If the spiritual climate of Earth is to change from the old storminess of War to sunlit serenities of Peace, a change must come in fundamental ideas; we must see into the heart, and not be fobbed off with the husks, of Religion.
The generations of our fathers nourished their inner life upon the Bible. From the time of the Protestant Reformation until the beginnings of our own day, that was the source to which they went for all certainty, for illumination, for the assurance of truth. It was a word from beyond the world, a revelation: the Dictate of Deity: to be searched, but not critically; never to be questioned. It was the reservoir of comfort, the one place from which sure comfort might be drawn.
But time makes away with all his children; and time in these last decades has laid rough hands on the Bible. Men of research arose, who discovered fact incompatible with the supposed revelation — more and more of fact — and confronted believing Christendom therewith; so that men were given choice which they should discard, which cleave to: palpable fact to which their own seven senses could testify, or the Book their predecessors had adored. It was fact being stubbornly incontrovertible. Individual men could hold out in belief, but generations could not. A leak was in the dike, and the fields doomed to submersion. One flaw being discovered, the imperishable rock of Holy Scripture was crumbling, and Christendom, "the People of a Book," in Mohammed's phrase, was threatened with shelterless booklessness, and adrift in a cold unspiritual universe. So the sterile ugly materialism of the last century rose up, blighting, because allowing no place for, the beautiful side of life.
And then came a Prophet with a new revelation. Then came H. P. Blavatsky with the New Book, The Secret Doctrine, not to destroy but to fulfil, the work and mission of the Bible. Behold, there was truth in the Old Book after all. It was not to be discarded. It was not the mere ignorant guesses and forgeries of an ignorant age. It was, at the root, the wisdom of men whose wisdom was real, and much greater than scientific materialism, couched by them in such limitations of form and ideas as could help the mentality of a limited age. But here, now — now that knowledge has flooded in, and conceptions must grow and have new food or starve — here now was the Book of Explanations, the larger more imperial revelation. Here was assertion of spirituality that could meet scientific materialism in the field and overthrow it; that could take account of every fact telescope and microscope and crucible might reveal, and show it in its own place in the robe and external manifestation of the spirit. Here was the vindication of all true religion, infallible comfort for the secretest noble cravings in the heart of man. The human spirit, inexhaustible in its demand for generosity and mystery and beauty, need fear no more the cold barren abominations of Gradgrindism; the noblest teachings that had been heard on earth were, all simply, the truest. Here was the great Book of the future ages, The Secret Doctrine, to prove it.
It was a challenge to all the provinces of the Universe; it was a bugle blown against the Jerichoes of desolating selfishness; a tiger-roar loosed against materialism; it was the opening up of vistas inimitably beautiful for the spirit; a new planet that had swum into the ken of humanity. With the publishing of that Book, a new Age of Faith, more splendid than any of the old ones, was ushered in.
A new Age of Faith; for here, in The Secret Doctrine, with what a new bearing, very royal and warrior-like, Faith appears! It is no longer a thing to be praised as unshakable; it is no longer a thing on its defense. It wields swords of lightnings now, and crouches behind no timorous shield and buckler. Its war-cry is that it will have a royal world of this world; the Kingdom and the glory established upon earth; the beautiful dignity of Eternity here upon this bank and shoal of time. Not after death, nor afar beyond the starry constellations, shall that splendor be manifest; but here and now Man is the Soul, his divinity discoverable now; his immortality an inheritance to be entered upon momently and daily. Instead of the lure of some diviner drink to fill the cup when we are crumbled into dust, we are offered this universe brimming now with strangest beauty, and every day a divine adventure. Godhead is not remote or tyrannical, but a star in the inmost heart of every man, a potentiality developable in every life. Will you have Golconda? Will you have the wealth of the fabulous Indies: the gold of Ophir, the peacocks and the ivory? They are within and able to be discovered there, says The Secret Doctrine; and challenges the human spirit itself to prove that it is true; leading you to the great heights and the treasuries of existence from the next moment and the next incident in your daily duty; indicating riches within yourself more incalculable than the numbers of the stars. Will you walk in the universal Eden, yourself a God? This may be, says The Secret Doctrine; and with fire from heaven kindles you into vision that, since you are human, the ordainment of it is within your power. A golden inspiration is here; means illimitable for quickening the spirit. For this Book shows a man as he knows himself now, to be but a tiny fragment and inconsiderable planet in the vast system of his greater self: this of you that was born and shall die but the one corner or the shadow of that of you, the Reality, which was before the stars were set flaming, and shall be after the freezing of the sun.
Life and every day of it is a divine adventure. I put myself into the mind of the miserable on earth: of the workless man who, loaded with anxiety, has to grapple naked with that most dreadful of adversaries, time: I ask myself what it is that The Secret Doctrine has for him. Well, it has the armor and the weapons that can bring him through. He is no longer to suppose that some cold paternal deity on high is tormenting him for no purpose or for purposes he cannot understand. He is no longer to see himself under the cat-claws of a senseless unconscious fate or chance. He is reminded instead of his own Godhead; which all life's business is, to bring out from its obscuration. All life's business; and therefore that of the very slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that oppress him. The hideous anxiety that he faces, inexorable time itself, are only there waiting to be faced without fear, with a certain gaiety of trust proper to Godhead. He has but to bring against them that weapon out of his own sweet armory; and he must bring it. They stand there, time and anxiety, in reality beseeching him: Find the way into the place where your Godhead is, into the beautiful armories of the Soul; confront us with what we desire to see, your Divinity; there is no quieting us else! So hell itself evokes heaven; and The Secret Doctrine reveals that heaven is there, right within a man's own being; the last highest possibilities are there. You have to pray to nothing afar and whose attention is probably wandering. Against ill fortune, temporary and limited, however appalling it may seem, you have it in your power to put up an endurance limitless and eternal. A man may always be greater than any possible ill that comes against him. In the fight and jungle of this disaster-haunted world, all that the wild beasts are roaring at him is this: Trust, you fool! and you are our master.
And he may; because being in essence Godhead, it is his nature to be evoked by misfortune; to bring out unsusceptible strength at last to oppose what oppresses him. What we suffer is the result of what we have done: with age-long foolish action we have hidden our divinity away. With sharp pangs now we must be driven to rediscover it. But in all this universe there is none that punishes and no idea of punishment; our own Godhead ordains, for our own dignity's sake, that we shall undo our own undoing with these pains. So hell comes auxiliary to heaven; we are not called on to endure more than armed with confidence we can endure. Karman, which is the innate property of existence by which existence adjusts itself and maintains its harmony, is in its nature absolute mercy. It takes the shortest paths and the effectual means to its ends; and marshals life and time and circumstance before the Soul of man just to tempt and lure the hidden beauty of the Soul into manifestation. Here then is what breeds infinite courage; and this is the new self of you that The Secret Doctrine introduces to you: a being of such dignity that the only comfort acceptable to him is courage. And this is the new mission of which it convicts him: to make the world a better heaven than any of the New Jerusalems of the creeds; and this is the time it gives him in which to accomplish the work: Now — the limitless now that this instant is offering itself to him and will be through all the ages to come.
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