Concerning God And Religion 2
"To all poor and distressed Freemasons, wherever dispersed over the face of earth and water, wishing them a speedy relief from all their sufferings, and a safe return to their native land, should they so desire it." (Masonic Charge, 3rd Section, First Lecture).
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (St. John, III, 3).
Part Two: THE FIRST INITIATION
In our discussion of the five major episodes, or dramatic events of the Mysteries, as these are presented in the Christian system, we shall seek to do three things. First, we shall endeavour to realise that Christianity is the flower and the fruitage of the religions of the past, being the last to be given out, with the exception of the Mohammedan religion. It would appear that the emphasis laid by the followers of Mohammed upon the fact of God, the Supreme, the One and Only, was in the nature of a balancing pronouncement, coming forth as it did in the fifteenth century, in order to safeguard man from forgetfulness of God, as he drew nearer to his own latent and essential divinity as a son of the Father. The study of the relationships of these different faiths, and the manner in which they prepare for and complement each other, is of the deepest interest. Christianity may, and does, preserve secret within itself the sacred teaching, but it inherited that teaching from the past. It may personalise itself though the instrumentality of the greatest of the divine Messengers, but the way of that Messenger had been prepared beforehand, and He had been preceded by other great Sons of God. His word may be the life-giving Word for our Western civilisation, and may embody the salvation which had to be brought to us, but the East had its own teachers, and each of the past civilisations upon our planet had its divine Representative. Secondly, we must remember to think in terms of the whole, and to realise that the great expansions of consciousness to which we shall constantly refer have their universal parallels. Some of these unfoldments in the race lie in past racial history. Some lie ahead. One lies immediately possible in the present. As man's physical and mechanical equipment develops to meet his expanding consciousness, he is gradually led to experience more and more of the divine Immanence, to perceive more of the divine Transcendence, and to register with an increasingly illumined awareness the revelation which is sequentially presented for his education and his cultural growth. Finally, we shall consider these unfoldments from the standpoint of the individual, and study those episodes related in the Gospel story which vitally concern the individual human being who, approaching the end of the long and weary way of evolution, is ready to re-enact the same drama in his own experience. To him there comes the opportunity to pass from the stage of the "new birth" to that of final resurrection, via the steep path of Mount Golgotha. In his innermost nature he must learn to understand the words of the Master, "Ye must be born again," and to express the death unto life which is the outstanding message of St. Paul.
The history of humanity is the history of individual search for divine expression and light, and for the ultimate achievement of the "new birth" which releases a man into the service of the kingdom of God. Down the ages, individuals throughout the world have passed through these five expansions of consciousness, and have entered into a life of fuller, richer service. Step by step, their sense of divinity has grown, and their awareness of the divine Life, immanent in nature, has led them to the recognition of the paralleling truth of God transcendent. The evolution of the recognition of divinity in man has been gradual and slow, but at certain points in racial history (as in the history of the individual man) critical moments have been reached, and crises have emerged and have been transcended, each definite initiation leaving the race with an expanded understanding. Today mankind is being prepared for just such a transition, and for the re-focusing of human consciousness in a higher dimension and in a richer field of experience. All that is transpiring in the world at the present time is therefore no indication of failure, or of senseless confusion and blind upheaval; it is rather a process of temporary destruction for further rebuilding, and is but a correspondence in the racial life to those tests and trials which are always the lot of the Candidate preparing for Initiation. The coming revitalisation of the essential and inner nature of humanity, with the consequent reorganisation of world affairs, may perhaps be expressed in the terms of an ancient Mexican aphorism, "Always in the centre shall come a new Word." Every form has its positive centre of life; every organism is constructed around a central nucleus of power, and there is a centre in our Universe from which the Word went forth, bringing into being our organised solar system as we now have it, and the planet on which we live, with its myriad forms of life. This is beautifully formulated in the text of the Gospel according to St. John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (St. John, I, 1-4).
