One of a series of lessons, from the course study entitled
“Instructions in Christian Mysticism”
issued by the
Seminary of Biblical Research
of the Societas Rosicruciana in America
By Dr. George Winslow Plummer-1927
“There are three that bear record in heaven…and there are
three that bear witness in earth.” 1 John, v; 7, 8
Attempts to describe and define “God” have been seemingly as numerous as the sands of the sea, and far more varied. The entire history of Man is a history of his attempts to define and personify his concept of a Power greater than his own, upon whom, in times of special exigency or crisis, he instinctively relied for protection, support, assistance and provision.
Some modern philosopher has said that “God is the noblest work of man” and as we look back through the pages of recorded human efforts to describe the Great Being, Power or Intelligence that we term “God,” we find that Man’s concept of an anthropomorphic deity resolves itself into a mental visualization of a Being invested with “body, parts, passions and attributes,” but on a cosmic scale. Such efforts are, pathetically, the sorry evidences of the ignorance of the finite, when it attempts to define or describe the Infinite. As Prof. Robert A. Millikan has said in one of the Terry lectures at Yale University; “Jesus (himself) struck the most vital blow that has even been struck at all childish literalisms, at all the ideas that underlie modern so-called fundamentalism, when he changed the literalistic interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, the anthropomorphic conception of God prevalent up to this time, and saw in God no longer merely a powerful human being, but a being whose qualities transcended all human qualities; when he saw a great Benevolence behind the universe.”
As we review human attempts to define the indefinable, we find that they resolve themselves into two great general divisions, or, as we may say, polarities; the Trinitarian and the Unitarian concepts (not, however, referring to the modern denomination by that name). It is difficult for us to determine which concept holds the primacy as to origin and expression. Throughout the nations and root-religions of antiquity we find that almost everything that had life was regarded as the personification of some tutelary deity, especially so in Egypt. Mother of arts, sciences, philosophies and religions; yet in that same old Egypt, the greatest mystery of all the reputedly wonderful mysteries of that mystic land, revealed only to initiate Hierophants and High Priests, was that while the exoteric pantheon held many gods, they were simply individual or type and class manifestations of the Divine Life and that God in essence was ONE or UNITY. The same teaching was perpetuated in the Hebrew law; “Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, is ONE Lord.” (Deut. vi; 4). And the revelations of Hermes, identified with the Egyptian Thoth, affirm the essential UNITY of all things; “All is ONE and that ONE is all.” “The whole is ONE and everything proceeds from UNITY.” (A Treatise on Initiations or Asclepios). Jesus, the Christ, emphasized this concept of UNITY in his repeated statements that he and the “Father” were ONE (John, x; 30). He prayed that his apostles might also enter into this ONENESS (John, xvii; 21), and he furthermore developed still another phase when he prayed that the “Father” might be in him, and he (the Christ) in them (the apostles), that they might be made perfect in ONE (John, xvii; 23).
The Hermetic teachings which emphasized the concept of UNITY, also give us a further revelation in the statement that “What is below is like that which is above, and what is above, is like that which is below, to accomplish the miracles of ONE thing.” (Smaragdine Tablet).
Man, however, was making specific progress in unfoldment and in connection therewith, noted certain well established divisions relative to his individual composition. He was aware that he possessed a physical body but he became further aware that by the very process of “awareness” or “knowing it,” there must inhere another vehicle of consciousness that enabled him to comprehend his body and its environment. He knew by observation that other bodies acting as his own acted and functioned were said to be “alive” and that when they ceased to function they were called “dead,” yet, as the survivor, he could distinguish between the so-called living and dead. So the question arose in his mind, “could the one who was dead, know that he was dead?” in other words, did something hold over from the visible life into an invisible phase of existence? Intuition, and a faith born of the desire for it, led man to develop a belief in an existence beyond the visible human. So, by slow and painful stages, Man evolved the concept (which even today, is merely a concept to some) of three essential factors in his composition; those that we now term “body,” “soul,” or that which makes a man a sentient, emotional, reasoning creature, and “spirit” or the animating factor that gives life, in fact, that is life.
