As you know, on earth there is always conflict between good and evil. Wheresoever people live you find leader and opposition, and those two opponents exchange their views: the leader of today is the opponent of tomorrow, and yesterday's opponent is today the leader. This is not only the case in politics, but just as well in the conception of life, in ideologies, philosophies and even in creeds and confessions of faith. The reason for these conditions is, as a matter of fact, that the leader as well as the opponent want to force their opinion and their will upon their followers. To take the lead is, as seen from the worldly point of view, to lift the social and economical standard. That is materialism at its best, and this statement is so true that you will find only a few people who are prepared to do something for the sake of idealism. Look around in your country, where you have a state-church, and compare it with countries where state and church are separate. If there is a state-church, leaders of this church are paid by the government; training schools get government-subsidies; ministers. too, are in government service. But in countries where state and church are separated, persons who serve this church in any capacity have to earn their own living in one or other profession; the building and the maintenance of churches are also left to private initiative. The result is that there are sufficient "shepherd"-clergyman in countries where the church is a governmental institution — where the ministers get their monthly salary, live free of charge in a rectory or a manse, etc. They have their own congregation and enjoy a fairly opulent living. The number of "shepherd"-ministers is much smaller in countries where church and state are separated; these ministers have to look after more than one church — they depend upon the parish for their maintenance and quite often are not even able to afford a car, but have to ride a bicycle instead. What else can you do but call the first condition materialistic and the second one idealistic? Spiritualism opposes materialism, but reveres idealism, since materialism accentuates egoism, whereas idealism embraces a germ of love, charity, compassion and mysticism. Moses already faced these same conditions about 3,500 years ago, and at that time also we find the duality: leader and opposition. Moses wanted to lead his people to an ideal: to a better life in the cosmos. He wanted to lead them to spiritual evolution. The opposition, however, wished to return to Egypt, to the Egyptian fleshpots, to worldly material well-being and to physical comfort. Who were the opponents of Moses, who tried to thwart his plans? The leaders of the opposition were those who had occupied high positions in Egypt and who, tempted by materialism, had lived there in wealth and in luxury. They preferred material well-being to spiritual values and forced Moses, by their opposition, to introduce capital punishment, to quell their rebellion, and to castigate them for their materialism, by curbing their wanton leanings, their greed for exorbitant luxuries and for their base intentions. The opponents of Moses were materialists who wanted to bring another philosophy of life to the fore. But materialism is egoism, and this egoism shows that the spirit of those people was still primitive. Moses was no materialist; neither was he an egoist. He had sacrificed much to lead his people to the Land of Promise. He strove after a sublime — an exalted ideal: to liberate his people from idolatry and to make them accept the veneration of the "One God". What was the standard of evolution of the human spirit at the lime of Moses? The Jewish people, who left Egypt together with Moses, had taken with them into the wilderness many a cognizance, which they have seen, heard and learned in Egypt, and they have passed this knowledge on to the inhabitants of the oases. Among the people of Egypt were some chosen ones, who were instructed in schools of initiation. Some of them had supernatural gifts, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc. Some of these reincarnated spirits were of a really high evolution, who came to this earth with a mission to help to realise the Plans of God. They were highly intelligent idealists and had reached the state of mysticism. They were, or should have been, the actual leaders of the people. Several of them were tortured and found their death on the rack. The materialistic opposition stood against them; they who wanted nothing else but better conditions of life, earthly riches and earthly pleasures; they were indifferent to the life in the cosmos and to eternal bliss and, being opponents, they behaved vulgarly, brutally, egoistically and earthly — and their promises were always: more money, more luxury, more pleasure and more egoism. And, being leaders, they kept on being egoists, giving the people as little as possible, and asking for their own personal satisfaction as much as they could possibly get. What of today? Has mankind changed during these 3,500 years? Are there fewer materialists and more idealists today? Have no illusion! The process of evolution goes on and on. Spirits are born in human bodies again and again, to pass through their first incarnation, and are still primitive spirits. Other spirits are reincarnated and are of a high evolution which pass over, never to return for further purification, unless they return voluntarily to help to further the Plans of God on earth. This happened at the time when Moses came to realise the Plans of God, and it is still the same today, thirty-five centuries later. It is the cycle of Creation and of the Process of Evolution. On earth there is always good and evil — leader and opposition — evolution and permittivity. And — how far down from the beginning to the dawn of mankind we are able to reconstruct and recognize—you will find marks of the care which God took for the improvement of the human spirit; and God's protecting Hands will rest on all — as long as incarnated spirits live on earth which can be rescued from evil. Ever and anon are perfected spirits reincarnated on earth to assist those spirits of good intentions — to lead them to the path which they themselves have trodden. From the earthly viewpoint, they were at