The Great Secret/Chapter 26

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CHAPTER XXVI.

HESPERIA DISCOURSES.

Days glided insensibly into weeks amidst the ever-varied delights of this City of Peace—this submerged, wave-covered Atalantis, within which there was no limit to the power of the inhabitants to reproduce whatever they liked for their own edification and enjoyment. Joshua commanding the sun and moon to stand still while he overcame his enemies seemed now a mild feat of will power, when compared to these Atalantians bringing down the doubles of the sun, moon and other constellations to their submarine paradise.

Philip and Adela were left as much to cultivate each other as they cared to, for every spirit was free to come and go and act as they pleased. A set of chambers were placed at their disposal in this many-roomed palace, where they could retire or come forth as they pleased. Yet, as their perfect felicity caused them to be socially disposed, Hesperia still acted as their guide and instructress.

Captain Nelson had departed on his earth quest accompanied by several of the youths, whose present duty was to help him and educate him in his spiritual powers. He promised to meet his friends again after he had satisfied his curiosity concerning his earthly partner.

"He will find her well, doubtless, and all unconscious of his presence and change of destiny, and that will be his first disappointment and grief—to look at her and hear her speaking, yet to be unable to make his presence known. By and by, when the loss of the ship is reported, he will be grieved when he cannot comfort her, if she really mourns for him, or if she only feigns to do so, it will be worse for him to bear for a time; but he will get over all his grief and mortification, and be able to regard the inevitable with serenity, for this is a portion of his new training. He will learn to use his locomotive powers sooner than he will acquire the philosophy strictly necessary for earth supervision."

It was Hesperia who spoke, as she so often did on all subjects, to these devoted spirit-fledglings, and they listened to her respectfully, for she was an experienced and wise woman, who had watched the fevers and frailties of humanity age after age, and race after race, as each individual, filled with the consciousness of being, wriggled, like the newly egg-hatched snake, thinking that all creation must be concerned about its agile motions. She had watched, like the moon, the same scenes of pathos and passion, the same tricks of selfishness and treason, the devotion and faith outraged with the oppressions and wrongs, the suffering and sorrow, which humanity must experience, and which goes on with the sameness and regularity of school routine. Man, the libertine, sowing his wild oats with laughter, and reaping them afterwards with tears and groans. She had seen the prince become the beggar and outcast, proud and icy virtue grovel in the meshes of passionate and debased vice. Thus they came and went, and came again to nil their different classes, and learn the lessons of immortality, until they grew to be all-wise and all-pitiful as she was now.

Philip spoke to her about the vision which he had seen on the daïs on the night of his eternal marriage, and she replied,—

You are Christians; therefore the Founder of your creed came to give you His benediction, as you are under His generalship. Listen to me, my friends. We are all sons and daughters of God, yet some, in the course of ages, reach to the perfection of wisdom and purity, and become virgin mothers and Christs, and these are our teachers and guides, as I have been chosen to be yours for a time. The perfect soul is dual, as I have said before, and may become creative through cycles of progression and knowledge. Thus a virgin conceives and a Christ is born, sinless and complete, yet before this can be, that mother and that child must have passed through all phases and earth experiences. They have been kings and outcasts, pure and degraded by stages, and lifting themselves up, as the flower does from the soil, they have reached planes and distances of purity and wisdom far beyond our present knowing.

"The Infinite Source is encircled by those mothers and sons, and communicates through them to those not yet advanced to that stage of knowledge, and they are our teachers, as we are yours—masters who come down to us on such occasions as they are required, and give to us the needed instruction; yet we are at liberty, as mortals are, to advance as we like, for eternity has no need to hasten on a pupil; it is only the serf of Time who thinks he must hurry.

"There is not a creed on earth which has not done its share in the universal scheme of progression, although the bigotry of its priests, and the ignorant blindness of its devotees may have clouded the meanings and disgusted advanced minds; and there is more significance in ceremonials and incantations than the sceptic thinks.

