THEOSOPHY, Vol. 18, No. 4, February, 1930
(Pages 173-175; Size: 8K)
(Number 4 of a 12-part series)
[Compiler's Note: This series is entirely
"Collated from the writings of H.P.B."]
JESUS: INITIATE AND TEACHER
IN what particular does the jealous, wrathful, revengeful God of Israel resemble the unknown deity, the God of mercy preached by Jesus; -- his Father who is in Heaven, and the Father of all humanity? This Father alone is the God of spirit and purity, and, to compare Him with the subordinate and capricious Sinaitic Deity is an error. Did Jesus ever pronounce the name Jehovah? Did he ever place his Father in contrast with this severe and cruel Judge; his God of mercy, love, and justice, with the Jewish genius of retaliation?
Never! From that memorable day when he preached his Sermon on the Mount, an immeasurable void opened between his God and that other deity who fulminated his commands from that other mount -- Sinai. The language of Jesus is unequivocal; it implies not only rebellion but defiance of the Mosaic "Lord God." "Ye have heard," he tells us, "that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Ye have heard that it hath been said (by the same "Lord God" on Sinai): Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you; Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew v.).
When dying on the cross, the martyred Man of Sorrows forgave his enemies. His last words were a prayer in their behalf. He taught his disciples to curse not, but to bless, even their foes.
There was but one apostle of Jesus worthy of that name, and that was Paul. However disfigured were his Epistles by dogmatic hands before being admitted into the Canon, his conception of the great and divine philosopher who died for his idea can still be traced in his addresses to the various Gentile nations. Only, he who would understand him better yet must study the Philonean Logos reflecting now and then the Hindu Sabda (logos) of the Mimansa school.
In the writings of Paul, the entity of man is divided into a trine -- flesh, psychical existence or soul, and the overshadowing and at the same time interior entity or SPIRIT. His phraseology is very definite, when he teaches the anastasis, or the continuation of life of those who have died. He maintains that there is a psychical body which is sown in the corruptible, and a spiritual body that is raised in incorruptible substance.... Jesus makes the heart what Paul says of the flesh.
Alas, alas! How little has the divine seed, scattered broadcast by the hand of the meek Judean philosopher, thrived or brought forth fruit. He, who himself had shunned hypocrisy, warned against public prayer, showing such contempt for any useless exhibition of the same, could he but cast his sorrowful glance on the earth, from the regions of eternal bliss, would see that this seed fell neither on sterile rock nor by the way-side. Nay, it took deep root in the most prolific soil; one enriched even to plethora with lies and human gore!
If the alleged founder of the Christian religion is now, after the lapse of nineteen centuries, preached -- more or less unsuccessfully however -- in every corner of the globe, we are at liberty to think that the doctrines attributed to him would astonish and dismay him more than anyone else. A system of deliberate falsification was adopted from the first. When the memory of the meek and lowly Jesus still lingered lovingly in every Christian heart, and his words of mercy and charity vibrated still in the air, even then the Christians were outdoing the Pagans in every kind of ferocity and religious intolerance. Truly says Bishop Kidder: "Were a wise man to choose his religion from those who profess it, perhaps Christianity would be the last religion he would choose!"
Renan makes of Jesus a sort of sentimental ninny, a theatrical simpleton, enamored of his own poetical divagations and speeches, wanting every one to adore him, and finally caught in the snares of his enemies. Such was not Jesus, the Jewish philanthropist, the adept and mystic of a school now forgotten by the Christians and the Church -- if ever it was known to her; the hero, who preferred even to risk death, rather than withhold some truths which he believed would benefit humanity.
It is in Palestine that we have to search for the clearest waters of Christianity, let alone its source. The first Christians, after the death of Jesus, all joined together for a time, whether they were Ebionites, Nazarenes, Gnostics, or others. They had no Christian dogmas in those days, and their Christianity consisted in believing Jesus to be a prophet, this belief varying from seeing in him simply a "just man," or a holy, inspired prophet, a vehicle used by Christos and Sophia to manifest themselves through. These all united together in opposition to the synagogue and the tyrannical technicalities of the Pharisees, until the primitive group separated in two distinct branches -- which, we may correctly term the Christian kabalists of the Jewish Tanaïm school, and the Christian kabalists of the Platonic Gnosis. The former were represented by the party composed of the followers of Peter, and John, the author of the Apocalypse; the latter ranged with the Pauline Christianity, blending itself, at the end of the second century, with the Platonic philosophy, and engulfing, still later, the Gnostic sects, whose symbols and misunderstood mysticism overflowed the Church of Rome.
Amid this jumble of contradictions, what Christian is secure in confessing himself such?
(Collated from the writings of H.P.B.)
(To be continued)
JESUS: INITIATE AND TEACHER
(Part 5 of a 12-part series)
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