You may find the figures of Gog and Magog on the right-hand side, as you go uphill on a narrow winding street. They are just above a jeweler's, near the heart of the city of London, and well within the sound of Bow bells.
Every quarter of an hour little doors open, and these two robots emerge with hammers in their hands to strike upon a gong. It is quite a well known landmark to many Londoners, and oftentimes parents pause so that their children may watch the performance of Gog and Magog.
Such might have been the case with a friend of mine who, although he had been in the United States for thirty years, I knew had spent his childhood in London. So happening to come upon a picture evidently from a photographic reproduction of this scene, I took it to him, and covering the descriptive printed matter with my hand, asked him could he tell me what and where it was.
He looked at it for a moment and then with a smile said, "Why, bless me if that isn't old Gog and Magog on Cheapside in London!" (1)
Granting there is nothing at all abnormal about this, still it was quite a feat of memory; so let us dwell upon it for a little, and let us ever so briefly, state the explanation given by material science, and also that handed down from time immemorial by the Wisdom Religion, so that each may exercise his divine endowment of choice.
Before the coming of H. P. Blavatsky, and before the coming of the Curies with their epoch-making discovery of radium, the physical scientists had only an indestructible permanent atom to base their theories upon, and when they did mention it they attributed its formation to a chemical or electrical interaction of the molecules of brain matter, and more mysteriously still gave this as a cause without specializing any intelligent motivating agent behind the thought. Moreover this same physical science now tells us that the human body completely changes its physical constituents once in every seven years. If this be true, then my friend must have had four bodies, in which the physical matter was not composed of any of the previous molecules. It must indeed be obvious that the present body through which he recalls the scene cannot be the same, physically speaking, as the body of the child through which he received the impression. The question then arises how the thought image is transmitted through the ever renewed material. However, any attempt of the now passing materialistic science to account for thought processes can only tax our credulity to the breaking point and we are more than ever justified in adding our voices to the ever-swelling chorus which is simply saying that "It is not so."
Theosophy on the other hand stipulates the Thinker, as the agent back of all thought, and does not limit this agent's operations to the physical alone, but gives to it a vast range of expression, from the physical through ever more tenuous substance to the most spiritual.
Next to the physical in density is the Astral, which is the substance on which our physical bodies are molded, and you will notice that our bodily formation is preserved throughout in the ever changing physical stream.
Within this ethereal fabric there exists what modern occultists have so graphically described as the astral picture gallery, wherein all events and scenes of the past are reflected.
So when my friend looked back in years, and by the aid of a few shadings on the surface of the printed page recalled the scene of childhood days from among countless pictures in this Astral gallery, it was something of a feat.
Let us never forget however that the greatest wonder of all is the Thinker, and that it was regarding this same Thinker the Master left with us his admonition, "Man, know thyself."
Is it not splendid then to have the assurances of those who are ahead of us on the Path that Theosophy will, can and does furnish the keys, to unlock the doors of knowledge on this our most sacred quest?
1. Recently bought by Henry Ford, and now at Dearborn, Michigan, U. S. A. (return to text)