In the foregoing passages there is a deeply hidden esoteric meaning which is particularly obscured in the English translation, but in the German, Latin and Greek, the student still has a hint as to what was really intended by that last parting injunction of the Savior to His disciples. Before examining This phase of the subject, let us first consider the words, "in remembrance of me." We shall then perhaps be in better condition to understand what is meant by the "cup" and the "bread."
Suppose a man from a distant country comes into our midst and travels about from place to place. Everywhere he will see small communities gathering around the Table of the Lord to celebrate This most sacred of all Christian rites, and should he ask why, he would be told that they do This in remembrance of One who lived a life nobler than any other has lived upon This earth; One who was kindness and love personified; One who was the servant of all, regardless of gain or loss to self. Should This stranger then compare the attitude of these religious communities on Sunday at the celebration of This rite, with their civic lives during the remainder of the week, what would he see?
Every one among us goes out into the world to fight the battle of existence. Under the law of necessity we forget the love which should be the ruling factor in Christian lives. Every man's hand is against his brother. Every one strives for position, wealth, and power that goes with these attributes. We forget on Monday what we reverently remembered on Sunday, and all the world is poor in consequence. We also make a distinction between the bread and wine which we drink at the so-called "Lord's Table," and the food of which we partake during the intervals between attendance at Communion. But there is no warrant in the Scriptures for any such distinction, as anyone may see, even in the English version, by leaving out the words printed in italics which have been inserted by the translators to give what they thought was the sense of a passage. On the contrary, we are told that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, all should be done to the glory of God. Our every act should be a prayer. The perfunctory "grace" at meals is in reality a blasphemy, and the silent thought of gratitude to the Giver of daily bread is far to be preferred. When we remember at each meal that it has been drawn from the substance of the earth, which is the body of the indwelling Christ Spirit, we can properly understand how that body is being broken for us daily, and we can appreciate the loving kindness which prompted Him thus to give Himself for us; for let us also remember that there is not a moment, day or night, that He is not suffering because bound to earth. When we thus eat and thus realize the true situation, we are indeed declaring to ourselves the death of the Lord, whose spirit is groaning and travailing, waiting for the day of liberation when there shall be no need of such a dense environment as we now require.
But there is another, a greater and more wonderful mystery hidden in these words of the Christ. Richard Wagner, with the rare intuition of the master musician, sensed This idea when he sat in meditation by the Zurich Sea on a Good Friday, and there flashed into his mind the thought, "What connection is there between the death of the Savior and the millions of seeds sprouting forth from the earth at this time of the year?" If we meditate upon that life which is annually poured out in the spring, we see it as something gigantic and awe-inspiring; a flood of life which transforms the globe from one of frozen death to rejuvenated life in a short space of time; and the life which thus diffuses itself in the budding of millions and millions of plants is the life of the Earth Spirit.
From that come both the wheat and the grape. They are the body and blood of the imprisoned Earth Spirit, given to sustain mankind during the present phase of its evolution. We repudiate the contention of people who claim that the world owes them a living, regardless of their own efforts and without material responsibility on their part, but we nevertheless insist that there is a spiritual responsibility connected with the bread and wine given at the Lord's Supper; It must be eaten worthily, otherwise, under pain of ill health and even death. This from the ordinary manner of reading would seem far-fetched, but when we bring the light of esotericism to bear, examine other translations of the Bible, and look at conditions in the world as we find them today, we shall see that it is not so far-fetched after all.
To begin with, we must go back to the time when man lived under the guardianship of the angels, unconsciously building the body which he now uses. That was in ancient Lemuria. A brain was needed for the evolution of thought, and a larynx for verbal expression of the same. Therefore, half of the creative force was turned upwards and used by man to form these organs. Thus mankind became single-sexed and was forced to seek a complement when it was necessary to create a new body to serve as an instrument in a higher phase of evolution.
