CHRIST AND HIS MISSION
The Evolution Of Religion
IN the foregoing part of this work we have become familiar with the way in which our present outside world came into existence, and how man evolved the complicated organism with which he is related to outer conditions. We have also, in a measure, studied the Jewish Race-religion. We will next consider the last and greatest of the divine measures put forth for the uplifting ofhumanity, i.e., Christianity, which will be the Universal Religion of the future.
It is a notable fact that man and his religions have evolved side by side and in an equal degree. The earliest religion of any Race is found to be as savage as the people governed by it and as they become more civilized, their religions become more and more humane and in harmony with higher ideals.
From this fact materialists have drawn the inference that no religion has a higher origin than man himself. Their investigations into early history have resulted in a conviction that, as man progressed,he civilized his God and fashioned Him after his own pattern.
This reasoning is defective, because it fails to take into account that man is not the body, but an indwelling spirit, an Ego who uses the body with ever-increasing facility as evolution progresses.There is no doubt that the law for the body is “The Survival of the Fittest.” The law for the evolution of the spirit demands “Sacrifice.” As long as man believes that “Might is Right,” the Form prospers and waxes strong, because all obstacles are swept out of the way regardless of others. If the body were all, that manner of life would be the only one possible for man. He would be altogether incapable of any regard for others and would forcibly resist any attempt to encroach upon what he considered his rights—the right of the stronger, which is the sole standard of justice under the law of the Survival of the Fittest. He would be quite regardless of his fellow beings; absolutely insensible to any force from without that tended to make him act in any manner not conducive to his ownmomentary pleasure.
It is manifest, then, that whatever urges man toward a higher standard of conduct in his dealing with others must come from within, and from a source which is not identical with the body, otherwise it would not strive with the body and often prevail against its most obvious interests. More-over, it must be a stronger force than that of the body, or it could not succeed in overcoming its desires and compelling it to make sacrifices for those who are physically weaker.
That such a force exists, surely no one will deny. We have come to that stage in our advancement where, instead of seeing in physical weakness an opportunity for easy prey, we recognize in the very frailty of another a valid claim upon our protection. Selfishness is being slowly but surely routed by Altruism.
Nature is sure to accomplish her purposes. Though slow, her progress is orderly and certain. In the breast of every man this force of Altruism works as a leaven. It is transforming the savage into the civilized man, and will in time transform the latter into a God.
Though nothing that is truly spiritual can be thoroughly comprehended, yet it may at least be apprehended by means of an illustration.
If one of two tuning-forks of exactly the same pitch is struck, the sound will induce the same vibration in the other, weak to begin with, but if the strokes are continued, the second fork will give out a louder and louder tone until it will emit a volume of sound equal to that of the first. This will happen though the forks are several feet apart, and even if one of them is encased in glass. The sound from the smitten one will penetrate the glass and the answering note be emitted by the enclosedThese invisible sound-vibrations have great power over concrete matter. They can both build and destroy. If a small quantity of very fine powder is placed upon a brass or glass plate, and a violin bow drawn across the edge, the vibrations will cause the powder to assume beautiful geometrical figures.
The human voice is also capable of producing these figures; always the same figure for the same tone.If one note or chord after another be sounded upon a musical instrument—a piano, or preferably a violin, for from it more gradations of tone can be obtained—a tone will finally be reached which will cause the hearer to feel a distinct vibration in the back of the lower part of the head. Each time that note is struck, the vibration will be felt. That note is the “key-note” of the person whom itso affects. If it is struck slowly and soothingly it will build and rest the body, tone the nerves and restore health. If, on the other hand, it be sounded in a dominant way, loud and long enough, it will kill as surely as a bullet from a pistol. If we now apply what has been said about music or sound to the problem of how this inner force is awakened and strengthened, we may perhaps understand the matter better.
In the first place, let us particularly note the fact that the two tuning-forks were of the same pitch.Had this not been the case, we might have sounded and sounded one of them until the crack of doom,but the other one would have remained mute. Let us understand this thoroughly: Vibration can be induced in one tuning-fork by one of like tone only. Any thing, or any being, can be affected as above stated by no sound except its own key-note.
