"Yea, the time cometh, that whomsoever killeth you, will think that he doeth God service." — Gospel according to John, xvi. 2.
"Let him be Anathema . . . who shall say that human Sciences ought to be pursued in such a spirit of freedom that one may be allowed to hold as true their assertions even when opposed to revealed doctrines." — Ecumenical Council of 1870.
"Glouc. — The Church! Where is it?" — King Henry VI., Act i., Sc. 1.
In the United States of America, sixty thousand (60,428) men are paid salaries to teach the Science of God and His relations to His creatures.
These men contract to impart to us the knowledge which treats of the existence, character, and attributes of our Creator; His laws and government; the doctrines we are to believe and the duties we are to practice. Five thousand (5,141) of them,* with the prospect of 1273 theological students to help them in time, teach this science according to a formula prescribed by the Bishop of Rome, to five million people. Fifty-five thousand (55,287) local and travelling ministers, representing fifteen different denominations,† each contradicting the other upon more or less vital theololical questions, instruct, in their respective doctrines, thirty-three million (33,500,000) other persons. Many of these teach according to the canons of the cis-Atlantic branch of an establishment which acknowledges a daughter of the late Duke of Kent as its spiritual
head. There are many hundred thousand Jews; some thousands of Orientals of all kinds; and a very few who belong to the Greek Church. A man at Salt Lake City, with nineteen wives and more than one hundred children and grandchildren, is the supreme spiritual ruler over ninety thousand people, who believe that he is in frequent intercourse with the gods — for the Mormons are Polytheists as well as Polygamists, and their chief god is represented as living in a planet they call Colob.
The God of the Unitarians is a bachelor; the Deity of the Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and the other orthodox Protestant sects a spouseless Father with one Son, who is identical with Himself. In the attempt to outvie each other in the erection of their sixty-two thousand and odd churches, prayer-houses, and meeting-halls, in which to teach these conflicting theological doctrines, $354,485,581 have been spent. The value of the Protestant parsonages alone, in which are sheltered the disputants and their families, is roughly calculated to approximate $54,115,297. Sixteen million (16,179,387) dollars, are, moreover, contributed every year for current expenses of the Protestant denominations only. One Presbyterian church in New York cost a round million; a Catholic altar alone, one-fourth as much!
We will not mention the multitude of smaller sects, communities, and extravagantly original little heresies in this country which spring up one year to die out the next, like so many spores of fungi after a rainy day. We will not even stop to consider the alleged millions of Spiritualists; for the majority lack the courage to break away from their respective religious denominations. These are the back-door Nicodemuses.
And now, with Pilate, let us inquire, What is truth? Where is it to be searched for amid this multitude of warring sects? Each claims to be based upon divine revelation, and each to have the keys of the celestial gates. Is either in possession of this rare truth? Or, must we exclaim with the Buddhist philosopher, "There is but one truth on earth, and it is unchangeable: and this is — that there is no truth on it!"
Though we have no disposition whatever to trench upon the ground that has been so exhaustively gleaned by those learned scholars who have shown that every Christian dogma has its origin in a heathen rite, still the facts which they have exhumed, since the enfranchisement of science, will lose nothing by repetition. Besides, we propose to examine these facts from a different and perhaps rather novel point of view: that of the old philosophies as esoterically understood. These we have barely glanced at in our first volume. We will use them as the standard by which to compare Christian dogmas and miracles with the doctrines and phenomena of ancient magic, and the modern "New Dispensation," as Spiritualism is called by its votaries. Since the materialists deny the phenom-
ena without investigation, and since the theologians in admitting them offer us the poor choice of two palpable absurdities — the Devil and miracles — we can lose little by applying to the theurgists, and they may actually help us to throw a great light upon a very dark subject.
Professor A. Butlerof, of the Imperial University of St. Petersburg, remarks in a recent pamphlet, entitled Mediumistic Manifestations, as follows: "Let the facts (of modern spiritualism) belong if you will to the number of those which were more or less known by the ancients; let them be identical with those which in the dark ages gave importance to the office of Egyptian priest or Roman augur; let them even furnish the basis of the sorcery of our Siberian Shaman; . . . let them be all these, and, if they are real facts, it is no business of ours. All the facts in nature belong to science, and every addition to the store of science enriches instead of impoverishing her. If humanity has once admitted a truth, and then in the blindness of self-conceit denied it, to return to its realization is a step forward and not backward."
Since the day that modern science gave what may be considered the death-blow to dogmatic theology, by assuming the ground that religion was full of mystery, and mystery is unscientific, the mental state of the educated class has presented a curious aspect. Society seems from that time to have been ever balancing itself upon one leg, on an unseen tight-rope stretched from our visible universe into the invisible one; uncertain whether the end hooked on faith in the latter might not suddenly break, and hurl it into final annihilation.
The great body of nominal Christians may be divided into three unequal portions: materialists, spiritualists, and Christians proper. The materialists and spiritualists make common cause against the hierarchical pretensions of the clergy; who, in retaliation, denounce both with equal acerbity. The materialists are as little in harmony as the Christian sects themselves — the Comtists, or, as they call themselves, the positivists, being despised and hated to the last degree by the schools of thinkers, one of which Maudsley honorably represents in England. Positivism, be it remembered, is that "religion" of the future about whose founder even Huxley has made himself wrathful in his famous lecture, The Physical Basis of Life; and Maudsley felt obliged, in behalf of modern science, to express himself thus: "It is no wonder that scientific men should be anxious to disclaim Comte as their law-giver, and to protest against such a king being set up to reign over them. Not conscious of any personal obligation to his writings — conscious how much, in some respects, he has misrepresented the spirit and pretensions of science — they repudiate the allegiance which his enthusiastic disciples would force upon them, and which popular opinion is fast coming to think a natural one. They do
well in thus making a timely assertion of independence; for if it be not done soon, it will soon be too late to be done well."* When a materialistic doctrine is repudiated so strongly by two such materialists as Huxley and Maudsley, then we must think indeed that it is absurdity itself.
Among Christians there is nothing but dissension. Their various churches represent every degree of religious belief, from the omnivorous credulity of blind faith to a condescending and high-toned deference to the Deity which thinly masks an evident conviction of their own deific wisdom. All these sects believe more or less in the immortality of the soul. Some admit the intercourse between the two worlds as a fact; some entertain the opinion as a sentiment; some positively deny it; and only a few maintain an attitude of attention and expectancy.
Impatient of restraint, longing for the return of the dark ages, the Romish Church frowns at the diabolical manifestations, and indicates what she would do to their champions had she but the power of old. Were it not for the self-evident fact that she herself is placed by science on trial, and that she is handcuffed, she would be ready at a moment's notice to repeat in the nineteenth century the revolting scenes of former days. As to the Protestant clergy, so furious is their common hatred toward spiritualism, that as a secular paper very truly remarks: "They seem willing to undermine the public faith in all the spiritual phenomena of the past, as recorded in the Bible, if they can only see the pestilent modern heresy stabbed to the heart."†
Summoning back the long-forgotten memories of the Mosaic laws, the Romish Church claims the monopoly of miracles, and of the right to sit in judgment over them, as being the sole heir thereto by direct inheritance. The Old Testament, exiled by Colenso, his predecessors and contemporaries, is recalled from its banishment. The prophets, whom his Holiness the Pope condescends at last to place, if not on the same level with himself, at least at a less respectful distance,‡ are dusted and cleaned. The memory of all the diabolical abracadabra is evoked anew. The blasphemous horrors perpetrated by Paganism, its
phallic worship, thaumaturgical wonders wrought by Satan, human sacrifices, incantations, witchcraft, magic, and sorcery are recalled and demonism is confronted with spiritualism for mutual recognition and identification. Our modern demonologists conveniently overlook a few insignificant details, among which is the undeniable presence of heathen phallism in the Christian symbols. A strong spiritual element of this worship may be easily demonstrated in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God; and a physical element equally proved in the fetish-worship of the holy limbs of Sts. Cosmo and Damiano, at Isernia, near Naples; a successful traffic in which ex-voto in wax was carried on by the clergy, annually, until barely a half century ago.*
We find it rather unwise on the part of Catholic writers to pour out their vials of wrath in such sentences as these: "In a multitude of pagodas, the phallic stone, ever and always assuming, like the Grecian batylos, the brutally indecent form of the lingham . . . the Maha Deva."† Before casting slurs on a symbol whose profound metaphysical meaning is too much for the modern champions of that religion of sensualism par excellence, Roman Catholicism, to grasp, they are in duty bound to destroy their oldest churches, and change the form of the cupolas of their own temples. The Mahody of Elephanta, the Round Tower of Bhangulpore, the minarets of Islam — either rounded or pointed — are the originals of the Campanile column of San Marco, at Venice, of the Rochester Cathedral, and of the modern Duomo of Milan. All of these steeples, turrets, domes, and Christian temples, are the reproductions of the primitive idea of the lithos, the upright phallus. "The western tower of St. Paul's Cathedral, London," says the author of The Rosicrucians, "is one of the double lithoi placed always in front of every temple, Christian as well as heathen."‡ Moreover, in all Christian Churches, "particularly in Protestant churches, where they figure most conspicuously, the two tables of stone of the Mosaic Dispensation are placed over the altar, side by side, as a united stone, the tops of which are rounded. . . . The right stone is masculine, the left feminine." Therefore neither Catholics nor Protestants have a right to talk of the "indecent forms" of heathen monuments so long as they ornament their own churches with the symbols of the Lingham and Yoni, and even write the laws of their God upon them.
Another detail not redounding very particularly to the honor of the Christian clergy might be recalled in the word Inquisition. The torrents
of human blood shed by this Christian institution, and the number of its human sacrifices, are unparalleled in the annals of Paganism. Another still more prominent feature in which the clergy surpassed their masters, the "heathen," is sorcery. Certainly in no Pagan temple was black magic, in its real and true sense, more practiced than in the Vatican. While strongly supporting exorcism as an important source of revenue, they neglected magic as little as the ancient heathen. It is easy to prove that the sortilegium, or sorcery, was widely practiced among the clergy and monks so late as the last century, and is practiced occasionally even now.
Anathematizing every manifestation of occult nature outside the precincts of the Church, the clergy — notwithstanding proofs to the contrary — call it "the work of Satan," "the snares of the fallen angels," who "rush in and out from the bottomless pit," mentioned by John in his kabalistic Revelation, "from whence arises a smoke as the smoke of a great furnace." "Intoxicated by its fumes, around this pit are daily gathering millions of Spiritualists, to worship at 'the Abyss of Baal.' "*
More than ever arrogant, stubborn, and despotic, now that she has been nearly upset by modern research, not daring to interfere with the powerful champions of science, the Latin Church revenges herself upon the unpopular phenomena. A despot without a victim, is a word void of sense; a power which neglects to assert itself through outward, well-calculated effects, risks being doubted in the end. The Church has no intention to fall into the oblivion of the ancient myths, or to suffer her authority to be too closely questioned. Hence she pursues, as well as the times permit, her traditional policy. Lamenting the enforced extinction of her ally, the Holy Inquisition, she makes a virtue of necessity. The only victims now within reach are the Spiritists of France. Recent events have shown that the meek spouse of Christ never disdains to retaliate on helpless victims.
Having successfully performed her part of Deus-ex-Machina from behind the French Bench, which has not scrupled to disgrace itself for her, the Church of Rome sets to work and shows in the year 1876 what she can do. From the whirling tables and dancing pencils of profane Spiritualism, the Christian world is warned to turn to the divine "miracles" of Lourdes. Meanwhile, the ecclesiastical authorities utilize their time in arranging for other more easy triumphs, calculated to scare the superstitious out of their senses. So, acting under orders, the clergy hurl dramatic, if not very impressive anathemas from every Catholic diocese; threaten right and left; excommunicate and curse. Per-
ceiving, finally, that her thunderbolts directed even against crowned heads fall about as harmlessly as the Jupiterean lightnings of Offenbach's Calchas, Rome turns about in powerless fury against the victimized proteges of the Emperor of Russia — the unfortunate Bulgarians and Servians. Undisturbed by evidence and sarcasm, unbaffled by proof, "the lamb of the Vatican" impartially divides his wrath between the liberals of Italy, "the impious whose breath has the stench of the sepulchre,"* the "schismatic Russian Sarmates,"and the heretics and spiritualists, "who worship at the bottomless pit where the great Dragon lies in wait."
