Who the enemies of the "Lord" were, according to the Christians, is not difficult to surmise; the few inside the Augustinian fold were His new children and favorites, who had supplanted in His affections the sons of israel, His "chosen people." The rest of mankind were His natural foes. The teeming multitudes of heathendom were proper food for the flames of hell; the handful within the Church communion, "heirs of salvation."
But if such a proscriptive policy was just, and its enforcement was "sweet savor" in the nostrils of the "Lord," why not scorn also the Pagan rites and philosophy? Why draw so deep from the wells of wisdom, dug and filled up to brim by the same heathen? Or did the fathers, in their desire to imitate the chosen people whose time-worn shoes they were trying to fit upon their feet, contemplate the reenaction of the spoliation-scene of the Exodus? Did they propose, in
* Translated by Prof. Draper for "Conflict between Religion and Science", book xii.
fleeing from heathendom as the Jews did from Egypt, to carry off the valuables of its religious allegories, as the "chosen ones" did the gold and silver ornaments?
it certainly does seem as if the events of the first centuries of Christianity were but the reflection of the images thrown upon the mirror of the future at the time of the Exodus. During the stormy days of Iren^us the Platonic philosophy, with its mystical submersion into Deity, was not so obnoxious after all to the new doctrine as to prevent the Christians from helping themselves to its abstruse metaphysics in every way and manner. Allying themselves with the ascetical therapeute — forefathers and models of the Christian monks and hermits, it was in Alexandria, let it be remembered, that they laid the first foundations of the purely Platonic trinitarian doctrine. It became the Plato-Philonean doctrine later, and such as we find it now. Plato considered the divine nature under a three-fold modification of the First Cause, the reason or Logos, and the soul or spirit of the universe. "The three archial or original principles," says Gibbon,+ "were represented in the Platonic system as three gods, united with each other by a mysterious and ineffable generation." Blending this transcendental idea with the more hypostatic figure of the Logos of Philo, whose doctrine was that of the oldest Kabala, and who viewed the King Messiah, as the metatron, or "the angel of the Lord," the Legatus descended in flesh, but not the Ancient of Days Himself; J the f "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." J "Sohar Comment.," Gen. A. 10; "Kabbal. Denud." i., 528.
Christians clothed with this mythical representation of the Mediator for the fallen race of Adam, Jesus, the son of Mary. Under this unexpected garb his personality was all but lost. In the modern Jesus of the Christian Church, we find the ideal of the imaginative Iren^us, not the adept of the Essenes, the obscure reformer from Galilee. We see him under the disfigured Plato-Philonean mask, not as the disciples heard him on the mount.
So far then the heathen philosophy had helped them in the building of the principal dogma. But when the theurgists of the third Neo-platonic school, deprived of their ancient Mysteries, strove to blend the doctrines of Plato with those of Aristotle, and by combining the two philosophies added to their theosophy the primeval doctrines of the Oriental Kabala, then the Christians from rivals became persecutors. Once that the metaphysical allegories of Plato were being prepared to be discussed in public in the form of Grecian dialectics, all the elaborate system of the Christian trinity would be unravelled and the divine prestige completely upset. The eclectic school, reversing the order, had adopted the inductive method; and this method became its death-knell. Of all things on earth, logic and reasonable explanations were the most hateful to the new religion of mystery; for they threatened to unveil the whole ground-work of the trinitarian conception; to apprise the multitude of the doctrine of emanations, and thus destroy the unity of the whole. It could not be permitted, and it was not. History records the Christ-like means that were resorted to.
The universal doctrine of emanations, adopted from time immemorial by the greatest schools which taught the kabalistic, Alexandrian, and Oriental philosophers, gives the key to that panic among the Christian fathers. That spirit of Jesuitism and clerical craft, which prompted Parkhurst, many centuries later, to suppress in his Hebrew Lexicon the true meaning of the first word of Genesis, originated in those days of war against the expiring Neo-platonic and eclectic school. The fathers had decided to pervert the meaning of the word "daimon,"* and they dreaded above all to have the esoteric and true meaning of the word Rasit unveiled to the multitudes; for if once the true sense of this sentence, as well as that of the Hebrew word asdt (translated in the Septuagint "angels," while it means emanations),+ were understood rightly, the mystery of the Christian trinity would have crumbled, carrying in its downfall the new religion into the same heap of ruins with the ancient Mysteries. This is the true reason why dialecticians, as well as Aristotle himself, the "prying philosopher," were ever obnoxious to Christian theology. Even Luther, while on his work of reform, feeling the ground insecure under his feet, notwithstanding that the dogmas had been reduced by him to their simplest expression, gave full vent to his fear and hatred for Aristotle.
