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after they have stepped out of their bodies. But just as surely as the
day follows the night, so will every teardrop wear away some of the
scale that now blinds the eyes of man to the unseen land of the living
dead. We have said repeatedly and we now reaffirm that one of the
greatest blessings which will come from the war will be the spiritual
sight which a great number of people will evolve. The intense sorrow of
millions of people, the longing to see again the dear ones who have so
suddenly and ruthlessly been torn from us, are a force of incalculable
strength and power. Likewise those who have been snatched by death in
the prime of life and who are now in the invisible world are equally
intense in their desires to be reunited with those near and dear to
them, so that they may speak the word of comfort and assure them of
their well-being. Thus it may be said that two great armies comprising
millions upon millions are tunneling with frantic energy and intensity
of purpose through the wall that separates the invisible from the
visible. Day by day this wall or veil is growing thinner, and sooner
or later the living and the living dead will meet in the middle of the
tunnel. Before we realize it, communication will have been established,
and we shall find it a common experience that when our loved ones step
out of their worn and sick bodies, we shall feel neither sorrow nor
loss because we shall be able to see them in their ethereal bodies,
moving among us as they used to do. So out of the great conflict we
shall come as victors over death and be able to say: “O death, where
is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”




Chapter XV

PRACTICAL PRECEPTS FOR PRACTICAL PEOPLE


“If I were to do business on the principles laid down in the Sermon on
the Mount I would be down and out in less than a year,” said a critic
recently. “Why, the Bible is utterly impracticable under our present
economic conditions; it is impossible to live according to it.”

If that is true there is a good reason for the unbelief of the world,
but in a court the accused is always allowed a fair trial, and let us
examine the Bible thoroughly before we judge. What are the specific
charges? “Why, they are countless,” answered the critic, “but to
mention only a few, let us take such passages as, ‘Blessed are the poor
in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven;’ ‘Blessed are the meek
for they shall inherit the earth;’ ‘Take no thought for the morrow,
what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.’ Such ideas point the way to
the poor-house.”

“Very well,” says the apologist, “let us take the last charge first.
King James’ version says: ’No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot
serve God and mammon, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for
your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your
body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body
than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do
they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can
add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither
do they spin. And yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the
grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven,
shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore
take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for after all these things do
the Gentiles seek; your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need
of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.’”

If this is intended to mean that we should wastefully squander all
we have in prodigal or riotous living, then it is of course not only
impractical but demoralizing. Such an interpretation is, however,
out of keeping with the tenor and teaching of the whole Book, and
it does not say so. The Greek word _merimnon_ means being overly
careful or anxious, and if we read the passage with this alteration
we shall find that it teaches a different lesson which is entirely
practical. Mammon is the Syriac word for riches, desired by foolish
people. In the preceding paragraph Christ exhorted them not to become
servants or slaves to riches, which they must leave behind when the
silver cord is broken and the spirit returns to God, but seek rather
to live lives of love and service and lay up treasures of good deeds,
which they might take with them into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the
meantime, He exhorted, be not overly anxious regarding what you shall
eat and drink and clothe yourself with. Why worry? You cannot add a
hairbreadth to your height or a hair to your head by worrying. Worry
is the most wasteful and depleting of all our emotions, and it does no
good whatever. Your heavenly Father knows you need material things,
therefore seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all else needed
will be added. On at least two occasions when multitudes came to Christ
in places far from their homes and distant from towns where refreshment
was obtainable, He demonstrated this; He gave them first the spiritual
food they sought and then ministered to their bodily needs direct from
a spiritual source of supply.

Does it work out in these modern days? Surely there have been so many
demonstrations of this that it is not at all necessary to recount any
special one. When we work and pray, pray and work, and make our lives
a living prayer for opportunities to serve others, then all earthly
things will come of their own accord as we need them, and they will
keep coming in larger measure according to the degree to which they are
used in the service of God. If we regard ourselves only as stewards and
custodians of whatever earthly goods we possess, then we are really
“_poor in spirit_” so far as the evanescent earthly treasures are
concerned, but rich in the more lasting treasures of the Kingdom of
Heaven; and if we are not out and out materialists, surely this is a
practical attitude.

It is not so long ago that “_caveat emptor_,” “Let the buyer beware,”
was the slogan of the merchants who sought after earthly treasures and
regarded the buyer as their legitimate prey. When they had sold their
wares and received the money, it did not matter to them whether the
buyer was satisfied or not. They even prided themselves on selling
an inferior article which would soon wear out, as evident in the
shortsighted motto, “The weakness of the goods is the strength of
the trade.” But gradually even people who would scorn the idea of
introducing religion into their business are discarding this _caveat
emptor_ as a motto, and are unconsciously adapting the precept of
Christ, “_He that would be the greatest among you, let him be the
servant of all_.” Everywhere the best business men are insistent in
their claim to patronage on the ground of the service they give to the
buyer, because it is a policy that pays, and may therefore be classed
as another of the practical precepts of the Bible.

