Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work Index   Previous: Lecture 7th – The Fall (No. II)   Next: Lecture 9th – God as the Lord; or, the Divine Image



(p. 210)





part I


1. THAT, then, which, mystically, is called the Fall of Man, does not mean, as commonly supposed, the lapse, through a specific act, of particular individuals from a state of Original perfection; nor, as sometimes supposed, a change from a fluidic to a material condition. It means such an inversion of the due relations between the soul and the body of a personality already both spiritual and material, as involves a transference of the central will of the system concerned, from the soul – which is its proper seat – to the body, and the consequent subjection of the soul to the body, and liability of the individual to sin, disease, and all other evils which result from the limitations of Matter.

2. That, therefore, which, mystically, is called the Redemption, and which is the converse of the Fall, does not mean, as commonly supposed, the remission, or transference from the guilty to the innocent, of the penalties incurred through the Fall. No penalty incurred by man ever is or

(p. 211)

can be remitted by God, since the Divine Justice is just. Nor, for the same reason, can it be borne by another, since a substitution of the innocent for the guilty would in itself be a violation of justice. Wherefore the doctrine of Vicarious Redemption, as ordinarily accepted, represents a total misconception of the truth, and one derogatory to the Divine Character. The Redemption means such removal of the will of the individual system concerned, from the body, and reinstatement of it in the soul, as thenceforth to secure to the soul full control over the body, and to exempt the individual from further liability to transgression. He who is redeemed cannot sin, that is, mortally.

            3. It is according to the Divine order of Nature that the soul should control the body. For, as a manifested entity, man is a dual being, consisting of soul and body; and of these, in point both of duration and function, and therefore in all respects of value, the precedence belongs to the soul. For the soul is the real, permanent Individual, the Self, the everlasting, substantial Idea, of which the body is but the temporary residence and phenomenal expression. The soul, nevertheless, has, properly speaking, no will of her own, since she is feminine and negative. And she is therefore, by her nature, bound to obey the will of some other than herself. This other can be only the Spirit or the Body; – the Within and the Above, which is Divine, and is God; or the Without and the Below, which, taken by itself and reduced to its last expression, is the "devil." It is, therefore, to the Spirit and soul as one, that obedience is due. Hence, in making the body the seat of the will, the man revolts, not merely against the soul, but against God; and the soul, by participation, does the same. Of such revolt the consequence is disease and misery of

(p. 212)

both soul and body, with the liability, ultimately, to extinction of the soul as well as of the body. For the soul which persistently rejects the Divine Will in favour of the bodily will, sins mortally, and, becoming mortal, at length dies. For her life is withdrawn and her constituents are scattered to the elements; so that, without any actual loss either of the Life or of the Substance of the universal existence, the individuality constituted of them perishes. The "man" is no more. "He that gathereth not with Me, scattereth."

4. The result, on the other hand, of the soul's steadfast aspiration towards God – the Spirit, that is, within her – and of her consequent action upon the body, is that this also becomes so permeated and suffused by the Spirit, as, at last, to have no will of its own, but to be in all things one with its soul and Spirit, and to constitute with these one perfectly harmonious system, of which every element is under full control of the central Will. It is this unification, occurring within the individual, which constitutes the Atonement. And in him in whom it occurs in its fullest extent, Nature realises the ideal to attain which she first came forth from God. For in the man thus redeemed, purified, and perfected in the image of God, and having in himself the power of life eternal, she herself is vindicated and glorified, and the Divine Wisdom is justified of her children. The process, however, is one which each individual must accomplish in and for himself. For, being an interior process, consisting in self-purification, it cannot be performed from without. That whereby perfection is attained is experience, which implies suffering. For this reason the man who is reborn in us of "Water and the Spirit," – our own regenerate Self, the Christ Jesus and Son of Man, who in saving us is called the Captain of our salvation – is said to be made perfect through suffering. This suffering must be borne by each

(p. 213)

man for himself. To deprive any one of it by putting the consequences of his acts upon another, so far from aiding that one, would be to deprive him of his means of redemption.

5. There are two senses in which the term Fall is used, each of them having relation to an indispensable epoch in the process of the universe. The one is the fall of Spirit, the other of the soul. The first occurs in the universal, and concerns the Macrocosm. The second occurs in the individual, and concerns the Microcosm. The first and general descent of Spirit into Matter consists in that original projection of the Divine Substance from pure Being into the condition of Existence, whereby Spirit becomes Matter, and Creation occurs. The doctrine which regards the universe as the Thought of God, is a true doctrine. But the universe is not therefore unsubstantial. God is real Being, and that which God thinks is also God. Wherefore, in consisting of the thought of the Divine Mind, the Universe consists of the Substance of that Mind, the Substance, that is, of God. God's Ideas, like God, are real beings, Divine Personages, that is, Gods. Put forth by, and, in a sense divided from, God, in order to accomplish God's purposes, these become messengers of God, that is, Angels. And, of them, those to whom is assigned a condition below that of God – a condition no longer of Spirit – are called "Fallen Angels." Wherefore the "Fall of the Angels" denotes simply the original and kosmic descent of Spirit into the condition of Matter – the precipitation, that is, of the Divine Substance from a state of pure Being, into the various elements and modes which are comprised in and which constitute Existence or Creation. Creation is thus, not, as ordinarily supposed, a making out of that which is not, but a manifestation or putting forth – by the conversion of

(p. 214)

essence into things – of that which already is, but which subsists unmanifest. It is true, that prior to such manifestation, there is no thing. But this is not because there is nothing; but because before things can exist, the ideas of them must subsist. For a thing is the result of an idea, and except as such cannot exist. Thus, Matter, as the intensification, or densification, of Idea, is a mode of the Divine consciousness, put forth through an exercise of the Divine will and being so, it is capable, through an exercise of the Divine Love, of reverting to its original, unmanifest condition of Spirit. The recall of the universe to this condition constitutes the final Redemption or "Restitution of all things." And it is brought about by the operation of the Divine Spirit within the whole.

6. The Redemption from the other of the two Falls specified, is due to the operation of the divine element within the individual. And it is of this alone that we propose to treat on this occasion. As already stated, this Fall does not consist in the original investment of the soul with a material body. Such investment – or incarnation – is an integral and indispensable element in the process of the individuation of soul-substance, and of its education into humanity. And until perfected, or nearly so, the. body is necessary to the soul in turn as nursery, school, house of correction, and chamber of ordeal. It is true that redemption involves deliverance from the need of the body. But redemption itself is from the power of the body; and it is from its fall under the power of the body that the soul requires redemption. For it is this fall which, by involving the alienation of the individual from God, renders necessary a reconciliation or at-one-ment. And inasmuch as this can be effected only through the total renunciation of the exterior or bodily will, and the unreserved acceptance in its

(p. 215)

place of the interior or Divine Will, this at-one-ment constitutes the essential element of that Redemption which forms the subject of the present discourse.

7. Although Redemption, as a whole, is one, the process is manifold, and consists in a series of acts, spiritual and mental. Of this series, the part wherein the individual finally surrenders his own exterior will, with all its exclusively material desires and affections, is designated the Passion. And the particular act whereby this surrender is consummated and demonstrated is called the Crucifixion. This crucifixion means a complete, unreserving surrender – to the death, if need be – without opposition, even in desire, on the part of the natural man. Without these steps is no atonement. The man cannot become one with the Spirit within him, until by his "Passion" and "Crucifixion," he has utterly vanquished the "old Adam" of his former self. Through the atonement made by means of this self-sacrifice he becomes as one without sin, being no more liable to sin; and is qualified to enter, as his own high-priest, into the holy of holies of his own innermost. For thus he has become of those who, being pure in heart, alone can face God.

8. The "Passion" and "Crucifixion" have their immediate sequel in the Death and Burial of the Self thus renounced. And these are followed by the Resurrection and Ascension of the true immortal Man and new spiritual Adam, who by his Resurrection proves himself to be – like the Christ – "virgin-born," in that he is the offspring, not of the soul and her traffic with Matter and Sense, but of the soul become "immaculate," and of her spouse, the Spirit. The Ascension, with which the Drama terminates, is that of the whole Man, now regenerate, to his own celestial kingdom within himself, where – made one with

(p. 216)

the Spirit – he takes his seat for ever "at the right hand of the Father."

