"THIRD TALK 53
are fully convinced that all these things must be true.
So there can be intellectual, apart from direct, proof.
Easier and more rapid, of course, is the path of the
man who gets some fragment of personal experience;
few of us are entirely without that, and even one little
bit of direct knowledge of that sort shows us not, per-
haps, that all the rest is true, but that all the rest is
eminently probable; for, having seen one statement
confirmed, we assume that the rest is also probably
true. The probability is so strong that it becomes for
us practically a certainty.
Now this earlier stage in which we find ourselves
at the present day has often been called the
But I think it is, on the whole, better to avoid
the term <( Probationary7 Path " because it is mislead-
ing. We really do not enter the Path at all until
we gain the First Initiation. Up to that period
we are still in the Outer Court of the Temple,
preparing ourselves for that time which is to come.
One step in such preparation is that a man, if
he be fortunate, may attract the attention of one
of our Masters and be accepted by Him as a pupil
on probation; that is really the true use of the word,
he is on trial. The words <( Probationary Path " are
perhaps hardly so well chosen or so appropriate,
because the man is not upon trial at all; he is simply
reading up for an examination, as it were. He has
realised that there is an Initiation to be taken, and he