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Title: Mysticism and its Results
       Being an Inquiry into the Uses and Abuses of Secrecy

Author: John Delafield

Release Date: August 14, 2007 [EBook #22314]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek and Hebrew will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them.











Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the
District of Missouri.

13 Chambers Street, N.Y.

This Essay is respectfully Inscribed,
BY The Writer.



"The word was God." That "word is Truth." Truth can never change, or it would contradict itself. Past, present, and future, must be governed by immutable laws. Experience is acquired by the careful study of history, and the present condition of all things. All is governed now by that same law of truth, which was from the beginning of the world, and ever shall be. What serious lessons, then, may be learned by a careful examination of past ages; and how useful may they not be to us and our children for future ages? We can only judge of that which is to come hereafter, by studying the past, and carefully noting the present.

This little book has collated some facts, perhaps, somewhat out of the usual range of reading; but which it is sincerely trusted may be of practical [6]utility. If it only induces thought, study, or research, by intellectual and honest minds, its object will have been attained. The writer can only claim the indulgence of the reader to consider the essay suggestive—not didactic. Many a far abler pen may enlarge upon and carry out the ideas presented. May it be

J. D.




Secrecy; its Uses and Abuses.—Mystery; its Definition.—Mysticism, and its Definition. ... PAGE 9


The Distinction between the Early Elohistic and Jehovahstic Ages of Primeval Patriarchal Times.—The Secrecy of Original Worship on Mountain Tops.—The Collation and Reconciliation of the Patriarchal Traditions brought together by Moses.—The Commencement of the Jehovahstic Age.—The Origin of Mythology.—The Magi; their Organization and Modes of Worship.—The Deification of Nimrod, and the Source of Political Power at its Beginning.—The Secret Writings they adopted.—The Dead Invokers.—The Mysteries of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. ... 16


The Origin of the Cabbalistæ; the Chaldeans, and their Antagonism to Patriarchal Tradition.—The Hand-Writing on Belshazzar's Wall.—The Secret Writings of the Cabbalistæ.—How Daniel read the Same.—Ezra.—The Origin of the Masoretic Text.—Zoroaster.—His Reformation and Reconstruction of the Religion of the Magi.—Pythagoras, and his "League."—The Thugs.—The Druids. ... 41



The Discipline of the Secret in the Origin of the Christian Church.—The Inquisition.—The Mystics.—The Rise of Monachism.—The Mendicant Orders.—The Orders of Knighthood.—The Jesuits, their Organization and History.—The Rosicrucians, &c. ... 71


The Struggle between an alleged Jus Divinum Regum, and Popular Sovereignty.—And the Efforts now attempted to destroy our Grand Experiment of Self-Government.—Practical Results. ... 104




Secrecy; its Uses and Abuses.—Mystery; its Definition.—Mysticism, and its Definition.

It is not true, as has been sometimes said, that wherever there is secrecy there is error.

Secrecy, like most all else, hath its uses and abuses: its uses, as developed in modesty and domestic virtue, in religious meditation, self-examination, and prayer, and in prudence in the affairs of life: its abuses, in prudery, asceticism, superstitious awe, undue veneration of power, and when used as a cloud to conceal crime so hideous that nothing but the truth of God, vindicated by human laws founded thereon, directed by wisdom, can dispel it.

Virtue and modesty shrink from public gaze. Each looks alone to its innate sense, the gift of God, and to the sole approval of the great "I AM."

The hidden sincere aspirations of the heart are known only to Him who "breathed into man the [10]breath of life, and he became a living soul." These are a secret between the created being and its Almighty Father. At the lonely hour, when the burdened soul, knowing no earthly refuge from overwhelming troubles, but a mightier Hand than that of man, seeks on bended knee and with penitential tear, a blessing from on high, no word is spoken, no sound uttered save the sob from a contrite heart. The aspiration has gone forth inaudibly to Him who said to all mankind, then and for future ages, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."[1]

"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,

Uttered or unexpressed,

The motion of a hidden fire

That trembles in the breast.

It is the burden of a sigh,

The falling of a tear,

The upward glancing of an eye

When none but God is near."[2]

What knoweth the outer world of this? Yet wrong can not exist in such secret communion between a penitent heart and its Maker. Pure religious meditation, leading us from earth to heaven, is only promoted by secret study and reflection in solitude. Neither philosophy nor religion can be cultivated in the midst of the vortices of commerce or other business requiring constant intercourse with hundreds of [11]men during the day, nor in the whirl of fashion in the evening.

Thus, then, do we trace one of the uses of secrecy. Both its use and its abuse we shall hereinafter find exemplified in marked effects not only on individual minds, but also on the masses of mankind in past history: its use, in the development of true piety: its abuse, in asceticism, superstition, and overweening spiritual power resulting in crimes, which were "a sin unto death." Another abuse of secrecy has been manifested in means heretofore employed in the constant effort to obtain and maintain worldly power. This was by affecting the imagination and blinding the reason of the masses. Some time ago, an ephemeral work was published, even the name of which is not recollected by this writer, wherein was a picture showing the section of a handsome tent with curtains closely drawn. Within, is a man eating and feasting like other mortals. Without, is a stand on which are exposed to view the usual emblems and insignia of royalty, before which there is a kneeling crowd. An admirable illustration! True it is, that "no man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre." Fashionable wealth and power depend upon exclusiveness to accomplish their usual attendant influences. Royalty hides every hour in secrecy from public gaze, except when it occasionally becomes necessary to treat the subjects to a mere pageant or show of military costume and outside appearances. When Lola Montes displayed to [12]the world the mere humanity of the old king of Bavaria, where had he any prestige left? Schamyl has attained his extraordinary influence and power by his seclusion, asceticism, and pretended revelations; and bravery having crowned his efforts, he is a favorite of fortune, and the idol of a superstitious veneration. What did not Mohammed accomplish in the same manner? But, in illustration of the opposite effect, so well known to the sad experience of all, hath not a mightier One testified that, "a prophet hath no honor in his own country?"[3]

But doth not also common prudence in worldly affairs demand the use of secrecy?

What good general will detail, even to his own forces, and still less make public for the use of his adversary, his plans and intentions for an ensuing campaign?—what business man communicate to the public or to his rivals his hard thought and well-planned speculation?—what inventor publish his new machine or discovery until he has secured his patent-right?

In what follows, then, let us discriminate between the use and abuse of secrecy; so that, by the lessons of the past and the present, we may be safely guided in our course through the future.

Before going into matters of historic detail, it were well to understand the definition of the word "mystery." [13]

Many suppose it to mean "something which is incomprehensible." This is all a mistake.

"Μυστηριον" means simply "a revealed secret." In other words, "mystery," which we derive from the Greek word quoted, means neither more nor less than a secret revealed and explained to us. A man of mature years and finished education knows that which no school-boy can comprehend. To the elder a secret has been revealed. He is in possession of the mystery. To the younger it is yet a secret, not incomprehensible, but which can only be attained in the progress of learning. To the scientific many of the mysteries of nature are unfolded, but they are a secret to the world at large. To those Christians in the earlier days of the church, who had attained its highest instruction, and after the "Ite, missa est" had dismissed the rest of the congregation, remained to participate in the "pure offering" (or "clean oblation") prophesied by Malachi[4] to be thereafter offered in every place to Him whose name thenceforth should be great among the Gentiles—to them "it was given to know the mysteries of God:"[5] not to understand things incomprehensible. That would be a contradiction in terms: a thing impossible. How can a person comprehend that which passeth all understanding? But it may be said, there are things which are incomprehensible. Not so. They may be a secret to us while, in this school-house, the earth, the [14]pedagogue Necessity is teaching us only the rudiments of the laws of God as developed in nature or in mind; but, when the scintilla divinitatis, hidden in these "earthen vessels,"[6] shall have been set free, and (while "the dust returns to the earth as it was") rises unto Him that breathed into us that "spiritus" or "breath of life"—when we shall hereafter have been "newly born" into a spiritual state of higher existence—then may we hope that what is secret to us now, may become a mystery or revealed secret to us hereafter. It is not all of life to terminate our existence on this earth. This is but the school-house in the commencement of eternity. These mysteries, now secrets to us, are created and maintained by the fixed laws of Him "who is without variableness or shadow of turning." The revelations thereof belong to a higher kingdom, which "flesh and blood can not inherit," yet in which every soul "shall be made alive."[7] Then shall these secrets be unfolded in proportion to the cultivation of the mind and talents here: for the unchangeable laws of God have placed all matter in constant and regular mutation; and whether of matter or of mind, all is governed by a certain law of progress, compelling us to attain excellence and strength only by constant endeavors to surmount difficulties: and it is thus alone we can, by severe study and deep meditation, in investigating these laws of mutation and progress in things physical and [15]moral, bring the mind, even in this life, to a nearer approximation to, and capability of, appreciating the wonderful truths we must hereafter learn. As in all other laws of God, the cultivation of our talents must then carry its proportionate reward hereafter.[8]

Let us then examine into the uses and abuses of secrecy in past history, and at the present day—but more particularly will these be manifested by "Mysticism;" by which is meant, the revelation of learning, social, religious, and political, the teaching of which has been, and is, preserved secret from the world, by societies, associations, and confraternities.[9]



The Distinction between the Early Elohistic and Jehovahstic Ages of Primeval Patriarchal Times.—The Secrecy of Original Worship on Mountain Tops.—The Collation and Reconciliation of the patriarchal Traditions brought together by Moses.—The Commencement of the Jehovahstic Age.—The Origin of Mythology.—The Magi; their Organization and Modes of Worship.—The Deification of Nimrod, and the Source of Political Power at its Beginning.—The Secret Writings they adopted.—The Dead Invokers.—The Mysteries of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

In a critical study of the books of Moses two eras seem to be discernible. The earlier, the Elohistic, when God was only known by the name, "Elohim." The latter, the "Jehovahstic," beginning at a later period.[10]

Though not altogether germain to our subject, may we here be permitted to inquire—par parenthese—whether this simple rule does not furnish to us the means of reconciliation of apparent contradictions?

All instruction originally was traditional alone. The patriarch was priest and teacher, as well as ruler of his tribe. Each handed down to his successor the [17]traditions he had received from his ancestors orally. As tribes became nomadic, or else sought permanently new settlements and homes, traditions in course of time necessarily became variant. Moses seems honestly to have collated these traditions, and has, no doubt, given them in their respective versions as he received them from Jethro, his father-in-law, and from the patriarchal instruction among the elders of his people in Egypt. Thus we can recognize those in which the name Elohim is used as being of much earlier date than the same tradition differently told, where the word Jehovah indicates the name of Deity. For instance, we find in one place[11] the command of God to Noah to take the beasts and fowls, &c., into the ark by sevens. But again, in the same chapter,[12] we find them taken only by pairs. Are these not variant traditions of one event? So, of the story of Abraham passing off his wife for his sister before Pharaoh, king of Egypt,[13] and also before Abimelech, king of Gerar,[14] and the farther tradition of Isaac and Rebecca having done the same thing before Abimelech, king of Gerar.[15] Are not these variant traditions of one fact? The legal experience of the writer for many years, convinces him that no two persons without collusion view a transaction generally exactly alike. Frequently—and each equally sincere and honest—they widely vary in their testimony. [18]Collusion may produce a story without contradiction. Slight discrepancies show there is no fraud, only that the witnesses occupied different stand points, or gave more or less attention to what was the subject matter.

But, asking pardon for this digression, let us return to our theme.

We know little or nothing about the teaching of the patriarchs in the Elohistic age. Neither writing nor sculpture thereof existed in the time of Moses, except, perhaps, the lost book of Enoch, or, unless—which we are inclined to doubt—the book of Job had just before his era been reduced to writing by the Idumean, Assyrian, or Chaldean priesthood. We find at that period that sacrifices were offered on mountain tops. Why? Abraham went to such a place to offer up his son. Was it not for secrecy in the religious rite? If the earliest instruction was from God, whose truth is unchangeable and eternal, were not the earliest sacrifices offered in secret by reason of the same command which subsequently obliged the high priest of his chosen people to offer the great sacrifice in secret within the veils, first of the Tabernacle, afterward of the Temple? The Elohistic age ended with the first official act of Moses, after he, also, had met with Aaron on "the mount of God."[16]

A new era then commenced. As men dispersed [19]themselves over the earth, the original belief in the one true God (Monotheism) was lost, and people fell into the worship of many deities (Polytheism), adoring the visible works of creation, more particularly the sun and the stars of heaven, or else reverencing the operative powers of nature as divine beings. Faith in the one Great Jehovah was preserved by the children of Israel alone. Idols were erected within gorgeous temples. With the Chaldean, Phœnician, and Assyrian, Moloch began the dreadful cruelty of human sacrifices, chiefly of children. If, at first, the image of the idol was only a visible symbol of a spiritual conception, or of an invisible power, this higher meaning was lost in progress of time in the minds of most nations, and they came at length to pay worship to the lifeless image itself. The priests alone were acquainted with any deeper meaning, but refused to share it with the people; they reserved it under the veil of esoteric (secret) doctrines, as the peculiar appanage of their own class. They invented endless fables which gave rise to Mythology. They ruled the people by the might of superstition, and acquired wealth, honor, and power, for themselves.[17] We arrive then at nearly the culminating point of Egyptian priestcraft, the days of "wise men," "sorcerers," and "magicians."[18] Such men ever [20]have, and we presume ever will employ secrecy as the chief element of their clever jugglery. Mankind love to be deceived. Let an Adrian, Blitz, or Alexander—while they tell you, and you well know it, that their tricks are a deception—put forth notices of an exhibition, and they will attract crowds, where an Arago, or a Faraday, would not be listened to. Maelzel's automata, or Vaucanson's duck, will attract the world, when Bacon's, or Newton's, or Laplace's works may remain in dust on the book-shelves. Human nature is always the same, and thus it was in the days of Moses and Pharaoh. The wise men, sorcerers, and magicians, held undisputed sway, not only over the superstitions of the people, but over their educated monarchs and princes. Egypt possessed, at an inconceivably early period, numberless towns and villages, and a high amount of civilization. Arts, sciences, and civil professions, were cherished there, so that the Nile-land has generally been regarded as the mysterious cradle of human culture; but the system of castes checked free development and continuous improvement. Everything subserved a gloomy religion and a powerful priesthood, who held the people in terror and superstition. Their doctrine, that, after the death of man, the soul could not enter into her everlasting repose unless the body were preserved, occasioned the singular custom of embalming the corpses of the departed to preserve them from decay, and of treasuring them up in the shape of [21]mummies in shaft-like passages and mortuary chambers. Through this belief, the priests, who, as judges of the dead, possessed the power of giving up the bodies of the sinful to corruption, and by this means occasioning the transmigration of their souls into the bodies of animals, obtained immense authority. Notwithstanding the magnificence of their architectural productions, and the vast technical skill and dexterity in sculpture and mechanical appliances which they display, the Egyptians have produced but little in literature or the sciences; and even this little was locked up from the people in the mysterious hieroglyphical writing, which was understood by the priests alone.[19] The following translation is a quotation from a Latin work: "Among the ancient Egyptians, from whom we learn the rudiments of speech, besides the three common kinds of letters, other descriptions of characters are used which have been generally consecrated to their peculiar mysteries. In a dissertation on this subject, that celebrated antiquarian (conditor stromatum), Clement, of Alexandria, teaches in his writings, thus: 'Those who are taught Egyptian, first, indeed, learn the grammar and chirography called letter-writing, that is, which is apt for ordinary correspondence; secondly, however, that used by the priests, called sacred writing, to commemorate sacred things; the last also, hieroglyphic, meaning sacred sculpture, one of the first elements of which is [22]cyriologism, meaning, properly speaking, enunciating truth by one or another symbol, or in other words, portraying the meaning by significant emblems.' With Clement agrees the Arabian, Abenephi, who uses this language: (This Arabic writing is preserved in the Vatican library, but not as yet printed: it is often quoted by Athanasius Kircher, in his Treatise on the Pamphilian Obelisk, whence these and other matters stated by us have been taken.) 'But there were four kinds of writing among the Egyptians: First, that in use among the populace and the ignorant; secondly, that in vogue among the philosophers and the educated; thirdly, one compounded of letters and symbols, without drawn figures or representations of things; the fourth was confined solely to the priesthood, the figures or letters of which were those of birds, by which they represented the sacred things of Deity.' From which last testimony we learn that erudite Egyptians used a peculiar and different system of writing from that of the populace, and it was for the purpose of teaching their peculiar doctrines. For example, they show that this writing consisted of symbols, partly of opinions and ideas, partly of historic fables accommodated to a more secret method of teaching. But Clement, of Alexandria, went further. In book v. of Antiquities (stromata, 'foundation of things'), he says: 'All who controlled theological matters, Barbarian as well as Greek, have concealed their principles, hiding the truth in enigmas, signs, symbols, as [23]well as allegories, and also in tropes, and have handed them down in various symbols and methods.'"[20] This passage led subsequently to the brilliant discoveries of Champollion.

