Chapter XX: Insignificant Omnipotence
Insignificant omnipotence! What an outrageously preposterous qualification to combine with such a potentiality! Is it? Perhaps so. But I am inclined to think a little calm reflection will correct the error of the first impression. Let me ask the question: “Where would the great circumference be without the almost invisible speck from which the sweep is struck? Or where would be the Alps or the Himalayas if the electron had not been?” I think you will agree with me not only that they would not, but absolutely they could not, be. Hence what majestic potentialities may be stored up for us in the undiscovered archives of the Invisible!
But even when we step across the rubicon into the orbit of the visible, how meagre do we find our powers of observation to be. I am not forgetful of the advantage I hold in this respect over my readers, I am rather desirous, of accentuating the point, because I wish to mark the boundary beyond which these limitations are not found, and drop a word of intimation as to the faculties which supersede. Take the organ of vision, for instance: the unaided eye is incapable of noting the ripple in the waves of light, and yet its waves roll on as ceaselessly as the waves of the sea. That this failure is due to the inconceivable rate at which the light waves roll, only confirms the limitation I mention. But if we turn our eyes in another direction, and try to watch the changes that creep over our most intimate friend from youth to age, again we fail to catch the change of individual steps, hour by hour, and recognize it only by comparing stage with stage, because in this phase the process is too slow.
The germ of the consciousness of such a reflection was impressed upon me with the spontaneity with which Dracine and myself discovered the whereabouts of Walloo-Malie, but the full development of it came afterwards. For the moment I was about to be plunged into a maelstrom of revelation of which I should like to sketch some vague indication, but I almost fear to make the attempt because of the numerous limitations by which I am surrounded.
I am like a prisoner looking through the bars of my cell across an untrodden land beyond which freedom lies. I break my bars and gain my freedom, then long to shout the news to those who follow, that they may also find their way to the liberty I have won. I have neither path, compass, chart, nor sun to guide me—only my longing to render a needed service to my fellow pilgrims. If I do my best—and fail to make myself as clearly understood as I would like to be, forgive me. Others will come after me, and they may leave a clearly marked path by which the desired end may afterwards be attained.
Having seen Walloo-Malie in the distance, Dracine and I appeared to project ourselves to him. It was not a similar transition to that I experienced with Rael, but an outreach of our invisible selves, of which he was instantly aware, and though no words were spoken nor recognition made, we knew that he understood our purpose and that he would come to meet us; which assuredly he did, and at once took leave of the friend with whom he was in converse. At the same time we returned to ourselves and set out to meet him.
That trifling incident, which, for want of a better name, I have termed, outreaching, aroused at once my curiosity and interest, but, in the sequel, it proved to be vastly more important than I imagined. In fact, it was the insignificant omnipotence of my earlier reflection—the breaking of the seals and opening of the volume of the revelation of a life such as Paul speaks of when he says: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. ii, 9).
We had scarcely moved to carry out our intention when I completely lost sight of my environment, and found myself following some invisible guide down a dimly lighted corridor leading into a cave where I was carried into the blackness of its darkness and left alone in the awful silence. I had no fear; nor did I speak or make a sound, for memory came to support with the whisper: “The Lord saith that He would dwell in the thick darkness’ (1 Kings viii, 12). So I waited patiently until the light of guidance should come. It seemed to linger through a time of strenuous testing, in which I held my confidence without a thought of doubt or wavering—kept my trust inviolate even to the extent of wondering how I could maintain it. Then a voice, soft, musical and clear, broke upon my consciousness in a whisper from afar. Whether it spake from within or from without is one of the problems I shall perhaps never be able to solve. In the light of the whole experience, as I look back, it is even doubtful whether there was a within or without that could be differentiated. It came to me with the tranquilizing authority of the voice that had spoken to me in the Court. At its first utterance I comprehended light, and with all my eager soul I listened that I might not miss one word:
“Child of the Infinite, fresh from the Gardens of the Lord, we welcome thee into the cave of God’s Mystery—the workshop of the Creator, whose hand has guided, directed, shielded; whose love has watched over, provided for and sheltered thee throughout the pilgrimage of the Shadowland, by the ministry of the mysteriously veiled angel—Faith. That ministry terminated as you stepped from the Bridge into the Garden, where Faith advanced you into the unveiled fellowship of Sight. The weariness, agony and cross-bearing of the night being ended, you have toiled through the morning twilight until the sun has risen, now, for the Sun of Righteousness arises over the horizon of the eternal day you are called to ‘Come and see.’ Henceforth you are to know even as you will be known; the seals of the Book of Life—which Faith is not permitted to read, being unable to understand—will now be broken, the veils of mystery will be removed, the enigmas solved; life’s rough places will be made plain, its details explained, its philosophies interpreted, its limitations pointed out, its sorrows and chastisements will be illuminated and the Divine procedure will be made clear, together with their harmonious combination which has been overruled to bring you hither.