* "The beings which the philosophers of other peoples distinguish by the name 'Demons,' Moses names 'Angels,' " says Philo Jud^us. — "De Gigant," i. 253.
f Deuteronomy xxxiii. 2., m^N is translated "fiery law" in the English
The amount of abuse he heaped upon the memory of the great logician can only be equalled — never surpassed — by the Pope's anathemas and invectives against the liberals of the Italian government. Compiled together, they might easily fill a copy of a new encyclopedia with models for monkish diatribes.
Of course the Christian clergy can never get reconciled with a doctrine based on the application of strict logic to discursive reasoning? The number of those who have abandoned theology on this account has never been made known. They have asked questions and been forbidden to ask them; hence, separation, disgust, and often a despairing plunge into the abyss of atheism. The Orphean views of ether as chief medium between God and created matter were likewise denounced. The Orphic ^ther recalled too vividly the Archeus, the Soul of the World, and the latter was in its metaphysical sense as closely related to the emanations, being the first manifestation — Sephira, or Divine Light. And when could the latter be more feared than at that critical moment?
Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, Chalcidius, Methodius, and Maimonides, on the authority of the Targum of Jerusalem, the orthodox and greatest authority of the Jews, held that the first two words in the book of Genesis — B-RASIT, mean Wisdom, or the Principle. And that the idea of these words meaning "in the beginning" was never shared but by the profane, who were not allowed to penetrate any deeper into the esoteric sense of the sentence. Beausobre, and after him Godfrey Higgins, have demonstrated the fact. "All things,"
says the Kabala, "are derived from one great Principle, and this principle is the unknown and invisible God. From Him a substantial power immediately proceeds, which is the image of God, and the source of all subsequent emanations. This second principle sends forth, by the energy (or will and force) of emanation, other natures, which are more or less perfect, according to their different degrees of distance, in the scale of emanation, from the First Source of existence, and which constitute different worlds, or orders of being, all united to the eternal power from which they proceed. Matter is nothing more than the most remote effect of the emanative energy of the Deity. The material world receives its form from the immediate agency of powers far beneath the First Source of Being* . . . Beausobref+ makes St. Augustine the Manichean say thus: 'And if by Rasit we understand the active Principle of the creation, instead of its beginning, in such a case we will clearly perceive that Moses never meant to say that heaven and earth were the first works of God. He only said that God created heaven and earth through the Principle, who is His Son. It is not the time he points to, but to the immediate author of the creation.' Angels, according to Augustine, were created before the firmament, and according to the esoteric interpretation, the heaven and earth were created after that, evolving from the second Principle or the Logos — the creative Deity. "The word principle," says Beausobre, "does not mean that the heaven and earth were created before anything
* See Rees's "Encyclopedia," art. Kabala. f "Histor. Manich." Liv. vi., ch. i., p. 291.
