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Chapter V The Sacrament of Baptism
Having studied the esoteric significance of our Christian festivals, such as Christmas and Easter, and having also studied the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, it may be well now to devote attention to the inner meaning of the sacraments of the church which are administered to the individual in all Christian lands from the cradle to the grave, and are with him at all important points in his life journey.

As soon as he has entered upon the journey of life, the church admits him into its fold by the rite of Baptism which is conferred upon him at a time when he himself is irresponsible; later, when his mentality has been somewhat developed, he ratifies that contract and is admitted to Communion, where bread is broken and wine is sipped in memory of the Founder of our faith. Still further upon life’s journey comes the sacrament of Marriage; and at last when the race has been run and the spirit again withdraws to God who gave it, the earth body is consigned to the dust, whence38 it was derived, accompanied by the blessings of the church.

In our Protestant times the spirit of protest is rampant in the extreme, and dissenters everywhere raise their voices in rebellion against the fancied arrogance of the priesthood and deprecate the sacraments as mere mummery. On account of that attitude of mind these functions have become of little or no effect in the life of the community; dissensions have arisen even among churchmen themselves, and sect after sect has divorced itself from the original apostolic congregation.

Despite all protests the various doctrines and sacraments of the church are, nevertheless, the very keystones in the arch of evolution, for they inculcate morals of the loftiest nature; and even materialistic scientists, such as Huxley, have admitted that while self-protection brings about “the survival of the fittest” in the animal kingdom and is therefore the basis of animal evolution, self-sacrifice is the fostering principle of human advancement. When that is the case among mere mortals, we may well believe that it must be so to a still greater extent in the Divine Author of our being.

Among animals might is right, but we recognize that the weak have a claim to the protection of the strong. The butterfly lays its eggs on the underside of a green leaf and goes off without another care for their well-being. In mammals the mother instinct is39 strongly developed, and we see the lioness caring for her cubs and ready to defend them with her life; but not until the human kingdom is reached does the father commence to share fully in the responsibility as a parent. Among savages the care of the young practically ends with attainment of physical ability to care for themselves, but the higher we ascend in civilization the longer the young receive care from their parents, and the more stress is laid upon mental education so that when maturity has been reached the battle of life may be fought from the mental rather than from the physical point of vantage; for the further we proceed along the path of development the more we shall experience the power of mind over matter. By the more and more prolonged self-sacrifice of parents, the race is becoming more delicate, but what we lose in material ruggedness we gain in spiritual perceptibility.

As this faculty grows stronger and more developed, the craving of the spirit immured in this earthly body voices itself more loudly in a demand for understanding of the spiritual side of development. Wallace and Darwin, Huxley and Spencer, pointed out how evolution of form is accomplished in nature; Ernest Haeckel attempted to solve the riddle of the universe, but no one of them could satisfactorily explain away the Divine Author of what we see. The great goddess, Natural Selection, is being forsaken by one after another of her devotees as the years go by. Even Haeckel, the arch materialist, in his last years showed an40 almost hysterical anxiety to make a place for God in his system, and the day will come in a not far distant future when science will have become as thoroughly religious as religion itself. The church, on the other hand, though still extremely conservative is nevertheless slowly abandoning its autocratic dogmatism and becoming more scientific in its explanations. Thus in time we shall see the union of science and religion as it existed in the ancient mystery temples, and when that point has been reached, the doctrines and sacraments of the church will be found to rest upon immutable cosmic laws of no less importance than the law of gravity which maintains the marching orbs in their paths around the sun. As the points of the equinoxes and solstices are turning points in the cyclic path of a planet, marked by festivals such as Christmas and Easter, so birth into the physical world, admission to the church, to the state of matrimony, and finally the exit from physical life, are points in the cyclic path of the human spirit around its central source—God, which are marked by the sacraments of baptism, communion, marriage, and the last blessing.

We will now consider the rite of baptism. Much has been said by dissenters, against the practice of taking an infant into church and promising for it a religious life. Heated arguments concerning sprinkling versus plunging have resulted in division of churches. If we wish to obtain the true idea of baptism, we must revert to the early history of the human race as recorded in41 the Memory of Nature. All that has ever happened is indelibly pictured in the ether as a moving picture is imprinted upon a sensitized film, which picture can be reproduced upon a screen at any moment. The pictures in the Memory of Nature may be viewed by the trained seer, even though millions of years have elapsed since the scenes there portrayed were enacted in life.