one time leaders — at another time they were opponents of the leaders. Actually, from the spiritual point of view, they were always the leaders. They planted the seed of the Light of Wisdom into the gloom of humanity, and in the Light of this Wisdom they have succeeded to reveal to mankind still higher wisdom. You cannot just pick up wisdom here on earth. You do not gain it by learning at school or by experience. Knowledge and experience can only confirm conviction. Wisdom is initiation. brought from the cosmos by reincarnated spirits. It can be gained through meditation, inspiration and in spiritual séances. It seems strange that Moses admonished his people not to evoke spirits. This commandment is justified. True spiritualists never try to evoke special spirits — they wait for a spirit to incorporate the medium. He takes the necessary precautions to assure the evolution of this incorporated spirit before he listens to the messages. The true spiritualist will try, however, to teach those low evolved spirits, to initiate them, to show them the right path, and to talk to them about God's Almightiness. He also tries to make them understand that higher planes than their own exist, and that they are able to reach them by practicing virtues. He absolutely refuses to have a sitting with an infernal spirit, knowing full well that it is impossible to improve one which came with the sole purpose to mislead him — that this demoniac spirit cannot change for the good, but is incorrigible, and has only one aim — to draw others away from God, to overpower them and to usurp leadership. Therefore the conclusion for you is that the same battle between leader and opposition rages in the cosmos just as it does on earth. It is not a worldly battle for worldly possessions, not a war between materialists — but it is an idealistic struggle, an entrenched war between good and evil. Spirits of the underworld — incorrigible, demoniacal spirits — remain bad to the last day of their existence as spirit because they are not spirits of God — they have not received His Atom. But God's spirits, which possess this Atom, because God created them, must nevertheless traverse the tunnel of evil during their first incarnations, if only to learn to differentiate between good and evil, and herewith to get the opportunity to develop their Atom of God, to develop Love for humanity and also charity and compassion. Meanwhile, in their ignorance as primitive human beings, they find themselves during one reincarnation among a group of opponents, who might serve either good or evil; and in another reincarnation among a group of spirits of the leader type. which again serve alternately either good or evil. Even spiritualists, when practicing, are — according to their own still low evolution — sometimes under the influence of low spirits, which only care for material affairs, for shortcomings and vices. Spirits of higher evolution, when born in a human body, are under the influence of spirits of their own or even of higher spheres. At spiritual séances these spirits give lectures on morals, on love for fellow-beings, charity, compassion, etc. They do not care much for material matters, although they try to help people to bear the hardships of their lives. They bring initiation in the life of the spirit on earth, in life in the cosmos of the discarnated spirits and the path — which the human spirit on earth, as human being, has to follow, to build up his Eternal Life of Bliss in the Light of God.
It is a rather noteworthy phenomenon, that in practicing Spiritualistic Philosophy, not everybody realises the same truths. The Philosophy of Truth is divided into several sects, just as every other High Creed. How could it be otherwise? Each person realises a truth according to his spiritual evolution, his liberation from evil and his purification. Is this phenomenon only a particularity of the Spiritualistic Philosophy and of High Creeds? Oh! No. You find this phenomenon in all works of art, even in the daily life of people. It occurs according to the level where people stand in their spiritual life. One spirit, which lives in a human body, already has many experiences — whereas another perhaps incarnated for the first time in a human body, is just starting to learn the ways of human life. The first mentioned spirit has already passed through many lives in a human body and just as often returned to the cosmos. It has, during its life as spirit, evolved to various planes and has become acquainted with many a secret through its life in the cosmos. It has also — during the times of its reincarnations in a human body on earth — learned to differentiate between good and evil. Mental suffering — as atonement for former evils — has taught it much about human frailty — taught it to discern its own inner self as human being and as spirit. With each good incarnation it has spiritually purified, has shed many evils and shortcomings, gained many virtues and proceeded closer to the Light of God. On earth, as well as in the cosmos, he observed good and evil spirits, which ranged from the highest idealist to the lowest egoist. He also observed that materialists took advantage of idealists — exploited and fleeced them — that materialists called the idealists mentally retarded — stamped them as lost souls or as impostors. And then he found among those idealists real mystics. Egoists, idealists and mystics live — on earth as well as in the cosmos — on different spiritual planes. The egoists live only for the joy and the pleasure of the body and thus neglect to improve their spirit. Primitive people never understand that they have to work on earth for the improvement of their spirit, and that this work also profits the body. They are not aware that they also possess spiritual organs which find their expression in such qualities as love, charity, compassion and other virtues. They are ignorant of the process of evolutions, which a spirit has to undergo on earth to enable it to reach the planes of idealism and of mysticism; do not even know that some of them are primitive spirits who live their first life on earth as incarnated spirits; neither are they aware of the fact that other spirits have already experienced quite a number of reincarnations and that low and