"Learn to know all, but keep thyself unknown." — Gnostic Maxim.
"There is one God supreme over all gods, diviner than mortals,
Whose form is not like unto man's, and as unlike his nature;
But vain mortals imagine that gods like themselves are begotten
With human sensations, and voice, and corporeal members."
— Xenophanes: Clem. Al. Strom., v. 14, § 110.
"Spartan. — Is it to thee, or to God, that I must confess?
"Priest. — To God.
"Spartan. — Then, man, stand back!"
— Plutarch: Remarkable Lacedemonian Sayings.
We will now give attention to some of the most important Mysteries of the Kabala, and trace their relations to the philosophical myths of various nations.
In the oldest Oriental Kabala, the Deity is represented as three circles in one, shrouded in a certain smoke or chaotic exhalation. In the preface to the Sohar, which transforms the three primordial circles into Three Heads, over these is described an exhalation or smoke, neither black nor white, but colorless, and circumscribed within a circle. This is the unknown Essence.* The origin of the Jewish image may, perhaps, be traced to Hermes' Pimander, the Egyptian Logos, who appears within a cloud of a humid nature, with a smoke escaping from it.† In the Sohar the highest God is, as we have shown in the preceding chapter, and as in the case of the Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, a pure abstraction, whose objective existence is denied by the latter. It is Hakama, the "Supreme Wisdom, that cannot be understood by reflection," and that lies within and without the Cranium of Long Face‡ (Sephira), the uppermost of the three "Heads." It is the "boundless and the infinite En-Soph," the No-Thing.
The "three Heads," superposed above each other, are evidently taken from the three mystic triangles of the Hindus, which also superpose each other. The highest "head" contains the Trinity in Chaos, out of which springs the manifested trinity. En-Soph, the unrevealed forever, who is
† See Champollion's "Egypte."
‡ "Idra Rabba," vi., p. 58.
boundless and unconditioned, cannot create, and therefore it seems to us a great error to attribute to him a "creative thought," as is commonly done by the interpreters. In every cosmogony this supreme Essence is passive; if boundless, infinite, and unconditioned, it can have no thought nor idea. It acts not as the result of volition, but in obedience to its own nature, and according to the fatality of the law of which it is itself the embodiment. Thus, with the Hebrew kabalists, En-Soph is non-existent , for it is incomprehensible to our finite intellects, and therefore cannot exist to our minds. Its first emanation was Sephira, the crown . When the time for an active period had come, then was produced a natural expansion of this Divine essence from within outwardly, obedient to eternal and immutable law; and from this eternal and infinite light (which to us is darkness) was emitted a spiritual substance.* This was the First Sephiroth, containing in herself the other nine Sephiroth, or intelligences. In their totality and unity they represent the archetypal man, Adam Kadmon, the [[protogonos]], who in his individuality or unity is yet dual, or bisexual, the Greek Didumos, for he is the prototype of all humanity. Thus we obtain three trinities, each contained in a "head." In the first head, or face (the three-faced Hindu Trimurti), we find Sephira, the first androgyne, at the apex of the upper triangle, emitting Hackama, or Wisdom, a masculine and active potency — also called Jah, — and Binah, , or Intelligence, a female and passive potency, also represented by the name Jehovah . These three form the first trinity or "face" of the Sephiroth. This triad emanated Hesed, , or Mercy, a masculine active potency, also called El, from which emanated Geburah , or Justice, also called Eloha, a feminine passive potency; from the union of these two was produced Tiphereth , Beauty, Clemency, the Spiritual Sun, known by the divine name Elohim; and the second triad, "face," or "head," was formed. These emanating, in their turn, the masculine potency Netzah, , Firmness, or Jehovah Sabaoth, who issued the feminine passive potency Hod, , Splendor, or Elohim Sabaoth; the two produced Jesod, , Foundation, who is the mighty living one El-Chai, thus yielding the third trinity or "head." The tenth Sephiroth is rather a duad, and is represented on the diagrams as the lowest circle. It is Malchuth or Kingdom, , and Shekinah , also called Adonai, and Cherubim among the angelic hosts. The first "Head" is called the Intellectual world; the second "Head" is the Sensuous, or the world of Perception, and the third is the Material or Physical world.
"Before he gave any shape to the universe," says the Kabala, "before
he produced any form, he was alone without any form and resemblance to anything else. Who, then, can comprehend him, how he was before the creation, since he was formless? Hence, it is forbidden to represent him by any form, similitude, or even by his sacred name, by a single letter, or a single point. . . . The Aged of the Aged, the Unknown of the Unknown, has a form, and yet no form. He has a form whereby the universe is preserved, and yet has no form, because he cannot be comprehended. When he first assumed a form (in Sephira, his first emanation), he caused nine splendid lights to emanate from it."*
And now we will turn to the Hindu esoteric Cosmogony and definition of "Him who is, and yet is not."
"From him who is,† from this immortal Principle which exists in our minds but cannot be perceived by the senses, is born Purusha, the Divine male and female, who became Narayana, or the Divine Spirit moving on the water."
Swayambhuva, the unknown essence of the Brahmans, is identical with En-Soph, the unknown essence of the kabalists. As with the latter, the ineffable name could not be pronounced by the Hindus, under the penalty of death. In the ancient primitive trinity of India, that which may be certainly considered as pre-Vedic, the germ which fecundates the mother-principle, the mundane egg, or the universal womb, is called Nara, the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, which emanates from the primordial essence. It is like Sephira, the oldest emanation, called the primordial point, and the White Head, for it is the point of divine light appearing from within the fathomless and boundless darkness. In Manu it is "Nara, or the Spirit of God, which moves on Ayana (Chaos, or place of motion), and is called Narayana, or moving on the waters."‡ In Hermes, the Egyptian, we read: "In the beginning of the time there was naught in the chaos." But when the "verbum," issuing from the void like a "colorless smoke," makes its appearance, then "this verbum moved on the humid principle."§ And in Genesis we find: "And darkness was upon the face of the deep (chaos). And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." In the Kabala, the emanation of the primordial passive principle (Sephira), by dividing itself into two parts, active and passive, emits Chochma-Wisdom and Binah-Jehovah, and in conjunction with these two acolytes, which complete the trinity, becomes the Creator of the abstract Universe; the physical world being the production of later and still more material powers.|| In the Hindu Cosmogony, Swayambhuva emits
Nara and Nari, its bisexual emanation, and dividing its parts into two halves, male and female, these fecundate the mundane egg, within which develops Brahma, or rather Viradj, the Creator. "The starting-point of the Egyptian mythology," says Champollion, "is a triad . . . namely, Kneph, Neith, and Phtah; and Ammon, the male, the father; Muth, the female and mother; and Khons, the son."
The ten Sephiroth are copies taken from the ten Pradjapatis created by Viradj, called the "Lords of all beings," and answering to the biblical Patriarchs.
Justin Martyr explains some of the "heresies" of the day, but in a very unsatisfactory manner. He shows, however, the identity of all the world-religions at their starting-points. The first beginning opens invariably with the unknown and passive deity, producing from himself a
certain active power or virtue, "Rational," which is sometimes called Wisdom, sometimes the Son, very often God, Angel, Lord, and Logos.* The latter is sometimes applied to the very first emanation, but in several systems it proceeds from the first androgyne or double ray produced at the beginning by the unseen. Philo depicts this wisdom as male and female. But though its first manifestation had a beginning, for it proceeded from Oulom† (Aion, time), the highest of the AEons, when emitted from the Fathers, it had remained with him before all creations, for it is part of him.‡ Therefore, Philo Judaeus calls Adam Kadmon "mind" (the Ennoia of Bythos in the Gnostic system). "The mind, let it be named Adam."§
Strictly speaking, it is difficult to view the Jewish Book of Genesis otherwise than as a chip from the trunk of the mundane tree of universal Cosmogony, rendered in Oriental allegories. As cycle succeeded cycle, and one nation after another came upon the world's stage to play its brief part in the majestic drama of human life, each new people evolved from ancestral traditions its own religion, giving it a local color, and stamping it with its individual characteristics. While each of these religions had its distinguishing traits, by which, were there no other archaic vestiges, the physical and psychological status of its creators could be estimated, all preserved a common likeness to one prototype. This parent cult was none other than the primitive "wisdom-religion." The Israelitish Scriptures are no exception. Their national history — if they can claim any autonomy before the return from Babylon, and were anything more than migratory septs of Hindu pariahs, cannot be carried back a day beyond Moses; and if this ex-Egyptian priest must, from theological necessity, be transformed into a Hebrew patriarch, we must insist that the Jewish nation was lifted with that smiling infant out of the bulrushes of Lake Moeris. Abraham, their alleged father, belongs to the universal mythology. Most likely he is but one of the numerous aliases of Zeruan (Saturn), the king of the golden age, who is also called the old man (emblem of time).|| It is now demonstrated by Assyriologists that in the old Chaldean books Abraham is called Zeru-an, or Zerb-an — meaning one very rich in gold and silver, and a mighty prince.¶ He is also called Zarouan and Zarman — a decrepit old man.††
The ancient Babylonian legend is that Xisuthrus (Hasisadra of the Tablets, or Xisuthrus) sailed with his ark to Armenia, and his son Sim became supreme king. Pliny says that Sim was called Zeruan; and Sim is Shem. In Hebrew, his name writes , Shem — a sign. Assyria is held by the ethnologists to be the land of Shem, and Egypt called that of Ham, Shem, in the tenth chapter of Genesis is made the father of all the children of Eber, of Elam (Oulam or Eilam), and Ashur (Assur or Assyria). The "nephelim," or fallen men, Gebers, mighty men spoken of in Genesis (vi. 4), come from Oulam, "men of Shem." Even Ophir, which is evidently to be sought for in the India of the days of Hiram, is made a descendant of Shem. The records are purposely mixed up to make them fit into the frame of the Mosaic Bible. But Genesis, from its first verse down to the last, has naught to do with the "chosen people"; it belongs to the world's history. Its appropriation by the Jewish authors in the days of the so-called restoration of the destroyed books of the Israelites, by Ezra, proves nothing, and, until now, has been self-propped on an alleged divine revelation. It is simply a compilation of the universal legends of the universal humanity. Bunsen says that in the "Chaldean tribe immediately connected with Abraham, we find reminiscences of dates disfigured and misunderstood, as genealogies of single men, or indications of epochs. The Abrahamic recollections go back at least three millennia beyond the grandfather of Jacob."*
Alexander Polyhistor says that Abraham was born at Kamarina or Uria, a city of soothsayers, and invented astronomy. Josephus claims the same for Terah, Abraham's father. The tower of Babel was built as much by the direct descendants of Shem as by those of the "accursed" Ham and Canaan, for the people in those days were "one," and the "whole earth was of one language"; and Babel was simply an astrological tower, and its builders were astrologers and adepts of the primitive Wisdom-Religion, or, again, what we term Secret Doctrine.
