“Hence have arisen all the sacrifices to these forces – as science calls them – to these intelligences guiding physical order, as religions have always taught.
As fire quickly disintegrated the dense physical, it quickly restored the etheric particles of the burnt offerings to the ethers; thus the astral particles were easily set free to be assimilated by the astral entities concerned with the fertility of the earth and the growth of plants.
Thus the wheel of production was kept turning, and man learned that he was constantly incurring debts to Nature which he must as constantly discharge. Thus the sense of obligation was implanted and nurtured in his mind, and the duty that he owed to the whole, to the nourishing mother Nature, became impressed on his thought.
It is true that this sense of obligation was closely connected with the idea that its discharge was necessary for his own welfare, and that the wish to continue to prosper moved him to the payment of his debt.
He was but a child-soul, learning his first lessons, and this lesson of the interdependence of lives, of the life of each depending on the sacrifice of others, was of vital importance to his growth.
Not yet could he feel the divine joy of giving; the reluctance of the form to surrender aught that nourished it had first to be overcome, and sacrifice became identified with this surrender of something valued, a surrender made from a sense of obligation and the desire to continue prosperous.”