“The doors of opportunity are now thrown wide open, and you are invited to enter, behold and see, and in seeing, so great will be the light that will be at your disposal, that you will understand, comprehend and know. The plans, processes, schemes, designs, laws and purposes of creation will be laid bare to your study and investigation. The frustrating influences that have been at work will be equally open to your inspection and study, as well as every branch of enquiry which your soul may wish to probe. From the conception of creation to its perfected completion you are at liberty to examine and become acquainted with; from the meanest lessons in its elementary schools; then on to higher standards, colleges, universities, workshops, laboratories, studies, libraries, museums; then the great multitude of master-minds who have passed before you, and the serried ranks of the Sons of God, who watched and sang the great anthem of welcome at Creation’s Birth. Let this be your employ until, gazing on the handiwork of the Eternal Father, you reflect the glory He has impressed upon it, and feeding upon the wisdom by which your soul will be nourished, you shall be perfected in His sacred likeness and thus see Him as He is.”
While the voice was speaking, a curious, indefinable consciousness crept over me that, in the darkness by which I was enveloped, silent, secret activities were beginning to work. As the voice ceased the darkness lifted sufficiently for my keenly watching eyes to discover a movement as of the rolling of cumulous clouds shrinking from the advance of light. Gradually the morning broke, the veils of night withdrew, the doors of day were thrown open, and before me lay an overpowering and indescribable vista of—so far as I could see—infinite revelation. And in that sublimely majestic circle I stood as the insignificant centre.
Standing in that Workshop of the Infinite, with the accessories of creation and sustenation present in orderly readiness to carry out the Divine purpose with minute and faultless precision, I needed not to move to make what scrutiny my soul desired, nor did I want a guide to tell me of the use, the purpose, or the power of anything. Distance was not, for had I not the gift of outreach? With the darkness, ignorance had disappeared, and in the new light which shone over all to see was to know, to understand, to comprehend.
I lost myself in speechless awe and wonder in the glory-light of that ineffable vision. So vast, so numberless, so enthralling were the allurements, that centuries and millenniums seemed to slip past me as I revelled in the explorations and discoveries, nor had I scarce entered into the fullness of its rapture before a hand was laid upon me and with a shock of consternation I was aroused to find that we had met Walloo-Malie.
The glance he gave me revealed that the situation was as clear to him as it was, in a sense, confusing to myself, and he instantly relieved me by the tactful remark:
“You wish to ask me for counsel and direction, Astroel; need I say how pleased I shall be to assist you?” Then he added as an afterthought, as if he suddenly noticed my pertubation: “But why this embarrassment? Have you met with an even greater surprise than that to which Rael introduced you?”
I tried to answer him, but found it to be impossible. He quietly took my hands in a close, fraternal fold, and gave me a look that sheltered and encompassed me as a fortress of refuge, and then went on:
“I know—I understand! The pearls of silence are always Wisdom’s best adornment in such a crisis. Let me explain briefly what has taken place, and when you have regained your quietude so as to be able to comprehend more clearly what I have to say, I will help you to understand the episode more completely.”
“Will you?” I enquired, eagerly grasping at his unexpectedly generous offer. Myhanene or Omra would certainly have come to my assistance in my dilemma, but that Walloo-Malie would do so was far beyond my venturing to hope.”
“Will I? Why of course I will. If the Master found it worth His while to speak with the captious Nicodemus, ought I to withold my help from one of the Master’s brethren? I think not. Therefore, permit me to explain that this bewildering perplexity which you are experiencing is common to every soul who passes through the crisis you are now experiencing.”
“Crisis?” I ejaculated apprehensively.
