The Relation of Anthroposophy and Christianity
Rudolf Steiner, London, November 18, 1922:
At the present time, opposition to what I will call anthroposophical knowledge of the Spirit comes mainly from two sides. I alluded briefly in the lecture yesterday to the antagonism of natural scientific thinking which maintains that super-sensible knowledge is beyond the reach of human faculties. From this side, therefore, Anthroposophy is regarded as unworthy of any serious consideration.
We shall be more concerned today with opposition of a different character. It comes from people who feel that Anthroposophy deprives them and their fellow-believers of their inward connection with Christ. In their own way, such people are usually very devout Christians and it is from their very piety that the antagonism is born. They feel that man's relation to Christ should be the outcome of simple, naive devotion of the heart and soul and that this is disturbed and confused when intellectual knowledge is brought to bear upon the Christ Being. The one desire of such people is that the strivings of simple human hearts shall be left undisturbed by any attempt to speak of Christ in terms of intellectual understanding.
Due respect must, of course, be paid to such feelings. Nevertheless, in their attitude to Anthroposophy these people are entirely in error. If they realized the truth they would find that Anthroposophy helps them to tread the path to Christ; they would find that all the longings which draw them to Christ in simplicity and devoutness of heart are inwardly strengthened by what Anthroposophy has to say concerning Him.
I should like to illustrate this from different points of view. — We will think; to begin with, of the character of the religious life, of the religious consciousness of men in different epochs of human evolution on the Earth.
Let us go back to ancient times. — You will see later that this historical survey is not superfluous but will actually clear away many misunderstandings prevalent at the present time. Evidence and knowledge concerning these very ancient epochs cannot be obtained from historical documents but only through the methods of Spiritual Science of which I spoke yesterday, through the development of those faculties of inner perception described yesterday as the means whereby the supersensible nature of man and his supersensible destiny are revealed. We find that in these olden times, men were instructed by those who were disciples of the Mysteries. External documents have practically no information to give about the ancient Mysteries, for such indications as still exist are of very much later date and tell us nothing of what the Mysteries really were.
The Mysteries were centers of spiritual life and culture in which religion and science were a unity. Sheer veneration, superhuman in its intensity, went out from the pupils to their great teachers, or gurus, in these Mysteries. And when other men desired to satisfy their inner longings for religion, they turned to those who were the pupils of these teachers, receiving from them the knowledge of the universe and its laws which the disciples of the Mysteries had acquired through deep devotion. In order to throw light upon what, in the present age too, can be true piety and true veneration of Christ, I should like to speak briefly about the attitude and relation of a pupil in olden times to his guru or teacher in the Mysteries.
We find, first of all, that these teachers were regarded by their pupils as being divinely inspired. When they spoke with the fire of inspiration that had been kindled in them in the Mysteries and through the sacred rites, their pupils felt that the words were not uttered by men but that the Divine Powers of the universe were speaking out of human lips.
This was not a symbolic conception but an actual experience in the pupils of the ancient Mysteries. And you can imagine the depth and intensity of veneration in such a pupil when he knew that a Divine Being, a God — not a human being — was speaking to him through the lips of his teacher. Strange as it seems to us today, the following was the typical attitude of the pupils of the ancient Mystery teachings. — They held the view: In still earlier epochs of the evolution of mankind, in the initial stages of this evolution, divine-spiritual beings themselves descended — in the spiritual sense, of course — to the Earth. These divine-spiritual beings did not incarnate in bodies of flesh, but by way of spiritual knowledge entered into communion with those who were the first gurus, the first teachers in the Mysteries; and the primary instruction concerning what must be taught to men in order that they may enter into real connection with the spiritual world came from these divine-spiritual beings themselves. Thus it was held that the teachings once transmitted to men by the Gods themselves had passed down the generations to the disciples of the Mysteries in every epoch.
You will say this amounts to an assertion that the origin of human wisdom lies in supersensible worlds. But here we come to a domain that is still wrapped in complete obscurity. Think, for example, of the explanation usually given of the origin of speech. There are people who believe, in accordance with the Darwinian theory, that human speech has evolved from the sounds uttered by animals. But there are and have been men — above all it was so up to a comparatively recent past — who attribute a divine origin to human speech.
