LECTURE THE NINTH (1)
GOD AS LORD; OR,
THE DIVINE IMAGE
1. ALL sacred books, of whatever people, concur in adopting, in respect of the Deity, two apparently opposite and antagonistic modes of expression. According to one of these modes, the Divine being is external, universal, diffused, unformulated, indefinable, and altogether inaccessible and beyond perception. According to the other, the Divine Being is near, particular, definite, formulated, personified, discernible, and readily accessible. Thus, on the one hand it is said that God is the high and holy One that inhabiteth eternity, and is past finding out; that no man hath seen God at any time, neither heard God’s voice, or can see God and live. And, on the other hand, it is declared that God has been heard and beheld face to face, and is nigh to all who call upon God, being within their hearts; and that the knowledge of God is not only the one knowledge worth having, but that it is open to all who seek for it; and the pure in heart are promised, as their supreme reward, that they shall “see God.”
2. Numerous instances, moreover, are
recorded of the actual sensible vision of God. Of the Hebrew prophets, Isaiah
says that he saw the Lord “high and lifted up;” Ezekiel, that he beheld the
“glory of the God of Israel” as a figure of fire; Daniel, that he beheld God as
a human form, enthroned in flame; and John records in the Apocalypse a similar
vision. The writers of the book of Exodus show their
cognisance of such experiences by ascribing the vision not only to Moses,
but to the whole of the elders and leaders of
3. Among similar experiences related in other Scriptures is that in the Bhagavad Gita, wherein the “Lord Krishna” exhibits to the gaze of Arjun his “supreme and heavenly form,” “shining on all sides with light immeasurable like the sun a thousand fold,” and “containing in his breast all the Gods, or Powers, masculine and feminine, of the Universe.”
4. Yet, notwithstanding the difference of the two natures thus described, the Scriptures regard both as appertaining to one and the same Divine Being; and, combining the names characteristic of both, declare that the Lord is God, and God is the Lord, and appoint the compound term Lord-God as the proper designation of Deity.
5. Besides the title Lord, many various names are applied to Deity as subsisting under this mode. In the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, these names are Jehovah,
El Shaddai, the Logos, the Ancient of Days, Alpha and Omega, Son of God, the Only Begotten, Adonai. The Hindus have Brahma, and also Ardha-Nari – identical with Adonai. The Persians, Ormuzd; the Egyptians, Ra, or the Sun; the Greeks, the Demiourgos; the Kabbala has Adam Kadmon; and some later mystics employ the term “Grand Man.”
6. Of these last the most notable, Emmanuel Swedenborg, asserts the vision to be a fact in respect of the angels – whom he claims as his informants – saying that the Lord is God manifested in the universe, as a man, and is thus beheld, interiorly, by the angels. (Divine Love and Wisdom, 97, etc., etc.)
7. Swedenborg, however, identifies the Lord who is thus discerned with the historical Jesus, maintaining the latter to be very Deity, Jehovah in person, who assumed a fleshly body, and manifested Himself as a man, in order to save men from hell, and commanded His disciples to call Him Lord. (True Christian Religion, 370; Divine Love and Wisdom, 282, etc., etc.) Swedenborg, herein falls into the common error of confounding “our Lord” with “the Lord,” the Christ in the man with Adonai in the heavens of whom the former is the counterpart; – an error due to his failure to recognise the distinction between the manifest and unmanifest, and between the microcosmic and macrocosmic deity. (1)
as a conception merely mental and “subjective,” but as perception objective to an interior faculty, in that it is actually beheld. Hence it is, that in terms employed to denote Deity, both sexes are expressed or implied; and where one sex only is designated, it is not because the other is wanting, but because it is latent. And hence it is also, that, in order to be made in the image of God; the individual must comprise within himself the qualities masculine and feminine of existence, and be, spiritually, both man and woman. Man is perfect only when the whole humanity is manifested in him; and this occurs only when the whole Spirit of Humanity – that is God – is manifested through him. Thus manifesting Himself, God, as the book of Genesis says, “creates man in His own Image, Male and Female.”
9. Such is the doctrine of all Hermetic Scriptures. And when it is said – as of the Kabbala – that these Scriptures were delivered by God first of all to Adam in Paradise, and then to Moses on Sinai, it is meant that the doctrine contained in them is that which man always discerns when he succeeds in attaining to that inner and celestial region of his nature where he is taught directly of his own Divine Spirit, and knows even as he is known. The attainment of this divine knowledge constitutes existence a paradise. And it is symbolised by the ascent of a mountain, variously designated Nyssa, Sinai, Sion, Olivet. Peculiar to no particular period or place, the power to receive this knowledge is dependent entirely upon condition. And the condition is that of the understanding. Man attains to the image of God in proportion as he comprehends the nature of God. Such knowledge constitutes, of itself, transmutation. For man is that which he knows. And he knows only that which he is. Wherefore the recognition, first of God as the Lord, and next of the Lord as the divine
Humanity, constitutes at once the means of salvation and salvation itself. This is the truth which makes free – the supreme mystery, called by Paul the “mystery of godliness.” And it is by their relegation of this mystery to the category of the incomprehensible, that the priesthoods have barred to man the way of redemption. They have directed him, indeed, to a Macrocosmic God subsisting exteriorly to man, and having a nature altogether different from man’s, and to a heaven remote and inaccessible. But they have suppressed altogether the Microcosmic God and the kingdom within, and have blotted the Lord and his true image out of all recognition. Now the main distinction between the uninitiate and the initiate, between the man who does not know and the man who does know, lies in this: – For the one, God, if subsisting at all, is wholly without. For the other, God is both within and without; and the God within is all that the God without is.
10. It cannot be too emphatically stated, that the definition which sets forth Mystery as something inconsistent with or contradictory of sense and reason, is a wrong definition, and one in the highest degree pernicious. In its true signification, Mystery means only that which appertains to a region of which the external sense and reason are unable to take cognisance. It is, thus, the doctrine of Spirit and of the experiences connected therewith. And inasmuch as the spiritual is the within and source of the phenomenal, so far from the doctrine of Spirit contradicting and stultifying the experiences and conclusions of the external faculties, it corrects and interprets them; – precisely as does reason correct and interpret the sensible impression of the earth’s immobility, and of the diurnal revolution of the skies. That, therefore, which the degradation of the term Mystery to mean something incomprehensible, really
represents, is the loss by the priesthoods of the faculty of comprehension. Declining, through “idolatry,” from the standard once attained by them, and losing the power either to discern or to interpret Substance, the Churches abandoned the true definition of Mystery which referred it to things transcending the outer sense and reason, and adopted a definition implying something contradictory of all sense and reason. Thenceforth, so far from fulfilling their proper function of supplying man with the wholesome “bread” of a perfect system of thought, they gave him instead the indigestible “stones” of dogmas altogether unthinkable; and for the “fish,” – or interior mysteries of the soul – the “serpents,” or illusory reflects, of the astral. Reduced by this act to a choice between the suicide of an absolute surrender of the reason, and open revolt, the world adopted the lesser of the two evils. And this both rightly and of necessity. For man neither ought if he could, nor can if he would, suppress his reason. And now the Churches, having lost cognition of Spirit, and suppressed the faculty whereby alone it could be attained, are absolutely without a system of Thought wherewith to oppose the progress of that fatal system of No-thought which is fast engulfing the world. And so profound is the despair which reigns even in the highest ranks of Ecclesiasticism, as recently, from one of its most distinguished members, to elicit the confession that he saw no hope for Religion save in a new Revelation. (1)
11. It is necessary to devote a brief space to an exposition of the ancient and true doctrine in respect of the place
and value of the Understanding in things religious.
