REPLY TO MADAME BLAVATSKY’S OBSERVATIONS ON CHRISTIAN ESOTERICISM*
[Le Lotus, Paris, Vol. II, No. II, February, 1888, pp. 258-271]
[Translated from the original French]
I.—There are some men whom nothing can discourage and nothing cast down, because they have faith, faith critically examined, scientifically established. I am one of those.
Far from complaining of the “drubbing” I have received under the guise of a hearty reception, and as a testimony of welcome, upon my first appearance in Le Lotus, on the contrary, I am gratified by Madame Blavatsky’s courteous manner and the complete frankness of her language. In my eyes, these are evidences of her sincerity and cordiality, the less equivocal the more forthrightly given. No one would suspect this lady of toadyism with respect to Catholic priests—usually so readily cajoled, and for good reasons, in Ultramontane circles (Ultramundane, some would say), where the religion of Christ has all to lose and nothing to gain. I am indebted, very greatly indebted, to her virile intellect, her Amazonian gait and her unceremonious pen, for presenting at the very outset the burning question of Christ “with a masculine vigor,” as the Editor remarks, and also, “without ambiguity and without partisanship.”
Without partisanship . . . . . hum! We shall see. It may happen as it often does, that partisanship exists without one suspecting it oneself. We deceive ourselves so easily! It is so difficult to rid oneself of all personal interest, and, still more, of all partisanship of school, sect, church, caste, etc.!
It is not then without reason that Jesus Christ said: “Deny yourselves, and do not swear by any Master, so that you may hold only to the pure Truth.” † In his own terms, quite as categorical as those of the Mahârâjâs of Benares, our Christ also declared: “There is no religion higher than Truth.” We shall soon see how he expressed himself on this point.
Now Madame Blavatsky, and with her the Chelas and the Theosophists, have taken unto themselves Masters, the Mahâtmas. They
* [In spite of its earlier date, it has been thought advisable to have this essay of Abbé Roca appear at this particular place, as it has a direct connection with H. P. B.’s Reply which immediately follows it. ––Compiler.]
† [Paraphrase of Matt., v, 34.—Compiler ]
make no secret of it, and I do not blame them. From what the Adepts tell us, it would seem that they are ready to offer themselves to the world in their turn as doctors and teachers. That they have many things to teach us, I have not the least doubt. In the article to which my learned interlocutor replies, I have not done otherwise than render my homage to their wisdom. But when, perhaps a little intoxicated by the heady fumes of these encomiums, the Editor of Le Lotus exclaims and tells me by nods and winks, “who loves us, follows us,” I answer: Patience; I should greatly desire to love you at first sight; it would be easy and, moreover, perfectly Christian. I should like to follow you also, but on sure grounds, con pasos contados, and with the knowledge of where I am going.
I find myself rather in the attitude of Aristotle; for me as for him, there is something which is of greater value than Plato, that is Truth. The phrase is well-known: “Amicus Socrates, sed major Veritas”! If then you are Truth, let us have it, but I must have absolute proof.
Before Madame Blavatsky, it happens that another presented himself to the world who said squarely, “I am the TRUTH—Ego sum Veritas”! He also told us: “Come unto me without fear, trust in my words, I am the Master, the unique Master, and the only true Doctor.” And again: “I am the Way, I am the Life, I am the Resurrection.”*
That is the language of Christ, and if it did not reveal God Himself, it would betray him as the most shameless of impostors. Now to say in the presence of Madame Blavatsky that Christ is an impostor should be carefully avoided, because she would reply with an outright smack on the mouth of the blasphemer. Draw your own conclusions, then.
You will agree, gentlemen, that the way in which Christ puts the matter is even more daring and more masculine than that of your noble Directress. Here, indeed, one can say it is done “without ambiguity and without partisanship,” without any personal interest of any kind and with perfect renunciation of self. The testimony in favour of it is such that it stares at you and takes complete possession of you. None can be ignorant of the fact that the life of Jesus Christ was spent in multiplying undeniable evidences of his disinterestedness, and that his death was the supreme confirmation of it, the . Hence, overwhelmed by so many proofs, a very unlikely philosopher, J. J. Rousseau, once cried: “If the life and death of Socrates are those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus are those of a God!” Socrates exemplifies the highest and purest personification of virtue in the West, and I emphasize this because I agree that the East has seen incarnations of Wisdom superior to that which expressed itself in Socrates, and for that reason closer to that which was accomplished nineteen centuries ago in the Son of Mary. You see I am not niggardly over my admiration for India.