While the act of love was consummated under the wise guardianship of the angels, man's existence was free from sorrow, pain and death. But when, under the tutelage of the Lucifer Spirits, he ate of the Tree of Knowledge and perpetuated the race without regard for interplanetary lines of force, he transgressed the law, and the bodies thus formed crystallized unduly, and became subject to death in a much more perceptible manner than had hitherto been the case. Thus he was forced to create new bodies more frequently as the span of life in them shortened. Celestial warders of the creative force drove him from the garden of love into the wilderness of the world, and he was made responsible for his actions under the cosmic law which governs the universe. Thus for ages he struggled on, seeking to work out his own salvation, and the earth in consequence crystallized more and more.
Divine hierarchies, the Christ Spirit included, worked upon the earth from without as the group spirit guides the animals under its protectorate; but as Paul truly says, none could be justified under the law, for under the law all sinned, and all must die. There is in the old covenant no hope beyond the present, save a foreshadowing of one who is to come and restore righteousness. Thus John tells us that the law was given by Moses, and grace came by the Lord Jesus Christ. But what is grace? Can grace work contrary to the law and abrogate it entirely? Certainly not. The laws of God are steadfast and sure, or the universe would become chaos. The law of gravity keeps our houses in position relative to other houses, so that when we leave them we may know of a surety that we shall find them in the same place upon returning. Likewise all other departments in the universe are subject to immutable laws.
As law, apart from love, gave birth to sin, so the child of law, tempered with love, is grace. Take an example from our concrete social conditions: We have laws which decree a certain penalty for a specified offense, and when the law is carried out, we call it justice. But long experience is beginning to teach us that justice, pure and simple, is like the Colchian dragon's teeth, and breeds strife and struggle in increasing measure. The criminal, so-called, remains criminal and becomes more and more hardened under the ministrations of law; but when the milder regime of the present day allows one who has transgressed to go under suspended sentence, then he is under grace and not under law. Thus, also the Christian, who aims to follow in the Master's steps, is emancipated from the law of sin by grace, provided he foresake the path of sin.
It was the sin of our progenitors in ancient Lemuria that they scattered their seed regardless of law and without love. But it is the privilege of the Christian to redeem himself by purity of life in remembrance of the Lord. John says, "His seed remaineth in him," and This is the hidden meaning of the bread and wine. In the English version we read simply: "This is the cup of the New Testament," but in the German the word for cup is "Kelch," and in the Latin, "Calix," both meaning the outer covering of the seed pod of the flower. In the Greek we have a still more subtle meaning, not conveyed in other languages, in the word "poterion," a meaning which will be evident when we consider the etymology of the word "pot." This at once gives us the same idea as the chalice or calix--a receptacle; and the Latin "potare" (to drink) also shows that the "cup" is a receptacle capable of holding a fluid. Our English words "potent" and "impotent" meaning to possess or to lack virile strength, further show the meaning of this Greek word, which foreshadows the evolution from man to superman.
We have already lived through a mineral, plant and an animal-like existence before becoming human as we are today, and beyond us lie still further evolutions where we shall approach the Divine more and more. It will be readily conceded that it is our animal passions which restrain us upon the path of attainment; the lower nature is constantly warring against the higher self. At least in those who have experienced a spiritual awakening, a war is being fought silently within, and is all the more bitter for being suppressed. Goethe with masterly art voiced that sentiment in the words of Faust, the aspiring soul, speaking to his more materialistic friend, Wagner:
It was the knowledge of this absolute necessity of chastity (save when procreation is the object) upon the part of those who have had a spiritual awakening which dictated the words of Christ, and the Apostle Paul stated an esoteric truth when he said that those who partook of the Communion without living the life were in danger of sickness and death. For just as under a spiritual tutelage, purity of life may elevate the disciple wonderfully, so also unchastity has a much stronger effect upon his more sensitized bodies than upon those who are yet under the law, and have not become partakers of grace by the cup of the New Covenant.
Having studied the esoteric significance of our Christian festivals, such as Christmas and Easter, and having also studied the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, it may be well now to devote attention to the inner meaning of the sacraments of the church which are administered to the individual in all Christian lands from the cradle to the grave, and are with him at all important points in his life journey.