For so we shall both further minister to the rehabilitation of this supreme
faculty, and exhibit the extent to which sacerdotalism has departed from the
right course. Mention has already been made of Hermes as the “trainer of the
Christs.” The phrase is of a kind with those more familiar phrases which
describe Christ as the “Son of David” and as the “Seed of the Woman;” and, in
short, with all statements respecting the genealogy of the Christ, including the
declaration that the Rock on which the
As the parent Spirit – the Nous, or divine Mind – is God, so the product Thought, or the “Word,” as a Son of God, is also God. Nor does the Divine procession cease at the first generation. For, whereas of such Divine Word the Christ is the manifestation “in ultimates,” the Christ also is Son of God, and therefore God.
12. But not the less, however, is
“Christ” the “Son of David,” though not by physical descent – his line had long
been extinct – but in a spiritual sense. Like the patriarchs – who were
therefore said to live in concubinage – David was not “married to the Spirit,” but
held only occasional communion with it, receiving but a measure of illumination.
“Christ” implies full regeneration and illumination. The attainment of this
state is the ultimate aim of the science called Hermetic and Alchemic, the
earliest formulation of which is ascribed to the god Thoth
– the Egyptian equivalent for the Divine Thought. Tracking the Christ-idea to
this source, we have a yet further – though still but a secondary –
signification for the saying, “Out of
13. One of the most general symbols
of the Understanding, and of its importance in the work of regeneration, has
always been the Ram. Hence the frequent portrayal of the representative of
Hermes and Thoth with a ram’s head. For by this was denoted the power of the
faculty of which the head is the seat, the act of butting with the horns
typifying the employment of the intellect whether for attack or defence. The
command to cover the holy place of the Tabernacle with a ram’s fleece implied
that only to the understanding were the mysteries of the Spirit accessible. The
mighty walls of the “
The narrative of the previous entry – that of the “spies” – into this stronghold through the agency of a woman, is similarly designed to exalt the understanding, the direct reference being to the intuition as essential to the understanding, and therefore to the resolution of doubt. The ascription to this woman of the vocation of the Magdalen, accords with the mystical usage of regarding the soul as impure during the term – necessary for her education – of her association with Matter. This finished, she becomes “virgin.” One of the chief glories of Hermes – his conquest of the hundred-eyed Argus – denotes the victory of the understanding over fate. For Argus represents the power of the stars over the unenfranchised soul. Wherefore Hera, the queen of the astral spheres and persecutrix of the soul thus subject, is said to have placed the eyes of Argus in the train of her vehicular bird, the peacock.
14. The story of the slaying of Goliath is a parable of like import. For Goliath is the formulation of the system represented by the “Philistines,” – that system of doubt and denial which finds its inevitable outcome in Materialism. The killing of Goliath signifies, thus, the discomfiture of Materialism by the understanding. And David, moreover, is represented – on arraying himself for the conflict – as declining the “king’s weapons,” or arms of the exterior reason, and choosing “a smooth stone out of a brook;” this being the “philosopher’s stone” of a pure spirit, a firm will, and a clear perception, such as is attained only through the secret operation of the soul, of which the brook is the emblem. Such a stone, also, is that which, “cut out without hands,” smites in pieces, as already explained, the giant image of Nebuchadnezzar. The reward of David’s achievement – the possession of the king’s daughter, the
usual termination of such heroic adventure – denotes the attainment by the conqueror of the highest gifts and graces; – the daughter of Saul, or the outer Reason, being the inner Reason, or psychic faculty, developed from the “Man” and constituting the “Woman” in the man. Hence by David’s subsequent history in relation to Michal, is implied a spiritual retrogression on the soul’s part.
15. Similar reasons dictated the selection of a dog as specially sacred to Hermes, and his representation as the dog-headed Anubis; the intelligence and faithfulness of this animal making it an apt type of the understanding as the peculiar friend of man. Raphael – the Hebrew equivalent of Hermes, and like him called the “physician of souls” – is also represented as accompanied by a dog when travelling with Tobias. And the name of the special associate of Joshua – a name identical with Jesus – the final leader of the chosen people into the promised land of their spiritual perfection – namely, Caleb, signifies a dog, and implies the necessity of intelligence to the successful quest of salvation. For the like reason were “rams,” and the “fat of rams,” used as symbolic terms to denote the offering most acceptable to God. It was intended by them to teach that man ought to dedicate to the service of God all the powers of his mind raised to their highest perfection, and by no means to ignore or suppress them.
16. The like high rank is accorded to understanding in all Hermetic Scriptures. For – as in IsaIiah xi. 2 – it is always placed second among the seven Elohim of God, the first place being assigned to Wisdom, which is accounted as one with Love. The same order is observed in the disposition of the solar system. For Mercury is Hermes, and his planet is next to the Sun. The ascription, in the
mythologies, of a thievish disposition to this divinity, and the legends which represent him as the patron of thieves and adventurers, and stealing in turn from all the Gods, are modes of indicating the facility with which the understanding annexes everything and makes it its own. For Hermes denotes that faculty of the divine part in man which seeks and obtains meanings out of every department of existence, intruding into the province of every “God,” and appropriating some portion of the goods of each. Thus the understanding has a finger upon all things, and converts them to its own use, whether it be the “arrows” of Apollo, the “girdle” of Aphrodite, the “oxen” of Admetus, the “trident” of Poseidon, or the “tongs” of Hephaistos. Not only is Hermes – as already said – the rock on which the true church is built; he is also the divinity under whose immediate control all divine revelations are made, and all divine achievements performed. His are the rod of knowledge wherewith all things are measured, the wings of courage, the sword of the unconquerable will, and the cap of concealment or discretion. He is in turn the Star of East, conducting the Magi; the Cloud from whose mist the holy Voice speaks; by day the pillar of Vapour, by night the shining Flame, leading the elect soul on her perilous path through the noisome wilderness of the world, as she flies from the Egypt of the Flesh, and guiding her in safety to the promised heaven. He, too, it is who is the shield of saints in the fiery furnace of persecution or affliction, and whose “form is like the Son of God.” And by him the candidate for spiritual knowledge attains full initiation. For he is also the Communicator, and without him is no salvation. For, although that which saves is faith, that is not faith which is without understanding. Happily for the so-called “simple,” this understanding is
not necessarily of the outer man; it suffices for salvation that the inner man has it. (1)
17. “Hermes, as the messenger of God,” says the Neoplatonist Proclus, “reveals to us His paternal will, and – developing in us the intuition – imparts to us knowledge. The knowledge which descends into the soul from above excels any that can be attained by the mere exercise of the intellect. Intuition is the operation of the soul. The knowledge received through it from above, descending into the soul, fills it with the perception of the interior causes of things. The Gods announce it by their presence, and by illumination, and enable us to discern the universal order.” Commenting on these words of a philosopher regarded by his contemporaries with a veneration approaching to adoration, for his wisdom and miraculous powers, a recent leader of the prevailing school exclaims, “Thus is Proclus consistent in absurdity!”. (2) Whereas, had the critic been aware of the truth concerning the reality, personality, and accessibility of the world celestial, so far from denouncing Proclus as “absurd,” he would have supremely envied him, and eagerly sought the secret and method of the Neoplatonists. “To know more,” says the writer in question, “we must be more.” But when the Mystic – who, in virtue of his supreme sense of the dignity and gravity of man’s nature, affirms nothing lightly or rashly – offers his solemn assurance that we are more, and prescribes a simple rule, amply verified by himself, whereby to ascertain the fact, he turns away in disdain, and proceeds in his own manner to make himself infinitely less, by becoming a ringleader of that terrible school of Biology, which does not scruple, in the outraged name of Science, to indulge its passion for knowledge
