Filename: RC3003.TXT Source: +quot;The Bible: Wonder Book of the Ages+quot; [PAGE 47] unce

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Filename: RC3003.TXT Source: "The Bible: Wonder Book of the Ages" [PAGE 47] unceasing, as suggested in the black-and-white pavement of the Masonic Mystery Temple. The Disciple Simon Zelotes, the fiery zealot, beheld the work of transmutation performed by the Christ and His circle of Initiates, and it was this which changed the resentful patriot into the loving, tender Disciple who was willing to receive and bear the ridicule, contempt and persecution of his former friends and associates in order that he might give his life only in love for his fellowmen. JUDAS ISCARIOT: Judas is a symbol of the limitation and incompleteness which act as a negative spur to progress. "Nature abhors a vacuum," and every human soul, when it becomes sensitive to its spiritual emptiness, seeks for self- fulfillment. All things work together for good, St. Paul said; the greatest sinner may become the greatest saint, as Paul also demonstrated. Judas represents the lower nature in man, which ever betrays the higher of Christ within. This betrayal causes the great pain or Passion and must always take place in the Garden of Agony. In the path of spiritual progression it is a necessary prelude to the Crucifixion which brings liberation, freedom, and attainment. This can be accomplishment only by evil or limitation (Judas) destroying itself so that the divine nature may show forth. Matthias, a holy man, is then chosen to replace him. Legends state that the mother of Judas was warned in a dream that he was to become the son of perdition. She therefore placed him in a chest or ark and set it out to sea. There he was discovered by a king, who adopted the beautiful boy and reared him with his own son; but Judas murdered his foster brother and was compelled to flee. He became a page for Pontius Pilate and later tried to follow the Christ. Judas represents acquisitiveness, the love of the power which accrues from the possession of material things. He was the Disciple who carried the money- bags. Intense, passionate, his eyes filled with weird lights and his hair like crimson flame, he was accused from childhood of having a devil. He is also linked, in some accounts, with Mary Magdalene in bonds of sensual love, the two representing the path of transmutation whereby the lower or mortal nature is cast aside in favor of the new and Christed life. JOHN: A poet sings of the youth of the beloved Disciple John, "coming to manhood, he was like a beautiful swift storm." "Sons of Thunder," the Master called [PAGE 48] John and his brother James. That terrific inner intensity which led James to be the first to lay down his life won for John the place of best-beloved of the Master in the sense that his spiritual advancement brought him closest to the Christ Spirit. From early childhood John's eagle eyes had visioned the radiance of angels and his heart had listened to their glorious singing. In the shadow of their wings the white flame of love was born within him, and that love became power, and was later poured into hi Book, making it the most treasured of the memorabilia of Christ's ministry on earth. Through this love he was able to view the glory of those manisons which the Master has prepared for those who love Him and make themselves worthy to inhabit them. It was in the spirit of this love, which is such as the angels know, that he was able to strike that keynote of ecstasy sounded in the injunction, "LOve one another as I have loved you," and in His promise, "If I be lifted up I draw all men unto me." It was in Ephesus that John prepared himself for the great work of healing and teaching which he accomplished after the dispersion of the Disciples. There he lived and there he taught the wondering multitudes of the inner meaning of LOVE AS A POWER. Angel bands were chanting hosannas when first he met his Lord, and these hosannas were prolonged when his radiant spirit left the earth to rejoin his beloved Master in the heaven worlds. The fragrance of his parting words to his disciples still lingers like the breath of rare, exotic flowers: "Little children, love ye one another." JAMES: James, the brother of John, was accounted the first of the Disciples until the time of his martyrdom. He was among the first to be called and he was the first to follow his Master to martyrdom. Matthew IV:21,22 "And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. The fisherman's net, in esoteric symbology, refers to the wisdom extracted from the experiences of daily living, the fisherman being one who has awakened spiritually to the meaning and purpose of physical existence. The New Testament contains many references to the Disciples' work with nets. Sometimes these are broken, and again they are being mended. They represent the substance out of which the soul body, the etheric body of the New Age man is fashioned. [PAGE 49] James represents the supreme quality of hope which "springs eternal in the human breast." It was by the power of hope that James was able to leave his father despite his remonstrances, saying: "I must go, for Jesus has come." Bathed in this white light of hope from the osul's high altar, James was able to pass calmly through the bitter experience of persecution and martyrdom. Before the power of Herod reached out to "kill James by the sword," the Disciples had planted the seed of the new Christian faith in the land. Mystic legends aver that after the martyrdom of James the other Disciples had placed his body in a boat which was propelled by angels until it reached the coast of Spain, and there a great rock opened of its own accord to receive it--a reference to the truths of Initiation and the new white stone of which he taught. In this legend we have another facet of the Mystery of the Grail, whose castle, bult by men and angels, stood somewhere in the mountains of Spain before it graced the altars of Glastonbury in the time of King Arthur and his knights; but some say that it was in Britain first. JUDE: Jude means praise. This disciple represents, therefore, one of the most important qualities to be developed by one who is seeking the inner light. All true spiritual instruction emphasizes the need to cultivate the spirit of praise. The law of praise is the law of increase; hence what we praise we multiply. The more spiritually illumined one becomes, the more one is given to the daily practice of praise. This is exemplified in the Book of Psalms. As the Psalmist became increasingly attuned to the music of the spheres, the more ardent became his songs of praise, until his very life resounded with the starin: "Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me