Who, then, were the "erudite Egyptians" who used a peculiar system of writing" for the purpose of teaching their peculiar doctrines?" Who were [24]these "magi," "wise men," "sorcerers," and "magicians"? Nowhere do we find Pharaoh in the midst of his troubles calling for a priest. It is always for the wise men, magicians, and sorcerers. Were they not the priests?—were they not those who controlled the mysteries—who practised divination? When Moses and Aaron cast down their rods, the magicians of Egypt "also did in like manner with their enchantments," and the result was the same.[21] When Moses smote the waters that they became blood, the acuteness of the priests, or magi, in their mysteries taught them a lesson whereby they were able to do the same.[22] When the frogs came up on Pharaoh and on all his people, and on all his servants, and covered the land of Egypt, we learn "the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt."[23] If the ancient Egyptians were like their descendants, it is singular the magi could not accomplish the next plague, that is, of lice. But here their power ended. The magi originated in Media. According to oriental custom, to them was intrusted the preservation of scientific knowledge, and the performance of the holy exercises of Religion. Afterward, in a special sense, the magi were a caste of priests of the Medes and Persians, deriving the name of Pehlvi; Mag, or Mog, generally signifies in that language, a priest. They are expressly mentioned by Herodotus as a Median tribe. Zoroaster was not their founder, [25]but was their reformer, and the purifier of their doctrines. The Magi of his time were opposed to his innovations; and they, therefore, were condemned by him. When afterward, however, they adopted his reforms, he effected their thorough organization, dividing them into Apprentices, Masters, and Perfect Masters. Their study and science consisted in observation of their holy rites, in the knowledge of their sacred forms of prayer, and liturgies by which Ormuzd was worshipped, and in the ceremonies attendant on their prayers and sacrifices. They only were permitted to act as mediators between God and man. To them alone was the will of God declared. They only could penetrate the future. And they alone predicted the future to those who sought of them therefor. In later days the name Magi became synonymous with sorcerer, magician, alchemist, &c.[24]


The magi of Egypt were the priests, the founders and preservers of the mysteries of the secret grades of instruction, and of the hieratic and hieroglyphic writings and sculptures. In secret they were the priesthood. In public, in religious matters, the same. But in public secular affairs they seem to be recognised as Magi.

When mythology was invented, most of the gods, if not all of them, were received as symbolical, physical beings, the poets made of them moral agents; and as such they appear in the religions of the people of earlier days. The symbolical meaning would have been lost, if no means had been provided to insure its preservation. The MYSTERIES, it seems, afforded such means. Their great end, therefore, was to preserve the knowledge of the peculiar attributes of those divinities which had been incorparated into the popular religion under new forms; what powers and objects of nature they represented; how these, and how the universe came into being; in a word, cosmogonies, like those contained in the Orphic instructions. But this knowledge, though it was preserved by oral instruction, was perpetuated no less by [27]symbolic representations and usages; which, at least in part, consisted of sacred traditions and fables. "In the sanctuary of Sais," says Herodotus (l.c.), "representations are given by night of the adventures of the goddess; and these are called by the Egyptians mysteries; of which, however, I will relate no more. It was thence that these mysteries were introduced into Greece."[25] The temples of India and of Egypt seem to be identical in architecture and in sculpture.[26] Both nations seem to have sprung from the old Assyrian stock.[27] The magi of both countries appear to have had a common origin; and their teachings must have been, therefore, traditionally the same. We may, then, presume that there were three grades in the instructions of these mysteries, by whatever name they may have been called—whether Apprentices, Masters, and Perfect Masters, or otherwise; that they were sacred in their character; and that their symbolic meanings were revealed in these Mysteries, and in no other manner, while they were kept a secret from the world at large. But this was not all. They spread, with emigration and commerce, into all then known countries. Their common origin, or at least that of most of them, is still perceptible. Ceres had long wandered over the earth, before she was received at Eleusis, and erected there her [28]sanctuary. (Isocrat. Paneg. op., p. 46, ed. Steph., and many other places in Meursii Eleusin., cap. 1.) Her secret service in the Thesmophoria, according to the account of Herodotus (iv. 172), was first introduced by Danaus; who brought it from Egypt to the Peloponnesus.[28] One writer says that mysteries were, among the Greeks, and afterward also among the Romans, secret religious assemblies, which no uninitiated person was permitted to approach. They originated at a very early period. They were designed to interpret those mythological fables and religious rites, the true meaning of which it was thought expedient to conceal from the people. They were perhaps necessary in those times, in which the superstitions, the errors, and the prejudices of the people, could not be openly exposed without danger to the public peace. Upon this ground they were tolerated and protected by the state. Their first and fundamental law was a profound secrecy. In all mysteries there were dramatic exhibitions, relating to the exploits of the deities in whose honor they were celebrated.[29] We may thus trace all ancient pagan religion to a common origin, with similarity of human means to accomplish a general result, variant in name, or in practice, as to the deity, or form of its worship, but resting on a unity as to its commencement and its object.


We can hardly penetrate the veil which hides from us the pagan worship of that early human stock the race of Ham, which—without the divine light granted only to the Israelites—was the origin of false worship. We can only arrive at conclusions, but these are the result of strong presumptions arising from undisputed historical facts. What are they?

One of the principal chiefs of the earliest race, whence came the magi, &c., was Nimrod, afterward deified by the name of Bel to the Chaldeans, Baal to the Hebrews, Βηλος to the Greeks, and Belus to the Romans; and when, in later days, statues received adoration (which at first was only accorded to the being of whom the statue was a type), he became worshipped under a multiplication of statues, they were in the Hebrew language called "Baalim," or the plural of Baal. Nimrod was the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, and great-grandson of Noah. "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, 'Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.' And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. And out of that land he went forth to Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city."[30] While, then, [30]the children of Shem and Japheth pursued the patriarchal course, and preserved the ancient traditions subsequently handed down, the descendants of Ham, suffering under the patriarchal malediction of Noah, built cities composed of families, and a great kingdom composed of cities and nations. This kingdom was the origin of pagan worship. They lost the patriarchal traditions, and were the first to establish on this earth the concentration of power in a political system. That power once attained, the daring energy of the king became in the hand of the priesthood a subject of deification for two reasons. 1. The king was mortal, and must die. 2. The power must be preserved. When afterward, under Peleg, this race, at their [31]building of Ba-Bel—their temple of Bel—became dispersed, and left to us only their ruin of that temple, now called Birs Nimroud, the magi, or priests, preserved the power he attained to themselves, by means of secrecy in their mysteries, and which were dispersed subsequently through the earth in different languages and forms, varying with the poetry and climate of the country or countries thereafter occupied, and adapted from time to time to the existing exigencies of the times. Thence sprang the origin of mythologies, or, in other words, fabulous histories of the fructifying energies of Nature, whether developed in the germination of the vegetable kingdom, or in an occasional poetical version of some heroic act of one in power.

This nation, the old Assyrian, became dispersed at the destruction of their great temple. But their political power everywhere was mysteriously preserved. When the magi became organized in Media, they spread in every direction. From earliest days we find their worship amid the nations conquered by Joshua. We see them in the traces of the Οἰ Ποιμενες, or shepherd-kings of Egypt, and in the sorcerers of the days of Moses. We, find them reformed by Zoroaster in Persia. They are conspicuous among the Greeks, who derived their mysteries from Egypt; and in the worship of Isis at Rome, never indigenous there. And even in later days (those of Darius, Belshazzar, and Cyrus), they seem to be thoroughly [32]re-established in their original birthplace. And, strange as it may appear, we find their power over kings, generals, nations, and people, in the hands of the priesthood, by means of their mysteries, from all early history, until affected by the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Regarding, then, the off-shoot from patriarchal tradition to be the origin of pagan worship; referring also to the first formation of cities, and of one immense kingdom, by the descendants of Ham (accursed by his prophetic ancestor), by whom an empire was first established; to Nimrod's deification; to the preservation in the priesthood of future political power; to the fact that after his death they would and might thereby perpetuate the same; that wherever thereafter dispersed, they did so by their revelations by mysteries, in which they controlled not only the masses of the people, but those who governed them, in whatsoever nation then known—we arrive at the conclusion that the mysteries were the elements of religious and consequently of political power.

The important Greek mysteries, of the details whereof we know most, were—1. The Eleusinian. 2. The Samothracian, which originated in Crete and Phrygia, and were celebrated in the former country in honor of Jupiter. From these countries they were introduced among the Thracians or Pelasgians in the island of Samothrace, and extended thence into Greece. They were sometimes celebrated in honor [33]of Jupiter, sometimes of Bacchus, and sometimes of Ceres. 3. The Dionysia, which were brought from Thrace to Thebes, and were very similar to the former. They were celebrated every second year. The transition of men from barbarism to civilization was likewise represented in them. The women were clothed in skins of beasts. With a spear (thyrsus), bound with ivy, in their hands, they ascended Mount Cithæron; when, after the religious ceremonies, wild dances were performed, which ended with the dispersion of the priestesses and the initiated in the neighboring woods. They had also symbols, chiefly relating to Bacchus, who was the hero of these mysteries. These celebrations were forbidden in Thebes, even in the time of Epaminondas, and afterward in all Greece, as prejudicial to the public peace and morals. 4. The Orphic, chiefly deserving mention as the probable foundation of the Eleusinian. 5. The mysteries of Isis, not in vogue in Greece, but very popular in Rome.[31] The offspring of Egyptian priestcraft, they were instituted with a view to aggrandize that order of men, to extend their influence, and enlarge their revenues. To accomplish these selfish projects, they applied every engine toward besotting the multitude with superstition and enthusiasm. They taught them to believe that they were the distinguished favorites of Heaven; that celestial doctrines had been revealed to them, too holy to be communicated to the profane [34]rabble, and too sublime to be comprehended by vulgar capacities. Princes and legislators, who found their advantage in overawing and humbling the multitude, readily adopted a plan so artfully fabricated to answer these purposes. The views of those in power were congenial with those of the priests, and both united in the same spirit to thus control the respect, admiration, and dependence, of the million.

They made their disciples believe that in the next world the souls of the uninitiated should roll in mire and dirt, and with difficulty reach their destined mansion. Hence, Plato introduces Socrates as observing that "the sages who introduced the Teletæ had positively affirmed that whatever soul should arrive in the infernal mansions unhouselled and unannealed should lie there immersed in mire and filth."—"And as to a future state," says Aristides, "the initiated shall not roll in mire and grope in darkness, a fate which awaits the unholy and uninitiated." When the Athenians advised Diogenes to be initiated, "It will be pretty enough," replied he, "to see Agesilaus and Epaminondas wallowing in the mire, while the most contemptible rascals who have been initiated are strolling in the islands of bliss!" When Antisthenes was to be initiated, and the priests were boasting of the wonderful benefit to ensue, "Why, forsooth, 'tis wonder your reverence don't hang yourself, in order to come at it sooner," was his remark. When, however, such benefits were expected to be derived from the [35]mysteries, it is no wonder the world crowded to the Eleusinian standard. Initiation was, in reality, a consecration to Ceres and Proserpine. Its result was, honor and reverence from the masses. They believed all virtue to be inspired by these goddesses. Pericles says: "I am convinced that the deities of Eleusis inspired me with this sentiment, and that this stratagem was suggested by the principle of the mystic rites." So also Aristophanes makes the chorus of the initiated, in his Ranæ, to sing:—

"Let us to flowery mead repair,

With deathless roses blooming,

Whose balmy sweets impregn the air,

Both hills and dales perfuming.

Since fate benign one choir has joined,

We'll trip in mystic measure;

In sweetest harmony combined,

We'll quaff full draughts of pleasure.

For us alone the power of day

A milder light dispenses,

And sheds benign a mellow ray

To cheer our ravished senses.

For we beheld the mystic show,

And braved Eleusis' dangers;

We do and know the deeds we owe

To neighbors, friends, and strangers."

It is believed that the higher orders of magi went further, and pretended to hold intercourse with, and cause to appear, the very ἔιδωλον of the dead. In the days of Moses it was practised. "There shall not be found among you ... a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer."[32] [36]Diodorus Siculus mentions an oracle near Lake Avernus, where the dead were raised, as having been in existence before the age of Hercules.[33] Plutarch, in his life of Cimon, relates that Pausanias, in his distress, applied to the Psychagogi, or dead-evokers, at Heraclea, to call up the spirit of Cleonice (whose injured apparition haunted him incessantly), in order that he might entreat her forgiveness. She appeared accordingly, and informed him that, on his return to Sparta, he would be delivered from all his sorrows—meaning, by death. This was five hundred years before Christ. The story resembles that of the apparition of Samuel before Saul: "To-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me."[34] The appearance of Samuel was regarded as a real transaction by the writer of Ecclesiasticus, for he says: "By his faithfulness he was found a true prophet, and by his word he was known to be faithful in vision; for after his death he showed the king his end, and lift up his voice from the earth in prophecy."[35] The rabbins say that the woman was the mother of Abner; she is said to have had the spirit of Ob, which Dean Milman has remarked is singularly similar in sound to the name of the Obeah women in Africa and the West Indies. Herodotus also mentions Thesprotia, in Epirus, as the place where Periander evoked the spirit of his wife Melissa, whom he had murdered.[36]


It was a very general opinion, in later days, that demons had power over the souls of the dead, until Christ descended into Hades and delivered them from the thrall of the "Prince of Darkness." The dead were sometimes raised by those who did not possess a familiar spirit. These consulters repaired to the grave at night, and there lying down, repeated certain words in a low, muttering tone, and the spirit thus summoned appeared. "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust."[37]

Euripides also refers to necromancy.[38]


ὅρα γε μή τι φασμα νερτέρων τόδ ἦ?


οὐ ψυχαγωγὸν τόνδ' ἐποιήσω ξένον.

Adm. See! is not this some spectre from the dead?

Her. No dead-invoker for thy guest hast thou.

Seneca describes the spirits of the dead as being evoked by the Psychagogus in a cave rendered gloomy and as dark as night by the cypress, laurel, and other like trees.[39] Claudian refers to the same superstition.[40] And Lucan,[41] where Erictho recalls a spirit to animate [38]the body it had left, by horrid ceremonies. So Tibullus:[42]

"Hæc cantu finditque solum, manesque sepulchris,

Elicit, et tepido devocat ossa toro."

The celebrated Heeren, in his "Politics of Ancient Greece" (ch. iii., p. 67, Am. ed.), remarks, in reference to the mysteries of Eleusis, that they exhibited the superiority of civilized over savage life, and gave instructions respecting a future life and its nature. For what was this more than an interpretation of the sacred traditions which were told of the goddess as the instructress in agriculture, of the forced descent of her daughter to the lower world, etc.? And we need not be more astonished if, in some of their sacred rites, we perceive an excitement carried to a degree of enthusiastic madness which belonged peculiarly to the East, but which the Hellenes were very willing to receive. For we must not neglect to bear in mind that they shared the spirit of the East; and did they not live on the very boundary-line between the East and the West? As those institutions were propagated farther to the west, they lost their original character. We know what the Bacchanalian rites became at Rome; and had they been introduced north of the Alps, what form would they have there assumed? But to those countries it was possible to [39]transplant the vine, not the service of the god to whom the vine was sacred. The orgies of Bacchus suited the cold soil and inclement forests of the North as little as the character of its inhabitants.

