Since our journal is entirely unsectarian, since it is neither theistic nor atheistic, Pagan nor Christian, orthodox nor heterodox, therefore, its editors discover eternal verities in the most opposite religious systems and modes of thought. Thus Lucifer fails to give full satisfaction to either infidel or Christian. In the sight of the former — whether he be [Page 341] an Agnostic, a Secularist, or an Idealist — to find divine or occult lore underlying “the rubbish” in the Jewish Bible and Christian Gospels is sickening; in the opinion of the latter, to recognise the same truth as in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures in the Hindu, Parsi, Buddhist, or Egyptian religious literature, is vexation of spirit and blasphemy. Hence, fierce criticism from both sides, sneers and abuse. Each party would have us on its own sectarian side, recognising as truth, only that which its particular ism does.
But this cannot nor shall it be. Our motto was from the first, and ever shall be: “THERE IS NO RELIGION HIGHER THAN TRUTH”. Truth we search for, and, once found, we bring it forward before the world, whence so-ever it comes. A large majority of our readers is fully satisfied with this our policy, and that is plainly sufficient for our purposes.
It is evident that when toleration is not the outcome of indifference it must arise from wide-spreading charity and large-minded sympathy. Intolerance is pre eminently the consequence of ignorance and jealousy. He who fondly believes that he has got the great ocean in his family water-jug is naturally intolerant of his neighbour, who also is pleased to imagine that he has poured the broad expanses of the sea of truth into his own particular pitcher. But anyone who, like the Theosophists, knows how infinite is that ocean of eternal wisdom, to be fathomed by no one man, class, or party, and realizes how little the largest vessel made by man contains in comparison to what lies dormant and still unperceived in its dark, bottomless depths, cannot help but be tolerant. For he sees that others have filled their little water-jugs at the same great reservoir in which he has dipped his own, and if the water in the various pitchers seems different to the eye, it can only be because it is discoloured by impurities that were in the vessel before the pure crystalline element — a portion of the one eternal and immutable truth — entered into it.
There is, and can be, but one absolute truth in Kosmos. And little as we, with our present limitations, can understand it in its essence, we still know that if it is absolute it must also be omnipresent and universal; and that in such case, it must be underlying every world-religion — the product of the thought and knowledge of numberless generations of thinking men. Therefore, that a portion of truth, great or small, is found in every religious and philosophical system, and that if we would find it, we have to search for it at the origin and source of every such system, at its roots and first growth, not in its later overgrowth of sects and dogmatism. Our object is not to destroy any religion but rather to help to filter each, thus ridding them of their respective impurities. In this we are opposed by all those who maintain, against evidence, that their particular pitcher alone contains the whole ocean. How is our great work to be done if we are to be impeded and harassed on every side by partisans and zealots? It would be already half [Page 342] accomplished were the intelligent men, at least, of every sect and system, to feel and to confess that the little wee bit of truth they themselves own must necessarily be mingled with error, and that their neighbours’ mistakes are, like their own, mixed with truth.
Free discussion, temperate, candid, undefiled by personalities and animosity, is, we think, the most efficacious means of getting rid of error and bringing out the underlying truth; and this applies to publications as well as to persons. It is open to a magazine to be tolerant or intolerant; it is open to it to err in almost every way in which an individual can err; and since every publication of the kind has a responsibility such as falls to the lot of few individuals, it behoves it to be ever on its guard, so that it may advance without fear and without reproach. All this is true in a special degree in the case of a theosophical publication, and LUCIFER feels that it would be unworthy of that designation were it not true to the profession of the broadest tolerance and catholicity, even while pointing out to its brothers and neighbours the errors which they indulge in and follow. While thus keeping strictly, in its editorials, and in articles by its individual editors, to the spirit and teachings of pure theosophy, it nevertheless frequently gives room to articles and letters which diverge widely from the esoteric teachings accepted by the editors, as also by the majority of theosophists. Readers, therefore, who are accustomed to find in magazines and party publications only such opinions and arguments as the editor believes to be unmistakably orthodox — from his peculiar standpoint — must not condemn any article in LUCIFER with which they are not entirely in accord, or in which expressions are used that may be offensive from a sectarian or a prudish point of view, on the ground that such are unfitted for a theosophical magazine. They should remember that precisely because LUCIFER is a theosophical magazine, it opens its columns to writers whose views of life and things may not only slightly differ from its own, but even be diametrically opposed to the opinion of the editors. The object of the latter is to elicit truth, not to advance the interest of any particular ism, or to pander to any hobbies, likes or dislikes, of any class of readers. It is only snobs and prigs who, disregarding the truth or error of the idea, cavil and strain merely over the expressions and words it is couched in. Theosophy, if meaning anything, means truth; and truth has to deal indiscriminately and in the same spirit of impartiality with vessels of honour and of dishonour alike. No theosophical publication would ever dream of adopting the coarse — or shall we say terribly sincere — language of a Hosea or a Jeremiah; yet so long as those holy prophets are found in the Christian Bible, and the Bible is in every respectable, pious family, whether aristocratic or plebeian; and so long as the Bible is read with bowed head and in all reverence by young, innocent maidens and school-boys, why should our Christian critics fall foul of any phrase which may [Page 343] have to be used — if truth be spoken at all — in an occasional article upon a scientific subject? It is to be feared that the same sentences now found objectionable, because referring to Biblical subjects, would be loudly praised and applauded had they been directed against any gentile system of faith (Vide certain missionary organs). A little charity, gentle readers — charity, and above all — fairness and JUSTICE.
Justice demands that when the reader comes across an article in this magazine which does not immediately approve itself to his mind by chiming in with his own peculiar ideas, he should regard it as a problem to solve rather than as a mere subject of criticism. Let him endeavour to learn the lesson which only opinions differing from his own can teach him. Let him be tolerant, if not actually charitable, and postpone his judgment till he extracts from the article the truth it must contain, adding this new acquisition to his store. One ever learns more from one’s enemies than from one’s friends; and it is only when the reader has credited this hidden truth to LUCIFER, that he can fairly presume to put what he believes to be the errors of the article he does not like, to the debit account.
WE have been asked to give permission for Mr. Gerald Massey's lines on LUCIFER, Lady of Light, to be “adapted” and sung to the “Lord Jesus Christ” in a chapel. This is flattering for both parties concerned. The editors have no objection, but Mr. Massey is obdurate enough to refuse his permission and sufficiently unfeeling to have called the pretty “adaptation” a PARODY. The “Lady of Light” was to have run in this wise: —
“Star of the Day and the Night,
Star of the Dark that is dying,
Star of the Dawn that is nighing,
Jesu, our Saviour, our Light ! ” etc.
But how truly appropriate it would be if Mr. Massey's lines on Shakespeare were also “adapted” and applied to the Lord Buddha.
“FOR HIM NO MARTYR-FIRES
NO RACK BEEN USED, NOR SCAFFOLDS RAISED;
FOR HIM NO LIFE WAS EVER SHED
TO MAKE THE CONQUEROR'S PATHWAY RED.
OUR PRINCE OF PEACE IN GLORY HATH GONE,
WITHOUT A SINGLE SWORD BEING DRAWN;
WITHOUT ONE BATTLE-FLAG UNFURLED,
TO MAKE HIS CONQUEST OF OUR WORLD.
AND FOR ALL TIME HE WEARS HIS CROWN
OF LASTING, LIMITLESS, RENOWN;
HE REIGNS WHATEVER MONARCHS FALL,
HIS THRONE IS AT THE HEART OF ALL”. [Page 344]
WORDS ON DAILY LIFE
( Written by a Master of Wisdom)
“It is divine philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with nature, which, by revealing the fundamental truths that lie hidden under the objects of sense and perception, can promote a spirit of unity and harmony in spite of the great diversities of conflicting creeds. Theosophy, therefore, expects and demands from the Fellows of the Society a great mutual toleration and charity for each other's shortcomings, ungrudging mutual help in the search for truths in every department of nature — moral and physical. And this ethical standard must be unflinchingly applied to daily life.
“Theosophy should not represent merely a collection of moral verities, a bundle of metaphysical ethics, epitomized in theoretical dissertations. Theosophy must be made practical; and it has, therefore, to be disencumbered of useless digressions, in the sense of desultory orations and fine talk. Let every Theosophist only do his duty, that which he can and ought to do, and very soon the sum of human misery, within and around the areas of every Branch of your Society, will be found visibly diminished. Forget SELF in working for others — and the task will become an easy and a light one for you......
“Do not set your pride in the appreciation and acknowledgment of that work by others. Why should any member of the Theosophical Society, striving to become a Theosophist, put any value upon his neighbours' good or bad opinion of himself and his work, so long as he himself knows it to be useful and beneficent to other people ? Human praise and enthusiasm are short-lived at best; the laugh of the scoffer and the condemnation of the indifferent looker-on are sure to follow, and generally to out-weigh the admiring praise of the friendly. Do not despise the opinion of the world, nor provoke it uselessly to unjust criticism. Remain rather as indifferent to the abuse as to the praise of those who can never know you as you really are, and who ought, therefore, to find you unmoved by either, and ever placing the approval or condemnation of your own Inner Self higher than that of the multitudes.
“Those of you who would know yourselves in the spirit of truth, learn to live alone even amidst the great crowds which may sometimes surround you. Seek communion and intercourse only with the God within your own soul; heed only the praise or blame of that deity which can never be separated from your true self, as it is verily that God itself: called the HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS. Put without delay your good intentions into practice, never leaving a single one to remain only an intention, expecting, meanwhile, neither reward nor even acknowledgment for [Page 345] the good you may have done. Reward and acknowledgment are in yourself and inseparable from you, as it is your Inner Self alone which can appreciate them at their true degree and value. For each one of you contains within the precincts of his inner tabernacle the Supreme Court — prosecutor, defence, jury and judge — whose sentence is the only one without appeal; since none can know you better than you do yourself, when once you have learned to judge that Self by the never wavering light of the inner divinity — your higher Consciousness. Let, therefore, the masses, which can never know your true selves, condemn your outer selves according to their own false lights.......
“The majority of the public Areopagus is generally composed of self-appointed judges, who have never made a permanent deity of any idol save their own personalities — their lower selves; for those who try in their walk in life, to follow their inner light will never be found judging, far less condemning, those weaker than themselves. What does it matter then, whether the former condemn or praise, whether they humble you or exalt you on a pinnacle ? They will never comprehend you one way or the other. They may make an idol of you, so long as they imagine you a faithful mirror of themselves on the pedestal or altar which they have reared for you, and while you amuse or benefit them. You cannot expect to be anything for them but a temporary fetish, succeeding another fetish just overthrown, and followed in your turn by another idol. Let, therefore, those who have created that idol destroy it whenever they like, casting it down with as little cause as they had for setting it up. Your Western Society can no more live without its Khalif of an hour than it can worship one for any longer period; and whenever it breaks an idol and then besmears it with mud, it is not the model, but the disfigured image created by its own foul fancy and which it has endowed with its own vices, that Society dethrones and breaks.
“Theosophy can only find objective expression in an all-embracing code of life, thoroughly impregnated with the spirit of mutual tolerance, charity, and brotherly love. Its Society, as a body, has a task before it which, unless performed with the utmost discretion, will cause the world of the indifferent and the selfish to rise up in arms against it. Theosophy has to fight intolerance, prejudice, ignorance, and selfishness, hidden under the mantle of hypocrisy. It has to throw all the light it can from the torch of Truth, with which its servants are entrusted. It must do this without fear or hesitation, dreading neither reproof nor condemnation. Theosophy, through its mouthpiece, the Society, has to tell the TRUTH to the very face of LIE; to beard the tiger in its den, without thought or fear of evil consequences, and to set at defiance calumny and threats. As an Association, it has not only the right, but the duty to uncloak vice and do its best to redress wrongs, whether through the voice of its chosen lecturers or the printed word of its journals and publications — making its accusations, however, as impersonal [Page 346] as possible. But its Fellows, or Members, have individually no such right. Its followers have, first of all, to set the example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality, before they obtain the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of a like ethic unity and singleness of purpose in other associations or individuals. No Theosophist should blame a brother, whether within or outside of the association; neither may he throw a slur upon another's actions or denounce him, lest he himself lose the right to be considered a Theosophist. For, as such, he has to turn away his gaze from the imperfections of his neighbour, and centre rather his attention upon his own shortcomings, in order to correct them and become wiser. Let him not show the disparity between claim and action in another, but, whether in the case of a brother, a neighbour, or simply a fellow man, let him rather ever help one weaker than himself on the arduous walk of life.
“The problem of true Theosophy and its great mission are, first, the working out of clear unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties, such as shall best and most fully satisfy the right and altruistic feelings in men; and second, the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life, as shall offer a field where they may be applied with most equitableness.
“Such is the common work placed
before all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious
task, and will require strenuous and persevering exertion; but it must lead
you insensibly to progress, and leave you no room for any selfish aspirations
outside the limits traced. ... Do not indulge personally in unbrotherly comparison
between the task accomplished by yourself and the work left undone by your
neighbours or brothers. In the fields of Theosophy none is held to weed out a larger plot of ground than his strength and capacity
will permit him. Do not be too severe on the merits or demerits of one
who seeks admission among your ranks, as the truth about the actual state of
the inner man can only be known to Karma, and can be dealt with justly by that
all-seeing LAW alone. Even the simple presence amidst you of a well-intentioned
and sympathising individual may help you magnetically. . . . You are the free
volunteer workers on the fields of Truth, and as such must leave no obstruction
on the paths leading to that field.
BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT:
THE TRUE STORY OF A MAGICIAN
by Mabel Collins
THE cloud lifted to reveal Fleta's face. She was bending over him; she was at his side; she was almost leaning her face on his.
“My dear, my dear”, she said in a soft whispering voice, “has
the blow been too great? Tell me, Hilary, speak to me? Have you still your
senses ? ”
“And you love that man?” was Hilary's sole answer, fixing his eyes in a cold strange gaze on her.
“Oh ! Hilary, you talk of what is unknown to you ! I love him, yes, and with a love so profound it is unimaginable to you”.
“And you tell me this ! You tell this to the man who loves you, and who has already devoted his whole life to you ! Do you want a madman for your service ? ”
“A life ! ” exclaimed Fleta, with a strange tone that had a ring as of scorn in it. “What is a life ? I count it nothing. Our great aims lie beyond such considerations”.
Hilary raised himself and looked into her face.
“Then you are mad”, he said, “and if so, a madman in your service is but fit. Nevertheless, my Princess, do not forget with what forces you have to contend. I am but a man; you have accepted my love. Only just now you have made me a murderer at heart — in desire. How soon shall I be one in reality ? That depends on you, Fleta. The next time I see your gaze fixed on that man's face as I saw it but now I will kill him”.
Fleta rose to her full height and lifted her face to the sky; as she stood there a sort of shiver passed through her, a shiver as of pain. Instantly Hilary's humour changed. “You are ill”, he exclaimed. She turned her eyes on him.
“When that murderous mood is on you, it will not be Father Ivan that you kill, but me, whom you profess to love. Do you understand that ? ”
“ Ah !” cried Hilary, uttering a sound as if his heart was bursting [Page 348] under the torture, “that is because you love him so ! Well, I can only long and serve. I have no power to protest. Yet I ask you, oh! Princess, is it fit to use a man's heart to play at your queenly coquetries with ? A king, your betrothed — a mysterious priest, the man you love — are not these enough but that you must take a boy, obscure and untaught in such misfortunes, and trample on his love? It is unlike the nobility I have seen in you. Good-bye, for this, Princess ! I am never your lover again as I was before. I can never believe in your pure sweet heart — only this morning it seemed to me as a pearl, as a drop of limpid water. Good-bye, my idol! Yet I am your servant to obey always, for I gave you my life to do with as you would. Call me, and I come, like your dog; but I will not stay by you, for no longer is it anything but pain to do so”.
With these wild, fierce reproaches, which seemed to stir the quiet air of the woodland, and make it seethe and burn with passion and despair, he turned and went from her. Fleta stood motionless, and her eyes drooped heavily; only she murmured, “We were born under the same star!”
Her voice was very low, yet it reached Hilary's ear. The words seemed to lash his heart.
“Under the same star !” he repeated, in a voice of agony, standing suddenly still. “No, Fleta. You are the queen, I the subject. Not only so, but you know it, and use your power to the full. Did you not promise yourself utterly to me to be mine ? ”
“ I promised to give you my love for yours; I promised to give you all that you can take of me. My love is greater than you can even imagine, else I would not have listened to one word of your reproaches. They have humbled me, but I have borne it.”
“Ah, Fleta! you talk enigmas”, exclaimed Hilary, moving rapidly back to her side; “you are enough to madden a man; yet I cannot but love you. Why is this ? Every act of yours proves you heartless, faithless, and yet I love you ! Why is this ? Oh, that I could read the riddle of your existence ! Who are you ? — What is this mysterious place ? — Who is that priest whose rule you acknowledge ? I will know !
Fleta turned on him a sudden sweet smile, that seemed to light up his inner being as the flame of a lamp illumines a dusky room.
“Yes”, she said, “find out. I cannot tell you, yet I desire you — oh ! indeed, I desire you to know. Compel the secret — force it. Yes, yes Hilary! ”
She spoke eagerly, with a bright ring in her voice that thrilled his soul. He forgot the Princess, the conspirator, the religieuse — he only remembered the girl he loved — young, fresh, flower-like, with the fair sweet face close to his own. With an unutterable cry of love he held out his arms to her.
“Oh, my dear, my love, come ! ” he said, in trembling tones that vibrated [Page 349] with his passion. But Fleta turned away without a word and walked through the tall ferns, her robe trailing on the ground. No backward glance, no turn of the head, not even a movement of those white statuesque hands which hung at her sides. In one was a long grass which she had plucked before she came to him. Even that, though it fluttered in the wind, had a strangely stiff air, as if it had become a part of that statue which but a moment since was a woman. Hilary stood gazing after this retreating figure, powerless to move, powerless to rouse in his mind any thought but one; and that was not a thought. It was knowledge — consciousness. He knew, he felt, that he dared not follow Fleta and address her as men address the women they love; he dared not woo her with the fever on his lips that burned there. And why ? Not because of her royal birth, or her beauty, or her power. He knew not why — he could not understand himself. It was as though a spell were cast on him that held him silent and motionless.
When at last she was out of sight a sudden reaction took place. The whole
burning force of the strong young man's nature broke loose and raged wildly
through his whole system; he no longer was capable of thought, he only felt
the blood that rushed to his head and made his brain reel as though he had
drunk strong wine. He suddenly became aware that he had aged, grown, become
a new creature in these last moments of experience. He had called himself a
man five minutes ago; but now he knew that when he had uttered those words,
he was only a boy. Across a great gulf of feeling he looked back at the love
that was in him when he had so spoken. Now his passion burned like a fire on
the altar of life; every instant the flames grew stronger and mounted more
fiercely to his inflamed brain.
The savage had burst forth. The savage untamed man, which smoulders within, and hides behind the cultivated faces of a gentle age. One strong touch on the chord of passion, and Hilary Estanol, a chivalric and courteous product of a refined time, knew himself to be a man, and knew that man to be a savage. A savage, full of desire, of personal longing, thinking of nothing but his own needs. And to Hilary this sudden starting forth of the nature within him seemed like a splendid unfolding. He remained standing, erect, strong, resolute. His seething mind hastily went over his whole position and Fleta's. Everything suddenly bore a new, vivid, stirring aspect.
“This is a nest of conspirators !” he exclaimed to himself. “That man, Ivan, is a conspirator or worse, else he would not hide here. What crowned head is it that he threatens ? He is a criminal. I will discover his secret; I will rescue Fleta from him; by the strength of my love I will win her love from him; I will make her my own. Come, I must calm myself — I must be sober, for I have to find out the meaning of this mysterious place”.
He walked slowly through the wood, trying to still the throbbing in [Page 350] his brain, to check the fierce pulsations of his heart and blood. He knew that now he needed all his instincts, all his natural intelligence, all his power of defence; for, in his present humour, he walked as an enemy to all men; by his new tide of feeling he had made every man his enemy. The young King Otto had a prior right to the Fleta whom he desired to make his own; King Otto was indeed his enemy. Ivan had her love; how bitterly did Hilary hate that priest! And Adine, the false Fleta — what was she but a mere tool of the priest's, a creature used to baffle and blind him ? She was the one most likely to trip his steps, for she defied even the knowledge which his love gave him of Fleta's face !
He was full of energy and activity, and his blood desired to be stilled by
action. He had quickly decided that he must immediately do two things: inspect
the whole exterior of the house, so as to get some notion of what rooms were
in it, and what their uses; and explore the outer circle of the grounds, to
see if there was any difficulty about leaving them. As the latter task involved
most exercise, he chose to undertake it first, and swiftly, with long strides,
made his way through the woodlands in the direction where the boundaries must
lie. It did not take him long to traverse a considerable distance; for he
felt stronger than ever in his life before. He had been a delicate lad, now
he knew himself to be a strong man, as if new blood ran in his veins. The moon
was high in the heavens, it was nearly full, and its light was strong. By it
he soon discovered that the strange place in which he was had a more cunning
and effective defence than any high wall or iron barrier. It was surrounded
by tangled virgin woodland growth, where, as it seemed, no man's foot could
have ever trodden.
Hilary found it hard to believe that such wild land existed within a drive of the city. But it was there, and there was no passing through it, unless he worked his way with a wood-axe, inch by inch, as men do when they make a clearing. Such a task was hopeless, even if he had the tools, for it was impossible to tell in what direction to move.
He returned at last, after many fruitless efforts; there seemed to be no vestige of a path. He had discovered the gate by which their entrance had been made; and discovered also that it was guarded. A figure moved slowly to and fro in the shadow of the trees; not with the air of one strolling for pleasure, but with the regular movements of a sentry. It was an unfamiliar figure, but dressed in the garb of the order.
Hilary went quietly along by the side of the path that led to the house. It was useless to waste more time on this investigation; quite clearly he was a prisoner. And it seemed to him equally clear that unless he could escape, no information would be of any use to him. He must be able to carry it to the city, where he would be free to take it to Fleta's father, or even to other crowned heads in other countries, according to its nature. As he walked quietly on, revolving his position, he saw that the task he had set himself was no light one, even for a [Page 351] strong man possessed by love. These monks belonged to an extraordinarily powerful order, and were men of great ability.
Here he was, in the very heart of one of their secret centres, which was, presumably, political. Fleta and King Otto were under their influence. And they were magicians; very certain he felt that they knew some of Nature's secrets, and had trained Fleta in her mysterious powers. And from this hidden and carefully guarded place he was determined to escape, taking with him its secret — and Fleta ! Fleta, his love, his own, yet whom he had to win by his strength.
IN the long corridor through which
Fleta had led Hilary to Father Ivan's room there was another door, which
was fastened in a very different manner. It was held in its place by iron
clamps which would puzzle the beholder, for they fastened on the outside
as though they secured the door of a prison instead of being any protection
for the inhabitant of the room beyond. It was inside this door that Fleta
was now lying down to rest for the night. Had Hilary known this what agony
would have torn him ! He would have felt that he must break those bars and
release the prisoner within them, however supernatural the strength might
be which would be needed. He was spared the sharp pain of knowing this, however,
and he was not likely to learn it, for a strange sentinel patrolled the long
corridor with even step — Father Ivan himself. Without any pause
he went steadily to and fro.
It was about midnight that Father Ivan went into his room and glanced at a clock on the chimney-piece; not quite midnight, but very nearly. Hilary was lying awake in his room, tossing to and fro on a very luxurious and tempting bed, which gave him, however, no hope of rest. He had wandered round and round the house a dozen times, only to find himself bewildered by its strange shape, and the shrubberies which grew up close to the walls, and disheartened by the solid barricading of those windows which it was easy to approach. And yet at last he found a window wide open, and a room brightly lit; a lamp stood on the table and showed the pleasant room, well-furnished, and with a bed in it, dressed in fine linen and soft laces such as perhaps only members of an ascetic order know how to offer to their guests. Hilary stood a moment on the threshold, and then suddenly recognised it as his own room, It gave him an odd feeling, this, as if he had been watched and arranged for; treated like a prisoner. Well, it was useless to evade that dark fact — a prisoner he was. Recognising defeat for the moment, Hilary determined to accept it as gracefully as might be. He entered, closed his window and the strong shutters which folded over it, and then quickly laid himself down with intent to sleep. But sleep would not come, and he found all his thoughts and all his interest centred on Father Ivan. He [Page 352] tried to prevent this but could not; he chased Fleta's image in vain — he could scarcely remember her beautiful face ! What was its shape and colour? He tortured himself in trying to recall the face he loved so dearly. But always Father Ivan's figure was before his eyes; and suddenly it struck him that this vision was almost real, for he saw Ivan raise his hand in a commanding gesture which seemed to be directed towards himself. A moment later and he fell fast asleep, like a tired child. At this moment Ivan was standing in his own room, looking for an instant at the clock. He stood, perhaps, a little longer than was needed in order to see the time; and a frown came on his fine clear forehead which drew the arched eyebrows together. Then he turned quickly, left his room, and closed its door behind him. He went to the door which was so strongly barred, and noiselessly loosened its fastenings, which swung heavily yet quite softly away from it. He opened the door and went in.