to the utter disregard of humanity and morality, by the infliction of tortures the most atrocious and protracted, upon creatures harmless and helpless. Little wonder is it that between Mystic and Materialist should gulf so impassable, feud so irreconcilable, intervene; seeing that while the one seeks by the sacrifice of his own lower nature to his higher, and of himself for others, to prove man potential God, the other – turning vivisector – makes him actual fiend. (1)
18. To resume our exposition of the “mystery of godliness,” or doctrine of God as the Lord, and of the duality of the Divine image. According to the Zohar – the principal of the Kabbala – the Divine Word by which all things are created is the celestial archetypal Humanity, which subsisting eternally in the Divine Mind – makes the universe in His own image. God, as absolute Being, having no form or name, cannot and may not be represented under any image or appellation. Bent upon self-manifestation, or creation, the Divine Mind conceives the Ideal Humanity as a vehicle in which to descend from Being into Existence. This is the Merkaba, or Car, already referred to; and that which it denotes is Human Nature in its perfection, at once twofold in operation, fourfold in constitution, and sixfold in manifestation, and as a cube – Kaabeh – “standing four-square to all the winds of heaven.” In virtue of its two-foldness this “vehicle” expresses the corresponding opposites, Will and Love, Justice and Mercy, Energy and Space, Life and Substance,
Positive and Negative, in a word, Male and Female, both of which subsist in the Divine Nature in absolute plenitude and perfect equilibrium. Expressed in the Divine Idea – Adam Kadmon – the qualities masculine and feminine of existence are, in their union and co-operation, the life and salvation of the world; and in their division and antagonism, its death and destruction. One in the Absolute, but two in the Relative, this ideal – but not therefore the less real – Humanity resumes both in itself, and is king and queen of the universe, and as such is projected through every sphere of creation to the material and phenomenal, causing the outer, lower, and sensible world everywhere to be made in the image of the inner, upper and spiritual: so that all that subsists in the latter belongs to us here below and is in our image; and the two regions together make one uniform existence which is a vast Man, being, like the individual man, in constitution fourfold and in operation dual.
19. This doctrine of Correspondence finds expression through Paul, first when he declares that “the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made;” and again, when – applying it in its dual relation to the sexes of humanity – he says “Neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” The purity of its doctrine in this respect constitutes a proof of the divinity of the Kabbala. For it shows that this famous compendium belongs to a period prior to that destruction by the priesthoods of the equilibrium of the sexes which constituted in one sense the “Fall”. Calling the woman the house and wall of the man, without whose bounding and redeeming influence he would inevitably be dissipated and lost in the abyss, the Kabbala describes her
as constituting the centripetal and aspirational element in humanity, having a natural affinity for the pure and noble, to which, with herself, she always seeks to raise man, and being therefore his guide and initiator in things spiritual. Thus recognising in the sexes of humanity respectively, the manifestation of the qualities masculine and feminine of the divine Nature, Its power and Its love, the Kabbala duly inculcates the worship of that true Lord God of Hosts, the knowledge of whom constitutes its possessors the “Israel of God.” “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, is of this heavenly kingdom; but they only who do the will of the Father Who is in heaven,” and Who accordingly honor duly His “two Witnesses” on earth – the man and the woman – on every plane of man’s fourfold nature. It is by reason of Christ’s duality that humanity beholds in him its representative. And it is only in those who seek in this to be like him, that Christ can by any means be born.
20. Close as was the agreement between Paul and the Kabbala in respect – among other doctrines – of the dual nature of Deity, the agreement stopped short of the due issue of that doctrine. And it is mainly through Paul that the influence we have described as at once astral, rabbinical, and sacerdotal, found entrance into the Church. For, judged by the received text, Paul, when it came to a matter of practical teaching, exchanged the spirit of the Kabbala for that of the Talmud, and transmitted – aggravated and reinforced – to Christianity, the traditional contempt of his race for woman. The Talmud appoints to every pious Jew, as a daily prayer, these words: – “Blessed art thou, O Lord, that thou hast not made me a Gentile, an idiot, or a woman;” and, while enjoining the instruction of his sons in the Law, prohibits that of the daughters, on the ground that women are accursed. This reprobation of one whole
moiety of the divine nature, instead of finding condemnation from Paul as erroneous, was adopted by him as the basis of his instructions concerning the position of women in a Christian society. For, after rightly defining the doctrine of the equality of the sexes “in the Lord,” we find him writing to the Corinthians in the following strain: “But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man. For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man: for neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man; for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.” “Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness.” “Let the woman keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but let them be in subjection, as saith the Law. It is shameful for a woman to speak in the Church.” “For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and Adam was not beguiled; but the woman being beguiled, fell into transgression.” To the same purport writes Peter, who, as he certainly did not derive the doctrine from his Master, had doubtless been overborne in respect of it by Paul. (1) Thus enforced, the doctrine of the subjection of
the woman became accepted as an integral part of the Christian system, constituting in it an element of inevitable self-destruction.
21. The utterance last cited from Paul gives the clue to the source and motive of his doctrine concerning woman. It is a perversion due to the influences already specified, of the parable of the Fall. When speaking in the Spirit, Paul declares the man and the woman alike to be “in the Lord.” Subsiding from this level – and speaking – as, according to his own admission, he was not unwont to speak – “foolishly,” or of his own lower reason, he contradicts this statement, and affirms that the man alone is made in the image of God – the divine Idea of Humanity comprising the male element only – and implies that the woman is but a mere afterthought, contrived to meet an unexpected emergency, and made, therefore, in the image, not of God, but of the man. Thus substituting the Letter for the Spirit, and wholly losing sight of the latter, Paul degrades the mystic Scripture from its proper plane and universal signification, to a level historical merely and local. By making Adam and Eve no longer types of the substantial humanity in its two essential modes, the outer and inner personality, but an actual material couple, the first physical progenitors of the race, he accepts in all its gross, impossible crudity the fable of the apple and the snake, and declares that, because the first woman was beguiled, therefore her daughters – not her sons – must through all time to come bear the penalty of silence and servitude!
