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6. The Epiphany of the Higher

The Epiphany of the Higher1

In all forms of Man-worship there are two errors which are sins, besides being mistakes. It is an error to worship Man at all, because Man is not God, even though Man may be rather less ungodlike individually than he is collectively; and it is an error to worship human power—either collective and physical or individual and psychic—because the worship of human power prevents the worshipper from finding the right attitude towards Suffering.

In human life, Suffering is the antithesis of Power, and it is also a more characteristic and more fundamental element in Life than Power is. We have already seen that Suffering is of the essence of Life, because it is the inevitable product of an unresolvable tension between a living creature’s essential impulse to try to make itself into the centre of the Universe and its essential dependence on the rest of Creation and on the Absolute Reality in which all creatures live and move and have their being.2 On the other hand, human power, in all its forms, is limited and, in the last resort, illusory. Therefore any attitude towards Life that idolizes human power is bound to be a wrong attitude towards Suffering and, in consequence, a wrong attitude towards Life itself. The idolatrous worship of parochial states leads their war-lords to inflict Suffering pitilessly in the pursuit of Power. The idolatrous worship of an oecumenical state leads to a policy of keeping Suffering within bounds by force, and so to the paradox of inflicting Suffering for the purpose of limiting it. Since an oecumenical state is the most estimable kind of state that Man has succeeded in creating so far, the moral paradox inherent in an oecumenical state is a verdict on states of all kinds: in its worse and its better varieties alike, the state is the nemesis of Original Sin. Finally, the idolatrous worship of an individual human self-sufficiency leads to a repression of the Pity for Suffering, and of the Love for the sufferer, that are natural to Man because he is a social animal.

The failure of both the idolization of the self-sufficient philosopher and the idolization of the oecumenical community to meet the challenge presented by the failure of parochial-community-worship opens the way for a rejection of the worship of human power in all forms; and this disillusionment with discredited human idols opens the way, further, for a change of heart through a change of attitude towards Suffering. The converted soul abandons an unconverted Human Nature’s effort to escape Suffering for oneself by the acquisition and exercise of some kind of Power—whether collective and physical or individual and psychic. It adopts, instead, the opposite attitude of accepting Suffering for oneself and trying to turn one’s own suffering to positive account by acting, at the cost of suffering, on one’s feelings of Pity and Love for one’s fellow-creatures. This change of heart in Man opens his eyes to a new vision of God. It gives him a glimpse of a God who is Love as well as Power, and who is not a deification either of Human or of Non-Human Nature, but is the deliverer of these and all His creatures from the evil of self-centredness to which every creature is prone. The new religions in which this change of heart expresses itself may be called ‘higher religions’, because they rise above Man-worship as well as above Nature-worship.

An historian’s first approach to the higher religions will be by way of the social milieu in which they make their epiphany. They are not the product of their social milieu; the events that produce them are encounters between human beings and the Absolute Reality that is in, and at the same time beyond, all the phenomena of Existence, Life, and History; and any soul may meet God at any time and place in any historical circumstances. Nevertheless, an examination of the social milieu will help us to understand the nature, as well as the rise, of religions in which this experience of meeting God is communicated and commended to Mankind as the inspiration for a new way of life.

The deification of human power in the two forms of an oecumenical community and a self-sufficient philosopher has usually been instituted by members of the remnant of a dominant minority in a society that is disintegrating. This is obviously the social origin of the founders of oecumenical empires, and the founders of schools of philosophy have also come from the same social source. They have, most of them, been sophisticated men, born into the middle, or even the upper, class of Society. Confucius was an unemployed civil servant; Plato was a disillusioned aristocrat; Siddhārtha Gautama was the son of a parochial prince. By contrast, the founders of the higher religions have mostly arisen in the ranks of the vast majority of the members of a disintegrating society whose normal human sufferings have been intensified to an abnormal degree by the social breakdown and disintegration resulting from the failure of parochial-community-worship. In the successive degrees of this abnormal suffering the last turn of the screw, short of physical extermination, is the experience of being uprooted from one’s home and becoming a refugee, exile, or deportee who has been wrenched out of his ancestral framework. The infliction of such extreme suffering on the grand scale is a self-indictment of the society in which these atrocities are committed, and in the Westernizing World of the twentieth century of the Christian Era there was a subconscious self-defensive conspiracy to minimize the painfulness of deracination by the euphemism of calling the sufferers ‘displaced persons’. In the Hellenic World of the fifth century B.C., Herodotus did not flinch from calling them déracinés outright.