In a sort of curtained recess was a low divan, which quite filled it, rising hardly a foot from the ground. This was covered with great rugs made of bear and wolf skin. Fleta lay stretched upon them, wrapped in a long cloak of some thick white material, which was bordered all round with white fur, and, indeed, lined with it, too. And yet when Ivan stooped and touched her hand it was cold as ice.
“Come”, he said; and turning, went slowly away from her. Fleta rose and followed him. Her eyes were half-closed, and had something of the appearance of a sleep-walker's, and yet not altogether, for though they appeared dim and unseeing yet there was purpose, and consciousness, and resolution in them. No one who had not seen Fleta before in this state could have recognised those eyes, so set and strange were they. Ivan approached a large curtained archway, and drawing the curtain aside he motioned to Fleta to pass through. As she did so he touched one of her hands, as it hung at her side. Immediately she raised it, and throwing the cloak aside showed that she held a white silk mask. Her dress beneath the cloak was of white silk. Slowly she raised the mask to her face and was about to put it on when a change of state came so suddenly upon her that it was like a tropical tornado. She opened her starry eyes wide and vivid light flashed from them; she flung the mask away upon the floor and clasped her hands violently together, while her whole frame shook with emotion.
“Why must I mask myself?” she exclaimed. “You have not told
“ I have”, said Ivan, very quietly. “No woman has ever entered there till now”.
“What then ?” cried
Fleta, fiercely. “There is no shame in
being a woman ! Have I not assailed that door in vain in a different character
? Now, a woman, I demand entrance. Master, I will not disguise myself”. [Page
“Be it so”, said Ivan, “yet take the mask with you lest your mood should change again. You were willing, you remember, but a while since”.
Fleta stood motionless regarding the mask as it lay on the floor. Then she lifted her head suddenly and looked Ivan straight in the eyes.
“ I will cast my sex from me, and mask my womanhood without any such help as that”.
Immediately that she had spoken Ivan walked on. They were in a long corridor, lit, and with the walls faintly coloured in pale pink on which shone some silver stars. Yet, bright though it was, this corridor seemed strangely solemn. Why was it so ? Fleta looked from side to side, and could not discover. There was something new to her which she did not understand. Though she had been instructed in so many of the mysteries, and so much of the knowledge of the order, she had never entered this corridor, nor indeed had she before known of its existence. They slowly neared the end of it where was a high door made of oak, and seemingly very solidly fastened; but Father Ivan opened it easily enough.
“My God !” cried Fleta instantly, in a low voice of deep amazement. “Where am I ? What country am I in ? Father, was that corridor a magic place ? This is no longer my own country ! How far have you carried me in this short time ? ”
“A long way my daughter; come, do not delay”.
A vast plain, prairie-like, stretched before them, encircled on the right by the narrowing end of a huge arm of mountains which disappeared upon the far horizon. Upon the plain was one spot, was one place, where a livid flame-like light burned, and could be seen, though the whole scene was bathed in strong moonlight. Ivan commenced to rapidly take his way down a steep path which lay before them. And then Fleta became aware that they were themselves upon a height and had to descend into the plain. She did not look back; all her thoughts were centred on that vivid light which she now saw came from the windows of a great building. Then she suddenly saw that a number of persons were in the plain; although it was so large yet there were enough people to look like a crowd, which was gathering together from different directions. All were approaching the building.
“Father”, she said to Ivan, who was leading the way rapidly. “Will they go in ? ”
“Into the Temple ? Those on the plain ? Indeed no. They are outside worshippers; that crowd is in the world and of it, and yet has courage to come here often when there is no light, and the icy winds blow keen across the plain”.
“And they never enter. Why, my master, they can have no strength”. [Page 354]
Ivan glanced back for an instant, a curious look in his eyes.
“It is not always strength that is needed”, he said in a low voice. Fleta did not seem to hear him; her eyes were fixed on the temple windows. Suddenly she stopped and cried out:
“ Is this a dream ? ”
“You are not asleep”, said Ivan with a smile.
“Asleep ! no”, she answered, and went on her way with increased rapidity.
Very soon they stood on the plain and advanced with great speed towards the temple. Fleta was naturally hardy; but now it seemed to her that the very idea of fatigue was absurd. She could scale mountains in order to reach that light. And yet what was it in it that drew her so ? None but herself could have told. But Fleta's heart beat passionately with longing at the sight of it. Ivan turned on her a glance of compassion.
“Keep quiet”, he said.
He was answered with a look and tone of fervour.
“Yes: if it is in human power”, she replied.
The great crowds were slowly gathering towards the temple and formed themselves into masses of silent and scarcely moving figures. Fleta was now among them and though so absorbed by the idea of the goal before her, she was attracted by the strange appearance of these people. They were of all ages and nationalities, but more than two-thirds of them were men; they one and all had the appearance of sleepwalkers, seeming perfectly unconscious of the scene in which they moved and of their object in reaching it. Their whole nature was turned inwards; so it appeared to Fleta. Why then had they come to this strange place, so difficult of access, if when come they could neither see nor hear? Fleta considered these things rapidly in her mind and would again have asked an explanation of Father Ivan but that while her steps slackened a little, his had hastened. He had already reached the door of the temple — when Fleta reached it he was not there. Of course he had entered, and Fleta, without fear or hesitation, put her hand on the great bar which held the door and lifted it. It was not difficult to lift; it seemed to yield to her touch, and swung back smoothly. With a slight push the great door opened a little before her — not wide; only as far as she had pushed it. Ah ! there was the light ! There, in her eyes ! It was like life and joy to Fleta. She turned her eyes up to gaze on it, and stood an instant with her hands clasped, in ecstasy.
Someone brushed lightly by, and, passing her, went straight in. That reminded her that she, too, desired to go straight in. She nerved herself for the supreme effort. For she was learned enough to know that only the initiate in her faith could enter that door; and she had not, in any outward form, passed the initiation. But she believed she had passed it in her soul; she had tested her emotions on every side [Page 355] and found the world was nothing to her; she had flung her mask away believing her woman's shape and face to be the merest outward appearance, which would be unseen at the great moment. And now it hardly seemed as if she were a woman — she stood transfigured by the nobility of her aspirations — and some who stood on the step outside remained there awestruck by her majestic beauty. By a supreme effort she resolved to face all — and to conquer all. She boldly entered the door and went up the white marble steps within it. A great hall was before her, flooded with the clear, soft light she loved; an innumerable number of objects presented themselves to her amazed eyes, but she did not pause to look at them — she guessed that the walls were jewelled from their sparkling — she guessed that the floor was covered with flowers, which lay on a polished silver surface, from the gleaming and the colour — and who were these, the figures in silver dresses with a jewel like an eye that saw, clasped at the neck ? A number came towards her. She would not allow herself to feel too exultant — she tried to steady herself — and yet joy came wildly into her heart, for she felt that she was already one of this august company. But their faces, as they gathered nearer, were all strange and unfamiliar. She looked from one to another.
“Where is Ivan? ” she murmured.
Suddenly all was changed. The white figures grew in numbers till there seemed thousands—with outstretched hands they pushed Fleta down the steps — down, down, down, resist how she might. She did more! She fought, she battled, she cried aloud, first for justice, then for pity. But there was no relenting, no softening in these superhuman faces. Fleta fled at last from their overpowering numbers and inexorable cruelty, and then there came a great cry of voices, all uttering the same words;
“You love him ! Go ! ”
Fleta fell, stunned and broken, at the foot of the outer step, and the great door closed behind her. But she was not unconscious for more than a few minutes. She opened her eyes and looked at the starry sky. Then she felt suddenly that she could not endure even that light and that the stars were reading her soul. She rose and hurried away, blindly following in any path that her feet found. It did not take her to any familiar place. She found herself in a dark wood. The moss was soft and fragrant and violets scented it. She lay down upon it, drawing her white cloak round her and hiding her eyes from the light. [Page 356]
IT seemed to her that for long ages
she was alone. Her mind achieved great strides of thought which at another
time would have appeared impossible to her. She saw before her clearly her
own folly, her own mistake. Yesterday she would not have credited it — yesterday
it would have been unmeaning to her. But now she understood it, and understood
too how heavy and terrible was her punishment; for it was already upon her.
She lay helpless, her eyes shut, her whole body nerveless. Her punishment
was here. She had lost all hope, all faith.
A gentle touch on her hand roused her consciousness, but she was too indifferent to open her eyes. It mattered little to her what or who was near her. The battle of her soul was now the only real thing in life to her.
A voice that seemed strangely familiar fell on her ears; yet last time she had heard it it was loud, fierce, arrogant; now it was tender and soft, and full of an overwhelming wonder and pity.
“You, Princess Fleta, here ? My God! what can have happened ? Surely she is not dead ? No ! What is it, then ? ”
Fleta slowly opened her eyes. It was Hilary who knelt beside her; she was lying on the dewy grass, and Hilary knelt there, the morning sun shining on his head and lighting up his beautiful boy's face. And Fleta as she lay and looked dully at him felt herself to be immeasurably older than he was; to be possessed of knowledge and experience which seemed immense by his ignorance. And yet she lay here, nerveless, hopeless.
“What is it?” again asked Hilary, growing momently more distressed.
“Do you want to know ? ” she said gently, and yet with an accent of pity that was almost contempt in her tone. “You would not understand”.
“Oh, tell me !” said Hilary. “ I love you — let me serve you ! ”
She hardly seemed to hear his words, but his voice of entreaty made her go
on speaking in answer:
“ I have tried”, she said, “and failed”.
“Tried what ? ” exclaimed Hilary, “and how failed ? Oh, my Princess, I believe these devils of priests have given you some fever — you do not know what you are saying ! ”
“ I know very well”, replied Fleta; “I am in no fever. I am all but dead — that is no strange thing, for I am stricken”. Hilary looked at her as she lay, and saw that her words were true. How strange a figure she looked, lying there so immovably, as if crushed or dead, upon the [Page 357] dewy grass; wrapped in her white robes. And her face was white with a terrible whiteness; the great eyes looked out from the white face with a sad, smile less gaze; and would those pale drawn lips never smile again ? Was the radiant, brilliant Fleta changed for ever into this paralysed white creature ? Hilary knew that even if it was so he loved her more passionately and devotedly than before. His soul yearned towards her.
“Tell me, explain to me, what has done this ? ” he cried out, growing almost incoherent in his passionate distress. “I demand to know by my love for you. What have you tried to do in this awful past night ? ”
Fleta opened her eyes, the lids of which had drooped heavily, and looked straight into his as she answered:
“ I have tried for the Mark of the White Brotherhood. I have tried to pass the first initiation of the Great Order. I did not dream I could fail, for I have passed through many initiations which men regard with fear. But I have failed”.
“ I cannot believe”, said Hilary, “that you could fail in anything. You are — dreaming — you are feverish. Let me lift you, let me carry you into the house”.
“Yes, I have failed”, answered Fleta dully; “failed, because I had not measured the strength of my humanity. It is in me — in me still! I am the same as any other woman in this land. I, who thought myself supreme — I, who thought myself capable of great deeds ! Ah, Hilary, the first simple lesson is yet unlearned. I have failed because I loved — because I love like any other fond and foolish woman ! And yet no spark of any part of love but devotion is in my soul. That is too gross. Is it possible to purge even that away? Yes, those of the White Brotherhood have done it. I will do it even if it take me a thousand years, a dozen lifetimes ! ”
She had raised herself from the ground as she spoke, for a new fierce passion had taken the place of the dull despair in her manner; she had raised herself to her feet, and then unable to stand had fallen on to her knees. Hilary listened yet hardly heard; only some of her words hurried into his mind. He bent down till his face touched her white cloak where it lay on the grass, and kissed it a dozen times.
“You have failed because of love ? Oh, my Princess, then it is not failure!
Men live for love, men die for love ! It is the golden power of life. Oh, my
Princess, let me take you from this terrible place — come back with me
to the world where men and women know love to be the one great joy for which
all else is well lost. Fleta, while I doubted that you loved me I was as wax;
but now that I know you do, and with a love so great that it has power to check
the career of your soul, now I am strong, I am able to do all that a strong
man can do. Come, let me raise you and take you away from here to a place of
peace and delight!”
He had risen to his feet and stood before her, looking magnificent in [Page 358] the morning sunshine. He was slight of build, yet that slightness was really indicative of strength; when Hilary Estanol had been effeminate it was because he had not cared to be anything else. He stood grandly now, his hands stretched towards her; a man, lofty, transformed by the power of love. Fleta looking at him saw in his brilliant eyes the gleam of the conquering savage. She rose suddenly and confronted him.
“You are mistaken”, she said abruptly. “It is not you that I love”.
Then, as suddenly as Fleta had moved and spoken, the man before her vanished, with his nobility, and left the savage only, unvarnished, un-humanised.
“My God”, gasped Hilary, almost breathless from the sudden blow, “then it is that accursed priest ? ”
“Yes”, answered Fleta, her eyes on his, her voice dull, her whole form like that of a statue, so emotionless did she seem, “ it is that accursed priest”.
She moved away from him and looked about her. The spot was familiar. She was in the woodland about the monastery. She could find her way home now without difficulty. And yet how weak she was, and how hard it was to take each footstep ! After moving a few paces she stood still and tried to rouse herself, tried to use her powerful will.
“Where are my servants ? ” she said in a low voice. “Where are those who do my bidding ? ”
She closed her eyes, and standing there in the sunlight, used all her power to call the forces into action which she had learned to control. For she was a sufficiently learned magician to be the mistress of some of the secrets of Nature. But now it seemed she was helpless — her old powers were gone. A low, bitter cry of anguish escaped from her lips as she realised this awful fact. Hilary, terrified by the strange sound of her voice, hastily approached her and looked into her face. Those dark eyes, once so full of power, were now full of an agony such as one sees in the eyes of a hunted and dying creature. Yet Fleta did not faint or fail, or cling to the strong man who stood by her side. After a moment she spoke, with a faint yet steady voice.
“Do you know the way to the gate ? ” she asked.
“Yes”, replied Hilary; who indeed had but recently explored the whole demesne.
“Take my hand”, she said, “and lead me there”.
She used her natural power of royal command now; feeble though she was, she was the princess. Hilary did not dream of disobeying her. He took the cold and lifeless hand she extended to him, and led her as quickly as was possible over the grass, through the trees and flowering shrubs, to the gateway. As they neared it she spoke:
“You are to go back to the city”, she said. “Do not ask why — you must go; yet I will tell you this — it is for your own safety. I have [Page 359] lost my power — I can no longer protect you, and there are both angels and devils in this place. I have lost all! all ! And I have no right to risk your sanity as well as my own. You must go”.
“And leave you here ? ” said Hilary, bewildered.
“ I am safe”, she answered proudly. “No power in heaven or earth can hurt me now, for I have cast my all on one stake. Know this, Hilary, before we part; I shall never yield or surrender. I shall cast out that love that kills me from my heart — I shall enter the White Brotherhood. And, Hilary, you too will enter it. But, oh! not yet! Bitter lessons have you yet to learn ! Good-bye, my brother”.
The sentinel who guarded the gate now approached them in his walk; Fleta moved quickly towards him. After a few words had passed between them he blew a shrill, fine whistle. Then he approached Hilary.
“Come”, he said, “I will show you the way for some distance and will then obtain you a horse and a guide to the city”.
Hilary did not hesitate in obeying Fleta's commands; he knew he must go. But he turned to look once more into her mysterious face. She was no longer there. He bowed his head, and silently followed the monk through the gate into the outer freedom of the forest.
Fleta meantime crept back to the house through the shelter of the trees. Her figure looked like that of an aged woman, for she was bowed almost double and her limbs trembled as she moved. She did not go to the centre door of the house, but approached a window which opened to the ground and now stood wide. It was the window of Fleta's own room; she hurried towards it with feeble, uncertain steps. “Rest! Rest! I must rest! ” she kept murmuring to herself. But on the very threshold she stumbled and fell. Someone came immediately to her and tried to raise her. It was Father Ivan. Fleta disengaged herself, tremblingly yet resolutely. She rose with difficulty to her feet and gazed very earnestly into his face.
“And you knew why I should fail ? ” she said.
“Yes”, he answered, “I knew. You are not strong enough to stand alone amid the spirit of humanity. I knew you clung to me. Well have you suffered from it. I know that very soon you will stand alone”.
“Of what use would that mask have been ? ” demanded Fleta, pursuing her own thoughts.
“None. If you had obeyed me and worn it you would have been of so craven
a spirit you could never have reached the temple, never have seen the White
Brotherhood. You have done these things, which are more than any other woman
“I will do yet more”, said Fleta. “I will be one of them”.
“Be it so”, answered Ivan. “To do so you must suffer as no woman has yet had strength to suffer. The humanity in you must be crushed out as we crush a viper beneath our feet”. [Page 360]
“It shall be. I may die, but I will not pause. Good-bye, my master. As I am a queen in the world of men and women, so you are king in the world of soul, and to you I have done homage; that homage they call love. It is so, perhaps. I am blind yet, and know not. But no more may you be my king. I am alone, and all knowledge I gain I must now gain myself”.
Ivan bowed his head as if in obedience to an unanswerable decree, and in a moment had walked away among the trees. Fleta watched him stonily till he was out of sight, then dragged herself within the window to fall helplessly upon the ground, shaken by sobs and strong shudders of despair.
IT was late in the day before Fleta
again came out of her room. She seemed to have recovered her natural manner
and appearance; and yet there was a change in her which anyone who knew her
well must see. She had not been into the general rooms, or greeted the other
guests; nor did she do so now. Her face was full of resolution, but she was
calm, at all events externally. Without going near the guest rooms or the
great entrance hall, she made her way round the house to where a very small
door stood almost hidden in an angle of the wall. It was such a door as might
lead to the cellars of a house, and when Hilary had explored the night before
he had scarcely noticed it. But it was exceedingly solid and well fastened.
Fleta gave a peculiar knock upon it with a fan which she carried in her
hand. It was immediately opened, and Father Amyot appeared.
“Do you want me ? ” he asked.
“Yes; I want you to go on an errand for me”.
“Where am I to go ? ”
“ I do not know; probably you will know. I must speak to one of the White Brotherhood”.
Amyot's face clouded and he looked doubtfully at her.
“What is there you can ask that Ivan cannot answer ? ”
“Does it matter to you ? ” said Fleta imperiously. “You are my messenger, that is all”.
“You cannot command me as before”, said Father Amyot.
“ What! do you know that I have failed ? Does all the world know it ? ”
“The world?” echoed Amyot, contemptuously. “No; but all the Brotherhood does, and all its servants do. No one has told me, but I know it”.
“Of course”, said Fleta to herself. “ I am foolish”. She turned away and walked up and down on the grass, apparently buried in deep thought. Presently she raised her head suddenly, and quickly moved [Page 361] towards Amyot, who still stood motionless in the dim shadow of the little doorway. She fixed her eyes on him; they were blazing with an intense fire. Her whole attitude was one of command.
“Go”, she said.
Father Amyot stood but for a moment; and then he came out slowly from the doorway, shutting it behind him.
“You have picked up a lost treasure”, he said. “You have found your will again. I obey. Have you told me all your command ? ”
“Yes. I must speak to one of the White Brothers. What more can I say? I do not know one from another. Only be quick ! ”
Instantly Amyot strode away over the grass and disappeared. Fleta moved slowly away, thinking so deeply that she did not know any one was near her till a hand was put gently on her arm. She looked up, and saw before her the young king, Otto.
“Have you been ill”, he asked, looking closely into her face.
“No”, she answered. “I have only been living fast — a century of experience in a single night! Shall I talk to you about it, my friend ?”
“I think not”, answered Otto, who now was walking quietly by her side. I may not readily understand you. I am anxious above all to advance slowly and grasp each truth as it comes to me. I have been talking a long time today to Father Ivan; and I feel that I cannot yet understand the doctrines of the order except as interpreted through religion”.
“Through religion?” said Fleta. “But that is a mere externality”.
“True, and intellectually I see that. But I am not strong enough to stand without any external form to cling to. The precepts of religion, the duty of each towards humanity, the principle of sacrifice one for another, these things I can understand. Beyond that I cannot yet go. Are you disappointed with me ? ”
“No, indeed”, answered Fleta. “Why should I be”.
Otto gave a slight sigh as of relief. “I feared you might be”. he answered; “but I preferred to be honest. I am ready, Fleta, to be a member of the order, a devout member of the external Brotherhood. How far does that place me from you who claim a place among the wise ones of the inner Brotherhood”.
Fleta looked at him very seriously and gravely.
“I claim it”, she said; “but is it mine? Yet I will win it, Otto; even at the uttermost price, I will make it mine”.
“And at what cost ?” said Otto. “What is that uttermost price ? ”
“ I think”, she said slowly, “ I already feel what it is. I must learn to live in the plain as contentedly as on the mountain tops. I have hungered to leave my place in the world, to go to those haunts where only a few great ones of the earth dwell, and from them learn [Page 362] the secret of how to finally escape from the life of earth altogether. That has been my dream, Otto, put into simple words; the old dream of the Rosicrucian and those hungerers after the occult who have always haunted the world like ghosts, unsatisfied, homeless. Because I am a strong-willed creature, because I have learned how to use my will, because I have been taught a few tricks of magic I fancied myself fitted to be one of the White Brotherhood. Well, it is not so. I have failed. I shall be your queen, Otto”.
The young king turned on her a sudden look full of mingled emotions. “Is that to be, Fleta ? Then may I be worthy of your companionship”.
Fleta had spoken bitterly, though not ungently. Otto's reply had been in a strange tone, that had exultation, reverence, gladness, in it; but not any of the passion which is called love. A coquette would have been provoked by a manner so entirely that of friendship.
“Otto”, said Fleta, after a moment's pause, during which they had walked on side by side. “I am going to test your generosity. Will you leave me now ? ”
“My generosity ? ” exclaimed Otto. “How is it possible for you to address me in that way ? ” Without any further word of explanation he turned on his heel and walked quickly away. Fleta understood his meaning very well; she smiled softly as she looked for a moment after him. Then, as he vanished, her whole face changed, her whole expression of attitude, too. For a little while she stood quite still, seemingly wrapt in thought. Then steadily and swiftly she began to move across the grass and afterwards to thread her way through the trees. Having once commenced to move, she seemed to have no hesitation as to the direction in which she was going. And, indeed, if you had been able to ask her how she knew what path to take, she would have answered that it was very easy to know. For she was guided by a direct call from Amyot, as plainly heard as any human voice, though audible only to her inner hearing. To Fleta, the consciousness of the double life — the spiritual and the natural — was a matter of constant experience, and, therefore, there was no need for the darkness of midnight to enable her to hear a voice from what ordinary men and women call the unseen world. To Fleta it was no more unseen than unheard. She saw at once, conquering time and space, the spot where she would find Father Amyot at the end of her rapid walk; and more, the state she would find him in. The sun streamed in its full power and splendour straight on the strange figure of the monk, lying rigidly upon the grass. Fleta stood beside him and looked down on his face, upturned to the sky. For a little while she did nothing, but stood there with a frown upon her forehead and her dark eyes full of fierce and changing feeling. Amyot was in one of his profound trances, when, though not dead, yet he was as one dead.
“Already my difficulties crowd around me”, exclaimed Fleta aloud. [Page 363]
“What folly shall I unknowingly commit next ? My poor servant — dare I even try to restore you — or will Nature be a safer friend ? ”
Full of doubt and hesitation, she turned slowly away and began to pace up and down the grass beside the figure of the priest. Presently she became aware that she was not alone — some one was near her. She started and turned quickly. Ivan stood but a pace from her, and his eyes were fixed very earnestly upon her.
