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From Bethlehem to Calvary - Chapter Seven - Our Immediate Goal - The Founding of the Kingdom

Thus step by step we have followed the Christ in His stupendous task, and we have studied the task in its uniqueness. He did something of such significance for the race that only today are we in a position to grasp it. So occupied have we been with our own individual salvation and our own hope of heaven that the really unique things which Christ did have largely escaped our observation. That He followed in the steps of many of God's children who, in their day and generation, had served, suffered, and brought the world salvation, remains unquestioned; that He gave us an example of perfected humanity such as the world had never previously seen is equally unchallenged. The greatest of the previous sons of God, the Buddha, after much struggle arrived at illumination, and blazed the trail for humanity up to and through the portal of initiation. But Christ was perfect, having (dare we say during some previous cycle of lives?) learned obedience through the things which He had suffered. That He overcame death and opened the gates of immortality to all humanity is likewise true. But since the first dawn of human history men have always suffered for each other; they have again and again, here one and there another, achieved perfection and disappeared from human view. The divine spark in man has always rendered him immortal. Men have always [281] sensed their divinity, and they have always reached out their hands and their hearts to God. The sons of the Father have never forgotten the Father's home, no matter how far away they may have wandered. God has always equally sought after us, and from century to century He has sent His messengers as an embodiment of His remembrance.

But Christ came as a special Messenger. He came to found the kingdom of God on earth and to institute a new and tangible expression of Deity upon our planet. His mission has not failed. The kingdom is now organized upon earth and is composed of those men and women everywhere who have lost sight of their own individual salvation and hope of heaven because they know that unless heaven can express itself here and now it is but a futile hope. They are occupied with the processes of self-perfection and self-purification because they seek to serve their fellowmen more efficiently and adequately, and thus "glorify their Father which is in heaven." (Matt., V, 16.) They are not interested in self-aggrandizement nor with the making of claims of any kind - beyond the one stupendous claim that they are sons of God, as are we all; they do not prate of initiation or call themselves initiates; they are satisfied to walk among men as those who serve and who are citizens of the kingdom of God. They are the world servers, and their only interest is in following the steps of Him Who went about doing good and proclaiming the tidings of the kingdom. They do not say that theirs is the only way into the kingdom, but to those who do not know Christ they say: "Little children, love one another." They do not condemn those who know nothing of Christ's sacrifice upon the Cross, but they say to those who seek the way; "Take up thy cross" and follow Christ. To their fellow disciples they bring constantly the reminder that "except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone," and they set themselves the goal of the new birth. The bulk of the thinking, well-meaning men and women of the world are today [282] going up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem. Some, perhaps more than one can estimate, are passing on their way to the Baptism in Jordan, whilst a few are valiantly climbing the Mount of Transfiguration. One here and there may be steadfastly setting his face to go to Jerusalem, there to be crucified; but these are rare. Most of us are learning, in the daily dying to self, to fit ourselves for the final Crucifixion initiation, and by the constant renunciation of everything that holds back the expression of divinity qualifying for that tremendous spiritual experience which ever preceded the Resurrection, and which is called the Great Renunciation.

Let us vision clearly just where we stand upon the Path of Evolution. Have we yet set our feet upon the Path of Probation, that difficult path of purification which is a necessary first step? Or are we definitely upon the Path of Discipleship, knowing what we are doing, cultivating the finer values and those distinctive qualities which are the hall mark of manifesting divinity?

The only incentive which will be strong enough (or which ever has been strong enough) to enable a man to tread the fivefold way to the Center from which the Word goes forth is a realization of the deep and distressing need of our modern world for revelation, for pure example and for loving service. There is no way by which this sad and war-torn world of ours can be saved and men's lives transfigured except by a manifestation of the spirit of God. Instead of waiting for God to take action and send some Savior (Who would probably not be recognized any more than Christ was), the time has come, and mankind has evolved sufficiently, for the divine life within it to surge forth and up to God, calling forth His response, His recognition, which we have seen Him repeat time and time again. He is willing to accord. We are His children and we are beginning to live divinely, thinking (as He thinks) in terms of the whole and not in terms of the separative and selfish individual. Now is a time of crisis when all human beings are needed, and the call goes forth for each [283] to make that extra effort towards unselfishness, and that mental push towards clarity of thought, which will transform us from well-meaning aspirants into clear-sighted disciples animated by a spirit of love and goodwill to all men, irrespective of race or creed or color.

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