Book 11 — The Law and the Word

by Thomas Troward

3: Man's Place in the Creative Order

Contents List:

What Started Life?
Eternity and "The Word"
Selection and Volition
The "Word of Power"
Mental Attitude
Contradictions Are Impossible
Misuse of Will

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What Started Life?

In the preceding chapters we have found certain definite facts — that all known matter is formed out of one primordial Universal Substance; that the ether spreading throughout limitless space is a Universal Medium, through which it is possible to convey force by means of vibrations; and that vibrations can be started by the power of Sound. These we have found to be well-established facts of ordinary science, and taking them as our starting-point, we may now begin to speculate as to the possible workings of the known laws under unknown conditions.

One of the first things that naturally attract our attention is the question, How did Life originate? On this point I may quote two leading men of science. Tyndall [John Tyndall, 1820-1893, Irish experimental physicist — Ed] says: "I affirm that no shred of trustworthy experimental testimony exists to prove that life in our day has ever appeared independently of antecedent life"; and Huxley [T H Huxley, 1825-1895, English biologist — Ed] says: "The doctrine of biogenesis, or life only from life, is victorious along the whole line at the present time". Such is the testimony of modern science to the old maxim Omne vivum ex vivo ['All life comes from antecedent life'. — Ed.]. Think it out for yourself and you will see that it could not possibly be otherwise. [See also the chapter on Biogenesis in Natural Law in the Spiritual World — Ed.]

Whatever may be our theory of the origin of life on the physical plane, whether we regard it as commencing in a vivified slime at the bottom of the sea, which we call protoplasm, or in any other way, the question of how life got there still remains unanswered. The protoplasm, being material substance, must have its origin, like all other material substances, in the undifferentiated etheric Universal Substance, no particle of which has any power of operating upon any other particle until some initial vibration starts the movement; so that, on any theory whatever, we are always brought back to the same question: What started the condensation of the ether into the beginnings of a world-system?

So whether we consider the life which characterises organised matter, or the energy which characterises inorganic matter, we cannot avoid the conclusion that both must have their source in the same Original Power to which we can assign no antecedent. This is the conclusion which has been reached by all philosophic and religious systems that have really tried to get at the root of the matter, simply because it is impossible to form any other conception.

This Living Power is what we mean when we speak of the All-Originating Spirit. The existence of this Spirit is not a theological invention, but a logical and scientific ultimate without predicating which nothing else can be accounted for. The word Spirit comes from the Latin spiro, "I breathe", and so means "The Breath", as in John 33:4, "the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life"; and again in Psalm 33:6, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth".

In the opening chapter of Genesis, we are told that "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters". The words rendered "the Spirit of God" are, in the original Hebrew, rouah Elohim, which is literally "the breathing of God"; and similarly, the ancient religious books of India make the Swára, or Great Breath, the commencement of all life and energy.

The word rouah in Genesis is remarkable. According to rabbinical teaching, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a certain symbolic significance, and when examined in this manner, the root from which this word is derived conveys the idea of Expansive Movement. It is the opposite of the word hoshech, translated "darkness" in the same passage of our Bible, which is similarly derived from a root conveying the idea of Hardening and Compressing. It is the same idea that is personified in the Zend-avesta, the sacred book of the Persians, under the names of Ormuzd, the Spirit of Light, and Ahriman, the Spirit of darkness; and similarly in the old Assyrian myth of the struggle between the Sun-God and Tiámat, the goddess of darkness.

This conception of conflict between two opposite principles, Light and Darkness, Compression and Expansion, will be found to underlie all the ancient religions of the world, and it is conspicuous throughout our own Scriptures. But it should be borne in mind that the oppositeness of their nature does not necessarily mean conflict. The two principles of Expansion and Contraction are not necessarily destructive; on the contrary, they are necessary correlatives to one another.

