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The Christian Creed

By C. W. Leadbeater

The Athanasian Creed


HAVING now glanced through the various clauses of the Nicene and the Apostles' Creeds, it remains for us only to take up such points in the Athanasian Creed as have not already been dealt with in the consideration of the earlier symbols.

The Athanasian Creed is admittedly a much later production than the others. Of course  everyone is aware that it is not in any way connected with Athanasius, and bears his name  only because its compilers wished it to be con­sidered as an expression of the doctrines which  he had so stoutly upheld centuries before. Part of it at any rate has been attributed to Hilary,  Bishop of Arles, and part also appears in the Profession of Denebert, though it is noticeable  that in all these earlier fragments what are called the damnatory clauses are conspicuous by their absence. But as a Creed it was certainly unknown even at the very end of the [141] eighth century, for at the Council of Friuli, held in 796, the need of just such an amplification of the earlier Confession of Faith was deplored, and indeed it was very probably in consequence of the discussion which then took place on the subject that the Athanasian Creed appeared in its present form. There is some evidence to show that the two parts into which it so obvi­ously divides itself - the first dealing with the doctrine of the Trinity, the second with that of the Incarnation - existed separately some few years before, but it seems certain that they were  not publicly used in the combined and amplified form earlier than the year 800.

Nevertheless, and in spite of the decision of the critics, clairvoyant examination shows that as a matter of fact both the parts w ere penned by the same hand in the sea-girt monastery of Lerins at a date considerably prior to this, though it is certainly true that the writing was not made public.

I append it here in the form in which it appears in the Prayer-book of the Church of England to-day.



Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith. [142]

Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

And the Catholick Faith is this, That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.

Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.

For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.

The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.

The Father incomprehensible, the Son incom­prehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.

And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.

As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.

So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. [143]

And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.

And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.

And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.

For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

So are we forbidden by the Catholick religion to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.

The Father is made of none; neither created nor begotten.

The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.

The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

And in this Trinity none is afore or after other, none is greater or less than another;

But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal.

So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity [144] in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds, and Man, of the substance of his Mother, born in the world;

Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting;

Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead, and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood.

Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;

One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God.  One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.

For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;

Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.

He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right [145] hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead;

At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works.

And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

This is the Catholick Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.


The Athanasian Creed is usually regarded as little more than an expansion of the earlier formulae, and, as has already been stated, criticism fixes the date of its composition comparatively late. Much obloquy has been cast upon it in recent years in consequence of what have been called its damnatory clauses, and many people who naturally enough entirely misunderstood their real meaning, have on this account regarded the whole Creed with horror indeed some of our most enlightened clergy, in open defiance of the directions of the rubric, have declined to allow its recitation in their churches. Had the meaning ordinarily attached to those clauses been the true one, such a refusal would have been far more than justified, yet to the mind of the Theosophical student they are [146] entirely unobjectionable, for he sees in them not a blasphemous proclamation of the inability of the Logos to carry through the evolution which He has commenced, but merely the state­ment of a well-known fact in nature.

Let us take up the examination of the Quicunque vult, omitting, of course, such parts of its explanation as would be mere repetitions of what has already been said, and confining ourselves to the points in which this Creed is fuller than the other two.



In the ordinary interpretation of the opening words, "Whosoever will be saved," we at once encounter a misconception of the most glaring character, for they are commonly supposed to embody some such blasphemous idea as "saved from eternal damnation," or "saved from the wrath of god" (I really cannot honour with a capital letter any being who is supposed to be capable in his anger of committing so unspeak­able an atrocity as the infliction of endless torture!). A far more accurate translation, and one much less likely to be misunderstood, would have been "Whoever wishes to be safe," and when it is put in this form any student of occultism will at once see exactly what is meant.