* [Paraphrases of passages from John, xi, 25 and xiv, 6.]
Further, it must be observed that Jesus Christ himself declares that it is impossible to show greater devotion to one’s brothers than that exemplified by sacrificing oneself entirely for them: Nemo majorem Charitatem habet quam, etc. * When any of the Mahâtmas—Jesus Christ was not one, whatever Madame Blavatsky may think—can convince me that he burns with such a love for us, that he came into the world to prove it and at the same time to bear witness to the Truth, that he himself is in substance this divine Truth, and the Way which leads thereto, and the Life which results from it, and the Resurrection which restores that Truth and that Life to our hearts when they have been extinguished in them; when he shall have demonstrated to me experimentally, as Jesus Christ does every day in my soul, “that he is the unique Master and only true Doctor,” that he is the Light that lightens all men, and the Principle at the base of our understanding—Ego Principium qui loquor vobis; when, moreover, to sustain these witnesses and an infinity of others no less extraordinary, he shall have agreed to drink from the chalice that Jesus drained at Gethsemane (a cup far more bitter than the one from which Socrates in the West drank the hemlock, or that from which Krishna, Gautama of Kapilavastu, Siddhârtha and all the other Buddhas drank the bitterness in the East); when he shall, without complaint or murmur, sicut agnus, have delivered his body, a planta pedis usque ad summum verticis,† to the rods and whips of flagellation wielded to the uttermost by the arms of the soldiery and servants, his face to the bruisings, the blows and the spitting of the mob, his head and forehead to the sharp pricking of the crown of thorns, his hands and feet to the nails and hammers of crucifixion, his lips parched by agony to the vinegar and bitterness of the abominable sponge, and, still more grievous, his life, a whole life woven of good deeds and blessings, to the denial of his own disciples, to the insults, the sarcasms, the blasphemies and curses of the priests and pontiffs of his time; when, finally, to all the fury of that diabolical sabbath, to all that outburst of frenzy, of iniquities and atrocious madness, he will reply only with that sublime prayer: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!”. . . . . . Then, oh yes, then! my dear brothers, I will do more than love you; I will follow you blindly, in a dumb adoration, abandoning all to you; as I have abandoned all to my divine Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For then He would be you, and you would be but one with the Father; then you would have lost the great illusion that is called Ego-ism, to unite yourselves, like Him, with Âtma-Christos, with the Ego, absolute, eternal, divine; then you would have realized, through the humble and suffering Christ of flesh, the Christ-Spirit, glorious and
* [The Vulgate text for John, xv, 13 is: “Majorem hac dilectionem memo habet, ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis.”—Compiler.]
† [Isaiah, i, 6.]
triumphant, and you would be able to exclaim with our incomparable Paul: “I live, but not so! it is not I who lives, it is Christ who lives in me! * Vivo autem, iam non ego: vivit vero in me Christus!”
II.—Ah! Believe me, Madame, the true Christians are not all dead with the last Gnostics, as you mistakenly declare. We have preserved, we also, even the Roman Church, however obscured and fallen it may be at this hour, that profound esotericism which is hidden under exoteric forms and uncomprehended dogmas, and which is found, nevertheless, under all religious symbols and all sacred traditions, in the West as well as in the East. If the sublime conception of that Christian ideal is that of the Mahâtmas, honour to them! But it is also that of the Kabalists and the true Catholics; I wish I could add of all the Theosophists, and of all the Occultists and of all the Hermetists.
Like yourself, Madame, we distinguish between the of suffering and the of glory, and we know that which you appear to be ignorant of, i.e., that the unction refused by you to Jesus Christ has streamed upon him with the blood of his own immolation, because every sacrificed being is a being consecrated or Christified, and he is perfectly annointed who is completely offered in bloody holocaust. Nevertheless, you will agree with this, Madame, in recalling the Cycle of initiation: “No ‘sacrificial victim’,” you say rightly, “could be united to Christ triumphant before passing through the preliminary stage of the suffering Christ who was put to death.” Very good!