Without going further into detail (the minutiæ of which are thus opened to every scholar), we must presume that the mythology of the children of Ham, the origin of pagan worship, fostered by variant mysteries to obtain and maintain temporal power, spread itself through the then known world. So far as we know, the secret doctrines which were taught in the mysteries may have finally degenerated into mere forms and an unmeaning ritual. And yet the mysteries exercised a great influence on the spirit of the nation, not of the initiated only, but also on the great mass of the people; and perhaps they influenced the latter still more than the former. They preserved the reverence for sacred things, and this gave them their political importance. They produced that effect better than any modern secret societies have been able to do. The mysteries had their secrets, but not everything connected with them was secret. They had, like those of Eleusis, their public festivals, processions, and pilgrimages, in which none but the initiated took a part, but of which no one was prohibited from being a spectator. While the multitude was permitted to gaze at them, it learned to believe that there was something sublimer than anything with which it was acquainted, revealed only to the initiated; and [40]while the worth of that sublimer knowledge did not consist in secrecy alone, it did not lose any of its value by being concealed. Thus the popular religion and the secret doctrines, although always distinguished from each other, united in serving to curb the people. The condition and the influence of religion on a nation were always closely connected with the situation of those persons who were particularly appointed for the service of the gods, the priests. The scholar will readily call to mind a Calchas, a Chryses, and others. The leaders and commanders themselves, in those days, offered their sacrifices (see the description which Nestor makes to Pallas, Od. iii., 430, &c.), performed the prayers, and observed the signs which indicated the result of an undertaking. In a word, kings and leaders were at the same time PRIESTS.[43]

How far may this have been a reason why Pharaoh did not call on a priest for help, but rely on the supposed superior knowledge of the Magi? a higher grade of secret instruction, perhaps, than he had received.



The Origin of the Cabbalistæ; the Chaldeans, and their Antagonism to Patriarchal Tradition.—The Hand-writing on Belshazzar's Wall.—The Secret Writings of the Cabbalistæ.—How Daniel read the Same.—Ezra.—The Origin of the Masoretic Text.—Zoroaster.—His Reformation and Reconstruction of the Religion of the Magi.—Pythagoras, and his "League."—The Thugs.—The Druids.

So far as the children of Shem and Japheth are concerned, it is believed true religion was preserved, except where tradition became adulterated with extraneous matter. And for the preservation of that religion, Almighty God, in his mercy, established of that lineage a certain race, with rules, partly signifying his truth, partly merely political, which should thereafter shine as a moral light to the world, no matter how dim the light might be, through the imperfection of human nature under peculiar circumstances of temptation or otherwise.

Here, at once, was an antagonism with the pagan religion, which was of the children of Ham, under his father's patriarchal curse.

When Moses, the servant with the watchword, "I am that i am," presented himself to the Shemitic and [42]Japhetic races, he was everywhere received and acknowledged by them as their leader, in opposition to both the temporal and theological power of the Magi and of Pharaoh.

Here came the clashing between pagan and traditional theology preserved by the patriarchs. And Almighty God, to show the truth of his laws, sanctioned their promulgation by signs and miracles, which the Magi could not equal nor counteract.

Pass by the Israelitish history until the loss and destruction of the first temple, when we find this religious race, although imbued with the principles of truth, fallen from their high estate, and led captive into a strange land, subject to the very people that insisted on the opposite of their own religion. They were then under the control of a monarch who was governed by the laws of the Medes and Persians, that is, of the Magi; and who, in turn, relied upon their emperor, who trusted only to his magicians, sorcerers, and Chaldeans. They were in Babylon itself.

To confirm what has been said, and to elucidate what is to follow, we will pause a moment to learn what is meant by "the Chaldeans."

The accounts that have been transmitted to us by the Chaldeans themselves of the antiquity of their learning, are blended with fable, and involved in considerable uncertainty. At the time when Callisthenes was requested by Aristotle to gain information concerning the origin of science in Chaldea, he was [43]informed that the ancestors of the Chaldeans had continued their astronomical observations through a period of 470,000 years; but upon examining the ground of this report, he found that the Chaldean observation reached no further backward than 1,903 years, or that, of course (adding this number to 331, B.C., the year in which Babylon was taken by Alexander), they had commenced in the year 2,234, B.C. Besides, Ptolemy mentions no Chaldean observations prior to the era of Nabonassar, which commenced 747 years B.C. Aristotle, however, on the credit of the most ancient records, speaks of the Chaldean Magi as prior to the Egyptian priests, who, it is well known, cultivated learning before the time of Moses. It appears probable that the philosophers of Chaldea were the priests of the Babylonian nation, who instructed the people in the principles of religion, interpreted its laws, and conducted its ceremonies. Their character was similar to that of the Persian Magi, and they are often confounded by the Greek historians. Like the priests in most other nations, they employed religion in subserviency to the ruling powers, and made use of imposture to serve the purposes of civil policy. Accordingly Diodorus Siculus relates (lib. ii., p. 31, compared with Daniel ii. 1, &c., Eccles. xliv. 3) that they pretended to predict future events by divination, to explain prodigies, interpret dreams, and avert evils or confer benefits by means of augury and incantations. For many ages they [44]retained a principal place among diviners. In the reign of Marcus Antoninus, when the emperor and his army, who were perishing with thirst, were suddenly relieved by a shower, the prodigy was ascribed to the power and skill of the Chaldean soothsayers. Thus accredited for their miraculous powers, they maintained their consequence in the courts of princes. (See Cic. de Divin. l. i., Strabo l. xv.—Sext. Emp. adv. Matt. l. v. § 2, Aul. Gell. l. xiv. s. 1, Strabo l.c.) The mysteries of Chaldean philosophy were revealed only to a select few, and studiously concealed from the multitude; and thus a veil of sanctity was cast over their doctrine, so that it might more easily be employed in the support of civil and religious tyranny. The sum of the Chaldean cosmogony, as it is given in Syncellus (Chronic. p. 28), divested of allegory is, that in the beginning all things consisted of darkness and water; that Belus, or a divine power, dividing this humid mass formed the world, and that the human mind is an emanation from the divine nature. (Perizon. in Orig. Bab. Voss. de Scient. Math. c. xxx. § 5. Hottinger Hist. Or. p. 365. Herbelot Bib. Or. Voc. Zor. Anc. Un. Hist. vol. iii. Prid. Conn. b. iv. Shuckford, b. viii. Burnet Archæol. Phil. l. i. c. 4. Brucker's Hist. Phil., by Enfield, vol. i. b. i, c. 3.)[44]

Now, we read that, "in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed [45]dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king."[45] But when by the king required not only to interpret but to reveal the very phantasm itself, they declared it beyond the power of their own or human art. Daniel, however, of the captive race, revealed it by supernal influence. Then did the monarch admit as to Deity, that God (Jah, Ps. lxviii. v. 4) was God of gods (Baalim, the representations of Baal).[46] His second dream was again only understood by the inspired representative of the Hebrews. But when, finally, appeared the stupendous handwriting on the wall, and when Belshazzar and his court were overwhelmed with amazement, so that "the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another, the king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers."[47] They came; but all in vain. Daniel interpreted the hand-writing at sight, and his reading proved true. Some theories prevail about this, which, whether correct or not, are entitled to be understood and considered. They have, at least, direct reference to our subject of secret instruction and writing.


The wonderful miracles of God at the exodus did not prevent that nation from repeated lapse into paganism, and acts of open disobedience to the Theocratic law. Still less were they debarred thereby the mere oriental customs of imparting moral instruction in secret associations, or the pursuit of science in hidden confraternities. But the train of thought and instruction in the Hebrew societies was singularly pure, and directly at variance with the mysteries of paganism. While the whole result of the teaching of the heathen mysteries was to represent, symbolically, the fructifying energies of nature (which they supposed to be the sum of both science and theology), that of the Israelites was the inculcation alone of virtue, the acquisition of science, and the preservation of the name of Deity under peculiar forms and ceremonies, the recognition of which by members of the initiated, opened from one to the other every heart in perfect confidence, constantly reminding them of their duty to him as well as to each other. The whole system of oriental instruction, save that proclaimed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, was secret. Even the name of Deity could not be pronounced except at low breath, or in a whisper, under prescribed forms. Has the reader ever asked himself the meaning of the passage in the Lord's Prayer, "Hallowed be thy name?" The Hebrews had a visible manifestation of God. That was not the only object of reverence. It was limited [47]not to any manifestation, but to the name of Deity. And that teaching has received the express recognition of our Saviour, by his making it a part of the selections from the Jewish euchologies which form his prayers. We profess to worship Deity in spirit and in truth. Do we hallow his name? Mere abstinence from profanation is a negative duty. How must it be hallowed? That is a positive duty. Christianity, rejecting the Hebrew form, regards this as a mere Hebraism, substituting the name for the being himself. The Israelites do not: and one secret society still existing, whose origin we shall trace in this essay, still preserves the Hebraistic sanctification of the original holy name as their form of recognition of each other, under solemnities which hallow it.

We know that Moses[48] "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds." At his day pagan hieratic and hieroglyphic symbols only were written on papyrus, or carved and engraved on stone.

Take, then, the fact, that the Hebrew patriarchs and their tribes of his time were suffering under the persecution of hard task-masters in Egypt. How could their patriarchs teach to their classes the lessons of virtue and morality? We can readily suppose at the conclusion of a toilsome day, when all is dark, and tired nature would otherwise be at rest, he that had patriarchal authority, at dead of night, when [48]their pagan rulers could not hear, and while due guard was kept, whether on high hills, or in low vales, would summon together those who were worthy TO RECEIVE instruction in moral science, virtue, and their patriarchal traditions, and there—taking as emblems their instruments of daily toil—preserve the lessons which thus alone could be imparted. This we believe to be the origin of the Cabbalists, or Kabbalistæ, a secret society among the Hebrews, whose origin is lost in antiquity, yet whose knowledge may, under God's blessing, have been an instrument in accomplishing his great results. Their very name is derived from the Hebrew word קבל (Cabbala, "to receive"). This society of Cabbalistæ, had various methods of secret writing. Their first was the scriptura cœlestis; the second, that of angels, or kingly or dominant power; the third, that of the passage of the flood (Scriptura transitus fluvii). Breithaupt[49] says: "It is to be recollected, that the more ancient of the Kabbalistæ, studied out even a secret method of writing, consisting of four lines intersecting each other at right angles, forming a square in the middle, [49]after the following method. The figure of the four lines is thus:—

Figure of the four lines.

In each section three letters they place from right to left. When, therefore, they intend the first of the three, they write the figure of that section in which it is found, with one point (L with one dot). If another (or the next), the same figure with two points (L with two dots). if the third, the same again with three points (L with three dots). and so on. But the Cabbalistæ had also a simpler writing: "The sublime philosophy of those who are called the Kabbala, embraces within itself different kinds to which the following appertain. In their most famous magic pamphlet Rasiel, which the Kabbalistæ hold in great respect, in the first place three secret alphabets are read, which, in many things, are wanting in the common form and syntax of usual Hebrew. The first is called Scriptura cœlestis (the writing of heaven); the next, מלאכים or מלכים, that is, of angels or kings (angelorum sive regum); and the third the writing of the crossing of the flood."[50] There [50]are extant also, drawings of these letters preserved by Hern. Corn. Agrippa, in his work "De Occult. Phil. lib. iii. c. 30," the copying of which would be merely matter of curiosity to no end.

But Breithaupt goes much further, and refers to a book, "In Œnigmatibus Judæorum Religiosissimis. Helmst. 1708, editio, p. 49," wherein he says,[51] that Herm. Vonder Hardt, the most celebrated philologist of our age, remembers two singular alphabets used by the Jews in preparing their amulets. The first is [51]when the next succeeding is substituted for the preceding letter in every instance, as to wit: ב for א, ג for ב, and so forth. They are said to have concealed in this manner their recognition of the one true God, which they recite daily, early and toward evening, and as to which they persuade themselves that it is the most efficacious safeguard against idolatry, fortified wherewith they can not lapse from true to false religion. The other secret alphabet consisted in this, that in inversed order they change the last letter ת with the first א, and this and another in turn, and so on through the rest, which inversion it is the custom to call אתבש. From this they produce, by such letters, in their more elaborate amulets, the noted symbol מצפץ, which is nothing else than the name of God, יהוה. St. Jerome,[52] a celebrated father of the early church, contends that the prophet Jeremiah used this kind of writing, and not to irritate the king of Babylon against the Hebrews, for king, בבל, said ששך. But some, also, among the Jews, declare that these words in Daniel,

מנא מנא תקל ופרסין,

which, at the supper of the King Belzhazzar miraculously appeared upon the wall, to the astonishment of all, were written in this mode; and hence think this artificial transposition of letters originated with God. But these things are to be passed by as [52]uncertain. If this last be true, the handwriting on the wall would have appeared thus:

יטת יטת ארב פוגחמט[53]

But according to the first system referred to, the following would have been the appearance.[54]

The writing on the wall..

(See Conf. Jan. Hercvles de Svnde in Steganologia, lib. v., num. 4., p. 148. seqq.)

If the society of Kabbalistæ originated among the Israelites as early as the time of Moses, their secret writings must having been only known to him and few besides, with their successors. Solomon, to whom Almighty God declared "wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee,"[55] must have learned them; or, if it originated with him, Daniel and Ezra, who lived in a succeeding age; after the great temple had been destroyed, during the captivity, and at the rebuilding of the second temple, both inspired servants of God, equally knew them; and when the inscriptions on the wall, or on the ark, or in the sacred rolls, were lost and unknown to the people, they were easily deciphered by means of the knowledge of the Kabbalistic character, no matter what its form. Thus when Daniel saw the handwriting on [53]the wall he read it at once, possessed as he may have been of the knowledge how to read that cipher, while it can readily be seen why the Magi of Chaldea, and of Media and Persia, were at fault. It was a secret writing of the Hebrews, known only to the select few. Ezra, in the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, "was chief-priest. This Ezra went up from Babylon, and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given."[56] This was, then, no new matter to him. The book of the law had been lost during the captivity. Yet, at the rebuilding of the temple, Ezra was a ready scribe in that lost writing. As such he went up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

The wisdom of God granted to Solomon, must have provided against the foreseen loss of the sacred rolls, and determined a way for their discovery, and the manner of reading them. The lost rolls were brought forth by Ezra, and were read, notwithstanding the ignorance of their ancient language. In what way, so consistent with reason, as by his understanding the secret writing known only to the learned of that race—the hidden scripture and instruction of a mysterious society, whose only teaching was pure, in accordance with the divine commands of the theocracy, and with the oriental manner of instruction in matters of science and morality? Did this not furnish him a key to the original text? The words of [54]the one must have been recognised by their original use in application to the reading of the other; and though the language may have changed, the old cipher must have interpreted all. We learn that, "after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the holiest of all, which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant," were entered.[57]

The book (or rolls) of the law was commanded to be put within the ark.[58] The end of laying it there was, that it, as the original, might be reserved there as the authentic copy, by which all others were to be corrected and set right.[59] Prideaux contends that, the ark deposited in the second temple was only a representative of a former ark on the great day of expiation, and to be a repository of the Holy Scriptures, that is, of the original copy of that collection which was made of them after the captivity, by Ezra and the men of the great synagogue; for when this copy was perfected, it was then laid up in it. And in imitation hereof, the Jews, in all their synagogues, have a like ark or coffer,[60] of the same size or form, in which they keep the Scriptures belonging to the [55]Synagogue; and whence they take it out with great solemnity, whenever they use it, and return it with the like when they have done with it. What became of the old ark, on the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, is a dispute among the Rabbins. The Jews—and herein they are supported by the traditions of the most ancient secret society on earth—contend that it was hid and preserved, by Jeremiah, say some, out of the second book of Maccabees.[61] But most of them will have it, that King Josiah, being foretold by Huldah, the prophetess, that the temple would speedily, after his death, be destroyed, caused the ark to be put in a vault under ground, which Solomon, foreseeing this destruction, had caused of purpose to be built for the preserving of it. And, for the proof hereof, they produce the text where Josiah commands the Levites[62] to put the holy ark in the house, "which Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, did build."[63] Whether within or without the ark, or within a secret vault or not, Ezra, the scribe, brought forth the lost book or rolls of the law, and established the rules for its future perpetuity, whether by writing, or in oral explanation. And here, again, we note the use of secrecy in matters of power. From him is derived the present method of reading Hebrew, by what is usually known as the [56]vowel points in the Masoretic text. The Masorites were a set of men whose profession it was to write out copies of the Hebrew Scriptures. And the present vowel points were used by them, as derived from the secret writings of the Cabbalists. The Jews believe that, when God gave to Moses the law in Mount Sinai, he taught him first the true readings of it; and, secondly, the true interpretation of it; and that both these were handed down, from generation to generation, by oral tradition only, till at length the readings were written by the accents and vowels, in like manner as the interpretations were, by the Mishna and Gemara. The former they call Masorah, which signifieth "tradition." The other is called Cabbala, which signifieth "reception;" but both of them denote the same thing, that is, a knowledge down from generation to generation, in the doing of which, there being tradition on the one hand, and reception on the other, that which relates to the readings of the Hebrew Scriptures hath its name from the former, and that which relates to the interpretations of them from the latter. As those who studied and taught the Cabbala were called the Cabbalists, so those who studied and taught the Masorah were called the Masorites. As the whole business of the Cabbalists and Masorites was the study of the true reading of the Hebrew Scriptures, to preserve and teach the proper text, they certainly are justly held the most likely to have invented, or at least [57]received and preserved these vowel points, because the whole use of these points is to serve to this purpose.[64]

