< BC-6 TOC
From Bethlehem to Calvary
Chapter VII - Our Immediate Goal - The Founding of the Kingdom

Our Immediate Goal - The Founding of the Kingdom


"Any given moment of life must choose between two gods, psychologically incompatible. On the one hand, the peace of the hermit, the silence of the forest, the exaltation of sacrifice, the mightiness of simplification and unity, the joy of self-abandonment, the calm of absolute contemplation, the vision of God. On the other hand, the variety and stress of life, the zest of common ends, the mastery of means, the glory of infinite enterprise, the pride of creativity and self-possession. The modern world as a whole has made its choice. But there is a better choice; namely, the choice of both. For the life of each is that it may lose itself, from time to time, in the life of the other. And this, which is obvious in things partial, is true - and even chiefly true - in things total."
- The Meaning of God in Human Experience, by W. E. Hocking, p. 427. [257]


We have followed Christ from Bethlehem to Calvary, and through the Resurrection to the episode wherein He disappeared from tangible worldly view and entered the world of subjective values, therein to function as the "Master of all the Masters and the Teacher alike of angels and of men." We approached the subject of the five crises in His life from the angle of their world importance far more than from that of their significance to us as individuals. We have seen that there has been a revolt (and rightly so) from the emphasis laid by past theologians upon the blood sacrifice of Christ; and have arrived at the conclusion that the need of the world today is for the recognition of a risen Savior. We have noted the fact that the uniqueness of His mission consisted in the fact that in "the fullness of time" He came to found the kingdom of God, to bring into being upon earth another kingdom of nature, and so set up the boundary line between that which is objective and illusory and that which is subjective and real. His coming marked the line of demarcation between the world of forms or symbols and that of values or of meaning. Into the latter world we are entering with great rapidity. Science, religion and philosophy are today occupied with significance, and their investigations are carrying them out of the world of appearances; governments and the allied sciences - politics and economics and sociology - are, in their turn, dealing with ideas and ideals. Even in [258] the realm of social disorders and wars - general, sporadic or civil - we see the conflict of differing ideals, and no longer wars of aggression or for the defense of property. These distinctions between the objective and the subjective, between the tangible and the intangible, the visible and the invisible, Christianity has fostered, because it was these differences which the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man presented. Christ came to give to life a meaning and a value, just as the Buddha came to make clear to us the false values upon which our modern world is based.

A study of the teachings earlier given will show that every teaching, and every suffering Son of God who antedated Christ, did two things:

First of all, He prepared the way for Christ, giving out the teaching that His particular age, period and civilization required; and secondly, He enacted in His life the teaching of the Mysteries, which however, before Christ's time, was confined to the very few who were being prepared for initiation, or who could penetrate by right of initiation into the temples of those Mysteries.

Then the Buddha came and spoke to the multitude, telling them what was the source of their misery and discontent, and giving them, in the Four Noble Truths, a concise statement of the human situation. He outlined to them the Noble Eightfold Path governing right conduct, and gave in reality the rules which should control one upon the Path of Discipleship. Then, having Himself achieved Illumination, He entered into the "Secret Place of the Most High," to come forth once a year, so legend tells us, in order to bless the world. That day of blessing (the day of the full moon of May) is preserved in the East as a general holiday, and in the West many hundreds also keep it as a day of spiritual remembrance.

Then Christ came, and presented to the world, and made public in His life and through its critical points, the great processes of initiation (five in number) which lie ahead of [259] all who keep the rules which His great Brother laid down. He carried the teaching forward the next step, and made it available to the masses. Thus the continuity of revelation was perpetuated. The Buddha taught us the rules for disciples in preparation for the Mysteries of initiation, whilst Christ gave us the next stage, and showed us the process of initiation from the moment of the new birth into the kingdom to that of the final resurrection into life. His work was unique in its time and place, for it marked a consummation of the past, and an entrance into something utterly new, as far as humanity as a whole was concerned.

Humanity had also reached a unique stage in its development. The race had become intelligent, and the personality of man - physical, emotional and mental - had been carried forward to a definite point of integration and coordination. This, on a scale so immense, was unique. There had been isolated personalities. Now, in the Christian era, we live in an age of personalities. So high is the general level of integrated personality life that we are apt to feel we have reached an era where there are no outstanding figures. This is probably due to the fact that the general average of human development is so high that the power to stand out dominantly is much more limited. Because of this development, humanity (regarding it as a kingdom in nature) has reached a point where something new can emerge, as has always happened in analogous circumstances in other kingdoms. We can produce, and as a race give birth to, the next kingdom in nature, which Christ called the kingdom of God; this is the kingdom of souls, the kingdom of spiritual lives, and herein, uniquely, Christ emerges. He is the founder of that kingdom. He proclaimed its existence and He indicated its nature. In Himself He gave us an expression of its qualifications, and showed us the characteristics of the citizen of that kingdom.

Through the example of its Founder, Christianity has also had a unique mission in inaugurating the era of service. World service, world welfare, world interest, world [260] inter-communication and the importance of the general good are all products of the emphasis Christ laid upon human divinity and on the brotherhood of man, based upon the Fatherhood of God. No other religion or era has thus emphasized these points. They still remain in many ways ideals, but are slowly in process of becoming facts.