Expansion alone cannot produce form: cohesion must also be present. It is the regulated balance between them that results in Creation. In the old legend, if I remember rightly, the conflict is ended by Tiámat marrying her former opponent. They were never really enemies, but there was a misunderstanding between them, or rather, there was a misunderstanding on the part of Tiámat so long as she did not perceive the true character of the Spirit of Light, and that their relation was one of co-operation and not of opposition. Thus also St John tells us that "the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5). It is this want of comprehension that is at the root of all the trouble.

The reader should note, however, that I am not here speaking of that Primeval Substance which necessarily has no light in itself, because there is as yet no vibration in it; for there can be no light without vibration. We must not make the mistake of supposing that Matter is evil in itself: it is our conception of it that makes it the vehicle of evil; and we must distinguish between the darkness of Matter and moral darkness, though there is a spiritual correspondence between them.

The true development of Man consists in the self-expansion of the Divine Spirit working through his mind, and thence upon his psychic and physical organisms; but this can only be by the individual's willingness to receive that Spirit. Where the hindrance to this working is only caused by ignorance of the true relation between ourselves and the Divine Spirit, and the desire for truth is present, the True Light will in due course disperse the darkness.

But on the other hand, if the hindrance is caused by unwillingness to be led by the Divine Spirit, then the Light cannot be forced upon any one, and for this reason Jesus said: "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the World, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God" (John 3:19-21).

In physical science these things have an exact parallel in Ohm's Law regarding the resistance offered by the conductor to the flow of the electric current. The correspondence is very remarkable and will be found more fully explained in a later chapter. The Primary Darkness, both of Substance and of Mind, has to be taken into account if we would form an intelligent conception of the twofold process of Involution and Evolution continually at work in ourselves which, by their combined action, are able to lead to the limitless development of the individual and of the race.

According to all teaching, then, both ancient and modern, all life and energy have their source in a Primary Life and Energy, of which we can only say that IT IS. We cannot conceive of any time when it was not — for, if there was a time when no such Primary Energising Life Existed, what was there to energise it? So we are landed in a reductio ad absurdum [an absurd conclusion — Ed.] which leaves no alternative but to predicate the Eternal Existence of an All-Originating Living Spirit.

Eternity and "The Word"

Let us stop for a moment to consider what we mean by "Eternal". When do you suppose twice two began to make four? And when do you suppose twice two will cease to make four? It is an eternal principle, quite independent of time or conditions. Similarly with the Originating Life: it is above time and above conditions — in a word, it is undifferentiated and contains in itself the potential of infinite differentiation. This is what Eternal Life is, and what we want for the expansion of our own life is a truer comprehension of it. We are like Tiámat, and must enter into intelligent and loving union with the Spirit of Light in order to realise the infinite possibilities that lie before us. This is the ultimate meaning of the maxim Omne vivum ex vivo.

We see, then, that the material universe, including our own bodies, has its origin in the undifferentiated Universal Substance, and that the first movement towards differentiation must be started by some initial impulse, analogous to those which start vibrations in the ether known to science; and that therefore this impulse must, in the first instance, proceed from some Living Power internal in Itself, and independent of time and conditions. Now all the ancient religions of the world concur in attributing this initial impulse to the power of Sound; and we have seen that as a matter of fact, sound has the power of starting vibrations, and that these vibrations have an exact correspondence with the quality of the sound — what we now call synchronous vibration.

At this point, however, we are met by another fact. Cosmic activity takes place only in certain definite areas. Solar systems do not jostle each other in space. In a word, the Sound, which thus starts the initial impulse of creation, is guided by Intelligent Selection. Now sounds, directed by purposeful intention, amount to Words, whether the words of some spoken language or the tapping of the Morse code; it is the meaning at the back of the sound that gives it verbal significance.

It is for this reason that the concentration of creative energy in particular areas has from time immemorial been attributed to "The Word". The old Sanskrit books call this selective concentrated power Vach, which means "Voice" and is the root of the Latin word Vox, having the same meaning. Philo and the Neo-Platonists of Alexandria who follow him call it Logos, which means the same; and we are all familiar with the opening verses of St John's Gospel and First Epistle, in which he attributes Creation to "The Word".