"There are saints, as the Roman calendar decrees, and the Lord of the Christian comes down to earth as the spirit of Samuel came to Saul when he was called by incantation and burnt offerings. He came to bless and to inspire mercy and love. If the recipients are too blinded to receive the gifts he brings in their fulness, yet they get the benefit of a portion.

"The Christian's, perhaps, has been the most insolent and intolerant of all earth's creeds, partly because his creed is the most human and selfish. He teaches rewards and punishments, and this is why he can be so remorseless, cruel and inconsistent, yet his very cruelty is the cruelty of the father who punishes his offspring so that they may gain in the end ; therefore it is condoned, for the Master has been misunderstood in His teaching. Yet they only desire humanity to share in their rewards and escape the Divine wrath, and they consider it right to torture the flesh for the sake of the soul. That is their blinded ignorance and mean conception of the Great Source of Nature, which is all progression and beyond revenge.

"There are human beings who have sacrified their lives for such a misconception of the divine source, that only their own sublime self-sacrifice and devotion could have saved them from the fate of the beasts who cannot reason. The predestinarians, who look round them with blinded senses, see the spring flowers and leaves bud out, and the winter cause a seeming death, and forget that spring will come again to man as to vegetation. These regard their God as a destroying monster. It takes ages to clear the eyes of a predestinarian, yet even he at last learns to see, and eternity can wait for a thousand years as easily as for an hour. Some are dull children, and some quick, while those who come, as you do, most free from prejudice, get over their trouble the quicker.

"You can traverse space as quickly and as easily as I can, if you like, but it will take you some time and many efforts before this truth comes home to you.

"There are fairies and gnomes, as the poets have taught you, as there are insects and monsters of all sizes in this world of ours. As man has a spirit, so have the animals who breathe around him, and things that have once lived cannot perish. What the mind creates exists as tangibly and real as what the body makes, for it is in the mind more than in the body that man exercises his godhood.

"Olympia exists with the immortal Court of Jove, and in those glades, where the Greek spirits wander, are to be met the Dryades, Fauns, Napeae, Satyrs and Naiads, as the fairies sport about the moonlit dells. They are the creations of men, therefore remain as he has left them, yet they exist in reality, although soulless and unprogressive.

"Crimes and evil desires uncommitted, yet conceived in the brain of man, also take shape and live as do his noble or fantastic conceptions. They are the devils who haunt the earth and cloud the brains of those still in the flesh. These are the devils who enter in by legions and take possession of the empty minds of those who do nob create for themselves. You can see them in all their uncouth and horrible yet filmy shapes, some like grovelling swine, some like rapacious beasts and birds, with their bat-wings and combination of bestial forms covering the surface of the earth like a dense smoke all intertwined and loathsome to behold, as you can see the creation of purity, self-sacrifice and noble purpose fluttering like white doves and sea-birds in and out that black turgid cloud. These evil conceptions of past races covering the earth are the cause of man's blindness and inability to see beyond material objects, yet by prayer he can drive them back from him and force rends through that living veil, so that the doves may reach him, then for a moment he gets a glimpse of the Beyond before the moving mass of loathsomeness closes in again."

In this fashion Hesperia talked to them and revealed the mysteries of their new life, showing them that the earth was hell, and that man, not God, had created and peopled it, as disease is created from neglect, wilful ignorance and dirt, and which only man himself can abolish by strenuous and constant effort and prayer-sustained will-power.

"We can annihilate our own past creation of evil, and lessen this mighty mass of spectres who swarm together and haunt the earth, and that is our constant duty before we can ourselves rise above them, to pick out our own works and destroy them one by one where they are evil, and leave the good to live. In this way we weed out and keep down the evil swarm, otherwise the earth would have been submerged and poisoned long ages ago.

