Luke Michael Ironside – The Philippines
This brief examination of Theosophy and Christian Thought, rather than being a comparative analysis of two distinct systems of thought, will instead seek to uncover the underlying truths which form the bedrock of the inner doctrines of the Christian religion, but which are ever so often disregarded my modern adherents of the faith. I feel it is important to emphasize, from the outset, the distinction between the exoteric and esoteric aspects of religion. The purpose of the exoteric, or outer doctrine, is to provide an easily digestible body of practices and truths suited to the temperament of the non-initiated, but which practices and truths rest firmly upon the foundation of Universal Truth – the root, so to speak, from which the tree of diversity arises; the branches of which may be considered as constituting the myriad religious traditions of past and present times. The danger lies in the loss of that underlying foundation, without which only the empty shells of religious doctrine and dogmatism remain. Without the sure foundation of Divine Wisdom, the exoteric forms of religious practice become meaningless and at times even harmful.
Theosophy, then, may be considered as being the wisdom underlying all religions when the outward aspects of such are stripped away; it is the gold that lies hidden beneath the rock. In all popular expressions of religion may still be found traces of this inner doctrine; though sometimes overshadowed by the accretions of superstitious practices, it remains ever latent beneath the surface, carefully guarded and preserved by an elect Brotherhood of Initiates whose duty it is to gradually promulgate the universal truths as the advancement in the evolution of Mankind permits. These custodians of Ancient Wisdom are variously referred to in Theosophical literature as the Masters, the Initiates, or the Mahatmas, among other terms. Their role as the guardians of the Hidden Wisdom may be succinctly captured in the instruction of Christ to his disciples to not “cast pearls before swine”, and likewise in St. Paul’s feeding of milk, not meat, to his unready converts. If the exoteric, or outward expression of religion may be regarded as the “milk” of spiritual Truth, then it is the inner, or esoteric doctrine which is the “meat” referred to in Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
And so, we have established that a dichotomy exists – that of the exoteric and of the esoteric. It is intrinsic to the nature of things that there must always be an inner and an outer; we see this in all aspects of human existence and further in the manifestation of the Cosmos itself. Religion has as its outward expression all that is temporary, fleeting, and impermanent – the customs and rituals which are created and celebrated by Man; which evolve, are dogmatised, and in time discarded – all these are all mutable, and thus, finite. It is only by moving beyond these outer forms that we may begin to perceive that which is eternal – the inner principle found at the core of all religious truth. Ritual, both in the ceremonial practices of the Christian Church and in all religions from the dawn of time to the present day, is essentially a representation of the natural forces and laws of the Universe in action. We see this in the timings of the festivals of Christianity, most of which have their roots in the pre-Christian practices of our pagan forefathers, such as Easter coinciding with the arrival of spring – clearly symbolic of new beginnings and the resurrection of the Sun from its period of slumber in the darkness of the cosmic night. Ritual symbolises the cosmic process from manifestation back to unmanifestation – it is a story of our Evolution, and as such, is only a sheathe for an inner reality.
If ritual has any purpose, it consists in the bringing of the individual into a conscious relationship with the Greater Mystery which underlies the external expressions of religion; yet with this comes a recognition that the mystery itself is only mysterious insofar as our minds lack the ability to cognise it on account of our limited faculties at this present point in the evolutionary scheme. Religion and ritual can both be understood then as necessary and yet impermanent tools for the attainment of higher states of consciousness; they are the outward forms of something deeper – the veil upon the face of Truth. If the exoteric can be considered as the placing of the veil then the esoteric is found in the act of unveiling. The veil itself is fundamentally unimportant – it simply clothes that which lies beneath. The Revelation of the Mystery which is referred to by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians, consists of the casting-off of all temporal illusions of phenomena by which one arrives at the awareness of the ultimate fact of Unity. Yet trapped in the world of form, the individual loses sight of the Eternal amid the mirage of Maya and is bound to the impermanent by the sense of separateness and duality. Only by moving beyond the outward forms does one attain consciousness of the truth of Unity in diversity and of the Substantial Reality beyond the temporality of the phenomenal world.
