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The Gospel of St. John

The Christians of St. John. The rebirth of the higher Ego in man and in humanity.


LECTURE I

Cassel, St. John's Day, 1909

My Dear Friends,

The celebration of a particular festival on the present day of the year was a custom to which a large portion of aspiring humanity adhered, and it is a matter of importance for the friends of the anthroposophical movement assembled with us in this city that the present series of lectures should begin precisely on midsummer or St. John's Day. As long ago as in ancient Persia a festival known as the ‘Baptism of Fire and Water’ was associated with a day which would roughly correspond to a day in June at the present time. In ancient Rome the festival of Vesta fell on a similar day in June, and that again was a festival of ‘Baptism by Fire’. And if we look back upon European civilization before the spread of Christianity, we again find a June festival which coincided with the time of the year when the days begin to shorten and the nights to lengthen — when the sun begins to lose a part of the strength he lavishes upon all growth and increase on earth. To our European ancestors this June festival appeared as a gradual withdrawal and disappearing of the God Baldur — Baldur who, in their minds, was associated with the Sun. In Christian times this same festival gradually became that of St. John, the forerunner of Christ Jesus. Thus it can also be our starting-point for the considerations to which we will devote ourselves during the next few days, bearing upon this most important event in the evolution of humanity — upon the Deed of Christ Jesus. Indeed, the subject of the present course of lectures will be founded upon the whole import of this Deed for the evolution of humanity, and upon its manner of presentation, firstly in the most significant of human documents, in the Gospel according to St. John, then, by comparison, in the other Gospels.

The festival of St. John reminds us that the greatest Individuality who participated in the evolution of humanity was preceded by a ‘Forerunner’, and we here touch upon an important point which must precede our further considerations, also as a kind of ‘forerunner’. In the course of the development of humanity there occur, ever and again, events of surpassing importance shedding a stronger light than others. We can observe these essential occurrences in epoch after epoch of history, and ever and again we are told of men who, in a measure, know of them in advance and can foretell their coming. These are no arbitrary events; indeed, whoever has insight into the whole meaning and spirit of human history is aware that such events must come, and knows how he himself must work in preparation for them to take place.

During the next few days we shall often have occasion to speak of the Forerunner of Christ. Today we shall consider him from the standpoint that he was one of those who, by virtue of special spiritual gifts, have a deeper insight into things and know that there are super-eminent moments in the evolution of humanity. Hence he was fitted to pave the way for Christ Jesus. But when we look upon Christ Jesus Himself, we clearly realize that the division of chronology into epochs before and after His appearance upon earth is not without good reason. By adhering to this division, humanity to a large extent shows that it is sensible of the incisive significance of the Christ-Mystery. But whatever is real and true must ever and again be proclaimed in new forms and new ways, for the requirements of humanity alter from epoch to epoch. Our time needs, in a sense, a new annunciation of this greatest of events in the history of man, and it is the will of Anthroposophy to be this annunciation.

This anthroposophical annunciation is new only in respect of its form; its content, the subject of these lectures, was for centuries taught within our European civilization and spiritual life. The one difference between the former and the present annunciation is that the latter may be addressed to a wider circle. The smaller circles within which this teaching has been heard for centuries recognized the same sign which you here see before you — the Rosy Cross. This may therefore again stand as the symbol of the same annunciation, now that the latter finds its way to a greater public. Let me now figuratively describe the foundations upon which this Rosicrucian annunciation of Christ Jesus rested.

The Rosicrucians (not the strange new group being founded in America in California using the same name) are a community which has cultivated, since the fourteenth century, a spiritual, a genuinely spiritual Christianity within the sphere of European spiritual life. Apart from all exterior historical forms, this Rosicrucian Society sought to reveal the deepest truths of Christianity to its followers, whom it also called ‘Christians of St. John’. An understanding of this expression, ‘Christians of St. John’, will enable us, if not to explain with our intellect, at any rate to grasp with our presentiment the whole spirit and tenor of the following lectures.