22. That which Paul would have taught, had his vision been uniformly lightened, is the truth that, so far from the
woman being an inferior part of humanity, it is
not until she is, on all its planes, exalted, crowned, and glorified, that
humanity, whether in the individual or in the race, can attain to Christhood,
seeing that she, and not the “man,” is the bruiser of the serpent’s head, the
last to be manifested, and therefore the first in dignity. For this reason it is
that only by the restoration of the woman, on all planes of her manifestation,
can the equilibrium of man’s nature, destroyed at the “Fall,”
be re-established. As it is, the direct effect of the teaching of Paul in this,
and in certain allied respects – notably the doctrine of atonement by vicarious
bloodshed – has been to perpetuate the false balance introduced by the
Fall, and therein to confirm the Curse, to remove which is the supreme
mission of the Christ as the “seed of the woman.” On this subject Jesus himself
had spoken very explicitly, though only in writings labeled “Apocryphal” are the
utterances recorded. Of these, one, given by Clement, declares plainly that the
the Balance – emblem of the Divine Justice – in
token of the establishment of the
23. Thus does Paul, to whose writings chiefly the various doctrinal systems of Christianity owe their origin, divide the Churches, and diminish the Reason, by falling back on convention and tradition. Now the Reason is not the “intellect,” – this, as we have insisted, represents but a moiety of the mind. The Reason is the whole humanity, which comprises the intuition as well as the intellect, and is in God’s Image, male and female. This supreme Reason it is which finds its full expression in the Logos or Lord. Wherefore, in denying her true place to the woman in his scheme of society, Paul denies to the Lord his due manifestation on earth, and exalts for worship some image other than the divine. It is because they recognise in the Reason the heir of all things, that the devil and his agents always make it their first concern to cast it out and slay it. “This is the Heir,” – the Reason, the Logos, the Lord – “come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours,” – say those ministers of Unreason, the materialistic orthodoxies
of Church and World. And no sooner is the Reason suppressed and cast out, than madness, folly, and evil of every kind step in and, taking possession, bear rule, making the last state – be it of community or of individual – worse than the first. For then in place of Christ and the divine image, is antichrist and the “man of sin;” and the rule is that of falsehood, superstition, and all manner of unclean spirits, having neither knowledge, nor power, nor wisdom, nor aught that in any respect corresponds to God. Of the mutilation and defacement of the Divine Reason by the Church, under the impulsion of Paul, the present state of both Church and World is the inevitable sequel.
24. Besides Paul, there are two others associated with the doctrine of the Logos, of names so notable as to necessitate a reference to them. These are Plato, and Philo called Judæus. They also recognised the Lord as the Logos and Divine Reason of things. But they failed to recognise the Dualism of the Divine nature therein, and by their failure ministered to the confirmation, rather than to the reversal, of the Fall and the Curse. Between Philo and Paul the points of resemblance are many striking, foremost among being the depreciation of woman, and the advocacy of vicarious blood shedding as a means of propitiating Deity. Philo, who in these respects in a thorough sacerdotalist, claims to have been initiated into spiritual mysteries directly by the spirit of Moses. This, it will be now understood, is a distinct and positive proof, were any wanting, of the astral character of much at least of Philo’s inspiration. He, too, like many in our day, was beguiled by a spirit of the astral, which, personating the great prophet so long dead, insisted, in the name of Moses, on the sacerdotal degradations of the teaching of Moses. Like Paul – though never attaining
his elevation – Philo oscillated continually between the Talmud and the Kabbala, the astral and the celestial, mixing error and truth accordingly, and ignored altogether the contrary presentation given of the divine Sophia in the inspired “Book of Wisdom,” – a book of which some have nevertheless ascribed the authorship to Philo himself!
25. Plato, and no less Aristotle,
discerned in a perfect humanity the end and aim of creation, and in the universe
a prelude to and preparation for the perfect man. Recognising,
however, the masculine element only of existence, Aristotle regarded every
production of Nature other than a male of the human species, as a failure in the
attempt to produce a man; and the woman as something maimed and imperfect, to be
accounted for only on the hypothesis that Nature, though artist, is but blind.
Similarly Plato – despite the intuition whereby he was enabled to recognise Intellect and Emotion as the two wings
indispensable for man’s ascent to his proper altitude – was wholly insensible to
the correspondence by virtue of which the latter finds in woman its highest
expression. For the strain in which he treated of her was so bitter and
contemptuous, as largely to minister to the making of his country – instead of
26. The Fathers of the Church – stepfathers, rather, were they to the true Christianity – for the most part vied
with each other in their depreciation of woman; and, denouncing her with every vile epithet, held it a degradation for a saint to touch even his own aged mother with the hand in order to sustain her feeble steps. And the Church, falling under a domination exclusively sacerdotal, while doctrinally it exalted womanhood to a level beside, though not to its place in, the Godhead, practically substituted priestly exclusiveness for Christian comprehension. For it declared woman unworthy, through inherent impurity, even to set foot within the sanctuaries of its temples; suffered her to exercise her functions of wife and mother only under the spell of a triple exorcism; and denied her, when dead, burial in its more sacred precincts, even though she were an abbess of undoubted sanctity.
27. The Reformation altered, but did not better, the condition of woman. Socially, it rescued her from the priest to make her the chattel of the husband; and, doctrinally, it expunged her altogether. Calvinism is, on all planes, a repudiation of the woman in favor of the man; inasmuch as it recognises only will and force, and rejects love and goodness, as essential qualities of Being, whether Divine or human. And Protestantism at large, both Unitarian and Trinitarian, finds in its definition of the Substance of existence, place only for the masculine element. Even the great bard of Nonconformism, John Milton – though finding woman so indispensable to him as to have thrice wedded – disfigured his verse and belied his inspiration as poet, by his bitter and incessant depreciation of her without whom poetry itself would have no existence. For poetry is the function of genius, and genius, which is the product of sympathy, is not of the man, but of the woman in the man. And she herself – as her typical name Venus
implies – is the “Sweet Song of God.” (1) In the same spirit the chief Instrument of the Reformation, Martin Luther, declared of the two sacred books which especially point to the woman as the agent of man’s final redemption – the books of Esther and Revelation – that “so far as he esteemed them, it would be no loss if they were thrown into the river.”
28. The influence in question is not confined to the sphere of Christianity. It dictated the form assumed by Islamism. Originating in impulses derived from the celestial, this religion fell beneath the sway of the astral so soon as its founder, making a rich marriage, lived luxuriously and occupied himself with worldly matters. Sacerdotalism failed, it is true, to find in Islamism its ordinary mode of expression. But the principle of the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice in propitiation of the Deity, showed itself in the recognition of bloodshed as means of proselytism. And women were relegated to a position altogether inferior, being regarded as differing from men not merely in degree, but in kind. For they were denied the possession of a soul; and their place in the Hereafter was supplied by astral equivalents under the scarcely disguised name of Houris. The Koran itself is little else than an imitation of the Old Testament, conceived under astral suggestion. A yet more unmitigated form of what may be called Astralism is the religion known as Mormonism; the sacred books of which are, throughout, but astral travesties of Scripture; its doctrine of “spiritual wives,” and of the position of woman generally, being similarly derived. It
thus constitutes an instance in point, of the unceasing endeavor of the spirits of the subhuman to established a kingdom of their own, instead of that of the Lord and the Divine Idea of Humanity.
