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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Two - The First Initiation - The Birth at Bethlehem
Two thoughts must therefore be borne in mind by all of us at this time if we are not to be submerged in the apparent world chaos and thus lose our perspective. One is that each age provides its way out. This, Christ meant when He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." (St. John, XIV, 6.) He knew that He synthesized in Himself the soul of the past and the spirit of the future. And what is true of Him is true also of the teaching He gave. In Christianity the past is comprised and its best religious elements are included.

The soul of man stands at the gates of revelation, and he must learn that this revelation will come through himself perfected. Browning expressed this in the well-known lines:

"Thus he dwells in all
From life's minute beginnings, up at last
To man - the consummation of this scheme
Of being, the completion of this sphere
Of life: whose attributes had here and there
Been scattered o'er the visible world before,
Asking to be combined, dim fragments meant
To be united in some wondrous whole,
Imperfect qualities throughout creation,
Suggesting some one creature yet to make,
Some point where all those scattered rays should meet
Convergent in the faculties of man.

When all the race is perfected alike
As man, that is; all tended to mankind,
And, man produced, all has its end thus far:
But in completed man begins anew
A tendency to God. Prognostics told
Man's near approach; so in man's self arise
August anticipations, symbols, types [40]
Of a dim splendor ever on before
In that eternal circle life pursues.
For men begin to pass their nature's bound,
And find new hopes and cares which fast supplant
Their proper joys and griefs; they grow too great
For narrow creeds of right and wrong, which fade
Before the unmeasured thirst for good: while peace
Rises within them ever more and more.
Such men are even now upon the earth,
Serene amid the half-formed creatures round
Who should be saved by them and joined with them."

- Paracelsus, by Robert Browning.

Man the human being, a soul in incarnation, is on the verge of taking that step forward which will bring about that first of the great unfoldments which we call "the new birth." Once that has been undergone, the life of the infant Christ will increase, and the momentum set up will carry him forward along that Way which leads from one high peak of attainment to another, until he himself becomes an illumined Light-bearer, and one who can light the way for others. The illuminati have ever led the race forward; the knowers, mystics and saints have ever revealed to us the heights of racial and individual possibility.

The Way from the Birth at Bethlehem to the Crucifixion Mount is a hard and a difficult one, but it is trodden with joy by the Christ and by those whose consciousness has been attuned to His. The joy of physical life is changed into the joy of understanding, and new values, new desires and a new love replace the old.

The Birth at Bethlehem marked the beginning of the long way of tragedy of the Savior. It made Him "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." (Isaiah, LIII, 3.) It was the beginning of the end, and marked His initiation into higher states of consciousness. This is apparent in the Gospel story. [41]

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