Now we know, as a scientific fact, that solar systems have a definite beginning in the gyration of nebulous matter circling through vast fields of interstellar space as the great nebula in Andromeda does at the present day. Aeons upon aeons elapse before the primary nebula consolidates into a solar system such as ours is now; but science shows that from the time when the nebula first spreads its spiral across the heavens, the mathematical element of Law asserts itself, and it is by means of our recognition of the mathematical relations between the forces of attraction and repulsion that we have been able to acquire any knowledge on the subject.

Selection and Volition

I do not for an instant wish to suggest that the Spiritual Power has not continued to be in operation also, but a centre for the working of a Cosmic Law being once established, the Spiritual Power works through that Law and not in opposition to it. On the other hand, the selection of particular portions of space for the manifestation of cosmic activity indicates the action of free volition not determined by any law except the obvious consideration of allowing room for the future solar system to move in.

Similarly also with regard to time. Spectroscopic analysis of the light from the stars (which are suns, many of them much greater than our own) shows that they are of various ages — some quite young, some arrived at maturity, and some passing into old age. Their creation must therefore be assigned to different epochs, and we thus see the Originating Spirit exercising the powers of Selection and Volition as to the time when, as well as to the place where, a new world-system shall be inaugurated.

Now it is this power of inauguration that all the ancient systems of teaching attribute to the Divine Word. It is the passing of the undifferentiated into differentiation, of the unmanifested into manifestation, of the unlocalised into localisation. It is the ushering in of what the Brahminical books call a Manvantara, or world-period, and in like manner our Bible says that "In the beginning was the Word". The English word word is closely allied to the Latin word verbum, which signifies both "word" and "verb". Grammarians tell us that the verb to be is a verb-substantive, that is, it does not indicate any action passing from the subject to the object.

Now this exactly describes the Spirit in its Eternity. We cannot conceive of it except as always BEING; but the distribution of world-systems both in time and space shows that it is not always cosmically active. In itself, apart from manifestation, it is Pure Beingness, if I may coin such a word; and it is for this reason that the Divine Name announced to Moses was "I AM". But the fact that Creation exists shows that from this Substantive Pure Being there flows out a Verb Active which reproduces in action what the I AM is in essence. It is just the same with ourselves. We must first be before we can do, and we can do only to the extent to which we are. We cannot express powers which we do not possess; so our doing necessarily coincides with the quality of our being. Therefore the Divine Verb reproduces the Divine Substantive by a natural sequence. It is generated by the Divine "I AM", and for this reason it is called "The Son of God". So we see that The Verb, The Word, and The Son of God are all different expressions for the same Power.

Creative vibration in the Universal Substance can, therefore, only be conceived of as being inaugurated by the "Word" which localises the activity of the Spirit in particular centres. This idea of the localisation of Spirit through the "Word" should be fully realised as the energising principle on the scale of the Macrocosm or "Great World" because, as we shall find later on, the same principle acts in the same way on the scale of the Microcosm, or "Small World", which is the individual man. This is why these things have a personal interest for us; otherwise they would not be worth troubling about.

But a mistake to be avoided at this point is that of supposing that the "Word" is something which dictates to the Spirit when and where to operate. The "Word" is the word of the Spirit itself, and not that of some higher authority for, the Spirit being First cause, there can be nothing anterior to dictate to it: there can be nothing before that which is First. The "Word", which centralises the activity of the Spirit, is therefore that of the Spirit itself.

We have an analogy in our own case. If I go to New York, the first movement in that direction is that of my Thought or Desire. It is true that in my present state of evolution I have to follow the usual methods of travel, but so far as my Thought is concerned, I have been there all the time. Indeed, such a case as the one I have mentioned, of my being seen in Edinburgh while I was physically in London, seems to point to the actual transference of some part of the personality to another locality, and similarly with my visit to Lanercost Abbey; and the reader must remember that such phenomena are by no means uncommon — they are the natural action of some part of our personality and must therefore follow some natural law, even though we may at present know very little of how it works.