He was not dressed as a priest, but wore a simple hunting dress, such as an ordinary sportsman or the king incognito might wear. Simple it was, and made of coarse materials; but its easy make showed a magnificent figure which the monkish robes had disguised. His face had on it a deep and almost pathetic seriousness; and yet it was so handsome, so nobly cut, and made so brilliant by the deep blue eyes, which were bluer than their wont now, even in the full blaze of the sun — that in fact as a man merely, here stood one who might make any woman's heart, queen or no queen, beat fiercely with admiration. Fleta had never seen him like this before; to her he had always been the master, the adept in mysterious knowledge, the recluse who hid his love of solitude under a monkish veil. This was Ivan ! Young, superb, a man who must be loved. Fleta stood still and silent, answering the gaze of those questioning, serious blue eyes, with the purposeful, rebellious look which was just now burning in her own. The two stood facing each other for some moments, without speaking — without, as it seemed, desiring to speak. But in these moments of silence a measuring of strength was made. Fleta spoke first.
“Why have you come ?” she demanded. “I did not desire your presence”.
“You have questions to ask which I alone can answer”.
“You are the one person who cannot answer them, for I cannot ask them of you”.
“It is of me that you must ask them”, was all Ivan's reply. Then he added: “It is of me you have to learn these answers. Learn them by experience if you like, and blindly. If you care to speak, you shall be answered in words. This will spare you some pain, and save you years of wasted time. Are you too proud ? ”
There was a pause. Then Fleta replied deliberately:
“Yes, I am too proud”.
Ivan bowed his head and turned away. He stooped over Father Amyot, and taking a flask from his pocket, rubbed some liquid on the monk's white and rigid lips.
“I forbid you”, said Ivan, “to use your power over Amyot again”.
“You forbid me ? ” repeated Fleta in a tone of profound amazement. Evidently this tone was entirely new to her.
“Yes, and you dare not disobey me. If you do, you will suffer instantly”. [Page 364]
Fleta looked the amazement which was evidently beyond her power to express in words. Ivan's manner was cold, almost harsh. Never had he addressed her without gentleness before. Hastily she recovered herself, and without pausing to address to him any other word she turned away and went quickly through the trees and back to the house. Otto was standing at one of the windows; she went straight to him.
“I wish to go back to the city at once”, she said, “will you order my horses ? ”
“May I come with you ? ”
“No, but you may follow me tomorrow if you like”
(To be continued.)
Man's reasoning faith can outlive and can ride
O'er countless speculations. Navies float
On changeful waves, and for this ark-like boat
Winds from all quarters, every swelling tide
Will serve. By all the virgin spheres that glide
Like timid guests across sky-floor we note
Where lies the pole-star. Those who only quote
Their compass, fail, and antique charts must slide
To error, in this shifting sand of thought
And new-found science, where sweet isles of palm
And olive sink, that were as land-marks sought,
While others rise from Ocean's fertile bed.
No storm, nor heat, nor cold I fear; my dread
Is lest the ship should meet a death-like calm.
Ah ! wondrous happy rounding universe
Where suns and moons alike as tears e'er mould
Themselves to beauteous circles ! He that rolled
The planets, curved their paths; though seas immerse
Both shattered ship and shell, naught shall escape
Th' inevitable wheel that must restore
The seeming lost. The potent buried lore
Of saint and sage revives to melt and shape
Our thoughts to comeliness, and souls that leave
Earth's shores float back as craft that cruising sails;
Each blessed gift that hourly from us flies,
God will rain down albeit in other guise; —
And e'en the very dew-drop noon exhales
May find again the self-same rose at eve. [Page 365]
TWILIGHT VISIONS (1)
by Wm C Eldon Serjeant
time there shall be light.”
— ZECH. xiv., 7.
THE day's work done, I cast my pen aside
And rose, with aching eye and troubled brain,
Thinking how oft my fellow workers here
Have suffered in the flesh for labours wrought
In love to all mankind; and how the world
Cares nought for words which teach not of itself;
For to the world, itself is all in all,
And nought outside it can the world conceive
As real and true. And yet this earth must cease
To be for ever to each mortal, when
The Spirit casts off earth, and, in new life
Will feel and know the world to be the vale
Of deathly shadows compass'd round about
With ignorance and error, sin and crime,
With yearnings, longings, miseries, and griefs,
And all that makes the “Breath of Lives” to seem
As Angels wrestling with the powers of hell.
A gentle Spirit with the twilight came
And rested on my soul; then hope with peace,
Long since to me as strangers, touched my heart,
And, sitting at the organ, soft and sweet
There streamed a flow of harmony, tho' I
Scarce seemed to touch the keys, yet simple hymns
Called forth a train of Spirits bright and young,
Amongst them saw I all that I had known
And loved in days when life seem'd sweet to me.
I was a child again, and saw myself
As such — no aching eye — no troubled brain
Had that young being who in faith and hope
Sang songs of holiness, of peace and truth —
There, resting on his Mother's breast, with arms
Clasped round her neck, with loving eyes that watched
The loving face, whereon a parent's smile
Was ever present in the days now past,
Now buried in the dust with former things.
In saddened notes swelled forth “Thy will be done ! ”
And then appeared a radiant spirit form
Of one who, as a babe, was called away,
From out this world of wretchedness and sin, [Page 366]
An infant — which scarce breathed upon the earth
Ere God, in His great mercy, took her home
To dwell with Him, and she, an Angel bless'd,
Now looks in pity on her parents here,
A weeping witness of the vacant lives
Which in the world their souls are forced to pass
As, hung'ring for the love of One in heaven
They stagger on from day to day in doubt —
In misery, which none but they can know.
Some cursed bonds can ne'er be snapped in twain,
Save death or sin alone be brought to bear
To shatter human customs hard and vile,
And false and horrible as hell itself.
For man exists in darkness, bound by laws
Which curse and damn his very soul on earth;
Mankind will not accept the Master's words
Or listen to His cry within the soul.
And so the world in falsehood wanders on
And dooms the inner Man of Light again
To suffer crucifixion in the flesh;
The Trinity — of Wisdom, Love and Truth —
THE CHRIST, is absent from this “Christian” World
And ignorance with hatred lies and sin
Reign rampant in their infidel abode.
“Abide with me, fast falls the eventide”.
O Lord ! we suff'ring mortals here on earth
Have nought but Thee, Thou Guide of all mankind
To lead us in our wand'rings, and to turn
Our falt'ring footsteps from the way of death;
Thy Angels true are sent to fainting souls,
And lovingly their voices soft are heard
Peace ! troubled hearts, hereafter all shall be
Made up in heaven. Know that sufferings
Are sent in love that we may minister,
To all your needs, and bear you safely home
To that good land ordained for all mankind —
The kingdom bright — of happiness and love,
Whereon your lives shall ever be a rest
In one long summer day of light and joy.
No mortal e'er can comprehend the peace
Of God, which shall be yours, when, from the world
Your glorious inner beings stand apart
For ever ! Soon shall you know all that we [Page 367]
Would tell you now — yet hope and struggle on.
“At evening time there shall be Light! and then —
The Living Light shall lead you home to God,
Home to the place which He hath made, — 'tis yours
For ever! We are sent to tell you this
And by the Mighty One we do not lie !
“O Glorious Angels of our Loving God !
Pray tell us if this land, we fain would know,
Contains the dear ones we have loved on earth ?
For what were heaven e'en to us, if we
Could nevermore be all in all to those
Who when on earth were all in all to us !
A voice replied — 'twas one I oft have heard
And learned to love with more than mortal love,
“Look up. my own ! and see me with thee now
For ever on this earth. If then 'tis so,
How canst thou think that I shall ever be
Apart from thee in heav'n — the land of love
Wherein alone life's consummation finds
A fullness in its own eternal self?
For God is all — thus He is life and love
And love eternal is the power that welds
Each atom in the universal chain
Of infinite expanse throughout the skies—
Which ever shows to godly men on earth
The Power of powers that reigneth over all !
Then in the gloom a glorious form appeared,
And, standing by my side, it pressed its lips
Upon the troubled brow which none could calm
On earth, save she who was beside me then.
And so an Angel from our loving God
Came down to comfort, in the eventide —
To show, by light of love, God's holy truth,
Which from the world — in darkness — hath been hid
Because the world in darkness will exist,
And, living thus, man sins against himself
And so against his loving God of Life.
The promised Light appeared at evening time,
And by its living rays did I perceive —
Mankind to wander on in sin and shame;
Thus HELL prevails today where heaven should be.....
London, 6th December, 1887. [Page 368]
from the “LOTUS” Revue des
Journal of “Isis”, the French Branch of The Theosophical Society. December, 1887.
Paris, George Carrés, 58, Rue St. André des Arts.
THANKS to the light which is now reaching us from the far East through the Theosophical organs published in the West, it is easy to foresee that the Catholic teaching is about to undergo a transformation as profound as it will be glorious. All our dogmas will pass from “the letter which killeth” to “the spirit which giveth life”, from the mystic and sacramental to the scientific and rational form, perhaps even to the stage of experimental methods.
The reign of faith, of mystery and of miracle, is nearing its close; this is plain and was, moreover, predicted by Christ himself. Faith vanishes from the brains of men of science, to make way for the clear perception of the essential truths which had to be veiled at the origin of Christianity, under symbols and figures, so as to adapt them, as far as possible, to the needs and weaknesses of the infancy of our faith.
Strange! It is at the very hour when Europe is attaining the age of reason, and when she is visibly entering upon the full possession of her powers, that India prepares to hand on to us those loftier ideas which exactly meet our new wants, as much from the intellectual, as from the moral, religious, social and other standpoints.
One might believe that the “BROTHERS” kept an eye from afar on the movements of Christendom, and that from the summits of their Himalayan watch towers, they had waited expectantly for the hour when they would be able to make us hear them with some chance of being understood.........
It is certain that the situation in the West is becoming more and more serious. Everyone knows whence comes the imminence of the catastrophe which threatens us; hitherto men have only evoked the animal needs, they have only awakened and unchained the brute forces of nature, the passional instincts, the savage energies of the lower Kosmos. Christianity does indeed conceal under the profound esotericism of its Parables, those truths, scientific, religious, and social, which this deplorable situation imperiously demands, but sad to say, sad indeed for a priest, hard, hard indeed for Christian ears to hear, all our priesthoods, that of the Roman Catholic Church equally with those of the Orthodox Russian, the Anglican, the Protestant, and the Anglo-American churches, seem struck with blindness and impotence in face [Page 369] of the glorious task which they would have to fulfil in these terrible circumstances. They see nothing; their eyes are plastered and their ears walled up. They do not discover; one is tempted to say, they do not even suspect what ineffable truths are hidden under the dead letter of their teachings.
Say, is it not into that darkness that we are all stumbling, in State and in Church, in politics as in religion ! A double calamity forming but one for the peoples, which suffer horribly under it, and for our civilisation which may be shipwrecked on it at any moment. May God deliver us from a war at this moment! It would be a cataclysm in which Europe would break to pieces in blood and fire, as Montesquieu foresaw: “Europe will perish through the soldiers, if not saved in time. We must escape from this empiricism and this fearful confusion. But who will save us ? The Christ, the true Christ, the Christ of esoteric science. [ “The Christ of esoteric science” is the Christos of Spirit — an impersonal principle entirely distinct from any carnalised Christ or Jesus. Is it this Christos that the learned Canon Roca means? – Editor ] And how ? Thus: the same key which, under the eyes of the scientific bodies, shall open the secrets of Nature, will open their own intellects to the secrets of true Sociology; the same key which, under the eyes of the priesthoods, shall open the Arcana of the mysteries and the gospel parables, will open their intellects to these same secrets of Sociology. Priests and savants will then develope in the radiance of one and the same light.
And this key — I can assert it, for I have proved it in application to all our dogmas — THIS KEY IS THE SAME WHICH THE MAHATMAS OFFER AND DELIVER TO US AT THIS MOMENT. [The capitals are our own; for these “Mahatmas” are the real Founders and “Masters” ‘ of the Theosophical Society. — Editor]
There is here an interposition of Providence, before which we should all of us offer up our own thanksgivings. For my part, I am deeply touched by it; I feel I know not what sacred thrill ! My gratitude is the more keen since, if I confront the Hindu tradition with the occult theosophic traditions of Judeo-Christianity, from its origin to our own day, through the Holy Kabbala, I can recognise clearly the agreement of the teaching of the “Brothers” with the esoteric teaching of Moses, Jesus, and Saint Paul.
People are sure to say: “You abase the West before the East, Europe before Asia, France before India, Christianity before Buddhism. You are betraying at once your Country and your Church, your quality as a Frenchman, and your character as a Priest”. Pardon me, gentlemen ! I abase nothing whatever; I betray nothing at all! A member of Humanity, I work for the happiness of Humanity; a son of France, I work for the glory of France; a Priest of Jesus Christ, I work for the [Page 370] triumph of Jesus Christ. You shall be forced to confess it; suspend, therefore, your anathemas, and listen, if you please !
We are traversing a frightful crisis. For the last hundred years we have been trying to round the Cape of Social Tempests, which I spoke of before; we have been enduring, without intermission, the fires, the lightnings the thunders, and the earthquakes of an unparalleled hurricane, and we feel, clearly enough, that everything is giving way around us; under our feet and over our heads ! Neither pontiffs, nor savants, nor politicians, nor statesmen, show themselves capable of snatching us from the abysses towards which we are being, one is tempted to say, driven by a fatality ! If, then, I discover, in the distant East, through the darkness of this tempest, the blessed star which alone can guide us, amidst so many shoals, safe and sound to the longed-for haven of safety, am I wanting in patriotism and religion because I announce to my brethren the rising of this beneficent star ? .......
I know as well as you that it was
said to Peter: “I will give thee
the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, that thou mayest open its gates upon earth”;
yes, doubtless, but note the tense of this verb: I will give thee: in the
future. Has the Christian Pontiff already received them — those magic
Keys ? Before replying look and see what Rome has made of Christendom; see
the lamentable state of Europe; not only engaged in open war with foreign
nationalities, but also exhausting herself in fratricidal wars and preparations
to consummate her own destruction; behold everywhere Christian against Christian,
church against church, priesthood against priesthood, class against class,
school against school, and, often in the same family, brother against brother,
sons against their father, the father against his sons ! What a spectacle !
And a Pope presides over it ! And while, all around, men prepare for a general
slaughter, he, the Pope, thinks only of one thing — of his temporal domain,
of his material possessions ! Think you that this state of things forms the
Kingdom of Heaven, and say you still that the Pontiff of Rome has already received
the Keys thereof?
It is written, perchance, in the decrees of Providence, that these mysterious Keys shall be brought to the brethren of the West by the “Brothers” of the East ...... Such is, indeed, the expectation of all he nations; the prophetic East sighs for the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, which shall be the crown of all the Avatars which have preceded it, and the Apocalypse, on its side, announces the appearance of the White Horse which is the symbol of the Christ risen, glorious and triumphant before the eyes of all the peoples of the earth.
This is how I, priest of Jesus Christ, betray Jesus Christ, when I acclaim
the wisdom of the Mahatmas and their mission in the West!
I have spoken of the opportuneness of the hour chosen by them for coming to our help. I must insist upon this point. [Page 371] [The Abbé then enforces his argument by references to the position of Modern Science, and concludes:—Translator .]
“The phenomena of motion”, by means of which men of science claim to explain everything, explain nothing at all, because the very cause of that motion is unknown to our physicists as they themselves admit. “Consider, say to us the Mahatmas by the mouth of their Adepts, that behind each physical energy is hidden another energy, which itself serves as envelope to a spiritual force which is the living soul of every manifested force”.
And thus Nature offers us an infinite series of forces one within another, serving mutually as sheaths, which, as d'Alembert suspected, produce all sensible phenomena and reach all points of the circumference starting from a central point, which is God........
I can now, after these preliminaries, give an example of the transformation which, thanks to the Mahatmas, will soon take place in the teaching of the Christian Church. I will take particularly the dogma of the Creation, informing my readers that they will find in a book I am preparing, The New Heavens and the New Earth, an analogous work on all the dogmas of the Catholic faith.
Matter exists in states of infinite variety, and, sometimes, even of opposite appearance. The world is constituted in two poles, the North or Spiritual, and the South or Material pole: these two poles correspond perfectly and differ only in form, that is, in appearance.
Regarded from above, as the Easterns regard it, the universal substance presents the aspect of a spiritual or divine emanation; looked at from below, as the Westerns are in the habit of viewing it, it offers, on the contrary, the aspect of a material creation.
One sees at once the difference which must exist between the two intellectualities and, consequently, between the two civilisations of the East and the West. Yet there is no more error in the Genesis of Moses, which is that of the Christian teaching, than there is in the Genesis of the Mahatmas, which is that of the Buddhist doctrine. The one and the other of these Geneses are absolutely founded on one and the same reality. Whether one descends or ascends the scale of being, one only traverses, in the East from above downwards, in the West from below upwards, the same ladder of essences, more or less spiritualised, more or less materialised, according as one approaches to, or recedes from, Pure Spirit, which is God.
It was, therefore, not worth while to fulminate so much on one side or the other, here, against the theory of emanation, there, against the theory of Creation. One always comes back to the principle of Hermes Trismegistus: the universe is dual, though formed of a single substance. The Kabbalists knew it well, and it was taught long ago in the Egyptian [Page 372] sanctuaries, as the occultists have never ceased to repeat it in the temples of India.
It will soon be demonstrated, I hope, by scientific experiments such as those of Mr. William Crookes, the Academician, that everywhere, throughout all nature, spirit and matter are not two but one, and that they nowhere offer a real division in life. Under every physical force there is a spiritual or a psychic force: in the heart of the minutest atom is hidden a vital soul, the presence of which has been perfectly determined by Claude Bernard in germs imperceptible to the naked eye. “This soul, human, animal, vegetal or mineral, is but a ray lent by the universal soul to every object manifested in the Kosmos”.
“Corporeal man and the sensible universe, says the theosophical doctrine, are but the appearance imparted to them by the cohesion of the interatomic or inter-astral forces which constitute both exteriorly. The visible side of a being is an ever-changing Maya”. The language of St. Paul is in no way different: “The aspect of the world”, he says, “is a passing vision, an image which passes and renews itself continually — transit figiura hujus mundi”.
“ The real man, or the microcosm — and one can say as much of the macrocosm — is an astral force which reveals itself through this physical appearance, and which, having existed before the birth of this form, does not share its fate at the hour of death: surviving its destruction. The material form cannot subsist without the spiritual force which sustains it; but the latter is independent of the former, for form is created by spirit, and not spirit by form”.
This theory is word for word that of the “Brothers” and the Adepts, at the same time it is that of the Kabbalists and the Christians of the School of Origen, and the Johannine Church.
There could not be a more perfect agreement. Transfer this teaching to the genesis of the Kosmos and you have the secret of the formation of the World; at the same time you discover the profound meaning of the saying of St. Paul: “The invisible things of God are made visible to the eye of man through the visible things of the creation”, a saying so well translated by Joseph de Maistre by the following: “The world is a vast system of invisible things, visibly organised'.
The whole of the Kosmos is like a two-faced medal of which both faces are alike. The materialists know only the lower side, while the occultists see it from both sides at once; from the front and from the back. It is always nature, and the same nature, but natura naturata from below, natura naturans from above; here, intelligent cause; there, brute effect; spiritual above, corporeal below, etherealised at the North, concreted at the South Pole.
The distinction accepted everywhere in the West down to our own day, as essential and radical, between spirit on the one hand and matter on the other, is no longer sustainable. The progress of science, spurred [Page 373] on as it will be by Hindu ideas, will soon force the last followers of this infantile belief to abandon it as ridiculous........
Yes, all, absolutely all in the world is life, but life differently organised and variously manifested through phenomena which vary infinitely from the most spiritualised beings, such as the Angels, as well known to Buddhists as to Christians, though called by other names, down to the most solidified of beings, such as stones and metals. In the bosom of the latter, sleep, in a cataleptic condition, milliards of vital elementary spirits. These latter only await, to thrill into activity, the stroke of the pick or hammer to which they will owe their deliverance and their escape from the limbus, of which the Hindu doctrine speaks as well as the Catholic. Here lies, for these souls of life, the starting point of the Resurrection and of the Ascension, taught equally by both the Eastern and the Western traditions, but not understood among us.
[ The Abbé sketches in eloquent words the development of these “spirits of the elements” and then continues: — Translator.]
But as they ascend, so the spirits can also descend, for they are always free to transfigure themselves in the divine light, or to bury themselves in the satanic shadow of error and evil. Hence, while time is time, “these ceaseless tears and gnashings of teeth” of which the gospel Parables speak metaphorically, and which will last as long as shall last the elaboration of the social atoms destined for the collective composition of the beatific Nirvana.
Nature is ever placing under our eyes examples of organic transformations, analogous to those I am speaking of, as if to aid us in comprehending our own destiny. But it seems that many men “have eyes in order not to see”, as Jesus said. See how in order to remove these cataracts, science, even in the West, constantly approaching more and more that of the East, is at work producing in its turn phenomena, which corroborate at once the Parables of the Gospels and the teachings of nature. I will not speak of the Salpetriere and the marvels of hypnotism in the hands of M. Charcot and his numerous disciples throughout the whole world. There are things which strike me even more.
M. Pictet, at Geneva, is creating diamonds with air and light. This should not astonish those who know that our coal mines are nothing but “stored-up sunlight”. With an even more marvellous industry, do not the flowers extract from the atmosphere the luminous substance of which they weave their fine and joyous garments ? And “all that is sown in the earth under a material form, does it not rise under a spiritual form”, as St. Paul says ?
The glorious entities, which we call celestial spirits, have themselves an organic form, It is defined in the canons of our dogma, whatever the ignorance-mongers of ultramontanism may pretend. God alone has no body, God alone is pure Spirit — and even to speak thus we must consider the Deity apart from the person of Jesus Christ, for in the “Word made flesh”[Page 374] God dwells corporeally, according to the true and beautiful saying of St. Paul.
And it is because God has no body that he is present everywhere in the infinite, under the veils of cosmic light and ether, which serve as his garment and under the electric, magnetic, interatomic, interplanetary, interstellar and sound fluids, which serve him as vehicles .........
And it is also because God has no created form that the Kabbala could, without error, call him Non-Being. Hegel probably felt this esoteric truth when he spoke, in his heavy and cumbrous language, of the equivalence of Being and Non-Being.
All visible forms are thus the product; at the same time as they are the garment and the manifestation, of spiritual forces. All sensible order is, in reality, an organic concretion, a sort of living crystallisation of intelligent powers fallen from the state of spirituality into the state of materiality in other words, fallen from the North to the South pole of nature, in consequence of a catastrophe called by Holy Scripture the Fall from Eden. This cataclysm was the punishment of a frightful crime, of an audacious revolt spoken of in the traditions of all Temples and called in our dogma original sin. The primary priesthood of the Christian church has hitherto lacked the light needed to explain this biological phenomenon, which is an ascertained fact of physiology and sociology, as I hope to prove. Questioned on this point, the priests have always replied: It is a mystery. Now there are no mysteries save for ignorance, and the Christ announced that “every hidden thing should be brought to light, and proclaimed on the house-tops”.
This is why so many new lights, coming from the East and elsewhere, enter scientifically, in our day, into the Christian mind. Glory to the Theosophists, glory to the Adepts, glory to the Kabbalists, glory above all to the Hermetists everywhere, glory to those new missionaries whose coming M. de Maistre foresaw, and whom M. de Saint-Ives d'Alveydre lately hailed as the elect of God, charged by him to establish a communion of knowledge and of love between all the religious centres of the earth!
Priests of the Roman Catholic Church,
we shall enter in our turn this wise communion of saints, on the day when
we shall consent to read anew our sacred texts, no longer in “the dead letter” of their exotericism, but
in the living spirit” of their esotericism, and in the threefold
sense which Christian tradition has always canonically recognised in them.
L'ABBÉ ROCA (Chanoine).
Chateau de Pallestres, France.
