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Complete, unabridged, all-in-one edition of Helena Blavatsky's classic work of esoteric Spiritualism, History and Theology.
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Part One. ScienceChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Part Two. ReligionChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12
Notes Part One
Notes Part Two
"Ego sum qui sum."--An axiom of Hermetic Philosophy.
"We commenced research where modern conjecture closes itsfaithless wings. And with us, those were the common elements ofscience which the sages of to-day disdain as wild chimeras, ordespair of as unfathomable mysteries."--BULWER'S"ZANONI."
THERE exists somewhere in this wide world anold Book--so very old that our modern antiquarians might ponderover its pages an indefinite time, and still not quite agree as tothe nature of the fabric upon which it is written. It is the onlyoriginal copy now in existence. The most ancient Hebrew document onoccult learning--the Siphra Dzeniouta--was compiled fromit, and that at a time when the former was already considered inthe light of a literary relic. One of its illustrations representsthe Divine Essence emanating from ADAM1 like aluminous arc proceeding to form a circle; and then, having attainedthe highest point of its circumference, the ineffable Glory bendsback again, and returns to earth, bringing a higher type ofhumanity in its vortex. As it approaches nearer and nearer to ourplanet, the Emanation becomes more and more shadowy, until upontouching the ground it is as black as night.
A conviction, founded upon seventy thousand years ofexperience,2 as they allege, has been entertained by hermeticphilosophers of all periods that matter has in time become, throughsin, more gross and dense than it was at man's first formation;that, at the beginning, the human body was of a half-etherealnature; and that, before the fall, mankind communed freely with thenow unseen universes. But since that time matter has become theformidable barrier between us and the world of spirits. The oldestesoteric traditions also teach that, before the mystic Adam, manyraces of human beings lived and died out, each giving place in itsturn to another. Were these precedent types more perfect? Did anyof them belong to the winged race of men mentioned byPlato in Phaedrus? It is the special province of scienceto solve the problem. The caves of France and the relics of thestone age afford a point at which to begin.
As the cycle proceeded, man's eyes were more and more opened,until he came to know "good and evil" as well as the Elohimthemselves. Having reached its summit, the cycle began to godownward. When the arc attained a certain point which brought itparallel with the fixed line of our terrestrial plane, the man wasfurnished by nature with "coats of skin," and the Lord God"clothed them."
This same belief in the pre-existence of a far more spiritualrace than the one to which we now belong can be traced back to theearliest traditions of nearly every people. In the ancient Quichemanuscript, published by Brasseur de Bourbourg--the PopolVuh--the first men are mentioned as a race that could reasonand speak, whose sight was unlimited, and who knew all things atonce. According to Philo Judaeus, the air is filled with aninvisible host of spirits, some of whom are free from evil andimmortal, and others are pernicious and mortal. "From the sons ofEL we are descended, and sons ofEL must we become again." And the unequivocalstatement of the anonymous Gnostic who wrote The Gospelaccording to John, that "as many as received Him,"i.e., who followed practically the esoteric doctrine ofJesus, would "become the sons of God," points to the same belief.(i., 12.) "Know ye not, ye are gods?" exclaimed theMaster. Plato describes admirably in Phaedrus the state inwhich man once was, and what he will become again: before, andafter the "loss of his wings"; when "he lived among the gods, a godhimself in the airy world." From the remotest periods religiousphilosophies taught that the whole universe was filled with divineand spiritual beings of divers races. From one of these evolved, inthe course of time, ADAM, the primitive man.
The Kalmucks and some tribes of Siberia also describe in theirlegends earlier creations than our present race. These beings, theysay, were possessed of almost boundless knowledge, and in theiraudacity even threatened rebellion against the Great Chief Spirit.To punish their presumption and humble them, he imprisoned themin bodies, and so shut in their senses. From these theycan escape but through long repentance, self-purification, anddevelopment. Their Shamans, they think, occasionally enjoythe divine powers originally possessed by all human beings.
The Astor Library of New York has recently been enriched by afacsimile of an Egyptian Medical Treatise, written in the sixteenthcentury B.C. (or, more precisely, 1552 B.C.), which, according tothe commonly received chronology, is the time when Moses was justtwenty-one years of age. The original is written upon the innerbark of Cyperus papyrus, and has been pronounced byProfessor Schenk, of Leipsig, not only genuine, but also the mostperfect ever seen. It consists of a single sheet of yellowbrownpapyrus of finest quality, three-tenths of a metre wide, more thantwenty metres long, and forming one roll divided into one hundredand ten pages, all carefully numbered. It was purchased in Egypt,in 1872-3, by the archaeologist Ebers, of "a well-to-do Arab fromLuxor." The New York Tribune, commenting upon thecircumstance, says: The papyrus "bears internal evidence of beingone of the six Hermetic Books on Medicine, named byClement of Alexandria."
The editor further says: "At the time of Iamblichus, A.D. 363,the priests of Egypt showed forty-two books which they attributedto Hermes (Thuti). Of these, according to that author, thirty-sixcontained the history of all human knowledge; the last six treatedof anatomy, of pathology, of affections of the eye, instruments ofsurgery, and of medicines.3 The Papyrus Ebers isindisputably one of these ancient Hermetic works."
If so clear a ray of light has been thrown upon ancient Egyptianscience, by the accidental (?) encounter of the Germanarchaeologist with one "well-to-do Arab" from Luxor, how can weknow what sunshine may be let in upon the dark crypts of history byan equally accidental meeting between some other prosperousEgyptian and another enterprising student of antiquity!
The discoveries of modern science do not disagree with theoldest traditions which claim an incredible antiquity for ourrace. Within the last few years geology, which previously hadonly conceded that man could be traced as far back as the tertiaryperiod, has found unanswerable proofs that human existenceantedates the last glaciation of Europe--over 250,000 years! A hardnut, this, for Patristic Theology to crack; but an accepted factwith the ancient philosophers.
Moreover, fossil implements have been exhumed together withhuman remains, which show that man hunted in those remote times,and knew how to build a fire. But the forward step has not yet beentaken in this search for the origin of the race; science comes to adead stop, and waits for future proofs. Unfortunately, anthropologyand psychology possess no Cuvier; neither geologists norarchaeologists are able to construct, from the fragmentary bitshitherto discovered, the perfect skeleton of the tripleman--physical, intellectual, and spiritual. Because the fossilimplements of man are found to become more rough and uncouth asgeology penetrates deeper into the bowels of the earth, it seems aproof to science that the closer we come to the origin of man, themore savage and brute-like he must be. Strange logic! Does thefinding of the remains in the cave of Devon prove that there wereno contemporary races then who were highly civilized? When thepresent population of the earth have disappeared, and somearchaeologist belonging to the "coming race" of the distant futureshall excavate the domestic implements of one of our Indian orAndaman Island tribes, will he be justified in concluding thatmankind in the nineteenth century was "just emerging from the StoneAge"?