"If men and women in the body would but learn to help us, the atmosphere would become clear, as it will be in time. But they send out their murderers, red-handed and full of hatred to swell the ranks of degraded spirits who will not rise or work as we have to do, but instead try to retard us as long as possible, and these are the spirits that men call back with all their vicious desires and gives house-room to. While they have the murderer still in his prison of flesh, he cannot reach them nor influence them so strongly as when they set him at liberty to develop his fell strength. The law of a life for a life and blood for blood is the creed of the savage and the ignorant, and can only add to the rapacious ranks of Murder, for whereas they had him shut out from his fellows before, they open the prison doors and bid him go forth free and unseen to skulk about the earth and take possession of other brains. Have you not observed that after each execution there spreads an epidemic of the same species of crime?

"Blood does not call for blood. The victim, unless vicious himself, has no desire for vengeance on his slayer, for he has no sense of wrong to revenge. He has merely been set at liberty. Sometimes, as in your case, without knowledge of pain, yet, even if with torture, that is forgotten as quickly as the mother forgets the agonies of travail in the joys of this great possession, freedom and real life.

"The murderer, like the robber, seducer and liar, only injures himself by his crimes while in the body, yet sent out with his hatreds and lusts upon him, he becomes like a cageless wild beast, and riots wholesale amongst the flesh-bound and weak. Therefore, until humanity can reason out this to its logical conclusion, and try other means of cure, the earth must continue to be the only hell of man and fertile breeding-cage of incarnate monsters and devils.

"Your first duty, after you have gained sufficient strength of resistance and knowledge of your own powers, will be to help your murderers in and out of the flesh, restrain them from further evil, and raise them to a knowledge of their own vileness. You must help them to rise out of their hell, and never cease fighting with their inclinations until you have eradicated the disease and washed them clean. Then you will have leisure to look out for your own past conceptions of error and sin, as they must do theirs, and so aid in the great work of clearing the moral atmosphere and preparing the earth for its great future destiny.

"As I have told you, we have working periods and periods of rest here as we had before. You are resting and learning now, and when you are ready for work, you will require no inducement to begin. Meanwhile, rest and be happy."

They were happy in each other, and with such cordial friends, who spared no trouble in their hospitality and the fresh pleasures they provided each hour. Sometimes they sailed out from the city upon that ever-smiling ocean, where the waters gleamed like turquoises, and reflected the exquisitely-carved and painted galleys and dyed sails—a merry company, who sang and laughed in the fulness of their joy.

As they watched the city rising from the sunlit waves, tier above tier, with its gleaming walls, domes, gardens, fountains, many stairs and broad streets, while behind and above swam those hazy mountains, all filmy and blue in that balmy atmosphere, only to breathe which was an intoxication, they seemed to be looking into heaven—a heaven of perfect beauty, rest and peace.

How joyous that sea was, with those yellow sands fringing the bay, the fairy - like grottoes and caves and the wooded cliffs! Here they played like merry children dabbling and bathing in the waters, so cool and delicious in the warm sunbeams.

They soon learned to trust themselves in the air, and what a rare and new sensation it was to float where they liked, to move slowly or dart about like swallows on the wing. They knew now that space was at their command, and that, more swiftly than light can travel, they could transport themselves where they pleased like a flash of thought. The earth, the air and limitless space were at their command, and with the knowledge of this power grew the desire to put it to the test.

Philip was the first to feel this vague desire for action and change, for, man-like, he enjoyed travelling, and Adela quickly received and nurtured the idea.

They would return to those delectable halls, groves, grottoes and gardens when they craved again for rest, but now they both craved for added knowledge.

Hesperia smiled as she read the thought, and gave them full directions how to proceed. They had revelled in the galleries and treasures of art, played in the gardens with the children, and listened to the philosophy and music of Atalantis, and now they desired to finish their honeymoon amongst the other cities and nations of the past before beginning their earth labours.

"Leave little Mary with the other children for the present," Hesperia said. "She will be better here, and will bring you back when you have finished your travels and some of your earth work."

So the last day came, and with a happy parting and promise of reunion Adela and Philip sped away.