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The Labors of Hercules - The Purpose of the Study of the Hercules Myth
In days of darkness and apparent spiritual deadness, this revival of interest in the higher realities inevitably appears, guaranteeing that the spirit of man is on its way, and that the reality remains unchanged behind the changing surface of material events. The very need of the hour calls for the sounding of a clear note and to the newly emerging mystic and knower is given the task of this sounding. "What we find in the mystic is an intensified organ for the affirmation of the reality of God and for the richer interpretation of His character." With these clear words, Dr. Jones calls our attention to the work eternally done in the spiritual field by the awakened seeker.

Truth is, phoenix-like, emerging anew in the field of human experience, but it will be the truth which is felt and known and not the truth which is enforced through authoritarianism and ancient tradition; for truth, as Bernard Shaw tells us, is "what you know by your experience to be true and feel in your soul to be true". Such renewals of the spiritual life of the race are [207] recurrent and cyclic; they can be of an emotional or an intellectual nature but they serve to lead the subjective life of the race into a new and richer phase of experience, and to offset, and sometimes to interpret, the more material and scientific paralleling trends which can be seen.

The problem of every writer and teacher today is to discover new ways in which to express the same foundational truths, and so to present the ancient formulas and rules of the road which will lead man to the next stage in his spiritual development. The old truths will then acquire new meanings and vibrate with fresh life. There have been many books written upon the subject of the Path of Discipleship. Restatement of the problems to be encountered upon the universal Path, and analysis of the difficulties to be faced whilst treading it is not warranted, unless the application can be general, practical and couched in such terms that meets the need of the modern student. A study of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, covering as they do every aspect of the disciple's life, may enable us to achieve a different attitude and release us into that joy on the Path and that freedom in service which is a more than adequate compensation for the temporary losses and momentary distresses which may try the lower nature.

One of the great revelations which has come almost unnoticed to humanity during the past century has been the slow dawning upon our consciousness of the fact of our own inherent essential divinity. Men are recognizing that they are in very truth "made in the image of God", and are one in nature with their Father in Heaven. Today also, the purposes and plans underlying God's creative work are being studied widely from both the scientific and religious angles, bringing definite changes in man's attitude to life as a whole. It is this unfolding plan for man, individual and racial, that is revealed in the story of this ancient Son of God. We are given a synthetic and complete picture of the progress of the soul from ignorance to wisdom, [208] from material desire to spirit aspiration, and from the blindness of infant humanity to the pure vision of those who see God. A point is reached in the story where intelligent cooperation with soul purpose takes the place of blind endeavor and struggle, and Hercules, who is a Son of God as well as a son of man, can proceed upon the Way with his face turned towards the light, irradiated by the joy of those who know.

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