9. Although the Resurrection of the man regenerate has a twofold relation in that it sometimes affects the body, the resurrection is not of the body in any sense ordinarily supposed, nor is the body in any way the object of the process. The man, it is true, has risen from the dead. But it is from the condition of deadness in regard to things spiritual, and from among those who, being in that condition, are said to be "dead in trespasses and sins." In these two respects, namely, as regards his own past self and the world generally, he has "risen from the dead"; and "death," of this kind, "has no more dominion over him." And even if he have redeemed also his body and made of it a risen body, this by no means implies the resuscitation of an actual corpse. In this sense there has been for him no death, and in this sense there is for him no resurrection. It was through misapprehension of the true doctrine, and the consequent expectation of the resurrection of the dead body, that the practice – originally symbolical and special – of embalming the corpse as a mummy, became common, and that interment was substituted for the classic and far more wholesome practice of cremation. In both cases, the object was the delusive one of facilitating a resuscitation at once impossible and undesirable, seeing that if reincarnation be needful, a soul can always obtain for itself a new body.

10. That which constitutes the Great Work is not the resuscitation of the dead body, but the redemption of Spirit from Matter. Until man commits what, mystically, is called idolatry, he has no need of such redemption. So long as he prefers the inner to the outer, and consequently polarises towards God, the will of his soul is as the Divine Will, and she has, in virtue thereof, power over his body,

(p. 217)

as God has over the universe. Committing idolatry, by reason of perverse will to the outer – looking back, and down, that is, and preferring the form to the substance, the appearance to the reality, the phenomenon to the idea, the "city of the Plain" to the "mount of the Lord," – she loses this power, and becomes a "pillar of salt," material and patent to sense, and, hence, "naked." The "resurrection body" is altogether sublime, being woven for herself by the ascended soul out of elements transcending aught the physical corpse can yield; for it is her own "unfallen" substance. It is not a body raised, but a raised body.


part II


            11. In order to obtain an adequate conception of the vastness of the interval between the conditions of man "fallen" and man "redeemed," it will be necessary to speak yet more particularly of the man perfected and having power. Thus contrasted, the heights and depths of humanity will appear in their true extent. It is but a sketch, comparatively slight, which can here be given of what they must endure, who, for love of God, desire God, and who, by love of God, finally attain to and become God; and who, becoming God without ceasing to be man, become God-Man – God manifest in the flesh – at once God and Man. The course to this end is one and the same for all, whenever, wherever, and by whomsoever followed. For perfection is one, and all seekers after it must follow the same road. The reward, and the means towards it, are also one. For "the Gift of God is eternal Life." And it is by means of God – the Divine Spirit working within him, to build him up in the Divine Image – he, meanwhile cooperating with the Spirit – that man achieves Divinity. In

(p. 218)

the familiar, but rarely understood terms, "Philosopher's Stone," "Elixir of Life," "universal Medicine," "holy Grail," and the like, is implied this supreme object of all quest. For these are but terms to denote pure Spirit, and its essential correlative, a Will absolutely firm and inaccessible alike to weakness from within and assault from without. Without a measure of this Spirit is no understanding – and therefore no interpretation – of the Sacred Mysteries of Existence. Spiritual themselves, they can be comprehended only by those who have, nay, rather, who are Spirit; for God is Spirit, and they who worship God must worship in the Spirit.

12. The attainment in himself of a pure and divine Spirit, is, therefore, the first object and last achievement of him who seeks to realise the loftiest ideal of which humanity is capable. He who does this is not an "Adept" merely. The "Adept" covets power in order to save himself only; and knowledge is for him a thing apart from love. Love saves others as well as oneself. And it is love that distinguishes the Christ; – a truth implied, among other ways, in the name and character assigned in mystic legends to favourite disciple of the Christs. To Krishna, his Arjun; to Buddha, his Ananda; to Jesus, his John; – all terms identical in meaning, and denoting the feminine and tender moiety of the Divine Nature. He therefore, and he alone, who possesses this spirit in quality and quantity without measure, has, and is, "Christ." He is God's Anointed, suffused and brimming with the Spirit, and having in virtue thereof the power of the "Dissolvent" and of "Transmutation," in respect of the whole man. Herein lay the grand secret of that philosophy which made "Hermes" to be accounted the "trainer of the Christs." Known as the Kabbalistic philosophy, it was a philosophy – or rather a

(p. 219)

science – based upon the recognition in Nature of a universal Substance, which man can find and "effect," and in virtue of which he contains within himself the seed of his own regeneration, a seed of which – duly cultured – the fruit is God, because the seed itself also is God. Wherefore, the "Hermetic science" is the science of God.

13. "Christ," then, is, primarily, not a person, but a principle, a process, a system of life and thought, by the observance of which man becomes purified from Matter, and transmuted into Spirit. And he is a Christ who, in virtue of his observance of this process to its utmost extent while yet in the body, constitutes a full manifestation of the qualities of Spirit. Thus manifested, he is said to "destroy the works of the devil," for he destroys that which gives pre-eminence to Matter, and so re-establishes the kingdom of Spirit, that is, of God.

14. This, the interior part of the process of the Christ, is the essential part. Whether first or last, the spiritual being must be perfected. Without this interior perfection, nothing that is done in the body, or exterior man, is of any avail, save only in so far as it may minister to the essential end. The body is but an instrument, existing for the use and sake of the soul, and not for itself. And it is for the soul, and not for itself, that it must be perfected. Being but an instrument, the body cannot be an end. That which makes the body an end, ends with the body; and the end of the body is corruption. Whatever, is given to the body is taken from the Spirit. From this it will be seen what is the true value of Asceticism. Divested of its rational and spiritual motive, self-denial is worthless. Rather is it worse than worthless; it is materialistic and idolatrous; and, being in this aspect a churlish refusal of God's good gifts, it impugns the bounteousness of the Divine nature. The aim of all

(p. 220)

endeavour should be to bring the body into subjection to, and harmony with, the spirit, by refining and subliming it, and so heightening its powers as to make it sensitive and responsive to all the motions of the Spirit. This it can be only when, deriving its sustenance from substances the purest and most highly solarised, such as the vegetable kingdom alone affords, it suffers all its molecules to become polarised in one and the same direction, and this the direction of the central Will of the system, the "Lord God of Hosts" of the Microcosmic Man – Whose mystic name is Adonai.

15. The reason of this becomes obvious when it is understood that the Christs are, above all things, Media. But this not as ordinarily supposed, even by many who are devoted students of spiritual science. For, so far from suffering his own vivifying spirit to step aside in order that another may enter, the Christ is one who so develops, purifies, and in every way perfects his spirit, as to assimilate and make it one with the universal Spirit, the God of the Macrocosm, so that the God without and the God within may freely combine and mingle, making the universal the individual, the individual the universal. Thus inspired and filled with God, the soul kindles into flame; and God, identified with the man, speaks through him, making the man utter himself in the name of God.

16. It is in his office and character as Christ, and not in his own human individuality, that the Man Regenerate proclaims himself "the way, the truth, and the life," "the door," and the like. For, in being, as has been said, the connecting link between the creature and God, the Christ truly represents the door or gate through which all ascending souls must pass to union with the Divine; and save through which "no man cometh unto the Father." It is

(p. 221)

not, therefore, in virtue of an extraneous, obsessing spirit that the Christ can be termed a "Medium," but in virtue of the spirit itself of the man, become Divine by means of that inward purification by the life or "blood" of God, which is the secret of the Christs, and "doubled" by union with the parent Spirit of all – the "Father" of all spirits. This Spirit it is Whom the typical Regenerate Man of the Gospels is represented as calling the "Father." It is the Unmanifest God, of Whom the Christ is the full manifestation.

17. Hence he disavows for himself the authorship of his utterances, and says, "The words which I speak unto you I speak not of myself. The Father which dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." The Christ is, thus, a clear glass through which the divine glory shines. As it is written of Jesus, "And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Now, this "Only Begotten" is not mortal man at all, but He Who from all eternity has been in the bosom of the Father, namely, the Word or Logos, the Speaker, the Maker, the Manifestor, He Whose mystic name, as already said, is Adonai, and of whom Christ is the counterpart.

18. To attain to the perfection of the Christ – to polarise, that is, the Divine Spirit without measure, and to become a "Man of Power" and a Medium for the Highest – though open potentially to all – is, actually and in the present, open, if to any, but to few. And these are, necessarily, they only who, having passed through many transmigrations and advanced far on their way towards maturity, have sedulously turned their lives to the best account by means of the steadfast development of all the higher faculties and qualities of man; and who, while not declining the experiences of the body, have made the spirit, and

(p. 222)

not the body, their object and aim. Aspiring to the redemption in himself of each plane of man's fourfold nature, the candidate for Christhood submits himself to discipline and training the most severe, at once physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, and rejects as valueless or pernicious whatever would fail to minister to his one end, deeming no task too onerous, no sacrifice too painful, so that he be spiritually advanced thereby. And how varied soever the means, there is one rule to which he remains constant throughout, the rule, namely, of love. The Christ he seeks is the pathway to God; and to fail, in the least degree in respect of love, would be to put himself back in his journey. The sacrifices, therefore, in the incense of which his soul ascends, are those of his own lower nature to his own higher, and of himself for others. And life itself, it seems to him, would be too dearly bought, if purchased at the expense of another, however little or mean – unless, indeed, of a kind irremediably noxious, whose extinction would benefit the world. For – be it remembered – though always Saviour, the Christ is sometimes also Purifier, as were all his types, the Heroes – or Men Regenerate – of classic story. Enacting, thus, when necessary the executioner's part, he slays for no self-gratification, but "in the name of the Lord."