It has lately been the fashion to speak of "the untenableconceptions of an uncultivated past." As though it werepossible to hide behind an epigram the intellectual quarries out ofwhich the reputations of so many modern philosophers have beencarved! Just as Tyndall is ever ready to disparage ancientphilosophers--for a dressing-up of whose ideas more than onedistinguished scientist has derived honor and credit--so thegeologists seem more and more inclined to take for granted that allof the archaic races were contemporaneously in a state of densebarbarism. But not all of our best authorities agree in thisopinion. Some of the most eminent maintain exactly the reverse. MaxMuller, for instance, says: "Many things are still unintelligibleto us, and the hieroglyphic language of antiquity records but halfof the mind's unconscious intentions. Yet more and more the imageof man, in whatever clime we meet him, rises before us, noble andpure from the very beginning; even his errors we learn tounderstand, even his dreams we begin to interpret. As far as we cantrace back the footsteps of man, even on the lowest strata ofhistory, we see the divine gift of a sound and sober intellectbelonging to him from the very first, and the idea of a humanityemerging slowly from the depths of an animal brutality can never bemaintained again."4
As it is claimed to be unphilosophical to inquire into firstcauses, scientists now occupy themselves with considering theirphysical effects. The field of scientific investigation istherefore bounded by physical nature. When once its limits arereached, enquiry must stop, and their work be recommenced. With alldue respect to our learned men, they are like the squirrel upon itsrevolving wheel, for they are doomed to turn their "matter" overand over again. Science is a mighty potency, and it is not for uspigmies to question her. But the "scientists" are notthemselves science embodied any more than the men of our planet arethe planet itself. We have neither the right to demand, nor powerto compel our "modern-day philosopher" to accept without challengea geographical description of the dark side of the moon. But, if insome lunar cataclysm one of her inhabitants should be hurled thenceinto the attraction of our atmosphere, and land, safe and sound, atDr. Carpenter's door, he would be indictable as recreant toprofessional duty if he should fail to set the physical problem atrest.
For a man of science to refuse an opportunity to investigate anynew phenomenon, whether it comes to him in the shape of a man fromthe moon, or a ghost from the Eddy homestead, is alikereprehensible.
Whether arrived at by the method of Aristotle, or that of Plato,we need not stop to inquire; but it is a fact that both the innerand outer natures of man are claimed to have been thoroughlyunderstood by the ancient andrologists. Notwithstanding thesuperficial hypotheses of geologists, we are beginning to havealmost daily proofs in corroboration of the assertions of thosephilosophers.
They divided the interminable periods of human existence onthis planet into cycles, during each of which mankind graduallyreached the culminating point of highest civilization and graduallyrelapsed into abject barbarism. To what eminence the race inits progress had several times arrived may be feebly surmised bythe wonderful monuments of old, still visible, and the descriptionsgiven by Herodotus of other marvels of which no traces now remain.Even in his days the gigantic structures of many pyramids andworld-famous temples were but masses of ruins. Scattered by theunrelenting hand of time, they are described by the Father ofHistory as "these venerable witnesses of the long bygone glory ofdeparted ancestors." He "shrinks from speaking of divine things,"and gives to posterity but an imperfect description from hearsay ofsome marvellous subterranean chambers of the Labyrinth, wherelay--and now lie--concealed, the sacred remains of theKing-Initiates.
We can judge, moreover, of the lofty civilization reached insome periods of antiquity by the historical descriptions of theages of the Ptolemies, yet in that epoch the arts and sciences wereconsidered to be degenerating, and the secret of a number of theformer had been already lost. In the recent excavations ofMariette-Bey, at the foot of the Pyramids, statues of wood andother relics have been exhumed, which show that long before theperiod of the first dynasties the Egyptians had attained to arefinement and perfection which is calculated to excite the wonderof even the most ardent admirers of Grecian art. Bayard Taylordescribes these statues in one of his lectures, and tells us thatthe beauty of the heads, ornamented with eyes of precious stonesand copper eyelids, is unsurpassed. Far below the stratum of sandin which lay the remains gathered into the collections of Lepsius,Abbott, and the British Museum, were found buried the tangibleproofs of the hermetic doctrine of cycles which has been alreadyexplained.
Dr. Schliemann, the enthusiastic Hellenist, has recently found,in his excavations in the Troad, abundant evidences of the samegradual change from barbarism to civilization, and fromcivilization to barbarism again. Why then should we feel soreluctant to admit the possibility that, if the antediluvians wereso much better versed than ourselves in certain sciences as to havebeen perfectly acquainted with important arts, which we now termlost, they might have equally excelled in psychologicalknowledge? Such a hypothesis must be considered as reasonable asany other until some countervailing evidence shall be discovered todestroy it.
Every true savant admits that in many respects humanknowledge is yet in its infancy. Can it be that our cycle began inages comparatively recent? These cycles, according to theChaldean philosophy, do not embrace all mankind at one and thesame time. Professor Draper partially corroborates this viewby saying that the periods into which geology has "found itconvenient to divide the progress of man in civilization are notabrupt epochs which hold good simultaneously for the whole humanrace"; giving as an instance the "wandering Indians of America,"who "are only at the present moment emerging from the stone age."Thus more than once scientific men have unwittingly confirmed thetestimony of the ancients.
Any Kabalist well acquainted with the Pythagorean system ofnumerals and geometry can demonstrate that the metaphysical viewsof Plato were based upon the strictest mathematical principles."True mathematics," says the Magicon, "is something withwhich all higher sciences are connected; common mathematics is buta deceitful phantasmagoria, whose much-praised infallibility onlyarises from this--that materials, conditions, and references aremade its foundation." Scientists who believe they have adopted theAristotelian method only because they creep when they do not runfrom demonstrated particulars to universals, glorify this method ofinductive philosophy, and reject that of Plato, which they treat asunsubstantial. Professor Draper laments that such speculativemystics as Ammonius Saccas and Plotinus should have taken the place"of the severe geometers of the old museum."5 He forgets thatgeometry, of all sciences the only one which proceeds fromuniversals to particulars, was precisely the method employed byPlato in his philosophy. As long as exact science confines itsobservations to physical conditions and proceeds Aristotle-like, itcertainly cannot fail. But notwithstanding that the world of matteris boundless for us, it still is finite; and thus materialism willturn forever in this vitiated circle, unable to soar higher thanthe circumference will permit. The cosmological theory of numeralswhich Pythagoras learned from the Egyptian hierophants, is aloneable to reconcile the two units, matter and spirit, and cause eachto demonstrate the other mathematically.
The sacred numbers of the universe in their esoteric combinationsolve the great problem and explain the theory of radiation and thecycle of the emanations. The lower orders before they develop intohigher ones must emanate from the higher spiritual ones, and whenarrived at the turning-point, be reabsorbed again into theinfinite.
Physiology, like everything else in this world of constantevolution, is subject to the cyclic revolution. As it now seems tobe hardly emerging from the shadows of the lower arc, so it may beone day proved to have been at the highest point of thecircumference of the circle far earlier than the days ofPythagoras.
Mochus, the Sidonian, the physiologist and teacher of thescience of anatomy, flourished long before the Sage of Samos; andthe latter received the sacred instructions from his disciples anddescendants. Pythagoras, the pure philosopher, the deeply-versed inthe profounder phenomena of nature, the noble inheritor of theancient lore, whose great aim was to free the soul from the fettersof sense and force it to realize its powers, must live eternally inhuman memory.
The impenetrable veil of arcane secrecy was thrown over thesciences taught in the sanctuary. This is the cause of themodern depreciating of the ancient philosophies. Even Plato andPhilo Judaeus have been accused by many a commentator of absurdinconsistencies, whereas the design which underlies the maze ofmetaphysical contradictions so perplexing to the reader of theTimaeus, is but too evident. But has Plato ever been readunderstandingly by one of the expounders of the classics? This is aquestion warranted by the criticisms to be found in such authors asStalbaum, Schleirmacher, Ficinus (Latin translation), Heindorf,Sydenham, Buttmann, Taylor and Burges, to say nothing of lesserauthorities. The covert allusions of the Greek philosopher toesoteric things have manifestly baffled these commentators to thelast degree. They not only with unblushing coolness suggest as tocertain difficult passages that another phraseology was evidentlyintended, but they audaciously make the changes! The Orphicline:
"Of the song, the order of the sixth race close" --
which can only be interpreted as a reference to thesixth race evolved in the consecutive evolution of thespheres,6 Burges says: ". . . was evidently taken from a cosmogonywhere man was feigned to be created the last."7--Ought not one who undertakes to edit another's works atleast understand what his author means?