praise His Holy Name!" Praise it is, then, that we associate with Jude, the cousin of Jesus and son of that Mary, who was a sister of the Virgin and a co-worker in the Mystery cult of the Essens, the Community of the Elect. THOMAS: Thomas represents doubt and skepticism which arise inseparably from intellectual training. Doubt and skepticism are two of the greatest deterrents to the acquisition of first-hand knowledge by modern aspirants. The Master's words to Thomas, "Be ye not faithless but believing," are still echoing through the ethers. We need not expect to progress far on the Path until the Thomas stage of development has been passed. [PAGE 50] Thomas was on the very threshold of understanding, as for instance when he witnessed the raising of Lazarus; but on the occasion of the Master's arrest in Gethsemene he was overwhelmed by the old doubt and conflict, and at the Crucifixion he fled. In his tortured mind he carried the memory of the broken body and pierced side, but in his heart, like hidden music, he retained the cadences of the divine prayer: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." At the end of the long dreary week of the Master's Passion he returned to Jerusalem, where already the ethers were vibrant with the joyous rhythms of the Resurrection initiatory hymn: "I am the resurrection and the Life." Here his dedication was complete. With the words, "My Lord and my God," a new Thomas went forth into the world, his heart aflame and his lips touched with that Light which is born from attunement with the love which is eternal. In India there is a sect numbering several thousand members who call themselves "St. Thomas Christians," testifying to this day to the great works and miracles of the holy and illumined Disciple who founded their Order. MATTHEW: The life story of Matthew is that of the publican and sinner who, through finding Christ, became one of the most glorious of the saints and Apostles and the writer of the Gospel which bears his name. Matthew, the tax-gatherer, symbolizes acquisitiveness, possessiveness. This quality he manifested first on the physical plane, but its transmuted equivalent he later manifested to a corresponding virtue in the alchemy of spiritual illumination. Through sorrow and suffering the quality of acqusitiveness and possessiveness was lifted from one level to another, until it became the power by which he was a collector, through experience, of wisdom, its essence. In his luxurious villa beside the blue waters of the Galilean lake, Matthew celebrated his renunication of the old life and his dedication to the new by holding a great feast. This feast was attended by many publicans and sinners, friends and companions of the old life, and was also graced and blessed by the presence of the gracious Lord Himself. For this was in truth a spiritual feast at which the attributes of the former unregenerated self were lifted up and transformed by the presence and the power of the Christ. The transformation of Matthew was effected through the glorious experience accompanying the Master's Sermon on the Mount. Ever afterward his eyes were [PAGE 51] lit with a strange mystery, and from his lips sounded the warmth and power of the new words of Spirit and Life. In contrast to his former luxurious mode of life, Matthew became a most abstemious and ascetic person, until gradually there emanated from his face and form that transcendent light and glory which was like unto the divine radiance of the Master. His great work centered largely in Ethiopia where he labored for approximately twenty-three years. Matthew signifies the great purpose and power of transmutation in human life. ANDREW: Andrew is the Disciple who represents humility and self-effacement; the first to be chosen, yet never becoming one of the innermost circle. He was content always to shine in the reflected glory of his younger brother, Peter. Dreams and longing for the things of the spirit led him, in the early days, to become one of the followers of John the Baptist; and so he was prepared for a further and higher service under the Supreme Master. The Bible mystically describes his preparation by saying that he was casting nets when Jesus came. Andrew was one of those chosen by the Great Initiator to serve in the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The purpose of this miracle was to teach the Disciples how to manifest physical substance from a given nucleus, as well as to demonstrate the fellowship of sharing. After the great powers conferred on the Disciples at Pentecost, they dispersed over the world in furtherance of the Great Work. Andrew journeyed over all of the seven seas, and the mystic legends relate that he was the first to give Scotland the new and blessed Word of Life. St. Andrew's Cross is an X, symbol of sacrificial blood, drawn in fiery red: Where tortured and martyred, Fair flowering trees beheld him standing there, With blossoms decked where he had shed his blood. Throughout Masonic and esoteric Christian symbology we find it repeatedly represented that where sacrificial blood has flowed a living memorial has arisen in the form of a flowering tree. The bloody path drawn by the staggering footsteps of Hiram Abiff, according to Masonic writers, describes this X of St. Andrew's Cross, and the flowering tree sacred to his memory is the Acacia. The symbol aptly illustrates the process of Initiation. PETER: Peter, the uncertain, the vacillating, "the wave man who was later to [PAGE 52] become the rock man, "is an example of one who achieved mastery over great personal weakness and indecision; and his record shows him to have had more failings and shortcomings than any of the other disciples. Yet he finally succeeded to develop the transcendent spiritual attributes to which every true disciple aspires. Peter received his first discipline in the esoteric school of John the Baptist. When the Christ found him, he was busily engaged in mending his nets. He typifies action and service, and at last achieved to that high place wherein he symbolizes faith--faith as a power, not merely an abstraction. it is upon that new-found power of faith, that the Church of the New Age, or body of the Initiate, is builded. When love, faith and hope become manifest as workable powers within the consciousness of modern aspirants then they, too, will be able to accompany the Christ in His greatest wonder-workings as did Peter, James and John, the Disciples symbolizing these qualities. Our greatest failures may become our stepping-stones to the greatest unfoldment, as in the case of Peter. He could never forget his denial of the Christ, and at his own execution he asked that he be crucified head downward, as unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord. Peter's most treasured memory was his meeting with Master in that luminous dawn sson after the Resurrection when once more he was permitted to renew and rededicate his life, as a further reply to the Master who had asked Him: "Lovest thou Me?" Magnificently he fulfilled the Master's command to feed His sheep. Holy legend has it that even his shadow, falling upon the sick, had power to heal; yet we know that it was not his shadow which healed but the wonderful soul- emanations of Christ-like love which did this, falling upon all who came near him. Peter's life was limned in light and shadow, the darkness of conflict and failing, of trials and weakness, yielding to intermittent shafts of glory until at last he surrendered himself to death in the white radiance of a faith which was truly divine. All that was weak and human was obliterated at the last in one great burst of spirit fire which consumed the flesh. His life illustrates, as perhaps no other does, the truth of the saying of a modern seer: "There is no failure save in ceasing to try." More than any of the Disciples, Peter is the apostle of the unceasing effort. It is because of his many and varied experiences, and the wisdom and understanding these brought him, that Peter is said to hold the keys of heaven [PAGE 53] and hell. The student of inner things realizes that the real purpose of life is not happiness but experience. NATHANIEL: Nathanael was the dreamer and mytic among the Twelve; "an Israelite in whom there is no guile" were the words the Master used in describing him. He was Nathanael, the son of Thalmai, and so he was called Bar-Thalmai, or Bartholomew, his name being Nathanael Bar-Thalmai. His father was a tender of vineyards, and it was amid the cool shadows and rich fragrance of his hillside home that Nathanael dreamed his dreams, until for him the songs of birds were intermingled with the chorusing of angel voices and the gleams of stars were torch lights beckoning him from the stairways of heaven. Thus musing and living in dreams that were scarcely less real to him than the lovely world around him, this young Galahad of the spirit was prepared for the eternal quest. Philip, his friend, knowing Nathanael's deep longing for the coming of an illumined one to guide him on his quest, burst in upon him one day in burning eagerness and enthusiasm to announce that he had "found the Messiah." Nathaneal standfs for purity. He had accomplished the great overcoming of the lower man in preparation for the coming of the Great Teacher. Throughout the Bible the fig symbolizes generation. "Whilst thou wast under the fig tree I saw thee," said the Master in the first moment of greeting; and he predicted: "Thou shalt see the gates of heaven and the angels of the Lord ascending and descending," referring to the powers of Initiation which he would later develop. Purity is the supreme requisite of Initiation and no true spiritual power can be attained without it. Nathanael became one of the most wonderful healers among the disciples, and it was for this reason that he was stoned to death by the priests of the old religion, for they feared his power. The healing forces are life forces, and purity such as Nathanael's, which is the fruit of living the regenerated life, increases the healing forces a thousandfold; for the personal powers are augmented by cosmic forces which align themselves with the disciple's own universalized, because purified, potencies. PHILLIP: Phillip was the Disciple from Beth-Saida, which in Hebrew means a house of nets. Esoterically it means to awaken or to infuse with spirituality. The life story of Phillip contains the process or formula for spiritualizing the mind. [PAGE 54] This is a long and arduous process, and Phillip was long in accepting the divinity of the Lord. Many times during this process of spiritual awakening the mind cries out in protest: "Show us the Father and it sufficeth us." Difficult is the attainment whereby we learn to comprehend the Master's reply: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?" Phillip was the son of a Hebrew father and a Grecian mother. He became the first evangelist to the Grecian world. His was the hand that opened the door to Christianizing Europe; and so he has been well named the Hermes of Christ. The greatest influence in his life, with the exception of the Master, was his friendship for Nathanael. They constitute the inseparable two, the David and Jonathan of the New Testament. They were inseparable in life and together they faced martyrdom. Phillip brought Nathanael to Christ, and Nathanael saw the passing of the luminous spirit of Phillip from the martyr's cross to his reuniting on the inner planes with the Master. Phillip had journeyed over the land, sharing the light of the great new truths of the Messiah which he had so ardently espoused, and because of the multitudes of his followers and the many wonderful healings he performed, he was bound to the cross in front of the Temple and crucified. Strengthened by a vision of the glorious Christ and by the earthly presence of his beloved Nathanael, the radiant spirit of Phillip left its earthly tenement, winging its way upward in the joy of those who remained faithful unto death. JAMES THE LESS: James and Jude were the sons of Mary, a sister of the virgin, and Cleophas. Their childhood was spent in the same household with Jesus in an Essene community, but it was not until that mystic interval between the Resurrection and the Ascension that they accepted without reservation the eveidence of His divinity and mission. James received from his mother the tidings of the Resurrection and declared that he would neither eat nor drink until he had seen the risen Master. Soon the Savior appeared before him saying, "Bring table and food and drink as evidence of the new life." James became one of the most devoutly believing of the Disciples, and until his death was head of the new church in Jerusalem. So noble and fine was his character that he was highly esteemed even by those who had no reverence for the new Messianism, and it is believed that he may have been head of the Essenes in Jerusalem before he became head of the new church. [PAGE 55] Enemies of the new Christian sect inveigled the holy James to appear upon the parapet of the Temple before the assembled multitude during Passover week, on the plea that he should tell them something of the Master whom he so much loved; and always eager to discourse upon this them he willingly complied. As he spoke fervently of Jesus as the Messiah of God, the mob took up stones and began to stone him; he fell to the terrace far below, where he died, bearing no malice toward his persecutors, like his Master before