Mr. Gladstone went to the trouble of making a catalogue of what he terms the "flowers of speech," disseminated through these Papal discourses. Let us cull a few of the chosen terms used by this vicegerent of Him who said that, "whosoever shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire." They are selected from authentic discourses. Those who oppose the Pope are "wolves, Pharisees, thieves, liars, hypocrites, dropsical children of Satan, sons of perdition, of sin, and corruption, satellites of Satan in human flesh, monsters of hell, demons incarnate, stinking corpses, men issued from the pits of hell, traitors and Judases led by the spirit of hell; children of the deepest pits of hell," etc., etc.; the whole piously collected and published by Don Pasquale di Franciscis, whom Gladstone has, with perfect propriety, termed, "an accomplished professor of flunkeyism in things spiritual."†
Since his Holiness the Pope has such a rich vocabulary of invectives at his command, why wonder that the Bishop of Toulouse did not scruple to utter the most undignified falsehoods about the Protestants and Spiritualists of America — people doubly odious to a Catholic — in his address to his diocese: "Nothing," he remarks, "is more common in an era of unbelief than to see a false revelation substitute itself for the true one, and minds neglect the teachings of the Holy Church, to devote themselves to the study of divination and the occult sciences." With a fine episcopal contempt for statistics, and strangely confounding in his memory the audiences of the revivalists, Moody and Sankey, and the patrons of darkened seance-rooms, he utters the unwarranted and fallacious assertion that "it has been proven that Spiritualism, in the United States, has caused one-sixth of all the cases of suicide and insanity." He says that it is not possible that the spirits "teach either an exact science, because they are lying demons, or a useful science, because the character
of the word of Satan, like Satan himself, is sterile." He warns his dear collaborateurs, that "the writings in favor of Spiritualism are under the ban"; and he advises them to let it be known that "to frequent spiritual circles with the intention of accepting the doctrine, is to apostatize from the Holy Church, and assume the risk of excommunication"; finally, says he, "Publish the fact that the teaching of no spirit should prevail against that of the pulpit of Peter, which is the teaching of the Spirit of God Himself"!!
Aware of the many false teachings attributed by the Roman Church to the Creator, we prefer disbelieving the latter assertion. The famous Catholic theologian, Tillemont, assures us in his work that "all the illustrious Pagans are condemned to the eternal torments of hell, because they lived before the time of Jesus, and, therefore, could not be benefited by the redemption"!! He also assures us that the Virgin Mary personally testified to this truth over her own signature in a letter to a saint. Therefore, this is also a revelation — "the Spirit of God Himself" teaching such charitable doctrines.
We have also read with great advantage the topographical descriptions of Hell and Purgatory in the celebrated treatise under that name by a Jesuit, the Cardinal Bellarmin. A critic found that the author, who gives the description from a divine vision with which he was favored, "appears to possess all the knowledge of a land-measurer" about the secret tracts and formidable divisions of the "bottomless pit." Justin Martyr having actually committed to paper the heretical thought that after all Socrates might not be altogether fixed in hell, his Benedictine editor criticises this too benevolent father very severely. Whoever doubts the Christian charity of the Church of Rome in this direction is invited to peruse the Censure of the Sorbonne, on Marmontel's Belisarius. The odium theologicum blazes in it on the dark sky of orthodox theology like an aurora borealis — the precursor of God's wrath, according to the teaching of certain mediaeval divines.
We have attempted in the first part of this work to show, by historical examples, how completely men of science have deserved the stinging sarcasm of the late Professor de Morgan, who remarked of them that "they wear the priest's cast-off garb, dyed to escape detection." The Christian clergy are, in like manner, attired in the cast-off garb of the heathen priesthood; acting diametrically in opposition to their God's moral precepts, but nevertheless, sitting in judgment over the whole world.
When dying on the cross, the martyred Man of Sorrows forgave his enemies. His last words were a prayer in their behalf. He taught his disciples to curse not, but to bless, even their foes. But the heirs of
St. Peter, the self-constituted representatives on earth of that same meek Jesus, unhesitatingly curse whoever resists their despotic will. Besides, was not the "Son" long since crowded by them into the background? They make their obeisance only to the Dowager Mother, for — according to their teaching — again through "the direct Spirit of God," she alone acts as a mediatrix. The OEcumenical Council of 1870 embodied the teaching into a dogma, to disbelieve which is to be doomed forever to the 'bottomless pit.' The work of Don Pasquale di Franciscis is positive on that point; for he tells us that, as the Queen of Heaven owes to the present Pope "the finest gem in her coronet," since he has conferred on her the unexpected honor of becoming suddenly immaculate, there is nothing she cannot obtain from her Son for "her Church."*
Some years ago, certain travellers saw in Barri, Italy, a statue of the Madonna, arrayed in a flounced pink skirt over a swelling crinoline! Pious pilgrims who may be anxious to examine the regulation wardrobe of their God's mother may do so by going to Southern Italy, Spain, and Catholic North and South America. The Madonna of Barri must still be there — between two vineyards and a locanda (gin-shop). When last seen, a half-successful attempt had been made to clothe the infant Jesus; they had covered his legs with a pair of dirty, scollop-edged pantaloons. An English traveller having presented the "Mediatrix" with a green silk parasol, the grateful population of the contadini, accompanied by the village-priest, went in procession to the spot. They managed to stick the sunshade, opened, between the infant's back and the arm of the Virgin which embraced him. The scene and ceremony were both solemn and highly refreshing to our religious feelings. For there stood the image of the goddess in its niche, surrounded with a row of ever-burning lamps, the flames of which, flickering in the breeze, infect God's pure air with an offensive smell of olive oil. The Mother and Son truly represent the two most conspicuous idols of Monotheistic Christianity!
For a companion to the idol of the poor contadini of Barri, go to the rich city of Rio Janeiro. In the Church of the Duomo del Candelaria, in a long hall running along one side of the church, there might be seen, a few years ago, another Madonna. Along the walls of the hall there is a line of saints, each standing on a contribution-box, which thus forms a fit pedestal. In the centre of this line, under a gorgeously rich canopy of blue silk, is exhibited the Virgin Mary leaning on the arm of Christ. "Our Lady" is arrayed in a very decollete blue satin dress with short
sleeves, showing, to great advantage, a snow-white, exquisitely-moulded neck, shoulders, and arms. The skirt equally of blue satin with an overskirt of rich lace and gauze puffs, is as short as that of a ballet-dancer; hardly reaching the knee, it exhibits a pair of finely-shaped legs covered with flesh colored silk tights, and blue satin French boots with very high red heels! The blonde hair of this "Mother of God" is arranged in the latest fashion, with a voluminous chignon and curls. As she leans on her Son's arm, her face is lovingly turned toward her Only-Begotten, whose dress and attitude are equally worthy of admiration. Christ wears an evening dress-coat, with swallow-tail, black trousers, and low cut white vest; varnished boots, and white kid gloves, over one of which sparkles a rich diamond ring, worth many thousands we must suppose — a precious Brazilian jewel. Above this body of a modern Portuguese dandy, is a head with the hair parted in the middle; a sad and solemn face, and eyes whose patient look seems to reflect all the bitterness of this last insult flung at the majesty of the Crucified.*
The Egyptian Isis was also represented as a Virgin Mother by her devotees, and as holding her infant son, Horus, in her arms. In some statues and basso-relievos, when she appears alone she is either completely nude or veiled from head to foot. But in the Mysteries, in common with nearly every other goddess, she is entirely veiled from head to foot, as a symbol of a mother's chastity. It would not do us any harm were we to borrow from the ancients some of the poetic sentiment in their religions, and the innate veneration they entertained for their symbols.
It is but fair to say at once that the last of the true Christians died with the last of the direct apostles. Max Muller forcibly asks: "How can a missionary in such circumstances meet the surprise and questions of his pupils, unless he may point to that seed,† and tell them what Christianity was meant to be? unless he may show that, like all other religions, Christianity too, has had its history; that the Christianity of the nineteenth century is not the Christianity of the middle ages, and that the Christianity of the middle ages was not that of the early Councils; that the Christianity of the early Councils was not that of the Apostles, and that what has been said by Christ, that alone was well said?"‡
Thus we may infer that the only characteristic difference between modern Christianity and the old heathen faiths is the belief of the former in a personal devil and in hell. "The Aryan nations had no devil," says Max Muller. "Pluto, though of a sombre character, was a very
respectable personage; and Loki (the Scandinavian), though a mischievous person, was not a fiend. The German Goddess, Hell, too, like Proserpine, had once seen better days. Thus, when the Germans were indoctrinated with the idea of a real devil, the Semitic Seth, Satan or Diabolus, they treated him in the most good-humored way."
The same may be said of hell. Hades was quite a different place from our region of eternal damnation, and might be termed rather an intermediate state of purification. Neither does the Scandinavian Hel or Hela, imply either a state or a place of punishment; for when Frigga, the grief-stricken mother of Bal-dur, the white god, who died and found himself in the dark abodes of the shadows (Hades) sent Hermod, a son of Thor, in quest of her beloved child, the messenger found him in the inexorable region — alas! but still comfortably seated on a rock, and reading a book.* The Norse kingdom of the dead is moreover situated in the higher latitudes of the Polar regions; it is a cold and cheerless abode, and neither the gelid halls of Hela, nor the occupation of Baldur present the least similitude to the blazing hell of eternal fire and the miserable "damned" sinners with which the Church so generously peoples it. No more is it the Egyptian Amenthes, the region of judgment and purification; nor the Onderah — the abyss of darkness of the Hindus; for even the fallen angels hurled into it by Siva, are allowed by Parabrahma to consider it as an intermediate state, in which an opportunity is afforded them to prepare for higher degrees of purification and redemption from their wretched condition. The Gehenna of the New Testament was a locality outside the walls of Jerusalem; and in mentioning it, Jesus used but an ordinary metaphor. Whence then came the dreary dogma of hell, that Archimedean lever of Christian theology, with which they have succeeded to hold in subjection the numberless millions of Christians for nineteen centuries? Assuredly not from the Jewish Scriptures, and we appeal for corroboration to any well-informed Hebrew scholar.
The only designation of something approaching hell in the Bible is Gehenna or Hinnom, a valley near Jerusalem, where was situated Tophet, a place where a fire was perpetually kept for sanitary purposes. The prophet Jeremiah informs us that the Israelites used to sacrifice their children to Moloch-Hercules on that spot; and later we find Christians quietly replacing this divinity by their god of mercy, whose wrath will not be appeased, unless the Church sacrifices to him her unbaptized children and sinning sons on the altar of "eternal damnation"!
Whence then did the divine learn so well the conditions of hell, as
to actually divide its torments into two kinds, the poena damni and poenae sensus, the former being the privation of the beatific vision; the latter the eternal painsin a lake of fire and brimstone? If they answer us that it is in the Apocalypse (xx. 10), we are prepared to demonstrate whence the theologist John himself derived the idea, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are and shall be tormented for ever and ever," he says. Laying aside the esoteric interpretation that the "devil" or tempting demon meant our own earthly body, which after death will surely dissolve in the fiery or ethereal elements,* the word "eternal" by which our theologians interpret the words "for ever and ever" does not exist in the Hebrew language, either as a word or meaning. There is no Hebrew word which properly expresses eternity; oulam, according to Le Clerc, only imports a time whose beginning or end is not known. While showing that this word does not mean infinite duration, and that in the Old Testament the word forever only signifies a long time, Archbishop Tillotson has completely perverted its sense with respect to the idea of hell-torments. According to his doctrine, when Sodom and Gomorrah are said to be suffering "eternal fire," we must understand it only in the sense of that fire not being extinguished till both cities were entirely consumed. But, as to hell-fire the words must be understood in the strictest sense of infinite duration. Such is the decree of the learned divine. For the duration of the punishment of the wicked must be proportionate to the eternal happiness of the righteous. So he says, "These (speaking of the wicked) shall go away [[eis kolasin aionion]] into eternal punishment; but the righteous [[eis zoen aionion]] into life eternal."
The Reverend T. Surnden,† commenting on the speculations of his predecessors, fills a whole volume with unanswerable arguments, tending to show that the locality of Hell is in the sun. We suspect that the reverend speculator had read the Apocalypse in bed, and had the nightmare in consequence. There are two verses in the Revelation of John reading thus: "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun, and power was given him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God."‡ This is simply Pythagorean and kabalistic allegory. The idea is new neither with the above-mentioned author nor with John. Pythagoras placed the "sphere of purification in the sun," which sun, with its sphere, he moreover
‡ Revelation xvi. 8-9.
locates in the middle of the universe,* the allegory having a double meaning: 1. Symbolically, the central, spiritual sun, the Supreme Deity. Arrived at this region every soul becomes purified of its sins, and unites itself forever with its spirit, having previously suffered throughout all the lower spheres. 2. By placing the sphere of visible fire in the middle of the universe, he simply taught the heliocentric system which appertained to the Mysteries, and was imparted only in the higher degree of initiation. John gives to his Word a purely kabalistic significance, which no "Fathers," except those who had belonged to the Neo-platonic school, were able to comprehend. Origen understood it well, having been a pupil of Ammonius Saccas; therefore we see him bravely denying the perpetuity of hell-torments. He maintains that not only men, but even devils (by which term he meant disembodied human sinners), after a certain duration of punishment shall be pardoned and finally restored to heaven.† In consequence of this and other such heresies Origen was, as a matter of course, exiled.
