The destiny of man is to travel upward forever towards the All Perfect, understanding all below him. He travels from ignorance towards All Knowledge; from darkness towards All Light; from helplessness towards All Power; from love turned inward, nurturing the self that is himself only, towards love turned inward towards the Father and away from self, and outward towards all beings and all things within the created universe.
Before man can do this he must first know the opposites. How can he know wisdom, save he has been bound in ignorance? How can he know strength, save he has first been helpless? How can he know love, save he also know hate? How can he know kindness, save he know cruelty? How can he know sympathy and compassion and tenderness, save he has suffered under indifference? How can he know bliss, save he has known suffering and sorrow? How can he know job, save he has known grief? How can he know justice and mercy, save he has suffered the deep wrong of injustice? How shall he know courage save he has felt fear? How shall he know the power of love, power proceeding from love, moved by love, healing, creating, lifting up, save he know power set in motion by anger, hurting, desiring to destroy? Above all, how can he know the difference between All Light and the darkness of man's judgment; between the power of the All One, the Father, and the power of man deeming himself to be self-sufficient, unless he shall have pursued the course of his self-will to its limit and found himself utterly insufficient, his reason helpless, as before a blank wall, all his powers at nothing before the power of that which he knows not, but is greater than himself?
Were man to be told of these things they would not be truly his knowledge. The time would come when he might have reservations, perchance even disbelieving their existence. Were he to be taught of them by inspiration of so strong an order that he experienced them subjectively, they would still not be engraven upon his experience. His knowledge of them would be subjective still. This knowledge must be made objective in man, part of his very being and indissoluble from it, before he can become in full measure the vessel of the Father's wisdom, love and power. Were he to enter etherea without this knowledge he would be as one who did not know the foundations of existence. He could only say, if asked: 'I have been told'; or, perchance, 'I believe that these things are so.' Thus all men must gain this knowledge at first hand for themselves in the experience of their own beings.
That this might be was the earth created as it is, and man given individuality within it and liberty upon it to exercise his will and to pursue it to whatever limit he desires. Thus does he learn also another truth, which was and is that the Father has set sentinels upon every side of the way which leads upward, that man may know when he diverges. Among these sentinels are pain, disease, suffering and sorrow, all of which man encounters in growing measure if he turns aside from the Way, the path that leads upward.
Thus pursuing his way according to his own will and desires, and according also to the pressures upon him--those into which he entered at birth and those which surround him, both of earth and of atmospherea, all the days of his life--man enters deeply into the redemptive burden of the earth. If he is of high grade he adds little to that burden; rather he relieves it. But if he be of less grade, so that he is subjective to the darkness, he will increase the burden while on earth and also when he enters atmospherea, doing injury to others, both directly by his thoughts, words and actions, and indirectly because of the power of the conditions which he is instrumental in creating or setting in motion.
It will be understood that men on earth and in atmospherea can be placed in three categories at any one moment. Of these categories, two embrace those who are victims of the acts of others, while the third category comprises the inflictors of injuries.
Those who suffer injury may be divided into two classes: of the first class, those who, being strong in spirit, grown in grade, are not ruled over by the injury, but rule over it. The injury does not turn them downward or aside from the Way, the upward path; rather it strengthens their resolution to travel it. They suffer under the injury but to transmute it.
When such a man enters atmospherea he does not linger in the first resurrection. His grade swiftly takes him beyond it, to the second resurrection, the first Organic realm of being. In due time, when the time is ripe for aid to be given, when it can be effective, he will be instrumental in helping upward those who injured him. The link between him and them remains in the memories of both, even though seemingly forgotten over long periods of time, for it is of the nature of love, the love of All Light, and is revealed as such in due time.