Christ therefore achieved through His work the following things:

  1. He externalized the Mysteries so that they have become known to humanity as a whole, and are not only the secret possession of the Initiates.
  2. He enacted the drama of initiation before the world, so that its symbolism could penetrate into the human consciousness.
  3. He gave us a demonstration of perfection so that we can no longer question the nature of God, yet at the same time He gave us the guarantee that we too are the children of God, and can likewise achieve divinity if we follow in His steps.
  4. He revealed to us the world of meaning, and, in the Person of the historical Christ, showed us the significance of the cosmic Christ, the mythic Christ, and the mystical Christ in the heart of every man. He revealed the nature of God transcendent and of God immanent.
  5. The past of humanity culminated in Him; the present finds in Him its solution, and the future is symbolized in His life and death. Therefore all three lines of past, present and future meet in Him, and give Him His unique significance.
  6. He founded the kingdom of God in due time when the human kingdom was reaching maturity. He demonstrated the values of that kingdom in His Own life, portraying for us the character of its citizenship, and He opened the door wide for all who could fit themselves (through service and discipline) to pass out of the human kingdom into the spiritual kingdom. [261]
  7. He reared His Cross as a boundary, a symbol, and an example of method, between the world of tangible values and the world of spiritual values, and called us to the death of the lower nature in order that the Spirit of God may have full sway.
  8. He taught us that death must end, and that the destiny of humanity is the resurrection from among the dead. Immortality must take the place of mortality. For our sakes, therefore, He rose from the dead and proved that the bonds of death cannot hold any human being who can function as a Son of God.

Many sons of God had passed through the Temples of the Mysteries; many had learnt to function divinely and had, in the process of expressing divinity, lived and served and died. But none of them came at the particular period of unfoldment which made possible the universal recognition which Christ has evoked, nor was the intellect of the masses sufficiently developed to profit by their teaching on a large scale until that time. In these respects Christ and His mission were uniquely important. He taught us to work towards unity and to bring to an end isolation and hatred and separation, telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. He gave a message which was universal in its implications, for the kingdom of God stands wide open to all who love and serve and who purify the lower nature, irrespective of creed and dogma. He taught the unity of the faith, the Fatherhood of God, and the necessity not only to walk with God, but to walk with each other in love and understanding. He emphasized the necessity for cooperation, indicating that if we truly follow the Way, we shall put an end to competition, and substitute for it cooperation. He urged us to live by principles, divine, basic and fundamental, and to lay no emphasis upon personalities.

Love, brotherhood, cooperation, service, self-sacrifice, inclusiveness, freedom from doctrine, recognition of divinity - these are the characteristics of the citizen of the kingdom, [262] and these still remain our ideals. Therefore the question of importance facing humanity today is, just what must be done in order to bring about the attainment of the three major objectives which Christ held before us. They remain objectives for all mankind, and are generally so recognized, even when their Christian interpretation is ignored, or when Christ remains unrecognized. How shall we perfect the human being, so that his handling of life, and his attitude to people and his environment, are correct and constructive? How shall we materialize on earth that state of consciousness, accompanied by that condition of living, the result of which would deserve to be recognized as the kingdom of God? How shall we arrive at an understanding of the problem of death, with the surmounting of the process of dying, and the achieving of resurrection? Christ has provided a definite answer and program for the solution of the problem of human perfection, the problem of a new world, and the problem of immortality.

That humanity is on its way to great and vital events is generally recognized. We have in the past progressed through varying civilizations to the important present, and we are on our way to still greater achievements. The question, however, arises whether we may hasten the process; whether, by a right understanding of Christ and His teaching, we could so expedite matters that the kingdom and its laws may hold sway earlier than would otherwise be the case. No sacrifice on our part would be too great, if Christ was right in the position He took and in the teaching He gave as to the nature of man. The decision rests with us. The choice is ours. Therefore in the last analysis what is the decision we have to make? What is the question that we have to answer? Christ has said that man is divine. Was He right? If man is divine and a son of the Father, then let us proceed to express that divinity and claim our birthright. We have been occupied with much thought and discussion about God in the past. God transcendent has been both recognized and denied. God immanent is on the verge of recognition, and in that recognition [263] may surely lie the way out for man. Are we divine? That is the all-important question.

If man is divine, if the testimony of the ages is true, and if Christ came to show us divinity in expression and to found the new kingdom, then the breaking down today of the old forms, and the widespread destruction of the familiar structures of society and religion, may simply be part of the process of instituting the new processes of life and the planned work of a vital evolving spirit. A reaction to the appearance of the kingdom may account for the unrest of the masses, and the general sensitive response to the new ideals may be due to the impact of the force of the kingdom upon the minds of the more advanced people of the world. The mystic and the Christian may talk in terms of the kingdom of God; philanthropists and philosophers may talk in terms of the world community, of the new civilization, of the world federation of nations, of humanity as a body corporate, of community living and of internationalism and economic interdependence and world unity; but these are mere words and names which differing types of mind apply to the one great emerging fact of a new kingdom in nature arising out of the human kingdom, with its own principles of living, its laws of group welfare, and its brotherhood of man.

In the unfoldment of the human consciousness we are passing out of the necessary stage of individualism; we have temporarily lost sight of the deeper truths, the mystical values, and the one Life behind all forms. We have been too much occupied with material and selfish interests. But this has been a needed stage, even though it may well be that it has persisted too long. It is time for us to end the period of selfish individualism, permitting it no longer to be a controlling factor in our lives, time for us to begin to blend and unify the deeper elements of the world of reality with the outer life. The best minds of the age are now appreciating this, and on every hand the call is going out for a deepening of life, a recognition of the nature of and the need for a coherent understanding of the world processes, and their conscious [264] intelligent integration into a recognizable world order. The disintegration in the world at this time is right and good, provided we understand why it is taking place and by what it should be succeeded. Destruction which is carried on with a view to eventual construction is right and proper, but the plans for the coming building must be somewhere understood, and some idea must exist as to subsequent reconstruction.