We see, therefore, both from a priori reasoning [reasoning from self-evident propositions — Ed.] and from observed facts, that it is the Word, Thought, or Desire of the Spirit that localises its activity in some definite centre. The student should bear this in mind as a leading principle, for he will find that it is of general application, alike in the case of individuals, of groups of individuals, and of entire nations. It is the key to the relation between Law and Personality, the opening of the Grand Arcanum [the esoteric Wisdom — Ed.], the equilibrating of Jachin and Boaz, and it is therefore of immediate importance to ourselves.

The "Word of Power"

We may take, then, as a starting-point for further enquiry the maxim that Volition creates Centres of Spiritual Activity. But perhaps you will say: "If this be true, what word or words am I to employ?" This is a question which has puzzled a good many people before you. This "Word" which so many have been in search of, has been variously called "the Lost Word", "the Word of Power", "the Schemhammaphorasch or Secret Name of God", and so on.

A quaint Jewish legend of the Middle Ages says that the "Hidden Name" was secretly inscribed in the innermost recesses of the Temple; but that, even if discovered, which was most unlikely, it could not be retained because guarding it were sculptured lions which gave such a supernatural roar as the intruder was quitting the spot that all memory of the "Hidden Name" was driven from his mind. However, says the legend, Jesus knew this and dodged the lions. He transcribed the Name, and cutting open his thigh, hid the writing in the incision which, by magical art, he at once closed up; then, after leaving the Temple, he took the writing out and so retained the knowledge of the Name. In this way the legend accounts for his power to work miracles.

Jesus, indeed, possessed the Word of Power, though not in the way told in the legend, and he repeatedly proclaimed it in his teaching: "According to your Faith be it unto you"; "Verily, I say unto you, whosoever shall say to this mountain, 'Be thou taken up and cast into the sea'; and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe that which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatever he saith" (Mark 11:23). And similarly in the Old Testament we are told that the Word is nigh to us, even in our hearts and in our mouth (Deut. 30:14). What keeps the Word of Power hidden is our belief that nothing so simple could possibly be it.

At the same time, simple though it may be, it has Law and Reason at the back of it, like everything else. The ancient Egyptians seem to have had clearer ideas on this subject than we have. "The name was to the Egyptians the idea of the thing, without which it could not exist, and the knowledge of which therefore gave power over that which answered to it. The idea of the thing represented its soul" [from Out of Egypt by Miss Crouse — Ed.]. This is the same conception as the "archetypal ideas" of Plato, only carried further, so as to apply not only to classes but to each individual of the class; and, as we shall see later, there is a good deal of truth in it.

Put broadly, the conception is this: every external fact must have a spiritual origin, an internal energising principle, which causes it to exist in the particular form in which it does. The outward fact is called the Phenomenon, and the corresponding inward principle is called the Noumenon. The dictionary definition of these two words is as follows: "Phenomenon — the appearance which anything makes to our consciousness as distinguished from what it is in itself. Noumenon — an unknown and unknowable substance or thing as it is in itself — the opposite to the Phenomenon or form through which it becomes known to the senses or the understanding" (Chambers' Twentieth Century Dictionary).

Whether the dictionary be right in saying that the "noumena" of things are entirely unknowable, the reader must decide for himself; but the present book is an attempt to learn something about the "noumena" of things in general, and of ourselves in particular, and what I want to convey is that the "noumenon" of anything is its essence in terms of the Universal Energy and the Universal Substance in their relation to the particular Form in question.

Probably the Latin word Nomen, "Name", is derived from this Greek word, and in this sense everything has its "hidden name"; and the region in which Thought-Power works is this region of spiritual beginnings. It deals with "hidden names" — that inward essence which determines the outward form of things, persons, and circumstances alike; and it is in order to make this clearer that I have commenced by sketching briefly the general principles of Substance and Energy as now recognised by modern science.