As soon as he has entered upon the journey of life, the church admits him into its fold by the rite of Baptism which is conferred upon him at a time when he himself is irresponsible; later, when his mentality has been somewhat developed, he ratifies that contract and is admitted to Communion, where bread is broken and wine is sipped in memory of the Founder of our faith. Still further upon life's journey comes the sacrament of Marriage; and at last when the race has been run and the spirit again withdraws to God who gave it, the earth body is consigned to the dust, whence it was derived, accompanied by the blessings of the church.
In our Protestant times the spirit of protest is rampant in the extreme, and dissenters everywhere raise their voices in rebellion against the fancied arrogance of the priesthood and deprecate the sacraments as mere mummery. On account of that attitude of mind these functions have become of little or no effect in the life of the community; dissensions have arisen even among churchmen themselves, and sect after sect has divorced itself from the original apostolic congregation.
Despite all protests the various doctrines and sacraments of the church are, nevertheless, the very keystones in the arch of evolution, for they inculcate morals of the loftiest nature; and even materialistic scientists, such as Huxley, have admitted that while self-protection brings about "the survival of the fittest" in the animal kingdom and is therefore the basis of animal evolution, self-sacrifice is the fostering principle of human advancement. When that is the case among mere mortals, we may well believe that it must be so to a still greater extent in the Divine Author of our being.
Among animals might is right, but we recognize that the weak have a claim to the protection of the strong. The butterfly lays its eggs on the underside of a green leaf and goes off without another care for their well-being. In mammals the mother instinct is strongly developed, and we see the lioness caring for her cubs and ready to defend them with her life; but not until the human kingdom is reached does the father commence to share fully in the responsibility as a parent. Among savages the care of the young practically ends with attainment of physical ability to care for themselves, but the higher we ascend in civilization the longer the young receive care from their parents, and the more stress is laid upon mental education so that when maturity has been reached the battle of life may be fought from the mental rather than from the physical point of vantage; for the further we proceed along the path of development the more we shall experience the power of mind over matter. By the more and more prolonged self-sacrifice of parents, the race is becoming more delicate, but what we lose in material ruggedness we gain in spiritual perceptibility.
As this faculty grows stronger and more developed, the craving of the spirit immured in This earthly body voices itself more loudly in a demand for understanding of the spiritual side of development. Wallace and Darwin, Haxley and Spencer, pointed out how evolution of form is accomplished in nature; Earnest Haeckel attempted to solve the riddle of the universe, but no one of them could satisfactorily explain away the Divine Author of what we see. The great goddess, Natural Selection, is being forsaken by one after another of her devotees as the years go by. Even Haeckel, the arch materialist, in his last years showed an almost hysterical anxiety to make a place for God in his system, and the day will come in a not far distant future when science will have become as thoroughly religious as religion itself. The church, on the other hand, though still extremely conservative is nevertheless slowly abandoning its autocratic dogmatism and becoming more scientific in its explanations. Thus in time we shall see the union of science and religion as it existed in the ancient mystery temples, and when that point has been reached, the doctrines and sacraments of the church will be found to rest upon immutable cosmic laws of no less importance than the law of gravity which maintains the marching orbs in their paths around the sun. As the points of the equinoxes and solstices are turning points in the cyclic path of a planet, marked by festivals such as Christmas and Easter, so birth into the physical world, admission to the church, to the state of matrimony, and finally the exit from physical life, are points in the cyclic path of the human spirit around its central source--God, which are marked by the sacraments of baptism, communion, marriage, and the last blessing.
We will now consider the rite of baptism. Much has been said by dissenters, against the practice of taking an infant into church and promising for it a religious life. Heated arguments concerning sprinkling versus plunging have resulted in division of churches. If we wish to obtain the true idea of baptism, we must revert to the early history of the human race as recorded in the Memory of Nature. All that has ever happened is indelibly pictured in the ether as a moving picture is imprinted upon a sensitized film, which picture can be reproduced upon a screen at any moment. The picutes in the Memory of Nature may be viewed by the trained seer, even though millions of years have elapsed since the scenes there portrayed were enacted in life.