We have all read in early Theosophical [147] literature about the critical period of the fifth round, and we thus understand that a period will then be reached when a considerable portion of humanity will have to drop out for the time from our scheme of evolution, simply because  they have not yet developed themselves enough to be able to take advantage of the opportunities which will then be opening before mankind because under the conditions then prevailing no incarnations of a sufficiently unadvanced type to suit them will be available.

Thus we shall come to a definite division - a kind of day of judgment upon which will take  place the separation of the sheep from the goats, after which these shall pass on into aeonian life, and those into aeonian death - or at least into a condition of comparatively suspended evolution. AEonian, we observe; that is, age-long, lasting throughout this age or dispensation; but not for a moment to be looked upon as eternal. Those who thus fall out of the current of progress for the time will take up the work again in the next chain of globes exactly where they had to leave it in this; and though they lose such place as they have held in this evolution, yet it is only because the evolution has passed beyond them, and it would have been a mere waste of time for them to attempt to stay in it any longer. Their position is exactly that of children who have to [148] be put back from their class into a lower one, because they are not yet thoroughly grounded in what that lower class has to teach, and so they are unable to go on along with their former classmates.

It will be remembered that when a pupil has been so happy as to pass successfully through all the difficulties of the probationary period, and has taken that first initiation which is the gateway to the Path Proper, he is spoken of as the Sotapanna - "he who has entered upon the stream." The meaning of this is that he as an individual has already passed the critical period to which we have referred; he has already reached the point of spiritual development which Nature requires as a passport to the later stages of the scheme of evolution of which we form a part. He has entered upon the stream of that evolution, now sweeping along its upward arc, and though he may still retard or accelerate his progress - may even, if he act foolishly, waste a very great deal of valuable time - he cannot again turn aside permanently from that stream, but is carried steadily along by it towards the goal appointed for humanity.

He is thus safe from the greatest of the dangers which menace mankind during this age the danger of dropping out of the current of its evolution; and so he is often spoken of as "the [149] saved" or "the elect." It is in this sense, and in this sense only, that we can take the words of this first clause of the Athanasian Creed, "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith."



Nor need we let ourselves fall into the vulgar error as to the real meaning of this last statement. The word catholic means simply universal, and that faith which is truly universal is not the form into which truth is cast by any one of the great Teachers, but the truth itself which under­lies all form - the Wisdom Religion, of which all the exoteric religions are only partial expressions. So that this clause, when properly understood, simply conveys to us the undeniable statement that for any man who wishes to carry out his evolution to its appointed end, the most important thing is rightly to understand the great occult teaching as to the origin of all things and the descent of spirit into matter.

It has been objected that this statement is inaccurate, and the objectors remark that surely the most important teaching to any man is that which educates him morally - which tells him, not what he must believe, but w hat he must do. Now of course that is quite true; but such  objectors ignore or forget the fact that the fullest [150] moral development is always taken for granted in all religions before even the possibility of attaining a true grasp of any sort of high occult knowledge is admitted. They also forget that it is only by this occult knowledge that either the commands or the sanctions of their moral code can be explained, or indeed that any reason can be shown for the very existence of a moral code at all.

In addition to all this it has to be clearly recognized that though morality is absolutely necessary as a pre-requisite to real progress, it is by no means all that is required. Unintelligent goodness will save a man much pain and trouble in the course of his upward path, but it can never carry him beyond a certain point in it; there comes a period when in order to progress it is absolutely imperative that a man should know. And this is at once the explanation and the justification of the second verse of the Creed, around which such heated controversy has raged - "Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly" - the last word being of course not taken in the unphilosophical and metaphysically impossible orthodox sense, but understood as before to signify aeonially, as far as this age or chain of worlds is concerned.

