The Rosicrucian Fellowship
An International Association of Christian Mystics
Our Work in the World
(excerpts from Teachings of an Initiate, pp. 141 - 145)
Lately there has come to us a realization that the work of the Rosicrucian Fellowship is not our private work; it is the work of the Elder Brothers and every member of the Fellowship. In the accomplishment thereof is a wonderful opportunity for soul growth, and we have no more right to arrogate it to ourselves than we have to deprive members of material food; we must give all the opportunity to aid in the work physically, mentally, or financially according to time, talent, and ability. We also realize that unless we do, the work will be undone, and we shall be unprofitable servants of the Elder Brothers, for the burden is heavier than we can bear; and to prosper, the Great Work requires many laborers. I will therefore give in this lesson a history of the work to date, so that students may be able to view the future work in its true perspective. This will necessitate a liberal use of the capital "I", and students will kindly bear with me in this matter, for no one dislikes introduction of the personal element more than the writer, but in the present case it seems unavoidable.
We have set down in our literature as an axiomatic teaching that every object in the visible universe is the embodiment of pre-existent invisible thought; that Fulton built a steamboat and Bell a telephone in thought before these things were manufactured in wood and metal. Likewise, an author plans a book in his mind before writing. A Mystery Order must also frame its spiritual philosophy to meet the necessities of the people it is deputized to serve. That work may require centuries. As the work of scientific investigators is carried out in the seclusion of their laboratories, as their tentative conclusions calculated to foster the intellectual advancement of the race are withheld from the masses until proven to the best of the scientists' ability, so also the spiritual teachings intended to foster soul growth among a class of people are kept from the many until their efficacy has been demonstrated in the case of the few.
As inventions, theories, or projects some time pass the experimental stage and are rejected unless fitted for general use, so also a spiritual teaching must either reach a point of completion where it may be launched for general service in the world's work, or else die. Thus it has been with the Western Wisdom Teachings formulated by the Rosicrucian Order to blend with the ultra-intellectual mind of Europe and America. Our revered Founder and the twelve Elder Brothers whom he selected to aid him in the work centuries ago probably first made a retrospective study of the trend of thought during our era, and it may be, for millenniums before, and thus they were able to obtain a fairly accurate conception of the direction likely to be taken by the minds of future generations and determine their spiritual requirements. Be their method what it may have been, their conclusions were right when they judged that "pride of intellect, intolerance, and impatience of restraint" would be the besetting sins of our day; and they formulated their philosophy so that it satisfies the heart at the same time that it appeals to the intellect and teaches man how to escape restraint by mastering self. The thousands of appreciate letters from people all over the world, in the highest ranks and in the lowliest walks of life, attest the great soul hunger and the satisfaction that all classes of people find in this teaching. But as time goes on, fifty years, a century or two hence, when scientific discoveries have given color to more of the things stated in the "Cosmo-Conception," when intellects have become yet broader, the Rosicrucian teachings will give satisfaction of soul to millions of enlightened spirits.
This being the case, you will appreciate the care which the Elder Brothers must take before confiding so important a message to anyone, particularly as such a teaching may only be given out at certain times. As the seed of plants is planted at the beginning of the yearly cycle, so also must a philosophical seed such as that of the Rosicrucian teachings be planted and the book published in the first decade of the century, which commences a new cycle, or the opportunity is lost till the next cycle rolls around. One messenger had proven faithless by 1905. Then the Brothers turned to myself, and entrusted the teachings to me after I had passed a certain test in 1908. The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception was published in November, 1909, a little more than a year before the end of the first decade. Friends had edited the original manuscript and did splendid work, but I had of course to revise it before giving it to the printer. Then I read the printer's proof, corrected and returned it, reread it after mistakes had been rectified, read it again after the type had been divided into pages, gave instructions to engravers about the drawings and to the printer about placing them in the book, etc. I was up at six and toiled on till twelve, one, two, or three in the morning for weeks amid endless confusion with tradesmen and the roar of Chicago about my ears, sometimes almost reaching the limit of nervous endurance. Still I kept my faculties together and wrote many new points into the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. Had it not been for the support of the Brothers I must have gone under. It was their work, however, and they saw me through. All that I was expected to do was to work to the limit of my endurance and ability and leave the rest to them, yet I was almost a wreck when the strain was past.
Now, perhaps you will understand my attitude towards the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. I admire and marvel at its wonderful teaching more than anyone else, and can do so without violating proper modesty for the book is not mine--it belongs to humanity.
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