Many have been the learned and truly-inspired speculations as to the locality of hell. The most popular were those which placed it in the centre of the earth. At a certain time, however, skeptical doubts which disturbed the placidity of faith in this highly-refreshing doctrine arose in consequence of the meddling scientists of those days. As a Mr. Swinden in our own century observes, the theory was inadmissible because of two objections: 1st, that a fund of fuel or sulphur sufficient to maintain so furious and constant a fire could not be there supposed; and, 2d, that it must want the nitrous particles in the air to sustain and keep it alive. "And how," says he, "can a fire be eternal, when, by degrees, the whole substance of the earth must be consumed thereby?"†
The skeptical gentleman had evidently forgotten that centuries ago St. Augustine solved the difficulty. Have we not the word of this learned divine that hell, nevertheless, is in the centre of the earth, for "God supplies the central fire with air by a miracle"? The argument is unanswerable, and so we will not seek to upset it.
The Christians were the first to make the existence of Satan a dogma of the Church. And once that she had established it, she had to struggle for over 1,700 years for the repression of a mysterious force which it was her policy to make appear of diabolical origin. Unfortunately, in manifesting itself, this force invariably tends to upset such a belief by the ridiculous discrepancy it presents between the alleged cause and the effects. If the clergy have not over-estimated the real power of
the "Arch-Enemy of God," it must be confessed that he takes mighty precautions against being recognized as the "Prince of Darkness" who aims at our souls. If modern "spirits" are devils at all, as preached by the clergy, then they can only be those "poor" or "stupid devils" whom Max Muller describes as appearing so often in the German and Norwegian tales.
Notwithstanding this, the clergy fear above all to be forced to relinquish this hold on humanity. They are not willing to let us judge of the tree by its fruits, for that might sometimes force them into dangerous dilemmas. They refuse, likewise, to admit, with unprejudiced people, that the phenomena of Spiritualism has unquestionably spiritualized and reclaimed from evil courses many an indomitable atheist and skeptic. But, as they confess themselves, what is the use in a Pope, if there is no Devil?
And so Rome sends her ablest advocates and preachers to the rescue of those perishing in "the bottomless pit." Rome employs her cleverest writers for this purpose — albeit they all indignantly deny the accusation — and in the preface to every book put forth by the prolific des Mousseaux, the French Tertullian of our century, we find undeniable proofs of the fact. Among other certificates of ecclesiastical approval, every volume is ornamented with the text of a certain original letter addressed to the very pious author by the world-known Father Ventura de Raulica, of Rome. Few are those who have not heard this famous name. It is the name of one of the chief pillars of the Latin Church, the ex-General of the Order of the Theatins, Consultor of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Examiner of Bishops, and of the Roman Clergy, etc., etc., etc. This strikingly characteristic document will remain to astonish future generations by its spirit of unsophisticated demonolatry and unblushing sincerity. We translate a fragment verbatim, and by thus helping its circulation hope to merit the blessings of Mother Church:*
This is an unexpected honor indeed, for our American "controls" in general, and the innocent "Indian guides" in particular. To be thus introduced in Rome as princes of the Empire of Eblis, is more than they could ever hope for in other lands.
Without in the least suspecting that she was working for the future welfare of her enemies — the spiritualists and spiritists — the Church, some twenty years since, in tolerating des Mousseaux and de Mirville as the biographers of the Devil, and giving her approbation thereto, tacitly confessed the literary copartnership.
M. the Chevalier Gougenot des Mousseaux, and his friend and collaborateur, the Marquis Eudes de Mirville, to judge by their long titles, must be aristocrats pur sang, and they are, moreover, writers of no small erudition and talent. Were they to show themselves a little more parsimonious of double points of exclamation following every vituperation, and invective against Satan and his worshippers, their style would be faultless. As it is, the crusade against the enemy of mankind was fierce, and lasted for over twenty years.
What with the Catholics piling up their psychological phenomena to prove the existence of a personal devil, and the Count de Gasparin, an ancient minister of Louis Philippe, collecting volumes of other facts to prove the contrary, the spiritists of France have contracted an everlasting debt of gratitude toward the disputants. The existence of an unseen spiritual universe peopled with invisible beings has now been demonstrated beyond question. Ransacking the oldest libraries, they have distilled from the historical records the quintessence of evidence. All epochs, from the Homeric ages down to the present day, have supplied their choicest materials to these indefatigable authors. In trying to prove the authenticity of the miracles wrought by Satan in the days preceding the Christian era, as well as throughout the middle ages, they have simply laid a firm foundation for a study of the phenomena in our modern times.
Though an ardent, uncompromising enthusiast, des Mousseaux unwittingly transforms himself into the tempting demon, or — as he is fond of calling the Devil — the "serpent of Genesis."In his desire to demonstrate in every manifestation the presence of the Evil One, he only succeeds in demonstrating that Spiritualism and magic are no new things in the world, but very ancient twin-brothers, whose origin must be sought for in the earliest infancy of ancient India, Chaldea, Babylonia, Egypt, Persia, and Greece.
He proves the existence of "spirits," whether these be angels or devils, with such a clearness of argument and logic, and such an amount
of evidence, historical, irrefutable, and strictly authenticated, that little is left for spiritualist authors who may come after him. How unfortunate that the scientists, who believe neither in devil nor spirit, are more than likely to ridicule M. des Mousseaux's books without reading them, for they really contain so many facts of profound scientific interest!
But what can we expect in our own age of unbelief, when we find Plato, over twenty-two centuries ago, complaining of the same? "Me, too," says he, in his Euthyphron, "when I say anything in the public assembly concerning divine things, and predict to them what is going to happen, they ridicule as mad; and although nothing that I have predicted has proved untrue, yet they envy all such men as we are. However, we ought not to heed, but pursue our own way."
The literary resources of the Vatican and other Catholic repositories of learning must have been freely placed at the disposal of these modern authors. When one has such treasures at hand — original manuscripts, papyri, and books pillaged from the richest heathen libraries; old treatises on magic and alchemy; and records of all the trials for witchcraft, and sentences for the same to rack, stake, and torture, it is mighty easy to write volumes of accusations against the Devil. We affirm on good grounds that there are hundreds of the most valuable works on the occult sciences, which are sentenced to eternal concealment from the public, but are attentively read and studied by the privileged who have access to the Vatican Library. The laws of nature are the same for heathen sorcerer as for Catholic saint; and a "miracle" may be produced as well by one as by the other, without the slightest intervention of God or devil.
Hardly had the manifestations begun to attract attention in Europe, than the clergy commenced their outcry that their traditional enemy had reappeared under another name, and "divine miracles" also began to be heard of in isolated instances. First they were confined to humble individuals, some of whom claimed to have them produced through the intervention of the Virgin Mary, saints and angels; others — according to the clergy — began to suffer from obsession and possession; for the Devil must have his share of fame as well as the Deity. Finding that, notwithstanding the warning, the independent, or so-called spiritual phenomena went on increasing and multiplying, and that these manifestations threatened to upset the carefully-constructed dogmas of the Church, the world was suddenly startled by extraordinary intelligence. In 1864, a whole community became possessed of the Devil. Morzine, and the awful stories of its demoniacs; Valleyres, and the narratives of its well-authenticated exhibitions of sorcery; and those of the Presbytere de Cideville curdled the blood in Catholic veins.
Strange to say, the question has been asked over and over again,
why the "divine" miracles and most of the obsessions are so strictly confined to Roman Catholic dioceses and countries? Why is it that since the Reformation there has been scarcely one single divine "miracle" in a Protestant land? Of course, the answer we must expect from Catholics is, that the latter are peopled by heretics, and abandoned by God. Then why are there no more Church-miracles in Russia, a country whose religion differs from the Roman Catholic faith but in external forms of rites, its fundamental dogmas being identically the same, except as to the emanation of the Holy Ghost? Russia has her accepted saints and thaumaturgical relics, and miracle-working images. The St. Mitrophaniy of Voroneg is an authenticated miracle-worker, but his miracles are limited to healing; and though hundreds upon hundreds have been healed through faith, and though the old cathedral is full of magnetic effluvia, and whole generations will go on believing in his power, and some persons will always be healed, still no such miracles are heard of in Russia as the Madonna-walking, and Madonna letter-writing, and statue-talking of Catholic countries. Why is this so? Simply because the emperors have strictly forbidden that sort of thing. The Czar, Peter the Great, stopped every spurious "divine" miracle with one frown of his mighty brow. He declared he would have no false miracles played by the holy icones (images of saints), and they disappeared forever.*
There are cases on record of isolated and independent phenomena exhibited by certain images in the last century; the latest was the bleeding of the cheek of an image of the Virgin, when a soldier of Napoleon cut her face in two. This miracle, alleged to have happened in 1812, in the days of the invasion by the "grand army," was the final farewell.†
But since then, although the three successive emperors have been pious men, their will has been respected, and the images and saints have remained quiet, and hardly been spoken of except as connected with religious worship. In Poland, a land of furious ultramontanism, there were, at different times, desperate attempts at miracle-doing. They died at birth, however, for the argus-eyed police were there; a Catholic miracle in Poland, made public by the priests, generally meaning political revolution, bloodshed, and war.
Is it then, not permissible to at least suspect that if, in one country divine miracles may be arrested by civil and military law, and in another they never occur, we must search for the explanation of the two facts in some natural cause, instead of attributing them to either god or devil? In our opinion — if it is worth anything — the whole secret may be accounted for as follows. In Russia, the clergy know better than to bewilder their parishes, whose piety is sincere and faith strong without miracles; they know that nothing is better calculated than the latter to sow seeds of distrust, doubt, and finally of skepticism which leads directly to atheism. Moreover the climate is less propitious, and the magnetism of the average population too positive, too healthy, to call forth independent phenomena; and fraud would not answer. On the other hand, neither in Protestant Germany, nor England, nor yet in America, since the days of the Reformation, has the clergy had access to any of the Vatican secret libraries. Hence they are all but poor hands at the magic of Albertus Magnus.
As for America being overflowed with sensitives and mediums, the reason for it is partially attributable to climatic influence and especially to the physiological condition of the population. Since the days of the Salem witchcraft, 200 years ago, when the comparatively few settlers had pure and unadulterated blood in their veins, nothing much had been heard of "spirits" or "mediums" until 1840.* The phenomena then first appeared among the ascetic and exalted Shakers, whose religious aspirations, peculiar mode of life, moral purity, and physical chastity all led to the production of independent phenomena of a psychological
as well as physical nature. Hundreds of thousands, and even millions of men from various climates and of different constitutions and habits, have, since 1692, invaded North America, and by intermarrying have substantially changed the physical type of the inhabitants. Of what country in the world do the women's constitutions bear comparison with the delicate, nervous, and sensitive constitutions of the feminine portion of the population of the United States? We were struck on our arrival in the country with the semi-transparent delicacy of skin of the natives of both sexes. Compare a hard-working Irish factory girl or boy, with one from a genuine American family. Look at their hands. One works as hard as the other; they are of equal age, and both seemingly healthy; and still, while the hands of the one, after an hour's soaping, will show a skin little softer than that of a young alligator, those of the other, notwithstanding constant use, will allow you to observe the circulation of the blood under the thin and delicate epidermis. No wonder, then, that while America is the conservatory of sensitives the majority of its clergy, unable to produce divine or any other miracles, stoutly deny the possibility of any phenomena except those produced by tricks and juggling. And no wonder also that the Catholic priesthood, who are practically aware of the existence of magic and spiritual phenomena, and believe in them while dreading their consequences, try to attribute the whole to the agency of the Devil.
Let us adduce one more argument, if only for the sake of circumstantial evidence. In what countries have "divine miracles" flourished most, been most frequent and most stupendous? Catholic Spain, and Pontifical Italy, beyond question. And which more than these two, has had access to ancient literature? Spain was famous for her libraries; the Moors were celebrated for their profound learning in alchemy and other sciences. The Vatican is the storehouse of an immense number of ancient manuscripts. During the long interval of nearly 1,500 years they have been accumulating, from trial after trial, books and manuscripts confiscated from their sentenced victims, to their own profit. The Catholics may plead that the books were generally committed to the flames; that the treatises of famous sorcerers and enchanters perished with their accursed authors. But the Vatican, if it could speak, could tell a different story. It knows too well of the existence of certain closets and rooms, access to which is had but by the very few. It knows that the entrances to these secret hiding-places are so cleverly concealed from sight in the carved frame-work and under the profuse ornamentation of the library-walls, that there have even been Popes who lived and died within the precincts of the palace without ever suspecting their existence. But these Popes were neither Sylvester II., Benedict IX., John XX., nor
the VIth and VIIth Gregory; nor yet the famous Borgia of toxicological memory. Neither were those who remained ignorant of the hidden lore friends of the sons of Loyola.