[This is a very optimistic
way of putting it, and if realized would be like pouring the elixir of life
into the decrepit body of the Latin Church. But what will his Holiness the
Pope say to it ?— Editor ] [Page
THE Religionist, of course, denies that man can become a god or ever realise in himself the attributes of Deity. He may recognise the necessity of re-incarnation for ordinary worldly men, and even for those who are not constant in their detachment and devotion, but he denies the necessity for that series of trials and initiations which must cover, at all events, more than one life-time — probably many. It would appear as if the theory of evolution might be called in, to aid this latter view. If it is acknowledged that we, as individuals, have been for ever whirling on the wheel of conditioned existence; if at the beginning of each manwantara the divine monad which through the beginningless past has inhabited in succession the vegetable, animal, and human forms, takes to itself a house of flesh in exact accordance with previous Karma, it will be seen that (while inhabiting a human body) during no moment in the past eternity have we been nearer the attainment of Nirvana than at any other. If then there is no thinkable connection between evolution and Nirvana, to imagine that evolution, through stages of Adeptship, conducts to Nirvana, is a delusion. “It is purely a question of divine grace” — says the Religionist. If in answer to this view, it is contended that the light of the Logos is bound, eventually, to reach and enlighten every individual, and that the steady progress to perfection through Chelaship and Adeptship would, therefore, be a logical conclusion, it is objected that to assert that the light of the Logos must eventually reach and enlighten all, would involve the ultimate extinction of the objective Universe, which is admitted to be without beginning or end, although it passes through alternate periods of manifestation and non-manifestation. If to escape from this untenable position we postulate fresh emanations of Deity into the lowest organisms at the beginning of each manwantara, to take the place of those who pass away into Nirvana, we are met by other difficulties. Firstly, putting out of consideration the fact that such a supposition is expressly denied by what is acknowledged as revelation, the projection into the evolutionary process of a monad free from all Karma, makes the law of Karma inoperative, for the monad's first association with Karma remains unexplained; and also it becomes impossible to say what the monad was, and what was the mode of its being prior to the projection into evolution. It must be noted that although the law of Karma does not explain why we are, yet it satisfactorily shows how we are what we are; and this is the raison d’être of the law. But the above theory takes away its occupation. It makes Karma and the monad independent realities, joined together by the [Page 376] creative energy of the Deity, while Karma ought to be regarded as a mode of existence of the monad — which mode ceases to be when another mode, called liberation, takes its place. Secondly, if the monad in attaining liberation only attains to what it was before its association with Karma, à quoi bon the whole process; while, if it is stated that the monad was altogether non-existent before its projection, the Deity becomes responsible for all our sufferings and sins, and we fall into either the Calvinist doctrine of predestination as popularly conceived, or into the still more blasphemous doctrine of the worshippers of Ahriman, besides incurring many logical difficulties. The teaching of our eastern philosophers is that the real interior nature of the monad is the same as the real interior essence of the Godhead, but from beginningless past time it has a transitory nature, considered illusive, and the mode in which this illusion works is known by the name of Karma.
But were we not led astray in the first instance ? Ought we not to have acquiesced in the first above given definition of the theory of evolution ? The premiss was satisfactory enough — the mistake was in allowing the religionist's deduction as a logical necessity. When the religionist states that there is no thinkable connection between evolution and Nirvana, he merely postulates for the word evolution a more limited scope than that which the Occultist attaches to it, viz., the development of soul as well as that of mere form. He is indeed right in stating that the natural man, while he remains such, will never attain the ultimate goal of Being. True it is, for the Occultist as for the religionist, that, to free himself from the fatal circle of rebirths, he must “burst the shell which holds him in darkness — tear the veil that hides him from the eternal”. The religionist may call this the act of divine grace; but it may be quite as correctly described as the “awakening of the slumbering God within”. But the error of the religionist is surely in mistaking the first glimmer of the divine consciousness for a guarantee of final emancipation, at, say, the next death of the body, instead of merely the first step of a probationary stage in the long vista of work for Humanity on the higher planes of Being!
To provide ourselves with an analogy from the very theory of Evolution which we have been discussing, is it not more logical to imagine that, in the same way in which we see stretched at our feet the infinite gradations of existence, through the lower animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms — between which indeed, thanks to the recent investigations of scientific men — there is no longer recognised to be any distinct line of demarcation — so the heights (necessarily hidden from our view) which still remain to be scaled by us in our upward progress to Divinity, should be similarly filled with the gradations of the unseen hierarchy of Being ? And that, as we have evolved during millions of [Page 377] centuries of earth-life through these lower forms up to the position we now occupy, so may we, if we choose, start on a new and better road of progress, apart from the ordinary evolution of Humanity, but in which there must also be innumerable grades ?
That there will be progress for Humanity as a whole, in the direction of greater spirituality, there is no doubt, but that progress will be partaken of by continually decreasing numbers. Whether the weeding out takes place at the middle of the “great fifth round”, or whether it be continually taking place during the evolutionary process, a ray of light is here thrown on the statement met with in all the Bibles of Humanity as to the great difficulty of the attainment. “For straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in thereat”. This and parallel passages doubtless refer to the weeding out of those who are unfit to continue the progress, on which the more spiritualized Humanity will then have entered. The most vivid picture of the comparative handful of elect souls, who are fit to achieve the great quest, will be obtained by contemplating the fact already stated, that the objective universe, with its myriads of inhabitants, will never, in the vast abysses of the future, cease to be; and that the great majority of humanity — the millions of millions — will thus for ever whirl on the wheel of birth and death.
But though Nature may give us an almost infinite number of chances to attempt the great quest, it were madness to put by the chance offered now, and allow the old sense attractions to regain their dominance, for it must be remembered that the barbarism and anarchy which every civilisation must eventually lapse into, are periods of spiritual deadness, and that it is when “the flower of civilisation has blown to its full, and when its petals are but slackly held together”, that the goad within men causes them to lift their eyes to the sunlit mountains, and “to recognise in the bewildering glitter the outlines of the Gates of Gold”.
There are no doubt realms in the Devaloka where the bliss of heaven may be realised by those who aspire to the selfish rewards of personal satisfaction, but these cease to exist with the end of the manwantara, and with the beginning of the next the devotee will again have to endure incarceration in flesh. The eighth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita does indeed state that there is a path to Nirvana through the Devaloka, and amongst the countless possibilities of the Infinite who shall assert that this is not so ? but the context surely implies such a detachment and devotion through life as is difficult for us even to contemplate, much less to realize.
However distant, therefore, may appear to us the achievement of the great quest, when we consider how much more closely we are allied to the animal than to the God, it must necessarily seem an infinitely far-off goal, but though we may have to pass through many life-times before we [Page 378] reach it, our most earnest prayer should be, that we may never lose sight of that celestial goal, for surely it is the one thing worthy of achievement!
To many the foregoing may appear as mere speculations, and the firmest faith indeed can scarcely call itself knowledge, but, however necessary the complete knowledge may be, we may at least hope that its partial possession is adequate to the requirements of the occasion. To us whose feet tread, often wearily, towards the path of the great quest, and whose eyes strain blindly through the mists that wrap us round, steady perseverance and omnipotent hope must be the watchwords — perseverance to struggle on, though the fiends of the lower self may make every step a battle, and hope that at any moment the entrance to the path may be found.
As an example of these two qualities, and also because all words that strike a high key are bound to awaken responsive echoes in noble hearts, let us conclude with the following extract from the Ramayana: —
“Thus spoke Rama. Virtue is a service man owes himself, and though there
were no heaven nor any God to rule the world, it were not less the binding
law of life. It is man's privilege to know the right and follow it. Betray
and persecute me brother men ! Pour out your rage on me O malignant devils
! Smile, or watch my agony in cold disdain ye blissful Gods ! Earth, hell,
heaven combine your might to crush me — I will still hold fast by this
inheritance ! My strength is nothing — time can shake and cripple it;
my youth is transient — already grief has withered up my days; my heart — alas!
it is well-nigh broken now. Anguish may crush it utterly, and life may fail;
but even so my soul that has not tripped shall triumph, and dying, give the
lie to soulless destiny that dares to boast itself man's master”.
Behold me ! an offspring of Darkness and Light.
With soft, tender petals of radiant white,
With golden heart mystery, full of perfume
That is Soul of my Breath — the Secret of Bloom.
Infinity's centre is heart of the rose,
And th' breath of Creation its perfume that flows
Through ages and eons and time yet untold —
But the Soul of the Breath I may not unfold. [Page 379]
voice can speak in the presence of the Masters, it must have lost the power
Those who give a merely passing and superficial attention to the subject of Occultism — and their name is legion — constantly inquire why, if Adepts in life exist, they do not appear in the world and show their power. That the chief body of these wise ones should be understood to dwell beyond the fastnesses of the Himalayas, appears to be a sufficient proof that they are only figures of straw. Otherwise, why place them so far off?
Unfortunately, Nature has done this and not personal choice or arrangement. There are certain spots on the earth where the advance of “civilization” is unfelt, and the nineteen century fever is kept at bay. In these favored places there is always time, always opportunity, for the realities of life; they are not crowded out by the doings of an inchoate, money-loving, pleasure seeking society. While there are Adepts upon the earth, the earth must preserve to them places of seclusion. This is a fact in Nature which is only an external expression of a profound fact in supernature.
The demand of the Neophyte remains unheard until the voice in which it is uttered has lost the power to wound. This is because the divine-astral life [Of course every occultist knows by reading Eliphas Levi and other authors that the “astral” plane is a plane of unequalised forces, and that a state of confusion necessarily prevails. But this does not apply to the “divine astral” plane, which is a plane where wisdom, and therefore order, prevails. ] is a place in which order reigns, just as it does in natural life. There is, of course, always the centre and the circumference as there is in nature. Close to the central heart of life, on any plane, there is knowledge, there order reigns completely; and chaos makes dim and confused the outer margin of the circle. In fact, life in every form bears a more or less strong resemblance to a philosophic school. There are always the devotes of knowledge who forget their own lives in their pursuit of it; there are always the flippant crowd who come and go — Of such, Epictetus said that it was as easy to teach them philosophy as to eat custard with a fork. The same state exists in the super-astral life; and the adept has an even deeper and more profound seclusion there in which to dwell. This place of retreat is so safe, so sheltered, that no sound which has discord in it can reach His ears. Why should this be, will be asked at once, if he be a being of such great powers as those say [Page 380] who believe in his existence? The answer seems very apparent. He serves humanity and identifies Himself with the whole world; he is ready to make vicarious sacrifice for it at any moment — by living not by dying for it. Why should he not die for it? Because He is a part of the great whole, and one of the most valuable parts of it. Because he lives under laws of order which he does not desire to break. His life is not his own, but that of the forces which work behind him. He is the flower of humanity, the bloom which contains the divine seed. He is, in His own person, a treasure of the universal nature, which is guarded and made safe in order that the fruition shall be perfected. It is only at definite periods of the world's history that he is allowed to go among the herd of men as their redeemer. But for those who have the power to separate themselves from this herd he is always at hand. And for those who are strong enough to conquer the vices of the personal human nature, as set forth in these four rules, he is consciously at hand, easily recognized, ready to answer.
But this conquering of self implies a destruction of qualities which most men regard as not only indestructible but desirable. The “power to wound” includes much that man value, not only in themselves, but in others. The instinct of self-defence and of self-preservation is part of it; the idea that one has any right or rights, either as citizen, or man, or individual, the pleasant consciousness of self-respect and of virtue. These are hard sayings to many; yet they are true. For these words that I am writing now, and those which I have written on this subject, are not in any sense my own. They are drawn from the traditions of the lodge of the Great Brotherhood, which was once the secret splendour of Egypt. The rules written in its ante — chamber were the same as those now written in the ante — chamber of existing schools. Through all time the wise men have lived apart from the mass. And even when some temporary purpose or object induces one of them to come into the midst of human life, His seclusion and safety is preserved as completely as ever. It is part of his inheritance, part of his position, he has an actual title to it, and can no more put it aside that the Duke of Westminster can say he does not choose to be the Duke of Westminster. In the various great cities of the world an adept lives for a while from time to time, or perhaps only passes through; but all are occasionally aided by the actual power and presence of one of these men. Here in London, as in Paris and St Petersburg, there are men high in development. But they are only known as mystics by those who have the power to recognize; the power given by the conquering of self. Otherwise how could They exist, even for an hour, in such a mental and psychic atmosphere as is created by the confusion and disorder of a city? Unless protected and made safe their own growth would be interfered with, their work injured. And the neophyte may meet an adept in the flesh, may live in the same house with him, and yet be [Page 381] unable to recognize him, and unable to make his own voice heard by him. For no nearness in space, no closeness of relations, no daily intimacy, can do away with the inexorable laws which give the adept his seclusion. No voice penetrates to his inner hearing till it has become a divine voice, a voice which gives no utterance to the cries of self. Any lesser appeal would be as useless, as much a waste of energy and power, as for mere children who are learning their alphabet to be taught it by a professor of philology. Until a man has become, in heart and spirit, a disciple, he has no existence for those who are teachers of disciples. And he becomes this by one method only — the surrender of his personal humanity.
For the voice to have lost the power to wound, a man must have reached that point where he sees himself only as one of the vast multitudes that live; of the sands washed hither and thither by the sea of vibratory existence. It is said that every grain of sand in the ocean bed does, in its turn, get washed up on the shore and lie for a moment in the sunshine. So with human beings, they are driven hither and thither by a great force, and each, in his turn, finds the sun rays on him. When a man is able to regard his own life as part of a whole like this he will no longer struggle in order to obtain anything for himself. This is the surrender of personal rights. The ordinary man expects, not to take equal fortunes with the rest of the world, but in some points about which he cares, to fare better than the others. The disciple does not expect this. Therefore, though he be, like Epictetus, a chained slave, he has no word to say about it. He knows that the wheel of life turns ceaselessly. Burnes-Jones has shown it , in his marvellous picture; the wheel turns, and on it are bound the rich and the poor, the great and the small — each has moment of good fortune when the wheel brings him uppermost — the King rises and falls, the poet is fêted and forgotten, the slave is happy and afterwards discarded. Each in his turn is crushed as the wheel turns on. The disciple knows that this is so, and though it is his duty to make the utmost of the life that is his, he neither complains of it nor is elated by it, nor does he complain against the better fortune of others. All alike, as he well knows, are but learning a lesson; and he smiles at the socialist and the reformer who endeavour by sheer force to rearrange circumstances which arise out of the forces of human nature itself. This is but kicking against the pricks; a waste of life and energy.
In realizing this a man surrenders his imagined individual rights, of whatever sort. That takes away one keen sting which is common to all ordinary men.
When the disciple has fully recognized that the very thought of individual rights is only the outcome of the venomous quality in himself, that it is the hiss of the snake of self which poisons with its sting his own life and the lives of those about him, then he is ready to take part in [Page 382] a yearly ceremony which is open to all neophytes who are prepared for it. All weapons of defence and offence are given up; all weapons of mind and heart, and brain, and spirit. Never again can another man be regarded as a person who can be criticized or condemned; never again can the neophyte raise his voice in self-defense or excuse. From that ceremony he returns into the world as helpless, as unprotected, as a new-born child. That, indeed, is what he is. He has begun to be born again on to the higher plane of life, that breezy and well-lit plateau from whence the eyes see intelligently and regard the world with a new insight.
I have said, a little way back, that after parting with the sense of individual rights, the disciple must part also with the sense of self-respect and of virtue. This may sound a terrible doctrine, yet all occultists know well that it is not a doctrine, but a fact. He who thinks himself holier than another, he who has any pride in his own exemption from vice or folly, he who believes himself wise, or in any way superior to his fellow men, is incapable of discipleship. A man must become as a little child before he can enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Virtue and wisdom are sublime things; but if they create pride and a consciousness of separateness from the rest of humanity in the mind of a man, then they are only the snake of self reappearing in a finer form. At any moment he may put on his grosser shape and sting as fiercely as when he inspired the actions of a murderer who kills for gain or hatred, or a politician who sacrifices the mass for his own or his party's interests.
In fact, to have lost the power to wound, implies that the snake is not only scotched, but killed. When it is merely stupefied or lulled to sleep it awakes again and the disciple uses his knowledge and his power for his own ends, and is a pupil of the many masters of the black art, for the road to destruction is very broad and easy, and the way can be found blindfold. That it is the way to destruction is evident, for when a man begins to live for self he narrows his horizon steadily till at last the fierce driving inwards leaves him but the space of a pin's head to dwell in. We have all seen this phenomenon occur in ordinary life. A man who becomes selfish isolates himself, grows less interesting and less agreeable to others. The sight is an awful one, and people shrink from a very selfish person at last, as from a best of prey. How much more awful is it when it occurs on the more advanced plane of life, with the added powers of knowledge, and through the greater sweep of successive incarnations!
Therefore I say, pause and think well upon the threshold. For if the demand of the neophyte is made without the complete purification it will not penetrate the seclusion of the divine adept, but will evoke the terrible forces which attend upon the black side of our human nature. [Page 383]
the soul can stand in the presence of the masters
its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart.”
The word soul, as used here, means the Divine Soul, or “starry Spirit”.
“To be able to stand is to have confidence”; and to have confidence means that the disciple is sure of himself, that he has surrendered his emotions, his very self, even his humanity; that he is incapable of fear and unconscious of pain; that his whole consciousness is centered in the divine life, which is expressed symbolically by the term “the Masters”; that he has neither eyes, nor ears, nor speech, nor power, save in and for the divine ray on which his highest sense has touched. Then is he fearless, free from suffering, free from anxiety or dismay; his soul stands without shrinking or desire of postponement, in the full blaze of the divine light which penetrates through and through his being. Then he has come into his inheritance and can claim his kinship with the teachers of men; he is upright, he has raised his head, he breathes the same air that they do.
But before it is in any way possible for him to do this, the feet of the soul must be washed in the blood of the heart.
The sacrifice, or surrender of the heart of man, and its emotions, is the first of the rules; it involves the “attaining of an equilibrium which cannot be shaken by personal emotion”. This is done by the stoic philosopher; he, too, stands aside and looks equably upon his own sufferings, as well as on those of others.
In the same way that “tears” in the language of occultists expresses the soul of emotion, not its material appearance, so blood expresses not that blood which is an essential of physical life, but the vital creative principle in man's nature, which drives him into human life in order to experience pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow. When he has let the blood flow from the heart he stands before the Masters as a pure spirit which no longer wishes to incarnate for the sake of emotion and experience. Through great cycles of time successive incarnations in gross matter may yet be his lot; but he no longer desires them, the crude wish to live has departed from him. When he takes upon him man's form in the flesh he does it in the pursuit of a divine object, to accomplish the work of “the Masters”, and for no other end. He looks neither for pleasure nor pain, asks for no heaven, and fears no hell; yet he has entered upon a great inheritance, which is not so much a compensation for these things surrendered, as a state which simply blots out the memory of them. He lives now not in the world, but with it; his horizon has extended itself to the width of the whole universe.
Δ [Page 384]
IT was after this manner, as they say “began Ralph, swinging himself on to a bench and pouring out for himself a tankard of our good home-brewed, as I crouched in the hay opposite to him”. Two centuries agone and thirty years or so, there dwelt in this very house which I serve — and which one day, young master, you shall rule ! — Sir Gilbert de Troyes, your ancestor, and his lady, and four fair sons, and a lovely daughter. Of these sons, twain were at the wars, one was in his nurse's lap, and another was gone to Italy, to finish his studies at Parma. Thus did the old nobles use to ruin their sons!
“This young foregoer of yours (a goodly youth !) fell in with the usual temptations of Satan. He held, with the poets, that the world is the best book for men to read; and he studied it, I ween, with diligence. Now there was a certain damsel, winsome enough, I doubt not, in the Italian style, with black hair and the devil — save the mark! — in her wandering eyes. So it came to pass that Master Gilbert, younger, wooed her for his bride, like an honest gentleman, as the old tales say he was; and so great is the power of one upright soul amongst others, that the young witch — she was but young, poor soul! and teachable — was charmed herself from her Italian ways, and vowed to love and follow only him; and the day before their marriage, she was walking with him in the streets of Parma, by night — for Master Gilbert had a governor along with him in Italy, who must be hoodwinked — when there chanced to espy them one Pietro Rinucci, a clerkly fellow (with a curse upon him !) who was even studying also at Parma, and who loved the Italian witch himself.
“This Rinucci had been favoured of the girl, and only when she saw the Englishman, with his blue eyes and his honest ways, had she scorned her countryman and left him. Rinucci, after the manner of his race-fellows, then dogged her steps, tracked her to her early meetings with young Gilbert de Troyes, who was his unsuspecting friend, and listened to their innocent ravings of love conjoined to virtue.
“Afterward, had he gone to the damsel's poor lodging and there, with Heaven knows what direful threats! conjured her to renounce her honest lover and return to himself. The signorina was not like an English girl — she neither stormed nor yielded — she cajoled and blinded him. ' If he would go, she would consider; perchance she did not love the Briton truly; perchance it was a whim; she knew not. Might she but think ? it was a whirl, and her heart, alas! was o'er susceptible; [Page 385] 'twould pass; he must leave her now, at least, and she would see. Meantime Pietruccino should wear this pretty crimson ribbon of hers till they met again'. After even such words, and for a kiss, he left her. But the cunning villain was more than her match, and waited all the next day round the corners, whence he could see her goings out and comings in. He saw her glide to her trysting-place; he followed cautiously; he heard her give a signalling whispered call; he heard it answered by a short, low whistle; young Gilbert de Troyes swung merrily round the corner and fell into his Italian sweetheart's arms.
“He met his death, poor, noble young fellow ! 'Tis an old tale repeated. I need scarce have wasted all these words upon it — but that one's heart must needs ache at these things. In the course of nature that Italian snake, Rinucci, was bound to finish his rival there and then. So he got behind the unwary schoolboy — for the lad was, indeed, little more — and stabbed him, all too deep, in the back of the neck.
“Folk say Rinucci triumphed as he set his foot on his dying college-mate, and wiped his dagger, with a laugh, before the horror-stricken girl. Myself can scarcely believe it; he was too young in murder then for that.
“Be this as it may, certain it is that he dragged away the mourning damsel from the corpse of the man who would have saved her soul, and took her back to himself.
“A sickening story, boy. Wilt thou have more, young master? Yea ? Why, there is worse to come. For Mistress Italiana — no tradition tells her name — was spirited as any gipsy woman, and full of crafty lore, such as her race delight in. She broke her heart over her English lover's corpse; but she had still the Southern amusement left her of revenge. She concocted an evil greenish powder, and coloured Signer Pietro's sweetmeats with it.
“The fellow ate largely, praising the daintiness of the confection. It was deadly enough, I daresay, in all conscience, but it killed him not”. These reptiles live on poison; morally, 'tis certain, belike, and also physically it agreed with him. Perchance he may have felt a qualm or two, though tradition says nought of it. Anyway, the next fytte of this story shows us the mysterious disappearance of the Italian girl, of whom no word hath ever since been told.
“She left behind her, whether willingly or no, a quantity of the false seasoning, which Master Pietro had caused to be analysed, and which he seems to have carefully preserved.
“Some time after these events, we find Signor Pietro Rinucci entered into the Monastery of Dominicans at Brescia, a repentant neophyte. He had turned remorseful, no doubt, and in good time ! The fellow had ever strong imaginations. He was received in due time as a brother; wore the garb of the Order, and cast his eyes down. [Page 386] Tradition saith he was in great turmoil of soul at this time — judge for yourself, young master, by what followed.
“One fine morning Brother Petrus was missing from his small, damp cell, and none could tell what had become of him. None, that is, save the poverty-stricken rope maker who had supplied him with cords to scale the monastery walls; and his discretion had been paid for. The fact being, I doubt not, that discipline being ever repugnant to our young bravo's manners, he had fled it.
“In the meantime, the news of Gilbert de Troyes' death had been brought to these very doors, and certainly the grooms who then tended the good horses of your ancestors must, even in this saddle-room, have spent their sorrow in each other's company. But Ambrose de Troyes, newly back from the wars, and second-born of the family, rose in his wrath, and swore to avenge his brother. For all might know that the death blow had been dealt by one Pietro Rinucci, fellow-scholar of Gilbert's, whose absence afterward from the University had puzzled the doctors and caused inquisition into the matter.
“So away went Ambrose, the soldier, to Parma. And mind ye, Ambrose was no careless school-boy, no mean foe to a man, but a great, staunch fellow who had seen service, and who was, moreover, by Nature something stern and hard of purpose.