We know that this force of Altruism exists. We also know that it is less pronounced among uncivilized people than among people of higher social attainment, and among the very lowest races it is almost entirely lacking. The logical conclusion is that there was a time when it was altogether absent. Consequent upon this conclusion follows the natural question: What induced it?
The material personality surely had nothing to do with it; in fact, that part of man’s nature was much more comfortable without it than it has been at any time since. Man must have had the force of Altruism latent within, otherwise it could not have been awakened. Still further, it must have been awakened by a force of the same kind—a similar force that was already active—as the second tuning-fork was started into vibration by the first after it was struck.
We also saw that the vibrations in the second fork become stronger and stronger under the continued impacts of sound from the first, and that a glass case was no hindrance to the induction of the sound. Under the continued impacts of a force similar to that within him, the Love of God to man has awakened this force of Altruism and is constantly increasing its potency.
It is therefore reasonable and logical to conclude that, at first, it was necessary to give man a religion commensurate with his ignorance. It would have been useless to talk to him, at that stage, of a God Who was all tenderness and love. From his viewpoint, those attributes were weaknesses and he could not have been expected to reverence a God Who possessed what were to him despicable qualities. The God to Whom he rendered obedience must be a strong God, a God to be feared, a God Who could hurl the thunderbolt and wield the flail of lightning.
Thus, man was impelled first to fear God and was given religions of a nature to further his spiritual well-being under the lash of fear.
The next step was to induce in him a certain kind of unselfishness, by causing him to give up part of his worldly goods—to sacrifice. This was achieved by giving him the Tribal or Race-God, Who is a jealous God, requiring of him the strictest allegiance and the sacrifice of wealth, which the growing man greatly prizes. But in return, this Race-God is a friend and mighty ally, fighting man’s battles and giving him back many fold the sheep, bullocks and grain which he sacrificed. He had not yet arrived at the stage where it was possible for him to understand that all creatures are akin, but the Tribal God taught him that he must deal mercifully with his brother tribesman and gave laws which made for equity and fair dealing between men of the same Race.
It must not be thought that these successive steps were taken easily, nor without rebellion and lapses upon the part of primitive man. Selfishness is ingrained in the lower nature even unto this day,and there must have been many lapses and much backsliding. We have in the Jewish Bible good examples of how man forgot, and had to be patiently and persistently “prodded” again and again by the Tribal God. Only the visitations of a long-suffering Race-spirit were potent, at times, in bringing him back to the law—that law very few people have even yet learned to obey.
There are always pioneers, however, who require something higher. When they become sufficiently numerous, a new step in evolution is taken, so that several gradations always exist. There came a time, nearly two thousand years ago, when the most advanced of humanity were ready to take another step forward, and learn the religion of living a good life for the sake of future reward in a state of existence in which they must have faith.
That was a long, hard step to take. It was comparatively easy to take a sheep or a bullock to the temple and offer it as a sacrifice. If a man brought the first-fruits of his granary, his vineyards, or his flocks and herds, he still had more, and he knew that the Tribal God would refill his stores and give abundantly in return. But in this new departure, it was not a question of sacrificing his goods. It was demanded that he sacrifice himself. It was not even a sacrifice to be made by one supreme effort of martyrdom; that also would have been comparatively easy. Instead, it was demanded that day by day,from morning until night, he must act mercifully toward all. He must forego selfishness, and love his neighbor, as he had been used to loving himself. Moreover, he was not promised any immediate and visible reward, but must have faith in a future happiness.
Is it strange that people find it difficult to realize this high ideal of continued well-doing, made doubly hard by the fact that self-interest is entirely ignored? Sacrifice is demanded with no positive assurance of any reward. Surely it is much to the credit of humanity that so much altruism is practiced and that it is constantly increasing. The wise Leaders, knowing the frailness of the spirit to cope with the selfish instincts of the body, and the dangers of despondency in the face of such standards of conduct, gave another uplifting impulse when they incorporated in the new religion the doctrine of “vicarious Atonement.”