else, for, to begin with, the angels were created before that; but that God did everything through His Wisdom, which is His Verbum, and which the Christian Bible named the Beginning," thus adopting the exoteric meaning of the word abandoned to the multitudes. The Kabala — the Oriental as well as the Jewish — shows that a number of emanations (the Jewish Sephiroth) issued from the First Principle, the chief of which was Wisdom. This Wisdom is the Logos of Philo, and Michael, the chief of the Gnostic Eons; it is the Ormazd of the Persians; Minerva, goddess of wisdom, of the Greeks, who emanated from the head of Jupiter; and the second Person of the Christian Trinity. The early Fathers of the Church had not much to exert their imagination; they found a ready-made doctrine that had existed in every theogony for thousands of years before the Christian era. Their trinity is but the trio of Sephiroth, the first three kabalistic lights of which Moses Nachmanides says, that "they have never been seen by any one; there is not any defect in them, nor any disunion." The first eternal number is the Father, or the Chaldean primeval, invisible, and incomprehensible chaos, out of which proceeded the Intelligible one. The Egyptian Phtah, or "the Principle of Light — not the light itself, and the Principle of Life, though himself no life." The Wisdom by which the Father created the heavens is the Son, or the kabalistic androgynous Adam Kadmon. The Son is at once the male Ra, or Light of Wisdom, Prudence or Intelligence, Sephira, the female part of Himself; while from this dual being proceeds the third emanation, the Binah or Reason, the second Intelligence —
the Holy Ghost of the Christians. Therefore, strictly speaking, there is a TETRAKTiS or quaternary, consisting of the Unintelligible First monad, and its triple emanation, which properly constitute our Trinity.
How then avoid perceiving at once, that had not the Christians purposely disfigured in their interpretation and translation the Mosaic Genesis to fit their own views, their religion, with its present dogmas, would have been impossible? The word Rasit, once taught in its new sense of the Principle and not the Beginning, and the anathematized doctrine of emanations accepted, the position of the second trinitarian personage becomes untenable. For, if the angels are the first divine emanations from the Divine Substance, and were in existence before the Second Principle, then the anthropomorphized Son is at best an emanation like themselves, and cannot be God hypostatically any more than our visible works are ourselves. That these metaphysical subtleties never entered into the head of the honest-minded, sincere Paul, is evident; as it is furthermore evident, that like all learned Jews he was well acquainted with the doctrine of emanations and never thought of corrupting it. How can any one imagine that Paul identified the Son with the Father, when he tells us that God made Jesus "a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews ii. 9), and a little higher than Moses! "For this Man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses" (Hebrews iii. 3). Of whatever, or how many forgeries, interlined later in the Acts, the Fathers are guilty we know not; but that Paul never considered Christ more than a man "full of the Spirit of God"
is but too evident: "in the arche was the Logos, and the Logos was adnate to the Theos."
Wisdom, the first emanation of En-Soph; the Protogonos, the Hypostasis; the Adam Kadmon of the kabalist, the Brahma of the Hindu; the Logos of Plato, and the "Beginning" of St. John — is the Rasit — of the Book of Genesis. If rightly interpreted it overturns, as we have remarked, the whole elaborate system of Christian theology, for it proves that behind the creative Deity, there was a Higher god; a planner, an architect; and that the former was but His executive agent — a simple Power!
They persecuted the Gnostics, murdered the philosophers, and burned the kabalists and the masons; and when the day of the great reckoning arrives, and the light shines in darkness, what will they have to offer in the place of the departed, expired religion? What will they answer, these pretended monotheists, these worshippers and pseudoservants of the one living God, to their Creator? How will they account for this long persecution of them who were the true followers of the grand Megalistor, the supreme great master of the Rosicrucians, the First of masons. "For he is the Builder and Architect of the Temple of the universe; He is the Verbum Sapienti."*
* "The altogether mystical coloring of Christianity harmonized with the Essene rules of life and opinions, and it is not improbable that Jesus and John the Baptist were initiated into the Essene Mysteries, to which Christianity may be indebted for many a form of expression; as indeed
"Every one knows," wrote the great Manichean of the third century, Fauste, "that the Evangeliums were written neither by Jesus Christ, nor his apostles, but long after their time by some unknown persons, who, judging well that they would hardly be believed when telling of things they had not seen themselves, headed their narratives with the names of the apostles or of disciples contemporaneous with the latter."