evolved spirits, therefore, are living on earth side by side. The evolved, purified human spirit understands the deep significance of idealism and mysticism. He not only observes that High Creeds are divided and split up into sects, but he also realises the reason for it: that it is the result of inherent differences. He also observes these differences in the various expressions of art: in music, in painting and in sculpturing, as well as in dancing, etc. They arc the results of the difference in degree of spiritual evolution of the human spirit. Purified and initiated spirits regard everything on earth as planes of evolution — not only minerals, plants, animals and human beings, but also their constituents: atoms and molecules, which are the fundamental base of them all. And they regard these planes not only on the physical side, but in all expressions of that which life achieves with earthly, physical ingredients, as in art, handicraft, professions, etc. — and also in the spiritual expressions of the spirit, born in a human body: his character, his qualities, his actions, his thoughts, his feelings, his words and his way of living; and — although these observations are not realizable by human eyes — human beings are able to feel them spiritually and thus they can be imprinted into their human minds. One is able to detect the same conditions in the animal world: the intrinsic invisible life-force with its expression of inherent attributes: its character, its way of dealing with other animals, its vindictiveness, its sympathy and trust in its master — but also its hate for certain human beings, animals or things. The same expressions are to be observed in plants but are less detectible; plants which fascinate by their fragrance or repel by their unpleasant odor; plants which poison people or feed them, or aid them as remedies. The life-force in a plant changes inasmuch as a plant evolves and thus in successive plant-lives it becomes an ever more beautiful variety. Animals live on planes of evolution which are different from those of human beings, and each animal belongs to a certain fixed plane of evolution. Some animals of the same type are more evolved than others. The life-force of some has perhaps belonged to a lower type of animal in its former life, whereas the life-force of another in the next life might belong to a higher evolved type. It is not different with a human being. The spirit which lives within him becomes, with every satisfactory life, more intelligent, more susceptible to new truths and new wisdom. He develops from a primitive, materialistic egoist to an intelligent idealist, and then to a mystic. A person, who has not yet reached this stage, is unable to believe that he, too, will one day have worked himself up and have reached a higher evolution, and will become an idealist and a mystic. At present he only observes with his human eyes and is only susceptible to material concerns, which give rein to his physical desires, to riches and worldly possessions. His evolution is still low and he expects only worldly joys and pleasures. These worldly and physical desires diminish after each life. His spirit, strengthened through experience and knowledge of human ways, approaches closer to the state of wisdom and of idealism, after each well lived human life, and slowly discards its cravings for earthly possessions and physical requirements. This word "idealism" often gets the wrong explanation. It is compared with dreaming, to building castles in the air, to longing for unrealizable things. But true idealism is something quite different. It means that the human being tries to develop and improve his spirit, to feel love for his fellow-beings, to exercise moral and physical charity, to feel compassion for those who wronged him, and also for those who chose the wrong path of living. Somebody might build a castle in the air, which, of course, collapses and thus causes great disappointment, much grief and mental suffering. But this suffering results in purification for the spirit and in atonement for previous misdeeds. However hard this suffering might be, however much grief and pain it might cause to body and soul, the result will be — ever and anon — closer approach to the state of idealism and of submission to the Laws of Creation and of Karma. There are various forms and expressions for idealism, some of which are in close connection with aestheticism. How often do we meet somebody — a poet, a painter, a sculptor or a composer, who puts all his feeling, his striving for expression, his struggle after fulfillment of all the aesthetic values and the mystic exquisiteness of his work, into a poem, or prose, a painting, a statue or a piece of music? These expressions of art are kept alive, because they are not a product of the brain, but of his spirit, his innermost feeling for beauty. These people are inspired by High Spirits from the cosmos which are far more sensitive to beauty and aestheticism than are human spirits on earth. A person is led by his spirit, which is possibly inspired by spirits from the cosmos, when he succumbs under the thrashing of life's difficulties — in times of great trouble — when poverty and misery overwhelm him — when his country is devastated by war and violence — when he lands in prison for his idealistic ideas — when he and his friends stand at the barricade to fight for freedom for his belief and his exalted ideas. How exalted are his feelings and his thoughts at such moments — it is difficult to express them in words; the suitable words elude him, words to express exactly his innermost feeling — and he realises how poor of words is his own language. It is easier for a musician to express those feelings in tunes and harmonies to give them a musical note. His musical poem contains all his impressions of aestheticism, idealism and mysticism, and all these have many nuances, many shades of grief, hope, joy, responsibility, conquest and victory. A painter who wants to paint a portrait of his beloved wife, who has passed over, paints a part of his soul into the lines and colors on his canvas. His taste in beauty, his admiration, his love for his wife — all these feelings awakened ecstasy in his soul, and ecstasy is an emotion, a sensation of idealism and