|What Am I? Galen Sharp
The following excerpts are taken from G.A. Gaskell's The Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths (ISBN:0-517-527634). I cannot find out anything about Campbell other than that he was a Christian (with Hindu leanings) clergyman and theologian of the early twentieth century. I have imposed poetic structure upon Campbell's prose.
Campbell's books are listed at Amazon.com: http://snipurl.com/ylha
The following was sent by a minister who prefers to remain anonymous:
R. J. Campbell was an English
Congregational Minister, who, at the
turn of the century, occupied the pulpit of one of the most prestigious
Churches in England, the City Temple ( Congregational ) in London. From
this pulpit, Campbell began to articulate a doctrinal position which he
termed "The New Theology".
Critiquiting both the utter
Transcendence of God ( God above and without
all Creation ) and Pantheism ( God identified with Creation ), Campbell
adopted a theological position known as Panentheism ( God readily seen
and known through Creation but not limited to or contained by Creation).
As Cambell himself wrote in his book, "The New Theology": 'The New
Theology holds that we know nothing and can know nothing of the Infinite
Cause whence all things proceed except as we read Him in His Universe
and in our own souls'. ( The New Theology, Macmillian and Co., 1907, pg.
Using this Panentheistic view
of God as his point of departure,
Campbell then began a rather thorough restatement of Christianity. This
bold undertaking caused quite a stir for England was a Nation which
still was within the comfortable Victorian ethos at that time.
Campbell never claimed to be influenced by Hindusim, Buddhism, or
Taosim, maintaining that he was simply recapturing the purity of Early
Christianity which had been lost in subsequent centuries. There is some
possibility that he was influenced by Theosophy, which was quite popular
in his social circle at the turn of the century.
Alas, the onslaught of the
First World War caused considerable
damage to Victorian and Edwardian English mindsets and Campbell fell
prey to this tendency. By 1916, he had renounced his New Theology, left
the Congregational Church, took Anglican Holy Orders, and became quite
Orthodox in his teaching.
Still in a quaint way,
Campbell is an interesting figure even
today. His books have a kind of raw, intellectual vigour which is
refreshing , especially when dealing with the quite arid field of
The eternal word
When fully spoken
Will be a song of many harmonies
A mosaic of many stones
A picture of many forms and hues
But we shall all be wanted therein
If you do not rise to the full measure of your spiritual capacities
I shall be the poorer
And shall have to wait for my complete felicity until you do
If I am a defaulter
You will suffer loss
And all the race waits for us both
And cannot fully find itself till we have arrived at what we are
Which is what God means us to be
Nor in the nature of things
Can we possibly know what we really are till we get there.
It seems to me that if we dig down deep enough into the motives of our best efforts,
if we penetrate far enough into our noblest feelings,
we shall find that we know in a way
that all the good we strive after already is,
and we should not strive if we did not know.
You cannot have evolution without something to evolve.
Evolution does not create anything, it only reveals it.
What we are today, therefore, is the partial unfolding of some immeasurably greater Fact
than can probably ever be fully expressed
under material conditions.
I image the being of God to myself as a shoreless ocean of undifferentiated being,
the one reality which eternally is,
and out of which our life has come.
That shoreless ocean is bliss, light, life, love, and power all in one.
There is no other reality.
This it is which was from the beginning, is now, and ever will be, world without end.
We are in it now,
though we do not know it;
we have never really left it...
It is as though a Being rose out of a shoreless sea,
and taking a pair of compasses,
swept a circle around himself;
that circle is the universe.
The universe has to run its course,
as innumberable universes have done before,
till it is reabsorbed in Brahm.
The Self is something greater than the body,
greater than the feelings,
greater than the intellect.
The Self is the reality at the back of all these,
partly hedged in by them,
and partly making use of them to utter itself.
Consciousness has to rise through them all
before it can attain to its own highest,
the level of perfect self-realisation,
which is perfect love.
If there was never any beginning to time
Then there is no time.
If there was never a moment when the first universe sprang into being,
then there is no universe at all.
To speak of an infinite succession of worlds
Is the same as to say there is no succession whatever.
I feel that the universe is spirit
And nothing but spirit
And that infinity and eternity
Are implied in the very existence of every individual soul.
Is it not plain that the whole material universe
As it enters into our experience now
Is but the creation of our own consciousness?
It is what it is because we are what we are.
It is our Selfhood that is real, and only That.
It is That which is.
All else may come and go, but That abides.
Time and Space are within That, not That within them.
There is no substance but consciousness.
What other kind of substance can there be?
The true being is consciousness.
The universe visible and invisible is consciousness.
The higher self of the individual man enfolds more of the consciousness of God than the lower,
but the lower and higher are the same being.
This may be a difficult thought to grasp.
But the time is rapidly approaching
When it will be more generally accepted than it is now.
Nondual excerpts from Walt Whitman
|What Am I? Galen Sharp