Consider now the case of the man who is injured, whose grade and growth and strength of spirit is insufficient to enable him to transcend the injury and its effect upon him. The result in the case of that man is to place him under bondage according to the nature of the injury done him and the conditions it created. It may be he is turned aside from the upward path, travelling downward for a season into the darkness, thereby imposing upon himself added burdens which make yet more difficult his return to the upward path. Or, perhaps, he is already travelling the downward path, in which case the injury done him will increase the darkness of his condition, holding him more deeply in thrall to the bondage in which he is labouring, and which perchance, had he not been thus injured, he might be on the point of commencing to overcome.
Such men, thus injured by the thoughts, words or actions of others and by the conditions they have set in motion, exist in sufficient numbers on earth, but in very great numbers in the lower grades of the atmospherea heavens of the first resurrection. Such men, so bound, so handicapped, by anger, by injury, by ignorance, by error taught for truth, by countless such causes and combinations of them, cannot rise of themselves; they must be rescued.
This is the task of great companies, oft-times many millions in number, from the second resurrection heavens, who find means to reach them and take them away, either with or without their knowledge, to places where they can be restored. Here they are healed, taught, trained, given employment with great delight, developed in their faculties and talents, so that they become strong and full of delight. There, too, are they disciplined in the rule of life in those Organic heavens, which is that none labour by themselves, of themselves, for themselves, but all labour in the name and under the will and direction of the Father, whose voice there is heard and known within the soul. By this means do those who dwell there, and those who are brought there, learn to develop themselves in every possible way in working for the elevation of others, the while overcoming the limitations which had been theirs ere they were brought to that place.
Of the injured, thus rescued, this also shall be said: that if those who injured them are yet below the second resurrection heavens, either in atmospherea or on earth, they who were thus injured will be among those who, in time to come, shall lift up those who injured them.
The third category may now be considered, namely those who injure others by their thoughts, words, or acts, or by the conditions these create, or which are by them set in motion. In this it matters not whether the injury done is by intention or is done without their knowledge, for the effects in each case is the same. Nonetheless, where injury is done by intent, the burden upon the doer is greater, being engraved deeply upon his experience. Whereas in the case where injury is done without knowledge, the knowledge of it will not come to the doer perchance till long after. But come it must.
Such a man, or such groups of men, thus doing injury to others, entail no less like injury upon themselves. They, too, travel downward in the grades, for they have turned aside from the Way in their self-seeking, or by reason of the conditions of darkness to which they themselves are subjective.
As has been said, these conditions may be of many orders related to the past heritage of man on earth. They include both the negative darkness of ignorance and darkness in its positive form of thought-forces founded upon error, built up by the indulgence of angels and mortals in the dark opposites.
Thus do those thus pursuing their course pursue it to the end, that is, to the point at which they become broken down in sorrow and misery and helplessness and failure amidst the ruin of the objectives for which they had striven. They, too, cannot rise from the conditions in which they have thus bound themselves, for the farther they travelled away from All Light on the path that leads downward, the less were they able to discern or to respond to that light, or even find the capacity to believe that such a light exists, still less to call to the All Light, the Father, for rescue. Nonetheless their condition of sorrow, of anguish, of darkness, uttered its own call ceaselessly, so that it was recorded in high heaven. Then, when the time is ripe for aid to be given and receive--when rescue is desired above all else, in deep humility of sou--then is help sent. They, too, are carried up to a place prepared to receive them, a place prepared by millions of the Father's sons and daughters in the second resurrection heavens. To this place they are brought, and held within the healing light of the Father's living presence, there held and revealed in great power.
Under this light they see themselves for the first time as in truth they are. The whole of their past lies open before them in the magnitude of its darkness and in the consequences that have flowed out upon others through all that was done. Then are they broken down utterly, in the pride that had been theirs. Then is the faith in All Light, whose existence they had mocked and denied in their lives on earth and in heaven, made real within their beings. For such is the light thus held in that place that proof of its reality and its power is rendered with such majesty that none can gainsay it, or could find the desire to gainsay.