But it sometimes happens that in spite of their desire to serve their
customers, something goes wrong and an angry, dissatisfied buyer comes
blustering in, decrying their goods. Under the old shortsighted regime
of _caveat emptor_ the merchant would have merely laughed or thrown
the buyer out of the door. Not so the modern merchant, who takes his
Bible into business. He remembers the wisdom of Solomon that “a soft
answer turneth away wrath,” and the assertion of Christ that “_the meek
shall inherit the earth_,” so he apologizes for the fault in the goods,
offers restitution, and sends the erstwhile dissatisfied customer away
smiling and eager to sing the praises of the concern that treats him
so nicely. Thus by obeying the practical precept of the Bible, keeping
his temper in meekness, the business man gains additional customers who
come to him in full faith of fair treatment, and the added profit in
sales made to them soon overbalances the loss on goods which may have
caused the dissatisfaction of other customers.

It pays dividends in dollars and cents to keep one’s temper and
be meek; it pays greater dividends from the moral and spiritual
standpoints. What better business motto can be found than in
Ecclesiastes: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Be not rash in
thy mouth, be not hasty in thy speech to be angry, for anger resteth in
the bosom of fools.” Tact and diplomacy are always better than force;
as the Good Book says: “If the iron be blunt we must use more strength,
but wisdom is profitable to direct.” The line of least resistance,
so long as it is clean and honorable, is always the best. Therefore,
“_Love your enemies, do good to them that despitefully use you_.”

It is good practical business policy to try to reconcile those who do
us harm lest they do more; and it is better for us to get over our
ill feeling than to nurse it, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall
he also reap, and if we sow spite and meanness, we breed and beget in
others the same feelings. Furthermore, all these things will apply in
private life and in social intercourse just as in ordinary business.
How many quarrels could be avoided if we cultivated the virtue of
meekness in our homes; how much pleasure would be gained; how much
happiness would come into our lives if in our social and business
relations we learned to _do unto others as we would that they should do
unto us_!

There is no need for the great mental strain that so many of us are
working under concerning what we shall eat and what we shall drink.
Our Father in Heaven does own the earth and the fullness thereof; the
cattle on a thousand hills are His. If we learn truly to cast our cares
upon Him, there is no doubt that the way out of our difficulties will
be provided. It is a fact, acknowledged by all authorities who have
investigated the subject, that comparatively few people die from lack
of necessities of life, but a great many die because of overindulgence
of the appetites. It is the practical experience of the writer and
numerous others that if we do our work day by day as it appears before
us, faithfully and to the best of our ability, the wherewithal for the
morrow will always be provided. If we go according to the instruction
of the Bible, doing all “as unto the Lord,” it does not matter what
line of honest work we follow; we are then at the same time seeking
the Kingdom of God. But if we are only time servers, working for fear
or favor, we cannot expect to succeed in the long run; health, wealth,
and happiness may attend us for a little while, but outside the solid
foundation of the Bible there can be no lasting joy in life and no real
prosperity in business.




Chapter XVI

SOUND, SILENCE, AND SOUL GROWTH


Sincere students of the Science of the Soul are naturally anxious to
grow in grace that they may serve so much better in the Great Work of
Human Upliftment. Being humble and modest they are only too painfully
aware of their shortcomings, and frequently while casting about for
means to facilitate progress they ask themselves, “_What hinders?_”
Some, particularly in bygone ages when life was lived less intensely
than now, realized that the everyday life among ordinary humanity had
many drawbacks. To overcome these and further their soul growth they
withdrew from the community to a monastery or to the mountains where
they could give themselves over to the spiritual life undisturbed.

We know, however, that that is not the way. It is too well established
in the minds of most of our students that if we run away from an
experience today, it will confront us again tomorrow, and that the
victor’s palm is earned by overcoming the world, not by running away
from it. The environment in which we have been placed by the Recording
Angels was our own choice when we were at the turning point of our life
cycle in the Third Heaven, we then being pure spirit unblinded by the
matter which now veils our vision. Hence it is undoubtedly the one that
holds lessons needed by us, and we should make a serious mistake if we
tried to escape from it altogether.