I shall not enlarge upon this particular point, for it would lead too far today. It is enough to say that what gave rise to these feelings of deep reverence in the disciples of the gurus was the conviction that the teachings received from their lips had once been imparted to mankind by the Gods themselves.
What was the aim and goal of this kind of discipleship? Discipleship itself consisted in this: the pupil gave himself up to his guru in utter veneration and devotion; the guru was the link connecting him with the spiritual worlds; this teacher was regarded as the one and only channel for the Divine. The pupil felt that whatever qualities he himself possessed, whatever powers he unfolded, were due to his teacher; he felt that he owed everything to his teacher. From the teacher he received instruction — primarily concerning the direction of his thoughts. His thoughts must not be concerned with the material world of sense, but through the power implanted in his soul by the guru, using what were then legitimate methods of suggestion, the heart and soul of the pupil were directed entirely to the supersensible. In acts of ordinary sense-observation, thoughts strike as it were against the external objects ... when we think about a table or a tree, our thought strikes against the table or the tree ... but under the influence of the guru the pupil's thoughts became translucent, so that he saw nothing that is in the physical world, but with the vision of thought he gazed into those supersensible worlds I described to you yesterday in terms of modern initiation-science. It was essential, too, for the pupil to experience the reality of these supersensible worlds, and to this end instruction was given him concerning speech. When we speak in ordinary life, we share with others thoughts that are either of our own shaping or have been conveyed to us in some way; in short, what flows into our speech has its origin in the physical world. The guru imparted to his pupil certain mantric utterances, words half-declaimed, half-spoken, the purpose of which was to educate him to pay attention not so much to the meaning of the words but rather to experience the currents of the divine cosmos itself in the flowing sentences. The mantra itself was uttered in such a way that the divine realities in the world and in the human being might pour through the words; the actual meaning of the words of the mantra was of no importance. Thus by making his thoughts translucent, the pupil was to become capable of beholding the Divine. When declaiming the mantras he was not to heed the meaning of the words, but the divine power streaming through them was to flow over into the acts performed in the sacred rites. The pupil's will was to be directed to the Divine through the rites and ceremonial. Even today you can find an indication of this in the Buddha posture. The position in which the limbs are held is quite unsuitable for earthly activities; indeed the human being is lifted away from the earthly world and, together with the acts he is performing inwardly, is led upward to the Divine.
What was the aim of such a procedure? The soul of the pupil, directed in this threefold way to the Divine, was to become capable of turning evil, sin, and human transgression in the direction of those supersensible worlds described to you yesterday. I told you that with modern initiation-science, too, man can penetrate into the worlds in which he lives as a being of soul-and-spirit before entering earthly existence; he descends from these worlds in order to unite with a body provided by the father and the mother, and when he has passed through the gate of death, returns thither to prepare for another life on Earth. The aim of these godlike teachers in the ancient Mysteries was not only to turn the gaze of the pupil toward the supersensible worlds but to kindle in him a force of thinking akin to prayer, a force born of the divine power flowing in the mantric utterances, a force of deepest veneration while performing the sacred rites. Imbued with this power the pupil was then able to turn the tide of sinfulness on the Earth toward the supersensible worlds. These pupils in turn imparted to other human beings what they themselves had been taught in the Mysteries, and thus the content of civilization in those ancient times took shape.
Now, upon what basic assumption did these teachings rest? The basic assumption was that the world in which man lives here on Earth does not, like the divine world, encompass his whole being. In those olden times the guru taught his pupil: This world in which you are living between birth and death comprises the other kingdoms of nature, but not the deeper being of man. And apart altogether from the conception that human activities between birth and death were fraught with sin, the pupil was taught to realize: None of my experiences here in the world between birth and death, none of the deeds I perform, are an expression of my full manhood, for that belongs to supersensible worlds.
Every pupil in those ancient times knew with complete certainty in certain moments of life that before descending to the Earth he had lived in a supersensible world and would return thither after death. This clarity of insight was due to a primitive, dreamlike clairvoyance which he need not acquire by effort since it was a natural faculty in all human beings. Thus the pupil knew: When my actions and life are concerned only with what exists here, on the physical Earth, my full manhood is not in operation. I must guide the forces within me to those spiritual worlds where they truly belong.
