Filename: RC1018.TXT Source: +quot;Gleanings of a Mystic+quot; by Max Heindel [PAGE 550] A

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Filename: RC1018.TXT Source: "Gleanings of a Mystic" by Max Heindel [PAGE 550] A LIVING SACRIFICE: Volumes, or rather libraries, have been written to explain the nature of God, but it is probably a universal experience that the more we read of other people's explanations, the less we understand. There is one descrip- tion, given by the inspired apostle John when he wrote "GOD IS LIGHT," which is as illuminating as the others are befogging to the mind. Anyone who takes this passage for meditation occasionally will find a rich reward wait- ing, for no matter how many times we take up this subject, our own develop- ment in the passing years assures us each time a fuller and better under- standing. Each time we sink ourselves in these three words we lave in a spiritual fountain of inexhaustible depth, and each succeeding time we sound more thoroughly the divine depths and draw more closely to our Father in heaven. To get in touch with our subject, let us go back in time to get our bear- ing and the direction of our future line of progress. [PAGE 551] The first time our consciousness was directed towards the Light was shortly after we had become endowed with mind and had entered definitely upon our evolution as human beings in Atlantis, the land of the mist, deep down in the basins of the earth, where the warm mist emitted from the cool- ing earth hung like a dense fog over the land. Then the starry heights of the universe were never seen, nor could the silvery light of the moon pen- etrate the dense, foggy atmosphere which hung over that ancient land. Even the fiery splendor of the sun was almost totally extinguished, for when we look in the Memory of Nature pertaining to that time, it appears very much as an arc lamp on a high pole looks to us when it is foggy. It was exceed- ingly dim, and had an aura of various colors, very similar to those which we observe around an arc light. But this light had a fascination. The ancient Atlanteans were taught by the divine Hierarchs who walked among them, to aspire to the light, and as the spiritual sight was then already on the wane (even the messengers, or Elohim, being perceived with difficulty by the majority), they aspired all the more ardently to the new light, for they feared the darkness of which they had become conscious through the gift of mind. Then came the inevitable flood when the mist cooled and condensed. The atmosphere cleared, and the "CHOSEN PEOPLE" were saved. Those who had [PAGE 552] worked within themselves and learned to build the necessary organs required to breathe in an atmosphere such as we have today, survived and came to the light. It was not an arbitrary choice; THE WORK OF THE PAST CONSISTED OF BODY BUILDING. Those who had only gill clefts, such as the foetus still uses in its prenatal development, were unfit physiologically to enter the new era as the foetus would be to be born were it to neglect to build lungs. It would die as those ancient people died when the rare atmosphere made gill clefts useless. Since the day when we came out of ancient Atlantis our bodies have been practically complete, that is to say, no new vehicles are to be added; but from that time and from now on THOSE WHO WISH TO FOLLOW THE LIGHT MUST STRIVE FOR SOUL GROWTH. The bodies which we have crystallized about us must be dissolved, and the quintessence of experience extracted, which as "soul" may be amalgamated with the spirit to nourish if from impotence to om- nipotence. Therefore, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was given to the an- cients, and THE LIGHT OF GOD DESCENDED UPON THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE. This is of great significance: The ego had just descended into its tabernacle, the body. We all know the tendency of the primitive instinct towards selfish- ness, and if we have studied the higher ethics we also know how subversive of good the indulgence of the egotistic tendency is; therefore, God immedi- ately placed before mankind the Divine Light upon the Altar of Sacrifice. [PAGE 553] Upon this altar they were forced by dire necessity to offer their cher- ished possessions for every transgression, God appearing to them as a hard taskmaster whose displeasure it was dangerous to incur. But still the Light drew them. They knew then that it was futile to attempt to escape from the hand of God. They had never heard the words of John, "God is Light," but they had already learned from the heavens in a measure the meaning of in- finitude, as measured by the realm of light, for we hear David exclaim: "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy pres- ence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the ut- termost part of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me and thy might hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day, for the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." With every year that passes, with the aid of the greatest telescopes which the ingenuity and mechanical skill of man have been able to construct to pierce the depths of space, it becomes more evident that the infinitude of light teaches us the infinitude of God. When we hear that "men loved darkness rather than Light because their deed were evil," that also rings [PAGE 554] true to what we unfortunately know as present day facts, and illumines the nature of God for us; for is it not true that we always feel endangered in the dark, but that the light gives us a sense of safety which is akin to the feeling of a child who feels the protecting hand of its father? To render permanent this condition of being in the Light was the next step in God's work with us, which culminated in the birth of Christ, who as the bodily presence of the Father, bore about in Himself that Light, for the Light came into the world that whosoever should believe in Christ should not perish, but have everlasting life. He said, "I am the Light of the World." The altar in the Tabernacle had illustrated the principle of sacrifice as the medium of regeneration, so Christ said to His disciples: Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends. And forthwith He commenced a sacrifice, which, contrary to the ac- cepted orthodox opinion was not consummated in a few hours of physical suf- fering upon a material cross, but is as perpetual as were the sacrifices made upon the altar of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, for it entails an annual descent into the earth and an endurance of all that the cramping earth conditions must mean to such a great spirit. This must continue till a sufficient number have evolved who can bear the burden of this dense lump of DARKNESS which we call the earth, and which [PAGE 555] hangs as a millstone about the neck of humanity, an impediment to further spiritual growth. Until we learn to follow "in His steps," we can rise no higher towards the Light. It is related that when Leonardo da Vinci had completed his famous paint- ing "The Last Supper," he asked a friend to look at it and tell him what he thought of it. The friend looked at it critically for a few minutes and then said: "I think you have made a mistake in painting the goblets from which the apostles drink so ornamental and to resemble gold. People in their posi- tions would not drink from such expensive vessels." Da Vinci then drew his brush through the entire set of vessels which had drawn the criticism of his friend, but he was heartbroken, for he had painted that picture with his soul rather than with his hands, and he had prayed over it that it might speak a message to the world. He had put all the greatness of his art and the whole-hearted devotion of his soul into that effort to paint a Christ who should speak the word that would lead men to emulate His deeds. Can you see Him as He sits there at that festive board, THE EMBODIMENT OF LIGHT, and speaks those wonderful, mystic words: THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD, GIVEN FOR YOU--a living sacrifice. [PAGE 556] In the past period of our spiritual career we have been looking for a Light EXTERIOR to ourselves, but now we have arrived at the point where we must look for the Christ light within and emulate Him by making of ourselves "living sacrifices" as He is doing. Let us remember that when the sacrifice which lies before our door seems pleasant and to our liking, when we seem able to pick and choose our work in His vineyard and do what pleases us, we are not making a real sacrifice as He did, nor are we when we are seen of men and applauded for our benevolence. But when we are ready to follow Him from that festive board where He was the honored one among friends, into the garden of Gethsemane WHERE HE WAS ALONE and wrestled with the great problem before Him while His friends slept, then are we making a living sacrifice. When we are content to follow "in His steps" to that point of self-sacrifice where we can say from the bottom of our hearts, "THY WILL, NOT MINE," then we have surely THE LIGHT WITHIN, and there will never hence- forth be for us that which we feel as darkness. WE SHALL WALK IN THE LIGHT. This is our glorious privilege, and the meditation upon the words of the apostle, "God is Light," will help us to realize this ideal provided we add to our faith, WORKS, and say by our deeds as did the Christ of da Vinci, "THIS IS MY BODY AND THIS IS MY BLOOD," a living sacrifice upon the altar of humanity. [PAGE 557] MAGIC, WHITE AND BLACK: From time to time as occasion requires we warn students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in our private individual letters not to attend spirit seances, hypnotic demonstrations, or places where incense is burned by dabblers in occultism. Black Magic is practiced by both consciously and