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ON THE LOOKOUT
"Bishop" Wedgwood of the "Old Catholic Church" writes to The Occult Review for July a letter which is perhaps more illuminating than he intended it to be. From "rev." Wedgwood's own statement it appears:
(1) The "Old Catholic Church" presided over by Mr. Wedgwood is quite at variance with "the old catholic church" presided over by "Bishop" Mathew who "consecrated" "Bishop" Willoughby, who "consecrated" "Bishop" Wedgwood, and that both these old catholic churches are equally at variance with the Old Catholic Church in Switzerland, which is likewise at variance with the Old Catholic Church in Holland. It also appears that Bishop Mathew had broken off relations with the continental Old Catholic Churches and ceased to use the name long before "Bishop" Wedgwood was "consecrated."
(2) The various "Bishops" consecrated by Bishop Mathew all found it impossible to work with him for any length of time and are all "in other communions."
(3) The essentials to "consecration" are (a) "the Imposition of hands by the consecrator," (b) Prayer, and (c) "a sufficient specification of the office to be conferred." Mr. Wedgwood states that he received his own "ordination on his own terms."
(4) Since the "Old Catholic Church" movement has passed into the hands of "Bishop" Wedgwood "great changes have taken place; the ritual has been completely revised, and people are admitted in the widest basis of intellectual freedom."
(5) "Christ Himself is the true minister of all sacraments, Whose power can and does work irrespective of the private fancies or personal unworthiness of the human instrument He uses in the interests of His people at large."
When one contrasts the above statements of "Bishop" Wedgwood with the claims of unbroken "apostolic succession" and "the purity of the teachings of the primitive church," and that his old catholic church is "the sacramental church of the living Christ," also made by him, it is not difficult to realize that the chief basis of his "ordination" is not merely the "Imposition of hands by the consecrator" but "imposition" of quite another kind— the imposition of a conscienceless knavery and blasphemy.
Under the fifth statement above, any lie, any hypocrisy, any nameless infamy, whether practiced, approved and taught by "Bishop" Willoughby, "Bishop" Wedgwood or his brother "bishop," the "initiate" who is Mrs. Besant's evil genius, becomes merely the "private fancy or personal unworthiness" of the human instrument and does not make him any the less the instrument of the "living Christ." Is it possible that the name Theosophy is to be connected, even in the remotest way, with such a travesty on religion? The question is referred to Mrs. Annie Besant.
Azoth for July contains an editorial article. "The National God." which is a brief but powerful consideration of our national Idol, to whom, by proclamation the President exhorts "my fellow citizens of all faiths and creeds" to pray. The article concludes:
"We have made a God in our own image, a sort of glorified man, and we are no whit better or more reasonable (in so doing) than the savage who carves a semi-human figure out of wood, bows down, sacrifices to it and worships it.
“To infer, as the Proclamation infers, that members of all faiths and creeds are willing to pray to such a God shows a lamentable ignorance of other faiths and creeds as well as an unconscious conceit that this National God is of course accepted by all. We should be very sorry not to think that there is a large body of good American citizens who have a much nobler idea of God than this, not counting the Hindoos, Buddhists, Chinese and Japanese in our midst."
Thomas Paine of whom Washington wrote, "to him more than to any other is due the emancipation of these Colonies," is also the Thomas Paine who wrote The Age of Reason and who said, "the world is my country and to do good is my religion." Doubtless the Azoth article will shock the sincere church people who may read it, as the Age of Reason shocked the idol-worshippers for whose spiritual and mental as well as physical and political freedom Tom Paine lived and worked. It is comparatively easy to break the bonds of physical slavery for another, but slavery to idols is another matter. Each must be his own iconoclast, and a very large part of the good citizens of our country are still idol-worshippers and bow down before the National Idol.