Christianity, like all the great religions of our world, likewise has its exoteric and esoteric forms. The importance of preserving the secrecy of the Greater Mysteries of the Christian doctrine for those few who are ready for the receiving of such, expressed in the passage which refers to the casting of “pearls before swine”, has been apparently dismissed by many of the modern expressions of the Christian tradition which, in their vigor to spread the news of Christ unto the masses, have presented a diluted and vulgarized distortion of the original teachings, failing to recognize the inequalities of conscious development in the mass evolution of Mankind, and instead opting for a “one size-fits-all” mentality in the over-simplified promulgation of spiritual truths.
The redemption of Christianity lies in the rediscovery of that Divine Wisdom which is embedded in the heart of the arcane teachings which constitute the Greater Mysteries of that tradition. This restoration of true knowledge may only come about by a return to the original teachings of Christ, freed from the fettering shackles of dogmatization and mass indoctrination which have so characterized the convictions of the Christian tradition since the First Council of Nicaea in the 4th century AD. As Gurdjieff is quoted as saying in Ouspensky’s book In Search of the Miraculous, it is the tendency of all religion to become gradually distorted over time, and their essential teachings forgotten. A basic example may be seen in the Christian emphasis on love and charity so clearly enunciated in the Gospels and the teachings of Christ which over time managed to distort into the terrors of the Inquisition. Religion is only as good as Man himself; no better, no worse. And it is the tendency of man’s lower nature to corrupt; to transmute that which is pure into the base; to bring the higher down to his own lower level of being.
In this discussion of Theosophy and Christianity it is again important to understand that a comparison between the two is illogical. It would be akin to a comparison between a core of an apple and the apple itself. One could, certainly, compare the modern manifestations of the Christian and Theosophical movements through, say, a comparative analysis of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and that of the Theosophical Society. Yet Theosophy extends far beyond its expression in the teachings of the Theosophical Society, as Christianity extends beyond the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. And so, we must differentiate between the essence and the outward manifestations, which take the form of churches, institutions, or societies at different points in history. Theosophy is not a separate religion or belief system with which Christianity may be compared, rather it is Christianity in its unadulterated and esoteric form, just as Theosophy is likewise the inner core of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Islamic religions. It is that which is referred to in the Gospel of John 1:9 as the "true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". Theosophic Christianity is therefore a return to the original Christianity as expounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles. As such, it only appeals to those few who, in the spirit of genuine faith, thirst for the nectar of Theosophia; those few who seek beyond the external for the inner core of Truth that resides within.
If Theosophy is the essence of all religion, and if Christianity is one of these religions, it becomes necessary to first arrive at an understanding of what is meant by the term “Religion” before delving further into the specifics of the Christian faith. And in this examination, we must further distinguish between religions and Religion, the former being merely the products and manifestations of the latter. Religion is not ritual, nor doctrine, nor worship, nor scripture. These are all the outward expressions of Man’s religious instinct and as such constitute the external forms of Religion; yet these are not Religion itself. The function of these outward forms of expression is to convey ideas regarding Truth which may only be glimpsed in the process of symbolization; that is, through symbolic representation of these religious truths through the channels of ritual, doctrine, and worship.
It is this, then, that explains the multiplicity of beliefs; many of which stand in conflict to one another. Beliefs are not universal; they do not always correspond and are not always compatible with those of other religions, traditions, and sects. Many a war has been waged on the grounds of difference in belief. Ritual, as mentioned earlier, is a symbolic re-enactment of natural law. On a pragmatic level, all ritual may be regarded as a form of ceremonial magic: it is the enactment of certain ceremonies and rites for the purposes of attaining specific results. Worship is rooted dualistically in devotion and fear, and as such, has its positive and negative forms of expression. Worship which brings one closer to a sense of union with the Absolute may be regarded as conducive to the spiritual evolution of the individual, whereas that which stems from fear results only in the fueling of superstition and thus stunts spiritual growth.