In the course of his mental, intellectual and spiritual evolution as well as his physical, Man, having discovered the threefold status of his composition, proceeded to invest his visualization and concept of his Deity or God with a threefold aspect also; hence, among the ancient systems we find Man attempting to define God under the same threefold aspect in accordance with which, “that which is above was made like unto that which is below” according to Hermes. Thus, among the Egyptians we note the triads, Ra, Osiris, Horus; Osiris, Isis, Horus; Amon, Mut, Khonsu (Theban); Hesiri, Hes, Horus; Ptah, Pukht, Imhotep (Ombos). Among the Hindus, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Among the Zoroastrians, Ahura Mazda, Spento Mainyush and Armaita. Among the Chinese-Tibetans (Buddhi) are Amitabha, Avalokiti-shvara and Mandjusri. The Chaldeans had Anu, Ea and Bel. The Hebrews (Kabalists) Kether, Chockmah and Binah; the Christians, Father, Son and Holy Ghost; the Mohamedans, Allah, Mohammed, Moses. For the most part, these concepts represented the masculine, feminine and offspring aspects of Deity although not in every instance, yet the idea runs through them all.
The religious systems that have come down to us from antiquity have all adhered to the original concept of ONE God expressing through three manifestations of His personality, but as Man progressed in unfoldment and spiritual insight, he amplified his ideas and as a result, the Alchemistic Philosophers present to us the ABSOLUTE, the Supreme Being, and the Logoi diffusing therefrom who became the Creating Gods of the Solar Systems and to the Philosophers, the God of Christian worship was the particular Logos or “WORD made Flesh” through his manifestations in our own individual solar system. As Man turned his powers of spiritual insight inwardly upon himself, he discovered that his original threefold composition of Body, Soul and Spirit became triply triune, i.e., a threefold body composed of the Physical, Etheric and Astral vehicles; the threefold soul composed of the Sentient (or conscious) the Rational (or intellectual) and the Emotional (or self-conscious) vehicles. The Spirit likewise was found to be threefold, viz., in the Divine, Human and Life aspects.
We have given in the foregoing paragraph, the results of ages of spiritual research. The method or process by which they were attained does not properly belong to this lesson, involving, as it does, many collateral lines of spirito-intellectual research and study. Those who desire to engage in an intensive study of the mental and spiritual processes by which these concepts were formulated will be referred to a competent school of mysticism that offers special study in this direction.
The point we desire to stress is simply this, – that Man has always held to the concept of a Divine origin. ONE and ALL-INCLUSIVE in its essential nature and character, yet expressing in a threefold manifestation composed either of the Father-Mother-Offspring attributes, or else of three special individualistic phases.
Gathering all the factors seemingly apparent, the Philosophers expressed Deity through two notable Trinities; the Cosmic and the Mundane. The Cosmic Trinity they conceived of as formulated by the ABSOLUTE, the Supreme Being and the Logoi or Solar Gods. The Mundane Trinity was held by them to be formulated by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of orthodoxy. The Cosmic Trinity expressed to the Philosophers the status of Divine Being or Boundless Existence prior to manifest creation. The Mundane Trinity expressed to them the Highest Initiates of systems of evolution aeons before those now comprehended by Man, and thus our Elder Brothers or Masters in the truest sense. Being of the same substance as ourselves originally, but now infinitely farther evolved and functioning as planetary regents, entered into the exercise of Divine power, as promised to all children of God in the Holy Scriptures.
We have stated this to be the concept held by the Ancient Philosophers, and while it may be new to those entering upon the study of Christian Mysticism for the first time, a careful study of the general and specific proposition will reveal that one need not relinquish any truth that one has previously held, if it was a truth, but on the other hand, he will find that it bears out Scriptural testimony far more consistently and accurately than any definitive decrees of Ecumenical Councils. Let us see.
We are informed (1 John, v; 7, 8), that “there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are ONE. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
It is unfortunate, that throughout the Holy Scriptures, the original writers or compilers, used the terms, Jehovah, Lord, God, Father, Son, Jesus and Christ indiscriminately, due no doubt to their inability to penetrate farther than the limitations of their spiritual insight at the time permitted them. This, we must invariably bear in mind when we attempt to seek the mystical truth in connection with any of these Figures.
