The fifth trumpet sounded and its woe past, the sixth, with its two more woes, will not tarry.
Hadst thou, O Prince of the Iron Will, and Knight of the Bloody Hand, known “even in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and they shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children with thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knowest not the time of thy visitation;” but in thy insensate pride, hast reckoned without the conscience of thy people. Therefore of the purging of the temple of humanity, and of the advent of the true divinity, shall thy fall be the precursor!
Bismarck failing, even by responding to the appeal so abjectly made to him by the body of England precisely as that insensate compound implored, it is left for the soul of England alone now to defend the right. To the might of her own strong right arm, backed by her faith in that God of hosts, even the God and Father of her own national soul, to whom in her trouble she has never yet appealed in vain, even the God and Father of the Lord Christ, is now the cause of humanity committed. Strong in the absolute knowledge that she is in the right,
But there will be an arm of flesh
on her side.
which they who should be saved should be not
eight persons but three,
There was a third cause for delay.
It was necessary that the Conference, by proving a failure, prove also the
wisdom of man a delusion and a snare. Let us turn to the scene on which
deliberation is so soon to be turned into action. There, in the person of his
envoy, smiling and complacent, sits the dragon; for is not everything going to
his satisfaction! and has not his dreaded neighbour and rival, him whom all the
world will heed, declared himself in his favour? But the dragon has over-reached
himself. Judas betrays Judas, and is betrayed in his turn. Yet he has taken
every precaution. It is even said, and this by one who himself is at last
believed to speak truth, that he has not forgotten the old arts whereby he has
lured so many saintly souls to their perdition, but is employing them also
against us. But surely in Mr. Gladstone
now wrestling with God and himself in prayer,
and conquering? And will he not presently rise from his knees and wash and
anoint himself, and put on his armour for the fight? Away with such ill
forebodings! If he seem to be dallying with temptation, it is but that he may
play off against the enemy his own arts, in the hope of obtaining thereby
certain knowledge for
True, he is head of the Eastern Church, which calls itself Christian. But true also is it that to call oneself a thing does not make one that thing. A Christian Church and not know even the words
of one’s Bible! An infallible priesthood, and
incapable of interpreting the plainest passages in that Bible! Why, all that I
have said in this book, my life-like portrait of the dragon himself, is taken
from the Bible. Yet neither the dragon of Antichrist, nor the priests of that
“synagogue of Satan,” his own Eastern Church, can recognise their own portraits
I Does it not prove that they have failed in that indispensable quest, the
search for the true self, when they can be thus blind to their own lineaments?
Yet of this sort are the “Christians” of
Yet, methinks, were the dragon to cast his bloodshot eyes upwards, and to erect his shaggy ears, he might see and hear something that would not a little disturb his complacency. Methinks he would see and hear once more even that of which I see and hear somewhat: – not much in my case – a full vision would overpower me and deprive me of the faculties wherewith I must finish my work. But, like the servant of the Prophet, I see and hear enough to satisfy me; for I too can see that “they that be for us are more than they that be against us,” and that “the mountain is full of horses, and chariots of fire round about.”
But the dragon neither hears nor
sees. So far and long has he fallen, that he has lost eye and ear for the
gleaming and swooping of the wings of the hosts summoned from the furthermost
quarters of heaven, which are hastening to marshal themselves in battle array
against him. Neither does his glance penetrate as of old the denser airs of
earth, or he would not fail to see that even here among men are there some who
have borne, and had patience, and have laboured and not fainted, and have
remained true to their first Love, and so have preserved their spiritual vision.
Did he look to see what these, the “wise virgins” of
sweet, and to the stomach of the salvable so tonic, to the dragon himself and his allies of the orthodoxies it will be vitriol, to burn and corrode their entrails as with living fire. But the dragon does not turn this way, because he does not know his Bible, and his eyes are holden that he cannot see.
But if he did turn to his Bible, what is it that he would read there that might enlighten him concerning the signs of the times, and upon the right reading of which the salvation of all depends? This, if he turned to the right place, is what ire would read: –
“And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
The utterance goes on, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation and strength; and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ.” With what follows our concern is not now; we must first assure us of our salvation in the great tribulation through which we must pass to our regeneration. Only a man who resembles the “Christ,” in that he
is possessed of that duality of nature which
is essential to the complete man, and who has been faithful to his intuitions,
can be for England the more than Moses, more than Paul, the Michael and Captain
of her salvation. Only the stone which so lately the builders of our
Then shall he who is to be the new St. George
of England, repair to him who now with
tremulous hand holds the fateful spear of England ‘s destinies; and clasping
that hand in cordial amity, shall receive from him the spear, in order that he
may himself, as a true son of England – in that he is wholly .animated by
England’s rich and dual soul – transfix the dragon there with. Methinks already
I hear the gratulations exchanged between the two famous rival chieftains, who,
in presence of the common danger and view of the coming salvation, shall have
cast for ever to the winds the old petty feelings of the parties that are dead.
The incoming Minister will congratulate his old foe that he has dreamt for
himself the dream which warned him to beware of doing anything against that
much-wronged man, the Moslem; and so thereby escaped, however narrowly, the sin
of Pontius Pilate. And the retiring Minister shall congratulate his former
antagonist on having mended the fate of Caiaphas, and repented him in time of
his own counsel, and been spared the responsibility of causing one to die for
the nation. And, provided that his spiritual vision so enabled him, he might
express the hope that from being the Caiaphas, Mr. Gladstone might become the
Paul: – and more than the Paul – of
the future. Having thus spoken, they will go
each his own way to the consummation of
These will be things which, when
they have taken place, can be read of all. For they will belong to our common
history as a nation. There will be others which will be private to a few, or to
the little Church, if such may be, that will grow out of the ashes of the old
one. For just as there were signs whereby the initiated and faithful of old were
enabled to recognise the correspondences between the types and antitypes of the
Old and the New Dispensations, so will there be now. For that
This then have I seen. Moses shall not die on Pisgah, nor shall Michael and the devil dispute over his body. For, having found himself wholly, Mr. Gladstone will no longer by
revolving round two centres give occasion for doubt as to which he rightly belongs. His priests renounced, and his intuition restored, he shall belong wholly to the prophets; and, die when he may, he will find only good angels awaiting him. As I have said, then, he shall not die on Pisgah, but shall live to sing in the renovated temple of that which shall be the National Soul at once of England, of Islam, of Israel, the old and glorious song, – “He is the rock, his word is perfect; for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he. The rock of others is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges.”