There is no halo of special antiquity [151] surround­ing this particular form of words, for in the Profession of Denebert, which is the oldest form we have of this earlier part of the Creed, they do not appear. It is probable that the original writer used them and that Denebert, misunder­standing them, omitted them; but whether that is so or not, there is no need to be afraid of them or to attempt to explain away their obvious meaning; this clause is after all merely the converse of the last one, and simply states some­what more emphatically that, since a grasp of certain great facts is most important and indeed necessary in order to pass the critical period, those who do not acquire that grasp will certainly fail to pass it. A serious statement, truly, and well worthy of our closest attention, but surely in no sense a dreadful one; for when a man has once got beyond the stage in which he "faintly trusts the larger hope" to that further stage where he knows that it is not a hope but a certainty - in other words, when he has for the first time discovered something of what evolution really means - he can never again feel that awful sense of helpless horror which was born of hopelessness.



Our author then very carefully proceeds to inform us what these great facts are whose [152] comprehension (in so far as our very finite minds may at present comprehend them) is so essential to our hope of progress.

"And the Catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance." Perhaps the great mystery of the Logos could hardly be better put into words for our physical understanding; we can scarcely better express the eternal Oneness which is yet ever threefold in Its aspect. And  assuredly the final caution is most emphatically necessary, for never will the student be able even to approach the comprehension of the origin of the solar system to which he belongs - never by consequence will he in the least understand the  wonderful trinity of spirit, intuitional wisdom, and intellect, which is himself, unless he takes the most scrupulous care to keep clear in his mind the different functions of the Three Great Aspects of the One, while never for one moment running the risk of "dividing the substance " by losing sight of the eternal underlying Unity.

It is obviously impossible to picture this divine manifestation in any way, for it is necessarily entirely beyond our power either of representation or comprehension, yet a small part of its action may perhaps to some extent be brought within our grasp by the employment of certain simple [153] symbols, such as those adopted in Diagram I. It will be seen that on the seventh or highest plane of our system the triple manifestation of our Logos is imaged by three circles, represent­ing His three aspects. Each of these aspects appears to have its own quality and power. In the First Aspect He does not manifest Himself on any plane below the highest, but in the Second He descends to the sixth plane, and draws round Himself a garment of its matter, this making a quite separate and lower expression of Him. In the Third Aspect He descends to the upper por­tion of the fifth plane and draws round Himself matter of that level, thus making a third mani­festation. It will be observed that these three manifestations on their respective planes are entirely distinct one from the other, and yet we have only to follow up the dotted lines to see that these separate persons are nevertheless in truth but aspects of the one. Quite separate, when regarded as persons, each on his own plane - quite unconnected diagonally, as it were, yet each having his perpendicular connection with himself at the level where these three are one.

Most certainly "there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost," for persona is nothing in the world but a mask, an aspect; yet again beyond all  shadow of doubt or question "the Godhead of [154] the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one - the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal," since all are equally manifestations of the in­effable splendour of Him in whom our whole system lives and moves and has its being.

"Uncreate" indeed are each of these aspects as regards their own system, and differing thereby from every other force or power within its limits, since all these others are called into  existence by them and in them; "incompre­hensible" indeed, not only in the modern sense of  "non-understandable," but in the much older one of "uncontainable," since nothing on these far lower planes (which alone we know) can ever be more than the most partial and incomplete mani­festation of their unshadowed glory; "eternal" certainly, in that they all endure as long as their system endures, and probably through many thousands of systems; "and yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal; not three un­created, nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible," for that in them which is uncreated, incomprehensible and eternal, is not the aspect, but ever the under­lying Unity which is one with the All.

"For like as we are compelled by the Chris­tian verity to acknowledge every person by him­self to be God and Lord" (that is, to recognize ­the almighty power of the Logos as working

[155] equally in each of these His aspects)," so are we  forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three Gods or three Lords" - that is, to set up the three aspects in any sense against or apart from each other - to regard them in any way disproportionately, or as separate entities. How often these aspects of the Divine have been divided, and worshipped separately as gods or goddesses of wisdom, of love, or of power, and with what disastrous results of partial or one-sided development in their followers, the pages of history will reveal to us. Here, at any rate, the warning against such a fatal mistake is sufficiently emphatic.