The Cosmic Trinity, the ABSOLUTE, the Supreme Being, and the Logoi or Solar Gods express the primordial. The ABSOLUTE we can conceive of only as the ONE EXISTENT. It is indefinable and incomprehensible to mortals or angels. At best we can conceive of it as simply the concrete expression of all that is. The Supreme Being we spiritually discern as the first outward or exterior manifestation of the ABSOLUTE, invested with three distinct attributes or properties; Power, or the ability to “think out”; the WORD or externalization of itself in cosmic root substance, and MOTION (Primum mobile) or the molding of cosmic root substance. The Logoi or Solar Gods are invested with Will, Wisdom and Activity, through which properties they have brought all known worlds, universes and solar systems into being or manifestation, and direct them in their evolutionary processes. Yet the Supreme Being is but the first externalization of the ABSOLUTE and the Logoi are the further externalization of the Supreme Being. All are of the same substance in progressive degrees of manifestation, yet essentially ONE in nature, substance and “personality,” not three different “persons” but ONE SPIRIT manifesting in three different presentments or expressions. To express it most crudely, we may imagine an Emperor, whose real powers are unknown, not comprehended and indefinable to his subjects, who is unseen by his subjects. His power is felt, and conditions manifest in obedience to his will yet the processes by which his will is made known and operative remain unknown to his subjects. Unknown to his subjects, that same Emperor may externalize himself or appear to them, not as the Emperor, but in the capacity of a Minister of State, who reveals, some but not all, of the Emperor’s Power, Word of Expression and ability to MOVE the essential matters of his Kingdom. Again, in order to effect a still closer contact with his subjects, the Emperor may manifest still more broadly and objectively, as a “Commissioner of Public Works” to use a modern simile, in which capacity he expresses his Will, Wisdom and Activity in the development of evolutionary processes, necessities and facilities of life and the intellectual and spiritual expansion and improvement of his people. Yet it is one and the same person manifesting each time, but in degrees that admit of closer approach to those lower in the scale or plane of evolution than himself. The simile, though crude, will give some idea of the general concept held by the Philosophers and Mystics.
To Christian Mystics, this world and all that therein is, is of the same substance as the Cosmic Trinity, because it is composed of “Emanations” of that Trinity. Therefore, we say that Nature is “God” (our general, not specific concept of Deity) in manifestation. Therefore all human beings are individualized expressions of the Divine Emanations and thus truly “Sons of God” and that Jesus regarded himself in this same status with all the rest of Humanity is shown by his repeated statements and affirmations that he was the “Son of Man.” (See Oxford Concordance, “Son of Man”).
On our earth and right at the present time during our present stage of human evolution we observe many and varying grades of progress, development, unfoldment and spiritual attainment amongst Humanity. So it has ever been. Like a university, the Great School of Life has been sending forth its graduating classes through all the ages. In all graduating classes there are the honor men who have achieved the highest scholastic status. They become guides and instructors to those who may be just entering upon life’s pathway; educators of world-wide influence whose opinions sway even the destinies of races and countries. It has ever been so. Those who have gone on before, become the Elder Brothers and Guides of those yet to come. In every school, by the process of elimination, one graduate or initiate stands out preeminent beyond all the rest. In life’s School ONE INITIATE stands out pre-eminently beyond all others. In the grades of graduate Humanity, matriculated to higher planes of being aeons prior to any modern concept of evolution of an academic nature or definition, constituting the Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Powers and Principalities of the spiritual world as described by the Apostles (Rom. viii; 38, 1 Thess. iv; 6, Col. i; 16) the Great Initiate who stands out pre-eminently beyond all others is the Great Being or Elder Brother whom we uncomprehendingly generalize as God and specialize as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Yet these are not three distinct Persons but ONE INITIATE or Elder Brother of Earth’s Humanity, who, as guide to Humanity as it has come within the purview of human history, has been deified and regarded as three distinct and separate persons simply because it has manifested to Humanity in three distinct phases, guidances and revelations.