And the Moses who shall lead us through the deep and angry waters of our great tribulation, shall also lead us into the full possession of the promised land of our Regeneration, even of that spiritual perfection which Paul saw in a glass darkly, even the land wherein the “blood of the Lamb” shall be for the saving of the nations, in that it shall represent a life and not a death. Then shall the Church, regenerated, receive back the Schools of which in that it had left its first love, the love of the intuitions and the pure milk of the Word, for the religion of sense and of blood, it had rightly been deprived. And those of us who shall be parents, seeing that it is no
more a “man-child” that rules over us with his rod of iron, but the dual soul, at once human and divine, of the whole Christ, will not fear to trust our children to the Church, in order that they also may learn to understand the meaning of Existence and to worship it aright.
* * * * *
I had supposed that I was now at the close of my work, and that it remained only for me to cast it upon the waters and to say farewell. But now I see otherwise. It is necessary that the “revelation” should in respect of clearness and fulness surpass, and be more than a match for, the density and magnitude of the darkness which it is destined, as a new redeeming sun-god, to encounter and to vanquish. For this reason is it that I find myself precluded from carrying out my original intention, and reserving for a future opportunity certain of the results at which I have arrived. The fact that those results have themselves undergone precisely the same process of vitalisation as that of which this book is the out-come, and have even now at this present assumed for me a distinctness and importance surpassing any-that they previously possessed, and thereby exhibited themselves as constituting an essential part of the present work, is to me a clear indication that the issue of my book must be yet
further delayed a little in order that they may be included in it. The original revelation of spiritual and moral truth made to man’s heart having failed to redeem the world, the time has come for the revelation to man’s head of some of that intellectual truth of the Spirit of which it was announced by the soul of humanity, when last specially incarnate, that “when He should come He would guide us into all truth.” It was necessary to the coming of that Spirit in his fulness that He should first prepare the way for himself by sending as a herald before Him a spirit of truthfulness. Before the fully-risen sun, the streamers of the morning, Before the Christ, the Baptist. Before the noontide of the knowledge at once physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, that is to constitute the religion, science, philosophy, art, politics, and sociology of the coming era, must be the “immaculate conception” and miraculous “incarnation” of another divine child. This child must, with its parents also, be “immaculately conceived,” in that they shall constitute respectively the representatives of the divine wisdom and the divine love, the divine knowledge and the divine sympathy, as manifested in the concrete forms of a true science and a pure religion.
Such is the parentage of the truths the
addition of which to this book has become imperative. They represent scientific facts vitalised by that religious spirit without the agency of which science and its facts alike are either dead or positively diseased. That which they signify is nothing less than the demonstration of the fact, the mode, and the periods, of the development of the religious consciousness of this our planet, the Earth. They will show that whether or not we ourselves care to be witnesses and partakers in such a development, we cannot help ourselves. We are individually free to benefit or suffer by the coming change; but we are as powerless to hasten or impede it as the plant is powerless to keep down its sap when the sun of its life has risen upon it. The Spirit of the Earth has his orders, and will save man in spite of himself. The fact that there are men who imagine that no salvation is needed; men who, considered by their fellows as the acme and perfection of humanity, find all things to their satisfaction, and think that all that is necessary to full perfection is the eradication of the few remaining roots by which intuition still keeps alive in the human heart, – does not affect either the fact or the issue. It is true there are such, and numbers of such. It is true that leading scientists are bold to declare
that it is now almost conclusively demonstrated for scientists that “there is no God, “ no spiritual world, and that they are confident that a very few years will see the welcome truth take its place with the conclusions of astronomy or mathematics as a demonstrated fact. In the meantime, all things are progressing to their absolute satisfaction. The world is learning as fast as it can to do without the idea of God, – to live without its life.
This then is the state of the world in which the time has come for that full manifestation of the “Spirit of Truth” whose revelation is to constitute the “Second Advent.” Things are such that the carnivora are content. Now the carnivora, spiritually interpreted, signify not merely a bald atheism, or the doctrine of the negation of existence, but pessimism, or the exaltation of an existence that is positively and actively evil; inasmuch as it involves the conduct of human affairs on the principle that Might is Right, and so perverts existence, from being a rule of love, into being a rule of selfishness, and its God into a devil. Read by this light, all that I have said respecting the character of the present crisis and the significance of the coming conflict, finds irresistible illumination. The contest is a
spiritual one, having its sources in the spiritual world, and its battlefield on the earth. It is a fresh repetition on a higher plane and a more extended field of the old Solar Myth. The sun of the universe and the powers of darkness are striving together for the possession of the soul of man. And while men individually are free in their own case to award the victory to whom they please, man collectively is hound by the very constitution of his nature to quit the outer regions of space where he has so long been building for himself a city which is not his true home; to abandon the building up of the Babel of his false and outer self to be the fortress of his salvation; and, escaping from the attraction of the centrifugal forces of existence, to yield to the centrifugal; and, seeking towards his true centre and self, to return to his home so long abandoned, even the many mansions of his Father’s house.
Perhaps that which I have to say will not now fail to find admission to the hearts and minds of my readers by reason of their narrowness and its magnitude. Even I who speak am not without need of encouragement. Such do I find in the word that has just come. The Conference is over, and the prophet, faithful to his intuition, has
beaten the priest. Sacerdotal diplomacy retires, discomfited, from the field, even as shortly will the sacerdotal legions retire, abashed and confounded, when “dust shall be the serpents meat.”