You all know the opening words of the Gospel of St. John: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God. The same was in the beginning with God.’ The Word or Logos was in the beginning with God, and the Light, it is further said, shone in the darkness but the darkness comprehended it not. This Light was in the world and among men, but of those only a small number were capable of comprehending it. Then there appeared the Word made Flesh as a Man — in a Man whose forerunner was the Baptist, John. And now we see how they who had to some extent grasped the significance of this appearance of Christ upon earth are at pains to explain the real nature of Christ. The author of the Gospel of St. John definitely indicates that the deepest Being enfolded in Jesus of Nazareth was naught else than the Being out of which all beings proceeded; that it was the living spirit, the living Word, the Logos Himself.

The other Evangelists were also at pains, each in his own way, to describe what actually appeared in Jesus of Nazareth. The author of the Gospel of St. Luke endeavours to show how something quite especial appeared when, through the Baptism of Christ Jesus by John the Baptist, the Spirit united itself with the body of Jesus of Nazareth. The same writer goes on to show how this Jesus of Nazareth is a descendant of a line of ancestors reaching far, far back into the past. We are told that the genealogical tree of Jesus of Nazareth reaches back to David, to Abraham, to Adam, and even to God Himself. We find it clearly indicated that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of Joseph; Joseph was the son of Heli; then: he was the son of David; and further: he was the son of Adam, and Adam was the son of God. That is to say, the writer of St. Luke's Gospel lays special stress on the fact that from Jesus of Nazareth, on whom the Spirit descended at the Baptism of St. John, a direct line of descent can be traced to Him whom he calls the Father of Adam — God. Such things must absolutely be taken literally.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew the attempt is made to trace the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth back to Abraham to whom God revealed Himself.

Thus, the Individuality who is the bearer of Christ, indeed, the whole advent of Christ, is represented not only as one of the greatest but as the very greatest of phenomena in the evolution of humanity. What is here unmistakably expressed can be put in the following simple words: If Christ Jesus was regarded by those who had an inkling of His greatness as the most momentous figure in the evolution of humanity upon earth, there must be some connection between this same Christ Jesus and the holiest, most essential element in man himself. There must be something within man which is in direct correspondence with the Christ-event. If Christ Jesus, as is stated in the Gospels, really represents the greatest event in the evolution of mankind, must there not be in all things and in each human soul some bond of union with Christ Jesus? Indeed, the most important and essential point, in the eyes of the Christians of St. John and the Rosicrucians, was precisely the fact that in each human soul something exists which directly bears upon and is connected with the events which occurred in Palestine through Christ Jesus. Moreover, if the Christ-event may be called the supreme event for humanity, the element which corresponds to the Christ-event in the human soul must be the supreme feature in man. What can this be?

The Rosicrucian answer to this question was that every human soul is open to an experience which is expressed by the word ‘awakening’, or ‘rebirth,’ or ‘initiation’. We shall see what is meant by these words.

When we behold, in the world around us, the various things which our eyes perceive and our hands touch, we observe how they arise and decay. We see how the flowers blossom and wither, and how the year's whole vegetation comes to life and dies away, and though there are things in the world such as mountains and rocks, apparently defying the ages, the proverb ‘Constant dropping wears a stone’ points to a premonition in the human soul that the very rocks and mountains, in all their majesty, are subject to the laws of the temporal world. Man knows that whatever is formed from the elements grows and decays; and this applies not only to his bodily form but also to his temporal self. They, however, who know how a spiritual world may be attained, are aware that though a man's eyes, ears, and other senses do not avail for this purpose, he may nevertheless enter the spiritual world by way of awakening, or rebirth, or initiation. And what is reborn?

When a man looks within himself, he finally comes to the conclusion that what he finds in his inner self is the being of which he speaks as ‘I’. The ‘I’ is distinguished, by virtue of its very name, from all things of the exterior world. To every exterior thing a name may be applied from outside. We can all call the table ‘table’, and the clock ‘clock’. The word ‘I’, however, can never resound upon our ear if we ourselves are meant, for this word (‘I’) must be uttered in our inner self. To every other being we are ‘thou’. This fact in itself enables man to find the distinction between this Ego-being and all else within and around himself. But to this we must add something which the spiritual investigators of all ages have emphasized ever again from their own experience for the benefit of mankind — namely, that within this ‘I’ another, a higher Ego, is born, as the child is born of the mother.