The same number of Azoth contains, under its department of "Theosophical Talks," the concluding part of a discussion of "the sex question" by "A Helper." We are inclined to think our "helper" stands in greater need of receiving help than of giving it, of receiving a "theosophical education" than of essaying to give a "theosophical talk." Although he says that "The Ego is the Thinker'" and "has no 'sex' as we understand the term," and seems to understand that "Manas" and "Buddhi" are not two separate beings, but the qualities, attributes and powers of one being, the "Ego", he yet thinks that "a perfect marriage will only be possible when the Ego wholly incarnates his positive half in a male body, and his negative half in a female body at the same period of Time." He sees in sex perversions and degeneracies of all kinds "examples of the type that miss the purpose of the theosophical teachings;" in human love he sees "the yearning of the incarnated part of the Ego for its upper half the male part of the soul is ever seeking its complement, which it expects to find in a physical body of the opposite sex;" and this "yearning is taken advantage of by the powers that be to propagate the race by the bringing about of marriage." The "purpose" spoken of as that of the "theosophical teachings" and the "development of Man" is "to raise the animal consciousness to a point where the whole Ego can enter into and coalesce with, the androgynous man." Until then there can only be the "yearning" of the "incarnated part of the Ego for its (literally) Soul Mate."
The theory and ideas advanced by "A Helper" as "theosophical" teachings are, in fact, a confusion rather than a compound of "teachings" put forth in the last generation by P. B. Randolph, Thomas Lake Harris, Allan Kardec, and numerous others, both before their time and since. They are a form of phallicism, or a hodge-podge of it, rather, and all the ancient popular and exoteric religions, Christianity not excepted, are full of its cults, exponents and practitioners. All such ideas and practices are anything but Theosophy or theosophical teachings or practices. If "A Helper" will turn to Lucifer for September 15, 1888 (Volume III, page 30), he will find an article entitled "On Dynaspheric Force" by Laurence Oliphant which is a guarded but clear exposition of the doctrine of Sympneumatics", identical with the ideas of "A Helper." At the conclusion of that article H. P. B. put in brackets this statement: "The Editors expressly desire to disclaim all responsibility for the views expressed in this article." We wonder that the Editor of Azoth did not accompany this "theosophical talk" with a similar disclaimer of its gross carnalization of the Theosophical teachings regarding the nature of the Egc, of Buddhi, of Manas, of the "sex question."
Sex, in theosophical teaching, is the physical resultant of the sin, not the splitting in two "parts," of the Ego, the spiritual being, Atma-BuddhiManas, the "Soul" or "Thinker." The causation was spiritual and Manasic -the erroneous thinking and use of his spiritual powers; the effect was physical and psychic: effects from which we all still suffer, for "they and none other are we." More grievous as an effect than any sexual perversions, howsoever grievous these may be, is the grievous perversion of our
ideas of religion, ethics, Nature and Man. The world is filled with warring sects and cults, each with its ideas and practices regarding sex, soul, spirit, mind, matter, god, and the relations of these. What are all these but psychic, physical and astral effects of the "fall" of Man; the unexpended and unadjusted Karma of that race of Spiritual Beings which we are? That Karma is deepened, accentuated, made infinitely heavier by our continued and continuing misuse of our divine nature and powers, whether that misuse goes on in its gross form of sexual abuse, or in our misunderstanding, misrepresentation and perversion of the pure Teachings of Theosophy. But the burden of the latter is beyond compare greater than the former and vastly more difficult to eradicate, for it affects the very centre of our being; it is the field of origin, because the plane of causation, of all the other sins of the race, sexual or any other kind, whether those be "dormant, extenuated, intercepted, or simple." Spiritualism, necromancy, spirit brides, affinities, soul mates, and the ideas that foster these practices, are part of that evil karma.