This has been the human seed from which the higher religions have sprung. The origin of the Buddhist religion is only an apparent exception to this rule; for, though the Buddha was a prince who became a philosopher, Siddhārtha Gautama’s first step on His quest for enlightenment was to slip out of His father’s palace in order to live voluntarily in ‘the homeless state’ for the rest of His life. The enlightenment that He sought was primarily intellectual, but He did not yield, when He had found it, to the temptation to take the logically consequent step of immediately making His own exit into Nirvāna. Instead, He chose inconsequently to stay in the World in order to impart His intellectual illumination to His fellow sentient beings and to instruct them how to take the path that He had blazed by bringing the Will as well as the Intellect into play. Thus the Buddha was an illogical evangelist, besides being a voluntary déraciné, and it was no accident that the founder of a philosophy who had taken these self-sacrificing turnings at two decisive moments in His life should posthumously have become also the founder of a higher religion.

This transfiguration of the philosophy of the Hīnayāna into the religion of the Mahāyāna, which had been foreshadowed in the example set by the Buddha in His own life, did not begin to declare itself among His disciples till some three hundred years had passed since their Master’s death. The first glimmer of the slow dawn of the Mahāyāna appeared among people who had been uprooted in the second century B.C. by a Greek and a subsequent Central Asian Nomad invasion of India; and the nascent higher religion spread from a Hellenized Indian World across a Hellenized South-West Asian World into an East Asian World in an age when Eastern Asia, South-Western Asia, and India were each passing through a time of troubles. In the South-West Asian, Egyptian, and Hellenic worlds, this same time of troubles also saw the rise of another higher religion—Christianity—among people who had been uprooted by Macedonian and Roman militarism and by a consequent social revolution. In an earlier age the time of troubles precipitated by the breakdown of the Babylonian and Syrian civilizations had seen the rise of two older higher religions—Judaism and Zoroastrianism—among people who had been uprooted in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. by Assyrian militarism and by a subsequent Völkerwanderung of Central Asian Nomads.

The epiphany of these new higher religions in the souls of the déracinés was neither quick nor easy. The breakdown and disintegration of Society and the victims’ consequent loss of their ancestral heritage, including the physical home in which their lives had had their roots, was a challenge of unusual severity. A majority of those who were overtaken by it completely failed to respond and were spiritually crushed by the experience. The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel are the classic symbol of the multitude that has thus passed into oblivion without leaving any spiritual memorial. Some of the victims responded to the challenge by trying to use against their oppressors the physical violence that these oppressors had used against them. These Spartacists took the sword and perished with it.3 Others responded by replying to violence, not with violence, but with gentleness, and, among these, some created new societies of new kinds. But, of these new societies, some merely aimed at, and succeeded in, preserving a remnant of one or other of the shattered parochial communities associated with an outlived parochial past. This parochial past had shattered itself by its own sins and was rightly discredited; and, among the déracinés who made the gentle response, only those who resolutely turned their faces away from this fallen idol succeeded in founding higher religions which had a mission to all Mankind and whose message was a revelation of some means of coping with the fundamental problems of human life.

These diverse responses to an identical challenge may be illustrated briefly by citing a few classic examples.

