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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Six - The Fifth Initiation - The Resurrection and Ascension
The key to the overcoming of death and to the processes of realizing the meaning and nature of eternity and the continuity of life can with safety be revealed only when love holds sway over the human consciousness, and where the good of the whole, and not the selfish good of the individual, comes to be the supreme regard. Only through love (and service as the expression of love) can the real message of Christ be understood and men pass on towards a joyful resurrection. Love makes us humbler, and at the same time wiser. It penetrates to the heart of reality and has a faculty of discovering the truth hidden by a form. The early Christians were simple in this way because they loved one another, because [234] they loved Christ and the Christ within each other. Dr. Grensted points this out in the following words, giving us a fine summation of the attitude of the early Christians and of their approach, in those enthusiastic days, to Christ and to life in the world:

"They spoke in plain terms of God. They did not think of Jesus of Nazareth as a crucial experiment. They knew Him as Friend and Master, and they flung their whole being into the enthusiasm of His friendship and service. Their preaching was the good news about Jesus. They assumed that men already meant something when they spoke of God, and, without challenging the inheritance which they received from Judaism, they set side by side with it the Jesus whom they had known living, and dead, and alive again. They had been through much more than a time of inexplicable miracles, healing, and voices, and a strange mastery over Nature itself, and at the end a conquest of death. If they had told the world, and us, these things alone, they would have been believed. Such stories have always found a hearing. And men would still have known nothing more of the meaning of God. But their experience had been one of such a Friendship as man had never known, of disastrous failure and a forgiveness beyond all believing, and of a new, a free, a creative life. Nothing of all this was of their own achievement. They knew they were men remade, and they knew that the mode of their remaking was love. This was a providence, a deliverance, greater and more significant than anything that the Jew had ever claimed for the Creator-God. Yet they could not think of it as other than His work, since God, as all their national tradition taught, is One. It interpreted for them, as we might put it in our more cautious way, the creative reality to which they, with all men, had looked with uncertainty and even with fear. Henceforth the central hypothesis which men call God was known as love, and everywhere He was made manifest just in so far as love had passed out from Christ to the fellowship of the Christian community."
- Psychology and God, by L. W. Grensted, p. 237.

Christ had risen, and by His Resurrection proved that humanity had in it the seed of life, and that there was no death for the man who could follow in the steps of the Master. [235]

In the past, being wholly engrossed with consideration of the Crucifixion, we have been apt to forget the fact of the Resurrection. Yet on Easter Day, throughout the world, believers everywhere express their belief in the risen Christ and in the life beyond the grave. They have argued along many lines as to the possibility of His rising, and whether He rose as a human being or as the Son of God. They have been deeply concerned to prove that because He rose again, so shall we rise, provided we believe in Him. In order to meet the theological need of proving that God is love, we have invented a place of discipline, called by many names, such as purgatory, or the various stages of the different faiths on the road of departed spirits to heaven, because so many millions die, or have died, without ever having heard of Christ. Therefore belief in Him as an historical figure is not possible for them. We have evolved such doctrines as conditional immortality, and the at-one-ment through the blood of Jesus, in an endeavor to glorify the personality of Jesus and safeguard Christian believers, and to reconcile human interpretations with the truth in the Gospels. We have taught the doctrine of hell-fire and eternal punishment, and then tried to fit it in to the general belief that God is love.

Yet the truth is that Christ died and rose again because He was divinity immanent in a human body. Through the processes of evolution and initiation He demonstrated to us the meaning and purpose of the divine life present in Him and in us all. Because Christ was human, He rose again. Because He was also divine, He rose again, and in the enacting of the drama of resurrection He revealed to us that great concept of the continuity of unfoldment which it has ever been the task of the Mysteries of all time to reveal.

Again and again we have found that the three episodes related in the Gospel story are not isolated happenings in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but that they have been repeatedly undergone in the secret places of the Temples of the Mysteries, from the dawn of time. The Saviors of the past were all [236] subjected to the processes of death in some form or other, but they all rose again or were translated to glory. In the initiation ceremonies this burial and resurrection at the end of three days was a familiar ceremonial. History tells us of many of these Sons of God who died and rose again, and finally ascended into Heaven. We find, for instance, that "the Obsequies of Adonis were celebrated in Alexandria (in Egypt) with the utmost display. His image was carried with great solemnity to a tomb, which served the purpose of rendering him the last honors. Before singing his return to life, there were mournful rites celebrated in honor of his suffering and his death. The large wound which he received was shown, just as the wound was shown which was made to Christ by the thrust of the spear. The feast of his resurrection was fixed at the 25th of March." (Ovid's Metamorphoses, as rendered by Addison, Quoted in Taylor's Diegesis, p. 148.) There is the same legend attached to the names of Tammuz, to Zoroaster, to Esculapius. To the latter, Ovid addressed the following words:

"Hail, Great Physician of the world! All hail!
Hail, mighty Infant who in years to come
Shall heal the nations and defraud the tomb.
Swift be Thy growth, Thy triumphs unconfined
Make kingdoms thicken and increase mankind.

Thy daring art shall animate the dead,
And draw the thunder on Thy guilty head;
Then shalt Thou die, but from the dark abode
Shalt rise victorious and be twice a God."

- Origin of Religious Belief, by Dupius, p. 161.

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