“But at Parma they told him
Rinucci was escaped into a monastery which they named, and showed a painted
portrait of him, and did so minutely, point by point, describe the man, that
Ambrose swore he should know him, should he meet him in Heaven, And that
was a strong assertion, note ye.
“Well, Ambrose journeyed on towards the secluded spot where the Monastery of Dominicans lay, and was enforced to rest one night at the village of Santa Rosa on his road. Having stabled his steed, refreshed it and himself, and practised his arm some moments with the good sharp sword, he slung the weapon round him and went forth for a stroll to pass the time.
“He came to the equivalent of what would be to us in England an ale-house, but some way out of the village, meet for travellers to pause and rest a moment on their way. Ambrose went in to look about him and ordered drink for himself. He lacked a companion to pledge, but looking round the little room saw no one but a moody man who seemed lost in thought, though enjoying some passing sour wine. Ambrose himself could stomach neither the fare nor the company, so he quickly got him on his way a little further; when, meeting with a simple shrine to the Virgin, the God-fearing soldier took his rosary from under his baldrick, and knelt him down to pray. For something had sore perplexed him; he had seemed to see in the features of that morose comrade at the inn the most exact resemblance of Rinucci. But Rinucci was safe at the Monastery, waiting till his time should come, and [Page 387] the avenger should denounce him. But even as he rose from prayer did Ambrose see a mounted messenger speeding to him, who told him breathlessly the news had just reached Santa Rosa that the Monk Petrus was escaped and roaming at large somewhere in the country.
“Then Ambrose de Troyes knew he had his man; and natheless, like the large-hearted fellow he was, he would but meet him quite alone. So he rewarded the news bringer and sent him away. Once more he fell on his knees before our Lady's image, and besought that his cause might find Heaven's favour, and his action in it be in every point just and serviceable. (For he looked upon himself as sent to do such things as might cause his brother's soul to rest in peace.) Then he went rapidly retracing his steps towards the inn again, and, led by Destiny, out came Pietro Rinucci, unarmed, to meet him. Ambrose de Troyes looked into the assassin's eyes and knew him. Stranger still, the piercing eyes of the cunning Italian saw, in the traits of this bronzed warrior, relationship to the Gilbert who had been his friend and victim.
“ 'I arrest thee, Pietro Rinucci, for the murder of my brother, Gilbert de Troyes, and, though I may not draw upon a tonsured monk (yea, I know thee through all thy false disguises !), yet, before I hale thee to the ecclesiastical courts, I will show thee, snake, what I think of thee, and of all such ! '
“And Ambrose de Troyes smote
the villain a shameful blow upon the face.
“Even at that instant, the monk whips me Ambrose's sword from its scabbard, and, with the fatal dexterity of his race, ran in upon the stately Englishman and laid him, bleeding quick to death, upon the hot white road.
“ ' Oh Margaret, my sister Margaret!' the dying man raved, as if he thirsted for help from the hand that had been kind to him.
“ 'A right pestilent breed of Britons! but easy to kill — easy to kill', quoth the Monk, as he laid down the red sword by the dying man's side and left him alone in his agony.
“This scene was witnessed by a terrified young country-girl, who crouched behind a heap of stones, meanwhile, until the murderer's flight, and then ran to assist De Troyes, who thought she was his sister Margaret, and said marvellous tender words, of home and of her kindness, and of the little brother he had left in the nursery.
“After this, there comes a period of Rinucci's life of which we know but little. He seems to have raced about the country, in hiding always, but doing little harm for him. Italy, however, is debatable ground for one of her own recreant monks, so we find Messer Pietro fleeing Justice and coming over here to England. Whether he had had some of his heart searching’s that he knew so often, I know not, but deem it very likely. Here is the flaw, to my mind, in the foreigners' constitutions. They [Page 388] recognize their sins as such, not so we English! We say our evil deeds are fate, congenital infirmity, ignorance, negligence, or even virtues; they say their sins are sins, and yet they do them. Had I but half the talent of sinning that Messer Pietro seems to have owned, my faith, I would have gloried in it! So did not he, however; he went to a father confessor, fell on the earth, and implored absolution — for life was still sweet to him, he said, and he would not die yet awhile.
“The father sent him for penance to travel as a pilgrim, in a white penitential garb to England, there to walk to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket, foully slain on earth by violence.
“The father did well for his mother-country, but evilly for us.
“The monk Petrus performed at all points the penalty enjoined him, and afterward, having no especial call to Italy again, he followed his roving instincts and wandered about England, even till chance brought him to this, our, town. In this country he knew no men well enough to desire to kill them; besides, at this period, one of his fits of penitence seems to have been on him. Certes, he wore the monkish habit, only different in its white colour from that of other fraternities, and the folk grew acquainted with his white figure as he roamed the land in deepest meditation, with his eyes bent upon the ground.
“Now, one day, say the chronicles (which are made up of village tales), the White Monk, as our townsfolk called him, was sitting in a thicket by a brook in which he was bathing his travelled feet, when there came by the sister of his victims, even Mistress Margaret de Troyes herself, and walked the pleasant fringes of the forest, very near to where the wanderer sat, on the further side the elders. She was accompanied by her mother and by another lady, both of whom were pressing the claims of some noble suitor upon her.
“The other ladies were in deepest mourning for Gilbert and for Ambrose, and Mistress Margaret herself, though she wore no such signs of grief, was most plainly clad in a pale, pure garb of lavender. She listened quietly to all they urged, then spoke and said:
“ ' My mother, he is a light, false man. I care not for him'.
“It was protested to her, her high birth, the respect in which he would hold her for herself; above all, her fair beauty, would all ensure his faithfulness. But Margaret, said:
“ ' I beseech ye, press me no further. Heaven knows I wish the gentleman
much good, and that he may aspire to higher things. I will pray for him, weep
for him if need be; but, ladies, though I be but a simple English maiden,
I hold myself all too good for such as he to marry and draw down, perchance,
to like thoughts with himself. I hate all evil — not the doers, mother;
but the evil. We are all weak and changeable, and I dare not come in contact
of my free will with evil influence. God might punish me by weakness of resolve
against infection'. [Page 389]
“They urged her yet once more; she might triumph and convert a soul.
“ 'In truth', confessed fair Margaret de Troyes, (ye wound me sorely, dearest ladies mine ! At such a time, when good Ambrose de Troyes is scarce cold in his grave, to bid his sister make her choice amongst his townsfolk; and celebrate the marriage feast with a breaking heart! My Ambrose — to think that thou, who, if I but spake of a moment's weariness, would quickly place a cushion for my head, and sit by the hour on our window-seat chafing my feet, that thou should'st be bleeding in the death-struggles, on the hard, parched road, in a foreign land, and I be far away, not able so much as to raise thy dear head upon my knee! Oh, I loved him so tenderly, strong brother of mine ! I gloried in my brown-maned soldier. We prayed together the night before he left on his sacred errand, and, at his entreaty, I laid my hand upon his head and blessed him in Our Lady's name. He was a grave, good man; and you would have me turn my thoughts from him to that other! What though I know Ambrose to be now one of God's angels; yet he hath left me behind him on the earth — the first unkindness he hath ever done me ! And his mother and mine would have me think of wedlock !'
“The fair, pale Englishwoman bent her head, and Pietro heard her weeping.
“ Well, it is but guesswork thenceforth. Folk say, in their coarse way of speaking, that the White Monk ' loved ' the lady Margaret. Forfend ! The love of such a man were an insult all too gross to offer to the memory of any Demoiselle de Troyes. Say, rather, he kindled to the worship of goodness in that form first of all.
“We know that from that hour when he first saw and heard her, Rinucci, the stained wretch, wandered ever where there was a chance to see her, even from afar. Once, indeed he even spoke with her. Under the favour of his sacred garment he dared to near her, and asked:
“ 'Maiden, how say you ? Is there mercy in Heaven for the worst sinners, or no ?'
“ 'Nay, holy father”, answered the damsel, smiling, “ thou must be better seen in these high mysteries than I who dwell in the world, where we all need mercy. We can but hope that our God is more pitiful than are our fellow creatures to our faults.'
“ ‘ Maiden', besought the White Monk further, 'can such as thou look pityingly upon a vice-stained fellow man ?'
“But Margaret wept, and answered
“ 'Oh, father, search me not over this problem. I have lost the dearest to me in the world, two brothers, by an assassin's hand. If that man stood before me, tell me, could I look at him forgivingly ? Oh, never, father ! Human nature is too weak'.
“The rencounter was over, for Pietro dared speak no more. But, [Page 390] according to the custom of that day, Mistress Margaret bent her fair head to receive the blessing of the holy father.
“The monk started back in horror; even he was not too base to feel that. But as the maiden still stood humbly waiting, he was forced to stretch his hands forth from the distance, and murmur: 'Benedicite!'
“The days went by and the townsfolk noted how the White Monk wasted, and how strange he was. He would mutter to himself like a madman. He never said a word of holy import to the cottagers with whom he lodged at small cost. He ate almost nothing and appeared to spend his days in solitary musing. His conduct smacked so oddly of mania that Giles Hughson, his landlord, took to watching whither he went and what he did. He saw him always following Margaret, but seeking to avoid her if she turned where she might see him. He seemed to dread her greatly, yet, to worship her, or, at least to follow her like a lost soul looking after the light from some vanishing angel's wing.“Once Margaret turned and saw him, but recognised him not as the man she had spoken withal. She, taking him for frère quêtant, silently, without looking upon him, pressed into his hand money, which he took, and which was found on him when he died, as you shall hear.
THE following remarkable passage was published some five years ago, in the Theosophist, of Madras (1883); and it is needless to call attention in more detail to the fidelity with which it is being since then verified.
Protesting against the arbitrary chronology of the Sanskritists in the question of Indian antiquity who make it dependent on the Greeks and Chandragupta — whose date is represented as “the sheet-anchor of Indian chronology” that “nothing will ever shake” (Prof. Max Müller and Weber), the author of the prophecy remarks that “it is to be feared that as regards India, the chronological ship of the Sanskritists has already broken from her moorings and gone adrift with all her precious freight of conjectures and hypotheses”. And then adds: —
“We are at the end of a cycle — geological and other — and at the beginning of another. Cataclysm is to follow cataclysm. The pent-up forces are bursting out in many quarters; and not only will men be swallowed up or slain by thousands, “new” land appear and “old” subside, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves appal; but secrets of an unsuspected past will be uncovered to the dismay of Western theorists and the humiliation of an imperious science. This drifting ship, if watched, may be seen to ground upon the upheaved vestiges of ancient civilisations, and fall to pieces. We are not emulous of the prophet's honours: but still, let this stand as a prophecy”. (See also “ Five Years of Theosophy”, p. 388.) [Page 391]
SOME distinguished contributors to theosophical literature have of late been describing what qualities are necessary to constitute a perfect man, i.e., an Adept. They said that among other things it was absolutely and indispensably necessary, that such a being should possess Love — and not merely Love in the abstract — but love regarding some object or objects. What can they possibly mean by speaking of “love with an object”, and could there possibly be love without any object at all? Can that feeling be called love, which is directed solely to the Eternal and Infinite, and takes no cognizance of earthly illusions ? Can that be love which has no object or — in other words — is the love of forms or objects the true love at all? If a man loved all things in the universe alike, without giving any preference to any of them, would not such a love be practically without any object; would it not be equal to loving nothing at all; because in such a case the individuality of any single object would be lost to sight ?
A love which is directed towards all things alike, an universal love, is beyond the conception of the mortal mind, and yet this kind of love, which bestows no favours upon any one thing, seems to be that eternal love, which is recommended by all the sacred books of the East and the West; because as soon as we begin to love one thing or one being more than another, we not only detract from the rest an amount of love which the rest may rightfully claim; but we also become attached to the object of our love, a fate against which we are seriously warned in various pages of these books.
The Bhagavad Gita teaches that we should not love or hate any object of sense whatsoever, nor be attached to any object or thing, but renounce all projects and fix our thoughts solely on It, the Eternal, which is no-thing and no object of cognition for us, but whose presence can be only subjectively experienced by, and within ourselves. It says: “ He is esteemed, who is equal-minded to companions, friends, enemies, strangers, neutrals, to aliens and kindred, yea to good and evil men” (Cap. vi., 14); and further on it says: “He whose soul is united by devotion, seeing the same in all around, sees the soul in everything and everything in the soul. He who sees Me (Brahmâ) everywhere and everything in Me, him I forsake not and he forsakes not me. . . . He who sees the same in everything — Arjuna ! — whether it be pleasant or grievous, from the self-resemblance, is deemed to be a most excellent Yogin” (Cap. vi., 29, 32).
On almost every page of the Bhagavad Gita we are instructed only to direct our love to that which is eternal in every form, and let the form [Page 392] itself be a matter of secondary consideration. “He must be regarded as a steadfast renouncer, who neither hates nor desires.” ...“ In a learned and modest Brahman, in a cow, in an elephant, in a dog, and a Swapãka; they who have knowledge see the same thing.” ...“ Let no man rejoice in attaining what is pleasant, nor grieve in attaining what is unpleasant; being fixed in mind, untroubled, knowing Brahma and abiding in Brahma.” . . . “ He who is happy in himself, pleased with himself, who finds also light in himself, this Yogin, one with Brahmâ, finds Nirvana in Him”.
The great Hermes Trismegistus teaches the same identical doctrine; for he says: “ Rise and embrace me with thy whole being, and I will teach thee whatsoever thou desirest to know”. The Bible also tells us that “God is Love” (I. John iv., 8), and that we should love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind (Math, xxii., 37), and while it teaches that we should love nothing else but God (Math. xx., 37), who is All in All (Ephes. i., 23), yet it affirms, that this God is omnipresent, eternal and incomprehensible to the finite understanding of mortals (I. Timoth. vi., 16). It teaches this love to be the most important of all possessions, without which all other possessions are useless (I. Corinth, xiii., 2), and yet this God, whom we are to love, is not an “object” (John i, 5), but everywhere. He is in us and we in Him (Rom. xii., 5). We are to leave all objects of sense and follow Him alone (Luc. v., 2), although we have no means of intellectually knowing or perceiving Him, the great Unknown, for whose sake we are to give up house and brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children and lands (Mark x., 29).
What can all this mean, but that love itself is the legitimate object of love ? It is a divine, eternal, and infinite power, a light, which reflects itself in every object while it seeks not the object, but merely its own reflection therein. It is an indestructible fire and the brighter it burns, the stronger will be the light and the clearer will its own image appear. Love falls in love with nothing but its own self, it is free from all other attractions. A love which becomes attached to objects of sense, ceases to be free, ceases to be love, and becomes mere desire. Pure and eternal love asks for nothing, but gives freely to all who are willing to take. Earthly love is attracted to persons and things, but Divine spiritual love seeks only that which is divine in everything, and this can be nothing else but love, for love is the supreme power of all. It holds together the worlds in space, it clothes the earth in bright and beautiful colours, it guides true instincts of animals and links together the hearts of human beings. Acting upon the lower planes of existence it causes terrestrial things to cling to each other with fond embrace; but love on the spiritual plane is free. Spiritual love is a goddess, who continually sacrifices herself for herself and who accepts no other sacrifice but her own self, giving for whatever she may receive, herself in return. Therefore the [Page 393] Bhagavad Gita says: “ Nourish ye the gods by this and let the gods nourish you. Thus nourishing each other ye shall obtain the highest good” (Cap. iii., ii.,); and the Bible says: “To him who has still, more shall be given, and from him who has not, even what he has shall be taken away” (Luke xix., 26).
Love is an universal power and therefore immortal, it can never die. We cannot believe that even the smallest particle of love ever died, only the instruments through which it becomes manifest change their form; nor will it ever be born, for it exists from eternity, only the bodies into which it shines are born and die and are born again. A Love which is not manifest is non-existent for us, to come into existence means to become manifest. How then could we possibly imagine a human being possessed of a love which never becomes manifest; how can we possibly conceive of a light which never shines and of a fire which does not give any heat ?
But “as the sun shines upon the lands of the just and the unjust, and as the rain descends upon the acres of the evil-minded as well as upon those of the good”; likewise divine love manifesting itself in a perfect man is distributed alike to every one without favour or partiality. Wherever a good and perfect human being exists, there is divine love manifest; and the degree of man's perfection will depend on the degree of his capacity to serve as an instrument for the manifestation of divine love. The more perfect he is, the more will his love descend upon and penetrate all who come within his divine influence. To ask favours of God is to conceive of Him as an imperfect being, whose love is not free, but subject to the guidance of, and preference to, mortals. To expect favours of a Mahatma is to conceive him as an imperfect man.
True, “prayer”, i.e. the elevation and aspiration of the soul “in spirit and in truth” (John xiv., 14), is useful, not because it will persuade the light to come nearer to us, but because it will assist us to open our eyes for the purpose of seeing the light that was already there. Let those who desire to come into contact with the Adepts enter their sphere by following their doctrines; seeking for love, but not for an object of love, and when they have found the former, they will find a superabundance of the latter throughout the whole extent of the unlimited universe; they will find it in everything that exists, for love is the foundation of all existence and without love nothing can possibly continue to exist.
Love — divine love — is the source of life, of light, and happiness. It is the creative principle in the Macrocosm and in the Microcosm of man. It is Venus, the mother of all the gods, because from her alone originates Will and Imagination and all the other powers by which the universe was evolved. It is the germ of divinity which exists in the heart of man, and which may develop into a life-giving sun, illuminating the mind and sending its rays to the centre of the universe; for it [Page 394] originates from that centre and to that centre it will ultimately return. It is a divine messenger, who carries Light from Heaven down to the Earth and returns again to Heaven loaded with sacrificial gifts.
It is worshipped by all, some adore it in one form and some in another, but many perceive only the form and do not perceive the divine spirit. Nevertheless the spirit alone is real, the form is an illusion. Love can exist without form, but no form can exist without love. It is pure Spirit, but if its light is reflected in matter, it creates desire and desire is the producer of forms. Thus the visible world of perishable things is created. “But above this visible nature there exists another, unseen and eternal, which, when all created things perish, does not perish” (Bh. G. viii. 20), and “from which they who attain to it never return”. This is the supreme abode of Love without any object, un-manifested and imperishable, for there no object exists. There love is united to love, enjoying supreme and eternal happiness within her own self and that peace, of which the mortal mind, captivated by the illusion of form, cannot conceive. Non-existent for us, and yet existing in that Supreme Be-ness, in which all things dwell, by which the universe has been spread out, and which may be attained to by an exclusive devotion.
Dum Spiro, Spero (=Henrietta M Paget)
O ! for the power to lay this burden low !
This weight of self; to kill all vain desire
To clasp to our outer selves the scorching fire,
So that the God within shall live and grow!
O ! for the strength to face the hidden foe,
To raise our being higher still and higher,
To breathe the breath that Holy ones inspire,
To break the bonds that bind to Earth below !
Great, Infinite Soul ! that broodeth o'er us ever,
Say, can the human will unaided win
The Victor's crown (and earthly bondage sever),
— A Heavenly flight, triumphant over sin ?
O Human and Divine, forsake us never,
Thine is the power by which we enter in ! [Page 395]
Opinions may be greatly divided as to the merits of this book; and to those who look for unexceptionable literary style as a primary element in fiction, it may not be satisfactory. But to all those who regard ideas as the first requisite, this work will probably prove of great interest. It has been somewhat curious to note the reception with which Mr. Molloy has met. The Pall Mall Gazette, for instance, devotes considerable length to him, and somewhat smartly calls him “a novelist born, but not made”; after which it proceeds, with more apparent animus than judiciousness, to criticise the pedantic style of conversation and narrative which the author occasionally makes use of. Curiously enough, the critic selects for his worst blows the phrases used by the chief inspector of the detectives. Now, if there is one thing more common than another, it is to find the half educated, but uncultured, men of the class from which police inspectors are drawn, using the longest words and phrases, not so much as a proof of their culture, as with the object of impressing their hearers. The reviewer was perhaps right to assail Mr. Molloy for sending his hero to Scotland Yard to hunt up news of his erring wife, who, as he was perfectly aware, had fled with another man. But this, and other trifling mistakes of similar character, are venial errors, and could only be so strongly animadverted upon in a paper which devotes itself to hunting plagiarisms in impossible places, through envy of successful authors; or by a reviewer who is a personal enemy of the author. As Macintosh well said: “The critic who is discerning in nothing but faults, may care little to be told that this is the mark of unenviable disposition, but he might not feel equally easy, were he convinced that he thus gives absolute proofs of ignorance and want of taste”. To make matters worse, and more interesting to LUCIFER, the reviewer is plainly a partisan of the Society for Psychical Research, to which Mr. Molloy somewhat unfeelingly alludes as the “Society of Scientific cackle”. The review in the Pall Mall Gazette starts with smartness and intelligence, but allows itself to run off into partisanship and prejudice. But all that is in strict keeping with the tone of a “Gazette” which generally starts useful work well, continues it badly, and ends by throwing mud out of the gutter at anybody or anything which happens to run counter to it. For instance, here is a specimen of the reviewer:
“As a story teller he (the author) is the Bobadil of fashionable mysticism: as a literary workman he is a pretentious bungler: his syntax is inconceivable, his dialogue impossible, his style a desperately careful expression of desperately slovenly thinking, his notions of practical affairs absurd, and his conception of science and philosophy a superstitious guess; yet he has an indescribable flourish, a dash of half-ridiculous poetry, a pathetic irresponsibility, a captivating gleam of Irish imagination, and, above all, an unsuspicious good nature, that compel a humane public to read his books rather than mortify him by a neglect which he has done nothing malicious to deserve.”
Such criticism can only be met from the point of view of the reviewer, by [Page 396] “Set a thief to catch a thief”, and from that of Mr. Molloy, by “Heaven save me from the penny-a-liners, actuated by personal animus !”
The reviewer may be allowed to have pointed out a few glaring errors in Mr. Molloy's style and syntax, but we add that, in pointing these out, he has only exposed himself.
As regards the central figure of Benoni, the adept in the book, LUCIFER may, perhaps, say a few words. Slightly as the character is drawn, and startling as are the deeds of this personage, there is a majesty about him which commands respect, and we may congratulate Mr. Molloy on his effort. We do not entirely accord with the author in the deeds which he sets Benoni to do, but with regard to the words and precepts which he puts into the adept's mouth, we do absolutely agree, and recommend our readers, and especially all the Theosophists, to read Mr. Molloy's book. Here the Pall Mall reviewer — being, as said, an admiring follower of the Society for Psychical Research — again falls foul of Mr. Molloy; but we may safely quote the impressive and truthful words of Benoni, and leave the rest to others.
Amerton, the hero of the book, reproaches the adept with having seen trouble approaching him, and with having neglected to warn him. Benoni replies:
“That is true. It was not permitted that I should serve you then; to test your strength it was necessary that you should bear the trial unaided. When, some years ago, you came to me in Africa, and asked me to solve experiences which perplexed you, and later besought Amuni, the faithful One, to show you the pathway leading towards light, you but obeyed a dictate of your nature impossible to resist. That within you urged you forward to seek the sacred mysteries of life and death. But these cannot be obtained by those who are not prepared to endure with patience, and grow strong in spirit. You have suffered, and thus taken the first step towards the attainment of your desires.”
“But, surely”, said Philip, “you might have warned me”.
“ I should have but inflicted additional pain on you”.
'' Was there no escape ? ”
“None, indeed”, replied the mystic.
“Then I was destined to meet humiliation and pain”.
Benoni looked at him with mingled pity and affection in his gaze.
“A child”, he said, in his low, sonorous voice, “is grieved for a broken toy, or is humiliated by correction”.
“But you don't compare my wrongs to a child's grievances ?”
“His sorrows are as real and bitter to him as your afflictions are to you. It is only when time has passed, he reviews his distress with wonder, seeing the pettiness of its cause. So will it be with you. Ten years hence, you will regard this grief, desolating your life, with equanimity; forty years later, you will remember it with indifference, as an item in your fate. Then shall you look back upon the brightness and darkness of your existence as one regards the lights and shadows checkering his pathway through woods in spring. How futile seem woe and joy, weighed with the consideration that all man are as shadows that fade, and as vapours which flee away. .... Think, my friend”, continued the mystic earnestly, “of your existence but as a journey towards a goal, on which hardships must be suffered by the way. You are now but working out the fulfilment of your fate. Remember, those who would ascend must suffer; affliction is the flame which purifies; pain teaches compassion”. (pp. 89, 90, Vol. III.)