Again, in the Athanasian Creed we see evidence of the same careful endeavour to make clear as far as may be the difference of genesis of the Three Aspects of the Logos which we found so prominent in the wording of the Nicene Creed. "The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten; the Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten; the  Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but  proceeding."

We need not here go over again the ground already traversed in connection with the corresponding clauses in the Nicene Creed, further than to point out that in the words "the Son is [156] of the Father alone," we have once more an emphatic statement of the true meaning of the term usually so grossly mistranslated as "only-begotten."



Yet again does our writer recur to the vast question of the equality of the three great aspects, for he continues: "And in this Trinity none is afore or after other, none is greater or less than another, but the whole three persons are co­eternal together and co-equal." It has been  objected that philosophically this must be untrue, since that which had a beginning in time must have an end in time; that since the Son comes forth from the Father, and the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, a time must come when these later manifestations, however glorious, must cease to be; that, in point of fact (to put the objection in the form so familiar fifteen hundred years ago), "Though great is the only-begotten, yet greater is he that begat."

This suggestion seems at first sight to be countenanced by much that we read in Theosophical

teachings as to what is to occur at that far-distant period in the future when all that exists shall once more be merged in the infinite - when even "the Son himself shall become subject to Him that put all things [157] under him, that God may be all in all." Of that great consummation of the ages it is obvious that in reality we know, and can know, nothing; yet if, remembering the well-known occult aphorism, "As above, so below," we endeavour to lift our minds in its direction by the help of analogies in microcosmic history which are less hopelessly beyond our grasp, we are not without some evidence that, even taken in this highest and sublimest sense, the confident words of our Creed may still be justified, as we shall presently see.

But it is evident that this utterance, like all the rest of the document, is primarily to be interpreted as referring to our own solar system and those Three Aspects of its Logos which to us represent the Three Great Logoi; and assuredly they may be regarded as aeonially eternal, for, so far as we know, they existed as separate aspects for countless ages before our system came into being, and will so exist for countless ages after it has passed away.

And after all he would be but a superficial thinker to whom it would be necessary to prove  that as regards the work of the evolution of man, at any rate, "in this Trinity none is greater or  less than another"; for though it is true that the spirit of man is directly the gift of the Father, since it comes to him in that third [158] outpouring which is of the essence of the First Aspect of the Logos, yet it is also true that no individual vehicle could ever have been evolved to receive that spirit without the long process of the descent into matter of the monadic essence, which is the outpouring of the Second Aspect, the Son; and assuredly that descent could never have taken place unless the way had been prepared for it by the wonderful vivifying action of the Third Aspect, the Holy Ghost, upon the virgin matter of the cosmos, which alone made it possible that, for us men and for our salvation, He should become "in­carnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary."



So that all three of the forms of action were equally necessary to the evolution of humanity,  and thus it is that we are so clearly taught to recognize that among them "none is afore or after other," either in point of time or of importance, since all must equally be acting all the while in order that the intended result may be brought about; thus it is that we are equally bound to all by ties of deepest gratitude, and that to us therefore it remains true that "the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal," the upper triad which forms the Individuality of the Solar Logos Himself. [159]

I said that there seemed some evidence to show that, even in the highest and remotest sense, this glorious Trinity would remain co-eternal together. For undoubtedly the principles in man which correspond to its Three Persons are those which we have been in the habit of calling  atma, buddhi, manas - the spirit, the intuition, and the intellect. Whether those Sanskrit names were wisely chosen, whether their real meaning in the East is at all identical with that which we have learnt to attach to them, I am not concerned to discuss now. I am using them simply as they have always been used in our literature, to indicate certain well-known and distinguishable principles. And I say that, although we know nothing whatever (of our own knowledge) about the universal cessation of manifestation when all that is has been once  more withdrawn into its central point, we have some small amount of direct evidence as to the corresponding process of withdrawal towards the centre in the case of the microcosm, man.



