vol. 3, p. 238
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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For the Spiritual Scientist


In response to a request made by the editor of the Spiritual Scientist, the author, who is but a novice in the Rosicrucic mysteries, proposes a series of brief papers on a subject which has begun to excite the interest of the more advanced Spiritualists throughout the country. The “shot fired round the world” at Rochester thirty years ago has not yet lost its momentum, but still shows its force in the millions of believers to-day through all Christendom.

In spite of fraud and corruption among self-styled Spiritualists, in spite of the jeers and ridicule of pseudo-scientists, the movement has progressed to gigantic proportions. To this vast audience the author addresses himself, trusting that their charity will excuse any and all of his short-comings, and that their interest in so profound a subject may enable him to enter with them into a pleasant, intellectual communion.

Yet he feels much diffidence in approaching his theme. Conscious that his work will come under the gaze of adepts of higher order's, to whom it may seem as the mere· alphabet of knowledge, or of critics and cynics to whom it may appear as an idle jargon of empty words, he almost hesitates at putting the plow to the furrow.

He is comforted, however, in the hope that through his humble instrumentality many a believer may be assisted in advancing towards the higher realms of thought and wisdom and that a few more rays of light from the archaic altars may illumine the shadows of to-day.

Within the past few years some attempt has been made to solve the mystery of life by scientific investigation. The facts and theories in regard to the correlation and conservation of force, advanced by Count Rumford. Grove, Faraday, and Liebig have started new methods of investigating life. It is determined that light, heat, electricity, and motion are all convertible material affections; assuming' either as the cause, one of the others will be the effect. So much electricity produces so much heat, so much magnetism so much light. This has lead to the generalization that no force is ever annihilated—forces may change, or rather interchange, amid all these energic transmutations, but no force is ever lost. All matter now existent has been from time everlasting. What in reality-matter is has not as yet been shown by science or speculation. Of late the theory, first enunciated by the genius of Boscovitsh, that all matter is a static combination of forces has justly engaged the attention of philosophers, it will be thus seen that the law of dynamic conservation embraces the universe. It directs the movements of the stars and holds in ordered activity the procession of the firmament; all force is. was, and is to be—and is “portion and parcel of the dead unknown.”

From the ultimate essence have sprung or evolved the countless varieties and concatenations of force and matter, all interdependent, and all cognate with the unknown centre. Thus do the latest researches and doctrines but echo the utterances of the teachers of old.

The oriental philosophers taught the same dogma but in grander forms; to them the universe was of God, was God—there was no God but the combined forces and laws manifested in the great universe; Their pantheism has endured and perdured through the ages. The Greek sages in the early purity of their faith like Pope’s Indian, saw God in clouds and heard him in the wind.

The philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato permeated Gnosticism in their interpretations of Scripture,—when they taught that all natures, intelligible, intellectual, and material are derived by successive emanations, or eons (aiones) from the ever-welling fountain of deity.

Through all ages and in every land there have been those who saw and wrote in eternal words the oracles of the infinite. Few indeed they were,—few indeed can be those, who deny to themselves the pleasures of this world to revel in the joys of the soul. To. them the words of Zarathustra were no mere symbols,—nor meaningless were the sacred sentences of the Vedas. The Mischna and Gemara, the old and new testaments,—all of the ethnic songs of the race spoke to them in a hidden tongue.

Therefore we claim, that at this day, when the whole scientific world is awakening at new and startling revelations, be cause of the magnitude of the field we are in danger of passing over the greatest of great mysteries. There are a few minds, which, either in their greatness or happy in the secret possession of the richest wisdom, are awaiting their time when scientific turbulence shall have subsided, to give unto the world the fruits of their ripest knowledge. Like the ancient gymnosophists, who invented (?) the ever-burning mystic flame, they are still unwilling that the world should share with them the secret of secrets. Like the alchemists, to them the splendor and tawdriness of human life have no charms. Having rent the curtains of the inner temple, they laugh at the vanities of book science, and are immeasurably above earth and its pettiness, until, as Jennings has said, “the very possession of the heights of knowledge induces them rather to stay up there a midst the stars than descend.” These men have for us words of fire struck out from the eternal rock of absolute truth. The Darwins and Spencers of today are but their servants, who have helped the halt and the blind up one step on the great stairway of knowledge. The theory oh evolution presents but a fragment of the truth, and the same law, which in their blindness evolutionists refuse to follow beyond the material, should serve to carry them into the realms of the spiritual, where it works out its greatest justification and its noblest triumphs. For the leading fault of our times is a dogmatic littleness which persistently de­clines to open its ey es least it should be forced to see. But even the blindest are becoming conscious that, in the history of the human» mind, Cabalism, Alchemy and Rosicrucianism have not been accorded their proper place, and that the great nursing-mother of all later intelligence, Ancient Egypt, has been overlooked with a rare perversity. Many are conversant with the Nilotic liturgical formulas, but a knowledge of the esoteric religious ideas within these as symbolic manifestations is confined to a remarkably small circle. For the intricate by-ways of religious hermeneutics need the profundity and continuous thought of the greatest minds;—no mean soul can ever scale the stairway of the Divine.

Who can trace the central solar conception through the length and breadth of those radiant ideas and ceremonies? Can we look the great Ra in the face and not be blinded by his splendor? Can we raise the dim veil from Isis and Osiris?

If pre-christian Rome has perpetuated herself by the adoption of a new religion from the East, we can see shining through as a germinal principle the cultus of Elagobal, and the measure of its inherent truth is the measure of its inheritance from the Cabala and the mystic learning of the Orient. The scientific presumption that the end has been reached is as sadly ludicrous and as unphilosophical as the cosmic myth of the World-tortoise. Sabaism converted Christianity, and cabalism shall convert science As the Christian “Dies Natalis” is nothing more than the “Dies Natalis solis invicti,” so the discovery of heat as a mode of motion and of life will be found to be the basic idea of the ancient system of the Sunrise. The modern thinker iterates in English prose the wondrous melody of Chaldea’s greatest son, but O! with far less discernment, dignity or truth, when he proclaims “Glorious Apollo is the parent of us all; Animal heat is solar heat; a blush is a stray sunbeam; Life is bottled sunshine, and Death is the silent-footed butler who draws the cork.”

Before the Ain-soph (En-soph) whom Spencer has unwittingly discovered, the thought of India, the formulas of Egypt, and the science of modern christendom stand forever reconciled, in perfect harmony.

If, then, the Cabalists who stood nearest to creation, saw and explained the causes of all life, all form, all law almost in the words of Spencer, so far as they go,—if the world, having forgotten them for ages, now awakens to the truth of a part of their teachings, where is the logic in denying the truth of the remainder thereof, if such remainder flows naturally from what precedes? Now that it has taken thousands of years to prove to our satisfaction the truth of their premises, and if we now at least find therein no error, no flaw, is it not more than irrational, worse than suicidal to reject the deductions that logically ensue? These teachings can alone explain the great central truths of the universe, developed already in Brahmanism, Zarathustrism, Islamism, Mosaism, Christianity, and the godless science of the latter-day enquirers.

Concluded next week.

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Editor's notes

  1. Rosicrucianism by unknown author (signed as Hiraf *****), Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 17, July 1, 1875, p. 202. For the Spiritual Scientist