Our need today is to see the hidden thread of purpose which will lead us out of the apparent impasse; to isolate, out of the many theories, that basic theory which not only has its roots in the past, but is capable of application in a new way, in new terms, by those who are permeated with the new vision. We need what Dr. Schweitzer calls "...the recognition that civilization is founded on some sort of theory of the universe, and can be restored only through a spiritual awakening and a will for ethical good in the mass of mankind." (The Decay and Restoration of Civilization, by Albert Schweitzer, p. 78-79.) This awakening is already here, and the will to good is present. The teaching of Christ is not obsolete and out of date. It needs only to be rescued from the interpretations of the theologies of the past, and taken at its simple face value, which is an expression of the divinity of man, of his participation in the kingdom which is in process of being brought into recognition, and of his immortality as a citizen of that kingdom. What we are in reality passing through is "a religious initiation into the mysteries of Being," (The End of Our Time, by Nicholas Berdyaev, p. 105.) and from that we shall emerge with a deepened sense of God immanent in ourselves and in all humanity. The need for this revaluation is being impressed upon us constantly. It might be of value to us, therefore, to admit this possibility and consider practically our individual relation to the work which Christ expressed and inaugurated, and to deal with the problem of our individual perfecting, in order that we may help to found [265] the kingdom and to develop those values which will warrant immortality.

Someone has remarked that our troubles at this time are due largely to the lack of intuitive perception on the part of those who can impress the masses and lead people forward. They seek to guide by mental processes and enforcements, and not by that intuitive presentation of reality which the child and the wise man can simultaneously recognize. It is vision that is needed, for "where there is no vision the people perish." (Prov., XXIX, 18.) We have not lacked idealism, nor have we been too greatly unintelligent. Most people, faced with issues and problems, act with sincerity, even if their line of action may seem mistaken. But our outstanding error has been a failure to make those personality adjustments and sacrifices which would render realization possible.

People ask for guidance; they demand right leadership; they hope to be led in the way that they should go; and yet all the time the guidance, leadership and direction have been given them. Christ blazed the trail and is still waiting for us to follow, not one by one, but - under inspired disciples - as a race. Like the children of Israel under Moses, we must go forth and find the "holy land." How then can those who have vision (and they are many) train themselves to aid in the right orientation of humanity? How can they become the leaders so sorely needed? By learning to be led themselves by Christ, and by following the guidance of the inner mystical Christ which will inevitably lead them direct to Christ the Initiator. As aspirants to the mysteries we must learn the way through obedience to the light which we may have, by love, and by becoming sensitive to inspiration from on high. There is no other way. We have no genuine excuse for failing, for others have gone ahead, and Christ made it all so clear and simple.

Obedience to the highest one knows, in small things as well as in great, is too simple a rule for many to follow, but it is the secret of the Way. We demand so much, and when a [266] simple rule is given us, and we are told merely to obey the voice of conscience and to follow the glimmer of light which we can see, we do not find it sufficiently interesting to call forth prompt obedience. But this rule was the first which Christ followed, and even when a child, He said that He came to occupy Himself with His Father's business. He obeyed the call. He did as God told Him; He followed step by step the inner voice - and it led Him from Bethlehem to Calvary. But it took Him eventually to the Mount of Ascension. He has shown us what results from obedience, and He "learned obedience by the things which He suffered." He paid the price, and revealed to us what God in man could be and do.

The achievement of human perfection is not the simple matter of building a good character and being nice and kind. More than that is involved. It is a question of understanding and of a new and regulated inner attitude, one which is oriented to God because it is oriented to the service of man, in whom God is expressing Himself. "If we do not love our brother whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen?" (I St. John, IV, 20.) This is the question which St. John, the beloved Apostle, asks and which we have not yet, as a race, attempted to answer. The vital need is to return to the simple fundamental instruction which Christ gave, and to learn to love our brother. Love is not a sentimental, emotional state of consciousness. It takes into account the point in evolution and the development of character of those to be loved; but in spite of all, it is a love which sees truly, and which, because it sees so truly can act wisely. It is a love which realizes that the world needs love, and that a spirit of love (which is a spirit of inclusiveness, of tolerance, of wise judgment and farsighted vision) can draw all men together into that outward unity which is based upon a recognized inner relationship.

We are all so ready to take love. We are all so eager to be loved, because we realize, unconsciously if not consciously, [267] that love means service, and we like to be served. The time has come when that selfish attitude to life must change, and we must learn to give love and not to ask love, to go out in service to all whom we contact day by day, and expect and exact nothing for the separated self. When this spirit (which is outstandingly the spirit of Christ and of those who know Him best) becomes more general, then we shall see a more rapid consummation of the desired changes. Theologically, we have said that "God is love," and then have interpreted Him in terms of our own hatreds, our own limited ideals, our narrow theologies, and our separative attitudes. We have recognized Christ as the great Server of the race, and have pointed to Him as the example of what is possible. But we accord no general service, and that quality is not yet the motivating power in the life of the world. It is motivating life more definitely than ever before, but the efforts that are now being made - twenty centuries after Christ left us with the command to follow in His steps - only serve to show how slow we have been, how much remains to be done, and how desperately men need to be served by those who have vision and the love of God in their hearts. It is obvious how little love there is used in the world at this time. The essential thing to remember is that the reason we can recognize God as a God of love is that we are ourselves, basically and potentially, Godlike in quality. This in itself constitutes a problem, for unless the divine in us is somewhat awakened it is difficult for us to interpret love correctly, and it is impossible for the masses of men, who are yet upon the path of becoming, and in many cases are scarcely human beings, to understand the real significance of love.