It is precisely to fulfil that ritualistic condition that “the Word made itself Flesh” according to St. John, and, consequently, that it becomes able, in our time, after nineteen centuries of crucifixion, to enter fully, before the whole world, into the divine light of the Christ-Spirit, because, as the wise Apostle of the Areopagus teaches, “Christ must suffer in order that he may enter into glory.”—“oportuit Christum pati et it a intrare in gloriam.”† The law is absolute, universal, it applies to Him who is the head, the chief, the “Principium” of mankind, and it applies also to each of the Monads, the cells or individual units of the universal social body of which that Christ is the epigenesic principle. None of us will enter that glorified body, which is to me the beatific Nirvâna of the Buddhists, without traversing that path which the Gospel calls the “strait gate and narrow way, angusta porta, et arcta via” [Matt., vii, 14].
Madame Blavatsky may now see the true meaning of the conversion of St. Paul which she has not understood. St. Paul was an initiate of the Essenian school of Gamaliel, a true Therapeut, a perfect Nazarene,
* [Paraphrase of Gal., ii, 20.—Comp.]
† [The Vulgate text for Luke, xxiv, 46 is: “Et dixit eis: Quoniam sic scriptum est, et sic oportebat Christum pati, et resurgere a mortuis tertia die.”—Compiler.]
as he tells us himself. He found himself precisely in the condition Madame Blavatsky apparently finds herself today, and where I fear some of the Chelas also are to be found. Like the majority of the Pharisees—which learned sect Paul gloried in following—he acknowledged the glorious Christ, he expected Him, but he did not recognize Him under the appearance of the sorrowful Son of Mary who so little resembled his ideal and that of the Synagogue, with his crown of thorns, his bleeding flesh, with the humiliation of his whole life, with the disconcerting ignominy of his allegedly infamous death.
Upon the road to Damascus it was given to Gamaliel’s disciple to discover his glorious Christ in the very person of the Christ veiled in flesh and suffering, in order to realize in his human body all that was ordained by the Law of Sacrifices, in the Cycle of Initiation of which Madame Blavatsky speaks. What was revealed to Paul was not by any means the Christos of the Gnostics, as she says, but really the Chrestos with all the arcana of his abasement and of his annihilation.
Also, listen to him on his return from Damascus: “I glorify myself not to know among you any other thing but Jesus Christ, and Jesus-Christ crucified.––Nihil me scire glorior inter vos, nisi Jesum-Christum, et hunc crucifixum.” *
Then, let us say in passing, the Apostle would have taken good care not “to make one mouthful of Saint Peter” as Madame Blavatsky says, because, long before Paul, Peter had deciphered the Arcana of the Passion, and he knew perfectly well that behind the bleeding Christ was hidden, in a kind of chrysalis, the Christ-Spirit, glorious and divine. The proof of this is in the Gospel itself. “What think ye of me?” Christ once asked his disciples. Peter alone answered: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” “Credo quia tu es Christus, Filius Dei vivi”†––“Thou art happy, Simon-Bar-Jona, because thou sayest what has not been revealed to thy spirit by any man, but by the Father only.” Would that Madame Blavatsky could go to Damascus, and on her journey meet what Paul encountered there! In order to become a perfect initiate and the greatest of Christian Buddhists, that alone is lacking.
I do not deny that she is better versed in Hindû esotericism than I; but I doubt, after having given it careful consideration, that she is as well acquainted as I am with the Gospel esotericism. This is the reason, due entirely to her, why it is difficult to find ourselves in instant accord. I know Buddhism well enough to understand her easily; she
* [The text of the Vulgate for I Cor., ii, 2 is: “Non enim judicavi, me scire aliquid inter vos, nisi Jesum Christum, et hunc crucifixum.” —Compiler.]
† [Matt., xvi, 16.]
does not know Christianity sufficiently well to readily catch my meaning.
Otherwise, would she have dreamed of displaying so much erudition before me, and to remind me of the astronomical allegory and the sidereal symbolism, in which the priests of the ancient temples saw stereotyped in some fashion all the mysteries of Christianity? It is long since Dr Sepp, to refute Strauss and Dupuis, replied victoriously to the arguments brought against the historic Christ which were drawn from that astral legend. Thus, as that profound exegete remarks, Nature, the real dumb Sibyl, is so full of the Word which informs her that she delivers her oracles and unveils her secrets by means of all the Cosmic manifestations which occur in the subjects treated upon in our sciences; “multifariam, multisque modis loquens nobis, etc.”