Commenting upon the subject, A. Franck, the learned Hebrew scholar of the Institute and translator of the Kabala, expresses the same idea. "Are we not authorized," he asks, "to view the Kabala as a precious remnant of religious philosophy of the Orient, which, transported into Alexandria, got mixed to the doctrine of Plato, and under the usurped name of Dionysius the Areopagite, bishop of Athens, converted and consecrated by St. Paul, was thus enabled to penetrate into the mysticism of the medieval ages?"+
Says Jacolliot: "What is then this religious philosophy of the orient, which has penetrated into the mystic symbolism of Christianity? We answer: This philosophy, the traces of which we find among the Magians, the Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Hebrew kabalists and the Christians, is none other than that of the Hindu Brahmans, the sectarians of the pitris, or the spirits of the invisible worlds which surround the community of Therapeute, an offspring of the Essene order, soon belonged wholly to Christianity" ("Yost," i., 411 — quoted by the author of "Sod, the Son of the Man"). f A. Franck, "Die Kabbala."
But if the Gnostics were destroyed, the Gnosis, based on the secret science of sciences, still lives. It is the earth which helps the woman, and which is destined to open her mouth to swallow up medieval Christianity, the usurper and assassin of the great master's doctrine. The ancient Kabala, the Gnosis, or traditional secret knowledge, was never without its representatives in any age or country. The trinities of initiates, whether passed into history or concealed under the impenetrable veil of mystery, are preserved and impressed throughout the ages. They are known as Moses, Aholiab, and Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, as Plato, Philo, and Pythagoras, etc. At the Transfiguration we see them as Jesus, Moses, and Elias, the three Trismegisti; and three kabalists, Peter, James, and John — whose revelation is the key to all wisdom. We found them in the twilight of Jewish history as Zoroaster, Abraham, and Terah, and later as Henoch, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Who, of those who ever studied the ancient philosophies, who understand intuitionally the grandeur of their conceptions, the boundless sublimity of their views of the Unknown Deity, can hesitate for a moment to give the preference to their doctrines over the incomprehensible dogmatic and contradictory theology of the hundreds of Christian sects? Who that ever read Plato and fathomed his To On , "whom no person has seen except the Son," can doubt that Jesus was a disciple of the same secret doctrine which had instructed the great philosopher? For, as we have shown before now, Plato never claimed to be the inventor of all that he wrote, but gave credit for it to Pythagoras, who, in his turn, pointed to the remote East as the source whence he derived his information and his philosophy. Colebrooke shows that Plato confesses it in his epistles, and says that he has taken his teachings from ancient and sacred doctrines! + Moreover, it is undeniable that the theologies of all the great nations dovetail together and show that each is a part of "one stupendous whole." Like the rest of the initiates we see Plato taking great pains to conceal the true meaning of his allegories. Every time the subject touches the greater secrets of the Oriental Kabala, secret of the true cosmogony of the universe and of the ideal, preexisting world, Plato shrouds his philosophy in the profoundest darkness. His Tim^us is so confused that no one but an initiate can understand the secret meaning. And Mosheim thinks that Philo has filled his works with passages directly contradicting each other for the sole purpose of concealing the true doctrine. For once we see a critic on the right track.
And this very trinitarian idea, as well as the so bitterly denounced doctrine of emanations, whence their remotest origin? The answer is easy, and every proof is now at hand. In the sublime and profoundest of all philosophies, that of the universal "Wisdom-Religion," the first traces of which,
* "Le Spiritisme dans le Monde.'
historical research now finds in the old pre-Vedic religion of India. As the much-abused Jacolliot well remarks, "It is not in the religious works of antiquity, such as the Vedas, the Zend Avesta, the Bible, that we have to search for the exact expression of the ennobling and sublime beliefs of those epochs."*
"The holy primitive syllable, composed of the three letters A — U — M, in which is contained the Vedic Trimurti (Trinity), must be kept secret, like another triple Veda," says Manu, in book xi., sloka 265.
Swayambhouva is the unrevealed Deity; it is the Being existent through and of itself; he is the central and immortal germ of all that exists in the universe. Three trinities emanate and are confounded in him, forming a Supreme unity. These trinities, or the triple Trimurti, are: the Nara, Nari, and Viradyi — the initial triad; the Agni, Vaya, and Sourya — the manifested triad; Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, the creative triad. Each of these triads becomes less metaphysical and more adapted to the vulgar intelligence as it descends. Thus the last becomes but the symbol in its concrete expression; the necessarianism of a purely meta-physical conception. Together with Swayambhouva, they are the ten Sephiroth of the Hebrew kabalists, the ten Hindu Prajapatis — the En-Soph of the former, answering to the great Unknown, expressed by the mystic A U M of the latter.