In one phase and by virtue of having attained a certain spiritual or celestial status our Elder Brother became to Earth’s Humanity, the “Father.” During the period occupied by the root religions of antiquity he manifested as the “Son” or Christos, entering into a closer relationship with Humanity and operating through various Messengers or Avatars, culminating this relationship by taking complete possession of the physical vehicle of the Man Jesus. Since that time, the same Great Being or Elder Brother, as the “Holy Ghost” has entered into a definite incorporation with the teeming life of our planet in all its phases, as touched upon in preceding lessons of this course. Thus, we can truly say, with the great creeds of Christendom, that Christ and the Holy Ghost are, of the same substance with the Father.
As our Elder Brother, known in different manifestations as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost has preceded us into the highest heavens or inner worlds, thee three manifestations do, as our subject text states, bear witness of us in those inner worlds or heavens. Our Elder Brother has taken our Humanity into those heavens and today it brings the Divine afflatus directly into Earth’s Humanity as never before. These three manifestations, says the text, ARE ONE.
How do we know this? Because, as our text continues, “there are three that bear witness in earth; the Spirit, the water and the blood”; and these three AGREE IN ONE.”
We can at any time, estimate and register a true and clear perspective and determine correct values only by looking backward over the Path of Progress that has been traversed in order to establish that which we are surveying. Environment blinds us to our true status at the moment. In Man, there are three distinct sources of testimony, the Spirit, the water and the blood. These bear witness in earth as to Man’s progress individually and collectively. The Spirit in Man, because it is essentially Divine, has awakened and developed in him powers of spiritual insight which now permit him to know some things which, before, were matters of faith only. Continuity of life beyond the grave is a scientific fact. Study of evolutional processes has shown Man his dependence upon the lowlier and more humble forms of life and established as fact, the Brotherhood, not alone of Man, but of all forms of life, and in acceptance of this fact, Man has shown a new appreciation of his “younger brethren” in his care and treatment of the denizens of the Animal Kingdom. He knows now that it is the Spirit that giveth life and evolutional processes traced through the ultra-microscope show man his lineage far back into invisible worlds of being and supra-activity. The Spirit of Man and in Man has brought him to the point where he can know his spiritual relationship with life, invisible as well as visible, on a basis of factual understanding.
The water, that fluidic, subtle, volatile Principle we term the human Soul, has reached a point of development whereby our reasoning, emotional, conscious and sub-conscious faculties are revealed as the true giant-power within us, and as we are setting these faculties to work constructively, we are beginning to realize the truth of the statement of Jesus the Christ that all the great works that he did we can do also, when we live the life necessary to permit the operation of the sublime laws of Nature which are the Laws of God. Elemental water is merely the symbol, in the text, of the Soul-principle in Man.
The blood, the third factor to “bear witness” in earth, is as Mephistopheles was made to say in “Faust,” a “most peculiar essence.” Mystics regard it as the vehicle through which the human Ego functions. It was the mystic essence, and “River of Life” that, shed on Golgotha, proved the vehicle through which the Christ Spirit took possession of His Kingdom and made it possible in the further manifestation as the Holy Ghost to remain with Humanity permanently, as “the Comforter,” “even unto the end of the world.” In the human blood can be traced the characteristics of our age-old evolutionary journey. As Paul preached to the Athenians, it is through ONE BLOOD that all nations of men have been made to dwell on all the face of the earth in the bonds of a Brotherhood yet to be fully realized (Acts, xvii; 26). The factor of blood therefore, does bear witness in earth of our kinship to each other, our kinship to the Great Elder Brother whom we so often worship in ignorance and the preservation of the history of humankind from its dawn as such.
That our Great Elder Brother has known and personally experienced human expression and is not a manifestation of the Cosmic Trinity, is shown by the Apostles’ understanding of the fact as related in Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians, I; 15, where, referring to the “Father” he sys of him that he was the image of the invisible God, therefore, not the higher concept of the Cosmic Trinity.
More than this, it is the Spirit of our Elder Brother, itself, that beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans, viii; 16). The same reference further shows us that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (17). Legally, an heir to a great title or destiny is one “directly in the blood” of the testator. If Christ is an heir, and we are joint-heirs with Him, to something still greater, then it is evident that Christ and Humanity are of the same blood, the same substance, only evolutionally many aeons apart, yet spiritually very close.