The understanding of love and the expression of love are strictly personal matters. Love can remain indefinitely a theory or an emotional experience. It can become a motivating factor in life and something which we contribute to the whole. If each would think out for himself the meaning of love in his life, and if all would decide to give love and understanding (not emotional reactions, but steady, [268] steadfast, understanding love), then the tangles in this troubled world of ours would straighten out, and it would be an easier place in which to live. The present chaos and turmoil would then more rapidly disappear. Love is essentially the realization of brotherhood. It is the recognition that we are all the children of the One Father; it is pity and compassion and understanding and patience. It is the true expression of the life of God.

If the first requirement of the man who seeks to prepare himself for the Mysteries of Jesus is obedience to the highest which he can sense and know, and the second is the practice of love, the third is the development of that sensitivity and inner attention by means of which he can arrive at the significance and the condition of inspiration. This is not in any sense the development of psychic faculty as usually understood; it is present among God's children in many forms, from that of attention to the inner voice of conscience and duty (two of the lowest forms of inspiration) to that high spiritual attainment which finds expression in the inspired scriptures of the world.

Unless there is this inspiration, it is not possible for a man to enter into the temple and to commune with That which is introducing him to the subtle processes of initiation. The first Initiator is the soul itself, the divine self in man, the spiritual man, who stands behind the screen of the outer man, and who struggles to control and work through the outer personality. It is that soul or self which opens to man the door of inspiration and reveals to him the nature of his divine consciousness, attuning his ear to catch the sound of that "Voice which speaks in the silence" - when a man has quieted all the outer voices.

The attainment of the faculty of inspiration is essential to any progress upon the path of initiation, and it presupposes a development of intelligence which will enable a man to make the necessary differentiations. True inspiration is not in any sense the welling-up of the subconscious self or mind; nor is it the releasing in man of the flood of ideas and [269] thoughts which are his - racial, national or family; it is not the tuning in on the world of thought which can so easily be done by those in whom a certain quality of telepathic rapport is developed. Nor is it listening to the many voices which can make themselves heard when a man succeeds in becoming so utterly negative and so emptied of all intelligent thought that the sounds, the ideas and the suggestions of the world of psychic phenomena very easily intrude. This happens usually when the standard of intelligence is of a relatively low order. Inspiration is something entirely different. It is a penetration into the world of thought and ideas to which Christ listened when He heard a Voice, and the Father spoke to Him. It is the intuitive response of an intelligent mind to impressions coming from the soul and from the world of souls. The speech of the kingdom then becomes familiar to us. We are in touch with those liberated souls who are functioning in that kingdom, and the waves of thought and the ideas which they seek to impress upon the minds of men find their way into circulation through the attuned minds of the disciples of the world. This is inspiration, and this is the faculty for which aspirants everywhere should begin to train themselves, and which must be attained in the world of everyday living. It is a power which is generated through the processes of right meditation; it is an expression of the soul, working through the mind, and thus actuating the brain with impulses which are purely spiritual. Inspiration is responsible for all the new ideas and the developing ideals of our modern world. The age of inspiration is not gone and past; it is present here and now. God still speaks to men, for this world of ours still provides adequate facilities for the development of those qualities which are characteristic of the Christ in the human heart, the soul, the son of God in incarnation, dwelling in this vale of tears, or as it has been called, this "vale of soul-making."

But to achieve this definite and conscious soul contact, the aspirant has to learn obedience through the things which he [270] suffers, and he has also to practice the task of loving. This is not easy. It calls for discipline, for ceaseless effort and striving, for that conquest of self which means a daily crucifixion, and for that close attention which never takes its eyes from the goal, but which is always conscious of purpose, of progress and of orientation. The wonder of the process is that it can be carried forward here and now, in the situation in which we find ourselves, without demanding the least deviation from the place of duty and responsibility.

Such is the goal for the man who seeks to stand with Christ in the founding of the kingdom, thus fulfiling the will of God. There is no other objective worthy of man's attention, nor one which will so absorb every power he has, every gift and talent he possesses, and every moment of his being. Today the call is going forth for Servers of the race, and for men and women who will work at the task of perfecting the self in order that they may be better equipped to serve their fellow men and God in man.

We are told that when we enter the world of ideals, "the differences between religions become negligible and the agreements striking. There is only one ideal for man, to make himself profoundly human. 'Be ye perfect.' The whole man, the complete man, is the ideal man, the divine man." On the path of purification we discover how weak and faulty is the lower personal man; on the path of discipleship we work at the unfoldment of those qualities which are characteristic of the man who is ready to tread the Way and be born in Bethlehem. Then we shall know the truth about ourselves and God, shall know through attainment whether what we are told is fact or not. We are told that "...no one can rightly understand the historic truth of such documents as the Gospels unless he has first experienced within himself the mystical meaning which they contain... Angelus Silesius of the seventeenth century has already expressed the whole of the critical attitude toward this kind of investigation:

" 'Though Christ were yearly born in Bethlehem and never
Had birth in you yourself, then were you lost for ever; [271]
And if within yourself it is not reared again
The Gross at Golgotha can save you not from pain.' "
- Quoted in The Way of Initiation, by Rudolf Steiner, p. 46.