But we have received a mind for a definite purpose—to reason about
things and conditions so that we may learn to discriminate between
essentials and nonessentials, between that which is designed to hinder
for the purpose of teaching us a virtue by overcoming it, and that
which is an out and out hindrance, which jars our sensibilities and
wrecks our nerves without any compensating spiritual gain. It will
be of the greatest benefit if we can learn to differentiate for the
conservation of our strength, accepting only that which we must endure
for the sake of our spiritual well-being. We shall then save much
energy and have much more zest in profitable directions than now. The
details of that problem are different in every life; however, there are
certain general principles which it will benefit us all to understand
and apply in our lives, and among them is the effect of silence and
sound on soul growth.

At first blush it may surprise us when the statement is made that
sound and silence are very important factors in soul growth, but when
we examine the matter we shall soon see that it is not a far-fetched
notion. Consider first the graphic expression, “War is hell,” and then
call up in imagination a war scene. The sight is appalling, even more
so to those who see it with the undimmed spiritual vision than to those
who are limited to physical sight, for the latter can at least shut
their eyes to it if they want to, but the whole horror lies heavily
upon the heart of the Invisible Helper who not only hears and sees but
_feels_ in his own being the anguish and pain of all the surrounding
suffering as Parsifal felt in his heart the wound of Amfortas, the
stricken Grail king; in fact, without that intensely intimate feeling
of oneness with the suffering there could be no healing nor help given.
But there is one thing which no one can escape, the terrible noise of
the shells, the deafening roar of the cannon, the vicious spitting of
the machine guns, the groans of the wounded, and the oaths of a certain
class among the participants. We shall need no further argument to
agree that it is really a “hellish noise” and as subversive of soul
growth as possible. The battle field is the last place anyone with a
sane mind would choose for the purpose of soul growth, though it is
not to be forgotten that much of this has been made by noble deeds of
self-sacrifice there; but such results have been achieved _in spite of_
the condition and not because of it.

On the other hand, consider a church filled with the noble strains of
a Gregorian chant or a Handel oratorio upon which the prayers of the
aspiring soul wing their way to the Author of our Being. That music
may surely be termed “_heavenly_” and the church designated as offering
an ideal condition for soul growth, but if we stayed there permanently
to the neglect of our duties we should be failures in spite of the
ideal condition.

There remains, therefore, only one safe method for us, namely, to stay
in the din of the battle field of the world, endeavoring to wrest from
even the most unpromising conditions the material of soul growth by
unselfish service, and at the same time _to build within our own inner
selves a sanctuary_ filled with that silent music which sounds ever in
the serving soul as a source of upliftment above all the vicissitudes
of earthly existence. Having that “living church” _within_, being in
fact under that condition “_living temples_,” we may turn at any moment
when our attention is not legitimately required by temporal affairs to
that spiritual house not made with hands and lave in its harmony. We
may do that many times a day and thus restore continually the harmony
that has been disturbed by the discords of terrestrial intercourse.

How then shall we build that temple and fill it with the heavenly
music we so much desire? What will help and what will hinder? are the
questions which call for a practical solution, and we shall try to
make the answer as plain and practical as possible, for this is a very
vital matter. The _little things_ are particularly important, for the
neophyte needs to take even the slightest things into account. If we
light a match in a strong wind it is extinguished ere it has gained a
fair start, but if the little flame is laid on a brush-heap and given
a chance to grow in comparative calm, a rising wind will fan the flame
instead of extinguishing it. Adepts or Great Souls may remain serene
under conditions which would upset the ordinary aspirant, hence he
should use discrimination and not expose himself unnecessarily to
conditions subversive of soul growth; what he needs more than anything
is _poise_, and nothing is more inimical to that condition than _noise_.

It is undeniable that our communities are “Bedlams,” and that we have
a legitimate right to escape some noises if possible, such as the
screeching made by street cars rounding a curve. We do not need to
live on such a corner to the detriment of our nerves or endeavors at
concentration, but if we have a sick, crying child that requires our
attention day and night, it does not matter how it affects our nerves,
we have no right in the sight of God or man to run away or neglect
it in order to concentrate. These things are perfectly obvious and
produce instant assent, but the things that help or hinder most are,
as said, the things that are so small that they escape our attention
entirely. When we now start to enumerate them, they may provoke a smile
of incredulity, but if they are pondered upon and practiced they will
soon win assent, for judged by the formula that “by their fruits ye
shall know them,” they will show results and vindicate our assertion
that “Silence is one of the greatest helps in soul growth,” and should
therefore be cultivated by the aspirant in his home, his personal
demeanor, his walk, his habits, and paradoxical as it seems, even in
his speech.