Precisely as our system represents the translation into sensible fact of an idea subsisting in the Divine Mind, so does the whole universe of systems represent a like translation of the ideas of that Mind. For even as that Mind is one, so is the universe one; and while ideas and system s are alike infinite in variety and extent, they are necessarily the outcome of qualities and attributes absolutely consistent and eternally the same. Everywhere are space and time infinite and of three dimensions. Black is never white. Two and two never make more or less than four. The spirit is always more than the act; and good is always good, and evil always evil. And inasmuch as all existence, whether primary and underived, or secondary and derived, is eternally alive, universally conscious, and inherently sympathetic, it is no poetic phrase, hut an absolute, necessary, and to a healthily developed consciousness a self-evident truth, that not only the sun and orbs of our system, but “All the stars of light,” to the remotest systems discernible in the
heavens, “praise Him” their Maker, by ministering in their appointed paths to the fulfilment of His Will. And this, and nothing less or other than this, is the solution of that which from the beginning of faith has been the sublimest of mysteries, and from the beginning of scepticism the crux of cruxes, in relation to the religious history of the earth.
These words are a necessary preface to the disclosure of two of the most stupendous facts that it is possible for the human mind to apprehend. The first of these facts relates to our own solar system. The second, to the entire visible stellar system. It is the order of the Divine Existence that only through God seeming should Nature arrive at God being. While the internal structure of the particular religions of the world has been indicated, and in a manner controlled, by the sensible phenomena of the solar system, the general course of the development of the religious consciousness of the world has been indicated, and in a sense controlled, by the sensible phenomena of the stellar system. The divergence between the doctrines insisted on by the world’s orthodoxies, and those discerned by the world’s intuitions, represents the difference, in the former case, between the solar system as seen
from the earth and as seen from the sun; and in the latter case, between the whole stellar universe as seen from the point of view of the individual, and the point of view of the universal centre. In each case alike the standpoint of the outer, material, fleshly, apparent, sensible, earthly self, is that of orthodoxy, atheism, and the negation of God and existence; and the standpoint of the inner, spiritual, ideal, real, and “heavenly” self, is that of intuition, the soul, Pantheism, of God, as the sole existence in the universe.
The antagonism which since the cataclysm known as “the fall of Man” has subsisted between the two domains of existence, respectively designated religion and science, soul and sense, the Church and the world, faith and reason, spirit and flesh, intuition and reason, God and Nature, is no other than the result of the conflict between the real and the phenomenal in respect to the true nature of existence; the conflict in which sacerdotalism, orthodoxy, antichrist, selfish force, and everything comprised in the term “devil,” are ever on the side of the material and sensible; while the intuitions, love, and all that is comprised in the term “Christ,” are ever on the side of the spiritual and real.
Of the development of man’s religious consciousness,
as exhibited in the histories of the various religions in which it has found expression, the course has throughout been harmonious and consistent both with itself, and with every rational à priori deduction. So far from that history presenting a series of accidental, disconnected, desultory phenomena, devoid of order or method, it represents rather a succession of undulations like the tidal waves of a vast sea, differing, indeed, in height, volume, velocity and extent, but all impelled by the same wind or “spirit;” all moving from the same starting-point toward the same goal; and all contributing to the same result. And this result is no other than the attainment of the full flood of the tide of the consciousness of humanity, under the attraction of the Divine wisdom and love, onward and up-ward to the Divine Source itself of existence; in order that having learned obedience by the things which it has suffered, and so, prodigal-like, come to itself, Nature might at length of its own free will exclaim, – “I will arise and go to my Father l”
Such is the explanation of the great fact which for all students of comparative theology has constituted a problem the solution of which has hitherto wholly evaded apprehension. This is
the fact of the appearance in remote ages, at different times and places, of men who, by reason of certain characteristics in their natures and histories, have been regarded as of Divine origin, and as representing special incarnations of the sun. It has always been at a certain stage in the religious development of any people that their sun-god has appeared. And it has always been that while each sun-god has so far resembled another, as to suggest the notion that the history of one has been copied from that of another; and that while, moreover, the career ascribed to each has resembled the annual course of the sun so nearly as invariably to produce in students the conviction that they were but myths based upon the sun’s phenomena, each nevertheless has in his turn displayed such an advance in the recognition of the possibilities of human, and therefore Divine, existence, as becomes intelligible only on the hypothesis that each in his turn has constituted the measure of the spiritual perceptions of the race, as indicated by those of his own people.
History presents traces, more or less distinct, of nearly a score of these solar heroes, at once man and God, who in their respective times and countries were regarded as saviours and redeemers.
This distinction was awarded them in virtue of their success in demonstrating to man his substantial identity with God, by means of their heroic achievements on behalf of the redemption of their kind from evils physical, intellectual, moral, or spiritual. They one and all were represented as like the sun, born of “Virgo,” at the conclusion of the winter solstice; escaping massacre in infancy; leading lives of miraculous beneficence; undergoing death at the hands of the powers of darkness at the spring equinox, by transfixion in some mode symbolical of fatal injury in respect of the two essential forces of creation – namely, generation and regeneration; but immediately rising again, and ascending into heaven to open the gates of summer, physical or spiritual to mankind, and to become the judge of quick and dead.
To the cross made by the intersection of the sun’s path with the equinoctial line is due the idea of man as exalted to heaven. For the cross is the symbol of humanity. Of the whole series of sun-gods the climax was reached in the typical Man of that typical people, between whose characteristics and history and those of ourselves there is so close a resemblance. As well might some historian in the remote future,
when comparing the histories of
and the whole of that, which was really to be found there, unimpeded by any foregone conclusions of ray own, that it has been reserved for me to solve this most fundamental problem of man’s religious nature and history.