What is thus true of the Whole is true also of the part. Each civilisation, as an expression of the human consciousness, has had its Word. Two thousand years ago a Word was for us "made Flesh," and around that dynamic centre of spiritual life our Western world revolves. Always the Word has sounded out which has enabled the race to see and recognise its next step; some day, as we Freemasons should well know, these Words which have been spoken periodically will be superseded by a WORD which is known among us as the "Lost Word," and when that Word is finally pronounced humanity will climb to the final peak of human achievement. The Word, then, must again sound forth from the Centre — the Centre in the Heavens, and the Centre in every human heart; each individual must hear it for himself alone, for each of us has to pass through that experience wherein we know ourselves to be a "Word made Flesh," and until the "new birth" experience is a part of our individual consciousness as souls, it remains a myth.
We are primarily concerned in this part of our study with the technique of the entrance into "the kingdom of God" but so much unsound teaching is being given out today in connection with the subject of Initiation as a whole that it may be of value to students if we call attention to certain factors which are very frequently overlooked. The questions are often asked: "Who is the initiator?" and "Who is eligible to stand before Him and to pass through an initiation?" In the first place, it cannot be too clearly emphasised that the first initiator with whom any man has to deal is, ever and always, his own soul. Many esoteric schools make the error of directing their teaching towards some great Master who is presumed to prepare Candidates for Initiation, and without Whom, so it is claimed, no progress is possible. They forget that it is not possible for such a Master even to contact an aspirant in this relationship until he has made a definite contact with his own soul. Initiation relates to consciousness, and the initiating soul is denoted in all religions by a terminology suited to the time and temperament of the aspirant. For example, where the Christian Apostle speaks of — "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians I, 27), the Oriental teacher may speak of the "Self" — or — "Atman." The modern schools of thought speak of the — "Ego" or the "Higher Self," — the real man or the spiritual entity, whilst in the Old Testament reference is made to the "Angel of the Presence." A long list of these synonyms could be compiled, but for our present purpose we shall confine ourselves to the word "soul" because of its wide use in the West. The soul in man, when contacted, therefore prepares him for the first stage of Initiation; that which has been slowly gestating comes at last to birth, and the soul is "born again" into the fifth or spiritual kingdom, making possible the first of the five episodes in the life of the Initiate. The work proceeds, and the soul gradually unfolds and develops until in due time the second and third episodes take place. The third episode, in the Christian tradition known as the Transfiguration, is associated with initiation through the instrumentality of the Master, and at this stage of his progress, as many believe, the Initiate in full waking consciousness stands in His presence and sees Him face to face. Browning expresses this truth in the great poem "Saul" when he says:-
O Saul, it shall be
A Face like my face that receives thee; a Man like to me,
Thou shalt love and be loved by, for ever: a Hand like this hand
Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee! See the Christ stand!
("Saul," by Robert Browning).
Following upon the completion of the work of the third episode, when the personality has been finally subordinated to the soul, and the "glory of the Lord" can shine forth through the medium of the flesh, comes the crucial test — "that last and greatest trial" — mystical "death" or Crucifixion, with the subsequent achievement of "raising" or Resurrection. In his remarkable interpretation of our Masonic system, the late W.Bro. W. L. Wilmshurst explains the significance of the dramatic ceremony symbolising the experience of the fourth and fifth episodes, as follows :-
What is meant is that complete self-sacrifice and self-crucifixion which, as all religions teach, are essential before the soul can be raised in glory "from a figurative death to a reunion with the companions of its former toils" both here and in the unseen world. The perfect cube must pass through the metamorphosis of the Cross. The soul must voluntarily and consciously pass through a state of utter helplessness from which no earthly hand can rescue it, and in trying to raise him from which the grip of any succouring human hand will prove but a slip: until at length Divine Help itself descends from the Throne above and, with the "lion's grip" of almighty power, raises the faithful and regenerated soul to union with itself in an embrace of reconciliation and at-onement." (The Meaning of Masonry, by W. L. Wilmshurst).