Indeed, the ancient philosophers seem to be generally held, evenby the least prejudiced of our modern critics, to have lacked thatprofundity and thorough knowledge in the exact sciences of whichour century is so boastful. It is even questioned whether theyunderstood that basic scientific principle: ex nihilo nihilfit. If they suspected the indestructibility of matter atall,--say these commentators--it was not in consequence of afirmly-established formula but only through an intuitionalreasoning and by analogy.
We hold to the contrary opinion. The speculations of thesephilosophers upon matter were open to public criticism: but theirteachings in regard to spiritual things were profoundly esoteric.Being thus sworn to secrecy and religious silence upon abstrusesubjects involving the relations of spirit and matter, theyrivalled each other in their ingenious methods for concealing theirreal opinions.
The doctrine of Metempsychosis has been abundantlyridiculed by men of science and rejected by theologians, yet if ithad been properly understood in its application to theindestructibility of matter and the immortality of spirit, it wouldhave been perceived that it is a sublime conception. Should we notfirst regard the subject from the stand-point of the ancientsbefore venturing to disparage its teachers? The solution of thegreat problem of eternity belongs neither to religioussuperstition nor to gross materialism. The harmony and mathematicalequiformity of the double evolution--spiritual and physical--areelucidated only in the universal numerals of Pythagoras, who builthis system entirely upon the so-called "metrical speech" of theHindu Vedas. It is but lately that one of the most zealousSanskrit scholars, Martin Haug, undertook the translation of theAitareya Brahmana of the RigVeda. It had beentill that time entirely unknown; these explanations indicate beyonddispute the identity of the Pythagorean and Brahmanical systems. Inboth, the esoteric significance is derived from the number: in theformer, from the mystic relation of every number to everythingintelligible to the human mind; in the latter, from the number ofsyllables of which each verse in the Mantras consists.Plato, the ardent disciple of Pythagoras, realized it so fully asto maintain that the Dodecahedron was the geometrical figureemployed by the Demiurgus in constructing the universe.Some of these figures had a peculiarly solemn significance. Forinstance four, of which the
Dodecahedron is the trine, was held sacred by the Pythagoreans.It is the perfect square, and neither of the bounding lines exceedsthe other in length, by a single point. It is the emblem of moraljustice and divine equity geometrically expressed. All the powersand great symphonies of physical and spiritual nature lie inscribedwithin the perfect square; and the ineffable name of Him, whichname otherwise, would remain unutterable, was replaced by thissacred number 4 the most binding and solemn oathwith the ancient mystics--the Tetractys.
If the Pythagorean metempsychosis should be thoroughly explainedand compared with the modern theory of evolution, it would be foundto supply every "missing link" in the chain of the latter. But whoof our scientists would consent to lose his precious time over thevagaries of the ancients.
Notwithstanding proofs to the contrary, they not only deny thatthe nations of the archaic periods, but even the ancientphilosophers had any positive knowledge of the Heliocentric system.The "Venerable Bedes," the Augustines and Lactantii appear to havesmothered, with their dogmatic ignorance, all faith in the moreancient theologists of the pre-Christian centuries. But nowphilology and a closer acquaintance with Sanskrit literature havepartially enabled us to vindicate them from these unmeritedimputations. In the Vedas, for instance, we find positiveproof that so long ago as 2000 B.C., the Hindu sages and scholarsmust have been acquainted with the rotundity of our globe and theHeliocentric system. Hence, Pythagoras and Plato knew well thisastronomical truth; for Pythagoras obtained his knowledge in India,or from men who had been there, and Plato faithfully echoed histeachings. We will quote two passages from the AitareyaBrahmana:
In the "Serpent-Mantra,"8 the Brahmanadeclares as follows: that this Mantra is that one whichwas seen by the Queen of the Serpents, Sarpa-rajni;because the earth (iyam) is the Queen of the Serpents, asshe is the mother and queen of all that moves(sarpat). In the beginning she (the earth) wasbut one head (round), without hair (bald), i.e.,without vegetation. She then perceived this Mantra whichconfers upon him who knows it, the power of assuming any form whichhe might desire. She "pronounced the Mantra,"i.e., sacrificed to the gods; and, in consequence,immediately obtained a motley appearance; she became variegated,and able to produce any form she might like, changing one forminto another. This Mantra begins with the words:"Ayam gauh pris'nir akramit" (x., 189).
The description of the earth in the shape of a roundand bald head, which was soft at first, andbecame hard only from being breathed upon by the god Vayu, the lordof the air, forcibly suggests the idea that the authors of thesacred Vedic books knew the earth to be round orspherical; moreover, that it had been a gelatinous mass atfirst, which gradually cooled off under the influence of the airand time. So much for their knowledge about our globe's sphericity;and now we will present the testimony upon which we base ourassertion, that the Hindus were perfectly acquainted with theHeliocentric system, at least 2000 years B.C.
In the same treatise the Hotar, (priest), istaught how the Shastras should be repeated, and how thephenomena of sunrise and sunset are to be explained. It says: "TheAgnishtoma is that one (that god) who burns. The sun never setsnor rises. When people think the sun is setting, it is notso; they are mistaken. For after having arrived at the end ofthe day, it produces two opposite effects, making night to what isbelow, and day to what is on the other side. When they (the people)believe it rises in the morning, the sun only does thus: havingreached the end of the night, it makes itself produce two oppositeeffects, making day to what is below, and night to what is on theother side. In fact the sun never sets; nor does it set for him whohas such a knowledge. . . ."9
This sentence is so conclusive, that even the translator of theRig-Veda, Dr. Haug, was forced to remark it. He says thispassage contains "the denial of the existence of sunriseand sunset," and that the author supposes the sun "to remain alwaysin its high position."10
In one of the earliest Nivids, Rishi Kutsa, a Hindusage of the remotest antiquity, explains the allegory of the firstlaws given to the celestial bodies. For doing "what she ought notto do," Anahit (Anaitis or Nana, the Persian Venus), representingthe earth in the legend, is sentenced to turn round the sun. TheSattras,or sacrificial sessions11 prove undoubtedly thatso early as in the eighteenth or twentieth century B.C., the Hindushad made considerable progress in astronomical science. TheSattras lasted one year, and were "nothing but animitation of the sun's yearly course. They were divided, says Haug,into two distinct parts, each consisting of six months of thirtydays each; in the midst of both was the Vishuvan (equatoror central day), cutting the whole Sattras into twohalves, etc."12 This scholar, although he ascribes the compositionof the bulk of the Brahmanas to the period 1400-1200 B.C.,is of opinion that the oldest of the hymns may be placed at thevery commencement of Vedic literature, between the years 2400-2000,B.C. He finds no reason for considering the Vedas lessancient than the sacred books of the Chinese. As theShu-King or Book of History, and the sacrificialsongs of the ShiKing, or Book of Odes, have beenproved to have an antiquity as early as 2200, B.C., ourphilologists may yet be compelled before long to acknowledge, thatin astronomical knowledge, the antediluvian Hindus were theirmasters.
At all events, there are facts which prove that certainastronomical calculations were as correct with the Chaldeans in thedays of Julius Caesar as they are now. When the calendar wasreformed by the Conqueror, the civil year was found to correspondso little with the seasons, that summer had merged into the autumnmonths, and the autumn months into full winter. It was Sosigenes,the Chaldean astronomer, who restored order into the confusion, byputting back the 25th of March ninety days, thus making itcorrespond with the vernal equinox; and it was Sosigenes, again,who fixed the lengths of the months as they nowremain.
In America, it was found by the Montezuman army, that thecalendar of the Aztecs gave an equal number of days and weeks toeach month. The extreme accuracy of their astronomical calculationswas so great, that no error has been discovered in theirreckoning by subsequent verifications; while the Europeans, wholanded in Mexico in 1519, were, by the Julian calendar, nearlyeleven days in advance of the exact time.
