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CHAPTER SEVEN - Our Immediate Goal . . . The Founding of the Kingdom - Part 2

2

Thus step by step we have followed the Christ in His stupendous task, and we have studied the task in its uniqueness. He did something of such significance for the race that only today are we in a position to grasp it. So occupied have we been with our own individual salvation and our own hope of heaven that the really unique things which Christ did have largely escaped our observation. That He followed in the steps of many of God's children who, in their day and generation, had served, suffered, and brought the world salvation, remains unquestioned; that He gave us an example of perfected humanity such as the world had never previously seen is equally unchallenged. The greatest of the previous sons of God, the Buddha, after much struggle arrived at illumination, and blazed the trail for humanity up to and through the portal of initiation. But Christ was perfect, having (dare we say during some previous cycle of lives?) learned obedience through the things which He had suffered. That He overcame death and opened the gates of immortality to all humanity is likewise true. But since the first dawn of human history men have always suffered for each other; they have again and again, here one and there another, achieved perfection and disappeared from human view. The divine spark in man has always rendered him immortal. Men have always [281] sensed their divinity, and they have always reached out their hands and their hearts to God. The sons of the Father have never forgotten the Father's home, no matter how far away they may have wandered. God has always equally sought after us, and from century to century He has sent His messengers as an embodiment of His remembrance.

But Christ came as a special Messenger. He came to found the kingdom of God on earth and to institute a new and tangible expression of Deity upon our planet. His mission has not failed. The kingdom is now organised upon earth and is composed of those men and women everywhere who have lost sight of their own individual salvation and hope of heaven because they know that unless heaven can express itself here and now it is but a futile hope. They are occupied with the processes of self-perfection and self-purification because they seek to serve their fellowmen more efficiently and adequately, and thus "glorify their Father which is in heaven." [cclxv]15 They are not interested in self-aggrandisement nor with the making of claims of any kind—beyond the one stupendous claim that they are sons of God, as are we all; they do not prate of initiation or call themselves initiates; they are satisfied to walk among men as those who serve and who are citizens of the kingdom of God. They are the world servers, and their only interest is in following the steps of Him Who went about doing good and proclaiming the tidings of the kingdom. They do not say that theirs is the only way into the kingdom, but to those who do not know Christ they say: "Little children, love one another." They do not condemn those who know nothing of Christ's sacrifice upon the Cross, but they say to those who seek the way; "Take up thy cross" and follow Christ. To their fellow disciples they bring constantly the reminder that "except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone," and they set themselves the goal of the new birth. The bulk of the thinking, well-meaning men and women of the world are today [282] going up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem. Some, perhaps more than one can estimate, are passing on their way to the Baptism in Jordan, whilst a few are valiantly climbing the Mount of Transfiguration. One here and there may be steadfastly setting his face to go to Jerusalem, there to be crucified; but these are rare. Most of us are learning, in the daily dying to self, to fit ourselves for the final Crucifixion initiation, and by the constant renunciation of everything that holds back the expression of divinity qualifying for that tremendous spiritual experience which ever preceded the Resurrection, and which is called the Great Renunciation.

Let us vision clearly just where we stand upon the Path of Evolution. Have we yet set our feet upon the Path of Probation, that difficult path of purification which is a necessary first step? Or are we definitely upon the Path of Discipleship, knowing what we are doing, cultivating the finer values and those distinctive qualities which are the hall mark of manifesting divinity?

The only incentive which will be strong enough (or which ever has been strong enough) to enable a man to tread the fivefold way to the Centre from which the Word goes forth is a realisation of the deep and distressing need of our modern world for revelation, for pure example and for loving service. There is no way by which this sad and war-torn world of ours can be saved and men's lives transfigured except by a manifestation of the spirit of God. Instead of waiting for God to take action and send some Saviour (Who would probably not be recognised any more than Christ was), the time has come, and mankind has evolved sufficiently, for the divine life within it to surge forth and up to God, calling forth His response, His recognition, which we have seen Him repeat time and time again. He is willing to accord. We are His children and we are beginning to live divinely, thinking (as He thinks) in terms of the whole and not in terms of the separative and selfish individual. Now is a time of crisis when all human beings are needed, and the call goes forth for each [283] to make that extra effort towards unselfishness, and that mental push towards clarity of thought, which will transform us from well-meaning aspirants into clear-sighted disciples animated by a spirit of love and goodwill to all men, irrespective of race or creed or colour.

This religious will is in expression now, not turned to theology or to the formation of doctrines and occupied with their enforcement, but to love and service, forgetting self, giving the uttermost that is possible for the helping of the world. This will breaks down all barriers and elevates the children of men wherever the will to be so helped is found. And it is something that is organising slowly in the world today, its quality that of universality, and its technique that of loving service. Men everywhere are responding to the same inner spiritual impulse which is illustrated for us in the beautiful tale which is related of the Buddha. It runs as follows:

"In the belief that He had attained unto the last stage of perfection the Buddha was about to abandon existence in finite space and time, to relinquish all sorrow and suffering for the pure being of bliss universal and eternal.