It is in this sense that the experience of death leads to eternal life, and the abandonment of this world conquers another; then, we are told, that mysterious Being, spoken of in the Old Testament as Melchizedek, and as the Ancient of Days, will play His part and superintend the higher transitions of consciousness which are the reward of the tests of Initiation triumphantly undergone. From this brief sketch of the process (described, for the purpose of clarity, as a sequential proceeding connected with the inner life of the initiate), it will be seen that Initiation doctrine intimates that there are three initiators: first, a man's own soul; second, the Master or Exemplar the aspirant is "made to represent" (see the testimony of St. Paul — "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death "- Philippians 3, 10) ; third, the Ancient of Days, the one in Whom "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17, 28). The following quotations from the valuable book written by W.Bro. W. L. Wilmshurst throw light on our Masonic teaching concerning the second and third initiators :-
The Master or Exemplar the aspirant is "made to represent:"
In all the schools of the Mysteries, as well as in all the great religions of the world, the attainment of the spiritual goal just described is enacted or taught under the veil of a tragic episode analogous to that of our third degree; and in each there is a Master whose death the aspirant is instructed he must imitate in his own person. In Masonry that prototype is Hiram Abiff: but it must be made clear that there is no historical basis whatever for the legendary account of Hiram's death. The entire story is symbolical and was purposely invented for the symbolical purposes of our teaching. If you examine it closely you will perceive how obvious the correspondence is between this story and the story of the death of the Christian Master related in the Gospels; and it is needless to say that the Mason who realises the meaning of the latter will comprehend the former and the veiled allusion that is implied. In the one case the Master is crucified between the two thieves; in the other he is done to death between two villains. In the one case appear the penitent and the impenitent thief; in the other we have the conspirators who made a voluntary confession of their guilt and were pardoned, and the others who were found guilty and put to death; whilst the moral and spiritual lessons deducible from the stories correspond. As every Christian is taught that in his own life he must imitate the life and death of Christ, so every Mason is "made to represent one of the brightest characters recorded in our annals"; but as the annals of Masonry are contained in the volume of the Sacred Law and not elsewhere, it is easy to see who the chapter is who is alluded to. As that great authority and initiate of the Mysteries, St. Paul, taught, we can only attain to the Master's resurrection by "being made conformable unto His death," and we " must die with Him if we are to be raised like Him": and it is in virtue of that conformity, in virtue of being individually made to imitate the Grand Master in His death, that we are made worthy of certain points of fellowship" with Him: for the "five points of fellowship of the third degree are the five wounds of Christ. The three years' ministry of the Christian Master ended with His death and these refer to the three degrees of the Craft which also end in the mystical death of the Masonic candidate and his subsequent raising or resurrection." (The Meaning of Masonry, by W. L. Wilmshurst).
But, finally, I must ask you to remember that, in accordance with the general design of our system, every Master of a Lodge is but a symbol and a substitution, and that behind him, and behind all the grand officers of the Masonic hierarchy, there stands the "Great White Head," the "Great Initiator" and Grand Master of all true Masons throughout the Universe, whether members of our Craft or not. To whom let us all bow in gratitude for the invaluable gift accorded to us in this our Order; and to whose protection, and to whose enlightening guidance into its deeper mysteries, I commend you all." (The Meaning of Masonry, by W. L. Wilmshurst).
These ideas incorporated in the traditional doctrines of Initiation assume their proper significance when we realise that out of the five major episodes which together comprise the drama of the soul's career, as this is recorded in the Gospels, there are three which represent great points of attainment. They are: the first, the Birth; the third, the Transfiguration; and the fifth, the Resurrection. It is between these high points, in the intervals of which the details are given us in the Gospel story, that the work is carried on which makes later achievements possible. Moreover, there is in nature some mysterious value connected with the first, the third, and the fifth (the beginning, the middle point, and the climaxing consummation) ; a truth which has been freely recognised in all ages by those who have been responsible for formulating the principles governing the cultivation of the inward life of the soul. Freemasonry is but a specialised expression of those principles and our three ceremonial degrees dramatise the three well defined stages of psycho-spiritual development known to mystical theology as the Purgative, the Illuminative, and the Unitive Life.
