The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science

Chapter 16. The Spirit

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WHAT must the Supreme All-originating Spirit be in itself? That is the question before us. Let us start with one fact regarding it about which we cannot have any possible doubt -- it is creative. If it were not creative nothing could come into existence; therefore we know that its purpose, or Law of Tendency, must be to bring individual lives into existence and to surround them with a suitable environment. Now a power which has this for its inherent nature must be a kindly power. The Spirit of Life seeking expression in individual lives can have no other intention towards them than "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." To suppose the opposite would be a contradiction in terms. It would be to suppose the Eternal Principle of Life acting against itself, expressing itself as the reverse of what it is, in which case it would not be expressing itself but expressing its opposite; so that it is impossible to conceive of the Spirit of Life acting otherwise than to the increase of life. This is as yet only imperfectly apparent by reason of our imperfect apprehension of the position, and our consequent want of conscious unity with the ONE Eternal Life. As our consciousness of unity becomes more perfect so will the life-givingness of the Spirit become more apparent. But in the realm of principles the purely Affirmative and Life-giving nature of the All-originating Spirit is an unavoidable conclusion. Now by what name can we call such an inherent desire to add to the fulness of any individual life -- that is, to make it stronger, brighter, and happier? If this is not Love, then I do not know what else it is; and so we are philosophically led to the conclusion that Love is the prime moving power of the Creating Spirit.

But expression is impossible without Form. What Form, then, should Love give to the vehicles of its expression? By the hypothesis of the case it could not find self-expression in forms that were hateful or repugnant to it -- therefore the only logical correlative of Love is Beauty. Beauty is not yet universally manifested for the same reason that Life is not, namely, lack of recognition of its Principle; but, that the principle of Beauty is inherent in the Eternal Mind is demonstrated by all that is beautiful in the world in which we live.

These considerations show us that the inherent nature of the Spirit must consist in the eternal interaction of Love and Beauty as the Active and Passive polarity of Being. Then this is the Power for the working of which our soul faculties are specially adapted. And when this purpose of the adaptation is recognized we begin to get some insight into the way in which our intuition, imagination, and will should be exercized. By training our thought to habitually dwell upon this dual-unity of the Originating Forces of Love and Beauty the intuition is rendered more and more sensitive to ideas emanating from this supreme source, and the imagining faculty is trained in the formation of images corresponding to such ideas; while on the physical side the molecular structure of the brain and body becomes more and more perfectly adjusted to the generating of vibratory currents tending to the outward manifestation of the Originating Principle. Thus the whole man is brought into unison with himself and with the Supreme Source of Life, so that, in the words of St. Paul, he is being day by day renewed after the image of Him that created him.

Our more immediately personal recognition of the All-originating Love and Beauty will thus flow out as peace of mind, health of body, discretion in the management of our affairs, and power in the carrying out of our undertakings; and as we advance to a wider conception of the working of the Spirit of Love and Beauty in its infinite possibilities, so our intuition will find a wider scope and our field of activity will expand along with it -- in a word we shall discover that our individuality is growing, and that we are becoming more truly ourselves than we ever were before.

The question of the specific lines on which the individual may be most perfectly trained into such recognition of his true relation to the All-embracing Spirit of Life is therefore of supreme importance, but it is also of such magnitude that even to briefly sketch its broad outlines would require a volume to itself, and I will therefore not attempt to enter upon it here, my present purpose being only to offer some hints of the principles underlying that wonderful three-fold unity of Body, Soul, and Spirit which we all know ourselves to be.

We are as yet only at the commencement of the path which leads to the realization of this unity in the full development of all its powers, but others have trodden the way before us, from whose experiences we may learn; and not least among these was the illustrious founder of the Most Christian Fraternity of the Rosicrucians. This master-mind, setting out in his youth with the intention of going to Jerusalem, changed the order of his journey and first sojourned for three years in the symbolical city of Damcar, in the mystical country of Arabia, then for about a year in the mystical country of Egypt, and then for two years in the mystical country of Fez. Then, having during these six years learned all that was to be acquired in these countries, he returned to his native land of Germany, where, on the basis of the knowledge he had thus gained, he founded the Fraternity R. C., for whose instruction he wrote the mystical books M. and T. Then, when he realized that his work in its present stage was accomplished, he of his own free will laid aside the physical body, not, it is recorded, by decay, or disease, or ordinary death, but by the express direction of the Spirit of Life, summing up all his knowledge in the words,

        "Jesus mihi omnia."

And now his followers await the coming of "the Artist Elias," who shall bring the Magnum Opus to its completion.

        "Let him that readeth understand."

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"The Edinburgh Lectures in Mental Science" (c) 1909 Thomas Troward, used as public-domain material.