It is to the priceless and accurate translations of the VedicBooks, and to the personal researches of Dr. Haug, that we areindebted for the corroboration of the claims of the hermeticphilosophers. That the period of Zarathustra Spitama (Zoroaster)was of untold antiquity, can be easily proved.
The Brahmanas, to which Haug ascribes four thousandyears, describe the religious contest between the ancient Hindus,who lived in the pre-Vedic period, and the Iranians. The battlesbetween the Devas and the Asuras--the formerrepresenting the Hindus and the latter the Iranians--aredescribed at length in the sacred books. As the Iranian prophet wasthe first to raise himself against what he called the "idolatry" ofthe Brahmans, and to designate them as the Devas(devils),how far back must then have been this religious crisis?
"This contest," answers Dr. Haug, "must have appeared to theauthors of the Brahmanas as old as the feats of KingArthur appear to English writers of the nineteenth century."
There was not a philosopher of any notoriety who did not hold tothis doctrine of metempsychosis, as taught by the Brahmans,Buddhists, and later by the Pythagoreans, in its esoteric sense,whether he expressed it more or less intelligibly. Origen andClemens Alexandrinus, Synesius and Chalcidius, all believed in it;and the Gnostics, who are unhesitatingly proclaimed by history as abody of the most refined, learned, and enlightened men,13 were allbelievers in metempsychosis. Socrates entertained opinionsidentical with those of Pythagoras; and both, as the penalty oftheir divine philosophy, were put to a violent death. The rabblehas been the same in all ages. Materialism has been, and will everbe blind to spiritual truths. These philosophers held, with theHindus, that God had infused into matter a portion of his ownDivine Spirit, which animates and moves every particle. They taughtthat men have two souls, of separate and quite differentnatures: the one perishable--the Astral Soul, or the inner, fluidicbody--the other incorruptible and immortal--the Augoeides,or portion of the Divine Spirit; that the mortal or Astral Soulperishes at each gradual change at the threshold of every newsphere, becoming with every transmigration more purified. Theastral man, intangible and invisible as he might be to our mortal,earthly senses, is still constituted of matter, though sublimated.Aristotle, notwithstanding that for political reasons of his own hemaintained a prudent silence as to certain esoteric matters,expressed very clearly his opinion on the subject. It was hisbelief that human souls are emanations of God, that are finallyre-absorbed into Divinity. Zeno, the founder of the Stoics, taughtthat there are "two eternal qualities throughout nature: the oneactive, or male; the other passive, or female: that the former ispure, subtile ether, or Divine Spirit; the other entirely inert initself till united with the active principle. That the DivineSpirit acting upon matter produced fire, water, earth, and air; andthat it is the sole efficient principle by which all nature ismoved. The Stoics, like the Hindu sages, believed in the finalabsorption. St. Justin believed in the emanation of these soulsfrom Divinity, and Tatian, the Assyrian, his disciple, declaredthat "man was as immortal as God himself."14
That profoundly significant verse of the Genesis, "Andto every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and toeverything that creepeth upon the earth, I gave a livingsoul, . . . ." should arrest the attention of every Hebrewscholar capable of reading the Scripture in its original, insteadof following the erroneous translation, in which the phrase reads,"wherein there is life."15 From the first to the lastchapters, the translators of the Jewish Sacred Books misconstruedthis meaning. They have even changed the spelling of the name ofGod, as Sir W. Drummond proves. Thus El, if writtencorrectly, would read Al, for it stands in the originalאל--Al, and, according to Higgins, this word means thegod Mithra, the Sun, the preserver and savior. Sir W.Drummond shows that Beth-El means the House of theSun in its literal translation, and not of God."El, in the composition of these Canaanite names, does notsignify Deus, but Sol."15F16Thus Theology has disfigured ancient Theosophy, and Science ancientPhilosophy.16F17
For lack of comprehension of this great philosophical principle,the methods of modern science, however exact, must end in nullity.In no one branch can it demonstrate the origin and ultimate ofthings. Instead of tracing the effect from its primal source, itsprogress is the reverse. Its higher types, as it teaches, are allevolved from antecedent lower ones. It starts from the bottom ofthe cycle, led on step by step in the great labyrinth of nature bya thread of matter. As soon as this breaks and the clue is lost, itrecoils in affright from the Incomprehensible, and confesses itselfpowerless. Not so did Plato and his disciples. With himthe lower types were but the concrete images of the higherabstract ones. The soul, which is immortal, has anarithmetical, as the body has a geometrical, beginning. Thisbeginning, as the reflection of the great universalARCHÆUS, is self-moving, and from the centrediffuses itself over the whole body of the microcosm.
It was the sad perception of this truth that made Tyndallconfess how powerless is science, even over the world of matter."The first marshalling of the atoms, on which all subsequent actiondepends, baffles a keener power than that of the microscope.""Through pure excess of complexity, and long before observation canhave any voice in the matter, the most highly trained intellect,the most refined and disciplined imagination, retires inbewilderment from the contemplation of the problem. We arestruck dumb by an astonishment which no microscope can relieve,doubting not only the power of our instrument, but even whether weourselves possess the intellectual elements which will ever enableus to grapple with the ultimate structural energies of nature."
The fundamental geometrical figure of the Kabala--that figurewhich tradition and the esoteric doctrines tell us was given by theDeity itself to Moses on Mount Sinai17F18--contains in its grandiose, because simple combination, the key tothe universal problem. This figure contains in itself all theothers. For those who are able to master it, there is no need toexercise imagination. No earthly microscope can be compared withthe keenness of the spiritual perception.
And even for those who are unacquainted with the GREAT SCIENCE,the description given by a welltrained child-psychometer of thegenesis of a grain, a fragment of crystal, or any other object--isworth all the telescopes and microscopes of "exact science."
There may be more truth in the adventurous pangenesis ofDarwin--whom Tyndall calls a "soaring speculator"--than in thecautious, line-bound hypothesis of the latter; who, in common withother thinkers of his class, surrounds his imagination "by the firmfrontiers of reason." The theory of a microscopic germ whichcontains in itself "a world of minor germs," soars in one sense atleast into the infinite. It oversteps the world of matter, andbegins unconsciously busying itself in the world of spirit.
If we accept Darwin's theory of the development of species, wefind that his starting-point is placed in front of an open door. Weare at liberty with him, to either remain within, or cross thethreshold, beyond which lies the limitless and theincomprehensible, or rather the Unutterable. If our mortallanguage is inadequate to express what our spirit dimly foresees inthe great "Beyond"--while on this earth--itmust realize it at some point in the timeless Eternity.Not so with Professor Huxley's theory of the "Physical Basis ofLife." Regardless of the formidable majority of "nays" from hisGerman brother-scientists, he creates a universalprotoplasm and appoints its cells to become henceforth thesacred founts of the principle of all life. By making thelatter identical in living man, "dead mutton," a nettle-sting, anda lobster; by shutting in, in the molecular cell of the protoplasm,the life-principle, and by shutting out from it the divine influxwhich comes with subsequent evolution, he closes every door againstany possible escape. Like an able tactician he converts his"laws and facts" into sentries whom he causes tomount guard over every issue. The standard under which he ralliesthem is inscribed with the word "necessity"; but hardly is itunfurled when he mocks the legend and calls it "an empty shadow ofmy own imagination."19
The fundamental doctrines of spiritualism, he says, "lie outsidethe limits of philosophical inquiry." We will be bold enough tocontradict this assertion, and say that they lie a great deal morewithin such inquiry than Mr. Huxley's protoplasm. Insomuch thatthey present evident and palpable facts of the existence ofspirit, and the protoplasmic cells, once dead,present none whatever of being the originators or the bases oflife, as this one of the few "foremost thinkers of the day" wantsus to believe.20
The ancient Kabalist rested upon no hypothesis till he could layits basis upon the firm rock of recorded experiment.