When asked of himself, Benoni replies:
“Misfortune cannot compass, distress overwhelm, nor disappointments assail me, because the things of the world are as naught to my senses, and man's life seems but a dream, Before this stage affliction must have crucified the senses; self must be conquered, slain, and entombed”. (p. 91, Vol. III.)
There are other passages equally true from the occult standpoint, and we trust their readers will benefit by them and appreciate them.[Page 397]
As regards Amerton's character, we see the natural, born, mystic turning aside and voluntarily taking upon himself, though warned, the bonds of married life. These become intolerable to him, and the unhappiness of two persons results. Occultism is a jealous mistress, and, once launched on that path, it is necessary to resolutely refuse to recognise any attempt to draw one back from it. Amerton wanted to crush out his natural tendencies to occultism, and failed. It is as hard to draw back from them, and turn attention solely to the things of the world, as it is, when studying occultism, to turn our attention solely to the invisible regions, and neglect absolutely the physical world.
The other characters in the novel make it light, graceful and pleasant reading. The interest is ever preserved from the first to the last scene, and certainly no one could find, in all the three volumes, one dull page in them. Moreover, Mr. Fitzgerald Molloy seems an acute observer. Some of his secondary heroes, such as the wealthy widow, Mrs. Henry Netley, a plebeian enamoured of rank and title, and Lord Pompey Rokeway, “a gay, though ancient, personage”, who uses rouge, wig, and corsets, and imagines every woman in love with him — are portraits from nature, to one who knows anything of modern society. In short, “The Modern Magician”, as a work of fiction, can fearlessly bear comparison with any of the modern productions written lately upon occult subjects, with the solitary exception of Rider Haggard's “She”, and surpasses some in unabated interest. We might be more exacting and severe, perhaps, were it a purely theosophical work. As it stands, however, we must congratulate Mr. Molloy in having clothed the subject of mysticism in such graceful robes; had he been as good a literary workman as he is an excellent constructor of plots, the book should have met with unqualified approval. Meanwhile, we wish it the greatest success.
TWIN SOUL: A PSYCHOLOGICAL AND REALISTIC ROMANCE”
in two volumes, by an Anonymous Author
Ward & Downey, 12, York Street, Covent Garden.
review by Anon
This is quite another kind of literary production than the “Modern Magician”, just reviewed. It aspires to more serious and philosophical mysticism, but fails rather un-gloriously. There are passages in it which, taken out of the work, especially at the beginning of Volume I., might be made the subjects of short and rather useful little treatises upon mystic theories; but, as a whole, the book is one of the most disappointing novels published for some time. It begins well, goes on from bad to worse, promises much, holds nothing, and ends nowhere, seeming to be written not as a work of fiction, but simply to ventilate the author's ideas. These — the work being anonymous — have to be judged by the novel alone. It is rumoured that the “Twin Soul” is the occasional work of twelve years' labour, and the disconnected character of its events bears out the rumour. Its style is pedantic, though good in writing, while the matter and plot are heavy, and delivered in a long-winded and didactic manner.
The story is that of one Mr. Rameses, an exceedingly virtuous, learned, and solemn Oriental millionaire, whose real nationality remains to the end a mystery, and whose story is narrated by a somewhat cynical English philosopher, called De Vere. The latter tells the story in the style which suits him best, and is [Page 398] perfectly natural. He is humorous and amusing, even if slightly ponderous. But alas for the reader ! Mr. De Vere suddenly stops short at an early stage, and the story is taken up, without any apparent cause or reason, by a man unknown, who “had less sympathy with Mr. Rameses”, and who has all the defects of Mr. De Vere's qualities, and a good many of his own besides, for he is even more ponderous and more cynical, without his humour. Mr. Rameses is a peculiar character, but, as sketched, he is quite in keeping with his Oriental origin. He believes in many theories: re-incarnation, socialism, certain occult doctrines, the possibility of recovering the memory of past incarnations, and, as a matter of course, the modern craze of the day, the theory of “twin souls”. He is perpetually in search of his “twin”, and hunts her with the pertinacity of a sleuth-hound under all forms, and in all places. Mr. De Vere is the possessor of an Assyrian collection, Egyptian papyri, and also of two female mummies — Amenophra and Lurulâ, the first the daughter of a Pharaoh, the second a priestess of Isis — of which the sarcophagi are covered with hieroglyphics, which Mr. Rameses reads with most surprising ease. The hero, claiming his memory as a palimpsest, which by certain processes clearly discovers the obliterated record of his past incarnations, cannot, in spite of this, make up his mind which of the two mummies was formerly the body of his twin-soul. Finally, he solves the doubt by declaring them both to have been the mortal casket of his beloved — with Lurulâ for choice. The reader here has great hopes held out to him that there will be a grand ceremony, at which the mummies are to be unrolled, and at which the soul of the deceased mummy will be summoned back to shuffle on a mortal coil again. Alas ! such hopes are fallacious; for the ceremony never takes place, owing to Mr. Rameses falling in love with the sister of a Hindu lady married to an English baronet. After much hesitation the lady so honoured by his choice is also declared to be the vehicle of his twin-soul, i.e., to save appearances — to be a re-incarnation of the ego which formerly dwelt in the mummy or mummies. Finally, after a long-winded oration over the mystic properties of a magnificent present of jewels, Mr. Rameses wins “the fair Niona”, as she is called — who, although a Hindu, is a Zoroastrian Sun-worshipper. They are married, notwithstanding their “paganism”, according to Roman Catholic rites, and the pair start to spend the honeymoon in Egypt, where, in the Temple of Isis at Thebes, they are to be again united according to the — to them — more sacred ritual of Sun-worship. After a very interesting dream about the Deluge, which broke through an isthmus uniting Gibraltar to North Africa, and destroyed a vast civilization which occupied the floor of the present Mediterranean Sea, they arrive safely in Egypt. Here the fair Hindu of Zoroastrian persuasion and Italian name, has another interesting psychic vision, an interview with the Sphinx, which makes her incontinently faint, and lose consciousness. Then they proceed to Thebes, and, after due care, make selection of the site of the Temple of Isis. They build their bonfire and ignite it, but at the supreme moment Niona gives a gasp, faints, and this time dies outright, with as little reason for it as every other incident in the novel has. The return to Cairo is immediately commenced, and here Niona, in strict keeping with Mr. Rameses's habits, is at once converted into a mummy. It must be rather interesting to possess the body of three defunct twin souls, and reflect upon their virtues.
The rest of the book is occupied
by various disquisitions of the author,
[Page 399] disguised flimsily under conversations
of his characters on the social and political customs of the Nineteenth century.
Read carefully, the conversations contain ideas, but are likely to offend
on account of their length and ponderousness. As regards the construction
of the book and the characters, Mr. Rameses is interesting, in spite of his
solemnity and his love of mummies, and Mr. De Vere is amusing. The other dramatis
to have been created merely as pegs upon which to hang the author's opinions.
What, for instance, is the object of entering into detail upon the passionate
episodes in the career of Mr. Rameses's secretary, or the mercenary marriage
of Lady Gwendoline Pierrepoint with “Old Methuselah” ?
Their only excuse can be that they may serve to increase the contrast between
such marriages and that with a twin soul. Taken as a whole, the ideas are
interesting, and the mystic utterances in the first volume almost correct
from the orthodox occult point. But the manner in which they are displayed
is irritating, and this chiefly because the reader is perpetually being brought
up to a point of interest, and as perpetually left disappointed.
- a Study of Phantoms
by Adolphe d’Assier
Member of the Bordeaux Academy of Sciences.
Translated and annotated by Henry S Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society.
George Redway, London, 1887. 8vo pp 360]
Reviewed by Anon (HPB)
This is a translation from the French by Colonel H. S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society, of the remarkable work of that name, by a well-known savant, Adolphe d'Assier. The original work appeared a few years ago, and produced a stir both in the sceptical public and unbelieving science, and an outcry among the spiritists of France, whose pet theories about the “spirits” of the dead it upset. “Posthumous Humanity” was not only a singularly interesting work, but it was one of the first, and perhaps the loudest, of the bugle notes that heralded the last act of the fierce battle between materialistic science and spiritualism; for it ended in the virtual defeat of the former, at any rate, upon one line: it forced the hand of the majority of sceptics in the recognition of what is called in mysticism the “astral body” of man and animal, and by more pretentious than wise investigators “the phantasms of the living”, forgetting those of the dead.
That a learned member of an academy of science should, of all men, write a serious book on the phenomena of “the Borderland”, accepting as facts in nature such things as ghostly appearances, and the projection of the double, is almost a phenomenon in itself. And what makes the case the more remarkable as an indication of a new current in public opinion, is the fact that these things, which it has hitherto been the fashion to consign with a laugh or a shudder to the limbo of exploded superstitions, are treated by the author in a perfectly scientific spirit. He accounts for them, not by the usual supposition of hallucination or stupidity on the part of observers, but by an exceedingly ingenious and plausible postulation of forces at work in us, and around us, which are as little “supernatural” as any of the recognised forces of nature, or portions of man's constitution. Not only has M. d'Assier the courage to face the probable ridicule of the wiseacres, but he has the audacity to turn the tables upon “men of [Page 400] science”, by actually making fun of their unmeasured pretensions, and twitting them mercilessly about their past mistakes. Not the least remarkable feature in the case is the fact that the author, who started into these researches an ardent positivist, has come out of them an ardent positivist still. He believes that what he has accomplished is to extend the reign of matter into a region previously believed to belong to spirit, thus planting the standard of positivism in a wider and more fruitful region, which he has happily reclaimed from the winds and tides of superstition. But the fact is, that although our author has gone a good deal further than most of those who start out “on their own hook” to explore the realms of the Occult, he cannot be said to have penetrated very far into the mysteries of being. He has peeped in at the door of the psychic antechamber to the spiritual world proper — the ante-chamber in which the members of Psychical Research Societies amuse themselves and others by playing blind-man's buff with hypothesis — and his interesting volume tells us of the wonderful things that go on there. The result of his researches, as he says in his Preface, is the conclusion that “posthumous humanity is, in fact, but a special example of posthumous animality, and that the latter presents itself as the immediate consequence of the living world”. Every tyro in theosophy knows that this conclusion is a fair approximation to the truth, and were man nothing but an animal of high degree, it might possibly be the whole truth. But man is an animal, plus something, and this something more, is precisely what M. d'Assier leaves entirely out of sight, as indeed he could hardly help doing if he attached any importance to remaining a Positivist. It is this something more, of whose very existence our author seems profoundly unconscious, that has the chief interest for us, for that is the spiritual and eternal part of man, in contradistinction to the psychic portion which fades away and disappears after a time, as M. d'Assier very justly declares.
It seems a pity that a learned and
ingenious man, like our author, should not have begun investigations of this
kind by making himself familiar with at least the bare outline of the metaphysical
and psychological system that underlies the schools of philosophy of India.
This system is the result of very profound research into such phenomena as
our author deals with, and also into other far deeper and more important
manifestations that he has not considered at all; and these researches have
for thousands of years occupied, to a greater or lesser degree, almost every
thinking man among races which are acknowledged to be possessed of a very
high degree of intellectual acuteness and spiritual insight. Were our Western
adventurers into the borderland between spirit and matter — the astral world — to
take this obvious precaution, they would know that the ground over which
they now laboriously make their way, has not only been traversed before,
but pretty fully surveyed and mapped out, and that their supposed discoveries
amount virtually to no more than a verification of results long ago obtained
by others. This very needed exception in the work under review has been obviated
by the translator's notes and supplement, without diminishing the practical
value of M. d'Assier's treatise as a useful contribution to occult literature.
For, as his labours do actually confirm much of the teachings of Theosophy,
with regard to that part of the constitution of man, which is common to him
and the animals, the work, as it now stands, is really a valuable occult
treatise as to facts. The important question with the world, in these times,
being not so much what is [Page
401] said, as who if is that says it,
the fact that an incorrigible positivist, has published his belief in the actuality
of a psychic plane of existence, and of the temporary survival in it after
death of a certain part or principle of the animal (including man), is of the
greatest help and importance to theosophy. It will probably affect public opinion
far more profoundly than if a thousand Eastern sages proclaimed the same elementary
fact of Occultism in chorus. No better illustration of, and testimony to, the
reality of plain, broad facts in connection with wraiths, “doubles”,
and other such apparitions, can be found than in d'Assier's “Posthumous
its new English garb, by Colonel Olcott, and with the translator's Preface and
annotations to the text. These add greatly to the value of the book for the
student of Occultism. In fact, these additions serve the same purpose which
a notice of the work in LUCIFER might have been expected to have in view;
for they correct the author in some particulars, add additional information
in others, and generally forestall the critic who writes from the Theosophical
standpoint. Besides this, the translator has added a highly interesting and
unique appendix, giving the opinions of numerous Hindus of various castes
and sects upon psychic phenomena of that kind, collected from various parts
of India, which, by itself, has considerable value to the student of mystical
sciences. In conclusion, we may record almost a general opinion — save,
of course, that of rank materialists — that no work yet published on
the subject dealt with by our author is better calculated to reach the scientifically-minded
enquirer. It is written with calmness and logical clearness that takes the
scoffer's laugh out of his mouth. It goes as far as anyone new to the subject
could be reasonably expected to follow; and the direction it takes is the right
one. It is preeminently the book for the too sceptical and ignorant enquirer
to begin with.
Yetzirah, The Book of Formation,
and the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom
translated from the Hebrew, and collated with Latin Versions.
By Dr. W. Wynn Westcott,
Bath: Robert H. Fryar, 1887.
This is a treatise of about 30 quarto pages on that well-known Hebrew occult work, the Sepher Yetzirah. It consists of an introduction, giving the historic aspects of the matter, an English translation of the Sepher Yetzirah and the Thirty-two Paths, and several pages of notes, giving remarks on and variant readings of difficult and disputed passages.
The introductory pages bear the stamp of considerable literary research, and the translation of the Book of Formation itself is intelligible and concise. But we can hardly say as much for the Thirty-two Paths, which, abstruse and difficult of comprehension in the original, are, we are afraid, no more intelligible in the translation. Owing to the unpopularity of the subject, there are readers who will be readily drawing the conclusion that Dr. Westcott himself does not altogether understand their mystical bearing and symbolism. Yet the notes on the actual text of the “Sepher Yetzirah” are valuable, and show considerable occult knowledge. But a still greater error is made by the translator. We notice that Dr. Westcott has invariably rendered the word Elohim by “God”, [Page 402] notwithstanding that it is a plural noun, as shown by the plural word “Chiim” joined thereto in the ninth section of the first chapter. This will, no doubt, prove grateful to the staff and readers of the Jewish World, whose editors pride themselves, against all fact and truth, on the Monotheism of their early ancestors. It cannot fail to strike the Kabalists as an unfortunate deviation from the original meaning in favour of one laboriously fabricated by both Jewish and Christian falsificators.
The “Book of Formation” is a treatise consisting of 6 chapters and 33 sections, and thus its compilation is pentacular. The 6 chapters refer to the Yetziratic World, the 6 periods of Genesis; while the 33 sections have a close analogy with the Thirty-two Paths which are added at the end of the work. It is a philosophical disquisition on the occult meanings of the ten numbers of the decimal scale, and the 22 letters of the Hebrew sacred alphabet. The first chapter deals with the numbers, which it divides into a Tetrad (symbolising Spirit, Air, Water, and Fire), and a Hexad (symbolising Height, Depth, East, West, South and North). The second chapter treats generally of the 22 letters, produced from the Air or the number 2, and divided into 3 Mother-letters, 7 double-letters, and 12 simple letters. The third chapter shows the symbolic reference of the 3 Mother-letters to Air, Water, and Fire; the fourth chapter that of the 7 double-letters to the Planets, etc. ; the fifth chapter that of the 12 simple letters to the signs of the Zodiac, etc. ; and the sixth chapter forms the synthesis.
The 32 paths are no other than symbolical developments of the 10 Sephiroth or numbers, and the 22 letters which form the connecting links between them.
Altogether the work is interesting and worthy of careful study.
Poems by Catherine Grant Furley
Edinburgh: R and R Clark
Review by GM (? Gerald Massey)
This is an inviting little book of verse, with an ill-chosen title. Why “Treble Chords”, when the author cannot compose anything more than a single part? The octave is spanned by treble or threefold chords, but Miss Furley has not yet reached the octave of attainment ! No, the book must be re-christened at its second birth; and the protest of the Girton Girl, and the more sustained poem of the Other Isolt, are assuredly good enough to interest and delight a sufficient number of women to send it into a second edition. The writer has a distinct faculty of seeing, as well as the tendency to take the “other side”, as she does in Isolt of Brittany and in Galatea to Pygmalion. The moral of the latter poem is thus presented:
“O, frequent miracle ! so often seen
We scarcely pause to think what it may mean —
Man's power to raise within a woman's heart
A love he does not know, nor could impart;
To wake a soul within the marble breast,
Then long to soothe it back to stony rest;
For, though the woman's sweeter to caress,
The statue's more convenient to possess.” [Page 403]
Here is a specimen of the sonnets, not the best, perhaps, but to the purpose:
Men call me Circe, but my name is Love;
And my cup holds the draught of sweet and sour,
Of gain, joy, loss, renouncement, all the dower
That woman's love brings man. I hold above
Your outstretched hand the chalice; ere you prove
Its potency, bethink you; it has power
To test your soul. If in a sinful hour
You touch it, you shall sink as those who strove
Of old to win my heart. Lo! there they be,
Not men but beasts; for with impure desire
They sought me, and Love holds that blasphemy;
And for their sin doth bid them dwell in mire
Nor know their shame. Had they been pure in thought,
My cup had strengthened them and injured not.
It is but a tiny handful, this, of first flowers; not even a gathering of
first-fruits. But they have the fragrance of promise, and a freshness of real
rarity. Whether the fruit will set and mature must depend upon the sunshine
and the rain and other surroundings of the struggling life, and on the depth
of soil and strength of rootage. Of these we cannot judge; but the first-flowers
are sweet and pretty and worth a word of welcome.
THE CREATOR, AND WHAT WE MAY KNOW
OF THE METHOD OF CREATION.
by Dr W.H. Dallinger
Review by William Oxley
[ The Fernley Lecture, 1887, by Dr Dallinger.
T. Woolmer, 2 Castle Street, City Road, London. E.C. (1s 6d. paper covers.]
The above is the title of a lecture, forming the seventeenth of what are known as the “Fernley Lectures”, delivered annually, by the leading minds in the Ministry of the Wesleyan Methodist Society. This specific lecture is the latest of the series, and was delivered in Manchester, August Ist of 1887, by the Rev. W. H. Dallinger, LL.D., F.R.S., Pres. R.M.S., etc., Governor of Wesley College, Sheffield.
The lecture occupies an unique position amongst its fellows, and will bear a most favourable comparison with any that have been delivered by the various Presidents of the Royal Society on the sciences of the day. For clearness of argument and lucidity of thought — as far as it goes — it is unsurpassed, and, as a specimen of the power of English language, it is a treat to all who can estimate its value. It is all this, and more, and here its significance and suggestiveness comes in, and I can do no less than characterise its delivery under the circumstances, to an auditory that represents (in the eyes of the sect itself, at all events) the purest form of Evangelical religion, as a startling phenomenon, and as such I consider a notice of it in no way out of place in a theosophical journal. That such a lecture should be allowed to be delivered and favourably received, not only by the audience, but by the Wesleyan body at large, is a “sign of the times” that the intelligent observer cannot fail to discern. It is, undoubtedly, an index [Page 404] finger that marks a large advance in the progress of human emancipation from the increasingly intolerable yoke of Churchianic or Ecclesiastical tyranny; and all “friends of progress” will cheerfully render to the worthy and eloquent lecturer the thanks that are due for his manly and outspoken views upon the profoundest question of the age. The strangest part is the spectacle of a “Minister of the Gospel”, himself a scientist of no mean order, proclaiming from a Methodist platform his adherence to, and acceptance of, the doctrines of Charles Darwin, as true exponents of the “Method of Creation”, which means that “Natural Selection”, and survival of the “Fittest”, accounts for the origin of species and the indefinite variety of extinct and extant animal forms of life. Why not include vegetable forms as well? Methinks the fabulous “missing link” between the vegetable and animal kingdoms may, without much difficulty, be actually spotted. Nature, as delineated by the great “Naturalist”, must have been very peevish and unkind to her worshippers, when she mocks them by destroying every vestige, even to the veriest fragmentary fossil, of this anxiously looked for and expectant missing link, between the animal (brute) and man ! To my view, the continuous chain of sequential life forms, as presented in the Darwinian theory, evinces a vast number of “missing links”, and, unless these can be supplied, it will not bear the strain when tested by the unclouded intellect of man. The philosopher of Materialism may accept the Darwinian theories (for as yet they are nothing less or more) as gospel, but the spiritual philosopher will not, nor can he accept them as truth, simply because he recognises a factor, which is an abomination in the eyes of the materialistic “wise ones”. It is this factor that the eloquent and learned lecturer pleads for, without suspecting what it really is. I have reason to know that our reverend scientist regards this “Spiritual” factor with the utmost contempt. But I leave this, and pass on to notice some of the really valuable thoughts and facts that ennoble the lecture, which is addressed to “thoughtful and earnest minds, not concerned specially with questions of philosophy, metaphysics, and science, but alive to the advanced knowledge and thought of our times, and anxious to know how the great foundation of religious belief, the existence of Deity, is affected by the splendid advance of our knowledge of nature”.
This expression “existence of Deity” is conveniently elastic enough to cover the ground of argument by a scientific theologian, inasmuch as it may be taken to mean a personal God, according to sound Evangelical belief, and thus assume a plausible defence of Theism versus Atheism; or, it may admit of a much wider application to an “Unknown God”; for when the lecturer does venture to delineate the characteristic of Deity as the Creator, it is such terms as “Inscrutable Power or Creator”, “Eternal Mind”, “Infinite Intelligence”, etc., which is tantamount to saying that the Primal Cause of all that is, is unknowable; and if this is what Dr. Dallinger really means, he is at one with the Spiritual Philosopher; but this will be a curious weapon in the hands of an ecclesiastical theologian — as dangerous as it is curious. By the use of these terms the reverend author shields himself from the charge of materialistic heresy, albeit to the clear-sighted one there are several, if not many, weak and vulnerable points in the defensive armour; but if the adherents and votaries of the “faith once delivered to the saints” might be a little chary in their acceptance of him as a “sound” exponent of religious truth, yet all progressive minds will hail him as [Page 405] a fearless champion for the truth as delivered by the Book of Nature and interpreted by the splendid achievements of modern science.
“The study of phenomena, their succession and their classification, is the essential work of science. It has no function, and is possessed of no instrument with which to look behind or below the sequence, in quest of some higher relation. The eye and mind of the experimentalist know only of antecedent and consequent. These fill the whole circle of his research; let him find these, and he has found all”.
Here the domain of “science” is defined by a master mind, which tells us that “the researches of science are physical”. The observable, finite contents of space and time are the subjects of its analysis. Existence, not the cause of existence, succession, not the reason of succession, method, not the origin of method, are the subjects of physical research. A primordial cause cannot be the subject of experiment nor the object of demonstration. It must for ever transcend the most delicate physical re-action, the profoundest analysis, and the last link in the keenest logic. Science refuses absolutely to recognise mind as the primal cause of the sequences of matter. This is just — within the strict region of its research — for phenomena, their sequences and classification, are its sole domain. But observe; science universally puts force where the reason asks for cause. The forces affecting matter are tacitly assumed to be competent to account for every activity, every sequence, every phenomenon, and all the harmonies of universal being, a nexus for the infinite diversities and harmonies, a basis for all the equilibrium of nature, is found by modern science in force. But force is as absolutely inscrutable as mind. Force can never be known in itself; it is known by its manifestations. It is not a phenomenon, it produces phenomena. We cannot know it; but we know nothing without it. The ultimate analysis of physical science is the relations of matter and force. In irreducible terms, therefore, the final analysis of science is matter as affected by motion.
We now see, from the above excerpta, the goal to which the “splendid discoveries” of modern science lead its votaries, as portrayed by an authority that claims to speak not as other men; and if it is not a veritable dismal swamp, leading to nothing or negation; a miasma suffocating the aspirations of those who are trusting to the leadership of savants to guide them in the path that conveys them to the habitat of true wisdom and knowledge of themselves; then I can only say of such, “miserable comforters are ye all”.