Self knowledge leads one to God knowledge. It is the first step. Purification of the self leads one up to the portal of initiation, and then one can tread the Way that Christ trod from Bethlehem to Calvary.

We are human beings, but we are also divine. We are citizens of the kingdom, although we have not yet claimed and entered into our divine heritage. Inspiration is pouring in all the time; love is latent in every human heart. Only obedience is required at the first step, and when that is rendered, service, which is the expression of love, and inspiration, which is the influence of the kingdom, become a definite part of our life expression. This is what Christ came to reveal; it is the Word which He sounded forth. He has demonstrated to us our human and divine possibilities, and by accepting the fact of our dual but divine nature we can begin to aid in the founding and expressing of the kingdom.

The realization must come to us that "the highest, purest and absolutely adequate expression of the mystery of man is Christ the God-man. He alone really and finally places human nature in the right light. His appearance in history entitles man to regard himself as more than a mere creature. If there is really a God-man there is also a Man-god, that is 'man' who has received the godhead into himself... the Man-god is collective and universal, that is to say, mankind as a whole or a world-church. For it is only in communion with all his fellow men that man can receive God." (Wrestlers with Christ, by Karl Pfleger, p. 235.)

The individual attitude to the example of Christ is therefore obedience to the command that we achieve perfection. But the motive must be the one that incited Christ to all His divine activity - the founding of the new kingdom and the attainment of that state of consciousness on a universal and human scale which will make out of the human being [272] a citizen of the kingdom, consciously functioning therein, voluntarily subject to its laws, and striving steadfastly for its extension on earth. He is the messenger of the kingdom; and the raising of the consciousness of his fellow men, so that they can transcend themselves, becomes his self-appointed task. The sharing with them of the benefits of the kingdom, and the strengthening of them as they tread the difficult path to the gate which admits into that kingdom, become the only dear and immediate duty. The soul who has made contact with the lower expression, the personal self, sweeps that self on to the path of Service. The man cannot then rest until he has led others into the Way and toward the freedom of the sons of God which distinguishes the new and coming kingdom.

The new religion is on the way, and it is one for which all previous religions have prepared us. It differs only in that it will no longer be distinguished by dogmas and doctrines, but will be essentially an attitude of mind, an orientation to life, to man and to God. It will also be a living service. Selfishness and self-centered interests will finally be ruled out, for the kingdom of God is the life of the corporate whole, sensed and desired by all its citizens, and worked for and expressed by all who tread the Way. Initiation is nothing more than the process of developing within us the powers and faculties of this new and higher kingdom, which powers release one into a wider world, and tend to make one sensible of the organic whole in place of the part. Individualism and separatedness will disappear as that kingdom comes into being. The collective consciousness is its major expression and quality. It is the next definite and clearly indicated step upon the evolutionary Path, and there is no escape from this issue. We cannot prevent ourselves from finally becoming conscious of the larger whole, or actively participating in its unified life. However, it is possible to hasten the coming of the kingdom, and the need of the world at this time, and the general turning of men towards the world of ideas, would seem to indicate that the time has come for the making of [273] that extra effort which will precipitate the appearance of the kingdom and bring forth into manifestation that which is awaiting immediate revelation. This is the challenge which today confronts the Christian Church. The need is for vision, wisdom and that wide tolerance which will see divinity on every hand and recognize the Christ in every human being.

As we grasp the significance of the kingdom of God we begin to understand what is meant by the Church of Christ, and the meaning of that "cloud of witnesses" (Heb., XII, 1.) by which we are so constantly surrounded. The kingdom of God is not some one particular church with its own peculiar doctrines, its particular formulations of truth, its specialized method of government upon earth and of approach to God.

The true Church is the kingdom of God on earth, divorced from all clerical government and composed of all, regardless of race or creed, who live by the light within, who have discovered the fact of the mystical Christ in their hearts, and are preparing to tread the Way of Initiation. The kingdom is not composed of orthodox theologically minded people. Its citizenship is wider than that, and includes every human being who is thinking in larger terms than the individual, the orthodox, the national and the racial. The members of the coming kingdom will think in terms of humanity as a whole; and as long as they are separative or nationalistic, or religiously bigoted, or commercially selfish, they have no place in that kingdom. The word spiritual will be given a far wider connotation than that which has been given in the old age which is fortunately now passing. All forms of life will be regarded from the angle of spiritual phenomena, and we shall no longer regard one activity as spiritual and another as not. The question of motive, purpose and group usefulness will determine the spiritual nature of an activity. To work for the whole; to be occupied with the aiding of the group; to be cognizant of One Life pulsing through all forms, and to work in the consciousness that all men are brothers - these are the initial qualities which a citizen of the kingdom [274] must show. The human family is individually self-conscious and this stage of the separative consciousness has been a needed and useful one; but the time has arrived when we are aware of greater contacts, of wider implications, and of a more general inclusiveness.

How will this condition of God's kingdom materialize on earth? By the gradual and steady increase of the numbers of those who are citizens of that kingdom living their lives on earth and demonstrating the qualities and the consciousness which is characteristic of such citizens; by men and women everywhere cultivating the wider consciousness, and becoming more and more inclusive. "Any reflection," Dr. Hocking tells us, "that can infallibly break the walls of the Self, opens up at once an infinite World-field. Set a second to my One, and I have given all the numbers." (The Meaning of God in Human Experience, by W. E. Hocking, p. 315.) And he gives us the clue to the process which must be cultivated in this work of essential unity by saying that "... the true mystic is he who holds to the reality of both worlds, and leaves to time and effort the understanding of their union." (Ibid., p. 399.) The kingdom of God is not divorced from practical daily living upon the level of everyday affairs. The citizen of the kingdom is world-conscious and God-conscious. His lines of contact are clearly delineated in both directions: he is interested not in himself, but in God and his fellow men, and his duty to God is worked out through the love he feels and shows for those around him. He knows no barriers and recognizes no divisions; he is living - as a soul - in every aspect of his nature, through his mind and his emotions, and on the physical plane of life. He works through love and in love and because of the love of God.