The Berosian Sibyl says: Before the Tower, Zeru-an, Titan, and Yapetosthe governed the earth, Zeru-an wished to be supreme, but his two brothers resisted, when their sister, Astlik, intervened and appeased them. It was agreed that Zeru-an should rule, but his male children should be put to death; and strong Titans were appointed to carry this into effect.
Sar (circle, saros) is the Babylonian god of the sky. He is also Assaros or Asshur (the son of Shem), and Zero — Zero-ana, the chakkra, or wheel, boundless time. Hence, as the first step taken by Zoroaster, while founding his new religion, was to change the most sacred deities
of the Sanscrit Veda into names of evil spirits, in his Zend Scriptures, and even to reject a number of them, we find no traces in the Avesta of Chakkra — the symbolic circle of the sky.
Elam, another of the sons of Shem, is Oulam and refers to an order or cycle of events. In Ecclesiastes iii. 11, it is termed "world." In Ezekiel xxvi. 20, "of old time." In Genesis iii. 22, the word stands as "forever"; and in chapter ix. 16, "eternal." Finally, the term is completely defined in Genesis vi. 4, in the following words: "There were nephelim (giants, fallen men, or Titans) on the earth." The word is synonymous with AEon, [[aion]]. In Proverbs viii. 23, it reads: "I was effused from Oulam, from Ras" (wisdom). By this sentence, the wise king-kabalist refers to one of the mysteries of the human spirit — the immortal crown of the man-trinity. While it ought to read as above, and be interpreted kabalistically to mean that the I (or my eternal, immortal Ego), the spiritual entity, was effused from the boundless and nameless eternity, through the creative wisdom of the unknown God, it reads in the canonical translation: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old"! which is unintelligible nonsense, without the kabalistic interpretation. When Solomon is made to say that I was "from the beginning . . . while, as yet, he (the Supreme Deity) had not made the earth nor the highest part of the dust of the world . . . I was there," and "when he appointed the foundations of the earth . . . then I was by him, as one brought up with him," what can the kabalist mean by the "I," but his own divine spirit, a drop effused from that eternal fountain of light and wisdom — the universal spirit of the Deity?
The thread of glory emitted by En-Soph from the highest of the three kabalistic heads, through which "all things shine with light," the thread which makes its exit through Adam Primus, is the individual spirit of every man. "I was daily his (En-Soph's) delight, rejoicing always before him . . . and my delights were with the sons of men," adds Solomon, in the same chapter of the Proverbs. The immortal spirit delights in the sons of men, who, without this spirit, are but dualities (physical body and astral soul, or that life-principle which animates even the lowest of the animal kingdom). But, we have seen that the doctrine teaches that this spirit cannot unite itself with that man in whom matter and the grossest propensities of his animal soul will be ever crowding it out. Therefore, Solomon, who is made to speak under the inspiration of his own spirit, that possesses him for the time being, utters the following words of wisdom: "Hearken unto me, my son" (the dual man), "blessed are they who keep my ways. . . . Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates. . . . For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord. . . . But he that
sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul . . . and loves death" (Proverbs vii. 1-36).
This chapter, as interpreted, is made by some theologians, like everything else, to apply to Christ, the "Son of God," who states repeatedly, that he who follows him obtains eternal life, and conquers death. But even in its distorted translation it can be demonstrated that it referred to anything but to the alleged Saviour. Were we to accept it in this sense, then, the Christian theology would have to return, nolens volens, to Averroism and Buddhism; to the doctrine of emanation, in short; for Solomon says: "I was effused" from Oulam and Rasit, both of which are a part of the Deity; and thus Christ would not be as their doctrine claims, God himself, but only an emanation of Him, like the Christos of the Gnostics. Hence, the meaning of the personified Gnostic AEon, the word signifying cycles or determined periods in the eternity and at the same time, representing a hierarchy of celestial beings — spirits. Thus Christ is sometimes termed the "Eternal AEon." But the word "eternal" is erroneous in relation to the AEons. Eternal is that which has neither beginning nor end; but the "Emanations" or AEons, although having lived as absorbed in the divine essence from the eternity, when once individually emanated, must be said to have a beginning. They may be therefore endless in this spiritual life, never eternal.
These endless emanations of the one First Cause, all of which were gradually transformed by the popular fancy into distinct gods, spirits, angels, and demons, were so little considered immortal, that all were assigned a limited existence. And this belief, common to all the peoples of antiquity, to the Chaldean Magi as well as to the Egyptians and even in our day held by the Brahmanists and Buddhists, most triumphantly evidences the monotheism of the ancient religious systems. This doctrine calls the life-period of all the inferior divinities, "one day of Parabrahma." After a cycle of fourteen milliards, three hundred and twenty-millions of human years — the tradition says — the trinity itself, with all the lesser divinities, will be annihilated, together with the universe, and cease to exist. Then another universe will gradually emerge from the pralaya (dissolution), and men on earth will be enabled to comprehend Swayambhuva as he is. Alone, this primal cause will exist forever, in all his glory, filling the infinite space. What better proof could be adduced of the deep reverential feeling with which the "heathen" regard the one Supreme eternal cause of all things visible and invisible.
This is again the source from which the ancient kabalists derived identical doctrines. If the Christians understood Genesis in their own way, and, if accepting the texts literally, they enforced upon the uneducated masses the belief in a creation of our world out of nothing; and
moreover assigned to it a beginning, it is surely not the Tanaim, the sole expounders of the hidden meaning contained in the Bible, who are to be blamed. No more than any other philosophers had they ever believed either in spontaneous, limited, or ex nihilo creations. The Kabala has survived to show that their philosophy was precisely that of the modern Nepal Buddhists, the Svabhavikas. They believed in the eternity and the indestructibility of matter, and hence in many prior creations and destructions of worlds, before our own. "There were old worlds which perished."* "From this we see that the Holy One, blessed be His name, had successively created and destroyed sundry worlds, before he created the present world; and when he created this world he said: 'This pleases me; the previous ones did not please me.' "† Moreover, they believed, again like the Svabhavikas, now termed Atheists, that every thing proceeds (is created) from its own nature and that once that the first impulse is given by that Creative Force inherent in the "Self-created substance," or Sephira, everything evolves out of itself, following its pattern, the more spiritual prototype which precedes it in the scale of infinite creation. "The indivisible point which has no limit, and cannot be comprehended (for it is absolute), expanded from within, and formed a brightness which served as a garment (a veil) to the indivisible points. . . . It, too, expanded from within. . . . Thus, everything originated through a constant upheaving agitation, and thus finally the world originated."‡
In the later Zoroastrian books, after that Darius had restored both the worship of Ormazd and added to it the purer Magianism of the primitive Secret Wisdom — , of which, as the inscription tells us, he was himself a hierophant, we see again reappearing the Zeru-ana, or boundless time, represented by the Brahmans in the chakkra, or a circle; that we see figuring on the uplifted finger of the principal deities. Further on, we will show the relation in which it stands to the Pythagorean, mystical numbers — the first and the last — which is a zero (0), and to the greatest of the Mystery-Gods IAO. The identity of this symbol alone, in all the old religions, is sufficient to show their common descent from one primitive Faith.§ This term of "boundless time," which can be applied but to the one who has neither beginning nor end, is
called by the Zoroastrians Zeruana-Akarene, because he has always existed. "His glory," they say, is too exalted, his light too resplendent for either human intellect or mortal eyes to grasp and see. His primal emanation is eternal light which, from having been previously concealed in darkness, was called out to manifest itself, and thus was formed Ormazd, "the King of Life." He is the first-born of boundless time, but like his own antitype, or preexisting spiritual idea, has lived within primitive darkness from all eternity. His Logos created the pure intellectual world. After the lapse of three grand cycles* he created the material world in six periods. The six Amshaspands, or primitive spiritual men, whom Ormazd created in his own image, are the mediators between this world and himself. Mithras is an emanation of the Logos and the chief of the twenty-eight izeds, who are the tutelary angels over the spiritual portion of mankind — the souls of men. The Ferouers are infinite in number. They are the ideas or rather the ideal conceptions of things which formed themselves in the mind of Ormazd or Ahuramazda before he willed them to assume a concrete form. They are what Aristotle terms "privations" of forms and substances. The religion of Zarathustra, as he is always called in the Avesta, is one from which the ancient Jews have the most borrowed. In one of the Yashts, Ahuramazda, the Supreme, gives to the seer as one of his sacred names, Ahmi, "I am"; and in another place, ahmi yat ahmi, "I am that I am," as Jehovah is alleged to have given it to Moses.
This Cosmogony, adopted with a change of names in the Rabbinical Kabala, found its way, later, with some additional speculations of Manes, the half-Magus, half-Platonist, into the great body of Gnosticism. The real doctrines of the Basilideans, Valentinians, and the Marcionites cannot be correctly ascertained in the prejudiced and calumnious writings of the Fathers of the Church; but rather in what remains of the works of the Bardesanesians, known as the Nazarenes. It is next to impossible, now that all their manuscripts and books are destroyed, to assign to any of these sects its due part in dissenting views. But there are a few men still living who have preserved books and direct traditions about the Ophites, although they care little to impart them to the world. Among the unknown sects of Mount Lebanon and Palestine the truth has been concealed for more than a thousand years. And their diagram of the Ophite scheme differs with the description of it given by Origen and hence with the diagram of Matter.†
The kabalistic trinity is one of the models of the Christian one. "The ancient whose name be sanctified, is with three heads, but which make only one."* Tria capita exsculpa sunt, unum intra alterum, et alterum supra alterum. "Three heads are inserted in one another, and one over the other. The first head is the Concealed Wisdom (Sapientia Abscondita). Under this head is the ancient (Pythagorean Monad), the most hidden of mysteries; a head which is no head (caput quod non est caput); no one can know what that is in this head. No intellect is able to comprehend this wisdom.† This Senior Sanctissimus is surrounded by the three heads. He is the eternal light of the wisdom; and the wisdom is the source from which all the manifestations have begun. These three heads, included in one head (which is no head); and these three are bent down (overshadow) short-face (the son) and through them all things shine with light."‡ "En-Soph emits a thread from El or Al (the highest God of the Trinity), and the light follows the thread and enters, and passing through makes its exit through Adam Primus (Kadmon), who is concealed until the plan for arranging (statum dispositionis) is ready; it threads through him from his head to his feet; and in him (in the concealed Adam) is the figure of a man."§
"Whoso wishes to have an insight into the sacred unity, let him consider a flame rising from a burning coal or a burning lamp. He will see first a two-fold light — a bright white, and a black or blue light; the white light is above, and ascends in a direct light, while the blue, or dark light, is below, and seems as the chair of the former, yet both are so intimately connected together that they constitute only one flame. The seat, however, formed by the blue or dark light, is again connected with the burning matter which is under it again. The white light never changes its color, it always remains white; but various shades are observed in the lower light, whilst the lowest light, moreover, takes two directions; above, it is connected with the white light, and below with the burning matter. Now, this is constantly consuming itself, and perpetually ascends to the upper light, and thus everything merges into a single unity."||
Such were the ancient ideas of the trinity in the unity, as an abstraction. Man, who is the microcosmos of the macrocosmos, or of the
archetypal heavenly man, Adam Kadmon, is likewise a trinity; for he is body, soul, and spirit.
"All that is created by the 'Ancient of the Ancients' can live and exist only by a male and a female," says the Sohar.* He alone, to whom no one can say, "Thou," for he is the spirit of the White-Head in whom the "Three Heads" are united, is uncreated. Out of the subtile fire, on one side of the White Head, and of the "subtile air," on the other, emanates Shekinah, his veil (the femininized Holy Ghost). "This air," says Idra Rabba, "is the most occult (occultissimus) attribute of the Ancient of the Days.† The Ancienter of the Ancienter is the Concealed of the Concealed.‡ All things are Himself, and Himself is concealed on every way.§ The cranium of the White-Head has no beginning, but its end has a shining reflection and a roundness which is our universe."
"They regard," says Klenker, "the first-born as man and wife, in so far as his light includes in itself all other lights, and in so far as his spirit of life or breath of life includes all other life spirits in itself."|| The kabalistic Shekinah answers to the Ophite Sophia. Properly speaking, Adam Kadmon is the Bythos, but in this emanation-system, where everything is calculated to perplex and place an obstacle to inquiry, he is the Source of Light, the first "primitive man," and at the same time Ennoia, the Thought of Bythos, the Depth, for he is Pimander.
The Gnostics, as well as the Nazarenes, allegorizing on the personification, said that the First and Second man loved the beauty of Sophia, (Sephira) the first woman, and thus the Father and the Son fecundated the heavenly "Woman" and, from primal darkness procreated the visible light (Sephira is the Invisible, or Spiritual Light), "whom they called the Anointed Christum, or King Messiah."¶ This Christus is the Adam of Dust before his fall, with the spirit of the Adonai, his Father, and Shekinah Adonai, his mother, upon him; for Adam Primus is Adon, Adonai, or Adonis. The primal existence manifests itself by its wisdom, and produces the Intelligible Logos (all visible creation). This wisdom was venerated by the Ophites under the form of a serpent. So far we see that the first and second life are the two Adams, or the first and the second man. In the former lies Eva, or the yet unborn spiritual Eve, and she is within Adam Primus, for she is a part of himself, who is androgyne. The Eva of dust, she who will be called in
Genesis "the mother of all that live," is within Adam the Second. And now, from the moment of its first manifestation, the Lord Mano, the Unintelligible Wisdom, disappears from the scene of action. It will manifest itself only as Shekinah, the grace; for the Corona is "the innermost Light of all Lights," and hence it is darkness's own substance.*
In the Kabala, Shekinah is the ninth emanation of Sephira, which contains the whole of the ten Sephiroth within herself. She belongs to the third triad and is produced together with Malchuth or "Kingdom," of which she is the female counterpart. Otherwise she is held to be higher than any of these; for she is the "Divine Glory," the "veil," or "garment," of En-Soph. The Jews, whenever she is mentioned in the Targum, say that she is the glory of Jehovah, which dwelt in the tabernacle, manifesting herself like a visible cloud; the "Glory" rested over the Mercy-Seat in the Sanctum Sanctorum.
In the Nazarene or Bardesanian System, which may be termed the Kabala within the Kabala, the Ancient of Days — Antiquus Altus, who is the Father of the Demiurgus of the universe, is called the Third Life, or Abatur; and he is the Father of Fetahil, who is the architect of the visible universe, which he calls into existence by the powers of his genii, at the order of the "Greatest"; the Abatur answering to the "Father" of Jesus in the later Christian theology. These two superior Lives then, are the crown within which dwells the greatest Ferho. "Before any creature came into existence the Lord Ferho existed."† This one is the First Life, formless and invisible; in whom the living Spirit of Life exists, the Highest Grace. The two are one from eternity, for they are the Light and the cause of the Light. Therefore, they answer to the kabalistic concealed wisdom, and to the concealed Shekinah — the Holy Ghost. "This light, which is manifested, is the garment of the Heavenly Concealed," says Idra Suta. And the "heavenly man" is the superior Adam. "No one knows his paths except Macroprosopus" (Long-face) — the Superior active god.‡ "Not as I am written will I be read; in this world my name will be written Jehovah and read Adonai,"§ say the Rabbins, very correctly. Adonai is the Adam Kadmon; he is Father and Mother both. By this double mediatorship the Spirit of the "Ancient of the Ancient" descends upon the Microprosopus (Short-face) or the Adam of Eden. And the "Lord God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life."
When the woman separates herself from her androgyne, and becomes
a distinct individuality, the first story is repeated over again. Both the Father and Son, the two Adams, love her beauty; and then follows the allegory of the temptation and fall. It is in the Kabala, as in the Ophite system, in which both the Ophis and the Ophiomorphos are emanations emblematized as serpents, the former representing Eternity, Wisdom, and Spirit (as in the Chaldean Magism of Aspic-worship and Wisdom-Doctrine in the olden times), and the latter Cunning, Envy, and Matter. Both spirit and matter are serpents; and Adam Kadmon becomes the Ophis who tempts himself — man and woman — to taste of the "Tree of Good and Evil," in order to teach them the mysteries of spiritual wisdom. Light tempts Darkness, and Darkness attracts Light, for Darkness is matter, and "the Highest Light shines not in its Tenebrae." With knowledge comes the temptation of the Ophiomorphos, and he prevails. The dualism of every existing religion is shown forth by the fall. "I have gotten a man from the Lord," exclaims Eve, when the Dualism, Cain and Abel — evil and good — is born. "And the Adam knew Hua, his woman (astu), and she became pregnant and bore Kin, and she said: : Kiniti ais Yava. — I have gained or obtained a husband, even Yava — Is, Ais — man." "Cum arbore peccati Deus creavit seculum."
And now we will compare this system with that of the Jewish Gnostics — the Nazarenes, as well as with other philosophies.
The Ish Amon, the pleroma, or the boundless circle within which lie "all forms," is the thought of the power divine; it works in silence, and suddenly light is begotten by darkness; it is called the second life; and this one produces, or generates the third. This third light is "the father of all things that live," as Eua is the "mother of all that live." He is the Creator who calls inert matter into life, through his vivifying spirit, and, therefore, is called the ancient of the world. Abatur is the Father who creates the first Adam, who creates in his turn the second. Abatur opens a gate and walks to the dark water (chaos), and looking down into it, the darkness reflects the image of Himself . . . and lo! a Son is formed — the Logos or Demiurge; Fetahil, who is the builder of the material world, is called into existence. According to the Gnostic dogma, this was the Metatron, the Archangel Gabriel, or messenger of life; or, as the biblical allegory has it, the androgynous Adam-Kadmon again, the son, who, with his Father's spirit, produces the anointed, or Adam before his fall.
When Swayambhuva, the "Lord who exists through himself," feels impelled to manifest himself, he is thus described in the Hindu sacred books.
Having been impelled to produce various beings from his own divine
substance, he first manifested the waters which developed within themselves a productive seed.
The seed became a germ bright as gold, blazing like the luminary with a thousand beams; and in that egg he was born himself, in the form of Brahma, the great principle of all the beings (Manu, book i., slokas 8, 9).
The Egyptian Kneph, or Chnuphis, Divine Wisdom, represented by a serpent, produces an egg from his mouth, from which issues Phtha. In this case Phtha represents the universal germ, as well as Brahma, who is of the neuter gender, when the final a has a diaresis on it;* otherwise it becomes simply one of the names of the Deity. The former was the model of the Three Lives of the Nazarenes, as that of the kabalistic "Faces," Pharazupha, which, in its turn, furnished the model for the Christian Trinity of Irenaeus and his followers. The egg was the primitive matter which served as a material for the building of the visible universe; it contained, as well as the Gnostic Pleroma, the kabalistic Shekinah, the man and wife, the spirit and life, "whose light includes all other lights" or life-spirits. This first manifestation was symbolized by a serpent, which is at first divine wisdom, but, falling into generation, becomes polluted. Phtha is the heavenly man, the Egyptian Adam-Kadmon, or Christ, who, in conjunction with the female Holy Ghost, the Zoe, produces the five elements, air, water, fire, earth, and ether; the latter being a servile copy from the Buddhist A'd, and his five Dhyana Buddhas, as we have shown in the preceding chapter. The Hindu Swayambhuva-Nara, develops from himself the mother-principle, enclosed within his own divine essence — Nari, the immortal Virgin, who, when impregnated by his spirit, becomes Tanmatra, the mother of the five elements — air, water, fire, earth, and ether. Thus may be shown how from the Hindu cosmogony all others proceed.
Knorr von Rosenroth, busying himself with the interpretation of the Kabala, argues that, "In this first state (of secret wisdom), the infinite God Himself can be understood as 'Father' (of the new covenant). But the Light being let down by the Infinite through a canal into the 'primal Adam,' or Messiah, and joined with him, can be applied to the name son. And the influx emitted down from him (the Son) to the lower parts (of the universe), can be applied to the character of the Holy Ghost."† Sophia-Achamoth, the half-spiritual, half-material Life, which vivifies the inert matter in the depths of chaos, is the Holy Ghost of the Gnostics, and the Spiritus (female) of the Nazarenes. She is — be it re-
membered — the sister of Christos, the perfect emanation, and both are children or emanations of Sophia, the purely spiritual and intellectual daughter of Bythos, the Depth. For the elder Sophia is Shekinah, the Face of God, "God's Shekinah, which is his image."*
"The Son Zeus-Belus, or Sol-Mithra is an image of the Father, an emanation from the Supreme Light," says Movers. "He passed for Creator."†
"Philosophers say the first air is anima mundi. But the garment (Shekinah) is higher than the first air, since it is joined closer to the En-Soph, the Boundless."‡ Thus Sophia is Shekinah, and Sophia-Achamoth the anima mundi, the astral light of the kabalists, which contains the spiritual and material germs of all that is. For the Sophia-Achamoth, like Eve, of whom she is the prototype, is "the mother of all that live."
There are three trinities in the Nazarene system as well as in the Hindu philosophy of the ante and early Vedic period. While we see the few translators of the Kabala, the Nazarene Codex, and other abstruse works, hopelessly floundering amid the interminable pantheon of names, unable to agree as to a system in which to classify them, for the one hypothesis contradicts and overturns the other, we can but wonder at all this trouble, which could be so easily overcome. But even now, when the translation, and even the perusal of the ancient Sanscrit has become so easy as a point of comparison, they would never think it possible that every philosophy — whether Semitic, Hamitic, or Turanian, as they call it, has its key in the Hindu sacred works. Still facts are there, and facts are not easily destroyed. Thus, while we find the Hindu trimurti triply manifested as
Nara (or Para-Pouroucha), Agni, Brahma, the Father,
Nari (Mariama), Vaya, Vishnu, the Mother,
Viradj (Brahma), Surya, Siva, the Son,
and the Egyptian trinity as follows:
Kneph (or Amon), Osiris, Ra (Horus), the Father,
Maut (or Mut), Isis, Isis, the Mother,
Khons, Horus, Malouli, the Son;§
the Nazarene System runs,
Ferho (Ish-Amon), Mano, Abatur, the Father,
Chaos (dark water), Spiritus (female), Netubto, the Mother,
Fetahil, Ledhaio, Lord Jordan, the Son.
The first is the concealed or non-manifested trinity — a pure abstraction. The other the active or the one revealed in the results of creation,
* "Sohar," p. 93.
† "Movers," p. 265.
‡ "Kabbala Denudata," vol. ii., p. 236.
§ Champollion, Junior: "Lettres."
proceeding out of the former — its spiritual prototype. The third is the mutilated image of both the others, crystallized in the form of human dogmas, which vary according to the exuberance of the national materialistic fancy.
The Supreme Lord of splendor and of light, luminous and refulgent, before which no other existed, is called Corona (the crown); Lord Ferho, the unrevealed life which existed in the former from eternity; and Lord Jordan — the spirit, the living water of grace.* He is the one through whom alone we can be saved; and thus he answers to the Shekinah, the spiritual garment of En-Soph, or the Holy Ghost. These three constitute the trinity abscondito. The second trinity is composed of the three lives. The first is the similitude of Lord Ferho, through whom he has proceeded forth; and the second Ferho is the King of Light — Mano (Rex Lucis). He is the heavenly life and light, and older than the Architect of heaven and earth.† The second life is Ish Amon (Pleroma), the vase of election, containing the visible thought of the Iordanus Maximus — the type (or its intelligible reflection), the prototype of the living water, who is the "spiritual Jordan."‡ Third life, which is produced by the other two, is Abatur (Ab, the Parent or Father). This is the mysterious and decrepit "Aged of the Aged," the "Ancient Senem sui obtegentem et grandaevum mundi." This latter third Life is the Father of the Demiurge Fetahil, the Creator of the world, whom the Ophites call Ilda-Baoth,§ though Fetahil is the only-begotten one, the reflection of the Father, Abatur, who begets him by looking into the "dark water"; || but the Lord Mano, "the Lord of loftiness, the Lord of all genii," is higher than the Father, in this kabalistic Codex — one is purely spiritual, the other material. So, for instance, while Abatur's "only begotten" one is the genius Fetahil, the Creator of the physical world, Lord Mano, the "Lord of Celsitude," who is the son of Him, who is "the Father of all who preach the Gospel," produces also an "only-begotten" one, the Lord Lehdaio, "a just Lord." He is the Christos, the anointed, who pours out the "grace" of the Invisible Jordan, the Spirit of the Highest Crown.
In the Arcanum, "in the assembly of splendor, lighted by Mano, to whom the scintillas of splendor owe their origin," the genii who live in light "rose, they went to the visible Jordan, and flowing water . . . they assembled for a counsel . . . and called forth the Only-Begotten Son
of an imperishable image, and who cannot be conceived by reflection, Lebdaio, the just Lord, and sprung from Lebdaio, the just lord, whom the life had produced by his word."*
Mano is the chief of the seven AEons, who are Mano (Rex Lucis), Aiar Zivo, Ignis Vivus, Lux, Vita, Aqua Viva (the living water of baptism, the genius of the Jordan), and Ipsa Vita, the chief of the six genii, which form with him the mystic seven. The Nazarene Mano is simply the copy of the Hindu first Manu — the emanation of Manu Swayambhuva — from whom evolve in succession the six other Manus, types of the subsequent races of men. We find them all represented by the apostle-kabalist John in the "seven lamps of fire" burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God,"† and in the seven angels bearing the seven vials. Again in Fetahil we recognize the original of the Christian doctrine.
In the Revelation of Joannes Theologos it is said: "I turned and saw in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man . . . his head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire . . . and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace" (i. 13, 14, 15). John here repeats, as is well known, the words of Daniel and Ezekiel. "The Ancient of Days . . . whose hair was white as pure wool . . . etc." And "the appearance of a man . . . above the throne . . . and the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about."‡ The fire being "the glory of the Lord." Fetahil is son of the man, the Third Life, and his upper part is represented as white as snow, while standing near the throne of the living fire he has the appearance of a flame.
All these "apocalyptic" visions are based on the description of the "white head" of the Sohar, in whom the kabalistic trinity is united. The white head, "which conceals in its cranium the spirit," and which is environed by subtile fire. The "appearance of a man" is that of Adam Kadmon, through which passes the thread of light represented by the fire. Fetahil is the Vir Novissimus (the newest man), the son of Abatur,§ the latter being the "man," or the third life,|| now the third personage of the trinity. John sees "one like unto the son of man," holding in his right hand seven stars, and standing between "seven golden candlesticks" (Revelation i.). Fetahil takes his "stand on high," according to the will of his father, "the highest AEon who has seven sceptres," and
seven genii, who astronomically represent the seven planets or stars. He stands "shining in the garment of the Lord's, resplendent by the agency of the genii."* He is the Son of his Father, Life, and his mother, Spirit, or Light.† The Logos is represented in the Gospel according to John as one in whom was "Life, and the life was the light of men" (i. 4). Fetahil is the Demiurge, and his father created the visible universe of matter through him.‡ In the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (iii. 9), God is said to have "created all things by Jesus." In the Codex the Parent-Life says: "Arise, go, our son first-begotten, ordained for all creatures."§ "As the living father hath sent me," says Christ, "God sent his only-begotten son that we might live."|| Finally, having performed his work on earth, Fetahil reascends to his father Abatur. "Et qui, relicto quem procreavit mundo, ad Abatur suum patrem contendit,"¶ "My father sent me . . . I go to the Father," repeats Jesus.
Laying aside the theological disputes of Christianity which try to blend together the Jewish Creator of the first chapter of Genesis with the "Father" of the New Testament, Jesus states repeatedly of his Father that "He is in secret." Surely he would not have so termed the ever-present "Lord God" of the Mosaic books, who showed Himself to Moses and the Patriarchs, and finally allowed all the elders of Israel to look on Himself.** When Jesus is made to speak of the temple at Jerusalem as of his "Father's house," he does not mean the physical building, which he maintains he can destroy and then again rebuild in three days, but of the temple of Solomon; the wise kabalist, who indicates in his Proverbs that every man is the temple of God, or of his own divine spirit. This term of the "Father who is in secret," we find used as much in the Kabala as in the Codex Nazaraeus, and elsewhere. No one has ever seen the wisdom concealed in the "Cranium," and no one has beheld the "Depth" (Bythos). Simon, the Magician, preached "one Father unknown to all."††
We can trace this appellation of a "secret" God still farther back. In the Kabala the "Son" of the concealed Father who dwells in light and glory, is the "Anointed," the Seir-Anpin, who unites in himself all the Sephiroth, he is Christos, or the Heavenly man. It is through Christ that the Pneuma, or the Holy Ghost, creates "all things"
†† Irenaeus: "Clementine Homilies," I., xxii., p. 118.
(Ephesians iii. 9), and produces the four elements, air, water, fire, and earth. This assertion is unquestionable, for we find Irenaeus basing on this fact his best argument for the necessity of there being four gospels. There can be neither more nor fewer than four — he argues. "For as there are four quarters of the world, and four general winds [[(Katholica Pneumata)]] . . . it is right that she (the Church) should have four pillars. From which it is manifest that the Word, the maker of all, he who sitteth upon the Cherubim . . . as David says, supplicating his advent, 'Thou that sittest between the Cherubim, shine forth!' For the Cherubim also are four-faced and their faces are symbols of the working of the Son of God."*
We will not stop to discuss at length the special holiness of the four-faced Cherubim, although we might, perhaps, show their origin in all the ancient pagodas of India, in the vehans (or vehicles) of their chief gods; as likewise we might easily attribute the respect paid to them to the kabalistic wisdom, which, nevertheless, the Church rejects with great horror. But, we cannot resist the temptation to remind the reader that he may easily ascertain the several significances attributed to these Cherubs by reading the Kabala. "When the souls are to leave their abode," says the Sohar, holding to the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls in the world of emanations, "each soul separately appears before the Holy King, dressed in a sublime form, with the features in which it is to appear in this world. It is from this sublime form that the image proceeds" (Sohar, iii., p. 104 ab). Then it goes on to say that the types or forms of these faces "are four in number — those of the angel or man, of the lion, the bull, and the eagle." Furthermore, we may well express our wonder that Irenaeus should not have re-enforced his argument for the four gospels — by citing the whole Pantheon of the four-armed Hindu gods!
Ezekiel in representing his four animals, now called Cherubim, as types of the four symbolical beings, which, in his visions support the throne of Jehovah, had not far to go for his models. The Chaldeo-Babylonian protecting genii were familiar to him; the Sed, Alap or Kirub (Cherubim), the bull, with the human face; the Nirgal, human-headed lion; Oustour the Sphinx-man; and the Nathga, with its eagle's head. The religion of the masters — the idolatrous Babylonians and Assyrians — was transferred almost bodily into the revealed Scripture of the Captives, and from thence came into Christianity.
Already, we find Ezekiel addressed by the likeness of the glory of the Lord, "as Son of man." This peculiar title is used repeatedly
throughout the whole book of this prophet, which is as kabalistic as the "roll of a book" which the "Glory" causes him to eat. It is written within and without; and its real meaning is identical with that of the Apocalypse. It appears strange that so much stress should be laid on this peculiar appellation, said to have been applied by Jesus to himself, when, in the symbolical or kabalistic language, a prophet is so addressed. It is as extraordinary to see Irenaeus indulging in such graphic descriptions of Jesus as to show him, "the maker of all, sitting upon a Cherubim," unless he identifies him with Shekinah, whose usual place was among the Charoubs of the Mercy Seat. We also know that the Cherubim and Seraphim are titles of the "Old Serpent" (the orthodox Devil) the Seraphs being the burning or fiery serpents, in kabalistic symbolism. The ten emanations of Adam Kadmon, called the Sephiroth, have all emblems and titles corresponding to each. So, for instance, the last two are Victory, or Jehovah-Sabaoth, whose symbol is the right column of Solomon, the Pillar Jachin; while glory is the left Pillar, or Boaz, and its name is "the Old Serpent," and also "Seraphim and Cherubim."*
The "Son of man" is an appellation which could not be assumed by any one but a kabalist. Except, as shown above, in the Old Testament, it is used but by one prophet — Ezekiel, the kabalist. In their mysterious and mutual relations, the AEons or Sephiroth are represented in the Kabala by a great number of circles, and sometimes by the figure of a man, which is symbolically formed out of such circles. This man is Seir-Anpin, and the 243 numbers of which his figure consists relate to the different orders of the celestial hierarchy. The original idea of this figure, or rather the model, may have been taken from the Hindu Brahma, and the various castes typified by the several parts of his body, as King suggests in his Gnostics. In one of the grandest and most beautiful cave-temples at Ellora, Nasak, dedicated to Vishvakarma, son of Brahma, is a representation of this God and his attributes. To one acquainted with Ezekiel's description of the "likeness of four living creatures," every one of which had four faces and the hands of a man under its wings, etc.,† this figure at Ellora must certainly appear absolutely biblical. Brahma is called the father of "man," as well as Jupiter and other highest gods.
It is in the Buddhistic representations of Mount Meru, called by the Burmese Mye-nmo, and by the Siamese Sineru, that we find one of the originals of the Adam Kadmon, Seir-Anpin, the "heavenly man," and of all the AEons, Sephiroth, Powers, Dominions, Thrones, Virtues, and
Dignities of the Kabala. Between two pillars, which are connected by an arch, the key-stone of the latter is represented by a crescent. This is the domain in which dwells the Supreme Wisdom of A'di Buddha, the Supreme and invisible Deity. Beneath this highest central point comes the circle of the direct emanation of the Unknown — the circle of Brahma with some Hindus, of the first avatar of Buddha, according to others. This answers to Adam Kadmon and the ten Sephiroth. Nine of the emanations are encircled by the tenth, and occasionally represented by pagodas, each of which bears a name which expresses one of the chief attributes of the manifested Deity. Then below come the seven stages, or heavenly spheres, each sphere being encircled by a sea. These are the celestial mansions of the devatas, or gods, each losing somewhat in holiness and purity as it approaches the earth. Then comes Meru itself, formed of numberless circles within three large ones, typifying the trinity of man; and for one acquainted with the numerical value of the letters in biblical names, like that of the "Great Beast," or that of Mithra [[Mithras abraxas]], and others, it is an easy matter to establish the identity of the Meru-gods with the emanations or Sephiroth of the kabalists. Also the genii of the Nazarenes, with their special missions, are all found on this most ancient mythos, a most perfect representation of the symbolism of the "secret doctrine," as taught in archaic ages.
King gives a few hints — though doubtless too insufficient to teach anything important, for they are based upon the calculations of Bishop Newton* — as to this mode of finding out mysteries in the value of letters. However, we find this great archaeologist, who has devoted so much time and labor to the study of Gnostic gems, corroborating our assertion. He shows that the entire theory is Hindu, and points out that the durga, or female counterpart of each Asiatic god, is what the kabalists term active Virtue† in the celestial hierarchy, a term which the Christian Fathers adopted and repeated, without fully appreciating, and the meaning of which the later theology has utterly disfigured. But to return to Meru.
The whole is surrounded by the Maha Samut, or the great sea — the astral light and ether of the kabalists and scientists; and within the central circles appears "the likeness of a man." He is the Achadoth of the Nazarenes, the twofold unity, or the androgyne man; the heavenly incarnation, and a perfect representation of Seir-Anpin (short-face), the son, of Arich Anpin (long-face).* This likeness is now represented in many lamaseries by Gautama-Buddha, the last of the incarnated avatars. Still lower, under the Meru, is the dwelling of the great Naga, who is called Rajah Naga, the king-serpent — the serpent of Genesis, the Gnostic Ophis — and the goddess of the earth, Bhumay Nari, or Yama, who waits upon the great dragon, for she is Eve, "the mother of all that live." Still lower is the eighth sphere, the infernal regions. The uppermost regions of Brahma are surrounded by the sun, moon, and planets, the seven stellars of the Nazarenes, and just as they are described in the Codex.
"The seven impostor-Daemons who deceive the sons of Adam. The name of one is Sol; of another Spiritus Venereus, Astro; of the third Nebu, Mercurius a false Messiah; . . . the name of a fourth is Sin Luna; the fifth is Kiun, Saturnus; the sixth, Bel-Zeus; the seventh, Nerig-Mars."† Then there are "Seven Lives procreated," seven good Stellars, "which are from Cabar Zio, and are those bright ones who shine in their own form and splendor that pours from on high. . . . At the gate of the House of Life the throne is fitly placed for the Lord of Splendor, and there are three habitations."‡ The habitations of the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity, are placed beneath the key-stone — the golden crescent, in the representation of Meru. "And there was under his feet (of the God of Israel) as it were a paved work of a sapphire-stone" (Exodus xxiv. 10). Under the crescent is the heaven of Brahma, all paved with sapphires. The paradise of Indra is resplendent with a thousand suns; that of Siva (Saturn), is in the northeast; his throne is formed of lapis-lazuli and the floor of heaven is of fervid gold. "When he sits on the throne he blazes with fire up to the loins." At Hurdwar, during the fair, in which he is more than ever Mahadeva, the highest god, the attributes and emblems sacred to the Jewish "Lord God," may be recognized one by one in those of Siva. The Binlang stone,§ sacred to this Hindu deity, is an unhewn stone like the Beth-el, consecrated by the Patriarch Jacob, and set up by him "for a pillar," and like the latter
Binlang is anointed. We need hardly remind the student that the linga, the emblem sacred to Siva and whose temples are modelled after this form, is identical in shape, meaning, and purpose with the "pillars" set up by the several patriarchs to mark their adoration of the Lord God. In fact, one of these patriarchal lithoi might even now be carried in the Sivaitic processions of Calcutta, without its Hebrew derivation being suspected. The four arms of Siva are often represented with appendages like wings; he has three eyes and a fourth in the crescent, obtained by him at the churning of the ocean, as Pancha Mukhti Siva has four heads.
In this god we recognize the description given by Ezekiel, in the first chapter of his book, of his vision, in which he beholds the "likeness of a man" in the four living creatures, who had "four faces, four wings," who had one pair of "straight feet . . . which sparkled like the color of burnished brass . . . and their rings were full of eyes round about them four." It is the throne and heaven of Siva that the prophet describes in saying " . . . and there was the likeness of a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone . . . and I saw as the color of amber (gold) as the appearance of fire around about . . . from his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire" (Ezekiel i. 27). "And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace" (Revelation i. 15). "As for their faces . . . one had the face of a cherub, and the face of a lion . . . they also had the face of an ox and the face of an eagle" (Ezekiel i. 10, x. 14). This fourfold appearance which we find in the two cherubims of gold on the two ends of the ark; these symbolic four faces being adopted, moreover, later, one by each evangelist, as may be easily ascertained from the pictures of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,* prefixed to their respective gospels in the Roman Vulgate and Greek Bibles.
"Taaut, the great god of the Phoenicians," says Sanchoniathon, "to express the character of Saturn or Kronos, made his image having four eyes . . . two before, two behind, open and closed, and four wings, two expanded, two folded. The eyes denote that the god sees in sleep, and sleeps in waking; the position of the wings that he flies in rest, and rests in flying."
The identity of Saturn with Siva is corroborated still more when we consider the emblem of the latter, the damara, which is an hour-glass, to show the progress of time, represented by this god in his capacity of a destroyer. The bull Nardi, the vehan of Siva and the most sacred em-
blem of this god, is reproduced in the Egyptian Apis; and in the bull created by Ormazd and killed by Ahriman. The religion of Zoroaster, all based upon the "secret doctrine," is found held by the people of Eritene; it was the religion of the Persians when they conquered the Assyrians. From thence it is easy to trace the introduction of this emblem of Life represented by the Bull, in every religious system. The college of the Magians had accepted it with the change of dynasty;* Daniel is described as a Rabbi, the chief of the Babylonian astrologers and Magi;† therefore we see the Assyrian little bulls and the attributes of Siva reappearing under a hardly modified form in the cherubs of the Talmudistic Jews, as we have traced the bull Apis in the sphinxes or cherubs of the Mosaic Ark; and as we find it several thousand years later in the company of one of the Christian evangelists, Luke.
Whoever has lived in India long enough to acquaint himself even superficially with the native deities, must detect the similarity between Jehovah and other gods besides Siva. As Saturn, the latter was always held in great respect by the Talmudists. He was held in reverence by the Alexandrian kabalists as the direct inspirer of the law and the prophets; one of the names of Saturn was Israel, and we will show, in time, his identity in a certain way with Abram, which Movers and others hinted at long since. Thus it cannot be wondered at if Valentinus, Basilides, and the Ophite Gnostics placed the dwelling of their Ilda-Baoth, also a destroyer as well as a creator, in the planet Saturn; for it was he who gave the law in the wilderness and spoke through the prophets. If more proof should be required we will show it in the testimony of the canonical Bible itself. In Amos the "Lord" pours vials of wrath upon the people of Israel. He rejects their burnt-offerings and will not listen to their prayers, but inquires of Amos, "have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?" "But ye have borne the tabernacles of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god" (v. 25, 26). Who are Moloch and Chiun but Baal — Saturn — Siva, and Chiun, Kivan, the same Saturn whose star the Israelites had made to themselves? There seems no escape in this case; all these deities are identical.
The same in the case of the numerous Logoi. While the Zoroastrian Sosiosh is framed on that of the tenth Brahmanical Avatar, and the fifth Buddha of the followers of Gautama; and we find the former, after having passed part and parcel into the kabalistic system of king Messiah, reflected in the Apostle Gabriel of the Nazarenes, and AEbel-Zivo, the Legatus, sent on earth by the Lord of Celsitude and Light; all of these —
Hindu and Persian, Buddhist and Jewish, the Christos of the Gnostics and the Philonean Logos — are found combined in "the Word made flesh" of the fourth Gospel. Christianity includes all these systems, patched and arranged to meet the occasion. Do we take up the Avesta — we find there the dual system so prevalent in the Christian scheme. The struggle between Ahriman,* Darkness, and Ormazd, Light, has been going on in the world continually since the beginning of time. When the worst arrives and Ahriman will seem to have conquered the world and corrupted all mankind, then will appear the Saviour of mankind, Sosiosh. He will come seated upon a white horse and followed by an army of good genii equally mounted on milk-white steeds.† And this we find faithfully copied in the Revelation: "I saw heaven opened, and beheld a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true. . . . And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses" (Revelation xix. 11, 14). Sosiosh himself is but a later Persian permutation of the Hindu Vishnu. The figure of this god may be found unto this day representing him as the Saviour, the "Preserver" (the preserving spirit of God), in the temple of Rama. The picture shows him in his tenth incarnation — the Kalki avatar, which is yet to come — as an armed warrior mounted upon a white horse. Waving over his head the sword destruction, he holds in his other hand a discus, made up of rings encircled in one another, an emblem of the revolving cycles or great ages,‡ for Vishnu will thus appear but at the end of the Kaliyug, answering to the end of the world expected by our Adventists. "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword . . . on his head were many crowns" (Revelation xix. 12). Vishnu is often represented with several crowns superposed on his head. "And I saw an angel standing on the Sun" (17). The white horse is the horse of the Sun.§ Sosiosh, the Persian Saviour, is also born of a virgin,|| and at the end of days he will come as a Redeemer to regenerate the world, but he will be preceded by two prophets, who will come to announce him.¶ Hence the Jews who had Moses and Elias, are now waiting for the Messiah. "Then comes the
general resurrection, when the good will immediately enter into this happy abode — the regenerated earth; and Ahriman and his angels (the devils),* and the wicked, be purified by immersion in a lake of molten metal. . . . Henceforward, all will enjoy unchangeable happiness, and, headed by Sosiosh, ever sing the praises of the Eternal One."† The above is a perfect repetition of Vishnu in his tenth avatar, for he will then throw the wicked into the infernal abodes in which, after purifying themselves, they will be pardoned — even those devils which rebelled against Brahma, and were hurled into the bottomless pit by Siva,‡ as also the "blessed ones" will go to dwell with the gods, over the Mount Meru.
Having thus traced the similarity of views respecting the Logos, Metatron, and Mediator, as found in the Kabala and the Codex of the Christian Nazarenes and Gnostics, the reader is prepared to appreciate the audacity of the Patristic scheme to reduce a purely metaphysical figure into concrete form, and make it appear as if the finger of prophecy had from time immemorial been pointing down the vista of ages to Jesus as the coming Messiah. A theomythos intended to symbolize the coming day, near the close of the great cycle, when the "glad tidings" from heaven should proclaim the universal brotherhood and common faith of humanity, the day of regeneration — was violently distorted into an accomplished fact.
"Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God," says Jesus. Is this the language of a God? of the second person in the Trinity, who is identical with the First? And if this Messiah, or Holy Ghost of the Gnostic and Pagan Trinities, had come in his person, what did he mean by distinguishing between himself the "Son of man," and the Holy Ghost? "And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven," he says.§ And how account for the marvellous identity of this very language, with the precepts enunciated, centuries before, by the Kabalists and the "Pagan" initiates? The following are a few instances out of many.
"No one of the gods, no man or Lord, can be good, but only God alone," says Hermes.||
"To be a good man is impossible, God alone possesses this privilege," repeats Plato, with a slight variation.*
Six centuries before Christ, the Chinese philosopher Confucius said that his doctrine was simple and easy to comprehend (Lun-yu, chap. 5, § 15). To which one of his disciples added: "The doctrine of our Master consists in having an invariable correctness of heart, and in doing toward others as we would that they should do to us."†
"Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles,"‡ exclaims Peter, long after the scene of Calvary. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John,"§ says the fourth Gospel, thus placing the Baptist on an equality with Jesus. John the Baptist, in one of the most solemn acts of his life, that of baptizing Christ, thinks not that he is going to baptize a God, but uses the word man. "This is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man."|| Speaking of himself, Jesus says, "You seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God.¶ Even the blind man of Jerusalem, healed by the great thaumaturgist, full of gratitude and admiration for his benefactor, in narrating the miracle does not call Jesus God, but simply says, ". . . a man that is called Jesus, made clay."**
We do not close the list for lack of other instances and proofs, but simply because what we now say has been repeated and demonstrated by others, many times before us. But there is no more incurable evil than blind and unreasoning fanaticism. Few are the men who, like Dr. Priestley, have the courage to write, "We find nothing like divinity ascribed to Christ before Justin Martyr (A. D. 141), who, from being a philosopher, became a Christian."††
Mahomet appeared nearly six hundred years‡‡ after the presumed deicide. The Graeco-Roman world was still convulsed with religious dissensions, withstanding all the past imperial edicts and forcible Christianization. While the Council of Trent was disputing about the Vulgate, the unity of God quietly superseded the trinity, and soon the Mahometans outnumbered the Christians. Why? Because their prophet never sought to identify himself with Allah. Otherwise, it is safe to say, he would not have lived to see his religion flourish. Till the present day Mahometanism has made and is now making more proselytes than Christianity. Buddha Siddhartha came as a simple mortal, centuries before Christ. The religious ethics of this faith are now found to far exceed
‡ Acts ii. 22.
§ John i. 6.
|| Ibid., 30.
¶ John viii. 40.
** Ibid., ix. 11.
in moral beauty anything ever dreamed of by the Tertullians and Augustines.
The true spirit of Christianity can alone be fully found in Buddhism; partially, it shows itself in other "heathen" religions. Buddha never made of himself a god, nor was he deified by his followers. The Buddhists are now known to far outnumber Christians; they are enumerated at nearly 500,000,000. While cases of conversion among Buddhists, Brahmanists, Mahometans, and Jews become so rare as to show how sterile are the attempts of our missionaries, atheism and materialism spread their gangrenous ulcers and gnaw every day deeper at the very heart of Christianity. There are no atheists among heathen populations, and those few among the Buddhists and Brahmans who have become infected with materialism may always be found to belong to large cities densely thronged with Europeans, and only among educated classes. Truly says Bishop Kidder: "Were a wise man to choose his religion from those who profess it, perhaps Christianity would be the last religion he would choose!"
In an able little pamphlet from the pen of the popular lecturer, J. M. Peebles, M.D., the author quotes, from the London Athenaeum, an article in which are described the welfare and civilization of the inhabitants of Yarkand and Kashgar, "who seem virtuous and happy." "Gracious Heavens!" fervently exclaims the honest author, who himself was once a Universalist clergyman, "Grant to keep Christian missionaries away from 'happy' and heathen Tartary!"*
From the earliest days of Christianity, when Paul upbraided the Church of Corinth for a crime "as is not so much as named among the Gentiles — that one should have his father's wife"; and for their making a pretext of the "Lord's Supper" for debauch and drunkenness (1 Corinthians, v. 1), the profession of the name of Christ has ever been more a pretext than the evidence of holy feeling. However, a correct form of this verse is: "Everywhere the lewd practice among you is heard about, such a lewd practice as is nowhere among the heathen nations — even the having or marrying of the father's wife." The Persian influence would seem to be indicated in this language. The practice existed "nowhere among the nations," except in Persia, where it was esteemed especially meritorious. Hence, too, the Jewish stories of Abraham marrying his sister, Nahor, his niece, Amram his father's sister, and Judah his son's widow, whose children appear to have been legitimate. The Aryan tribes esteemed endogamic marriages, while the Tartars and all barbarous nations required all alliances to be exogamous.
There was but one apostle of Jesus worthy of that name, and that was Paul. However disfigured were his Epistles by dogmatic hands before being admitted into the Canon, his conception of the great and divine figure of the philosopher who died for his idea can still be traced in his addresses to the various Gentile nations. Only, he who would understand him better yet must study the Philonean Logos reflecting now and then the Hindu Sabda (logos) of the Mimansa school.
As to the other apostles, those whose names are prefixed to the Gospels — we cannot well believe in their veracity when we find them attributing to their Master miracles surrounded by circumstances, recorded, if not in the oldest books of India, at least in such as antedated Christianity, and in the very phraseology of the traditions. Who, in his days of simple and blind credulity, but marvelled at the touching narrative given in the Gospels according to Mark and Luke of the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus? Who has ever doubted its originality? And yet the story is copied entirely from the Hari-Purana, and is recorded among the miracles attributed to Christna. We translate it from the French version:
"The King Angashuna caused the betrothal of his daughter, the beautiful Kalavatti, with the young son of Vamadeva, the powerful King of Antarvedi, named Govinda, to be celebrated with great pomp.
"But as Kalavatti was amusing herself in the groves with her companions, she was stung by a serpent and died. Angashuna tore his clothes, covered himself with ashes, and cursed the day when he was born.
"Suddenly, a great rumor spread through the palace, and the following cries were heard, a thousand times repeated: 'Pacya pitaram; pacya gurum!' 'The Father, the Master!' Then Christna approached, smiling, leaning on the arm of Ardjuna. . . . 'Master!' cried Angashuna, casting himself at his feet, and sprinkling them with his tears, 'See my poor daughter!' and he showed him the body of Kalavatti, stretched upon a mat. . . .
" 'Why do you weep?' replied Christna, in a gentle voice. 'Do you not see that she is sleeping? Listen to the sound of her breathing, like the sigh of the night wind which rustles the leaves of the trees. See, her cheeks resuming their color, her eyes, whose lids tremble as if they were about to open; her lips quiver as if about to speak; she is sleeping, I tell you; and hold! see, she moves, Kalavatti! Rise and walk!'
"Hardly had Christna spoken, when the breathing, warmth, movement, and life returned little by little, into the corpse, and the young girl, obeying the injunction of the demi-god, rose from her couch and
rejoined her companions. But the crowd marvelled and cried out: 'This is a god, since death is no more for him than sleep!' "*
All such parables are enforced upon Christians, with the addition of dogmas which, in their extraordinary character, leave far behind them the wildest conceptions of heathenism. The Christians, in order to believe in a Deity, have found it necessary to kill their God, that they themselves should live!
And now, the Supreme, unknown one, the Father of grace and mercy, and his celestial hierarchy are managed by the Church as though they were so many theatrical stars and supernumeraries under salary! Six centuries before the Christian era, Xenophanes had disposed of such anthropomorphism by an immortal satire, recorded and preserved by Clement of Alexandria.
"There is one God Supreme. . . . . . . . .
Whose form is not like unto man's, and as unlike his nature;
But vain mortals imagine that gods like themselves are begotten
With human sensations, and voice, and corporeal members;
So if oxen or lions had hands and could work in man's fashion
And trace out with chisel or brush their conception of Godhead
Then would horses depict gods like horses, and oxen like oxen,
Each kind the Divine with its own form and nature endowing."†
And hear Vyasa — the poet-pantheist of India, who, for all the scientists can prove, may have lived, as Jacolliot has it, some fifteen thousand years ago — discoursing on Maya, the illusion of the senses:
"All religious dogmas only serve to obscure the intelligence of man. . . . Worship of divinities, under the allegories of which, is hidden respect for natural laws, drives away truth to the profit of the basest superstitions" (Vyasa Maya).
It was given to Christianity to paint us God Almighty after the model of the kabalistic abstraction of the "Ancient of Days." From old frescos on cathedral ceilings; Catholic missals, and other icons and images, we now find him depicted by the poetic brush of Gustave Dore. The awful, unknown majesty of Him, whom no "heathen" dared to reproduce in concrete form, is figuring in our own century in Dore's Illustrated Bible. Treading upon clouds that float in mid-air, darkness and chaos behind him and the world beneath his feet, a majestic old man stands, his left hand gathering his flowing robes about him, and his right raised in the gesture of command. He has spoken the Word, and
from his towering person streams an effulgence of Light — the Shekinah. As a poetic conception, the composition does honor to the artist, but does it honor God? Better, the chaos behind Him, than the figure itself; for there, at least, we have a solemn mystery. For our part, we prefer the silence of the ancient heathens. With such a gross, anthropomorphic, and, as we conceive, blasphemous representation of the First Cause, who can feel surprised at any iconographic extravagance in the representation of the Christian Christ, the apostles, and the putative Saints? With the Catholics St. Peter becomes quite naturally the janitor of Heaven, and sits at the door of the celestial kingdom — a ticket-taker to the Trinity!
In a religious disturbance which recently occurred in one of the Spanish-American provinces, there were found upon the bodies of some of the killed, passports signed by the Bishop of the Diocese and addressed to St. Peter; bidding him "admit the bearer as a true son of the Church." It was subsequently ascertained that these unique documents were issued by the Catholic prelate just before his deluded parishioners went into the fight at the instigation of their priests.
In their immoderate desire to find evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament, the best men, the most erudite scholars even among Protestant divines, but too often fall into deplorable traps. We cannot believe that such a learned commentator as Canon Westcott could have left himself in ignorance as to Talmudistic and purely kabalistic writings. How then is it that we find him quoting, with such serene assurance as presenting "striking analogies to the Gospel of St. John," passages from the work of The Pastor of Hermas, which are complete sentences from the kabalistic literature? "The view which Hermas gives of Christ's nature and work is no less harmonious with apostolic doctrine, and it offers striking analogies to the Gospel of St. John. . . . He (Jesus) is a rock higher than the mountains, able to hold the whole world, ancient, and yet having a new gate! . . . He is older than creation, so that he took counsel with the Father about the creation which he made. . . . No one shall enter in unto him otherwise than by his Son."*
Now while — as the author of Supernatural Religion well proves —
there is nothing in this which looks like a corroboration of the doctrine taught in the fourth gospel, he omits to state that nearly everything expressed by the pseudo-Hermas in relation to his parabolic conversation with the "Lord" is a plain quotation, with repeated variations, from the Sohar and other kabalistic books. We may as well compare, so as to leave the reader in no difficulty to judge for himself.
"God," says Hermas, "planted the vineyard, that is, He created the people and gave them to His Son; and the Son . . . himself cleansed their sins, etc."; i.e., the Son washed them in his blood, in commemoration of which Christians drink wine at the communion. In the Kabala it is shown that the Aged of the Aged, or "Long-Face," plants a vineyard, the latter typifying mankind; and a vine, meaning Life. The Spirit of "King Messiah" is, therefore, shown as washing his garments in the wine from above, from the creation of the world.* Adam, or A-Dam is "blood." The life of the flesh is in the blood (nephesh — soul), Leviticus xvii. And Adam-Kadmon is the Only-Begotten. Noah also plants a vineyard — the allegorical hot-bed of future humanity. As a consequence of the adoption of the same allegory, we find it reproduced in the Nazarene Codex. Seven vines are procreated, which spring from Iukabar Ziva, and Ferho (or Parcha) Raba waters them.† When the blessed will ascend among the creatures of Light, they shall see Iavar-Zivo, Lord of Life, and the First Vine!‡ These kabalistic metaphors are thus naturally repeated in the Gospel according to John (xv. 1): "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." In Genesis (xlix.), the dying Jacob is made to say, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah (the lion's whelp), nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (Siloh) comes. . . . Binding his colt unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes." Shiloh is "King Messiah," as well as the Shiloh in Ephraim, which was to be made the capital and the place of the sanctuary. In The Targum of Onkelos, the Babylonian, the words of Jacob read: "Until the King Messiah shall come." The prophecy has failed in the Christian as well as in the kabalistico-Jewish sense. The sceptre has departed from Judah, whether the Messiah has already or will come, unless we believe, with the kabalists, that Moses was the first Messiah, who transferred his soul to Joshua — Jesus.§
Says Hermas: "And, in the middle of the plain, he showed me a great white rock, which had risen out of the plain, and the rock was
higher than the mountains, rectangular, so as to be able to hold the whole world; but that rock was old, having a gate hewn out of it, and the hewing out of the gate seemed to me to be recent." In the Sohar, we find: "To 40,000 superior worlds the white of the skull of His Head (of the most Sacred Ancient in absconditus) is extended.* . . . When Seir (the first reflection and image of his Father, the Ancient of the Ancient) will, through the mystery of the seventy names of Metatron, descend into Iezirah (the third world), he will open a new gate. . . . The Spiritus Decisorius will cut and divide the garment (Shekinah) into two parts.† . . . At the coming of King Messiah, from the sacred cubical stone of the Temple a white light will be arising during forty days. This will expand, until it encloses the whole world. . . . At that time King Messiah will allow himself to be revealed, and will be seen coming out of the gate of the garden of Odan (Eden). 'He will be revealed in the land Galil.'‡ . . . When 'he has made satisfaction for the sins of Israel, he will lead them on through a new gate to the seat of judgment.'§ At the Gate of the House of Life, the throne is prepared for the Lord of Splendor."||
Further on, the commentator introduces the following quotation: "This rock and this gate are the Son of God. 'How, Lord,' I said, 'is the rock old and the gate new?' 'Listen,' He said, 'and understand, thou ignorant man. The Son of God is older than all of his creation, so that he was a Councillor with the Father in His works of creation; and for this is he old.' "¶
Now, these two assertions are not only purely kabalistic, without even so much as a change of expression, but Brahmanical and Pagan likewise. "Vidi virum excellentem coeli terraeque conditore natu majorem. . . . I have seen the most excellent (superior) man, who is older by birth than the maker of heaven and earth," says the kabalistic Codex.** The Eleusinian Dionysus, whose particular name was Iacchos (Iaccho, Iahoh)†† — the God from whom the liberation of souls was expected — was considered older than the Demiurge. At the mysteries of the Anthesteria at the lakes (the Limnae), after the usual baptism by purification of water, the Mystae were made to pass through to another door (gate), and one
particularly for that purpose, which was called "the gate of Dionysus," and that of "the purified."
In the Sohar, the kabalists are told that the work-master, the Demiurge, said to the Lord: "Let us make man after our image."* In the original texts of the first chapter of Genesis, it stands: "And the Elohim (translated as the Supreme God), who are the highest gods or powers, said: Let us make man in our (?) image, after our likeness." In the Vedas, Brahma holds counsel with Parabrahma, as to the best mode to proceed to create the world.
Canon Westcott, quoting Hermas, shows him asking: "And why is the gate new, Lord? I said. 'Because,' he replied, 'he was manifested at the last of the days of the dispensation; for this cause the gate was made new, in order that they who shall be saved might enter by it into the Kingdom of God.' "† There are two peculiarities worthy of note in this passage. To begin with, it attributes to "the Lord" a false statement of the same character as that so emphasized by the Apostle John, and which brought, at a later period, the whole of the orthodox Christians, who accepted the apostolic allegories as literal, to such inconvenient straits. Jesus, as Messiah, was not manifested at the last of the days; for the latter are yet to come, notwithstanding a number of divinely-inspired prophecies, followed by disappointed hopes, as a result, to testify to his immediate coming. The belief that the "last times" had come, was natural, when once the coming of King Messiah had been acknowledged. The second peculiarity is found in the fact that the prophecy could have been accepted at all, when even its approximate determination is a direct contradiction of Mark, who makes Jesus distinctly state that neither the angels, nor the Son himself, know of that day or that hour.‡ We might add that, as the belief undeniably originated with the Apocalypse, it ought to be a self-evident proof that it belonged to the calculations peculiar to the kabalists and the Pagan sanctuaries. It was the secret computation of a cycle, which, according to their reckoning, was ending toward the latter part of the first century. It may also be held as a corroborative proof, that the Gospel according to Mark, as well as that ascribed to John, and the Apocalypse, were written by men, of whom neither was sufficiently acquainted with the other. The Logos was first definitely called petra (rock) by Philo; the word, moreover, as we have shown elsewhere, means, in Chaldaic and Phoenician, "interpreter." Justin Martyr calls him, throughout his works, "angel," and makes a clear distinction between the Logos and God the Creator.
"The Word of God is His Son . . . and he is also called Angel and Apostle, for he declares whatever we ought to know (interprets), and is sent to declare whatever is disclosed."*
"Adan Inferior is distributed into its own paths, into thirty-two sides of paths, yet it is not known to any one but Seir. But no one knows the Superior Adan nor His paths, except that Long Face" — the Supreme God.† Seir is the Nazarene "genius," who is called AEbel Zivo; and Gabriel Legatus — also "Apostle Gabriel."‡ The Nazarenes held with the kabalists that even the Messiah who was to come did not know the "Superior Adan," the concealed Deity; no one except the Supreme God; thus showing that above the Supreme Intelligible Deity, there is one still more secret and unrevealed. Seir-Anpin is the third God, while "Logos," according to Philo Judaeus, is the second one.§ This is distinctly shown in the Codex. "The false Messiah shall say: "I am Deus, son of Deus; my Father sent me here. . . . I am the first Legate, I am AEbel Zivo, I am come from on high! But distrust him; for he will not be AEbel Zivo. AEbel Zivo will not permit himself to be seen in this age."|| Hence the belief of some Gnostics that it was not AEbel Zivo (Archangel Gabriel) who "overshadowed" Mary, but Ilda-Baoth, who formed the material body of Jesus; Christos uniting himself with him only at the moment of baptism in the Jordan.
Can we doubt Nork's assertion that "the Bereshith Rabba, the oldest part of the Midrash Rabboth, was known to the Church Fathers in a Greek translation"?¶
But if, on the one hand, they were sufficiently acquainted with the different religious systems of their neighbors to have enabled them to build a new religion alleged to be distinct from all others, their ignorance of the Old Testament itself, let alone the more complicated questions of Grecian metaphysics, is now found to have been deplorable. "So, for instance, in Matthew xxvii. 9 f., the passage from Zechariah xi. 12, 13, is attributed to Jeremiah," says the author of Supernatural Religion. "In Mark i. 2, a quotation from Malachi iii. 1, is as-
cribed to Isaiah. In 1 Corinthians, ii. 9, a passage is quoted as Holy Scripture, which is not found in the Old Testament at all, but which is taken, as Origen and Jerome state, from an apocryphal work, The Revelation of Elias (Origen: Tract. xxxv.), and the passage is similarly quoted by the so-called Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (xxxiv.). How reliable are the pious Fathers in their explanations of divers heresies may be illustrated in the case of Epiphanius, who mistook the Pythagorean sacred Tetrad, called in the Valentinian Gnosis, Kol-Arbas, for a heretic leader.* What with the involuntary blunders, and deliberate falsifications of the teachings of those who differed in views with them; the canonization of the mythological Aura Placida (gentle breeze), into a pair of Christian martyrs — St. Aura and St. Placida;† the deification of a spear and a cloak, under the names of SS. Longimus and Amphibolus;‡ and the Patristic quotations from prophets, of what was never in those prophets at all; one may well ask in blank amazement whether the so-called religion of Christ has ever been other than an incoherent dream, since the death of the Great Master.
So malicious do we find the holy Fathers in their unrelenting persecution of pretended "haeresies,"§ that we see them telling, without hesitation the most preposterous untruths, and inventing entire narratives, the better to impress their own otherwise unsupported arguments upon ignorance. If the mistake in relation to the tetrad had at first originated as a simple consequence of an unpremeditated blunder of Hippolytus, the explanations of Epiphanius and others who fell into the same absurd error|| have a less innocent look. When Hippolytus gravely denounces the great heresy of the Tetrad, Kol-Arbas, and states that the imaginary Gnostic leader is, "Kolarbasus, who endeavors to explain
religion by measures and numbers,"* we may simply smile. But when Epiphanius, with abundant indignation, elaborates upon the theme, "which is Heresy XV.," and pretending to be thoroughly acquainted with the subject, adds: "A certain Heracleon follows after Colarbasus, which is Heresy XVI.,"† then he lays himself open to the charge of deliberate falsification.
If this zealous Christian can boast so unblushingly of having caused "by his information seventy women, even of rank, to be sent into exile, through the seductions of some in whose number he had himself been drawn into joining their sect," he has left us a fair standard by which to judge him. C. W. King remarks, very aptly, on this point, that "it may reasonably be suspected that this worthy renegade had in this case saved himself from the fate of his fellow-religionists by turning evidence against them, on the opening of the persecution."‡
And thus, one by one, perished the Gnostics, the only heirs to whose share had fallen a few stray crumbs of the unadulterated truth of primitive Christianity. All was confusion and turmoil during these first centuries, till the moment when all these contradictory dogmas were finally forced upon the Christian world, and examination was forbidden. For long ages it was made a sacrilege, punishable with severe penalties, often death, to seek to comprehend that which the Church had so conveniently elevated to the rank of divine mystery. But since biblical critics have taken upon themselves to "set the house in order," the cases have become reversed. Pagan creditors now come from every part of the globe to claim their own, and Christian theology begins to be suspected of complete bankruptcy. Such is the sad result of the fanaticism of the "orthodox" sects, who, to borrow an expression of the author of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," never were, like the Gnostics, "the most polite, the most learned, and most wealthy of the Christian name." And, if not all of them "smelt garlic," as Renan will have it, on the other hand, none of these Christian saints have ever shrunk from spilling their neighbor's blood, if the views of the latter did not agree with their own.
And so all our philosophers were swept away by the ignorant and superstitious masses. The Philaletheians, the lovers of truth, and their eclectic school, perished; and there, where the young Hypatia had taught the highest philosophical doctrines; and where Ammonius Saccas had explained that "the whole which Christ had in view was to reinstate and restore to its primitive integrity the wisdom of the ancients — to reduce
within bounds the universally prevailing dominion of superstition . . . and to exterminate the various errors that had found their way into the different popular religions"* — there, we say, freely raved the [[hoipolloi]] of Christianity. No more precepts from the mouth of the "God-taught philosopher," but others expounded by the incarnation of a most cruel, fiendish superstition.
"If thy father," wrote St. Jerome, "lies down across thy threshold, if thy mother uncovers to thine eyes the bosom which suckled thee, trample on thy father's lifeless body, trample on thy mother's bosom, and, with eyes unmoistened and dry, fly to the Lord who calleth thee"! !
This sentence is equalled, if not outrivalled, by this other, pronounced in a like spirit. It emanates from another father of the early Church, the eloquent Tertullian, who hopes to see all the "philosophers" in the gehenna fire of Hell. "What shall be the magnitude of that scene! . . . How shall I laugh! How shall I rejoice! How shall I triumph when I see so many illustrious kings who were said to have mounted into heaven, groaning with Jupiter, their god, in the lowest darkness of hell! Then shall the soldiers who have persecuted the name of Christ burn in more cruel fire than any they had kindled for the saints!"†
These murderous expressions illustrate the spirit of Christianity till this day. But do they illustrate the teachings of Christ? By no means. As Eliphas Levi says, "The God in the name of whom we would trample on our mother's bosom we must see in the hereafter, a hell gaping widely at his feet, and an exterminating sword in his hand. . . . Moloch burned children but a few seconds; it was reserved to the disciples of a god who is alleged to have died to redeem humanity on the cross, to create a new Moloch whose burning stake is eternal!"‡
That this spirit of true Christian love has safely crossed nineteen centuries and rages now in America, is fully instanced in the case of the rabid Moody, the revivalist, who exclaims: "I have a son, and no one but God knows how I love him; but I would see those beautiful eyes dug out of his head to-night, rather than see him grow up to manhood and go down to the grave without Christ and without hope!!"
To this an American paper, of Chicago, very justly responds: "This is the spirit of the inquisition, which we are told is dead. If Moody in his zeal would 'dig out' the eyes of his darling son, to what lengths may he not go with the sons of others, whom he may love less? It is the spirit of Loyola, gibbering in the nineteenth century, and prevented from lighting the fagot flame and heating red-hot the instruments of torture only by the arm of law."