To answer Madame Blavatsky on this point, I ought to do some plagiarizing, for I know nothing more definitive than what is written in the Introduction to Dr. Sepp’s splendid Life of Christ, translated into French by M. Charles Sainte-Foi (a pseudonym of Éloi Jourdain).
I ask pardon of Madame Blavatsky and her readers for referring her and them to that fine monument of our Gnosis.
I have such faith in the progress of critical science that I never despair of anyone—still more of the high intelligences I am addressing at this moment.
Let us be content at present with the valuable declaration made by Madame Blavatsky, which is in agreement with her Masters, the Mahâtmas, namely, that behind the dogmatic formulas and sacramental veils of all the exoteric religions there is a supreme, absolute truth, an essentially divine Christianity, however diversely interpreted, and almost everywhere exploited. This alone is enough greatly to astonish our scholars, and especially to make our Church establishments as well as our Academies reflect! Let them work hard with their mattocks everywhere, for the bread of science demands even more sweat than material bread.
Yes, Priests, yes, scholars, one and the same Dogma is common to the East and to the West. “Theosophists,” says Madame Blavatsky, “will bring to light the mysteries of the Catholic Church, which are really those of the Brâhmanas, although under other names.” So may it be! My first article said enough of how I share in that hope, and this one does not contradict it.
III.—When Christ’s suffering will have finished the redeeming and liberating work he came to do for us, and which appears to me to be nearing its end; when, thanks to Christian civilization and to the new sciences which are being inaugurated among us, when, I say, by favour of all these illuminations, the humble and suffering Christ “shall have been sufficiently exalted” in the understanding of the people redeemed by his blood, then, according to his own words, “he will draw all to him, he will bear them to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God,” and in
that ascension he will encompass the whole world: Cum exaltatus fuero, omnia traham ad meipsum—ascendo ad Deum meum et Deum vestrum, ad Patrem meum et Patrem vestrum.”*
Need we comment on this text? As you can see, it would be but to paraphrase the Law of Initiation, such as was formerly practised in the secrecy of the Temples, and such, I believe, as the Mahâtmas and Chelas still practice in their profound and holy retreats. When, by the purifying road of suffering, of expiation, and of death, Christ will be transfigured in the social structure, as he was once personally seen to be upon prophetic Tabor, to the extent that the sorrowful Christ will have become the triumphant Christ, through the sacrifice made to the absolute Ego of all that constitutes the relative Ego or Ego-ism, then, in truth, Son of God as He is from all Eternity, as the Word, equal to and consubstantial with the Father, according to the canonical Nicean expression, he will be recognized, acclaimed, glorified by the East as well as the West; then all the sanctuaries will again re-echo his call, the “general” salute on the drums will again be beaten, and the réveille of his Advent will sound from one end of the earth to the other.
Humanity, overthrowing the barriers which shut in and sectarianize the churches, will travel freely and peacefully toward the promised Sheepfold to constitute a universal family of the Father, under the unique Shepherd’s crook of a Shepherd who will be Christ Himself, visibly personified in a Pontiff who will no more resemble the Pope of today, than the Pope of Salt Lake resembles the real Pope of the Vatican.
Is what I say a prophecy? Not on your life. I am only repeating the Oracles, and what the words of the Messiah and St. Paul report. I am, at the most, a wretched phonograph repeating what is whispered to me from everywhere.
While waiting for these prophesies to be realized, believe me, do not be too greatly disturbed, do not be so dreadfully shocked, Madame, at the humility of our Christ! A great mystery, which is no longer one for many initiates, is hidden under his mortifications. Consider now!
In order to assume human nature, and thereby everyday human-hood, with all its individual monads, transitory and ceaselessly renewed on the earthly journey, Christ had to take on himself, in his flesh, all our wounds, all our miseries, all our personal and social infirmities,
* [This is a paraphrase of two distinct passages in the Vulgate, namely, John, xii, 32, and xx, 17; the first is: “Et ego, si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum”; and the second is: “Dicit ei Jesus: Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum: vade autem ad fratres meos, et dic eis: Ascendo ad Patrem meum, et Patrem vestrum, Deum meum, et Deum vestrum.”—Compiler.]
and to expiate them upon a cross in the streams of a virginal blood, absolutely pure in the Father’s sight. To raise this fallen world, sunk lower in the West than in the East—and that is why the earth’s axis is inclined, as you know—a lever was necessary. That lever, far more powerful than the one Archimedes asked for, is the arm of Christ, that arm which we call “the invincible right of the Father.”
