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HOME > Classical Novels > Gleaning of a Mystic > Chapter XIX The Lock of Upliftment
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Chapter XIX The Lock of Upliftment
Have you ever seen how ships going up a canal or river are lifted from one level to another? It is a very interesting and instructive process. First the ship is floated into a small enclosure where the water level is the same as that of the lower part of the river where the ship has previously been sailing. Then the gates of the enclosure are shut and the ship is cut off from the outside world by the high walls of the lock. It cannot go back to the river without; even the light is dimmed around it, but above the moving clouds or the bright sunshine are seen beckoning. The ship cannot rise without assistance, and the law of gravitation makes it impossible for the water in that part of the river where the ship has been sailing to float it to a higher level, hence no help may be looked for from that source.

There are also gates in the upper part of the lock which prevent the waters on the higher levels from rushing into the lock from above, otherwise the in148rushing water would flood the lock in a moment and crush the ship lying at the bottom level because acting in conformity with that same law of gravitation. It is from above, nevertheless, that the power must come if the ship is ever to be lifted to the higher level of the river, and so to do this safely a small stream is conducted to the bottom of the lock, which lifts the ship very slowly and gradually but safely to the level of the river above. When that level has been reached, the upper gates may be opened without danger to the ship, and it may sail forth upon the expansive bosom of the higher waterway. Then the lock is slowly emptied and the water it contained added to the water at the lower level, which is thereby raised even if but slightly. The lock is then ready to raise another vessel.

This is, as said in the beginning, a very interesting and instructive physical operation, showing how human skill and ingenuity overcome great obstacles by the use of nature’s forces. But it is a source of still greater enlightenment in a spiritual matter of vital importance to all who aspire and endeavor to live the higher life, for it illustrates the only safe method whereby man can rise from the temporal to the spiritual world, and it confutes those false teachers who for personal gain play upon the too ardent desires of the unripe, and who profess ability to unlock the gates of the unseen worlds for the consideration of an initiation fee. Our illustration shows that this is im149possible, because the immutable laws of nature forbid.

For the purpose of elucidation we may call our river the river of life, and we as individuals are the ships sailing upon it; the lower river is the temporal world, and when we have sailed its length and breadth for many lives, we inevitably come to the lock of upliftment which is placed at the end. We may for a long time cruise about the entrance and look in, impelled by an inner urge to enter but drawn by another impulse towards the broad river of life without. For a long time this lock of upliftment with its high, bare walls looks forbidding and solitary, while the river of life is gay with bunting and full of kindred craft gaily cruising about; but when the inner urge has become sufficiently intense, it finally drives us into the lock of upliftment, and it imbues us with a determination not to go back to the river of worldly life. But even at that stage there are some who falter and fear to shut the gate behind them; they aspire ardently at times to the life on the higher level, but it makes them feel less alone to look back upon the river of worldly life, and sometimes they stay in this condition for lives, wondering why they do not progress, why they experience no spiritual downpouring, why there is no uplift in their lives. Our illustration makes the reason very plain; no matter how hard the captain might beg, the lock keeper would never think of releasing the stream of water150 from above until the gate had been closed behind the ship, for it could never lift the ship an inch under such conditions but would flow through the open gates to waste in the lower river. Neither will the guardians of the gates............
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