him. Thus his great spirit passed into the higher realms with the words of that sublime prayer upon his lips: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." So greatly had this Master Essene been loved by the populace that panic and horror swept over the city with the news of his death, and devout men everywhere said that Jerusalem would suffer great sorrow because of this crime. During this time, or soon after that the Roman armies came and destroyed the city, and Jews as well as Christians said that it was the murder of the saintly James which had brought this catastrophe as a punishment from God. [PAGE 56] THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS: Schools of Initiation, both ancient and modern, have graded the instruction and disciplines required of aspirants into three major steps, and among the early Christians these were known as Dedication, Purification and Illumination; or Preparation, Purification and Perfection. These outline the work of Probation, Discipleship and Initiation as known in modern schools. Saint Paul, one of the most illustrious of the early Christians, has given much information on the experiences that mark the progress of the aspirant on the Path of Holiness. For Saint Paul it was the Road to Damascus that led to the glorious summit of Illumination. It is rightly said that the Bible has an allegorical significance; and so the Road to Damascus has come to mean the Path of Light, because of Paul's initiatory unfoldment on that Road. Yet this does not mean that the story of Paul is a myth or that it never happened as described. It was a true story, and its truth is emblazoned upon it at every point, but it may also be taken as apicture showing the experiences of illumination as they come to every aspirant. This is true of every human being. The life of the humblest may be taken in its entirety and sublime mysteries deduced from its numerous events, from birth to death. We understand how this can be when we realize that the life- pattern exists in the heavens, and the life on earth is the shadow which is cast in time and space by that divine pattern. Imperfect as the life may be, the divine pattern may yet be inferred from the shape of the shadows. The Road of Damascus was the beginning of the Path for Saul, who became Paul. If anyone is skeptical of the fact that the Bible teaches the Truths of Initiation and of the mysteries leading thereto, let him study carefully the Three Journeys of Saint Paul as recorded in the Book of Acts and in his Epistles in the New Testament. Then he will find new depth of meaning in Paul's words: "There is milk for the babes and meat for the strong." Truly it has been said that "Paul was one of the greatest voices that the world has ever heard. For forty years after the Transfiguration, his life was a sublime and terrible adventure." His life was a mighty kaleidoscopic picture of stirring events. We see him [PAGE 57] as Saul, guarding the cloaks of those who were stoning Stephen; his first encounter with the disciple Peter; we observe his great illumination on the road to Damascus; later, as Paul the Apostle, we see him stoned and scourged at one time, worshipped as a god at another. We hear him pleading with the Athenians on Mars Hill, and then rise with him on the wings of inspiration as he sings his immortal song in which love takes precedence over faith and hope; an ecstatic hymn that translates for us the songs of the angels, and is charged with a beauty and power which assures it a place in the hearts of all men for all time to come. Later we follow Paul to the Sanhedrin. We see him casting the viper into the fire, and finally, in the dim purple shadows of the great pine trees of Rome, see his noble head laid beneath the headman's ax. Thus we view Paul, the intrepid, the courageous, the victorious, whose life maxim, adopted hundreds of years later by a great occult fraternity as the sesame into its Temple, was contained in his words: "I desire nothing but Christ Jesus and Him crucified." Each of the pictures in the life of Paul strikes a distinctive keynote and marks a specific phase of development. A similar progression from soul-step to soul-step characterizes the aspirant who attains to Paul's exalted status. Saul, the persecutor of Stephen, bears little resemblance to Paul, the author of the divinely inspired song of love, excepting only in the fervor of his temperament. it was the change in character and consciousness that changed the name of this eager, arduous spirit from Saul to Paul, for esoterically names are the vibratory expression of the spiritual idea that they represent. The Saul of Tarsus is far removed in consciousness from the Paul who penned the final Epistle to Timothy--that Epistle which describes the high goal for every modern disciple, his sons in spirit: "I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished the course." Paul placed mystic keys in each of his Epistles as an aid to all disciples who enter upon the Way in search for a deeper understanding of the mystery of life. Fourteen of the twenty-seven Books comprising the New Testament testify to the work of the great evangelizer, and "every letter of Paul is a picture of Paul." (Adolf Deissman). When arranged in their chronological order, the thriteen Epistles of Paul may be classified in four groups: A.......I and II Thessalonians Written during the Second Journey 51 A.D. [PAGE 58] B....I and II Corithians, Galatians, and Romans Written during the Third Journey 52 to 56 A.D. C....Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon Written during the Roman imprisonment 59 to 61 A.D. D....Titus, I and II Timothy Written just preceding the martyrdom GLORY LIGHT OVER DAMASCUS: Saul was born in the city of Tarsus, province of Cilicia, during the most stirring days of the Roman Empire. He was of the tribe of Benjamin (Cancer) which always remained faithful to Judah (Leo). At approximately the same time that Saul was born, angels proclaimed the birth of the Holy Child in Bethelehem. The world was passing through a state of transition in preparation for a New Dispensation, the coming of Christ Jesus. Saul, the youth, was trained in accordance with the strictest Pharisaical tenets. His first visit to Jerusalem was made at the age of thriteen, when he was sent there to study with Gamaliel, the greatest of the doctors of the Law. Note his age, and compare it with that of Jesus, who at the age of twelve taught in the Temple. The years are those of adolescence, which on a higher plane of development mark the awakening of the emotional soul. Loyal to the sect of the Pharisees, disdainful and contemptuous of the teachings of the new cult of the Nazarenes, he was outraged at their presumptuous claims on