We see now why the study of comparative theology, or, as some prejudging the question prefer to style it, mythology, has never found favour at the various orthodox schools of learning throughout Christendom. The Greek and Latin classics might be studied by themselves for ever without a fact being discovered that might throw light upon the true nature of Christianity. With the religions of the peoples and times immediately connected with Judaism and Christianity it was different. It was necessary to the ecclesiastical theory that Christianity should be regarded as springing into the world, straight from the Divine hand and full-grown, so as to constitute a miracle of the interpretation and manipulation of which the priest should have the control. And this could not have been had the comparative study of the ancient religions been permitted, and the phenomena of man’s religious development discovered to be the product, not of miracle in the ordinary sense of the term, but of a growth as regular and as distinctly subject
to invariable laws as that of any product whatever of Nature. This, then, is the first step of the truth with the promulgation of which we are at this present concerned. So far from a correspondence between the course of man’s religious development, whether as individual or as race, and the annual phenomena of the sun, being exceptional or imaginary, it is necessary and universal, in that it is due to an actual community of nature between the individual and the source of the system of which he constitutes a portion. And, being so, it thereby constitutes also a demonstration of the truth of the proposition that the solar system is a living, conscious organism, – in fact, a person, and a person more-over who contains in himself, in absolute perfection, every plane of consciousness and attribute of existence which enter into and constitute the nature of man.
The corollary to this proposition is of no less importance. To the difference between the phenomena of the solar system as seen from the earths surface and as seen from the sun itself, is due the form taken by the connect which has always subsisted between orthodoxy and Pantheism. For, while the former, which represents the religion of seeming, founds its notion of a
dying, atoning, and rising God upon the apparent. Course of the sun, and presents the Supreme Deity in an unfavourable light in exacting a sacrifice of the innocent before He can pardon the repentant, and thereby ministers to the degradation of man’s idea of the Divine perfection; Pantheism, or the religion of being, steps in faith from the earth to the sun, from body to soul, from sense to spirit, from reason to intuition, from the phenomenal to the ideal, and finds that the true self and centre of man, as of the whole system of which man is a product, is no other than the very perfectest of beings, as man himself considers perfection, even God himself. It is to the apparently high sanction thus given to the doctrine of vicarious atonement, and the consequent lowering in man of the standard of ideal perfection, that all the evils of which humanity has been the victim are due. The priest has always been able to point to the glorious orb of day, and exclaim, “See! the sun himself enacts in his own person the life and death and resurrection which we ascribe to the Son of God. If you will not believe us, believe at least your own senses.” That our priests have not thus argued has been due partly to the fact that we have been so dull as to take their statements at their own
valuation, and have dispensed with fuller proofs; and partly to the fact that, secure of their dominion over the minds of men, they who have usurped the power of the keys of heaven and hell, have not deemed it necessary or expedient to impart to their subordinates the clue to the mysteries of the religion of which they were the ministers, It was enough to make the fires of hell the penalty of unbelief for the masses, and the fires of the stake the penalty of utterance for the student, to insure the total subjugation of the souls of mankind to the degrading, and as the whole history of Christendom and the world shows, the damming doctrine of vicarious atonement, the doctrine of the worship of the wrong self.
The immediate causes of the failure of the religion which has practically consisted in the worship of the masculine side of the nature of the last and greatest of the “redeeming sun-gods,” may thus be summed up. The world was unable to provide men capable of fully appreciating the nature and work of Christ, and of continuing it at the same high level. Of this we have a proof in the case of Paul. The religion of Christ, moreover, was bound to undergo changes corresponding to the solar phenomena so fully
represented in Him: – as, for instance, in the case of the decline of the Christian year in accordance with the decline of the solar year, when the sun, having passed its zenith, declines in strength, and in a manner abdicates in favour of the “spirit,” who then, in the shape of the ripening influences of autumn, comes to infuse its maturing vitality into the fruits of the earth, and in its turn gives place to the winter, which even now has its correspondence in the profound solstice of which our present state is the product; and from the deadening influences of which the world can be redeemed only by a new birth of the sun, and a new incarnation in man of his life-giving spirit.
But while the absence of the world’s spiritual sun is in a measure the cause of the world’s evils, our total inability to dispense with the Divine presence, even for “a little while,” during his absence from us while on his annual visit to his divine home, without falling into unbelief and becoming incredulous of his very existence, is a proof of the exceedingly devitalised condition of our consciousness. It might have been thought that the spirit he leaves behind as our “Comforter” through the autumn of our souls would suffice to show us that we were not really abandoned; but when the spirit went, that the
tokens of his former presence in the world, from the combustion of which we derive the warmth whereby we are sustained through the winter months, and of which the substance is nothing else than that of his own rays, which in the coal measures are stored up for our use in his brief absence, would have sufficed to keep him in mind. There is, I say, no more excuse for our forgetful-ness, ingratitude, and incredulity, by reason of the sun’s absence in his spiritual, than in his physical capacity, than there would be in the corresponding absence of a human parent. History shows that the spirit of the Sun of man’s life is always incarnating himself in man; and that it is a mutter of positive certainty that He would never cease to be with us in the person of some one or more of our kind, if it were not that by our mode of living we make it impossible for Him to stay among us. Hence it is, that only when by our evil conduct we have brought ourselves into a desperate pass, He relents towards us and prevails on Himself once more to come among us, and by again saving us, to show us that we cannot do without Him, even for “a little while.”
The other main cause of the failure of Christianity thus far to “save the world,” is owing to the ease with which the powers of
darkness and negation incarnate in its ministers of the orthodoxies, are allowed to impose upon man their hideous travesty of the meaning of the life and death of Christ. The way in which Christ showed that man was not irredeemable, was by showing that he, a man, could be faithful to his intuition of God and the soul, even unto death. For Christ differed from other men only in respect of the fulness of the degree in which he was animated with the same spirit that naturally animates them. We are all children of the sun, even as He was a child of the sun. Only where He was fully vitalised, we are meagre and starved. Where he nourished his true spirit, we admit strange ones. There was no “miracle” in the matter; only a difference of degree; and we can all approximate ourselves to his degree of vitalisation, if only we live so as to feed, instead of choking, the divine flame of the soul within us, that soul which is at once His soul, our soul, and God.
