We have heard of the charity of the new life, we have heard of the Crown of Life, and in the first breath of inspiration, and in the first influx of mystic love, we came among you, o illuminated congregation, and laid upon the altar of your sanctuary, and upon the white cloth of the altar, the chaplet or rosary of Israel, and the wreath of the litanies of Lucasta. Among the leaves and the flowers thereof we would believe that there is still lingering a gentle fragrance which is sweet in the nostrils of some of you who do worship and minister in that most interior sanctuary. Perchance in the scrolls of those litanies, and among the song-tablets there are hidden chords of melody, such as linger in deep sea shells and in withdrawn recesses of cliff-honeycombing caverns, whereof the gates open on the windy and solitary ocean. But the stars in the eyes of Israel, and the jeweled glittering of Lucasta, which are the Lights of the New Age, are the transfiguring glory of the perfect man and of the perfect woman; Israfel and Lucasta are types of the joy to come, of that joy whereupon our hearts are set, and in such direction are unified with all law and all providence, with the desire of the day and the night, and of the stars in their gyration – the delight of the “day of compensation”, attained by the writer of Diana Unveiled, in the “Manifestation of the Hermetic Swan.” Oh, not more faithfully does the dread, and grans sea follow upon the splendid pageant of the moon in her beauty, than do our hearts, our thoughts, our dreams, for ever follow upon that vision of all high thinking which is the end of universal development, till that which once ranked as a mere law, discovered and expounded by science and expressed in the imperfect language of the physical gnosis, is invested with a scared aspect, impinges upon the sphere of religion, and helps us itself to God by all that it reveals to us of the God within ourselves!
It comes, the beautiful, the free,
The crown of all humanity.
We have heard of the religion of geology, and many other branches of knowledge have been pressed into the service of theologies; but there is in all truth a supreme religion of evolution, for holy, holy, holy is that law, working with and without us, which develops us unto the full stature of the perfect man. It is a mode of progressive manifestation on the part of our latent possibilities, our potential divinity, and on the part of that indefinable quality of good will towards man which constitutes the favorable element of his external environment. In the vital and essential sense of an oft-misapplied term, does the religious principle enter into any conscious attempt to put in force that law, whereof the ultimate end is a perfect and permanent correspondence between God, man, and the universe.
‘That is far distant, that is far removed”, but there is no true way of life, or of blessedness, which leads in another direction. The higher certainty which transcends the narrow limits of evidence does ever, in our higher moments, show forth such end, and overwhelms the rational faculty by a decree of positive intuition; at the moment we know that it is true, that it is without error, that it is the sum of verity;
We feel the wish across the mind
Rush, like a rocket tearing up the sky,
That we should join with God;
and yet if the wish should shape the will, if the will should create a way, and ever the divine magnet should draw the true metal of the desiring mind, far, oh, how far even then is the grand event, though the whole mechanism of the vast creation may be moving, with the man, to meet it. But in our present sphere of environment there is also a desired event, and here it may be truly said, that the perfection of humanity is the sole and only end. “Man,” says the Quietist, St. Jure, “is the king and prodigy of all things visible.” He is also the mystical Aristolochia, “the splendid white flower which is red inside, like the Stone of the Philosophers itself,” as it is affirmed in the Astrum Solis. There is indeed no good begun which has ultimately another object. Is it the researches of science? They are for the amelioration or instruction of mankind. Is it the aspirations of religion? They are nourished for his interior exaltation. Is it the glory of God, which theology dreams can be increased in its accidental aspect? Then man is magnified in a process which institutes a peculiar relation with Deity, and represents him as an instrument in the extension of divine beatitude. Is it, once more, the poet’s vision? Then, assuredly, its object is to beautify the life of man, to transfigure his environment, to idealize his form of subsistence, to actualize, about him, and in him, all that is most transcendental in the transcendent creations of sublimed intelligence. The “splendor of wit which springs a thunderbolt,” the “satire which burns and purifies the world,” the “true aim,” and the “fair purpose,” all forms which thought may take, all principles which may energize action, all laws which may rule in expression, exist and act with man for their end, as he is also their agent. From whatever point on the horizon of possibility we may elect to start, we must end in man.