behalf of their Master and determined to exterminate them as whatever cost. Such was the attitude instilled into Saul of Tarsus by inheritance and precept, such was the background of him who became Paul, the Christian, whose life, after conversion, was dedicated to one purpose: "That they might all be filled with the fullness of God." Appointed by the Sanhedrin to prosecute those Jews who had become followers of the Nadarines, Saul was travelling to Damascus to drive the heresy out of the communities of Jews who were living there. He had almost completed his journey, and was nearing the ancient city, when the event occurred which changed him into another man and set his life upon a new and perilous course. Acts IX:3-9 "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, 'Saul, Saul why persecutest thou me?' And he said, 'Who art thou, Lord?' and the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.' And he, trembling and astonished, said, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to [PAGE 59] do?' And the Lord said unto him, 'Arise, go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.' And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and though his eyes were opened, he saw no man; but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat or drink. It is of the utmost significance that this event took place in the auric environment of the city of Damascus. Even at that time Damascus was one of the world's oldest continuously living cities, a city which had never known death. Many great and powerful and beautiful cities flourished in anitquity. Damascus outlivfed them all. Eastward of Damsascus, in the wilderness, there were mystic communities where the Initiates communed with God within the heart and with the hosts of heaven without, the rulers of the elements and the glorious and mighty Angels and Archangels. Their hymns echoed the music of the spheres, and it is said that one of their chants of the dawning light has come down to us in the opening verses of John's Gospel. They were communities similar to that of the Essenes of the Dead Sea in Palestine, and there was constant communication, a journeying to and fro of member-saints, between them. In the city of Damascus there was a community of householders, as the Book of Acts intimates, such as had also been the background of the Ho,ly Family at Nazareth; and in their homes the sacred Mysteries were venerated, from before the coming of Christ Jesus and in preparation for Him. To them Saul was led and they watched over him during his three-day period of outer blindness during which his inner or soul-Self was awakened. Damascus is a lovely, mystic city which every aspirant approaches when making the illumined contact with the Christ. Abram, like Saul, was moving towards this particular city when preparing for the inner realization which so altered him that his name was changed to Abraham even as Saul, after the great downpouring of spiritual power, became Paul. Saulos, a famous Jewith name, and Paulos, a Latin name of greek origin and form, represent the two natures of man, namely, the lower (carnal) and the higher (spiritual). Saul of Tarsus, the intolerant, the revengeful, the persecutor, came forth from his experience as Paul, the new man. The old Adam in him died and the Christ within him was born. His ambition became humility; his bigoted sectarianism was transformed into an all-embracing fellowhsip and compassion. His intense zeal for the family of Israel was engulfed in love for [PAGE 60] all mankind. His brilliant future was exchanged for a career uniting suffering and renunciation, while honors and adulation were gldaly exchanged for scourging and imprisonment. He willingly renounced all that this world offered in order that he might become even the least among the Apostles of the Christ, and "if by all means he might save some." In what manner was this complete transformation effected? In his work on the life of Paul, Adolf Deissman is near to occult truth when he says that Paul's religion is "Christ Mysticism" and that the journey to Damascus marked for him the beginning of the indwelling Christ. Fro three days and three nights Paul neither saw light with his eyes nor partook of fodd or drink. During this mystic interval, his sight was lifted and his consciousness was focussed upon the inner or spiritual plane. During this timew his light was not that of the physical world but of the higher or heavenly realms. It was the illumination which his great and glorious vision brought to Paul that led to his dedication of body and soul, without reservation or hesitation, to the furtherance of his chosen work. It was to this stupendous event that he referred when he said, "I was never disobedient to the heavenly vision." THE WAY TO THE LIGHT WITHIN: Many attempt to walk the way that leads to the mystic city of Damsscus, but few succeed in entering its portals. The light from heaven is, first, the flame of the awakened spirit within; this is that light that never fails to attract the Teacher who comes to open the way for further instruction and illumination. The acquisition of first-hand knowledge concerning the life and conditions of the superphysical worlds, and a contact with the Great Ones who guide the destiny of mankind from these inner realms, and obedience to their instructors are the necessary requirements for true spiritual Initiation. Such illuminations are possible today, but a higher spiritual status than that of the majority is essential, and few there are who can meet the requirements of a clean diet, constructive and harmonious thinking, and the chaste, pure life. These are fundamental and cannot be ignored or overpassed. During the sublime interval of blindness to outer-world conditions, Paul was enlightened concerning the real esoteric mission of Christ Jesus and the ushering in of the new Christian Dispensation. After the years of misunderstanding and persecution of the followers of the gentle Nazarene, the lightning-flash of illumination stripped his soul clean, and he was privileged to glimpse vistas reaching down the centuries. He saw the new heaven and the [PAGE 61] new earth in which fellowship and brotherhood were a reality; a time which Isaiah, another Initiate, had declared would come to pass, when men would beat their swords into pruninghooks and their sabres into plowshares; when--in words echoed by a later prophet--the knowledge of spiritual law (the Lord) would cover the earth as waters cover the sea. After his initiatory experience in the community at Damascus, Paul went into the desert of "Arabia," as it is said, where he stayed for three years. We understand by this that he went out into the wilderness known as the Peraea, to some of which