29. It will be well, before proceeding to our conclusion, to take note of the objections with which it is usually sought to discredit – under the name of Mysticism – the system in course of exposition. These objections are comprised under two heads, of which the terms, respectively, are Plagiarism and Enthusiasm. By the former it is meant that the professors of Mysticism, instead of being the actual recipients of the experiences they record of themselves, borrow them from some common – but equally delusive – source. And by the latter it is implied that, at the best, the experiences, and the doctrines based upon them, are due to morbid conditions of mind. This, in plain language, means that the opponents of Mysticism – unable either to emulate or to confute it – try to get rid of it by charging its professors with dishonesty or insanity. And so far from this line of treatment being exceptional or rare, it is persistent and constant throughout the whole range of the literature characteristic of the age, and this in every class from the lowest to the highest, and in every branch of intellectual activity. Instead of being submitted to examination even the most superficial, the entire system comprised under the term Mysticism – its witnesses, its facts, and its doctrines – has in that literature been rejected offhand, and without inquiry, by the simple process of abrupt contradiction, and the ascription, in no measured degree, to its representatives and exponents, of pretence,
imposture, charlatanism, quackery, hallucination, and madness – an ascription preposterous in the extreme in view of the status, moral and intellectual, of the persons aspersed. For of these the character and eminence have been such as, of themselves, to entitle their statements to attention the most respectful; and the Order to which, one and all, they have belonged, comprises the world’s finest intellects, profoundest scholars, maturest judgments, noblest dispositions, ripest characters, and greatest benefactors; and, in short, as has already been said, all those sages, saints, seers, prophets, and Christs, through redeeming influence humanity has been raised out of the bottomless pit of its own lower nature, and preserved from the abyss of utter negation. Of these, and of numberless others, the testimony to the reality of mystical experiences, and the truth of mystical doctrine, has been concurrent, continuous, positive, and maintained at the cost of liberty, reputation, property, family ties, social position, and every earthly good, even to life itself, and this over a period extending from before the beginning of history until now. So that it may with absolute confidence be maintained, that if the declarations of Mystics are to be set aside, as insufficient to establish their claims, all human testimony whatever is worthless as a criterion of fact, and all human intelligence as criterion of truth.
30. The charge of Plagiarism is soon disposed of. It is true that the correspondence upon which the charge is founded subsists. But it is also true that this correspondence is only that which necessarily subsists between the accounts given of identical phenomena by different witnesses. The world’s Mystics have been as a band of earnest explorers who, one after another, and often in complete ignorance of the results attained by their predecessors, have ascended
the same giant mountain-range, and, returning, have brought back to the dwellers in the valleys below – too feeble or indifferent to make the ascent for themselves – the same report of its character and products, and of the tracts discerned from its various aspects and altitudes, showing thereby a perfect coherence of faculty and testimony. Such is the agreement which has been made the pretext for a charge of plagiarism against Mystics, simply because the region visited and reported on by them is a spiritual and not a material one, and Materialists will not have it that any other than a material subsists. Precisely the agreement which in all other cases is made indispensable as a proof of trustworthiness, is, in this case, interpreted as a token of collusion.
31. To come to the somewhat more plausible charge of Enthusiasm. It is alleged that the Mystics have conceived their system, not in that calm, philosophical frame of mind which alone is favorable to the discovery of truth, but in a spirit of excitement and enthusiasm of which the inevitable product is hallucination. Now, this allegation is not only contrary to fact, it is intrinsically absurd, whether as applied to the phenomena or to the philosophy of Mysticism. For one who, through the unfoldment of his spiritual faculties, is enabled to enjoy open conditions with the spiritual world, the suggestion that his consequent experiences are the result of hallucination, constitutes an act of presumption every whit as gross as would be the like suggestion concerning the material world if made by a blind man to one possessed of eyesight. For, as already observed, such is the nature of the experiences in question, that if they are to be disregarded as insufficient to demonstrate the reality of the spiritual world, no ground remains whereon to believe in that of the material world. It is true that the Materialist
cannot – as a rule – be made a partaker of the evidences in question. But neither can the blind man have ocular proof of the existence of the material world. For him there is no sun in the sky if he refuse to credit those who alone possess the faculty wherewith to behold it, and persist in regarding himself as a representative man.
32. The case for the Mystic’s intellectual results is equally strong. Such are the coherency and completeness of the mystical system of thought, that by all schools whatever of thinkers it has ever, with one consent, been pronounced to be inexpugnable, and that alone which would, if provable, constitute an explanation, altogether satisfactory, of the phenomena of existence. In this system, where apprehended in its proper integrity, Reason has in vain sought to detect a flaw; and they who have rejected it, have done so solely through their own inability to obtain that sensible evidence of the reality of the spiritual world, the power to receive and interpret which, constitutes the Mystic.
33. Nevertheless, of the fact of the Mystic’s enthusiasm there is no question. But enthusiasm is neither his instrument of observation nor that of inference. And he is not more fairly chargeable with conceiving his system by exercise of an imagination stimulated by enthusiasm, than is the believer in a world exclusively material. For, like the latter, he has sensible evidence of the facts whereon he builds; and he observes all possible deliberation and circumspection in his deductions therefrom. The only difference between them in this relation, is that the senses principally appealed to by his facts, are those, not of the man physical, but of the man spiritual, or soul, which, as consisting of substance, is necessarily alone competent for the appreciation of the phenomena of substance. Constituted as is man, while in the body, of both Matter and
Spirit, he is a complete being – and therefore fully man – only when he has developed the faculties requisite for the discernment of both elements of his nature.
in the condition to invalidate the perceptions,
sensible or mental, of the seer. But simply are his faculties heightened and
perfected through the exclusion of all limiting or disturbing influences, and
the consequent release of the consciousness from material trammel and bias.
There is, as already said, no really “invisible world.” That which ecstasy
does, is to open the vision to a world imperceptible to the exterior
senses – that world of substance which, lying behind phenomenon, necessarily
requires for its cognition faculties which are not of the phenomenal but of the
substantial man. Says one eminent Manualist concerning the Neoplatonic
Mystics: – “Their teaching was a desperate overleaping and destruction of all
philosophy.” (1) Says
another: “In the desperate spring made at
by merging it in religion.” But in this sense only. For, in his hands, philosophy simply, and under compulsion of reason, acknowledges religion as its legitimate and inevitable terminus, when not, through a limitation of reason, arbitrarily withheld therefrom. And, in a world proceeding from God, no reason would be sound, no philosophy complete, of which the conclusion – as well as the beginning – was not religion. So far, also, from such religious philosophy involving, as constantly charged against it, the abnegation of self-consciousness; it involves and implies the due self-completion of the consciousness by the recognition of its true source and nature. Thus, so far from “losing,” the Mystic finds, himself thereby; for he finds God, the true and only Self of all. And if there be any who, recognising in these pages aught of goodness, truth, or beauty transcending the ordinary, inquire the source thereof, the reply is, that the source is no other than that just described, namely, the Spirit operating under conditions which a materialistic science, bent on the suppression of man’s spiritual nature and the eradication of man’s religious instinct, designates “morbid,” and certifies as qualifying the subject for seclusion on the ground of insanity. (1)
35. We will endeavor by a brief examination of the standpoints of the two parties respectively, to exhibit the genesis and nature of the Mystic’s enthusiasm. The Materialist
– who regards Matter as the sole constituent of existence, and himself as derived from that which for its defect in respect of consciousness, he deems mean and contemptible – has for the supposed source and substance of his being, neither respect nor affection. No more than any one else can he love or honor the merely chemical or mechanical. Hence, like those who, springing from a low origin, have gained for themselves distinction, the last thing he covets is a return to that from which he came. How it arises that, being wholly of Matter, he has in him any impulse or faculty whereby to transcend even in desire his original level: whence come the qualities and properties, moral and intellectual, subsisting in humanity, but of which the most exhaustive analysis of Matter reveals no trace; whence the tendency of evolution in the direction of beauty, use, and goodness; whence evolution itself; – these are problems which are insoluble on his hypothesis, and which – since he rejects the solution proffered by the Mystic – must for ever remain unsolved by him.