Why is it worth our while to endeavor to establish within our consciousness a definite understanding to some extent, of these cosmic relationships? Simply this, that anything that helps us in any way, to enter into a deeper and clearer knowledge and understanding of our individual and collective status and establishes our position in the cosmic scheme, removes just so much more of uncertainty regarding our ultimate destiny. Men are encouraged to press onward, regardless of obstacles, if they can be certain of the ultimate goal and have a definite realization that it is worthy of attainment regardless of the cost or of the energy expended. Heaven is not a place or a state to seek as a fire escape from a fancied or allegorical hell. It is a state to seek because it means ascent, progress, unfoldment and the attainment of a higher plane of constructive activity, not of eternal rest that is synonymous with a paradisiacal laziness. Wearing crowns similarly worn by everyone else, with no domain over which to rule is an empty honor. Stringing harps through eternity offers little inducements to a soul seeking escape from saxophone, jazz and musical discord. The real, inner, dynamic soul looks forward to and yearns for greater avenues of expression, greater opportunities for constructive activity and effort, greater possibilities of expansion mentally, intellectually and spiritually. God WORKS. He has always worked. He always will work. The true child of God seeks in larger measure to emulate his Divine Father and he too, seeks work, but greater work than mortal expression with its multitudinous limitations can provide. The man or woman, who has accomplished great or worthy things in this world, does not contemplate with equanimity, an eternal folding of the hands, at rest. Such an one looks forward eagerly to that freedom from the bondage of the elements (Gal. iv; 3) that will mean expansion of effort and result, freedom from limitation and restriction, opportunity to accomplish on a comparatively infinite scale what he had been endeavoring to accomplish on a finite scale.
The concept of the Trinity is a SYMBOL, the symbol of POWER. We encounter it everywhere we turn in the deeper and higher understanding of things. In ancient astronomy, the trine aspect of planets was regarded as most powerfully benefic. It is represented by the triangle, regarded from remotest antiquity as a symbol of power, the interlaced triangles constituting the so-called “Seal of Sol-Om-On” the name in three ancient languages symbolizing the epitome of wisdom and personified in one man by Hebrew Scripture. It symbolizes spiritually, the Cosmic, Mundane and personal Triads. With the apex pointing downwards, it symbolizes the descent of Spirit into Matter or involution. Pointing upward, it symbolizes the ascent of Spirit to its primal Source, out of Matter, or evolution.
A spiritual contemplation of this sublime symbol and of the imperfect definitions, that have been given only in part, leads each human being to a better comprehension of the Divine Plan on which we are evolved. It shows us our place in Nature, in Cosmos, and with our God, whatever our individual concept of God may be. It gives us a glimpse of the mighty forces epitomized in us, our blood relationship to our Great Elder Brother and our right thereby to make actual claim upon his help, aid and assistance and our privilege of looking to him for actual guidance in the darkness of mortal life.
A reasonable concept of the Trinity shows us its eminent “practicality” as a working factor intimately affecting us in our every day lives. It reveals our absolute interdependence upon each other and therefore our responsibility to each other and the truth that we are our brother’s keeper in a very actual sense. (Gen. iv; 9).
It is a fundamental biologic law that the conjunction of two great polarities or forces is required to produce a third expression, as for instance, in the birth of all new creatures. These polarities may be self-contained or separately expressed but their cooperation is, nevertheless, required. In the human or personal trinity of Body, Soul and Spirit, the Spirit individualized in the spiritual world animates the physical organism formulated in the mortal or physical world. Together they evolve the human soul as a result of the extraction and assimilation of the experience of the mortal expression. The physical corpus remains in the physical world wherein it was formulated, but the Spirit returns to the spiritual world, carrying with it the Soul which the immediate experience has evolved, and that is the only thing we CAN take back into the spiritual world which is our true Source and homeland. In the soul that we develop is incarnated and enshrined all the experience of our mortal expression and upon it we depend for our conscious expression in the inner worlds. Therefore, it is true, that we are making our heaven right here and now, for it is only what we gain of a permanent nature that can be incorporated as soul-pabulum, that will make our existence in the inner worlds one of light, consciousness and constructive activity. The human soul cannot be developed on froth, bubbles of pleasure and ephemeral fame. Pleasure and fame are not deleterious if they come without our personal search for them to the exclusion of all else, but they are fatal to soul-growth when they are made the vital and exclusive goal of attainment in human expression.