When we consult that unimpeachable record it appears that there was a time when that which is now our earth came out of chaos, dark and unformed, as the Bible states. The currents developed in this misty mass by spiritual agencies, generated heat, and the mass ignited at the time when we are told that God said, "Let there be light." The heat of the fiery mass and the cold space surrounding it generated moisture; the fire mist became surrounded by water which boiled, and steam was projected into the atmosphere; thus "God divided the waters . . . . from the waters . . . . "--the dense water which was nearest the fire mist from the steam (which is water in suspension), as stated in the Bible.
When water containing sediment is boiled over and over it deposits scale, and similarly the water surrounding our planet finally formed a crust around the fiery core. The Bible further informs us that a mist went up from the ground, and we may well conceive how the moisture was gradually evaporated from our planet in those early days.
Ancient myths are usually regarded as superstitions nowadays, but in reality each of them contains a great spiritual truth in pictorial symbols. These fantastic stories were given to infant humanity to teach them moral lessons which their newborn intellects were not yet fitted to receive. They were taught by myths--much as we teach our children by picture books and fables--lessons beyond their intellectual comprehension.
One of the greatest of these folk stories is "The Ring of the Niebelung", which tells of a wonderful treasure hidden under the waters of the Rhine. It was a lump of gold in its natural state. Placed upon a high rock, it illuminated the entire submarine scenery where water nymphs sported about innocently in gladsome frolic. But one of the Neibelungs, imbued with greed, stole the treasure, carried it out of the water, and fled. It was impossible for him, however, to shape it until he had forsworn love. Then he fashioned it into a ring which gave him power over all the treasures of earth, but at the same time it inaugurated dissension and strife. For its sake, friend betrayed friend, brother slew brother, and everywhere it caused oppression, sorrow, sin and death, until it was at last restored to the watery element and the earth was consumed in flames. But later there arose, like the new phoenix from the ashes of the old bird, a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness were re-established.
That old folk story gives a wonderful picture of human evolution. The name Niebelungen is derived from the German words, niebel (which means mist), and ungen (which means children). Thus the word Niebelungen means children of the mist, and it refers back to the time when humanity lived in the foggy atmosphere surrounding our earth at the stage in its development previously mentioned. There infant humanity lived in one vast brotherhood, innocent of all evil as the babe of today, and illuminated by the Universal Spirit symbolized as the Rhinegold which shed its light upon the water nymphs of our story. But in time the earth cooled more and more; the fog condensed and flooded depressions upon the surface of the earth with water; the atmosphere cleared; the eyes of man were opened and he perceived himself as a separate ego. Then the Universal Spirit of love and solidarity was superseded by egotism and self-seeking.
That was the rape of the Rhinegold, and sorrow, sin, strife, treachery, and murder have taken the place of the childlike love which existed among humanity in that primal state when they dwelt in the watery atmosphere of long ago. Gradually This tendency is becoming more and more marked, and the curse of selfishness grows more and more apparent. "Man's inhumanity to man" hangs like a funeral pall over the earth, and must inevitably bring about destruction of existing conditions. The whole creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for the day of redemption, and the Western Religion strikes the keynote of the way to attainment when it exhorts us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; for then egotism will be abrogated for universal brotherhood and love.
Therefore, when a person is admitted to the church, which is a spiritual institution where love and brotherhood are the mainsprings of action, it is appropriate to carry him under the waters of baptism in symbol of the beautiful condition of childlike innocence and love which prevailed when mankind dwelt under the mist in that bygone period. At that time the eyes of infant man had not yet been opened to the material advantages of This world. The little child which is brought into the church has not yet become aware of the allurements of life either, and others obligate themselves to guide it to lead a holy life according to the best of their ability, because experience gained since the Flood has taught us that the broad way of the world is strewn with pain, sorrow, and disappointment; that only by following the straight and narrow way can we escape death and enter into life everlasting.