Under such a process Europe is evolving, is being morally uplifted; it awakens, it thrills, do you not see it? It grows, it mounts, soon it is going to find itself at the heights where Asia stands awaiting it. The Mahâtmas, their gaze fixed on us, have seen this ascensional movement operating in the turmoil of our revolutions, and they are saying to themselves: This is the psychological moment, let us hold out a hand to our poor brothers, and light our beacons in the midst of their darkness. And that is why, obeying the mot-d’ordre of the “Brothers,” you have been able to establish 135 branches, which are so many centres of light, not only in Paris, but already in nearly every quarter of the globe. And when, by this means, the East and the West will have met each other and embraced, then, Arcades ambo, they will together take their glorious flight toward the Kingdom of Heaven realized on earth, and the divine Jerusalem contemplated by the Seer of Patmos will descend among us, to be occupied by men who will be as Gods, and by Gods who will be as men, even according to the saying of our Christ: Ego dixi; vos Dii estis! *
I am perfectly convinced that if, in my first article, I had been able to give my thoughts their full development—it really calls for a book, and that book will appear, as I am writing it—Madame Blavatsky would not imagine that I invited her and the Adepts to repair to the “Mountain of Salvation” by simply taking the road to Caesaro-Papal Rome, “where still the Satan of the Seven Hills reigns,” to speak like Saint-Yves. She would have understood, on the contrary, that “we shall all have to take the trouble of travelling at the same pace on the route which leads to Meru.”
This religious synthesis, and the social harmony and divine felicity which will result therefrom, will not be here on earth so soon, she says: “We are but at the beginning of Kali-Yuga, of which 5,000 years have not yet elapsed while its full duration is 4,320 centuries and it will only be at the end of the Cycle that the Kalkî-Avatâra will come.” I do not deny that. Alas! I even believe she is right; I am not competent to judge in the matter. But, well-founded or not, those calculations are not going to contradict what she calls my “optimistic hope.”
As for me, I have simply wished to speak of the epoch when, thanks to the progress accomplished among us by religious economy, and the
* [The text of the Vulgate for John, x, 34 is: “Respondit eis Jesus: Nonne scriptum est in lege vestra: Quia ego dixi, dii estis ?”—Compiler.]
Christian civilization that we owe to the diffusion of the entirely new Spirit of our Holy Gospel, it will become possible to overthrow these obstacles, I mean the mountains of error, of prejudices and passions, which have hitherto prevented the East and the West appreciating and listening to each other. These obstacles, these barriers, as everyone understands today, are the political work of Caesar. All our misfortunes come to us from that monster, who is the Satan of whom our Parables speak. Witness Jesus Himself on that point.
But first, I must remind you of the cry of triumph that, like a clarion cry of the morning watchman, echoed four years ago in the centre of Paris: “In the twentieth century war will be dead, frontiers will be dead, armies will be dead, Caesars will be dead” and the rest. An immense multitude, assembled at the Château-d’Eau, quivered with enthusiasm under the fiery breath of that prophetic Word, and the echoes sent that emotion far and wide. Shall it be said that Victor Hugo, whose genius was above all made of presentiments and foresight, shall it be said that Paris, France, Europe—Christendom from one end to the other—is nourished on illusions and flatters itself with optimistic dreams? Oh! yes, yes, what is stirring in the entire West and in the whole of America is really the spirit of Christ, you may be sure! Christendom does not realize itself unless it comprehends that it belongs to Christ. “Mens agitat molem.” Its Redeemer possessed it, and St. Paul would be socially right in our times: “Non estis vestri, vos estis Christi.” * O people, Christ holds you! Upon the Keep of Vincennes, the Pythoness spoke truly when, a hundred and ten years ago, she flung the blazing words to the world by the mouth of Diderot, prisoner of State: “Deus, ecce Deus!” “Arise, ye peoples, Deliverance is near!”
