ON LOVE; PART MCCCIII
FIRST IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
WHAT THEN IS LOVE? In a general sense love is benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. While this IS from an older definition of Charity, which IS rendered in the King James Bible from the same Greek word agape which IS generally rendered as Love, we should amend our own definition here to include the idea that in the reality of Love a man will accord to ALL men ALL things that he would accord to himself and to say that Love IS our thoughts and attitude of the equality of ALL men regardless of their outward nature or appearance…that ALL ARE equally children of Our One God.
PLUS THE EVER IMPORTANT AND HIGH IDEAL TAUGHT TO US BY THE CHRIST: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
We ended the last essay with some personal notes regarding our view of the One Truth that IS God and the True idea of relating to Him. It IS because of the limitations of the finite human mind that God IS addressed in a personal way and because of this the whole idea of God IS become distorted as He IS seen by most as a man of sorts although He DOES tell us that “God is
a Spirit” (John 4:24) as He shows himself as a Spiritual Being throughout the bible. But God IS yet more than this idea of Spirit as defined by men who see Him as an individual Entity with Power over ALL that IS; God IS ALL things, He IS in ALL things and ALL things exist within Him. This IS God Transcendent and God Immanent and we should try to see here that it IS ONLY his Transcendent nature that IS even glimpsed by the Christian doctrinal approach to Him. This IS despite the teaching of the Master who shows us God Immanent in necessarily obscure words; obscure NOT to hide the Truth but obscure because there IS NO basis for human understanding 2000 years ago and little more in the Christian community today. While the ideas of the occult and the esoteric thoughts of those who peer beyond the doctrines of men ARE shunned by the church, it IS in these that the greater Truth of God can be found, a Truth that IS but heresy to the doctrinal church and especially to their leaders who would be seen as wholly wrong in their approach should such teaching be accepted. And while there ARE many different approaches that could be lumped together regarding the so called occult schools of thought, this IS rally NO different than the many doctrinal approaches to the One Truth that IS God. Our point here IS NOT that one should embrace the occult although one’s eyes could be opened by such an experience; our point IS that men should look beyond those doctrines into which that ARE indoctrinated, ofttimes from a very early age. A clearer view of God IS offered by one such occultist who tells us that God IS:
“One Boundless Immutable Principle; one Absolute Reality which, antecedes all manifested conditioned Being. It is beyond the range and reach of any human thought or expression“***.
It IS this sense of God that controls an equally boundless Universe that reaches NOT ONLY into Infinity from a physical perspective but also from the perspectives of dimensions of Energy. Above and below our physical realm where E=mc² IS become the standard, there ARE countless variations of energy vibration which, in our view of the Godhead, ARE equally Infinite. Add to this idea of Infinite the equally mystical idea of Eternal and we have a picture of God, a picture which can be seen in every part of His Infinite and Eternal Universe. Comparing the visual reality of God which we see as we look into the night sky with the common idea of a personality of God who doctrines often show us as sitting on a throne, we can perhaps understand why so many ARE NOT involved with doctrinal religion. By generation, category statistics show us that the percentage of persons identifying as atheist, agnostic or as nothing in particular IS rising sharply as those identifying as belonging to a particular religion IS in decline. Add to this the way that many who DO affiliate with a religious denomination or sect, do so in a superficial way and we can perhaps see the increasing secularism of the world’s population. While these ideas ARE generalities which vary by religion and geography, they ARE nonetheless True as an overall look at religion in the world today. In a simpler world when men were ‘bound’ to their religion and its doctrinal perspectives. There was once a sense of their ‘need’ to DO as their denomination directed but these days ARE largely over. Then, the religious ‘authority’ of the church held its members under that authority and while many DID not affiliate with any religion, their reasoning seems to be more a matter of belief than today’s strong disagreement with both the authority and the precepts. Both then and now the idea of the church IS to proselytize as most see themselves as God’s representatives and while there ARE some that DO go into and remain in ministry for selfish reasons, the majority seem to believe what it IS that they teach. It IS the teaching however that dissuades many as there IS NO logical idea nor IS there one that IS consistent from denomination to denomination and sect to sect with some soundly rebuking the teachings of others. We should understand here how that one’s nurturing and indoctrination play a large part in a man’s religious beliefs and it IS those whose doctrinal perspective IS strong that remain in a particular division of the church. Others have no such perspective or have let it erode because there was NO conviction but few there ARE that seek the Truth outside of the doctrinal churches. Some wander from denomination to denomination while others ‘try’ other religions but the doctrinal ideas of men have pervaded most ALL. Then there ARE those who ARE attracted to the occult and to its esoteric studies of God; such studies ARE based in a science that IS ill understood and here too there IS the sense of doctrine that has crept into their own denominational approach to God. As there ARE good and bad perspectives on ‘normal’ religion, there ARE good and bad approaches in esoteric studies and these two groups have much more in common than they will admit.