Well, Christ showed that humanity was not a failure in that it was capable of producing a perfect specimen of a man. And the only way in which His death ministered to our “redemption,” so far as our relations to God were concerned, was by proving that He could be
faithful to the death. It was His life that saved the world; not His death, except in so far as that death was the crowning act of His life. All that the sacerdotalists have asserted to the contrary is a falsehood contrived for the express purpose of damning men yet further, by making them think evil of God himself. The device whereby they converted the murder they had committed into the means of salvation, and thereby not only exalted their own crime into an act of the loftiest virtue, but represented themselves by its means as the real saviours of the world, constitutes at once the most stupendous instance of effrontery ever perpetrated, and the most stupendous proof of the folly of man in listening to mere reason and following the promptings of sense, when opposed to the promptings of his own natural intuitions, that can possibly be imagined.
It is because humanity by its own
folly in heeding such immoral devices, instead of trusting to its own true
heart, has failed to obtain the redemption it so sorely needs, that its great
and compassionate Soul is about once more to fulfil His promise and manifest
himself in the flesh, in order to redeem those who show themselves to be
chosen people now, as once was Israel, and so He has given England the opportunity of choosing whether it will he faithful or unfaithful to her own soul when once more incarnated for her deliverance and that of the world, It is not in any single son or daughter of her soil that England needs to look for the lineaments of the Christ that is to be. If she indeed be true to herself, she will find a saviour in every true Englishwoman and Englishwoman. The same spirit can vitalise the whole nation, if so be that by living the life we give it a fair’ chance. And the best, the only way, of doing this that I can suggest, is by proving the sincerity of our repudiation of the principles which led to the murder of Christ by rejecting the doctrine of vicarious atonement in all its forms, whether the pretext advanced for it concern our souls, our bodies, or our health. And if I be asked for my authority for the statements I have made on these and other points on which men are wont to differ, I reply that I find them all where all may equally find them, who will take the same pains to keep their reason and their intuition developed and balanced; namely, in that self which, by being at once one’s own self and the self of the universe, is the self of all men; and
which, by its presence in all men, constitutes man in very truth the microcosm of the universal microcosm, – only we must be sure that it is the true self that is found, and that in our quest for it we are not induced to fall short of that. It is upon the true place of the I that our solution of the problem of existence depends. And that cannot be found so long as we create for ourselves a false I by sustaining ourselves physically, intellectually, or spiritually on a diet which we cannot vitalise by the force of our own spirits. For in spite of all that the ministers of the orthodoxies may say, whether they be priests, doctors, or scientists of any kind what-ever, it is not his food or his facts that vitalise the man, but it is the man who vitalises his food and his facts. And this he does by virtue of his own prior vitalisation by the soul of humanity. God is in that soul incarnate in every one of us. And as a portion of God we are free and able to make for ourselves the materials upon which we operate into the heaven of a healthy, happy life or the hell of an unhealthy, miserable one. It is because at the bidding of orthodoxy we have adopted for body, mind, soul, and health, a regime that is unsuited to us by nature, that we suffer so much misery. On the true pure
diet we should find all the delights of life infinitely enhanced. We should love and be loved far more tenderly, and work and play far more heartily. Envy, hatred, malice, jealousy, covetousness, and all uncharitableness would vanish. For we should be so well in mind and body that we should fret for nothing. And even death would be no complete separation, as we should be in the possession of facilities so sublimed as to enable us to hold intimate communion with those we have loved on earth. It is impossible for those who do not know by actual experience to imagine bow large and noble existence may be made by following Nature as made by God, instead of as marred by the demons who take form in the orthodoxies. Do not think it is man who so bates his fellow-man as to take pleasure in his misery and destruction. Man, if left to himself, would sink into the negation of a mere animal existence, and soon die out. He is not actively malignant. We have to revive the world-old belief in the spiritual world to account for this world’s evil. It comes solely of beings who have bad long and vast practice in being selfish and rebellious; but who, notwithstanding their power and skill, are utterly incapable of harming man, if only man chooses to listen to
the intuitions of his conscience, and to reject the promptings they instill into his lower nature. Even that lower nature of ours is not bad in itself. It is negative, and just what we choose to make it. It all depends upon whether we live up from, or live down to, it. In one case we lift it up to us. In the other case it drags us down to it. We are not it, or its; and it is riot us, but ours: and we, properly, are God and God’s.
This very “Eastern difficulty,”
out of which, as by a new advent of our national soul, we have now to be
redeemed, is due to nothing else but our folly in listening to the orthodoxies
with their doctrines of blood and counsels of Caiaphas. It is they who have
taught us to seek to save ourselves by the sacrifice of others to ourselves,
instead of saving ourselves and others by the sacrifice of ourselves to others,
and of our own lower nature to our higher. They were orthodox statesmen who, by
neglecting their real duties to
the other to conceal its real nature, we have only to read the accounts of what is even now taking place in our very midst. The “Ritualist” dispute is, as shown at Hatcham, no other than a contention as to whether the doctrine of vicarious atonement by the sacrifice of another for ourselves shall be concealed under the form of a symbol, as the Protestants are wont to do; or whether, as the “sacrifice of the Mass,” it shall be openly avowed and celebrated. This mainly is the matter in dispute. Both the orthodoxies of High and Low are at one in regard to the doctrine which, by degrading our ideal of the Divine character, involves the degradation of our own standard of perfection in life; they differ only as to how far it is prudent to flaunt that doctrine openly before the laity. The selection of this particular moment by ecclesiastical orthodoxy for bringing its divisions to a head ought to be accepted by us as the most favourable of omens. For we all know how imminent is the doom of a house divided against itself.
There is a point on which I must
anticipate interrogation. It will be asked, what the early Fathers have to say
on the question of identity or resemblance between Christianity and the ancient
Paganisms. Several of the Fathers, including
and Justin Martyr, admit that Christianity contained little or nothing that was absolutely new; but consisted of what had always existed in other religions, only in greater fulness and perfection. Clement recognised Hellenism as a partial Christian verity. Later, Grotius says that among the heathen were men who taught with a limited application that to which Christ gave a universal application. The Fathers were not all so candid or so intelligent. Some of them, unable to deny the substantial identity of Christianity with the older forms of Pantheism, and incompetent to discern in the correspondences between the world’s religions the evidences of natural growth, declared that Christianity had been parodied in advance by the devil, in order to bring discredit upon it when it should make its appearance in the world. The sapling was a “parody” of the tree!