Do you see, Dear Madame, if one wishes to do justice to the system of our Redemption and the genius of its Founder, one must do two things: first, "not make a question of principles or doctrines into a question of persons or ecclesiastical establishments," as one of your brilliant compatriots, Madame Svetchine, said; the Roman Church may no longer find itself at the height of the Holy Gospel, but the Gospel itself has lost nothing of its scientific, religious, and social value, for all that; it may be that the Christian priesthood has fallen, greatly fallen; but its decadence in no way involves that of Catholicism. It would be well to read Rosmini-Serbati in this connection! In the second place, we must bear in mind the deplorable state of the West when our Messiah came to open the Era of our Redemption, at once religious, social, economic, and political.
* [The text of the Vulgate for I Cor., vi, 19 is as follows: “An nescitis quoniam membra vestra, templum sunt Spiritus sancti qui in vobis est, quem habetis a Dei, et non estis vestri?”—Compiler.]
But who can tell the frightful ravages working in the popular understanding and in the heart of the Roman world, through the Satanic influence of the Caesarian idea which has ploughed it up for so many centuries? Who can narrate the vices inoculated into Europe by the abominable system of “might makes right” (tyrannizing and brutalizing the peoples, everywhere tied to the soil and riveted by the fetters of more than one kind of slavery), and which were at the heart of all the intellectual, moral and corporeal miseries everywhere, “erantes et jacentes sicut oves non habentes pastorem,” as Jesus Christ said.*
Although Cain, Irshu, Nimrod, those true fathers of Caesarism, were of Asiatic origin, it was not, however, upon the extreme East but upon the West that the calamities, let loose by those great villains, by those first schismatics from the divine and social Law which had governed all mankind until they arrived, precipitated themselves. The Oriental peoples saw that whirlwind of evils quickly decline toward the horizon and direct its course toward those distant shores which are enclosed by our mountains and seas.
Hence it was that some Fathers of the Church remark that Christ, dying on the cross at the extreme limit which separates the West from the East, held his face turned, his eyes open, and his arms extended toward the West. It is to be observed that the statutes of the Law of Ram were not broken then and are not entirely so even yet in Asia, while among us there remains no trace of them, since Julius Caesar stifled the last survivor of it in Druidic Gaul. If rightly understood, we should perhaps notice that the great law of the Abramid temples is exactly that of which the Redeemer spoke: “I am not come to destroy it but to raise it up, to fulfill it” throughout the whole world—Non veni solvere, sed adimplere! [Matt., v, 17].
Madame Blavatsky is too well initiated into the secrets of the primitive sanctuaries to be ignorant, that, long before Jesus Christ, the Hindû peoples had already passed through the social stages which our Messiah came to lead us through in our turn, in order to re-establish the equilibrium between these two great divisions of the human family, so long disrupted. She knows that, before this rupture, the entire world, as witnessed by Moses, had one sole and identical religious language, one sole and identical social constitution: “Erat terra labii unius, et sermonum eorundem” [Gen., xi, 1].
I am going to say something which not all of my brethren in the priesthood will understand, and that the more illiterate will probably condemn: “The East already had Messiahs and Christs, humanly
* [The text of the Vulgate for I Peter, ii, 25 is as follows: “Eratio enim sicut oves errantes, sed conversi estis nunc ad pastorem, et episcopum animarum vestrarum.”—Compiler.]
realized, when the West had only received, through the ministry of Moses and the Prophets, distant promises of its religious and social Redemption.”
It is said that “the Jews, thanks to the Legislator of Sinai, found themselves economically at the level of India, when our Messiah came.” That is possible, even probable; but what cannot be doubted is that the Western peoples, ruined by Roman Caesarism, were in a very backward state. Also, notice that while our social evolution, our religious Redemption, and our economic revival will continue, the Jews, the Hindûs, and the Chinese will remain stationary, or if they move at all it will not be forward. They will wait; they are still waiting. And what are they waiting for? I believe I do not deceive myself; they are waiting until we are in a condition to step out at the same pace as themselves; when the hour will strike to resume the march forward toward the Paradesa of Ram to which we shall return with them, hands clasped, with the same triumphant song.