A close study of the Gospel story and a spirited attention to the words of Christ will make apparent that the three outstanding characteristics of His work and the three main lines of His activity are intended to be ours also. These three are, as we have seen, first, the achieving of perfection and its [275] demonstrating through the five great events which we call the crises in the life of Christ, the five major initiations of the Orient and of the esoteric schools; secondly, the founding of the kingdom - a responsibility which rests upon each of us, because, though Christ certainly opened the door into the kingdom, the rest of the work rests upon our shoulders; thirdly, the attaining of immortality, based on the development of that within ourselves which is of the nature of the real, which has true value and which deserves to stand the test of immortality. This last thought is one which warrants our attention. Arresting in its implication, it is sadly and deeply true that "...man, as he exists today, is not capable of survival. He must change or perish. Man, as he is, is not the last word of creation. If he does not, if he cannot, adapt himself and his institutions to the new world, he will yield his place to a species more sensitive and less gross in its nature. If man cannot do the work demanded of him, another creature who can, will arise." (The Supreme Spiritual Ideal, by S. Radhakrishnan, in The Hibbert Journal, October, 1936, p. 33.)

Such has always been the evolutionary plan. The life of God has constructed for itself vehicle after vehicle, in order to manifest, and kingdom has succeeded kingdom. The same great expansion is imminent today. Man, the self-conscious being, can differ radically from the forms of life in the other kingdoms because he can go forward upon the wave of God's life in full consciousness. He can share in the "joy of the Lord" as the wider reaches of consciousness become his; he can know the nature of that bliss which is the outstanding condition of God's nature. There is no need for human failure, nor for a definite break in the continuity of revelation. There is that in man which can enable him to bridge the gap between the kingdom in which he finds himself and the new kingdom on the horizon. Human beings who are citizens of both kingdoms - the human and the spiritual - are with us today as always. They move with freedom in either world, and Christ Himself gave us the perfect demonstration [276] of that citizenship and told us that we could do "even greater things" than He had done. Such is the glorious future towards which man is oriented today, and for which all world events are preparing him.

The preparation for this kingdom is the task of discipleship and constitutes the arduous discipline of the fivefold way of initiation. The work of the disciple is the founding of the kingdom, and the primary characteristic of its citizens is immortality. They are members of a Deathless Race, and the final enemy which they overcome is death; they function consciously in or out of the body and care not which it is; they have life everlasting because there is in them that which cannot die, being of the nature of God. To be immortal because one's sins are forgiven seems an inadequate reason to an intelligent mind; to have everlasting life because Christ died two thousand years ago does not prove satisfactory to the man who is conscious of his own responsibility and his own identity; to live for ever because one is religious, or has accepted certain forms of belief, is a reason repudiated by the man who is aware of his own inner power and nature; to base one's faith in survival upon tradition or even upon an innate sense of persistence does not seem sufficient. We know much about the power and tenacity of self-preservation and the creative urge to self-perpetuation. Perhaps these two are simply carried forward in an idealistic sense as man faces finality.

Yet there is innate in humanity the sense of belonging elsewhere; there is a divine discontent which must surely have a basis in some natural inheritance which is the guarantee of our origin. This reaching out towards a larger and fuller life is just as much a human characteristic as the normal tendency of the individual to reach toward family life and social contacts. It is therefore just as capable of achievement as that tendency, and to this the testimony of the ages contributes. Personal salvation is, after all, of small importance unless it has place in a more general and universal salvaging. Promise is held out in the Bible that "he that doeth the will [277] of God abideth for ever," (I St. John, II, 17.) and in these words we have the clue. There has been a tendency to think that when God created man His will to expression had been perfectly satisfied. There is surely no real basis for this belief. If God is not capable of producing something of far greater perfection than humanity, and if the life which pours through the natural world is not working towards something greater, finer and more beautiful than anything yet produced, then God is not divine in the sense in which this term is usually accepted. We demand of God far more than this - greatness beyond anything that has yet been shown us. We believe that this is possible. We rest back upon divinity, and are assured that it will not fail us. But revelation of the ultimate perfection, whatever that may be (and we should not limit God by any of our own preconceived ideas), may require the unfolding in man of powers and a mechanism which will enable him to recognize it, to share in its wonder and its larger sphere of contacts. We ourselves may have to change in order to express the divine as Christ expressed it, before God can go on to the manifestation of the beauty of the hidden kingdom. God needs man's cooperation. He calls for men to do His will. We have looked upon this as a way to our own individual good, which perhaps has been a wrong attitude. We may arise and carry forward the inner Plan by equipping ourselves towards perfection, in order that God may "see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied." (Isaiah, LIII, 11.) We may constitute God's crucial experiment. The germ of divine life is in us, but we ourselves have something to do about it, and the time has come when humanity as a whole must apply itself to the fostering of the divine life within the racial form.