The aim of the ancient Mysteries was that by the ceremonial rites and the divine power flowing through the sounds of the mantras, the forces which man on the Earth cannot turn to good account in his actions should be led upward and away from the earthly world to the super-earthly, supersensible worlds — for it is there and there alone that man lives in the fullness of his being.
The gurus brought home to their pupils that when the human being has passed through the gate of death he knows that his actions and achievements on Earth fall short of what his full manhood demands; he knows that compensation must be made in the spiritual world for actions which on the Earth are full of imperfection and fraught with unwisdom.
Knowledge of the supersensible worlds includes the realization that what remains imperfect on the Earth can be raised nearer to perfection in the supersensible worlds.
But as we shall see, conditions in the days of the ancient Mysteries were quite different, and this difference must be recognized and understood today. The pupils in those olden days learned from their teachers that when man has passed through the gate of death and has lived for a certain time in the supersensible world, a sublime spiritual being comes before him, a sublime being whose outer expression is the Sun and its forms of manifestation. Hence the sages of the ancient Mysteries spoke of the Divine Sun Being. Just as we say that the soul of a man expresses itself in his physiognomy and play of countenance, so did the men of old conceive the Sun with its movement and forms of manifestation to be the physiognomic expression, the revelation, of the sublime Sun Being Who was hidden from their sight on Earth but Who came before them after their death, helping to make more perfect their shortcomings and imperfect achievements in earthly life. “In deepest piety of heart, put your trust in the sublime Sun Being Whom you cannot find on the Earth, Who will be found only in the spiritual worlds ... put your trust in the mighty Sun Being in order that after your death He may help you to take the right path through the spiritual world.” ... In such manner did the gurus of ancient times speak of the Being by Whom all the imperfections of men are made good.
When the time of the Mystery of Golgotha was approaching, this ancient wisdom had already fallen into decay; little of it remained, save traditions and vestiges here and there. But initiates in the old sense of the word still existed — men who clung with the same devotion and pious faith to the Divine Father God by whom in days of yore the divine messengers, the teachers of the first gurus, had been sent down to Earth. These initiates were well aware of the deep consolation that had been given to the pupils of the ancient Mysteries when they were told: After death you will find the sublime Sun Being — He Who helps you to transmute and make perfect all shortcoming of earthly life, Who takes away from you the bitter realization that you have fallen away from the Divine World-Order. Those who were initiates at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, however, knew that this same sublime Sun Being had come down to the Earth, had taken manhood upon Himself in Jesus of Nazareth, and since the death on Golgotha must be sought no longer in the supetsensible worlds but among men on the Earth. This was how the initiates spoke at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha and on into the third century of our era. To those who were willing to listen, they were able to say: The Being from Whom true healing comes and for Whom you are longing was within the reach of men in days of yore. Through a Divine Deed this Being came down to the Earth, into a human body, and has lived since then as a supersensible reality within the evolution of mankind. And whereas the pupils in olden times had been obliged to go to the Mysteries and there be stimulated by the sacred rites to lift their gaze to the supersensible world, men of later time must learn on the Earth itself to make direct connection with the Christ Being Who descended to the Earth and became man as other men.
Such was the mood and attitude kindled among men by those who were contemporaries of the Mystery of Golgotha and also by many who were initiates in the first three centuries of Christendom. Historical records have little help to offer because all real evidence of the teaching was exterminated. But supersensible perception as it was described to you yesterday leads to the knowledge that in the first three Christian centuries this was the attitude and feeling prevailing in men who were willing to listen to the initiates still living in those times ... And then this truly Christian feeling died away and must in our time be called to life again.
The veneration of the pupil for his guru in olden days had been a means whereby men had learned to look upward to the Divine. The teacher or guru was regarded as the channel by which the Divine streamed down to the Earth and as the one who, in turn, guided into the spiritual world the feelings of devotion and reverence in the human heart. These feelings and experiences passed along the stream of heredity from generation to generation and were guided by those who became the first teachers of Christianity — no longer to a guru in the old sense, but to the Christ Who had descended from spiritual worlds and in Jesus of Nazareth had taken manhood upon Himself. Few people today realize the deep inwardness and intensity of devotion which characterized these early teachers of Christianity.
This feeling of reverence and devotion continued through the centuries, directed now to the Being of Whom Christianity proclaimed that He had passed through the Death on Golgotha in order that henceforward mankind might find Him on Earth.