And it is in this way that is explained in my mind the failure of the Christian preachings outside the particular sphere that the earliest priesthood of our Church had to evangelize: “preach first the Gospel to the scattered sheep of the house of Israel,” or of Ram (the family of Israel belongs to the Abramite stock and the primitive spelling of Abraham is Abram, i.e., Ab-Ram, issue of Ram). Madame Blavatsky enjoys holding Christ and our Church accountable for the impotence of our efforts in the East. She takes that set back as a defeat of Christianity, while, on the contrary, it is the confirmation of the Messianic plan when regarded in its true meaning. With statistics in hand, invoking and confirming the testimony of the venerable Bishop Temple, she observes that “since the beginning of our century, where the Christian missionaries have made but three million converts, the Mohammedans have acquired two million proselytes without the cost of one cent.” “A sign of the times!” she exclaims.
Oh, yes! a sign of the times, if one knows how to understand it, an evident sign that our religious economy is peculiar to the West and had but little to do in the East under the preliminary form of our Christian Churches. But wait! Lay aside the idea that it has provided a course of redemption for all the peoples who were ruined and martyred by the Caesarian brigandage. You will see later! You will see how it will spin, that top—our globe—in its entirety, under the whip of the glorious Christ.
I could add a large number of observations to the foregoing. I omit here four large pages in the draft that I am transcribing, but I am not closing yet. Let me run through a few points with meticulous care because the ground of argument is going to become a burning question.
So long as the work of the Redemption remains with us, the Holy Gospel of the Deliverance will not depart from our Latin, Greek,
Protestant, Anglican, Anglo-Saxon, and Anglo-American churches; but when, according to the promise of the Liberator, Christianity will have overthrown and annihilated Caesarism in all its political forms, great things will be seen!*
I have promised to let you hear the voice of Christ; this is your opportunity, so listen: “The principle of brutal and criminal force will be driven from the earth.” In other words, which are those of the Gospel: “Princeps huius mundi ejicietur foras!”† Satan-Caesar will flee from every quarter, his strongholds will be razed, his structures destroyed, his laws abolished. “I have conquered that abominable world: ego vici mundum!”‡ All economic, religious or social establishments not made by my heavenly Father, and whose foundations are not sunk in justice and divine verities, will be uprooted, utterly extirpated: Omnis plantatio, quam non plantavit Pater meus coelestis, eradicabitur!§ From that day, the judgment is given, and the crisis begins: “Nunc judicium est mundi, .”
Had I space enough at my disposal, I would not merely quote five or ten or a hundred texts. Evoking the Prophets, Christ, and his Apostles, and the Fathers of the primitive church and the entire Carmelite and Franciscan tradition, I would fill a book with their lightning and thunder. However, that would only be repeating what I have already published in La Fin de l’Ancien Monde (The End of the Ancient World) and one should not quote oneself.
If the priests knew how esoterically to read the dismal parables and funereal prophecies in our Gospel which relate to the end of the world and the consummation of the cycle; if they knew how to understand the symbolism of those mountains that fall, the globe which trembles, the sun which turns black as a coalsack, the moon which no longer reflects light, those constellations which are extinguished, those stars which fall, those trumpets which sound under the breath of Angels, those foundations which are split open, that last judgment which will separate the goats from the sheep . . . they would see that these prodigies are already
* [The Editor of Le Lotus, as is fully explained on the first page, is not responsible for the opinions of contributors. We would draw the attention of censors in countries where Le Lotus goes, that this is a controversial subject, but that we ourselves, do not take part in politics.—Editor, Le Lotus.]
† [These words as well as the last Latin words in this paragraph, to which the Greek version is appended, are from one and the same passage in the Vulgate, namely John, xii, 31: “Nunc judicium est mundi: nunc princeps hujus mundi ejicietur foras.”—Compiler.]
‡ [John, xvi, 33.]
§ [Matt., xv, 13.]
three-quarters realized, no doubt, in forms unexpected by the Vatican and in our sacristies, but none the less the exact fulfilment of the transcendental promises of our divine Liberator. They would also understand that the world and the age spoken of by Jesus Christ were not what our poor exegetes have imagined, but really the world and the age of the infamous Caesar and his abominable policy; a world and an age for which Jesus refused to pray—non pro mundo rogo! *—for the very simple reason that he came to destroy them; a world and an age, finally, which are none other than those of which John on the one hand, and Tacitus on the other, spoke frankly: Totus mundus in maligno positus est— corrumpere et corrumpi soeculum est.†
Permit me to inquire of Madame Blavatsky, in view of the general shake-up of social disintegration, of political decomposition and ecclesiastical divisions, to which old Europe as a whole is reduced in our time (and above all France, precisely because it is the eldest daughter and the Soldier of Christ), if she still thinks that my “hope is optimistic” and that Victor Hugo was under an illusion when he said, “in the Twentieth Century all that will be ended.” Does she believe that the destruction of the rotten structure could yet, for a long time, be conjured away by the desperate efforts of him she calls—she herself—the Mohammed of the West, the more because he has an understanding with “the man of iron” whom he has lately decorated with the title of the Chevalier of Christ, to the great amazement of all Catholics?