"At that moment a buzzing gnat was snapped up by a passing bat.

"`Stay,' mused the Enlightened One, `the state of perfection I am entering is but perfection of myself, a unique perfection, my wholeness is a unique wholeness; not yet then am I a being universal. Other beings still suffer imperfection, existence, and resultant death. Compassion unto these still awakes within me when I contemplate their suffering.

"`The way of life unto perfection I have, in truth and in deed, illuminated for them: but can they tread that way without me?

"`The unique perfection of myself I dreamed, the perfection of my own character and personality is but imperfection while one other being—one single gnat—still suffers imperfection of its identical kind.

"`No being may reach bliss alone: all must reach it together, and that, the unique bliss proper to each. For am I not in every other being and is not every other being in me?'

[284]

"With still small voice in every self thus speaketh the Buddha, by its inspiration to inner character, its aspiration to outer personality, perpetually transmuting this self into not-self, each reality dependent on the other, an everlasting way of life to tread to perfection of each, of all." [cclxvi]16

Christ emphasises the same lesson, and always His disciples have sought, in their place and time, to teach the law of service.

Sometimes it seems as if the two extremes lived on in the consciousness of man—the notorious and ambitious, and the great world servers. Hitherto the sequence has been: service of ourselves, of our family, of those we love, of some leader, some cause, some school of politics or religion. The time has come when service must expand and express itself on broader and more inclusive lines, and we must learn to serve as Christ served, to love all men as He loved them and, by the potency of our spiritual vitality and the quality of our service, stimulate all we meet so that they too can serve and love and become members of the kingdom. When this is seen clearly, and when we are ready to make the needed sacrifices and renunciations, there will be a more rapid manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth. The call is not for fanatics or for the rabid devotee who, in attempting to express it, has so marred divinity. The call is for sane and normal men and women who can comprehend the situation, face what must be done, and then give their lives to expressing for the world the qualities of the citizens of the kingdom of Souls: love, wisdom, silence, non-separativeness and freedom from hatreds and partisan, creedal beliefs. When such men can be gathered together in large numbers (and they are gathering rapidly) we shall have the fulfilment of the angels' song at Bethlehem, "On earth peace, good will toward men."

 



{i} get rid of me

[ii] 1: The Paganism in Our Christianity, by Arthur Weigall, p. 16.

[iii] 1: Quoted by W. Kingsland in Religion in the Light of Theosophy.

[iv] 2: Hebrews, V.8.

[v] 3: The Secret Doctrine, by H.P. Blavatsky, Vol. III, p. 55.

[vi] 4: The Recovery of Truth, by Hermann Keyserling, pp. 91-92.

[vii] 5: St. Matt., V.17.

[viii] 6: Freedom and the Spirit, by Nicholas Berdyaev, pp. 88-89.

[ix] 7: I Peter, II.21.

[x] 8: Religion in the Making, by A.N. Whitehead, p. 55.

[xi] 9: St. Matt., V.16.

[xii] 10: St. Matt., XIX.19.

[xiii] 11: St. Matt., V.48.

[xiv] 12: Col., I.27.

[xv] 13: St. John, X.30.

[xvi] 14: Eph., II.15, 16. Marginal Reading.

[xvii] 15: St. Luke, XXII.7, 10.

[xviii] 16: Isaiah, XXXV.8, Marginal Reading.

[xix] 17: St. John, III.3.

[xx] 18: St. Matt., III.11.

[xxi] 19: St. Matt., V.48.

[xxii] 20: I Cor., XV.31.

[xxiii] 21: I Cor., XV.55.

[xxiv] 22: Col., I.27.

[xxv] 23: Eph., IV.13.

[xxvi] 24: Romans, VII.18-25.

[xxvii] 25: Phil., III.10.

[xxviii] 26: Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, p. 12.

[xxix] 1: See p. 15.

[xxx] 2: St. John, III.7.

[xxxi] 3: I Cor., XV.31.

[xxxii] 4: Pavel Florensky, quoted in The Recovery of Truth, by Hermann Keyserling, p. 80.

[xxxiii] 5: St. John, I.1, 2, 3, 4, 10.

[xxxiv] 6: The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, by Albert Schweitzer, pp. 28, 29.

[xxxv] 7: The Value and Destiny of the Individual, by B. Bosanquet, p. 129.

[xxxvi] 8: St. John, XIV.6.

[xxxvii] 9: Paracelsus, by Robert Browning.