The goal and aim of the modern initiation-science of which I spoke to you yesterday is to approach this Christ Mystery, this Mystery of Golgotha, with true understanding.
Medieval Christianity was, it is true, pervaded by piety and religious devotion that were really like a continuation of the veneration paid to the gurus of old, but the dreamlike clairvoyance once possessed by human beings had faded away. Apart altogether from historical records, anthroposophical Spiritual Science is able to investigate the life of man as it was in those far distant ages of the past. At certain moments in their lives it was possible for human beings to pass into a state of dreamlike clairvoyance in which they became aware of the world from which they themselves had descended to their earthly existence. But this knowledge that the soul belongs to Eternity had gradually been lost. Under the influence of this knowledge men would never have been able to unfold consciousness of human freedom. Consciousness of freedom — which is an integral part of full manhood — was destined to arise in man when the time was ripe. The epoch when this feeling of freedom dawned was that of the Middle Ages; but by that time the old consciousness, which could never have experienced the reality of freedom, was fading away. For when man looked upward to his existence as a being of soul among other beings of soul in pre-earthly life, he was aware only of dependence, he had no feeling of freedom. The ancient clairvoyant vision of the spiritual world grew dim, and in this twilight condition of consciousness humanity unfolded that feeling of freedom which in our modern civilization has reached a certain climax. But in this condition the gaze of mankind could not penetrate into those supersensible worlds whence Christ had descended into Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore true Christian worship rested, to begin with, upon tradition; men relied upon historical tradition and upon the power that had come down through the generations from the veneration once paid to the gurus. The deep reverence for the Divine that had once lived in men could be directed, now, to the Being Who had passed through the Mystery of Golgotha. But in this twilight condition of consciousness, men were gradually evolving a science of physical nature such as ancient times had never possessed, and in consequence of this, even the faintest inkling that a spiritual world is accessible to human cognition, even that, faded away.
The supersensible knowledge of which I spoke yesterday is an actual extension of knowledge of the world of nature. And all the faculties developed by a man through meditation and concentration in such a way that he penetrates into the spiritual world as a knower — all these faculties are immeasurably strengthened when, as one belonging to the modern age, he does not content himself with what natural science has to say about the external world but wrestles inwardly with it, assimilating these exact, scientific thoughts but endeavoring, then, to unite them with the innermost forces of his own being. A certain attunement or attitude of soul then arises — to begin with, it is not easy to define. But if this attitude becomes the keynote of meditation and concentration in the sphere of thought and in the sphere of will, then the soul is led upward into the spiritual worlds, and understanding of supersensible reality is attained. We learn to look away from the Earth of which natural science teaches us into a supersensible world which belongs to the Earth and must be recognized as an integral part of the Earth — above all when it is a matter of understanding man and man's life on Earth.
Questions of far-reaching import then arise in one who is struggling to acquire anthroposophical knowledge. And as he seeks to find answers, he is led toward an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Having raised his consciousness away from the Earth, having unfolded a faculty of perception outside the physical body and of action through the power of ideal magic, such a man is able to behold the Spiritual. With consciousness that has become independent of the body, he is able to penetrate into a spiritual world with knowledge and with power of will.
If a man who is equipped with this inner understanding of the spiritual world turns his attention again to Christ and to the Mystery of Golgotha as an event on the Earth, his thought — unlike that of many modern theologians — will not be concerned only with the man Jesus of Nazareth. His conception of what came to pass in the Mystery of Golgotha is no longer materialistic because he has acquired the power of supersensible vision and sees the man Jesus of Nazareth as the bearer of the Divine Christ—the Divine-Spiritual Christ Being. Because the Divine-Spiritual is a direct reality to this modern “Theosophia,” it can recognize in the man Jesus of Nazareth the Christ Who is a Spiritual Being and must always be conceived as such. With the knowledge and understanding of the super-earthly he has acquired, a man is then led to Christ, beholding in Him the super-earthly Divine Principle, the God-Man.