Among the would-be saviours by violence we can distinguish archaists, futurists, and archaists who involuntarily turn into futurists and so defeat their own original purpose under the stress of their struggle to achieve it. Classic examples of pure archaists—people who have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing—are the parochial nationalists in South-West Asia who, in 522–521 B.C., tried, by force of arms, to prevent Darius the son of Hystaspes from maintaining a Persian world-empire which had brought peace to South-West Asia after its devastation by the Assyrians and the Nomads. The archaist-futurists start by trying forcibly to restore the ancien régime in some disintegrating parochial community, but are led on unintentionally into making a revolution that sweeps away the last remnants of the treasured Past and inaugurates a new régime in its stead. A classic example is King Cleomenes Ill’s revolution at Sparta in the third century B.C. Cleomenes’ intention was to restore an ancien régime in which the Spartiates had been a dominant minority ruling over serfs and satellites. Since the dominance of the Spartiates was now imperilled by a decline in their numbers, Cleomenes set out to check and reverse this tendency; but he ended by inaugurating a political and social revolution in which the citizens of the satellite communities were given the Spartiate franchise and the Spartiate lands were redistributed among citizens of both the naturalized and the Spartiate-born class. Gaius Gracchus’s revolution in the Roman Commonwealth in the second century B.C. ran the same unintended course. Gaius’s intention was to restore an ancien régime in which the Roman public land had been at the Roman State’s disposal for distribution into homesteads for landless citizens. He ended by letting loose a social revolution in which the satellite communities of the Commonwealth acquired the Roman franchise and the Roman oligarchy was deprived of its virtual monopoly of political power by a military dictatorship representing the unprivileged majority in the body politic.

The transformation of the post-Exilic Jewish concept of the Messiah is a classic example of a similar revolution in the realm of unrealized political aspirations. The Messiah was thought of originally as a nationalist leader who would attain for Jewry the goal that Darius I’s opponents were seeking to attain in 522–521 B.C. The Messiah was to re-establish the Davidic parochial kingdom of Judah and Israel. But, in a world in which parochial states had come to be anachronisms, and in which the only practical choice now was between alternative oecumenical empires, the Messiah subsequently came to be thought of as a Jewish empire-builder who was to emulate and supersede the work of a Persian Cyrus and Darius or a Roman Caesar and Augustus. The Messiah was now to be the founder of an oecumenical empire in which the Jews were to take the Persians’ or the Romans’ place as the World’s imperial people.

The futurists are revolutionaries who consciously and deliberately set out to break with a disintegrating social past in order to create a new society. The new society, however, that the futurist is trying to make has two fundamental characteristics in common with the old society that the archaist is trying to save. Both are this-worldly and both are the children of force. The futurist is therefore apt, like the archaist, to produce results that run ironically counter to his intentions. The futurist becomes an archaist malgré lui, as the archaist becomes malgré lui a futurist. One classic exemplar of the type is Aristonicus of Pergamum, the revolutionary founder, in the second century B.C., of an abortive Utopia in Western Anatolia. Aristonicus called the insurgent slaves and peasants who joined his standard ‘the citizens of the Commonwealth of the Sun’. His god, like Ikhnaton’s and Aurelian’s, was the heavenly body that is the symbol and the vindicator of Justice because he sheds his light and warmth impartially on all men, oppressed and oppressors alike. But the result of a liberation of underdog by force would be, not to inaugurate a new régime founded upon Justice, but simply to perpetuate the old unjust régime with no change except a reversal of roles. ‘The last shall be first, and the first last’,4 not in the spiritual hierarchy of a new Kingdom of Heaven, but in the economic and political hierarchy of the old Kingdom of This World. This alloy of Archaism in Futurism partly accounts for the failures of Aristonicus in a Roman Asia and of his contemporaries the insurgent Syrian slave-kings Eunus, Cleon, and Athenio in a Roman Sicily.

When we turn to the would-be saviours who make a gentle response to the challenge of violence, we find archaists here too, but also founders of a genuinely new kind of society.

