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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter One - Introductory Remarks on Initiation
In the continuity of revelation, Christianity enters upon its cycle of expression under the same divine law which governs all manifestation - the Law of Cyclic Appearance. This revelation passes through the phases of all form-manifestation, or appearance, then growth and development, and finally (when the cycle draws towards its close) crystallization and a gradual but steady emphasis of the letter and the form, till the death of that form becomes inevitable and wise. But the spirit remains to live on and take to itself new forms. The Spirit of Christ is undying, and as He lives to all eternity, so that which He incarnated to demonstrate must also live. The cell in the womb, the stage of littleness, the development of the child into the man - to all this He submitted Himself, and underwent all the processes which are the destiny of every son of God. Because of this submission and because He "learned obedience by the things which he suffered," (Hebrews, V, 8) He could be trusted to reveal God to man, and (may we say it?) the divine in man to God. For the Gospels [6] show us that continuously Christ called forth this recognition from the Father.

The great continuity of revelation is our most priceless possession, and into it the religion of Christ must, and does, fit. God has never left Himself without witness, and He never will. The place of Christianity as the fulfilment of the past and as a stepping-stone to the future, is often forgotten, and this perhaps is one of the reasons why people speak of a failing Christianity, and look forward to that spiritual revelation which seems so sorely needed. Unless this continuity is emphasized and the place of the Christian faith in it, revelation may come and pass unrecognized.

"There was," we are told, "in every ancient country having claims to civilization, an Esoteric Doctrine, a system which was designated WISDOM, and those who were devoted to its prosecution were first denominated sages, or wise men... Pythagoras termed this system... the Gnosis or Knowledge of things that are. Under the noble designation of WISDOM, the ancient teachers, the sages of India, the magians of Persia and Babylon, the seers and prophets of Israel, the hierophants of Egypt and Arabia, and the philosophers of Greece and the West, included all knowledge which they considered as essentially divine; classifying part as esoteric and the remainder as exterior"
- The Secret Doctrine, by H.P. Blavatsky, Vol. III, p.55.

We know much of the exoteric teaching. Orthodox and theological Christianity is founded on it, as are all the orthodox formulations of the great religions. When, however, the inner wisdom teaching is forgotten and the esoteric side is ignored, then the spirit and the living experimental experience disappear. We have been occupied with the details of the outer form of the faith, and have sadly forgotten the inner meaning which carries life and salvation to the individual and also to humanity. We have been busy fighting over the non-essentials of traditional interpretation and have omitted to teach the secret and the technique of the Christian life. We have over-emphasized the doctrinal and dogmatic aspects, and have deified the letter whilst all the time the soul [7]of man was crying out for the spirit of life, which the letter veiled. We have agonized over the historical aspects of the Gospel narrative, over the time element, and over the verbal accuracy of the many translations, while failing to see the real magnificence of Christ's accomplishment and the significant teaching it holds for the individual and for the race. The drama of His life and its practical application to the lives of His followers have been lost to sight in the undue importance attached to certain phrases which He is supposed to have uttered, whilst that which He expressed in His life, and the relationships which He emphasized and regarded as implicit in His revelation have been totally ignored.

We have fought over the historical Christ, and thus fighting, have lost sight of His message of love to all beings. Fanatics quarrel over His words, and fail to remember that He was "the Word made flesh." We argue about the Virgin Birth of the Christ, and forget the truth which the Incarnation is intended to teach. Evelyn Underhill points out in her most valuable book, Mysticism, that "The Incarnation, which is for popular Christianity synonymous with the historical birth and earthly life of Christ, is for the mystic not only this but also a perpetual cosmic and personal process."

Scholars spend their lives in proving that the whole story is only a myth. It should, however, be pointed out that a myth is the summarized belief and knowledge of the past, handed down to us for our guidance and forming the foundation of a newer revelation, and that it is a stepping-stone to the next truth. A myth is a valid and proven truth which bridges, step by step, the gap between the past gained knowledge, the present formulated truth, and the infinite and divine possibilities of the future. The ancient myths and the old mysteries give us a sequential presentation of the divine message as it went forth from God in response to the need of man, down the ages. The truth of one age becomes the myth of the next, but its significance and its reality remain untouched, and require only reinterpretation in the present. [8]

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