Each of the five episodes included in the Initiation process has certain basic resemblances common to them all, and there are factors, "in many respects similar," which are in themselves of real significance. The first point to be observed is that the approach to the Mysteries, the "Way" into the "kingdom of God" is universal, and man himself is the symbol and the reality. Man, in his evolutionary progress, examines the myths and symbols of the world; he studies and knows the drama of the World Saviours; and at the same time he himself is called upon to re-enact the drama and thereby make myth a fact in his own personal experience. Stated in alternative terms, the individual man, and the race as a whole, must ultimately follow "in the steps of the Master," stage by stage, through the great experiences of the initiatory process. This truth is reflected in the ceremonial of Initiation systems, where it takes the form of "perambulations" or symbolic journeys which precede each stage of advancement. The symbolism will be apparent to those students who are aware that "the treading of the Path" is a familiar way of describing the life to be lived by aspirants, but the following quotation from a Paper prepared by W.Bro. W. L. Wilmshurst for the use of members of the Lodge of Living Stones No. 4957 will make it quite clear:-
"We saw that the perambulations in the First Degree symbolised the Candidate's benighted wilderness-wanderings before he struck the path of Light; we spoke of them as representing the Odyssean vicissitudes of his previous career. But now that he has actually found that path, why are his wanderings resumed? Because no human soul stands still until it has finished its appointed course and reached its goal. Motion is inseparable from life. Stagnation and inertia spell death. The Unconscious is wrought into conscious being as the result of constant movement, 'Move on!'applies equally to a solar system, planet and man; each has to tread its path of self-fulfilment to the end. Men, like the stars, move in their courses towards a goal, though, unlike the stars, their ignorance and self-will cause them to miss the track until the pains of life force them back to it. The human Ego may either move of its own will towards good or evil, light or darkness, or be driven about like a blown leaf by forces extraneous to itself; but move it must."
"The perambulations in the present Degree, therefore, signify the Candidate's willing forward motion towards perfection under the urge of his own heart's promptings. You remember the Pilgrims' March in Wagner's 'Tannhauser,' where the music so graphically suggests the resolute persistent plod-plod of weary but courageous feet, tolling through dangers and difficulties, up hill and down dale, but ever onwards to a distant but assured goal. It represents, and was meant to represent, the inward urge that impels all aspirants along the path of Light and therefore may be thought of as admirably illustrating what is implied by these ceremonial perambulations of the Masonic pilgrim." The Ceremony of Passing. by W. L. Wilmshurst).