Classic examples in Hellenic history of gentle archaists are Agis the forerunner of Cleomenes and Tiberius the forerunner of Gaius Gracchus. Both were martyrs to their gentleness, and both gave their lives for it in vain, since, in both cases, the moral drawn from the martyr’s fate by the martyr’s successor was the Machiavellian one that a would-be reformer must not be too proud to fight. In Jewish history the classic gentle archaist is Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai. The Jewish community in Palestine had been brought to the brink of its second historic catastrophe by an archaist-futurist Messianism that believed passionately in retorting to violence by violence. At that moment, Johanan ben Zakkai became, without suffering martyrdom, the founder of a Jewish diasporà that was to be held together by a zeal, not for establishing a Jewish oecumenical empire by force of arms, but for keeping the Mosaic Law in the prophetic spirit.

During the siege, Johanan b. Zakkai escaped out of Jerusalem and obtained permission from Titus to retire to the village of Jabne or Jamnia, and teach there openly. When the news of the fall of Jerusalem came to Jamnia, Johanan’s disciple Joshua b. Hanania cried out ‘Woe to us, because the place is destroyed where they make propitiation for the sins of Israel!’ But Johanan answered ‘My Son, let it not grieve thee; we have yet one propitiation equal to it, and what is that but the bestowal of kindnesses?—even as it is written I desired kindness and not sacrifice’.5

Johanan ben Zakkai’s inspiration has enabled Judaism to survive in diasporà in the western quarter of the Old World for more than eighteen centuries since the third historic catastrophe of Judaism in Palestine in the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The same spirit has enabled Zoroastrianism to survive likewise in diasporà on the west coast of India since the overthrow, in the seventh century of the Christian Era, by force of Arab arms, of a Sasanian Empire in which Zoroastrianism had been the established religion. This change of heart in Zoroastrianism, like the change in Judaism, from violence to gentleness, was a response to the experience of an overwhelming military and political disaster. In the history of Zoroastrianism, this change was indeed remarkable, since, in the Sasanian Empire, Zoroastrianism had actually attained, over a period of four hundred years, the objective which a latterday oecumenical Jewish Messianism had merely dreamed of attaining. During those four centuries ending in the Arab conquest, the Sasanian Empire had successfully played the part of a counter-world-power which had been able to deal with the Roman Empire on equal terms and to take ‘Irāq, as well as Iran, out of the Hellenic Civilization’s orbit.

The survival of the Zoroastrian and Jewish diasporàs in formidably adverse circumstances is a testimony to the effectiveness of Archaism as a social cement when it is compounded with the spirit of gentleness; but the spiritual price of this social tour de force has been exorbitantly high. Each of these two communities has succeeded in preserving its identity in diasporà at the cost of subjecting itself to the meticulous observance of an archaic ritual law. Since this law is the only fragment of the community’s shattered social fabric that has not perished, long ago, at the time of the extinction of the state and the dispersal of the people, ritual-law-worship is evidently the only form in which collective self-worship could have weathered these catastrophes. Yet it is an untoward achievement to have kept up, by this tour de force, a form of Man-worship that has been found to be a bad religion by the general experience of Mankind; and, in any religion, a concentration of attention and effort on formalities is spiritually sterilizing.

If non-violent Archaism has thus proved to be a blind ally, the acceptance of Suffering as the price of following the promptings of Pity and Love has proved to open up an approach towards Absolute Reality. This approach has been made along two separate roads, on each of which the spiritual traveller has been offered an ideal figure to follow as his exemplar and his guide. On the Indian road the ideal figure is the bodhisattva; on the Palestinian road it is the Suffering Servant. The two roads run parallel towards a meeting-point at Infinity that is their common objective; for both roads are approaches to the same Absolute Reality. But, though their goal is thus identical, the roads themselves are separate; and, though the traveller along each of them comes to see the same Absolute Reality through a glass darkly,6 there is a difference between the Indian and the Palestinian lens. For these two semi-translucent windows, which give a glimpse of Absolute Reality through a medium that obscures it and distorts it, have been fashioned out of different patches of the veil of phenomena—the illusory mirage of Maya—by which Man’s spiritual vision is bounded.