So purged, so held, in the light of that place, they know the Father and hear His Voice speaking to them in the silence of their souls.
It is as if the Voice has said: 'Come, my children. Long have you been awaited. Long have you tarried in the darkness on your way to me whom you knew not. Yet, though you knew me not, I knew you. By virtue of my life in you did you draw from me the power, in capacity, in judgement, and in will, to do what you did. Though you knew it not, in this you were my servants after all. You were as quarrymen who entered deeply into the darkness of the past, carrying it upon your shoulders and bringing it with you to me when your career in the darkness had ended. Now, in this holy place, I absolve you by my love, and through my very presence I lift from you the burden of the darkness, into which you had entered, all unknowing, in my service. And when you are purged of it and stand clear, you shall be aided and instructed in how its whole burden shall be undone, transmuted, dissipated, till it is as if it had never been. Thus you shall go forward, tempered in experience, purged in the fires of great sorrow and great trial, to become great workers to lift up your fellows who have suffered under your actions, that they may be set and raised on the upward path of my resurrections.'
In answer to the Father's Voice it was as if one spoke within the great light of that assembly; one as if bowed down in the majesty of that light, yet emboldened and enabled to speak by the power of the Father's love. 'O Father, we perceive thy wisdom and thy love, which were hidden from us in those days when we went forth to do our wills as we conceived them, believing ourselves to be our own to direct as we wished, not knowing we were thine, nor knowing that thou art. Had we known then, O Father, what we know now, we could not have done what we did. We perceive that in thy wisdom and thy love thou hast enabled us to become thy labourers without our knowing it. When we had thus gone to the limit of our capacity to endure, thou didst rescue us with thy mighty power. And now thou hast raised from our shoulders all the burden that was our burden, which we now see was thy burden in us, and thou hast absolved it forever by thy love. Nevermore shall we turn aside from thy path, O Father. Thou hast proven thyself to us, revealing thyself in the light of thy presence and in thy transcendent wisdom, love and power, and thou hast revealed to us also what it is to know thee and be one with thee, in thy hosts in this place, labouring for thee. And thou hast placed us among them and shown us the Way. Now will we travel it forever, O Father. Now will we join in the great companies of thy children who labour for thee in thy light, moved by thy love, revealing thee forever as thy presence grows greater within us.'
In such manner is the redemptive work undertaken and fulfilled within the earth and its atmospherean heavens. By this means is the darkness of the past forever being penetrated, transmuted, dissipated, that where darkness was in dominion All Light may rule. Thus is the redemptive burden which the present is adding also being dealt with, a process which will continue till, in the cycles of time, all the redemptive burden has been lifted and the great light of the second resurrection heavens, of the Organic realm of being, draws very close to man on earth, so that he lives and grows and fulfils free of the bondages, free of the consequences of error and ignorance which now entail upon him disease and suffering and premature death.
In this labour, never ceasing since the earth was and man with the heritage of everlasting life came into being, it is possible for mortal man to take a conscious and effective part. Of this more later.
Let it be known that this law of being holds good, in the atmospherean heaven even as on the earth: that if a man injures another, whether by intent or not, to that other he is bound. In time to come, whether that time be long or short, that injury must be redeemed. In this, as has been shown, oft-times the injured is the redeemer, being among those who rescue, lift up and release him by whom the injury was done. And in that time when the two meet face to face, without shadow between them, then is that which had been done as if it had never been. Its past is blotted out forever, without power to hurt, or to cause sorrow, or pain. More, it has become a cause of joy, for that link which lay between the two, the injurer and the injured, has become a link of love, a proven bond of great power, whose glory shall unfold in time to come.
Let this also be known and ever remembered. Man, of himself, does nothing, accomplishes nothing, in the realms of the real, nor does he redeem the darkness of himself or by himself. It is the Father, by His presence in him, His direct presence working, moving, acting, that redeems and absolves by His love, all that was, is, or ever shall be of shadow.