[xxxviii] 10: Isaiah, LIII.3.

[xxxix] 11: Col., I.27.

[xl] 12: Hebrews, VII.1-4. Weymouth Translation.

[xli] 13: Acts, XVII.28.

[xlii] 14: II Timothy, II.21.

[xliii] 15: Esoteric Christianity, by Annie Besant, pp. 185, 286, 53, 54.

[xliv] 16: Hebrews, IX.23.

[xlv] 17: St. John, III.3, 5.

[xlvi] 18: St. Matt., III.11.

[xlvii] 19: St. Matt., XVIII.3.

[xlviii] 20: St. John, III.10.

[xlix] 21: The End of Our Time, by Nicholas Berdyaev, p. 59.

[l] 22: St. Luke, II.49.

[li] 23: St. Luke, IV.14, 15.

[lii] 24: St. Luke, IX.22, 23.

[liii] 25: St. John, XIX.30.

[liv] 26: The Value and Destiny of the Individual, by B. Bosanquet, p. 111.

[lv] 27: John Oxenham.

[lvi] 28: St. Matt., XI.15.

[lvii] 29: St. Matt., XXIV.30.

[lviii] 30: St. John, XIV.8, 9.

[lix] 31: Prov., XXIX.18.

[lx] 32: St. Luke, II.6, 7.

[lxi] 33: Prov., IV.18.

[lxii] 34: The Bhagavad Gita, Translation of Charles Johnston, IV.7, 8.

[lxiii] 35: Romans, I.3.

[lxiv] 36: The Paganism in Our Christianity, by Arthur Weigall, p. 42.

[lxv] 37: Bible Myths, by T.W. Doane, p. 332.

[lxvi] 38: Pagan Christ, by J.M. Robertson, p. 338.

[lxvii] 39: St. John, X.10.

[lxviii] 40: Pagan and Christian Creeds, by Edward Carpenter, p. 50.

[lxix] 41: Esoteric Christianity, by Annie Besant, p. 158.

[lxx] 42: Esoteric Christianity, by Annie Besant, p. 160.

[lxxi] 43: Ibid., p. 157.

[lxxii] 44: Bede, De Temp. rat., xiii.

[lxxiii] 45: The Paganism in Our Christianity, by Arthur Weigall, pp. 236, 237.

[lxxiv] 46: Psalm XIX.1.

[lxxv] 47: Rom., V.5.

[lxxvi] 48: Phil., III.14.

[lxxvii] 49: Bible Myths, by T.W. Doane, p. 5.

[lxxviii] 50: II Tim., II.21.

[lxxix] 51: St. John, VI.33, 35, 41, 58.

[lxxx] 52: Isaiah, XXVIII.28.

[lxxxi] 53: St. John, XII.24.

[lxxxii] 54: St. Luke, II.14.

[lxxxiii] 55: Sermons, A. MacLaren, 3rd Series, pp. 71, 72.

[lxxxiv] 56: St. Matt., II.2.

[lxxxv] 57: St. Luke, II.12.

[lxxxvi] 58: Ibid., II.15.

[lxxxvii] 59: Phil., III.8, 9, 12, 16, Weymouth Translation.

[lxxxviii] 60: St. Luke, II.39, 40.

[lxxxix] 61: Dictionary of the Sacred Language of all Scriptures and Myths, by G.A. Gaskell, p. 773.

[xc] 62: Bishop Rabanus Manrus, A.D. 857.

[xci] 63: St. Luke, II.49.

[xcii] 64: St. Luke, II.51, 52.

[xciii] 65: Psychology and the Promethean Will, by W.H. Sheldon, p. 47.

[xciv] 66: St. John, XVII.20-23.

[xcv] 67: The Paddock Lectures, by W.R. Inge, p. 66.

[xcvi] 1: Psychology and the Promethean Will, by W.H. Sheldon, p. 130.

[xcvii] 2: St. Matt., III.15.

[xcviii] 3: Gen., I.26.

[xcix] 4: Psychology and the Promethean Will, by W.H. Sheldon, p. 135.

[c] 5: St. Matt., V.16.

[ci] 6: St. John, XIV.12.

[cii] 7: St. John, XlI.32.

[ciii] 8: St. Matt., III.13-17.

[civ] 9: St. Matt, V.8.

[cv] 10: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, II.41.

[cvi] 11: St. Luke, III.16.

[cvii] 12: St. Matt., III.15.

[cviii] 13: St. Matt., XI.12.

[cix] 14: Phil., II.12.

[cx] 15: The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, by Albert Schweitzer, p. 354.

[cxi] 16: Ibid., p. 223.

[cxii] 17: A Pilgrim's Quest for the Absolute, by Lord Conway of Allington, p. 8.

[cxiii] 18: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book II.27.