TO fulfil our duty in the divine scheme we must try to understand not only that scheme as a whole, but the special part that man is intended to play in it. The divine outbreathing reached its deepest immersion in matter in the mineral kingdom, but it reaches its ultimate point of differentiation not at the lowest level of materiality, but at the entrance into the human kingdom on the upward arc of evolution. We have thus to realize three stages in the course of this evolution. (a) The downward arc in which the tendency is to-wards differentiation and also towards greater materiality. In this stage spirit is involving itself in matter, in order that it may learn to receive impressions through it. (b) The earlier part of the upward arc, in which the tendency is still towards greater differentiation, but at the same time towards spiritualization and escape from materiality. In this stage the spirit is learning to dominate matter and to see it as an expression of itself. (c) The later part of the upward arc, when differentiation has been finally accomplished, and the tendency is towards unity as well as towards greater spirituality. In this stage the spirit, having learnt perfectly how to receive impression through matter and how to express itself through it, and having awakened its dormant powers, learns to use these powers rightly in the service of the Deity. The object of the whole previous evolution has been to produce the ego as a manifestation of the Monad. Then the ego in its turn evolves by putting itself down into a succession of personalities. Men who do not understand this look upon the personality as the self, and consequently live for it alone, and try to regulate their lives for what appears to be its temporary advantage. The man who understands realizes that the only important thing is the life of the ego, and that its progress is the object for which the temporary personality must be used. Therefore when he has to decide between two possible courses he thinks not, as the ordinary man might: "Which will bring the greater pleasure and profit to me as a personality?" but "Which will bring greater progress to me as an ego?" Experience soon teaches him that nothing can ever be really good for him, or for anyone, which is not good for all, and so presently he learns to forget himself altogether, and to ask only what will be best for humanity as a whole. Clearly then at this stage of evolution whatever tends to unity, whatever tends to spirituality, is in accord with the plan of the Deity for us, and is therefore right for us, while whatever tends to separateness or to materiality is equally certainly wrong for us. There are thoughts and emotions which tend to unity, such as love, sympathy, reverence, benevolence; there are others which tend to disunion, such as hatred, jealousy, envy, pride, cruelty, fear. Obviously the former group are for us the right, the latter group are for us the wrong. In all these thoughts and feelings which are clearly wrong, we recognize one dominant note, the thought of self; while in all those which are clearly right we recognize that the thought is turned toward others, and that the personal self is forgotten. Wherefore we see that selfishness is the one great wrong, and that perfect unselfishness is the crown of all virtue. This gives us at once a rule of life. The man who wishes intelligently to co-operate with the Divine Will must lay aside all thought of the advantage or pleasure of the personal self, and must devote himself exclusively to carrying out that Will by working for the welfare and happiness of others. This is a high ideal, and difficult of attainment, because there lies behind us such a long history of selfishness. Most of us are as yet far from the purelyaltruistic attitude; how are we to go to work to attain it, lacking as we do the necessary intensity in so many of the good qualities, and possessing so many which are undesirable? Here comes into operation the great law of cause and effect to which I have already referred. Just as we can confidently appeal to the laws of Nature in the physical world, so may we also appeal to these laws of the higher world. If we find evil qualities within us, they have grown up by slow degrees through ignorance and through self-indulgence. Now that the ignorance is dispelled by knowledge, now that in consequence we recognize the quality as an evil, the method of getting rid of it lies obviously before us. For each of these vices there is a contrary virtue; if we find one of them rearing its head within us, let us immediately determine deliberately to develop within ourselves the contrary virtue. If a man realizes that in the past he has been selfish, that means that he has set up within himself the habit of thinking of himself first and pleasing himself, of consulting his own convenience or his pleasure without due thought of the effect upon others; let him set to work purposefully to form the exactly opposite habit, to make a practice before doing anything of thinking how it will affect all those around him; let him set himself habitually to please others, even though it be at the cost of trouble or privation for himself. This also in time will become a habit, and by developing it he will have killed out the other. If a man finds himself full of suspicion, ready always to assign evil motives to the actions of those about him, let him set himself steadily to cultivate trust in his fellows, to give them credit always for the highest possible motives. It may be said that a man who does this will lay himself open to be deceived, and that in many cases his confidence will be misplaced. That is a small matter; it is far better for him that he should sometimes be deceived as a result of his trust in his fellows than that he should save himself from such deception by maintaining a constant attitude of suspicion. Besides, confidence begets faithfulness. A man who is trusted will generally prove himself worthy of the trust, whereas a man who is suspected is likely presently to justify the suspicion. If a man finds in himself the tendency towards avarice, let him go out of his way to be especially generous; if he finds himself irritable, let him definitely train himself in calmness; if he finds himself devoured by curiosity, let him deliberately refuse again and again to gratify that curiosity; if he is liable to fits of depression, let him persistently cultivate cheerfulness, even under the most adverse circumstances. In every case the existence of an evil quality in the personality means a lack of the corresponding good quality in the ego. The shortest way to get rid of that evil and to prevent its reappearance is to fill the gap in the ego, and the good quality which is thus developed will show itself as an integral part of the man's character through all his future lives. An ego cannot be evil, but he can be imperfect. The qualities which he develops cannot be other than good qualities, and when they are well defined they show themselves in each of all his numerous personalities, and consequently those personalities can never be guilty of the vices opposite to these qualities; but where there is a gap in the ego, where there is a quality undeveloped, there is nothing inherent in the personality to check the growth of the opposite vice; and since others in the world about him already possess that vice, and man is an imitative animal, it is quite probable that it will speedily manifest itself in him. This vice, however, belongs to the vehicles only and not to the man inside. In these vehicles its repetition may set up a momentum which is hard to conquer; but if the ego bestirs himself to create in himself the opposite virtue, the vice is cut off at its root, and can no longer exist--neither in this life nor in all the lives that are to come. A man who is trying to evolve these qualities in him-self will find certain obstacles in his way--obstacles which he must learn to surmount. One of these is the critical spirit of the age--the disposition to find fault with a thing, to belittle everything, to look for faults in everything and everyone. The exact opposite of this is what is needed for progress. He who wishes to move rapidly along the path of evolution must learn to see good in everything--to see the latent Deity in everything and in everyone. Only so can he help those other people--only so can he get the best out of those other things. Another obstacle is the lack of perseverance. We tend in these days to be impatient; if we try any plan we expect immediate results from it, and if we do not get them, we give up that plan and try something else. That is not the way to make progress in occultism. The effort which we are making is to compress into one or two lives the evolution which would naturally take perhaps a hundred lives. That is not the sort of undertaking in which immediate results are to be expected. We attempt to uproot an evil habit, and we find it hard work; why? Because we have indulged in that practice for, perhaps, twenty thousand years; one cannot shake off the custom of twenty thousand years in a day or two. We have allowed that habit to gain an enormous momentum, and before we can set up a force in the opposite direction we have to overcome that momentum. That cannot be done in a moment, but it is absolutely certain that itwillbe done eventually, if we persevere, because the momentum, however strong it may be, is a finite quantity, whereas the power that we can bring to bear against it is the infinite power of the human will, which can make renewed efforts day after day, year after year, even life after life if necessary.