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Through an understanding of the realities of the spiritual world, modern Anthroposophy leads the way to Christ — leads to Him after due preparation. In order to make this quite clear I want to speak of erroneous and true ways by which a man of the present age may approach the spiritual world ... There were men in days long since gone by whose inspiration proceeded directly from the Mysteries; then the spiritual consciousness of humanity grew dim, but even with this darkened consciousness men still gazed into certain spheres of pre-earthly existence and strove to let a spiritual power stream from their sacred rites. But the successors of those godly, pious men of old have become, in the modem age, people who endeavor by extremely questionable means to contact the spiritual world. The godly men of earlier times confined themselves to the realm of the soul, turning their eyes of soul to the supersensible worlds; this mood of holiness and of piety persisted in the feelings of those devotees of Christianity of whom I spoke at the beginning of the lecture and who desire to cling to their naive, simple piety. Such an attitude is naive today because in his natural consciousness the human being no longer has any vision of supersensible existence. This naive piety no longer leads men upward into the supersensible worlds, for their consciousness remains in the earthly, physical body. It is characteristic of this naive piety that it clings to the feelings, to the sentient experiences, coming to the soul when it sinks into itself, into its own human nature. This will, it is true, lead a man to the realization that the physical body consists not only of flesh and blood, but that the spiritual too is present — the spiritual which truly pious men would fain send upward to the Divine. But those who are misguided successors of the pupils of the old gurus endeavor through mediumistic practices to kindle this spiritual force.
What kind of person is a medium? A medium is one who lets the spiritual speak out of the physical body, write by means of the physical hands, or manifest in some other way. The very fact that mediums speak or write while their ordinary consciousness is dimmed indicates that the human body is not wholly physical, that a spiritual force issues from it, but of a mechanical, inferior kind. A medium desires not only to experience the spiritual in the body but strives to bring the spiritual to physical manifestation. And the spiritual force that is present in the body does indeed become articulate when the medium speaks or writes. The peculiarity about mediumistic people is that they become extremely talkative, they love to talk and to write at tremendous length ... but all these manifestations of the spiritual through the body contain a great deal that ordinary logic will regard as highly questionable. These mediums are themselves the proof that it is not right for modern man to fall back upon ancient methods of establishing connection with the Divine-Spiritual but that he must seek in an altogether different way.
This different way of approach to the spiritual world is that of anthroposophical Spiritual Science, and I will speak of one particular aspect. If a man takes natural science in earnest, regarding its results as truly great achievements of modern civilization, then in his efforts to draw near to the spiritual worlds he will, to begin with, find it extraordinarily difficult to speak of the spiritual at all, to entertain thoughts concerning it, let alone to indulge in any kind of automatic writing. When through meditation and concentration a man becomes aware of the spirit within him, he will prefer to keep silent — to begin with, at any rate. Whereas a medium becomes talkative and lets the spiritual become articulate through his own organs of speech, when supersensible knowledge of the spirit begins to dawn in one who is a conscientious, scientifically trained thinker, he would rather keep silent about the subtle and delicate experiences of which his soul becomes aware. He even prefers to forbid thoughts from intruding, because thoughts have been associated with earthly, physical things. He prefers not to let thoughts stream into his soul, because he has an inner fear lest half-consciously he may apply to spiritual realities thoughts that are connected with outer, physical things; he is afraid that when thoughts are applied to spiritual reality, this spiritual reality will not merely slip away but that it will be profaned, distorted. Least of all will he take to writing — for he knows that in days of yore, when worship of the God became potent spiritual deed in the sacred rites, men did not resort to writing — which is a bodily act. Writing first became a custom when the human intellect and reasoning faculty were directed to the material world of sense, and to one who has any knowledge of the divine-spiritual it is an activity which goes very much against the grain. And so when a man begins to become aware of the reality of the divine-spiritual, of the supersensible world, he stills his thoughts; he is literally silent as far as speaking is concerned; and he abstains from writing about matters pertaining to the Divine.
I said before, my dear friends, that it is permissible for me to speak of these things because they are the results of my own experience along a path of development which had led on from natural science to a comprehension and actual perception of the spiritual worlds and of the Mystery of Golgotha as spiritual reality. But you will realize that the Mystery of Golgotha presents difficulties to everyone who tries to approach it in the light of anthroposophical Spiritual Science. The Mystery of Golgotha as it reveals itself in the course of human history must be conceived in all its stupendous majesty and glory as a historical fact. Within the man Jesus of Nazareth, a God passed through death on Golgotha, and we must learn to contemplate in a picture from which every element of sense-life is absent, this, the greatest of all events in history. But it is exceedingly difficult to wrestle through in thought to this sense-free comprehension of the Mystery of Golgotha, to present it in words or write of it.