But the too great dependence upon physical facts led to a growthof materialism and a decadence of spirituality and faith. At thetime of Aristotle, this was the prevailing tendency of thought. Andthough the Delphic commandment was not as yet completely eliminatedfrom Grecian thought; and some philosophers still held that "inorder to know what man is, we ought to know what manwas"--still materialism had already begun to gnaw at theroot of faith. The Mysteries themselves had degenerated in a verygreat degree into mere priestly speculations and religious fraud.Few were the true adepts and initiates, the heirs and descendantsof those who had been dispersed by the conquering swords of variousinvaders of Old Egypt.
The time predicted by the great Hermes in his dialogue with&Ælig;sculapius had indeed come; the time when impiousforeigners would accuse Egypt of adoring monsters, and naught butthe letters engraved in stone upon her monuments wouldsurvive--enigmas incredible to posterity. Their sacred scribes andhierophants were wanderers upon the face of the earth. Obliged fromfear of a profanation of the sacred mysteries to seek refuge amongthe Hermetic fraternities--known later as theEssenes-their esoteric knowledge was buried deeper thanever. The triumphant brand of Aristotle's pupil swept away from hispath of conquest every vestige of a once pure religion, andAristotle himself, the type and child of his epoch, thoughinstructed in the secret science of the Egyptians, knew but littleof this crowning result of millenniums of esoteric studies.
As well as those who lived in the days of the Psammetics, ourpresent-day philosophers "lift the Veil of Isis"--for Isis is butthe symbol of nature. But, they see only her physical forms. Thesoul within escapes their view; and the Divine Mother has no answerfor them. There are anatomists, who, uncovering to sight noindwelling spirit under the layers of muscles, the network ofnerves, or the cineritious matter, which they lift with the pointof the scalpel, assert that man has no soul. Such are as purblindin sophistry as the student, who, confining his research to thecold letter of the Kabala, dares say it has no vivifying spirit. Tosee the true man who once inhabited the subject which lies beforehim, on the dissecting table, the surgeon must use other eyes thanthose of his body. So, the glorious truth covered up in thehieratic writings of the ancient papyri can be revealed only to himwho possesses the faculty of intuition--which, if we call reasonthe eye of the mind, may be defined as the eye of the soul. Ourmodern science acknowledges a Supreme Power, an InvisiblePrinciple, but denies a Supreme Being, or Personal God.21Logically, the difference between the two might be questioned; forin this case thePower and the Being areidentical. Human reason can hardly imagine to itself anIntelligent Supreme Power without associating it with the idea ofan Intelligent Being. The masses can never be expected to have aclear conception of the omnipotence and omnipresence of a supremeGod, without investing with those attributes a gigantic projectionof their own personality. But the kabalists have never looked uponthe invisible EN-SOPH otherwisethan as a Power. So far our modern positivists have beenanticipated by thousands of ages, in their cautious philosophy.What the hermetic adept claims to demonstrate is, that simplecommon sense precludes the possibility that the universe is theresult of mere chance. Such an idea appears to him more absurd thanto think that the problems of Euclid were unconsciously formed by amonkey playing with geometrical figures. Very few Christiansunderstand, if indeed they know anything at all, of the JewishTheology. The Talmud is the darkest of enigmas even formost Jews, while those Hebrew scholars who do comprehend it do notboast of their knowledge. Their kabalistic books are still lessunderstood by them; for in our days more Christian than Jewishstudents are engrossed in the elimination of their great truths.How much less is definitely known of the Oriental, or the universalKabala! Its adepts are few; but these heirs elect of the sages whofirst discovered "the starry truths which shone on the greatShemaia of the Chaldean lore"22 have solved the "absolute" and arenow resting from their grand labor. They cannot go beyond thatwhich is given to mortals of this earth to know; and no one, noteven these elect, can trespass beyond the line drawn by the fingerof the Divinity itself. Travellers have met these adepts on theshores of the sacred Ganges, brushed against them in the silentruins of Thebes, and in the mysterious deserted chambers of Luxor.Within the halls upon whose blue and golden vaults the weird signsattract attention, but whose secret meaning is never penetrated bythe idle gazers, they have been seen but seldom recognized.Historical memoirs have recorded their presence in the brilliantlyilluminated salons of European aristocracy. They have beenencountered again on the arid and desolate plains of the GreatSahara, as in the caves of Elephanta. They may be found everywhere,but make themselves known only to those who have devoted theirlives to unselfish study, and are not likely to turn back.Maimonides, the great Jewish theologian and historian, who at onetime was almost deified by his countrymen and afterward treated asa heretic, remarks, that the more absurd and void of sense theTalmud seems the more sublime is the secret meaning. Thislearned man has successfully demonstrated that the Chaldean Magic,the science of Moses and other learned thaumaturgists was whollybased on an extensive knowledge of the various and now forgottenbranches of natural science. Thoroughly acquainted with all theresources of the vegetable, animal, and mineral kingdoms, expertsin occult chemistry and physics, psychologists as well asphysiologists, why wonder that the graduates or adepts instructedin the mysterious sanctuaries of the temples, could performwonders, which even in our days of enlightenment would appearsupernatural? It is an insult to human nature to brand magic andthe occult science with the name of imposture. To believe that forso many thousands of years, one-half of mankind practiced deceptionand fraud on the other half, is equivalent to saying that the humanrace was composed only of knaves and incurable idiots. Where is thecountry in which magic was not practised? At what age was it whollyforgotten? In the oldest documents now in our possession--theVedas and the older laws of Manu--we find many magicalrites practiced and permitted by the Brahmans.23 Thibet, Japan andChina teach in the present age that which was taught by the oldestChaldeans. The clergy of these respective countries, prove moreoverwhat they teach, namely: that the practice of moral and physicalpurity, and of certain austerities, developes the vital soulpowerof self-illumination. Affording to man the control over his ownimmortal spirit, it gives him truly magical powers over theelementary spirits inferior to himself. In the West we find magicof as high an antiquity as in the East. The Druids of Great Britainpractised it in the silent crypts of their deep caves; and Plinydevotes many a chapter to the "wisdom"24 of the leaders of theCelts. The Semothees,--the Druids of the Gauls, expounded thephysical as well as the spiritual sciences. They taught the secretsof the universe, the harmonious progress of the heavenly bodies,the formation of the earth, and above all--the immortality of thesoul.25 Into their sacred groves--natural academies built by thehand of the Invisible Architect--the initiates assembled at thestill hour of midnight to learn about what man once was and what hewill be.26 They needed no artificial illumination, nor life-drawinggas, to light up their temples, for the chaste goddess of nightbeamed her most silvery rays on their oak-crowned heads; and theirwhite-robed sacred bards knew how to converse with the solitaryqueen of the starry vault. 28 On the dead soil of the long by-gonepast stand their sacred oaks, now dried up and stripped of theirspiritual meaning by the venomous breath of materialism. But forthe student of occult learning, their vegetation is still asverdant and luxuriant, and as full of deep and sacred truths, as atthat hour when the arch-druid performed his magical cures, andwaving the branch of mistletoe, severed with his golden sickle thegreen bough from its mother oak-tree. Magic is as old asman. It is as impossible to name the time when it sprang intoexistence as to indicate on what day the first man himself wasborn. Whenever a writer has started with the idea of connecting itsfirst foundation in a country with some historical character,further research has proved his views groundless. Odin, theScandinavian priest and monarch, was thought by many to haveoriginated the practice of magic some seventy years B.C. But it waseasily demonstrated that the mysterious rites of the priestessescalled Voilers, Valas, were greatly anterior to his age.28Some modern authors were bent on proving that Zoroaster was thefounder of magic, because he was the founder of the Magianreligion. Ammianus Marcellinus, Arnobius, Pliny, and other ancienthistorians demonstrated conclusively that he was but a reformer ofMagic as practiced by the Chaldeans and Egyptians. 29
The greatest teachers of divinity agree that nearly all ancientbooks were written symbolically and in a language intelligible onlyto the initiated. The biographical sketch of Apollonius of Tyanaaffords an example. As every Kabalist knows, it embraces the wholeof the Hermetic philosophy, being a counterpart in many respects ofthe traditions left us of King Solomon. It reads like a fairystory, but, as in the case of the latter, sometimes facts andhistorical events are presented to the world under the colors of afiction. The journey to India represents allegorically the trialsof a neophyte. His long discourses with the Brahmans, their sageadvice, and the dialogues with the Corinthian Menippus would, ifinterpreted, give the esoteric catechism. His visit to the empireof the wise men, and interview with their king Hiarchas, the oracleof Amphiaraus, explain symbolically many of the secret dogmas ofHermes. They would disclose, if understood, some of the mostimportant secrets of nature. Eliphas Levi points out the greatresemblance which exists between King Hiarchas and the fabulousHiram, of whom Solomon procured the cedars of Lebanon and the goldof Ophir. We would like to know whether modern Masons, even "GrandLecturers" and the most intelligent craftsmen belonging toimportant lodges, understand who the Hiram is whose deaththey combine together to avenge?
Putting aside the purely metaphysical teachings of theKabala, if one would devote himself but to physicaloccultism, to the so-called branch of therapeutics, the resultsmight benefit some of our modern sciences; such as chemistry andmedicine. Says Professor Draper: "Sometimes, not without surprise,we meet with ideas which we flatter ourselves originated in ourown times." This remark, uttered in relation to the scientificwritings of the Saracens, would apply still better to the moresecret Treatises of the ancients. Modern medicine, whileit has gained largely in anatomy, physiology, and pathology, andeven in therapeutics, has lost immensely by its narrowness ofspirit, its rigid materialism, its sectarian dogmatism. One schoolin its purblindness sternly ignores whatever is developed by otherschools; and all unite in ignoring every grand conception of man ornature, developed by Mesmerism, or by American experiments on thebrain--every principle which does not conform to a stolidmaterialism. It would require a convocation of the hostilephysicians of the several different schools to bring together whatis now known of medical science, and it too often happens thatafter the best practitioners have vainly exhausted their art upon apatient, a mesmerist or a "healing medium" will effect a cure! Theexplorers of old medical literature, from the time of Hippocratesto that of Paracelsus and Van Helmont, will find a vast number ofwell-attested physiological and psychological facts and of measuresor medicines for healing the sick which modern physicianssuperciliously refuse to employ.30 Even with respect to surgery,modern practitioners have humbly and publicly confessed the totalimpossibility of their approximating to anything like themarvellous skill displayed in the art of bandaging by ancientEgyptians. The many hundred yards of ligature enveloping a mummyfrom its ears down to every separate toe, were studied by the chiefsurgical operators in Paris, and, notwithstanding that the modelswere before their eyes, they were unable to accomplish anythinglike it.
In the Abbott Egyptological collection, in New York City, may beseen numerous evidences of the skill of the ancients in varioushandicrafts; among others the art of lace-making; and, as it couldhardly be expected but that the signs of woman's vanity should goside by side with those of man's strength, there are also specimensof artificial hair, and gold ornaments of different kinds. TheNew
York Tribune, reviewing the contents of the EbersPapyrus, says:--"Verily, there is no new thing under the sun.. . . Chapters 65, 66, 79, and 89 show that hair invigorators, hairdyes, pain-killers, and fleapowders were desiderata 3,400 yearsago."
How few of our recent alleged discoveries are in reality new,and how many belong to the ancients, is again most fairly andeloquently though but in part stated by our eminent philosophicalwriter, Professor John W. Draper. His Conflict between Religionand Science--a great book with a very bad title--swarms withsuch facts. At page 13, he cites a few of the achievements ofancient philosophers, which excited the admiration of Greece. InBabylon was a series of Chaldean astronomical observations, rangingback through nineteen hundred and three years, which Callisthenessent to Aristotle. Ptolemy, the Egyptian king-astronomer possesseda Babylonian record of eclipses going back seven hundred andforty-seven years before our era. As Prof. Draper truly remarks:"Longcontinued and close observations were necessary before some ofthese astronomical results that have reached our times could havebeen ascertained. Thus, the Babylonians had fixed the length of atropical year within twenty-five seconds of the truth; theirestimate of the sidereal year was barely two minutes in excess.They had detected the precession of the equinoxes. They knew thecauses of eclipses, and, by the aid of their cycle, calledsaros, could predict them. Their estimate of the value ofthat cycle, which is more than 6,585 days, was within nineteen anda half minutes of the truth."
"Such facts furnish incontrovertible proof of the patience andskill with which astronomy had been cultivated in Mesopotamia, andthat, with very inadequate instrumental means, it had reached noinconsiderable perfection. These old observers had made a catalogueof the stars, had divided the zodiac into twelve signs; they hadparted the day into twelve hours, the night into twelve. They had,as Aristotle says, for a long time devoted themselves toobservations of star-occultations by the moon. They had correctviews of the structure of the solar system, and knew the order ofemplacement of the planets. They constructed sundials, clepsydras,astrolabes, gnomons."
Speaking of the world of eternal truths that lies "within theworld of transient delusions and unrealities," Professor Drapersays: "That world is not to be discovered through the vaintraditions that have brought down to us the opinion of men wholived in the morning of civilization, nor in the dreams ofmystics who thought that they were inspired. It is to bediscovered by the investigations of geometry, and by thepractical interrogations of nature."Precisely. The issue couldnot be better stated. This eloquent writer tells us a profoundtruth. He does not, however, tell us the whole truth,because he does not know it. He has not described the nature orextent of the knowledge imparted in the Mysteries. No subsequentpeople has been so proficient in geometry as the builders of thePyramids and other Titanic monuments, antediluvian andpostdiluvian. On the other hand, none has ever equalled them in thepractical interrogation of nature.
An undeniable proof of this is the significance of theircountless symbols. Every one of these symbols is an embodiedidea,--combining the conception of the Divine Invisible with theearthly and visible. The former is derived from the latterstrictly through analogy according to the hermetic formula--"asbelow, so it is above." Their symbols show great knowledge ofnatural sciences and a practical study of cosmical power.
As to practical results to be obtained by "the investigations ofgeometry," very fortunately for students who are coming upon thestage of action, we are no longer forced to content ourselves withmere conjectures. In our own times, an American, Mr. George H.Felt, of New York, who, if he continues as he has begun, may oneday be recognized as the greatest geometer of the age, has beenenabled, by the sole help of the premises established by theancient Egyptians, to arrive at results which we will give in hisown language. "Firstly," says Mr. Felt, "the fundamental diagram towhich all science of elementary geometry, both plane and solid, isreferable; to produce arithmetical systems of proportion in ageometrical manner; to identify this figure with all the remains ofarchitecture and sculpture, in all which it had been followed in amarvellously exact manner; to determine that the Egyptians had usedit as the basis of all their astronomical calculations, on whichtheir religious symbolism was almost entirely founded; to find itstraces among all the remnants of art and architecture of theGreeks; to discover its traces so strongly among the Jewish sacredrecords, as to prove conclusively that it was founded thereon; tofind that the whole system had been discovered by the Egyptiansafter researches of tens of thousands of years into the laws ofnature, and that it might truly be called the science of theUniverse." Further it enabled him "to determine with precisionproblems in physiology heretofore only surmised; to first developsuch a Masonic philosophy as showed it to be conclusively the firstscience and religion, as it will be the last"; and we may add,lastly, to prove by ocular demonstrations that the Egyptiansculptors and architects obtained the models for the quaint figureswhich adorn the facades and vestibules of their temples, not in thedisordered fantasies of their own brains, but from the "viewlessraces of the air," and other kingdoms of nature, whom he, likethem, claims to make visible by resort to their ownchemical and kabalistical processes.
Schweigger proves that the symbols of all the mythologies have ascientific foundation and substance.31 It is only through recentdiscoveries of the physical electro-magnetical powers of naturethat such experts in Mesmerism as Ennemoser, Schweigger and Bart,in Germany, Baron Du Potet and Regazzoni, in France and Italy, wereenabled to trace with almost faultless accuracy the true relationwhich each Theomythos bore to some one of these powers.The Idaeic finger, which had such importance in the magic art ofhealing, means an iron finger, which is attracted and repulsed inturn by magnetic, natural forces. It produced, in Samothrace,wonders of healing by restoring affected organs to their normalcondition.
Bart goes deeper than Schweigger into the significations of theold myths, and studies the subject from both its spiritual andphysical aspects. He treats at length of the Phrygian Dactyls,those "magicians and exorcists of sickness," and of the CabeirianTheurgists. He says: "While we treat of the close union of theDactyls and magnetic forces, we are not necessarily confined to themagnetic stone, and our views of nature but take a glance atmagnetism in its whole meaning. Then it is clear how the initiated,who called themselves Dactyls, created astonishment in thepeople through their magic arts, working as they did, miracles of ahealing nature. To this united themselves many other things whichthe priesthood of antiquity was wont to practice; the cultivationof the land and of morals, the
advancement of art and science, mysteries, and secretconsecrations. All this was done by the priestly Cabeirians, andwherefore not guided and supported by the mysterious spirits ofnature?"32 Schweigger is of the same opinion, and demonstratesthat the phenomena of ancient Theurgy were produced by magneticpowers "under the guidance of spirits."
Despite their apparent Polytheism, the ancients--those of theeducated class at all events--were entirely monotheistical; andthis, too, ages upon ages before the days of Moses. In theEbers Papyrus this fact is shown conclusively in thefollowing words, translated from the first four lines of Plate I.:"I came from Heliopolis with the great ones from Het-aat, the Lordsof Protection, the masters of eternity and salvation. I came fromSais with the Mother-goddesses, who extended to me protection.The Lord of the Universe told me how to free the gods fromall murderous diseases." Eminent men were called gods by theancients. The deification of mortal men and supposititiousgods is no more a proof against their monotheism than themonument-building of modern Christians, who erect statues to theirheroes, is proof of their polytheism. Americans of the presentcentury would consider it absurd in their posterity 3,000 yearshence to classify them as idolaters for having built statues totheir god Washington. So shrouded in mystery was the HermeticPhilosophy that Volney asserted that the ancient peoples worshippedtheir gross material symbols as divine in themselves; whereas thesewere only considered as representing esoteric principles. Dupuis,also, after devoting many years of study to the problem, mistookthe symbolic circle, and attributed their religion solely toastronomy. Eberhart (Berliner Monatschrift) and many otherGerman writers of the last and present centuries, dispose of magicmost unceremoniously, and think it due to the Platonic mythos ofthe Timaeus. But how, without possessing a knowledge ofthe mysteries, was it possible for these men or any others notendowed with the finer intuition of a Champollion, to discover theesoteric half of that which was concealed, behind the veil of Isis,from all except the adepts?
The merit of Champollion as an Egyptologist none will question.He declares that everything demonstrates the ancient Egyptians tohave been profoundly monotheistical. The accuracy of the writingsof the mysterious Hermes Trismegistus, whose antiquity runs backinto the night of time, is corroborated by him to their minutestdetails. Ennemoser also says: "Into Egypt and the East wentHerodotus, Thales, Parmenides, Empedocles, Orpheus, and Pythagoras,to instruct themselves in Natural Philosophy and Theology." There,too, Moses acquired his wisdom, and Jesus passed the earlier yearsof his life.
Thither gathered the students of all countries before Alexandriawas founded. "How comes it," Ennemoser goes on to say, "that solittle has become known of these mysteries? through so many agesand amongst so many different times and people? The answer is thatit is owing to the universally strict silence of the initiated.Another cause may be found in the destruction and total loss of allthe written memorials of the secret knowledge of the remotestantiquity." Numa's books, described by Livy, consisting oftreatises upon natural philosophy, were found in his tomb; but theywere not allowed to be made known, lest they should reveal the mostsecret mysteries of the state religion. The senate and the tribuneof the people determined that the books themselves should beburned, which was done in public.33
Magic was considered a divine science which led to aparticipation in the attributes of Divinity itself. "Itunveils the operations of nature," says Philo Judaeus, "and leadsto the contemplation of celestial powers."34 In later periods itsabuse and degeneration into sorcery made it an object of generalabhorrence. We must therefore deal with it only as it was in theremote past, during those ages when every true religion was basedon a knowledge of the occult powers of nature. It was not thesacerdotal class in ancient Persia that established magic, as it iscommonly thought, but the Magi, who derive their name from it. TheMobeds, priests of the Parsis--the ancient Ghebers--are named, evenat the present day, Magoi, in the dialect of the Pehlvi.35Magic appeared in the world with the earlier races of men.Cassien mentions a treatise, well-known in the fourth and fifthcenturies, which was accredited to Ham, the son of Noah, who in histurn was reputed to have received it from Jared, the fourthgeneration from Seth, the son of Adam. 36
Moses was indebted for his knowledge to the mother of theEgyptian princess, Thermuthis, who saved him from the waters of theNile. The wife of Pharaoh,37 Batria, was an initiate herself, andthe Jews owe to her the possession of their prophet, "learned inall the wisdom of the Egyptians, and mighty in words and deeds."38Justin Martyr, giving as his authority Trogus Pompeius, showsJoseph as having acquired a great knowledge in magical arts withthe high priests of Egypt. 39
The ancients knew more concerning certain sciences than ourmodern savants have yet discovered. Reluctant as many are toconfess as much, it has been acknowledged by more than onescientist. "The degree of scientific knowledge existing in an earlyperiod of society was much greater than the moderns are willing toadmit"; says Dr. A. Todd Thomson, the editor of OccultSciences, by Salverte; "but," he adds, "it was confined to thetemples, carefully veiled from the eyes of the people and opposedonly to the priesthood." Speaking of the Kabala, thelearned Franz von Baader remarks that "not only our salvation andwisdom, but our science itself came to us from the Jews." But whynot complete the sentence and tell the reader from whom the Jewsgot their wisdom?
Origen, who had belonged to the Alexandrian school ofPlatonists, declares that Moses, besides the teachings of thecovenant, communicated some very important secrets "from the hiddendepths of the law" to the seventy elders. These he enjoined them toimpart only to persons whom they found worthy.