About this time, in the reign of Darius, otherwise Artaxerxes, who sent Ezra and Nehemiah to Jerusalem to restore the state of the Jews, first appeared in Persia the famous prophet of the Magi, whom the Persians call Zerdusht, or Zaratush, and the Greeks Zoroastres: born of mean and obscure parentage, with all the craft and enterprising boldness of Mohammed, but much more knowledge. He was excellently skilled in all the learning of the East that was in his time; whereas the other could neither read nor write. He was thoroughly versed in the Jewish religion, and in all the sacred writings of the Old Testament that were then extant, which makes it most likely that he was, in his origin, a Jew. It is generally said of him, that he had been a servant to one of the prophets of Israel, and that it was by this means that he came to be so well skilled in the Holy Scriptures, and all other Jewish knowledge. From the collation of authorities made by Dr. Prideaux,[65] it would seem that it was Daniel under whom he served; besides whom there was not any other master in those times, under whom he could acquire all that knowledge, both in things sacred and profane, which he was so well furnished with. He founded no new [58]religion, but only reformed the old one. He found that the eminent of the Magi usurped the sovereignty after the death of Cambyses. But they were destroyed, and by the slaughter which was then made of all the chief men among them, it sunk so low, that it became almost extinct, and Sabianism everywhere prevailed against it, Darius and most of his followers on that occasion going over to it. But the affection which the people had for the religion of their forefathers, and which they had all been brought up in, not being easily to be rooted out, Zoroastres saw that the revival of this was the best game of imposture that he could then play; and having so good an old stock to engraft upon, he with greater ease made his new scions grow. He first made his appearance in Media, now called Aderbijan, in the city of Xix, say some; in that of Ecbatana, now Tauris, say others. The chief reformation which he made in the Magian religion was in the first principles of it: for whereas before they had held the being of TWO FIRST CAUSES, the first light, or the good God, who was the author of all good; and the other darkness, or the evil god, who was the author of all evil; and that of the mixture of these two, as they were in a continual struggle with each other, all things were made; he introduced a principle superior to them both, one Supreme God, who created both light and darkness, and out of these two, according to the alone pleasure of his own will, made all things else that are, according to what is [59]said:[66] "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." These words, directed to Cyrus, king of Persia, must be understood as spoken in reference to the Persian sect of the Magians, who then held light and darkness, or good and evil, to be the supreme beings, without acknowledging the great God who is superior to both. To avoid making God the author of evil, Zoroaster's doctrine was, that God originally and directly created only light or good, and that darkness, or evil, followed it by consequence, as the shadow doth the person; that light or good had only a real production from God, and the other afterward resulted from it as the defect thereof. In sum, his doctrine as to this particular was, that there was one Supreme Being, independent and self-existent from all eternity. That under him were two angels, one the angel of light, who is the author and director of all good; and the other the angel of darkness, who is the author and director of all evil; and that these two, out of the mixture of light and darkness, made all things that are; that they are in a perpetual struggle with each other; and that when the angel of light prevails, then the most [60]is good, and when the angel of darkness prevails, then the most is evil; that this struggle shall continue to the end of the world; that then there shall be a general resurrection, and a day of judgment, wherein just retribution shall be rendered to all according to their works, &c. And all this the remainder of that sect, which is now in Persia and India do, without any variation, after so many ages still hold, even to this day. Another reformation which he made in the Magian religion was, that he caused fire temples to be built wherever he came: this being to prevent their sacred fires, on the tops of hills, from being put out by storms, and that the public offices of their religion might be the better performed before the people. Zoroaster pretended he was taken up into heaven, there to be instructed in those doctrines which he was to deliver unto men. Mohammed pretended to have seen God. Zoroaster was too well informed for such imposture. He only claimed to have heard him speaking to him out of the midst of a great and most bright flame of fire; and he, therefore, taught his followers that fire was the truest shechinah of the divine presence. His followers thereafter worshipped the sun as the most perfect fire of God. But this was an original usage of the Magi (referred to in Ezekiel viii. 16), where it is related, that the prophet being carried in a vision to Jerusalem, had there shown him "about five-and-twenty men standing between the porch and the altar, with [61]their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun." The meaning of which is, that they had turned their backs upon the true worship of God, and had gone over to that of the Magians.[67] The Kebla, or point of the heavens toward which they directed their worship being toward the rising sun, that of the Jews in Jerusalem to the Holy of Holies on the west end of the temple; of those elsewhere toward Jerusalem; of the Mohammedans toward Mecca, and the Sabians toward the meridian.

Come whence it may, what is the meaning of the use of fire in any divine worship?

1. Burnt-offerings of old required it.

2. It descended on the altars of Elijah, and of Solomon, from God himself.

3. The Magi, from the time of Zoroaster, have deemed it the symbol of purity.

4. The pagan mysteries in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, all preserved the "sacred fire." Most religions seem to have adopted its use. Why?

5. The Catholic church has ever preserved its use in burning tapers, lamps, and smoking incense.

In his reformation of the customs and rites of the Magi, Zoroaster, as has been hereinbefore said, preserved their three grades of Apprentices, Masters, and Perfect Masters.[68] The first were the inferior clergy, who served in all the common offices of their [62]divine worship; next above them were the superintendents, who in their several districts governed the inferior clergy, as bishops do with us; and above all was the perfect-master, the archimagus, who was the head of the whole religion. Accordingly their places of worship were of three sorts. The lowest sort were parochial oratories served by the inferior clergy, where they read the daily offices out of their liturgy, and on solemn occasions read part of their sacred writings to the people. In these churches there were no fire altars; but the small scintilla of sacred fire preserved in them, was kept only in a lamp. Next above these were their fire temples, in which fire was continually burning on a sacred altar. The highest church of all was "the fire-temple," the residence of the archimagus, first established by Zoroaster at Balch, but removed in the seventh century to Kerman, a province in Persia on the southern ocean. To gain the better reputation to his pretensions, Zoroaster first retired to a cave, and there lived a long time as a recluse, pretending to be abstracted from all earthly considerations, and to be given wholly to prayer and divine meditations; and the more to amuse the people who there resorted to him, he dressed up his cave with several mystical figures, representing Mithra, and other mysteries of their religion. In this cave he wrote his book, called Zendavesta, or Zend, meaning "fire-kindler," or "tinder-box." This book contains much borrowed [63]from the Old Testament. He even called it the book of Abraham, and his religion the religion of Abraham; for he pretended that the reformation which he introduced was no more than to bring back the religion of the Persians to that original purity in which Abraham practised it, by purging it of all those defects, abuses, and innovations, which the corruptions of after-times had introduced into it.[69]

Is it not singular that all the nations of the earth still trace their teaching in pure religion to Abraham, whether under the name of Brahma, or otherwise?

These ancient Magi were great mathematicians, philosophers, and divines of the ages in which they lived, and had no other knowledge but what by their own study, and the instructions of the ancients of their sect they had improved themselves in. All of the Magi were not thus learned, only those of the higher order. The priesthood, like the Jewish, was communicated only from father to son, except to the royal family,[70] whom they were bound to instruct, the better to fit them for government. Whether it were that these Magians thought it would bring the greater credit to them, or the kings, that it would add a greater sacredness to their persons, or from both these causes, the royal family of Persia, so long as the Magi prevailed among them, was always reckoned [64]of the sacerdotal tribe.[71] The kings of Persia were looked on to be of that sacerdotal order, and were always initiated into the sacred rites of the Magians, before they took on them the crown, or were inaugurated into the kingdom.[72]

Pythagoras next assumed, in the west, the most prominent place for learning. He was the scholar of Zoroaster at Babylon, and learned of him most of that knowledge which afterward rendered him so famous. So saith Apulcius (Floridorum secundo), and so say Jamblichus (in vita Pythag. c. 4), Porphyry (Ibid. p. 185. edit. Cant.), and Clemens Alexandrinus (Stromata i. p. 223) for the Zabratus or Zaratus of Porphyry, and the Na-Zaratus of Clemens, were none other than this Zoroaster; and they relate the matter thus: that when Cambyses conquered Egypt he found Pythagoras there on his travels, for the improvement of himself in the learning of that country; that, having taken him prisoner, he sent him, with other captives, to Babylon, where Zoroaster (or Zabratus, as Porphyry calls him) then lived; and that he there became his disciple, and learned many things of him in the eastern learning. There may be error as to date, but that Pythagoras was at Babylon, and learned there a great part of that knowledge which he was afterward so famous for, is agreed by [65]all. His stay there, Jamblichus tells us, was twelve years; and that, in his converse with the Magians, he learned from them arithmetic, music, the knowledge of divine things, and the sacred mysteries pertaining thereto. But the most important doctrine which he brought home thence, was that of the immortality of the soul; for it was generally agreed among the ancients (Porphysius in vita Pythagoræ p. 188, edit., Cant. Jamblichus in vita Pyth. c. 30), that he was the first of all the Greeks that taught it. Prideaux says he takes this for certain, that Pythagoras had this from Zoroaster, for it was his doctrine, and he is the earliest heathen on record who taught it.[73] But Pythagoras seems to have combined the notions he then received with those of the Egyptian Magi; for he taught immortality to consist in constant transmigration from one body to another. The Egyptian Magi claimed to be judges of the dead,[74] and taught this doctrine. Zoroaster taught a resurrection from the dead, and an immortal state as we understand it. And it is probable Pythagoras adopted this notion after he fled from Samos to Egypt to escape from the government of Polycrates.

Be this as it may, he was a master-spirit in a secret society with its lodges spread through Magna Græcia, originating in one he established at Crotona in Lower Italy. Like that of the Cabbalists, this society had no connection whatever with the dominant religion. [66]The Kabbalistæ taught virtue and science, and thus were, perhaps, an auxiliary, but certainly no opponent to the sacred teachings of the holy law. The Pythagorean league taught philosophy alone; full instruction was given in the liberal arts and sciences in accordance with the learning of that age. But, after it was thought destroyed (and it was suppressed by Cylon and his faction, about the year 500 B.C.), it still exercised a great influence over all Greece, in such manner as that Heeren speaks of it as a phenomenon which is in many respects without a parallel. The grand object of the moral reform of Pythagoras was SELF-GOVERNMENT. By his dignity, moral purity, dress, and eloquence, he excited not only attention but enthusiasm. In that day an aristocracy prevailed in Magna Græcia, based chiefly on the corrupting tendencies of wealth and luxury. Against this class a popular movement commenced, by the influence whereof Sybaris was destroyed, and thereupon five hundred nobles fled for safety to Crotona, and prayed for protection from that city, which they obtained principally by the advice of Pythagoras. (Diod. Sic. xii. p. 77. Wechel.) Aristocratic evils he abrogated. A friend of the people, he recognised their equal rights: and it would seem that, while he adopted grades in knowledge and moral worth, he considered mankind on "a level" so far as all political power was concerned. To accomplish this end, he prescribed in his own society, and their affiliated [67]lodges, or meetings, a certain manner of life, distinguished by a most cleanly but not luxurious clothing, a regular diet, a methodical division of time, part of which was to be appropriated to one's self, and part to the state. Heeren remarks, that when a secret society pursues political ends, it naturally follows that an opposing party increases in the same degree in which the preponderating influence of such a society becomes more felt. In this case, the opposition existed already in the popular party. It therefore only needed a daring leader, like Cylon, to scatter the society by violence; the assembly was surprised, and most of them cut down, while a few only, with their master, escaped. They are said, so far as their political views were concerned, to have regarded anarchy as the greatest evil, because man can not exist without social order. They held that everything depended on the relation between the governing and the governed; that the former should be not only prudent but mild; and that the latter should not only obey, but love their magistrates; that it was necessary to grow accustomed, even in boyhood, to regard order and harmony as beautiful and useful, disorder and confusion as hateful and injurious. They were not blindly attached to a single form of government, but insisted that there should be no unlawful tyranny. Where a regal government existed, kings should be subject to the laws, and act only as the chief magistrates. They regarded a [68]mixed constitution as the best, and where the administration rested principally in the hands of the upper class, they reserved a share of it for the people. The writings of the Pythagoreans commanded high prices, but gained political importance only so far as they contributed to the education of distinguished men, of whom Epaminondas was one.[75]

Another scion of these methods of secret instruction, wherein, however, religion was the engine of political power, came from the ancient Assyrian stock with Phœnician emigration to Great Britain. The Druids controlled the learning of that country in religion as in science; and by their mysteries exerted an overwhelming influence upon the rulers and the masses.

Dr. Parsons[76] says, what were the filids, and bards, and the Druids, but professors of the sciences among the Gomerians, and Magogians or Scythians, and it is plain that, from Phenius downward, there were always, in every established kingdom among the Scythians, philosophers and wise men, who, at certain times, visited the Greek sages, after they had found their schools? It is no easy matter to point out the first rise and ages of the Druids. They taught the same opinions of the renovated state of the earth, and of souls, with the Magi. According to Cæsar, in his time these Druids instructed their youth in the [69]nature and motion of the stars, in the theory of the earth, its magnitude, and of the world, and in the power of the immortal gods. On the continent of Europe, he says, the Druids grew into such power and ascendency over the minds of the people, that even the kings themselves paid an implicit slavish obedience to their dictates; insomuch, that their armies were brave in battle, or abject enough to decline even the most advantageous prospects of success, according to the arbitrary prognostics of this set of religious tyrants; and their decisions became at last peremptory in civil, as well as in the affairs of religion. One of the kings of Ireland, the learned Carmac o' Quin, great in law and philosophy, who was not afraid to inveigh openly against the corruptions and superstition of the Druids, and maintained, in his disputations against them, that the original theology consisted in the worship of one omnipotent, eternal Being, that created all things; that this was the true religion of their ancestors; and that the numerous gods of the Druids were only absurdity and superstition—proved fatal to him. For, as this society saw an impending danger of their dissolution, they formed a deep conspiracy against him, and he was murdered. The Druids on the continent never committed their mysteries to writing, but taught their pupils memoriter. The Irish and Scotch Druids wrote theirs, but in secret character. These were well understood by the learned men who were in great numbers, and had [70]not only genius but an ardent inclination to make researches into science. St. Patrick, then, with the general consent and applause of the learned of that day, committed to the flames almost two hundred tracts of their pagan mysteries.[77] And with his day ended the last of druidical superstition. The Druids preserved the mistletoe evergreen as an emblem of nature's fructifying energy, and of immortality.

The Thugs, Assassins, Phanzigars, or by what other name they may be known, were no society for the development of philosophy or religion; and, although they began about this time, are unworthy of farther mention. Their mysteries, if any, were only those of the highway robber, murderer, or other violater of God's law. Their only secrecy was the concealment of their crime.



The Discipline of the Secret in the Origin of the Christian Church.—The Inquisition.—The Mystics.—The rise of Monachism.—The Mendicant Orders.—The Order of Knighthood.—The Jesuits, their Organization, and History.—The Rosicrucians, &c.