Where, in the records of European Magic, can we find cleverer enchanters than in the mysterious solitudes of the cloister? Albert Magnus, the famous Bishop and conjurer of Ratisbon, was never surpassed in his art. Roger Bacon was a monk, and Thomas Aquinas one of the most learned pupils of Albertus. Trithemius, Abbott of the Spanheim Benedictines, was the teacher, friend, and confidant of Cornelius Agrippa; and while the confederations of the Theosophists were scattered broadcast about Germany, where they first originated, assisting one another, and struggling for years for the acquirement of esoteric knowledge, any person who knew how to become the favored pupil of certain monks, might very soon be proficient in all the important branches of occult learning.
This is all in history and cannot be easily denied. Magic, in all its aspects, was widely and nearly openly practiced by the clergy till the Reformation. And even he who was once called the "Father of the Reformation," the famous John Reuchlin,* author of the Mirific Word and friend of Pico di Mirandola, the teacher and instructor of Erasmus, Luther, and Melancthon, was a kabalist and occultist.
The ancient Sortilegium, or divination by means of Sortes or lots — an art and practice now decried by the clergy as an abomination, designated by Stat. 10 Jac. as felony,† and by Stat. 12 Carolus II excepted out of the general pardons, on the ground of being sorcery — was widely practiced by the clergy and monks. Nay, it was sanctioned by St. Augustine himself, who does not "disapprove of this method of learning futurity, provided it be not used for worldly purposes." More than that, he confesses having practiced it himself.‡
Aye; but the clergy called it Sortes Sanctorum, when it was they who practiced it; while the Sortes Praenestinae, succeeded by the Sortes Homericae and Sortes Virgilianae, were abominable heathenism, theworship of the Devil, when used by any one else.
Gregory de Tours informs us that when the clergy resorted to the Sortes their custom was to lay the Bible on the altar, and to pray the Lord that He would discover His will, and disclose to them futurity in one of the verses of the book. Gilbert de Nogent writes that in his days
(about the twelfth century) the custom was, at the consecration of bishops, to consult the Sortes Sanctorum, to thereby learn the success and fate of the episcopate. On the other hand, we are told that the Sortes Sanctorum were condemned by the Council of Agda, in 506. In this case again we are left to inquire, in which instance has the infallibility of the Church failed? Was it when she prohibited that which was practiced by her greatest saint and patron, Augustine, or in the twelfth century, when it was openly and with the sanction of the same Church practiced by the clergy for the benefit of the bishop's elections? Or, must we still believe that in both of these contradictory cases the Vatican was inspired by the direct "spirit of God"?
If any doubt that Gregory of Tours approved of a practice that prevails to this day, more or less, even among strict Protestants, let them read this: "Lendastus, Earl of Tours, who was for ruining me with Queen Fredegonde, coming to Tours, big with evil designs against me, I withdrew to my oratory under a deep concern, where I took the Psalms, . . . My heart revived within me when I cast my eyes on this of the seventy-seventh Psalm: 'He caused them to go on with confidence, whilst the sea swallowed up their enemies.' Accordingly, the count spoke not a word to my prejudice; and leaving Tours that very day, the boat in which he was, sunk in a storm, but his skill in swimming saved him."
The sainted bishop simply confesses here to having practiced a bit of sorcery. Every mesmerizer knows the power of will during an intense desire bent on any particular subject. Whether in consequence of "co-incidents" or otherwise, the opened verse suggested to his mind revenge by drowning. Passing the remainder of the day in "deep concern," and possessed by this all-absorbing thought, the saint — it may be unconsciously — exercises his will on the subject; and thus while imagining in the accident the hand of God, he simply becomes a sorcerer exercising his magnetic will which reacts on the person feared; and the count barely escapes with his life. Were the accident decreed by God, the culprit would have been drowned; for a simple bath could not have altered his malevolent resolution against St. Gregory had he been very intent on it.
Furthermore, we find anathemas fulminated against this lottery of fate, at the council of Varres, which forbids "all ecclesiastics, under pain of excommunication, to perform that kind of divination, or to pry into futurity, by looking into any book, or writing, whatsoever." The same prohibition is pronounced at the councils of Agda in 506, of Orleans, in 511, of Auxerre in 595, and finally at the council of Aenham in 1110; the latter condemning "sorcerers, witches, diviners, such as occasioned death by magical operations, and who practiced fortune-telling by the
holy-book lots"; and the complaint of the joint clergy against de Garlande, their bishop at Orleans, and addressed to Pope Alexander III., concludes in this manner: "Let your apostolical hands put on strength to strip naked the iniquity of this man, that the curse prognosticated on the day of his consecration may overtake him; for the gospels being opened on the altar according to custom, the first words were: and the young man, leaving his linen cloth, fled from them naked."*
Why then roast the lay-magicians and consulters of books, and canonize the ecclesiastics? Simply because the mediaeval as well as the modern phenomena, manifested through laymen, whether produced through occult knowledge or happening independently, upset the claims of both the Catholic and Protestant Churches to divine miracles. In the face of reiterated and unimpeachable evidence it became impossible for the former to maintain successfully the assertion that seemingly miraculous manifestations by the "good angels" and God's direct intervention could be produced exclusively by her chosen ministers and holy saints. Neither could the Protestant well maintain on the same ground that miracles had ended with the apostolic ages. For, whether of the same nature or not, the modern phenomena claimed close kinship with the biblical ones. The magnetists and healers of our century came into direct and open competition with the apostles. The Zouave Jacob, of France, had outrivalled the prophet Elijah in recalling to life persons who were seemingly dead; and Alexis, the somnambulist, mentioned by Mr. Wallace in his work,† was, by his lucidity, putting to shame apostles, prophets, and the Sibyls of old. Since the burning of the last witch, the great Revolution of France, so elaborately prepared by the league of the secret societies and their clever emissaries, had blown over Europe and awakened terror in the bosom of the clergy. It had, like a destroying hurricane, swept away in its course those best allies of the Church, the Roman Catholic aristocracy. A sure foundation was now laid for the right of individual opinion. The world was freed from ecclesiastical tyranny by opening an unobstructed path to Napoleon the Great, who had given the deathblow to the Inquisition. This great slaughter-house of the Christian Church — wherein she butchered, in the name of the Lamb, all the sheep arbitrarily declared scurvy — was in ruins, and she found herself left to her own responsibility and resources.
So long as the phenomena had appeared only sporadically, she had always felt herself powerful enough to repress the consequences. Super-
stition and belief in the Devil were as strong as ever, and Science had not yet dared to publicly measure her forces with those of supernatural Religion. Meanwhile the enemy had slowly but surely gained ground. All at once it broke out with an unexpected violence. "Miracles" began to appear in full daylight, and passed from their mystic seclusion into the domain of natural law, where the profane hand of Science was ready to strip off their sacerdotal mask. Still, for a time, the Church held her position, and with the powerful help of superstitious fear checked the progress of the intruding force. But, when in succession appeared mesmerists and somnambulists, reproducing the physical and mental phenomenon of ecstasy, hitherto believed to be the special gift of saints; when the passion for the turning tables had reached in France and elsewhere its climax of fury; when the psychography — alleged spiritual — from a simple curiosity had developed itself and settled into an unabated interest, and finally ebbed into religious mysticism; when the echoes aroused by the first raps of Rochester, crossing the oceans, spread until they were re-percussed from nearly every corner of the world — then, and only then, the Latin Church was fully awakened to a sense of danger. Wonder after wonder was reported to have occurred in the spiritual circles and the lecture-rooms of the mesmerists; the sick were healed, the blind made to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear. J. R. Newton in America, and Du Potet in France, were healing the multitude without the slightest claim to divine intervention. The great discovery of Mesmer, which reveals to the earnest inquirer the mechanism of nature, mastered, as if by magical power, organic and inorganic bodies.
But this was not the worst. A more direful calamity for the Church occurred in the evocation from the upper and nether worlds of a multitude of "spirits," whose private bearing and conversation gave the direct lie to the most cherished and profitable dogmas of the Church. These "spirits" claimed to be the identical entities, in a disembodied state, of fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, friends and acquaintances of the persons viewing the weird phenomena. The Devil seemed to have no objective existence, and this struck at the very foundation upon which the chair of St. Peter rested.* Not a spirit except the mocking manni-
kins of Planchette would confess to the most distant relationship with the Satanic majesty, or accredit him with the governorship of a single inch of territory. The clergy felt their prestige growing weaker every day, as they saw the people impatiently shaking off, in the broad daylight of truth, the dark veils with which they had been blindfolded for so many centuries. Then finally, fortune, which previously had been on their side in the long-waged conflict between theology and science, deserted to their adversary. The help of the latter to the study of the occult side of nature was truly precious and timely, and science has unwittingly widened the once narrow path of the phenomena into a broad highway. Had not
this conflict culminated at the nick of time, we might have seen reproduced on a miniature scale the disgraceful scenes of the episodes of Salem witchcraft and the Nuns of Loudun. As it was, the clergy were muzzled.
But if Science has unintentionally helped the progress of the occult phenomena, the latter have reciprocally aided science herself. Until the days when newly-reincarnated philosophy boldly claimed its place in the world, there had been but few scholars who had undertaken the difficult task of studying comparative theology. This science occupies a domain heretofore penetrated by few explorers. The necessity which it involved of being well acquainted with the dead languages, necessarily limited the number of students. Besides, there was less popular need for it so long as people could not replace the Christian orthodoxy by something more tangible. It is one of the most undeniable facts of psychology, that the average man can as little exist out of a religious element of some kind, as a fish out of the water. The voice of truth, "a voice stronger than the voice of the mightiest thunder," speaks to the inner man in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, as it spoke in the corresponding century B.C. It is a useless and unprofitable task to offer to humanity the choice between a future life and annihilation. The only chance that remains for those friends of human progress who seek to establish for the good of mankind a faith, henceforth stripped entirely of superstition
and dogmatic fetters is to address them in the words of Joshua: "Choose ye this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell."*
"The science of religion," wrote Max Muller in 1860, "is only just beginning. . . . During the last fifty years the authentic documents of the most important religions in the world have been recovered in a most unexpected and almost miraculous manner.† We have now before us the Canonical books of Buddhism; the Zend-Avesta of Zoroaster is no longer a sealed book; and the hymns of the Rig-Veda have revealed a state of religions anterior to the first beginnings of that mythology which in Homer and Hesiod stands before us as a mouldering ruin."‡
In their insatiable desire to extend the dominion of blind faith, the early architects of Christian theology had been forced to conceal, as much as it was possible, the true sources of the same. To this end they are said to have burned or otherwise destroyed all the original manuscripts on the Kabala, magic, and occult sciences upon which they could lay their hands. They ignorantly supposed that the most dangerous writings of this class had perished with the last Gnostic; but some day they may discover their mistake. Other authentic and as important documents will perhaps reappear in a "most unexpected and almost miraculous manner."
There are strange traditions current in various parts of the East — on Mount Athos and in the Desert of Nitria, for instance — among certain monks, and with learned Rabbis in Palestine, who pass their lives in commenting upon the Talmud. They say that not all the rolls and manuscripts, reported in history to have been burned by Caesar, by the Christian mob, in 389, and by the Arab General Amru, perished as it is commonly believed; and the story they tell is the following: At the time of the contest for the throne, in 51 B.C., between Cleopatra and her brother Dionysius Ptolemy, the Bruckion, which contained over seven hundred thousand rolls, all bound in wood and fire-proof parchment, was undergoing repairs, and a great portion of the original manuscripts, considered among the most precious, and which were not duplicated, were stored away in the house of one of the librarians. As the fire which consumed the rest was but the result of accident, no precautions had been taken at the time. But they add, that several hours passed between the burning of the fleet, set on fire by Caesar's order, and the moment when the first buildings situated near the harbor caught fire in their turn; and that all the librarians, aided by several hundred slaves attached to the museum, succeeded in saving the most precious of the rolls. So perfect and solid was the fabric of the parchment, that while in some rolls the inner pages and the wood-binding were reduced to ashes, of others the parchment binding remained unscorched. These particulars were all written out in Greek, Latin, and the Chaldeo-Syriac dialect, by a learned youth named Theodas, one of the scribes employed in the museum. One of these manuscripts is alleged to be preserved till now in a Greek convent; and the person who narrated the tradition to us had seen it himself. He said that many more will see it and learn where to look for important documents, when a certain prophecy will be fulfilled; adding, that most of these works could be found in Tartary and India.* The monk showed us a copy of the original, which, of course, we could read but poorly, as we claim but little erudition in the matter of dead languages. But we were so particularly struck by the
the vivid and picturesque translation of the holy father, that we perfectly remember some curious paragraphs, which run, as far as we can recall them, as follows: — "When the Queen of the Sun (Cleopatra) was brought back to the half-ruined city, after the fire had devoured the Glory of the World; and when she saw the mountains of books — or rolls — covering the half-consumed steps of the estrada; and when she perceived that the inside was gone and the indestructible covers alone remained, she wept in rage and fury, and cursed the meanness of her fathers who had grudged the cost of the real Pergamos for the inside as well as the outside of the precious rolls." Further, our author, Theodas, indulges in a joke at the expense of the queen for believing that nearly all the library was burned; when, in fact, hundreds and thousands of the choicest books were safely stored in his own house and those of other scribes, librarians, students, and philosophers.
