Way of Essenic Studies
As we grasp the significance of the kingdom of God we begin to understand what is meant by the meaning of that "cloud of witnesses" by which we are so constantly surrounded.
The kingdom of God is not some one particular church with its own peculiar doctrines, its particular formulations of truth, or its specialized method of government upon earth and of approach to God.
The true "Church" is the kingdom of God on earth, divorced from all clerical government and composed of all, regardless of race or creed, who live by the light within, who have discovered the fact of the mystical Christ in their hearts, and are preparing to tread the Way of Initiation.
The kingdom is not composed of orthodox theologically minded people. Its citizenship is wider than that, and includes every human being who is thinking in larger terms than the individual, the orthodox, the national or the racial.
The members of the coming kingdom will think in terms of humanity as a whole; and as long as they are separative or nationalistic, or religiously bigoted, or materialistically selfish, they will not understand their place in that kingdom.
The word spiritual will be given a far wider connotation than that which has been given in the old age which is fortunately now passing.
All forms of life will be regarded from the angle of spiritual phenomena, and we shall no longer regard one activity as spiritual and another as not.
The question of motive, purpose and group usefulness will determine the spiritual nature of an activity. To work for the whole; to be occupied with the aiding of the group; to be cognizant of One Life pulsing through all forms, and to work in the consciousness that all men are brothers - these are the initial qualities which a citizen of the Kingdom must show.
The human family is individually self-conscious and this stage of the separative consciousness has been a needed and useful one; but the time has arrived when we are aware of greater contacts, of wider implications, and of a more general inclusiveness.
How will this condition of God's kingdom materialize on earth? By the gradual and steady increase of the numbers of those who are citizens of that kingdom living their lives on earth and demonstrating the qualities and the consciousness which is characteristic of such citizens; by men and women everywhere cultivating the wider consciousness, and becoming more and more inclusive. Any reflection that can infallibly break the walls of the Self, opens up at once an infinite World-field.
The true mystic is he who holds to the reality of both worlds, and leaves to time and effort the understanding of their union. The kingdom of God is not divorced from practical daily living upon the level of everyday affairs. The citizen of the kingdom is world- conscious and God-conscious.
His lines of contact are clearly delineated in both directions: he is interested not in himself, but in God and his fellow men, and his duty to God is worked out through the love he feels and shows for all those around him.
He knows no barriers and recognizes no divisions; he is living - as a soul - in every aspect of his nature, through his mind and his emotions, and on the physical plane of life. He works through love and in love and because of the love of God.
There is one last thought however, which warrants attention.
Arresting in its implication, it is sadly and deeply true that Man, as he exists today, is not capable of this transition. He must change or perish.
Man, as he is, is not the last word of creation. If he does not, if he cannot, adapt himself and his institutions to a new world, he will yield his place to a species more sensitive and less gross in its nature. "If man cannot do the work demanded of him, another creature who can, will arise." (The Supreme Spiritual Ideal, by S. Radhakrishnan)
Such has always been the evolutionary plan. The life of God has constructed for itself vehicle after vehicle in order to manifest, and kingdom has succeeded kingdom. The same great expansion is imminent today.
Man, the self-conscious being, can differ radically from the forms of life in the other kingdoms because he can go forward upon the wave of God's life in full consciousness. He can share in the "joy of the Lord" as the wider reaches of consciousness become his; he can know the nature of that bliss which is the outstanding condition of God's nature. There is no need for human failure, nor for a definite break in the continuity of revelation.
There is that in man which can enable him to bridge the gap between the kingdom in which he finds himself and the new kingdom on the horizon.
Human beings who are citizens of both kingdoms - the human and the spiritual - are with us today as always. They move with freedom in either world, and Christ Himself gave us the perfect demonstration of that citizenship and told us that we could do "even greater things" than He had done. Such is the glorious future towards which man is oriented today, and for which all world events are preparing him.
To be immortal because one's sins are "forgiven" seems an inadequate reason to an intelligent mind; to have everlasting life because Christ died two thousand years ago does not prove satisfactory to the man who is conscious of his own responsibility and his own identity; to live for ever because one is religious, or has accepted certain forms of dogma or belief, is a belief repudiated by the man who is aware of his own inner power and nature; to base one's faith in survival upon tradition or even upon an innate sense of persistence does not seem sufficient.
Anyone who cannot attain to the consciousness of the true values is yet ready for the immortality which is the prerogative of the sons of God. The building of that inner structure which is the spiritual body is carried on by means of purification, perfecting, meditation and initiation, and above all else, by service. There is no other way.
The true values to which the initiate gives his life are those of the spirit, of the kingdom of God, those which concern the whole and which lay no primary emphasis upon the individual.
Faith in this newer sense signifies that experience itself is the sole ultimate authority. It is this that connotes not uniformity but recognition of our essential unity.
The preparation for this kingdom is the task of discipleship and constitutes the arduous discipline of the Way. The work of the disciple is the founding of the kingdom, and the primary characteristic of its citizens. They function consciously in or out of the body and care not which it is; they have life everlasting because there is in them that which cannot die, that being the very nature of God.
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