unconsciously to an extent that is almost unbelievable. "Malicious animal magnetism," which is only another name for the Black Force, is responsible for more failures in business, loss of health, and unhappiness in homes than most people are aware of. Even the perpetrators of such outrages are, as said, often unconscious of what harm they have done. Therefore it seems ex- pedient to devote a chapter to an explanation of some of the laws of magic, which are the same for the white as for the black. There is only one force, but it may be used for good or evil; and according to the motive behind it and the use that is made of it, it becomes either black or white. It is a scientific axiom that "EX NIHIL, NIHIL FIT" (out of nothing noth- ing comes). There must be a seed before there can be a flower, but where [PAGE 558] the first seed came from is something which science has failed to explain. The occultist knows that all things have come from ARCHE, the infinite es- sence of chaos, used by God, the Grand Architect, for the building of our universe; and , given the nucleus of anything, the accomplished magician can draw upon the same essence for a further supply. Christ, for instance, had some loaves and some fishes; by means of that nucleus He drew upon the pri- mordial essence of chaos for the rest needed in performing the miracle of feeding a multitude. A human magician whose power is not so high can more easily draw upon things which have already materialized out of chaos. He may take flowers or fruit belonging to some one else, miles or hundreds of miles away, disintegrate them into their atomic constituents, transport them through the air, and cause them to assume their regular physical shape in the the room where he is entertaining friends in order to amaze them. Such magic is GREY at best, even if he sends sufficient of his coin to pay for what he has taken away; if he does not, it is Black Magic to thus rob an- other of his goods. Magic to be white must always be used unselfishly, and in addition, for a noble purpose--to save a fellow being suffering. The Christ, when He fed the multitude from chaos, gave as His reason that they had been with Him for several days and if they had to journey back to their [PAGE 559] homes without physical food they would faint by the wayside and suffer pri- vation. God is the Grand Architect of the Universe and the Initiates of the White Schools are also arche-tektons, builders from the primordial essence in their beneficent work for humanity. These Invisible Helpers require a nucleus from the patient's vital body, which is, as students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship know, given to them in the effluvia from the hand, which impregnates the paper when the patient makes application for help and healing. With this nucleus of the patient's vital body they are able to draw upon virgin matter for whatever they need to restore health by building up and strengthening the organism. The Black Magicians are despoilers, actuated by hatred and malice. They also need a nucleus for their nefarious operations, and this they obtain most easily from the vital body as spiritualistic or hypnotic seances, where the sitters relax, put themselves into a negative frame of mind, drop their jaws, and sink their individualities by other distinctly mediumistic prac- tices. Even people who do not frequent such places are not immune, for there are certain products of the vital body which are ignorantly scattered by all and which may be used effectively by the Black Magicians. Chief in this category are the hair and fingernails. The Negroes in their voodoo magic use the placenta for similar evil purposes. One particularly evil man, whose practices were exposed a decade ago, obtained from boys the vital [PAGE 560] fluid which he used for his demoniac acts. Even so innocent a thing as a glass of water placed in close proximity to certain parts of the body of the prospective victim, while the Black Magician converses with him can be made to absorb a part of the victim's vital body. This will give the Black Magi- cian the requisite nucleus, or it may be obtained from a piece of the person's clothing. The same invisible emanation contained in the garment, which guides the bloodhound upon the track of a certain person, will also guide the Magician, white or black, to the abode of that person and furnish the Magician with a key to the person's system whereby the former by help or hurt according to his inclination. But there are methods of protecting oneself from inimical influences, which we shall mention in the latter part of this chapter. We have debated much whether it were wise or not to call to call the attention of students to these facts, and have come to the conclusion that it does not help anyone to imitate the ostrich which sticks its head into a hole in the sand at the approach of danger. It is better to be enlightened concerning things that threaten so that we may take whatever precautions are necessary to meet the emergency. The battle between the good and the evil forces is being waged with an intensity that no one not engaged in the actual combat can compre- hend. The Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians and kindred orders which, we [PAGE 561] may say, in their totality represent the Holy Grail, live on the love and essence of the unselfish service which they gather and garner as the bees gather honey, from all who are striving to live the life. This they add to the lustre of the Holy Grail, which in turn grows more lustrous and radiates a stronger influence upon all who are spiritually inclined, imbuing them with greater ardor, zeal and zest in the good work and in fighting the good fight. Similarly the evil forces of the Black Grail thrive on hate, treach- ery, cruelty, and every demoniac deed on the calendar of crime. Both the Black and White Grail forces require a pabulum, the one of good and the other of evil, for the continuance of their existence and for the power to fight. Unless they get it, they starve and grow weaker. Hence the relent- less struggle that is going on between them. Every midnight the Elder Brothers at their service open their breasts to attract the darts of hate, envy, malice, and every evil that has been launched during the past twenty-four hours. First, in order that they may deprive the Black Grail forces of their food; and secondly, that they may transmute the evil to good. Then, as the plants gather the inert carbon di- oxide exhaled by mankind and build their bodies therefrom, so the Brothers of the Holy Grail transmute the evil within the temple; and as the plants send out the renovated oxygen so necessary to human life, so the Elder Brothers return to mankind the transmuted essence of evil as qualms of [PAGE 562] conscience along with the good in order that the world may grow better day by day. The Black Brothers, instead of transmuting the evil, infuse a greater dy- namic energy into it and speed it on its mission in vain endeavors to con- quer the powers of good. They use for their purposes elementals and other discarnate entities which, being themselves of a low order, are available for such vile practices as required. In the ages when men burned animal oil or candles made from tallow of animals, elementals swarmed around them as devils or demons, seeking to obsess whoever would offer an occasion. Even wax tapers offer food for these entities, but the modern paraffin candles, are uncongenial to them. They still flock around our saloons, slaughter houses, and similar places where there are passionate animals, and animal-like men. They also delight in places where incense is burned, for that offers them an avenue of access, and when the sitters at seances inhale the odor of the incense they inhale elemental spirits with it, which affect them according to their characters. This is where the protection we spoke about before may be used. When we live lives of purity, when our days are filled with service to God and to our fellow men, and with thoughts and actions of the highest nobility, then we create for ourselves the GOLDEN WEDDING GARMENT, which is a radiant force for good. No evil is able to penetrate this armor for the evil then acts as [PAGE 563] a boomerang and recoils on the one who sent it, bringing to him the evil he wished us. But alas, none of us are altogether good. We know only too well the war between the flesh and the spirit. We cannot hide from ourselves the fact that like Paul, "the good that we would do, we do not, and the evil that we would shun, that we do." Far too often our good resolutions come to naught and we do wrong because it is easier. Therefore we all have the nucleus of evil within ourselves, which affords the open sesame for the evil forces to work upon. For that reason it is best for us not unnecessarily to expose ourselves at places where seanes are held with spirits invisible to us, no matter how fine their teachings may sound to the unsophisticated. Neither should we take part even as spectators at hypnotic demonstrations, for there also a negative attitude lays one liable to the danger of obsession. We should at all times follow the advice of Paul and put on the whole armor of God. We should be positive in our fight for the good against the evil and never let an occasion slip to aid the Elder Brothers by word or deed in the Great War for spiritual supremacy. [PAGE 564] OUR INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT: It is well known to students of the Rosicrucian Philosophy that each spe- cies of animals is dominated by a group spirit, which is their guardian and looks after these, its wards, with a view to bringing them along the path of evolution that is best suited to their development; it does not matter what the geographical position of these animals is; the lion in the jungles of Africa is dominated by the same group spirit as is the lion in the cage of a menagerie in our northern countries. Therefore these animals are alike in all their principal characteristics; they have the same likes and dislikes with respect to diet, and they act in an almost identical manner under similar circumstances. If one wants to study the tribes of lions or the tribe of tigers, all that is necessary is to study one individual, for it has neither choice nor prerogative, but acts entirely according to the dic- tates of the group spirit. The mineral cannot choose whether it will crys- tallize or not; the rose is bound to bloom; the lion is compelled to prey; and in each case the activity is dictated entirely by the group spirit. [PAGE 565] But man is different; when we want to study him we find that each indi- vidual is as a species by himself. What one does under any given circum- stances is no indication of what another may do; "one man's meat is another man's poison"; each has different likes and dislikes. This is because man as we see him in the physical world is the expression of an individual indwelling spirit, seemingly having choice and prerogative. But as a matter of fact man is not quite as free as he seems; all stu- dents of human nature have observed that on certain occasions a large number of people will act as though dominated by one spirit. It is also easy to see without recourse to occultism that the different nations have certain physical characteristics. We all know the German, French, English, Italian, and Spanish types. Each of these nations has characteristics which differ from those of the other nations, thus indicating that there must be a RACE SPIRIT at the root of these peculiarities. The occultist who is gifted with spiritual sight knows that such is the case, and that each nation has a dif- ferent race spirit which broods as a cloud over the whole country. In it the people live and move and having their being; it is their guardian and is constantly working for their development, building up their civilization and fostering ideals of the highest nature compatible with their capacity for progress. [PAGE 566] In the Bible we read the JEHOVAH, ELOHIM, who was the race spirit of the Jews, went before them in a pillar and a cloud, and in the Book of Daniel we gain considerable insight into the workings of these race spirits. The im- age seen by Nebuchadnezzar with its head of gold and feet of clay showed plainly how a civilization built up in the beginning with golden ideals de- generated more and more until in the latter part of its existence the feet were of unstable, crumbling clay, and the image was doomed to topple. Thus all civilizations when started by the different race spirits have great and golden ideals, but humanity by reason of having some free will and choice does not follow implicitly the dictates of the race spirits as the animals follow the commands of the group spirits. Hence in the course of time a na- tion ceases to rise, and as there can be no standing still in the cosmos, it begins to degenerate until finally the feet are of clay and it is necessary to strike a blow to shatter it, THAT ANOTHER CIVILIZATION MAY BE BUILT UP ON ITS RUINS. But empires do not fall without a strong physical blow, and therefore an instrument of the race spirit of a nation is always raised up at the time when that nation is doomed to fall. In the tenth and eleventh chapters of Daniel we are given an insight into the workings of the invisible government of the race spirits, the powers behind the throne. Daniel is much disturbed in spirit; he fasts, for fully THREE WEEKS, praying for light, and at the end of that time an arch-angel, a race spirit, appears before him and [PAGE 567] addresses him: "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me ONE AND TWENTY DAYS, but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the king of Persia." After he explains to Daniel what is to happen, he says: "Knowest thou where- fore I came unto thee? AND NOW WILL I RETURN TO FIGHT WITH THE PRINCE OF PERSIA: AND WHEN I AM GONE FORTH, LO, THE PRINCE OF GRECIA SHALL COME, and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael, your prince." The archangel also says: "In the first year of Darius the Mede, even I stood to confirm and to strengthen him." So when the handwriting is on the wall, some one is raised up to adminis- ter the blow; it may be a Cyrus, a Darius, an Alexander, a Caesar, a Napo- leon, or a kaiser. Such a one may think himself a prime mover, a free indi- vidual acting by his own choice and prerogative, but as a matter of fact he is only the instrument of the invisible government of the world, the power behind thrones, the race spirits, who see the necessity of breaking up civilizations that have outlived their usefulness, so that humanity may get a new start and evolve under a new and a higher ideal than that which ensouled it before. [PAGE 568] Christ himself when upon earth, said: "I came not to bring peace, but a sword," for it was evident to Him that as long as humanity was divided into races and nations there could be no "peace on earth and good will among men." Only when the nations have become united in a universal brotherhood is peace possible. The barriers of nationalism must be done away with, and to this end the United States of America has been made a melting pot where all that is best in the old nations is being brought together and amalgam- ated, so that A NEW RACE WITH HIGHER IDEALS AND FEELINGS OF UNIVERSAL BROTH- ERHOOD MAY BE BORN FOR THE AQUARIAN AGE. In the meantime the barriers of nationalism have been partially broken down in Europe by the terrible con- flict just past. This brings nearer the day of universal amity and the re- alization of the Brotherhood of Man. There is also another object to be gained. Of all the terrors to which mankind is subjected, there is none so great as DEATH, which separates us from those we love, because we are unable to see them after they have stepped out of their bodies. But just as surely as the day follows the night, so will every teardrop wear away some of the scale that now blinds the eyes of man to the unseen land of the living dead. We have said repeat- edly and we now reaffirm that one of the greatest blessings which will come from the war will be the spiritual sight which a great number of people will evolve. The intense sorrow of millions of people, the longing to see again [PAGE 569] the dear ones who have so suddenly and ruthlessly been torn from us, are a force of incalculable strength and power. Likewise those who have been snatched by death in the prime of life and who are now in the invisible world are equally intense in their desires to reunite with those near and dear to them, so that they may speak the word of comfort and assure them of their well being. Thus it may be said that two great armies comprising mil- lions upon millions are tunneling with frantic energy and intensity of pur- pose through the wall that separates the invisible from the visible. Day by day this wall or veil is growing thinner, and sooner or later the living and the living dead will meet in the middle of the tunnel. Before we realize it, communication will have been established, and we shall find it a common experience that when our loved ones step out of their worn and sick bodies, we shall feel neither sorrow nor loss because we shall be able to see them in their ethereal bodies, moving among us as they used to do. So out of the great conflict we shall come as victors over death and be able to say: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" [PAGE 570] PRACTICAL PRECEPTS FOR PRACTICAL PEOPLE: "If I were to do business on the principles laid down in the Sermon on the Mount I would be down and out in less than a year," said a critic re- cently. "Why, the Bible is utterly impracticable under our present economic conditions; it is impossible to live according to it." If that is true there is a good reason for the unbelief of the world, but in a court the accused is always allowed a fair trial, and let us examine the Bible thoroughly before we judge. What are the specific charges? "Why, they are countless," answered the critic, "but to mention only a few, let us take such passages as, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven;' 'Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth;' 'Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.' Such ideas point the way to the poorhouse." "Very well," says the apologist, "let us take the last charge first. King James' version says: `No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve [PAGE 571] God and mammon, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stat- ure? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grasses of the field, which today is and to- morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the Gentiles seek; your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righ- teousness and all these things shall be added unto you.'" If this is intended to mean that we should wastefully squander all we have in prodigal or riotous living, then it is of course not only impracti- cal but demoralizing. Such an interpretation is, however, out of keeping with the tenor and teaching of the whole Book, and it does not say so. The Greek word MERIMNON means being overly careful or anxious, and if we read [PAGE 572] the passage with this alteration we shall find that it teaches a different lesson which is entirely practical. Mammon is the Syriac word for riches, desired by foolish people. In the preceding paragraph Christ exhorted them not to become servants or slaves to riches, which they must leave behind when the silver cord is broken and the spirit returns to God, but seek rather to live lives of love and service and lay up treasures of good deeds, which they might take with them into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the mean- time, He exhorted, be not overly anxious regarding what you shall eat and drink and clothe yourself with. Why worry? You cannot add a hairbreadth to your height or a hair to your head by worrying. Worry is the most wasteful and depleting of all our emotions, and it does no good whatever. Your heav- enly Father knows you need material things, therefore seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all else needed will be added. On at least two occa- sions when multitudes came to Christ in places far from their homes and dis- tant from towns where refreshment was obtainable, He demonstrated this; He gave them first the spiritual food they sought and then ministered to their bodily needs direct from a spiritual source of supply. Does it work out in these modern days? Surely there have been so many demonstrations of this that it is not at all necessary to recount any spe- cial one. When we work and pray, pray and work, and make our lives a living [PAGE 573] prayer for opportunities to serve others, then all earthly things will come of their own accord as we need them, and they will keep coming in larger measure according to the degree to which they are used in the service of God. If we regard ourselves only as stewards and custodians of whatever earthly goods we possess, then we are really "POOR IN SPIRIT" so far as the evanescent earthly treasures are concerned, but rich in the more lasting treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven; and if we are not out and out material- ists, surely this is a practical attitude. It is not so long ago that "CAVEAT EMPTOR," "Let the buyer beware," was the slogan of the merchants who sought after earthly treasures and regarded the buyer as their legitimate prey. When they had sold their wares and re- ceived the money, it did not matter to them whether the buyer was satisfied or not. They even prided themselves on selling an inferior article which would soon wear out, as evident in the short-sighted motto, "The weakness of the goods is the strength of the trade." But gradually even people who would scorn the idea of introducing religion into their business are dis- carding this CAVEAT EMPTOR as a motto, and are unconsciously adopting the precept of Christ, "HE THAT WOULD BE THE GREATEST AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE THE SERVANT OF ALL." Everywhere the best business men are insistent in their claim to patronage on the ground of the service they give to the buyer, [PAGE 574] because it is a policy that pays, and may therefore be classed as another of the practical precepts of the Bible. But it sometimes happens that in spite of their desire to serve their customers, something goes wrong and an angry, dissatisfied customer comes blustering in, decrying their goods. Under the old shortsighted regime of CAVEAT EMPTOR the merchant would have merely laughed or thrown the buyer out of the door. Not so the modern merchant, who takes his Bible into business. He remembers the wisdom of Solomon that "a soft answer turneth away wrath," and the assertion of Christ that "THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH," so he apologizes for the fault in the goods, offers restitution, and sends the erstwhile dissatisfied customer away smiling and eager to sing the praises of the concern that treats him no nicely. Thus by obeying the practical precepts of the Bible, keeping his temper in meekness, the business man gains additional customers who come to him in full faith of fair treatment, and the added profit in sales made to them soon overbalances the loss on goods which may have caused the dissatisfaction of other customers. It pays dividends in dollars and cents to keep one's temper and be meek; it pays greater dividends from the moral and spiritual standpoints. What better business motto can be found than in Ecclesiastes: "Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Be not rash in thy mouth, be not hasty in thy speech [PAGE 575] to be angry, for anger reseth in the bosom of fools." Tact and diplomacy are always better than force; as the Good Book says: "If the iron be blunt we must use more strength, but wisdom is profitable to direct." The line of least resistance, so long as it is clean and honorable, is always best. Therefore, "LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, DO GOOD TO THEM THAT DESPITEFULLY USE YOU." It is good practical business policy to try to reconcile those who do us harm lest they do more; and it is better for us to get over our ill feeling than to nurse it, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap, and if we sow spite and meanness, we breed and beget in others the same feel- ings. Furthermore, all these things will apply in private life and in so- cial intercourse just as in ordinary business. How many quarrels could be avoided if we cultivated the virtue of meekness in our homes; how much plea- sure would be gained; how much happiness would come into our lives if in so- cial and business relations we learned to DO UNTO OTHERS AS WE WOULD THAT THEY SHOULD DO UNTO US! There is no need for the great mental strain that so many of us are work- ing under concerning what we shall eat and what we shall drink. Our Father in Heaven does own the earth and the fullness thereof; the cattle on a thou- sand hills are His. If we learn truly to cast our cares upon Him, there is no doubt that the way out of our difficulties will be provided. [PAGE 576] It is a fact, acknowledged by all authorities who have investigated the subject, that comparatively few people die from lack of necessities of life, but a great many die because of overindulgence of the appetites. It is the practical experience of the writer and numerous others that if we do our work day by day as it appears before us, faithfully and to the best of our ability, the wherewithal for the morrow will always be provided. If we go according to the instruction of the Bible, doing all "as unto the Lord," it does not matter what line of honest work we follow; we are then at the same time seeking the Kingdom of God. But if we are only time servers, working for fear or favor, we cannot expect to succeed in the long run; health, wealth, and happiness may attend us for a little while, but outside the solid foundation of the Bible there can be no lasting joy in life and no real prosperity in business. [PAGE 577] SOUND, SILENCE, AND SOUL GROWTH: Sincere students of the Science of the Soul are naturally anxious to grow in grace that they may serve so much better in the Great Work of Human Upliftment. Being humble and modest they are only too painfully aware of their shortcomings, and frequently while casting about for means to fa- cilitate progress they ask themselves, "WHAT HINDERS?" Some, particularly in bygone ages when life was lived less intensely than now, realized that the everyday life among ordinary humanity had many drawbacks. To overcome these and further their soul growth they withdrew from the community to a monastery or to the mountains where they could give themselves over to the spiritual life undisturbed. We know, however, that that is not the way. It is too well established in the minds of most of our students that if we run away from an experience today, it will confront us again tomorrow, and that the victor's palm is earned by overcoming the world, not by running away from it. The environ- ment in which we have been placed by the Recording Angels was our own choice [PAGE 578] when we were at the turning point of our life cycle in the Third Heaven, we then being pure spirit unblinded by the matter which now veils our vision. Hence it is undoubtedly the one that holds lessons needed by us, and we should make a serious mistake if we tried to escape from it altogether. But we have received a mind for a definite purpose--to reason about things and conditions so that we may learn to discriminate between essen- tials and non-essentials, between that which is designed to hinder for the purpose of teaching us a virtue by overcoming it, and that which is an out and out hindrance, which jars our sensibilities and wrecks our nerves with- out any compensating spiritual gain. It will be of the greatest benefit if we can learn to differentiate for the conservation of our strength, accept- ing only that which we must endure for the sake of our spiritual well-being. We shall then save much energy and having much more zest in profitable di- rections than now. The details of that problem are different in every life; however, there are certain general principles which it will benefit us all to understand and apply to our lives, and among them is the effect of si- lence and sound on soul growth. At first blush it may surprise us when the statement is made that sound and silence are very important factors in soul growth, but when we examine the matter we shall soon see that it is not a far-fetched notion. Consider [PAGE 579] first the graphic expression, "War is hell," and then call up in imagination a war scene. The sight is appalling, even more so to those who see it with the undimmed spiritual vision than to those who are limited to physical sight, for the latter can at least shut their eyes to it if they want to, but the whole horror lies heavily upon the heart of the Invisible Helper who not only hears and sees but FEELS in his own being the anguish and pain of all the surrounding suffering as Parsifal felt in his heart the wound of Amfortas, the stricken Grail king; in fact, without that intensely intimate feeling of oneness with the suffering there could be no healing or help given. But there is one thing which no one can escape, the terrible noise of the shells, the deafening roar of the cannon, the vicious spitting of the machine guns, the groans of the wounded, and the oaths of a certain class among the participants. We shall need