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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Seven - Our Immediate Goal - The Founding of the Kingdom
Humanity had also reached a unique stage in its development. The race had become intelligent, and the personality of man - physical, emotional and mental - had been carried forward to a definite point of integration and coordination. This, on a scale so immense, was unique. There had been isolated personalities. Now, in the Christian era, we live in an age of personalities. So high is the general level of integrated personality life that we are apt to feel we have reached an era where there are no outstanding figures. This is probably due to the fact that the general average of human development is so high that the power to stand out dominantly is much more limited. Because of this development, humanity (regarding it as a kingdom in nature) has reached a point where something new can emerge, as has always happened in analogous circumstances in other kingdoms. We can produce, and as a race give birth to, the next kingdom in nature, which Christ called the kingdom of God; this is the kingdom of souls, the kingdom of spiritual lives, and herein, uniquely, Christ emerges. He is the founder of that kingdom. He proclaimed its existence and He indicated its nature. In Himself He gave us an expression of its qualifications, and showed us the characteristics of the citizen of that kingdom.

Through the example of its Founder, Christianity has also had a unique mission in inaugurating the era of service. World service, world welfare, world interest, world [260] inter-communication and the importance of the general good are all products of the emphasis Christ laid upon human divinity and on the brotherhood of man, based upon the Fatherhood of God. No other religion or era has thus emphasized these points. They still remain in many ways ideals, but are slowly in process of becoming facts.

Christ therefore achieved through His work the following things:

  1. He externalized the Mysteries so that they have become known to humanity as a whole, and are not only the secret possession of the Initiates.
  2. He enacted the drama of initiation before the world, so that its symbolism could penetrate into the human consciousness.
  3. He gave us a demonstration of perfection so that we can no longer question the nature of God, yet at the same time He gave us the guarantee that we too are the children of God, and can likewise achieve divinity if we follow in His steps.
  4. He revealed to us the world of meaning, and, in the Person of the historical Christ, showed us the significance of the cosmic Christ, the mythic Christ, and the mystical Christ in the heart of every man. He revealed the nature of God transcendent and of God immanent.
  5. The past of humanity culminated in Him; the present finds in Him its solution, and the future is symbolized in His life and death. Therefore all three lines of past, present and future meet in Him, and give Him His unique significance.
  6. He founded the kingdom of God in due time when the human kingdom was reaching maturity. He demonstrated the values of that kingdom in His Own life, portraying for us the character of its citizenship, and He opened the door wide for all who could fit themselves (through service and discipline) to pass out of the human kingdom into the spiritual kingdom. [261]
  7. He reared His Cross as a boundary, a symbol, and an example of method, between the world of tangible values and the world of spiritual values, and called us to the death of the lower nature in order that the Spirit of God may have full sway.
  8. He taught us that death must end, and that the destiny of humanity is the resurrection from among the dead. Immortality must take the place of mortality. For our sakes, therefore, He rose from the dead and proved that the bonds of death cannot hold any human being who can function as a Son of God.

Many sons of God had passed through the Temples of the Mysteries; many had learnt to function divinely and had, in the process of expressing divinity, lived and served and died. But none of them came at the particular period of unfoldment which made possible the universal recognition which Christ has evoked, nor was the intellect of the masses sufficiently developed to profit by their teaching on a large scale until that time. In these respects Christ and His mission were uniquely important. He taught us to work towards unity and to bring to an end isolation and hatred and separation, telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. He gave a message which was universal in its implications, for the kingdom of God stands wide open to all who love and serve and who purify the lower nature, irrespective of creed and dogma. He taught the unity of the faith, the Fatherhood of God, and the necessity not only to walk with God, but to walk with each other in love and understanding. He emphasized the necessity for cooperation, indicating that if we truly follow the Way, we shall put an end to competition, and substitute for it cooperation. He urged us to live by principles, divine, basic and fundamental, and to lay no emphasis upon personalities.

Love, brotherhood, cooperation, service, self-sacrifice, inclusiveness, freedom from doctrine, recognition of divinity - these are the characteristics of the citizen of the kingdom, [262] and these still remain our ideals. Therefore the question of importance facing humanity today is, just what must be done in order to bring about the attainment of the three major objectives which Christ held before us. They remain objectives for all mankind, and are generally so recognized, even when their Christian interpretation is ignored, or when Christ remains unrecognized. How shall we perfect the human being, so that his handling of life, and his attitude to people and his environment, are correct and constructive? How shall we materialize on earth that state of consciousness, accompanied by that condition of living, the result of which would deserve to be recognized as the kingdom of God? How shall we arrive at an understanding of the problem of death, with the surmounting of the process of dying, and the achieving of resurrection? Christ has provided a definite answer and program for the solution of the problem of human perfection, the problem of a new world, and the problem of immortality.

That humanity is on its way to great and vital events is generally recognized. We have in the past progressed through varying civilizations to the important present, and we are on our way to still greater achievements. The question, however, arises whether we may hasten the process; whether, by a right understanding of Christ and His teaching, we could so expedite matters that the kingdom and its laws may hold sway earlier than would otherwise be the case. No sacrifice on our part would be too great, if Christ was right in the position He took and in the teaching He gave as to the nature of man. The decision rests with us. The choice is ours. Therefore in the last analysis what is the decision we have to make? What is the question that we have to answer? Christ has said that man is divine. Was He right? If man is divine and a son of the Father, then let us proceed to express that divinity and claim our birthright. We have been occupied with much thought and discussion about God in the past. God transcendent has been both recognized and denied. God immanent is on the verge of recognition, and in that recognition [263] may surely lie the way out for man. Are we divine? That is the all-important question.

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