Religions are the products of the cultures to which they are attached. And so, the Greek pantheon of the Hellenic tradition epitomizes the values and tendencies of Greek culture at that stage in history; as likewise the Hindu religion does for the customs and traditions of the Indian people, and so on and on. The Greek philosopher Xenophanes once irreverently remarked that if horses had gods, they would look like horses. In this intricate tapestry of world religions each possesses a common blight: the claim to uniqueness and at times superiority; this manifests most strongly in the Abrahamic faiths when compared to those of the Hindu and Buddhist religions which are, as a rule, more tolerant of diversity. Especially in the Islamic and Christian faiths, a tendency exists, both presently and historically, to ostracize and at times even persecute those who disagree with the prevailing doctrines of the religious authorities and their interpretation of the holy texts. This claim to exclusivity is at the root of all religious hatred and discrimination, from which has sprung all the persecutions, inquisitions, and bloodshed that so plague the supposed sanctity of the institutions of the religious domain. We are, reassuringly, transitioning into an era of greatly increased tolerance as regards the multiplicity of religious belief, and unique to this time in history there is a growing body of spiritual freethinkers who remain unattached to any formal religious tradition, preferring instead to tread the path alone, unfettered by the restraining doctrines of the religious institutions in the quest for Ultimate Truth.
And so it becomes obvious to the observant student that that which we call religion is, in the most part, rather merely an occurrence of Religion in its unadulterated form: it is a by-product, not the thing itself. These numerous religious traditions, so objectionable in themselves and too often in discord with one another, must be understood only as the outer sheathes of that inner essence that is Religion.
A serious problem arises when one considers the relationship between religious teachings and authenticity. Religions, like Man, pass through stages of evolution. In the theosophical cosmology, Man is evolving both on a physical and spiritual level. Spiritual evolution takes place over a succession of individual lifetimes through this process of reincarnation, in a series of esoteric initiations. In the process of this evolution, Man comes to see higher attributes and qualities in his conception of Deity, and he transfers his former, less developed idea for that of the higher idea of his present state. And so, in the infancy of Man's evolution he lacks any conception of One God, instead conceiving of many gods, each expressing and exhibiting some particular aspect of the One – some phase of life or form of human feeling, passion, or thought. This is polytheism – with its myriad gods of war, of death, of love, of fertility, of healing, of wisdom, of justice, and so on. This is the primal urge of Man for a touch of the Divine; the religious instinct that will in time lead Man to a worship of the One. These gods are clothed with human attributes, those of love and hate, happiness and despair, jealously, revenge, and retribution.
In time, Man emerges to a monotheistic conception of God. He conceives of a God who plays favourites with His creation, rewarding His worshippers and inflicting ills upon His enemies. This God is a friend to His chosen people and yet an enemy to all others; as such He delights in their annihilation and the shedding of pagan blood. Yet this God is, at the last, merely a symbol for the predominant values of the race to which He is attached – He acts as they would act and thinks as they think. He is like Man, only a little in advance.
Man's conceptions of God never remain the same for long. In fact, Man is constantly improving God – casting down the God of his forefathers and erecting in its place a refined conception. And so, the God of the Old Testament differs significantly from the God of the New Testament, and the God of the Christian Church today is different from the God of two centuries ago.
The problem in this scheme of religious evolution is that outdated dogmas too often survive long after their pragmatic worth as aids in the spiritual development of Man has expired. This anti-progressive survival of obsolete ideologies is most often fostered by those echelons of the religious authorities whose very livelihood and perpetuation of such positions of power rests upon their fearful adoration by the common man. The priest depends upon these antiquated conceptions in order that he may remain an intermediary between Man and God – to keep Man dependent upon him for all his spiritual concerns.
It is as a result of this power-struggle that contemporary Christianity so often finds itself at odds with the prevailing scientific theories, liberal political philosophies, and progressive educational development of modern times. The rise of atheism in the West, coinciding with the spread of communist philosophies in the 20th century, can be considered as an effect of the growing dissatisfaction of the modern man with the irrationality of religious doctrine, yet this rejection of religion in toto stems from his inability to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the slaying of the irrational the inner truths have fallen unobserved beneath the wreckage.
And so herein lies the danger: when religion is presented only in its exoteric, or outward, forms, in which superstition and dogmatism prevail, the modern intellect, rooted so deeply in the fertile fields of rationality, feels forced to renounce it and take refuge instead in the skepticism of agnostic thought, which touches ever so cautiously upon only such things as can be known to the mind of Man. Seemingly paradoxically, the increasing prevalence of agnosticism coincides with a dawning academic interest in comparative religion and a tracing of religious ideas and mythologies back to common primordial roots. Although one would suppose that such a comparative study would lead the scholar to a deeper and more enlightened appreciation of religion in its essential form, this essence too often eludes the academic mind for the reason that it must by necessity transcend the limitations of the intellect and intellectual enquiry.