36. The Mystic, on the other hand, discerning through the intuition the spiritual nature of the substance of existence, recognises himself, not as superior to that from which he has sprung, but as a limitation and individuation of that which itself is unlimited and universal, even the absolutely pure and perfect Spirit which is no other than God. Knowing himself to be thence derived and sustained, and only temporarily, and for a purpose conceived in infinite love and executed in infinite wisdom, subjected to inferior conditions, he yearns towards the whole of which he is a part, as a child towards its necessary parent, and strives, by divesting himself of the withholding influences of Matter, to rise into nearer resemblance to and contact with his divine Original.
37. The Materialist, on the contrary, regarding Matter as all, and its limitations as inherent in Being, sees in the endeavor to transcend those limitations but a suicidal attempt to escape from all Being. He strives, therefore, to attach himself yet more closely to Matter, little as he esteems it, and is content when he has succeeded in making from among things merely material, such selection as best ministers to his bodily satisfaction. And he cannot comprehend one of sound mind seeking more.
38. But such mistake of the phenomenal for the substantial, of the apparent for the real, cannot be made by one who to the sensations of the body adds the perceptions and recollections of the soul. Such an one knows by a divine and infallible instinct, which every succeeding experience serves but to confirm, that a perfection and satisfaction far transcending aught that Materialist can imagine or Matter realise, are in very truth possible to humanity. And therefore the enthusiasm which inspires him is the enthusiasm, not of an earthly humanity, immature, rudimentary, and scarcely even suggestive of its own potentialities; not of a humanity which is exterior, transient, of form only and appearance; but of a humanity mature, developed, permanent, and capable of realising its own best promise and highest aspirations; a humanity interior substantial, and of the Spirit; a humanity, though human, divine, in that it is worthy of its progenitor God, and at its best is God. The Materialist knows not perfection, nor reality, nor Spirit, nor God; and, knowing none of these, he knows not enthusiasm. Now, not to know enthusiasm, is not to know love. And he who knows not love, is not yet man. For he has yet to develop in him that which alone completes and makes the man, namely, the woman. Herein, then, is the full solution of the mystery of the Mystic’s enthusiasm, and of the
Materialist’s inability to comprehend it. The one is already man, and, knowing what Being is, loves. The other is not yet man, and, incapable of love, has all to learn.
39. Not always did Materialists contemn enthusiasm and repudiate its products. Of one, at least, history tells who with enthusiasm sang of enthusiasm as the energising force of genius. It was no other than such a flight as that of the rapt Mystic in his ecstasy, which Lucretius ascribed to the inspired Epicurus, when he celebrated his vivida vis animi; for it was in virtue of his enthusiasm for a perfection transcending the animal, that Epicurus was enabled to overcome the limitations of the bodily sense, to “surpass the flaming walls of the world” material, to “traverse in spirit the whole immensity” of existence, and returning – “to bring back to men the knowledge of possible and impossible.” It has been reserved for the present age to produce the Materialist of a humanity so stunted and meagre that he knows not the meaning or value of enthusiasm, and in his ignorance makes of it a scoff.
40. Accepting without limitation or reserve the dictum – already cited – that “nothing imperceptible is real;” the Mystic applies it in respect of the most recondite of all subjects of thought, namely, Deity, and both modes – the mental and the sensible – of perception. In doing this, he claims the justification of his own personal experience. For not only can he think God, he can also see God; the mind with which he does the first being a mind purified from obscuration by Matter; and the eyes with which he does the last being those of a more or less regenerate self. Of the seers of all ages the supreme beatific experience – that which has constituted for them the crowning confirmation
of their doctrine concerning not only the being but the nature of Deity – has been the vision of God as the Lord. For those to whom this vision has been vouchsafed, hope the most sanguine is swallowed up in realisation the most complete; belief the most implicit is merged in sight the most vivid; and knowledge the most absolute is attained, that the “kingdom of heaven is” in very truth “within,” and that the king thereof is – where alone a king should be – in the midst of his kingdom.
41. And yet more than this. By the vision of God as the Lord, the seer knows also that of this celestial kingdom within, the King is also the Queen; that, in respect of form no less than of substance, man is created in God’s “own image, male and female;” and that in ascending to and becoming “one with the Father,” man ascends to and becomes one with the Mother. For in the form beheld in the vision of Adonai, both HE and SHE are manifested. Who, then, is Adonai? This is a question the reply to which involves the Mystery of the Trinity.
42. Manifestation – it has already been explained – is by generation. Now generation is not of one but of twain. And inasmuch as that which is generated partakes the nature of the generators, it also is dual. That, then, which in the current presentation of the doctrine of the Trinity is termed the Father and First Person in the Godhead, is really the Father-Mother. And that which is theologically said to be begotten of them and called the Second Person and Son, is also dual, being not “Son” merely, but prototype of both sexes, and called in token thereof Io, Jehovah, El Shaddai, Adonai – names each of which implies duality.
43. Having for Father the Spirit which is Life, and for Mother the Great Deep which is Substance,
Adonai possesses the potency of both, and wields the dual powers of all things. And from the Godhead thus constituted proceeds, through Adonai, the uncreated creative Spirit, the informer and fashioner of all things. This Spirit it is Who, theologically, is called the Holy Ghost, and the Third Person, the aspect of God as the Mother having been ignored or suppressed by a priesthood desirous of preserving a purely masculine conception of the Godhead. By the above presentation both the Churches, Eastern and Western, are right in what they affirm respecting the procession of the Holy Ghost, and wrong in what they deny.
44. This, the necessary method of the divine evolution and procession, for both Macrocosm and Microcosm, is duly set forth in the very commencement of the book of Genesis; being expressed in the words: –
“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters: and God SAID, Let there be Light, and there was Light.”
For, whenever and wherever creation – or manifestation by generation – occurs, God the Father co-operates with God the Mother – as Force, moving in Substance – and produces the Utterance, Word, Logos, or Adonai – at once God and the Expression of God. And of this Logos the Holy Spirit, in turn, is the Expression or creative medium. For, as Adonai is the Word or Expression whereby is manifested God, so the Holy Spirit, or primal Light – Itself Sevenfold – is the Radiance whereby is revealed and manifested the Lord. Now the manifestation of the Lord – which also is the manifestation of God – occurs through the working in Substance of the Elohim or Seven Spirits of God – enumerated in our second discourse – from Whose number first of all the number seven derives its sanctity. They are the Powers under Whose immediate superintendence Creation, whether of great or small, occurs. And of them is the whole of
the Divine Substance pervaded – the Substance of all that is.
“These are the Divine Fires which burn before the Presence of God: which proceed from the Spirit, and are One with the Spirit.
“God is divided, yet not diminished: God is All, and God is One.
“For the Spirit of God is a Flame of Fire which the Word of God divideth into many; yet the Original Flame is not decreased, nor the Power thereof, nor the Brightness thereof, lessened.
“Thou mayest light many lamps from the flame of one; yet thou dost in nothing diminish that first flame.
“Now the Spirit of God is expressed by the Word of God, which is Adonai.”