It is of the greatest significance that today the whole world is "on the move," and that groups of people in many countries are being transferred from place to place as destiny dictates. Almost everybody is travelling and journeying — a process symbolic of an inner condition of search and movement towards a preordained goal. Humanity is on the first stage of its journey towards the mystic Bethlehem; under Providence, working through the compelling pressure of temporal events, a stage of human experience has been reached which has never previously been realised; the first initiation is, at this time, an imminent happening for many. The second point of resemblance to be noted is that each episode in the Initiation process, whether attained by an individual aspirant or by the race as a whole, is accompanied by the appropriate Sign, and marked by the enunciation of a Word of Power. Again, this truth is reflected in the ceremonial of Initiation systems, where Signs serve as clues to the actual secrets, and in the case of our Masonic systems we have preserved some of the oldest Signs in the world which are traceable to every ancient country and people. These Signs, moreover, are not mere formal gestures but "acts of worship," and their true purport may be gleaned from the following further extract from the Paper by W.Bro. Wilmshurst:-
Now the First Degree Sign implies (among much else) humility; the humbling (to the point of removal) of the 'head' or natural carnal reason in the presence of the great mystery of Being, of which we, as initiates, are seeking to learn something. The Second Degree Sign, on the other hand, refers (also among much else) to the need for purity, fidelity and perseverance of 'heart' in the pursuit of that mystery. In each case these virtues — humility, purity, fidelity, perseverance — must become the habitual ingrained features of the Mason's soul, which then will of itself become a 'living' sign, apart from any physical gesture he may casually use. On a previous page we referred to the question in the E.A. Lecture, 'How do you know a Mason by day?' and to the answer, 'By seeing him and observing the Sign'; not merely the ceremonial sign (which no one goes about publicly displaying), but by instant insight into his inner being and observing whether it exhibits the virtue to which that sign relates. And as no Mason may enter his earthly Lodge unless duly clothed and in possession of the appropriate sign, so we may be assured that on the higher planes of life he will be unable to gain entrance to the Grand Lodge Above if his soul fails to exhibit those inward signs of grace of which the bodily ceremonial signs are meant to be a reflex expression." (The Ceremony of Passing, by W.L. Wilmshurst).
With regard to the race as a whole, we have the authority of the Christian Master Himself for the statement that at the end of the Age (that in the termination of a cyclic period), the Sign of the Son of Man will be seen in the Heavens :-
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (St. Matthew, 24, 30).
Meanwhile the race cannot attain the new grade of spiritual evolution until its iniquities have been burned up and put behind it; and "without bloodshed is no remission of sins." Each stage in the progress of the Initiate is also marked by the enunciation of a Word of Power; the Initiate hears it although the popular world may not; "He that hath ears to hear let him hear" (St Matthew II, 15). In ceremonial systems the Word is not imported until after the use of the Sign has been disclosed, and from this we may deduce that the Candidate will remain in ignorance of the real secrets of the Degree until he has first qualified for them by undergoing the necessary preliminary discipline. Great racial Words have been sounded forth in the past and have signified a potency of true spiritual value to the sensitive. The Word for Asia in the past was TAO, or the Way; it stood for that ancient Way which the Initiates of the Far East trod and taught. For the West the Word is AUM, which has degenerated in our Occidental vernacular into AMEN. What the new Word will be which will "come forth from the Centre" we do not know, for it will not be heard until the race is ready.
When the Sign is disclosed and the Word is imparted, the next stage of the work is revealed. The Plan and the part to be played by the Initiate are shown to him, and he knows what he has to do. For the race, too, there is the revelation of what lies ahead: "Where there is no vision, the peace perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Proverbs, 29, 18). People today may be unable to formulate any clear view of what is coming to pass, but they are well enough aware that things can never again be what they were before. It is certain, moreover, that those who are prompted to lead or labour in the movements to improve social and industrial conditions — in so far as they are selflessly actuated, and whether in their work they formally acknowledge God or not — already enjoy a measure of vision. Distributed among them one can observe the ardour of the illuminate, the one-pointedness of the contemplative, the asceticism of the seer, and the self-sacrifice of the saint. Even if the motive force of which they are the instruments remains concealed from them, that force still actuates them, and it is enough that they respond to its stimulus and are faithful to its promptings. They are building better than they know; they might disclaim the title, but they are of the new priesthood: "servi servorem Dei"; ministers who are flames of fire in their passion for a better order of things, and a diviner kingdom upon earth. Finally, each stage of the Initiation process leads to expanded service, Self and its attainment must be forgotten in service to others. From this there is no escape; every pinnacle of achievement is followed by a cycle of testing. We once again avail ourselves of the privilege of quoting from the work of that great Masonic authority, W.Bro. W. L. Wilmshurst :-
"This episode not only perpetuates the practice of the Ancient Mysteries but is entirely accordant with Scriptural authority and with spiritual experience. For it is a fact, indeed a law, of life, that no one receives an accession of knowledge or power or even of material wealth without being soon afterwards put to a test as to how he will use it and whether he is able and worthy to retain it. If he is, he will be still further advanced; if not, he will remain where he was or be degraded to a worse position than at first. 'To him that hath shall be given; and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.' Remember to what a severe testing Job was subjected after acquiring great wealth; remember, too, the 'temptation' or testing episode related in the Gospels as occurring to Jesus immediately after his accession of spiritual light at the Jordan baptism.