Man’s primal urge to religious devotion is a result not of the yearnings of the intellect, but of intuition; and thus, much of what may be termed religious understanding comes about only when the intuition is given its rightful place alongside the intellectual in the constitution of the faculties of Man. Indeed, just as religion is fundamentally a transcendent condition, beyond and above the limits of academic and rational speculation, so does the intuition transcend the peripheries of the intellect by tapping into that something which lies beyond.
It is the tendency of the intellect to continually overcome and defeat itself; and so intellectual understanding is an evolutionary process where one theory is developed and defended within the limitations of the intellect at that point in its development, until at some future stage when the further-evolved intellect presents as its rival a grander and more satisfying theory to occupy the throne. Thus, the intellect, in its current stage of evolution, is apt to reject religion wholly as something irrational and anti-modern; it prides itself on its agnosticism in all matters beyond the scope of scientific and secular thought. The intellectual boasts of his dismissal of dogmatism and doctrines and yet in so doing constructs a dogma of his own: that of the sovereignty of secularism and scorn for the credos of ages past.
The Christian Church is itself rooted in the limitations of the intellect and as such differs widely from the original teachings of Jesus Christ. Stemming from dogmas of 2000 years past they bear all the primitivism of Man in that period of his evolution, and rather than evolving with Man’s conscious development they have instead served to limit Man in his intellectual and spiritual potentials both, forcing him ever backwards, into the antiquated past. Despite the many scientific, cosmogonical, and anthropological discrepancies in a literal interpretation of biblical texts, still such interpretations remain popular to this day for the simple reason that Man abhors change; he fears to step beyond the limits of his solacing perspective on life.
In its purest form, Christianity is a unique cultural expression of the Ageless Wisdom, or Theosophy, expounded through the teachings of Christ and his followers in the early centuries AD. Like all such expressions, or branches of the Ageless Wisdom teachings, Christianity has at its core the emphasis on brotherhood and love, as well as of the essential unity of the Many and the One. In the statement of Christ that “I and the Father are one” we see mirrored the ancient aphorism of the Upanishads: “Tat Tvam Asi – Thou Art That”, and this relationship between Man and God is aptly summed up in St. Paul’s address to the citizens of Athens:
"The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands ; neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things ; and he made of one every nation of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined. their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from each one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said. For we are also his offspring."
Perhaps the central teaching of the Christian doctrine is found in the realization that “the Kingdom of God is within you”, as it is in this that Man becomes aware of the fact that the spiritual journey is a fundamentally individual endeavor: the priest has a role, most certainly, as advisor and interpreter; and yet the final Mystery lies in Man’s own relationship with God and not in the presumed authorities of Church elders and ideological impositions on spiritual thought. Christianity in its true expression is not reliant on traditions, books, nor priests, but is rather solely a matter between the individual and his relationship with his fellow Man; and by an extension of such, with God in which “we live, and move, and have our being.”
Ecclesiastical Christianity and Theosophical Christianity are therefore fundamentally at odds with one another, and as such share little in common. One is the outer form, and the other the essence. This essence, constituting one aspect of that Ageless Wisdom termed by many Theosophy, by fact of its being ageless, predates the life of Christ. Christianity is ageless; its teachings, practices, and rituals may be found in the pagan traditions of bygone times; its message is anticipated in the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and echoed in the later religions such as Islam, Sikhism, and the Baha’i Faith. Every symbol, vestment, and tradition in the rituals of the Christian Church are in truth survivals of pagan ceremonies and festivals reinterpreted and stripped of their mystical significance. We see this in the Eucharist’s origins in the sacred rite of Mithras, and in the prominence of the sacramental meals in the Mystery Cults of Greece and Rome.
It is worth remembering that Christ himself was a reformer and rebel who challenged the religious doctrines and outdated moralism of the Judaic tradition; it was his work to transmute such into the higher cosmic religion of the Christian teachings. Jesus was, undoubtedly, an Initiate of the highest order, well versed in the traditions of the East and West both; a freethinker, reformer, challenger, and revolutionary of spiritual thought who paved the way for the moral foundations of our contemporary society, who fearlessly and defiantly gave his life in defence of Truth that others may also attain salvation by the realization of ultimate Oneness.