No more do sundry very learned Copts scattered all over the East in Asia Minor, Egypt, and Palestine believe in the total destruction of the subsequent libraries. For instance, they say that out of the library of Attalus III. of Pergamus, presented by Antony to Cleopatra, not a volume was destroyed. At that time, according to their assertions, from the moment that the Christians began to gain power in Alexandria — about the end of the fourth century — and Anatolius, Bishop of Laodicea, began to insult the national gods, the Pagan philosophers and learned theurgists adopted effective measures to preserve the repositories of their sacred learning. Theophilus, a bishop, who left behind him the reputation of a most rascally and mercenary villain, was accused by one named Antoninus, a famous theurgist and eminent scholar of occult science of Alexandria, with bribing the slaves of the Serapion to steal books which he sold to foreigners at great prices. History tells us how Theophilus had the best of the philosophers, in A.D. 389; and how his successor and nephew, the no less infamous Cyril, butchered Hypatia. Suidas gives us some details about Antoninus, whom he calls Antonius, and his eloquent friend Olympus, the defender of the Serapion. But history is far from being complete in the miserable remnants of books, which, crossing so many ages, have reached our own learned century; it fails to give the facts relating to the first five centuries of Christianity which are preserved in the numerous traditions current in the East. Unauthenticated as these may appear, there is unquestionably in the heap of chaff much good grain. That these traditions are not oftener communicated to Europeans is not strange, when we consider how apt our travellers are to render themselves antagonistic to the natives by their skeptical bearing and, occasionally, dogmatic intolerance. When exceptional men like some archaeologists, who knew how to win the
confidence and even friendship of certain Arabs, are favored with precious documents, it is declared simply a "coincidence." And yet there are widespread traditions of the existence of certain subterranean, and immense galleries, in the neighborhood of Ishmonia — the "petrified City," in which are stored numberless manuscripts and rolls. For no amount of money would the Arabs go near it. At night, they say, from the crevices of the desolate ruins, sunk deep in the unwatered sands of the desert, stream the rays from lights carried to and fro in the galleries by no human hands. The Afrites study the literature of the antediluvian ages, according to their belief, and the Djin learns from the magic rolls the lesson of the following day.
The Encyclopedia Britannica, in its article on Alexandria, says: "When the temple of Serapis was demolished . . . the valuable library was pillaged or destroyed; and twenty years afterwards* the empty shelves excited the regret . . . etc." But it does not state the subsequent fate of the pillaged books.
In rivalry of the fierce Mary-worshippers of the fourth century, the modern clerical persecutors of liberalism and "heresy" would willingly shut up all the heretics and their books in some modern Serapion and burn them alive.† The cause of this hatred is natural. Modern research has more than ever unveiled the secret. "Is not the worship of saints and angels now," said Bishop Newton, years ago, "in all respects the same that the worship of demons was in former times? The name only is different, the thing is identically the same . . . the very same temples, the very same images, which were once consecrated to Jupiter and the other demons, are now consecrated to the Virgin Mary and other saints . . . the whole of Paganism is converted and applied to Popery."
Why not be impartial and add that "a good portion of it was adopted by Protestant religions also"?
The very apostolic designation Peter is from the Mysteries. The hierophant or supreme pontiff bore the Chaldean title Peter, or interpreter. The names Phtah, Peth'r, the residence of Balaam, Patara, and Patras, the names of oracle-cities, pateres or pateras and, perhaps,
Buddha,* all come from the same root. Jesus says: "Upon this petra I will build my Church, and the gates, or rulers of Hades, shall not prevail against it"; meaning by petra the rock-temple, and by metaphor, the Christian Mysteries; the adversaries to which were the old mystery-gods of the underworld, who were worshipped in the rites of Isis, Adonis, Atys, Sabazius, Dionysus, and the Eleusinia. No apostle Peter was ever at Rome; but the Pope, seizing the sceptre of the Pontifex Maximus, the keys of Janus and Kubele, and adorning his Christian head with the cap of the Magna Mater, copied from that of the tiara of Brahmatma, the Supreme Pontiff of the Initiates of old India, became the successor of the Pagan high priest, the real Peter-Roma, or Petroma.†
The Roman Catholic Church has two far mightier enemies than the "heretics" and the "infidels"; and these are — Comparative Mythology and Philology. When such eminent divines as the Rev. James Freeman Clarke go so much out of their way to prove to their readers that "Critical Theology from the time of Origen and Jerome . . . and the Controversial Theology during fifteen centuries, has not consisted in accepting on authority the opinions of other people," but has shown, on the contrary, much "acute and comprehensive reasoning," we can but regret that so much scholarship should have been wasted in attempting to prove that which a fair survey of the history of theology upsets at every step. In these "controversies" and critical treatment of the doctrines of the Church one can certainly find any amount of "acute reasoning," but far more of a still acuter sophistry.
Recently the mass of cumulative evidence has been re-inforced to an extent which leaves little, if any, room for further controversy. A conclusive opinion is furnished by too many scholars to doubt the fact that India was the Alma-Mater, not only of the civilization, arts, and sciences, but also of all the great religions of antiquity; Judaism, and hence Christianity, included. Herder places the cradle of humanity in India, and shows Moses as a clever and relatively modern compiler of the ancient Brahmanical traditions: "The river which encircles the country (India) is the sacred Ganges, which all Asia considers as the paradisaical river. There, also, is the biblical Gihon, which is none else but the Indus. The Arabs call it so unto this day, and the names of the countries watered by it are yet existing among the Hindus." Jacolliot claims to have translated every ancient palm-leaf manuscript which he had the fortune of being allowed by the Brahmans of the pagodas to see. In one of his
translations, we found passages which reveal to us the undoubted origin of the keys of St. Peter, and account for the subsequent adoption of the symbol by their Holinesses, the Popes of Rome.
He shows us, on the testimony of the Agrouchada Parikshai, which he freely translates as "the Book of Spirits"(Pitris), that centuries before our era the initiates of the temple chose a Superior Council, presided over by the Brahm-atma or supreme chief of all these Initiates. That this pontificate, which could be exercised only by a Brahman who had reached the age of eighty years;* that the Brahm-atma was sole guardian of the mystic formula, resume of every science, contained in the three mysterious letters,
which signify creation, conservation, and transformation. He alone could expound its meaning in the presence of the initiates of the third and supreme degree. Whomsoever among these initiates revealed to a profane a single one of the truths, even the smallest of the secrets entrusted to his care, was put to death. He who received the confidence had to share his fate.
"Finally, to crown this able system," says Jacolliot, "there existed a word still more superior to the mysterious monosyllable — A U M, and which rendered him who came into the possession of its key nearly the equal of Brahma himself. The Brahm-atma alone possessed this key, and transmitted it in a sealed casket to his successor.
"This unknown word, of which no human power could, even to-day, when the Brahmanical authority has been crushed under the Mongolian and European invasions, to-day, when each pagoda has its Brahm-atma† force the disclosure, was engraved in a golden triangle and preserved in a sanctuary of the temple of Asgartha, whose Brahm-atma alone held the keys. He also bore upon his tiara two crossed keys supported by two kneeling Brahmans, symbol of the precious deposit of which he had the keeping. . . . This word and this triangle were engraved upon the tablet of the ring that this religious chief wore as one of the signs of his dignity; it was also framed in a golden sun on the altar, where every morning the Supreme Pontiff offered the sacrifice of the sarvameda, or sacrifice to all the forces of nature."‡
† This is not correct.
‡ "Le Spiritisme dans le Monde," p. 28.
Is this clear enough? And will the Catholics still maintain that it was the Brahmans of 4,000 years ago who copied the ritual, symbols, and dress of the Roman Pontiffs? We would not feel in the least surprised.
Without going very far back into antiquity for comparisons, if we only stop at the fourth and fifth centuries of our era, and contrast the so-called "heathenism" of the third Neo-platonic Eclectic School with the growing Christianity, the result may not be favorable to the latter. Even at that early period, when the new religion had hardly outlined its contradictory dogmas; when the champions of the bloodthirsty Cyril knew not themselves whether Mary was to become "the Mother of God," or rank as a "demon" in company with Isis; when the memory of the meek and lowly Jesus still lingered lovingly in every Christian heart, and his words of mercy and charity vibrated still in the air, even then the Christians were outdoing the Pagans in every kind of ferocity and religious intolerance.
And if we look still farther back, and seek for examples of true Christism, in ages when Buddhism had hardly superseded Brahmanism in India, and the name of Jesus was only to be pronounced three centuries later, what do we find? Which of the holy pillars of the Church has ever elevated himself to the level of religious tolerance and noble simplicity of character of some heathen? Compare, for instance, the Hindu Asoka, who lived 300 B.C., and the Carthaginian St. Augustine, who flourished three centuries after Christ. According to Max Muller, this is what is found engraved on the rocks of Girnar, Dhauli, and Kapurdigiri:
"Piyadasi, the king beloved of the gods, desires that the ascetics of all creeds might reside in all places. All these ascetics profess alike the command which people should exercise over themselves, and the purity of the soul. But people have different opinions and different inclinations."
And here is what Augustine wrote after his baptism: "Wondrous depth of thy words! whose surface, behold! is before us, inviting to little ones; yet are they a wondrous depth, O my God, a wondrous depth! It is awful to look therein; yes . . . an awfulness of honor, and a trembling of love. Thy enemies [read Paganthereof I hate vehemently; Oh, that thou wouldst slay them with thy two-edged sword, that they might no longer be enemies to it; for so do I love to have them slain."
Wonderful spirit of Christianity; and that from a Manichean converted to the religion of one who even on his cross prayed for his enemies!
Who the enemies of the "Lord" were, according to the Christians, is not difficult to surmise; the few inside the Augustinian fold were His new children and favorites, who had supplanted in His affections the sons of Israel, His "chosen people." The rest of mankind were His natural foes. The teeming multitudes of heathendom were proper food for the flames of hell; the handful within the Church communion, "heirs of salvation."
But if such a proscriptive policy was just, and its enforcement was "sweet savor" in the nostrils of the "Lord," why not scorn also the Pagan rites and philosophy? Why draw so deep from the wells of wisdom, dug and filled up to brim by the same heathen? Or did the fathers, in their desire to imitate the chosen people whose time-worn shoes they were trying to fit upon their feet, contemplate the reenaction of the spoliation-scene of the Exodus? Did they propose, in fleeing from heathendom as the Jews did from Egypt, to carry off the valuables of its religious allegories, as the "chosen ones" did the gold and silver ornaments?
It certainly does seem as if the events of the first centuries of Christianity were but the reflection of the images thrown upon the mirror of the future at the time of the Exodus. During the stormy days of Irenaeus the Platonic philosophy, with its mystical submersion into Deity, was not so obnoxious after all to the new doctrine as to prevent the Christians from helping themselves to its abstruse metaphysics in every way and manner. Allying themselves with the ascetical therapeutae — forefathers and models of the Christian monks and hermits, it was in Alexandria, let it be remembered, that they laid the first foundations of the purely Platonic trinitarian doctrine. It became the Plato-Philonean doctrine later, and such as we find it now. Plato considered the divine nature under a three-fold modification of the First Cause, the reason or Logos, and the soul or spirit of the universe. "The three archial or original principles," says Gibbon,* "were represented in the Platonic system as three gods, united with each other by a mysterious and ineffable generation." Blending this transcendental idea with the more hypostatic figure of the Logos of Philo, whose doctrine was that of the oldest Kabala, and who viewed the King Messiah, as the metatron, or "the angel of the Lord," the Legatus descended in flesh, but not the Ancient of Days Himself;† the Christians clothed with this mythical representation of the Mediator for the fallen race of Adam, Jesus, the son of Mary. Under this unexpected garb his personality was all but lost. In the modern Jesus of the Christian Church, we find the ideal of the imaginative Irenaeus, not the adept
of the Essenes, the obscure reformer from Galilee. We see him under the disfigured Plato-Philonean mask, not as the disciples heard him on the mount.
So far then the heathen philosophy had helped them in the building of the principal dogma. But when the theurgists of the third Neo-platonic school, deprived of their ancient Mysteries, strove to blend the doctrines of Plato with those of Aristotle, and by combining the two philosophies added to their theosophy the primeval doctrines of the Oriental Kabala, then the Christians from rivals became persecutors. Once that the metaphysical allegories of Plato were being prepared to be discussed in public in the form of Grecian dialectics, all the elaborate system of the Christian trinity would be unravelled and the divine prestige completely upset. The eclectic school, reversing the order, had adopted the inductive method; and this method became its death-knell. Of all things on earth, logic and reasonable explanations were the most hateful to the new religion of mystery; for they threatened to unveil the whole ground-work of the trinitarian conception; to apprise the multitude of the doctrine of emanations, and thus destroy the unity of the whole. It could not be permitted, and it was not. History records the Christ-like means that were resorted to.