Thus we see that there is a wonderfully deep, mystic significance behind the sacrament of baptism; that it is to remind us of the blessings attendant upon those who are members of a brotherhood where self-seeking is put into the background and where service to others is the keynote and mainspring of action. While we are in the world, he is the greatest who can most successfully dominate others. In the church we have Christ's definition, "He who would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all."
When stripped of nonessentials the argument of the orthodox Christian religion may be said to be as follows:
First, that tempted by the devil, our first parents sinned and were exiled from their previous state of celestial bliss, placed under the law, made subject to death, and became incapable of escaping by their own efforts.
Second, that God so loved the world that He gave Christ, His only begotten Son, for its redemption and to establish the kingdom of heaven. Thus death will finally be swallowed up in immortality.
This simple creed has provoked the smiles of atheists, and of the purely intellectual who have studied transcendental philosophies with their niceties of logic and argument; and even of some among those who study the Western Mystery Teaching.
Such an attitude of mind is entirely gratuitous. We might know that the divine leaders of mankind would not allow millions to continue in error for millennia. When the Western Mystery Teaching is stripped of its exceedingly illuminating explanations and detailed descriptions, when its basic teachings are stated, they are found to be in exact agreement with the orthodox Christian teachings.
There was a time when mankind lived in a sinless state; when sorrow, pain, and death were unknown. Neither is the personal tempter of Christianity a myth, for the Lucifer Spirits may very well be said to be fallen angels, and their temptation of man resulted in focusing his consciousness upon the material phase of existence where he is under the law of decrepitude and death. Also it is truly the mission of Christ to aid mankind by elevating them to a more ethereal state where dissolution will no longer be necessary to free them from vehicles that have grown too hard and set for further use. For This is indeed a "body of death," where only the smallest quantity of material is really alive, as part of its bulk is nutrient matter that has not yet been assimilated, another large part is already on its way to elimination, and only between these two poles may be found the material which is thoroughly quickened by the spirit.
We have in other chapters considered the sacraments of baptism and communion, sacraments that have to do particularly with the spirit. We will now seek to understand the deeper side of the sacrament of marriage, which has to do particularly with the body. Like the other sacraments the institution of marriage had its beginning and will also have its end. The commencement was described by the Christ when He said, "Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said: For This cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh." Matt. 19:4-6. He also indicated the end of marriage when he said: "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Matt. 22:30
In This light the logic of the teaching is apparent, for marriage became necessary in order that birth might provide new instruments to take the place of those which had been ruptured by death; and when death has once been swallowed up in immortality and there is no need of providing new instruments, marriage also will be unnecessary.
Science with admirable audacity has sought to solve the mystery of fecundation, and has told us how invagination takes place in the walls of the ovary; how the little ovum is formed in the seclusion of its dark cavity; how it emerges therefrom and enters the Fallopian tube; is pierced by the spermatozoon of the male, and the nucleus of a human body is complete. We are thus supposed to be "at the fount and origin of life!" But life has neither beginning nor end, and what science mistakenly considers the fountain of life is really the source of death, as all that comes from the womb is destined sooner or later to reach the tomb. The marriage feast which prepares for birth, at the same time provides food for the insatiable jaws of death, and so long as marriage is necessary to generation and birth, disintegration and death must inevitably result. Therefore, it is of prime importance to know the history of marriage, the laws and agencies involved, the duration of This institution, and how it may be transcended.
When we obtained our vital bodies in Hyperborea, the sun, moon and earth were still united, and the solar-lunar forces permeated each being in even measure so that all were able to perpetuate their kind by buds and spores as do certain plants of today. The efforts of the vital body to soften the dense vehicle and keep it alive were not then interfered with, and these primal, plantlike bodies lived for ages. But man was then unconscious and stationary like a plant; he made no effort or exertion. The addition of a desire body furnished incentive and desire, and consciousness resulted from the war between the vital body, which builds, and the desire body, which destroys the dense body.
Thus dissolution became only a question of time, particularly as the constructive energy of the vital body was also necessarily divided, one part or pole being used in the vital functions of the body, the other to replace a vehicle lost by death. But as the two poles of a magnet or dynamo are requisite to manifestation, so also two single-sexed beings became necessary for generation; thus marriage and birth were necessarily inaugurated to offset the effect of death. Death, then, is the price we pay for consciousness in the present world; marriage and repeated births are our weapons against the king of terrors until our constitution shall change and we become as angels.