But the question intervenes here: is this a true definition of the end and aim of science ? It may be to the majority of the Royal Society; but I may tell those who claim to be the conservators of science, and who arrogate to themselves the right to define the boundaries of even physical science, that they do not possess the all of human intelligence, and that there are, outside their societies, men who refuse to bow the knee to the modern scientific Baal, who refuse to be cajoled by the use of terms that mystify but certainly do not enlighten. For instance, who is one wit the wiser when, having reached the end of its tether, science discovers that “matter and motion” govern and regulate all things observable by the human eye, or within the range of the human mind? To the credit of the author of the last Fernley Lecture, he sees and acknowledges the dilemma into which “materialistic” science is [Page 406] driven; but whether “theological” science, so ably represented by himself, can altogether evade it, is a question that I do not here stay to propound. This much, however, I may say, scientific dicta notwithstanding, there is another department of scientific research which does form the nexus — the veritable missing link — between the known and their unknown, and this is the science of psychology, which commences just where the professors of science (physical) confess themselves baffled, and are unable, or rather unwilling, to advance further in this to them terra incognita. The wilful ignoring of this by Materialistic leaders of thought ends by putting them out of court in the discussion of the profound problems arising out of the discoveries of the psychological scientist. In presence of facts, the evidence for which are world wide and as demonstrable — on their own plane or ground — as geological, or astronomical facts which the psychologist adduces, of what conceivable use are the “relations of matter and force” of the physicist, as explanatory of the laws, etc., pertaining to the new world discovered by psychological Savants ?
It will be new to many of your readers to find the Rev. Dr. “hob-nobbing” with Professor Huxley, who is quoted as — not a Materialist ! The learned professor appears to be indignant with those who are zealous for “the fundamental article of the faith materialistic”, who “parade force and matter as the Alpha and Omega of existence”, and says, “If I were forced to choose between Materialism and Idealism, I would elect for the latter”; and the lecturer adds, “Truly, if our choice must be between them, this is the normal alternative”. It were better had the Professor given some inkling as to what he meant by this high-sounding term “Idealism”. [ Both the Idealism of Mr Herbert Spencer, and the Hylo-Idealism of Dr Lewins are more materialistic and atheistic than any of the honestly declared materialistic view — Buchner’s and Molaschott’s included. — Editor ]
The author again says — “I adopt gladly the language of Professor Huxley: Belief, in the scientific sense of the word, is a serious matter, and needs, strong foundations. If it were given me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time to the still more remote period when the earth was passing through physical and chemical conditions, I should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from not — living matter' ”.
“So should I”, adds the Rev. Dr., who brings in Mr. Crooks (?), of whom the lecturer says, “I do not forget the recent and splendid service done by Mr. Crooks to the philosophical side of chemistry. It is a most subtle and exquisite means of endeavouring to deduce the method, the ' law ' according to which what we know as the 'chemical elements' were built up. He obtains indications of a primitive element — a something out of which the elements were evolved. He calls it protyle or first stuff, and from its presence concludes that the elements, as we know them, have been evolved from simpler matter — or perhaps, indeed, from one sole kind of matter”. In the following sentences he tries hard to depreciate this “splendid discovery” by Mr. Crooks, the reason for which is anything but difficult to discover. Dr. Dallinger knows that Mr. Crooks published a work entitled “Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism”, containing his Experimental Investigations in Psychic Force, which he, in conjunction with his friend Huxley, thinks it beneath him to notice. [Page 407] But I claim the “splendid discovery” of Mr. Crooks to be of far more transcendent importance than the learned scientist will admit. It comes marvellously near to the scientific demonstration of the ethic propounded by the “philosophy of spirit”. “There is but one life, and one substance, by which life is manifested in an infinitude of forms in all universes, from the simplest to the most complex organic”.
On this subject the Lecture contains the following eloquent, and, I may add, brilliant peroration.
“Life, it is well known, has its phenomena inherent in, and strictly confined to, a highly complex compound, with fixed chemical constituents. This compound, in its living state, is known as protoplasm. It is clear, colourless, and to our finest optical resources, devoid of discoverable structure. There is not a living thing on earth but possesses its life in protoplasm, from a microscopic fungus, to Man. To depict the properties of Life in irreducible simplicity, take one of the lowliest instances within the range of science. Let it be one of the exquisitely minute, almost infinitely prolific, and universally diffused living forms that set up, and carry on, putrefaction. The lesser of them may, when considered as solid specks, vary from the fifty-thousand-millionth of a cubic inch to the twenty-billionth of a cubic inch (evidently far beneath the unaided optic power of the human eye to see). I select one that is oval in shape. Its mission as an organism, is to break up and set free the chemical elements that had been locked up in dead organic compounds. (Query — Was this tiny creature self-generated, or was it the product of the dead organism?) Its own substance wears out by this and other means; and it has the power to renovate the waste from the dead decomposition in which it lives, constructing, in the lavatory of its protoplasm, new living matter. But more; this vital and inconceivably minute speck multiplies with astounding rapidity in two ways; by the first and common process, in the course of a minute and a half, the entire body is divided into two precisely similar bodies, each one perfect; almost immediately these again divide, and so on in geometric ratio through all the populated fluid; the rapidity of this intense and wonderful vital action transcending all thought. By this process alone, a single form may, in three hours, give rise to a population of organisms as great as the human population of the globe. This is life — whether vegetable or animal none can determine — in the simplest form in which it can be known, and which distinguish it for ever and everywhere from what is not life”.
Several equally interesting examples of recent scientific discoveries are given, but space forbids me to more than mention them. Science, as represented by the Savants, evidently believes in an unbridged chasm between the forms of life and not-life. The Scientist and Philosopher of Spirit join issue on this, for they declare that “Life is present everywhere, and in all forms, organic or non-organic, and without the presence of Life no forms — not even mineral — could be phenomenal or existent”.
Your space does not permit me to deal with more than one other, and, to many, the more important subject of Biblical records coming within the domain of science. Here is a specimen of how the learned scientist and theologian deals with the biblical account of Creation.
“And God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.' That is the utterance of the human conception, which can alone represent to us the divine resolve to fill the earth with life — and the joy of living things. ' And it was so'. But what epochs of countless ages filled the incalculable interval ? ” [A few years — and, who knows? perhaps only few months more, and Protestant England will have reverend scientists explaining to their congregations from the pulpits that Adam and Eve were but the missing link” — two tailless baboons. — Editor ]
The boldness of this utterance from one in the position of the Reverend Lecturer
can be well imagined. It contains the elements of combustion which need but
the spark of investigation to deal a death blow to the established Churchianic
dogma of Biblical infallibility in its literal sense. I conclude by repeating
that such a deliverance by a ministerial representative of the Wesleyan denomination
[Page 408] is
a phenomenon that strikingly indicates the “Signs of the
times”, and which shows that the emancipation of the human mind from
the bonds of theological presumption is not far distant.
Higher Broughton, Manchester, December 11th, 1887.
|C O R R E S P O N D E N C E|
ABSOLUTE MONISM; OR, MIND IS MATTER AND MATTER IS MIND
by Sundaram Iyer, F.T.S., Madras, 1887
[There may be some doubt as to the authorship of this review of a work by Sundaram Iyer, F.T.S. (Madras, 1887), but its general trend and phraseology suggest that it was written by H.P.B., especially as the subject-matter is of a kind that was pointed out by her on many other occasions. Boris De Zirkoff]
Under the above title the author issues an address delivered at the last convention of the delegates of the Theosophical Society at Adyar. Metaphysicians, who note with interest all criticisms of Western psychology from the Oriental standpoint, will welcome the appearance of this extremely able and instructive brochure, which constitutes the first instalment of Absolute Monism. The object of the writer is to discuss the point whether an examination of all theories, as to relations of mind and body, “does not lead us to the Unistic theory that Mind is Matter, and Matter is Mind”. He endeavours to merge the apparent dualism of subject and object into a fundamental unity: —
Is mind a product of organized matter? No .... for organized matter is only a combination of material particles, as is unorganized matter. How is it, then, that there is the manifestation of Mind in the one case, and not in the other? . . . . . . Can subjective facts ever emerge out of a group of molecules? Never; as many times never as there are molecules in the group. And why? Because Mind cannot issue from No Mind. (p. 13.)
Force is matter . . . . it may be related to matter in . . . . four ways: — firstly, it may be an extraneous power to matter, acting upon it from without; secondly, it may be an inherent power in matter, influencing it from within, but yet distinct from the substance of matter; thirdly, it may be an innate power in matter, influencing it from within, and not distinct from the substance of matter; or fourthly, it may be a function of the substance of matter.” (pp. 76-7.)
After an interesting criticism of current theories, he concludes that: —
Function is simply the phenomenal effect of the latent cause, namely force, but never force itself. This potential existence, which is in matter, is a physical existence. If not, it cannot, as shown before, produce any impression whatsoever upon or in the substance of matter.
Matter is force and force is matter.
It is not quite evident, however, whether this position is strictly reconcilable
with the remark that “the primary
qualities of matter are all simplifiable into . . . extension and (its) motion
(actual or possible).
If force is a physical existence, and the real substance of matter at the same time, we get back no further into the mystery of what things in themselves really are. Physical existence remains the reality behind physical existence and [Page 410] the realization of matter and force, as aspects only of one basis, in no way simplifies the crux.
It is not clear, moreover, what is the exact meaning the author intends by the use of the word “force”. Is it motion — molar or molecular — or the unknown cause of motion? According to Professor Huxley, “force” is merely an expression used to denote the cause of motion, whatever that may be. We only know this cause in its aspect of motion, and cannot penetrate behind the veil in order to grasp the Noumenon of which motion is the phenomenal effect. The necessity, therefore, of recognising the fact that motion is all that falls within the cognizance of sense, forbids the (profane) scientist to use the term “force” as representative of anything but an abstraction. The question is complicated by the consideration that the substantiality of various so-called “forces” appears most probable, and that this substantiality becomes objectively real to sense, only on a plane beyond this — the domain of matter in its order of physical differentiations.
The materialistic doctrine that force merely = a motion of matter, is contradicted by the fact that, as shown by Mill, motion can be temporarily neutralized. Lift a heavy weight on to a shelf and the mechanical energy expended in the act is latent in the potentiality of the weight to fall to the ground again. There is no immediate equivalent, as the attraction of the earth for the object remains the same (the now greater distance tending to diminish the amount, though in a very minute degree).
It may be further noted that, granting Mr. Sundaram Iyer’s definition of matter as “extension pure and simple,” to be correct (p. 112), it is difficult to understand how he predicates this barren content as endowed with motion (p. 83). What moves?
The rest of the brochure is taken up with some excellent criticism of current conceptions of atoms, space and heterogenealism (a creed now so sorely wounded by Mr. Crooke’s “Protyle”). Dealing with one of the late Mr. G. H. Lewes’ utterances, the author remarks with great truth: “By some mysterious law of occurrence the self-contradictions of the bulk of the erudite and enlightened are in point of gravity, palpableness, and number in direct proportion to their erudition and enlightenment.” With how many contrasted dicta from the pages of our Büchners, Spencers, Bains etc., etc., could this conclusion be supported.
One word before we close. Is the title of the work well chosen? It appears to us the least satisfactory sentence which has been traced by the writer’s pen. The definition of “mind as matter and matter as mind” not only offers no solution of the great psychological problem discussed, but does injustice to the contents of the work itself.
In the process of definition we “assemble representative examples of the phenomena”, under investigation and “our work lies in generalizing these, in detecting community in the midst of difference”. Now, there is no community whatever between mental and material facts. For as Professor Bain writes:
“Extension is but the first of a long series of properties all present in matter, all absent in mind. . . . our mental experience, our feelings and thoughts, have no extension, no place, no form [ Nevertheless objectively viewed thoughts are actual entities to the occultist. ] or outline, or mechanical division of parts; and [Page 411] we are incapable of attending to anything mental until we shut off the view of all that. [Mind and Body, pp. 125 and 135 ]
The phenomenal contrast of mind
and matter is not only at the root of our present constitution but an essential
of our terrestrial consciousness. Duality is illusion in the ultimate analysis;
but within the limits of a Universe-cycle or Great Manvantara it holds true.
The two bases of manifested Being — the
Logos (spirit) and Mulaprakriti (Matter, or rather its Noumenon), are unified
in the absolute reality, but in the Manvantaric Maya, under space and time
conditions, they are contrasted though mutually interdependent aspects of
the ONE CAUSE.
We have a good deal of correspondence now in type, but must stand over till next month owing to lack of space.
In particular we wish to acknowledge a letter on Hylo-Idealism, signed C.N., forwarded to us by Dr. Lewins from a correspondent of his now in the East. This letter places Hylo-Idealism in a new and very different light, and its straightforward style and language are in strong contrast to the turgid effusions of such writers as G.M., McC.. An extract from one of the latter's letters to the “Secular Review” (January 7, 1888), for instance, says that “Specialism is Superficialism, and vice-versa, both being fractionalism; and that the true desideratumis generalisationism (i.e. all-roundism and all-throughism, whereby and wherein the Kantian and Hegelian metaphysic may be precipitated and modern Materialism sublimed? There is only alembic for both, and that is Solipsism — that true 'wisdom of the ages', in which the profoundest thinker is at one with the little child. — G.M. McC.” !!! [See also his letter under Correspondence]
The following books have been received and will be noticed in due course: —
“Absolute Relativism; or, the Absolute in Relation”, by W.B. McTaggart. (W.Stewart & Co.)
“Spirit Revealed”, by Captain William C.Eldon Sergent (George Redway.)
“A Modern Apostle”, and other Poems, by Constance C.W. Naden (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.)
“Manual of Etheropathy”,
by Dr. Count Manzetti [Page 412]
- - - - CORRESPONDENCE - - - -
THE CHURCH AND THE DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT
To the Editors of LUCIFER
As it is often supposed that the clergy are required to be united as one man in teaching a doctrine called Atonement, and that this doctrine requires the clergy either to teach that “God required the blood of Jesus to be shed and offered as a sacrifice for an Atonement”, or to leave the Church if they reject it; therefore, since I reject this doctrine, it is sometimes wondered how I can either have been admitted to ordination, or, being admitted, how I can remain in, or expect to have a hearing in, the pulpits of the National Churches.
The explanation of my position is as follows:
I offered myself as a candidate for ordination much later than is usual; and one of the three beneficed clergy, whose testimonials, as to the candidate's religious views being orthodox, each candidate is required to provide before being accepted as a candidate for examination and ordination, informed the Bishop of London (Jackson) that I did not hold Church of England views on the Atonement. The Bishop, therefore, before accepting me as a candidate, required a personal interview; when I told the Bishop, in reply to his question, whether I had any difficulty in accepting the doctrine of Atonement as taught in the second of the XXXIX. Articles, that I was entering the Church in order to teach, that it was the work of Jesus Christ to devote His life a living sacrifice to persuade us to believe that in His love, His mind, His spirit towards us, we saw (so far as it could be manifested in the human form) the love, mind, and spirit of God towards us; and that the sacrifice of Jesus consisted in His leaving nothing undone that love could do or suffer, even to drinking to its very dregs the cup of our hatred, whilst blind and ignorant, in order that we might accept and believe His testimony.
And, in addition, I told the Bishop that if the XXXIX. Articles did not allow of this teaching, and demanded of the clergy to believe and teach that “God required the blood of Jesus to be shed and offered as a sacrifice for an Atonement, either to appease God's wrath, satisfy His justice, or propitiate His favour”, then such a doctrine was immoral, anti-Christian, contrary to the Scriptures, and made God to be no better than Shylock, a wolf, or a devil. And I dared the Bishop to refuse accepting me as a candidate.
The Bishop made no reply, neither assenting nor dissenting, and I returned to Petersham to await the result of this interview. After a day or two the Bishop's chaplain wrote that I might consider my proposal to come to the Bishop's examination for Orders accepted; and I was ordained without one word of comment upon the conversation at this private interview. But my first vicar only allowed me to preach three times, and then for the rest of the year he boycotted me from either preaching, reading, or even speaking in the parish, excepting only in a particular part of it. My second vicar, after allowing me [Page 413] to preach three times, also boycotted me entirely. I appealed to the Bishop, but he declined to interfere. So after striving in vain to find a clergyman who would allow me to preach what I was ordained to teach, I published pamphlets, and delivered them by the hundred and thousand at the church doors after the service, wherever there was a large congregation; but after a time the Bishop was appealed to to stop me; — when he not only denied me, as Peter denied Jesus, but he threatened to instruct the police to prevent me; and the ruling powers at St. Paul's Cathedral did instruct the chief of the police to prevent me.
As a last resort, I write letters in the Press wherever I can find a newspaper willing to open its columns, to explain my views and appeal to the people to obtain liberty in the Church for teaching the truth of “Christ Crucified”. But so great is the opposition to this, that the chief organ of the Church and the Press (the Times) refuses even to allow me to advertise for a pulpit, on the ground that it is inadmissible; notwithstanding all the minutest details of divorce trials are freely admissible, thus proving that everything is admissible excepting one thing, viz. the truth of Christ Crucified.
And yet the Archbishop of Canterbury has recently told the world that “the Church wishes the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, to be told”, and the Bishops of Carlisle, Durham, Peterborough, Manchester, Liverpool and Bedford, have also used words to the same effect. But although I have spent the best part of my life (17 years) in striving to find one clergyman (from the highest to the lowest), I have not found one who would allow this liberty to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, concerning Christ Crucified. And I appeal to the rulers of the Church to allow this liberty — and to the people to demand and obtain this liberty, if the rulers of the Church refuse it. For I have a letter from Canon Liddon, in which he says to me, “I can believe with all my heart, although I only know you from the two letters which you have written to me (upon my sermons), that if you were to preach, people would go to hear you as they go to hear me”. Is there not a cause then, why I should complain of being thus cruelly and unjustly boycotted for 17 years without any reason ?
The chief organ of the Church and the Press (the Times) in the supposed chief Christian city in the world, refused to publish, even as an advertisement, any one of the three following appeals, on the ground that they were inadmissible. Yes, inadmissible, whilst all the minutest details of the Barrett trial, the Dilke trial, the Colin Campbell trial, the Seabright trial, and a host of others of a like nature, were all freely admissible”.
- I -
“A pulpit wanted, in the National Church, in which liberty will be allowed to teach the truth of Christ Crucified, openly and fearlessly, in order that it may no longer remain either a stumbling-block to the Jews, foolishness to the world, or a mystery to the teachers of it (as it is to this day, for want only of this liberty), but may verily be seen to be, as it is, and as St. Paul asserted it to be, the power of God, and wisdom of God for the salvation of all men”.
“The Rev. T. G. Headley, of Petersham, S.W., appeals to the Clergy and people of the Church of England for a pulpit in which he may be allowed to [Page 414] preach seven sermons: I. on Unbelief; II. the Trial of Abraham; III. the Day of Judgment; IV. Mary Magdalene; V. Conversion of St. Paul; VI. Jesus, only; VII. Inspiration”.
“The Rev. T. G. Headley, of Petersham, S.W., appeals to the Clergy
for a pulpit in which he may be allowed to explain the mystery of Christ
Crucified, that it may no longer remain a mystery”.
Rev T. G. HEADLEY.
Manor House, Petersham. S.W.
[ This persistent refusal is the more remarkable as other preachers are allowed to teach worse, from an orthodox standpoint, of course. Is it inadmissible “to explain the mystery of Christ Crucified”, as the Rev. Mr. Headley is likely to, lest it should interfere with the explanation and description of Jehovah — “one with Christ Jesus” in the orthodox dogma — by the Rev. H. R. Haweis, M.A.? Says this truthful and cultured if not very pious orator:
At first the chief attributes of
Satan were given to Jehovah. It was God who destroyed the world, hardened
Pharaoh, tempted David, provoked to sin, and punished the sinner. This way
of thinking lingered even as late as 700 B.C.: “I
the Lord make peace and create evil” (Isa., xlv, 7). We have an odd
survival of this identification of God with the Devil in the word “Deuce”,
which is none other than “Deus”, but which to us always
means the Devil. As the Jew grew more spiritual he gradually transferred the
devilish functions to a “Satan”, or accusing spirit. The transition
point appears in comparing the early passage (2 Sam., xxiv, ), when God is
said to “move” David
to number the people, with the later (1 Chron., xxi, ), where Satan is said
to be the instigator who “provoked” the numbering. But Satan is
not yet the King Devil. We can take up our Bible and trace the gradual transformation
of Satan from an accusing angel into the King Devil of popular theology. [The
Key, etc., p. 22. ]
This, we believe, is an even more damaging teaching for the Orthodox Church than any theory about “Christ Crucified”. Mr. Headley seeks to prove Christ, the Rev. Haweis ridiculing and making away with the Devil, destroys and makes away for ever with Jesus, as Christ, also. For, as logically argued by Cardinal Ventura de Raulica, “to demonstrate the existence of Satan, is to re-establish ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL DOGMAS OF THE CHURCH, which serves as a basis for Christianity, and, without which, Satan [and Jesus] would be but names”; or to put it in the still stronger terms of the pious Chevalier Gougenot des Mousseaux, “The Devil is the chief pillar of Faith . . . . if it was not for him, the Saviour, the Crucified, the Redeemer, would be but the most ridiculous of supernumeraries, and the Cross an insult to good sense.” (See Isis Unveiled, Vol. 1, p. 103 and Vol. 2, p. 14.) Truly so. Were there no Devil, a Christ to save the World from him would be hardly wanted! Yet, the Rev. Haweis says: [P.24]
I cannot now discuss the teaching of the N.T. on the King Devil, or I might show that Jesus did not endorse the popular view of one King Devil, and . . . . . . notice the way in which our translators have played fast and loose with the words Diabolus and Satan; adding that the Tree and Serpent worship was an Oriental cult, “of which the narrative of Adam and Eve is a Semitic form.” Is this admissible orthodoxy?] [Page 415]
MESDAMES, — In the December number of LUCIFER, Mr. J. B. Bright takes exception to some remarks on Socialism in an article on “Brotherhood”, which appeared in your pages a month previously.
As the writer of that article, I think it right to accept Mr. Bright's challenge, and endeavour to replace my somewhat hasty generalisations by a more precise statement of the teachings of Theosophy, as they appear to me to bear on the question at issue.
Mr. Bright objects to my use of the phrase “materialistic Socialism”. My intention was to draw a distinction between that which “concerns itself primarily with the material or physical condition of mankind”, and that other form of purely voluntary association, springing, as regards each of its members, from a recognition of their unity of purpose, and the realisation of the idea of brotherhood, for an example of which we may turn to the communistic system of the early Christian Church. I would point out that this is not a fanciful distinction, as in the first case what is described as “a juster distribution of wealth” is the very essence of the Socialistic idea, while in the second it is only an incident, arising from the conviction that worldly possessions have in themselves no value in comparison with “the things of the spirit”, I maintain then that the teachings of Theosophy are opposed to “modern materialistic Socialism”, and I will endeavour to point out, as briefly as possible, in what this opposition consists.
There is at the outset a fundamental difference between Theosophy and Socialism in the value they attach to the “material and physical” well-being of mankind. Theosophy regards any given earth life as an infinitesimal link in the chain of lives which leads from the first glimmerings of a separate consciousness up to the very threshold of Divinity and All-knowledge. And taking the doctrines of Re-incarnation and Karma, as interacting laws, it sees in the apparent injustices of physical life, and in the inequalities of intellectual and moral development among mankind, the results of good or bad use made of opportunities in previous incarnations. The Universe is governed by the great law of Harmony, whose agent is Karma, and infractions of this law, or rebellion against it, are punished by the action of Karma, whether in the individual or the race. Thus the position of every individual in respect to his fellow men, and the position of every nation (the compound, as it were, of individual Karmas) in respect to other nations, is the direct result of previously acquired characteristics and affinities. The re-incarnation of an individual will be governed by his personal affinities; firstly, to the general Karma of his nation; secondly, to the particular circumstances of his parentage and condition in life. Theosophy therefore teaches that so far as regards his individual Karma, a man's place in Society is what he has made it, and he has no right to cry out against the injustice of the law which he has broken, and which inexorably exacts the penalty of his default. This does not however quite hold good as regards the national or the cyclic Karma. It is quite possible that by the action of cyclic Karma injustice may be done to individuals, to be atoned for no doubt in future existences, but at the same time calculated to impede their [Page 416] due and regular development. The combating of this cyclic Karma, in so far as it deals unjustly with individuals, is the work of the great and wise ones of this earth, and every true Theosophist will to the best of his ability take part in the struggle. But the Socialist movement is itself a part of the cyclic Karma, and in its endeavour to rectify what seem, from its limited point of view, injustices, it cannot fail to be unjust to those the justice of whose position in life it declines to recognise. Thus it cannot be otherwise than that it should meet with opposition from those whose object is the improvement of humanity as a whole.