The point of all this IS that there ARE few that teach the wholeness of the Master’s Truth without their own particular doctrinal machinations. In the end it IS His words that Truly matter and while both doctrinal religion and esoteric studies may occasionally produce a True disciple most participants
ARE lost in their own sense of fulfillment. The missing idea in most ALL approaches to the Lord IS the Truth of agape and while the Master teaches this and His apostles show us the importance of it, few there ARE that can Truly understand what it Truly represents or its application in this world. While the Master’s words may NOT mean anything to the secular world or to the other world religions, they DO nonetheless encompass the singular Truth toward which ALL men, as Souls in this world strive. That few can overcome the vanity, the illusion and the glamour, to see as the Soul, IS the product of the vanity itself but overcoming IS ever the driving force in the existence of everyman. It IS the Soul that strives here but there must be a willingness to let one’s inner self exist in the outside world and, to be sure, that existence IS perforce in accord with His words which ARE but a reiteration of the eternal Truth of agape presented to the world with this idea of Love as the center point. In the Old Testament agape IS shown us as a principle which IS expressed in DOING according to the commandments but this principle was overshadowed by the doctrinal ideas of the law which centered ONLY on the DOING and the sacrifices required to ameliorate the effect of wrong-doing on the psyche of a man. In the New Testament taught us by the Master and His apostles the idea of DOING IS supplanted by the process of agape by which one would NOT DO those things that ARE contrary to the law and the expansion of the law found in Jesus’ teaching. This sense of agape IS unconditional and while this has always been the case, it was never given us in such detail as to show us the extent of its expression as in the Master’s words saying “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“. And while the doctrines of men teach that ‘salvation‘ IS the ‘free gift‘ of God based in their doctrinal formulas, that men ARE sons of God by way of their affirmations and confessions, Jesus tells us that it IS by His words here “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5:44-45). In these words we have the essence of agape in the form of the very nature of God, a nature captured by the apostle’s words saying that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). These words from the Apostle Peter show us NOT ONLY the nature of God but the commandment of agape as it IS by this realization that he comes to KNOW the equality of ALL men and then to express this Truth. The Apostle Paul gives us this same idea of the nature of God but DOES NOT bring it into focus as the necessary way of men; he tells us clearly that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11) but relies upon us to KNOW that His nature should be expressed by man. The Apostle James however DOES bring this to the human level saying that “if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:9).
This IS the crux of agape but this IS little understood under the common ideas that ARE applied to Love. We have often said that the Truth of agape understood as Love IS beyond the common understanding that men currently apply to this Greek word even as they call this the ‘God kind of Love’. As a term this IS rather meaningless without the understanding that agape IS NOT at ALL related to the mental and emotional attraction and attachment that men have for others of for things. This mental and emotional ‘feeling’ of Love IS purely physical regardless of how it IS applied and when this feeling IS extended to others where there IS apparently NO attraction and attachment it IS in reality a form of compassion which, while still a physical endeavor, IS closer to the reality of agape. It IS in this idea of others that True agape can be seen at work and the impetus behind such an expression IS perforce that one has NO “respect to persons“, that one sees ALL men in the same way. This view of ALL humanity however IS NOT based in the physical, the ‘natural‘ as the Christian likes to say; it IS based in KNOWING some measure of the One Truth that IS our God and our ability to see our own Life in Him according to Paul’s words saying “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). It IS from this perspective that one can have that realization of Oneness which IS a realization of the Truth that comes to the man whose focus IS upon the Godhead, and here again we should see Jesus’ words from out trifecta of Spiritual reality which we repeat saying:
- “If ye If ye continue in my word , then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
- “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
- “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).
