Jesus said, “Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and other will live.”
Salome said to him, “Who are You, man, that You, as though from the One, have come up on my couch and eaten from my table?”
Jesus said to her, “I am He who exists from the Undivided. I was given some of the things of my Father.”
<Salome said,> “I am Your disciple.”
<Jesus said to her,> “Therefore I say, if he is <undivided>, he will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be filled with darkness.”
The Gospel of Thomas
Thus it was that when the Tao was lost, its attributes appeared; when its attributes were lost, benevolence appeared; when benevolence was lost, righteousness appeared; and when righteousness was lost, the proprieties appeared.
Now propriety is the attenuated form of leal-heartedness and good faith, and is also the commencement of disorder; swift apprehension is (only) a flower of the Tao, and is the beginning of stupidity.
Thus it is that the Great man abides by what is solid, and eschews what is flimsy; dwells with the fruit and not with the flower. It is thus that he puts away the one and makes choice of the other.
Tao Te Ching
We can trace in the religions of the world four great stages of instruction in the Law of Sacrifice. First, man was taught to sacrifice part of his material possession in order to gain increased material prosperity, and sacrifices were made in charity to men and in offerings to Deities, as we may read in the scriptures of the Hindus, the Zoroastrians, the Hebrews, indeed all the world over. The man gave up something he valued to insure future prosperity to himself, his family, his community, his nation. He sacrificed in the present to gain in the future. Secondly, came a lesson a little harder to learn; instead of physical prosperity and worldly good, the fruit to be gained by sacrifice was celestial bliss.
Heaven was to be won, happiness was to be enjoyed on the other side of death—such was the reward for sacrifices made during the life led on earth.