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The Fourfold River of Eden


            CONSIDERATION of the foregoing principles will help us towards definition of the real nature and constitution of man, to whom neither the materialist nor the ecclesiastic has ever done justice, the one looking at him from without only and the other overlooking him altogether.


            In the first place man is a Microcosm, and as such contains within his system all that is without. (1) Therefore the work of creation through evolution and of redemption through involution is for and in him as well as for and in the universe; they are indeed mutually interdependent processes, actually they are one process. Now regarding the constitution of things, the simplest classification is the fourfold one already outlined as comprehending the projection of spirit into the condition of matter. Other degrees of elaboration may be depicted by the coining of new or the adoption of eastern terms, but the sequence is essentially the same – namely, Energy or Force; Substance or Essence; Astral Ether; Matter. In man these have their correspondence as Spirit; Soul; Astral Body; Material Body. And alike in macrocosm and microcosm the first two are always celestial and unmanifest; the second two are terrestrial and manifest.


“Ye Are the Temple of the Living God”


            Of the latter dualism the material body is obvious to all through the medium of the senses, while the astral body is obvious to many through the medium of a sense not yet ordinarily exercised by the majority of persons, but none the less perfectly genuine; and in fact science has recently

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recognised and demonstrated the existence of an etheric or lower astral body of man by quite ordinary means. Of the former dualism some men and women there are who have found the soul and live in and for it, but of them and it the world naturally knows next to nothing; while those exalted ones in whom the Spirit of God is the very light of life itself are the Christs of all the ages whom the world persistently misunderstands and repudiates. Thus the original and permanent individual is ever within and consists of spirit and soul, knowing and being known in the outermost realm through derived and transient forms of matter which are too often mistaken for the real man.


            Man, therefore, is the individuated expression and manifestation of principles subsisting in their entirety and perfection in God, and his end is so to realise these principles within his own being as to become a true Son of God. That the mass of mankind are at present unconscious of their real origin, nature, potentialities, and destiny is because their consciousness is centred in the lower rather than the higher dualism of their being, a state betokening spiritual undevelopment. But in the case of all save those who persistently and deliberately will their own dissolution as individuals, sooner or later the soul will assert herself amid the husks of matter and “bring all things to remembrance”; and man, recognising her as the only worthy subject of love, object of culture, and source of happiness, will consciously bend all his energies to her enhancement and purification, and thereby eventually achieve his own regeneration.




(21:1) For example, as God subsists under two modes, the manifest and the unmanifest, so does Man subsist under two modes, the incarnate and the discarnate.



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