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The Sayings of Melchizedek

12; The Twin Laws of God

The Sayings of Melchizedek
Introduction to The Way of Perfection
1; The Appointed Path for Man on Earth
2; The Way of Sinful Man
3; Starting to Take the Higher Path
4; The Effect of Taking the Higher Path
5; A Major Change
6; The Man of Faith
7; The Final Testing: Teaching Others
8; The Struggle Within
9; The Journey of the Human Soul
10; Transforming the Lower Self
11; The Progress of the Higher Self
12; The Twin Laws of God
13; Guidance on the Path.
Summary
The Parable of the River Nile

Chapter Twelve continues on from the discussion of the operation of the Twin Laws of God that was begun in the previous chapter. However, that is basically concerned about the way the Spiritual Man first begins to approach God through a desire to serve Him and his fellow mortals, a desire that may well lead him to some level of mystical contact, or at the very least to a deeply spiritual desire to praise God and offer Him the worship that we realise is his due.

 

In contrast, this chapter looks at the Twin Laws in action and refers to a number of specific aspects of the Path.

Sayings Text                                            Commentary

 

CHAPTER 12

 

The Twin Laws of God

 

1.           Spiritual Growth that is kept a prisoner remains fruitless.

 

 

 

2.          It breaks forth only through effort and then Increases progressively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.           Forgetting the past it brings forth fruit from affliction – the twin fruits of the Twin Laws of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.           Fighting against God brings only misery. It deceives the vision of the spiritual man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.           The man of spiritual vision has passed through an agony of soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.           This has set him apart from others and dedicated him to the service of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.           Thus he is surrounded by the effects of his own good deeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.           A man who hearkens to the God of Light and obeys Him will find the right way and prosper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.           He becomes one with God, which in turn makes him steadfast, like a bright and shining temple pillar in the thirsty land that is desired but sought in vain by the one who seeks material things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.       One who seeks union with God dedicates his life to His Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.       He becomes a stranger to his fellow mortals, for they drive him from their midst, because his preaching makes them feel guilty and they resent him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.       One who praises God, worships Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.       He knows that he is weak, and that alone he can do nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.       He asks for Peace, and this breaks forth within him, as the Light of God illuminates him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15.       Till now he has watched helplessly whilst spending his strength in a vain pursuit of material things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.       When the Light breaks forth it increases rapidly, surrounding him with compassion, like the wall of a tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.       God rewards the one who successfully bears the burden of life on earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18.       But a careless word may set him back on the Path, and cause him to come back for another incarnation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19.       So watch your words and thus preserve your right to the promised reward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20.       God’s gift to one who abides in Him is deliverance from fear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.       He becomes strong as an oak because he trusts in God and waits on Him

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22.       Though weary the spiritual man reaches the high place for this is only just.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23.       The seer has a fortunate lot in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24.       He looks out on the future as from a high tower, waiting for events to come to pass as he has foreseen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.       He is relaxed and serene in this knowledge and spends his time gathering good karma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

26.       He is always alert to opportunities and will rouse himself to give refuge to those who are in trouble, helping them without fear for himself because of his knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27.       The Upright Man is happy if he takes the right hand path to heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28.       For it must be made plain that the Eternal has changed the unfortunate son of evil into His own likeness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29.       So much spiritual power pours forth on the unfortunate son of evil, that he learns the higher truth; that God is King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30.       The spiritual man extracts the glorious and shining    essence from the tears that weary, delay and deceive him in this transient earth life, where the soul of the spiritual man increasingly develops a strong Heaven-centredness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31.       As a result of trials, one grows spiritually, for one learns from the conflicts and storms of life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32.       Serving God in His City (Church) causes one to forget them and become more fruitful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33.       Blessed is the man whose spiritual good fortune fills his youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34.       When still young he produces many good works, whose fruits trail behind him. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35.       He delights in brotherly love, which is like the first touch of goodness that sifts his sins from his virtues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

36.       It covers and protects him through all his earthly journeys.

 

 

 

37.       This is the earthly journey of the soul of the spiritual man.

Spiritual growth can be constrained by many different things. A desire for worldly success or faults of pride and selfishness are the main ways in which it can be held back, although there are others, but no matter in what way it is restricted “Spiritual Growth that is kept a prisoner remains fruitless”. In other words, it is only by a whole-hearted acceptance of God and His Ways as the sole aim and goal of our earthly existence that the Spiritual Man can achieve anything of real value to God.