Our Elder Brother manifested at one period as the “Father” simply because it was necessary to instill the idea of Fatherhood or Parenthood in the evolving species. It formed the fundamental concept of the responsibility of parents to their offspring, laying the basis of future community life and giving to the budding religious systems a definite focus of their embryonic aspirations. In the manifestation as the “Son,” we received a revelation of our status as equally “sons” of Gods while also sons of men. In the aspect as the Holy Ghost, the Elder Brother is able to pervade all Humanity with his aura and spiritual afflatus to an extent that quickens individually, the inner spiritual and psychic faculties of Man, accelerating his progress not only objectively, but inwardly toward the True Light.
The Path that has been traversed by our Elder Brother is the one that we too, must accomplish if we truly wish to follow “in his steps.” It is a Path that we must, eventually, under the greater law, traverse, but our own initiative may modify many of the conditions that will confront us if we allow our progress thereon to be one of a merely perfunctory nature and compulsory conformity. If we refuse to learn the necessary lessons and adapt ourselves to the spiritual requirements, we shall find plenty of Gethsemanes, Golgothas, Judases and Pilates I our experience. If we accept the guidance of ONE who has gone before us, we shall be saved many pitfalls and sorrows, for HE has gone that way only that He might Light the Way for us in accordance with the statement that He was True Light, which Lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John, i; 9). With such a guide, Man cannot fail if he gives the slightest heed to the precepts that have been given him and the markers that appear at every crossroad on the journey through life. The Path is narrow in some places, hard, if we make it hard, but easy if we accept the conditions and place ourselves in alignment with the Constructive Principle in Nature which is simply God’s way of expressing that which is best, permanent and for the good of all, including individual needs and requirements.
It is when we realize this process of “blazing the way,” as early pioneers described it, that enables us to gain a true insight into the tremendous mission of the Christos, that of establishing the Path that leads from finity into infinity; from the temporal to the eternal, from the transient to the permanent, from darkness into Light, from death in so-called life to life after so-called death.
It is the duty of Man to penetrate as deeply into the spiritual mysteries and spiritual verities as his intelligence and insight will permit, if he does so actuated by motives of true exaltation and appreciation of Truth, concrete and abstract. But it is unfortunately true, that we are apt to expend far more energy in speculative hypotheses regarding religious and spiritual theorems, than we are to seek the practical application of them and then exercise it. The symbol of the Trinity is most profound and far reaching. The symbol of the Universal Trinity is also the symbol of the Universal Family of Mankind in its Physical, Intellectual and Spiritual aspects and characteristics. Further than this, it is also the symbol of the individual family life, where the “Father-Mother-Offspring” characteristics are most concretely emphasized.
So well known was this to the ancients, who were far from being “pagans” in the sense of the orthodox slur cast upon them, that they established the priesthood of the father, the sanctity of motherhood and the filial duty of offspring. These were not platitudes. They were vital fundamentals of early faith, so intense in their nature that even in our own day, we observe the traditional honor, tribute and obedience paid by the Chinese to their parents and the ancestor worship of many other Asiatic nations and people. The Mosaic Code commanded honor to be paid by children to their parents, a commandment that has come to be honored more in the breach than in the observance.
In the trinity of father-mother-children, we see epitomized the essential and potential nature forces in concrete manifestation. Not alone are the biologic processes with all their comitants and corollaries to be considered; we have also before us the ethical principles that inhere in a correct understanding of the responsibilities involved in the constitution of family life, thought and activity. What the family is on the average, the nation will be. What the nations are decides what use shall be made of the resources of a planet and the utilization of its forces. The use made of a planet by the people who derive their physical existence from and because of it, develops a unified sphere of influence that extends vastly farther than the eye of materialistic philosophy can discern. Yet no energy is wasted in Cosmos. Every effort of individual, race or summarization of races exerts a definite influence for constructive or destructive results. The real lesson of the Trinity is not to afford a study in abstract philosophy or doctrinal hypotheses. It is to drive home to the consciousness of the student the great truth that he, individually, is living the Trinitarian, triune, or threefold life in ONE person; that his sphere of influence is threefold or Trinitarian; that his responsibilities are Trinitarian, to his God or Divine Source, to his Parents or Mundane Source and to his World or Terrestrial Source, with all that each phase involves.
