Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work: Index   Previous: Chapter 11   Next: Appendix

 

 

(p. 62)

CHAPTER XII

 

            IF now it be asked, as it well may and ought to be asked, what – at least in the judgment of the writer – are the precise significance and destined issue of the work represented by this exposition, the reply may best be rendered in the language of the great poet, himself a foremost champion of freedom, John Milton. Said Milton concerning a crisis which, momentous though it was, pales in presence of that which now is, seeing that religion and the soul themselves were in no wise menaced: “Now once again, by all concurrence of signs, and by the general instinct of devout and holy men, as they daily and solemnly express their thoughts, God is beginning to devise some new and great period in His Church, even to the reforming of Reformation itself. What does he then but address Himself to His servants, and – as His manner is – first to His Englishmen.” (1) To which may be added, in reference to our own day, “and having, by the hand of His Agnostics, beaten down the false interpretation of His holy Word, is about, by the hand of His Mystics, to establish the true, even to the Christianising of Christianity itself.”

(p. 63)

            The recital of the grounds for this judgment will form an appropriate conclusion to these chapters by its interpretation at once of Bible prophecy and of the meaning of the age. For the event is one to which Scripture points in no doubtful terms as constituting the “end,” which is that, not of an age or dispensation only, but of “the world,” meaning not the physical planet, but the world in the Church; the end of worldliness, or materiality, in the interpretation of things spiritual; and the “coming of the kingdom of God,” or perfect doctrine and rule of life which shall realise the “new heavens and new earth” of all divinely-inspired prophets and poets. Such, too, is the end of that “generation” which, for the illicit intercourse of its soul with matter, is called by Jesus “adulterous,” and the token of the approach of which was declared by him – as by Daniel – to be the recognition of the “abomination of desolation standing in the holy place” – namely, the exaltation of matter to the place of God and the soul, as the all-in-all of being. And the token was no other than the restoration of spiritual perception, precisely such as is now occurring. It was not the erection or presence of the “abomination” in the holy place – it had been there all along, before and after Jesus, as it always is under a rule exclusively sacerdotal and uncorrected by prophetic insight – but the recognition of its presence. When ye shall see, then is the end near, even at the doors – a truth which holds good alike for the individual and the general. For the opening of the spiritual vision, and this alone, is the death-blow to materiality.

            Hence the significance also of that other sign specified by Jesus, the budding of the fig-tree. From time immemorial the fig has been the mystical symbol for the soul as the feminine principle in man, having been selected to this end because, while it is in the similitude of the ungravid matrix, it bears its blossoms interiorly, in darkness and concealment, as does the soul herself, and thus represents those truths which, being interior, mystic, spiritual, are discernible only by a special spirit of understanding. Hence the assignment to Hermes, the “angel of the Understanding,”

(p. 64)

of the fig-branch as his especial symbol. And hence also the import of the curse pronounced by Jesus on the barren fig-tree. And as by that allegory is implied his recognition of the utter blight that had come upon man’s inward understanding; so, by his indication of the budding of the fig-tree as the sign of the time of the end, he implied the restoration of that understanding, and therewith of the esoteric and spiritual sense of that of which the exoteric and superficial sense only had been recognised, and consequently the advent of a gospel of interpretation representing the “taking away of the old to establish the new”; of the letter to establish the spirit.

            It is to the same period and event also that Jesus refers when he says that “in those days many shall come from the East and the West and the North and the South, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” For, in their secret aspect, these names are the Jewish equivalents for Brahma, Isis, and lacchos, to denote the sacred mysteries, respectively, of India, Egypt, and Greece, and therein of the spirit, the soul, and the body – the last comprehending the mind – which together comprise the whole man, and constitute that perfect doctrine and practice which is called in the Bible the “Law and the Prophets,” of which the Christ, as man perfected, is the fulfilment, and the condition resulting there from is the “kingdom of heaven.” For heaven is not a place, but a condition, that wherein the whole man is reconciled and “at-oned,” being pervaded and ruled throughout his whole system by one and the same will, and this the divine will. The kosmos thus ordered is, whether on the plane of the physical or of the spiritual, whether individual or collective, a “kingdom of God.”