19. They who have trod this path of old have been many, and their deeds have formed the theme of mystical legends innumerable. Epitomising these we find that the chief qualifications are as follows. In order to gain "Power and the Resurrection," a man must, first of all, be a Hierarch. This is to say, he must have attained the magical age of thirty-three years, having been, in the mystic sense of the terms, immaculately conceived, and born of a king's daughter; baptised with water and with fire;

(p. 223)

tempted in the wilderness, crucified and buried, having borne five wounds on the cross. He must, moreover, have answered the riddle of the Sphinx. To attain the requisite age, he must have accomplished the Twelve Labours symbolised in those of Heracles and in the signs of the Zodiac; passed within the Twelve Gates of the Holy City of his own regenerate nature; overcome the five Senses; and obtained dominion over the Four Elements. Achieving all that is implied in these terms, "his warfare is accomplished," he is free of Matter, and will never again have a phenomenal body.

20. He who shall attain to this perfection must be one who is without fear and without desire, save towards God; who has courage to be absolutely poor and absolutely chaste; to whom it is all one whether he have money or whether he have none, whether he have house and lands or whether he be homeless, whether he have worldly reputation or whether he be an outcast. Thus is he voluntarily poor, and of the spirit of those of whom it is said that they inherit the kingdom of heaven. It is not necessary that he have nothing; it is necessary only that he care for nothing. Against attacks and influences of whatever kind, and coming from whatever quarter without his own soul's kingdom, he must impregnably steel himself. If infortune be his, he must make it his fortune; if poverty, he must make it his riches; if loss, his gain; if sickness, his health; if pain, his pleasure. Evil report must be to him good report; and he must be able to rejoice when all men speak ill of him. Even death itself he must account as life. Only when he has attained this equilibrium is he "Free." Meanwhile, he makes Abstinence, Prayer, Meditation, Watchfulness and Self-restraint to be the decades of his Rosary. And knowing that nothing is gained without toil,

(p. 224)

or won without suffering, he acts ever on the principle that to labour is to pray, to ask is to receive, to knock is to have the door open, and so strives accordingly.

21. To gain power over Death, there must be self-denial and governance. Such is the "Excellent Way," though it be the Via Dolorosa. He only can follow it who accounts the Resurrection worth the Passion, the Kingdom worth the Obedience, the Power worth the Suffering. And he, and he only, does not hesitate, whose time has come.

22. The last of the "Twelve Labours of Heracles" is the conquest of the three-headed dog, Cerberus. For by this is denoted the final victory over the body with its three (true) senses. When this is accomplished, the process of ordeal is no longer necessary. The Initiate is under a vow. The Hierarch is free. He has undergone all his ordeals, and has freed his will. For the object of the Trial and the Vow is Polarisation. When the Fixed is Volatilised, the Magian is Free. Before this, he is "subject."

23. The man who seeks to be a Hierarch must not dwell in cities. He may begin his initiation in a city, but he cannot complete it there. For he must not breathe dead and burnt air – air, that is, the vitality of which is quenched. He must be a wanderer, a dweller in the plain and the garden and the mountains. He must commune with the starry heavens, and maintain direct contact with the great electric currents of living air and with the unpaved grass and earth of the planet, going bare-foot and oft bathing his feet. It is in unfrequented places, in lands such as are mystically called the "East," where the abominations of "Babylon" are unknown, and where the magnetic chain between earth and heaven is strong, that the man who seeks Power, and who would achieve the "Great Work," must accomplish his initiation.


part III


24. In assigning to the Gospels their proper meaning, it is necessary to remember that, as mystical Scriptures, they deal, primarily, not with material things or persons, but with spiritual significations. Like the "books of Moses," therefore, and others, which, in being mystical, are, in the strictest sense, prophetical, the Gospels are addressed, not to the outer sense and reason, but to the soul. And, being thus, their object is, not to give an historical account of the physical life of any man whatever, but to exhibit the spiritual possibilities of humanity at large, as illustrated in a particular and typical example. The design is, thus, that which is dictated by the nature itself of Religion. For Religion is not in its nature historical and dependent upon actual, sensible events, but consists in processes, such as Faith and Redemption, which, being interior to all men, subsist irrespectively of what any particular man has at any time suffered or done. That alone which is of importance, is what God has revealed. And therefore it is that the narratives concerning Jesus are rather parables founded on a collection of histories, than any one actual history, and have a spiritual import capable of universal application. And it is with this spiritual import, and not with physical facts, that the Gospels are concerned.

25. Such were the principles which, long before the Christian era, and under divine control, had led the Mystics of Egypt, Persia, and India, to select Osiris, Mithras, and Buddha as names or persons representative of the Man Regenerate and constituting a full manifestation of the qualities of Spirit. And it was for the same purpose and under the same impulsion that the Mystics of the West, who had their head-quarters at Alexandria, selected Jesus,

(p. 226)

using him as a type whereby to exhibit the history of all souls which attain to perfection; employing physical occurrences as symbols, and relating them as parables, to interpret which literally would be to falsify their intended import. Their method was, thus, to universalise that which was particular, and to spiritualise that which was material; and, writing, as they did, with full knowledge of previous mystical descriptions of the Man Regenerate, his interior history and his relations to the world – notable among which descriptions was the fifty-third chapter of the miscellaneous fragmentary prophetic utterances collected together under the typical name of Isaiahthey would have had no difficulty in presenting a character consistent with the general anticipation of those who were cognisant of the meaning of the term "Christ," even without an actual example.

26. The failure to interpret the mystical Scriptures by the mystical rule, was due to the loss, by the Church, of the mystical faculty, or inner, spiritual vision, through which they were written. Passing under a domination exclusively sacerdotal and traditional, and losing thereby the intuition of things spiritual, the Church fell an easy prey to that which is the besetting sin of priesthoods – Idolatry; and in place of the simple, true, reasonable Gospel, to illustrate which the history of Jesus had been expressly designed, fabricated the stupendous and irrational superstition which has usurped his name. Converted by the exaltation of the Letter and the symbol in place of the Spirit and the signification, into an idolatry every whit as gross as any that preceded it, Christianity has failed to redeem the world. Christianity has failed, that is, not because it was false, but because it has been falsified. And the falsification, generally, has consisted in removing the character described under the name of Jesus, from its true function

(p. 227)

as the portrait of that of which every man has in him the potentiality, and referring it exclusively to an imaginary order of being between whom and man could be no possible relation, even were such a being himself possible. Instead of recognising the Gospels as a written hieroglyph, setting forth, under terms derived from natural objects and persons, processes which are purely spiritual and impersonal, the Churches have – one and all – fallen into that lowest mode of fetish-worship, which consists on the adoration of a mere symbol, entirely irrespective of its true import. To the complaint that will inevitably be made, against this exposition of the real nature of the Gospel history – that it has "taken away the Lord," – the reply is no less satisfactory than obvious. For he has been taken away only from the place wherein so long the Church has kept him, that is – the sepulchre. There, indeed, it is, with the dead – bound about with cerements, a figure altogether of the past – that Christians have laid their Christ. But at length the "stone" of Superstition has been lifted and rolled away by the hand of the Angel of Knowledge, and the grave it concealed is discovered to be empty. No longer need the soul seek her living Master among the dead. Christ is risen – risen into the heaven of a living Ideal, whence he can again descend into the hearts of all who desire him, none the less real and puissant, because a universal principle, and not merely an historical personage; none the less mighty to save because, instead of being a single Man Regenerate, he is every Man Regenerate, ten thousand times ten thousand – the "Son of Man" himself.