The universal doctrine of emanations, adopted from time immemorial by the greatest schools which taught the kabalistic, Alexandrian, and Oriental philosophers, gives the key to that panic among the Christian fathers. That spirit of Jesuitism and clerical craft, which prompted Parkhurst, many centuries later, to suppress in his Hebrew Lexicon the true meaning of the first word of Genesis, originated in those days of war against the expiring Neo-platonic and eclectic school. The fathers had decided to pervert the meaning of the word "daimon,"*and they dreaded above all to have the esoteric and true meaning of the word Rasit unveiled to the multitudes; for if once the true sense of this sentence, as well as that of the Hebrew word asdt (translated in the Septuagint "angels,"while it means emanations),† were understood rightly, the mystery of the Christian trinity would have crumbled, carrying in its downfall the new religion into the same heap of ruins with the ancient Mysteries. This is the true reason why dialecticians, as well as Aristotle himself, the "prying philosopher," were ever obnoxious to Christian theology. Even Luther, while on his work of reform, feeling the ground insecure under his feet, notwithstanding that the dogmas had
been reduced by him to their simplest expression, gave full vent to his fear and hatred for Aristotle. The amount of abuse he heaped upon the memory of the great logician can only be equalled — never surpassed — by the Pope's anathemas and invectives against the liberals of the Italian government. Compiled together, they might easily fill a copy of a new encyclopaedia with models for monkish diatribes.
Of course the Christian clergy can never get reconciled with a doctrine based on the application of strict logic to discursive reasoning? The number of those who have abandoned theology on this account has never been made known. They have asked questions and been forbidden to ask them; hence, separation, disgust, and often a despairing plunge into the abyss of atheism. The Orphean views of ether as chief medium between God and created matter were likewise denounced. The Orphic AEther recalled too vividly the Archeus, the Soul of the World, and the latter was in its metaphysical sense as closely related to the emanations, being the first manifestation — Sephira, or Divine Light. And when could the latter be more feared than at that critical moment?
Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, Chalcidius, Methodius, and Maimonides, on the authority of the Targum of Jerusalem, the orthodox and greatest authority of the Jews, held that the first two words in the book of Genesis — b-rasit, mean Wisdom, or the Principle. And that the idea of these words meaning "in the beginning" was never shared but by the profane, who were not allowed to penetrate any deeper into the esoteric sense of the sentence. Beausobre, and after him Godfrey Higgins, have demonstrated the fact. "All things," says the Kabala, "are derived from one great Principle, and this principle is the unknown and invisible God. From Him a substantial power immediately proceeds, which is the image of God, and the source of all subsequent emanations. This second principle sends forth, by the energy (or will and force) of emanation, other natures, which are more or less perfect, according to their different degrees of distance, in the scale of emanation, from the First Source of existence, and which constitute different worlds, or orders of being, all united to the eternal power from which they proceed. Matter is nothing more than the most remote effect of the emanative energy of the Deity. The material world receives its form from the immediate agency of powers far beneath the First Source of Being* . . . Beausobref† makes St. Augustine the Manichean say thus: 'And if by Rasit we understand the active Principle of the creation, instead of its beginning, in such a case we will clearly perceive that Moses never meant to say
that heaven and earth were the first works of God. He only said that God created heaven and earth through the Principle, who is His Son. It is not the time he points to, but to the immediate author of the creation.' Angels, according to Augustine, were created before the firmament, and according to the esoteric interpretation, the heaven and earth were created after that, evolving from the second Principle or the Logos — the creative Deity. "The word principle,"says Beausobre, "does not mean that the heaven and earth were created before anything else, for, to begin with, the angels were created before that; but that God did everything through His Wisdom, which is His Verbum, and which the Christian Bible named the Beginning," thus adopting the exoteric meaning of the word abandoned to the multitudes. The Kabala — the Oriental as well as the Jewish — shows that a number of emanations (the Jewish Sephiroth) issued from the First Principle, the chief of which wasWisdom. This Wisdom is the Logos of Philo, and Michael, the chief of the Gnostic Eons; it is the Ormazd of the Persians; Minerva, goddess of wisdom, of the Greeks, who emanated from the head of Jupiter; and the second Person of the Christian Trinity. The early Fathers of the Church had not much to exert their imagination; they found a ready-made doctrine that had existed in every theogony for thousands of years before the Christian era. Their trinity is but the trio of Sephiroth, the first three kabalistic lights of which Moses Nachmanides says, that "they have never been seen by any one; there is not any defect in them, nor any disunion." The first eternal number is the Father, or the Chaldean primeval, invisible, and incomprehensible chaos, out of which proceeded the Intelligible one. The Egyptian Phtah, or "the Principle of Light — not the light itself, and the Principle of Life, though himself no life." The Wisdom by which the Father created the heavens is the Son, or the kabalistic androgynous Adam Kadmon. The Son is at once the male Ra, or Light of Wisdom, Prudence or Intelligence, Sephira, the female part of Himself; while from this dual being proceeds the third emanation, the Binah or Reason, the second Intelligence — the Holy Ghost of the Christians. Therefore, strictly speaking, there is a Tetraktis or quaternary, consisting of the Unintelligible First monad, and its triple emanation, which properly constitute our Trinity.
How then avoid perceiving at once, that had not the Christians purposely disfigured in their interpretation and translation the Mosaic Genesis to fit their own views, their religion, with its present dogmas, would have been impossible? The word Rasit, once taught in its new sense of the Principle and not the Beginning, and the anathematized doctrine of emanations accepted, the position of the second trinitarian personage
becomes untenable. For, if the angels are the first divine emanations from the Divine Substance, and were in existence before the Second Principle, then the anthropomorphized Son is at best an emanation like themselves, and cannot be God hypostatically any more than our visible works are ourselves. That these metaphysical subtleties never entered into the head of the honest-minded, sincere Paul, is evident; as it is furthermore evident, that like all learned Jews he was well acquainted with the doctrine of emanations and never thought of corrupting it. How can any one imagine that Paul identified the Son with the Father, when he tells us that God made Jesus "a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews ii. 9), and a little higher than Moses! "For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses" (Hebrews iii. 3). Of whatever, or how many forgeries, interlined later in the Acts, the Fathers are guilty we know not; but that Paul never considered Christ more than a man "full of the Spirit of God" is but too evident: "In the arche was the Logos, and the Logos was adnate to the Theos."
Wisdom, the first emanation of En-Soph; the Protogonos, the Hypostasis; the Adam Kadmon of the kabalist, the Brahma of the Hindu; the Logos of Plato, and the "Beginning"of St. John — is the Rasit — , of the Book of Genesis. If rightly interpreted it overturns, as we have remarked, the whole elaborate system of Christian theology, for it proves that behind the creative Deity, there was a higher god; a planner, an architect; and that the former was but His executive agent — a simple power!
They persecuted the Gnostics, murdered the philosophers, and burned the kabalists and the masons; and when the day of the great reckoning arrives, and the light shines in darkness, what will they have to offer in the place of the departed, expired religion? What will they answer, these pretended monotheists, these worshippers and pseudo-servants of the one living God, to their Creator? How will they account for this long persecution of them who were the true followers of the grand Megalistor, the supreme great master of the Rosicrucians, the first of masons. "For he is the Builder and Architect of the Temple of the universe; He is the Verbum Sapienti."*
"Every one knows," wrote the great Manichean of the third century, Fauste, "that the Evangeliums were written neither by Jesus Christ,
nor his apostles, but long after their time by some unknown persons, who, judging well that they would hardly be believed when telling of things they had not seen themselves, headed their narratives with the names of the apostles or of disciples contemporaneous with the latter."
Commenting upon the subject, A. Franck, the learned Hebrew scholar of the Institute and translator of the Kabala, expresses the same idea. "Are we not authorized," he asks, "to view the Kabala as a precious remnant of religious philosophy of the Orient, which, transported into Alexandria, got mixed to the doctrine of Plato, and under the usurped name of Dionysius the Areopagite, bishop of Athens, converted and consecrated by St. Paul, was thus enabled to penetrate into the mysticism of the mediaeval ages?"*
Says Jacolliot: "What is then this religious philosophy of the Orient, which has penetrated into the mystic symbolism of Christianity? We answer: This philosophy, the traces of which we find among the Magians, the Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Hebrew kabalists and the Christians, is none other than that of the Hindu Brahmans, the sectarians of the pitris, or the spirits of the invisible worlds which surround us."†
But if the Gnostics were destroyed, the Gnosis, based on the secret science of sciences, still lives. It is the earth which helps the woman, and which is destined to open her mouth to swallow up mediaeval Christianity, the usurper and assassin of the great master's doctrine. The ancient Kabala, the Gnosis, or traditional secret knowledge, was never without its representatives in any age or country. The trinities of initiates, whether passed into history or concealed under the impenetrable veil of mystery, are preserved and impressed throughout the ages. They are known as Moses, Aholiab, and Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, as Plato, Philo, and Pythagoras, etc. At the Transfiguration we see them as Jesus, Moses, and Elias, the three Trismegisti; and three kabalists, Peter, James, and John — whose revelation is the key to all wisdom. We found them in the twilight of Jewish history as Zoroaster, Abraham, and Terah, and later as Henoch, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Who, of those who ever studied the ancient philosophies, who understand intuitionally the grandeur of their conceptions, the boundless sublimity of their views of the Unknown Deity, can hesitate for a moment to give the preference to their doctrines over the incomprehensible dogmatic and contradictory theology of the hundreds of Christian sects? Who that ever read Plato and fathomed his [[To On]], "whom no person has seen except the Son,"can doubt that Jesus was a disciple of the same
secret doctrine which had instructed the great philosopher? For, as we have shown before now, Plato never claimed to be the inventor of all that he wrote, but gave credit for it to Pythagoras, who, in his turn, pointed to the remote East as the source whence he derived his information and his philosophy. Colebrooke shows that Plato confesses it in his epistles, and says that he has taken his teachings from ancient and sacred doctrines!* Moreover, it is undeniable that the theologies of all the great nations dovetail together and show that each is a part of "one stupendous whole." Like the rest of the initiates we see Plato taking great pains to conceal the true meaning of his allegories. Every time the subject touches the greater secrets of the Oriental Kabala, secret of the true cosmogony of the universe and of the ideal, preexisting world, Plato shrouds his philosophy in the profoundest darkness. His Timaeus is so confused that no one but an initiate can understand the secret meaning. And Mosheim thinks that Philo has filled his works with passages directly contradicting each other for the sole purpose of concealing the true doctrine. For once we see a critic on the right track.
And this very trinitarian idea, as well as the so bitterly denounced doctrine of emanations, whence their remotest origin? The answer is easy, and every proof is now at hand. In the sublime and profoundest of all philosophies, that of the universal "Wisdom-Religion," the first traces of which, historical research now finds in the old pre-Vedic religion of India. As the much-abused Jacolliot well remarks, "It is not in the religious works of antiquity, such as the Vedas, the Zend Avesta, the Bible, that we have to search for the exact expression of the ennobling and sublime beliefs of those epochs."†
"The holy primitive syllable, composed of the three letters A —— U —— M., in which is contained the Vedic Trimurti (Trinity), must be kept secret, like another triple Veda," says Manu, in book xi., sloka 265.
Swayambhouva is the unrevealed Deity; it is the Being existent through and of itself; he is the central and immortal germ of all that exists in the universe. Three trinities emanate and are confounded in him, forming a Supreme unity. These trinities, or the triple Trimurti, are: the Nara, Nari, and Viradyi — the initial triad; the Agni, Vaya, and Sourya — themanifested triad; Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, the creative triad. Each of these triads becomes less metaphysical and more adapted to the vulgar intelligence as it descends. Thus the last becomes but the symbol in its concrete expression; the necessarianism of a purely meta-
physical conception. Together with Swayambhouva, they are the ten Sephiroth of the Hebrew kabalists, the ten Hindu Prajapatis — the En-Soph of the former, answering to the great Unknown, expressed by the mystic A U M of the latter.
Says Franck, the translator of the Kabala:
"The ten Sephiroth are divided into three classes, each of them presenting to us the divinity under a different aspect, the whole still remaining an indivisible Trinity.
"The first three Sephiroth are purely intellectual in metaphysics, they express the absolute identity of existence and thought, and form what the modern kabalists called the intelligible world — which is the first manifestation of God.
"The three that follow, make us conceive God in one of their aspects, as the identity of goodness and wisdom; in the other they show to us, in the Supreme good, the origin of beauty and magnificence (in the creation). Therefore, they are named the virtues, or the sensible world.