No doubt the incorporeal light that is radiated into the phenomenal world by Absolute Reality does infuse all phenomena, even the most opaque, as physical sunlight penetrates a terrestrial living creature through the skin as well as through the eye. If Maya were not even a faint and warped reflexion of Reality, it would not be visible and could not conjure up the illusion of being a thing in itself with an independent existence of its own. Yet, when the divers members of a living body are considered as so many means of communication between the organism and the heavenly body by whose light and warmth the organism is kept alive, there can be no comparison between the skin’s conductive power and the eye’s. And, when we go on to consider the genesis of the eye, we find it marvellous that an organ of vision, however imperfect, should have been fashioned out of two patches of a skin which, over all the rest of its surface, has remained crassly incapable of affording to the body even the faintest glimmer of sight. In the non-corporeal universe of spiritual life, it is no less marvellous that two lenses, through which a human soul can catch a partial glimpse of Absolute Reality, should have been fashioned out of such apparently unpromising rudiments of religious intuition as those which are the historical origins of Buddhism and Christianity. It is also, no doubt, a mercy that neither of these two dark glasses has ever become fully translucent; ‘for there shall no man see Me and live’.7 A naked vision of Absolute Reality, wholly unveiled, would be more than any terrestrial soul could bear. For the epiphany of Reality is not just a discovery made by the Soul nor even just a revelation given by Reality; it is an encounter between two spiritual presences that are infinitely unequal in power. This encounter discharges creative action; and the lightning would blast the frail human participant if some non-conductive residue of Maya did not still intervene to shield him at the price of dimming his vision.

We have already observed8 that the two lenses through which Buddhism and Christianity give the Soul a glimpse of an identical Reality have been fashioned out of very diverse materials. Buddhism has attained its vision of Reality by looking inwards into the Human Soul; Christianity by looking outwards towards a god.

Pre-Buddhist Indian thinkers who had looked into the Soul had been so deeply impressed by the vastness and the potency of this inner spiritual universe that they had jumped to the conclusion that the Self was identical with Absolute Reality: ‘Thou are That’. The Buddha found Reality in a state of Nirvāna, in which the faggot of desires labelled ‘Self’ had all been burnt away.9 The Mahayanian school of Buddhists came to see that the Buddha Himself had acted in accordance with a further truth that had not been given recognition in the Hinayanian philosophy, though many Hinayanian philosophers may have acted on it in following their Master. The Buddha had taught, by the example of His own life, that the attainment of Nirvāna by oneself and for oneself is not enough. In order to become the perfect bodhisattva, the potentially perfect philosopher must make the sacrifice of postponing his own exit into Nirvāna in order to guide the feet of his suffering fellow-beings along the road over which he has already found his own way.

The bodhisattva is a being who has followed the Buddha’s personal example by being faithful to the Buddha’s practice instead of carrying out the Buddha’s instructions to their logical consequences. A Hinayanian Buddhist philosopher who yielded to the logic of these instructions would find himself constrained to aim at attaining self-sufficiency through self-extinction, and to pursue this aim single-mindedly for himself and by himself. The bodhisattva of the Mahayanian mythology is a candidate for Buddha-hood who, like the Buddha at His Enlightenment, has reached the threshold of Nirvāna and now has it in his power at any moment to take the last step on the course of his exit. But, like the Buddha at His temptation, the bodhisattva holds back, at this point, from expiring into his rest. He holds back, not just for the Buddha’s brief forty-years’ pause, but for a period of aeons upon aeons. In making this choice he deliberately sentences himself to an age-long penal servitude which he has it in his power to avoid; and he makes this sacrifice from the same motive that impelled the Buddha to make it. ‘He saved others; himself he will not save’,10 is the praise of this good shepherd that is constantly on the lips of the grateful sheep that he is tending at so great a cost to himself.