Says Franck, the translator of the Kabala:
* Louis Jacolliot, "The Initiates of the Ancient Temples."
"The ten Sephiroth are divided into three classes, each of them presenting to us the divinity under a different aspect, the whole still remaining an indivisible Trinity.
"The first three Sephiroth are purely intellectual in metaphysics, they express the absolute identity of existence and thought, and form what the modern kabalists called the intelligible world — which is the first manifestation of God.
"The three that follow, make us conceive God in one of their aspects, as the identity of goodness and wisdom; in the other they show to us, in the Supreme good, the origin of beauty and magnificence (in the creation). Therefore, they are named the virtues, or the sensible world.
"Finally, we learn, by the last three Sephiroth, that the Universal Providence, that the Supreme artist is also absolute Force, the all-powerful cause, and that, at the same time, this cause is the generative element of all that is. It is these last Sephiroth that constitute the natural world, or nature in its essence and in its active principle. Natura naturans."+
This kabalistic conception is thus proved identical with that of the Hindu philosophy. Whoever reads Plato and his Dialogue Timœus, will find these ideas as faithfully re-echoed by the Greek philosopher. Moreover, the injunction of secrecy was as strict with the kabalists, as with the initiates of the Adyta and the Hindu Yogis.
"Close thy mouth, lest thou shouldst speak of this (the mystery), and thy heart, lest thou shouldst think aloud; and if thy heart has escaped thee, bring it back to its place, for such is the object of our alliance" (Sepher Jezireh, Book of Creation).
"This is a secret which gives death: close thy mouth lest thou shouldst reveal to the vulgar; compress thy brain lest something should escape from it and fall outside"
Truly the fate of many a future generation hung on a gossamer thread, in the days of the third and fourth centuries. Had not the Emperor sent in 389 to Alexandria a rescript — which was forced from him by the Christians — for the destruction of every idol, our own century would never have had a Christian mythological Pantheon of its own. Never did the Neo-platonic school reach such a height of philosophy as when nearest its end. Uniting the mystic theosophy of old Egypt with the refined philosophy of the Greeks; nearer to the ancient Mysteries of Thebes and Memphis than they had been for centuries; versed in the science of soothsaying and divination, as in the art of the Therapeutists; friendly with the acutest men of the Jewish nation, who were deeply imbued with the Zoroastrian ideas, the Neo-platonists tended to amalgamate the old wisdom of the Oriental Kabala with the more refined conceptions of the Occidental Theosophists. Notwithstanding the treason of the Christians, who saw fit, for political reasons, after the days of Constantine, to repudiate their tutors, the influence of the new Platonic philosophy is conspicuous in the subsequent adoption of dogmas, the origin of which can be traced but too easily to that remarkable school. Though mutilated and disfigured, they still preserve a strong family likeness, which nothing can obliterate.
But, if the knowledge of the occult powers of nature opens the spiritual sight of man, enlarges his intellectual faculties, and leads him unerringly to a profounder veneration for the Creator, on the other hand ignorance, dogmatic narrow-mindedness, and a childish fear of looking to the bottom of things, invariably leads to fetish-worship and superstition.
When Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, had openly embraced the cause of isis, the Egyptian goddess, and had anthropomorphized her into Mary, the mother of God; and the trinitarian controversy had taken place; from that moment the Egyptian doctrine of the emanation of the creative God out of Emepht began to be tortured in a thousand ways, until the Councils had agreed upon the adoption of it as it now stands — the disfigured Ternary of the kabalistic Solomon and Philo! But as its origin was yet too evident, the Word was no longer called the "Heavenly man," the primal Adam Kadmon, but became the Logos — Christ, and was made as old as the "Ancient of the Ancient," his father. The concealed Wisdom became identical with its emanation, the Divine Thought, and made to be regarded coequal and coeternal with its first manifestation.