27. The name Jesus, or Liberator, belongs not to the man physical – of his name and parentage the Gospels take no note – but to the man spiritual, and is an initiation name denoting re-birth into a spiritual life. In this relation the man physical has no title to the name of Liberator, since the limitations from which man requires to be delivered can be overcome only by that which transcends the physical. Wherefore the name Jesus belongs to that in and by which liberation occurs, namely, the man's own regenerated selfhood; and whereas it is in and by means of this selfhood that he has emerged from a condition of spiritual death to one of spiritual life, it signifies to him a resurrection from the dead. Jesus is thus the name, not of one but of many, not of a person, but of an Order, the Order of regenerated Selfhoods, each of which is "Christ Jesus" in that it is the Saviour, through "Christ," of him in whom it is realised, though not all of these are Christs in the sense of being manifestations of Christ to the world. Paul alone of the Apostles clearly taught the doctrine of the subjective nature of the saving agency. His expression, "Christ in you the hope of glory," is inapplicable to any physical or extraneous personality. As a kabbalist and mystic, Paul was an evolutionist, and knew that the seed of every man's regeneration is within. Hence his exaltation of Christ as an interior principle, and his ability to recognise that method of the mystical Scriptures which consists in regarding man as a distinct personality in each successive stage of his unfoldment, and assigning to him a corresponding name. Adam, David, Jesus, are thus respectively the man "natural," being simply generate; the man "under grace," or partially regenerate, and therefore liable to serious lapses; and the man fully regenerate, and incapable of sin. Hence Paul's declaration that in the Adam stage of our development we all die, not having yet realised our saving principle; but in the Christ stage we all have eternal life. It was not, however, so much Paul's mysticism, as the sacerdotal guise in which he

(p. 229)

presented it, that brought him into conflict with the disciples.

28. Although the Gospels uniformly describe the miracles wrought by the Man Regenerate in terms derived from the physical plane, He, as master of the spirits of all the elements, works miracles on all planes. Only those, however, which are referable to the spiritual plane have significance and value for the Soul. Hence for it the raising from the dead – as of Lazarus – implies resurrection from the condition of spiritual deadness; the giving of sight implies the opening of the spiritual vision; and the feeding of the hungry multitude implies the satisfaction of man's cravings for spiritual nourishment. The terms descriptive of the miracle last named afford one of the numerous indications of the influence of Greek ideas in the composition of the Gospels. For the "loaves" represent the doctrine of the lesser Mysteries whose "grain" is of the Earth, the kingdom of Demeter and of the outer. And the "fishes" – which are given after the loaves – imply the greater Mysteries, those of Aphrodite – fishes symbolising the element of the "Sea-born" Queen of Love, whose dominion is the inner kingdom of the Soul. (1) Similarly the conversion of water into wine implies the mysteries of lacchos, the mystic name of the planet-God. The "beginning of miracles" for the Man Regenerate is always the transmutation of the "Water" of his own Soul into the "Wine" of the Divine Spirit. To these mysteries – which also were Egyptian, and there is reason to believe were enacted in the "king's and queen's chambers" of the Great Pyramid – belong also the "Acts" or "Crowns" which constitute for the Man Regenerate the "Week" of his New Creation, each being a "day" in that week. They are Baptism –

(p. 230)

called also Betrothal in view of the subsequent "Marriage": Temptation, or Trial: Passion: Crucifixion, or Death: Burial: Resurrection; and Ascension, the Sabbath, or Nirvâna, of perfection and rest, when – the "veil of the Temple" of the external self-hood having already been "rent from the top to the bottom" – he enters into the "Holy of Holies" of his now divine nature. All these Acts or Crowns – irrespective of any correspondence on the physical plane – denote indispensable processes enacted in the interior experiences of all who attain to full regeneration. From which it follows that the Gospel narrative, while related – in Scripture fashion – as of an actual particular person, and in terms derived from the physical plane – is a mystical history only of any person, and implies the spiritual possibilities of all persons. And hence, while using terms implying, or derived from, actual times, places, persons and events, it does not really refer to these or make pretence to historical precision, its function and purpose being, not to relate physical facts, which can have no relation to the soul, but to exhibit and illustrate processes and principles which are purely spiritual. Thus regarded, the Gospels – even though having in view a special personality as their model – constitute a parable rather than a history.

29. There is, moreover, a yet further explanation of the indifference to identity of detail by which everywhere this narrative is characterised. Being four in number, and disposed in order corresponding to that of the four divisions of man's nature, the Gospels have for standpoint, and bear relation to, different planes of the kosmos. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew, which represents the lower and physical plane, appeals more particularly on behalf of the character ascribed to Jesus of Nazareth as fulfilling the promises of the Messiah of the Old Testament, and is pervaded by one

(p. 231)

principle, the fulfilment in him at once of the Law and of the prophecies. The Gospel of Mark, is adapted to the plane next above this, namely, the rational; its appeal on behalf of the divinity of the mission of Jesus being founded on the nature of his doctrine and works. The Gospel of Luke represents the further ascent to the plane of the soul and the intuition. Hence it occupies itself chiefly with accounts of the spiritual parentage of the Man Regenerate – setting forth under a parabolic narrative his genesis from the operation of God in a pure soul. To the same end, this Gospel gives prominence to the familiar conversations rather than to the formal teaching of its Subject, since it is in these that the affectional nature of a man is best manifested. In the fourth Gospel the scene changes to a sphere transcending all the others, being in the highest degree interior, mystic, spiritual. This Gospel, therefore, corresponds to the Nucleolus, or Divine Spirit, of the microcosmic entity, and exhibits the Regenerate Man as having surmounted all the elements exterior and inferior of his system, and won his way to the inmost recess of his own celestial kingdom, where, arrived at his centre and source, he and his Father are One; and he knows positively that God is Love, since it is by Love that he himself has found and become God. Such being the controlling idea of this Gospel, its composition is appropriately assigned to that "Beloved Disciple" whose very name denotes the feminine and love principle of existence. And to "John," surnamed "the Divine" in respect of the character thus ascribed to his ministry, is unanimously assigned the emblem of the Eagle, as representing the highest element in the human kingdom. With regard to the distribution of the other three symbols, it is obvious – when once the intention of each division of the Christian evangel is understood –

(p. 232)

that Matthew, who corresponds to the earth or body, is rightly represented by the Ox; Mark, the minister of the astral or fire, by the Lion; and Luke, whose pen is chiefly occupied with the relation of Christ to the Soul, by an Angel with the face of a man to denote the sea-god Poseidon, the "father of Souls." The Gospels are thus dedicated, each to one of the elemental spirits, Demeter, Hephaistos, Poseidon, and Pallas. Owing, however, to the loss by the Church of the doctrine which determines this distribution, much confusion and difference of opinion exist among ecclesiastical authorities with regard to the correct assignment of the elemental emblems. All the Fathers are agreed in giving the Eagle to the Fourth Gospeller, and but little doubt exists respecting the claim of Mark to the Lion; but the Ox and Angel have been generally misplaced in order.


part IV


30. Having defined the nature of the Man Regenerate and the relations represented in the Gospels as subsisting between him and the soul personified as the Virgin Mary, it remains still further to "declare his generation" by exhibiting the function fulfilled towards these two by the Mind, which is personified as Joseph, the Spouse of the Virgin and foster father of her Son. This is not the first appearance of Joseph in the Biblical presentation of the drama of the Soul. On the previous occasion he was in the vigour of youth, yet sufficiently matured intellectually and morally to be found worthy the highest posts of responsibility, and able to withstand the seductive sophistries of the materialistic philosophy – typified by the wife of Potiphar – of which "Egypt," the symbol of the lower nature, is always the seat. As also on his later appearance, he was emphatically a

(p. 233)

"just man," so that – it is written – the king set him over all the land and bid every one go to him and do all that he should direct. And under his guidance, Israel – who had followed him into Egypt, and to serve whom while there was his divinely appointed function – prospered exceedingly. But losing him, they sank into extreme misery, being enslaved and evil entreated of the Egyptians. (1) On his reappearance in the Gospels, (2) Joseph is still the "son of Jacob" and a "just man"; but of advanced maturity, yet possessed of energy and wisdom in measure to qualify him for the most difficult and delicate of tasks, that of guarding and guiding a pure and tender soul to the realisation of its highest aspirations, the production in its offspring of a character Divinely perfect. His task corresponded, indeed, to that assigned to the former Joseph, as the protector of the chosen of God; but the mode was changed, the level was higher, and the stage more advanced. The legend of the selection of Joseph to be the Spouse of the Virgin and foster father of her predicted Son, shows the quality of mind deemed requisite for such offices. For in representing his rod alone of those belonging to the candidates as blossoming, and the Holy Spirit as a dove settling upon it, the legend implies a mind – of which and its knowledges the rod is a symbol – competent for the perception of divine things and the suggestion of divine acts, and controlled, therefore, by the Divine Will. Only under the protection and governance of a mind thus conditioned can the soul become mother of man regenerate – mother, that is, of God in man. And in order to show the supreme importance attached by it to the function of the Mind in this relation,

(p. 234)

the Catholic Church speaks of St. Joseph as having "received all power necessary for the salvation of souls"; styles him an "Angel on earth," "King of Saints and Angels," and "third person of the earthly Trinity"; and declares that "after the dignity of Mother of God comes that of the foster father of God"; "after Mary comes Joseph"; – expressions intelligible and appropriate as applied to the mind as a factor in the higher evolution of man; his redemption, that is, from his lower elements; but not as applied to a person, be he whom he may. Nevertheless, the mind is only the putative, not the actual, father of the man regenerate. His exclusive parents are the Soul and Spirit, variously designated "Water and the Spirit," "Virgin Mary and the Holy Ghost." Being an entity purely spiritual, his parentage also is purely spiritual, and the mind has no more part in his generation than the body. Wherefore Joseph, who is not the builder of the house, but its fitter and furnisher, is not mason but carpenter.