In a particular and eminent way, the transcendental philosophy deals with the one, universal, and eternal subject, for ever beginning and never ending, in its highest aspect; and in this book of philosophical transcendence we have labored, 0 Sons of the Doctrine, to focus all that has been conceived and dreamed under the prophetic influence of the “far hyaline of light” concerning the grandeur and beauty and perfection of the supreme summit of evolution whereon Man shall one day stand; to enquire also by what processes it may be possible to attain that beatified subsistence. But there is the race, and there are the individuals who compose it, and our mystic research is concerned with both, with the race here manifested, in sphered here among the fluxional pageantry and emblazonment of the phenomenal world, yet not less with the permanent individualities that lay aside ever and continually their vanishing personal part, their conditioned and exterior manifestation, and are withdrawn into the noumenal world, into the realities which subtend, into the sphere of the Heaven of Paracelsus — the eternal “quintessence.” Of them what?
Travelers, in what realm afar,
In what planet, in what star,
In what vast aerial space,
Shines the light upon their face?
To both sections of the supreme question Mysticism can offer reverently the philosophic breadth and fullness of a perfect answer; it offers what all can test who will, what all can attempt who dare, what all can achieve who try. For the work of this magic all men are natural magicians, who, at least, are children of aspiration. So is it for the children of aspiration alone that we incite this book, which, in abasement of ashen humility, is presented as some attempt towards a rectilineal way unto the realization of Christ on earth, and on the plane of the timeless towards the communication of Nirvana in Christ. We offer it to them alone, for they only will comprehend the method, having been illuminated with the royal light of violet which is suffused in the superior heaven of mind. They also will understand the position which, as a Mystic, we borrow from the aureoline inspiration of a cardinal poet of the Teutons, who said, “Life is not a dream, but it ought to become one, and perhaps will.” Life also is not a romance, but it can be transfigured by the spirit of romance. Life, finally, is not a poem, but the demiourgos of the life to come will breathe upon the waters of existence, and they will run in song. On that day there will be a marriage of the Bridegroom and the Bride “among the lilies and pomegranates of the Paradise of God.” So will the children of aspiration appreciate the appeal to the poet:
Bard of the future! Master-Prophet! Man
Of men, at whose strong girdle hang the keys
Of all things.
Who but the masters of song craft have heard amidst the vague vastness of the organ measures which reverberate in the auditorium of futurity, those flute notes, pitched high above the hearing of unawakened ears, of that new song which is the setting of the new name that no man knoweth? But we are Mystics, and we aim at the realization of poetry, at the concrete manifestation of dream, at the attainment of the ideal state.
At this point, then, we may fittingly plan the groundwork and fundamentals of the philosophic edifice which it is our purpose to erect.
The creation of the perfect man can be accomplished solely by correspondence with evolution, which is the abiding law of life.
The law of evolution may be subdivided into —
The laws in the development of physical beauty and perfection.
The laws in the development of the higher morality.
The laws in the development of intellectual aspiration, and the realization of intellectual ideals.
The laws in the development of the spiritual principle in the direction of the perfect rest and the perfect activity in God.
To accomplish the end of evolution in the physical order, it is necessary to transmute environment.
To accomplish the end of evolution in the moral order, it is necessary to transfigure conditions.
To accomplish the end of evolution in the intellectual order, it is necessary to derive illumination from the fontal source of light.
To accomplish the end of evolution in the spiritual order, it is necessary to know God.
The true, certain, and absolute knowledge of God is not of faith; it is not to be distilled from the substance of things hoped for, nor to be construed out of the evidence of things not seen; it is the manifestation of divine subsistence to the sensations of the concealed man, or third interior being.
For the purposes of this book it will be useful to regard man as possessed of a tetradic nature, though it should be understood that in this, as in other classifications, the distinction is for the sake of convenience, is admittedly of a conventional character, and is interpreted in a fluidic sense.
There is the exterior manifestation on the plane of time and space, which constitutes the phenomenal humanity, and is the result of a contact between our least or impermanent portion and the conditions of the phenomenal universe.
There is that which, in the philosophical order, is called the moral man, which is the first interior nature, and is the result of a contact with the elementary laws of life.
There is the intellectual personality, which is the outcome of a partial immersion in the veridic light. This is the second interior nature. There is, finally, the spiritual being, which is the third interior, and the Concealed Man. It is the radical seat of reality; it is that portion which is most remote from the phenomenal, and is therefore the least realized in physical life; but it is also the side of our being which has a contact with infinity. It is the Supreme Monad in the microcosmic world which rules the inferior Triad, and the Triad must be absorbed, permeated, and dissolved by that Monad to attain the end of evolution.
This unification of man must be accomplished in each of his natures by a parallel process of evolution, under proper natural law.