And so it will be to everyone for whom our Initiation Ceremony becomes translated into terms of actual life-experience. As soon as Light or Wisdom has been vouchsafed him, he will find himself tested in one or another way as to his worthiness to receive it. 'He who has not been tested knows nothing,' says a wise Master (Thomas a Kempis), for no new truth can become one's own until it has been reduced to personal conduct and lived out under the stress of opposition and temptation to the contrary." (The Ceremony of Initiation, by W. L. Wilmshurst).
Every new revelation graped and appropriated by the race has to be adapted to the needs of a consequent and strenuous life of service, and initiation ever calls forth renewed testing and enhanced power to serve. Many great Teachers, down the age, have given to humanly a progressively revealing vision of the "heights of possibility," and have interpreted the Plan of T.G.A.O.T.U., to the race in terms suited to each age and temperament. Man lives by the incarnation of God in himself, and whenever the time is ripe and the need of the people warrants it, He comes forth in the person of a "living witness" for the purpose of the saving of the souls of men. In ancient India this truth was proclaimed by Krishna as follows :-
Whenever there is a withering of the law . . . . and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides, then I manifest Myself
For the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of such as do evil; for the firm establishing of the law I come to birth in age after age.
"He who thus perceives My birth and work as divine, as in truth it is . . . He goes to Me, Arjuna."
Again and again such Teachers have come forth manifested as much of the divine nature as the racial development warranted, spoken those words which have determined the culture and the civilisation of the peoples, and then passed on their way leaving the seed sown to germinate and bear fruit.
It is now time to say a few words about the actual process by which the first Initiation is to be accomplished. The discipline of the Path in its earlier stages is directed primarily to the production of a definite type of character ; whatever variations of intellectual quality and calibre there may be, the character-type is constant. In the case of our Masonic Order the character-type is clearly defined in the following question and answer:-
W.M.-Who are fit and proper persons to be made Freemasons?
Can.-Just, upright, and free men, of mature age, sound judgment, and strict morals.
Further, aspiration is an important basic requirement, for the rule of the Path is not a written code that demands an outer conformity, but a dedication to an ideal, and this involves self-discipline in order that the ideal may be attained. One qualification above all is regarded as essential to the aspirant — humility. W.Bro. Wilmshurst gives the reason in the following quotation from his Paper:-
In the Mysteries of old the Candidate, because of his new birth into Light, was always spoken of as a 'child ' or a 'little child,' and in the Sacred Volume which forms the chief text-book of our science we find how often, and for the same reason, such expressions as 'the young man' and 'little children' are employed. It accords little with the modern mental temper to cast aside all one's knowledge and preconceptions and reduce oneself to the docility and singlemindedness of infancy. Yet these qualities still remain indispensable to the Candidate for Wisdom, and it is still not the learned, the critical, and the worldly-wise, but the 'little children' who are suffered to come to the Light and are not forbidden from finding it, for of such are both the Kingdom of Heaven and the Craft of Masonry which is designed to lead to that Kingdom." (The Ceremony of Initiation, by W. L. Wilmshurst).
Those who steadfastly follow the ideal of the Path of Initiation will learn of certain spiritual principles which, as underlying cosmic laws, govern all things. No stipulations are made regarding the application of these principles to the affairs of life; each aspirant is expected to apply them to his own circumstances and problems according to his understanding. The first principle to be learnt concerns the nature of the cosmic laws and their inviolability. Aspirants must accept the concept of the absolute rule of law — that nothing is fortuitous, accidental or incidental. Whatever happens is the result of a cause; whatever is going to happen is also the result of a cause. This law, known in the East as the law of "Karma," is at first apt to strike the Western mind as a mere unverified dogma or, at best, as a philosophical speculation. In fact, however, it is nothing of the kind, but a truth of nature which may be experienced by anyone for himself.