31. It is not only in virtue of his function of protector from Herod – who as the genius of the world's materialistic régime always is the destroyer of innocence – that Joseph takes the young child and his mother and flees into Egypt, but in virtue also of his function as educator. For in denoting the world and the body, Egypt denotes the lessons to be derived from both of these, the learning of which is indispensable to the soul's development. "There is Corn in Egypt. Go thou down into her, O my soul, with joy," says the man seeking regeneration, on every fresh return into earthly conditions; "For in the kingdom of the Body thou shalt eat the bread of thine Initiation." He returns as an eager scholar to school. The ladder of evolution must be climbed painfully and with labour from the lowest step

(p. 235)

again and again, for each fresh branch of experience that is necessary for the soul's full development. For "there is no knowledge but by labour; no intuition but by experience." Heavenly things are unintelligible until earthly things have been mastered. Only when the aspirant is so firmly grounded and so far advanced as to have nothing more to fear from "Herod," who thus is virtually dead for him, can he return with safety to the land of Israel. And even there the mind must still be his guard and guide until by the attainment of his spiritual majority he passes into higher keeping. The parallel between the two Josephs is maintained to the last. Both are leaders of the chosen family into Egypt and their protectors while there. And of each the withdrawal is followed by danger and disaster. There is a profound significance in the date assigned for the death of the second Joseph. According to Christian tradition he remains with the Virgin and her Son, steadfastly exercising his functions towards them, until the latter is twenty-nine years of age. The age of full and final perfection for the man regenerate is – as already explained (par. 19) – the age of thirty-three, mystically computed, this implying his accomplishment of the thirty-three steps of initiation of which the last and highest is his "ascension" by transmutation, to final divine union. But the achievement of thirty steps fits him for his mission, by lifting him from the sphere wherein the mind is still necessary to him – the sphere of acquisition, reflection, and deliberation – to that wherein he is independent of processes of ratiocination – the sphere of direct perception and knowledge, inasmuch as he is, thenceforth under a control exclusively divine, being “driven of the Spirit." At this juncture, therefore – just as Jesus "begins to be about thirty years of age," – Joseph dies, leaving him to enter upon the career which

(p. 236)

ends in his crucifixion, unimpeded by the prudential considerations which it is the province of the mind to suggest. In accounting Joseph the patron of a happy death, the Church implies the blissful satisfaction of a mind conscious of having made the interests of the Soul and her divine life, its supreme object.

32. Besides the state wherein the soul as Eve and immergent into materiality becomes the mother of man degenerate, and that wherein as Virgin Mary and exempt from materiality she becomes the mother of man regenerate, there is a third and intermediate state, an exposition of which is necessary to the full comprehension of the Gospels. This is the state of the soul during the period of her progress from Eve to Virgin Mary, while undergoing the experiences indispensable to such evolution. For the soul, no less than the man re-born of her, must be "perfected through suffering," – the suffering involved in experiences profoundly felt and wisely applied. Hence her appellation "Sea of Bitterness." Only when she has exchanged the innocence that comes of ignorance, for the impeccability that comes of full knowledge, is she no longer in danger of relapse. Thenceforth there is for her son "no more sea."

Thus the very "sin" involved in the acquisition of experiences may itself be a means of redemption. Of these experiences the agent is always matter, this being at once the cause and the consequence of limitation of spirit. And whereas the soul's only true affinity and legitimate affection is Spirit – her own nature being spiritual – her intercourse with matter is mystically accounted an adultery, and she herself, during its continuance, is styled a "harlot." She may, nevertheless, in this her "fallen" state, retain and cherish the sense of her true nature and destiny, and

(p. 237)

eagerly anticipate the time when, freed from her association with materiality, and purged of her defilement, she will emerge white and spotless to claim her proper rank. That through which she will do this, will always be Love – her love for the ideal she has kept alive, though latent, in her heart, even while descending to so low an actual. And for the sake of this Love, her sins – how many and grievous soever they may have been – will be forgiven her, and she herself in her turn will be dearly loved of Him – the Man Regenerate – since he will recognise in her past the indispensable prelude to his own present. And thus will she become ministrant to him of her substance – he unhesitatingly accepting, notwithstanding the mode of its acquisition; while the very passionateness of her nature, which has led to her past self-abandonment, serves but to endear her to him the more as betokening her capacity for self-surrender in the opposite direction. And only by him are her acts of devotion towards him not deemed extravagant, because he, and he alone, comprehends their source and significance. The name given in the Gospels to the representative of the Soul in this state is Mary Magdalen, whom tradition identifies with Mary of Bethany. In the Old Testament, where she aids Israel to enter the promised land, she is termed Rahab – a name which, signifying large or extended, may have been given her to imply that the soul which through weakness or fear shrinks from experiences; remains stunted and dwarfed, and makes but a poor saving after all.

33. Herein lies the secret of the leniency and even tenderness exhibited by the typical Man Regenerate towards women of this class. Himself the representative of a perfection won through experience, he knows that the

(p. 238)

soul, of which Woman is the type, must have experiences. Himself the child of the soul, he heeds only the state of the soul, and views every act from the standpoint of the soul, caring only for the spirit in which it is performed. The conduct of Jesus in the case of the woman brought before him, when he reserved all his reprobation for her accusers, was but the reduction to practice of his denunciations of the chief priests and elders, "Verily, I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." To ingrained impurity and hardness of heart, and to these alone, he is obdurate. Let a soul but be on the upward path, no matter at how low a point, and for Him it takes rank with the highest. He has already marked it for his own; it is one of his Elect.

34. They are, in their primary sense, various states of the soul which the Apocalypse describes under the guise of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. And it is the soul hopelessly debased and reprobate which, under terms drawn from the Rome of the period, is denounced as the paramour of the "kings of the earth" – that is man's ruling propensities – and doomed to destruction together with that "Great City" which rests upon the "seven deadly sins" as Rome upon seven hills, the world's materialistic system.

35. Not only is the process of the soul's growth, education, and purification so slow and gradual as to require for its accomplishment the experiences of numerous earth-lives, it is also liable to be so unequal that, while far advanced in certain respects, in others it may be as far in arrears. And, meanwhile, these inequalities may find expression in anomalies and inconsistencies of character in the highest degree perplexing and distressing, combining in one and the same

(p. 239)

personality the opposite extremes of sage and simpleton, saint and sinner, a high moral character with dull intellectual faculties, or keen intellectual faculties with a total absence of moral perception; or, again, a high moral and intellectual nature with complete deprivation of spiritual perception. Thus irregularly developed, the same soul may subsist at once in all the stages enumerated, being simultaneously Eve, Magdalen, and Blessed Virgin, and manifesting in turn the characteristics of each. Only when she is all Virgin Mary can she become mother of a man wholly regenerate. As sings the mystic poet already quoted –


"I must become Queen Mary, and birth to God must give, If I in blessedness for evermore would live." (1)


36. We have yet to identify the persons represented in the Gospels as fulfilling at the Nativity the important function of recognition. These are the Magi,.or "Wise men from the East," who hastened to render their homage and their offerings at the cradle of the Divine Infant. According to Catholic tradition, they were three in number, and were royal personages, a description which seems, to identify them with the "kings of the East" of the Apocalyptic visions, whose habitat lies beyond the "great river Euphrates," and the way for whose coming requires to be specially prepared by the making of a ford across that river. Now the Euphrates is one of the "four rivers" of Genesis, already explained (Lecture VI., 6) as denoting the four constituent principles of the human kosmos. It is the Will; in man unfallen, the Divine Will; in man fallen, the human will. The East is the mystical term for the source of heavenly light "The glory of God came from the way

(p. 240)

of the East," says Ezekiel. Wherefore the "Kings of the East" are they who hold sway in a region lying beyond and above the "river" of the human Will, and only when that river is "dried up" can they approach man as heralds of the Divine Glory. Their function it is to announce the Epiphany of the Divine Life, to be the Sponsors for the Christ, the Godfathers of the heavenly Babe. To them it is appointed to discern him from afar off, and to hasten to affirm and declare him while yet in his cradle. Their offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh denote the recognition of the indwelling divinity by the prophetic, priestly, and regal attributes of man. Representing, respectively, the spirit, the soul, and the mind, they are symbolised as an angel, a queen, and a king; and they are, actually, Right Aspiration, Right Perception, and Right Judgment. The first implies enthusiasm for the glory of God and the advancement of souls, unalloyed by any selfish end. The second implies a vision for things spiritual, undimmed and undistorted by intrusion of elements material or astral. And the third implies the ability to "compare like with like and preserve the affinity of similars," so that things spiritual may not be confounded with things physical, but "to God shall be rendered the things of God, and to Caesar the things of Caesar."

