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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Two - The First Initiation - The Birth at Bethlehem
In the words of an ancient Mexican aphorism, "Always in the center shall come a new Word." Every form has its positive center of life. Every organism is constructed around a central nucleus of power. There is a center in our universe from which the Word went forth, bringing into being our organized solar system as we now have it, and the planet on which we live, with its myriad forms of life.

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
"The same was in the beginning with God.
"All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.
"In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. [37]
"He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not."
- St. John, I, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10.

What is thus true of the Whole is true also of the part. Each civilization, as an expression of the human consciousness, has had its Word. Two thousand years ago a Word was for us "made Flesh," and around that dynamic center of spiritual life our Western world revolves. Whether we accept this fact or question it matters not, as far as the results are concerned, for as Dr. Schweitzer tells us:

"The historical foundation of Christianity, as rationalism, liberalism, and modern theology count it, exists no longer - which, however, is not to say that Christianity has therefore lost its historical foundation. The work which historical theology believed it must carry out, and which it sees falling to pieces at the very moment when completion was near, is only the terra cotta veneer of the true indestructible, historical foundation, which is independent of any historical knowledge and proof - simply because it is there, it exists.

"Jesus is something to our world because a mighty stream of spiritual influence has gone forth from Him and has penetrated our age also. This fact will be neither shaken nor confirmed by an historical knowledge."
- The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, by Albert Schweitzer, pp. 28, 29.

Always the Word has sounded out which has enabled the race to see and recognize its next step. The Christ enabled man to hear this in the past; He will enable man to do so again today. Some day, as all Masons know, these Words which have been spoken periodically will be superseded by a WORD which is known among them as the "Lost Word." When that Word is finally spoken humanity will be enabled to climb to the final peak of human achievement. The hidden divinity will then shine forth in its glory, through the medium of the race. The height of material achievement has perhaps been reached. Now comes the opportunity for that subtle divine Self to manifest through the agency of the experience which we call the "new birth," [38] and which Christianity has ever taught. The effect of all that is now transpiring upon earth is to bring to the surface that which is hidden within the human heart, and to unveil to our eyes the new vision. Then we can pass through the gateway of the New Age into a world which will be characterized by newer awareness, a deeper understanding of the vital realities, and a truer and higher standard of values. The Word must again sound forth from the center - the Center in the Heavens, and the center in every human heart. Each individual soul must hear it for itself alone. Each of us has to pass through that experience wherein we know ourselves to be a "Word made Flesh," and until the Bethlehem experience is a part of our individual consciousness as souls, it remains a myth. It can become a fact - the major fact in the experience of the soul.

I cannot here enter into a definition of the word "soul." An extract from a book by Dr. Bosanquet expresses the idea in terms which link it up with individual experience, and yet preserve the cosmic implications in their beauty. An isolated soul is an impossibility. He says:

"The Soul - I use the term in the most general sense to mean the center of experience which as a microcosm has acquired or is acquiring a character of its own and a relative persistence - the soul is not to be contrasted as a detached agent either with its constituent externality on the one hand or with the life of the absolute on the other. Our idea has been throughout... that the soul is a range of externality 'come alive' by centering in mind. And when we speak of the soul as a will creatively molding circumstance, this is another expression for the microcosm, including the center which its circumstances stand around, remolding and reshaping itself. It is, on the other hand, a thread or fiber of the absolute life, ...a stream or tide within it of varying breadth, intensity, and separateness from the great flood within which it moves."
- The Value and Destiny of the Individual, by B. Bosanquet, p. 129 [The italics are mine. A. A. B.]

What this soul is, when unveiled and manifested (even through the limitations of the flesh), Christ made clear to us. [39] The partial in us is complete in Him, a fact in full expression. He has linked us to Himself through His perfected humanity; He has linked us to God through His expressed divinity.

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