The Truth of this focus IS founded in keeping His words as the source of Truth; this IS the stepping stone to ALL Truth and the foundation of True Love which we see in His words above as a necessary component to Truly Loving the Lord. This test of Love IS missed by the doctrinal church where the idea of keeping His words IS NOT seen with the same importance that Jesus places upon it as He even takes opportunity to show us that “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings“. ALL of this IS of course lost in the doctrinal wranglings surrounding their adoption of the words of Paul, misunderstood and misapplied words that show the doctrinal thinker that he IS ‘saved‘ through adherence to what Jesus words should show us ARE the “commandments of men“. Jesus words, which He quotes from the Prophet Isaiah, should show us the timelessness of this saying that “in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9); it IS in this timelessness that we should see the effect of these words and ALL Jesus’ warnings to the Jews on the Christian era, an effect that IS NOT seen by the church which exists in its own sense of vanity, its own sense of illusion and glamour. The doctrinal church has created its own reality in which their interpreted ideas from the words of Paul supersede and dilute most ALL of the Master’s pronouncements of Truth; and this for the psychic comfort of the man in the world, a comfort through which he believes that he can exist eternally as that man. And theories abound regarding how this will work as men take literally a variety of sayings from the Master and His apostles while at the same time NOT taking literally such words as we have in our trifecta. Here we should add that the various literal views of doctrines DO NOT agree as each denomination and sect sees the words from a different perspective as most ALL fail to understand that they ARE parabolic in nature; most ALL seem to deny the Truths that ARE clearly stated for us. Here again our example IS in our trifecta which shows us the eternal quid pro quo, the same basic eternal message that we read in Moses’ words from 1500 years earlier: “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). The Jews took the simplicity of the Ten Commandments and the ancillary ideas propounded by Moses into their mitzvah, their 613 commandments which became the doctrines of the Jews. In their simplicity the reality of the Ten was simply a broader look at the Great Commandments which Moses iterated as he tried to show that the basis for ALL IS Love, Love for the Lord and Love for one’s neighbor. Here, if we should look at the commandments that deal with GoodWill and with Right Human Relations we can then glimpse the crux of the Law which has been lost in the vanity and hidden by the doctrines of men.
There IS a simplicity to the reality of agape and the seemingly more complex Truth behind the Hebrew word ahab. This simplicity however IS hidden from view as the focus of men IS ever carnal; it IS in the spiritual view that the realization of the Truth of agape IS revealed. This reality IS found in our KNOWLEDGE of God, of His True nature as the “One Boundless Immutable Principle; one Absolute Reality” in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being“. It IS the reality of this Oneness that defines agape and it IS in this Oneness that the nature of God as “no respecter of persons” shows us a Truth that the doctrines of men refuse to see. This refusal IS become a part of the doctrinal idea that the Christian has a ‘special’ relationship with God and here we should see the same mistake that was made by the Jews who see themselves as ‘chosen‘ based in the misapplied idea taken from Moses saying that “thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” . The Jews failed to temper this idea with the reality that follows as Moses tells us that they ARE the ‘chosen‘ “which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:6, 9) and the clearly stated quid pro quo that “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth“(Deuteronomy 28:1). In Christianity the same idea of ‘chosen‘ has served to confuse as denominations and sects take different ideas away from the Master’s words saying such things as “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you” (John 15:16) which on its face IS contrary to the singular Truth that “there is no respect of persons with God“. Men have NOT understood the deeper message which underlies this idea of ‘chosen‘ from the Christian perspective as they confuse this with Moses address to a nation, that they can become that “special people” if they will “hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God“. The message of the Christ and His apostles IS quite different as the Master shows us the Truth of God Immanent; this Immanent God IS the Spirit of everyman manifest as his Soul. It IS this aspect of the Universal Godhead that ‘chooses‘ to follow the Lord and whensoever the carnal mind can have realization of some measure of the Truth, this becomes his Path. It IS NOT the carnal man that ‘chooses‘, it IS rather the carnal man that must allow himself to be ‘chosen‘ as a vehicle for the expression of Love and Truth. The whole of this idea IS presented to us by Jesus as He speaks in rather obscure terms saying such things as “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4) which doctrines erroneously attribute to the ‘special’ status of the Christian who by his doctrinal choice affirms and confesses the Lord. Doctrines overlook that the very idea of His abiding in a man IS shown to us in His words from our trifecta saying “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him“. There IS NO shortcut save in the minds of men whose carnal view has produced the doctrines that keep them at arm’s-length from the Truth and from the Lord.
Here in these words the idea of His abiding IS NOT a selective one that depends ONLY on one’s performance of his part. Here again we must remind that because “there is no respect of persons with God” there CAN NOT be any form of selection of this man or that man but rather a realization of one’s own Soul as the Master of his Life; this IS the realized effect of “Christ in you“. We should remember Paul’s words here that show us this mystery, a mystery “which hath been hid from ages and from generations” (Colossians 1:27, 26), and try to understand the difficulty in showing the carnal man, which idea includes the Christian and the religious Jew, spiritual ideas that ARE beyond his ability to comprehend them. The Way to this understanding, the Way to comprehending such spiritual ideas, however IS NOT left for us as a mystery but rather in the singular idea of agape which IS well defined for us in such ideas as Jesus words saying “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The clarity here IS indisputable yet men dispute the Master’s meaning based solely in their carnal view of Life and in such ideas we have the deeper essence of having NO “respect to persons“. In Jesus’ words here we ARE taught to see the friend and the enemy with the same eye and the same sense of agape. Doctrines interpret Jesus’ words on agape here in various ways including the idea of no retribution and DOING good which John Gill frames for us as: give good words, use kind language, mild and soft expressions; such as may either win upon them, or put them to shame and silence in regard to blessing; and, toward those that hate you: do not make returns in the same way, but on the contrary, do them all the good you can; perform all the kind offices that lie in your power; let them partake of your bounty and liberality; if poor, feed, clothe, and supply them, as you are able, with the necessaries of life; and give them wholesome advice for the good of their souls: by “so doing”, you will “heap coals of fire on their heads” 8. The very ideas of shame and silence and to heap coals of fire on their heads IS contrary to the Master’s point which tells us to see the friend and the enemy in the same way….with the same single eye focused upon the Truth. While Paul DOES use this idea of “coals of fire“, it IS NOT in the same way as Mr. Gill implies above; Mr. Gill IS telling us that it IS in one’s DOING good that one IS in a way being retributive while Paul IS showing us that in treating the friend and the enemy the same, the enemy will feel that pang of what IS being DONE. The Apostle Luke expands upon Jesus’ words on Love telling us the Master’s words as:
“Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:30-36).