“Yes, for the experience you have just come through was the culminating point of the mystical birth, the supreme importance of which the Christ declared in the assertion: ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God’ (John iii, 3). In the mind of the carnal man, such a claim at once arouses the contemptuous enquiry: ‘How can such a thing be—can a man enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ for the carnal man cannot grasp the fact that ‘that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,’ but it is so, and the latter fact is as clearly and definitely evidential as the former. Nicodemus himself is a witness to the truth of this, for though he was one of the masters in Israel, when he argued the question with the Christ, he asked: ‘How can these things be?’ His fleshborn eye and brain and mind were unable to understand what was meant. Until the breath of God has been breathed upon a man, quickening him into the potential image of his Creator, he is as blind to the existence of spirit as an elephant is blind to the reality of a microbe. an atom, or an electron.
“But you, my beloved Astroel, have felt this quickening breath, and under its energizing influence have been conducted from the fleshpots of a carnal Egypt, through the wilderness of wandering, into the Promised Land. In the period of your spiritual gestation—passing from death to life—you have traversed the ante-chambers of the soul’s unrobing, where, one by one, the earth defects have been removed in the purification of your soul, until, at length, your feet reached the Court of the Voices, where you beheld the judgment of the balances. In that Court, a higher series of influences than you had known before began to actuate you. You wondered why no verdict was pronounced, and Omra needed to explain. When you reached the foot of the bridge and saw the awe-inspiring gulf beneath it, you shrank from attempting the crossing. Without seeking to persuade you to change your mind Omra carried you away to the shrubbery, and showed you the vision of the earth lying embedded in its psychic environment, through which you had passed under the conduct of Myhanene and his friends. Then Rael, by that mysterious transit, carried you to the Mount, enabling you to realize what a change had taken place in your powers of observation and condition, during your progress through the Spheres. In all this you little suspected that every detail of the programme had been designed, ordered, and was being carried out with carefully guarded precision in order to secure a definite purpose. You did not dream that you were being, at every move you made, freed from some earth-born limitation, or attached to some new spiritual expansion; that your hitherto blind eyes were being opened, your deaf cars unstopped, that powers were being aroused to activity, faculties and capacities were being awakened within you that had been so long hidden in the secret vaults of your dark ignorance, but were now to answer to the call of the Voice that would even awake the dead in its command to ‘Come forth!’
“Step by step, first Omra, then Rael, led you down this path of preparation from the Court of the Voices, watching with keen and never wandering scrutiny each trivial change in your condition until your struggling soul swung in the balance of consummation, and it only needed the thistledown-weight of influence which Zisvené was able to cast into the scale to carry you into the centre of the Bridge, and your birth could be announced in the first heaven.
“There I was permitted to welcome you to our Father’s house—your spiritual inheritance as a son of God, an immortal soul, from whom the last fibre of the earth’s influence had at last fallen away. At the foot of the Bridge, as you stepped onto the homeland, Myhanene gave to you your new name of Astroel, and in the Garden you ate and drank your first communion with the redeemed family into which you had been born, and in the bosom of which you woke to a recognition of the sweet music that ever rings in the Home of the Soul.
“It is in the strange contrast presented by the restful peace and harmony of your new surroundings with the double uncertainties and distractions of the past, where the confusion arises which has been perplexing you. You have not yet learned how to wield your newly acquired faculties with ease. Nor do we expect that you should do so. You have not been admitted to an irrational, but rather to a super-rational community. We understand that, for the instant at least, the natal breath has not qualified you to contend with the victorious athlete; the birth-struggle has not left you sitting in the philosopher’s chair.
“Allowing for the necessary interval for the communion, the greetings and the natural reflection you would need. I have been awaiting your call in order to discharge this latter part of the duty entrusted to me. And having thus far indicated what the trend and purpose of events have been, let me now congratulate you on the initial effort you have made to employ your newly acquired faculty.”
“Will you forgive me,” I interrupted him to ask, “but I am scarcely sufficiently composed at present to clearly apprehend your reference.”
“Perhaps not,” he replied with an indulgently forbearing gleam suffusing not only his face but his whole personality; it was as if he had awaited the opportunity to cover my pertubation with a robe of repose, which he accomplished before he went on to say: “but if you will allow me to change my figure, I was reminding you that I did not expect the unfledged wing to carry you quite as far as the sun when you first expanded it. Let me also tell you—for it will assist you in what I have yet to say—I would like you to notice how accurately I am aware of all that has taken place, because I am apprised of it by the exercise of the power of which I am about to speak.