I must in the second place point out that the teaching of Theosophy is entirely opposed to the idea that any very great progress can be made by humanity as a whole, within the space of a few generations. Speaking of the destruction of evil in the human heart, the author of “Light on the Path” says, “Only the strong can kill it out. The weak must wait for its growth, its fruition, its death. And it is a plant which lives and increases throughout the ages. It flowers when man has accumulated unto himself innumerable existences”. This is undoubtedly Theosophical teaching, but I do not think it tallies with Mr. Bright's view that “this self same society ——— contains within it all the germs of such a reconstruction of the physical environment as shall shortly place the means of spiritual and psychical regeneration within the reach of all”. It is impossible that Socialism or any other external organisation can “raise the intellectual and instinctive moral standard of the whole community to such an extent that all will, in the next generation after the Social Revolution, be amenable to the truths” of Theosophy. This would be equivalent to saying that every member of the community was prepared definitely to undertake the task of self-conquest, and it happens unfortunately that almost all the external work of Socialism is in the opposite direction. Further, it must be distinctly pointed out that this task of self-conquest must be undertaken and carried through by each man for himself, and only those who have reached a certain point in human evolution are ready for the struggle. There is one other point on which I feel some stress must be laid. It seems to me impossible that Theosophy, recognising as it does the immense gulf which exists between ordinary humanity (in which term I of course include all its followers), and those who are on the threshold of Divinity, can fail to recognise at the same time the principle of hierarchy in its best and noblest sense. I mean of course a spiritual hierarchy, but even this is incompatible with that innate hatred of domination which is so obvious in Socialism. There is no doubt some inconsistency in this hatred of domination, as in practice Socialists are prepared to substitute for the existing domination of intelligence that of mere numbers, but this, if anything, only makes the contrast between the two ideas somewhat stronger. It is only right to point out that an accepted disciple (not a mere student) practically surrenders his personal liberty, and pledges himself to obedience to those great ones who are the initiators of the Theosophical movement.
I have endeavoured thus far to particularise my general statement that the teachings of Theosophy were opposed to Socialism. I think Mr. Bright's objections to my other statements are in effect answered in what I have already said, but I may perhaps be permitted to deal with them separately. If Mr. [Page 417] Bright has understood the meaning of the article on Brotherhood, he will, I think, see that whereas the Theosophical idea of brotherhood is based on the identity of the Divine spirit inherent in humanity, and thence working downwards, the brotherhood of Socialism is based on the assumption of equality on the material, or intellectual plane, and has, per se, no existence at all on the higher plane. The brotherhood of Theosophy, once rightly understood, will no doubt be manifested on the lower planes, but that does not make it the same thing as an idea of Brotherhood which begins and ends in physical existence.
As to my remark that Socialism is an attempt to interfere with the action of the Laws of Karma, I should perhaps have added the word “individual”, which, in conjunction with my reference to the parable of the talents, should make the meaning clear. Socialism aims at the levelling of classes, which is nothing else than a redistribution of the responsibilities of life. I understand the parable of the talents to indicate the true meaning of the differences in opportunities accorded to individuals during their life on earth. Every opportunity is also a responsibility, and from those to whom much is given much will be demanded. Further, responsibility is thrust upon those who can bear it, and to relieve them from it, and transfer it the shoulders of the weaker brethren, is an interference with the laws of Karma, and can only lead to a retardation of the general evolution of humanity. I will only say in conclusion that I have endeavoured to confine my remarks to the view of Socialism advanced by Mr. Bright. It is indeed hardly necessary to point out that Theosophy can never be a party to the incitements to violence, and the appeals to the baser passions which Mr. Bright rightly deprecates, but which are unfortunately too often the stock-in-trade of the Socialist orator.
I feel that there are many points in Mr. Bright's letter to which I should
be glad to reply more in detail, but I fear that in so doing I might be considered
as trenching too much on those purely political aspects of the question which
are outside the scope of Theosophical work.
I am, Mesdames,
Your obedient servant,
THOS. B. HARBOTTLE.
(according to Schopenhauer) Arthur Schopenhauer
The question is answered by Schopenhauer as follows:
“ . . . . Starting from the plane of mental conception (Vorstellung), and proceeding on our way towards the attainment of objective knowledge, we shall never be able to arrive at a higher point than our own conception (imagination), i.e. of the external appearance of the object of our observation; but we shall never be able to penetrate into the interior of the things and to find out what they really are (not what they merely appear to be). So far I agree with Kant. But as a counterpoise to this truth I have called attention to another one; namely, that we are not merely the cognising subject, but we are also ourselves a part of object of our cognition, we are ourselves the Thing itself. There is consequently an interior way open to us from that self-existing and interior essence of things, which we cannot approach from the outside; a kind of subterranean [Page 418] passage, a secret connection, by which we by treason, as it were, may at once penetrate into a fortress which was impregnable from the outside. The Thing itself can as such enter our consciousness only in a direct manner, i.e. by becoming conscious of its own self. To attempt to know it objectively is to ask for a self-contradiction”. (The World as Will and Conception. Vol. 2, Cap. 18).
What Schopenhauer expresses in modern philosophical language might perhaps
be stated in a few words by saying, that man cannot become conscious of the
truth unless the truth is in him, and in that case it is not the man who recognises
the truth, but the truth which recognises itself in man. He who wants to know
it objectively must separate himself from it, because no one can see his own
face without the help of a mirror; but if he separates himself from it, the
truth exists in him no longer. It is therefore the truth itself which may become
self-conscious in man, provided there exists any truth in him.
FH (? Franz Hartmann)
A NOTE OF EXPLANATION
by Gerald Massey
I WOULD much rather suffer an unintentional misrepresentation of my meaning than take the trouble to reply, and have no desire to magnify small matters of difference. But a very critical friend calls my attention to certain statements and apparent discrepancies in the “Esoteric Character of the Gospels”, on which I will beg leave to say a word.
I find it affirmed on p. 300, in a foot-note, that “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, that is, a good, holy man”. But either the statement has no meaning as an answer to me, or it is based on a misunderstanding of mine.[The remark made has never been meant as “an answer” but simply as an observation that the word “Chréstos” applied to a “good man,” a “human original,” and not to a “good God only.” If such was not the intention of Mr. Massey and he amplifies his idea elsewhere, it was not so amplified in his article in the “Agnostic Annual”. It is, therefore, simply a bare statement of facts referring to that particular article and no more. I do not for one moment oppose Mr Massey’s conclusions, nor doubt his undeniable learning in the direction of those particular researches, i.e. about the words “Christos” and “Chrestos”. What I say is, that he limits them to the negation of an historical Christ, and, for reasons no doubt very weighty, does not touch upon their principal esoteric meaning in the temple-phraseology of the Mysteries — H.P.B .] I was showing that the original Christ of the Gnosis was not one particular form of human personality, like the supposed historic Christ, and that the name denoted a divine, and not a human original. I was perfectly well aware, as your quotations show, that the name was afterwards conferred on the “good” as the Chrestoi or Chrestiani. Nor do I say, or anywhere imply, that the “Karest” or mummy-type of immortality was the only form of the Christ, as your quotations again will prove. I have written enough about that Gnostic Christ who was the Immortal Self in man, the reflection of, or emanation from, the divine nature in humanity, and in both sexes, not merely in one. [This is absolutely and preeminently a Theosophical doctrine taught ever since 1875, when the Theosophical Society was founded — Editor] This is the Christ that never could become a one person or be limited [Page 419] to one sex. This you accept and preach; yet you can add “Still the personage (Jesus) so addressed by Paul — wherever he lived — was a great initiate, and a 'Son of God'. [This I am afraid, is a misunderstanding (due, no doubt, to my own fault) on the part of our learned correspondent, of the meaning that was intended to be conveyed in the articles now criticized. If he goes to the trouble of reading over again the paragraph that misled him (see p.307, 5th paragraph), he will perhaps, see that it is so. That which was really meant was that, though the terms Christos and Chréstos are generic surnames, still, the personage so addressed (not by Paul, necessarily, but by any one), was a great Initiate and a “Son of God.” It is the name “Jesus”, placed in the sentence in parentheses that made it both clumsy and misleading. Whether Paul knew of Jehoshua Ben Pandira (and he must have heard of him), or not, he could never have applied the surname used by him to Jesus or any other historic Christ. Otherwise his Epistles would not have been withheld and exiled as they were. The sentence which precedes the two incriminated statements, shows that no such thing, as understood by Mr. Massey, could have been really meant, as it is said “Occultism pure and simple finds the same mystic elements in the Christian as in other faiths, though it rejects emphatically its dogmatic and historic character”. The two statements, viz, that Jesus or Jehoshua Ben Pandira whenever he lived, was a great Initiate and the “Son of God” — just as Apollonius of Tyana was — and that Paul never meant either him or any other living Initiate, but a metaphysical Christos present in, and personal to, every mystic Gnostic as to every initiated Pagan — are not at all irreconcilable. A man may know of several great Initiates, and yet place his own ideal on a far higher pedestal than any of these. — H.P.B.] But the Christos of Paul, being the Gnostic Christ, as you admit (301), it cannot be a personage named Jesus, or a great Initiate, who was addressed by him. It appears to me that in passages like these, you are giving away all that is worth contending for, and vouching for that which never has been, and never can be, proved. I have searched for Jesus many years in the Gospels and elsewhere without being able to catch hold of the hem of the garment of any human personality. Ben-Pandira we know a little of, but cannot make him out in the Christ of the Gospels. The Christ of the Gnosis can be identified, but not with any historic Jesus.
We do not go to the Christian Gospels
to learn the true nature of the Christ, or the incarnation according to the
Gnostic religion (I use this term in preference to yours of the “Wisdom-Religion”,
as being more definite and explanatory; not as a religion, supposed by the Idiotai to
have followed in the wake of Historic Christianity!). These were known in
Egypt, more than six thousand years ago. When the monuments began the Cult
of the Supreme God Atum was extant. We know not how many aeons earlier, but
six thousand years will do. Atum=Adam was the divine father of an eternal
soul which was personated as his son, named lu-em-hept (the Greek Imothos
or Aesculapius), an image of whom used to be seen (on shelf 3,578,b. 1874),
in the British Museum. He was the second Atum=Adam, and is called the “Eternal
the Ritual. In external phenomena this type represented the Solar God, re-born
monthly or annually in the lunar orb; in human phenomena the Christ or Son
of God as the essential and eternal soul in man. But he was neither a man
nor an Initiate. He was just what the Logos, the Word of Truth or Ma-Kheru,
the Buddha or Christ is in other Cults. [ Nor
shall I dispute this statement in general. But this does not invalidate in
one iota my claim. The temple priests assumed the names of the gods they served,
and this is as well known a fact, as that the defunct Egyptian became an “Osiris” — was “osirified ” — after
his death. Yet Osiris was assuredly neither “man nor an Initiate”,
but a being hardly recognised as such by the Royal Society of materialistic
science. Why, then, could not an “Initiate”, who had succeeded
in merging his spiritual being into the Christos state, be regarded as a Christos
after his last and supreme initiation, just as he was called Chrestos before
that ? Neither Plotinus, Porphyry nor Apollonius were Christians, yet according
to esoteric teaching, Plotinus realized this sublime state (of becoming or
uniting himself with his Christos) six times, Apollonius of Tyana four times,
while Porphyry reached the exalted state only once, when over sixty years of
age. The Gnostics called the “Word” “Abraxas” and “Christos” indiscriminately,
and by whatever name we may call it, whether Ma-Kheru, or Christos or Abraxas,
it is all one. That mystic state which gives to our inner being the impulse
that attracts “the soul toward its origin and centre, the Eternal good”,
as Plotinus teaches, and makes of man a god, the Christos or the unknown made
manifest, is a preeminently theosophical condition. It belonged to the temple
mysteries, and the teachings of the New-Platonists — H.P.B.] [Page
I cordially agree with “M”, a correspondent whom you quote, and wish that all our orthodox friends would as frankly face the facts. If any historic Jesus ever did claim to be the Gnostic Christ made flesh [ “Christ made flesh”, would be a claim worse than imposture, as it would be absurdity, but a man of flesh assuming the Christ-condition temporarily, is indeed an occult, yet living fact. — Editor.] once for all, he would be the supremest impostor in history.
Let us define to ourselves very strictly what it is we do mean, or we shall introduce the direst confusion into the conflict, and we shall be unable to distinguish the face of friend from foe in the cloud of battle-dust which we may raise. What I find is, that Historic Christianity was based either upon the suppression or the perversion of all that was esoteric in Gnostic Christianity. And to bring any aid from the one to the support of the other is to try and re-establish with the left hand all that you are knocking down with the right.
I am also taken to task on page 307 for alluding to the Bible as a “Magazine of falsehoods already exploded, or just going off”, by the writer who adds force to my words later on in characterizing these same writings as a “Magazine of (wicked) falsehoods” [Just so, if it has been originally written to be accepted in its dead letter sense. But, as I entirely agree with Mr. Massey, that historic Christianity was based upon the suppression, and especially the perversion of that which was esoteric in gnosticism, it is difficult to see in what it is that we disagree? The perversion of esoteric facts in the gospels is not so cleverly done as to prevent the true occultist from reading the Gospel narratives between the lines — H.P.B.] (p. 178), which was going farther than I went, who do set down as much to ignorance as to knavery. What I meant was, that the “Fall of Man” in the Old Testament, is a falsification of fable, now exploded, and that the redemption from that fall, which is promised in the New, whether by an “ Initiate” or “Son of God” is a fraud based on the fable, and a falsehood that is going to be exploded. There is no call to mix up the Book of the Dead, the Vedas, or any other sacred writings, in this matter. Each tub must stand on its own bottom, and the one that won't, can't hold water. [ If Mr. G. Massey kindly waits till the conclusion of “the Esoteric character of the gospels” to criticise the statements, he may perhaps arrive at the conviction that we are not so far apart in our ideas upon this particular question as he seems to think. Of course my critic being an Egyptologist, opposed to the Aryan theory, and arriving at his conclusions only by what he finds in strictly authenticated and accepted documents — and I, as a Theosophist and an Occultist of a certain school, accepting my proofs on data which he rejects — i.e. esoteric teachings — we can hardly agree upon every point. But the question is not whether there was or never was an historical Christ, or Jesus, between the years I and 33 A.D. — but simply were the Gospels of the gnostics (of Marcion and others, for instance) perverted later by Christians — esoteric allegories founded on facts, or simply meaningless fictions? I believe the former, and esoteric teachings explain many of the allegories. — [H.P.B.]
P.S. By the by, I see the Adventists,
and other misleading Delusionists are all agog just now about the wonderful
fulfilment of prophecy, and corroboration
[Page 421] of
historic fact, that we are now witnessing. The “Star of
Bethlehem” has reappeared, so they say, to prove the truth of the Christian
story. But, sad to say, it is not the star of Christ that is now visible in
the south-east before sunrise every morning. It is Venus in her heliacal rising.
It is Venus as the Maleess, or Lucifer as “Sun of the Morning”.
This particular Star of Bethlehem — there are various others less brilliant
and less noticeable — generally does return once every nineteen months
or so, when the planet Venus is the Morning Star. Only the gaping camel swallowers,
who know all about the “Star of Bethlehem”, and the fulfilment
of prophecy, are not up in Astronomy, and they will no doubt squirm and strain
at this small gnat of real fact offered to them by way of an explanation.
[ We give room to this remarkable
letter with the object of comparison. The Secularists are loud in proclaiming
the modes of expression of the Theosophists as “stultic profundity” and
the Esoteric Doctrine as “a hopeless
chaos”, a “rudely methodised madness”. At the same time
the Hylo-Idealists are PERSONAE GRATISSIMAE; in the “Secular
and no such remarks are passed about their theories and style. Readers please
to compare. “Fiat Justitia, mat Saladinus ! ” — Editor ]
HYLO-IDEALISM — THE
SECRET OF JESUS
“Behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”
THE primacy of Self is indisputable, if by reason of one fact only — that this, self-same, Self is the initial postulate of all sane philosophy. And, when Philosophy soars to Metaphysic, Scientific Analysis “takes up the wondrous tale”, and its burden is Self-hood also. All roads lead to Rome. All analysis runs into the Egoistic Synthesis. “The One [Ego] remains, the Many change and pass”. Yet the passing is only the flux and ebb of the One. In Hegel's words, “that which passes away passes away into its own self: only the passing away passes away”. Which things are an allegory, and yet “solvitur ambulando”. A recent traveller in the United States tells us, that, in the Emerson country, he chanced upon cross-roads, and found there an apparently contradictory direction-post. One arm of it bore the inscription, “This is the way to Concord',' the other, pointing in the opposite direction, was similarly worded, “This is the way to Concord”. The Hylo-Ideal Thesis is this Ideal Concord, to be reached whether you travel by way of Eastern Idealism, or by the route of plainer Western Materialism. For, and here all contradictions are reconciled, in the one Subject-object which is Self, there is no diversity, neither Jew nor Greek, neither Idealism only, nor Materialism only, or exclusively, but all is one. [ Hence the Spirit of Non-Separateness in esoteric philosophy must be the ONE truth — Editor ] And in Unity there is no class distinction, no nomenclature, no “otherness”, no Ebal and Gerizim, but only the Mount of God. What the Ego is, all is. [Only this “Ego” is universal, not individual: Absolute Consciousness, not the human Brain. — Editor ] It is the 'x' of every problem and answers to any value save the spurious and indifferent one of the Dualist.
I find Hylo-Idealism (Auto-centricism) — this “pearl of great price” — canvassed and examined by many modern thinkers, only to be contemptuously cast away, though it would have made each one of them in turn “richer than all his tribe”. But it was ever thus. In this rejection there is no despair in [Page 422] the view of the illuminati. All is ours, and paltering with the central truth of SOLIPSISM, as men have ever paltered, does not change or diminish the truth itself, or lessen the assurance of its ultimate victory, since to go from, or flee from, the Egoistic presence is an impossibility. We wander here and there, but to seek to transcend ourselves is vain. There must, sooner or later, be the resipiscentia, the coming home at last to Self, and Self only, as to the better home at last.
In this view there is no Logos — save that indisputable one, which maketh all things to every one of us — no “true Light” save that effulgent one which “lighteth every man that cometh into the world”, namely, his own creative and illuminating Egoity — sans which there is but nothingness. Such a Gospel as this should be termed the Evangel of common-sense were it not that that phrase shows only one side of the question —“Virginibus, puerisque est ” but it is also the very acme of the exalted intelligence, “ the last and sharpest height' of human thought where the atmosphere is all too rare for mortal breath.
The highest and the lowliest [Then why not term the philosophy “High-Low-Idealism vice “Hylo-Idealism’? — Editor ] are ever thus akin — “Aryan worship secreted in the Holy of Holies the utensils of the dairy”. Grasp but the centre truth of truths — that the Ego and its products are one, that every one of us spins, from his own consciousness, the web of thing and circumstance, which envelopes him — and you see at once and as it were instinctively, that in this Universe circle of Egoity there is no “otherness” even thinkable, no lower and no higher, no difference, nothing essentially common or unclean, everything being, not so much cleansed of God, as very THEOBROMA, [ “Theobroma” — the same as cacao-butter. We take exception to the phraseology, not to Dr. Lewins’ ideas — Editor ] God's food and nutrient element, seeing that in it, and by it, and through it, we and all things CONSUBSTANTIALLY EXIST.
Thus verae causae and other figments are not so much unsearchable, or past finding out, as out of court or indifferent. Whether all be of God, or all be from a “clam-shell”, does not matter — does not, by one jot, affect our Thesis. Indifferently we are by origin, patricians or “gutter-snipes”. The Ego is free of the Cosmos — equal to either fortune, high or low, makes its own universe, calls it by its own name, and it “lives and moves and has its being”.
MASSEY ON SHAKESPEARE
MR. MASSEY has sent us a circular,
the contents of which should be of interest to the lovers of SHAKESPEARE
and the buyers of rare books. The writer says:
“ My work on the Secret Drama
of SHAKESPEARE's Sonnets, with Sketches of his Private Friends, and of his
own Life and Character, first published in the year 1866, the Second Edition
of which was issued, with a Supplement, for Subscribers in 1872, has now
been out of print many years. It is frequently enquired for, and very rarely
to be found in the catalogues of second-hand booksellers. Therefore I am
about to reproduce the work. It will have to be re-cast and re-written where [Page
423] necessary, as the writing can now be
more definitely done. Errors must be confessed and corrected. The new volume
will be on lines similar to those of the earlier work, accentuated in many
of the details, but modified in others. There will be something new and more
decisive to say concerning both sets of the Sonnets, which I call the Southampton
and Herbert series; and not without reason or warrant will the Comparative
method be pushed much farther than before. The work will be written up to date
in the light of the latest knowledge. The most recent data, the latest results
of Shakspearian Siftings, will be utilised; and something will have to be
said concerning the current Baconian Craze, which was no doubt foreseen by
the Great Humourist when he wrote, 'A most fine figure ! To prove you a
Cypher' It is my aim to fight one last battle on this field for what I
maintain to be the cause of truth and right; to entrust a final answer on the
Sonnet question to the types of John Guttenberg, and leave in his safe keeping
a plea that shall be heard hereafter, as a permanent memorial to the writer's
love and admiration for SHAKESPEARE the Poet and Man. After twenty years the
ground is felt to be firmer underfoot. The building will have a more concrete
base. I am enabled to give a closer clinch to my conclusions, and, as I think,
complete my case. Necessarily the book must be large, 700 or 800 pp. The price
will be One Guinea”. [Page
INTERESTING TO ASTROLOGERS
ASTROLOGICAL NOTES — No.3
To the Editor of Lucifer
QUESTION, at London, 11.45 a-m., Feb 26th, 1887.
Will the quesited die from his present illness ?
Hearing by letter that my uncle, an octogenarian, was seriously ill from pneumonia,
I drew a figure for the moment of the impression to do so, which occurred while
reading the communication. His illness had commenced about February 7th, and
he was now confined to his bed.
The following are the elements of the figure: —
Cusp of 10th house 0º ♓
Cusp of 11th house 3º ♉
Cusp of 12th house 20º ♉'
Cusp of 1st house 4º 38' ♋
Cusp of 2nd house 20º ♋
Cusp of 3rd house 8º ♌
☉ 25º 10' ♉ ;
♅ 11º 46 R ♎;
♄ 15º 54' R ♋
♃ 5º 48' R ♏;
♂ 20º 31' 31" ♓;
☼ 7º 35' 50" ♓
♁ 27º 53' 14" ♓
☿ 23º 18' 58' ♓;
☽ 16º 22' 36" ♈.
Caput Draconis 27º 35' ☊;
13º 24' ♌.
As the quesited was the 4th of may mother's brothers and sisters, my mother being the 8th and last, I took the 10th house of the figure for herself, the 12th (or 3rd from the 10th) for her eldest brother or sister, the 2nd for the 2nd, the 4th for the 3rd, the 6th for the 4th — the quesited — and the 1st (the 8th from the 6th) for his 8th, or house of death. ♂ was the lord of his first house, and ☽ of his 8th. The aspect was ☽ 25◦ 51' 5" ♂ separating from the quindecile, and applying to the semisextile. As the significators were in good aspects, separating from one and applying to the other, and within orbs of both, it signified sure recovery; more especially as ♂ received ☽ by house, and was dignified by triplicity. Nevertheless, the severity of the illness was shown by Cauda Draconis in quesited's 4th house; by ♄, lord of quesited's 4th, posited in quesited's 8th, retrograde, in his detriment, and in close ▢ to ☽, lady of quesited's 8th and posited in his 6th. Furthermore, as ☽, the applying planet of the two significators, was in a cardinal sign and in a succeedent house of the figure, each degree signified a week; therefore as ☽ wanted 4º 8' 55" of the perfect semisextile aspect, I judged that he would be convalescent in 4 weeks and 1 day, or March 27th. On March 20th he walked out in his garden for the first time, and fully recovered from his attack.
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