It is a proof of the benefit of religion that it makes people happy,
but the greatest happiness is usually too deep for outward expression.
It fills our whole being so full that it is almost awesome, and a
boisterous manner never goes together with that true happiness for
it is the sign of superficiality. The loud voice, the coarse laugh,
the noisy manner, the hard heels that sound like sledge hammers, the
slamming of doors, and the rattling of dishes are the signatures of the
unregenerate, for they love noise, the more the merrier, as it stirs
their desire bodies. For their purpose church music is anathema; a
blaring brass band is preferable to any other form of entertainment,
and the wilder the dance, the better. But it is otherwise, or should
be, with the aspirant to the higher life.

When the infant Jesus was sought by Herod with murderous intent, his
only safety lay in flight, and by that expedient were preserved his
life and power to grow and fulfill his mission. Similarly, when the
Christ is born within the aspirant he can best preserve this spiritual
life by fleeing from the environment of the unregenerate where these
hindering things are practiced, and seek a place among others of
kindred ambitions provided he is free to do so; but if placed in a
position of responsibility to a family, it is his duty to strive to
alter conditions by precept and example, particularly by example, so
that in time that refined, subdued atmosphere which breathes harmony
and strength may reign over the whole house. It is not essential to
the happiness of children that they be allowed to shout at the top of
their voices or to race pell-mell through the house, slamming doors
and wrecking furniture in their mad race; it is indeed decidedly
detrimental, for it teaches them to disregard the feelings of others in
self-gratification. They will benefit more than mother by being shod
with rubber heels and taught to reserve their romps for outdoors and
to play quietly in the house, closing doors easily, and speaking in a
moderated tone of voice such as mother uses.

In childhood we begin to wreck the nerves that bother us in later
years, so if we teach our children the lesson above indicated, we
may save them much trouble in life as well as further our own soul
growth now. It may take years to reform a household of these seemingly
unimportant faults and secure an atmosphere conducive to soul growth,
especially if the children have grown to adult age and resent reforms
of that nature, but it is well worth while. We can and _must_ at least
cultivate the virtue of silence in ourselves, or our own soul growth
will be very small. Perhaps if we look at the matter from its occult
point of view in connection with that important vehicle, _the vital
body_, the point of this necessity will be more clear.

We know that the vital body is ever storing up power in the physical
body which is to be used in this “School of Experience,” and that
during the day the desire body is constantly dissipating this energy in
actions which constitute experience that is eventually transmuted to
soul growth. So far so good, but the desire body has the tendency to
run amuck if not held in with a tight rein. It revels in _unrestrained_
motion, the wilder the better, and if unbridled makes the body whistle,
sing, jump, dance, and do all the other unnecessary and undignified
things which are so detrimental to soul growth. While under such a
spell of inharmony and discord the person is dead to the spiritual
opportunities in the physical world, and at night when he leaves his
body the process of restoration of that vehicle consumes so much time
that very little, if any, time is left for work, even if the person has
the inclination to think seriously of doing such work.

Therefore we ought by all means to flee from noises which we are
not obliged to hear, and cultivate personally the quiet yet kindly
demeanor, the modulated voice, the silent walk, the unobtrusive
presence, and all the other virtues which make for harmony, for then
the restorative process is quickly accomplished and we are free the
major part of the night to work in the invisible worlds to gain more
soul growth. Let us in this attempt at improvement remember to be
undaunted by occasional failures, remembering Paul’s admonition to
continue in well-doing with patient persistence.




Chapter XVII

THE “MYSTERIUM MAGNUM” OF THE ROSE CROSS


Occasionally we get letters from students voicing their regret that
they are alone in the study of the Rosicrucian Philosophy, that their
husbands, wives, children, or other relatives are unsympathetic or even
antagonistic to the teachings, despite all efforts of the said students
to interest favorably these friends and thus obtain companionship in
their studies, or at least freedom to follow their bent. This friction
causes them a certain amount of unhappiness according to their various
temperaments, and we are asked by these students to advise them how
to overcome the antagonism and convert their relatives. This we have
done by personal letters and have been privileged to help change
conditions in not a few homes when our advice has been followed; but we
know that frequently those who suffer most acutely are silent, and we
have therefore decided to devote a little time to a discussion of the
subject.

It is truly said, very truly, that “a little knowledge is a dangerous
thing,” and this applies with the same force to the Rosicrucian
teachings as to any other subject. Therefore, the very first step is
to find out _if you have enough knowledge_ to be on the safe side. So
let me ask the question: What is the Rosicrucian teaching which you
are so anxious to have others share and to which they object? Is it
the twin laws of “_Causation_” and “_Rebirth_?” They are excellent for
explaining a great many problems of life, and they are a great comfort
when the grim reaper appears and robs our home of some one near and
dear. But then you must remember that there are many who do not feel
the need of any explanation whatever. They are constitutionally as
unfit to apply it as a deaf mute is to use a telephone. It is true that
we work to better advantage when conscious of the law and its purpose,


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