The bodhisattva’s sovereign motive and distinguishing mark is thus a feeling for his fellow-beings which, for the Hinayanian philosopher, is an irrational impediment to his concentration on his objective of self-release. The difference in their attitude towards Suffering is what differentiates the philosopher from the bodhisattva. For the arhat, as the Hinayanian philosopher is called in the Buddhist terminology, Suffering is the worst of evils and the pursuit of self-release from Suffering has the first claim on the sufferer’s spiritual energies. For the bodhisattva, Suffering is the inevitable price of acting on the promptings of Love and Pity, and this self-sacrificing action has the first claim on him.

The Mahayanian Buddhist vision of Reality as Pity and Love as well as Power, has been reached by Christianity from a quite different starting-point. Christianity sees Reality as a God who is both almighty and all-loving. This Christian vision of God is a heritage from Israel. The god of Israel was Yahweh; and before Yahweh became the parochial god of a community of Nomads when they were in the act of breaking out of the North Arabian Steppe into the Palestinian province of ‘the New Empire’ of Egypt, he would appear to have been a god embodying one of the forces of Nature. Perhaps he was a volcano or perhaps the weather, to judge by the traditional account, in the Pentateuch, of the sights and sounds that proclaimed Yahweh’s presence at the making of his covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. A god who had thus identified himself with a human tribe, and had led his ‘Chosen People’ in an aggressive war of expropriation and extermination against the inhabitants of a country that had been neither Israel’s to take nor Yahweh’s to give, might not seem to have been a promising medium for an approach to Reality. Yet the sufferings inflicted on Israel and Judah by Assyrian and Babylonian hands during a time of troubles that dragged on from the eighth into the sixth century B.C., inspired the Prophets to see, through the wraith of Yahweh the parochial war-god, another Yahweh who had more in common with the god in the Sun who was worshipped by Ikhnaton, Aristonicus, and Aurelian.

This Atonian Yahweh was Justice and Mercy as well as Power, and his Power and Justice were not circumscribed within the narrow frontiers of a pair of Palestinian communities, but were omnipotent, ubiquitous, and impartial. In the Prophets’ piercing vision the barrier between the Human Soul and Reality was thus transfigured from a veil into a lens. But the vision had still to be clarified by the further insight that the God Almighty who was Justice and Mercy was also Pity and Love; and, though the greatest of the Prophets beheld Pity and Love incarnate in a Suffering Servant, it was a stumbling-block to the Jews11 when Christianity identified this human figure with the sublime God who had made His epiphany through Yahweh’s forbidding lineaments. In Deutero-Isaiah’s vision, the saving sufferer is a human sufferer who seems in some passages to be a collective Israel and in others to be an individual Israelite leader or prophet. In the Christian development of this Jewish concept, the suffering saviour is not a man but is God Himself, who has ‘emptied Himself’ by incarnating Himself as a human being in order to save His human creatures at the cost of voluntarily subjecting Himself to an extreme experience of the Suffering that is of the essence of Human Life.

The spirit that should be in you is the spirit that was in Christ Jesus. Finding Himself existing in God’s form and on an equality with God, He did not think of this as a prize to be clutched. No, He emptied Himself by taking a menial’s form—for this is what He did in assimilating Himself to human beings. Exposing Himself thus in human guise, He showed His humility in His obedience. He was obedient even to the point of submitting to die—and this by a death on the Cross.12

It will be seen that the Mahāyāna and Christianity have two intuitions in common. Instead of kicking against the pricks of Suffering, they both accept Suffering as an opportunity for acting on the promptings of Love and Pity. And they both believe that this ideal is practicable for Man because the trail has been blazed for Man by a Supreme Being who has demonstrated his own devotion to the ideal by subjecting himself to the Suffering that is the necessary price of acting on it. In a society in which the divine participant is a self-sacrificing saviour,13 a new way of life is opened up for the human participants. This way is a new one in the sense that it brings with it a prospect of reconciling elements in Human Life that have seemed irreconcilable under previous dispensations. It is a way in which a living being can transcend its innate self-centredness by other means than the self-extinction that is the way of the Hīnayāna.