 

At its first coming into being, a desire for spiritual progress is merely a tender young shoot, easily burnt off by the hot desert sun and greatly in need of watering by the Divine Life Force. It is only as a result of constant exposure to Divine Grace that it can be coaxed into growth and this is why reverence, praise and worship[1] are so important, for the Divine response to them is to provide just such a down-pouring of Divine Power. However, once this tender young shoot has been encouraged to grow by these means, it too responds and will “break forth” as previously discussed. Once having done so it “increases progressively”.

 

Such a desire for spiritual progress so overmasters all other emotions in the Spiritual Man that he forgets the past – he no longer cares for the worldly things that he once craved and “brings forth fruit from affliction”. This is a reference to the way that the advanced spirit comes to see even the sufferings and difficulties he encounters, and which are largely due to the karma of his own past misdeeds, not as trials or punishments but as opportunities for progress.

 

Thus, not only does he pay off his past debts thereby, but as a result of this attitude to suffering is able to derive a positive benefit therefrom[2]. These twin benefits are ‘the twin fruits of the Twin Laws of God”  This change in attitude brings many other benefits to the developing spirit, for instead of fighting to get his own way at every opportunity, he learns to accept whatever comes to him as a part of God’s Plan for him. This in turn brings him a degree of happiness that is not possible in any other way for “Fighting against God brings only misery. It deceives the vision of the spiritual man”.

 

However, once a man begins to accept whatever happens to him as being God’s Will for him and therefore the best that is possible, this changes. It is important, however to understand that he does recognise God’s benevolent interest, for many non-Christians develop an attitude which whilst outwardly similar is more properly described as fatalist. They see what happens as “fate” or merely the result of karma, and simply do their best to accept it.

 

By contrast, the true follower of Christ recognizes the Divine involvement in his life, and realises that although events do reflect his karma, they are also Divinely-regulated to ensure that at the same time they also provide opportunities for spiritual progress.

 

A man can only acquire spiritual vision after passing “through an agony of soul” a phrase that has at least two separate meanings. Firstly, of course it refers to the often-bitter internal struggle that he has had to wage against his own worldly desires. More importantly, however, it refers to the “dark night of the soul” so beloved of secular writers, but never understood by those who have not experience. To those who have, I will not need to discuss it in detail[3], but for the benefit of those who have not yet reached that stage, I will say this. It is that time in one’s spiritual development, when having dedicated one’s self to the service of God, and having been joyfully welcomed by His Love, one finds one’s self, suddenly removed therefrom for no apparent reason. It is only by doggedly persisting in the path one has chosen right through this “valley of the shadow of death” that one is able to progress on to the next stage of the Path of Perfection.

 

If, however, one does so, it can rightly be said that it “has set him apart from others and dedicated him to the service of God”. In that service such a spirit may yet have many trials and temptations to face. It will certainly have much work to do, but the mere fact that he has consciously decided to work for God, ensures that for the most part, he is doing good deeds. This in turn produces good karma that makes him an even more effective servant of God.

 

In other words “he is surrounded by the effects of his own good deeds” and as a result his efforts to do good, are rarely impeded by the effects of past bad karma that often damages the spiritual labours of the rest of us. It is important to realise this, for all too often, people try to serve God in the way they have chosen and then they find it hard to understand why their efforts do not produce within them the sense of spiritual well-being that they had expected.

 

The reason for this is just because it is the “way that they have chosen”, not the way that God may have chosen for them.  If by contrast, they desire only to do God’s will, they will allow themselves to be led by God and by following His way, they will not only be able to do more for Him, they will find the spiritual satisfaction that has hitherto eluded them.

 

This is what is meant by verse eight; “A man who hearkens to the God of Light and obeys Him will find the right way and prosper”, and perhaps the last word is the most significant. Yes, if we genuinely wish to do God’s will, He will find a way of showing us what it is, but strange as it may seem the result of this complete abnegation of self, is often a degree of material prosperity as well as the spiritual complete sense of well-being that we have discussed.