aestheticism, very close to mysticism. A sculptor, who wants to create a figure or an allegory of love, or of work, of a hurricane, fraternity, war or peace, has his hands led by invisible hands whilst he works the marble. He forgets time and space and the place of his working — and he works as if in a mist which enfolds him and makes him concentrate on his work. He is no more the drudge who works for his daily bread and his existence as a human being — he is an instrument in the hands of his spirit and of other spirits, which give him a helping hand to realise his ideal — his perfect work. A choreograph, who wants to arrange a ballet, can do so with human consideration and intelligent judgement. His first steps and rhythm to suit his purpose. This is human work and suitable for a certain type of person. But his intention can become a sublime, animated performance, can be an idealistic personation of devoted love and compassion for fellow-creatures, patriotism, heroism, idealism and also of mystic feelings, as submission unto God, unto the Laws of Karma, struggle against fate and against evil, purification of the spirit, rising to heaven. Grace of God, Eternal Bliss, etc. Music and dancing play a big part and both are able to awaken in the audience ecstasy and a feeling of idealism and mysticism. All performances of this kind are spiritual performances — human understanding alone is incompetent and unable to produce lasting creations. And when we keep entirely on spiritual ground, we find everywhere performances from different phases of ecstasy, idealism and mysticism, because the spirit, which is inborn in the human being, as well as spirits from the cosmos, also belong to different planes of evolution, and therefore you find different planes of evolution not only in the sphere of art, religion or spiritualism, but every human being occupies an individual place in human society and has, as spirit, his personal plane of evolution. Everyone learns to know what his own development and his own sphere of evolution permit him to know, and he will learn new truths, new secret solutions of things, which are as yet out of his sphere of understanding, when he reaches a higher spiritual sphere on account of more purification, more experiences, higher wisdom and of his own good will and intentions. Therefore do not be astonished that, like all other spiritual topics, the Spiritualistic Philosophy, too, is divided into several spheres, because in this way the one spirit will be able to learn more truths than others, and that those, which reach the highest spheres, shall learn everything there is to know — all that they were unable to grasp heretofore. Idealism and mysticism are high schools, also divided into several standards. The higher a human being evolves, the higher is his standard. But he has no hope of advancement and promotion as long as he adheres to materialism, to worldly concerns and shortcomings. All materialism, all greed for luxury and riches has to be abandoned on the path to perfection — the spirit enters the spirit world naked and fluidic, to reach his home in God's Eternal Light.
You live in a time when sophism and materialism are closely combined. People are — in certain circumstances — influenced by persons who have a fluent way of speech and who try to convince them that black is white and that lies are the truth — that thieves and murderers are the victims of circumstances and therefore are not guilty because they acted actually from ignorance, or goodness or even for love of mankind. There is another mountain to obstruct their view — materialism. This evil, too, meets with the approval of the sophists who, by their eloquence, twist it into false doctrines or wrong explanations. Sophism was known in times of antiquity and was then misapplied and misused. Schools with a chair for this curriculum existed long before your Christian era, and it was widely used because it gave those who were sufficiently eloquent and impudent the chance to snatch a well-paid position and get all their heart's desires of riches and possessions. Sophism and materialism depend on each other — the one is the result of the other. You have an aphorism in your language with regard to this: "You have only one life, therefore drink, play and dance, death ends everything". This resulted in the fact that materialism and sophism were accepted as a doctrine and called a philosophy, and that so-called philosophers taught it, openly and secretly, and wrote books about it. Against this view now stands the Spiritualistic Philosophy which attacks these double-dealing theories: sophism and materialism. This Spiritualistic Philosophy is not a doctrine, preached and spread by human beings, but is given to mankind by High Spirits which live close to the Light of God. It is given to all people of good will, for each new generation, in various places and at different times. Sophism and materialism are maxims which consider only worldly affairs, but are neither concerned with the invisible spirit within the human being, nor with the evolution of this spirit and of its destiny after the death of the human body. Sophism and materialism have spread far and wide in your own days of enlightenment and culture. But this "culture" is the result of education and learning, imbibed by the brain only and is only of use for the physical human being, but not for his spiritual needs. The spirit is an invisible entity from the cosmos, which descends from above in the body of the baby and stays within until this body — tired and worn out — returns to the earth. The human body is built of physical material, but it is only able to stay alive if a spirit incarnates in this body and returns to matter, when the spirit within has finished its allotted task and has returned to the cosmos. Born in a human being, the spirit is free to choose whatever philosophical theory it wants to accept, even sophism and materialism, or the philosophy of truth. It has to undergo many experiences, whatever road it chooses to follow. It has to learn to differentiate between good and evil, and also that joy and suffering follow one another. It gains wisdom and thus improves as human being and, consequently, as spirit. What are the results of a person given to sophism?