"Finally, we learn, by the last three Sephiroth, that the Universal Providence, that the Supreme artist is also absolute Force, the all-powerful cause, and that, at the same time, this cause is the generative element of all that is. It is these last Sephiroth that constitute the natural world, or nature in its essence and in its active principle. Natura naturans."*
This kabalistic conception is thus proved identical with that of the Hindu philosophy. Whoever reads Plato and his Dialogue Timaeus, will find these ideas as faithfully re-echoed by the Greek philosopher. Moreover, the injunction of secrecy was as strict with the kabalists, as with the initiates of the Adyta and the Hindu Yogis.
"Close thy mouth, lest thou shouldst speak of this (the mystery), and thy heart, lest thou shouldst think aloud; and if thy heart has escaped thee, bring it back to its place, for such is the object of our alliance" (Sepher Jezireh, Book of Creation).
"This is a secret which gives death: close thy mouth lest thou shouldst reveal to the vulgar; compress thy brain lest something should escape from it and fall outside" (Agrouchada-Parikshai).
Truly the fate of many a future generation hung on a gossamer thread, in the days of the third and fourth centuries. Had not the Emperor sent in 389 to Alexandria a rescript — which was forced from him by the Christians — for the destruction of every idol, our own century would never have had a Christian mythological Pantheon of its own. Never
did the Neo-platonic school reach such a height of philosophy as when nearest its end. Uniting the mystic theosophy of old Egypt with the refined philosophy of the Greeks; nearer to the ancient Mysteries of Thebes and Memphis than they had been for centuries; versed in the science of soothsaying and divination, as in the art of the Therapeutists; friendly with the acutest men of the Jewish nation, who were deeply imbued with the Zoroastrian ideas, the Neo-platonists tended to amalgamate the old wisdom of the Oriental Kabala with the more refined conceptions of the Occidental Theosophists. Notwithstanding the treason of the Christians, who saw fit, for political reasons, after the days of Constantine, to repudiate their tutors, the influence of the new Platonic philosophy is conspicuous in the subsequent adoption of dogmas, the origin of which can be traced but too easily to that remarkable school. Though mutilated and disfigured, they still preserve a strong family likeness, which nothing can obliterate.
But, if the knowledge of the occult powers of nature opens the spiritual sight of man, enlarges his intellectual faculties, and leads him unerringly to a profounder veneration for the Creator, on the other hand ignorance, dogmatic narrow-mindedness, and a childish fear of looking to the bottom of things, invariably leads to fetish-worship and superstition.
When Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, had openly embraced the cause of Isis, the Egyptian goddess, and had anthropomorphized her into Mary, the mother of God; and the trinitarian controversy had taken place; from that moment the Egyptian doctrine of the emanation of the creative God out of Emepht began to be tortured in a thousand ways, until the Councils had agreed upon the adoption of it as it now stands — the disfigured Ternary of the kabalistic Solomon and Philo! But as its origin was yet too evident, the Word was no longer called the "Heavenly man," the primal Adam Kadmon, but became the Logos — Christ, and was made as old as the "Ancient of the Ancient," his father. The concealed WISDOM became identical with its emanation, the Divine Thought, and made to be regarded coequal and coeternal with its first manifestation.
If we now stop to consider another of the fundamental dogmas of Christianity, the doctrine of atonement, we may trace it as easily back to heathendom. This corner-stone of a Church which had believed herself built on a firm rock for long centuries, is now excavated by science and proved to come from the Gnostics. Professor Draper shows it as hardly known in the days of Tertullian, and as having "originated among the Gnostic heretics."* We will not permit ourselves to contradict such a
learned authority, farther than to state that it originated among them no more than their "anointed" Christos and Sophia. The former they modelled on the original of the "King Messiah," the male principle of wisdom, and the latter on the third Sephiroth, from the Chaldean Kabala,* and even from the Hindu Brahma and Sara-asvati,† and the Pagan Dionysus and Demeter. And here we are on firm ground, if it were only because it is now proved that the New Testament never appeared in its complete form, such as we find it now, till 300 years after the period of apostles,‡ and the Sohar and other kabalistic books are found to belong to the first century before our era, if not to be far older still.
The Gnostics entertained many of the Essenean ideas; and the Essenes had their "greater" and "minor" Mysteries at least two centuries before our era. They were the Isarim or Initiates, the descendants of the Egyptian hierophants, in whose country they had been settled for several centuries before they were converted to Buddhistic monasticism by the missionaries of King Asoka, and amalgamated later with the earliest Christians; and they existed, probably, before the old Egyptian temples were desecrated and ruined in the incessant invasions of Persians, Greeks, and other conquering hordes. The hierophants had their atonement enacted in the Mystery of Initiation ages before the Gnostics, or even the Essenes, had appeared. It was known among hierophants as the Baptism of Blood, and was considered not as an atonement for the "fall of man" in Eden, but simply as an expiation for the past, present, and future sins of ignorant but nevertheless polluted mankind. The hierophant had the option of either offering his pure and sinless life as a sacrifice for his race to the gods whom he hoped to rejoin, or an animal victim. The former depended entirely on their own will. At the last moment of the solemn "new birth," the initiator passed "the word" to the initiated, and immediately after that the latter had a weapon placed in his right hand, and was ordered to strike.§ This is the true origin of the Christian dogma of atonement.
Verily the "Christs" of the pre-Christian ages were many. But they died unknown to the world, and disappeared as silently and as mysteriously from the sight of man as Moses from the top of Pisgah, the mountain of Nebo (oracular wisdom), after he had laid his hands upon Joshua, who thus became "full of the spirit of wisdom" (i.e., initiated).
Nor does the Mystery of the Eucharist pertain to Christians alone. Godfrey Higgins proves that it was instituted many hundreds of years before the "Paschal Supper," and says that "the sacrifice of bread and
wine was common to many ancient nations."* Cicero mentions it in his works, and wonders at the strangeness of the rite. There had been an esoteric meaning attached to it from the first establishment of the Mysteries, and the Eucharistia is one of the oldest rites of antiquity. With the hierophants it had nearly the same significance as with the Christians. Ceres was bread, and Bacchus was wine; the former meaning regeneration of life from the seed, and the latter — the grape — the emblem of wisdom and knowledge; the accumulation of the spirit of things, and the fermentation and subsequent strength of that esoteric knowledge being justly symbolized by wine. The mystery related to the drama of Eden; it is said to have been first taught by Janus, who was also the first to introduce in the temples the sacrifices of "bread" and "wine" in commemoration of the "fall into generation" as the symbol of the "seed." "I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman," says Jesus, alluding to the secret knowledge that could be imparted by him. "I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
The festival of the Eleusinian Mysteries began in the month of Boedromion, which corresponds with the month of September, the time of grape-gathering, and lasted from the 15th to the 22d of the month, seven days.† The Hebrew festival of the Feast of Tabernacles began on the 15th and ended on the 22d of the month of Ethanim, which Dunlap shows as derived from Adonim, Adonia, Attenim, Ethanim;‡ and this feast is named in Exodus (xxiii. 16) the feast of ingatherings. "All the men of Israel assembled unto King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh."§
Plutarch thinks the feast of the booths to be the Bacchic rites, not the
* "Anacalypsis"; also Tertullian.
† "Anthon," art. Eleusinia.
‡ Dunlap: "Musah, His Mysteries," p. 71.
§ Kings, viii. 2.
the Eleusinian. Thus "Bacchus was directly called upon," he says. The Sabazian worship was Sabbatic; the names Evius, or Hevius, and Luaios are identical with Hivite and Levite. The French name Louis is the Hebrew Levi; Iacchus again is Iao or Jehovah; and Baal or Adon, like Bacchus, was a phallic god. "Who shall ascend into the hill (the high place) of the Lord?" asks the holy king David, "who shall stand in the place of his Kadushu "? (Psalms xxiv. 3). Kadesh may mean in one sense to devote, hallow, sanctify, and even to initiate or to set apart; but it also means the ministers of lascivious rites (the Venus-worship) and the true interpretation of the word Kadesh is bluntly rendered in Deuteronomy xxiii. 17; Hosea iv. 14; and Genesis xxxviii., from verses 15 to 22. The "holy" Kadeshuth of the Bible were identical as to the duties of their office with the Nautch-girls of the later Hindu pagodas. The Hebrew Kadeshim or galli lived "by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove," or bust of Venus-Astarte, says verse the seventh in the twenty-third chapter of 2 Kings.
The dance performed by David round the ark was the "circle-dance" said to have been prescribed by the Amazons for the Mysteries. Such was the dance of the daughters of Shiloh (Judges xxi. 21, 23 et passim), and the leaping of the prophets of Baal (I Kings xviii. 26). It was simply a characteristic of the Sabean worship, for it denoted the motion of the planets round the sun. That the dance was a Bacchic frenzy is apparent. Sistra were used on the occasion, and the taunt of Michael and the king's reply are very expressive. "The king of Israel uncovered himself before his maid-servants as one of the vain (or debauched) fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself." And he retorts: "I will play (act wantonly) before , and I will be yet more vile than this, and I will be base in my own sight." When we remember that David had sojourned among the Tyrians and Philistines, where their rites were common; and that indeed he had conquered that land away from the house of Saul, by the aid of mercenaries from their country, the countenancing and even, perhaps, the introduction of such a Pagan-like worship by the weak "psalmist" seems very natural. David knew nothing of Moses, it seems, and if he introduced the Jehovah-worship it was not in its monotheistic character, but simply as that of one of the many gods of the neighboring nations — a tutelary deity to whom he had given the preference, and chosen among "all other gods."
Following the Christian dogmas seriatim, if we concentrate our attention upon one which provoked the fiercest battles until its recognition, that of the Trinity, what do we find? We meet it, as we have shown, northeast of the Indus; and tracing it to Asia Minor and Europe, recognize it among every people who had anything like an established re-
ligion. It was taught in the oldest Chaldean, Egyptian, and Mithraitic schools. The Chaldean Sun-god, Mithra, was called "Triple," and the trinitarian idea of the Chaldeans was a doctrine of the Akkadians, who, themselves, belonged to a race which was the first to conceive a metaphysical trinity. The Chaldeans are a tribe of the Akkadians, according to Rawlinson, who lived in Babylonia from the earliest times. They were Turanians, according to others, and instructed the Babylonians into the first notions of religion. But these same Akkadians, who were they? Those scientists who would ascribe to them a Turanian origin, make of them the inventors of the cuneiform characters; others call them Sumerians; others again, respectively, make their language, of which (for very good reasons) no traces whatever remain — Kasdean, Chaldaic, Proto-Chaldean, Kasdo-Scythic, and so on. The only tradition worthy of credence is that these Akkadians instructed the Babylonians in the Mysteries, and taught them the sacerdotal or Mystery-language. These Akkadians were then simply a tribe of the Hindu-Brahmans, now called Aryans — their vernacular language, the Sanscrit* of the Vedas; and the sacred or Mystery-language, that which, even in our own age, is used by the Hindu fakirs and initiated Brahmans in their magical evocations.† It has been, from time immemorial, and still is employed by the initiates of all countries, and the Thibetan lamas claim that it is in this tongue that appear the mysterious characters on the leaves and bark of the sacred Koumboum.
Jacolliot, who took such pains to penetrate the mysteries of the Brahmanical initiation in translating and commenting upon the Agrouchada-Parikshai, confesses the following:
"It is pretended also, without our being able to verify the assertion, that the magical evocations were pronounced in a particular language, and that it was forbidden, under pain of death, to translate them into vulgar dialects. The rare expressions that we have been able to catch like — L'rhom, h'hom, sh'hrum, sho'rhim, are in fact most curious, and do not seem to belong to any known idiom."‡
Those who have seen a fakir or a lama reciting his mantras and con-
jurations, know that he never pronounces the words audibly when preparing for a phenomenon. His lips move, and none will ever hear the terrible formula pronounced, except in the interior of the temples, and then in a cautious whisper. This, then, was the language now respectively baptized by every scientist, and, according to his imaginative and philological propensities, Kasdeo-Semitic, Scythic, Proto-Chaldean, and the like.
Scarcely two of even the most learned Sanscrit philologists are agreed as to the true interpretation of Vedic words. Let one put forth an essay, a lecture, a treatise, a translation, a dictionary, and straightway all the others fall to quarrelling with each other and with him as to his sins of omission and commission. Professor Whitney, greatest of American Orientalists, says that Professor Muller's notes on the Rig Veda Sanhita "are far from showing that sound and thoughtful judgment, that moderation and economy which are among the most precious qualities of an exegete." Professor Muller angrily retorts upon his critics that "not only is the joy embittered which is the inherent reward of all bona fide work, but selfishness, malignity, aye, even untruthfulness, gain the upper hand, and the healthy growth of science is stunted." He differs "in many cases from the explanations of Vedic words given by Professor Roth" in his Sanscrit Dictionary, and Professor Whitney shampooes both their heads by saying that there are, unquestionably, words and phrases "as to which both alike will hereafter be set right."