45. This then is the order of the Divine Procession. First the Unity, or “Darkness” of the “Invisible Light.” Second, the Duality, the Spirit and Deep, or Energy and Space. Thirdly, the Trinity, the Father, the Mother, and Their joint expression or “Word.” Last, the Plurality, the Sevenfold Light and Elohim of God. Such is the “generation” of the Heavens or celestial region, both in the universal and in the individual. And within the experience of each individual lies the possibility of the verification thereof. For in due time, to each who seeks for it, “the Holy Spirit teaches all things, and brings all things to remembrance.”
46. The Logos, or Adonai, is then God’s Idea of God’s Self, the Formulated, Personified Thought of the Divine Mind. And whereas God makes nothing save through this Idea, it is said of Adonai –
“By Him all things are made, and without Him is not anything made which is made.
“He is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
“He is the world, and the world is made by Him, and the world knoweth Him not.
“But as many as receive Him, to them he giveth power to become Sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.
“He is in the Beginning with God, and He is God. He is the Manifestor by Whom all things are discovered.
“And without Him is not anything made which is visible.
“God the Nameless doth not reveal God: but Adonai revealeth God from the Beginning.
“Adonai dissolveth and resumeth: in His two hands are the dual powers of all things;
“Having the potency of both in Himself; and being Himself invisible, for He is the Cause, and not the Effect.
“He is the Manifestor; and not that which is manifest.
“That which is manifest is the Divine Substance.
“Every Monad thereof hath the potency of twain; as God is Twain in One.
“And every Monad which is manifest, is manifest by the evolution of its Trinity.
“For thus only can it bear record of itself, and become cognisable as an Entity.” (1)
47. We come to that which, both in its nature and in its import, is the most stupendous fact of mystical experience, and the crowning experience of seers in all ages from the remotest antiquity to the present day. This is the Vision of Adonai, (1) a vision which proves that not only subjectively but objectively, not only mentally and theoretically, but sensibly and actually, God, as the Lord, is present and cognisable in each individual, ever operating to build him up in the Divine Image, and succeeding so far – and only so far – as the individual, by making the Divine Will his own will, consents to co-operate with God.
Doing this, and abstracting himself from the outer world of the phenomenal, he enters first the astral, where, more or less clearly, according to the measure of his percipience, he discerns successively the various spheres of its fourfold zone together with their denizens. In the process he seems to himself, while still individual, to have lost the limitations of the finite, and to have become expanded into the universal. For, while traversing the several successive concentric spheres of his own being, and mounting, as by the steps of a ladder, from one to another, he is as palpably traversing also those not of the solar system only, but of the whole universe of being; and that which ultimately he reaches, is, manifestly, the centre of each, the initial point of radiation of himself and of all things.
49. Meanwhile, under the impulsion of the mighty enthusiasm engendered in him of the Spirit, the component consciousnesses of his system become more and more completely polarised towards their Divine centre, and the animating, Divine Spirit of the man, from being diffused, latent, and formless, becomes concentrated, manifest, and definite. For, bent on the highest, the astral does not long detain him; and soon he passes the Cherubim – the guardians from without of the celestial – and enters within the veil of the holy of holies. Here he finds himself amid a company innumerable of beings each manifestly divine; for they are the angels and archangels, principalities and powers, and all the hierarchy of the “Heavens.” Pressing on through these towards the centre, he next finds himself in presence of a light so intolerable in its lustre as well nigh to beat him back from further quest. And of those who reach thus far, many adventure no farther, but, appalled, retire, well content, nevertheless, to have been privileged to approach, and actually to behold, the “Great White Throne” of the Almighty.
50. Enshrined in this light is a Form radiant and glorious beyond all power of expression. For it is “made of the substance of Light;” and the form is that of the “Only Begotten,” the Logos, the Idea, the Manifestor of God, the Personal Reason of all existence the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord Adonai. From the right hand upraised in attitude indicative of will and command, proceeds, as a stream of living force, the Holy Life and Substance whereby and whereof creation consists. With the left hand, depressed and open as in attitude of recall, the stream is indrawn, and Creation is sustained and redeemed. Thus projecting and recalling, expanding and contracting, Adonai fulfils the functions expressed in the mystical formula Solve et Coagula. And as in this, so also in constitution and form, Adonai is dual, comprising the two modes of humanity, and appearing to the beholder alternately masculine and feminine according as the function exercised is of man or the woman, and is centrifugal or centripetal. And as, continuing to gaze, the beholder acquires clearer vision, he discovers that, of the images thus combined, while one is manifested the more fully exteriorly, the other appertains rather to the interior, and shines in a measure through its fellow, itself remaining meanwhile in close contiguity to the heart and spirit. And whereas of these forms the inner is the feminine, the beholder learns that of the two modes of humanity, womanhood is the nearer to God.
51. Such is the “vision of Adonai.” And by whatever name denoted, no other source, centre, sustenance, or true Self can mortal or immortal find, than God as the Lord Who is thus beheld; and no other can he who has once beheld it – however dimly or afar off – desire. For, finding
Adonai, the soul is content; the summit and
centre of Being is reached; all ideals of Truth,
Goodness, Beauty, and Power are realised; there is no
Beyond to which to aspire. For All is in Adonai; since in Adonai dwells the
the term Adonai, as already stated, the Hindu
equivalent, “Ardha-Nari,” is represented as
androgynous in form. But the personality denoted is that of Brahm, or pure being, become Brahma, the Lord. And of the
Hindu “Trimurti,” the right hand, which typifies the
creative energy, is Vishnu; the left, which represents the power of dissolution
and return, is Siva, Adonai Himself being Brahma. The
conditions on which this vision is vouchsafed are thus set forth for the benefit
of his “beloved disciple,” Arjun, by the “holy one,”
53. This discourse and series of discourses will fitly close with an exposition of the relations subsisting between the Adonai, the Christ, and the man.
As Adonai the Lord is the manifestation of God in Substance, so Christ is the manifestation of the Lord in Humanity. The former occurs by Generation; the latter by Regeneration. The former is from within, outwards; the latter is from below, upwards. Man, ascending by evolution from the material and lowermost stratum of existence, finds his highest development in the Christ. This is the point where the human stream, as it flows upwards into God, culminates. Reaching this point by regeneration, man is at once Son of Man and of God, and is perfect, receiving in consequence the baptism of the Logos or Word, Adonai. Being now “virgin” in respect of matter, and quickened by the “one life,” that of the Spirit, man becomes like unto God, in that he has the “Gift of God,” or Eternal Life through the power of self-perpetuation. The Logos is celestial: the man, terrestrial. Christ is their point of junction, without whom they could not touch each other. Attaining to this point by means of that inward purification which is the secret and method of the Christs, the man receives his suffusion by, or “anointing” of, the Spirit, and forthwith has, and is, “Christ.” Christhood is attained by the reception into man’s own spirit of the Logos. This accomplished, the two natures, the Divine and the human, combine; the two streams, the ascending and the descending, meet; and the man knows and understands God. And this is said to occur through Christ, because for every man it occurs according to the same method, Christ being for all alike the only way. Having received the Logos, Who is Son of God, the man becomes also Son of God, as well as Son of Man – this latter title being his in virtue of his representing a regeneration or new birth out of humanity. And the Son of God in him reveals to him the “Father,” a term which includes the “Mother.” Knowing these, he knows the Life and
Substance whereof he is constituted – knows, therefore, his own nature and potentialities. Thus made “one with the Father,” through the Son, the man “in Christ” can say truly, “I and the Father are one.” This is the import of the confession of Stephen. “Behold,” he cried in his ecstasy, “I see the heavens open, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” For at that supreme moment the Spirit revealed to him, in visible image, the union through Christ of the Human and the Divine. Attaining to this union, man becomes “Christ Jesus;” “he dwells in God, and God in him;” he is “one with God and God with him.” It is at this point – Christ – that God and the man finally lay hold of each other and are drawn together. Thenceforth they flow, as two rivers united, in one stream. The man is finally made in the image of God; and God, as the Lord, is eternally manifested in him, making him an individuated portion of Divinity itself. Being thereby rendered incapable of relapse into material conditions, he is called a “fixed God,” – a state which, as says Hermes in the Divine Pymander, “is the most perfect glory of the soul.”