But next appeared upon the stage of human life, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; "The sun of Righteousness, rising with healing on his wings:" that LIGHT of this world, which was to draw all men unto him, at the mention of whose name "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth."[78]

His lessons to man were all oral. The church he established received none but traditional instruction. The gospels of his life were written more than half a century after the crucifixion. The apostles, commissioned to go forth and preach the Gospel, held their meetings in upper chambers, and in secrecy, and part of their manner of teaching, if not all, was founded upon the still-prevailing systems of the Kabbalistæ and philosophers. There were grades observed in the orders of ministry. The diaconate, the [72]presbyter, priest or elder, and the επισκοπος or bishop. So there were three grades of the laity—catechumens, (not yet baptized,) baptized persons, and "the faithful." The policy of the apostles (who, when they were taught to be harmless, were to be wise) adapted itself to the then existing state of affairs. It was not only for fear of the Jews, as at first, that they adopted the method of instruction in secret, and which is to this day recognised by the catholic church as the then disciplina arcani, or "discipline of the secret;" but they kept it up even during the times of persecution, down to the time of St. Augustin. When our Saviour was insulted by the scribes and Pharisees, saying, "why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?" &c. He said to them, "why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?"[79] Still more did he rebuke them, when they asked him, "why walk not thy disciples according to the traditions of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?" In his answer, he replied, "laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups, &c., &c. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."[80] St. Paul afterward, well knowing the then systems of philosophy, and their then traditional instruction, wrote to them at Philippi,[81] "Beware lest any man spoil you through [73]philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (or elements) of this world, and not after Christ." Then St. Paul, guarding the early Christians so carefully, writes to the faithful in Thessaly, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye have received of us,"[82] &c. When St. Paul preached on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, it was in an upper chamber where they were gathered together.[83] At an earlier date, the first day of the week after the crucifixion, in the evening, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst," &c.[84] When Pliny was proconsul in Judea, such charges were made against the Christians on account of their secrecy, as caused severe persecution, not for matters of religion, but for supposed cannibalism. He writes to Trajan, that he took all pains to inform himself as to the character of the Christian sect. To do this he questioned such as had for many years been separated from the Christian community, but though apostates rarely speak well of the society to which they formerly belonged, he could find out nothing. He then applied torture to two female-slaves, deaconesses, to extort from them the truth. After all, he could learn only that the [74]Christians were in the habit of meeting together on a certain day; that they then united in a hymn of praise to their God, Christ; and that they bound one another—not to commit crimes, but to refrain from theft, from adultery, to be faithful in performing their promises, to withhold from none the property intrusted to their keeping; and then separated and afterward assembled at a simple and innocent meal.[85]

Evidently, the Christian mysteries were preserved secret from the Romans as from the Jews, or such crime could never have been imputed to them. Alluding to the secret traditional instruction prevalent in Judea and adopted by the early church, St. Augustin writes, "You have heard the great mystery. Ask a man, 'Are you a Christian?' He answers you, 'I am not.' 'Perhaps you are a pagan, or a Jew?' But if he has answered 'I am not;' then put this question to him, 'Are you a catechumen, or one of the faith?' If he shall answer you, 'I am a catechumen;' he is anointed but not yet baptized. But, whence anointed? ask him. And he replies. Ask of him in whom he believes. From the fact that he is a catechumen, he says, in Christ."

This is the third lecture of St. Augustin on the ninth chapter of St. John's gospel, where our Saviour is portrayed as healing the blind man, by mixing earth with spittle and anointing his eyes therewith. And St. Augustin adds, "Why have I spoken of [75]spittle and of mud? Because the word is made flesh; this the catechumens hear; but it is not sufficient for them as to what they were anointed; let them hasten to the font, if they desire light."[86]

But still further to mark the distinction between these grades of Christian secret instruction, St. Augustin, in the eleventh tract on the Gospel of St. John, treating of the conversation between Nicodemus and our Saviour, as to regeneration, says, "If, therefore, Nicodemus was of the multitude who believed in his name, now in that Nicodemus we comprehend why Jesus did not trust them. Jesus answered and said to him, 'Verily, verily I say unto you, unless any one shall have been born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.' Jesus placed faith, therefore, in those who were born again. Lo! they believed in him, and Jesus did not trust in them. Such are all catechumens: they now believe in the name of Christ, but Jesus does not confide in them. Let your love comprehend and understand this. If we say to a catechumen, 'Do you believe in Christ?' He answers, [76]'I do,' and signs himself with Christ's cross: he bears it on his forehead, and blushes not at his Lord's cross. Lo! he believes in his name. Let us ask him, 'Do you eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood?' He knows not what we say, because Jesus has not trusted him."[87]

Now we are told in Holy Writ in reference to this matter. St. Paul, alluding to this secret traditional instruction in the several degrees of Christian learning, says to those advanced to a higher or more perfect degree: "and I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as to babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able."[88] Even their first lessons in the great mystery were imperfect. Other and further instruction was to complete it. So also St. Peter saith in his general letter, "Wherefore laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisies and envies [77]and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby."[89] And again, St. Paul saith,[90] "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use" (habit, or perfection) "have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles" (the word of the beginning of Christ) "of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection,"[91] &c. We need not here refer to the wonderful spread of Christianity. We learn a plain and simple lesson taught by Jesus, as to the administration of his church. "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles," &c. "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely have ye received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass, in your purses: nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet a staff; for the workman is worthy of his meat."[92] When questioned before Pilate, he declared, "My kingdom is not of this world."[93] Whether the successors of the [78]apostles have or not, since that day, established a kingdom of this world, is not for us here to discuss. Whether those that claim such succession obey the precept quoted, or not, we do not interfere with.

To insure unity in the church throughout the world, prudence would suggest that there should be some place, free from the control of worldly politics, whence its teachings should issue, and its counsels be heard. In its infancy the Christian church suffered bitterly from persecution. The faithful everywhere received a crown of martyrdom. When earthly terrors interposed, the blood of the martyrs proved the seed of the church.

It is for us, however, to trace in history the secret teachings of those who have claimed its highest authority in any denomination, and if we do not reach their private counsels, their acts proclaim them.

Has, or not, each Christian church been tempted by worldly power, wealth, and honor, like all other systems of religion?

Have there existed within their jurisdiction, confraternities, with secular power, directly or indirectly under their control, seeking by secret measures to manage the government of the nations of this earth?

That great Creator, whose word is truth which can not change, declared as law to govern all his creatures, "Thou shalt not kill." What saith history of those who claim to have acted in his name? Why, and in what manner did they act? [79]

The south of France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries became a scene of blood, the immediate cause of which was the erections of the "tribunals of faith," better known to us as a secret society called "The Inquisition." Innocent III., who ascended the papal chair in 1198, conceived the project thereof, to extirpate the rebellious members of the church—the Albigenses—and to extend the papal power at the expense of the bishops: and his successors carried out his plan. This tribunal, "the holy office" or "inquisition" (sanctum officium), was under the immediate direction of the papal chair: it was to seek out heretics and adherents of false doctrines, and to pronounce its dreadful sentence against their fortune, their honor, and their lives, without appeal. The process of this tribunal differed entirely from that of the civil courts. The informer was not only concealed, but rewarded by the inquisition. The accused was obliged to be his own accuser. Suspected persons were secretly seized and thrown into prison. No better instruments could be found for inquisitors than the mendicant orders of monks, particularly the Franciscans and Dominicans, whom the pope employed to destroy the heretics, and inquire into the conduct of bishops. Pope Gregory IX., in 1233, completed the design of his predecessors, and, as they had succeeded in giving these inquisitorial monks, who were wholly dependent on the pope, an unlimited power, and in rendering the interference [80]of the temporal magistrates only nominal, the inquisition was successively introduced into several parts of Italy, and into some provinces of France; its power in the latter country being more limited than in the former. The tribunals of faith were admitted into Spain in the middle of the thirteenth century, but a firm opposition was made to them, particularly in Castile and Leon, and the bishops there maintained their exclusive jurisdiction in spiritual matters. For a time this power waned, when, afterward in the fifteenth century, it assumed an aspect truly alarming. Three religions then prevailed in Spain: Christians, Jews, and Mahommedans. The power of the nobles was a bar, at the same time, to the absolute power of Ferdinand and Isabella. But this engine of religious tyranny accomplished their ends, and became the most powerful instrument of their policy. Owing to the fanatical preaching of Fernando Nuñez, who taught the persecution of the Jews to be a good work, popular tumults prevailed, in which this people was plundered, robbed, and murdered. Cardinal Mendoza, at Seville, in 1477, condemned and punished many who persevered in opposition to the doctrines of his faith.

Mendoza recommended the establishment of the inquisition to Ferdinand and Isabella. Dependent entirely upon the court, what better engine could they use to render their power absolute, by confiscation of estates to fill their treasury, and to limit the [81]power of the nobles and superior clergy? In the assembly of the estates, therefore, held at Toledo, 1480, in spite of all opposition, it was determined to establish a tribunal, under the name of the general inquisition (general inquisicion suprema). This was opened in Seville, 1481. Thomas de Torquenada, prior of the Dominican convent at Segovia, father-confessor to Mendoza, had been appointed first grand inquisitor by the king and queen, in 1478. The peaceful teachings of the meek and lowly Jesus do not seem to have had much influence on this political Boanerges. He had two hundred familiars, and a guard of fifty horsemen, but he lived in continual fear of poison. The Dominican monastery at Seville soon became insufficient to contain the numerous prisoners, and the king removed the court to the castle in the suburb of Triana. At the first auto da fè (act of faith), seven apostate Christians were burnt, and the number of penitents was much greater. Spanish writers relate that above seventeen thousand were given up to the inquisition. More than two thousand were condemned to the flames the first year, and great numbers fled to neighboring countries. The then pope, Sixtus IV., opposed the establishment of this court, as being the conversion of an ecclesiastical into a secular tribunal: but he was compelled to submit to circumstances, and actually promulgated a bull subjecting Aragon, Valencia, and Sicily, the hereditary dominions of Ferdinand, to the [82]inquisitor-general of Castile. The introduction of the new tribunal was attended with risings and oppositions in many places, excited by the cruelty of the inquisitors, and encouraged, perhaps, by the jealousy of the bishops. Saragossa and other places refused admission to the inquisitors, many of whom lost their lives; but the people were obliged to yield in the contest; and the kings not only became the absolute judges in matters of faith, but the honor, property, and life of every subject were in their hands. The political importance of this institution may be estimated by the following statement. In every community, the grand inquisitor must fix a period, from thirty to forty days, within which time heretics, and those who have lapsed from the faith, shall deliver themselves up to the inquisition. Penitent heretics and apostates, although pardoned, could hold no public office, nor become lessees, lawyers, physicians, apothecaries, or grocers; nor wear gold, silver, or precious stones; nor ride; nor carry arms; during their whole life, under a penalty of being declared guilty of a relapse into heresy: and they were obliged to give up a part of their property for the support of the war against the Moors. Those who did not surrender themselves within the time fixed were deprived of their property irrevocably. The absent, also, and those who had been long dead, could be condemned, provided there was sufficient evidence against them. The bones of those who were condemned after death were dug up, [83]and the property which they had left escheated to the king.

At first the jurisdiction of the inquisition was not accurately defined; but it was regularly organized by the ordinance of 1484, establishing branches in the different provinces of Spain, under the direction of the inquisitor-general. The inquisitor-general presided, with aid of six or seven counsellers nominated by the king; and his officers were a fiscal (or quasi prosecuting attorney), two secretaries, a receiver, two relators, a secuestrador (or escheator), and officials. In an ordinance of 1732, it was made the duty of all believers, to inform the inquisition, if they knew any one, living or dead, present or absent, who had wandered from the faith, who did observe, or had observed the laws of Moses, or even spoken favorably of them: if they knew any one who followed, or had followed the doctrines of Luther; any one who had concluded an alliance with the devil, either expressly or virtually; any one who possessed any heretical book, or the Koran, or the Bible in the Spanish tongue; or, in fine, if they knew any one who had harbored, received, or favored heretics. If the accused did not appear at the third summons he was excommunicated. From the moment that the prisoner was in the power of the court he was cut off from the world. Then followed tortures, solitary confinement, and death in flames, with every attendant of abject humiliation, while his name, with that [84]of his children and grand-children, was officially declared infamous. Napoleon crushed this monstrous iniquity December 4, 1808. According to the estimate of Llorente, the number of victims of the Spanish inquisition, from 1481 to 1808, amounted to 341,021 persons.

In Portugal the inquisition was established in 1557. Whence they also carried a branch of it to Goa, in the East Indies; in like manner as the Spaniards established one in America.[94]

From the earlier days, however, of the Christian religion we find a select few known as the MYSTICS, steadily pursuing a peaceful course in the investigation of truth. Of them it is said, that they exercised a powerful influence both upon life and literature: and, although the inculcation of meekness and self-humiliation paralyzed active exertion, and a life devoted to emotions and sentiments occasionally produced fanaticism, yet this influence, especially in the middle ages was highly beneficial. John Tauler, of Strasbourg, Henry Suss, of Constance, and Thomas à Kempis, were active mystics, and eminent among their fraternity which was called "the brethren of the common life." Theirs was a religion of feeling, poetry, and imagination, in contrast with philosophical rules and forms of reasoning, as taught by the school-men. They excused their fanaticism, by appealing to the words of St. Paul: [85]"The spirit prays in us by sighs and groans that are unutterable." Now, if the spirit, say they, prays in us, we must resign ourselves to its motions, and be swayed and guided by its impulse, by remaining in mere inaction. Hence, passive contemplation they considered the highest state of perfection. The number of the mystics increased in the fourth century under the influence of the Grecian fanatic, who gave himself out as Dionysius, the Areopagite, a disciple of St. Paul, and probably lived about this period; and by pretending to higher degrees of perfection than other Christians, and practising greater austerities, their cause gained ground, especially in the eastern provinces in the fifth century. A copy of the pretended works of Dionysius, was sent by Balbus to Louis the Meek, in the year 824, which kindled the flame of mysticism in the western provinces, and filled the Latins with the most enthusiastic admiration of this new religion. In the twelfth century these mystics took the lead in their method of expounding Scripture; and by searching for mysteries and hidden meanings in the plainest expressions, forced the word of God into a conformity with their visionary doctrines, their enthusiastic feelings, and the system of discipline which they had drawn from the excursion of their irregular fancies. In the thirteenth century they were the most formidable antagonists of the schoolmen, and toward the close of the fourteenth many of them resided and propagated their tenets in [86]almost every part of Europe. In the fifteenth century they had many persons of distinguished merit in their number; and in the sixteenth, previously to the Reformation, it is said that the only true sparks of real piety were to be found among them.[95]

Let us, then, examine the rise of confraternities attached to, and of, the Christian church, yet not necessarily more than its other laity entitled to authority which they afterward usurped.

Monachism took its rise in the East, where a solitary and contemplative life, devoted to the consideration of divine subjects, had always been considered more meritorious than active exertion. This calling was gradually adopted by so many, that at the end of the third century, the Egyptian Antonius, who had cast away his vast possessions, and chosen the desert for his residence, collected together the hitherto dispersed anchorites (monachi) into fenced places (monasteria, cænobia, claustra, cloisters), that they might live together in fellowship; and his disciple, Pachomius, soon gave the brotherhood a rule. Monachism soon extended to the west. In the sixth century, Benedict, of Nursia, established the first monastery on Mount Casius, in Lower Italy, and became, by this means, the founder of the widely-spread order of Benedictines, which rapidly extended itself among all nations, and built many convents. These monasteries, erected, for the most part, in [87]beautiful and remote situations, and the inhabitants of which were obliged to take the three vows of chastity (celibacy), personal poverty, and obedience, proved in those days of lawlessness and barbarism, a blessing to mankind. They converted heaths and forests into flourishing farms. They afforded a place of refuge (asylum) to the persecuted and oppressed. They ennobled the rude minds of men by the preaching of the Gospel. They planted the seeds of morality and civilization in the bosoms of the young by their schools for education. And they preserved the remains of ancient literature and philosophy from utter destruction. Many of the Benedictine monasteries were the nurseries of education, the arts, and the sciences, as St. Gallen, Fulda, Reichenau, and Corvey (in Westphalia), and many others. When the Benedictine order became relaxed, the monastery in Clugny, in Burgundy, separated itself from them in the tenth century, and introduced a more rigid discipline. In the twelfth century the monks of Clugny numbered upward of two thousand cloisters. But this order, also, soon proved insufficient to satisfy the strong demands of the middle age, against the allurements of sin, and the seductions of the flesh; so that, at the end of the eleventh century, the Cistercians, and, a few decades later, the Premonstrants sprang up: the former in Burgundy (Citeaux), the latter in a woody country near Laon (Premontré). The order of Carthusians, founded about the year [88]1084, which commenced with a cloister of anchorites (Carthusia, Chartreuse) in a rugged valley near Grenoble, was the most austere in its practice. A life of solitude and silence in a cell, a spare and meagre diet, a penitential garment of hair, flagellations, and the rigid practices of devotional exercises, were duties imposed upon every member of this fraternity.

