Many of us look to death to work a miracle for us,
thinking the mere cessation of physical living will give
entry to paradise or even heaven,
so long as we are baptized and call ourselves Christians.
This is a great delusion.
In character, personality, cleanliness, goodwill we are, after death,
exactly as far advanced as we were before death, and no further.
What then is needed, since death will not help us?
The Seed of Divine love and life planted and consciously growing in us whilst we are still in this world.
And what is this Seed?—
* * *
What is paradise, what is heaven?
The progressive gradations of conditions of a perfect reciprocity of love,
and the greater the perfection of this reciprocity the greater the altitudes attained of heaven.
Thus we see in Scripture that the angels who stand nearest to God or highest in heaven are the cherubim—
that is to say, they are those who have attained a greater reciprocity than all other angels.
Now this Divine love is incomprehensible to us until we are initiated into its mystery as a gift,
and cannot be understood nor guessed at by comparisons with any human loves however great, noble, or pure;
but this burning fiery essence of joy, this radiant glory of delight,
this holy and ineffable fulfillment of the uttermost needs, longings, and requirements of the soul
must be personally experienced by us to be comprehended.
What madness in us is it that can count as an added cross or burden
any means by which we reach such perfection of bliss for ever?
The Cross is for us the misery of our own blinding sins and selfishness’s.
The burden is the weight of our own distance from God.
“Take up thy cross (which is our daily life of ignorance and sin),
take up thy cross, and follow Me,” says the voice of the Savior;
and as we do it and follow Him the distance between God and ourselves diminishes,
and finally the burden and the cross disappear,
and behold God! awaiting us with His consolations.
It is the stopping half−way that causes would−be followers of Christ such distress.
It is necessary that we follow Him all the way and not merely a part of it—
that He may complete His process in us.
When we are living altogether in a creaturely, natural, or unregenerated way,
absorbed in the ambitions and interests of a worldly life, we are perhaps content.
When we live regenerated and in the spirit, we are in great joy;
but when we try to live between the two and would serve God and worldly interests at the same time
we are in gloomy wretchedness, vacillation, depression.
The Master said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” which signified that within us was the
potentiality to have entrance to, and to know, the mystery of the Divine Secret, and to participate whilst still
living here, in the early degrees or manifestations of Divine Love—that Power which glorifies the angels, and
Of the three Stages of God−Consciousness
(Which more properly expressed is the gift of immediate access of the soul of God)
There are three principal stages on the way of progress—
three separate degrees of God−Consciousness.
The first is the Consciousness of the Presence of Jesus, the Perfect Man.
We take Him into the heart, accept and know Him,
love and obey Him.
In the second stage we receive Jesus as the Christ and recognize Him as the Messiah
(of which the mind was not sure in the first stage).
We rejoice in Him, giving Him a more perfect obedience.
In the third the soul is given the Consciousness of the Father,
and, being filled with a very great love and joy, worships Him as the Known God.
Now life immediately becomes totally changed,
fear and sin are swept away, and love rules the Universe.
It is now that God makes us know His glamor;
He casts over the soul His golden net of spiritual delights, and by them ,
seems to challenge her, saying to the soul,
“Now that I reveal Myself to thee, canst thou ever return to the joys of the world,
canst thou find its pleasures sweet,
canst thou be satisfied with any human love;
canst thou by any means resist Me now that I show Myself?”
And the soul answers Him, “Nay Lord, in truth I cannot.”
The remembrance of these powers , and these spells of God ,
make for the soul a sure foundation of repose , and certainty
in the days of testing of fidelity that still lie before her.
They also further reveal to her His consummate care of her exact requirements,
for she cannot pass beyond a certain stage without a direct personal assurance is given her.
First He demands of us that we have, and actively maintain,
a clean will to turn and cleave to Him,
without any assurance beyond written assurance (Scripture);
and having given Him a thorough proof of fidelity,
He then grants us the personal assurance.
Having been given these rapturous concessions,
what would perfection demand of us …
a total withdrawal from the world …
a hiding away in secret with our soul’s treasure of delights ?
Maybe for some;
but a higher perfection calls us back to service in the wretched turmoil of the world,
to work and to stand in the House of Rimmon ( http://www.questia.com/read/1E1-Rimmon/rimmon )
and never bow the knee,
to carry with us everywhere the Divine Consciousness
and preserve its light undimmed in every sordid petty circumstance of daily life,
to endure with perfect patience the follies and the prides of the unenlightened.
Whoever can achieve those things may find himself at last a saint.
Very early in this third stage a miracle is performed in us:
without knowing how it came about
or what day it was done,
we suddenly know that the heart and the mind have become virgin
and this without any variation.
Every kind of lust, whether of eye, body, heart, or mind, has been removed from us,
and never again has any power over us, for the will has become superior to lust,
and there is a finish to all such contending:
this moral healing is more impressive than any physical healing.