One point more before quitting this subject. The physiologists have supplied us with a fact about blood which, as usual with people who renounce the imagination, they have left for us to vitalise for ourselves. For they have so utterly failed to see the meaning of it themselves that they still, in spite of their own facts, insist on approximating the diet of their patients as nearly as possible to raw blood. The fact has
a significance for every relation of life, – spiritual, moral, intellectual, and political, as well as physical.
The fact is this. There is in the blood an element called fibrine, whose function it is to surround and protect as it were the red corpuscles. Under the action of the gastric juice this fibrine coagulates, and resists the solvent power of the juice, making it impossible for it to be digested. Hence its introduction into the system, so far from ministering to its nutrition, is positively injurious; inasmuch as it necessitates an expenditure of force in order to expel it.
We see thus that Moses was right when he declared that “the blood is the life,” or is alive. It is because the blood is alive and conscious with a divine instinct, that it adopts precisely the method which men themselves, if sufficiently alive to be intelligent, adopt for their mutual protection when in danger. That is, like ourselves, the living elements of our systems combine in self-defence. With such exquisite harmony and consistency is everything in the universe constructed, that the minutest particles of the universal consciousness do exactly what the greatest do, and, when threatened, unite for self-protection. Now, so far from our scientists gaining a lesson respecting the nature of existence as a
whole from that which they find it to be in part, and from the consciousness of the part inferring that of the whole, they do just the contrary, and in effect act just as a red corpuscle of blood in their own bodies would act if that corpuscle were, idiot-like, to deny that it was part of any larger organism at all, or owed any duties to, or derived any advantages from, its connexion with that organism. What should we think of a tiny corpuscle of our own blood if it were to look us in the face and declare that we had no existence? Methinks we should laugh at it, and express a fear that it must be very unwell to talk such nonsense; and ask where it would have been but for us. We should consider, moreover, that, being so diseased as to entertain such notions, it was no fit companion for its fellow-corpuscles, as they might catch the same complaint of disbelief in the plain fact of the existence of the organism in whose circulation they played so important a part. And should it, after all our endeavours to win it back into health and reason, still refuse to subordinate its own stupid little will to that of the whole of which it constituted so insignificant a part, we should set to work to squeeze it out of our system altogether, as incapable of becoming properly vitalised, so as
to partake of that higher life to the production of which every atom of us is bound to contribute, both for its own happiness and ours, and that of the world. And, if wise and truly scientific, our efforts would not stop there; but we should consider how far we ourselves had been in fault by reason of our violation of those conditions of health upon the due observance of which depends the perfection of mind and body. It may be, and probably is, true that every act of unwholesome self-indulgence on our part inflicts upon the various conscious constituents of our organisms sufferings wholly apart from those which we ourselves endure. We may be to them as the great spiritual beings who incarnate themselves in man are to us. The doctrine of the coming era involves the recognition of personality as an essential element of existence, inasmuch as it is a dogma, or necessary and self-evident truth, to every fairly developed consciousness.
There is no point of conduct on which this body of ours does not afford us the very best of lessons. And that is why it is so important to keep it in the most perfect condition possible. The old ascetic notion of despising the body was but one of the many tricks whereby the spirit of orthodoxy is wont to turn truth into lies. It is just the same no was ever. “Satan” knows that
a downright he is sure to be found out to his disadvantage; and so he takes a truth, the higher and more important and universal the better, and having, by a little dexterous manipulation, perverted it into a noxious poison, appeals on behalf of its reception to a reason unillumined by intuition or healthy instinct. Knowing thus much respecting his wiles, we ought to have no difficulty in replying to any of his ministers when they come to us and insist on reasoning us into committing any act of selfishness, such as that of saving our souls, bodies, health, fortunes, at the expense of “the meanest thing that breathes” and feels, or of gaining any other seeming advantage through means that are evil. Let us be thankful that Nature is not constructed so as to require us selfishly to inflict suffering on any of our fellow-creatures. We may use those who are lower in the scale than ourselves for the heightening of our mutual consciousness. That is but education. But use is one thing, and abuse is another. And if we would know how unenlightened are the orthodoxies even in so simple a matter as that of the treatment of animals, we have but to recollect a recent utterance of the model orthodox newspaper which calls itself “Standard” This paper has actually asserted, in reference to the question of vivisection, that to
deny man’s right to torture animals at will
is to renounce the sovereignty which God has given him over them. Such miserable
blasphemy against the character of the Divine existence comes of that which lies
at the root of the great question of “
Do we begin to have some idea of what the Greeks meant by their exaltation of Aphrodite, and what Clement meant when he said that their religion was a partial Christian verity? It did not occur to them to unite the perfect man and perfect woman in one and the same person. Hence Apollo and Aphrodite represented the male and female ideals in separate personalities. The Greeks had a “saviour,” nevertheless, on earth in the flesh, although they had none in the
heaven of their
idea of his own Chrëstos. Yet they made the Logos masculine only! In the Book of Wisdom it is feminine.
It is indispensable clearly to understand that in the Pantheistic and really Christian scheme it is by means of the demonstration, logical or actual, of man’s substantial identity with God that he attains assurance of “salvation.” The conception of satisfaction by sacrifice, vicarious or other, has no place in it, in the sense ordinarily understood. Man’s “sacrifice for sin” consists in the renunciation of that lower nature which operates as a veil to hide him from his true self. This withdrawn, he “sees God,” and knows himself to be “one with God.” This was the esoteric doctrine of every ancient religion, Hebrew, Pagan, and Christian. But it was reserved for the “initiated,” or those who by virtue of consecration, baptism, confirmation, purification, and sanctification were admitted to the Eucharistic communion, which in all these religions was reserved for them alone. “While theirs alone were the “glad tidings of a salvation,” “without money and without price,” the “dogs” who were “without” were made to believe that an atonement of blood, in correspondence with their own carnivorous preferences, was indispensable to their pardon and acceptance.