if we now stop to consider another of the fundamental dogmas of Christianity, the doctrine of atonement, we may trace it as easily back to heathendom. This corner-stone of a Church which had believed herself built on a firm rock for long centuries, is now excavated by science and proved to come from the Gnostics. Professor Draper shows it as hardly known in the days of Tertullian, and as having "originated among the Gnostic heretics."* We will not permit ourselves to contradict such a learned authority, farther than to state that it originated among them no more than their "anointed" Christos and Sophia. The former they modelled on the original of the "King Messiah," the male principle of wisdom, and the latter on the third Sephiroth, from the Chaldean Kabala,+ and even from the Hindu Brahma and Sara-asvati,£ and the Pagan Dionysus and Demeter. And here we are on firm ground, if it were only because it is now proved that the New Testament never appeared in its complete form, such as we find it now, till 300 years after the period of apostles, § and the Sohar and other kabalistic books are found to belong to the first century before our era, if not to be far older still.
The Gnostics entertained many of the Essenean ideas; and the Essenes had their "greater" and "minor" Mysteries at least two centuries before our era. They were the Isarim or Initiates, the descendants of the Egyptian hierophants, in whose country they had been settled for several centuries before
* See "Conflict between Religion and Science," p. 224.
f See "Sohar"; "Kab. Den."; "The Book of Mystery," the oldest book of the kabalists; and Milman, "History of Christianity," pp. 212, 213-215.
J Milman, "History of Christianity," p. 280. The Kurios and Kora are mentioned repeatedly in "Justin Martyr." See p. 97.
§ See Olshausen, "Biblischer Commentar uber sammtliche Schriften des
Neuen Testaments," ii.
they were converted to Buddhistic monasticism by the missionaries of King Asoka, and amalgamated later with the earliest Christians; and they existed, probably, before the old Egyptian temples were desecrated and ruined in the incessant invasions of Persians, Greeks, and other conquering hordes. The hierophants had their atonement enacted in the Mystery of Initiation ages before the Gnostics, or even the Essenes, had appeared. It was known among hierophants as the Baptism Of Blood, and was considered not as an atonement for the "fall of man" in Eden, but simply as an expiation for the past, present, and future sins of ignorant but nevertheless polluted mankind. The hierophant had the option of either offering his pure and sinless life as a sacrifice for his race to the gods whom he hoped to rejoin, or an animal victim. The former depended entirely on their own will. At the last moment of the solemn "new birth," the initiator passed "the word" to the initiated, and immediately after that the latter had a weapon placed in his right hand, and was ordered to strike.** This is the true origin of the Christian dogma of
** There is a wide-spread superstition (?), especially among the Slavonians and Russians, that the magician or wizard cannot die before he has passed the "word" to a successor. So deeply is it rooted among the popular beliefs, that we do not imagine there is a person in Russia who has not heard of it. It is but too easy to trace the origin of this superstition to the old Mysteries which had been for ages spread all over the globe. The ancient Variago-Rouss had his Mysteries in the North as well as in the South of Russia; and there are many relics of the bygone faith scattered in the lands watered by the sacred Dnieper, the baptismal Jordan of all Russia. No Znachar (the knowing one) or Koldoun
(sorcerer), male or female, can die in fact before he has passed the mysterious word to some one. The popular belief is that unless he does that he will linger and suffer for weeks and months, and were he even finally to get liberated, it would be only to wander on earth, unable to quit its region unless he finds a successor even after death. How far the belief may be verified by others, we do not know, but we have seen a case which, for its tragical and mysterious denoument, deserves to be given here as an illustration of the subject in hand. An old man, of over one hundred years of age, a peasant-serf in the government of S--, having a wide reputation as a sorcerer and healer, was said to be dying for several days, and still unable to die. The report spread like lightning, and the poor old fellow was shunned by even the members of his own family, as the latter were afraid of receiving the unwelcome inheritance. At last the public rumor in the village was that he had sent a message to a colleague less versed than himself in the art, and who, although he lived in a distant district, was nevertheless coming at the call, and would be on hand early on the following morning. There was at that time on a visit to the proprietor of the village a young physician who, belonging to the famous school of Nihilism of that day, laughed outrageously at the idea. The master of the house, being a very pious man, and but half inclined to make so cheap of the "superstition," smiled — as the saying goes — but with one corner of his mouth. Meanwhile the young skeptic, to gratify his curiosity, had made a visit to the dying man, had found that he could not live twenty-four hours longer, and, determined to prove the absurdity of the "superstition," had taken means to detain the coming "successor" at a neighboring village.