They deserve, at our hands, the full benefit of an honest and severe Christian effort to find out and nurture truth; so long as government and political power did not control them. History next tells us of the so-called "MENDICANT ORDERS." They originated in the thirteenth century, and this establishment was productive of remarkable results. Francis of Assisi (A.D. 1226), the son of a rich merchant, renounced all his possessions, clothed himself in rags, and wandered through the world, begging, and preaching repentance. His fiery zeal procured him disciples, who, like himself, renounced their worldly possessions, fasted, prayed, tore their backs with scourges, and supplied their slender wants from voluntary alms and donations. The order of Franciscans then spread rapidly through all countries. About the same time arose the order of Dominicans, or preaching monks, founded by an illustrious and learned Spaniard, Dominicus. Their chief objects were the maintenance of the predominant faith in its considered purity, and the extinction of heretical opinions. In [89]carrying these out, they became endowed with the greatest worldly and temporal privileges, received the powerful patronage of the pope, gradually obtained the chairs in the universities, and took the lead in the murder of their fellow creatures through the inquisition. What a temptation to brawling mendicants, too lazy to earn a living, authorized to beg, and the supple tools of political leaders; and all this by a mysterious society, under the guise and pretence of the Christian religion! Laic tools for such clerical workmen!

While, from the mystics of that date, valuable works have been preserved, what has been left us from these mendicant orders? Anything save the cry of blood from the earth? Aught else than servile obedience in accomplishing the mandates of those in power?

In the eleventh century, the crusades had given rise to a singular class of men, half-military, half-monk. They had their secret means of recognition, a peculiar garb, and a professed object. Religion was the motive cause, while science and philosophy seem to have been secondary with them. They were knights, of three orders, viz.: the Knights of St. John, or Hospitallers; the Templars; and the Teutonic Knights. The Knights of St. John are known equally by the name of the Knights of Malta, because, in 1530, Charles V. granted them the islands of Malta, Gozzo, and Comino, on condition of perpetual war [90]against the infidels and pirates, and the restoration of these islands to Naples, if the order should succeed in recovering Rhodes. The chief of this order had immense possessions in most parts of Europe. Their chief was called Grand Master of the Holy Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, and Guardian of the Army of Jesus Christ. He was chosen by vote, and lived at La Villette in Malta. Foreign powers addressed him as Altezza eminentissima. His income equalled a million of guilders annually. This order still exists. Originally the affairs of the order were exercised by "THE CHAPTER," which consisted of eight balliages (ballivi conventuali), of the different languages of which the knights of the order consisted, that is, Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon, Germany, Castile, and England. The lands of these ballivi conventuali of languages were divided into three classes, priories, balliages, and commanderies. Of the priories the German had the preference, and was called the Grand Priory.

This confraternity were free-masons. And their organization was framed accordingly. Such was their kindness and benevolence to a wandering and unprotected pilgrim, that when afterward accosted on his journey with the customary inquiry, "Whence came you?" one and multitudes would answer, "From a lodge of the Holy St. John of Jerusalem," having experienced their hospitality and kindness in their pilgrimage. Their duty was to nurse, accommodate, [91]and protect pilgrims to the Holy Land: and everywhere on their travels, in whatever country, these lodges (or hutten) were found for their comfort.

In the beginning of the twelfth century a secret order was formed, "for the defence of the Holy Sepulchre, and the protection of Christian Pilgrims." They were first called "The poor of the Holy City," and afterward assumed the appellation of "Templars," because their house was near the Temple. The order was founded by Baldwin II., then king of Jerusalem, with the concurrence of the pope.

Many of the noblest knights connected themselves therewith, and they became known, then, as the Knights Templars.

But the order degenerated, became faithless to their vows, and used the wealth and power they had attained in such manner as to occasion their public condemnation.

In the beginning of the fourteenth century a sect of soi-disant philosophers appeared, known as the Rosicrucians. They bound themselves together by a solemn secret, which they all swore inviolably to preserve; and obliged themselves, at their admission into the order, to a strict observance of certain established rules. They pretended chiefly to devote themselves to medicine, but above all that, to be masters of important secrets, and among others, that of the philosopher's stone; all which they affirmed to have received by tradition from the ancient Egyptians, [92]Chaldeans, the Magi, and the Gymnosophists. By their pretences that they could restore youth, they received the name of Immortelles. Their pretension to all knowledge, acquired for them the title of Illuminati. For years they were lost sight of. Consequently, when in later years they once more appeared under their original organization, they have been recognised as "The invisible brothers." Their name is not, as generally supposed, derived from rosa and crux: but it is from ros (dew), the then supposed solvent of gold, and crux (the cross). To see, perhaps, a badge of this order, mark the arms of Luther! a cross placed upon a rose. True, a mistake as to the definition, yet does it not indicate the reason of its use politically and otherwise?

Passing by, then, the middle ages, we commence a new era with the rise and progress of a religious secret order, without a parallel in the history of the world; one which has risen in influence and power far above all the other orders of the church, prohibiting its members to accept office in the church, yet which, in the art of ruling, has excelled the governments of the world hitherto, no less than any of its ecclesiastical rivals of any age or country.

The Society of Jesus—known as the Jesuits—early raised itself to a degree of historical importance unparalleled in its kind. This order was founded (1539) by Ignatius Loyola, who called it the Society of Jesus, in consequence of a vision, and bound the [93]members, in addition to the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and implicit obedience to their superiors, to a fourth, viz: to go, unhesitatingly, and without recompense, whithersoever they should be sent, as missionaries for the conversion of infidels and heretics, or for the service of the church in any other way, and to devote all their powers and means to the accomplishment of the work. The intention of Ignatius Loyola was originally directed rather to mystic and ascetic contemplations; but the order, from the nature of its fourth vow, soon took a shape adapted to the wants of the church.

The origin of this society seems to have been a vision to the over-wrought mind of Loyola: may we call it a temporary inflammation of the brain? He was a Spaniard of very warm imagination, and a man of great sensibility. He declared he saw Mary, the mother of Jesus, in a vision: that she gave him the power of chastity: that Jesus and Satan appeared to him in the form of military officers enlisting men for service; whereupon he followed Christ. The society designated their object by Loyola's motto—Omnia ad majorem Dei gloriam. The intimate union of this society has been insured by severe trials, constant inspection, and unconditional obedience. Thoroughly organized by past experience, it now quietly pursues a policy deep, powerful, and difficult to be met on account of its mysticism. After Loyola's death the society was farther developed by Lainez, [94]and after him, by Aquaviva, men of deep knowledge of mankind, and steadfast purpose, who became the real authors of the present society. The seat of the society was, in so far, in Rome, as the general of the order resided there, with the committee of the society, and the monitor, who, totally independent of him, controlled the general as if he were his conscience. The order was divided into provinces, each of which was superintended by a provincial. Under the care of these officers were the professed-houses, with each a præpositus at its head, and the colleges, with each a rector. In the latter there were also novices. The mutual dependence of all parts of the system resemble the structure of a well-built fabric. The relations of subordination are so well ordered that the society is simplex duntaxat unum, without interrupting the free will of the individual, as is said, who only had to obey in permitted things.

The popes Paul III. and Julius III., seeing what a support they would have in the Jesuits against what is usually called "the Reformation," which was rapidly gaining ground, granted to them privileges such as no body of men, in church, or state, had ever before obtained. They were permitted not only to enjoy all the rights of the mendicant and secular orders, and to be exempt from all episcopal and civil jurisdiction and taxes, so that they acknowledged no authority but that of the pope and the superiors of their order, and were permitted to exercise every [95]priestly function, parochial rights notwithstanding, among all classes of men, even during an interdict; but, also (what is not even permitted to archbishops unconditionally), they could absolve from all sins and ecclesiastical penalties, change the objects of the vows of the laity, acquire churches and estates without further papal sanction, erect houses for the order, and might, according to circumstances, dispense themselves from the canonical observance of hours of fasts and prohibition of meats, and even from the use of the breviary. Besides this, their general was invested with unlimited power over the members; could send them on missions of every kind, even among excommunicated heretics; could appoint them professors of theology at his discretion, wherever he chose, and confer academical dignities, which were to be reckoned equal to those given by universities. These privileges, which secured to the Jesuits a spiritual power almost equal to that of the pope himself, together with a greater impunity, in point of religious observance, than the laity possessed, were granted them to aid their missionary labors, so that they might accommodate themselves to any profession or mode of life, among heretics, and infidels, and be able, wherever they found admission, to organize Catholic churches without a further authority. A general dispersion, then, of the members throughout society with the most entire union and subordination, formed the basis of their constitution. [96]

In the education of youth, there has been a very unjust charge against them, that is, that they mutilated the classics. Would to God that every pure Christian would follow such an example; and that we might thereby present such an expurgated edition, as would create all the good they may contain, devoid of evil. Any who have read Virgil, Ovid, Terence, or other classic works, must acknowledge this necessity. Even Shakespeare's plays can not be read, as printed, in a modest company. There is not, either, any prudery in this. And, accordingly, a family expurgated edition has been published by Dr. Bowdler, demanding a far greater circulation than it may have as yet received. Praise, then, be awarded to all instructors of youth who will promote such expurgation from the classics as will blot out their immorality!

The latitude in which this society has understood its rights and immunities has given occasion to fear an unlimited extension and exercise of them, dangerous to all existing authority, civil and ecclesiastical, as the constitution of the order, and its erection into an independent monarchy in the bosom of other governments, have assumed a more fixed character.

This society seems to have been divided into different ranks or classes. The novices, chosen from the most talented and well-educated youths, and men without regard to birth or external circumstances; and who were tried for two years, in separate [97]novitiate houses, in all imaginable exercises of self-denial and obedience, to determine whether they would be useful to the purposes of the order, were not ranked among the actual members, the lowest of whom are the secular coadjutors, who take no monastic vows, and may, therefore, be dismissed. They serve the order partly as subalterns, partly as confederates, and may be regarded as the people of the Jesuit state. Distinguished laymen, public officers, and other influential personages (e.g., Louis XIV., in his old age), were honored with admission into this class, to promote the interests of the order. Higher in rank, stand the scholars and spiritual coadjutors, who are instructed in the higher branches of learning, take upon themselves solemn monastic vows, and are bound to devote themselves particularly to the education of youth. These, as it were, the artists of the Jesuit community, are employed as professors in academies, as preachers in cities, and at courts; as rectors, and professors in colleges, as tutors and spiritual guides in families which they wish to gain or to watch, and as assistants in the missions. Finally, the nobility, or highest class, is made up of the professed, among whom are admitted only the most-experienced members, whose address, energy, and fidelity to the order, have been eminently tried and proved. According to one statement, they make profession, that is, take the vows of their order, by binding themselves in addition to the common [98]monastic vows by the fourth vow, to the undertaking of missions, among whom they consider heathen and heretics, as governors in colonies in remote parts of the world, as father-confessors of princes, and as residents of the order in places where it has no college. They are entirely exempt, on the other hand, from the care of the education of youth. None but the professed have a voice in the election of a general, who must himself be of their number, and who has the right of choosing from them the assistants, provincials, superiors, and rectors. The general holds his office for life, and has his residence in Rome, where he is attended by a monitor, and five assistants or counsellors, who also represent the five chief nations: the Italians, Germans, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. He is the centre of the government of the whole order, and receives monthly reports from the provincials, and one every quarter from the superiors of the professed-houses, from the rectors of the colleges, and from the masters of the novices. These reports detail all remarkable occurrences, political events, and the characters, capacities, and services of individual members, and thereupon the general directs what is to be done, and how to make use of tried and approved members. All are bound to obey him implicitly, and even contrary to their own convictions. There is no appeal from his orders.

Loyola died July 31, 1556, leaving to the order a sketch of this constitution, and a mystical treatise [99]called "Exercitia Spiritualia," which work occupies the first four weeks of every novice. The rapid increase of the order, and the previous purity of Loyola's life, obtained canonization for him in 1662. Their first great missionary was St. Francis Xavier, whose labors (1541) in the Portuguese East Indies, where he died ten years afterward, have obtained for him the name of "the apostle of India", and the honor of canonization. We are told that, at Goa, Travancore, Cochin, Malacca, Ceylon, and Japan, some hundred thousand were by him converted to the Christian religion. If so, at present the light of it has become very dim. Stat nominis umbra. The inquisition at Goa, perhaps, may have shown the people the difference between theory and practice. Claudius Aquaviva, of the family of the dukes of Atri, general of the Jesuits from 1581 to 1615, is the author of their system of education. The want of deep, critical learning, with the mutilation of the classics (for which last they deserve praise, not blame), exposed their teachers, for a time, to the censure of philologists. Viewed with suspicion by the French, they only were admitted into that nation in 1562, under the name of "the Fathers of the College of Clermont," with a humiliating renunciation of their most important privileges, but they soon united in the factions of that country, and, notwithstanding a strong suspicion of their having had a share in the murder of Henry III., under the [100]protection of the Guises, they contrived to establish themselves, regain their privileges, and deprive the French Protestants of their rights. One of their pupils, John Chatel, attempted Henry's life (1594), and this caused their banishment until 1603, when, at the intercession of the pope, they were again restored by Henry IV. That they participated in the crime of Ravaillac could never be proved. They became the confidential advisers in Germany, of Ferdinand II. and III. They discovered remarkable political talent in the thirty years' war; the league of the Catholics could do nothing without them. Father Lamormain, a Jesuit, and confessor to the emperor, effected the downfall of Wallenstein, and by means of his agents, kept the jealous Bavarians in their alliance with Austria. Then burst upon them in France and the Netherlands, the hurricane of the Jansenist controversy, when Pascal's Provincial Letters scathed them, and his sentiments were even quoted (1679) by Innocent IX., against sixty-five of their offensive propositions. Complaints were made against some of them by the Iroquois, who had been converted by them, as would appear by the treaty of peace (1682). In 1759, by an edict, they were declared guilty of high-treason, and expelled from Portugal. Owing to difficulties at Martinique under their deputy, Father La Vallette, and the declaration of their general, Lorenzo Ricci, refusing to make any change in their constitution (sint aut non sint), "let them be as they [101]are, or not be," the king of France (1764) issued a decree for abolishing the order in all the French states, as being a mere political society, dangerous to religion, whose object was self-aggrandizement. In 1767 they were driven out of Spain, and soon after from Naples, Parma, and Malta. And the voice of public opinion at length compelled Pope Clement XIV. to publish his famous bull, Dominus ac Redemptor noster, of July 21, 1773, by which the society of Jesus was totally abolished in all the states of Christendom. The society, however, did not become extinct. In 1780 they were thought to have possessed themselves of the secrets of the Rosicrucians, and to have taken a part in the schemes of the Illuminati. In 1787, an unsuccessful attempt was made to revive the order under the name of the Vicentines. Pius VII. restored the order, in 1814, upon the issuance of the bull, August 7, Solicitudo omnium. In 1815 they were restored in Spain. Russia, by an imperial ukase, March 25, 1820, banished them thence. Since then they have been driven from Mexico, again restored by Santa Anna, and now, though resident, they are politically powerless under the administration of President Comonfort. They now seem to rely on the United States of America as their chief asylum, and upon the valley of the Mississippi river and its tributaries, as their basis of operations. Full and perfect freedom of thought and speech, of religious toleration, and of mode of life, monastic or [102]otherwise, insures to them a safe home in this country. They possess a flourishing college at Georgetown, which may almost be considered as part of the city of Washington, the capital of the United States. Also one at Cincinnati, and one at St. Louis, well endowed, and possessed of great wealth. They exercise a powerful yet unseen influence over the minds of the members of the Catholic faith where they reside, each naturalized citizen of which has an equal voice in selecting all officers of state and general government. An eminent writer has remarked, that everything in history has its time, and the order of Jesuits can never rise to any great eminence in an age in which knowledge is so rapidly spreading. We think differently. A society so capable of adaptation to any circumstances, whether political, religious, or social, plastic in nature to meet every desired impression, talented, highly learned, wealthy, and among others, embracing in its order some men of such pure and admirable life as to be cited as examples of virtue and Christian character, with the protection the American flag throws around all under its folds, is to be carefully observed. Human nature is always the same. The past history, then, of this society merits the study of every philanthropist and patriot. Once, in Paraguay, it became a blessing to mankind. Within due limits, it may be so anywhere. But its interference in any political affairs, under pretence of serving him, whose "kingdom is not of this [103]world," is not to be tolerated, as it may prove a most dangerous engine in the struggle of the cause of popular self-government. An unconditional surrender of one's own convictions to the will of another man is at variance with every principle of republicanism.