37. But wherefore is it to a Cave and a Stable that the Star of the Understanding directs the steps of the Wise Men when seeking the birthplace of the Christ? Because, "In the elements of the Body is he imprisoned, lying asleep in the caves of lacchos, in the crib of the Oxen of Demeter." (1) Because, that is, in constituting the culmination of the returning and ascending stream of emanation,

(p. 241)

Christ is attained by evolution from the lowest: – "From the dust of the ground to the throne of the Most High."

38. An important factor in the education of the Man Regenerate is that described under the figure of John the Baptist. For he, too, is interior and mystic, inasmuch as he represents that all-compelling summons of the conscience to repentance, renunciation, and purification, which is the indispensable precursor of success in the quest after inward perfection.

39. The history of the Virgin Mary and her functions in regard to her Son, as presented alike in the Gospels and in Catholic tradition and ritual, are in every particular those of the soul to whom it is given to be "Mother of God" in man. Her acts and graces, as well as his life and passion, belong to the experience of every redeemed man. As the Christ in him delivers him from the curse of Adam, so the Virgin Mary in him delivers him from the curse of Eve, and secures the fulfilment of the promise of the conquest over the serpent of Matter. And, whereas, as sinner, he has seen enacted in his own interior experience the drama of the Fall; so, as saint, he enacts the mysteries represented in the Rosary of the Virgin, his soul passing in turn through every stage of her joys, her sorrows, and her glories. Wherefore the part assigned to Mary in the Christian Evangel is the part borne by the soul in all mystical experience. That which first beguiles and leads astray the soul is the attraction of the illusory world of mere phenomena, which is aptly represented under the figure of the Serpent with glittering coils, insinuating mien, and eyes full of fascination. Yielding to this attraction, through directing her gaze outwards and downwards instead of

(p. 242)

inwards and upwards, the soul – as Eve – has abandoned celestial realities for mundane shadows, and entangled in her fall the mind, or Adam. Thus mind and soul fall together and lose the power of desiring and apprehending the divine things which alone make for life, and, so, become cast out of divine conditions, and conscious only of material environments and liable to material limitations. This substitution of the illusory for the real, of the material for the spiritual, of the phenomenal for the substantial, constitutes the whole sin and loss of the Fall. Redemption consists in the recovery of the power once more to apprehend, to love, and to grasp the real. "Original sin," from which Mary is exempt, is precisely the condition of blindness which – owing to the soul's immergence in materiality – hinders the perception of divine things. By no possibility can the Divine Life be generated in any soul afflicted with this blindness. Christ cannot be conceived save of a soul immaculate and virgin as to matter, and meet to become the spouse of the Divine Spirit. Therefore, as the soul as Eve gives consent to the annunciation of the Serpent, so, as Mary, become virgin, she gives consent to the annunciation of the Angel, and understands the mystery of the Motherhood of the man regenerate. She has no acts of her own, all the acts of her Son are hers also. She participates in his nativity, in his manifestation, in his passion, in his resurrection, in his ascension, in his pentecostal gift. He himself is her gift to the world. But it is always he who operates; she who asks, acquiesces, consents, responds. Through her he outflows into the mind and external man, and, so, into life and conduct. As Augustine says, "All graces pass to us through the hands of Mary." For the purified soul is the mediatrix, as she is the genetrix, of the Divine presence.

(p. 243)

40. The Church speaks of the Ascension of Christ, and of the Assumption of Mary. Christ being deific in nature and of heavenly origin, ascends by his own power and will. But the soul is "assumed," or drawn up by the power and will of her Son. Of herself she is nothing; he is her all in all. Where he abides, thither must she be uplifted, by force of the divine union which makes her one with him. Henceforth she abides in the real, and has the illusions, of sense for evermore under foot. It is not of herself that Mary becomes Mother of God in man. The narrative of the Incarnation implies a conjunction of human – though not physical – and Divine potencies. Mary receives her infant by an act of celestial energy overshadowing and vitalising her with the Divine life. This is because the pure soul is as a lens to the Divine rays, polarising them and kindling fire therefrom. Having this attitude towards God, she has kindled in her that holy flame which becomes the light that enlightens the world.

41. The final state of the soul of the Man Regenerate is described in the Apocalypse under the figure of a marriage, wherein the contracting parties are the soul herself and the now Divine Spirit of the man, which is called the Lamb. The description of this Lamb as "slain before the foundation of the world," denotes the original and eternal act of self-immolation – typified in the Eucharist – whereby Deity descends into conditions and distributes of Itself to be the life and substance of the Universe, alike for its creation, its sustentation, and its redemption. In the crowning act of this stupendous drama – the act which mystically is called the "Consummation of the Marriage "of the Son of God" – the Spirit and Bride, πνεǔμα and νύμφη, as King and Queen of the perfected individuality, are indissolubly united;

(p. 244)

and the human is taken up into the Divine, having received the "Gift of God," which is life eternal. Not merely a gift from God, although God is the giver; but a gift of God's own substantial Self, the infinite and eternal I AM being individualised in him. As already shown, the initial and final stages of man's spiritual evolution are indicated by Paul when, read with the mystic sense, and translated into the eternal now, he says, "He is at first Adam, a living soul" – a soul having derived life; "He is at last Christ, a life-giving Spirit," or spirit that is itself Divine life. "In the former all die. In the latter all are made to live." From this it appears that the Bible sets forth the higher evolution – that is, the redemption, called also the new creation – of man, as a dual process occurring simultaneously in his two constituents, himself and his soul; and whereas for the former and masculine moiety the first and last terms are, respectively, Adam and Christ; for the latter and feminine moiety they are Eve and Mary, called also the Bride.


part V


42. It was no part of the design of the Gospels to represent either the course of a man perfect from the first, or the whole course from the first of the man made perfect. Had they been designed to represent the former, they had contained no account of a Crucifixion. For, of the man perfect, no crucifixion, in the Mystical sense, is possible, since he has no lower self or perverse will, or any weakness, to be overcome or renounced, the anima divina in him having become all in all. That, therefore, which the Gospels exhibit, is a process consisting of the several degrees of regeneration, on the attainment of the last of which only does the man become "perfect." But of these successive degrees not all are indicated. For the Gospels deal, not with one whose nature is, at first, wholly unregenerate, but with one who is already, in virtue of the use made of his previous earth-lives, so far advanced as to be within reach, in a single further incarnation, of full regeneration.

43. For, owing to the complex and manifold nature of existence, every sphere or plane of man's being requires for itself a redemptive process; and, for each, this process consists of three degrees. Of these the first three relate to the Body, the second three to the Mind, the third three to the Heart, and the fourth three to the Spirit. There are thus, in all, twelve Degrees or "Houses" of the Perfect Man or Microcosm, as there are twelve Zodiacal Signs or Mansions of the Sun in his course through the heavens of the Macrocosm. And the Gospels set forth mainly the six of the Heart and Spirit. The crown both of the twelve degrees and of the six acts – that which constitutes alike the "Sabbath" of the Hebrews, the "Nirvana" of the Buddhists, and the "Transmutation" of the Alchemists – is the "Divine Marriage." Of this, accordingly, types and parables recur continually in all Hermetic Scriptures. The last book of the Bible, the Apocalypse of John, fitly closes with a descriptive allegory of it. In this allegory the "Bride" herself is described as Salem, the Peace, or Rest, of God, a "city lying four-square," having Twelve Foundations and Four Aspects, all equal to each other, and upon every Aspect Three Gates. This heavenly Salem is, thus, the perfected Microcosm in whom is seen the At-one-ment of all the four planes, the physical, the intellectual, the moral, and the spiritual; the "Gates" of each side, or plane, symbolising the three degrees of Regeneration appertaining to each. And these twelve gates are described as being each of a single pearl, because,

(p. 246)

like pearls, the excellences denoted by them are attainable only through skill and courage, and devotion even to the death, and require of those who would attain them the divestment of every earthly encumbrance.