Early in the morning a company of four persons, comprising the physician, the master of the place, his daughter, and the writer of the present lines, went to the but in which was to be achieved the triumph of skepticism. The dying man was expecting his liberator every moment, and his agony at the delay became extreme. We tried to atonement.
persuade the physician to humor the patient, were it for humanity's sake. He only laughed. Getting hold with one hand of the old wizard's pulse, he took out his watch with the other, and remarking in French that all would be over in a few moments, remained absorbed in his professional experiment. The scene was solemn and appalling. Suddenly the door opened, and a young boy entered with the intelligence, addressed to the doctor, that the koum was lying dead drunk at a neighboring village, and, according to his orders, could not be with "grandfather" till the next day. The young doctor felt confused, and was just going to address the old man, when, as quick as lightning, the Znachar snatched his hand from his grasp and raised himself in bed. His deep-sunken eyes flashed; his yellow-white beard and hair streaming round his livid face made him a dreadful sight. One instant more, and his long, sinewy arms were clasped round the physician's neck, as with a supernatural force he drew the doctor's head closer and closer to his own face, where he held him as in a vise, while whispering words inaudible to us in his ear. The skeptic struggled to free himself, but before he had time to make one effective motion the work had evidently been done; the hands relaxed their grasp, and the old sorcerer fell on his back — a corpse! A strange and ghostly smile had settled on the stony lips — a smile of fiendish triumph and satisfied revenge; but the doctor looked paler and more ghastly than the dead man himself. He stared round with an expression of terror difficult to describe, and without answering our inquiries rushed out wildly from the hut, in the direction of the woods. Messengers were sent after him, but he was nowhere to be found. About sunset a report was heard in the forest. An hour later his body was brought home, with a bullet through his head, for the skeptic had blown out his brains!
Verily the "Christs" of the pre-Christian ages were many. But they died unknown to the world, and disappeared as silently and as mysteriously from the sight of man as Moses from the top of Pisgah, the mountain of Nebo (oracular wisdom), after he had laid his hands upon Joshua, who thus became "full of the spirit of wisdom" (i.e., initiated).
Nor does the Mystery of the Eucharist pertain to Christians alone. Godfrey Higgins proves that it was instituted many hundreds of years before the "Paschal Supper," and says that "the sacrifice of bread and wine was common to many ancient nations."* Cicero mentions it in his works, and wonders at the strangeness of the rite. There had been an esoteric meaning attached to it from the first establishment of the Mysteries, and the Eucharistia is one of the oldest rites of antiquity. With the hierophants it had nearly the same significance as with the Christians. Ceres was bread, and Bacchus was wine; the former meaning regeneration of life from the seed, and the latter — the grape — the emblem of wisdom and knowledge; the accumulation of the spirit of things, and the fermentation and subsequent strength of that esoteric knowledge being justly symbolized by wine. The mystery related to the drama of Eden; it is said to have been first taught by Janus, who was also the first to introduce in the temples the sacrifices of "bread" and "wine" in commemoration of the "fall into generation" as the symbol of the "seed." "I am the vine, and my Father is the
* "Anacalypsis"; also Tertullian.
husbandman," says Jesus, alluding to the secret knowledge that could be imparted by him. "I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
The festival of the Eleusinian Mysteries began in the month of Boedromion, which corresponds with the month of September, the time of grape-gathering, and lasted from the 15th to the 22d of the month, seven days.+ The Hebrew festival of the Feast of Tabernacles began on the 15th and ended on the 22d of the month of Ethanim, which Dunlap shows as derived from Adonim, Adonia, Attenim, Ethanim; J and this feast is named in Exodus (xxiii. 16) the feast of ingatherings. "All the men of Israel assembled unto King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh." §
Was this article helpful?