Upton Sinclair's for August contains the continuation of "The Profits of Religion," which is shortly to be issued in book form. The current instalment deals with "the church of the quacks," and discusses the "Holy Rollers," Seventh Day Adventists, Koreshanity, Mazdaznan, Babism, “Black Magic," in which Mr. Sinclair pays his respects to the different private brands of theosophists, Christian Science, "mental malpractice," New Thought, and Spiritualism. All these are called "the graft of Grace." Much that Mr. Sinclair writes is true of the exponents and followers of the many cults of the pseudo-occult and the pseudo-religionists. Probably any one of the sects mentioned would quite agree with Mr. Sinclair's strictures concerning all the others, and would, for their own particular form of coup de grace, apply with equal earnestness and more relish the same strictures to Mr. Sinclair, his ideas and his own particular form of exploitation of human nature. We quote:
"And this kind of swindling is going on every night in every city of America going in the field of mental healing, and of all other occult' forces and powers, whether real or imaginary. It is going on with new spiritual fervors, new moral idealisms, new poetry, new music, new painting, new sculpture. The faker, the charlatan is everywhere-using the mental and moral and artistic force of life as a means of delivering himself from economic servitude. Everywhere I turn I see it-credulity being exploited, and men of practical judgment, watching the game and seeing it through, made hard in their attitude of materialism. How many men I know who sit by in sullen protest while their wives drift from one new quackery to another, wasting their income seeking health and happiness in futile emotionalism! How many kind and sensitive spirits I know--both men and women-who pour their treasure of faith and admiration into the laps of hierophants who began by fooling all mankind and ended by fooling themselves!"
With all this every one can agree, not because Mr. Sinclair says it, but because it is the universal experience of mankind. No one of us but has repeatedly been deceived, cheated, robbed in his faith, his confidence, his good intentions and desires, and by consequence of his property, in the name of love, of home, of country, of brotherhood and of God. More than that, each one of us has over and over again been self-deceived by the evils, the follies, the weaknesses and the vices in ourselves putting on the mask of virtue and of piety and whispering to us in our thoughts and reflections with "the tongues of men and of angels." Still more, and still worse, what one of us has not and does not over and over again deceive others by holding out to them the particular patent cure-all we are ourselves taking, and receiving the emoluments of our "good works" in that direction? All these are the common because universal evils of mankind.
Mr. Sinclair draws his moral and preaches his cure for these universally common ills in this wise:
"In each of these cults which I have called the 'Church of the Quacks,' there are thousands. perhaps millions of entirely sincere, selfsacrificing people. They will read this book-if anyone can persuade them to read it—with pain and anger; thinking that I am mocking at their faith, and have no appreciation of their devotion. All that I can say is that I am trying to show them how they are being trapped; how their fine and generous qualities are being used by exploiters of one sort and another; and how this must continue, world without end, until there is order in the material affairs of the race, until justice has been established as the law of man's dealing with his fellows." We wonder seriously if Mr. Sinclair has ever asked himself what was the difference between Jesus, Judas, Pontius Pilate, the High Priest, the Roman soldiery, and the multitude? They were all brothers in that they were all men with a common nature, a common environment, a common need, and certainly each one of them, not excluding Judas, was "sincere and self-sacrificing" in his own way and in his own opinion. Each of them had "faith" in something; each had "devotion" to something; each showed on occasion "fine and generous qualities;" what, then, was the difference, and how did it originate?
According to Mr. Sinclair's concluding phrase quoted above, which we must take to indicate his philosophy of life since "he himself has said it," the difference was due to their respective differences "in the order of material affairs." If that were true then Jesus, whether looked upon as exploiter or exploited, should have been in the worst case of all. Of "possessions", in the material sense, he had nothing at all, nor did he pay any attention to them, so he lacked "order" in entirety as far as this world is concerned. Judas, Pilate, the High Priest, the multitude-no one was so poor as to do Him reverence. Yet we think Mr. Sinclair, as all of us, would prefer to wish to be like Jesus than like any of the others of his day. And if "wishing" would bring us to His estate, we would doubtless all be Christs.
According to the logic of Mr. Sinclair's position-and it is one shared by a vast multitude of mankind, whatever their professed "faith,"-theft would stop if the thieves had plenty of money-if they did not "have to steal" because of their poverty; lying would cease if the liars did not "have to lie" to get what they want-material things; murder would be eliminated if those who cause us "pain and anger" would kindly commit suicide; cowardice would end if there were only "nothing to be afraid of;" quackery would cease, religious and otherwise, if the quacks were afforded an income or a pension in an "orderly" way; justice "would be established" if there were no incentive to injustice-and so on, ad infinitum.