44. The idea of this heavenly Salem is expressed also in the Tabernacle of Moses. For this, too, was fourfold. The Outer Court, which was open, denoted the Body or Man physical and visible; the covered Tent, or Holy place, denoted the Man intellectual and invisible; and the Holy of Holies within the veil, denoted the Heart or Soul, itself the shrine of the Spirit of the man, and of the divine Glory, which, in their turn, were typified by the Ark and Shekinah. And in each of the four Depositaries


[Figure 2: The Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

1: Open Court. 2: Holy Place – The Tent or Covered House. 3: Holy of Holies. A: Altar of Oblations. B: Censer. C: Laver. D: Altar of Incense. E: Golden Candlestick. F: Table of Shewbread. G: Veil dividing in two parts the Tent or Covered House. H: Ark of the Covenant containing the Rod, the Host, and the Law.]



(p. 247)

were three utensils illustrative of the regenerative degrees belonging to each division. The Marriage Supper, then, can be celebrated in the kingdom of the Father only, when all the "Twelve Apostles," or elements corresponding to the twelve degrees, have been brought into perfect harmony and at-one-ment, and no defective element any longer exists among them. In the central place at this divine feast is the Thirteenth Personage, the Master or Adonai of the system, the founder and president of the banquet. He it is who in later times found a representative in the pure and heaven-born Arthur – Ar-Thor – the "Bright Lord" of the Round Table. For, as already stated, the number of the Microcosm is thirteen, the thirteenth being the occupant of the interior and fourth place, which, thus, he personifies, constituting the fourth and completing element, the Nucleolus of the whole cell or "Round Table." "And of this Fourth the form is as the Son of God." Thus the number thirteen, which on the earthly plane, and before the "Crucifixion," is, through the treachery of "Judas," the symbol of imperfection and ill-fortune, becomes, in the "Kingdom of the Father," the symbol of perfection. As the number of the lunar months, it is the symbol also of the Woman, and denotes the Soul and her reflection of God – the solar number twelve being that of the Spirit. The two numbers in combination form the perfect year of that dual humanity which alone is made in the image of God – the true "Christian Year," wherein the two – the inner and the outer, Spirit and Matter – are as one. Thirteen then represents that full union of man with God wherein Christ becomes Christ.

45. In representing the Regenerate Man as descended through his parents from the house of David and the tribe

(p. 248)

of Levi, the Gospels imply that man, when regenerate, is always possessed of the intuition of the true prophet, and the purity of the true priest, for whom "David" and "Levi" are the mystical synonyms. Thus the spiritual blood of prophet, priest, and king mingles in the veins of the Messiah and Christ, whose lineage is the spiritual lineage of every man regenerate, and attainable by all men.

46. For, as cannot be too clearly and forcibly stated, between the man who becomes a Christ, and other men, there is no difference whatever of kind. The difference is alone of condition and degree, and consists in difference of unfoldment of the spiritual nature possessed by all in virtue of their common derivation. "All things," as has repeatedly been said, "are made of the divine Substance." And Humanity represents a stream which, taking its rise in the outermost and lowest mode of differentiation of that Substance, flows inwards and upwards to the highest, which is God. And the point at which it reaches the celestial, and empties itself into Deity, is "Christ." Any doctrine other than this – any doctrine which makes the Christ of a different and non-human nature – is anti-christian and sub-human. And, of such doctrine the direct effect is to cut off man altogether from access to God, and God from access to man.

47. Such a doctrine is that which, representing the Messiah as an incarnated God or Angel who, by the voluntary sacrifice of himself, saves mankind from the penalty due for their sins, has distorted and obscured the true doctrine of atonement and redemption into something alike derogatory to God and pernicious to man.

That from which man requires to be redeemed, is not the penalty of sin, but the liability to sin. It is the sin, and not the suffering, which is his bane. The suffering is but the remedial agent. And from the liability to sin, and consequently

(p. 249)

to suffering, he can be redeemed only by being lifted into a condition in which sin is impossible to him. And no angel or third person, but only the man himself, co-operating with the God within him, can accomplish this. Man is, himself, the laboratory wherein God, as Spirit, works to save him, by re-creating him in God's image. But – as always happens under a control exclusively sacerdotal – religion has been presented as a way of escape, not from sin, but from punishment. With redemption degraded to this unworthy and mischievous end, the world has, as was inevitable, gone on sinning more and more, and, by the ever-increasing grossness of its life and thought, sinking itself deeper and deeper into Matter, violating persistently, on every plane of existence, the divine law of existence, until it has lost the very idea of Humanity, and – wholly unregenerate in Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit – has reached the lowest depth of degradation compatible with existence. Thus, of modern society – as of Israel when reduced, through its own wickedness and folly, to the like evil plight – it may be said that "from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it: but, wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores." And even though "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint" at the view of its own hopeless theory of existence, it seeks to "revolt more and more" by becoming increasingly pronounced in its denial of Being as a divine Reality, and so does its utmost to "bring upon itself swift destruction." Such, to eyes in any degree percipient, is the spectacle presented by the world in this "Year of Grace," 1881.

48. As it was no part of the design of the Gospels to represent the whole course of the Man Regenerate, so neither was it a part of that design to provide, in respect

(p. 250)

of religious life and doctrine, a system whole and complete independently of any which had preceded it. Having a special relation to the Heart and Spirit of the Man, and thereby to the nucleus of the cell and the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle, Christianity, in its original conception, relegated the regeneration of the Mind and Body – the covered House and open Court of the Tabernacle, or exterior dualism of the Microcosm – to systems already existent and widely known and practised. These systems were two in number, or rather were as two modes or expressions of the one system, the establishment of which constituted the "Message" which preceded Christianity by the cyclical period of six hundred years. This was the Message of which the "Angels" were represented in the Buddha Gautama and Pythagoras. Of these two nearly contemporary prophets and redeemers, the system was, both in doctrine and in practice, essentially one and the same. And their relation to the system of Jesus, as its necessary pioneers and forerunners, finds recognition in the Gospels under the allegory of the Transfiguration. For the forms beheld in this – of Moses and Elias – are the Hebrew correspondences of Buddha and Pythagoras. And they are described as beheld by the three Apostles in whom respectively are typified the functions severally fulfilled by Pythagoras, Buddha, and Jesus; namely, Works, Understanding, and Love, or Body, Mind, and Heart, And by their association on the Mount is denoted the junction of all three elements, and the completion of the whole system comprising them, in Jesus as the representative of the Heart or Innermost, and as in a special sense the "beloved Son of God."

49. Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and

(p. 251)

under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier. Buddha and Jesus are, therefore, necessary the one to the other; and in the whole system thus completed, Buddha is the Mind, and Jesus is the Heart; Buddha is the general, Jesus is the particular; Buddha is the brother of the universe, Jesus is the brother of men; Buddha is Philosophy, Jesus is Religion; Buddha is the Circumference, Jesus is the Within; Buddha is the System, Jesus is the Point of Radiation; Buddha is the Manifestation, Jesus is the Spirit; in a word, Buddha is the "Man," Jesus is the "Woman." But for Buddha, Jesus could not have been, nor would he have sufficed the whole man; for the man must have the Mind illuminated before the Affections can be kindled. Nor would Buddha have been complete without Jesus. Buddha completed the regeneration of the Mind; and by his doctrine and practice men are prepared for the grace which comes by Jesus. Wherefore no man can be, properly, Christian, who is not also, and first, Buddhist. Thus the two religions constitute, respectively, the exterior and interior of the same Gospel, the foundation being in Buddhism – the term including Pythagoreanism – and the illumination in Christianity. And as without Christianity Buddhism is incomplete, so without Buddhism Christianity is unintelligible, The Regenerate Man of the Gospels stands upon the foundation represented by Buddha, the earlier stages, that is, of the same process of regeneration, so that without these he would be impossible. Hence the significance, already explained, of the Baptist's part.