54. Recognising thus divine truth as an eternal verity in perpetual process of realisation by the individual soul, and words Now and Within as the keys to all sacred mysteries, the Elect translate the symbols of their faith into terms of the present, and recite accordingly their Credo in this wise: –
“I believe in one God, the Father and Mother Almighty; of Whose Substance are the generations of Heaven and of Earth; and in Christ-Jesus the son of God, our Lord; who is conceived of the Holy Ghost; born of the Virgin Mary; suffereth under the rulers of this world, is crucified, dead, and buried; who descendeth into Hell; who riseth
again from the dead; who
ascendeth into Heaven, and sitteth
at the right hand of God; by whose law the quick and the dead are judged. I
believe in the Seven Spirits of God; the
(258:1) This lecture was written by Edward Maitland, with the exception of portions of paragraphs 20-23, which were written by him and Anna Kingsford jointly, and paragraphs 44-46, 53 and 54, which were compiled from Revelations to Anna Kingsford; and was delivered by him on Monday the 18h July, 1881 (Life of A. K., vol. ii., pp. 17, 33).
(260:1) In his presentation of the Incarnation, Swedenborg is at variance, not only with the Gnosis but with himself. For in it he sets aside the canon of interpretation formulated by himself, his recovery and general application of which – together with the doctrine of correspondence – constitute his chief merit. Thus, to cite his own words: – “In the internal sense there is no respect to any person, or anything determined to a person. But there are three things which disappear from the sense of the letter of the Word, when the internal sense is unfolded; that which is of time, that which is of space, and that which is of person.” “The Word is written by mere correspondence, and hence all its contents, to the most minute, signify things heavenly and spiritual” (Arcana Cœlestia, 5253 and 1401). He also repeatedly declares that the literal sense of the Word is rarely the truth, but only the appearance of the truth, and that to take the literal sense for the true one is to destroy the truth itself, since everything in it relates to the heavenly and spiritual, and becomes falsified when transferred to a lower plane by being taken literally (see e.g. T.C.R. 254, 258). According both to this rule and the Gnosis, that which is implied by the term Incarnation is an event purely spiritual in its nature, potential in all men and of perpetual occurrence, inasmuch as it takes place in every regenerate man, being at once the cause and effect of his regeneration.
The authority twice cited by Swedenborg (T.C.R., 102 and 827) in support of his doctrine – namely, an apparition professing to be the spirit of the Mother of Jesus – is one which a duly instructed ocultist would, at the least, have hesitated to regard as aught but a projection of his own magnetic aura, and as merely a mechanical reflect, therefore, of his own thought. Swedenborg had learned little or nothing from books, was ignorant of any system other the Christian, and also of the origin and meaning of the Christian symbology, and trusted for his information entirely to his own faculty; and this, extraordinary as it was, was allied to a temperament too cold and unsympathetic to generate the enthusiasm by which alone the topmost heights of perception and inmost core of the consciousness can be attained. Nevertheless, despite his limitations, Swedenborg was beyond question the foremost herald and initiator of the new era opening in the spiritual life of Christendom, and no student of religion can dispense with a knowledge of him. Only, he must be read with much discrimination and patience.
(264:1) Related of Cardinal Newman, on his
(270:1) See C.W.S. part. ii., Nos. xii., pp. 245-247; and xiii. (6), p. 257.
(270:2) G.H. Lewes, Biog. Hist. Phil.
(271:1) This paragraph was written with a view to its publication in the life-time of Mr. Lewes. Unhappily, the necessity for it has not ceased with his life. Hence its appearance now. Both in the schools and in the laboratory his writings and influence survive him. The work cited is an University textbook; and a scholarship has been instituted in his name for the promotion of vivisectional research.
(274:1) In I Pet. iii. 6, it is said that “Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord;” whereas, according to Genesis, Abraham rather obeyed Sarai, calling her lady; for the change made by him in her name – from Sarai to Sara – implies an accession of dignity. Thereby, from being “my lady” she became “the lady”, and representative of the feminine element in Divinity. The Deity is represented moreover as impressing on Abraham this injunction: – “In all that Sara hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice.” The fault of Adam lay not – as might be inferred from the passage as it stands in Genesis – in “hearkening to the voice of his wife,” but in doing so when she was under beguilement “of the devil” – a qualification for the suppression of which the motive is obvious.
(277:1) According to the Apocryphal Epistles, and to ecclesiastical tradition, Paul, nevertheless, directed his own female associate – Theckla – to preach in public, and suffered her even to wear male attire. Paul, however, following the Levitical Code (Lev. xxi. 13), draws a distinction between married women and virgins, saying he had no commandment about the latter.
(281:1) Such also is the signification of Anael, the Hebrew name of the “Angel” of her planet. Venus is said by some to be originally Phe-nus, having for root Φημι. For an example of the nature of the true mysteries of this divinity, see C.W.S., part ii. (I), pp. 266-269.
(287:1) Schwegler, Manual of Philosophy.
(287:2) G.H. Lewes, Biog. Hist. Phil.
(288:1) In The Nineteenth Century for 1879, Dr.
declares his readiness to have certified the lunacy of various
of the most eminent saints, seers, and prophets. And the medical profession
generally – following the lead of
(295:1) As man, made in the “image” of Adonai, is the expression of God, so is the expression or countenance of man the express image of God’s nature, and bears in its features the impress of the celestial, showing him to be thence derived. Thus, in the human face, by the straight, central, protruding, and vertical line of the organ of respiration, is denoted Individuality, the divine Ego, the I AM, of the man. Though single exteriorly, and constituting one organ, in token of the Divine Unity, within it is dual, having a double function, and two nostrils in which resides the power of the Breath or Spirit, and which represent the Divine Duality. This duality finds its especial symbolisation in the two spheres of the eyes, which – placed on a level with the summit of the nose – denote respectively Intelligence and Love, or Father and Mother, as the supreme elements of Being. Though exteriorly two, interiorly they are one, as vision is one. And of the harmonious co-operation of the two personalities represented by them, proceeds, as child, a third personality, which is their joint expression or “Word.” Of this the Mouth is at once the organ and symbol, being in itself dual – when closed a line, when open a circle; and also twofold, being compounded of line and circle in the tongue and lips. And as the place of issue of the creative breath, it is below the other features, since creation, in coming from the Highest, is in its direction necessarily downwards. Thus, in the countenance of the “Image of God,” is expressed the nature of God – even the Holy Trinity. For “these three are one,” being essential modes of the same Being.
(296:1) The account here given of this Vision was written solely from the joint experiences of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland (Story of A. K. and E.M., p. 68; Life of A.K., vol. i., p. 126).