Christianity transcends the limits of cultures by making itself a truly universal religion; this is of the factors which distinguishes it from Judaism with its roots in Semitic culture and traditions. St. Paul made it his mission to spread the teachings to the previously reviled gentiles through a universal reapplication of ancient doctrines to the lives of individuals across the globe. Christianity was thus from the very beginning an adaptable system of religious philosophy, able to coincide and assimilate with pagan and folk beliefs in societies, tribal communities, and nations from East to West. Here it differs significantly from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, which, while arguably also very adaptable at times, do not reach the level of adaptation found in the vastness of the Christian tradition. There are commonalities to be found within all, and yet the diversity of interpretation and practice within Christianity can be rather astonishing. It is interesting to note that in the majority of cases where Christianity has been introduced to a people through missionary efforts, the local populace have found no contradiction between their traditional beliefs and that of the new religion; and rather than rejecting the old in favour of the new, have instead incorporated the former into the latter so that the two become one – old wine in new bottles.
The earliest Christianity was almost certainly a gnostic religion in which the Greater Mysteries were given precedence over the Lesser (as found in the rituals and ceremonies of the Church). It was a Mystery Cult through and through, with specific Initiatory rites intended to lead the devotee to an ultimate realization of his oneness with God. It is this oneness that gives the devotee the right to declare himself a “Son of God” – God here understood in the highest sense of the term, as that supreme, impersonal PRINCIPLE which transcends all limiting definitions and characterizations as an anthropomorphic deity or intellectual concept. And it is this aspect of Christianity which has been so neglected and persecuted throughout the centuries, to the extent that the mystic and esoteric teachings have been all but lost. Although preserved in the teachings of the Rosicrucian tradition, with its merging of the Egyptian mysteries with the teachings of early Christianity, and the mystical theology of the Martinist Order with its emphasis on the return of Man from his fallen, or sinful state, to a state of reunion with God through the process of Reintegration, these Greater Mysteries have all but vanished from the doctrines of the Christian orthodoxy, resulting in the mass rejection of Christianity by a large number of the most educated members of society.
The esoteric aspect is truly at the heart of Christianity, and without such it cannot continue to survive. If Christianity is to claim its place as a religion of the future it must first rekindle that flame of mystic knowledge and regain those teachings it has lost – it must again discover its mystic and occult aspects and stand steadfast as a custodian and authoritative teacher of the Ageless Wisdom which constitutes its very core. If these Greater Mysteries may be considered as the missing pieces of the puzzle of Christianity, then it is only when they are regained that the picture may become fathomable and complete; without them the dogmas of the Church are naught but empty shells and fetters upon the freedoms of Man.
There can be no contradiction between Theosophy, as the esoteric root of all religion, and Christianity in its purest form. An impartial and unbiased examination of all the world’s religions reveals the fact that as regards the doctrines of ethical conduct, spiritual law, cosmogony, and the fundamental oneness of life, each are in basic agreement with one another. It is, however, Christianity as filtered through the teachings of the Church which sets itself apart from the rich tapestry of world religions by its assertion of exclusiveness and intolerance of doctrines which differ from those of its own.
This is the difference between the modern expressions of Christianity and the teachings of Christ himself: that in the latter there is no contradiction at all between his message and Theosophical teachings; in fact, there is an absolute harmony and correspondence between them. As the body of Ageless Wisdom underlying the foundations of all world religions there can never be any new or contradictory doctrines arising from Theosophy; such would be an impossibility. Theosophy is simply Religion in its purest form.
So, whilst the teachings of the Christian Church are not all reconcilable with those of Theosophy, the original teachings of Christ are at all times in accordance with such. The Christian Scriptures are in fact an expression of the Ageless Wisdom through allegory, and it is not the message of the Scriptures but the literal interpretation of them which the rational mind is forced to reject.
Thus, we find three great events which constitute the core of the Gospel allegory, these being, chronologically: the Virgin birth; the Crucifixion; and the Resurrection. These three events are known well by every Christian from all denominations across the globe, and much debate and controversy has arisen regarding the historicity of this timeline of the life of Christ. What is interesting is that in each case can be found the traces of an earlier mythos; and in fact, it could be said that they are indeed rooted firmly in the mysticism of the pagan past.