The symbol of the Trinity, whether it represents in a given usage the Cosmic, Mundane or Personal triads, should always bring to our consciousness the great Trinity of Spirit, Force and Matter. This is the Impersonal Trinity. We are spirits incarnate. Our Elder Brother and those who have followed in His Path are spirits discarnate. Our God or Logos is a spirit both discarnate and incarnate, inhering in both the heaven and physical worlds at the same time. The Cosmic Trinity is even more essentially spiritual, but what Spirit is, no man knows or will know until he has finished his mortal course and becomes a permanent resident of the Spirit World. Even then, it will require aeons of spiritual progress, knowledge and understanding before he will begin to enter into the fullness of what spirit is and means, for here on earth, after all the thousands of years of his evolutionary progress and process, Man does not yet know even what Matter is. His concepts have changed many times. He is making excellent approaches, yet human schools differ widely in their definitions and the whole subject is one of controversy with no ultimate criterion. Investigations into atomic relations are advancing Man’s concepts in many ways but even then he is confronted by the ultimate of cosmic root substance academically defined under several and contradictory designations and he finds that still further elemental regions confront him.
So the Grand Trinity of Spirit, Force and Matter looms before us as our contemplation of the more personal Trinities progresses, and this too, helps us to realize how each of us, is in truth a microcosm or little world, for in each of us, all the forces that make up a universe are epitomized. This should, and to the true Christian Mystic does, give a startling glimpse of the powers and potentialities enshrined in human incarnation, the overwhelming preponderance of which are, as yet, alas, only latent, misunderstood or not even recognized at all. If perchance they are recognized dimly by some, they are often regarded as some things we should not seek to pry into.
Less theological speculation regarding the Trinity, which has only puzzled and confused man without adding one iota of value to his spiritual life, and more practical contemplation of the Trinitarian or triune basis on which the forces of Nature may be seen to be operative, will help Man to awaken to a better realization of what he has within himself, instead of visualizing an incongruous, unnatural, multi-personality deity upon whom he has found it convenient to lean, as upon a crutch.
Let Man realize that within himself, is the Cosmic Trinity of ABSOLUTE, Supreme Being and Logos; that within himself is the Mundane Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost; that within himself is the Personal Trinity of Body, Soul and Spirit; that within himself is the Impersonal Trinity of Spirit, Force and Matter. Let him realize these fundamentals of his existence either as spirit or mortal and he will be able to peer if even but for a moment into an illimitable realm of potential possibilities for constructive enterprise and good that have never, as yet, even entered his imagination.
John, the Mystic, stresses this same fact or truth; “Beloved NOW are WE the SONS OF GOD, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when we shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is.” (John, iii; 2). Just as Jesus the Man was, so are we NOW, the Sons of God. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, i.e. after so-called death, but we know that when we too, have traversed the Path that our Elder Brother has traveled, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is, and being in the same spiritual world region, we shall have a vehicle of expression like unto his and therefore be like unto him in very truth.
Do we stress too vigorously the “natural” side or character of spiritual truth? Well, if we do, the Psalmist was guilty of the same laudable error, if error it be, for in the height of spiritual ecstasy he exclaimed, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech not language, where their voice is not heard” (Psl. xix; 1, 2, 3). Controversialists may well take example from David the Psalmist, for he began his career as a shepherd, day and night spent out under the sun and stars. He had contacted the nature-forces and his psalms are replete with nature references, all of which, modern science has confirmed. David, later on the Lord’s anointed, heard, early in his youth, the voice of Nature. He had studied the Book of Nature in which “God’s character is written” and he knew the potency of the elements and had glimpsed the forces that were inherent in himself. The trinity of earth and sky and sea has inspired thousands to a vision of vastly more than will be found within the covers of academic text books. The trinity of mountain, valley and stream has given rest to many a weary soul and sent them back into the world of workers refreshed, strengthened and better equipped on the basis of a deeper understanding of life, to carry on among the activities of mankind.