no further arguement to agree that it is really a "hellish noise" and as subversive of soul growth as possible. The battle field is the last place anyone with a sane mind would choose for the purpose of soul growth, though it is not to be forgotten that much of this has been made by noble deeds of self-sacrifice there; but such results have been achieved IN SPITE of the condition and not because of it. On the other hand, consider a church filled with the noble strain of a Gregorian chant or a Handel oratorio upon which the prayers of the aspiring [PAGE 580] soul wing their way to the Author of our Being. That music may surely be termed "HEAVENLY" and the church designated as offering an ideal condition for soul growth, but if we stayed there permanently to the neglect of our duties we should be failures in spite of the ideal condition. There remains, therefore, only one safe method for us, namely, to stay in the din of the battle field of the world, endeavoring to wrest from even the most unpromising conditions the material of soul growth by unselfish ser- vice, and at the same time TO BUILD WITHIN OUR OWN INNER SELVES A SANCTUARY filled with that silent music which sounds ever in the serving soul as a source of upliftment above all the vicissitudes of earthly existence. Hav- ing that "living church" WITHIN, being in fact under that condition "LIVING TEMPLES," we may turn at any moment when our attention is not legitimately required by temporal affairs to that spiritual house not made with hands and lave in its harmony. We may do that many times a day and thus restore con- tinually the harmony that has been disturbed by the discords of terrestrial intercourse. How then shall we build that temple and fill it with the heavenly music we so much desire? What will help and what will hinder? are questions which call for a practical solution, and we shall try to make the answer as plain and practical as possible, for this is a very vital matter. The LITTLE THINGS are particularly important, for the neophyte needs to take even the [PAGE 581] slightest things into account. If we light a match in a strong wind it is extinguished ere it has gained a fair start, but if the little flame is laid on a brush heap and given a chance to grow in comparative calm, a rising wind will fan the flame instead of extinguishing it. Adepts of Great Souls may remain serene under conditions which would upset the ordinary aspirant, hence he should use discrimination and not expose himself unnecessarily to conditions subversive of soul growth; what he needs more than anything is POISE, and nothing is more inimical to that condition than NOISE. It is undeniable that our communities are "Bedlams," and that we have a legitimate right to escape some noises if possible, such as the screeching made by street cars rounding a curve. We do not need to live on such a cor- ner to the detriment of our nerves or endeavors at concentration, but if we have a sick, crying child that requires our attention day and night, it does not matter how if affects our nerves, we have no right in the sight of God or man to run away or neglect it in order to concentrate. These things are perfectly obvious and produce instant assent, but the things that help or hinder most are, as said, the things that are so small that they escape our attention entirely. When we now start to enumerate them, they may provoke a smile of incredulity, but if they are pondered upon and practiced they will soon win assent, for judged by the formula that "by their fruits ye shall [PAGE 582] know them," they will show results and vindicate our assertion that "Silence is one of the greatest helps in soul growth," and should therefore be culti- vated by the aspirant in his home, his personal demeanor, his walk, his hab- its, and paradoxical as it seems, even his speech. It is a proof of the benefit of religion that it makes people happy, but the greatest happiness is usually too deep for outward expression. It fills our whole being so full that it is almost awesome, and a boisterous manner never goes together with that true happiness for it is the sign of superfi- ciality. The loud voice, the coarse laugh, the noisy manner, the hard heels that sound like sledge hammers, the slamming of doors, and the rattling of dishes are the signatures of the unregenerate, for they love noise, the more the merrier, as it stirs their desire bodies. For their purpose church mu- sic is anathema; a blaring brass band is preferable to any other form of en- tertainment, and the wilder the dance, the better. But it is otherwise, or should be, with the aspirant to the higher life. When the infant Jesus was sought by Herod, with murderous intent, his only safety lay in flight, and by that expedient were preserved his life and power to grow and fulfill his mission. Similarly, when the Christ is born within the aspirant he can best preserve this spiritual life by fleeing from the environment of the unregenerate where these hindering things are [PAGE 583] practiced, and seek a place among others of kindred ambitions provided he is free to do so; but if placed in a position of responsibility to a family; it is his duty to strive to alter conditions by precept and example, par- ticularly by example, so that in time that refined, subdued atmosphere which breathes harmony and strength may reign over the whole house. It is not es- sential to the happiness of children that they be allowed to shout at the top to their voices or to race pell-mell through the house, slamming doors and wrecking furniture in their mad race; it is indeed decidedly detrimen- tal, for it teaches them to disregard the feelings of others in self-gratification. They will benefit more than mother by being shod with rubber heels and taught to reserve their romps for outdoors and to play qui- etly in the house, closing doors easily, and speaking in a moderate tone of voice such as mother uses. In childhood we begin to wreck the nerves that bother us in later years, so if we teach our children the lessons above indicated, we may save them much trouble in life as well as further our own soul growth now. It may take years to reform a household of these seemingly unimportant faults and secure an atmosphere conducive to soul growth, especially if the children have grown to adult age and resent reforms of that nature, but it is well worth while. We can and MUST at least cultivate the virtue of silence in [PAGE 584] ourselves, or our own soul growth will be very small. Perhaps if we look at the matter from its occult point of view in connection with that important vehicle, THE VITAL BODY, the point of this necessity will be more clear. We know that the vital body is ever storing up power in the physical body which is to be used in this "School of Experience," and that during the day the desire body is constantly dissipating this energy in actions which con- stitute experience that is eventually transmuted to soul growth. So far so good, but the desire body has the tendency to run amuck if not held in with a tight reign. It revels in UNRESTRAINED motion, whistle, sing, jump, dance, and do all the other unnecessary and undignified things which are so etrimental to soul growth. While under such a spell of in harmony and dis- cord the person is dead to the spiritual opportunities in the physical world, and at night when he leaves his body the process of restoration of that vehicle consumes so much time that very little, if any, time is left for work, even if the person has the inclination to think seriously of doing such work. Therefore, we ought by all means to flee from noises which we are not obliged to hear, and cultivate personally the quiet yet kindly demeanor, the modulated voice, the silent walk, the unobtrusive presence, and all the other virtues which make for harmony, for then the restorative process is quickly accomplished and we are free the major part of the night to work in [PAGE 585] the invisible worlds to gain more soul growth. Let us in this attempt at improvement remember to be undaunted by occasional failures, remembering Paul's admonition to continue in well-doing with patient persistence. THE "MYSTERIUM MAGNUM" OF THE ROSE CROSS: Occasionally we get letters from students voicing their regret that they are alone in the study of the Rosicrucian Philosophy, that their husbands, wives, children or other relatives are unsympathetic or even antagonistic to the teachings, despite all efforts of the said student to interest favorably these friends and thus obtain companionship in their studies, or at least freedom from their bent. This friction causes them a certain amount of un- happiness according to their various temperments, and we are asked by these students to advise them how to overcome the antagonism and convert their relatives. This we have done by personal letters and have been privileged to help conditions in not a few homes when our advice has been followed; but we know that frequently those who suffer most acutely are silent, and we have therefore decided to devote a little time to a discussion of the sub- ject. It is truly said, very truly, that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," and this applies with the same force to the Rosicrucian teachings as [PAGE 586] to any other subject. Therefore, the very first step is to find out IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE to be on the safe side. So let me ask the question: What is the Rosicrucian teaching which you are so anxious to have others share and to which they object? Is it the twin laws of "CAUSATION" and "RE- BIRTH?" They are excellent for explaining a great many problems of life, and they are a great comfort when the grim reaper appears and robs our home of some one near and dear. But then you must remember that there are many who do not feel the need of any explanation whatever. They are