            Such are the “mysteries” which are now everywhere being eagerly sought after and inquired into, and which, in response to man’s earnest cravings, are being restored; and this, not alone by means of the ordinary methods of research, but by actual re-delivery from their original divine source and perpetual depository, the “Church Invisible” as already defined; their

(p. 65)

restoration being rendered possible by precisely that process of “at-onement” already described. And so it has come that at the very moment when the representative intellects of the age – this materialistic, idolatrous, and, therefore, “adulterous” generation – were congratulating themselves on having demonstrated to their own satisfaction the utter baselessness of the ideas of God, the soul, and moral responsibility, of inspiration, revelation, and immortality, and were eagerly anticipating the time when mankind at large would share their enlightenment – the world has, to their perplexity and dismay, like the prodigal of old, suddenly “come to itself,” and, declining any longer to share with “swine” the husks of materiality so insidiously prepared for it, has set itself in good earnest to “return to the Father’s house”; leaving its whilom teachers no resource but to think it has all at once gone mad, since they find in their own narrow and false philosophy no room for the facts of which the world has become aware.

            The wise of old, however, knew better, and notably those to whose wisdom the world’s genuine scriptures are due. For it is no other than precisely such sublimation as that described above, of the human will, and its unification with the divine, together with the results thereof, which – in that least understood of the books, all of which have been misunderstood, the “Revelation of John the Divine” – are spoken of as the “drying up of the great river Euphrates that the way of the kings of the East may be prepared.” For, as in the opening, so in the closing of the Bible, by the “Euphrates” is denoted that supreme element in the fourfold kosmos of human nature, the Spirit or Will. And with this “dried up” in the manner described, there is no longer any impediment to the passage of those who, under their mystical title of “kings of the East,” are ever the heralds and bringers-in of the perfect day. No mere persons are these in their supreme aspect, be their corresponding manifestation on the world-plane what it may. They are man’s own essential principles, his spirit, his soul, and his mind, operating each in its loftiest mode, as Right Aspiration,

(p. 66)

Right Perception, and Right Judgment. Of and by these alone is the knowledge of divine realities. And in such degree as these are cherished and exercised man attains to that true and only real orthodoxy, the orthodoxy of the Church Invisible, of which, for want of them, that of the Church Visible has hitherto been so grievous a perversion, distortion, and mutilation (1).

            The same book forecasts the same event when it tells how, after “lying dead in the streets of the great city wherein the Lord was crucified” for the mystic “time, times, and a half time,” God’s two witnesses shall be resuscitated, stand up on their feet, and ascend into heaven. For the great city is no other than the world’s materialistic system in Church, State, and Society, wherein perpetually the Lord, as the Christ in man or divinity in humanity, is crucified. And God’s two witnesses, who have so long lain dead in this city, are no other than the “two great lights” of the fourth day of man’s spiritual creation, the Intellect and Intuition, which represent, respectively, man’s mind and soul, and, as the “man” and “woman” of his mental system, are, when duly purified and conjoined, the parents of the divine child, Truth, and God’s witnesses, therefore, on earth. And these are now at length rising from the death to which they have been done by the dominant orthodoxies of religion and science, and already are standing on their feet, preparatory to their ascent to the heaven of their proper sovereignty over the world.

            That such assemblage from the East and the West and the North and the South – that is, of all sorts and conditions of persons – to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; such drying up of the great river of man’s will, and passage

