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An Outline of Occult Science

The first spreading of Christianity was to take place just at a time when the capacities for supersensible cognition were undeveloped in a great part of humanity. And this is why tradition at that time possessed such mighty power. The strongest possible force was necessary to lead mankind to a faith in a supersensible world which they themselves could not perceive. How Christianity worked during that period has been shown in previous pages. There were always those, however, who were able to rise into higher worlds through imagination, inspiration, and intuition. These men were the post-Christian successors of the old Initiates, the teachers and members of the Mysteries. Their task was to recognize again, through their own faculties, what man had been able to perceive through ancient clairvoyance, and through the methods of ascent into higher worlds taught in the old Initiations; and in addition to this, to acquire the knowledge of the real nature of the Christ-event. Thus there arose, among these “New Initiates,� a knowledge embracing everything contained in the old form of Initiation; but the central point of this teaching was the higher knowledge concerning the Mysteries of the coming of the Christ. Such teaching could only filter through into the general life of the world in scanty measure while the human souls of the fourth period were further developing the faculties of intellect and feeling; therefore, while this lasted, the doctrine was in truth secret. Then began the dawn of the new period designated as the fifth. Its essential characteristic lay in the progress made in the evolution of the intellectual faculties, which were then developed to a very high degree, and will unfold still further in the future. This process has been slowly going on from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, becoming ever more rapid from the sixteenth century up to the present time. Under these influences the evolution of the fifth period became an ever-increasing endeavour to foster the powers of intellect, while, on the contrary, the knowledge by faith of former times,

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