constitu- tionally as unfit to apply it as a deaf mute is to use the telephone. It is true that we work to better advantage when conscious of the law and its pur- pose, but let us take comfort from the fact that these laws work for good to all whether they know it or not, and therefore THIS KNOWLEDGE IS NOT ESSEN- TIAL. They will suffer no great loss because they do not embrace this doc- trine, and they may escape the danger incident to the possession of "a little knowledge." In India where these truths are known and believed by millions, people make little effort at material progress because they know that they have endless time, and what they do not accomplish in this life may wait till the next or a later life. Many Westerners who have embraced the doctrine of re- birth have ceased to be useful members of their community by adopting a life [PAGE 587] of indolence, thereby bringing reproach on these so-called higher teachings. If your friends will have none of this teaching, leave them alone. Making converts is by no means the essential point of the Rosicrucian teaching. The Guardian of the Gate will not examine them as to knowledge, and he may admit some who are entirely ignorant of this matter and shut the door in the face of others who have devoted their lives to studying, lecturing on, and teaching these laws. Then if the doctrines of "Causation" and "Rebirth" are unessential, what about the COMPLEX CONSTITUTION OF MAN? Surely it is essential to know that we are not merely this visible body, but have a vital body to charge it with energy, a desire body to spend this force, a mind to guide our exertions in channels of reason, and that we are virgin spirits enmeshed in a threefold veil as egos. Is it not essential to know that the physical body is the ma- terial counterpart of the Divine Spirit, that the vital body is a replica of the Life Spirit, and that the desire body is the shadow of the Human Spirit, the mind forming the link between the threefold spirit and the threefold body? No, IT IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO KNOW THESE THINGS. Properly used, this knowl- edge is an advantage, but it may also be a very decided disadvantage in the case of those who have only "a little knowledge" in that direction. There are many such who are always meditating on "the higher self" while entirely forgetful of the many "lower selves" groaning in misery at their very doors. [PAGE 588] There are many who dream day and night of the time when they will take their daily SOUL FLIGHTS as "invisible helpers" and ease the sufferings of the sick and sorrowful, yet would not spend a five cent car fare and an hour's time to bring a poor, friendless soul in a city hospital a flower and a word of cheer. Again I say that the Guardian of the Gate is more likely to admit him who did what he could than him who dreamed much and did nothing to help his suffering fellow man. If you could get people to study the Rosicrucian teachings about death and the life after, you would feel it important that they should also know about the silver cord remaining unbroken for a period approximately three and one-half days after the spirit has left the body, and that it must be left undisturbed while the panorama of its past life is being etched into the desire body to serve as arbiter of its life in the invisible world. You would like them to know all about the spirit's life in purgatory--how the evil acts of its life react upon it as pain to create conscience and keep it from repeating in a later life the acts that cause the suffering. You would have them know how the good acts of life are transmuted into virtues usable in later lives as set forth in our philosophy. You have no doubt been surprised at the assertion that a knowledge of the great twin laws in unessential. Probably the next assertion that it is [PAGE 589] immaterial whether others learn about the constitution of man as we know it may have scandalized you; and you will undoubtedly feel shocked to have it stated that the Rosicrucian teachings concerning death and the passing of the spirit into the unseen worlds are also comparatively unnecessary to the purpose we aim to accomplish. It really does not matter whether your relatives understand or believe in these teachings. So far as your own passing is concerned, an earnest request that they leave your body quiet and undisturbed for the proper period will probably be carried out to the let- ter, for people have an almost superstitious regard for such "last requests"; and if any of your friends pass over, YOU are there with your knowledge and can do the right thing for them. So never mind if they refuse to take up that part of the Rosicrucian teaching. But the student may say, "If a knowledge of the before mentioned subjects which seems of such practical value is immaterial to advancement, then it follows that study of the Periods, Revolutions, World Globes, etc., is en- tirely so. That disposes of everything taught in the 'COSMO,' and there is nothing left of the Rosicrucian teaching which we have embraced and to which we have pinned our faith! IS NOTHING LEFT? Yes, indeed, ALL IS LEFT, for those things mentioned are only the husks which you must remove to get at THE MEAT IN THE NUT, the kernel of it all. You have read the "COSMO" many times perhaps. Maybe you [PAGE 590] have studied it and feel proud of your knowledge of the world mystery, but HAVE YOU EVER READ THE MYSTERY HIDDEN IN EVERY LINE? That is the great and essential teaching, the one teaching to which your friends will respond, if you can find it and give it to them. The "COSMO" preaches on every page THE GOSPEL OF SERVICE. For our sakes Deity manifested the universe. The great creative Hierar- chies have all been and some of them still are OUR SERVANTS. The luminous star angels, whose fiery bodies we see whirling through space, have worked with us for ages, and in due time Christ came to bring us the spiritual im- petus needed at that time. It is also significant in the extreme that in the parable of the last judgment Christ does not say, "Well done, thou great and erudite PHILOSOPHER, who knoweth the Bible, the Kabala, the "COSMO" and all the other mysterious literature which reveals the intricate workings of nature" but He says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: * * * enter thou into the joy of thy lord. * * * * For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; * * * ." Not one single word about knowledge; THE WHOLE EMPHASIS WAS LAID UPON FAITHFULNESS AND SERVICE. There is a deep occult reason for this: SERVICE BUILDS THE SOUL BODY, the glorious wedding garment without which no man can enter into the kingdom of the heavens, occultly termed "THE NEW GALILEE," and it does not matter [PAGE 591] whether we are aware of what is going on, so long as we accomplish the work. Moreover, as the luminous soul body grows in and around a person, this light will teach him or her about the Mysteries without the need of books, and one who is thus God taught knows more than all the books in the world contain. In due time the inner vision will be opened and the way to the Temple shown. If you want to teach your friends, no matter how skeptical they may be, they will believe you if you preach the gospel of service. But you must PREACH BY PRACTICE. You must become a servant of men your- self if you would have them believe in you. If you want them to follow, you must lead, or they will have the right to question your sincerity. Remem- ber, "ye are a city upon a hill," and when you make professions they have a right to judge you by your fruits; therefore SAY LITTLE, SERVE MUCH. There are many who love to discuss the harmless, peaceful life at dinner, oblivious of the fact that the red roast on the table and the cigar in the mouth dull the effect. There are others who make a god of the stomach and would rather study dietetics than the Bible; they are always ready to but- tonhole their friends and discourse upon the latest food fad. I knew one man who was at the head of an esoteric group. His wife was antagonistic to occultism and the meatless diet. He forced her to cook his vegetables at [PAGE 592] home, and told her that if she ever dared to bring meat into HIS kitchen or contaminate HIS dishes with it, he would pitch her and the dishes into the street, adding that if she must make a pig of herself she could go and get flesh food in a restaurant. IS IT TO BE WONDERED AT THAT SHE JUDGED THE RELIGION BY THE MAN AND WOULD HAVE NONE OF IT? Surely he was to blame, being "his brother's keeper," and though this is an extreme case, it makes the lesson more obvious. It is to the everlasting praise of Mahomet that his wife became his first disciple, and it speaks volumes for his kindness and consideration in the home. His is an example we should all do well to follow if we would win our friends to the higher life, for though all religious systems differ outwardly THE KER- NEL OF ALL IS LOVE. [PAGE 593] STUMBLING BLOCKS: Not infrequently the remark is made by people who have no sympathy with our aspirations to live the higher life, that it unfits people for the world's work. Unfortunately it cannot be denied that there is seeming jus- tification for the assertion, though in reality the very first requisite for living the higher life involves an obligation to comport oneself irreproach- ably in dealing with material matters, for unless we are faithful in the little things, how can we expect to be trusted with greater responsi- bilities? It has therefore been deemed expedient to devote a lesson to the discussion of some of the things which act as stumbling blocks in the life of aspirants. In the Bible story where the king sent out his servants with invitations to the feast he had prepared, we are told that his invitations were refused on various grounds. Each one had material