Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 228
Publication Date: 1908
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This book is Butler's description of the entire spiritual evolution of humanity. Based on a mystical vision of Christianity, Butler thought that an invisible 'Order of Melchisedek,' 288,000 strong (144,000 male-female couples) would eventually be able to transcend the limitations of physical reality and become as 'Elohim,' the plural components of God. He also brings into the mix other parts of his world-view, including his simplified version of Astrology, and many ideas similar to those promoted by New Thought.
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The beginnings of organized life act from instinct without brain-power to define and guide the impulse. The insect moves about apparently without aim, a little way in one direction, and back, then in another. Universal Life runs it in accordance with its form and quality, as the water runs the waterwheel. But as experience is gathered from hunger, meeting enemies, and the general struggle for existence, brain-powers begin to develop, and with the developing of the brain the general nervous structure develops and refines. In this way Universal Mind takes of the elements of the earth and organizes for itself a body through which to find expression, through which to carry forward a line of growth toward the fulness of manhood.
In its early history, the race was largely dominated by the instincts, because it was without sufficient brain-power correctly to define the mental impulses from the cause-side. It was not until a comparatively advanced stage of racial progress that the higher light of intuition appeared.
Because mind always turns toward its source, consciousness toward its origin, man has always been a religious being; but before the reasoning faculties were sufficiently developed to have an intelligent recognition of the impulses of the Universal Mind, his religion was as immature as his mentality and he worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, and images of his own ideals.
During this period the intellect was slowly unfolding, and as an aid to its growth, "Revelation," in the external types and shadows of its manifestation, was given to the people as they could receive it, for it was in this form that the earlier revelations came to the race.
It is a law that thought suggested to the mind, though not understood, much less comprehended, builds itself into the organism, so that when the building is complete the meaning of the thought is grasped. Therefore revelation came first in types and shadows, the external form of the vital energy that was within.
Added revelation was given as fast as the race developed sufficiently to receive it, but the vital reality was always represented by some material symbol, and in the effort to interpret the revelation gross errors crept in. In addition to this there were other fruitful sources of error. Being largely under the control of the instincts, the people were exceedingly superstitious—every manifestation of the incomprehensible, the grand, or the sublime, was to them always through the direct intervention of some unseen being. Thus, in addition to the nature-forces, a multiplicity of gods took form in the popular mind, and the pantheons of the different nations came into existence. Again, the inclination of the human mind to seek cause readily developed into a search for magic power. There is and always has been in the human will a power entirely incomprehensible—a fact which led the earlier nations into ceremonial magic, the black arts, and all the equipments of a religious and superstitious mind. But the coming of the Christ to earth lifted the race above this dark cloud of superstition; for it is universally admitted that the Christian religion lies at the foundation of the height and glory of our civilization.
Nevertheless, as the records of the past show that there was an apparently darkened mental condition of the world at the time of the revelation of our Bible, and because the mind of the day is turned almost exclusively toward scientific investigation of the laws of nature, those mental states that led the race into the light of revelation seem crude and repulsive. The present trend of the mentality is to turn altogether from intuition and to depend wholly upon the reasoning brain. A study of the record of racial experience during the centuries of the past, especially of the nations immediately allied to our own, and the present scientific investigation of a most materialistic character, complete the education given in our colleges and to our clergy. Ever is held up that frightful effigy of the darkened mind of the past as a warning against credulity and superstition. This effigy has intensified a materialistic mentality, and has caused the educated classes to fear even to admit to their own souls the possibility of revelation or the active principle of intuition. They have practically shut out everything that savors in the slightest degree of a manifestation of spiritual activity, and, consequently, spiritual inspiration and added revelation are no longer possible.
The terms "inspiration" and "revelation" have been misapplied, and therefore need definition: Inspiration bears to revelation the relation of cause to effect. Inspiration is not necessarily the act of a human agent becoming a medium of expression for a being in the spirit-world, but it is a well-known phenomenon of every-day life. The act of recalling a thought we call "re-collection;" that is, we have had an experience and have forgotten it, a suggestion comes to our mind of something concerning this experience and we wish to recall it. The mind is at once concentrated upon the desired thought, every other thought intruding itself is repelled, and the mind—held in the attitude of desiring, reaching out for one definite thought—draws in, inspires, the refined substance generated in the body and expressed through the brain at the time of the experience.