It is our immediate duty therefore, in the interests of the kingdom whose citizens are immortal, to unfold that which in ourselves is divine, and whose characteristics can be known by the sense of value, by the attribute of light, and by the nature of its love and loves. Full expression of the "Hidden [278] Man of the Heart" is the need today. The revelation of the Self within the self is the demand. It is this self, nurtured, fostered, then trained and developed, which is the immortal aspect in man, and for this self are we responsible. There is no evading this, nor is there evading of the fact that we are part of a whole, and that only as Christ enters into recognition by the entire race and is expressed by humanity as a whole, shall we achieve that for which we have been created - the fulfiling of the will of God, as Christ fulfiled it. We need to transcend the inferiority complex which rises up in questioning when such words occur as the above phrase: "As Christ fulfiled it." A book earlier quoted states that this idea of a personal Christ must be eclipsed and superseded by Christ as the life and hope in all of us. It is only the uniquely significant who understand the true inner meaning of immortality. Those in whom the sense of values is subordinated to the values of the soul, whose consciousness is that of eternity, are eternal in their living processes. This we must remember.

Are we interested in the vital whole? Is the welfare of the race of real moment to us? Are we willing to sacrifice everything to the good of the whole? These are questions which are of importance to the individual aspirant, and which he must answer if he is to understand clearly what he is attempting to do. This process of giving deference to the whole has been summed up for us by Dr. Schweitzer, who presents to us such a wonderful picture of the kingdom of God. He says that:

"Civilization, put quite simply, consists in our giving ourselves, as human beings, to the effort to attain the perfecting of the human race and the actualization of progress of every sort in the circumstances of humanity and of the objective world. This mental attitude, however, involves a double predisposition: firstly, we must be prepared to act affirmatively toward the world and life; secondly, we must become ethical.

"Only when we are able to attribute a real meaning to the world and to life shall we be able also to give ourselves to such action as [279] will produce results of real value. As long as we look on our existence in the world as meaningless, there is no point whatever in desiring to effect anything in the world. We become workers for that universal spiritual and material progress which we call civilization only in so far as we affirm that the world and life possess some sort of meaning, or, which is the same thing, only in so far as we think optimistically.

"Civilization originates when men become inspired by a strong and clear determination to attain progress, and consecrate themselves, as a result of this determination, to the service of life and of the world. It is only in ethics that we can find the driving force for such action, transcending as it does, the limits of our own existence.

"Nothing of real value in the world is ever accomplished without enthusiasm and self-sacrifice."

- The Decay and Restoration of Civilization, by Albert Schweitzer, p. VIII, preface.

No man who cannot attain to the consciousness of the true values is yet ready for the immortality which is the prerogative of the sons of God. The building of that inner structure which is the spiritual body is carried on by means of purification, perfecting, meditation and initiation, and above all else, by service. There is no other way. The true values to which the initiate gives his life are those of the spirit, of the kingdom of God, those which concern the whole and which lay no primary emphasis upon the individual. They are expressed through expansion, service and conscious incorporation in the whole. They are to be summed up in the one word Service. They are expressed through inclusiveness and non-separateness. It is here that the Church, as usually understood, meets its major challenge. Is it spiritual enough to let go of theology and become truly human? Is it interested enough to widen its horizon and recognize as truly Christian all who demonstrate the Christ spirit, whether they be Hindu, Mohammedan, or Buddhist, whether they are labeled by any name other than that of orthodox Christian?

Another basic thought emerges out of all that we have considered. It is whether or not we are today transiting out of the age of authority into the age of experience, and whether [280] this transition does not indicate that the race is rapidly preparing for initiation. We are revolting from doctrines, having very little use for them, and the reason, Dr. Dewey tells us, is that "...adherence to any body of doctrines and dogmas based upon a specific authority signifies distrust in the power of experience to provide, in its own ongoing movement, the needed principles of belief and action. Faith in its newer sense signifies that experience itself is the sole ultimate authority." (Quoted in Reality and Illusion, by Richard Rothschild, p. 320.) It is obvious that this connotes not uniformity but a recognition of our essential unity.


Thus step by step we have followed the Christ in His stupendous task, and we have studied the task in its uniqueness. He did something of such significance for the race that only today are we in a position to grasp it. So occupied have we been with our own individual salvation and our own hope of heaven that the really unique things which Christ did have largely escaped our observation. That He followed in the steps of many of God's children who, in their day and generation, had served, suffered, and brought the world salvation, remains unquestioned; that He gave us an example of perfected humanity such as the world had never previously seen is equally unchallenged. The greatest of the previous sons of God, the Buddha, after much struggle arrived at illumination, and blazed the trail for humanity up to and through the portal of initiation. But Christ was perfect, having (dare we say during some previous cycle of lives?) learned obedience through the things which He had suffered. That He overcame death and opened the gates of immortality to all humanity is likewise true. But since the first dawn of human history men have always suffered for each other; they have again and again, here one and there another, achieved perfection and disappeared from human view. The divine spark in man has always rendered him immortal. Men have always [281] sensed their divinity, and they have always reached out their hands and their hearts to God. The sons of the Father have never forgotten the Father's home, no matter how far away they may have wandered. God has always equally sought after us, and from century to century He has sent His messengers as an embodiment of His remembrance.