In these words we NOT ONLY have the directive to Love, to express agape, but some ideas on the Way to DO so that take us beyond the ideas that we should “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you“. Here in Luke’s version we have such ideas as giving to ALL men and then letting go which IS shown as a sign of True agape. Luke shows us the reality of the expression of agape with NO “respect to persons” as he shows how the Master equates the intended expression of agape by men with that of the Lord who IS “kind unto the unthankful and to the evil“. We should note here as well the way that lending and giving ARE intertwined and this in the spirit that one “Give to every man that asketh of thee“. If we can tie this to Matthew’s version of the Master’s words on treasure, mammon and the Truth of “take no thought” we can perhaps see the message that ALL carnal things must become disposable as one focuses upon the things of God. Another part of one’s expression of agape relies upon one’s focus upon the things of God, a focus that IS NO longer upon the self and the things of the self. This IS the further message from the Master’s words that we have been discussing from His Sermon on the Mount, words that point us away from the self and the vanity of Life in this world, words that point us toward a focus upon the things of God. Jesus tells us:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:19-25).
Through these words and their message of one’s focus upon the things of God we should be able to see that so long as one’s focus IS upon the self, the treasure and the mammon rightly understood, one will NOT and likely CAN NOT Truly “love thy neighbour as thyself“. In the midst of one’s focus on the self, his things and his betterment in this world, one CAN NOT see with clarity his neighbor; in the selfishness of self one will NOT likely even seek to fulfill the commandment saying “as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise“. We should understand here that such focus on the self IS sin and IS evil as this stands against the first Great Commandment that clearly tells us that our focus must be upon God. Can we see the point here? Can we see men’s failure to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” IS founded in their focus upon “treasures upon earth” and their servitude to mammon as they strive for success as men; a striving which stretches to every carnal endeavor including those that many in the church believe ARE spiritual despite their reliance upon the me, and the I that remains at the center point of their lives. These ARE difficult ideas to grasp as men but as the Light of the Soul begins to enlighten the mind, the task at hand becomes clearer and the Way clearer and here we should understand that were this singular focus upon the things of God NOT necessary for the fullness of one’s expression of agape, the Master would NOT have told us that they were. That the various doctrines of men deny the Master’s Truths, some rather vehemently, in favor of their doctrines of grace, their doctrines that tell us that Jesus DID it ALL for us and that there IS NO longer a burden of sin on the man who believes DO NOT change the Truth of His words. When viewed from a Truer spiritual angle we should be able to see that the Soul, the True man that IS cast into this vanity, IS essentially lost but ALL men ARE NOT equally lost. Much of the individual journey IS based in one’s past as a Soul and the idea of spiritual collateral which IS based in one’s ability to live in some measure of the Light of the Soul in previous incarnations. This too IS vehemently opposed by the doctrinal church who sees the result of their being cast into the vanity of Life as their True Life and while they speak of spiritual matters in regard to this Life, their pursuits ARE largely carnal. Our point here however IS NOT a debate on reincarnation nor the related ideas of a heaven or hell based upon one’s single Life here, our point here IS ONLY to say that our success here IS ONLY based in our ability to express agape, rightly understood, and that this IS the True message of the gospels and the writings of the apostles. Jesus tells us that there ARE few who DO succeed and here we should try to understand that this idea of success IS the ‘prize’ for the man who can Truly have that singular focus upon the things of God, the man who can Truly lay hold to the honor of True discipleship which the Master defines for us in terms that ARE ignored by the church.
It IS ever one’s ability to Truly express agape that IS the dividing line between the disciple and a one who strives toward discipleship and we should understand here that this one who strives toward that goal IS the True aspirant regardless of his religious affiliations. The need to be “born again” according to the doctrines of men IS a moot point to the man who Truly strives as he realizes the ultimate reality of that idea of Truly being “born of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5).
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 8 Bible commentaries on BibleStudyTools.com
- ** A Treatise on Cosmic Fire by Alice A Bailey © 1951 by Lucis Trust
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher