"Get thee behind me, Satan" (Jesus to Peter). — Matt. xvi. 23.
"Such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
As puts me from my faith. I tell you what —
He held me, last night, at least nine hours
In reckoning up the several devils' names." — King Henry IV., Part i., Act iii.
"Bad as he is, the Devil may be abus'd,
Be falsely charg'd, and causelessly accus'd,
When Men, unwilling to be blam'd alone,
Shift off those Crimes on Him which are their Own." -- Defoe, 1726.
Several years ago, a distinguished writer and persecuted kabalist suggested a creed for the Protestant and Roman Catholic bodies, which may be thus formulated:
"I believe in the Devil, the Father Almighty of Evil, the Destroyer of all things, Perturbator of Heaven and Earth;
And in Anti-Christ, his only Son, our Persecutor,
Who was conceived of the Evil Spirit;
Born of a sacrilegious, foolish Virgin;
Was glorified by mankind, reigned over them,
And ascended to the throne of Almighty God,
From which he crowds Him aside, and from which he insults the living and the dead;
I believe in the Spirit of Evil;
The Synagogue of Satan;
The coalition of the wicked;
The perdition of the body;
And the Death and Hell everlasting. Amen."
Does this offend? Does it seem extravagant, cruel, blasphemous? Listen. In the city of New York, on the ninth day of April, 1877 — that is to say, in the last quarter of what is proudly styled the century of discovery and the age of illumination — the following scandalous ideas were broached. We quote from the report in the Sun of the following morning:
"The Baptist preachers met yesterday in the Mariners' Chapel, in
Oliver Street. Several foreign missionaries were present. The Rev. John W. Sarles, of Brooklyn, read an essay, in which he maintained the proposition that all adult heathen, dying without the knowledge of the Gospel, are damned eternally. Otherwise, the reverend essayist argued, the Gospel is a curse instead of a blessing, the men who crucified Christ served him right, and the whole structure of revealed religion tumbles to the ground.
"Brother Stoddard, a missionary from India, indorsed the views of the Brooklyn pastor. The Hindus were great sinners. One day, after he had preached in the market place, a Brahman got up and said: 'We Hindus beat the world in lying, but this man beats us. How can he say that God loves us? Look at the poisonous serpents, tigers, lions, and all kinds of dangerous animals around us. If God loves us, why doesn't He take them away?'
"The Rev. Mr. Pixley, of Hamilton, N. Y., heartily subscribed to the doctrine of Brother Sarles's essay, and asked for $5,000 to fit out young men for the ministry."
And these men — we will not say teach the doctrine of Jesus, for that would be to insult his memory, but — are paid to teach his doctrine! Can we wonder that intelligent persons prefer annihilation to a faith encumbered by such a monstrous doctrine? We doubt whether any respectable Brahman would have confessed to the vice of lying — an art cultivated only in those portions of British India where the most Christians are found.*
But we challenge any honest man in the wide world to say whether he thinks the Brahman was far from the truth in saying of the missionary Stoddard, "this man beats us all" in lying. What else would he say, if the latter preached to them the doctrine of eternal damnation, because, indeed, they had passed their lives without reading a Jewish book of which they never heard, or asked salvation of a Christ whose existence they never suspected! But Baptist clergymen who need a few thousand dollars must devise terrifying sensations to fire the congregational heart.
We abstain, as a rule, from giving our own experience when we can call acceptable witnesses, and so, upon reading missionary Stoddard's outrageous remarks, we requested our acquaintance, Mr. William L. D. O'Grady,* to give a fair opinion upon the missionaries. This gentleman's father and grandfather were British army officers, and he himself was born in India, and enjoyed life-long opportunities to learn what the general opinion among the English is of these religious propagandists. Following is his communication in reply to our letter:
The new creed therefore, with which we opened this chapter, coarse as it may sound, embodies the very essence of the belief of the Church as inculcated by her missionaries. It is regarded as less impious, less infidel, to doubt the personal existence of the Holy Ghost, or the equal Godhead of Jesus, than to question the personality of the Devil. But a summary of Koheleth is well-nigh forgotten.* Who ever quotes the golden words of the prophet Micah,† or seems to care for the exposition of the Law, as given by Jesus himself?‡ The "bull's eye" in the target of Modern Christianity is in the simple phrase to "fear the Devil."
The Catholic clergy and some of the lay champions of the Roman Church fight still more for the existence of Satan and his imps. If Des Mousseaux maintains the objective reality of spiritual phenomena with such an unrelenting ardor, it is because, in his opinion, the latter are the most direct evidence of the Devil at work. The Chevalier is more Catholic than the Pope; and his logic and deductions from never-to-be and non-established premises are unique, and prove once more that the creed offered by us is the one which expresses the Catholic belief most eloquently.
"If magic and spiritualism," he says, "were both but chimeras, we would have to bid an eternal farewell to all the rebellious angels, now troubling the world; for thus, we would have no more demons down here. . . . And if we lost our demons, we would lose our Saviour likewise. For, from whom did that Saviour come to save us? And then, there would be no more Redeemer; for from whom or what could that Redeemer redeem us? Hence, there would be no more Christianity!!"§ Oh, Holy Father of Evil; Sainted Satan! We pray thee do not abandon such pious Christians as the Chevalier des Mousseaux and some Baptist clergymen!!
For our part, we would rather remember the wise words of J. C. Colquhoun,* who says that "those persons who, in modern times, adopt the doctrine of the Devil in its strictly literal and personal application, do not appear to be aware that they are in reality polytheists, heathens, idolaters."
Seeking supremacy in everything over the ancient creeds, the Christians claim the discovery of the Devil officially recognized by the Church. Jesus was the first to use the word "legion" when speaking of them; and it is on this ground that M. des Mousseaux thus defends his position in one of his demonological works. "Later," he says, "when the synagogue expired, depositing its inheritance in the hands of Christ, were born into the world and shone, the Fathers of the Church, who have been accused by certain persons of a rare and precious ignorance, of having borrowed their ideas as to the spirits of darkness from the theurgists."
Three deliberate, palpable, and easily-refuted errors — not to use a harsher word — occur in these few lines. In the first place, the synagogue, far from having expired, is flourishing at the present day in nearly every town of Europe, America, and Asia; and of all churches in Christian cities, it is the most firmly established, as well as the best behaved. Further — while no one will deny that many Christian Fathers were born into the world (always, of course, excepting the twelve fictitious Bishops of Rome, who were never born at all), every person who will take the trouble to read the works of the Platonists of the old Academy, who were theurgists before Iamblichus, will recognize therein the origin of Christian Demonology as well as the Angelology, the allegorical meaning of which was completely distorted by the Fathers. Then it could hardly be admitted that the said Fathers ever shone, except, perhaps, in the refulgence of their extreme ignorance. The Reverend Dr. Shuckford, who passed the better part of his life trying to reconcile their contradictions and absurdities, was finally driven to abandon the whole thing in despair. The ignorance of the champions of Plato must indeed appear rare and precious by comparison with the fathomless profundity of Augustine, "the giant of learning and erudition," who scouted the sphericity of the earth, for, if true, it would prevent the antipodes from seeing the Lord Christ when he descended from heaven at the second advent; or, of Lactantius, who rejects with pious horror Pliny's identical theory, on the remarkable ground that it would make the trees at the other side of the earth grow and the men walk with their heads downward; or, again, of Cosmas-Indicopleustes, whose orthodox system of geography is embalmed in his "Christian topography"; or, finally, of
Bede, who assured the world that the heaven "is tempered with glacial waters, lest it should be set on fire"* — a benign dispensation of Providence, most likely to prevent the radiance of their learning from setting the sky ablaze!
Be this as it may, these resplendent Fathers certainly did borrow their notions of the "spirits of darkness" from the Jewish kabalists and Pagan theurgists, with the difference, however, that they disfigured and outdid in absurdity all that the wildest fancy of the Hindu, Greek, and Roman rabble had ever created. There is not a dev in the Persian Pandaimonion half so preposterous, as a conception, as des Mousseaux's Incubus revamped from Augustine. Typhon, symbolized as an ass, appears a philosopher in comparison with the devil caught by the Normandy peasant in a key-hole; and it is certainly not Ahriman or the Hindu Vritra who would run away in rage and dismay, when addressed as St. Satan, by a native Luther.
The Devil is the patron genius of theological Christianity. So "holy and reverend is his name" in modern conception, that it may not, except occasionally from the pulpit, be uttered in ears polite. In like manner, anciently, it was not lawful to speak the sacred names or repeat the jargon of the Mysteries, except in the sacred cloister. We hardly know the names of the Samothracian gods, but cannot tell precisely the number of the Kabeiri. The Egyptians considered it blasphemous to utter the title of the gods of their secret rites. Even now, the Brahman only pronounces the syllable Om in silent thought, and the Rabbi, the Ineffable Name, . Hence, we who exercise no such veneration, have been led into the blunders of miscalling the names of Hisiris and Yava by the mispronunciations, Osiris and Jehovah. A similar glamour bids fair, it will be perceived, to gather round the designation of the dark personage of whom we are treating; and in the familiar handling, we shall be very likely to shock the peculiar sensibilities of many who will consider a free mentioning of the Devil's names as blasphemy — the sin of sins, that "hath never forgiveness."†
Several years ago an acquaintance of the author wrote a newspaper article to demonstrate that the diabolos or Satan of the New Testament denoted the personification of an abstract idea, and not a personal being. He was answered by a clergyman, who concluded the reply with the deprecatory expression, "I fear that he has denied his Saviour." In his rejoinder he pleaded, "Oh, no! we only denied the Devil." But the
clergyman failed to perceive the difference. In his conception of the matter, the denying of the personal objective existence of the Devil was itself "the sin against the Holy Ghost."
This necessary Evil, dignified by the epithet of "Father of Lies," was, according to the clergy, the founder of all the world-religions of ancient time, and of the heresies, or rather heterodoxies, of later periods, as well as the Deus ex Machina of modern Spiritualism. In the exceptions which we take to this notion, we protest that we do not attack true religion or sincere piety. We are only carrying on a controversy with human dogmas. Perhaps in doing this we resemble Don Quixote, because these things are only windmills. Nevertheless, let it be remembered that they have been the occasion and pretext for the slaughtering of more than fifty millions of human beings since the words were proclaimed: "Love your enemies."*
It is a late day for us to expect the Christian clergy to undo and amend their work. They have too much at stake. If the Christian Church should abandon or even modify the dogma of an anthropomorphic devil, it would be like pulling the bottom card from under a castle of cards. The structure would fall. The clergymen to whom we have alluded perceived that upon the relinquishing of Satan as a personal devil, the dogma of Jesus Christ as the second deity in their trinity must go over in the same catastrophe. Incredible, or even horrifying, as it may seem, the Roman Church bases its doctrine of the godhood of Christ entirely upon the satanism of the fallen archangel. We have the testimony of Father Ventura, who proclaims the vital importance of this dogma to the Catholics.
The Reverend Father Ventura, the illustrious ex-general of the Theatins, certifies that the Chevalier des Mousseaux, by his treatise, Moeurs et Pratiques des Demons, has deserved well of mankind, and still more of the most Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. With this voucher, the noble Chevalier, it will be perceived, "speaks as one having authority." He asserts explicitly, that to the Devil and his angels we are absolutely indebted for our Saviour; and that but for them we would have no Redeemer, no Christianity.
Many zealous and earnest souls have revolted at the monstrous dogma of John Calvin, the popekin of Geneva, that sin is the necessary cause of the greatest good. It was bolstered up, nevertheless, by logic like that of des Mousseaux, and illustrated by the same dogmas. The execution of Jesus, the god-man, on the cross, was the most prodigious crime in the universe, yet it was necessary that mankind — those predestinated to ever-
lasting life — might be saved. D'Aubignee cites the quotation by Martin Luther from the canon, and makes him exclaim, in ecstatic rapture: "O beata culpa, qui talem meruisti redemptorem!" O blessed sin, which didst merit such a Redeemer. We now perceive that the dogma which had appeared so monstrous is, after all, the doctrine of Pope, Calvin, and Luther alike — that the three are one.
Mahomet and his disciples, who held Jesus in great respect as a prophet, remarks Eliphas Levi, used to utter, when speaking of Christians, the following remarkable words: "Jesus of Nazareth was verily a true prophet of Allah and a grand man; but lo! his disciples all went insane one day, and made a god of him."
Max Muller kindly adds: "It was a mistake of the early Fathers to treat the heathen gods as demons or evil spirits, and we must take care not to commit the same error with regard to the Hindu gods."*
But we have Satan presented to us as the prop and mainstay of sacerdotism — an Atlas, holding the Christian heaven and cosmos upon his shoulders. If he falls, then, in their conception, all is lost, and chaos must come again.
This dogma of the Devil and redemption seems to be based upon two passages in the New Testament: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil."† "And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." Let us, then, explore the ancient Theogonies, in order to ascertain what was meant by these remarkable expressions.
The first inquiry is whether the term Devil, as here used, actually represents the malignant Deity of the Christians, or an antagonistic, blind force — the dark side of nature. By the latter we are not to understand the manifestation of any evil principle that is malum in se, but only the shadow of the Light, so to say. The theories of the kabalists treat of it as a force which is antagonistic, but at the same time essential to the vitality, evolving, and vigor of the good principle. Plants would perish in their first stage of existence, if they were kept exposed to a constant sunlight; the night alternating with the day is essential to their healthy growth and development. Goodness, likewise, would speedily cease to be such, were it not alternated by its opposite. In human nature, evil denotes the antagonism of matter to the spiritual, and each is accordingly purified thereby. In the cosmos, the equilibrium must be preserved; the
operation of the two contraries produce harmony, like the centripetal and centrifugal forces, and are necessary to each other. If one is arrested, the action of the other will immediately become destructive.
This personification, denominated Satan, is to be contemplated from three different planes: the Old Testament, the Christian Fathers, and the ancient Gentile altitude. He is supposed to have been represented by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden; nevertheless, the epithet of Satan is nowhere in the Hebrew sacred writings applied to that or any other variety of ophidian. The Brazen Serpent of Moses was worshipped by the Israelites as a god;* being the symbol of Esmun-Asklepius the Phoenician Iao. Indeed, the character of Satan himself is introduced in the 1st book of Chronicles in the act of instigating King David to number the Israelitish people, an act elsewhere declared specifically to have been moved by Jehovah himself.† The inference is unavoidable that the two, Satan and Jehovah, were regarded as identical.
Another mention of Satan is found in the prophecies of Zechariah. This book was written at a period subsequent to the Jewish colonization of Palestine, and hence, the Asideans may fairly be supposed to have brought the personification thither from the East. It is well-known that this body of sectaries were deeply imbued with the Mazdean notions; and that they represented Ahriman or Anra-manyas by the god-names of Syria. Set or Sat-an, the god of the Hittites and Hyk-sos, and Beel-Zebub the oracle-god, afterward the Grecian Apollo. The prophet began his labors in Judea in the second year of Darius Hystaspes, the restorer of the Mazdean worship. He thus describes the encounter with Satan: "He showed me Joshua the high-priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary. And the Lord said unto Satan: 'The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?' "†
We apprehend that this passage which we have quoted is symbolical. There are two allusions in the New Testament that indicate that it was so regarded. The Catholic Epistle of Jude refers to it in this peculiar language: "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the Devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, did not venture to utter to him a reviling judgment ([[Krisin epenegkein Blasphemias]]), but said, 'The Lord rebuke thee.' "* The archangel Michael is thus mentioned as identical with the Lord, or angel of the Lord, of the preceding quotation, and thus is shown that the Hebrew Jehovah had a twofold character, the secret and that manifested as the angel of the Lord, or Michael the archangel. A comparison between these two passages renders it plain that "the body of Moses" over which they contended was Palestine, which as "the land of the Hittites"† was the peculiar domain of Seth, their tutelar god.‡ Michael, as the champion of the Jehovah-worship, contended with the Devil or Adversary, but left judgment to his superior.
Belial is not entitled to the distinction of either god or devil. The term , Belial, is defined in the Hebrew lexicons to mean a destroying, waste, uselessness; or the phrase ais-Belial or Belial-man signifies a wasteful, useless man. If Belial must be personified to please our religious friends, we would be obliged to make him perfectly distinct from Satan, and to consider him as a sort of spiritual "Diakka." The demonographers, however, who enumerate nine distinct orders of daimonia, make him chief of the third class — a set of hobgoblins, mischievous and good-for-nothing.
Asmodeus is no Jewish spirit at all, his origin being purely Persian. Breal, the author of Hercule et Cacus, shows that he is the Parsi Eshem-Dev, or Aeshma-dev, the evil spirit of concupiscence, whom Max Muller tells us "is mentioned several times in the Avesta as one of the Devs,§ originally gods, who became evil spirits."
Samael is Satan; but Bryan and a good many other authorities show it to be the name of the "Simoun" — the wind of the desert,* and the Simoun is called Atabul-os or Diabolos.
Plutarch remarks that by Typhon was understood anything violent, unruly, and disorderly. The overflowing of the Nile was called by the Egyptians Typhon. Lower Egypt is very flat, and any mounds built along the river to prevent the frequent inundations, were called Typhonian or Taphos; hence, the origin of Typhon. Plutarch, who was a rigid, orthodox Greek, and never known to much compliment the Egyptians, testifies in his Isis and Osiris, to the fact that, far from worshipping the Devil (of which Christians accused them), they despised more than they dreaded Typhon. In his symbol of the opposing, obstinate power of nature, they believed him to be a poor, struggling, half-dead divinity. Thus, even at that remote age, we see the ancients already too enlightened to believe in a personal devil. As Typhon was represented in one of his symbols under the figure of an ass at the festival of the sun's sacrifices, the Egyptian priests exhorted the faithful worshippers not to carry gold ornaments upon their bodies for fear of giving food to the ass!†
Three and a half centuries before Christ, Plato expressed his opinion of evil by saying that "there is in matter a blind, refractory force, which resists the will of the Great Artificer." This blind force, under Christian influx, was made to see and become responsible; it was transformed into Satan!
His identity with Typhon can scarcely be doubted upon reading the account in Job of his appearance with the sons of God, before the Lord. He accuses Job of a readiness to curse the Lord to his face upon sufficient provocation. So Typhon, in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, figures as the accuser. The resemblance extends even to the names, for one of Typhon's appellations was Seth, or Seph; as Satan, in Hebrew, means an adversary. In Arabic the word is Shatana — to be adverse, to persecute, and Manetho says he had treacherously murdered Osiris and allied himself with the Shemites (the Israelites). This may possibly have originated the fable told by Plutarch, that, from the fight between Horus and Typhon, Typhon, overcome with fright at the mis-
chief he had caused, "fled seven days on an ass, and escaping, begat the boys Ierosolumos and Ioudaios (Jerusalem and Judea)."
Referring to an invocation of Typhon-Seth, Professor Reuvens says that the Egyptians worshipped Typhon under the form of an ass; and according to him Seth "appears gradually among the Semites as the background of their religious consciousness."* The name of the ass in Coptic, AO, is a phonetic of Iao, and hence the animal became a pun-symbol. Thus Satan is a later creation, sprung from the overheated fancy of the Fathers of the Church. By some reverse of fortune, to which the gods are subjected in common with mortals, Typhon-Seth tumbled down from the eminence of the deified son of Adam Kadmon, to the degrading position of a subaltern spirit, a mythical demon — ass. Religious schisms are as little free from the frail pettiness and spiteful feelings of humanity as the partisan quarrels of laymen. We find a strong instance of the above in the case of the Zoroastrian reform, when Magianism separated from the old faith of the Brahmans. The bright Devas of the Veda became, under the religious reform of Zoroaster, daevas, or evil spirits, of the Avesta. Even Indra, the luminous god, was thrust far back into the dark shadow† in order to show off, in a brighter light, Ahura-mazda, the Wise and Supreme Deity.
The strange veneration in which the Ophites held the serpent which represented Christos may become less perplexing if the students would but remember that at all ages the serpent was the symbol of divine wisdom, which kills in order to resurrect, destroys but to rebuild the better. Moses is made a descendant of Levi, a serpent-tribe. Gautama-Buddha is of a serpent-lineage, through the Naga (serpent) race of kings who reigned in Magadha. Hermes, or the god Taaut (Thoth), in his snake-symbol is Tet; and, according to the Ophite legends, Jesus or Christos is born from a snake (divine wisdom, or Holy Ghost), i.e., he became a Son of God through his initiation into the "Serpent Science." Vishnu, identical with the Egyptian Kneph, rests on the heavenly seven-headed serpent.
The red or fiery dragon of the ancient time was the military ensign of the Assyrians. Cyrus adopted it from them when Persia became dominant. The Romans and Byzantines next assumed it; and so the "great red dragon," from being the symbol of Babylon and Nineveh, became that of Rome.‡
The temptation, or probation,§ of Jesus is, however, the most dramatic
occasion in which Satan appears. As if to prove the designation of Apollo, AEsculapius, and Bacchus, Diobolos, or son of Zeus, he is also styled Diabolos, or accuser. The scene of the probation was the wilderness. In the desert about the Jordan and Dead Sea were the abodes of the "sons of the prophets," and the Essenes.* These ascetics used to subject their neophytes to probations, analogous to the tortures of the Mithraic rites; and the temptation of Jesus was evidently a scene of this character. Hence, in the Gospel according to Luke, it is stated that "the Diabolos, having completed the probation, left him for a specific time, [[achri kairou]], and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." But the [[diabolos]], or Devil, in this instance is evidently no malignant principle, but one exercising discipline. In this sense the terms Devil and Satan are repeatedly employed.† Thus, when Paul was liable to undue elation by reason of the abundance of revelations or epoptic disclosures, there was given him "a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satanas," to check him.‡
The story of Satan in the Book of Job is of a similar character. He is introduced among the "Sons of God," presenting themselves before the Lord, as in a Mystic initiation. Micaiah the prophet describes a similar scene, where he "saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of Heaven standing by Him," with whom He took counsel, which resulted in putting "a lying spirit into the mouth of the prophets of Ahab."§ The Lord counsels with Satan, and gives him carte blanche to test the fidelity of Job. He is stripped of his wealth and family, and smitten with a loathsome disease. In his extremity, his wife doubts his integrity, and exhorts him to worship God, as he is about to die. His friends all beset him with accusations, and finally the Lord, the chief hierophant Himself, taxes him with the uttering of words in which there is no wisdom, and with contending with the Almighty. To this rebuke Job yielded, making this appeal: "I will demand of thee, and thou shalt declare unto me: wherefore do I abhor myself and mourn in dust and ashes?" Immediately he was vindicated. "The Lord said unto Eliphaz . . . ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath." His integrity had been asserted, and his prediction verified: "I know that my Champion liveth, and that he will stand up for me at a later time on the earth; and though after my skin my body itself be corroded away, yet even then without my flesh shall I see God." The pre-
diction was accomplished: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. . . . And the Lord turned the captivity of Job."
In all these scenes there is manifested no such malignant diabolism as is supposed to characterize "the adversary of souls."
It is an opinion of certain writers of merit and learning, that the Satan of the book of Job is a Jewish myth, containing the Mazdean doctrine of the Evil Principle. Dr. Haug remarks that "the Zoroastrian religion exhibits a close affinity, or rather identity with the Mosaic religion and Christianity, such as the personality and attributes of the Devil, and the resurrection of the dead."* The war of the Apocalypse between Michael and the Dragon, can be traced with equal facility to one of the oldest myths of the Aryans. In the Avesta we read of war between Thraetaona and Azhi-Dahaka, the destroying serpent. Burnouf has endeavored to show that the Vedic myth of Ahi, or the serpent, fighting against the gods, has been gradually euhemerized into "the battle of a pious man against the power of evil," in the Mazdean religion. By these interpretations Satan would be made identical with Zohak or Azhi-Dahaka, who is a three-headed serpent, with one of the heads a human one.†
Beel-Zebub is generally distinguished from Satan. He seems, in the Apocryphal New Testament, to be regarded as the potentate of the underworld. The name is usually rendered "Baal of the Flies," which may be a designation of the Scarabaei or sacred beetles.‡ More correctly it shall be read, as it is always given in the Greek text of the Gospels, Beelzebul, or lord of the household, as is indeed intimated in Matthew
x. 25: "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more shall they call them of his household." He was also styled the prince or archon of daemons.
Typhon figures in the Book of the Dead, as the Accuser of souls when they appear for judgment, as Satan stood up to accuse Joshua, the high-priest, before the angel, and as the Devil came to Jesus to tempt or test him during his great fast in the wilderness. He was also the deity denominated Baal-Tsephon, or god of the crypt, in the book of Exodus, and Seth, or the pillar. During this period, the ancient or archaic worship was more or less under the ban of the government; in figurative language, Osiris had been treacherously slain and cut in fourteen (twice seven) pieces, and coffined by his brother Typhon, and Isis had gone to Byblos in quest of his body.
We must not forget in this relation that Saba or Sabazios, of Phrygia and Greece, was torn by the Titans into seven pieces, and that he was, like Heptaktis of the Chaldeans, the seven-rayed god. Siva, the Hindu, is represented crowned with seven serpents, and he is the god of war and destruction. The Hebrew Jehovah the Sabaoth is also called the Lord of hosts, Seba or Saba, Bacchus or Dionysus Sabazios; so that all these may easily be proved identical.
Finally the princes of the older regime, the gods who had, on the assault of the giants, taken the forms of animals and hidden in AEthiopia, returned and expelled the shepherds.
According to Josephus, the Hyk-sos were the ancestors of the Israelites.* This is doubtless substantially true. The Hebrew Scriptures, which tell a somewhat different story, were written at a later period, and underwent several revisions, before they were promulgated with any degree of publicity. Typhon became odious in Egypt, and shepherds "an abomination." "In the course of the twentieth dynasty he was suddenly treated as an evil demon, insomuch that his effigies and name are obliterated on all the monuments and inscriptions that could be reached."† In all ages the gods have been liable to be euhemerized into men. There are tombs of Zeus, Apollo, Hercules, and Bacchus, which are often mentioned to show that originally they were only mortals. Shem, Ham, and Japhet, are traced in the divinities Shamas of Assyria, Kham of
Egypt, and Iapetos the Titan. Seth was god of the Hyk-sos, Enoch, or Inachus, of the Argives; and Abraham, Isaac, and Judah have been compared with Brahma, Ikshwaka, and Yadu of the Hindu pantheon. Typhon tumbled down from godhead to devilship, both in his own character as brother of Osiris, and as the Seth, or Satan of Asia. Apollo, the god of day, became, in his older Phoenician garb, no more Baal Zebul, the Oracle-god, but prince of demons, and finally the lord of the underworld. The separation of Mazdeanism from Vedism, transformed the devas or gods into evil potencies. Indra, also, in the Vendidad is set forth as the subaltern of Ahriman,* created by him out of the materials of darkness,† together with Siva (Surya) and the two Aswins. Even Jahi is the demon of Lust — probably identical with Indra.
The several tribes and nations had their tutelar gods, and vilified those of inimical peoples. The transformation of Typhon, Satan and Beelzebub are of this character. Indeed, Tertullian speaks of Mithra, the god of the Mysteries, as a devil.
In the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, Michael and his angels overcame the Dragon and his angels: "and the Great Dragon was cast out, that Archaic Ophis, called Diabolos and Satan, that deceiveth the whole world." It is added: "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." The Lamb, or Christ, had to descend himself to hell, the world of the dead, and remain there three days before he subjugated the enemy, according to the myth.
Michael was denominated by the kabalists and the Gnostics, "the Saviour," the angel of the Sun, and angel of Light. (, probably, from to manifest and God.) He was the first of the AEons, and was well-known to antiquarians as the "unknown angel" represented on the Gnostic amulets.
The writer of the Apocalypse, if not a kabalist, must have been a Gnostic. Michael was not a personage originally exhibited to him in his vision (epopteia) but the Saviour and Dragon-slayer. Archaeological explorations have indicated him as identical with Anubis, whose effigy was lately discovered upon an Egyptian monument, with a cuirass and holding a spear, like St. Michael and St. George. He is also represented as slaying a Dragon, that has the head and tail of a serpent.‡
The student of Lepsius, Champollion, and other Egyptologists will
quickly recognize Isis as the "woman with child," "clothed with the Sun and with the Moon under her feet," whom the "great fiery Dragon" persecuted, and to whom "were given two wings of the Great Eagle that she might fly into the wilderness." Typhon was red-skinned.*
The Two Brothers, the Good and Evil Principles, appear in the Myths of the Bible as well as those of the Gentiles, and Cain and Abel, Typhon and Osiris, Esau and Jacob, Apollo and Python, etc., Esau or Osu, is represented, when born, as "red all over like an hairy garment." He is the Typhon or Satan, opposing his brother.
From the remotest antiquity the serpent was held by every people in the greatest veneration, as the embodiment of Divine wisdom and the symbol of spirit, and we know from Sanchoniathon that it was Hermes or Thoth who was the first to regard the serpent as "the most spirit-like of all the reptiles"; and the Gnostic serpent with the seven vowels over the head is but the copy of Ananta, the seven-headed serpent on which rests the god Vishnu.
We have experienced no little surprise to find upon reading the latest European treatises upon serpent-worship, that the writers confess that the public is "still almost in the dark as to the origin of the superstition in question." Mr. C. Staniland Wake, M.A.I., from whom we now quote, says: "The student of mythology knows that certain ideas were associated by the peoples of antiquity with the serpent, and that it was the favorite symbol of particular deities; but why that animal rather than any other was chosen for the purpose is yet uncertain."†
Mr. James Fergusson, F.R.S., who has gathered together such an abundance of material upon this ancient cult, seems to have no more suspicion of the truth than the rest.‡
Our explanation of the myth may be of little value to students of symbology, and yet we believe that the interpretation of the primitive serpent-worship as given by the initiates is the correct one. In Vol. i., p. 10, we quote from the serpent Mantra, in the Aytareya-Brahmana, a passage which speaks of the earth as the Sarpa Rajni, the Queen of the Serpents, and "the mother of all that moves." These expressions refer to the fact that before our globe had become egg-shaped or round it was a long trail of cosmic dust or fire-mist, moving and writhing like a serpent. This, say the explanations, was the Spirit of God moving on the chaos until its breath had incubated cosmic matter and made it assume the annular shape of a serpent with its tail in its mouth — emblem of eternity
in its spiritual and of our world in its physical sense. According to the notions of the oldest philosophers, as we have shown in the preceding chapter, the earth, serpent-like, casts off its skin and appears after every minor pralaya in a rejuvenated state, and after the great pralaya resurrects or evolves again from its subjective into objective existence. Like the serpent, it not only "puts off its old age," says Sanchoniathon, "but increases in size and strength." This is why not only Serapis, and later, Jesus, were represented by a great serpent, but even why, in our own century, big snakes are kept with sacred care in Moslem mosques; for instance, in that of Cairo. In Upper Egypt a famous saint is said to appear under the form of a large serpent; and in India in some children's cradles a pair of serpents, male and female, are reared with the infant, and snakes are often kept in houses, as they are thought to bring (a magnetic aura of) wisdom, health, and good luck. They are the progeny of Sarpa Rajni, the earth, and endowed with all her virtues.
In the Hindu mythology Vasaki, the Great Dragon, pours forth upon Durga, from his mouth, a poisonous fluid which overspreads the ground, but her consort Siva caused the earth to open her mouth and swallow it.
Thus the mystic drama of the celestial virgin pursued by the dragon seeking to devour her child, was not only depicted in the constellations of heaven, as has been mentioned, but was represented in the secret worship of the temples. It was the mystery of the god Sol, and inscribed on a black image of Isis.* The Divine Boy was chased by the cruel Typhon.† In an Egyptian legend the Dragon is said to pursue Thuesis (Isis) while she is endeavoring to protect her son.‡ Ovid describes Dione (the consort of the original Pelasgian Zeus, and mother of Venus) as flying from Typhon to the Euphrates,§ thus identifying the myth as belonging to all the countries where the Mysteries were celebrated. Virgil sings the victory:
"Hail, dear child of gods, great son of Jove!
Receive the honors great; the time is at hand;
The Serpent will die!"||
Albertus Magnus, himself an alchemist and student of occult science, as well as a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, in his enthusiasm for astrology, declared that the zodiacal sign of the celestial virgin rises above the horizon on the twenty-fifth of December, at the moment assigned by the Church for the birth of the Saviour.¶
The sign and myth of the mother and child were known thousands of years before the Christian era. The drama of the Mysteries of Demeter represents Persephoneia, her daughter, as carried away by Pluto or Hades into the world of the dead; and when the mother finally discovers her there, she has been installed as queen of the realm of Darkness. This myth was transcribed by the Church into the legend of St. Anna* going in quest of her daughter Mary, who has been conveyed by Joseph into Egypt. Persephone is depicted with two ears of wheat in her hand; so is Mary in the old pictures; so was the Celestial Virgin of the constellation. Albumazar the Arabian indicates the identity of the several myths as follows:
"In the first decan of the Virgin rises a maid, called in Arabic Aderenosa [Adha-nari?], that is, pure immaculate virgin,† graceful in person, charming in countenance, modest in habit, with loosened hair, holding in her hands two ears of wheat, sitting upon an embroidered throne, nursing a boy, and rightly feeding him in the place called Hebraea; a boy, I say, named Iessus by certain nations, which signifies Issa, whom they also call Christ in Greek."‡
At this time Grecian, Asiatic, and Egyptian ideas had undergone a remarkable transformation. The Mysteries of Dionysus-Sabazius had been replaced by the rites of Mithras, whose "caves" superseded the crypts of the former god, from Babylon to Britain. Serapis, or Sri-Apa, from Pontus, had usurped the place of Osiris. The king of Eastern Hindustan, Asoka, had embraced the religion of Siddhartha, and sent missionaries clear to Greece, Asia, Syria, and Egypt, to promulgate the evangel of wisdom. The Essenes of Judea and Arabia, the Therapeutists§ of Egypt, and the Pythagorists|| of Greece and Magna Graecia, were evidently religionists of the new faith. The legends of Gautama superseded the myths of Horus, Anubis, Adonis, Atys, and Bacchus. These were wrought anew into the Mysteries and Gospels, and to them we owe the
literature known as the Evangelists and the Apocryphal New Testament. They were kept by the Ebionites, Nazarenes, and other sects as sacred books, which they might "show only to the wise"; and were so preserved till the overshadowing influence of the Roman ecclesiastical polity was able to wrest them from those who kept them.
At the time that the high-priest Hilkiah is said to have found the Book of the Law, the Hindu Puranas (Scriptures) were known to the Assyrians. These last had for many centuries held dominion from the Hellespont to the Indus, and probably crowded the Aryans out of Bactriana into the Punjab. The Book of the Law seems to have been a purana. "The learned Brahmans," says Sir William Jones, "pretend that five conditions are requisite to constitute a real purana:
"1. To treat of the creation of matter in general.
"2. To treat of the creation or production of secondary material and spiritual beings.
"3. To give a chronological abridgment of the great periods of time.
"4. To give a genealogical abridgment of the principal families that reigned over the country.
"5. Lastly, to give the history of some great man in particular."
It is pretty certain that whoever wrote the Pentateuch had this plan before him, as well as those who wrote the New Testament had become thoroughly well acquainted with Buddhistic ritualistic worship, legends and doctrines, through the Buddhist missionaries who were many in those days in Palestine and Greece.
But "no Devil, no Christ." This is the basic dogma of the Church. We must hunt the two together. There is a mysterious connection between the two, more close than perhaps is suspected, amounting to identity. If we collect together the mythical sons of God, all of whom were regarded as "first-begotten," they will be found dovetailing together and blending in this dual character. Adam Kadmon bifurcates from the spiritual conceptive wisdom into the creative one, which evolves matter. The Adam made from dust is both son of God and Satan; and the latter is also a son of God,* according to Job.
Hercules was likewise "the First-Begotten." He is also Bel, Baal, and Bal, and therefore Siva, the Destroyer. Bacchus was styled by Euripides, "Bacchus, the Son of God." As a child, Bacchus, like the Jesus of the Apocryphal Gospels, was greatly dreaded. He is described as benevolent to mankind; nevertheless he was merciless in punishing whomever failed of respect to his worship. Pentheus, the son of Cad-
mus and Hermione, was, like the son of Rabbi Hannon, destroyed for his want of piety.
The allegory of Job, which has been already cited, if correctly understood, will give the key to this whole matter of the Devil, his nature and office; and will substantiate our declarations. Let no pious individual take exception to this designation of allegory. Myth was the favorite and universal method of teaching in archaic times. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, declared that the entire story of Moses and the Israelites was typical;* and in his Epistle to the Galatians, asserted that the whole story of Abraham, his two wives, and their sons was an allegory.† Indeed, it is a theory amounting to certitude, that the historical books of the Old Testament were of the same character. We take no extraordinary liberty with the Book of Job when we give it the same designation which Paul gave the stories of Abraham and Moses.
But we ought, perhaps, to explain the ancient use of allegory and symbology. The truth in the former was left to be deduced; the symbol expressed some abstract quality of the Deity, which the laity could easily apprehend. Its higher sense terminated there; and it was employed by the multitude thenceforth as an image to be employed in idolatrous rites. But the allegory was reserved for the inner sanctuary, when only the elect were admitted. Hence the rejoinder of Jesus when his disciples interrogated him because he spoke to the multitude in parables. "To you," said he, "it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." In the minor Mysteries a sow was washed to typify the purification of the neophyte; as her return to the mire indicated the superficial nature of the work that had been accomplished.
"The Mythus is the undisclosed thought of the soul. The characteristic trait of the myth is to convert reflection into history (a historical form). As in the epos, so in the myth, the historical element predominates. Facts (external events) often constitute the basis of the myth, and with these, religious ideas are interwoven."
The whole allegory of Job is an open book to him who understands the picture-language of Egypt as it is recorded in the Book of the Dead. In the Scene of Judgment, Osiris is represented sitting on his throne,
holding in one hand the symbol of life, "the hook of attraction," and in the other the mystic Bacchic fan. Before him are the sons of God, the forty-two assessors of the dead. An altar is immediately before the throne, covered with gifts and surmounted with the sacred lotus-flower, upon which stand four spirits. By the entrance stands the soul about to be judged, whom Thmei, the genius of Truth, is welcoming to this conclusion of the probation. Thoth holding a reed, makes a record of the proceedings in the Book of Life. Horus and Anubis, standing by the scales, inspect the weight which determines whether the heart of the deceased balances the symbol of truth, or the latter preponderates. On pedestal sits a bitch — the symbol of the Accuser.
Initiation into the Mysteries, as every intelligent person knows, was dramatic representation of scenes in the underworld. Such was the allegory of Job.
Several critics have attributed the authorship of this book to Moses. But it is older than the Pentateuch. Jehovah is not mentioned in the poem itself; and if the name occurs in the prologue, the fact must be attributed to either an error of the translators, or the premeditation exacted by the later necessity to transform polytheism into a monotheistic religion. The plan adopted was the very simple one of attributing the many names of the Elohim (gods) to a single god. So in one of the oldest Hebrew texts of Job (in chapter xii. 9) there stands the name of Jehovah, whereas all other manuscripts have "Adonai." But in the original poem Jehovah is absent. In place of this name we find Al, Aleim, Ale, Shaddai, Adonai, etc. Therefore, we must conclude that either the prologue and epilogue were added at a later period, which is inadmissible for many reasons, or that it has been tampered with like the rest of the manuscripts. Then, we find in this archaic poem no mention whatever of the Sabbatical Institution; but a great many references to the sacred number seven, of which we will speak further, and a direct discussion upon Sabeanism, the worship of the heavenly bodies prevailing in those days in Arabia. Satan is called in it a "Son of God," one of the council which presents itself before God, and he leads him into tempting Job's fidelity. In this poem, clearer and plainer than anywhere else, do we find the meaning of the appellation, Satan. It is a term for the office or character of public accuser. Satan is the Typhon of the Egyptians, barking his accusations in Amenthi; an office quite as respectable as that of the public prosecutor, in our own age; and if, through the ignorance of the first Christians, he became later identical with the Devil, it is through no connivance of his own.
The Book of Job is a complete representation of ancient initiation, and the trials which generally precede this grandest of all ceremonies.
The neophyte perceives himself deprived of everything he valued, and afflicted with foul disease. His wife appeals to him to adore God and die; there was no more hope for him. Three friends appear on the scene by mutual appointment: Eliphaz, the learned Temanite, full of the knowledge "which wise men have told from their fathers — to whom alone the earth was given"; Bildad, the conservative, taking matters as they come, and judging Job to have done wickedly, because he was afflicted; and Zophar, intelligent and skilful with "generalities" but not interiorly wise. Job boldly responds: "If I have erred, it is a matter with myself. You magnify yourselves and plead against me in my reproach; but it is God who has overthrown me. Why do you persecute me and are not satisfied with my flesh thus wasted away? But I know that my Champion lives, and that at a coming day he will stand for me in the earth; and though, together with my skin, all this beneath it shall be destroyed, yet without my flesh I shall see God. . . . Ye shall say: 'Why do we molest him?' for the root of the matter is found in me!"
This passage, like all others in which the faintest allusions could be found to a "Champion," "Deliverer," or "Vindicator," was interpreted into a direct reference to the Messiah; but apart from the fact that in the Septuagint this verse is translated:
"For I know that He is eternal
Who is about to deliver me on earth,
To restore this skin of mine which endures these things," etc.
In King James's version, as it stands translated, it has no resemblance whatever to the original.* The crafty translators have rendered it, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," etc. And yet Septuagint, Vulgate, and Hebrew original, have all to be considered as an inspired Word of God. Job refers to his own immortal spirit which is eternal, and which, when death comes, will deliver him from his putrid earthly body and clothe him with a new spiritual envelope. In the Mysteries of Eleusinia, in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and all other works treating on matters of initiation, this "eternal being" has a name. With the Neo-platonists it was the Nous, the Augoeides; with the Buddhists it is Aggra; and with the Persians, Ferwer. All of these are called the "Deliverers," the "Champions," the "Metatrons," etc. In the Mithraic sculptures of Persia, the ferwer is represented by a winged figure hovering in the air above its "object" or body.† It is the luminous Self — the Atman of
the Hindus, our immortal spirit, who alone can redeem our soul; and will, if we follow him instead of being dragged down by our body. Therefore, in the Chaldean texts, the above reads, "My deliverer, my restorer," i.e., the Spirit who will restore the decayed body of man, and transform it into a clothing of ether. And it is this Nous, Augoeides, Ferwer, Aggra, Spirit of himself, that the triumphant Job shall see without his flesh — i.e., when he has escaped from his bodily prison, and that the translators call "God."
Not only is there not the slightest allusion in the poem of Job to Christ, but it is now well proved that all those versions by different translators, which agree with that of King James, were written on the authority of Jerome, who has taken strange liberties in his Vulgate. He was the first to cram into the text this verse of his own fabrication:
"I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last day I shall arise from the earth,
And again shall be surrounded with my skin,
And in my flesh I shall see my God."
All of which might have been a good reason for himself to believe in it since he knew it, but for others who did not, and who moreover found in the text a quite different idea, it only proves that Jerome had decided, by one more interpolation, to enforce the dogma of a resurrection "at the last day," and in the identical skin and bones which we had used on earth. This is an agreeable prospect of "restoration" indeed. Why not the linen also, in which the body happens to die?
And how could the author of the Book of Job know anything of the New Testament, when evidently he was utterly ignorant even of the Old one? There is a total absence of allusion to any of the patriarchs; and so evidently is it the work of an Initiate, that one of the three daughters of Job is even called by a decidedly "Pagan" mythological name. The name of Kerenhappuch is rendered in various ways by the many translators. The Vulgate has "horn of antimony"; and the LXX has the "horn of Amalthea," the nurse of Jupiter, and one of the constellations, emblem of the "horn of plenty." The presence in the Septuagint of this heroine of Pagan fable, shows the ignorance of the transcribers of its meaning as well as the esoteric origin of the Book of Job.
Instead of offering consolations, the three friends of the suffering Job seek to make him believe that his misfortune must have come in punishment of some extraordinary transgressions on his part. Hurling back upon them all their imputations, Job swears that while his breath is in him he will maintain his cause. He takes in view the period of his prosperity "when the secret of God was upon his tabernacles," and he was a judge
"who sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, or one that comforteth the mourners," and compares with it the present time — when vagrant Bedouins held him in derision, men "viler than the earth," when he was prostrated by misfortune and foul disease. Then he asserts his sympathy for the unfortunate, his chastity, his integrity, his probity, his strict justice, his charities, his moderation, his freedom from the prevalent sun-worship, his tenderness to enemies, his hospitality to strangers, his openness of heart, his boldness for the right, though he encountered the multitude and the contempt of families; and invokes the Almighty to answer him, and his adversary to write down of what he had been guilty.
To this there was not, and could not be, any answer. The three had sought to crush Job by pleadings and general arguments, and he had demanded consideration for his specific acts. Then appeared the fourth; Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram.*
Elihu is the hierophant; he begins with a rebuke, and the sophisms of Job's false friends are swept away like the loose sand before the west wind.
"And Elihu, the son of Barachel, spoke and said: 'Great men are not always wise . . . there is a spirit in man; the spirit within me constraineth me. . . . God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream; in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon man, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction. O Job, hearken unto me; hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.' "
And Job, who to the dogmatic fallacies of his three friends in the bitterness of his heart had exclaimed: "No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. . . . Miserable comforters are ye all. . . . Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are physicians of no value!" The sore-eaten, visited Job, who in the face of the official clergy — offering for all hope the necessarianism of damnation, had in his despair nearly wavered in his patient faith, answered: "What ye know, the same do I know also; I am not inferior unto you. . . . Man cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. . . . Man dieth, and wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? . . . If a man die shall he live again? . . . When a few years are come then I shall go the way whence I shall not return. . . . O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!"
Job finds one who answers to his cry of agony. He listens to the wisdom of Elihu, the hierophant, the perfected teacher, the inspired philosopher. From his stern lips comes the just rebuke for his impiety in charging upon the Supreme Being the evils of humanity. "God," says Elihu, "is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice; He will not afflict."
So long as the neophyte was satisfied with his own worldly wisdom and irreverent estimate of the Deity and His purposes; so long as he gave ear to the pernicious sophistries of his advisers, the hierophant kept silent. But, when this anxious mind was ready for counsel and instruction, his voice is heard, and he speaks with the authority of the Spirit of God that "constraineth" him: "Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. . . . He respecteth not any that are wise at heart."
What better commentary than this upon the fashionable preacher, who "multiplieth words without knowledge!" This magnificent prophetic satire might have been written to prefigure the spirit that prevails in all the denominations of Christians.
Job hearkens to the words of wisdom, and then the "Lord" answers Job "out of the whirlwind" of nature, God's first visible manifestation: "Stand still, O Job, stand still! and consider the wondrous works of God; for by them alone thou canst know God. 'Behold, God is great, and we know him not,' Him who 'maketh small the drops of water; but they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof' ";* not according to the divine whim, but to the once established and immutable laws. Which law "removeth the mountains and they know not; which shaketh the earth; which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars; . . . which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. . . . Lo, He goeth by me, and I see him not; he passeth on also, but I perceive him not!"†
Then, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?"‡ speaks the voice of God through His mouthpiece — nature. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? . . . Wast thou present when I said to the seas, 'Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?' . . . Knowest thou who hath caused it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man. . . . Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands
of Orion? . . .Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, 'Here we are?' "*
"Then Job answered the Lord." He understood His ways, and his eyes were opened for the first time. The Supreme Wisdom descended upon him; and if the reader remain puzzled before this final Petroma of initiation, at least Job, or the man "afflicted" in his blindness, then realized the impossibility of catching "Leviathan by putting a hook into his nose." The Leviathan is occult science, on which one can lay his hand, but "do no more,"† whose power and "comely proportion" God wishes not to conceal.
"Who can discover the face of his garment, or who can come to him with his double bridle? Who can open the doors of his face, 'of him whose scales are his pride, shut up together as with a closed seal?' Through whose 'neesings a light doth Shine,' and whose eyes are like the lids of the morning." Who "maketh a light to shine after him," for those who have the fearlessness to approach him. And then they, like him, will behold "all high things, for he is king only over all the children of pride."‡
Job, now in modest confidence, responded:
"I know that thou canst do everything,
And that no thought of thine can be resisted.
Who is he that maketh a show of arcane wisdom,
Of which he knoweth nothing?
Thus have I uttered what I did not comprehend —
Things far above me, which I did not know.
Hear! I beseech thee, and I will speak;
I will demand of thee, and do thou answer me:
I have heard thee with my ears,
And now I see thee with my eyes,
Wherefore am I loathsome,
And mourn in dust and ashes?"
He recognized his "champion," and was assured that the time for his vindication had come. Immediately the Lord ("the priests and the judges," Deuteronomy xix. 17) saith to his friends: "My wrath is kindled against thee and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath." So "the Lord turned the captivity of Job," and "blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning."
Then in the judgment the deceased invokes four spirits who preside over the Lake of Fire, and is purified by them. He then is conducted to
his celestial house, and is received by Athar and Isis, and stands before Atum,* the essential God. He is now Turu, the essential man, a pure spirit, and henceforth On-ati, the eye of fire, and an associate of the gods.
This grandiose poem of Job was well understood by the kabalists. While many of the mediaeval Hermetists were profoundly religious men, they were, in their innermost hearts — like kabalists of every age — the deadliest enemies of the clergy. How true the words of Paracelsus when worried by fierce persecution and slander, misunderstood by friends and foes, abused by clergy and laity, he exclaimed:
"O ye of Paris, Padua, Montpellier, Salerno, Vienna, and Leipzig! Ye are not teachers of the truth, but confessors of lies. Your philosophy is a lie. Would you know what magic really is, then seek it in St. John's Revelation. . . . As you cannot yourselves prove your teachings from the Bible and the Revelation, then let your farces have an end. The Bible is the true key and interpreter. John, not less than Moses, Elias, Enoch, David, Solomon, Daniel, Jeremiah, and the rest of the prophets, was a magician, kabalist, and diviner. If now, all, or even any of those I have named, were yet living, I do not doubt that you would make an example of them in your miserable slaughter-house, and would annihilate them there on the spot, and if it were possible, the Creator of all things too!"
That Paracelsus had learned some mysterious and useful things out of Revelation and other Bible books, as well as from the Kabala, was proved by him practically; so much so, that he is called by many the "father of magic and founder of the occult physics of the Kabala and magnetism."†
So firm was the popular belief in the supernatural powers of Paracelsus, that to this day the tradition survives among the simple-minded Alsatians that he is not dead, but "sleepeth in his grave" at Strasburg.‡ And they often whisper among themselves that the green sod heaves with every respiration of that weary breast, and that deep groans are heard as the great fire-philosopher awakes to the remembrance of the cruel wrongs he suffered at the hands of his cruel slanderers for the sake of the great truth!
It will be perceived from these extended illustrations that the Satan of the Old Testament, the Diabolos or Devil of the Gospels and Apostolic Epistles, were but the antagonistic principle in matter, necessarily incident to it, and not wicked in the moral sense of the term. The Jews,
coming from the Persian country, brought with them the doctrine of two principles. They could not bring the Avesta, for it was not written. But they — we mean the Asidians and Pharsi — invested Ormazd with the secret name of , and Ahriman with the name of the gods of the land, Satan of the Hittites, and Diabolos, or rather Diobolos, of the Greeks. The early Church, at least the Pauline part of it, the Gnostics and their successors, further refined upon their ideas; and the Catholic Church adopted and adapted them, meanwhile putting their promulgators to the sword.
The Protestant is a reaction from the Roman Catholic Church. It is necessarily not coherent in its parts, but a prodigious host of fragments beating their way round a common centre, attracting and repelling each other. Parts are centripetally impelled towards old Rome, or the system which enabled old Rome to exist; parts still recoil under the centrifugal impulse, and seek to rush into the broad ethereal region beyond Roman, or even Christian influence.
The modern Devil is their principal heritage from the Roman Cybele, "Babylon, the Great Mother of the idolatrous and abominable religions of the earth."
But it may be argued, perhaps, that Hindu theology, both Brahmanical and Buddhistic, is as strongly impregnated with belief in objective devils as Christianity itself. There is a slight difference. This very subtlety of the Hindu mind is a sufficient warrant that the well-educated people, the learned portion, at least, of the Brahman and Buddhist divines, consider the Devil in another light. With them the Devil is a metaphysical abstraction, an allegory of necessary evil; while with Christians the myth has become a historical entity, the fundamental stone on which Christianity, with its dogma of redemption, is built. He is as necessary — as Des Mousseaux has shown — to the Church as the beast of the seventeenth chapter of the Apocalypse was to his rider. The English-speaking Protestants, not finding the Bible explicit enough, have adopted the Diabology of Milton's celebrated poem, Paradise Lost, embellishing it somewhat from Goethe's celebrated drama of Faust. John Milton, first a Puritan and finally a Quietist and Unitarian, never put forth his great production except as a work of fiction, but it thoroughly dovetailed together the different parts of Scripture. The Ilda-Baoth of the Ophites was transformed into an angel of light, and the morning star, and made the Devil in the first act of the Diabolic Drama. Then the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse was brought in for the second act. The great red Dragon was adopted as the same illustrious personage as Lucifer, and the last scene is his fall, like that of Vulcan-Hephaistos, from Heaven into the island of Lemnos; the fugitive hosts and their
leader "coming to hard bottom" in Pandemonium. The third act is the Garden of Eden. Satan holds a council in a hall erected by him for his new empire, and determines to go forth on an exploring expedition in quest of the new world. The next acts relate to the fall of man, his career on earth, the advent of the Logos, or Son of God, and his redemption of mankind, or the elect portion of them, as the case may be.
This drama of Paradise Lost comprises the unformulated belief of English-speaking "evangelical Protestant Christians." Disbelief of its main features is equivalent, in their view, to "denying Christ" and "blaspheming against the Holy Ghost." If John Milton had supposed that his poem, instead of being regarded as a companion of Dante's Divine Comedy, would have been considered as another Apocalypse to supplement the Bible, and complete its demonology, it is more than probable that he would have borne his poverty more resolutely, and withheld it from the press. A later poet, Robert Pollok, taking his cue from this work, wrote another, The Course of Time, which bade fair for a season to take the rank of a later Scripture; but the nineteenth century has fortunately received a different inspiration, and the Scotch poet is falling into oblivion.
We ought, perhaps, to make a brief notice of the European Devil. He is the genius who deals in sorcery, witchcraft, and other mischief. The Fathers taking the idea from the Jewish Pharisees, made devils of the Pagan gods, Mithras, Serapis, and the others. The Roman Catholic Church followed by denouncing the former worship as commerce with the powers of darkness. The malefecii and witches of the middle ages were thus but the votaries of the proscribed worship. Magic in all ancient times had been considered as divine science, wisdom, and the knowledge of God. The healing art in the temples of AEsculapius, and at the shrines of Egypt and the East, had always been magical. Even Darius Hystaspes, who had exterminated the Median Magi, and even driven out the Chaldean theurgists from Babylon into Asia Minor, had also been instructed by the Brahmans of Upper Asia, and, finally, while establishing the worship of Ormazd, was also himself denominated the instituter of magism. All was now changed. Ignorance was enthroned as the mother of devotion. Learning was denounced, and savants prosecuted the sciences in peril of their lives. They were compelled to employ a jargon to conceal their ideas from all but their own adepts, and to accept opprobrium, calumny, and poverty.
The votaries of the ancient worship were persecuted and put to death on charges of witchcraft. The Albigenses, descendants of the Gnostics, and the Waldenses, precursors of the Protestants, were hunted and massacred under like accusations. Martin Luther himself was accused of
companionship with Satan in proper person. The whole Protestant world still lies under the same imputation. There is no distinction in the judgments of the Church between dissent, heresy, and witchcraft. And except where civil authority protects, they are alike capital offences. Religious liberty the Church regards as intolerance.
But the reformers were nursed with the milk of their mother. Luther was as bloodthirsty as the Pope; Calvin more intolerant than Leo or Urban. Thirty years of war depopulated whole districts of Germany, Protestants and Catholics cruel alike. The new faith too opened its batteries against witchcraft. The statute books became crimsoned with bloody legislation in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, and the North American Commonwealth. Whosoever was more liberal, more intelligent, more free speaking than his fellows was liable to arrest and death. The fires that were extinguished at Smithfield were kindled anew for magicians; it was safer to rebel against a throne than to pursue abstruse knowledge outside the orthodox dead-line.
In the seventeenth century Satan made a sortie in New England, New Jersey, New York, and several of the Southern colonies of North America, and Cotton Mather gives us the principal chronicles of his manifestation. A few years later he visited the Parsonage of Mora, in Sweden, and Life in Dalecarlia was diversified with the burning alive of young children, and the whipping of others at the church-doors on Sabbath-days. The skepticism of modern times has, however, pretty much driven the belief in witchcraft into Coventry; and the Devil in personal anthropomorphic form, with his Bacchus-foot, and his Pan-like goat's horns, holds place only in the Encyclical Letters, and other effusions of the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant respectability does not allow him to be named at all except with bated breath in a pulpit-enclosure.
Having now set forth the biography of the Devil from his first advent in India and Persia, his progress through Jewish, and both early and later Christian Theology down to the latest phases of his manifestation, we now turn back to review certain of the opinions extant in the earlier Christian centuries.
Avatars or incarnations were common to the old religions. India had them reduced to a system. The Persians expected Sosiosh, and the Jewish writers looked for a deliverer. Tacitus and Suetonius relate that the East was full of expectation of the Great Personage about the time of Octavius. "Thus doctrines obvious to Christians were the highest arcana of Paganism."* The Maneros of Plutarch was a child of Pales-
tine;* his mediator Mithras, the Saviour Osiris is the Messiah. In our present "Canonical Scriptures" are to be traced the vestigia of the ancient worships; and in the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church we find the forms of the Buddhistical worship, its ceremonies and hierarchy. The first Gospels, once as canonical as any of the present four, contain pages taken almost entire from Buddhistical narratives, as we are prepared to show. After the evidence furnished by Burnouf, Asoma, Korosi, Beal, Hardy, Schmidt, and translations from the Tripitaka, it is impossible to doubt that the whole Christian scheme emanated from the other. The "Miraculous Conception" miracles and other incidents are found in full in Hardy's Manual of Buddhism. We can readily realize why the Roman Catholic Church is anxious to keep the common people in utter ignorance of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek literature. Philology and comparative Theology are her deadliest enemies. The deliberate falsifications of Irenaeus, Epiphanius, Eusebius and Tertullian had become a necessity.
The Sibylline Books at that period seem to have been regarded with extraordinary favor. One can easily perceive that they were inspired from the same source as those of the Gentile nations.
Here is a leaf from Gallaeus:
"New Light has arisen:
Coming from Heaven, it assumed a mortal form. . . .
— Virgin, receive God in thy pure bosom —
And the Word flew into her womb:
Becoming incarnate in Time, and animated by her body,
It was found in a mortal image, and a Boy was created
By a Virgin. . . . The new God-sent Star was adored by the Magi,
The infant swathed was shown in a manger. . . .
And Bethlehem was called "God-called country of the Word."*
This looks at first-sight like a prophecy of Jesus. But could it not mean as well some other creative God? We have like utterances concerning Bacchus and Mithras.
"I, son of Deus, am come to the land of the Thebans — Bacchus, whom formerly Semele (the Virgin), the daughter of Kadmus (the man from the East) brings forth — being delivered by the lightning-bearing flame; and having taken a mortal form instead of God's, I have arrived."‡
The Dionysiacs, written in the fifth century, serve to render this matter very clear, and even to show its close connection with the Christian legend of the birth of Jesus:
Kore-Persephoneia* . . . you were wived as the Dragon's spouse,
When Zeus, very coiled, his form and countenance changed,
A Dragon-Bridegroom, coiled in love-inspiring fold . . .
Glided to dark Kore's maiden couch . . .
Thus, by the alliance with the Dragon of AEther,
The womb of Persephone became alive with fruit,
Bearing Zagreus,† the Horned Child."‡
Here we have the secret of the Ophite worship, and the origin of the Christian later-revised fable of the immaculate conception. The Gnostics were the earliest Christians with anything like a regular theological system, and it is only too evident that it was Jesus who was made to fit their theology as Christos, and not their theology that was developed out of his sayings and doings. Their ancestors had maintained, before the Christian era, that the Great Serpent — Jupiter, the Dragon of Life, the Father and "Good Divinity," had glided into the couch of Semele, and now, the post-Christian Gnostics, with a very trifling change, applied the same fable to the man Jesus, and asserted that the same "Good Divinity," Saturn (Ilda-Baoth), had, in the shape of the Dragon of Life, glided over the cradle of the infant Mary.§ In their eyes the Serpent was the Logos — Christos, the incarnation of Divine Wisdom, through his Father Ennola and Mother Sophia.
"Now my mother, the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) took me," Jesus is made to say in the Gospel of the Hebrews,|| thus entering upon his part of Christos — the Son of Sophia, the Holy Spirit.¶
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called Son of God," says the angel (Luke i. 35).
"God . . . hath at the last of these days spoken to us by a Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the AEons" (Paul: Heb. i.).*
All such expressions are so many Christian quotations from the Nonnus verse " . . . through the AEtherial Draconteum," for Ether is the Holy Ghost or third person of the Trinity — the Hawk-headed Serpent, the Egyptian Kneph, emblem of the Divine Mind† and Plato's universal soul.
"I, Wisdom, came out of the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth as a cloud."‡
Pimander, the Logos, issues from the Infinite Darkness, and covers the earth with clouds which, serpentine-like, spread all over the earth (See Champollion's Egypte). The Logos is the oldest image of God, and he is the active Logos, says Philo.§ The Father is the Latent Thought.
This idea being universal, we find an identical phraseology to express it, among Pagans, Jews, and early Christians. The Chaldeo-Persian Logos is the Only-Begotten of the Father in the Babylonian cosmogony of Eudemus. "Hymn now, Eli, child of Deus," begins a Homeric hymn to the sun.|| Sol-Mithra is an "image of the Father," as the kabalistic Seir-Anpin.
That of all the various nations of antiquity, there never was one which believed in a personal devil more than liberal Christians in the nineteenth century, seems hardly credible, and yet such is the sorrowful fact. Neither the Egyptians, whom Porphyry terms "the most learned nation of the world," ¶ nor Greece, its faithful copyist, were ever guilty of such a crowning absurdity. We may add at once that none of them, not even the ancient Jews, believed in hell or an eternal damnation any more than in the Devil, although our Christian churches are so liberal in dealing it out to the heathen. Wherever the word "hell" occurs in the translations of the Hebrew sacred texts, it is unfortunate. The Hebrews were ignorant of such an idea; but yet the gospels contain frequent examples of the same misunderstanding. So, when Jesus is made to say (Matthew xvi. 18) ". . . and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it," in the original text it stands "the gates of death."
Never is the word "hell" — as applied to the state of damnation, either temporary or eternal — used in any passage of the Old Testament, all hellists to the contrary, notwithstanding. "Tophet," or "the Valley of Hinnom" (Isaiah lxvi. 24) bears no such interpretation. The Greek term "Gehenna" has also quite a different meaning, as it has been proved conclusively by more than one competent writer, that "Gehenna" is identical with the Homeric Tartarus.
In fact, we have Peter himself as authority for it. In his second Epistle (ii. 2) the Apostle, in the original text, is made to say of the sinning angels that God "cast them down into Tartarus." This expression too inconveniently recalling the war of Jupiter and the Titans, was altered, and now it reads, in King James's version: "cast them down to hell."
In the Old Testament the expressions "gates of death," and the "chambers of death," simply allude to the "gates of the grave," which are specifically mentioned in the Psalms and Proverbs. Hell and its sovereign are both inventions of Christianity, coeval with its accession to power and resort to tyranny. They were hallucinations born of the nightmares of the SS. Anthonys in the desert. Before our era the ancient sages knew the "Father of Evil," and treated him no better than an ass, the chosen symbol of Typhon, "the Devil."* Sad degeneration of human brains!
As Typhon was the dark shadow of his brother Osiris, so Python is the evil side of Apollo, the bright god of visions, the seer and the soothsayer. He is killed by Python, but kills him in his turn, thus redeeming humanity from sin. It was in memory of this deed that the priestesses of the sun-god enveloped themselves in the snake-skin, typical of the fabulous monster. Under its exhilarating influence — the serpent's skin being considered magnetic — the priestesses fell into magnetic trances, and "receiving their voice from Apollo," they became prophetic and delivered oracles.
Again Apollo and Python are one and morally androgynous. The sun-god ideas are all dual, without exception. The beneficent warmth of the sun calls the germ into existence, but excessive heat kills the plant. While playing on his seven-stringed planetary lyre, Apollo produces harmony; but, as well as other sun-gods, under his dark aspect he becomes the destroyer, Python.
St. John is known to have travelled in Asia, a country governed by Magi and imbued with Zoroastrian ideas, and in those days full of Buddhist
missionaries. Had he never visited those places and come in contact with Buddhists, it is doubtful whether the Revelation would have been written. Besides his ideas of the dragon, he gives prophetic narratives entirely unknown to the other apostles, and which, relating to the second advent, make of Christ a faithful copy of Vishnu.
Thus Ophios and Ophiomorphos, Apollo and Python, Osiris and Typhon, Christos and the Serpent, are all convertible terms. They are all Logoi, and one is unintelligible without the other, as day could not be known had we no night. All are regenerators and saviours, one in a spiritual, the other in a physical sense. One insures immortality for the Divine Spirit; the other gives it through regeneration of the seed. The Saviour of mankind has to die, because he unveils to humanity the great secret of the immortal ego; the serpent of Genesis is cursed because he said to matter, "Ye shall not die." In the world of Paganism the counterpart of the "serpent" is the second Hermes, the reincarnation of Hermes Trismegistus.
Hermes is the constant companion and instructor of Osiris and Isis. He is the personified wisdom; so is Cain, the son of the "Lord." Both build cities, civilize and instruct mankind in the arts.
It has been repeatedly stated by the Christian missionaries in Ceylon and India that the people are steeped in demonolatry; that they are devil-worshippers, in the full sense of the word. Without any exaggeration we say that they are no more so than the masses of uneducated Christians. But even were they worshippers of (which is more than believers in) the Devil, yet there is a great difference between the teachings of their clergy on the subject of a personal devil and the dogmas of Catholic preachers and many Protestant ministers also. The Christian priests are bound to teach and impress upon the minds of their flock the existence of the Devil, and the opening pages of the present chapter show the reason why. But not only will the Cingalese Oepasampala, who belong to the highest priesthood, not confess to belief in a personal demon but even the Samenaira, the candidates and novices, would laugh at the idea. Everything in the external worship of the Buddhists is allegorical and is never otherwise accepted or taught by the educated pungis (pundits). The accusation that they allow, and tacitly agree to leave the poor people steeped in the most degrading superstitions, is not without foundation; but that they enforce such superstitions, we most vehemently deny. And in this they appear to advantage beside our Christian clergy, who (at least those who have not allowed their fanaticism to interfere with their brains), without believing a word of it, yet preach the existence of the Devil, as the personal enemy of a personal God, and the evil genius of mankind.
St. George's Dragon, which figures so promiscuously in the grandest cathedrals of the Christians, is not a whit handsomer than the King of Snakes, the Buddhist Nammadanam-naraya, the great Dragon. If the planetary Demon Rawho, is believed, in the popular superstition of the Cingalese, to endeavor to destroy the moon by swallowing it; and if in China and Tartary the rabble is allowed, without rebuke, to beat gongs and make fearful noises to drive the monster away from its prey during the eclipses, why should the Catholic clergy find fault, or call this superstition? Do not the country clergy in Southern France do the same, occasionally, at the appearance of comets, eclipses, and other celestial phenomena? In 1456, when Halley's comet made its appearance, "so tremendous was its apparition," writes Draper, "that it was necessary for the Pope himself to interfere. He exorcised and expelled it from the skies. It slunk away into the abysses of space, terror-stricken by the maledictions of Calixtus III., and did not venture back for seventy-five years!"*
We never heard of any Christian clergyman or Pope trying to disabuse ignorant minds of the belief that the Devil had anything to do with eclipses and comets; but we do find a Buddhist chief priest saying to an official who twitted him with this superstition: "Our Cingalese religious books teach that the eclipses of the sun and moon denote an attack of Rahu† (one of the nine planets) not by a devil."‡
The origin of the "Dragon" myth so prominent in the Apocalypse and Golden Legend, and of the fable about Simeon Stylites converting the Dragon, is undeniably Buddhistic and even pre-Buddhistic. It was Gautama's pure doctrines which reclaimed to Buddhism the Cashmerians whose primitive worship was the Ophite or Serpent worship. Frankincense and flowers replaced the human sacrifices and belief in personal demons. It became the turn of Christianity to inherit the degrading superstition about devils invested with pestilential and murderous powers. The Mahavansa, oldest of the Ceylonese books, relates the story of King Covercapal (cobra-de-capello), the snake-god, who was converted to Buddhism by a holy Rahat;§ and it is earlier, by all odds, than the Golden Legend which tells the same of Simeon the Stylite and his Dragon.
The Logos triumphs once more over the great Dragon; Michael, the luminous archangel, chief of the AEons, conquers Satan.*
It is a fact worthy of remark, that so long as the initiate kept silent "on what he knew," he was perfectly safe. So was it in days of old, and so it is now. As soon as the Christian God, emanating forth from Silence, manifested himself as the Word or Logos, the latter became the cause of his death. The serpent is the symbol of wisdom and eloquence, but it is likewise the symbol of destruction. "To dare, to know, to will, and be silent," are the cardinal axioms of the kabalist. Like Apollo and other gods, Jesus is killed by his Logos;† he rises again, kills him in his turn, and becomes his master. Can it be that this old symbol has, like the rest of ancient philosophical conceptions, more than one allegorical and never-suspected meaning? The coincidences are too strange to be results of mere chance.
And now that we have shown this identity between Michael and Satan, and the Saviours and Dragons of other people, what can be more clear than that all these philosophical fables originated in India, that universal hot-bed of metaphysical mysticism? "The world," says Ramatsariar, in his comments upon the Vedas, "commenced with a contest between the Spirit of Good and the Spirit of Evil, and so must end. After the destruction of matter evil can no longer exist, it must return to naught."‡
In the Apologia, Tertullian falsifies most palpably every doctrine and belief of the Pagans as to the oracles and gods. He calls them, indifferently, demons and devils, accusing the latter of taking possession of even the birds of the air! What Christian would now dare doubt such an authority? Did not the Psalmist exclaim: "All the gods of the nations are idols"; and the Angel of the School, Thomas Aquinas, explains, on his own kabalistic authority, the word idols by devils? "They come to men," he says, "and offer themselves to their adoration by operating certain things which seem miraculous."§
The Fathers were prudent as they were wise in their inventions. To be impartial, after having created a Devil, they set to creating apocryphal saints. We have named several in preceding chapters; but we must not forget Baronius, who having read in a work of Chrysostom about the holy Xenoris, the word meaning a pair, a couple, mistook it for the
name of a saint, and proceeded forthwith to create of it a martyr of Antioch, and went on to give a most detailed and authentic biography of the "blessed martyr." Other theologians made of Apollyon — or rather Apolouon — the anti-Christ. Apolouon is Plato's "washer," the god who purifies, who washes off, and releases us from sin, but he was thus transformed into him "whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon" — Devil!
Max Muller says that the serpent in Paradise is a conception which might have sprung up among the Jews, and "seems hardly to invite comparison with the much grander conceptions of the terrible power of Vritra and Ahriman in the Veda and Avesta." With the kabalists the Devil was always a myth — God or good reversed. That modern Magus, Eliphas Levi, calls the Devil l'ivresse astrale. It is a blind force like electricity, he says; and, speaking allegorically, as he always did, Jesus remarked that he "bebeld Satan like lightning fall from Heaven."
The clergy insist that God has sent the Devil to tempt mankind; which would be rather a singular way of showing his boundless love to humanity! If the Supreme One is really guilty of such unfatherly treachery, he is worthy, certainly, of the adoration only of a Church capable of singing the Te Deum over a massacre of St. Bartholomew, and of blessing Mussulman swords drawn to slaughter Greek Christians!
This is at once sound logic and good sound law, for is it not a maxim of jurisprudence: "Qui facit per alium, facit per se"?
The great dissimilarity which exists between the various conceptions of the Devil is really often ludicrous. While bigots will invariably endow him with horns, tail, and every conceivable repulsive feature, even including an offensive human smell,* Milton, Byron, Goethe, Lermontoff,† and a host of French novelists have sung his praise in flowing verse and thrilling prose. Milton's Satan, and even Goethe's Mephistopheles, are certainly far more commanding figures than some of the angels, as represented in the prose of ecstatic bigots. We have
but to compare two descriptions. Let us first award the floor to the incomparably sensational des Mousseaux. He gives us a thrilling account of an incubus, in the words of the penitent herself: "Once," she tells us, "during the space of a whole half-hour, she saw distinctly near her an individual with a black, dreadful, horrid body, and whose hands, of an enormous size, exhibited clawed fingers strangely hooked. The senses of sight, feeling, and smell were confirmed by that of hearing!!"*
And yet, for the space of several years, the damsel suffered herself to be led astray by such a hero. How far above this odoriferous gallant is the majestic figure of the Miltonic Satan!
Let the reader then fancy, if he can, this superb chimera, this ideal of the rebellious angel become incarnate Pride, crawling into the skin of the most disgusting of all animals! Notwithstanding that the Christian catechism teaches us that Satan in propria persona tempted our first mother, Eve, in a real paradise, and that in the shape of a serpent, which of all animals was the most insinuating and fascinating! God orders him, as a punishment, to crawl eternally on his belly, and bite the dust. "A sentence," remarks Levi, "which resembles in nothing the traditional flames of hell." The more so, that the real zoological serpent, which was created before Adam and Eve, crawled on his belly, and bit the dust likewise, before there was any original sin.
Apart from this, was not Ophion the Daimon, or Devil, like God called Dominus?† The word God (deity) is derived from the Sanscrit word Deva, and Devil from the Persian daeva, which words are substantially alike. Hercules, son of Jove and Alcmena, one of the highest sun-gods and also Logos manifested, is nevertheless represented under a double nature, as all others.‡
The Agathodaemon, the beneficent daemon,§ the same which we find later among the Ophites under the appellation of the Logos, or divine wisdom, was represented by a serpent standing erect on a pole, in the Bacchanalian Mysteries. The hawk-headed serpent is among the oldest of the Egyptian emblems, and represents the divine mind, says Deane.|| Azazel is Moloch and Samael, says Movers,¶ and we find Aaron, the brother of the great law-giver Moses, making equal sacrifices to Jehovah and Azazel.
"And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord (Ihoh in the original) and one lot for the scape-goat" (Azazel).
In the Old Testament Jehovah exhibits all the attributes of old Saturn,* notwithstanding his metamorphoses from Adoni into Eloi, and God of Gods, Lord of Lords.†
Jesus is tempted on the mountain by the Devil, who promises to him kingdoms and glory if he will only fall down and worship him (Matthew iv. 8, 9). Buddha is tempted by the Demon Wasawarthi Mara, who says to him as he is leaving his father's palace: "Be entreated to stay that you may possess the honors that are within your reach; go not, go not! " And upon the refusal of Gautama to accept his offers, gnashes his teeth with rage, and threatens him with vengeance. Like Christ, Buddha triumphs over the Devil.‡
In the Bacchic Mysteries a consecrated cup was handed around after supper, called the cup of the Agathodaemon.§ The Ophite rite of the same description is evidently borrowed from these Mysteries. The communion consisting of bread and wine was used in the worship of nearly every important deity.||
In connection with the semi-Mithraic sacrament adopted by the Marcosians, another Gnostic sect, utterly kabalistic and theurgic, there is a strange story given by Epiphanius as an illustration of the cleverness of the Devil. In the celebration of their Eucharist, three large vases of the finest and clearest crystal were brought among the congregation and filled with white wine. While the ceremony was going on, in full view of everybody, this wine was instantaneously changed into a blood-red, a purple, and then into an azure-blue color. "Then the magus," says Epiphanius, "hands one of these vases to a woman in the congregation, and asks her to bless it. When it is done, the magus pours out of it into another vase of much greater capacity with the prayer: "May the grace of God, which is above all, inconceivable, inexplicable, fill thy inner man, and augment the knowledge of Him within thee, sowing the grain of mus-
tard-seed in good ground.* Whereupon the liquor in the larger vase swells and swells until it runs over the brim."†
In connection with several of the Pagan deities which are made after death, and before their resurrection to descend into Hell, it will be found useful to compare the pre-Christian with the post-Christian narratives. Orpheus made the journey,‡ and Christ was the last of these subterranean travellers. In the Credo of the Apostles, which is divided in twelve sentences or articles, each particular article having been inserted by each particular apostle, according to St. Austin§ the sentence "He descended into hell, the third day he rose again from the dead," is assigned to Thomas; perhaps, as an atonement for his unbelief. Be it as it may, the sentence is declared a forgery, and there is no evidence "that this creed was either framed by the apostles, or indeed, that it existed as a creed in their time."||
It is the most important addition in the Apostle's Creed, and dates since the year of Christ 600.¶ It was not known in the days of Eusebius. Bishop Parsons says that it was not in the ancient creeds or rules of faith.** Irenaeus, Origen, and Tertullian exhibit no knowledge of this sentence.†† It is not mentioned in any of the Councils before the seventh century. Theodoret, Epiphanius, and Socrates are silent about it. It differs from the creed in St. Augustine.‡‡ Ruffinus affirms that in his time it was neither in the Roman nor in the Oriental creeds (Exposit., in Symbol. Apost. § 10). But the problem is solved when we learn that ages ago Hermes spoke thus to Prometheus, chained on the arid rocks of the Caucasian mount:
"To such labors look thou for no termination, until some god
shall appear as a substitute in thy pangs, and shall be willing to go both to gloomy Hades and to the murky depths around Tartarus!" (AEschylus: Prometheus, 1027, ff.).
This god was Herakles, the "Only-Begotten One," and the Saviour. And it is he who was chosen as a model by the ingenious Fathers. Hercules — called Alexicacos — for he brought round the wicked and converted them to virtue; Soter, or Saviour, also called Neulos Eumelos — the Good Shepherd; Astrochiton, the star-clothed, and the Lord of Fire. "He sought not to subject nations by force but by divine wisdom and persuasion," says Lucian. "Herakles spread cultivation and a mild religion, and destroyed the doctrine of eternal punishment by dragging Kerberus (the Pagan Devil) from the nether world." And, as we see, it was Herakles again who liberated Prometheus (the Adam of the pagans), by putting an end to the torture inflicted on him for his transgressions, by descending to the Hades, and going round the Tartarus. Like Christ he appeared as a substitute for the pangs of humanity, by offering himself in a self-sacrifice on a funereal-burning pile. "His voluntary immolation," says Bart, "betokened the ethereal new birth of men. . . . Through the release of Prometheus, and the erection of altars, we behold in him the mediator between the old and new faiths. . . . He abolished human sacrifice wherever he found it practiced. He descended into the sombre realm of Pluto, as a shade . . . he ascended as a spirit to his father Zeus in Olympus."
So much was antiquity impressed by the Heraklean legend, that even the monotheistic (?) Jews of those days, not to be outdone by their contemporaries, put him to use in their manufacture of original fables. Herakles is accused in his mythobiography of an attempted theft of the Delphian oracle. In Sepher Toldos Jeschu, the Rabbins accuse Jesus of stealing from their Sanctuary the Incommunicable Name!
Therefore it is but natural to find his numerous adventures, worldly and religious, mirrored so faithfully in the Descent into Hell. For extraordinary daring of mendacity, and unblushing plagiarism, the Gospel of Nicodemus, only now proclaimed apocryphal, surpasses anything we have read. Let the reader judge.
At the beginning of chapter xvi., Satan and the "Prince of Hell" are described as peacefully conversing together. All of a sudden, both are startled by "a voice as of thunder" and the rushing of winds, which bids them to lift up their gates for "the King of Glory shall come in." Whereupon the Prince of Hell hearing this "begins quarrelling with Satan for minding his duty so poorly, as not to have taken the necessary precautions against such a visit." The quarrel ends with the prince casting Satan "forth from his hell," ordering, at the same time, his
impious officers "to shut the brass gates of cruelty, make them fast with iron bars, and fight courageously lest we be taken captives."
But "when all the company of the saints . . . (in Hell?) heard this, they spoke with a loud voice of anger to the Prince of Darkness, 'Open thy gates, that the King of Glory may come in,' " thereby proving that, the prince needed spokesmen.
"And the divine (?) prophet David cried out, saying: 'Did not I, when on earth, truly prophesy?' " After this, another prophet, namely holy Isaiah spake in like manner, "Did not I rightly prophesy?" etc. Then the company of the saints and prophets, after boasting for the length of a chapter, and comparing notes of their prophecies, begin a riot, which makes the Prince of Hell remark that, "the dead never durst before behave themselves so insolently towards us" (the devils, xviii. 6); feigning the while to be ignorant who it was claiming admission. He then innocently asks again: "But who is the King of Glory?" Then David tells him that he knows the voice well, and understands its words, "because," he adds, "I spake them by his Spirit." Perceiving finally that the Prince of Hell would not open the "brass doors of iniquity," notwithstanding the king-psalmist's voucher for the visitor, he, David, concludes to treat the enemy "as a Philistine, and begins shouting: 'And now, thou filthy and stinking prince of hell, open thy gates. . . . I tell thee that the King of Glory comes . . . let him enter in.' "
While he was yet quarrelling the "mighty Lord appeared in the form of a man" (?) upon which "impious Death and her cruel officers are seized with fear." Then they tremblingly begin to address Christ with various flatteries and compliments in the shape of questions, each of which is an article of creed. For instance: "And who art thou, so powerful and so great who dost release the captives that were held in chains by original sin?" asks one devil. "Perhaps, thou art that Jesus," submissively says another, "of whom Satan just now spoke, that by the death of the Cross thou wert about to receive the power over death?" etc. Instead of answering, the King of Glory "tramples upon Death, seizes the Prince of Hell, and deprives him of his power."
Then begins a turmoil in Hell which has been graphically described by Homer, Hesiod, and their interpreter Preller, in his account of the Astronomical Hercules Invictus, and his festivals at Tyre, Tarsus, and Sardis. Having been initiated in the Attic Eleusinia, the Pagan god descends into Hades and "when he entered the nether world he spread such terror among the dead that all of them fled!"* The same words
are repeated in Nicodemus. Follows a scene of confusion, horror, and lamenting. Perceiving that the battle is lost, the Prince of Hell turns tail and prudently chooses to side with the strongest. He against whom, according to Jude and Peter, even the Archangel Michael "durst not bring a railing accusation before the Lord," is now shamefully treated by his ex-ally and friend, the "Prince of Hell." Poor Satan is abused and reviled for all his crimes both by devils and saints; while the Prince is openly rewarded for his treachery. Addressing him, the King of Glory says thus: "Beelzebub, the Prince of Hell, Satan the Prince shall now be subject to thy dominion forever, in the room of Adam and his righteous sons, who are mine . . . Come to me, all ye my saints, who were created in my image, who were condemned by the tree of the forbidden fruit, and by the Devil and death. Live now by the wood of my cross; the Devil, the prince of this world is overcome (?) and Death is conquered." Then the Lord takes hold of Adam by his right hand, of David by the left, and "ascends from Hell, followed by all the saints," Enoch and Elias, and by the "holy thief."*
The pious author, perhaps through an oversight, omits to complete the cavalcade, by bringing up the rear with the penitent dragon of Simon Stylites and the converted wolf of St. Francis, wagging their tails and shedding tears of joy!
In the Codex of the Nazarenes it is Tobo who is "the liberator of the soul of Adam," to bear it from Orcus (Hades) to the place of Life. Tobo is Tob-Adonijah, one of the twelve disciples (Levites) sent by Jehosaphat to preach to the cities of Judah the Book of the Law (2 Chron. xvii.). In the kabalistic books these were "wise men," Magi. They drew down the rays of the sun to enlighten the sheol (Hades) Orcus, and thus show the way out of the Tenebrae, the darkness of ignorance, to the soul of Adam, which represents collectively all the "souls of mankind." Adam (Athamas) is Tamuz or Adonis, and Adonis is the sun Helios. In the Book of the Dead (vi. 231) Osiris is made to say: "I shine like the sun in the star-house at the feast of the sun." Christ is called the "Sun of Righteousness," "Helios of Justice" (Euseb.: Demons. Ev., v. 29), simply a revamping of the old heathen allegories; nevertheless, to have made it serve for such a use is no less blasphemous on the part of men who pretended to be describing a true episode of the earth-pilgrimage of their God!
"Herakles, who has gone out from the chambers of earth,
Leaving the nether house of Plouton!"†
"At Thee the Stygian lakes trembled; Thee the janitor of Orcus
Feared. . . . Thee not even Typhon frightened. . . .
Hail true Son of Jove, Glory added to the gods!"*
More than four centuries before the birth of Jesus, Aristophanes had written his immortal parody on the Descent into Hell, by Herakles.† The chorus of the "blessed ones," the initiated, the Elysian Fields, the arrival of Bacchus (who is Iacchos — Iaho — and Sabaoth) with Herakles, their reception with lighted torches, emblems of new life and Resurrection from darkness, death unto light, eternal life; nothing that is found in the Gospel of Nicodemus is wanting in this poem:‡
"Wake, burning torches . . . for thou comest
Shaking them in thy hand, Iacche,
Phosphoric star of the nightly rite!"§
But the Christians accept these post-mortem adventures of their god, concocted from those of his Pagan predecessors, and derided by Aristophanes four centuries before our era, literally! The absurdities of Nicodemus were read in the churches, as well as those of the Shepherd of Hermas. Irenaeus quotes the latter under the name of Scripture, a divinely-inspired "revelation"; Jerome and Eusebius both insist upon its being publicly read in the churches; and Athanasius observes that the Fathers "appointed it to be read in confirmation of faith and piety." But then comes the reverse of this bright medal, to show once more how stable and trustworthy were the opinions of the strongest pillars of an infallible Church. Jerome, who applauds the book in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers, in his later comments terms it "apocryphal and foolish"! Tertullian, who could not find praise enough for the Shepherd of Hermas when a Catholic, "began abusing it when a Montanist."||
Chapter xiii. begins with the narrative given by the two resuscitated ghosts of Charinus and Lenthius, the sons of that Simeon who, in the Gospel according to Luke (ii. 25-32), takes the infant Jesus in his arms and blesses God, saying: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace . . . for mine eyes have seen thy salvation"¶ These two ghosts
have arisen from their cold tombs on purpose to declare "the mysteries" which they saw after death in hell. They are enabled to do so only at the importunate prayer of Annas and Caiaphas, Nicodemus (the author), Joseph (of Arimathaea), and Gamaliel, who beseech them to reveal to them the great secrets. Annas and Caiaphas, however, who bring the ghosts to the synagogue at Jerusalem, take the precaution to make the two resuscitated men, who had been dead and buried for years, to swear on the Book of the Law "by God Adonai, and the God of Israel," to tell them only the truth. Therefore, after making the sign of the cross on their tongues,* they ask for some paper to write their confessions (xii. 21-25). They state how, when "in the depth of hell, in the blackness of darkness," they suddenly saw "a substantial, purple-colored light illuminating the place." Adam, with the patriarchs and prophets, began thereupon to rejoice, and Isaiah also immediately boasted that he had predicted all that. While this was going on, Simeon, their father, arrived, declaring that "the infant he took in his arms in the temple was now coming to liberate them."
After Simeon had delivered his message to the distinguished company in hell, "there came forth one like a little hermit (?), who proved to be John the Baptist." The idea is suggestive and shows that even the "Precursor" and "the Prophet of the Most High," had not been exempted from drying up in hell to the most diminutive proportions, and that to the extent of affecting his brains and memory. Forgetting that (Matthew xi.) he had manifested the most evident doubts as to the Messiahship of Jesus, the Baptist also claims his right to be recognized as a prophet. "And I, John," he says, "when I saw Jesus coming to me, being moved by the Holy Ghost, I said: 'Behold the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sins of the world' . . . And I baptized him . . . and I saw the Holy Ghost descending upon him, and saying, 'This is my Beloved Son,' etc." And to think, that his descendants and followers, like the Mandeans of Basra, utterly reject these words!
Then Adam, who acts as though his own veracity might be questioned in this "impious company," calls his son Seth, and desires him to declare to his sons, the patriarchs and prophets, what the Archangel Michael had told him at the gate of Paradise, when he, Adam, sent Seth "to entreat God that he would anoint" his head when Adam was sick (xiv. 2). And Seth tells them that when he was praying at the gates of Paradise, Michael advised him not to entreat God for "the oil of the tree of mercy wherewith to anoint father Adam for his headache; because thou canst not by any means obtain it till the last day and times, namely till 5,500 years be past."
This little bit of private gossip between Michael and Seth was evidently introduced in the interests of Patristic Chronology; and for the purpose of connecting Messiahship still closer with Jesus, on the authority of a recognized and divinely-inspired Gospel. The Fathers of the early centuries committed an inextricable mistake in destroying fragile images and mortal Pagans, in preference to the monuments of Egyptian antiquity. These have become the more precious to archaeology and modern science since it is found they prove that King Menes and his architects flourished between four and five thousand years before "Father Adam" and the universe, according to the biblical chronology, were created "out of nothing."*
"While all the saints were rejoicing, behold Satan, the prince and captain of death," says to the Prince of Hell: "Prepare to receive Jesus of Nazareth himself, who boasted that he was the Son of God, and yet was a man afraid of death, and said: 'My soul is sorrowful even to death' " (xv. 1, 2).
There is a tradition among the Greek ecclesiastical writers that the "Haeretics" (perhaps Celsus) had sorely twitted the Christians on this delicate point. They held that if Jesus were not a simple mortal, who was often forsaken by the Spirit of Christos, he could not have complained in such expressions as are attributed to him; neither would he have cried out with a loud voice: "My god, My god! why hast thou for-
saken me?" This objection is very cleverly answered in the Gospel of Nicodemus, and it is the "Prince of Hell" who settles the difficulty.
He begins by arguing with Satan like a true metaphysician. "Who is that so powerful prince," he sneeringly inquires, "who is he so powerful, and yet a man who is afraid of death? . . . I affirm to thee that when, therefore, he said he was afraid of death, he designed to ensnare thee, and unhappy it will be to thee for everlasting ages!"
It is quite refreshing to see how closely the author of this Gospel sticks to his New Testament text, and especially to the fourth evangelist. How cleverly he prepares the way for seemingly "innocent" questions and answers, corroborating the most dubious passages of the four gospels, passages more questioned and cross-examined in those days of subtile sophistry of the learned Gnostics than they are now; a weighty reason why the Fathers should have been even more anxious to burn the documents of their antagonists than to destroy their heresy. The following is a good instance. The dialogue is still proceeding between Satan and the metaphysical half-converted Prince of the under world.
"Who, then, is that Jesus of Nazareth," naively inquires the prince, "that by his word hath taken away the dead from me, without prayers to God?" (xv. 16).
"Perhaps," replies Satan, with the innocence of a Jesuit, "it is the same who took away from me Lazarus, after he had been four days dead, and did both stink and was rotten? . . . It is the very same person, Jesus of Nazareth. . . . I adjure thee, by the powers which belong to thee and me, that thou bring him not to me!" exclaims the prince. "For when I heard of the power of his word, I trembled for fear, and all my impious company were disturbed. And we were not able to detain Lazarus, but he gave himself a shake, and with all the signs of malice, he immediately went away from us; and the very earth, in which the dead body of Lazarus was lodged, presently turned him alive." "Yes," thoughtfully adds the Prince of Hell, "I know now that he is Almighty God, who is mighty in his dominion, and mighty in his human nature, who is the Saviour of mankind. Bring not therefore this person hither, for he will set at liberty all those I held in prison under unbelief, and . . . will conduct them to everlasting life" (xv. 20).
Here ends the post-mortem evidence of the two ghosts. Charinus (ghost No. 1) gives what he wrote to Annas, Caiaphas, and Gamaliel, and Lenthius (ghost No. 2) his to Joseph and Nicodemus, having done which, both change into "exceedingly white forms and were seen no more."
To show furthermore that the "ghosts" had been all the time under the strictest "test conditions," as the modern spiritualists would express it, the author of the Gospel adds: "But what they had wrote was found
perfectly to agree, the one not containing one letter more or less than the other."
This news spread in all the synagogues, the Gospel goes on to state, that Pilate went to the temple as advised by Nicodemus, and assembled the Jews together. At this historical interview, Caiaphas and Annas are made to declare that their Scriptures testify "that He (Jesus) is the Son of God and the Lord and King of Israel" (!) and close the confession with the following memorable words:
"And so it appears that Jesus, whom we crucified, is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and true and Almighty God. Amen." (!)
Notwithstanding such a crushing confession for themselves, and the recognition of Jesus as the Almighty God himself, the "Lord God of Israel," neither the high priest, nor his father-in-law, nor any of the elders, nor Pilate, who wrote those accounts, nor any of the Jews of Jerusalem, who were at all prominent, became Christians.
Comments are unnecessary. This Gospel closes with the words: "In the name of the Holy Trinity [of which Nicodemus could know nothing yethus ends the Acts of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which the emperor Theodosius the Great found at Jerusalem, in the hall of Pontius Pilate among the public records"; and which history purports to have been written in Hebrew by Nicodemus, "the things being acted in the nineteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, emperor of the Romans, and in the seventeenth year of the government of Herod, the son of Herod, king of Galilee, on the eighth before the calends of April, etc., etc." It is the most barefaced imposture that was perpetrated after the era of pious forgeries opened with the first bishop of Rome, whoever he may have been. The clumsy forger seems to have neither known nor heard that the dogma of the Trinity was not propounded until 325 years later than this pretended date. Neither the Old nor the New Testament contains the word Trinity, nor anything that affords the slightest pretext for this doctrine (see page 177 of this volume, "Christ's descent into Hell"). No explanation can palliate the putting forth of this spurious gospel as a divine revelation, for it was known from the first as a premeditated imposture. If the gospel itself has been declared apocryphal, nevertheless every one of the dogmas contained in it was and is still enforced upon the Christian world. And even the fact that itself is now repudiated, is no merit, for the Church was shamed and forced into it.
And so we are perfectly warranted in repeating the amended Credo of Robert Taylor, which is substantially that of the Christians.
I believe in Zeus, the Father Almighty,
And in his son, Iasios Christ our Lord,
Who was conceived of the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Elektra,
Smitten with a thunderbolt,
Dead and buried,
He descended into Hell,
Rose again and ascended up on high,
And will return to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Nous,
In the Holy circle of Great Gods,
In the Community of Divinities,
In the expiation of sins,
The immortality of the Soul
And the Life Everlasting.
The Israelites have been proved to have worshipped Baal, the Syrian Bacchus, offered incense to the Sabazian or AEsculapian serpent, and performed the Dionysian Mysteries. And how could it be otherwise if Typhon was called Typhon Set,* and Seth, the son of Adam, is identical with Satan or Sat-an; and Seth was worshipped by the Hittites? Less than two centuries B.C., we find the Jews either reverencing or simply worshipping the "golden head of an ass" in their temple; according to Apion, Antiochus Epiphanes carried it off with him. And Zacharias is struck dumb by the apparition of the deity under the shape of an ass in the temple!†
El, the Sun-God of the Syrians, the Egyptians, and the Semites, is declared by Pleyte to be no other than Set or Seth, and El is the primeval Saturn — Israel.* Siva is an AEthiopian God, the same as the Chaldean Baal — Bel; thus he is also Saturn. Saturn, El, Seth and Kiyun, or the biblical Chiun of Amos, are all one and the same deity, and may be all regarded in their worst aspect as Typhon the Destroyer. When the religious Pantheon assumed a more definite expression, Typhon was separated from his androgyne — the good deity, and fell into degradation as a brutal unintellectual power.
Such reactions in the religious feelings of a nation were not unfrequent. The Jews had worshipped Baal or Moloch, the Sun-God Hercules,† in their early days — if they had any days at all earlier than the Persians or Maccabees — and then made their prophets denounce them. On the other hand, the characteristics of the Mosaic Jehovah exhibit more of the moral disposition of Siva than of a benevolent, "long-suffering" God. Besides, to be identified with Siva is no small compliment, for the latter is God of wisdom. Wilkinson depicts him as the most intellectual of the Hindu gods. He is three-eyed, and, like Jehovah, terrible in his resistless revenge and wrath. And, although the Destroyer, "yet he is the re-creator of all things in perfect wisdom."‡ He is the type of St. Augustine's God who "prepares hell for pryers into his mysteries," and insists on trying human reason as well as common sense by forcing mankind to view with equal reverence his good and evil acts.
Notwithstanding the numerous proofs that the Israelites worshipped a variety of gods, and even offered human sacrifices until a far later period than their Pagan neighbors, they have contrived to blind posterity in regard to truth. They sacrificed human life as late as 169 B.C.,§ and the Bible contains a number of such records. At a time when the Pagans had long abandoned the abominable practice, and had replaced the sacrificial man by the animal,|| Jephthah is represented sacrificing his own daughter to the "Lord" for a burnt-offering.
The denunciations of their own prophets are the best proofs against them. Their worship in high places is the same as that of the "idolaters." Their prophetesses are counterparts of the Pythiae and Bacchantes. Pausanias speaks of women-colleges which superintend the worship of
Bacchus, and of the sixteen matrons of Elis.* The Bible says that "Deborah, a prophetess . . . judged Israel at that time";† and speaks of Huldah, another prophetess, who "dwelt in Jerusalem, in the college";‡ and 2 Samuel mentions "wise women" several times,§ notwithstanding the injunction of Moses not to use either divination or augury. As to the final and conclusive identification of the "Lord God" of Israel with Moloch, we find a very suspicious evidence of the case in the last chapter of Leviticus, concerning things devoted not to be redeemed. . . . A man shall devote unto the Lord of all that he hath, both of man and beast. . . . None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed, but shall surely be put to death . . . for it is most holy unto the Lord."||
The duality, if not the plurality of the gods of Israel may be inferred from the very fact of such bitter denunciations. Their prophets never approved of sacrificial worship. Samuel denied that the Lord had any delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices (1 Samuel, xv. 22). Jeremiah asserted, unequivocally, that the Lord, Yava Sabaoth Elohe Israel, never commanded anything of the sort, but contrariwise (vii. 21-24).
But these prophets who opposed themselves to human sacrifices were all nazars and initiates. These prophets led a party in the nation against the priests, as later the Gnostics contended against the Christian Fathers. Hence, when the monarchy was divided, we find the priests at Jerusalem and the prophets in the country of Israel. Even Ahab and his sons, who introduced the Tyrian worship of Baal-Hercules and the Syrian goddess into Israel, were aided and encouraged by Elijah and Elisha. Few prophets appeared in Judea till Isaiah, after the northern monarchy had been overthrown. Elisha anointed Jehu on purpose that he should destroy the royal families of both countries, and so unite the people into one civil polity. For the Temple of Solomon, desecrated by the priests, no Hebrew prophet or initiate cared a straw. Elijah never went to it, nor Elisha, Jonah, Nahum, Amos, or any other Israelite. While the initiates were holding to the "secret doctrine" of Moses, the people, led by their priests, were steeped in idolatry exactly the same as that of the Pagans. It is the popular views and interpretations of Jehovah that the Christians have adopted.
The question is likely to be asked: "In the view of so much evidence to show that Christian theology is only a pot-pourri of Pagan mythologies, how can it be connected with the religion of Moses?" The early Christians, Paul and his disciples, the Gnostics and their successors generally, regarded Christianity and Judaism as essentially distinct. The
latter, in their view, was an antagonistic system, and from a lower origin. "Ye received the law," said Stephen, "from the ministration of angels," or aeons, and not from the Most High Himself. The Gnostics, as we have seen, taught that Jehovah, the Deity of the Jews, was Ilda-Baoth, the son of the ancient Bohu, or Chaos, the adversary of Divine Wisdom.
The question may be more than easily answered. The law of Moses, and the so-called monotheism of the Jews, can hardly be said to have been more than two or three centuries older than Christianity. The Pentateuch itself, we are able to show, was written and revised upon this "new departure," at a period subsequent to the colonization of Judea under the authority of the kings of Persia. The Christian Fathers, in their eagerness to make their new system dovetail with Judaism, and so avoid Paganism, unconsciously shunned Scylla only to be caught in the whirlpool of Charybdis. Under the monotheistic stucco of Judaism was unearthed the same familiar mythology of Paganism. But we should not regard the Israelites with less favor for having had a Moloch and being like the natives. Nor should we compel the Jews to do penance for their fathers. They had their prophets and their law, and were satisfied with them. How faithfully and nobly they have stood by their ancestral faith under the most diabolical persecutions, the present remains of a once-glorious people bear witness. The Christian world has been in a state of convulsion from the first to the present century; it has been cleft into thousands of sects; but the Jews remain substantially united. Even their differences of opinion do not destroy their unity.
The Christian virtues inculcated by Jesus in the sermon on the mount are nowhere exemplified in the Christian world. The Buddhist ascetics and Indian fakirs seem almost the only ones that inculcate and practice them. Meanwhile the vices which coarse-mouthed slanderers have attributed to Paganism, are current everywhere among Christian Fathers and Christian Churches.
The boasted wide gap between Christianity and Judaism, that is claimed on the authority of Paul, exists but in the imagination of the pious. We are nought but the inheritors of the intolerant Israelites of ancient days; not the Hebrews of the time of Herod and the Roman dominion, who, with all their faults, kept strictly orthodox and monotheistic, but the Jews who, under the name of Jehovah-Nissi, worshipped Bacchus-Osiris, Dio-Nysos, the multiform Jove of Nyssa, the Sinai of Moses. The kabalistic demons — allegories of the profoundest meaning — were adopted as objective entities, and a Satanic hierarchy carefully drawn by the orthodox demonologists.
The Rosicrucian motto, "Igne natura renovatur integra," which the alchemists interpret as nature renovated by fire, or matter by spirit, is
made to be accepted to this day as Iesus Nazarenus rex Iudaeorum. The mocking satire of Pilate is accepted literally, and the Jews made to unwittingly confess thereby the royalty of Christ; whereas, if the inscription is not a forgery of the Constantinian period, it yet is the action of Pilate, against which the Jews were first to violently protest. I. H. S. is interpreted Iesus Hominum Salvator, and In hoc signo, whereas [[IES]] is one of the most ancient names of Bacchus. And more than ever do we begin to find out, by the bright light of comparative theology, that the great object of Jesus, the initiate of the inner sanctuary, was to open the eyes of the fanatical multitude to the difference between the highest Divinity — the mysterious and never-mentioned IAO of the ancient Chaldean and later Neo-platonic initiates — and the Hebrew Yahuh, or Yaho (Jehovah). The modern Rosicrucians, so violently denounced by the Catholics, now find brought against them, as the most important charge, the fact that they accuse Christ of having destroyed the worship of Jehovah. Would to Heaven he could have been allowed the time to do so, for the world would not have found itself still bewildered, after nineteen centuries of mutual massacres, among 300 quarrelling sects, and with a personal Devil reigning over a terrorized Christendom!
True to the exclamation of David, paraphrased in King James' Version as "all the gods of the nations are idols," i.e., devils, Bacchus or the "first-born" or the Orphic theogony, the Monogenes, or "only-begotten" of Father Zeus and Kore, was transformed, with the rest of the ancient myths, into a devil. By such a degradation, the Fathers, whose pious zeal could only be surpassed by their ignorance, have unwittingly furnished evidence against themselves. They have, with their own hands, paved the way for many a future solution, and greatly helped modern students of the science of religions.
It was in the Bacchus-myth that lay concealed for long and dreary centuries both the future vindication of the reviled "gods of the nations," and the last clew to the enigma of Jehovah. The strange duality of Divine and mortal characteristics, so conspicuous in the Sinaitic Deity, begins to yield its mystery before the untiring inquiry of the age. One of the latest contributions we find in a short but highly-important paper in the Evolution, a periodical of New York, the closing paragraph of which throws a flood of light on Bacchus, the Jove of Nysa, who was worshipped by the Israelites as Jehovah of Sinai.
"Such was the Jove of Nysa to his worshippers," concludes the author. "He represented to them alike the world of nature and the world of thought. He was the 'Sun of righteousness, with healing on his wings,' and he not only brought joy to mortals, but opened to them hope beyond mortality of immortal life. Born of a human mother, he raised her from
the world of death to the supernal air, to be revered and worshipped. At once lord of all worlds, he was in them all alike the Saviour.
"Such was Bacchus, the prophet-god. A change of cultus, decreed by the Murderer-Imperial, the Emperor Theodosius, at the instance of Ghostly-Father Ambrosius, of Milan, has changed his title to Father of Lies. His worship, before universal, was denominated Pagan or local, and his rites stigmatized as witchcraft. His orgies received the name of Witches' Sabbath, and his favorite symbolical form with the bovine foot became the modern representative of the Devil with the cloven hoof. The master of the house having been called Beelzebub, they of his household were alike denounced as having commerce with the powers of darkness. Crusades were undertaken; whole peoples massacred. Knowledge and the higher learning were denounced as magic and sorcery. Ignorance became the mother of devotion — such as was then cherished. Galileo languished long years in prison for teaching that the sun was in the centre of the solar universe. Bruno was burned alive at Rome in 1600 for reviving the ancient philosophy; yet, queerly enough, the Liberalia have become a festival of the Church,* Bacchus is a saint in the calendar four times repeated, and at many a shrine he may be seen reposing in the arms of his deified mother. The names are changed; the ideas remain as before."†
And now that we have shown that we must indeed "bid an eternal farewell to all the rebellious angels," we naturally pass to an examination of the God Jesus, who was manufactured out of the man Jesus to redeem us from these very mythical devils, as Father Ventura shows us. This labor will of course necessitate once more a comparative inquiry into the history of Gautama-Buddha, his doctrines and his "miracles," and those of Jesus and the predecessor of both — Christna.