This idea is scouted by some very advanced philosophers, and the law of “Consequence” made paramount. If it so happens that the reader agrees with these philosophers, we request that he await the explanation herein set forth, showing how both are part of the scheme of upliftment. Suffice it to say,for the present, that this doctrine of atonement gives many an earnest soul the strength to strive and, in spite of repeated failures, to bring the lower nature under subjection. Let it be remembered that, for reasons given when the laws of Rebirth and Consequence were discussed, western humanity knew practically nothing of these laws. With such a great ideal before them as the Christ, and believing they had but a few short years in which to attain to such a high degree of development as this, would it not have been the greatest imaginable cruelty to leave them without help? Therefore, the GREAT SACRIFICE on Calvary—while it also served other purposes, as will be shown—becomes rightfully the Beacon of Hope for every earnest soul who is striving to achieve the impossible; to attain, in one short life, to the perfection demanded by the Christian religion.
JESUS AND CHRIST-JESUS
To gain some slight insight into the Great Mystery of Golgotha, and to understand the Mission of Christ as the Founder of the Universal Religion of the future, it is necessary that we first become familiar with His exact nature and incidentally, with that of Jehovah, Who is the head of such Race-religions as Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc.; also with the identity of “The Father,” to Whom Christ is to give up the Kingdom, in due time.
In the Christian creed occurs this sentence: “Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.” This is generally understood to mean that a certain person Who appeared in Palestine about 2,000 years ago,Who is spoken of as Jesus Christ—one separate individual—was the only begotten Son of God.
This is a great mistake. There are three distinct and widely different Beings characterized in this sentence. It is of the greatest importance that the student should clearly understand the exact nature of these Three Great and Exalted Beings—differing vastly in glory, yet each entitled to our deepest and most devout adoration.
The student is requested to turn to diagram 6 and note that “The only begotten” (“The Word,” of Whom John speaks) is the second aspect of the Supreme Being.This “Word” and It alone is “begotten of His Father [the first aspect] before all Worlds.” “Without Him was not anything made that was made,” not even the third aspect of the Supreme Being, which proceeds from the two previous aspects. Therefore the “only begotten” is the exalted Being which ranks above all else in the Universe, save only the Power-aspect which created It.
The first aspect of the Supreme Being “thinks out,” or imagines, the Universe before the beginning of active manifestation, everything, including the millions of Solar Systems and the great creative Hierarchies which inhabit the Cosmic Planes of existence above the seventh, which is the field of our evolution (See diagram 6). This is also the Force which dissolves everything that has crystallized beyond the possibility of further growth and at last, when the end of active manifestation has come,reabsorbs within Itself all that is, until the dawn of another Period of Manifestation.
The second aspect of the Supreme Being is that which manifests in matter as the forces of attraction and cohesion, thus giving it the capability of combining into Forms of various kinds. This is “The Word,” the “creative Fiat,” which molds the primordial Cosmic Root-substance in a manner similar to the formation of figures by musical vibrations, as previously mentioned, the same tone always producing the same figure. So this great primordial “WORD” brought, or “spoke,” into being,
in finest matter, all the different Worlds, with all their myriads of Forms, which have since been copied and worked out in detail by the innumerable creative Hierarchies.
“The Word” could not have done this, however, until the third aspect of the Supreme Being had first prepared the Cosmic Root-substance; had awakened it from its normal state of inertia and set the countless inseparate atoms spinning upon their axes, placing those axes at various angles with respect to each other, giving to each kind a certain “measure of vibration.”
These varying angles of inclination of the axes and the measures of vibration made the Cosmic Root-substance capable of forming different combinations, which are the basis of the seven great Cosmic Planes. There is, in each of these Planes, a different inclination of the axes, and also a different measure of vibration, consequently the conditions and combinations in each one are different from those in any of the others, due to the activity of “The Only Begotten.”
Diagram 14 shows us that:
“The Father” is the highest Initiate among the humanity of the Saturn Period. The ordinary humanity of that Period are now the Lords of Mind.
“The Son” (Christ) is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period. The ordinary humanity of that Period are now the Archangels.