‘Whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.’14 If the Self submits to Suffering for the sake of service, it can transcend itself by devoting itself, at the cost of Suffering, to acts of Love and Pity; and in these acts it will be attaining, without seeking it, the self-fulfilment which an innately social being can never attain through self-centredness. Self-fulfilment comes only when it is unsought, like those blessings that were bestowed on Solomon, in his dream, just because he had resisted the temptation to ask for them and had prayed, instead, for the gift that would make him a good servant of God to the benefit of his people.15 The Christian-Mahayanian way of life also surmounts another previously unsurmountable dilemma. It makes it possible for the Universe to have significance without at the same time making it necessary for this significance to depend upon the Universe’s centring round the Self. On the Christian-Mahayanian road the significance can be found in self-sacrifice for the sake of other living beings and for the love of a Supreme Being who is the centre of the Universe because He is Love as well as Power.

At the epiphany of the higher religions the light shineth in the darkness; but the darkness has still to comprehend it;16 and the history of the higher religions during the disintegration of the civilizations of the second generation is an illustration of the Parable of the Sower. In the last four chapters of this first part of the book we shall be watching the seed, sown during this episode of mundane history, withstanding one of the possibilities of frustration that are described in the Parable, but succumbing to each of the other two, and also to a third mishap which is not mentioned by the writer of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew because it is beyond his social horizon.

This miscarriage of so much of the seed at its first sowing will not appear either surprising or discouraging when it is looked at from the historian’s angle of vision. Life on Earth, as the historian sees it, is a process in Time, and no action can ever have an instantaneous effect. A span of 1,956 years or 2,500 years is a very short time in the historian’s perspective, in which it is measured on the Time-scale of the duration of Mankind’s existence up to date. And, even within the brief period that has elapsed since the first epiphany of a higher religion on Earth, the lives of the Saints bear witness that some of the seed has already fallen on good ground.

He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.17

This scripture has already been fulfilled in such lives as those of John Wesley and Saint Francis de Sales and, in excelsis, Saint Francis of Assisi.

  • 1.

    The subject of this chapter has been dealt with in greater detail by the writer in A Study of History, vol. v, pp. 58–194, 581–90; vol. vi, pp. 1–175, 259–78, 376–439; vol. vii, pp. 158–63, 381–568, 692–768; vol. ix, pp. 395–405, 604–41.

  • 2.

    Acts xvii. 28.

  • 3.

    Matt. xxvi. 52.

  • 4.

    Matt. xx. 16.

  • 5.

    Burkitt, F. C., Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (London 1914, Milford), p. 8, note 1.

  • 6.

    1 Cor. xiii. 12.

  • 7.

    Exod. xxxiii. 20.

  • 8.

    In Chapter 2, pp. 16–17, above.

  • 9.

    See Chapter 5, pp. 62–3, above.

  • 10.

    ‘He saved others; himself he can not save’.—Matt, xxvii. 42.

  • 11.

    1 Cor. i. 23.

  • 12.

    Phil. ii. 5–8.

  • 13.

    All societies of all species have included, among their members, gods, as well as human beings, animals, and plants. What differentiates them is not the presence or absence of a divine member, but the invariably present divine member’s character. A Canaanite community whose god is Yahweh will differ from one whose god is Chemosh or Ba’al Hammon. A Christian Church whose godhead includes the person of a suffering saviour god incarnate, and a Mahāyāna whose bodhisattva is an Avalokita or an Amitabha, will differ from a Jewish diasporà whose god is the God of the Prophets.

  • 14.

    Matt. xvi. 25.

  • 15.

    See 1 Kings iii. 5–14; 2 Chron. i. 7–12.

  • 16.

    John i. 5.

  • 17.

    Matt. xiii. 23.