The True Religion: The Religion of Evolution

Of the starry promise of evolution we have written as best we may, and even as after a long ecstasy of imagination the poet returns cold, trembling, and unequipped to the actualities of that commonplace existence which he can transfigure for himself alone, and not always even for himself, so, and with such feelings, with the same consciousness of deficiency in power we turn from our long vision, and looking upon the world about us, we endeavor to suggest to ourselves some further possible and reasonable course by which we can attempt to realize our grand dreaming. Organization for the ultimate accomplishment of an end which, however certain, is undeniably distant, must be ever difficult, and vulnerable to unfavorable criticism at almost every point. We have already laid down as a general rule of life that in all our dealing, whether with ourselves or with others, we must do all things in harmony with evolution; we must bring our consciousness, reason, will, and desire to act with and not against it. We must think and act and be in reference to the attainment of perfection in ourselves and in others, and of  a perfection which does not refer exclusively to God and man’s relation with godhead, or to the inter-relation of social humanity, nor to the excellence of the interior man, but to all three, and also to the development of perfection in the body of man. The practice of this perfection is essentially a religious practice, and we have already defined the necessity for a new religion of evolution. – in other words, the religious idea must become identified with the law which accomplishes the construction of the race, which law, from the time that it is consecrated by the activities and aspirations of religion, will work with increased force. How best therefore to lay the groundwork of our design so that we can elaborate the principles of the universal religion, having a dual mission, the creation of an immediate correspondence between the individual and universal soul, and such a modification and education of the exterior man, together with such a transfiguration of that man’s environment, as will ultimately manifest in time and space the fulfilled desire of Nature. Let us endeavor in all earnestness to grapple with this problem.

Let us consider, in the first place, that there is a royalty and priesthood to come, for the perfect man will be at once both king and priest – secundum ordinem Melchisedech. If we look into the far future of that millennial time from the standpoint of ecclesiastical polity, we shall find but two classes – that of the spiritual neophyte and that of the adept or hierophant, which is simply the broad distinction between youth and maturity. The evolution of Aphrodite-Urania, or of Isis, the Mother of the Gods, and of Hermes-Apollo, will be accomplished in every grown man and woman, and will be in course of accomplishment in every maid and boy. If we seek here and now to inaugurate a universal religion of development for the spending of the time of perfection, such a religion must consist of:

  1. Of a practical doctrine, embodying the counsels of perfection in all departments of life, from the manner of the conception of the individual to the preparation for that change in the form of perception which we call death.
  2. Of an experimental method for putting those counsels in practice, and thus working for the attainment of the desired end.
  3. Of an external ministry consisting of ritual and liturgy, designed for the realization in a vivid manner of the grand hope which is before us, and calculated not only to keep it fresh in the minds of the members of that religion, but to stand as a public sign and witness of the quality of our profession.

But the great work of Human Reconstruction may be begun by any person vitally interested therein, even in his own house, and in his own family. It is indeed there that it should and must begin. The domestic hearth is the true Mystic Lodge of the New Life, and Masonic and Rosicrucian analogies which abound therein may be elaborated with more profit than any vindication of Solomon’s Temple spiritualized. There should we look to find the perfect Ashlar in the Master of the Household, and the great process of the hewing of the Rough Ashlar in the shaping of the Youth of the Household. There, should the Spiritual Temple be created and visibly made manifest. There at each birth should the Master enter anew into the world. Each daily lustration should symbolize anew one baptism of the Spirit, and each meal a sacrificial offering.

But if we would testify to the world at large concerning the grand religious and reconstructive work of development, and concerning the help which we can give therein, we must have a visible ministering body and a church of the New Religion. That must begin like the parabolic grain of mustard seed, set newly in the developing matrix of Mother Earth. It must be humble and small at first, and it must grow gradually, until, it takes possession of the king’s palace and of the throne of the world. It will stand after a few years as a sign unto the nations of the earth of the glory that in them is to be revealed, of the day of development and evolution.

We are not prophesying or divining, we state a fact to come. There is only one doctrine in religion which can ultimately possess the world, and that is the doctrine of development. The law which has presided over the construction of the universal world can alone preside over adequately over the construction of humanity to the end.