When we consider the human being as he confronts us in life, we see him first as a child, clumsy in respect of his surroundings, and merely beholding things; gradually and by degrees he learns to understand the things; we see how his intelligence awakens, how his will and intellect grow, and how he increases in strength and energy. But there are individuals who advance also in another way; they attain a higher development, beyond the ordinary; they reach the point, so to speak, of finding a second Ego which, looking down upon the first Ego, can say ‘thou’ to it, even as the ordinary Ego says ‘thou’ to the exterior world and to its own body.

Thus a distant ideal of the human soul can become actuality for those who, following the instructions of the spiritual investigator, say to themselves: ‘The self of which I have known hitherto partakes of the outer world and passes away with it. But a second self slumbers in me — a self of which men are not aware [but can become aware], though it is equally united with the eternal, as the first self with the transitory and the temporal.’ Upon the consummation of rebirth, the higher Ego can behold a spiritual world even as the lower Ego can perceive the sensible world through the senses. This so-called awakening, rebirth, or initiation is the greatest event the human soul can experience, a view held also by those who called themselves followers of the Rosy Cross. They knew that this birth of the higher self which can look down upon the lower self as a man looks upon the outer world — this event, they knew, must stand in connection with the event of Christ Jesus. That is to say: even as individual man can experience a new birth in the course of his development, a new birth for the whole of humanity took place through Christ Jesus. Man's individual experience of the birth of his higher Ego as an inner, mystic and spiritual event — this was enacted for the whole of humanity as an historical fact in the outer world through Christ Jesus in Palestine.

In what light did this event appear, for instance, to the writer of St. Luke's Gospel? He could say to himself: the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth reaches back to Adam and even to God. Humanity once descended from divine spiritual heights to dwell in a physical human body; humanity was born of the spirit; it was with God. Adam was sent down from spiritual heights into matter; in this sense he is the Son of God. Thus there was once a divine spiritual kingdom which densified, as it were, to the transitory earthly kingdom. Adam appeared, the earthly image of the Son of God. From him descended the human race which inhabits a physical body. In Jesus of Nazareth there lived, in a special manner, something over and above what lives in one and every man — something which can be found in its true nature only if we are conscious that the essential part in man has its origin in divine being. In Jesus of Nazareth something is still evident of this divine origin. Hence the writer of St. Luke's Gospel feels impelled to say: Behold Him who was baptized by John. He bears special characteristics of the divine source from which Adam descended. That divine source can be reborn in Him. The divine being which descended into matter and, as divinity, disappeared in the human race, behold, it now reappears. Humanity can be born again, in its inmost divine nature, in Jesus of Nazareth. In short, the writer of St. Luke's Gospel wished to say: When we trace the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth to its origin, we find in him again the divine origin and the attributes of the Son of God, in a renewed form and in greater measure than humanity hitherto existing could show.

The writer of St. John's Gospel emphasized still more strongly that there was something divine in man and that this divinity appeared in its supreme form as the Logos Himself. The God who was as though buried in matter is born again in Jesus of Nazareth. That was the meaning of these writers who prefaced their Gospels in the above manner. And they who wished to carry on the wisdom of the Gospels — the Christians of St. John — what did they say? They taught as follows: For every individual man there is a great, a mighty event which may be called the birth of the higher self. As the child is born of the mother, so too the divine Ego is born of the individual human being. Initiation, awakening is possible, and when it is consummated, things that were hitherto of importance are superseded. A comparison will show what then becomes of primary importance.

Suppose we have before us a man who has reached his seventieth year — an ‘awakened’ man who has gained his higher Ego, and let us suppose that he experienced the rebirth or awakening of his higher self in his fortieth year. Anyone intending to write his life might say: Here is a man in whom the higher self is born. Five years ago I knew him in such a position, ten years ago in another. If the identity of this man were to be shown with reference to the significance of his birth, the forty years of his physical existence would be traced back and described from the standpoint of spiritual science. In his fortieth year, however, the higher self is born in this man and thenceforward sheds its light over all the circumstances of his life. He is now a new man. What precedes this event is now of less importance to us; we are now chiefly concerned to know how the higher self grows and develops from year to year. When this individual has reached his seventieth year, we should enquire what had been the career of his higher Ego from his fortieth to his seventieth year, and the presence of his true spiritual Ego in his seventieth year would be primarily important for us, if indeed we believed in what was born in his soul at the age of forty. The writers of the Gospels proceeded in this manner; so too the Christians of St. John and followers of the Rosy Cross, when they considered that Being whom we call Christ Jesus.