Before this miracle is performed for us, we have suffered many things, as much as we can bear:
subtle and astonishing temptations of mind and body and spirit
“call to remembrance the former days in which after ye were illuminated
ye endured a great fight of afflictions” (Heb. x. 32).
He accepts the sinner long before he is a saint (if ever we become one in this world, which is doubtful),
provided the will is always held good towards God.
This is the mighty Process of Christ which he desires to perform for all.
Of the tears we shed over it , the less mention the better;
they are precious tears,
and if we will not lend ourselves to this Process of Christ
we may have as many tears for our portion and no benefit from them in the way of advancement.
Let us weep the tears that God Himself will wipe away.
So then in the first stage the Soul tastes of the sweet companionship of Jesus.
In the second, of the might and graciousness of Christ;
in the third, of the fullness of God and His unspeakable delights.
“Thou shalt give them to drink of Thy pleasures, as out of the river” (Psalm 36:8).
In the third stage of God−Consciousness a great change takes place in our relationship to God.
Besides the magnitude of alterations of the inner life—the sweeping spiritual changes—
the body also shares in a change, for, whilst we formerly prayed to God with a bowed head and a hidden face,
we now become unable to pray or approach Him except with a raised head and an uncovered face.
This change is not from any thought or intention of our own, but we are forced to it by a sweet necessity.
In a company of persons praying, all those in the third stage ,
could be immediately known , by this necessity of the raised and bared face
if we were not taught by the Holy Spirit never to reveal to others
that we are in the third stage except in special instances.
For this reason it is not possible to enter true communion with God in a public place of worship
unless we can conceal ourselves from others.
For the face undergoes a change in communion with God,
and it is not pleasing to Him that this should be seen by any eye but His own.
If anyone finds great difficulty (and the most of us do) in coming to the first stage—
that of taking Jesus into the heart—
he must pray every day in a few short words from the heart
that God will give him to Jesus , and in due time he will be heard.
In the third stage of progress we have the home−coming of the soul
as far as we are able to know it in the flesh: “We taste of the powers of God” (Hebrews).
But the fullness of home−coming is reserved for that day
in which the greatest of all the mysteries will be revealed to us—
the mystery of the Relation of the Soul to God.
In that great day we shall know God by His Own Name.
We do not find God by denying the existence of things not pleasing to Him.
We do not find the Eternal Goodness by saying that Evil does not exist.
We do not find true health of spirit because we deny all sickness, pain, and disease.
Such a mode of Christianity may give a sense of comfort,
lend a false security to the heart and mind at once weary of God−searching,
and disenchanted with the world;
but it is not the Christianity which regenerates.
It is a narcotic, not a Redemption.
It is the way of a mind unwilling to face truths because they pain.
If there was anything made plain by Christ
it is that the way of Redemption lies through heroism and not cowardice.
Let those of us who too much fear a passing pain of sacrifice of will
remember that the deepest of all pains, the last word in the tragedy of life,
is to come to old age and descend to the grave without having found the Saviour.
For our calamity is that we are lost souls.
Our opportunity is that in this world we find the track of Christ which leads us home.
God does not create a new world on purpose for His lovers immediately to live in,
yet though we remain our full time in this same world it is not the same world.
We see a person in a severe illness and again in full health. It is the same person, and not the same person.
We see a garden filled with flowers in the rain under grey clouds,
and again the same garden filled with mellow sunlight under blue skies;
it is the same garden, and not the same garden.
These changes could never be described or conveyed to the man blind from birth;
neither can spiritual changes be described or conveyed till we ourselves gain similarity of experience.
God transposes our pleasures, taking the glamour from the guilty and transferring it to the blameless;
by this transforming our lives.
He increases the pleasure of unworldly enjoyments so we are independent of the worldly ones.
But we cannot remain in this transformed world of His
unless we are at peace both with ourself and all persons around us.
Though from earliest childhood we may have found in the beauties of Nature a great delight,
when we become the lover of God
He passes His fingers over our hearts and our eyes and opens them to marvelous new powers for joy.
Oh, the ecstasy that may be known in one short walk alone with God!
The overflowing heart cries out to Him, What other lover is there can give such bliss as this,
and what is all Nature but a lovely language between Thee and me!
Then the soul spreads wings into the blue and sings to Him like soaring lark.
But do not let us seek Him only because of His Delights, for so we might miss Him altogether.
But let it be because it is His wish:
because Perfection calls,
and mystery calls to mystery,
and love to love,
and Light calls to the darkness ……..
AND THE DAWN IS BORN
The glamor of God is come down about my soul,
And He who made all loveliness has decked my heart in spring,
And garlanded me round about with tender buds
Of flowers and scented things,
and love and light.
I see no rain, no sad grey skies,
For the glamor of God has come down about mine eyes
And the Voice of the Maker of all loveliness
Calling to my soul, leads me enchanted
Up the glittering mysteries of Infinity