 

As a result such a person becomes more and more closely linked with God as we are told in the beginning of Verse Nine. The rest of this verse is full of imagery. His links with God makes such a person “steadfast, like a bright and shining temple pillar in the thirsty land. . . ”

 

This phrase has an interesting link with the Christian revelation, in which Christ, through St. John, promises his faithful followers “Him that over-cometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out:. . .” (Revelation 3; 12) Clearly this seems to refer to the celestial realms as a temple, and the faithful follower as a fixture, whilst the last phrase in this quote seems to refer to the ending of one’s earthly incarnations. When our task on earth is finished we become as it were a fixture (here described as a pillar) in the spiritual realms and do not return to earth again. (go no more out)

 

Referring back to Verse Nine of the Sayings; “bright and shining” clearly refers to the spirituality of the faithful servant and can plainly be linked with the description of a good spirit on the Spirit Plane. As in Revelation, it seems to see him as a spiritual fixture, standing immovably, but in what is described as “the thirsty land”.

 

Apparently the “thirsty land” refers to a state, which although substantially devoid of the spiritual life-force is nevertheless “desired but sought in vain by the one who seeks material things.” In other words, it refers to the attitude of mind of the one who serves God in the way that He desires, as previously described. It is an attitude of mind that is completely dedicated to doing God’s will for even whilst he is still living here on earth, he is seeking to achieve a spiritual union with God. It is this same attitude of mind that readies the spiritual man for achieving perfection in the Celestial Planes even as described by St John, so many years after the Sayings were first written.   

 

The next couple of verses sum up this state of the human spirit who is seeking to develop a spiritual union with God, even whilst still on earth. Verse Ten tells us that “One who seeks union with God dedicates his life to His Service” and the two things are irrevocably linked. One cannot hope to achieve even the most fleeting and ephemeral union with God until or unless one has completely set aside all self-will and desires only to serve His Will.

 

In other words, we must learn to eliminate our self-will, perhaps one of the hardest things we can ever be asked to do. Most of the great saints of the Christian Church have fought a long and desperate struggle to overcome their own self-will, for it exists in many forms, and that struggle alone can take many life-times.

 

Initially it may be manifested forth simply as a desire for worldly success or material possessions, perhaps purely selfish, but often disguised as a necessary insurance against future misfortune. Then it may be more a question of wishing to appear important in the eyes of our fellow mortals, to receive approbation or recognition of some sort, but that too, is merely a form of worldliness and the one who would truly serve the Most High must overcome all such forms of self-will, no matter how long it takes.

 

Eventually he will succeed, but even after such an immolation of self, the spiritual man still has to undergo trials. “He becomes a stranger to his fellow mortals, for they drive him from their midst, because his preaching makes them feel guilty and they resent him”.

 

This attitude on the part of other human beings may seem strange to us, and certainly it is usually unanticipated by the seeker himself, yet it should not be. For unless a human being is himself well on the way to perfection, he will tend to resent those who turn aside from the pursuit of material things, because deep down, he knows that he too will one day have to take that step, but he is not yet ready to do so.

 

Consequently the life of the Spiritual man serves as a permanent goad to the man of the world, pricking his conscience, and constantly reminding him of his own spiritual inadequacies. It is no wonder that worldly spirits “resent him” and if this resentment is further aggravated by “his preaching”, it is no wonder that so frequently a prophet is abused and even killed by those around him[4].

 

Verse Twelve, “One who praises God, worships Him” – seems to be a very simple statement, yet it defines one of the most essential elements of worship. The true worshipper must firstly approach God in all humility, conscious of his own weaknesses and God’s superlative excellence in the face of which his only real emotion should be awe and this is properly expressed in praise.

 

Then we are told that “he knows that he is weak and that alone he can do nothing”, therefore he sees in God the epitome of all that he lacks. Praise is the acknowledgement of this fact of God’s perfection and our own comparatively little worth, and it is the recognition of these facts that is the real essence of worship.

 

It is not ritual, it is not prayer or hymn-singing; it is not any of the outward forms that worship may take. True worship is the inner conviction that God is the source of all Good and that from Him we may ask and obtain all we need. Grateful Praise is the only logical result of such a feeling.

 

The Righteous Man may ask God for many things, but most importantly “he asks for Peace, and this breaks forth within him, as the Light of God illuminates him.” In this context, “the Light of God” refers to the spiritual enlightenment that He sends to those who truly seek Him, and interior Peace is the result of this spiritual understanding, for it produces within us a sure knowledge that “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8; 28)

 

Before he dedicated his life to God’s service, such a man “has watched helplessly whilst spending his strength in a vain pursuit of material things.” He has, as it were, viewed spiritual things from afar, on the one hand wishing that they could be his, but seemingly unable to make even the smallest effort towards attaining them. Often indeed, we are so immersed in our desire for worldly things that we do not seem to have either time for the spiritual, but in this case it is more than that.