But Christ came as a special Messenger. He came to found the kingdom of God on earth and to institute a new and tangible expression of Deity upon our planet. His mission has not failed. The kingdom is now organized upon earth and is composed of those men and women everywhere who have lost sight of their own individual salvation and hope of heaven because they know that unless heaven can express itself here and now it is but a futile hope. They are occupied with the processes of self-perfection and self-purification because they seek to serve their fellowmen more efficiently and adequately, and thus "glorify their Father which is in heaven." (Matt., V, 16.) They are not interested in self-aggrandizement nor with the making of claims of any kind - beyond the one stupendous claim that they are sons of God, as are we all; they do not prate of initiation or call themselves initiates; they are satisfied to walk among men as those who serve and who are citizens of the kingdom of God. They are the world servers, and their only interest is in following the steps of Him Who went about doing good and proclaiming the tidings of the kingdom. They do not say that theirs is the only way into the kingdom, but to those who do not know Christ they say: "Little children, love one another." They do not condemn those who know nothing of Christ's sacrifice upon the Cross, but they say to those who seek the way; "Take up thy cross" and follow Christ. To their fellow disciples they bring constantly the reminder that "except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone," and they set themselves the goal of the new birth. The bulk of the thinking, well-meaning men and women of the world are today [282] going up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem. Some, perhaps more than one can estimate, are passing on their way to the Baptism in Jordan, whilst a few are valiantly climbing the Mount of Transfiguration. One here and there may be steadfastly setting his face to go to Jerusalem, there to be crucified; but these are rare. Most of us are learning, in the daily dying to self, to fit ourselves for the final Crucifixion initiation, and by the constant renunciation of everything that holds back the expression of divinity qualifying for that tremendous spiritual experience which ever preceded the Resurrection, and which is called the Great Renunciation.

Let us vision clearly just where we stand upon the Path of Evolution. Have we yet set our feet upon the Path of Probation, that difficult path of purification which is a necessary first step? Or are we definitely upon the Path of Discipleship, knowing what we are doing, cultivating the finer values and those distinctive qualities which are the hall mark of manifesting divinity?

The only incentive which will be strong enough (or which ever has been strong enough) to enable a man to tread the fivefold way to the Center from which the Word goes forth is a realization of the deep and distressing need of our modern world for revelation, for pure example and for loving service. There is no way by which this sad and war-torn world of ours can be saved and men's lives transfigured except by a manifestation of the spirit of God. Instead of waiting for God to take action and send some Savior (Who would probably not be recognized any more than Christ was), the time has come, and mankind has evolved sufficiently, for the divine life within it to surge forth and up to God, calling forth His response, His recognition, which we have seen Him repeat time and time again. He is willing to accord. We are His children and we are beginning to live divinely, thinking (as He thinks) in terms of the whole and not in terms of the separative and selfish individual. Now is a time of crisis when all human beings are needed, and the call goes forth for each [283] to make that extra effort towards unselfishness, and that mental push towards clarity of thought, which will transform us from well-meaning aspirants into clear-sighted disciples animated by a spirit of love and goodwill to all men, irrespective of race or creed or color.

This religious will is in expression now, not turned to theology or to the formation of doctrines and occupied with their enforcement, but to love and service, forgetting self, giving the uttermost that is possible for the helping of the world. This will breaks down all barriers and elevates the children of men wherever the will to be so helped is found. And it is something that is organizing slowly in the world today, its quality that of universality, and its technique that of loving service. Men everywhere are responding to the same inner spiritual impulse which is illustrated for us in the beautiful tale which is related of the Buddha. It runs as follows:

"In the belief that He had attained unto the last stage of perfection the Buddha was about to abandon existence in finite space and time, to relinquish all sorrow and suffering for the pure being of bliss universal and eternal.

At that moment a buzzing gnat was snapped up by a passing bat.

'Stay,' mused the Enlightened One, 'the state of perfection I am entering is but perfection of myself, a unique perfection, my wholeness is a unique wholeness; not yet then am I a being universal. Other beings still suffer imperfection, existence, and resultant death. Compassion unto these still awakes within me when I contemplate their suffering.

'The way of life unto perfection I have, in truth and in deed, illuminated for them: but can they tread that way without me?

'The unique perfection of myself I dreamed, the perfection of my own character and personality is but imperfection while one other being - one single gnat - still suffers imperfection of its identical kind.

'No being may reach bliss alone: all must reach it together, and that, the unique bliss proper to each. For am I not in every other being and is not every other being in me?' [284]

With still small voice in every self thus speaketh the Buddha, by its inspiration to inner character, its aspiration to outer personality, perpetually transmuting this self into not-self, each reality dependent on the other, an everlasting way of life to tread to perfection of each, of all."

- Eros and Psyche, by Benchara Branford, p. 355.

Christ emphasizes the same lesson, and always His disciples have sought, in their place and time, to teach the law of service.

Sometimes it seems as if the two extremes lived on in the consciousness of man - the notorious and ambitious, and the great world servers. Hitherto the sequence has been: service of ourselves, of our family, of those we love, of some leader, some cause, some school of politics or religion. The time has come when service must expand and express itself on broader and more inclusive lines, and we must learn to serve as Christ served, to love all men as He loved them and, by the potency of our spiritual vitality and the quality of our service, stimulate all we meet so that they too can serve and love and become members of the kingdom. When this is seen clearly, and when we are ready to make the needed sacrifices and renunciations, there will be a more rapid manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth. The call is not for fanatics or for the rabid devotee who, in attempting to express it, has so marred divinity. The call is for sane and normal men and women who can comprehend the situation, face what must be done, and then give their lives to expressing for the world the qualities of the citizens of the kingdom of Souls: love, wisdom, silence, non-separativeness and freedom from hatreds and partisan, creedal beliefs. When such men can be gathered together in large numbers (and they are gathering rapidly) we shall have the fulfilment of the angels' song at Bethlehem,
"On earth peace, good will toward men."