What comes to us along this path is inner reverence and awe as we contemplate the great Mystery enacted on Golgotha. This reverence pours through the soul of one who, in the way I have described, has silenced his thoughts and words, who feels the deepest awe when the power of the Spirit within him draws him to the Mystery of Golgotha. Feelings of profound reverence and awe pour through the soul of such a man ... it is as though he dare not approach so stupendous a Mystery. Thus the path of anthroposophical Spiritual Science leads not only to knowledge ... although to begin with it is knowledge which directs our gaze into yonder supersensible worlds. But this knowledge streams into the life of feeling, becomes holy awe; it becomes a power that lays hold of the human soul far more deeply than any other power, more deeply even than the veneration paid to the guru by his pupils in olden times. And this feeling grows, first and foremost, into a longing and a yearning to understand Christ Jesus on Golgotha. What, to begin with, was supersensible vision in the life of soul is transformed through inner metamorphosis into feeling. This feeling seeks the God-Man on Golgotha and can find Him through the vision of the Spiritual already acquired. Man also learns to understand Jesus of Nazareth, realizing that, in him, Christ may be seen as a reality within earthly existence. And so anthroposophical Spiritual Science brings knowledge of the Spiritual Christ Being but at the same time the deep and true reverence for the Divine which arises from this knowledge of the supersensible.
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When a man first becomes aware of the power of supersensible knowledge he prefers to be silent in his thoughts and words, not in any way to use his bodily faculties as an instrument for voicing his experiences. Nevertheless, having reached a transitional stage, when he resolves to speak of his inner life, he experiences something which justifies him in speaking of the spiritual nature of Christ Jesus. At this transitional stage he makes the resolve to give the Spiritual definite form in his thoughts, to speak and to write about the Spiritual. And the experience that now comes to him is that he feels as it were lifted out of his physical body whenever he is speaking or thinking about the Spiritual. The physical body is an essential instrument in ordinary thinking and speaking, but now, at this higher stage, a man is aware of being removed in a certain way from his physical body. Whereas a medium feels himself entirely within the physical body and even deadens his consciousness in order to remain within the physical while allowing the Spiritual to manifest through the body, a man who has attained real knowledge of the supersensible lifts himself out of his physical body in an enhanced and more delicate state of consciousness. Because he is experiencing the reality of the spiritual world, he finds it exceedingly difficult to take hold of the physical world; his faculty of speech and the natural flow of his thinking elude him; he cannot find the way to his limbs or his physical body. He must now undergo the experience of trying to find his bearings in this physical world once again and therewith the thoughts and the language in which to express the realities of the supersensible world of which he has become aware. But having had this experience, a man feels as though he must enter life anew, as though he must pass through a second, self-engendered birth. He learns to know the inner depths of human nature, for he has entered into these depths a second time in order to create an instrument for thinking and speaking of spiritual reality. Penetrating thus into his organism with supersensible knowledge, a man realizes that there too he will find Christ inasmuch as Christ passed through the Mystery of Golgotha. He now has some understanding not only of the Christ Who once came down to the Earth and passed through death, but if he has really fathomed the depths of his own being, there too he experiences Christ Who died in order that His Power might flow into all mankind.
This is the experience that comes, with far greater assurance now, to a man possessed of supersensible knowledge. And he can clothe the knowledge of Christ thus acquired in words which contain profound truth: “Not I, but Christ in me.” For he knows: On Golgotha, Christ died; through His death Christ entered into the human forces of birth and has lived since His death in the very being of man. The modern initiate therefore knows the truth of these words of St. Paul, knows that he will find Christ within himself if he does but succeed in fathoming the depths of his own manhood.
In order to make men Christians in the real sense, the initiate need not demand that they should all have reached his own level. Equipped with this understanding and knowledge of Christ, he can also discover new paths for simple-hearted piety. Men of simple piety can indeed find Christ, only their path today cannot be quite the same as that which led in days of yore to the adoration outpoured at the feet of the guru. The piety that befits the modern age must be an inward piety, for man is no longer called upon to send up into a supersensible world his feelings of reverence for the Divine; he must penetrate within his own being in order there to find Christ Who since the Mystery of Golgotha has been on the Earth as the Living Christ.