The Struggle between an alleged Jus Divinum Regum, and Popular Sovereignty.—And the Efforts now attempted to destroy our Grand Experiment of Self-Government.—Practical Results.

With the differences of religious bodies as to dogmas of faith, this essay has nothing to do; but so far as churches connected with any religion, interfere with temporal governments, by mystic confraternities, that is a topic directly within our scope. Any union of church and state must, from these authorities, appear in opposition to the unprejudiced action of the citizen in the government of his country.

The great struggle for political power, the contest as to the source thereof—whether a fancied divine right (jus divinum) in any family, or in an individual by anointment of a priest; or the free voice of a free people governing themselves by framing a constitution, limiting power in the hands of rulers, who are only their agents—is now undergoing a severe test. Of this, however, more hereafter.

The history of England, from the days of James II.—yes, even from Henry VIII., whose crimes form a strange contrast to his assumption of a title to being [105]head of a church—presents a singular contest for political power, by means of religious domination.

From the days of William of Orange, the parties in Ireland (which seems to have formed the battleground of these contestants) have been not only well-defined, but they have been organized in the most perfect mysticism, into Orange men and Ribbon men. Let the days of Curran, Grattan, and of the persecuting government tell that story. The blood of an Emmett has crowned a noble effort with martyrdom. His last speech will be read as long as school-books can perpetuate one of the finest efforts of oratory.

Meantime, a secret society still existed which softened down asperity, and extended the blessings of fraternity even among those arrayed against each other—not only there, but over the world. By its teachings and its obligations, universal charity was inculcated. Is there an intelligent Free-Mason who has perused our previous pages, but what has recognised the history of his own society from the origin of the Kabbalistæ? Spread everywhere, under whatever name, emanating from a common origin, recognised by common principles and instruction, enforcing the study of the liberal arts and sciences, teaching philosophy throughout the world, and the hope of a future immortality, it has, as a mystic order, taken deep root in every nation, but more so in republics, not having fear of an interdict, or other religious [106]fulmination. It has not and does not interfere in politics, nor seek political power in any shape. Like its brothers of old under Pythagoras in Magna Græcia, it teaches philosophy, and is well calculated to promote such education as must form true statesmen. So catholic is its every teaching, and such are its fraternal tendencies, that one church has placed it under ban. Throughout the world, whether among the descendants of the ancient Magi, the Hebrew Cabbalist, the Rosicrucian, or Templar, in the deserts of Africa, the forests of America, or on the wide-spread ocean, the symbols of recognition are known and received. Such have been its tendencies that spurious imitations for mere political purposes have been frequent. The Illuminati, the Carbonari, and other secret political societies have been supposed to be Masonic lodges. But it is a great mistake. The Kabbalists never interfered with, or acted in opposition to the Hebrew Theocracy. Their brothers of a later date have never interfered with politics, even to the present day; nor have they, in any wise, inculcated a single maxim at variance with their duty to God, their neighbor, or themselves. They have simply preserved and obeyed the original traditional instruction handed down to them.

Another benevolent secret society has sprung up, chiefly in the United States, calling themselves the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. This is a charitable confraternity, intended, mainly, to promote [107]benevolence, aid the sick and distressed, and cultivate the warmer sympathies of our nature. It is of modern origin, and in most things seems to be an imitation of Free-Masonry. It has been productive of great good in the accomplishment of its benevolent purposes. Having no leaning whatever toward politics, it quietly pursues its mission of love.

Thus, then, we have arrived at a point where we must pause.

The summary of the past seems to be as follows:—

I. From the earliest history of the world there seems to have been an effort on the part of those who pretended to control the consciences and religious views of others to preserve in their own hands, the predominant political power.

1. The first government recorded is that of Nimrod. He discarded patriarchal instruction; united tribes in cities; and formed their combination into an empire. The Magi controlled him, and, at his death, under the pretence of his deification, preserved his power in the priesthood.

2. In the extension of the Magi, every great leader, or king, was one of them; and obedient to the rules and instructions of their general, the Hierophant.

3. When, in the assertion of popular right, Pythagoras was driven away by Cylon, the then imperfect effort of self-government fell through. But little understood, its then dim light faded.

4. The society of the Kabbalistæ, part of whom [108]were afterward known as the Pythagorean league, as the Collegio fabrorum of Numa Pompilius, as the Liberi Architectonici of the middle ages, and as the Free-Masons of the present day; this society, I repeat, never interfered in politics.

5. The Christian church was tempted to forget, that Christ's kingdom was not of this world. And its two great branches, that of Rome and England, were seduced into the error of seeking to obtain power through public policy.

Rome exerted her influences through her prætorian cohorts, the confraternities of mendicants and of Jesus—the Jesuits. Unknown, and in silence, they were domiciliated in courts and in families, throughout all nations; and some roamed as itinerants. The will of their general, on their unconditional subserviency to his behest, seemed to create an almost omnipresent power to be controlled by Rome alone. Has not the exercise of it been exemplified in the inquisition? Was it not felt in the massacre of St. Bartholomew? I will not stop to ask the power and control of a Madame Maintenon, or Du Barry: nor whose influences controlled them. Does not all history portray their one effort?

But has not the Church of England endeavored to obtain temporal power, also, by interference in the affairs of this world, politically?

Shame! shame!! If the priesthood are honest in giving an undivided allegiance to Him, whom they [109]have taken an oath only to serve; and yet, whose "kingdom is not of this world;" how dare they violate that obligation? "Ne sutor ultra crepidam," &c.

But we in the United States are not better than our neighbors. Man is the same everywhere, but for education.

And this brings us to the great, practical lesson, to which end all that has thus far been detailed has been directed.

Americans! no matter of what nation you came, consider this lesson.

We have ignored and thrown aside the priestly fable of an anointment by a man conferring an hereditary right to rule his brother man, by any family. This jus divinum regum is an absurdity, practically discarded by those who assert it. What divine right has been granted either to Napoleon the Great, or to Napoleon the little? Whence came it? By whose hands? How is it preserved? Is not the same religious power ready to crown a Bourbon one day, and, in spite of the hereditary jus divinum already granted, crown a Corsican (who has waded through blood to his throne) the next day; over the very rights of the Bourbon, who relies on that jus divinum as his title?

A divine right (if any) is here granted to both—to the Bourbon, and to the Corsican. Can truth contradict itself? If there be a contradiction must there not be error somewhere? [110]

This jus divinum that began with the deification of Nimrod, is still perpetuated though in other hands.

But we must look into this a little further.

II. Although the Theocracy in the days of Moses was of temporary duration, and human power afterward asserted a kingly right, was that divine right ever preserved? If divine, it is immutable. Does history show this? When Titus conquered Jerusalem, does not Jewish history tell us the voice was heard saying, "Let us go hence?"

III. History shows, among men, two classes who have governed others:—

1. Kings, emperors, and rulers.

2. Priests and clergy, controlling the superstitious feelings of mankind; yes, even these kings, emperors, and rulers, by mysticism.

IV. There have been throughout history two classes of secret societies.

One always endeavoring to govern and control the masses politically, by religious mysteries, &c. The other endeavoring to persuade to the study of science and philosophy, and trying to wean men from the mere struggle of this world's power, to a preparation for another world, into which we must be born spiritually, by human death, and as to which this earth is only the school-house. And this class has not interfered in any manner with politics in any country. [111]

This bring us to the present condition of our own beloved country at this time.

A secret society, also political, was formed here, known as the Know-Nothings. And its secrecy was about to destroy it, when that secrecy, under the power of the press, vanished into mist.

But what was the origin thereof? And when, after gentlemen and statesmen controlled it, and expelled its rubbish, it assumed a powerful influence, and a new form, as an "American Party," what were the deep moving causes which led to its prominent position?

From the days of Nimrod to the present day, all history shows an effort on the part of a few to control temporal power, at the expense of the many. They have always acted on the superstitions of man to accomplish this end.

But the American theory (esto perpetua) is, that all men are free and equal in their political rights, when their intellect is that of control, not of servitude; and that the people are the source and fountain of political power. It cometh not from a priest. It is the voice of freemen speaking and acting through their agents, whom they select.

This antagonism is now to be severely tested in coming history.

What is the source of temporal power?

Rome, England, France, and other countries, say it is from "the church," meaning their own particular [112]designation of a religion. That it is a divine right communicated by priestly anointment, attended by public ceremonies, imposing in appearance, and "ad captandum," for the public eye.

The American theory, going far beyond the bare and imperfect teaching of Pythagoras, boldly asserts what is believed to be the true and only origin of temporal power, the free will of a people exercised through agents of its own selection.

For about eighty years past this first great experiment has been successful. But that success has induced the most insidious attacks of those who advocate the opposite policy. We must be watchful, or our liberties will be gone. The game they now play is new in history; but, it is one easily comprehended. It has been well said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

But two centuries since this land was the home of the savage. The Caucasian intellect, however, has assumed its supremacy here; and the Indian, incapable of mental culture, is gradually, but surely passing, like other forms of animal existence, from the world.

One of the highest efforts of the human mind, is the Constitution of the United States of America. The great principles of freemen governing themselves, as there enunciated, must and will necessarily be attacked by the asserters of divine right in temporal government. If our experiment succeeds the powers of Europe must fall, or undergo an entire change. [113]England's nobility must acknowledge, sooner or later, the equality of the commonalty and gentry with themselves. Distinctions in France have already gone, except as to the assertion of the power of an emperor by virtue of a priestly coronation.

The popular masses of Europe have only displayed their first, but, as yet, imperfect efforts to assert their political rights. It is the reflex action of the great principle we have successfully, thus far, practised. And will not the powers who have conquered the masses then thus far, use every effort to destroy this experiment of ours and perpetuate thereby their own existence? If we continue to succeed, our lesson to the world is the death-knell of monarchy and imperial power. Foreign powers and priestly powers are making this effort. And if we are doomed to fail, it will be by the DISUNION their emissaries here endeavor to produce. With us, again, is religious influence exerted. Servitude is recognised and practised in the south. But the clergy of the north have commenced a fanatical crusade against it. We should guard well against these influences, foreign and domestic, now operating against us.

As a part of the history of the times, it may be proper to give the rise and progress of the so-called order of "Know-Nothings." The plan of the organization was conceived by a gentleman of the city of New York, who, in 1849, prepared and embodied into a system, a plan for uniting the American [114]sentiment of the American people throughout the United States. It was meant as a combined resistance, on the part of the native American population, to foreign and papal influence in this country. The progress of the plan was so slow in its development, that at the end of two years, the number of members uniting in the organization did not exceed thirty. In 1852 the plan was examined by a few gentlemen connected with the Order of United Americans, another secret and American organization, but not directly political or partisan in its aims and objects. A society was formed, and forty-three members signed their names to it, and from that small beginning was formed a body of native Americans which, in a year or two after, exceeded, in the state of New York alone, two hundred thousand members. This state organization soon extended its ramifications all over the country, and is now known as the American party. It has held three national conventions, one in Philadelphia, one at New York, and one in Louisville, and is now no more of a secret party than either of the two great parties opposed to it: the national conventions having abolished all secret meetings, and the state conventions or councils having generally concurred in this abolition of all oaths and all forms of obligation but those of personal honor and mutual good faith.

The ban of secrecy had made it, doubtless, an object of suspicion. Its adversaries hurl at it these [115]unfortunate antecedents. But now all secrecy has been abolished, and the party claims to assert only, the great principle of an INTELLIGENT SELF-GOVERNMENT. They recognise the secret and insidious influences of the Jesuit, and deprecate it. They call attention to it, and to its increasing importance in this valley; but still, in the spirit of liberty, leave the Jesuit free to act as he pleases. They perceive that it is irreconcilable with freedom of thought and conscience to surrender, unconditionally, one's own views and thoughts to the will of any one man, whether he be at Rome or elsewhere. Still he is not interfered with. Let him act with all freedom. You can vote for him for office or not, as you please; and, here, we have reason to fear the secret influence controlled alone at Rome. But, with all this freedom, it is called "persecution" to say "I will not vote for such a man."

Let Europe send over all her emissaries, and our country tells them you shall have the protection of our flag. You shall think, and speak what you will, if it be not to the injury of your neighbor. But is there not a spirit of self-preservation which demands that eternal vigilance which is the price of freedom? Is it "proscription" in saying to another man, "I will not vote for you?" If you can not exercise your own will, where is your freedom? If a whig refuses to vote for a democrat is that "proscription?"

Then, if I believe another man has surrendered his [116]own will to the unconditional control of another, in a foreign country, can I trust him—regarding the antecedents hereinbefore referred to?

It has been said, perhaps unjustly (at least I hope so), that the teaching of this important society, the Jesuit, so deeply-rooted here, is, that "the end justifies the means." If this be so, and if they can exercise over the immigrant population from Europe the power imputed to them—all this also controlled at Rome by the general of the order and his monitor—where can freedom be preserved to us, if they can control a majority of votes here? In such case our liberties are gone. In such case, they have simply adopted and ingeniously carried out the ancient powers of the priestly Magi.

Has not an Englishman, a member of parliament, come to this country, and lectured in New England on the abolition of slavery, expressly to aid in creating disunion of our states?

Has not the leaven of Puritanism been excited to new action to accomplish the same result?

Have not three thousand clergymen been induced to interfere in our temporal and political affairs; just as in past history we find the Magi and the priests did?

Has not the word of God been set at naught? Where the command is, "Thou shalt not kill," are not Sharpe's rifles purchased by their command?

A clever book of fiction, written by a fanatical old [117]woman, although untrue even as a picture of southern society, has obtained for her the cordial entrée of British aristocracy.

Then, again, regard the immense immigration from Europe. No sooner is it possible, but we find politicians busy to influence them, and obtain their votes. And they chiefly are opposed to slavery.

As patriots, Americans should say, you may vote. We throw around you no restraint. Your home is our home. You are in every sense a brother, and you shall be deprived of no privilege. But while in no manner the privileges of a freeman should be denied to any, we must not shut our eyes to the influences that surround us.

The Magi controlled the then known world.

The Roman church has done the same. In England a church has assumed secular power.

In each instance it was the fabulous jus divinum by which it was accomplished.

Shall they be allowed by such influences to control and so break down our great experiment of self-government?

Rather let those peaceful and benevolent influences prevail, which were inculcated by societies who taught equality of rights, and peace and charity among men.

This bring us then to the great motive power which alone can save our country.

It is the education of the people, and the freedom of the press, directed through a unity of language. [118]Through these, if properly conducted, unless they be controlled by the hostile influences hereinbefore spoken of, we shall be a happy and united nation.

There is no need, hereafter, of any secret teaching. Secret societies may promote social good, but they are no longer necessary to teach either traditional philosophy, or promote public welfare, except by benevolence.

Our duty is to encourage thought, foster public schools, create a unity of feeling and ideas, by means of a unity of language, and a freedom of the press.

But, in doing so, from the history of the past, can we be too careful in guarding against the insidious influences of societies, whose antecedents in history have proved so dangerous?

Societies having for their object a religious influence, and, thereby intending to control political power, are dangerous. The past has shown it.

Societies of benevolence, like the Free-Masons and Odd-Fellows, have done much good; but each member therein votes, in political matters, as he pleases, and without control. These societies do good to all, without view to any particular faith.

Each person that binds himself, by an obligation, to serve only Him, whose "kingdom is not of this world," should be debarred thereby from interfering in the politics of this world, which he has thus forsworn.

But what are the facts? Do not even the clergy [119]of New England try to control our government? Are they not even endeavoring to create DISUNION? Is this not with the desire and empressement of foreign power?

How far may not the prætorian bands of Rome aid therein to carry out the result?

Can we be too guarded as to our great experiment?

The first practical result, then, indicated by past history, is, that political power, in monarchies, empires, &c., has been under the control of mere priestly mysteries.