The Evangelists had set themselves the task firstly to show that Christ Jesus issues from the primal spirit of the world, indeed from God Himself. The Divinity hitherto concealed in all mankind becomes pre-eminently manifest in Christ Jesus. This is the same God of whom it is said in St. John that He was there in the beginning. And it was the aim of the Evangelists to show that that God and no other was in Jesus of Nazareth. They, however, whose task it was to carry on the wisdom of all ages, even into our time, were bent upon showing how the higher Ego of mankind, the divine spirit of humanity, born in Jesus of Nazareth through the events in Palestine, has remained one and the same, having been truly preserved by those who rightly understood it. And as in the case described above, of the man whose higher Ego is born in his fortieth year, the Evangelists described the God in man up to and including the events in Palestine. The successors of the Evangelists, however, had to show that the events thus described covered the birth of the higher Ego and that thenceforward we are concerned with the spiritual aspect alone, which now outshines everything else. The Christians of St. John, whose symbol was the Rosy Cross, said: Precisely that which was reborn as the mystery of humanity's higher self, this same has been preserved intact. It was preserved by that exclusive community which took its rise in Rosicrucianism. This continuity is indicated symbolically in the legend of the sacred vessel called the ‘Holy Grail’, from which Christ Jesus ate and drank and in which the blood which flowed from His wounds was gathered by Joseph of Arimathea. This vessel, they say, was brought to Europe by angels. A temple was built for it and the Rosicrucians became the guardians of its content, that is, of that which constituted the very essence of the reborn God. The mystery of the reborn God prevailed among men — the mystery of the Holy Grail. It is presented to us as a new Gospel, and we are told the writer of the Gospel of St. John, whom we venerate, could say in his wisdom: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God.’ The same that was in the beginning with God has been born again in Him whom we saw suffer and die upon Golgotha and who is risen again. The continuity of the divine principle through all ages and the resurrection of the same is described by the writer of the Gospel of St. John. But the narrators of such things knew that that which was from the beginning has been preserved unchanged. IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE MYSTERY OF THE HIGHER HUMAN EGO; THE SAME WAS PRESERVED IN THE GRAIL AND REMAINED UNITED THEREWITH. IN THE GRAIL LIVES THE EGO WHICH IS UNITED WITH THE ETERNAL AND THE IMMORTAL, EVEN AS THE LOWER EGO IS UNITED WITH THE TRANSITORY AND THE MORTAL. Whoever knows the mystery of the Holy Grail knows that from the wood of the Cross springs living, budding life, the immortal self symbolized by the roses on the dark wood of the Cross. Thus the mystery of the Rosy Cross may be regarded as a continuation of the Gospel of St. John and, in this respect, we may truly speak the following words: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was no thing made. In Him was the Life and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shone in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Only a few, in whom something lived that was not born of the flesh, comprehended the Light that shone in the Darkness. Then the Light became flesh and dwelt among men in the likeness of Jesus of Nazareth.’ Now we might continue: ‘And in Christ who dwelt in Jesus of Nazareth we see none but the higher, divine self of all mankind, the God who came down to earth in Adam and was born again. This reborn human self was continued as a sacred mystery; it was preserved under the symbol of the Rosy Cross and is annunciated today as the mystery of the Holy Grail and the Rosy Cross.’

The higher Ego which may be born in every human soul points to the rebirth of the divine Ego in the evolution of humanity through the event in Palestine. Even as the higher self is born in every human being, the higher self of the totality of mankind was born in Palestine. The same is preserved and further developed behind the external symbol of the Rosy Cross. But when we consider human evolution, this one great event, the rebirth of the higher ego, does not stand alone; beside it there are a number of lesser events.

Before the soul can rise to this all-embracing, all-pervading experience (the birth of the immortal within the mortal self), certain preliminary stages, of comprehensive nature, must be traversed. A man must prepare himself in many and manifold ways. And after this great experience which enables him to say: ‘I now feel something within me, I am aware of something in me that looks down upon my ordinary self, even as my ordinary self looks down upon the objects of sense; I am a second self within the first; I have now risen to the regions in which I am united with divine beings’ — even after this experience there are other different, and still higher stages which must be traversed.