he has referred obscurely in his Epistles. He undoubtedly made pilgrimage to the community of the Dead Sea also, and to others elsewhere. During his Arabian retirement Paul communed unceasingly with the Risen Christ and with the Great Ones who direct and govern the evolution of mankind in its advance toward emancipation. This was truly Paul's novitiate in God's School, the School of the Universe and its divine Mysteries. He learned to read in the great Book of God's Remembrance described by Enoch, which is located in the etheric stratum of earth's aura, and in the still more marvellous Book which is found in the higher heavens. These he saw and understood the wondrous formula of Initiation which was enacted for the world in the life of Christ Jesus, in his Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension. In the same wondrous Book of God he read the future events pertaining to his own life-term on earth. Acts IX:22 "But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt in Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." ACTS IX:15,16 "But the Lord said unto him, 'Go the ways for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel; for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my names' sake.'" Paul's experience in the superphysical realms for the three days and night at Damascus left their impress in various ways on each of his Epistles, whose letter spells immortality, and whose every page glows with the splendor of life eternal. Each one of his Epistles contains both an inner and an outer message. Within each of them he has placed milk for the babes and meat for the strong man. THE JOURNEYS OF PAUL: The principal work of Paul is divided into three phases or journeys. There are always three steps leading to the final culmination of the Great Work, as [PAGE 62] they are outlined in any school of Initiation. We have shown that these three steps were anciently termed Preparation, Purification and Perfection; which correspond to the modern steps of Probation, Discipleship, and Initiation. Paul has veiled these steps in his description of the events of his three journeys and the works he accomplished therein. The first journey occupied two years, the second three years, and the third, four years, which totals the number nine, again a mystic key referring to the nine steps or degrees of Apprenticeship, Fellowcraft and Master, in Masonry. In the life of the Supreme Initiator these steps are represented by the Birth, the Baptism and the Transfiguration. After these experiences there always follows the great works, or ministry, for others. The "trials," which confront every neophyte upon the Path find historical correspondence in the life of Paul as the trial before Felix, the trial before Festus and the trial before Agrippa. It was the manner in which Paul passed these tests that gave him the authority to declare: "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, and not for me only, but unto to all them that love His appearing." It was during the work of the second journey that Paul began writing the matchless Epistles, the first of which was sent to the church of Thessaly. The love indicative of the close bond which exists between the spiritual teacher and his pupils is expressed in the lines: "Ye are become very dear to us; ye are our glory and our joy." The Epistle to the Thessalonians contains the message of the Resurrection to the New Life in all its inner meanings, namely: the ability to function consciously apart from the physical body, which none other has described more accurately than this great Christian Initiate. The Way of Initiation he makes very plain. I Thessalonians IV:13,17 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." One who has acquired the ability to function in the finer or etheric realms, knows the truth of the immortality of the spirit, the continuity of life. Death he finds to be but a transition from one plane of activity to another. It was this joyous realization which caused Paul to declare: "O death, where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy victory?" (I Cor:XV:55) No [PAGE 63] longer does one who has reached this place have to say, "I believe," or "I think,"--he may triumphantly proclaim with Paul, "I know, for I have seen." Then comes the realization that "Death hath not touched it at all; dead though the house of it seems." This realization will bring to mankind one of the chief blessings that await it in the new Etheric Age that lies before us. Corinth, the city of frivolous and idle pleasures, signifies the subtle temptations of the senses. The gay and dissolute life of this city revolved around its beautiful Temple of Venus. Every sort of pleasure, both innocent and evil, flourished there. In no other city was a center bearing the influence of the new Christ Dispensation more needed. Acts XVIII:9-11 "Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision. 'Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peaces for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city.' And he continued there a year a six months, teaching the word of God among them. The Epistles to the Corinthians are filled with inner, mystic meanings, understandable in their full significance only by those who are following this same way and striving for a similar attainment. The First Epistle to the Corinthians teaches the neophyte to die daily in the subjugation of the body, or the lower nature;for this is always the first and fundamental teaching given by any school of true mysticism. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians contains a deeper message, given only for those who have found transformation through LIVING THE LIFE. II Corinthians V:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." In the teachings given by the Thrice Great Hermes there is a similar instruction to that of Paul in Corithians XV, wherein he speaks of bodies incorruptible, of natural bodies, and of celestial bodies. Hermes says, inreference to this transformation: "For that we have a stream of earth and water, of fire and of air flowing into us, which renovates our bodies and keeps our tents together." "Five times received I forty stripes save one." Here Paul is recounting, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the process and the number of His Initiations. Forty save one equals 39, which numerically yeilds 3, and 3 [PAGE 64] times 3, or 9--the steps of attainment pertaining to the third journey, or degrees of the Master. Again he is describing this same attainment of Mastership when he says: II Corinthians XII:2-4 "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whewther in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." In the Epistles to the Galatians, perhaps