When we consult that unimpeachable record it appears that there was a time when that which is now our earth came out of chaos, dark and unformed, as the Bible states. The currents developed in this misty mass by spiritual agencies, generated heat, and the mass ignited at the time when we are told that God said, “Let there be light.” The heat of the fiery mass and the cold space surrounding it generated moisture; the fire mist became surrounded by water which boiled, and steam was projected into the atmosphere; thus “God divided the water ... from the waters ..42.”—the dense water which was nearest the fire mist from the steam (which is water in suspension), as stated in the Bible.

When water containing sediment is boiled over and over it deposits scale, and similarly the water surrounding our planet finally formed a crust around the fiery core. The Bible further informs us that a mist went up from the ground, and we may well conceive how the moisture was gradually evaporated from our planet in those early days.

Ancient myths are usually regarded as superstitions nowadays, but in reality each of them contains a great spiritual truth in pictorial symbols. These fantastic stories were given to infant humanity to teach them moral lessons which their newborn intellects were not yet fitted to receive. They were taught by myths—much as we teach our children by picture books and fables—lessons beyond their intellectual comprehension.

One of the greatest of these folk stories is ”The Ring of the Niebelung”, which tells of a wonderful treasure hidden under the waters of the Rhine. It was a lump of gold in its natural state. Placed upon a high rock, it illuminated the entire submarine scenery where water nymphs sported about innocently in gladsome frolic. But one of the Niebelungs, imbued with greed, stole the treasure, carried it out of the water, and fled. It was impossible for him, however, to shape it until he had forsworn love. Then he fashioned it into a ring which gave him power over all the treasures of earth, but at the same time it inaugurated dissension and strife. For its sake, friend betrayed friend, brother slew brother, and everywhere it caused oppression, sorrow, sin, and death, until it was at last restored to the watery element and the earth was consumed in flames. But later there arose, like the new phoenix from the ashes of the old bird, a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness was re-established.


That old folk story gives a wonderful picture of human evolution. The name Niebelungen is derived from the German words, nebel (which means mist), and ungen (which means children). Thus the word Niebelungen means children of the mist, and it refers back to the time when humanity lived in the foggy atmosphere surrounding our earth at the stage in its development previously mentioned. There infant humanity lived in one vast brotherhood, innocent of all evil as the babe of today, and illuminated by the Universal Spirit symbolized as the Rhinegold which shed its light upon the water nymphs of our story. But in time the earth cooled more and more; the fog condensed and flooded depressions upon the surface of the earth with water; the atmosphere cleared; the eyes of man were opened and he perceived himself as a separate ego. Then the Universal Spirit of love and solidarity was superseded by egotism and self-seeking.

That was the rape of the Rhinegold, and sorrow, sin, strife, treachery, and murder have given place to the childlike love which existed among humanity in that primal state when they dwelt in the watery atmosphere of long ago. Gradually this tendency is becoming more and more marked, and the curse of selfishness grows more and more apparent. “Man’s inhumanity to man” hangs like a funeral pall over the earth, and must inevitably bring about destruction of existing conditions. The whole creation is44 groaning and travailing, waiting for the day of redemption, and the Western Religion strikes the keynote of the way to attainment when it exhorts us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; for then egotism will be abrogated for universal brotherhood and love.

Therefore, when a person is admitted to the church, which is a spiritual institution where love and brotherhood are the mainsprings of action, it is appropriate to carry him under the waters of baptism in symbol of the beautiful condition of childlike innocence and love which prevailed when mankind dwelt under the mist in that bygone period. At that time the eyes of infant man had not yet been opened to the material advantages of this world. The little child which is brought into the church has not yet become aware of the allurements of life either, and others obligate themselves to guide it to lead a holy life according to the best of their ability, because experience gained since the Flood has taught us that the broad way of the world is strewn with pain, sorrow, and disappointment; that only by following the straight and narrow way can we escape death and enter into life everlasting.

Thus we see that there is a wonderfully deep, mystic significance behind the sacrament of baptism; that it is to remind us of the blessings attendant upon those who are members of a brotherhood where self-seeking is put into the background and where service to others45 is the keynote and mainspring of action. While we are in the world, he is the greatest who can most successfully dominate others. In the church we have Christ’s definition,46 “He who would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.”

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