Even on the ordinary levels of experience it is obvious that our destinies are largely shaped by our characters and they, in turn, by the sum-total of our past thoughts, and particularly those which have crystallised into actions. Everyday experience can perhaps not take us much farther than this probability; but ordinary experience is not the final arbiter in these matters, and he who advances on the Path of Knowledge becomes immediately aware that it is no mere probability with which he is concerned, but a perfect and unerring law. The discipline of the Path cannot be learnt from books; it is experience alone which brings realisation; and the aspirant must constantly strive for a mastery of himself and his circumstances, which will give him serenity under all conditions. This is the reason for so much emphasis being placed upon performing action as a duty. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might." "Right action" is to be performed, the test of rightness being its accord with the commands of the voice Teacher in the heart. All actions and all efforts ultimately find their completion in the gaining of Wisdom, but just as life springs only from other lives, so the flame of wisdom can be lit only by contact with those in whose heart it already shines. The aspirant must therefore resort to the feet of a wise teacher, one who is an embodiment of that Teacher in his heart. He must, in the words of our Instruction Lecture, affirm that it is his intention: "To seek for a Master and from him to gain instruction" (First Section, First Lecture). Some will wonder why, if the Teacher is already present in the heart, there should be any need for an external Teacher at all. True, the Teacher is in the heart, but we are so used to listening to the trumpet tones of desire that the "still small voice" in the heart passes unheeded. Too often does the aspirant mistake the promptings of desire and of unpurified emotion for the "intuition" which is the Voice of the Teacher, and therefore he badly needs the guidance of one who, because his whole being has become one with the Wisdom, can speak with the same voice as that Teacher in the heart and yet do so in tones which can be heard with the outer ear. Such Teachers, it should be noted, are always to be found at the right time, for the earth is never without men who know the Truth, men who, however scattered they may appear, yet constitute a Race apart, a Race whose "Light shineth in darkness though the darkness comprehendeth it not," a Race which never dies, for it is constantly renewed throughout the ages as the torch of Wisdom passes from hand to hand. The Path, however, which leads to the feet of the Master, outer as well as inner, is an interior path, and only by treading the preliminary steps by oneself can one reach the outer Guide. Indeed, it is only when the stage has been reached at which the aspirant is ready to offer up his individual self in sacrifice to the Self in all, that the Master can and does manifest himself: "When the pupil is ready the Master will be found waiting." Popular superstition in the East has it that no Guru (Master) can give "diksha" (initiation) unless he is given "dakshina" (a fee), and corrupt as all such practices are, this is a symbol of a profound truth. Of all who seek a Guru the question is asked: What do you offer and what will you give in return for the Wisdom that you seek?" The same truth is embodied in our Masonic system by the right vested in the Master of a Lodge to demand "certain fees," with a minimum amount provided by the Constitutions of the Order, from every Candidate "seeking" Initiation.
To conclude this part of our Paper, how can the truth of the "new birth" be expressed in terms so simple that its meaning is apparent to every aspirant? Perhaps from the following statements:-
- Hidden in every human being is the "Word incarnate," the Son of God made flesh. This is "Christ in us, the hope of Glory," but as yet only a hope.
- As the wheel of life (the Galilee experience) carries us from one lesson to another, we approach nearer and nearer to the indwelling reality.
- In due time, the personality — physical, emotional, and mental — is fused into one living whole. The "Virgin Mary" is ready to give birth to her Son.
- The long journey of the "prodigal son" draws to a close, and the hidden Son of God is born at the first initiation.
SO MOTE IT BE.