(p. 252)

50. The term Buddha, moreover, signifies the Word. And the Buddha and the Christ represent, though on different planes, the same divine Logos or Reason, and are joint expressions of the "Message" which, in preceding cycles, had been preached by "Zoroaster" – the Sun-star – as well as by Moses, and typified in Mithras, Osiris, and Krishna. Of all these the doctrine was one and the same, for it was the doctrine of the Man Regenerate, even the "Gospel of Christ." It was, thus, the treasure – beyond all other priceless – of which Israel, fleeing, "spoiled the Egyptians"; of which, that is, the soul, escaping the power of the body, retains the possession, having gained it through its experience in the body. That Buddha, great as was his "Renunciation," underwent no such extremity of ordeal as that ascribed to his counterpart of the Gospels, is due to the difference of the parts enacted, and the stages attained, by them. Suffering is not of the mind, but of the heart. And whereas, of their joint system, Buddha represents the intellect, and Jesus represents the affections; – in Jesus, as its highest typical expression of the love-element, Humanity fulfils the injunction, "My son, give me thine heart." (1)

51. Since of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world's coming redemption, the relations between the two peoples through

(p. 253)

whom, on the physical plane, this union must be effected, become a subject of special interest and importance. Viewed from this aspect, the connection subsisting between England and India rises from the sphere political to the sphere spiritual. As typical peoples of the West and of the East, of the races light and dark, these two, as representative Man and Woman of Humanity, will in due time constitute one Man, made in the image of God, regenerate and having power. And so shall the "lightning from the East," after "illuminating the West," be reflected back, purified and enhanced, "a light to lighten all nations and to be the glory of the spiritual Israel." Thus, then, in Christ Jesus the holy systems of the past find their maturity and perfectionment. For by Christ is made possible the gift of the Divine Spirit – the "Paraclete" – who could not come by Pythagoras nor by Buddha, because these represent the outer elements of the Microcosm; and the Nucleolus, or Spirit, can be manifest only in the inner element, or Nucleus, of which Jesus is the representative. And thus, as said in Genesis xv. 16, "in the fourth generation," shall the spiritual seed of Abraham, or Brahma – for they are one and the same word and denote one and the same doctrine – "return" to the promised land of their inheritance; and, as said by Jesus, "many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven."

52. For, as the "three, Noah, Daniel, and Job," were for the Hebrews, types of Righteousness, so the three, "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," were types of Truth, progenitors of the spiritual Israel, and representatives of the several sacred mysteries of whose "kingdom" the Man Regenerate is always, and the world regenerate will be ultimately, by adoption and grace, the inheritor. The

(p. 254)

mysteries specially denoted by "Abraham" are, as just indicated, those of India. They are the mysteries of the Spirit, or Innermost, and are sacred to the Supreme Being, Brahma, who represents Deity under process of self-manifestation and, therefore, in activity. In this process, the Original Being, Brahm becomes Brahma; God becomes the Lord, the Manifestor. And it is in recognition of this change, that Abram becomes Abraham. The history of this personage, his flight – always an invariable element in such histories, as witness that of Bacchus, of Israel, of the Holy Family, of Mohammed, and others – his adventures and wanderings, is the history of the migration of the mysteries of India, by way of Chaldaea, to that divinely-selected centre and pivot of all true religions, Egypt – a term denoting the body, which itself is the divinely-appointed residence of the soul during its term of probation. (1) The next great order of mysteries refers to the soul, and is sacred to Isis, the goddess of the intuition, and "Mother" of the Christ. These mysteries were, for the Israelites, represented by lsaac a name occultly connected with Isis and Jesus, as also with that of an important personage in the pedigree of this last, namely Jesse, the "father of David," and a "keeper of sheep." The third and remaining great

(p. 255)

order of the mysteries – that which refers to the body, and which early migrated to Greece – is sacred to Bacchus, whose mystic name lacchos is identical with Jacob. Comprising the three great divisions of existence, and by implication the fourth division also, these three combined orders of mysteries formed, in the original conception of Christianity, a system of doctrine and life at once complete, harmonious, and sufficient for all needs and aspirations of humanity, both here and hereafter. And to this effect were the terms ascribed to Jesus in his reply to the inquiries made of him touching the resurrection of the dead. For, passing over the actual question, and coming at once to its mystic sense, he made a reply which referred, at least primarily, not to the individuals themselves who had been named, but to the systems implied in their names; and declaring those systems to be as full of vitality, and as essential to salvation, as when first divinely communicated to Moses in the words: "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," he added that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Wherefore, according to this and the concurrent prophecy quoted above, these mysteries – which are at once Hindû, Chaldaean, Persian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, and Christian – will, restored to their original purity, constitute the controlling doctrine of the ages to come.

53. In this forecast of the now imminent future is to be found the clue to the world's spiritual politics. Transferred from the mystical to the mundane plane, the "kings of the East" are they who hold political sovereignty over the provinces of Hindustan. On the "personal plane the title implies those who possess the "magical" knowledge, or keys of the kingdom of the Spirit, to have which is to be Magian. In both these senses the title henceforth belongs

(p. 256)

to us. Of one of the chief depositories of this magical knowledge – the Bible – our country has long been the foremost guardian and champion. For three centuries and a half – a period suggestive of the mystic "time, times, and half a time," and also of the "year of years" of the solar hero Enoch – has Britain lovingly and faithfully, albeit un-intelligently, cherished the Letter which now, by the finding of the interpretation, is – like its prototype – "translated" to the plane of the Spirit. Possessing thus the Gnosis, in substance as well as in form, our country will be fitted for the loftier, because spiritual, sovereignty to which she is destined, and one which will outlast her material empire. For, finding then that they are essentially one, as to faith and hope, even though diverse in respect of accidentals, the East and the West will be one in heart and aim, and together beget as their joint offspring the philosophy, morality, and religion, in a word, the Humanity, of the future. All, therefore, that tends to bind England to the Orient is of Christ, and all that tends to sever them is of Antichrist. They who seek to wed Buddha to Jesus are of the celestial and upper; and they who interpose to forbid the banns are of the astral and nether. Between the two hemispheres stand the domain and faith of Islam, not to divide, but, as umbilical cord, to unite them. And nought is there in Islamism to hinder its fulfilment of this high function, and keep it from being a partaker of the blessings to result therefrom. For, not only is it the one really monotheistic and non-idolatrous religion now existing; but its symbolic Star and Crescent are essentially one with the Cross of Christ, in that they also typify the elements masculine and feminine of the divine existence, and the relation of the soul to God. So that Islamism has but to accomplish that other stage of its natural evolution, which will enable it

(p. 257)

to claim an equal place in the brotherhood of the Elect. This is the practical recognition in "Allah" of Mother as well as of Father, by the exaltation of the woman to her rightful station on all planes of man's manifold nature. This accomplished, Esau and Ishmael will be joined together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in Christ.

54. In this recognition of the divine idea of humanity, and its ultimate results, will consist what are called the "Second Advent and millennial reign of Christ." Of that advent – although described as resembling the coming of a thief in the night – the approach will not be unheeded. For, even in the darkest of spiritual nights, there are always on the alert some who, as faithful shepherds, keep constant watch over the flocks of their own pure hearts, and who, "living the life, know of the doctrine." And these," dwelling by the well of clear vision," and "discerning the signs of the times," perceive already the mustering of the heavenly hosts, and the bright streamers of dawning of the long wished-for better Day. (1)




(210:1) This lecture was written by Edward Maitland chiefly from Illuminations of Anna Kingsford: and was delivered by him on Monday the 11th July, 1881. The greater part of paragraphs 27-41 was written by Edward Maitland after the death of Anna Kingsford – in accordance with wishes expressed and suggestions made by her during her lifetime – for the Third Edition, in which they were substituted for the corresponding paragraphs in the two former Editions. These last-mentioned paragraphs are reprinted (from the Second Edition) in Appendix II (Life of A. K., vol. ii., pp. 17, 33, 34, and see Preface).

(229:1) See C. W.S., part ii., No. xiv. (i), pp. 266-269.

(233:1) See C. W.S., part ii., No. xiii. (i), pp. 257-260.

(233:2) As not persons but principles are here intended, there is no suggestion of a reincarnation of an individual.

(239:1) Scheffler.

(240:1) See C.W.S., part ii. (i), pp. 266-269.

(252:1) This relation between the two systems, and the necessity of each to the other, have found recognition among the Buddhists themselves. Of this, one instance which may be cited, is that of a Cingalese chief who had sent his son to a Christian school; and who, on finding his consistency called in question by a Christian, replied that the two religions were to each other as the canoe of his country, and the contrivance – called an outrigger – by means of which, when afloat, it is kept upright, "I add on," he said, "your religion to my own, for I consider Christianity a very good outrigger to Buddhism." – Tennant's Ceylon.

(254:1) In accordance with Hindû usage, which makes the masculine the passive, and the feminine the active principle of existence, the mysteries are represented by the wives of the divine persons. Thus, of Brahma the active principle is his wife Saraswati, after whom the wife of Abraham, who is also his active principle, is called Sara, "the Lady," meaning, of heaven. The story of the long courtship and two wives of Jacob, is a parable of initiation into the mysteries, lesser and greater. And the finding of the wife of Isaac at a well – like the finding of Moses in a river by the king's daughter – indicates the woman, or soul, as the agent of intuition, and thereby of initiation and redemption. The "Haran" and "Ur" from which Abram comes, denote the place of spiritual light; and the pedigrees imply primarily, not persons, but spiritual states.

(257:1) See C. W.S., part i., No, xi., p. 36, and part ii., Nos. v., p. 224, and ix., p. 234.



Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work Index   Previous: Lecture 7th – The Fall (No. II)   Next: Lecture 9th – God as the Lord; or, the Divine Image