[Notes on “Drama of the Latter Days”]
Theosophist, March, 1884
Article Selections | Introduction and Notes by H.P.B.
Drama of the Latter Days: A Suggestion.
We hardly need to offer an apology to the English friend and author who sends us his “Suggestion” for reprinting it, without his special permission. It is too good to be lost for our readers. Only why should the writer, who seems to us quite impartial in other things, be so very partial to “Esoteric Christianity?” Surely, without in any way lowering down the Christ system, or even the ideal Christ, we can say what is but too easy of proof, that, properly speaking, there is no “Esoteric Christianity,” no more than there is Esoteric Hinduism, Buddhism or any other “ism.” We know of one Esoteric doctrine—“the universal secret Wisdom-Religion” of old. The latter embraces every one of the great creeds of the antiquity, while none of these can boast of having it in its entirety. Our mission is to gather all these scattered rays, bring them back to one focus, and thus help those who will come after us to unveil some day the glorious sun of Truth. Only humanity must be prepared for it—lest it should be blinded by the unexpected splendour. The true Theosophist, he who works for the sake of truth—not for his own self and personal predilections—ought to respect every religious system—pander to none. But then, perhaps the author is not a theosophist, yet, and as such, we welcome him as one, who, judging from his “Suggestion,” is on the high road of—becoming one.
[Here followed the “Suggestion,” a satirical dialogue between men and “Messiah,” wherein the author gives first a selection of fictionalized statements from several Christian denominations, each followed by a reply by “Messiah.” Following these, the author proceeds:]
150 other Sects of Protestants (each trying to be heard above the rest.)—Hail Master! Wilt Thou establish us and our doctrines and confirm our ordinances, and teach our ways to all the others which be in darkness . . .
Messiah: Ye are in gross darkness yourselves, and teach for truths the opinions of men contradicting each other, how then can ye teach others? . . . Ye fight with each other; and ye protest against each other . . .
All the Churches together:—We have heard Him. He is not with us. He is against us. He cometh to overthrow us—away with Him! As for His works, they are of the devil. He is the Anti-Christ—away with him! . . .
Enter Philosophers, etc.—Oh, what is Truth, and whither shall we go that we may find it? Oh, that we might find God, that we might know Him!
Messiah:1 I am the Spirit of Truth. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden with doubt and the vain theories of men who profess to know me, but know me not. . . .
1. We would stop to enquire of the author whether by “Messiah” he means Jesus Christ alone or—the spirit of universal truth having had its representative in every nation and creed?
[Messiah (cont.):] . . . Abstain from flesh-eating, from drunkedness, from bloodshed, and from all cruelty to any living creature. Early rise ye when the sun ariseth; wash your bodies and be clean, and worship the Eternal Father; work with your hands that which is good, think good thoughts, speak good words, do good deads. . . . [etc. etc.] . . . God is just, and to every one is given that which they have deserved. As they sow they shall also reap, and each goeth into his own place which he hath prepared for himself and for which he is fit, till his time is come and another place is given to him for further amendment. . . .
Philosophers:—Of a truth this is the Messenger, the Messiah of God. Master, Thou hast spoken the words of truth, therefore we know Thou art from God, the very Christ, the Anointed. All Nature beareth witness to the Truth of Thy doctrine. Other men have taught with authority their own opinions, but Thou bearest witness to the truth . . . Master, we receive Thee and we worship God and venerate the Image of God, the Two in One, Jesu-Marie in Whom is the atonement of Man with Woman, of Reason with Faith, of Humanity with God. We will go forth and declare Thy truth.2
2. Are we to understand these “Philosophers” are Western born Christians or Philosophers in general? This is the important question to clear after the perusal of this able pamphlet. The whole rests upon who personally is “Messiah.”
A Voice—“This is marvellous in our eyes: the Stone which the Builders rejected hath become the Headstone of the Corner.” . . .
(Re-enter the Pope of Rome . . . He says:—
Hail! Master alas! alas! we knew Thee not, but we have heard Thy Voice, we have seen Thy light, and we return to Thee . . . In the beginning we were with Thee but speedily we fell from the spirit which giveth life to the fleshly letter which killed; and we grovelled on the earth . . . and . . . forgot the truth and contended for dominion and power over the kings of the earth by force of carnal weapons. . . .To us was given Light, but we concealed it in a dark place, and those that cried for more light we persecuted and counted as heretics, and caused many to be put to death in our blindness. . . . We are no longer worthy to be called Thy Viceregent or Vicar, or to rule Thy people. Make us as one of the least of Thy servants that we may carry to all the ends of the earth the light which Thou hast given.3
3. Great must be the imagination, and greater still the sanguine temperament of our friend, if he can ever hope as much from the Romish Popish Church! This looks to us like a bitter satire, or does he really believe it?
[The author’s “Suggestion” closes with the following diagram and H.P.B.’s comment on it.]
No need to explain to our Occultists, either the meaning, or the more than suggestive hint contained in the symbol which concludes the satire. But some theosophists will be sorely puzzled by the concluding quatrain.