I repeat, I believe the hour is near, very near.
Caesar, that is the obstacle, that is the enemy! Once that monster is overthrown all will be changed. I do not wish to say that one bugle call will suffice to collect all peoples under the crook of the One Shepherd. But at least the way will be open, the West and the East will march together under the conduct of the same Christ-Spirit, and, vive Dieu, we shall indeed finish by re-entering the Paradise! The future is ours, thanks to the wise strategy of our Redeemer, and thanks to the sufferings of the Chrestos.
* [John, xvii, 9.]
† [The first part of this Latin quote is from the Vulgate, where in I John, v, 19 we find the passage: “Scimus, quoniam ex Deo sumus, et mundus totus in maligno positus est.”
The second part is from Tacitus, De origine et situ Germanorum liber, xix, lines 8-9, which are as follows: “Nemo enim illic uitia ridet, nec corrumpere et corrumpi saeculum uocatur.” (See The Germania of Tacitus. A Critical Edition. Rodney Potter Robinson. Middletown, Conn.: Amer. Philol. Association, 1935.)––Compiler.]
Humanity has a fabulous destiny before it. We would not be understood, neither you, Madame, nor I, if we revealed that glorious future now.
Madame Blavatsky contradicts me far less than she thinks she does. I withdraw the words Yliaster and Sat which she does not allow, in order to propose that of telesme which was employed by Hermes-Trismegistus. Will she accept that? I doubt it. The fact is, there is no expression in our poor language to denote what I wish to say; but she certainly must have understood me, and that is enough.
Outside or beyond God, she accepts nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a mathematical point. She is right. However if one is not a pantheist—and Madame Blavatsky is no more that than I am—one must express oneself in such a way that our readers will not take us for such. To be better understood, let us say, then, that God is immanent in the Cosmos, present through all and in all, but distinct from all. Are you satisfied, Madame? Yes, indeed? Well, so am I.
But, really, I do not understand how she can tease me about the triple meaning that we canonically recognize in our Holy Scriptures. The Gnosis, she says, in agreement with the Gupta-Vidyâ, provides seven keys, and not merely three, to open the seven mysteries. Is Madame Blavatsky ignorant of the fact that the Christian Doctrine is essentially ternary in all points in which the Buddhist teaching is septenary? This is not to say that we do not appreciate the real basis of the Oriental system any more than you could misunderstand the real foundation of the Western system. We have simplified and summed up your theory without distorting it. Our three keys are equivalent to your seven and include them, as your seven are equivalent to our three which they subdivide.
Everyone knows that the white ray is decomposed into three principal colours which, themselves composite, produce, by a new decomposition, the seven colours of the rainbow. Similarly, analyzing the human being, St. Paul, the true father of our sacred science, describes in him three chief elements which he calls spirit, soul, and body: “integer spiritus et anima et corpus”; the Buddhists, being able to analyze man still further, discovered seven principles in him. There is no contradiction in that; you are right and we also: your seven are our three and our three are your seven. Such is our dogma, appropriate to our intellect and our mental categories, less subtle and less penetrating than yours, but also simpler because more rudimentary. We confess and adore in God a unique essence, proceeding in three distinct persons, in three diverse principles of action, and energizing the creature by seven operations which we call the seven manifestations or the seven gifts of the Paraclete. There is in all this something which recalls the seven distinct states of your prajñâ, which answer in their turn to the seven modifications of matter, and to the seven forms or seven classes of the phenomena of force.
I like to believe, Madame, that the better we understand one another, the better we shall appreciate one another, and, who knows, God willing, maybe do some good to the poor of the West-and to the poor of the East also, for, as you know even better than I do, the poor are not lacking there, even in places not far from the Mahatmas.
ABBÉ ROCA, Honorary Canon.