Mental Attitude

If I have made my meaning clear, you will see that what is wanted is not the knowledge of particular words, but an understanding of general principles. At the same time, I would not assert that the reciting of certain forms of words, such as the Indian "mantras" or the word AUM, to which Oriental teachers attach a mystic significance, is entirely without power. But the power is not in the words but in our belief in their power.

I will give an amusing instance of this. On several occasions I have been consulted by persons who supposed themselves to be under the influence of "malicious magnetism", emanating in some cases from known, and in others from unknown, sources; and the remedy I have prescribed has been this: Look the adverse power, mentally, full in the face, and then assuming an attitude of confidence, say "Cock-a-doodle-doo". The enquirers have sometimes smiled at first, but in every case the result has been successful. Perhaps this is why Aesculapius is represented as accompanied by a cock. Possibly the ancient physicians were in the habit of employing the "Cock-a-doodle-doo" treatment; and I might recommend it to the faculty today as very effective in certain cases.

Now I do not think the reader will attribute any particularly occult significance to "Cock-a-doodle-doo". The power is in the mental attitude. To "Cock-a-doodle-doo" at any suggestion is to treat it with scorn and derision, and to assume the very opposite of that receptive attitude which enables a suggestion to affect us. That is the secret of this method of treatment, and the principle is the same in all cases.

It matters, then, very little what particular words we use. What does matter is the intention and faith with which we use them. But perhaps some reader will here take the role of cross-examining counsel and say: "You have just said it is a case of synchronous vibration — then surely it is the actual sound of the particular syllables that counts. How do you square this with your present statement?"

The answer is that the Law is always the same, but the mode of response to the Law is always according to the nature of the medium in which it is operating. On the plane of physical matter, the vibrations are in tune with physical sounds, as in the experiments with the eidophone; and similarly, on the plane of ideas or "noumena", the response is in terms of that plane. The word which creates "noumena", or spiritual centres of actions, must itself belong to the world of "noumena", so that it is not illogical to say that it is the intention and faith that counts, and not the external sound.

In this is the secret of the Power of Thought. It is the reproduction, on the miniature scale of the individual, of the same mode of Power that makes the worlds. It is that Power of personality which, combined with the action of the Law, brings out results which the Law alone could never do — as the old maxim has it, "Nature unaided fails".

This brings us to another important question: Is not the creative power of the Word limited by the immutability of the Law? If the Law cannot be altered in the least particular, how can the Word be free to do what it likes? The answer to this is contained in another maxim: "Every creation carries its own mathematics along with it". You cannot create anything without at the same time creating its relation to everything else, just as in painting a landscape, the contour you give to the trees will determine that of the sky. Therefore, whenever you create anything, you thereby start a train of causation which will work out in strict accordance with the sort of thought that started it. The stream always has the quality of its source.

Thought which is in line with the Unity of the Great Whole will produce correspondingly harmonious results, and Thought which is disruptive of the great Principle of Unity will produce correspondingly disruptive results — hence all the trouble and confusion in the world. Our Thought is perfectly free, and we can use it either constructively or destructively as we choose; but the immutable Law of Sequence will not permit us to plant a thought of one kind and make it bear fruit of another.

Contradictions Are Impossible

Then the question very naturally suggests itself: Why did not God create us so that we could not think negative or destructive thoughts? And the answer is: Because He could not. There are some things which even God cannot do. He cannot do anything that involves a contradiction in terms. Even God could not make twice two either more or less than four. Now I want the student to see clearly why making us incapable of wrong thinking would involve a contradiction in terms and would therefore be an impossibility. To see this, we must realise what is our place in the Order of the Universe.

The name Man itself indicates this. It comes from the Sanskrit root MN which, in all its derivatives, conveys the idea of Measurement, as in the word Mind, through the Latin mens, the faculty which compares things and estimates them accordingly; Moon, the heavenly body whose phases afford the most obvious standard for the periodical measurement of time; Month, the period thus measured; Man, the largest of the Indian weights; and so on. Man therefore means "the measurer", and this very aptly describes our place in the order of evolution, for it indicates the relation between Personal Volition and Immutable Law.

