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THE LIVING

TRUTH IN CHRISTIANITY

 

A Summary of the

Esoteric Christian Doctrine

given to the West in the

GOSPEL OF INTERPRETATION

________________________

 

 

CHAPTER I

 

Christ or Caiaphas?

 

            THE failure of Christianity to regenerate the western world – as evidenced by that world’s present wretched state of degradation, division, and bloodshed – is due neither to Christianity nor the world, but to that pernicious system which, usurping the title of the former wherewith to impose upon the credulity of the latter, has actually become the implacable foe of the religion of Christ, the system namely of Ecclesiasticism. Christianity has failed, not because it is untrue in principle or inadequate as a means to the regeneration of man, but because soon after its enunciation it suffered such distortions, deprivations, and additions at the hands of its official custodians as amounted to a renunciation of its most interior and fundamental truths. So much so that while Jesus may have been crucified upon the Roman cross twenty centuries ago, it is certain that the principle and doctrine of Christ have been crucified throughout those

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centuries upon a two-fold cross of Superstition and Materialism erected by the hands of Ecclesiasticism. And Christianity, as the essence and synthesis of the basic principles underlying all religious beliefs, as the supreme necessity of the times for a pure and comprehensive system of life and doctrine wherein religion, philosophy, and science may be harmonised and assimilated in man’s highest spiritual, moral, and intellectual ideals, as a means of conscious union for the individual with the Source and Self of all that is – such a Christianity still awaits, not formulation, but recognition and adoption.

 

            For Caiaphas was not the last of his Order. The work which he did has been systematically carried on under the same sinister influences until, at the instigation or example of that Order, man has come to saturate the earth with blood, animal and human. But the long account is closing, for man is gradually discovering the real nature of the ministry and service of Baal; and with the realisation of its origin and purpose will come the downfall of that blood-loving Order. Many foes has the latest and most dreadful war of the Christian era brought to light within the national households, many base ideals, false beliefs, errors – social, commercial, political. But if the proven inadequacy, evil influence, and falseness of a priest-devised Ecclesiasticism, remote from all realities and forfeit of every right to the Christian title, be brought home finally to the hearts and heads of the western nations, then one of the chief causes and meanings of that war will stand revealed. The danger is that reaction from the discredited formulae of an effete Sacerdotalism may plunge the unthinking and uninstructed into an equally barren wilderness of atheism or indifference; for the Church has no alternative to offer.

 

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The Soul Outgrows Dogmas

 

            Indeed the Church has been wont to boast, with more candour than perspicacity, that it only has one presentation of religious truth for all mankind. (1) It is true that Religion is One, and that in consequence there is only One Gospel for all sorts and conditions of men, or, stated more accurately, for man at all stages of mental, moral, and spiritual unfoldment; but this is not what the Church means. For if it wishes to be logical it is just this obvious, ancient, and universal law of the evolution of soul and consequent natural gradation of the human family into spiritual castes which the Church must deny – as it did attempt to deny a recent restatement of its physical analogy and shadow – because by the application of the ecclesiastical process of “salvation by forgiveness of sins” the Church is bound to concede that a converted aborigine is as valuable in the sight of God as the saintliest Pope, Archbishop, or Moderator who ever held office, and has precisely the same golden future awaiting him at death. And it is just this irrational and impossible attempt of a Church which has lost the key to all the hidden mysteries of its early faith to shackle the many-graded mind of man with its own particular forms of fetters that has always alienated the sympathy and support of those above a certain level of thought and development of soul.

 

Stones for Bread

 

            Periodically the officials of the Churches bemoan the dwindling membership and attendance, the Sunday desecration, the laxity of the people’s

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morals, the dearth of suitable candidates for the ministry, and so forth. But it is always the people – or “the Devil” – who are blamed as defaulters, never the crude dogmas thrust upon the expanding human intelligence. And the possibility of men’s minds and hearts outgrowing in many centuries the narrow decisions based on the wrangling of unenlightened Church prelates is not dreamt of in ecclesiastical philosophy, for to those of that school truth in the Church was settled for time and for eternity by what a few of its fallible and prejudiced dignitaries thought fit to enact in their primitive Councils regarding documents and doctrines they did not understand: Yet a perusal of the Early Christian Fathers will show that there was at one period within the Church at least three distinct grades of membership or initiation for the laity, with teaching in each suited to the stage reached in spiritual understanding. But with the gradual hardening of the Church into an organisation through the growing intrusion of the priestly element the light was quenched. And although to-day an educational institution which taught only such elementary knowledges as the multiplication table alike to its youngest and oldest pupils, without giving instruction as to their enlargement or application, would not long survive, yet is Ecclesiasticism doing little else but this with its stony tables of figures at that school of life in which the lower as the higher classes of our humanity are educated towards the full stature of manhood.

 

An Ideally Perfect Religion

 

            That this estimate of the nature and position of official Christianity is not too severe it is enough to enquire what must be the terms of any religion which claims to answer the real needs of humanity. They have been cogently stated by a profound thinker as follows: –

 

            “Not only must the religion be in itself such as to

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an ideally perfect religion satisfy both head and heart, intelligence and moral conscience, mind and soul; it must also be perfectly simple, obviously reasonable, logically coherent, self-evident, founded in the nature of things, incapable of being conceived of as otherwise, absolutely equitable, eternally true and recognisable as all these, invariable in operation, independent of all accidents of time, place, persons, and events, and comparable to a mathematical demonstration in that it needs no testimony or authority beyond those of the mind; and it must require for its efficacious observance nothing that is extraneous to, or beyond the reach of, the subject-individual, but within his ability to recognise and fulfil, provided only that he so will. And it must be such as to enable him by its observance to turn his existence to the highest account imaginable by him, and this as independently of any being other than himself, as if he were the sole personal entity in the universe, and were himself the universe. It is further necessary, because equitable, that he be allowed sufficient time and opportunity for the discovery, understanding, and application of the process.” (1)

 

            Let those who can recognise the truth in that searching definition look first on the picture it presents of the terms of an ideal religion and then on the travesty of its fulfilment as portrayed – unwittingly, it may be – by the priest, the theologian, the ecclesiastic, in what has been called the religion of Christ.

 

NOTES

 

(05:1) The only religion which might be said to offer a presentation equally suited to the majority of mankind is Buddhism – though in its official form it too has suffered from the canker of sectarianism – and Buddhism is a religion which the orthodox Christian, on scrutinising and finding therein no ecclesiastical “God,” and no dogma resting on a “supernatural” or “miraculous” basis, nothing in fact save right-doing and right-thinking, would probably label atheistic and not a religion at all.

(07:1) Edward Maitland, in The Bible’s Own Account of Itself, 2nd edition, chapter III.

 

 

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