 

For it is our past karma that ties us to material things our physical situation is so bleak that we literally have to devote all our time to merely providing the basic necessities of daily life, and though we desire the spiritual, we are literally prevented from pursuing it by the circumstances in which we live.

 

Finally, however, there comes a time when this karma is settled and such a man can at last perceive the goal towards which he is striving. It may yet lie many lives ahead, but once “the Light of God” has enlightened us “it increases rapidly, surrounding him with compassion, like the wall of a tower”.

 

In other words, it produces within him the development of compassion for others, and it is that which insulates him from the temptations of the world, like the walls of a strong tower. Compassion is the beginning of love, and thus armed, the spiritual man is able to begin to tread the Path of Love, which alone can enable him to triumph over the Law of Karma and ultimately reach the end his age-long quest.

 

This is described in Verse Seventeen; “God rewards the one who successfully bears the burden of life on earth” and there are three separate elements in this phrase. The first is the fact that the ending of one’s earthly journey is nothing more or less than a just reward for a task well done. The second is that the reward is linked with success; it is not sufficient merely to “bear the burden” one must bear it successfully! And the third element lies in the fact that it is a burden that it irrevocably linked with life on earth.

 

In other words, one must settle on earth the karma one has incurred on earth, one cannot settle it on other Planes, and it is this basic fact of karma that accounts for the way in which sometimes very good souls come back to earth for a relatively short life of suffering, after which they are widely acclaimed as saints.

 

Such a spirit, has in all probability already settled all or most of its Astral or Form Plane debts; it may well have already learned to function as a spirit and in fact it need not have come back to earth at all but for the existence of karmic debts, which it has settled by its last brief life of suffering. However, ever at the brink of success, with the end of the journey almost in sight, there is danger, for “a careless word may set him back on the Path, and cause him to come back for another incarnation”. Christ says much the same thing in St Matthew 12; 36 – 37

That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned

 

This may seem a bit harsh, for note, we are not being warned about speaking maliciously, but merely against “a careless word” or “every idle word”. On the other hand it should be remembered that we are talking about a spirit that is close to the end of its journey and whose words, therefore, will be treated as of great value by those who hear them.

 

In such a situation a careless aside or an idle remark may not only cause great offence, it may in fact be the means of leading other souls to sin. Just imagine how much harm could have been done if St Paul had made some casual remark that contradicted the teaching of Christ. If St Luke had happened to record it, think of untold arguments it could have caused among later Christians. Some may even have been led to do wrong thereby. This is why it is so important to “watch your words”, and it will be remembered that Christ said much the same thing in St Matthew 18; 6 (Revised standard version)

“. . . whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea”

 

You should think before we speak, as the old adage says, and if you do so, you will thereby “preserve your right to the promised reward” meaning that by your efforts and your service to God and to your fellow men you will be granted the reward that God has promised to those who “successfully bear the burden of life on earth”

 

Next we are told that “God’s gift to one who abides in Him is deliverance from fear”, but what do we mean by “abiding in God?” Is it simply a case of living in a manner of which He can approve, or does it means something else?

 

Clearly it cannot be taken in a completely literal manner, for how could mortal man abide in God? Or does it perhaps look forward to the time when long ages hence, we do at length merge with the Godhead in the ultimate Union that is the final ending of all our journeyings? Obviously that will produce “deliverance from fear” yet it is hard to see that the text should have jumped so completely away from a consideration of the last stage of earthly existence and it seems likely that “abiding in God” must be linked with Trust.

 

If we are so convinced of God’s ability and so confident in His love that we really know in our inmost beings that everything that He brings upon us is for our best advancement, then clearly our fears will melt away and we will indeed receive “deliverance from fear” even whilst still here on earth. God’s gift is the “peace of mind” that results from complete faith in God, which in turn is no more than the just reward of that faith.

 

“Strong as an oak” seems to be a favourite simile in the Sayings of Melchizedek and in the spiritual sense, it is clear that strength is the result of faith. But it is also true that the mere fact that someone trusts in God absolutely and completely itself confers on him a great strength of character. However the later words should not be ignored either.

 

God is very patient, and we must also learn to wait for very often He does not act immediately. Usually He waits until the right time arrives, and although we humans tend to become impatient, the man who truly trusts in God will also be ready to “wait” on Him[5]. Only such a man can be truly said to have acquired that inner strength that alone brings true Serenity of Spirit.

