An Inner Tribunal of Truth

LETTER NO. 83 - October, 1917

Last week a visitor to Mt. Ecclesia told me that she had been studying all the different philosophies she could get hold of for about twenty years; also that she had in the past few years taken up the study of the Rosicrucian teachings, and that they appealed to her as being the absolute truth. She naturally expected me to give acquiescence to that sentiment, and was both amazed and dumbfounded when told that I did not so consider the teachings given me by the Elder Brothers and written in our various books.

To the Bushmen, the Kafirs, and other African savages who may develop a religious temperament, so far as they are capable of such a thing, it probably seems a great truth that there is a divine being of a higher nature than the human. From such men and from such a conception of religion there is gradual advance towards the transcendental philosophies which call out reverence in the most highly developed specimens of our human race. This gives us reason to believe that the evolution of man demands also an evolution of religion. We have climbed from the valleys of childlike ignorance to the point where we are today, and it would be absolutely contrary to the law of analogy to suppose that anything in the religious line which we have today is the ultimate; for if there is to be no more religious progress, there can be no more human progress either.

What, then, is the way to the heights of religious realization, and where may one find it? This seems to be the next logical question. The answer to it is that it is not found in books, either my own or anyone else's. Books are useful in so far as they give us food for thought on the subjects dealt with. We may or may not come to the same conclusions as the writer of the books, but so long as we take the ideas presented into our inner being and there work over them carefully and prayerfully, whatever comes out of the process is our own, nearer the truth than anything we can get from anyone else or in any other way.

The WITHIN then is the only worthy tribunal of truth. If we consistently and persistently take our problems before that tribunal, we shall in the course of time evolve such a superior sense of truth that, instinctively whenever we hear an idea advanced, we shall know whether it is sound and true or not. The Bible in a number of places exhorts us to beware of all kinds of doctrines floating about in the air because many are dangerous and unsettle the mind. Books are launched on the market which advance this, that, or the other system of philosophy. Unless we have established, or have started to establish, this inner tribunal of truth, we may be like the lady referred to above--wandering about from place to place, mentally speaking, all our lives and finding no rest, knowing little more at the end than in the beginning and perhaps even less.

Therefore my advice to the student would be never to accept or reject or follow blindly any authority, but to strive to establish the tribunal of truth within. Refer all matters to that tribunal, proving all things, and holding fast to that which is good.