Does it occur to Mr. Sinclair that innate in the very idea of justice is the idea of reaping what we have sown? That there can be no "material" justice if there is not justice throughout the whole nature of man and the whole of nature. That "order" is heaven's first law, not earth's, or man's, as man conceives of heaven and earth. How can justice "be established" if there be not justice already in the whole of nature; or how can it be established among men, if men believe in injustice-that they can do wrong by their fellows and gain good for themselves in so doing? Mr. Sinclair can take either horn of the dilemma he prefers and he will infallibly find it has two horns. Mr. Sinclair and all the rest of us are receiving justice every instant, for every instant we are reaping what we have sown and sowing what we shall reap. And this, regardless of quacks and their "victims," regardless of our "faith," our "opinion," our "religion" or our "philosophy;" regardless of whether we are governor or governed, exploiter or exploited, sick or well, "rich man, beggar-man, thief," or "butcher, baker or candle-stick maker." The very ideas we hold, the very actions we perform, the ideals we form-what are all these but a reaping and a sowing?
The injustices we all fall heir to, from whom do we inherit them but from our own former injustices? The obstacles we encounter, when we would learn better and do better, who placed them in our path but ourselves? If any other, then there is no Law, no Justice in Nature, and if not in nature, what folly and what madness to prate of them, long for them, talk about "establishing them"?
If there is any meaning in the story of Jesus it can only be that he was what he was because of the ideas he held and his conformity in action to those ideas. And so with those whom he healed and who were not healed, those who benefited from his mission and those who did not, those who believed in him and those who persecuted him. And so with all men, Christian, Jew or Heathen, then, since, and now. Does Mr. Sinclair, and does humanity, see the difference between profession and practice? Do we see the difference between what Jesus lived and taught and what his "followers" live and believe? Does he see the difference between Theosophy and human interpretations and applications of it? The victim of the nostrum and the nostrum vendor, whether in christianity, or theosophical societies, or socialism, or any other ism or cult, are both alike victims to one thingselfishness and its effect, self-delusion. Humanity wants something for nothing or at a price and acts accordingly. Buddha, Jesus, H. P. Blavatsky taught the reign of Law and Justice-something Mr. Sinclair cannot see, nor any one like him, because they cannot distinguish between cause and effect; because they are seeking to cure themselves by substituting a more desired effect for a less desirable one; because they want to reap without sowing: because they are in fact materialists seeking spiritual harvests.
The authoritative Life of Stephen Girard, by the historian John B. McMaster, just published by the J. B. Lippincott Company of Philadelphia, is a record of the career and public services of a true Theosophist who is but little known or remembered by the men of our generation. Stephen Girard was to the citizens of Philadelphia and to the Government and people of the United States in the earlier days of the Republic much what that other Theosophist of the City of Brotherly Love was to the trying period of the Revolution. The lives of Robert Morris and Girard have many parallel instances of civic duty and patriotic service performed in the light of a wealth, not only of money and property, but of those other and greater possessions, a broad charity and tolerance, a clean life, an open mind, and an intellect eager to render aid to one's fellows without distinction of race, creed, sect, or party. His example, energy and contributions made possible the financing of the government in the war of 1812; his prompt and devoted support saved the Bank of the United States; his inclusive philanthropy and love for the helpless led him to be a benefactor of the San Domingan refugees; in the yellow fever pestilences of 1793. 1798 and 1802 he was a brother and sustainer of the afflicted; in his long commercial and private banking career he was the embodiment of forbearance, patience, and fairness; at his death he bequeathed the bulk of his estate to the city of Philadelphia for the establishment and maintenance of Girard College for the care and education of orphan children. Such is a brief resumé of some of the more notable benefactions of Stephen Girard. friend of Humanity. His living exemplification of the Objects of the Theosophical Movement, and the basis from which that life proceeded, are indicated in the following excerpt from his will:
"No ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever in the said College; nor shall any such person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor. In making this restriction I do not mean to cast any reflections upon any sect or person whatever; but as there is such a multitude of sects, and such diversity of opinion among them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitements which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are apt to produce."