Thus we have the birth of the higher self in every individual man, and a similar birth for humanity as a whole — the rebirth of the divine Ego. Then there are preparatory stages and others which succeed this event. From the Christ-event we look back upon the preparatory stages. We behold other great beings and events in human evolution. We see how the Gospel of Christ gradually drew near. As St. Luke said: In the beginning was a God; a spiritual Being in sublime spiritual regions. He descended into the material world and became Man, investing Himself with humanity. Man's divine origin could well be perceived, but God Himself could not be perceived when human evolution was regarded with mere physical eyes. God, so to speak, was behind the earthly, physical world. They alone perceived him who knew where He was and could perceive His kingdoms.

Let us go back to the first period of civilization following upon a great disruption — to the primeval Indian civilization. There we find seven great, holy teachers knows as the Holy Rishis. They pointed upwards to a higher Being of whom they said: ‘With all our wisdom we can but dimly sense — we cannot behold this sublime Being.’ The seven Holy Rishis saw far and deep, yet this high Being, whom they called Vishva Karman, was beyond their sphere. This Being did indeed fill the spiritual world, but He was beyond the range of clairvoyant vision at that time. Then came the period of civilization named after its great inaugurator, Zarathustra. To those whom it was his mission to lead, Zarathustra said: ‘When the clairvoyant eye beholds the things of the world, the minerals, plants, the animals and man, it sees manifold spiritual beings behind all things. But the spiritual Being to whom man owes his very existence and who, in time to come, must live in man's innermost self — this Being cannot yet be seen, when the things of the world are beheld, whether with physical or with clairvoyant eyes.’ But when Zarathustra's spiritual gaze was raised toward the Sun, he beheld more than the Sun. As a man's aura can be seen enveloping him, he said, so too, the great Sun-Aura, Ahura Mazdao, can be seen beside the Sun. And the great Sun-Aura it was which produced man in a way to be described later. Man is the image of the Sun-Spirit, Ahura Mazdao, but Ahura Mazdao did not yet dwell upon earth. Then came the time when man, in clairvoyant vision, began to see Ahura Mazdao in his earthly environment. The great moment was at hand when that could be accomplished which was not yet possible in Zarathustra's time. In earthly thunder and lightning Zarathustra's clairvoyant eye did not behold Ahura Mazdao, the great Sun-Spirit, the archetype of humanity; but when he turned to the Sun, there he saw Ahura Mazdao. Moses, Zarathustra's successor, could see, with clairvoyant eye, in the burning bush and in the fire on Mount Sinai, that Spirit who proclaimed Himself as the ‘Ejeh asher ejeh’, ‘I am he that was, and is, and will be,’ Jahve or Jehovah.

Since the prehistoric time of Zarathustra and before Moses appeared among men, the Spirit who had hitherto dwelt in the Sun had descended upon earth. His light shone in the burning bush and in the fire on Mount Sinai; He was in the earthly elements. Yet a while — and the Spirit whom the great Rishis divined but could not clairvoyantly behold, the Spirit whom Zarathustra sought in the Sun, who proclaimed himself to Moses in thunder and lightning — the same appeared in human form in Jesus of Nazareth. That was the course of evolution: out of cosmic space He descended, first to the physical elements, then into a human body. The divine Ego from which man issued, and to which the writer of St. Luke's Gospel traces the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth, was born again. Herewith was consummated the sublime event of the rebirth of God in man.

From here let us look back upon the preparatory stages which humanity, too, traversed. The former leaders who had shared in the general progress of humanity were also subjected to preliminary stages until one of them had advanced far enough to become the bearer of the Christ. This shows us how the evolution of humanity presents itself when regarded from a spiritual standpoint.

The Being revered by the Holy Rishis as Vishva Karman, by Zarathustra as Ahura Mazdao of the Sun, by Moses as ‘Ejeh asher ejeh’ — this Being appeared in one distinct man, Jesus of Nazareth, in limited earthly humanity. But before the point was reached when this sublime Being could dwell in a man such as Jesus of Nazareth, manifold preparations were necessary. To this end Jesus of Nazareth must himself have risen to a high stage of evolution. Not any man could be the bearer of a Being who had descended to earth in the manner described. Now we who have approached spiritual science know the truth of reincarnation. Hence we must say that Jesus of Nazareth (not the Christ) had passed through many incarnations and stood the test of many a trial in earlier times before he could become Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, Jesus of Nazareth had to become a high initiate before he could be the bearer of the Christ. Now when a high initiate is born, how is his birth and life distinguished from the birth and life of an ordinary man? In general it may be assumed that at his birth a man is formed approximately in accordance with the results of his preceding life. With the initiate, however, this is not the case. The initiate could not be a leader of mankind if his inner life no more than conformed with outer circumstances. A man must build up his exterior according to the circumstances of his environment. But when an initiate is born, a great soul, one which has experienced great things in the world in past lives, must enter his body. Hence it is said of all such, that their birth takes place under other than ordinary circumstances.