 

As a result of this strength, “the spiritual man reaches the high place”, even though he may be weary from the struggle. It is not a sin to be weary, and often the spiritual man may be weary. Certainly he will be weary when he achieves the end of his task and at last “reaches the high place”. 

 

Note, it is not the “highest place” for here we are merely talking about the ending of mortal existence, not the final Union with God, but note also that “this is only just”. In other words, we achieve the end of the quest as the just result of our efforts, and this is something that we should always remember. God does not “gift” us Heaven, for were He to do so, we would not value it properly. Everything has some value, but often that value lies in spiritual rather than monetary rewards. Certainly in this life, we value those things that have cost us dearly, and so it is with achieving “the high place”.

 

Many aspects of the Sayings of Melchizedek are not only connected with the spiritual life of individuals, they seek to bridge the gap between man and God through mysticism and for the most part they see the ability to function on the Spirit Planes, to hear the voice of God and to know His will as being intimately connected with those who would tread the Path. So it is today with those who would tread the Path of Perfection, and there is nothing more natural than that a man who genuinely desires to do God’s will should be made aware of it in some way.

 

In verse 23, however, the text singles our one who is well-established on the mystic path. In 1 Samuel, 9; 9 we are told that “he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer” and if this was true in the 11th century BC, then clearly at the time when the Sayings were written, there is little doubt that when the word “Seer” is used it refers primarily to one who in later times would have been called a prophet.

 

He looks out on the future as from a high tower, waiting for events to come to pass as he has foreseen.” The “high tower” is possibly an allusion to an early form of astronomical observatory, for remember, that even before this time, the Chaldaeans were well-known as star-gazers who thereby were able to foretell the future.

 

There is however a more spiritual meaning. Such a man is not only able to see events that are far off, he is also raised high above the mundane things of this mortal world and if he has learned the previous lesson (Serenity of Spirit) he is able to spend “his time gathering good karma.”

 

It is important to understand that even such an advanced soul cannot afford to relax his efforts to pay off karma, but having reached this stage he is able to do so through the Law of Love. In other words, he settles his past debts by helping others, rather than by enduring suffering as is the lot of lesser mortals who are still bound by the Law of Justice and Karma

 

Being alert to opportunities for service is one of the first requirements of all who would learn to work under the Law of Love. Self sacrifice is another and in verse 26 we are told the advanced spirit “is always alert to opportunities and will rouse himself to give refuge to those who are in trouble”.

 

So in this important work there are two stages; firstly, one must be able and willing to see the opportunity and to recognise it as such. Then one must rouse one’s self to take the action indicated, itself potentially an act of sacrificing one’s own wishes, for at the very least it means that we have to give up whatever else we might have wished to do, in order to help this other.

 

One thing, however that such a spirit does not have to fight, and that is a fear that such an action might bring harm upon himself, so common in most of us. This is because his trust in God is so absolute that such a fear is foreign to his nature.[6]  Thus, even in times of difficulty he can remain undisturbed and serene, because he already is worthy of Sanctity.

 

In olden times, even more than today, the “right hand” was seen as symbolising that which is good, whilst the “left hand” was always regarded as just a little bit sinister – in fact the English word sinister itself, comes from “sinistra” the Latin word for “Left”. Therefore, when we are told that the “Upright Man is happy if he takes the right hand path to Heaven” it implies far more than the obvious.

 

“The right hand path to Heaven is nothing less than our old friend the Path of Perfection”, but the use of this terminology lets us know that there is more than one road to Heaven. There is the Right hand road, which involves following the Law of Love and there are other roads that do not involve the Law of Love, but only the Law of Karma.

 

There are people who try to reach Heaven only by asceticism and penance. Thereby they seek to settle karma, and they may well travel far by such means alone, but they will not be happy, for if they begin to feel happiness, they will feel that thereby they are failing on the Path. The only way for the Upright man to be happy and at the same time to achieve Heaven is by means of the Path of Love.

 

Nor can a man make this transformation unaided, but if he makes the attempt God will help, “for it must be made plain that the Eternal has changed the unfortunate son of evil into His own likeness.”  But, we may ask, how is this done?

 

The next verse tells us; “So much spiritual power pours forth on the unfortunate son of evil, that he learns the higher truth; that God is King” There are a couple of points that need to be considered in these verses. It is clear that “the unfortunate son of evil” refers to the spiritual man before he began to assay the path, but if we are all sons of God, all containing within us a Divine Spark, how can we be said to have ever been a “son of evil?’

