A House Built Upon Sand
ECCLESIASTICISM has its roots in two characteristically materialistic tendencies; first, the regarding of Christianity as altogether apart from any other existing religious system instead of recognising that its symbols and dogmas are common to all; and second, the building of its fabric on the crumbling sands of authority and historical tradition, the objective and physical plane of appearances, instead of on the sure rock of understanding, the subjective and spiritual plane of realities. It was early transferred from a noumenal to a phenomenal basis, and never recovered from the dethronement. The point of its religious belief was with fatal promptness centred in persons, events, and things pertaining to the body rather than in principles, processes, and states pertaining to the soul. This is a perversion common to all religious systems to some extent. As the teaching of the Buddha was a necessary reaction from the debased ceremonialism of the Brahmin priests and the revolting asceticism of His time, as the gospel of Jesus was an attempt to overthrow and purify the corrupt and constricted Judaism and callous Mosaic law of His epoch, so once more the perverted Christianity of our own day must be freed from its priestcraft, those base foreign elements of idolatry it has accreted, if it is to nourish the unfolding soul of man. Reactions and tremors of a kind there have been of late within and without the insecure fabric. Science has had to cast off the absurd yoke of Scriptural authority which the bibliolater vainly tried to impose because scientific facts and sacerdotal dogmas were at variance. The Samaritan Socialist, seeing the pharisaical Churchman pass by the real needs of humanity on the other side, has not infrequently turned to revile him. There has been an occasional “heresy
hunt” within the musty precincts of that Church which Jesus most assuredly never came to found. And the “higher criticism” in its intellectual excursions has sometimes come near to treading upon truths that might be vital to the soul. But nothing short of a reorganisation of the veritable basis of its faith and a reconstruction in the actual terms of its conception of religion, will save the Christianity of to-day from the fate that awaits all religions which have ceased to be a real means of binding together man and God; and that man has become divorced from rather than wedded to God the present condition of Europe abundantly testifies.
A New Birth for Christianity
What then are the essentials to a revivifying of the dry bones of the Christian religion? Nothing less than the reversal of that process of materialisation and superstition which has so ossified it, and its relation to the soul instead of the senses, the replacing of letter and form with spirit and substance, re-writing its Credo – or spiritual history of the Sons of God – in the present tense, formulating its supreme truth as a divine and eternal verity ever in process of unfoldment and attainment within the individual soul, and uttering as the only pass-words to all sacred doctrine and interior mysteries the words Now and Within. There is no hope for Christianity as a religion that can unlock the secret of suffering, set free humanity from the sorrow born of ignorance, and achieve the regeneration of the soul microcosmic or macrocosmic, save in a New Gospel of Interpretation that shall supplement the old gospel of manifestation. The Church universal, like the individual seeking redemption, must be “born again”; and this inner and spiritual becoming or reconstitution can only be realised by the birth of that illuminated spirit of understanding within the purified soul of humanity
which in its advent shall make all things new.
“Lo, I Am With You Always”
As already stated, the vital essence of mystical doctrine, that doctrine which is illustrated and fulfilled in and by the Christ, is and always has been in the world for those who, casting aside all lesser pearls, will resolutely seek until they find it. It lies at the heart of the sacred books of the ages; within the casket of the Vedas, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads, the Dhammapada, the Zend-Avesta, the Tao-Teh-King, the Kabbala, the Old and New Testaments, the Quran, this jewel of the Great Law lies hidden. As the doctrine of Man Regenerate it has found its enunciation and personal demonstration in such Liberators and Liberated Ones as Osiris, Mithras, Zoroaster, Krishna, Pythagoras, Hermes, Lao Tze, Buddha, Jesus, and all Those who – whether acclaimed or unknown of the world – have ever by the way of purity and love, or the culture of the soul, attained finally to perfection of soul and so to knowledge of all souls, and thus of God, the Life and Substance of souls. It is the doctrine inspiring the intuitional message of the Prophet as opposed to the materialistic formula of the Priest; since these two orders, as those of the Man of God and the minister of sense respectively, are at truceless war with one another. But as the night of Ecclesiasticism has settled down in ever deeper shades upon Christendom, as unnecessary and irrelevant elements – history, tradition, authority, revelation (in the Orthodox sense), sacerdotal ordinance, priestly dispensation, mediatorial function, vicarious satisfaction, the placing of God without instead of within man and the universe – gradually obscured the true characteristics of the original Christian religion, the need for a full and plain re-statement of its principles has become imperative. That need has been anticipated and met for the West by a
recovery and reformulation of the Ancient and Hidden Wisdom, a recovery at the very sources and a reformulation in the very symbols of the pure Christian faith. (1) In the following pages the writer – to whose deficiencies are due all faults of expression and arrangement – has endeavoured to give an outline of some of the main principles of this “Gospel of Interpretation,” enunciated at length in the text-books referred to below as containing the Gnosis of the Christ. But the esoteric doctrine enshrined therein merits nothing short of the profoundest consideration at its marvellous and unsullied source by all who can lay claim to the faculty of spiritual discernment.
(11:1) The reformulation will be found in The