cares, buying, selling, marrying, therefore they could not attend to the spiritual things, and such people we may say represent the greater number of humanity today, who are too [PAGE 594] engrossed in the cares of the world to devote even a thought to aspiration in the higher direction. But there are others who become so enthusiastic upon the first taste of the higher teachings that they are ready to give up all work in the world, repudiate every obligation, and devote their time to what they are pleased to call "helping humanity." They will readily admit that it takes time to learn how to be a watchmaker, a shoemaker, an engi- neer, or a musician, and they would not for a moment dream of giving up their present material business to establish themselves as shoemaker, watch- maker, or music teacher just because they felt enthusiastic about or in- clined to take up such work. They would know that lacking the proper preparation and training they would be doomed to failure, and yet they think that just because they have become enthusiastic over the higher world's work and devote their time to service similar, even though in a lesser degree, to that rendered by the Christ in His ministry. One writes to Headquarters: "I have given up flesh eating, and I long to live the ascetic life, far from the world's noise that jars upon me. I want to give my life for humanity." Another says: "I want to live the spiritual life, but I have a wife who needs my care and support. Do you think I would be justified in leaving her to help my fellow men?" Still another says: " I am in a business which is unspiritual; every day I must do things which are [PAGE 595] against my higher nature, but I have a daughter dependent upon me for an education. What shall I do: continue or give up?" There are of course many other problems presented to us, but these serve as fair samples, for they represent a class which is ready to give up the world at the slightest word of encouragement, and rush off to the hills in the expectation of sprouting wings immediately. If the people who are in that class have any ties, they break them without a scruple or a moment's consideration. Another class still feels some obligation, but could be easily persuaded to repudiate it in order that they might live what they call " the spiritual life." It cannot be denied that when people get into this state of mind, when they lose their ambition to work in the world, when they become shift- less and neglectful of their duties, they merit the reproach of the commu- nity. But as already said such conduct is based upon a misunderstanding of the higher teachings and is not at all sanctioned by the Bible or the Elder Brothers. It is a step in the right direction when a person ceases to feed on flesh because he feels compassion for the suffering of the animals. There are many people who abstain from flesh foods for health's sake, but theirs being selfish motive, the sacrifice carries with it no merit. Where the aspirant to the higher life is prompted to abstain from flesh food because he [PAGE 596] realizes that the refining influence of a meatless diet upon the body will aid him in his quest by making the body more sensitive to spiritual influ- ences, there is no real merit either. Truly, the person who abstains from flesh foods for the sake of health will be much benefited, and the person who abstains to make his body more sensitive will also get his reward in that respect, but from the spiritual point of view neither will be very much better. On the other hand, whoever abstains from flesh food because he re- alizes that God's life is immanent in every animal just as in himself, that in the final analysis God feels all suffering felt by the animal, that it is a divine law, "Thou shalt not kill," and that he must abstain out of compas- sion, this person is not only benefited in health and by making his body more sensitive to spiritual impacts, but because of the motive which prompts him he reaps a reward in soul growth immeasurably more precious than any other consideration. Therefore we would say by all means abstain from flesh food, but be sure to do so prompted by the right spiritual motive or it will not affect your spiritual interests one iota. When the enthusiast says that he wants to get away from the world and the noise that jars upon him to live the ascetic life, it is truly a strange idea of service. The reason why we are here in this world is that we may gather experience, which is then transmuted into soul growth. If a diamond in the rough were laid away in a drawer for years and years, it would be no [PAGE 597] different than before, but when it is placed against the gridstone by the lapidary the harsh grinding process removes the last atom of the rough coat- ing and brings out the beautiful, luminous gem. Every one of us is a diamond in the rough, and God, the Great Lapidary, uses the world as a grindstone which rubs off the rough and ugly coating, allowing our spiritual selves to shine forth and become luminous. The Christ was a living example of this. He did not go away from the centers of civilization, but moved constantly among the suffering and the poor, teaching, healing, and helping until by the glorious service rendered, His body was made luminous on the Mount of Transfiguration, and He who had trodden the Way exhorted His fol- lowers to be "in the world but not of it." That is the great lesson that every aspirant has to learn. It is one thing to go out in the mountains where there is no one to con- tradict or to jar upon our sensibilities and keep our poise there; it is an- other thing entirely to maintain our spiritual aspirations and keep our bal- ance in the world where everything jars upon us; but when we stay on this path, we gain a self-control which is unattainable in any other manner. However, though we are careful to prepare our food well and to abstain from flesh eating or any other contaminating OUTWARD influence, though we want to get away to the mountains to escape the sordid things of city life, [PAGE 598] and we want to rid ourselves of every outward thing that may prove a stumbling block to our progress, still what about the things that come from WITHIN, the thoughts we have in our minds and our mental food? It will avail us not one iota of good if we could feed our bodies upon nectar and ambrosia, the ethereal food of the gods, when the mind is a charnel house, a habitat of low thoughts, for then we are only as whited sepulchres, beauti- ful to behold from without but inwardly full of a nauseating stench; and this mental delinquency can be maintained just as easily and perhaps it is even more apt to be maintained in the solitude of the mountains or in a so-called spiritual retreat than in a city where we are busy with the work of our vocation. It is indeed a true saying that "an idle brain is the devil's workshop," and the safest way to attain to interior purity and cleanliness is to keep the mind busy all the time, guiding our desires, feelings, and emotions toward the practical problems of life, and working, each one in his own immediate environment, to find the poor and the needy that he may give them whatever help their cases require and merit. That class which has not ties of its own may profitably make ties of love and friendship with those who are loveless and friendless. Or if it is the care of a relative--wife, daughter, husband, or anyone else that claims us, let us remember the words of Christ when He said, "Who [PAGE 599] are my mother and my brother?" and answered the question by saying, "Those who do the will of my Father." This saying has been misconstrued by some to mean that Christ repudiated His physical relationships for the spiritual, but it is only necessary to remember that in the last moments of His life on earth He called to His mother, giving him to her as a son and charging the disciple to care for His parent. Love is the unifying force in life, and according to the higher teachings we are required to love our kin, but also to extend our love natures so that they may also include everyone else. It is good that we love our own mother and father, but we should also learn to love other people's mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, for universal brotherhood can never become a fact so long as our love is confined only to the family. It must be made all inclusive. There was one among the disciples of Christ whom He loved especially, and following His example we also may bestow a particular affection upon certain ones, though we ought to love everyone and do good even to them that de- spitefully use us. These are high ideals and difficult of accomplishment at our present stage of development, but as the mariner steers his ship by a guiding star and reaches his desired haven though never the star itself, so also by setting our ideals high we shall live nobler and better lives than [PAGE 600] if we do not aspire, and in time and through many births we shall eventually attain, because the inherent divinity in ourselves makes it imperative. Finally then, to sum up, it does not really matter where we are placed in life, whether in a high station or a low. Present environment with its op- portunities and limitations is such as suits our individual requirements as determined by our self-made destinies in previous existences. Therefore it holds for us the lesson we must learn in order to progress properly. If we have a wife, a daughter, or other family relations to hold us to that envi- ronment, they must be considered as part of what we have to reckon with, and by doing our duty to them we learn the required lesson. If they are an- tagonistic to our belief, if they have no sympathy with our aspirations, if we have on their account to stay in a business and do things which we are not pleased with, it is because we must learn something from these things, and the proper