“The Holy Spirit” (Jehovah) is the highest Initiate of the Moon Period. The ordinary humanity of that Period are now the Angels.
This diagram also shows what are the vehicles of these different orders of Beings, and upon comparison with diagram 8, it will be seen that their bodies or vehicles (indicated by squares on diagram 14) correspond to the Globes of the Period in which they were human. This is always the case so far as the ordinary humanities are concerned, for at the end of the Period during which any life wave becomes individualized as human beings, those beings retain bodies corresponding to the
Globes on which they have functioned.
On the other hand, the Initiates have progressed and evolved for themselves higher vehicles,discontinuing the ordinary use of the lowest vehicle when the ability to use a new and higher one has been attained. Ordinarily, the lowest vehicle of an Archangel is the desire body, but Christ, Who is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period, ordinarily uses the life spirit as lowest vehicle, functioning as consciously in the World of Life Spirit as we do in the Physical World. The student is requested to note this point particularly, as the World of Life Spirit is the first universal World, as explained in the chapter on Worlds. It is the World in which differentiation ceases and unity begins to be realized, so far as our solar system is concerned.
Christ has power to build and function in a vehicle as low as the desire body, such as is used by the Archangels but He can descend no further. The significance of this will be seen presently.
Jesus belongs to our humanity. When the man, Jesus, is studied through the memory of nature, he can be traced back life by life, where he lived in different circumstances, under various names, in different incarnations, the same in that respect, as any other human being. This cannot be done with the Being, Christ. In His case can be found but one incarnation.
It must not be supposed, however, that Jesus was an ordinary individual. He was of a singularly pure type of mind, vastly superior to the great majority of our present humanity. Through many lives had he trod the Path of Holiness and thus fitted himself for the greatest honor ever bestowed upon a human being.
His mother, Virgin Mary, was also a type of the highest human purity and because of that was selected to become the mother of Jesus. His father was a high Initiate, virgin, and capable of performing the act of fecundation as a sacrament, without personal desire or passion.
Thus the beautiful, pure and lovely spirit whom we know as Jesus of Nazareth was born into a pure and passionless body. This body was the best that could be produced on Earth and the task of Jesus, in that incarnation, was to care for it and evolve it to the highest possible degree of efficiency,in preparation for the great purpose it was to serve.
Jesus of Nazareth was born at about the time stated in the historic records, and not 105 B.C., as stated in some occult works. The name Jesus is common in the East, and an Initiate named Jesus did live 105 B.C., but he took the Egyptian Initiation and was not Jesus of Nazareth, with whom we are concerned.
The Individual who later incarnated under the name of Christian Rosenkreuz was already in a high incarnation, when Jesus of Nazareth was born, and is incarnated today. His testimony, as well as the results of first-hand investigation by later Rosicrucians, all agree in placing the birth of Jesus of Nazareth at the beginning of the Christian Era, on about the date usually ascribed to that event.
Jesus was educated by the Essenes and reached a very high state of spiritual development during the thirty years in which he used his body.
It may be here said, parenthetically, that the Essenes were a third sect which existed in Palestine,besides the two mentioned in the New Testament—the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Essenes were an exceedingly devout order, widely different from the materialistic Sadducees and entirely opposite to the hypocritical, publicity seeking Pharisees. They shunned all mention of themselves and their methods of study and worship. To the latter peculiarity is due the fact that almost nothing is known of them, and that they are not mentioned in the New Testament.
It is a law of the Cosmos that no Being, however high, can function in any world without a vehicle built of the material of that world (See diagrams 8 and 14). Therefore the desire body was the lowest vehicle of the group of spirits who had reached the human stage in the Sun Period.
Christ was one of those spirits and was consequently unable to build for Himself a vital body and a dense physical vehicle. He could have worked upon humanity in a desire body, as did His younger brothers, the Archangels, as Race-spirits. Jehovah had opened an avenue for them to enter the dense body of man by means of the air he inhaled. All Race-religions were religions of law, and creators of sin through disobedience of that law. They were under the direction of Jehovah, Whose lowest vehicle is the human spirit, correlating Him to the World of Abstract Thought, where everything is separative and therefore leads to self-seeking.