If we grant the truth of the maxim "Nature unaided fails", the whole thing becomes clear, and the entire progress of applied science proves the truth of this maxim. To recur to an illustration I have employed in my previous books, the old ship-builders thought that ships were bound to be built of wood and not of iron, because wood floats in water and iron sinks; but now nearly all ships are made of iron. Yet the specific gravities of wood and iron have not altered, and a log of wood floats while a lump of iron sinks, just as they did in the days of Drake [Sir Francis Drake, 1540-1596, English sailor and adventurer — Ed.] and Frobisher [Sir Martin Frobisher, 1535-1594, Englisher mariner and explorer — Ed.]. The only difference is that people thought out the underlying principle of the law of flotation and reduced it to the generalised statement that anything will float the weight of which is less than that of the mass displaced by it, whether it be an iron ship floating in water or a balloon floating in air.

So long as we restrict ourselves to the mere recollection of observed facts, we shall make no progress; but by carefully considering why any force acted in the way it did, under the particular conditions observed, we arrive at a generalisation of principle, showing that the force in question is capable of hitherto unexpected applications if we provide the necessary conditions. This is the way in which all advances have been made on the material side, and on the principle of Continuity we may reasonably infer that the same applies to the spiritual side also.

We may generalise the whole position thus: When we first observe the working of the Law under the conditions spontaneously provided by Nature, it appears to limit us; but by seeking the reason of the action exhibited under these limited conditions, we discover the principle and true nature of the Law in question, and we then learn from the Law itself what conditions to supply in order to give it more extended scope and direct its energy to the accomplishment of definite purposes.

The maxim we have to learn is that "Every Law contains in itself the principle of its own Expansion", which will set us free from the limitation which that Law at first appeared to impose upon us. The limitation was never in the Law but in the conditions under which it was working, and our power of selection and volition enables us to provide new conditions not spontaneously provided by Nature, and thus to specialise the Law and disclose immense powers which had always been latent in it, but which would forever remain hidden unless brought to light by the co-operation of the Personal Factor.

The Law itself never changes, but we can specialise it by realising the principle involved and providing the conditions thus indicated. This is our place in the Order of the Universe. We give definitive direction to the action of the Law, and in this way our Personal Factor is always acting upon the Law, whether we know it or not; and the Law, under the influence thus impressed upon it, is all the time reacting upon us.


Now we cannot conceive any limit to Evolution. To suppose a point where it comes to an end is a contradiction in terms. It is to suppose that the Eternal Life Principle is used up, which is to deny its Eternity; and, as we have seen, unless we assume its Eternity, it is impossible to account for our own existence or that of anything else. Therefore, to say that a point will ever be reached where it will be used up is as absurd as saying that a point will be reached where the sequence of numbers will be used up.

Evolution — the progress from lower to higher modes of manifestation of the underlying Principle of Life — is therefore eternal, but in regard to the human race, this progress depends entirely on the extent to which we grasp the principles of the Law of our own Being and so learn to specialise it in the right direction. Then if this be our place in the Universal Order, it becomes clear that we could not occupy this place unless we had a perfectly free hand to choose the conditions under which the Law id to operate; and therefore, in order to pass beyond the limits of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms and reach the status of being Persons and not things, we must have a freedom of selection and volition which makes it equally possible for us to select either rightly or wrongly; and the purpose of sound teaching is to make us see the eternal principles involved and thus lead us to impress our Personality upon the Law in the way that will bring out the infinite possibilities of good which the Law, rightly employed, contains.

If it were possible to do this by an automatic Law, doubtless the Creative Wisdom would have made us so. This is why St Paul says: "If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law" (Gal. 3:21). Note the words, "a law given" — that is to say, imposed by external command; but it could not be. The laws of the Universe are Cosmic. In themselves they are impersonal, and the infinite possibilities contained in them can only be brought out by the co-operation of the Personal Factor.