We know how after each incarnation a partial withdrawal takes place, and how, though each personality in turn seems entirely to disappear, the essence and. outcome of all that is gained in each of them is not lost, but persists through the [160] ages in a higher form. That higher form, the individuality, the reincarnating ego, seems to us the one thing really permanent amidst all  the fleeting phantasmagoria of our lives; yet at a certain rather more advanced stage of our  evolution our faith in its permanence as we have known it will receive a severe and sudden  shock.

After a man has passed far enough upon his way to have raised his consciousness fully and definitely into that ego, so as to identify himself entirely with it, and not with any of the transient personalities upon whose long line he can then look back as mere days of his higher life, he begins gradually but increasingly to obtain glimpses of the possibilities of a still subtler and more glorious vehicle - the buddhic body.

At last there comes a time when that body in turn is fully developed - when in full consciousness he is able to rise into it and use it as before he used his causal body. But when, in his enjoy­ment of such extended consciousness, he turns to look down from outside upon what has for so long been the highest expression of him, he is startled beyond measure to find that it has dis­appeared. This that he had thought of as the most permanent thing about him has vanished like a mist-wreath; he has not left it behind him to resume at will, as it has long been his [161] custom to leave his mind-body, his astral body, and his physical encasement; it has simply to all appearance ceased to exist.

Yet he has lost nothing; he is still himself, still the same individuality, with all the powers and faculties and memories of that vanished body - and how much more! He soon realizes  that though he may have transcended that particular aspect of himself, he has yet not lost it; for not only is its whole essence and reality still a part of himself, but the moment he  descends in thought to its plane once more, it flashes into existence again as the expression of  him upon that plane - not the same body techni­cally, for the particles which composed the  former one are dissipated beyond recall, yet one absolutely identical with it in every respect, but newly called into objective existence simply by the turning of his attention in its direction.

Now to say that in such a man the intellect was lost would indeed be a marvel of misrepresentation; it is in existence as definitely as ever, even though it has been spiritualized and raised to the buddhic plane. And when at a still later stage his consciousness transcends even the buddhic plane, can we doubt that all the powers both of intuitional wisdom and intellect will still be at his command, even though an infinity be added to them? [162]

Perhaps it may be somewhere along the line of thought which is thus suggested that it will be found possible to harmonize these apparently contradictory ideas - that all which exists must one day cease to be, and yet that "the whole Three Persons are co-eternal together and co­equal, so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped."

And so this first half of the Athanasian Creed ends as it began, with a clear straightforward statement which leaves nothing to be desired: "He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity."



We then pass on, just as in the other Creeds, to a further elaboration of the doctrine of the descent of the Second Person of the Logos into matter, which is also declared to be a prerequisite for aeonian progress: "Furthermore, it is neces­sary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Then our writer proceeds carefully and metho­dically to define his position in this important matter: " For the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds, and [163] man, of the substance of his mother, born in the world."

This part of the subject was so fully considered in the earlier part of this volume when dealing with the Nicaean symbol that it is hardly neces­sary to dwell much upon it here, since this is simply a fuller and more explicit form of the statement of the dual aspect of the Christ, show­ing how He, the alone-born, the first of all the aeons or emanations from the Father, was absolutely of one substance with the Eternal and identical with Him in every respect, while yet in his later form He had just as truly and really taken upon himself the vesture of this lower matter, and so was "incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary," as has been previously explained. And in this latter form it is particular­ized that He had not existed" before the worlds" or ages began, but was "born in the world" - ­that is, that his descent into incarnation had taken place at a definite and comparatively re­cent period within this age - that is to say, within the life of the solar system. The Latin word saeculum does not, of course, mean "world" at all, but "world-period" or "age."

