Men can really be judged only by their equals or superiors. The Adept side of the character of Wm. Q. Judge stands above criticism or judgment by all not Adepts; we can only recognize something different from ourselves, and, in a far-off way, imitate, admire and reverence. That many of us did recognize the greatness of the soul manifesting through the frail body, is a supreme consolation in our hour of bereavement. His pupils were not altogether unworthy of their Teacher; there was, and is, a spiritual kinship which has been mightily strengthened during this our last, and all too brief, association.
For Wm. Q. Judge was an Adept—a great one, however much the true man was hidden behind the one of clay. Is it reasonable to suppose that at a time when the Great Lodge had for foes the intellectual giants—the Spencers, Mills, Huxleys, and Darwins,—of an era the very apotheosis of materialistic agnosticism, they sent tyros or babes to do battle for the world? Nay; they sent their best and bravest; were there no other proof of this, the work accomplished would be sufficient. Right royally did H.P.B. march down to Armageddon; confounding the learned by her wisdom, mocking materialism by her wonderful exhibition of abnormal and at first sight supernatural powers. But she was the Knight errant, who fought amid the beating of drums, and the clash and clamor, the excitement and glory, of a princely tournament. None the less royally did Wm. Q. Judge do his knightly duty on his silent, unnoticed field of battle. His place, his task, it was to teach ethics; to turn aside the craze for phenomena and wonder-working into the more healthy, lasting channels of love for our fellow men. H.P.B. laid the foundations well; but it was left for Wm. Q. Judge to build strongly and safely thereon.
What now remains of Christianity but an appeal to discredited “miracles,” to an emotionalism which has neither an intellectual nor a spiritual basis? Yet Christ unquestionably taught the philosophy of H.P.B. and Wm. Q. Judge. It was swallowed up amidst the casting out of devils, and the healing of the lame and blind. So would the rush of phenomena-crazed and wonder-seekers have drowned out all philosophy and ethics, and left Theosophy to the fate of Christianity, but for the efforts of the mighty Western Adept, Wm. Q. Judge. He who fails to recognize this, the place and part in the battle of this century, occupied by our “Chief,” will wretchedly fail in his estimate of his character. He himself well knew that which he had to accomplish, and not for a moment did he lose sight of his appointed task. Through all his writings, both public and private, ran the same golden web of brotherhood, toleration, unselfishness. “Letters That Have Helped me”—How many thousand reecho the title after reading the book? It will go down to the ages still helping; for times, manners, customs, peoples, may and must change, but ethical teachings will endure. They are of eternity; not of time.
His private correspondence was immense, and who, of all the immense number of those written to can say that he ever received a letter which was not helpful, if read in the spirit in which it was sent? A mine of ethical and philosophical teachings will yet he unearthed out of these private letters, for many of the holders realize their value. “Do not judge in anger, for, though the anger passes, the judgment remains!” What a grasp of occult philosophy; what a deep knowledge of human life, is displayed in this apparently incidental remark, in a letter to the writer. All his letters are studded with like jewels, bestowed in the careless profusion of unbounded wealth.
And none were so high as to demand his attention and help; none so low that they could not command it. The universality of his love was like that of Buddha or Christ. Looking beyond the humble or proud personality, he ever knocked upon the doors of the soul within; ever sought to arouse the Self which he recognized in every breast.
That he made enemies, is not matter for wonder. The world has ever crucified its Christs, and brought but hemlock to the lips of its ethical teachers. Little vanity is irritated in the presence of that which it cannot comprehend, but which it feels to be its superior. So the world must have its Golgothas, until the Child Humanity has grown wiser and less cruel. But for those who have attacked and maligned him, let there he no word of upbraiding; they were incapable of understanding him, and he—forgave them.
Yet while we reverence the Adept, let us not therefore lose sight of the man, for even in his simplest life he was great. Those who have seen him lay aside every care, and for the moment become the mirth-loving, gleeful companion, will not need to be reminded of this beautiful side of his character. To the children and the humble and lowly in the Society, he was a revelation. They heard of him with awe, they approached him with fear and trembling, they instantly recognized their own, and became his sworn friends forever. This was wonderful—how wholly the very humblest in our ranks, who came into his presence personally, loved and trusted him.
His work is done. He had drawn around him a living Society; a body of men well grounded in philosophy and ethics, who cannot be turned aside by the glamour of phenomena, or the desire to become wonder workers. Faithfully he stood at his post until the last of his chosen recognized their real work, and set about it in all honesty and sincerity. Had he ever flung phenomena at our heads we would have indeed been lost. But the pure philosophy, the high ethics, the generous love and work for others, of which he was a living example, at last brought forth their fruit, and the time came when he could safely pass on.
And so our great Leader sank to his well-won rest. No more the wan, emaciated body will be dragged by the imperious soul to its ceaseless round of sacrificing toil; no more that pure heart grieve over ingratitude or weakness. Like the Gentile Adept of old he can truthfully say, “I have fought the good fight: I have kept the faith.” And his reward will be the greatest that immortal man can win—the right to again fight in the very front ranks of those who serve humanity; the blessed privilege to again sacrifice and suffer; to be again reviled and crucified. For one day through the efforts of him, and such as he, Humanity will have been redeemed.