Anthroposophical Spiritual Science can say to a man of simple piety: “If you do but penetrate deeply enough into your own being, you will find Christ; this is no illusion because by his Death on Golgotha Christ did indeed descend into these depths of your innermost self.” One who is schooled in Spiritual Science knows that in speaking thus to a man of simple piety, he is saying what is true; he knows that he is not playing upon the emotions of the other but pointing to a goal within his reach. It is perfectly possible for simple, godly men to tread the path which leads, in the modern age too, to supersensible knowledge.
Whereas in earlier times reverence and veneration for the guru made the thoughts of the pupil translucent, enabled divine power to resound in the mantras and the rites to become potent deed, a man who desires to find the true path to Christ in our modern age must, above all else, inwardly deepen his soul. He must learn to look within himself in order that he may find and become aware of inner reality when he turns his gaze away from the world of sense. And within him too, he will find the power that carries him through the gate of death, inasmuch as here, on the Earth, knowledge of this power has come to him through devotion to Christ and to the Mystery of Golgotha.
The guru of olden times said to his pupils, and through them to all human beings: When you pass through the gate of death you will find the sublime Sun Being Who makes good the imperfections of Earth-existence. The teacher of modem times says: If here on the Earth, with inner reverence and deep devotion of heart, you establish connection with Christ Who has descended, and with the Mystery of Golgotha, you will be inwardly filled with a power that does not die with you, but bears you through death and will work together with you toward the fulfillment of what cannot be wholly fulfilled on Earth while you are living in a physical body. What in olden times was wrought by the sublime Sun Being will be wrought, now, by Christ's power within your own being from which the body has been cast off at death. Christ's power will work in human imperfections on Earth and men will be drawn together in the social life through their recognition of Him. For the power that streams from Christ, the power upon which anthroposophical Spiritual Science is able to shed the light of understanding, can enter into the actions and the will of men and thereby flow into their social life.
There is much talk today of social reform and social progress. Who will be the great reformer of the social life when men's actions are performed in the name of Christ Jesus and the world becomes truly Christian? Who will be the mighty reformer, having the power to establish peace amid social strife on Earth? The Christ — He and He alone can bring peace, when men lead a social life hallowed by acts of consecration, when as they look up to Christ they do not say “I,” but rather: When two or three, or many, are gathered together in the name of Christ, then He is in the midst of us. Activity in the sphere of social life then becomes a veritable hallowing, a continuation of the sacred acts of cult and rite in olden times. Christ Himself in very truth will be the great social reformer, since He works today as a living reality within the being of man.
The social life must be permeated with the Christ Impulse ... Men of simple piety long to find Christ's power within the soul so that what they do in the social life may be done in Christ's name. These men of simple piety can still be sure of their ground when a modern initiate says to them: The power you can find through your simple piety of soul when you meditate upon your own being and upon the Christ Who lives within you — this power streamed from the Death on Golgotha, from Christ Himself. It works as the Christ Impulse in the deeds you perform in social life, because Christ is present among men as a living reality when they find the way to Him. They are led to Him through that deep inner love which links human hearts together and brings a supersensible element into feeling, just as the light that is kindled within a man's being brings a supersensible element into knowledge.
And so men of simple piety need say no longer that their path is disturbed by the knowledge imparted by anthroposophical Spiritual Science. If natural science were to continue along purely external paths, this simple piety would in the course of time die out altogether; but if natural science itself can lead on to knowledge of the supersensible and thereby to knowledge of the Christ as a supersensible being, then all truly pious men will be able to find that for which they long: assurance in their life of soul, certainty that their deeds and actions are in harmony with the Christ Impulse. That for which pious and godly men yearn can be imbued through anthroposophical Spiritual Science with all the certainty of knowledge. This Spiritual Science has therefore the right to insist that it does not disturb the path of simple godliness or lead men away from Christ. Seeking as it does to lead the way to the spiritual world by working with and not against modern science, Anthroposophy has this message to give: Mankind must not go forward into the future without Christ, but with him — with Christ as a Being Who is known and recognized, Whose reality is felt and Whose Impulse men resolve to make effective in the world.
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