the most deeply esoteric of all the Epistles, Paul proclaims that he "confers not with flesh and blood." Galatians I:17 "Neither went I up to jerusalem to them which were apsotles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." These verses refer again to the inner plane Mystery Temple teaching and to the work of the Illumined Ones who minister there. Paul tells us that these teachings which were revealed to him could be given only privately to those who were "of reputation," meaning thereby to those who were qualified to receive them. This is but a restatement of the Master's injunction not to cast pearls before swine. The Epistles to the Galatians closes with that most mystic of Paul's utterances: Galatians VI:17 "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the Lord Jesus." These words do not refer to physical marks from beatings, stonings and scourgings, but to certain marks of light, discernible only by spiritual vision. Those bearing these marks are among the Christed Ones, the elect of the Lord, who take their seats at the holy table in communion with the Savior. The Epistle to the Romans was written near the close of the third journey. The glorious confirmation of Paul's testing through the three great labors, or journeys, was then nearing its close. Standing in the white light of Mastership, he sounds the keynote of this high work in the words: "Present your bodies in A LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God." (Rom. XII:1) Allen R. Brown, in his volume entitled "Paul the Sower" which is a study of the purpose and meaning of the Epistle to the Romans, comes very near the New Age Bible Interpretation when he says: "The words, 'in Christ,' Paul uses over 150 times; these words do not refer to the historical Jesus, but denote a [PAGE 65] continuing relationship with the Christ present in the heart; Paul is not completing Christ's suffering (Colossians I:24), but is carrying out in his body his own Christ-sufferings." All New Age Interpretation deals with the awakening of the Christed powers within man himself. "Let the Christ be formed in you." This declaration of the great Christian Initiate contains the solution to all the problems of the universe and will, when fully understood and developed, usher in the New Heaven and the New Earth. When Paul came to take his last journey, to meet his final trial and to liberate his bright and glorious spirit in death, he was completely absorbed in intersting the centurion (who, together withg a band of soldiers accompanied him to the Ostain Gate of Rome) in the work of the New Christ Dispensation. To the last the thought uppermost in his mind was to bring others into the service of the Christ. Arriving at his destination, under the great shadowy pine trees, he asked for a time of meditation and prayer. They who watched saw him assume the form of a cross and, with arms outstretched, address in Hebrew some invisible presence. That glorious Being, who had given His benediction to Paul's first illumination, was present to bless him and speed him on his way as he laid down his body in His name, in a dedication total and unswerving to the nd. He was ever faithful to his own words: "If we are to live in Christ, we must forsake ourselves and die with Him." The thyrsus-bearers are many, but the mystics are few. Straight is the way and narrow is the gate, and few there be that find it. This is the Way to that mystic City of Damascus, with its spiritual treasures. It is only for those who, with the great Paul, have learned "to die in Christ." [PAGE 66] THE CHRIST MYSTERY IN THE COSMOS: FOREWARD: The Baptism heralded the beginning of the Lord Christ's earthly ministry and the Crucifixion, the high point of His sacrificial mission. At the Crucifixion, he who came as a mediator between God and man, and heaven and earth, entered into the heart of the planet and became its indwelling Spirit. Since then His ministry has continued both from within and without our planetary body. The heart of the earth is His planetary center. Each year His Spirit enters therein with ever-increasing intensity and volume, thus making it easier for this spiritual impulse to enter into and find a dwelling place in the heart of man. This was the wonderful revelation that came to Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, and that he later incorporated into instruction given to his disciples. Those who hold that the Christ as a personality never lived and that the story of His life is but a symbolic rendering of the initiatory Path miss the very crux of esoteric or mystic Christianity. A thousand years with the Lord are but as a day. In the Second Creative Day, as recorded in Genesis, and known in occultism as the Sun Period, Archangels were passing through a stage of development corresponding to our present human evolution. However, their vehicles or bodies were not like ours but were formed of no denser substance than that of the desire or astral plane. (The next denser vehicle, the etheric body, did not come into being until the next Creative Day, or Moon Period, nor the physical body until the succeeding Day, our present Earth Period.) The Christ was and is at the very head of the archangelic life wave, and it was in that aeonic past above referred to as the Sun Period that He dedicated Himself to serve and to guide the earth and all its progeny in their evolutionary development. Then aeons more passed before our earth was ready to receive Him in its innermost center. [PAGE 67] THE TWELVEFOLD PATH THROUGH THE ZODIAC: When the Sun was passing by precession through Aries, the sign of the Lamb, the Christ came as the Good Shepherd to the sheep that had lost their way. Preparaions for His coming were begun when the Sun passed by precession through Libra, the sign opposite Aries, approximately ten thousand years earlier. Initiate Teachers were sent to different parts of the world, each with a similar message, to make ready an inner circle of disciples for that glorious event: the coming of the embodied Light of the Sun who was to be the Light of the World. When the Sun enters Libra at the time of the autumn equinox the Christ glory touches the outer aura of the planet earth, and a cosmic quickening occurs. Little by little during November and December the Christ Spirit penetrates the planet's interior, layer by layer, until it reaches its very heart at Christmas time. To higher vision the Christ Ray is golden like the spiritual Sun whence it emanates, and it is truly this light that illumines the Path of Holiness for the disciple who has sincerely and earnestly entered upon the Quest at the period of the autumn equinox. At some future winter solstice he will greet the Divine Light, new-born in the