Of the removal of this distinction Christianity was at once the cause and the product. Its restoration was the triumph of sacerdotalism, and the reestablishment of the reign of blood and despair. Now, so far has the intuition of God disappeared, that neither within nor without the altar pale is Pantheism so much as thought of as a possible system of religious doctrine; – only the broken light of a barren “theism.”
The world and humanity are essentially the same now that they have ever been. They are lost or saved as ever by the same gospel. But while the gospels of salvation and damnation respectively have been essentially one in spirit and substance, in form they have been manifold. Whether it has come by Moses, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Buddha, or Christ, the gospel of salvation has always been Pantheist; while the gospel of damnation has been pessimist or atheist, according as it has been taught by sacerdotalist or scientist. Pessimist, in representing existence here as evil and hereafter as hell; atheist in denying existence here or hereafter. The two last have invariably exalted sense to the place of God. The first has invariably exalted spirit. Whenever orthodoxy, falling in with man’s morbid fears, has pretended to depreciate the flesh, it has
travestied temperance by degrading it into asceticism, and so made the very enjoyments and uses of life unlawful and an occasion of falling. If it has ministered to the mortification of sense, it has done so with a direct view to the promotion of spiritual pride.
It is important to consider the characteristics of the various developments of the gospel of Pantheism. They have varied with the conditions under which they have been made. The most universal and enduring has been that of Buddha. He followed Moses in insisting strenuously on a basis which was rather implied than expressed by Christ, unless indeed the injunctions of Christ in respect to diet have been designedly suppressed. Of his own practice, however, there can be no doubt. He is never exhibited as living otherwise than on the fruits of the earth, and perhaps on fish, which, in being “cold-blooded” or of the same temperature as their surrounding medium, and devoid of family affections, may be regarded as deriving their vitality from the earth only; and in no way from that source of the higher life, the sun, from whom we and all the warm-blooded animals derive our superior temperature and powers. At his “last supper” Christ was his own Paschal lamb.
It is not difficult to discern a
reason why the gospel as promulgated in
And he must have seen also that, even if at
the first shock of conflict between the two classes of animals, the advantage
were for a moment on the side of the frantic and inflamed flesh-eater, the
endurance and real strength, and therefore the final victory, lay with the pure
livers. Buddhism had no ritual, no sacrifice. A religion of the “lamb” and the
“dove,” it repudiated bloodshed as the worst of sins against both the
executioner and his victim. Of the latter, it might kill the body. Of the
former, it must kill the soul. Buddha could no more than we can escape the
logical conclusion, that if man is the better for feeding on the flesh of the
creatures that most nearly approximate to himself, his best diet must be his own
kind, and the step from the carnivora to the cannibal a step upwards. I have
referred to the probability of the ties which already connect
would be at once to make a new heaven and new earth alike for the East and the West. The assertion that man requires in a northern climate a more heat-giving diet than he finds in its own vegetable products, is not only wholly groundless in fact, but is an impeachment of the harmony and perfection of Nature. Between them, the sun and the earth provide for all their children whatever is good for them, without requiring the selfish infliction of suffering on any. The heat-giving properties of those most perfect of foods, the highly vitalised seeds and fruits which contain only the germ of the new generation, are every-whore apportioned to the needs of men.
It is impossible to over-estimate
the increase of spiritual influence that would accrue to
likely she would be to achieve such a result. It is wholly a delusion, due to the present passing attack of spiritual blindness, to regard the nature of man as changed. Man still believes in all that was real in the ancient world of humanity. He still retains his intuition of God and the soul. The present attack of dyspeptic hypochondria over, and his system cleared and renovated, the currents of his spiritual circulation will flow more healthily than ever.
As if a sign were wanting of the
truth of what I am saying, it comes in the word that the Pope has refused to
administer the sacrament to the widow of Napoleon III. Does not this show what
may happen when obstructions are removed from the system? “He that letteth will
let, until he be taken out of the way.” Antonelli, incarnation of the spirit of
orthodox obstructiveness, removed, the Holy Father recovers his spiritual
vision! The Pope becomes a seer! Already had he shown a reviving intuition when
he accorded his sympathy to the Ottoman. And now he sees that the kiss of
new, and perchance to do somewhat himself for
the redeeming of
A hope for Trance!
of the old regime. This is a lack principally
of knowledge. That lack removed,
The East always looks to the West for its Christ. Westward from the East looked the wise men of old who first caught the gleam of the Star of Bethlehem. The dawn and the breaking may be in the East, but the cloud that catches and reflects the light must be in the West; opposed yet sympathetic, ever the Divine dualism, “in his own image, male and female.”
Not in one way only do East and West thus correspond to and complement each other. For there are many Christs, though “the same spirit.” Even now do I know of one dear little “Christ” who, all unconscious thus far of the source and even of the true nature of his impulse, has been “driven of the spirit” into the heart of London’s squalid East, there by the charity that knoweth no grudging to do what in him lies to “ make the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose,” and by love without dogma to give practical demonstration at once of the Unity, the Duality, and the Trinity of the Divine Existence. Is there not good reason to believe that the Regeneration
will find its warmest welcome at the hands of our own “pauper” miserrimi?
Thus much respecting the character of the next stage of development of the earth’s consciousness and its solar significance. We come now to the period of that development, and the indications of a relation subsisting between it and the stellar universe. Of that which I propose to say in this connexion, one object is to show by actual facts some of the grounds there are for accepting not as a mere hyperbole, but as a literal truth, the poet’s declaration respecting Existence, that
“All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.”
My other object is to show that, however free men individually may be with regard to the parts they play, and the manner of their playing them, in the great drama of existence, the times and seasons of the performance are dictated and controlled by influences wholly beyond their reach.
The planisphere of the Zodiac – that problem over which human ingenuity has for untold ages perplexed itself in vain – is simply a symbol of existence under its twofold mode, – the universal,
absolute, underived, and real; and the individual, relative, derived, and phenomenal. It represents at once God as the universal spiritual force-centre, and Nature as an existence at once spiritual and material radiating from God as its centre. The idea that dictated and controlled the construction of the Zodiac will best appear from a combination of the different modes under which, in different times and places, it has been represented. It is called Zodiac from the living creatures which constitute its various symbols. But so far from its being intended to represent thereby the phenomenal spheres only of existence, it represents all existence, phenomenal and spiritual, as springing from and subsisting in one and the same central and infinite Mind.