Much mystery has been developed regarding the Trinity and illogical creeds have been formulated to express it. But the greatest mystery of all, is not the incomprehensibility of a God in Three Distinct Persons, yet NOT Three Persons but One Person, but in the subtle manner, by which the student of Divine Mystery finds himself led, eventually to – himself! Sooner or later the student of the Trinitarian mystery finds that its wondrous symbolism inevitably leads him to the revelation of himself as a little world in totality, in which are enshrined all the mysteries he has sought outside of and even at distance, cosmic in their extent, from himself.
The true student of the mysteries soon finds that he is made in the image of God and he learns that by “image” is not necessarily implied a sculptural reproduction but in the sense of “organic consciousness” with the developed soul-faculties of reason, emotion, sub and self-consciousness. External images would have been of no permanent value inasmuch as the human species has changed marvelously during the thousands of years of its evolutionary process; is changing under our immediate observation and will continue to change to such an extent that anatomists and anthropologists can even predict and picture to a remarkable extent, what the species will be, say twenty-five thousand years hence, a mere moment in Time.
In seeking to know the Trinity we come to know ourselves. We have spent so many centuries of investigation of everything except ourselves from the spiritual standpoint, that it is no wonder that conscientious folk are dismayed when science contradicts long accepted theories based on mistranslation, misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Christian Mysticism takes us far beyond doctrine and dogma, into the actual spiritual mysteries themselves, divested of all the trappings of speculative theology. Then the mysteries exercise their own inherent power in showing the sincere and open-minded student his true individual position and relation to Cosmic Truth.
The symbol of the Trinity differs from all other symbols now extant in one very special way. It is a LIVING SYMBOL. Every human being is a trinity and a living symbol of the Trinity. Jesus proclaimed himself a trinity composed of “The Way, The Truth and The Light.” It is our duty and our destiny to become similar trinities. Many realize this and are consciously endeavoring to become such trinities. But we can show the Way to others only if we have gone over it ourselves. We can act as guides only through that portion that we, ourselves, have accomplished. We can be the Truth only as we can comprehend the Truth ourselves and Truth is not an academic formula or definition, it is a Process, and our daily lives must set forth that process. We can be “Lights” or give Light only as we, ourselves, have Light. None of these things can be adequately conveyed to the pilgrim by speculative philosophy or theology. They can be conveyed only by affording examples in ourselves. We do not ask blind men to guide us. We accept guidance from those whom we obviously know to have a specific guidance demonstrated in their own individual lives. If the life of a prospective guide is all that we may desire for our own, we are quite willing to accept, regardless of cost or discipline, any directions he may offer.
Man is the mystic trinity of Prophet, Priest and King. His spiritual faculties, properly developed, enable him to look forward through an understanding of Nature’s laws and prophesy to a remarkable degree the future of an insect or of a planet. As a priest, he can offer the daily sacrifice of the first fruits of his labors to constructive purpose in the welfare of humanity. As king, he exercises dominion over an empire of cells, each with its own modicum of intelligence, with a vast system of organic ministers, all in subjection to his sub-conscious mentalism that, like the fabled genie, will and does perform miracles for him daily.
The contemplation of the Trinity develops within us a consciousness of spiritual profundities enfolded within us that gives us new courage to take a firmer hold on life, a newer interest in the development, improvement and advancement of the race and of – ourselves. It gives us a keener sense of our own individual Personal Responsibility and Moral Accountability. It leads us to a throne, not far off in space, built on materialistic concepts, but a throne within, where reigns a spark of the Divine, Immortal Essence, leading us on through all vicissitudes of life, crises, joys and sorrows, to a true conception of what constitutes our self-hood. To be known even to ourselves as “Sons of God” is not a mere platitude. It is a profound and tremendous truth and it implies a life in accord with our exalted status. A King expects much of his sons. God expects more of His sons. May we rise to our destiny. May we fulfill the expectations of Our Father. May we realize that the Kingdom to which we are heirs is not in the future; that we are developing it, day by day. If we do so thoughtlessly, it will be to our everlasting regret. If we do so conscientiously, it will be to our everlasting happiness. Let us individually make sure that of us, it may be said, “Well done…enter thou, into the joy of thy Lord.” Let us begin today, to make the concept of the Holy Trinity a working factor in our lives and consciousness. By so doing, we shall perform a greater miracle within ourselves and within our consciousness than any miracle ever performed in far away Judea or Galilee.