way for the earnest aspirant is to look conditions squarely in the face with a view to finding out just what it is that is needed. This may not be an easy matter. It may take weeks, months, or years to solve the problem, but so long as the aspirant applies himself prayerfully to the task, he may be sure that the light will shine some day, and then he will see what is required and why these conditions were imposed upon him. Then having learned the lesson or found out it purpose, he will if he has the right spirit prayerfully bear the burden, for he will know that he is upon [PAGE 601] the right road and that it is an absolute certainty that as soon as the les- son of that environment has been learned a new way will be opened up showing him the next step upon the path of progress. Thus the "stumbling blocks" will have been turned into "stepping stones," which would never have hap- pened if he had run away from them. In this connection we would quote the beautiful poem. "Let us not waste our time in longing For bright but impossible things. Let us not sit supinely waiting For the sprouting of angel wings. Let us not scorn to be rush-lights, Everyone can't be a star, But let us fulfill our mission By shining just where we are. "There is need of the tiniest candle As well as the garish sun; And the humblest deed is ennobled When it is worthily done. We may never be called on to brighten Those darkened regions afar, So let us fulfill our mission By shining just where we are." [PAGE 602] THE LOCK OF UPLIFTMENT: Have you ever seen how ships going up a canal or river are lifted from one level to another? It is a very interesting and instructive process. First the ship is floated into a small enclosure where the water level is the same as that of the lower part of the river where the ship has previ- ously been sailing. Then the gates of the enclosure are shut and the ship is cut off from the outside world by the high wall of the lock. It cannot go back to the river without; even the light is dimmed around it, but ABOVE the moving clouds or the brightest sunshine are seen beckoning. The ship cannot rise without assistance, and the law of gravity make it impossible for the water in that part of the river where the ship has been sailing to float it to a higher level, hence no help may be looked for from that source. There are also gates in the upper part of the lock which prevent the wa- ters on the higher levels from rushing into the lock from above, otherwise [PAGE 603] the inrushing water would flood the lock in a moment and crush the ship ly- ing at the bottom level because acting in conformity with that same law of gravitation. It is from ABOVE, nevertheless, that the power must come if the ship is ever to be lifted to the higher level of the river, and so to do this safely a SMALL STREAM is conducted to the bottom of the lock, which lifts the ship VERY SLOWLY AND GRADUALLY BUT SAFELY to the level of the river above. When that level has been reached, the upper gates may be opened without danger to the ship, and it may sail forth upon the expansive bosom of the higher waterway. Then the lock is SLOWLY emptied and the water it contained added to the water at the lower level, which is thereby raised even if but slightly. The lock is then ready to raise another vessel. This is, as said in the beginning, a very interesting and instructive physical operation, showing how human skill and ingenuity overcome great ob- stacles by the use of nature's forces. But it is a source of still greater enlightenment in a spiritual matter of vital importance to all who aspire and endeavor to live the higher life, for it illustrates the only safe method whereby man can rise from the temporal to the spiritual world, and it confutes those false teachers who for personal gain play upon the too ardent desires of the unripe, and who profess ability to unlock the gates of the unseen worlds for the consideration of an initiation fee. Our illustration shows that this is impossible, because the immutable laws of nature forbid. [PAGE 604] For the purpose of elucidation we may call our river the river of life, and we as individuals are the ships sailing upon t; the lower river is the temporal world, and when we have sailed its length and breadth for many lives, we inevitably come to the lock of upliftment which is placed at the end. We may for a long time cruise about the entrance and look in, impelled by an inner urge to enter but drawn by another impulse towards the broad river of life without. For a long time this lock of upliftment with its high, bare walls looks forbidding and solitary, while the river of life is gay with bunting and full of kindred craft gaily cruising about; but when the inner urge has become sufficiently intense, it imbues us with a determi- nation not to go back to the river of worldly life. But even at that stage there are some who falter and fear to shut the gate behind them; they aspire to ardently at times to the life on the higher level, but it makes them feel less alone to look back upon the river of worldly life, and sometimes they stay in this condition for lives, wondering why they do not progress, why they experience no spiritual downpouring, why there is no uplift in their lives. Our illustration makes the reason very plain; no matter how hard the captain might beg, the lock keeper would never think of releasing the stream [PAGE 605] of water from above until the gate had been closed behind the ship, for it could never lift the ship, for it could never lift the ship an inch under such conditions but would flow through the open gates to waste in the lower river. Neither will the guardians of the gates of the higher worlds open the stream of upliftment for us, no matter how hard we pray, until we have shut the door to the world behind us, and shut it very tight with respect to the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, the sins that so easily beset us and are fostered by us in the careless worldly days. We must shut the door on them all before we are really in a condition to receive the stream of upliftment, but once we have thus shut the door and irrevocably set our faces forward, the downpouring begins, slowly but surely as the stream of the lock keeper which lifts the vessel. But having left the temporal world with all its deed behind and having set his face towards the spiritual worlds, the yearning of the aspirant be- comes more intense. As time passes he feels in increasing measure the void on both sides of himself. The temporal world and its deeds have dropped from him as a garment; he may be bodily in that world, performing his du- ties, but he has lost interest; he is in the world but not of it, and the spiritual world where he aspires to citizenship seems equally distant. He is all alone and his whole being cries and writhes in pain, longing for light. [PAGE 606] Then comes the turn of the tempter: "I have a school of initiation, and am able to advance my pupils quickly for a fee," or words to that effect, but usually more subtle; and who shall blame the poor aspirants who fall be- fore the wiles of these pretenders? Lucky are they if, as is generally the case, they are merely put through a ceremonial and given an empty degree, but occasionally they meet one who has really dabbled in magic and is able to open the flood gates from the higher level. Then the inrush of spiritual power shatters the system of the unfortunate dupe as the waters of the river above would wreck a vessel at the bottom of the lock is an ignorant or mali- cious person were to open the gates. The vessel must be lifted slowly for safety's sake, and so must the aspirant to spiritual upliftment; patience and unwavering persistence in well-doing are absolutely indispensable, and the door to the pleasures of the world must be kept closed. If that is done we shall surely and certainly accomplish the ascent to the heights of the unseen world with all the opportunities for further soul growth there found, for it is a natural process governed by natural laws, just as is the eleva- tion of a ship to the higher levels of a river by a system of locks. But how can I stay in the lock of upliftment and serve my fellow man? If soul growth comes only by service, how can I gain by isolation? These are questions that may not unnaturally present themselves to students. To [PAGE 607] answer them we must again emphasize that no one can lift another who is not himself upon a higher level, not so far above as to be unreachable, but suf- ficiently close to be within grasp of the reaching hand. There are, alas, too many who profess the higher teachings but live lives on the level with ordinary men and women of the world or even below that level. Their profes- sions make the higher teachings a byword and call down the scorn of scoff- ers. But those who live the higher teachings have no need to profess them orally; they are isolated and marked in spite of themselves, and though handicapped by the misdeeds of the "professors," they do in time win the respect and confidence of those about them; eventually they call out in their associates the desire of emulation, they convert them in spite of themselves, reaping in return for this service a commensurate soul growth. Now is the time of the year (Christmas) when the crest wave of spiritual power envelops the world. It culminates at the winter solstice, when the Christ is reborn into our planet, and though hampered by the present (from the limited viewpoint) deplorable war conditions, His life given for us may be most easily drawn upon by the aspirant at this season to further spiritual growth; therefore all who are desirous of attaining the higher levels would do well to put forth special efforts in that direction during the winter season. Continued with File "RC1019.TXT" End of File


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