Please mark that it is not stated that we are to become angels, but that we are to become as angels. For the angels are the humanity of the Moon Period; they belong to an entirely different stream of evolution, as different as are human spirits from those of our present animals. Paul states in his letter to the Hebrews that man was made for a little while inferior to the angels; he descended lower into the scale of materiality during the Earth Period, while the angels have never inhabited a globe denser than ether. This substance is the direct avenue of all life forces, and when man has once become as the angels and has learned to build his body of ether, naturally there will be no death and no need of marriage to bring about birth.
But looking at marriage from another point of view, looking upon it as a union of souls rather than as a union of the sexes, we contact the wonderful mystery of Love. Union of the sexes might serve to perpetuate the race, of course, but the true marriage is a companionship of souls also, which altogether transcends sex. Yet those really able to meet upon that lofty plane of spiritual intimacy gladly offer their bodies as living sacrifices upon the altar of Love of the Unborn, to woo a waiting spirit into an immaculately conceived body. Thus humanity may be saved from the reign of death.
This is readily apparent as soon as we consider the gentle action of the vital body and contrast it with that of the desire body in a fit of temper, where it is said that a man has "lost control" of himself. Under such conditions the muscles become tense, and nervous energy is expended at a suicidal rate, so that after such an outbreak the body may sometimes be prostrated for weeks. The hardest labor brings no such fatigue as a fit of temper; likewise a child conceived in passion under the crystallizing tendencies of the desire nature is naturally short-lived, and it is a regrettable fact that length of life is nowadays almost a misnomer; in view of the appalling infant mortality it ought to be called brevity of existence.
The building tendencies of the vital body, which is the vehicle of love, are not so easily watched, but observation proves that contentment lengthens life of any one who cultivates this quality, and we may safely reason that a child conceived under conditions of harmony and love stands a better chance of life than one conceived under conditions of anger, inebriety, and passion.
According to Genesis it was said to the woman, "In sorrow shalt thou bear children," and it has always been a sore puzzle to Bible commentators what logical connection there may be between eating of fruit and the pains of parturition. But when we understand the chaste references of the Bible to the act of generation, the connection is readily perceived. While the insensitive Negro or Indian mother may bear her child and shortly afterward resume her labors in the field, the western woman, more acutely sensitive and of high-strung nervous temperament, is year by year finding it more difficult to go through the ordeal of motherhood, though aided by the best and most skilled scientific help.
The contributory reasons are various: In the first place, while we are exceedingly careful in selecting our horses and cattle for breeding, while we insist upon pedigree for the animals in order that we may bring out the very best strain of stock upon our farms, we exercise no such care with respect to the selection of a father and mother for our children. We mate upon impulse and regret it at our leisure, aided by laws which make it all too easy to enter or leave the sacred bonds of matrimony. The words pronounced by minister or judge are taken to be a license for unlimited indulgence, as if any man-made law could license the contravention of the law of God. While animals mate only at a certain time of the year and the mother is undisturbed during the period of pregnancy, this is not true of the human race.
In view of these facts is it to be wondered at that we find such a dread of maternity, and is it not time that we seek to remedy the matter by a more sane relation between marriage partners? Astrology will reveal the temper and tendencies of each human being; it will enable two people to blend their characters in such a manner that a love live may be lived, and it will indicate the periods when interplanetary lines of force are most nearly conducive to painless parturition. Thus it will enable us to draw from the bosom of nature, children of love, capable of living long lives in good health. Finally the day will come when these bodies will have been made so perfect in their ethereal purity that they may last throughout the coming Age, and thus make marriage superfluous.
But if we can love now when we see one another "through a glass darkly," through the mask of personality and the veil of misunderstanding , we may be sure that the love of soul for soul, purged of passion in the furnace of sorrow, will be our brightest gem in heaven as its shadow is on earth.