 

Because, in our earlier incarnations most of us have done so much evil that when we first come to God we are quite literally the product of the evil we have done. We may well have but recently escaped from Hell, and as we have previously considered, the spirit at such a point in its existence, though still containing a Spark of the Divine, is so encased in Evil, that when it escapes therefrom, the term “son of evil” is totally appropriate.

 

As to why such a “son of evil” is unfortunate, this clearly refers to the sufferings that he has had to undergo, and will yet have to undergo as he settles the karma of that dark past. It does not mean that he has not been treated fairly, for the Law is always just, it merely expresses sympathy for him at that stage of his existence. It will be remembered that Sympathy is but one form of that great Virtue Love, and it is the long-pent-up Divine Sympathy, that has caused this downpouring of Divine Power[7]. It is this in turn that enables him to learn “the higher truth that God is King,” and by reciprocating that Divine Love, to begin to travel swiftly along the Path. 

  

Verse 30 begins “The spiritual man extracts the glorious and shining essence from the tears that weary, delay and deceive him in this transient earth life,”  and the first thing we must ask ourselves, is ‘what is this glorious and shining essence that springs from the trials of his earthly existence?’

 

The answer is that it is the spirit form of light that the human spirit begins to develop when once it turns from evil and begins to serve God. It is made possible by the good karma of his good deeds, but more properly it reflects the change in his character. It is perhaps not immediately obvious when he is still on earth, but it is plainly visible in the Spirit Realms.

 

However, it is on earth that we are told, “the soul of the spiritual man increasingly develops a strong Heaven-centredness” – in other words, it is on Earth that we must learn to apply spiritual laws to everything that happens to us here on the Physical Plane here, and by so doing learn therefrom. We may not receive the full benefit of the fruits of our labours till the burden of earth life is shed, but it is largely “as a result of trials” here on earth, that “one grows spiritually, for one learns from the conflicts and storms of life”

 

There is not space here to discuss all the lessons that one can learn from the conflicts and storms of life, but obviously they are many and varied. The most important thing is that we sincerely desire to serve God and if we do so, then it matters not what comes upon us, we shall learn therefrom. For even the worst storms will merely ruffle the surface, if we maintain beneath a strong, silent, current of the will directed towards God.

 

However, it is important to remember, that life on earth provides opportunities that cannot be duplicated on the Astral or Spirit Planes, and therefore if we do not make the most of them whilst we are in the Physical State, we will have to return to earth and learn them in another incarnation.

 

Verse 32; “Serving God in His City (Church) causes one to forget them and become more fruitful” is one of the most historically significant in the whole work. The word “Church” is inserted in brackets because it does not occur in the Hebrew – it is given because it is the way in which we today would say the same thing, but in the original, the word is clearly “City” not only confirming that Melchizedek ruled a “City” (Salem) as we are told in Genesis 14; 18, but also that His City was a  gathering of his spiritual followers and as such the progenitor of the “heavenly Jerusalem” predicted by later Christian writers (Revelation 21; 2) as being linked with the future Return of Christ to reign as King  In other words, ancient Salem, although a walled citadel, was in Melchizedek’s time, truly a Holy City, an abode of those who not only followed Him, but who, themselves, were also very close to the end of their earthly journeys. 

 

In later times, after Melchizedek Himself had returned to Heaven and this centre was seemingly destroyed by the Amorites (See Genesis 22; 2 & 9 and Joshua 10; 1 & 5), it appears that His followers maintained other encampments (Genesis 32; 2) dedicated to the service of the Most High. There, apparently they still pursued spiritual perfection, perhaps under the direction of other priests who were in turn guided by these very Sayings.

 

One of the greatest benefits that can come to any spirit as it begins to take an interest in spiritual things is to be born into a situation where it has the opportunity of learning about them from a very young age.

 

Obviously such an opportunity has to have been earned, probably by doing much work for God in its previous incarnation, but all too frequently, having earned that right, and been born into such a position of opportunity, the spirit then ignores that opportunity or even casts it aside. This is of course a terrible shame, for the potential benefits of such an opportunity are great, and as we are told in verse 32; “Blessed is the man whose spiritual good fortune fills his youth.” The text then goes on to explain why.