“The faculty to which I have specially referred—that by which I am informed, and you have as yet failed to understand—is one that has already been mentioned to you under the name of ‘Thereth.’ It is a somewhat clumsy term, but for that very reason it is appropriate in its relationship to the physical—and I do not want you to forget that we are on the threshold of the two estates for the moment—because the physical laughs at the idea of a fourth dimensional space as a sort of unimaginable monstrosity. You will better understand and sympathize with this attitude of mind presently when you come to recognize how absolutely this power of ‘Ubiquity’—a term I much prefer—is a spiritual function. In the physical condition it is the mysteriously hidden Cause that lies at the back of all phenomena; on the psychic plane it becomes visible as a prize to be reached when a definite goal is gained; but entering the spiritual we are born again with the image of God, who is Spirit, and all things become ours as joint-heirs with Christ.”
“And now—?” I enquired; but came to a sudden and awkward pause in the anxious enquiry I wished to make. I knew he had got more to say, and I was equally yearning to hear, but my tongue seemed paralysed, and my petition had to be presented through my eyes. Still, it received a gracious answer. “Is it not an inviolable law of the kingdom into which I had just been admitted that ‘everyone that asketh receiveth’?”
“And now,” he resumed, adopting the words of my own entreaty, “I will come back to what I was saying in reference to your attempt to use your newly acquired power and come with our sister Dracine when she wished to speak with me. When you are able, with calm introspection, to review this phase of your career, you will discover what a significant advance you had made since you entered the garden to enable you to make that outreach so naturally. But still there remained one other step – a step you had to take alone and unattended—before the supreme crisis was successfully complete. It has been negotiated now, and it is in explanation of this last, and by far your most astounding revelation, that I wish to say one word to you.
“The confusion to which I aroused you as we met was due to a gasp of astonishment at the instant failure to reconcile the two aspects of a most unique situation. As you came to meet me your feet stepped across the boundary where the finite merges into the infinite. By a transit grander than you made with either Omra or Rael, you passed through the door of Omnipresence, and stood in the workshop of Creation, enveloped in the blackness of uncreated light, where God is. You poised in the birthplace of Creation, at the fountain-head of Cause, where Omniscience lay on the bosom of Omnipotence, and from the rapture of their love, Wisdom was conceived. The gleam from the eyes of Love broke the density of the darkness, until you saw the veils of Mystery gradually lifted, and were enabled to behold, and beholding, saw; and seeing, comprehended. There was no need for anyone to interpret, describe or explain. In that light you saw light, and all mysteries were made clear. You stood in the store-realm in which the fibres from which Creation was woven were gathered, and in the fibre lay the germ of the process and the consummation of life and being. Limitations vanished, boundaries faded away, failures were not known, impossibilities could not exist.
“The whole family of Time—past, future, beginning, end, first, last, young and old—slept peacefully in the arms of the Eternal Now. And as with Time, so was it with Distance, Knowledge, Wisdom and every other faculty of the soul—you were there at the fount and source of it. Every rivulet of Intelligence had its rise in an apparently insignificant fount of hidden Omnipotence, which rose at your feet, and, in that radiant light, you watched each current perform its course and circle, until it came and emptied itself again into the source from which it sprang. In a word—In the Visions of God you were carried to the centre from which the circumference of all existence is struck, whether it be physical, psychic or spiritual, and in that great laboratory, in the true and shadowless light, which is there alone, under the microscope of the Spirit, you were permitted to direct your newly acquired power to an analysis of that central electron. What did your study reveal? The acorn holds in its embrace a thousand potential forests of oak trees, but in the far more insignificant atom, there you found enclosed, not a potential world, or a family system of worlds, but a whole universe of systems, converged into one tiny speck—and that invisible speck is—God.
“You need not wonder that ages and aeons seemed to roll past you in your study; that vision, viewed from the centre at which you stood, was prophetic of the Divine course of approach which lies before you, as you travel from that centre to the circumference into all the beauty, majesty and glory of the image of God.
“Now perhaps you will not wonder at the confusion you experienced when, by the touch of my hand, I suddenly recalled you to the consciousness of these half-way surroundings.