St. Jerome names the Jews of Tiberias and Lydda as the onlyteachers of the mystical manner of interpretation. Finally,Ennemoser expresses a strong opinion that "the writings ofDionysius Areopagita have palpably been grounded on the JewishKabala." When we take in consideration that the Gnostics,or early Christians, were but the followers of the old Essenesunder a new name, this fact is nothing to be wondered at. ProfessorMolitor gives the Kabala its just due. He says:
"The age of inconsequence and shallowness, in theology as wellas in sciences, is past, and since that revolutionary rationalismhas left nothing behind but its own emptiness, after havingdestroyed everything positive, it seems now to be the time todirect our attention anew to that mysterious revelation which isthe living spring whence our salvation must come . . . theMysteries of ancient Israel, which contain all secrets of modernIsrael, would be particularly calculated to . . . found the fabricof theology upon its deepest theosophical principles, and to gaina firm basis to all ideal sciences. It would open a newpath . . . to the obscure labyrinth of the myths, mysteries andconstitutions of primitive nations. . . . In these traditions aloneare contained the system of the schools of the prophets, which theprophet Samuel did not found, but only restored, whose endwas no other than to lead the scholars to wisdom and the highestknowledge, and when they had been found worthy, to induct theminto deeper mysteries. Classed with these mysteries wasmagic, which was of a double nature--divine magic, andevil magic, or the black art. Each of these is again divisible intotwo kinds, the active and seeing; in the first, man endeavors toplace himself enrapport with the world to learn hiddenthings; in the latter he endeavors to gain power over spirits; inthe former, to perform goodand beneficial acts;in the latter to do all kinds of diabolical and unnaturaldeeds."40
The clergy of the three most prominent Christian bodies, theGreek, Roman Catholic, and Protestant, discountenance everyspiritual phenomenon manifesting itself through the so-called"mediums." A very brief period, indeed, has elapsed since both thetwo latter ecclesiastical corporations burned, hanged, andotherwise murdered every helpless victim through whose organismspirits--and sometimes blind and as yet unexplained forces ofnature--manifested themselves. At the head of these three churches,pre-eminent stands the Church of Rome. Her hands are scarlet withthe innocent blood of countless victims shed in the name of theMoloch-like divinity at the head of her creed. She is ready andeager to begin again. But she is bound hand and foot by thatnineteenth century spirit of progress and religious freedom whichshe reviles and blasphemes daily. The Graeco-Russian Church is themost amiable and Christ-like in her primitive, simple, though blindfaith. Despite the fact that there has been no practical unionbetween the Greek and Latin Churches, and that the two partedcompany long centuries ago, the Roman Pontiffs seem to invariablyignore the fact. They have in the most impudent manner possiblearrogated to themselves jurisdiction not only over the countrieswithin the Greek communion but also over all Protestants as well."The Church insists," says Professor Draper, "that the state has norights over any thing which it declares to be within its domain,and that Protestantism being a mere rebellion, has no rights atall; that even in Protestant communities the Catholic bishop isthe only lawful spiritual pastor."41 Decrees unheeded,encyclical letters unread, invitations to ecumenical councilsunnoticed, excommunications laughed at--all these have seemed tomake no difference. Their persistence has only been matched bytheir effrontery. In 1864, the culmination of absurdity wasattained when Pius IX. excommunicated andfulminated publicly his anathemas against the Russian Emperor, as a"schismatic cast out from the bosom of the Holy MotherChurch."42 Neither he nor his ancestors, nor Russia since it wasChristianized, a thousand years ago, have ever consented to jointhe Roman Catholics. Why not claim ecclesiastical jurisdiction overthe Buddhists of Thibet, or the shadows of the ancient Hyk-Sos?
The mediumistic phenomena have manifested themselves at alltimes in Russia as well as in other countries. This force ignoresreligious differences; it laughs at nationalities; and invadesunasked any individuality, whether of a crowned head or a poorbeggar.
Not even the present Vice-God, Pius IX.,himself, could avoid the unwelcome guest. For the last fifty yearshis Holiness has been known to be subject to very extraordinaryfits. Inside the Vatican they are termed Divine visions;outside, physicians call them epileptic fits; and popular rumorattributes them to an obsession by the ghosts of Peruggia,Castelfidardo, and Mentana!
"The lights burn blue: it is now dead midnight,
Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh,
Methought the souls of all that I caused to be murdered Came. .. ." 43
The Prince of Hohenlohe, so famous during the first quarter ofour century for his healing powers, was himself a great medium.Indeed, these phenomena and powers belong to no particular age orcountry. They form a portion of the psychological attributes ofman--the Microcosmos.
For centuries have the Klikouchy,44 theYourodevoy,45 and other miserable creatures beenafflicted with strange disorders, which the Russian clergy and thepopulace attribute to possession by the devil. They throng theentrances of the cathedrals, without daring to trust themselvesinside, lest their selfwilled controlling demons might fling themon the ground. Voroneg, Kiew, Kazan, and all cities which possessthe thaumaturgical relics of canonized saints, abound with suchunconscious mediums. One can always find numbers of them,congregating in hideous groups, and hanging about the gates andporches. At certain stages of the celebration of the mass by theofficiating clergy, such as the appearance of the sacraments, orthe beginning of the prayer and chorus, "Ejey Cherouvim,"these half-maniacs, half-mediums, begin crowing like cocks,barking, bellowing and braying, and, finally, fall down in fearfulconvulsions. "The unclean one cannot bear the holyprayer," is the pious explanation. Moved by pity, some charitablesouls administer restoratives to the "afflicted ones," anddistribute alms among them. Occasionally, a priest is invited toexorcise, in which event he either performs the ceremony for thesake of love and charity, or the alluring prospect of atwenty-copeck silver bit, according to his Christian impulses. Butthese miserable creatures--who are mediums, for they prophesy andsee visions sometimes, when the fit is genuine46 --are nevermolested because of their misfortune. Why should the clergypersecute them, or people hate and denounce them as damnablewitches or wizards? Common sense and justice surely suggest that ifany are to be punished it is certainly not the victims who cannothelp themselves, but the demon who is alleged to control theiractions. The worst that happens to the patient is, that the priestinundates him or her with holy water, and causes the poor creatureto catch cold. This failing in efficacy, the Klikoucha isleft to the will of God, and taken care of in love and pity.Superstitious and blind as it is, a faith conducted on suchprinciples certainly deserves some respect, and can never beoffensive, either to man or the true God. Not so with thatof the Roman Catholics; and hence, it is they, and secondarily, theProtestant clergy--with the exception of some foremost thinkersamong them--that we purpose questioning in this work. We want toknow upon what grounds they base their right to treat Hindus andChinese spiritualists and kabalists in the way they do; denouncingthem, in company with the infidels--creatures of their ownmaking--as so many convicts sentenced to the inextinguishable firesof hell.
Far from us be the thought of the slightest irreverence--letalone blasphemy--toward the Divine Power which called into beingall things, visible and invisible. Of its majesty and boundlessperfection we dare not even think. It is enough for us to know thatIt exists and that It is all wise. Enough that incommon with our fellow creatures we possess a spark of Itsessence. The supreme power whom we revere is the boundless andendless one--the grand "CENTRALSPIRITUAL SUN" by whoseattributes and the visible effects of whose inaudible WILL we aresurrounded--the God of the ancient and the God of modern seers. Hisnature can be studied only in the worlds called forth by his mightyFIAT. His revelation is traced with his own finger in imperishablefigures of universal harmony upon the face of the Cosmos. It is theonly INFALLIBLE gospel we recognize.
Speaking of ancient geographers, Plutarch remarks inTheseus, that they "crowd into the edges of their mapsparts of the world which they do not know about, adding notes inthe margin to the effect that beyond this lies nothing but sandydeserts full of wild beasts and unapproachablebogs." Do not our theologians and scientists do the same?While the former people the invisible world with either angels ordevils, our philosophers try to persuade their disciples that wherethere is no matter there is nothing.
How many of our inveterate skeptics belong, notwithstandingtheir materialism, to Masonic Lodges? The brothers of theRosie-Cross, mysterious practitioners of the mediaeval ages, stilllive--but in name only. They may "shed tears at the grave of theirrespectable Master, Hiram Abiff "; but vainly will they search forthe true locality, "where the sprig of myrtle was placed." The deadletter remains alone, the spirit has fled. They are like theEnglish or German chorus of the Italian opera, who descend in thefourth act of Ernani into the crypt of Charlemagne,singing their conspiracy in a tongue utterly unknown to them. So,our modern knights of the Sacred Arch may descend every night ifthey choose
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