(p. 67)

of the kings of the East; and such resurrection and ascension into power of God’s two witnesses on earth, are now actually in process, there are for the percipient and heedful, who, through the long night of the prevailing winter solstice of the soul, have – as spiritual shepherds – kept faithful watch over the flocks of their own pure intuitions, and caught the first gleams upon their mountains of the beautiful feet of the messengers of the dawn of the coming regeneration, many and indubitable signs to show the urgency of the world’s need, and the keenness of its sense of its need; the eager receptivity of its condition; the unparalleled wrath of the dragon of negation as in view of the shortness of his time; the fierceness of the war in heaven, or intellectual conflict now raging between the dragon and his angels of darkness, as the champions of materiality, and Michael and his angels of light – “that great prince which standeth for the children of God’s people” – as the champions of spirituality; and, above all, the transcendency of the response already vouchsafed in the new gospel of interpretation represented by these chapters; these are among the signs which warrant confident hope that the spiritual consciousness of the race is at length in actual course of its long-promised promotion to a new level of perception and a higher than any yet attained save by the most advanced of its sons, even to the realisation of that which, mystically, is called the “second advent of Christ,” and the “coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” The recognition, spiritual and intellectual, that is, of the essential divinity of humanity, and its issue in the practical recognition of the brother-and-sister-hood of man, as alone such relationship is conceivable or possible, through the Father-and-Mother-hood of God.

            Meanwhile, to those who, ignoring or defying the signs of the times, and – remaining Materialist or Agnostic – elect to abide without the precincts of the holy city now coming down from the heaven of a pure ideal, and persist in doing further battle for their cherished negations, heaping contumely upon the Mystic and the

(p. 68)

Book he intelligently reveres, as by emptying upon them the vials of a criticism as shallow and pointless as it is flippant and coarse – to these the two following considerations are commended: –

            (1) That the only things of which any criticism is an unerring criterion are the character, capacity, and level of the critic himself. And;

            (2) That, whatever their grievance against the Mystic, it is as nought in comparison with his grievance against them.

            For, while they have systematically made him, his methods, and his results a byword and a scoff, and – by their assertion of the impossibility of knowledge and immortality – have denied to him, no less than to themselves, the right to a mind and soul; he, returning good for evil, has never failed to accord them the same divine potentialities which he claims for himself; and has deemed no sacrifice too great that might qualify him, when descending for their sake from the Mount of his own soul’s elevation to those “lowermost parts of the earth,” the “Hades” of the consciousnesses merely physical and astral of which their spirits are “in prison” and fast “bound beneath the altar,” to preach to them by the personal demonstration of his own example that which they also have it in them to become.

            For, whatever may be the actual grade and endowments of any individual mystic, he is – in virtue of the evolution in him of that which constitutes him mystic, his consciousness of the reality of the spiritual and its transcendency over the material – of the order to which have belonged all the world’s sages, saints, seers, prophets, redeemers, and Christs, and in them of all those to whom man owes it that he has been at all withheld from sinking into hopeless perdition in the bottomless pit of his own lower nature. These they are who have been alone genuine Freethinkers, free-livers, and radical reformers. For, while they gave the utmost range to thought in every direction open to thought from the lowest to the highest; and, masters instead of slaves of their own lower elements, have discarded conventions for principles, and expediencies for right, they have sought to reform, not institutions

(p. 69)

merely, but men themselves, and not by precept merely, but by example, making themselves first, regardless of the cost to themselves, that which they would have others to be. And, while reaching thus the highest grades of their order, perfecting themselves according as they gave themselves to perfect others, and becoming in the process, one a prophet and another a redeemer, they have seen their order, and in it Humanity, culminate, by the conjunction of these two offices in the Christ. For “to be prophet and redeemer in one, this is the glory of the Christ.”

 

NOTES

 

(62:1) Milton, it is clear, recognised in his countrymen that certain quality of soul which, in spite of many and grievous limitations – rivalling even those of Israel – has led to their being regarded as fulfilling in the modern world a function corresponding to that of Israel in the ancient world – the witness among the nations for God, the soul, and the moral conscience. – E.M.

(66:1) “The East” is a term used in the Bible to denote the source of spiritual light within man. “The glory of God,” says Ezekiel “came from the East.” And it is by the dwellers “in the East” that the “star” of the new-born divine humanity is ever discerned. For, like other mystical expressions, it denotes not a place, but a condition. – E.M.

 

 

Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work: Index   Previous: Chapter 11   Next: Appendix