heart of the earth, for the winter solstice is the time for the soul's dedication to the Christ Way. Before he can achieve this goal the aspirant must learn the cosmic lesson of Libra: "Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path." (Proverbs 2:9) Knowing the real from the unreal, the true from the false, is the lesson taught by Libra at the autumn equinox. The disciple on the Christ Path is given the one most important lesson of all, a lesson which is basic to all subsequent endeavors: He learns that he himself is a god in the making, made in his Father's image and likeness in his true, essential selfhood; and he seeks to see himself, to know himself, as God sees him and knows him. This is called establishing contact with the God within. In this work the Hierarchy of Libra, the Lords of Individuality, are divinely qualified to assist. They are more than teachers. They test and try the soul, and the testings of the disciple at this point are for the purpose of developing his powers of discrimination, a most important attribute to one on the Path of Discipleship, when temptations take on the nature of the most deceptive subtlety. [PAGE 68] Treading the Path of Holiness as he follows the golden Christ Ray to the heart of the earth the disciple uses the Scorpio period as a time of transmutation. He then endeavors to sublimate evil into good, darkness into light, negatives into positives, in every phase of his daily living. He consecrates himself to the task of transmuting the base metal of his lower nature into the pure gold of spirit. The physical laboratory wherein he performs this "Great Work" is the central nervous system, especially the spinal cord and the brain, which, automatically, are therefore sometimes referred to as the Path of Discipleship. When the fire of the spirit is first awakened in the disciple, it is felf first at the base of the spine. As the spirit fire ascends it unites with a corresponding downpouring fire from above, the two gradually increasing in volume and strength until the entire body is filled with light. he thus attains to an illumination that is visible to those possessing inner vision. It is then, for the first time, that his lower nature is literally consumed in celestial fire and he himself becomes a torch, so that he is able to walk in his own light upon thr Path of Light laid down by the Christ to the interior of the the earth, where the Christ Splendor abides in fullness. The greater his sincerity, the more ardent his devotion, the more intense his application, the farther along the Path he will be with each return of the Holy Season, until at last he will be declared worthy to partake of the Feast of Light consummated on Holy Night. Biblically, as well as astrologically, Scorpio, the sign which the Sun enters about the 2oth of October, is said to have for the neophyte two keynotes, the first being for the neophyte as follows: "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." and second, for the illumined disciple, "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." As the Sun passes through Sagittarius in the month of December the Christ illumines the inner realms and forms a veritable spiritual garment for our planet. Viewed with spiritual vision from outer space the earth then appears like a ball of molten gold. The disciple who views this radiance from the planet's surface walks in an ocean of golden light. All of the brightness and color of Christmas observances are but a dim reflection of the light and glory of the inner planetary realms when the Christ Glory is functioning therein. if a disciple on the Path of Holiness has worked faithfully and effectively with the forces of transmutation under the influence of Scorpio, he will now find himself drawn into that great and glorious radiance. Each event of the sacred Christmas celebrations symbolizes the development [PAGE 69] of a specific spiritual power within the disciple himself. As he awakens these powers, he experiences an increasing measure of at-one-ment with the cosmic activities of the winter solstice time. Sagittarius has been symbolized by a series of lighted lamps, and the disciple who has been persistent in his spiritual labors now finds that these lamps have been lighted within his own aura, and even within his very body- temple. These are the lamps which light his pathway to the center of the earth. There he stands in the presence of the Lord Christ, the Light of the World. There he receives His blessing and hears Him intone the mantram which has been used in every Temple of Initiation, ancient or modern: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou in to the joy of thy Lord." The golden Christ Force, descending out of the fount of the Sun, touching the outer atmosphere of the planet at the autumn equinox, as previously observed, passes through the desire realm during November (Scorpio), the etheric realm during December (Sagittarius), and into the earth's center at the winter solstice (Capricorn). In the hour that the Christ force penetrates the core of the earth, a deep calm and stillness pervades nature. This is the Holy Night of all the year. There follows a mighty upsurge of the life forces of the planet. This new infusion of life into Nature has been beautifully described in the legends of Holy Night in which it is said that even the animals and the plants make obeisance to the Christ Child at the holy mystic midnight hour. Year by year the Christ Glory penetrates the earth with its harmonizing, healing powers. Year by year the earth is quickened with cosmic life. Little by little hatred, enmity and conflict are being overcome, and little by little the spirit of brotherhood makes headway. Eventually the ideal pictured by Isaiah so long ago will become a reality: "man shall turn his sabers into plowshares, and his swords into pruning hooks, and there shall be war no more, and peace shall cover the earth as waters cover the sea." The constellation Aquarius is the home of the Hierarchy of ministering Angels, beloved of all holy legends of every faith. Their field of action is the etheric realm, and since the angelic body is fashioned of ether, they become visible even to persons who have only a little extended vision. Many children had first-hand knowledge of angelic beings and nature spirits who, like the Angels, inhabit the surrounding realms. Angels are experts in working with etheric substance and life forces. Many and varied are the beautiful flower patterns which they fashion iun the blue and gold of the higher ethers; and it is these patterns which the fairies transmit to earth as blossoms to adorn the earth. Continued with file "RC3004.TXT" End of File

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