That is precisely the reason why the intervention of Christ became necessary. Under the regime of Jehovah unity is impossible. Therefore the Christ, Who possesses as a lowest vehicle the unifying life spirit, must enter into the dense human body. He must appear as a man among men and dwell in this body, because only from within is it possible to conquer the Race-religion, which influences man from without.
Christ could not be born in a dense body, because He had never passed through an evolution such as the Earth Period, therefore He would first have had to acquire the ability to build a dense body such as ours. But even had He possessed that ability, it would have been inexpedient for such an exalted Being to expend for that purpose the energy necessary for body-building through ante-natal life,childhood and youth, to bring it to sufficient maturity for use. He had ceased to use, ordinarily,vehicles such as would correspond to our human spirit, mind and desire body, although He had learned to build them in the Sun Period, and retained the ability to build and function in them whenever desired or required. He used all his own vehicles, taking only the vital and dense bodies from Jesus.
When the latter was 30 years of age Christ entered these bodies and used them until the climax of His Mission on Golgotha. After the destruction of the dense body, Christ appeared among His disciples in the vital body, in which He functioned for some time. The vital body is the vehicle which He will use when He appears again, for He will never take another dense body.
It is encroaching upon a subject to be dealt with later to remark that the object of all esoteric training is to so work on the vital body that the life spirit is built up and quickened. When we come to deal with Initiation it may be possible to give more detailed explanations, but no more can be said on the subject just now. In chronicling the events incident to post mortem existence, this subject has been partially dealt with and the student is here asked to note that a man is supposed to have conquered his desire body to a considerable extent before attempting esotericism. His esoteric training and the earlier Initiations are devoted to work on the vital body and result in the building of the life spirit. At the time Christ entered the body of Jesus, the latter was a disciple of high degree, consequently his life spirit was well organized. Therefore, the lowest vehicle in which Christ functioned, and the best organized of the higher vehicles of Jesus, were identical; and Christ, when He took the vital body and the dense body of Jesus, was thus furnished with a complete chain of vehicles bridging the gap between the World of Life Spirit and the dense Physical World.
The significance of the fact that Jesus had passed several initiations lies in the effect that has on the vital body. Jesus’ vital body was already attuned to the high vibrations of the life spirit. An ordinary man’s vital body would have instantly collapsed under the terrific vibrations of the Great Spirit who entered Jesus’ body. Even that body, pure and high-strung as it was, could not withstand those tremendous impacts for many years, and when we read of certain times when Christ withdrew temporarily from his disciples, as when he later walked on the sea to meet them, the esotericist knows that he drew out of Jesus’ vehicles to give them a rest under the care of the Essene Brothers, who knew more of how to treat such vehicles than Christ did.
This change was consummated with the full and free consent of Jesus, who knew during this entire incarnation that he was preparing a vehicle for Christ. He submitted gladly, that his brother humanity might receive the gigantic impetus which was given to its development by the mysterious sacrifice on Golgotha.
Thus (as shown in diagram 14) Christ Jesus possessed the twelve vehicles, which formed an unbroken chain from the Physical World to the very Throne of God. Therefore He is the only Being in the Universe in touch with both God and man and capable of mediating between them, be-cause He has, personally and individually, experienced all conditions and knows every limitation incidental to physical existence.
Christ is unique among all Beings in all the seven Worlds. He alone possesses the twelve vehicles.
None save He is able to feel such compassion, nor so fully understand the position and needs of humanity; none save He is qualified to bring the relief that shall fully meet our needs.
Thus do we know the nature of Christ. He is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period and He took the dense and vital bodies of Jesus that He might function directly in the Physical World and appear as a man among men. Had He appeared in a manifestly miraculous manner, it would have been contrary to the scheme of evolution, because at the end of the Atlantean Epoch humanity had been given freedom to do right or wrong. That they might learn to become self-governing, no coercion whatever could be used. They must know good and evil through experience. Before that time they had been led willynilly, but at that time they were given freedom under the different Race-religions, each religion adapted to the needs of its particular Tribe or Nation.
The Rosicrucian Fellowship
OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA, USA