Now we have already touched upon the reason of this difference. It is because an all-embracing Ego, one that has experienced remarkable things, unites itself with the body. The body, however, cannot at first fully contain the spiritual nature which seeks to incarnate in it. Hence, when a high initiate descends into a mortal body, the reincarnating Ego necessarily overshadows the physical form to a greater extent than with an ordinary man. Whereas the physical form of an ordinary human being soon after birth resembles and corresponds to the spiritual form (the human aura), the initiate's aura is radiant. This is the spiritual part, which proclaims that there is more here than meets the eye in the ordinary sense. Indeed it bears witness that, apart from the birth of the child in the physical world, an event has taken place in the spiritual world. That is the meaning of the legends which gather round the birth of all initiates. Not only is a child born, in the physical body, but in spiritual regions something is born which cannot be contained in the body below. But who can recognize this? Only one whose eyes are clairvoyant and open to the spiritual world. Hence it is related that at the birth of the Buddha an initiate recognized that an event more remarkable than the birth of an ordinary child was taking place. In the same way it is related of Jesus of Nazareth that His coming was announced by John the Baptist. The advent and birth of an initiate are known to all possessing insight into the spiritual world, for an event in the spiritual world is here enacted. The same was known to the three Kings from the East who brought offerings at the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and the same is expressed in the words of the Priest-Initiate in the Temple: ‘Now I will gladly die, for mine eyes have seen Him who is to be the salvation of mankind.’

Thus a sharp distinction is here necessary. We have a high initiate reborn as Jesus of Nazareth and, beyond this birth, something of significance in the spiritual world — something spiritual which will gradually develop the body until it be ripe for the spirit. When this point is reached, the event thus prepared is enacted. The Baptist approaches Jesus of Nazareth and a higher spirit descends upon him and unites with him; Christ enters the body of Jesus of Nazareth. John the Baptist, as the forerunner of Jesus of Nazareth, might well say: ‘I came into the world and prepared the way for a [person] Mightier than I. I have preached before men that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and that men must change their heart. I came among men and declared to them that a new impulse will enter mankind. As in spring the sun mounts higher in the heavens to proclaim the renewal of life, so do I come to proclaim the new life which is the reborn self of humanity.’

When the human principle in Jesus of Nazareth had reached its highest development, and his body had become an expression of the spirit within him, he was ripe to receive the Christ in the Baptism by John. His body had unfolded its full power, as the radiant sun on midsummer or St. John's day. This had been prophesied. The spirit was to be born out of the darkness, as the Sun which increases in power and waxes strong till St. John's day and then begins to wane. It was the Baptist's mission to proclaim this and to tell how the Sun mounts on high with increasing splendour until the moment when he, the Baptist, could say: ‘He who was announced by the prophets of old, the Son of the spiritual realms, born of the spirit, behold, He hath appeared.’ Up to this point John the Baptist was active. But when the days begin to shorten and the darkness again prevails, then, the way having been prepared, the inner spirit-light must shine forth ever more brightly, even as the Christ shines forth in Jesus of Nazareth.

Thus did John behold the approach of Jesus of Nazareth, whose development he felt as his own increase, as the increase of the Sun. ‘I must henceforth decrease,’ he said, ‘as the Sun decreases after midsummer day. But He, the spiritual Sun, will increase and his Light will shine forth from out of the darkness.’ Thus did John the Baptist speak of himself and his mission. In this manner was the universal Ego of humanity reborn, and the condition fulfilled for the rebirth of the individual higher self in every human being.

We have herewith described the most momentous event in the evolution of individual man: the rebirth of the immortal being which can issue from the ordinary Ego. This is inseparable from the greatest of all events, the Christ-event, to which we shall devote the following lectures.

 



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