It is only as we grasp the true relation between Jachin and Boaz that we can enter into the Temple either of our own Individuality or of the boundless Universe in which we live. The reason, therefore, why God did not make us mechanically incapable of wrong thinking is simply because the very idea involves a contradiction in terms which negates all possibility of Creation. The conception lands us in a reductio ad absurdum [i.e. an absurdity when the conception is carried to its logical conclusion — Ed.].

Misuse of Will

Therefore we are free to use our powers of Personality as we will, only we must take the consequences. Now one error we are very apt to fall into is the mistaken use of the Will. Its proper function is to keep our other faculties in line with the Law and thus enable us to specialise it; but many people seem to think that by force of will they can somehow manage to coerce the Law; in other words, that by force of will they can sow a seed of one kind and make it bear fruit of another.

The Spirit of Life seeks to express itself in our individuality through the three avenues of reason, feeling, and will; but as in the Masonic legend of the murder of Hiram Abif, the architect of Solomon's Temple, it is beaten back on the side of reasoning by the plummet of a logic based on false premises; on the side of feeling, by the level of conventional ideas; and on the side of will by the hammer of a short-sighted self-will which gives the finishing blow; and it is not until the true perception of the Principle of Life is resurrected within us that the Temple can be completed according to the true plan.

It should be remembered that the will is not the Creative Faculty in us. It is the faculty of Conception that is the creative agent, and the business of the Will is to keep that faculty in the right direction, which will be determined by an enlightened Reason. Conception creates ideas which are the seed that, in due time, will produce fruit after its own kind. In a broad sense we may call it the Imaging Faculty, only we must not suppose that this necessarily implies the visualising of mental images, which is only a subsidiary mode of using this faculty.

An "immaculate conception" is therefore the only means by which the New Liberated Man can be born in each of us. The sequence is always the same. The Will holds the Conception together, and the idea thus formed gives direction to the working of the Law. But this direction may be either true or inverted; and the impersonal Law will work constructively or destructively according to the conception which it embodies. In this way, then, will-power may be used to hold together an inverted conception — the conception that our personal force of will is sufficient to bear down all opposition. But this mental attitude ignores the fact that the fundamental principle of creative power is the Wholeness of the Creation, and that therefore the idea of forcing compliance with our wishes by the power of our own individual will is an inverted conception which, though it may appear to succeed for a time, is bound to fail eventually, because it antagonises the very power it is seeking to use.

This inverted use of the Will is the basis of "Black Magic", a term some readers will perhaps smile at, but which is practised at the present day to a much greater extent than many of us have any idea of — not always, indeed, with a full consciousness of its nature, but in many ways which are the first steps on the Left-hand Path. Its mark is the determination to act by self-will rather than using our will to co-operate with that continuous forward movement of the Great Whole which is the Will of God. This inverted will entirely misses the point regarding the part we are formed to play in the Creative Order, and so we miss the development of our own individuality, and retrograde instead of going forward.

But if we work with the Law instead of against it, we shall find that our word — that is to say, our conception — will become more and more the Word of Power, because it specialises the general Law in some particular direction. The Law will serve us exactly to the extent to which we first observe the Law. It is the same in everything. If the electrician tries to go counter to the fundamental principle that the electric current always flows from a higher to a lower potential, he will be able to do nothing with it; but let him observe this fundamental law and there is nothing that electricity will not do for him within the field of its own nature. In this sense, then, of specialising the general Law in a particular direction, we may lay down the maxim that "The Law flows from the Word, and not vice versa".

When we use our Word in this way — not as expressing a self-will that seeks to crush all that does not submit to it, but as a portion, however small, of the Universal Cause, and therefore with the desire of acting in harmony with that Cause — then our word becomes a constructive, instead of a destructive, power. Its influence may be very small at first, because there is still a great mass of doubt at the back of our mind, and every doubt is, in reality, a Negative Word warring against our Affirmative Word; but, by adhering to our principle, we shall gradually gain experience in these things, and the creative value of our word will grow accordingly.