In the Egyptian scheme, ascribed to the second Hermes, the Divine Being is represented as bird-like in form, at once single, dual, threefold and multiple, and occupying the centre of the circle from which all the rest radiates. In the Hindoo scheme the same place is occupied by the figure of a man absorbed in contemplation, of whom the lower half is concealed in a cloud. AU the schemes are essentially the same in every respect, their centres representing Deity, and their circumferences consisting of figures, animal and
human, arranged so as to represent the different constellations through which the sun makes his apparent annual journey while engaged as the Divine Word in the exercise of the threefold function of Deity. And all alike represent God in his threefold capacity as the producer, the sustainer, and the renewer of existence on its “four-fold lofty plane,” – existence spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical. And while the Zodiac represents God as, like the sun, seated immovably in his place as the centre and source of the system and of its life and well-being, it also represents Him, also as like the sun, perpetually moving round the universe as the Divine Word, engaged in fulfilling the functions of the Creator and Redeemer; – Father, Son, and Spirit, at once One and Three. The Zodiac is thus a full confession at once of Pantheism and Christianity in their true and highest forms. For, while recognising the Divine consciousness as at once the basis and substance of all existence, it makes the Divine wisdom and love the agent both of creation and redemption. It further represents the recognition, in the earliest ages of human history of which we have any memorial, of the Pantheistic doctrine that the religious consciousness of man, which takes form in his
various religions, constitutes for Nature an intuition of its Divine origin and character; and, secondly, the agency whereby God recalls to himself the existence He has put out from himself. In setting forth the Word, animated by the Spirit, as the sole agent of the Divine activity, the Zodiac further demonstrates the identity of Christian doctrine with the faith which, under the name of Pantheism, has always been in the world. “Before Abraham was I am,” said that Word when last it found full expression in the flesh.
As in the case of the individual part, so in the case of the universal whole. The parts of the system which are furthest removed from the Divine central sun of the true self, are those which find their best representation in symbols merely animal. All the symbols of the outer circle of the planisphere, whether human or animal, represent primarily physical phenomena. The circles next above and within it, indicate the intellectual and moral spheres of existence; the inmost and highest being reserved exclusively for the spiritual, wherein the essence of each meets. The whole thus represents exactly the eternal process whereby God, by means of the two forces which on the physical plane we know as the centrifugal
and centripetal, projects from and recalls to himself his whole creation.
The Zodiac thus combines and reconciles the Catholic doctrine of the Mass, which represents God as perpetually creating and redeeming the world, with the Protestant doctrine which represents Him as having done so at some special time. Both are modes of the same eternal verity. For the Creation, the fall, and the Restoration are ever in process of repetition, and will he so long as existence is what it is. But though true in one aspect, there is an aspect in which they are both disastrously false. And this is the aspect selected by the priest when he presents them as performed in anger, and through the sacrifice of another; instead of being performed in love, and through the sacrifice of self. From the very “fall of man” has sacerdotalism represented for the world the endeavour of the “powers of darkness” to turn the river of the waters of light and life and love into a sea of darkness, blood, and hate. And a chief purpose of the Zodiac is to indicate the suppression of the ideal in favour of the phenomenal, and the exaltation of orthodoxy, or the religion of seeming, to the obscuration of Pantheism, or the religion of being, on the
part of the powers of darkness. The Zodiac is thus the demonstration to us of the presence in the early world of the absolute belief in God and the soul; and in the combination of intuition with reason as essential to their full recognition. It is a testimony also to the eternal truth, that the pure in heart and life alone shall “see God.” Hence also it is a standing protest against the whole theory and practice of that regime of selfishness, blood and sense, of the downfall of which for the “thousand years” that the “dragon” is to be chained, this book will constitute the inauguration.
The Zodiac has moreover a significance for our modern scientists little anticipated by them. It represents precisely that which they regard as the highest product of scientific genius, the hypothesis of the “vortex-ring,” as the method of the world’s evolution. The Zodiac is nothing more or less than precisely such a vortex-ring as they have imagined; – for materialistic, atheistic Science has been compelled to have recourse to that despised and rejected instrument, the imagination, in order to find some explanation for its facts. And now it only remains for modern Science, if it is to reach the level of ancient insight, to rise to the further conception
of existence as alive instead of dead. It will then find that while its “vortex-ring” minus God is a devitalised absurdity, plus God it means existence as it is now and ever has been, and shall be both for part and for whole.
While representing God as constantly inspiring creation with His Spirit in order to enable it to aspire towards himself, the Zodiac also represents Nature as obstructed in its ascent through the interference of a serpent which typifies darkness, physical and spiritual. The object of this serpent who, as the dragon of winter and evil, “draws with his tail a third part of the stars” of heaven, is to prevent man from being redeemed by the sun or soul which God is ever infusing into him. Hence the zodiacal planisphere is principally occupied with the representation of the struggle of the soul – the individual soul for itself, and the universal soul for the individual – with the serpent of darkness and seeming, or Orthodoxy. It thus shows itself to be the very oldest Veda, Bible, had, Paradise Lost and Regained, and Pilgrim’s Progress, in the world; and as the had was said to be containable in a nutshell, so the Zodiac does contain existence in a vortex-ring.
Man cannot be redeemed wholly from above.
The influences which draw him downwards are too strong. God must, as it were, get under man, in order to lift him up, as well as draw him up from above. To do this He must, as the Soul of humanity, sink himself “lower than the angels,” even to man’s estate, by being “born after the law” of human nature, consequently after passing through the constellation Virgo into the stations Capricorns and Sagittarius. Of these constellations the former has a correspondence with the Jewish institution of the “scapegoat,” while the latter indicates the shooting forth of the Divine Word, under the influence of the “Dove” and the “Lamb,” which are two of the higher signs in the same “station.”