The next is, that human nature is always the same, and will endeavor to accomplish the same result.

Take the history of the past, what are we to anticipate for the future? Can we judge but from the past? Have they not endeavored to govern Europe?

We can only allow the will of freemen to govern us. The will that has, on oath, submitted itself to the control of a foreign power, is not that of a free man, and our duty is to watch it.

Let, then, every secret become a mystery; or, a revealed secret. If it be good to one, let it be good to all. Secure equality of rights. Collision of mind strikes out the sparks of truth. Secure universal education by free schools, ensuring unity of language, but leaving thought free; and the result will be, that secrecy will have become a mystery, or revealed knowledge to all.

Education, and the freedom of the press, are the [120]true safeguards of a republic. Interfere with the exercise of no religion; but let no one system of faith control your government. Frown down every effort of priests or clergy to meddle with politics. Then shall we avoid the errors of the past, preserve our present union, and hope for the spread of the true principles of liberty. With education will be united true piety, each assisting the other, no matter what the peculiar system of faith. Do away with secrecy altogether, and let every blessing that knowledge can confer, be devoted to public information, and the good of all. So, shall the abuses of secrecy be done away with for ever—and it shine forth only in the holy sphere to which it should be confined, to modesty and domestic virtue, religious meditation and prayer, and prudence in the transactions of life.



[1] St. Matt. xi. 28.

[2] Montgomery. Hymn 134. Book of Common Prayer.

[3] St. John, Gospel, iv. 44.

[4] Mal. i. 2.

[5] 1 Corinthians ii. 7-10, 12, 13, 16. Ibid. iv. 1, 5.

[6] 2 Corinthians iv. 7.

[7] 1 Corinthians xv. 22.

[8] St. Matthew xxv. 14 to 29, inclusive.

[9] St. Paul (Rom. xvi. 25, 26) defines "mystery" as above given: "Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets," &c.

[10] Exodus vi. 2, 3. "And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord [or Jehovah], and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them."

[11] Genesis vii. 2, 3.

[12] Ibid vii. 9.

[13] Ibid xii.

[14] Ibid xx.

[15] Ibid xxvi.

[16] Exodus iv. 27, 28. "And the Lord said unto Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him."

[17] Weber. Outlines of Universal History. Am. Ed., p. 4.

[18] Exodus vii. 11. "Then Pharaoh also called the wise men, and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments."

[19] Weber. Outlines Univ. Hist. § 12, p. 12.

[20] Christ. Breithaupt. Prof. &c. De arte decifratoria. Helmstadtii, apud Ch. Fried. Weygand. MDccxxxvii. p. 13. "Apud veteres Ægyptios, vt ab his dicendi initium faciamus, præter vulgares litteras, tria adhuc alia characterum genera celebrantur, quibus ad mysteria sua condenda fuerunt usi. Diserte hoc celebris ille stromatum conditor, Clem. Alexandrinus (lib. v. Stromatum, pag. 563, edit. Paris, de an. 1612), docet, ita scribens. s: 'Qui docentur ab Ægyptiis primum quidem discunt Ægyptiarum litterarum viam ac rationem, quæ vocatur ἐπιζολογραφικὴ, i.e., apta ad scribendas epistolas: secundam autem, sacerdotalem, qua vtuntur ἱερογραμματεῖς, i.e., qui de rebus sacris scribunt: vltimam autem ἱερογλυφικην, i.e., sacram, quæ insculpitur, scripturam, cuius vna quidem est per prima elementa κυριολογικὴ, i.e., propria loquens, altera vero symbolica, i.e., per signa significans.' Cum Clementi conferendus est Arabs Abenephi, cuius verba ita se habent: (Scriptum hoc Arabicum asseruatur in bibliotheca Vaticana, et typis nondum expressum est; ab Ath. Kirchero autem in Obelisco Pamphilio sæpius citatur: vnde etiam ea, quæ hic ex illo adduximus, depromta sunt.) 'Erant autem Ægyptus quatuor litterarum genera: primum erat in vsu apud populum et idiotas; secundum apud philosophos et sapientes: tertium erat mixtum ex litteris et symbolis sive imaginibus: quartum vsupabatur a sacerdotalibus, erant que litteræ avium, quibus sacramenta indicabant divinitatis.' Ex quo posteriori testamento hoc discimus, quod erudite inter Ægyptios peculiari et a communibus litteris diuerso scripturæ genere vsi sint ad doctrinas suas propagandas. Vti exempla ostendunt, constitit hœc scriptura partim ex certis sententiis et argutis symbolis, partim ex historicis fictionibus, secretiori docendi methodo accommodatis." ... "Omnes, qui de rebus diuinis tractarunt, tam Barbari quam Græci rerum quidem principia occultaverint: veritatem autem ænigmatibus, signisque & symbolis, & allegoriis rursus, & metaphoris, & quibusdam tropis modisque tradiderunt."

[21] Exodus vii. 11, 12.

[22] Ibid vii. 22.

[23] Ibid viii. 7.

[24] Rheinisches Conversations-Lexicon. Köln und Bonn. 1827. Vol. 7, page 432. "Magier, Magie, ein ursprünglich medischer Volksstamm, dem, der Sitte des Orients zufolge, die Erhaltung der wissenschaftlichen Kenntnisse und die Ausübung der heiligen Gebräuche der Religion überlassen war; nachher im speziellen Sinne die Priesterkaste der Perser und Meder. Der Name kommt aus dem Pehlei; Mag oder Mog heißt in dieser Sprache überhaupt ein Priester. Als eigner Stamm der Meder werden sie ausdrücklich von Herodot erwähnt. Zoroaster war nicht der Stifter, sondern nur der Reformator der Magier oder vielmehr ihrer Lehrsätze. Daher widersetzten sich die zu seiner Zeit vorhandenen Magier anfangs seinen Neuerungen und werden von ihm verstucht. Nachdem sie seine Verbesserungen angenommen hatten, organisirte er auch ihre inneren Einrichtungen und theilte sie in Lehrlinge, Meister und vollendete Meister. Ihr Studium und ihre Wissenschaft bestand in der Beobachtung der heiligen Gebräuche, in der Kenntniß der heiligen Gebetformeln oder Liturgien, mit denen Ormuzd verehrt wurde; und der bei Gebeten und Opfern gebräuchlichen Zeremonien. Nur durch sie konnte man Gebete und Opfer der Gottheit darbringen; nur sie waren die Mittelpersonen zwischen der Gottheit und den Menschen; nur ihnen offenbarte jene ihren Willen; nur sie blickten in die Zukunft, und enthüllten sie dem, der bei ihnen darnach forsichte. Später hat man Magier überhaupt, Zauberer, Wundershäter, Goldmacher und dergl. genannt."

[25] Heeren's Politics of Ancient Greece, ch. iii., p. 65. Bancroft, Amed., 1824.

[26] Delafield's Antiquities of America, pp. 69-71, et notæ.

[27] Sir William Jones, vol. i., p. 92.

[28] Heeren's Politics of Ancient Greece: Am. ed., 1824, p. 64. Also Bryant's Ancient Mythology, ii., 390.

[29] Encyclopædia Americana, vol. ix. (1835), p. 118.

[30] Gen. x. 8-12. This is adopting the marginal for the text reading of the passage, and the reason for it is this: The above is a clear historical account of those who journeyed to the plains of Shinar, which were only the descendants of Cush the father of Nimrod; though Asshur is said to have gone and builded the city of Nineveh, with the others mentioned in the text—which Asshur was one of the sons of Shem, who perhaps was blended by marriage, or other connections, with his relations the sons of Ham, unless it can be shown that there was one of that name in Ham's descendants as well as Shem's son. It was something particular (if correct) that Moses should bring in Asshur into his account of Ham's issue, because he was very strict in giving such relations of Japheth and Shem in their own places. Would Noah, who was so much disgusted at his son Ham as to curse him, permit the children of his other sons, whom he blessed, to have any communication with his children? Bishop Cumberland, in the last century, took some pains to unravel this, and concluded that the marginal translation in our bibles is the right one—that in the text being, "Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh", &c.; that in the margin, "And he [Nimrod] went out of that land into Assyria"—for Asshur generally in scripture signifies the Assyrian, excepting only in the genealogies: and in support of this he brings forward many authentic testimonies. (See Parsons's Remains of Japheth, p. 15: London, 1767.)

[31] Encyclopædia Americana, title "Mysteries," vol. ix., p. 118.

[32] Deut. xviii. 10.

[33] Livy, iv., c. 22.

[34] 1 Sam. xxviii. 19.

[35] Eccles. xlvi.

[36] Lib. v., c. 92.

[37] Isaiah xxix. 4; also viii. 19.

[38] Alcestis, 1127.

[39] Œdipus, Act iii., 530.

[40] See Rufinius, i., 155.

[41] Phars., vi., 670. This writer proposes hereafter to publish an essay on the intercourse between the living and the dead, as connected with natural magic, even to the present day.

[42] Lib. i., El. ii., 45.

[43] Heeren. Politics Anc. Greece; Am. Ed., p. 68. See also page following.

[44] Rees' Cyclop. vol. vii. voc. "Chaldean Philosophy."

[45] Daniel ii.

[46] The true God, Jah, was God over the false deities, Baalim.

[47] Daniel v. 6, 7.

[48] Acts vii. 23.

[49] Disq. Hist. de variis modis occvlte scribendi, Helmstadt. MDccxxxvii. pp. 23-26. "Illud memorandum, quod Kabbalistarum antiquiores etiam ex figura quatuor linearum, quæ inuicem sese intersecant, & in medio quadratum efficiunt, occultum scripturæ genus excogitarint sequentem in modum. In singulis sectionibus tres collocant litteras a dextra ad sinistram. Quando igitur primam extribus intelligunt, figuram sectionis istuis, in qua reperitur, cum vno puncto scribunt; si alteram, eandam figuram cum duobus punctis; si tertiam, rursus eandem cum tribus punctis."

[50] "Illorum philosophia sublimis, quam Kabbalam vocant, diuersas sub se complectitur species, quarum quædam huc pertinent. In famossissimo illo libello magico Rasiel, quem Kabbalistæ in magna veneratione habent, tria imprimis secreta alphabeta leguntur, quæ a communi Ebraicarum litterarum forma & ductu in multis abeunt. Primum vocatur scriptura cœlestis; alterum scriptura angelorum sive regum; & tertium scriptura transitus fluvii.—Disq. Hist. &c., ibidem.

[51] Herm. Von der Hardt, celeberrimus ætatis nostræ philologus, duorum etiam singularium alphabetorum meminit, quibus Judæi in amuletis suis conficiendis utuntur. Primum est, si proxima semper pro prœcedente substituitur littera, nimirum ב pro א, ג pro ב & sic porro. Hoctegere dicuntur confessionem suam de vno vero Deo, quam quotidie mane & circa vesperam recitant, & de qua sibi persuadent, quod effica cissimum contra idololatriam prœsidium sit, quo quasi prœmuniantur, ne a veritate ad falsam religionem desciscant. Alterum alphabetum occultum in eo consistit, quod ordine elementorum in uerso vltimam litteram ת cum prima א, & hanc cum illa vicissim permutent, & sic etiam reliquas: quam inversionem אתבש dicere moris est. Ex hoc maiusculis litteris in nobilioribus amuletis conspicuum symbolum מצפץ conficiunt, quod nihil iterum aliud, quam nomen Dei יהוה. Hieronymus, non incelebris primæ ecclesiæ pater contendit (hereinafter quoted) prophetam Jeremiam hoc scribendi genere vsum fuisse, &, ne regem Babyloniæ adversus Ebræos irritaret, pro rege בבל dixisse ששך. Quin etiam sunt inter Judæos, qui verba illa apud Danielem מנא מנא תקל ופרסין, quæ super cænam regis Belsazaris e pariete per miraculum ad stuporem omnium prodibant, eodem modo scripta fuisse, atque iccirco hanc artificiosam litterarum transpositionem a Deo ipso primam originem suam trahere existimant. Sed incerta hœc & transeunda.

[52] Tom. iv. Oper. comment. in Jerem. cxxv., 26, p. 286, edit. Coloniens. de an. 1616.

[53] See Conf. Lud. Henr. Hillerus, in præfat. mysterii artis stenographicæ nouissimi Vlmæ an. 1682 editi.

[54] Breithaupt, Disq. Hist., p. 25, notis.

[55] 2 Chron. i. 12.

[56] Ezra vii. 1-6.

[57] Heb. ix. 4: and hereto agree Abarbanel on 1 Kings viii. 9, and R. Levi Ben Gersom.—Prideaux Conn. i. 297.

[58] Deut. xxxi. 26: Or, as others interpret it, "by the side of the ark." Mittzad. 1 Sam. vi. 8. 2 Kings xxii. 8. Prideaux i. 297.

[59] Prideaux i. 297.

[60] Vide Buxtorfii Synagogam. c. 14.

[61] 2 Maccabees ii.

[62] 2 Chron. xxxv. 3.

[63] Prideaux i. 303-'4. It were well to call to the reader's attention here, the remarkable subterranean discoveries made this year (1856), and still going on in Jerusalem, under the Austrian authorities there.

[64] Prideaux i. 285.

[65] Vol. i., Connex. pp. 383, 384.

[66] Isaiah xlv. 5-7.

[67] Prideaux, Con. i. 389.

[68] Page 25.

[69] Prideaux i. 338-'9.

[70] Plato in Alcibiade i. Stobases, p. 496. Clem. Alex. in Pædagogo i. p. 81.

[71] Prideaux Con. i. 395.

[72] Cicero de Divinatione, l. i. Philo Judæus de spec. leg. Plutarch in Artaxerxe.

[73] Prideaux i. 404-'5.

[74] See page 21, antea.

[75] Heeren, Politics Anc. Greece, p. 292.

[76] Remains of Japheth, 136.

[77] A bad way to extirpate error. Education, reason, and piety will meet error openly.

[78] 2 Phil. ii. 9, 10.

[79] Matthew xv. 2, 3.

[80] Mark vii. 5-9.

[81] Coloss. ii. 8.

[82] 2 Thess. iii. 6, 7.

[83] Acts xx. 7, 8.

[84] John xx. 19.

[85] Neander, Gen. Hist. of Christ. Rel. &c., p. 98.

[86] Brev. Rom., p. 251. Lectio iij. infra Hebd. quartam Quadragesimæ. "Audistis grande mysterium. Interroga hominem: Christianus es? Respondet tibi: non sum. Si paganus es, aut Judæus? Si autem dixerit, non sum: adhuc quæris ab eo, Catechumenus, an fidelis? Si responderet tibi, Catechumenus: inunctus est, nondum lotus. Sed unde inunctus? Quære, et respondet. Quære ab illo, in quem credat? Eo ipso quo Catechumenus est, dicit, In Christum. Ecce modo loquor et fidelibus et catechumenis. Quid dixi de sputo et luto? Quia verbum caro factum est; hoc catechumeni audiunt: sed non eis sufficit ad quod inuncti sunt: festinent ad lavacrum, si lumen inquirunt."

[87] Brev. Rom. p. 652. Festa Maji. Lectio viii. "Si ergo Nicodemus de illis multis erat qui crediderunt in nomine ejus, jam in isto Nicodemo attendamus, quare Jesus non se credebat eis. Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Amen, Amen dico tibi, nisi quis renatus fuerit denuo, non potest videre regnum Dei. Ipsis ergo se credit Jesus, qui nati fuerint denuo. Ecce illi crediderant in eum, et Jesus non se credebat eis. Tales sunt, omnes Catechumeni: ipsi jam credunt in nomine Christi, sed Jesus non se credit eis. Intendat et intelligat charitas vestra. Si dixerimus catechumeno: credis in Christum? Respondet, credo, et signat se cruce Christi: portat in fronte, et non erubescit de cruce Domini sui. Ecce credit in nomine ejus. Interrogemus cum: Manducas carnem filii hominis, et bibis sanguinem filii hominis? Nescit quid dicimus, quia Jesus non se credidit ei."

[88] 1 Corinth. iii. 1, 2.

[89] 1 Peter ii. 2.

[90] Hebrews v. 12-14.

[91] Hebrews vi. 1.

[92] Matt. x. 5, &c.

[93] John xviii. 36.

[94] Llorente, Hist. Span. Inq. London. 1827.

[95] Enc. Brit. xv. 674.

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