The Path – December 1886

THE HERMETIC PHILOSOPHY: II — B.

(Concluded from the July Number.)

"The music of the spheres" is not a mere figure of speech, but an actuality.

The Soul of the World has its central Sun whose life throbs pulsate throughout immensity. If we study the phenomena and conditions of either crystallization or organization we shall find that every atom in the vast universe is set to music. There is the pean of life, and the dirge of death, the major and the minor key. The rhythm is the same whether in the ebb or flow of life, but the serried columns march in opposite directions. The Unity lies back of all phenomena in the infinite ocean, the universal solvent, as the crystal lies latent, potential, unmanifested, in the solution of salt. So all things exist potentially in the ether. The real form of everything is perfect, essential, divine. Only the effigy appears with ebb and flow; with swell and cadence like martial music. Only in the Garden of the Gods can the perfect flower and fruit appear. There is but one approximation to perfect form to be apprehended by mortals — the Sphere — and even this is ideal or geometrical, not actual. The dimensions of space pertain to objects: objects exist in time, and the essence of time is motion. (1) Imagine the intelligence of man posited in an ocean of Ether, a thinking principle, without form or extension, and the fallacy of space as generally conceived becomes manifest, and disappears. Matter, space, time, and motion, these pertain to outwardly manifested existence. Read backward the genesis of crystal, plant, animal or man, and one plan, one basis is discovered in all.

"Out from the shore of the great unknown" come trooping these effigies of diviner being, these shapes of diviner forms. In the beginning was the Word, the Fiat has gone forth. Listen O! man to the music of Bath Col the voice of thine own soul. Adonai speaks. If thou art conscious, His voice is conscience. It is the memory of the voice of God in fields elysian, thy former divine abode. Thou mayest involve in thy life on earth thine Augoeides, "being of light," a "gleaming brightness." This is thy holy mission, the meaning of thy human shape, thy manly powers, thy subtle intellect, thy holy intuitions. These are but the seed of larger life, the bird of promise. The unfolded flower shall be thy highest aspiration, thy holiest wish, and its ripened fruit shall bear thee to the garden of the gods, with knowledge and power as thy servants. Ask but thine own soul, counsel with thy better self, and if thou findest not within the silence the answering voice, then return to thy wallowing in the mire, and the husks which the swine do eat, rather than to thy father's house which thou hast made, and will henceforth continue to make a den of thieves, at best, a whited sepulchre.

Now let us read the Tablet of Hermes, bearing in mind the fact that man is an epitome of the universe, thus actually or potentially containing all that is, and if he knows how to read and to unfold his own nature, powers and possibilities, he may read thereby the universe, unfold its laws, comprehend its plan, and if he be master of himself, thus revealed to his understanding, his powers shall be co-extensive with knowledge. He shall possess the MASTERS' WORD.

[This tablet is printed in full in September Path, 1886]

The reader is referred to Isis Unveiled for explanation of the Azoth to which, on the physical plane, the tablet refers, (2) and I might say in passing, that those who complain that the Brothers closely guard occult secrets, will do well, even at this late day, to read Isis Unveiled, There are several matters contained in those two volumes which the careless reader, and complaining "theosophist" has possibly overlooked. In fact there is less concealment in all occult matters than the ignorant and time-serving suppose. There can be no better safe-guards to Royal Secrets, than ignorance and defective vision, for which defects there is no surgery or remedy outside ourselves.

"God saith, Let the man endued with a mind, mark, consider, and know himself well. * * And before they give up their bodies to the death of them, they hate their senses, knowing their works and operations.

"Rather, I, that am the mind itself, will not suffer the operations or works, which belong to the body, to be finished and brought to perfection in them, but being the Porter and Doorkeeper I will shut up the entrances of evil, and cut off the thoughtful desires of filthy works.

"But to the foolish, and evil, and wicked, and envious, and covetous, and profane, I am far off, giving place to the revenging demon * *

"For the sleep of the body is the sober watchfulness of the mind, and the shutting of my eyes, the true sight, and my silence great with child; and full of good, and the pronouncing of my words the blossoms and fruits of good things." (3)

"Wherefore we must be bold to say that an earthly man is a mortal god, and that the heavenly God is an immortal Man." (4)

Compare with this the following from the writings of Plato:

"He who has not even a knowledge of common things, is a brute among men; he who has an accurate knowledge of human concerns alone, is a man among brutes; but he who knows all that can be known by intelligent inquiry is a god among men."

In these brief and imperfect outlines enough has been given to show the thoughtful student, the agreement of the Hermetic doctrines with the teachings of Theosophy, indeed, any real progress in the comprehension of the one, may be taken as a key to the other. These, together with the teachings of the Kabbala, are but different forms of the Secret Doctrine; none of them are to be fully apprehended by the intellect alone; but only when the mind is illuminated by the light of understanding, and the process by which this illumination is to he achieved, through diligent inquiry, unselfish work, and repression of the senses, appetites and passion, has been often pointed out, and is found repeated and reiterated in all these writings. If any, therefore, are disposed to complain that they are left to grope in darkness, they have no one to blame but themselves. To the conscientious student, the constant wonder is at the richness of the feast spread out on every hand.

Like a beautiful landscape to the blind, or music to the deaf, are the pages of wisdom to the ignorant and selfish. Eyes have they but they see not, ears have they but they hear not, and so long as they are joined to their idols they may as well be let alone. But to the earnest disciple, to the true seeker of The Path these are the everlasting verities: let them run and not be weary, walk and not faint, seek, and they shall surely find, desire, and they shall attain, knock, and the door of knowledge shall open, obey, and they shall in turn command, labor, and they shall obtain rest.

"Rest is not quitting
     The busy career,
Rest is the fitting
     Of self to one's sphere.
'Tis the brook's motion,
     Clear, without strife,
Fleeting to ocean
     After this life.
'Tis living and serving
     The highest and best,
'Tis onward unswerving,
     And this is true rest."

FOOTNOTES:

1. "We take no notice of time save by its loss" i.e. its passage or motion. (return to text)

2. Isis Unveiled, vol. 1, p. 507, et seq (return to text).

3. Pymander, p. 33, et seq, edition of 1650. (return to text)

4. IV Book, p 60. (return to text)


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