Theosophically interpreted, and literalism aside, it is clear that the birth of Christ was by necessity an immaculate conception. When we consider who Christ is it becomes clear that He is what Theosophy refers to as the Logos, or the Divine Man; and thus in the life of Christ we find a representation of the entire Cosmic Process from Manifestation through to Desolation and onward to Rebirth. In the divinity of Christ is found perhaps the greatest expression of mystery of the relationship between Man and the Divine. For though Man has “fallen into matter” he still retains within him the divine spark; that which links him in his deepest essence with God. This is the invisible thread which while unseen is yet ever present. He, the Divine Man, thus remains beyond the world of form; He is “eternal in the heavens”, and yet it is He, as Humanity itself, who, at the same time, is crucified upon the Cross of Matter in the process of the Cosmic Cycle. In light of the Hermetic axiom, “As Above, So Below”, Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection can be understood as an allegory for the eternal process whereby the One becomes the Many in the act of Manifestation, before again returning to its state of singularity at the dusk of the Cosmic Night. The significance here in relation to the Divine Man is that while the One becomes the Many, yet It remains ever the One – it is thus both Manifest and Unmanifest; both Being and Becoming. In like wise is Man both Matter and Spirit, and yet his body of Matter is but temporal and fleeting, and as with Christ upon the Cross, death awaits us all.
Death is then the Great Trial; the return of the Many to the One. It is for this reason that the Scriptures are filled from beginning to end with allegorical references to death and to the heaven that await those who grasp the Divine Wisdom that lies latent within the recounting of the resurrection of the Christ.
We may appropriately quote Evelyn Underhill, from her work titled Mysticism, on the topic as follows:
"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. It is an everlasting bringing forth, in the universe and also in the individual ascending soul, of the divine and perfect Life, the pure character of God, of which the one historical life dramatized the essential constituents. Hence the soul, like the physical embryo, resumes in its upward progress the spiritual life-history of the race. 'The one secret, the greatest of all,' says Patmore, 'is the doctrine of the Incarnation, regarded not as an historical event which occurred two thousand years-ago, but as an event which is renewed in the body of every one who is in the way to the fulfilment of his original destiny.’”
The question of the literal interpretation of the Gospels therefore becomes redundant in the light of their essential truths; wherein the Christ, as the Logos, or Divine Man, is crucified in manifested Humanity, and thus becomes the sacrificial lamb upon the altar of the Cosmic Process. From the alchemical and Hermetic perspective, where the individual is brought into consideration, this represents the final struggle, where the individual soul must conquer the human aspect of its being and cross the threshold of immortality. Here the human in its material aspect is sacrificed upon the altar of the Spirit. Thus slain he may rise again – a phoenix from the ashes – freed from the tomb of Matter to ascend to the heavenly heights which so await him.
Again, the question of the historicity of the Resurrection is revealed to be a needless debate, as the concern here is not with the physical process but with the spiritual truths it elucidates. The Four Gospels in their entirety are essentially an embodiment of the esoteric doctrine of the Christos - the Divine Man - in the process of the “Fall and Resurrection”. The theological doctrines of atonement and redemption are merely the by-products of this truer meaning and bear no fundamental relation to the central message itself.
In brief summary, an examination of Theosophy of Christianity reveals that rather than being at odds with one another, the latter is really one facet of the former – Christianity, like all the major world religions, forms one branch of the tree of Ageless Wisdom, and as such shares and expounds the same universally held ideals regarding ethics, spirituality, and the redemption of Man from his state of ignorance or sin. A clear distinction must be made between Christianity in its exoteric form, as expressed in the rituals and doctrines of the Church; and Christianity in its inner, or esoteric aspect, which concerns itself with the Greater Mysteries and the attainment of salvation through union with God.
We find, therefore, that the teachings of Jesus are in total accord with the central doctrines of Theosophy. If Christ was to return today, he would perhaps find a clearer expression of his teachings in the Theosophical emphasis on Universal Brotherhood and tolerance for all Mankind than in the rigid doctrines and persecutions of the Church. We must only hope that Christianity and Theosophy may be reconciled, and that in such that the ideal of Universal Brotherhood, expressed by Christ’s instruction to “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, may be realized; for it is only in the actualization of this ideal that we may plant the fertile seeds of tolerance and love, and from which may spring forth the nucleus of Universal Brotherhood which will serve to unite us along the path of liberation; that each one may bear the sword of the Spirit in the conquest of the self and raise high the torch of Truth that they may be as bearers of light unto the world.
"He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more." (Revelations iii. 12)