In volume i. of his Chips, Professor Muller stigmatizes all the Vedas except the Rik, the Atharva-Veda included, as "theological twaddle," while Professor Whitney regards the latter as "the most comprehensive and valuable of the four collections, next after the Rik."To return to the case of Jacolliot. Professor Whitney brands him as a "bungler and a humbug," and, as we remarked above, this is the very general verdict. But when the Bible dans l'Inde appeared, the Societe Academique de Saint Quentin requested M. Textor de Ravisi, a learned Indianist, ten years Governor of Karikal, India, to report upon its merits. He was an ardent Catholic, and bitterly opposed Jacolliot's conclusions where they discredited the Mosaic and Catholic revelations; but he was forced to say: "Written with good faith, in an easy, vigorous, and passionate style, of an easy and varied argumentation, the work of M. Jacolliot is of absorbing interest . . . a learned work on known facts and with familiar arguments."
Enough. Let Jacolliot have the benefit of the doubt when such very imposing authorities are doing their best to show up each other as incompetents and literary journeymen. We quite agree with Professor Whitney that "the truism, that [for European critics?] it is far easier to pull to
pieces than to build up, is nowhere truer than in matters affecting the archeology and history of India."*
Babylonia happened to be situated on the way of the great stream of the earliest Hindu emigration, and the Babylonians were one of the first peoples benefited thereby.† These Khaldi were the worshippers of the Moon-god, Deus Lunus, from which fact we may infer that the Akkadians — if such must be their name — belonged to the race of the Kings of the Moon, whom tradition shows as having reigned in Pruyay — now Allahabad. With them the trinity of Deus Lunus was manifested in the three lunar phases, completing the quaternary with the fourth, and typifying the death of the Moon-god in its gradual waning and final disappearance. This death was allegorized by them, and attributed to the triumph of the genius of evil over the light-giving deity; as the later nations allegorized the death of their Sun-gods, Osiris and Apollo, at the hands of Typhon and the great Dragon Python, when the sun entered the winter solstice. Babel, Arach, and Akkad are names of the sun. The Zoroastrian Oracles are full and explicit upon the subject of the Divine Triad. "A triad of Deity shines forth throughout the whole world, of which a Monad is the head," admits the Reverend Dr. Maurice.
"For from this Triad, in the bosoms, are all things governed," says a Chaldean oracle. The Phos, Pur, and Phlox, of Sanchoniathon,‡ are Light, Fire, and Flame, three manifestations of the Sun who is one. Bel-Saturn, Jupiter-Bel, and Bel or Baal-Chom are the Chaldean trinity;§ "The Babylonian Bel was regarded in the Triume aspect of Belitan, Zeus-Belus (the mediator) and Baal-Chom who is Apollo Chomaeus. This was the Triune aspect of the 'Highest God,' who is, according to Berosus, either El (the Hebrew), Bel, Belitan, Mithra, or Zervana, and has the name [[Pater]], "the Father."|| The Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva,¶ corresponding to Power, Wisdom, and Justice, which answer in their turn
to Spirit, Matter, Time, and the Past, Present, and Future, can be found in the temple of Gharipuri; thousands of dogmatic Brahmans worship these attributes of the Vedic Deity, while the severe monks and nuns of Buddhistic Thibet recognize but the sacred trinity of the three cardinal virtues: Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, professed by the Christians, practiced by the Buddhists and some Hindus alone.
The Persian triplicate Deity also consists of three persons, Ormazd, Mithra, and Ahriman. "That is that principle," says Porphyry,* "which the author of the Chaldaic Summary saith, 'They conceive there is one principle of all things, and declare that is one and good.' " The Chinese idol Sanpao, consists of three equal in all respects;† and the Peruvians "supposed their Tanga-tanga to be one in three, and three in one," says Faben.‡ The Egyptians have their Emepht, Eicton, and Phta; and the triple god seated on the Lotos can be seen in the St. Petersburg Museum, on a medal of the Northern Tartars.
Among the Church dogmas which have most seriously suffered of late at the hands of the Orientalists, the last in question stands conspicuous. The reputation of each of the three personages of the anthropomorphic godhead as an original revelation to the Christians through Divine will, has been badly compromised by inquiry into its predecessors and origin. Orientalists have published more about the similarity between Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Christianity than was strictly agreeable to the Vatican. Draper's assertion that "Paganism was modified by Christianity, Christianity by Paganism,"§ is being daily verified. "Olympus was restored but the divinities passed under other names," he says, treating of the Constantine period. "The more powerful provinces insisted on the adoption of their time-honored conceptions. Views of the trinity in accordance with the Egyptian traditions were established. Not only was the adoration of Isis under a new name restored, but even her image, standing on the crescent moon, reappeared. The well-known effigy of that goddess with the infant Horus in her arms has descended to our days, in the beautiful artistic creations of the Madonna and child."
is also by right the Queen of Heaven, and is generally represented carrying in her hand the Crux Ansata composed of the mundane cross, and of the Stauros of the Gnostics, she is a great deal younger than the celestial virgin, Neith. In one of the tombs of the Pharaohs — Rhameses, in the valley of Biban-el-Molouk, in Thebes, Champollion, Junior, discovered a picture, according to his opinion the most ancient ever yet found. It represents the heavens symbolized by the figure of a woman bedecked with stars. The birth of the Sun is figured by the form of a little child, issuing from the bosom of its "Divine Mother."
In the Book of Hermes, "Pimander" is enunciated in distinct and unequivocal sentences, the whole trinitarian dogma accepted by the Christians. "The light is me," says Pimander, the divine thought. "I am the nous or intelligence, and I am thy god, and I am far older than the human principle which escapes from the shadow. I am the germ of thought, the resplendent word, the son of GOD. Think that what thus sees and hears in thee, is the Verbum of the Master, it is the Thought, which is God the Father. . . . The celestial ocean, the AEther, which flows from east to west, is the Breath of the Father, the life-giving Principle, the holy ghost!" "For they are not at all separated and their union is life."
Ancient as may be the origin of Hermes, lost in the unknown days of Egyptian colonization, there is yet a far older prophecy, directly relating to the Hindu Christna, according to the Brahmans. It is, to say the least, strange that the Christians claim to base their religion upon a prophecy of the Bible, which exists nowhere in that book. In what chapter or verse does Jehovah, the "Lord God," promise Adam and Eve to send them a Redeemer who will save humanity? "I will put enmity between thee and the woman," says the Lord God to the serpent, "and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
In these words there is not the slightest allusion to a Redeemer, and the subtilest of intellects could not extract from them, as they stand in the third chapter of Genesis, anything like that which the Christians have contrived to find. On the other hand, in the traditions and Manu, Brahma promises directly to the first couple to send them a Saviour who will teach them the way to salvation.
"It is from the lips of a messenger of Brahma, who will be born in Kuroukshetra, Matsya, and the land of Pantchola, also called Kanya-Cubja (mountain of the Virgin), that all men on earth will learn their duty," says Manu (book ii., slokas 19 and 20).
The Mexicans call the Father of their Trinity Yzona, the Son Bacab, and the Holy Ghost Echvah, "and say they received it (the doctrine)
from their ancestors."* Among the Semitic nations we can trace the trinity to the prehistorical days of the fabled Sesostris, who is identified by more than one critic with Nimrod, "the mighty hunter." Manetho makes the oracle rebuke the king, when the latter asks, "Tell me, O thou strong in fire, who before me could subjugate all things? and who shall after me?" And the oracle saith thus: "First God, then the Word, and then 'the Spirit.' "†
In the foregoing lies the foundation of the fierce hatred of the Christians toward the "Pagans" and the theurgists. Too much had been borrowed; the ancient religions and the Neo-platonists had been laid by them under contribution sufficiently to perplex the world for several thousand years. Had not the ancient creeds been speedily obliterated, it would have been found impossible to preach the Christian religion as a New Dispensation, or the direct Revelation from God the Father, through God the Son, and under the influence of God the Holy Ghost. As a political exigence the Fathers had — to gratify the wishes of their rich converts — instituted even the festivals of Pan. They went so far as to accept the ceremonies hitherto celebrated by the Pagan world in honor of the God of the gardens, in all their primitive sincerity.‡ It was time to sever the connection. Either the Pagan worship and the Neo-platonic theurgy, with all ceremonial of magic, must be crushed out forever, or the Christians become Neo-platonists.
The fierce polemics and single-handed battles between Irenaeus and the Gnostics are too well known to need repetition. They were carried on for over two centuries after the unscrupulous Bishop of Lyons had uttered his last religious paradox. Celsus, the Neo-platonist, and a disciple of the school of Ammonius Saccas, had thrown the Christians into perturbation, and even had arrested for a time the progress of proselytism by successfully proving that the original and purer forms of the most important dogmas of Christianity were to be found only in the teachings of Plato. Celsus accused them of accepting the worst superstitions of Paganism, and of interpolating passages from the books of the Sybils, without rightly understanding their meaning. The accusations were so plausible, and the facts so patent, that for a long time no Christian writer had ventured to answer the challenge. Origen, at the fervent request of his friend, Ambrosius, was the first to take the defense in hand, for, having belonged to the same Platonic school of Ammonius, he was considered the most competent man to refute the well-founded charges. But his eloquence failed, and the only remedy that could be found was to destroy the writings of
Celsus themselves.* This could be achieved only in the fifth century, when copies had been taken from this work, and many were those who had read and studied them. If no copy of it has descended to our present generation of scientists, it is not because there is none extant at present, but for the simple reason that the monks of a certain Oriental church on Mount Athos will neither show nor confess they have one in their possession.† Perhaps they do not even know themselves the value of the contents of their manuscripts, on account of their great ignorance.
The dispersion of the Eclectic school had become the fondest hope of the Christians. It had been looked for and contemplated with intense anxiety. It was finally achieved. The members were scattered by the
hand of the monsters Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria, and his nephew Cyril — the murderer of the young, the learned, and the innocent Hypatia!*
With the death of the martyred daughter of Theon, the mathematician, there remained no possibility for the Neo-platonists to continue their school at Alexandria. During the life-time of the youthful Hypatia her friendship and influence with Orestes, the governor of the city, had assured the philosophers security and protection against their murderous enemies. With her death they had lost their strongest friend. How much she was revered by all who knew her for her erudition, noble virtues, and character, we can infer from the letters addressed to her by Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais, fragments of which have reached us. "My heart yearns for the presence of your divine spirit," he wrote in 413 A.D., "which more than anything else could alleviate the bitterness of my fortunes." At another time he says: "Oh, my mother, my sister, my teacher, my benefactor! My soul is very sad. The recollection of my children I have lost is killing me. . . . When I have news of you and learn, as I hope, that you are more fortunate than myself, I am at least only half-unhappy."
What would have been the feelings of this most noble and worthy of Christian bishops, who had surrendered family and children and happiness for the faith into which he had been attracted, had a prophetic vision disclosed to him that the only friend that had been left to him, his "mother, sister, benefactor," would soon become an unrecognizable mass of flesh and blood, pounded to jelly under the blows of the club of Peter the Reader — that her youthful, innocent body would be cut to pieces, "the flesh scraped from the bones," by oyster-shells and the rest of her cast into the fire, by order of the same Bishop Cyril he knew so well — Cyril, the canonized Saint!!†
There has never been a religion in the annals of the world with such a bloody record as Christianity. All the rest, including the traditional fierce fights of the "chosen people" with their next of kin, the idolatrous tribes of Israel, pale before the murderous fanaticism of the alleged followers of Christ! Even the rapid spread of Mahometanism before the conquering sword of the Islam prophet, is a direct consequence of the
bloody riots and fights among Christians. It was the intestine war between the Nestorians and Cyrilians that engendered Islamism; and it is in the convent of Bozrah that the prolific seed was first sown by Bahira, the Nestorian monk. Freely watered by rivers of blood, the tree of Mecca has grown till we find it in the present century overshadowing nearly two hundred millions of people. The recent Bulgarian atrocities are but the natural outgrowth of the triumph of Cyril and the Mariolaters.
The cruel, crafty politician, the plotting monk, glorified by ecclesiastical history with the aureole of a martyred saint. The despoiled philosophers, the Neo-platonists, and the Gnostics, daily anathematized by the Church all over the world for long and dreary centuries. The curse of the unconcerned Deity hourly invoked on the magian rites and theurgic practice, and the Christian clergy themselves using sorcery for ages. Hypatia, the glorious maiden-philosopher, torn to pieces by the Christian mob. And such as Catherine de Medicis, Lucrezia Borgia, Joanna of Naples, and the Isabellas of Spain, presented to the world as the faithful daughters of the Church — some even decorated by the Pope with the order of the "Immaculate Rose," the highest emblem of womanly purity and virtue, a symbol sacred to the Virgin-mother of God! Such are the examples of human justice! How far less blasphemous appears a total rejection of Mary as an immaculate goddess, than an idolatrous worship of her, accompanied by such practices.
In the next chapter we will present a few illustrations of sorcery, as practiced under the patronage of the Roman Church.