 

In many people, their youth is a time of struggle and rebellion as they seek to re-establish themselves in their new incarnation. All too often such young people are so intent on making themselves distinct from their elders, that they have little time for spiritual things; they may even deliberately go against the example of their parents, for this reason alone[8]. However, when a young person does not rebel, and tries to follow the spiritual path from an early age, then, “When still young he produces many good works, whose fruits trail behind him”.

 

The last phrase; “whose fruits trail behind him”, is most significant – it indicates that the karmic effects of good deeds done early in an incarnation, can produce lasting benefits, like the scent of incense, left behind after the censer has passed on, permeating and affecting every stage of the later life of such a man. They do this even more directly than good deeds performed in a previous incarnation, for in addition to the good karma produced, they have also helped to establish up good physical habits that continue to influence his behaviour.

 

It is important to realise that these are physical habits, habits that can be learned, and habits that are linked with the physical body, but, they are habits whose spiritual benefits can be permanent. The most important of these good habits is “brotherly love, which is like the first touch of goodness that sifts his sins from his virtues. It covers and protects him through all his earthly journeys”.

 

Brotherly love is the key to the Law of Love, and as such it “sifts his sins from his virtues”[9], thus helping him to modify his character. Unless something intervenes to change this good habit, in such a man, the love of others will persist and protect him for the rest of his earthly incarnations”.

 

The last verse, is effectively a summation of the whole chapter; which has described “. . the earthly journey of the soul of the spiritual man”


[1]

It may be asked why “prayer” is not included, and of course it may be, for true prayer is a communing with God, not simply a request for some gift and as such it can indeed play a major role in the development of the spirit. As long as this is the form of prayer that is meant, it should certainly be included in this list.

The reason I have not done so without this explanation is because it is an unfortunate fact that most western minds see prayer as simply an “asking God for something” and as such it is often of a rather selfish nature and therefore of little real value.

[2]

For instance, if I break my toe, the pain and inconvenience of it will probably enable me to pay off the karma of some past misdeed, but if I constantly complain about it and make it an excuse to avoid my duties, I may thereby incur a significant amount of fresh karma, so that in the end the karmic balance sheet has not been greatly improved by my suffering. If I accept it patiently it will, but if in addition I offer my cheerful endurance to God as a sacrifice for some worthwhile cause, I may also gain much additional good karma thereby. This is what Christ did when He sacrificed Himself on Calvary for the salvation of Mankind.

[3]

Many have tried to discuss this key point on the spiritual path, but there is little point in trying to provide too many details, for the details vary enormously from person to person. It is an essential stage in the change between sinful man and spiritual man, but its exact form depends, of course, on karma. It is primarily a test of spiritual endurance and as long as the spirit persists in following the Path it has begun, it will be able to proceed and although it may face other trials, as long as it continues to persist it will eventually triumph.

[4]

Certainly in Old Testament times most of the prophets were persecuted, even before the official priesthood banned them in the 5th century BC. In Acts 7; 51 – 52, the mystic Stephen sums up this attitude thus

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the priests thus addressed proved the truth of the mystic’s words, by stoning him to death.

[5]

The importance of being prepared to “wait” for God to act, cannot be over-emphasised. All too often we are anxious for something to happen immediately, but remember, God is Eternal, and to Him, what matters is that something happens at the right time, when the circumstances are exactly best for the event to have maximum effect. If only we realised just how difficult it is for God to bring some event about on the physical Plane we would perhaps have more sympathy for His determination to ensure that it happens at exactly the right time – the time when it will be most effective.

[6]

This does not mean that God will not allow him to suffer for his good deed or even to be killed, perhaps for succouring those who are being persecuted by the state.

It means that such a spirit realises that God will only allow him to suffer if it is for his own good, and that he is sufficiently attuned to God’s will to accept whatever He sends in this frame of mind.

[7]

It is long-pent-up, because for many lives such a man has refused to allow God into his life. When, through penitence, he finally does so, we can only compare the sudden release of the pent-up Divine Love to a flood, suddenly breaking through the last barrier and soaking into the soil of a parched land long in the grip of drought. 

[8]

For instance, the child of a priest or minister may deliberately do things that are wrong, more in order to annoy his/her parents than for any wish to do so.

[9]

In other words, love of others, helps us to recognise our faults and to strive to eradicate them, in clear distinction from self love which encourages the growth of many other sins.

Please click to go to next chapter 13; Guidance on the Path.
The Ancient Wisdom for Modern Man