As we know from the accounts which are called by courtesy the "history" of the Christian Church, there had been those to whom this idea of duality had been a stumbling-block - who had [164] deemed it impossible that conditions differing so widely and entirely could both be manifestations of the same great power; and so our Creed insists with emphasis upon the actual identity and indivisibility of the Christos. We are told that He is "perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting "­that is, consisting of the intellect as well as of the lower principles; that He is" equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, yet inferior to the Father as touching His manhood" - equal to Him in every way, save only that He has de­scended this one step further, and in thus becoming manifest has for the time limited the full expression of that which yet He is in essence all the while.



Yet in all our consideration of this never must we for a moment lose sight of the underlying unity; "for although He be God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; one, not by the conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of the manhood into God." However  deeply involved in matter the Christ-principle may become, it remains the Christ-principle still,  just as the lower self in man is ever funda­mentally one with and an aspect of the higher,  however wide apart from it it may sometimes [165] seem when looked at from below; and the  writer further makes clear to us that this is to be regarded as finally and absolutely proved not  chiefly because its origin is one, as though the Godhead has been brought down to the human  level, but rather by the even more glorious fact that in the future they will once again become  consciously one, when all the true essence of the lower and all the quality that it has developed from latency into action shall be borne back triumphantly into the higher, and thus shall be achieved the grandest conception that any doctrine has ever given us - the true and full at-one-ment," the taking of the manhood into God."

Fundamentally, essentially one are they, "one altogether, not by confusion" (that, is com­mingling or melting together)" of substance, but by unity of person" - a unity which has been a fact in Nature all the time, if we could but have seen it just as, once more, the lower and the higher self are one, just as the physical body is one with the soul within it, because it is after all an expression and an aspect of it, however defective - "for as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ."

"Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; [166] he ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead." These clauses call for no special notice here, since they are simply a reproduction of those upon which we have already so fully commented in writing of the earlier Creeds, though we may just observe in passing that here we have no mention of the myths of Pontius Pilate and the crucifixion.

Indeed on the whole this, the longest and perhaps latest of the Creeds, is remarkably free from the corrupting influence of the tendency which we have called (c); the only really bad instance of it occurs in the neat clauses, which are obviously a blundering refer­ence to the critical period of the fifth round. "At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works; and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting" (that is, as usual, aeonian), "and they that have done evil into everlasting fire."

The writer is quite accurate in supposing that the judgment in the fifth round will be passed upon men when they rise again with their bodies - that is, when they reincarnate; but he is in error in associating this with the messianic myth of the return of a personal Christ. Again, [167] he is right in asserting that life for the rest of the aeon awaits those who successfully pass the tests, but wrong in dooming those who fail to the crucible of the aeonian fire - a fate reserved solely for those personalities which have been definitely severed from their egos.

These unhappy entities (if entities they may still be called) pass into the eighth sphere, and  are there resolved into their constituent elements, which are then ready for the use of worthier  egos in a future age. This may not inaptly be described as falling into aeonian fire; but more accurate knowledge would have shown the writer that this could happen only to lost personalities - never to individualities; and that the fate of those who are rejected in the fifth round will be aeonian delay only, and not aeonian fire, since they will remain in a subjective but by no means unhappy condition until nature offers another opportunity of a kind by which they are capable of profiting.

Our Creed ends with a repetition of the state­ment with which it commenced: "This is the Catholic faith, which except a man believe faith­fully he cannot be saved." The Treves edition of the Quicunque gives us a much modified form of this verse; but, as we have said before, when we recognize definitely what it really means, we have no reason to shirk the most [168] positive statement of what we see to be an important truth in nature.

And so we take our leave of these time-honoured formulae of the Christian Church, hoping that such fragmentary exposition as it has here been possible to make of them may have at least this much result, that if it happens in the future to any of our readers to hear or to take part in their recitation, they may bring to them a deeper interest and a fuller compre­hension, and so derive from them a greater profit than ever before. [169]



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