To indicate God’s existence, the ancient sages of Asia, and many Greeks, adopted the emblem of pure fire, or ether.
'Aerem amplectatur immensus æther, qui constat exaltissimis ignibus' (Cicero, De Natura Deorum, lib. ii. c. 36.) 'Cœlum ipsum stellasque colligens, omnisque siderum compago, æther vocatur, non ut quidem putant quod ignitus sit et insensus, sed quod cursibus rapidis semper rotatur' (Apuleius, De Mundo). Pythagoras and Empedocles entertained similar theories (Brucker, I, c. i. p. 113). Parmenides also represented God as a universal fire which surrounded the heavens with its circle of light and fire (Cicero, De Natura Deorum, lib. iii. c. 2). Hippasus, Heraclitus, and Hippocrates imagined God as a reasoning and immortal fire which permeates all things (Cudworth, Systema Intellectuale, p. 104; and Gesnerus, De Animis Hippocratis). Plato and Aristotle departed but little from this in their teachings; and Democritus called God 'the reason or soul in a sphere of fire' (Stobæus, Eclogæ Physicæ, lib. vii. c. 10.) Cleonethes considered the sin as the highest god (Busching, Grundriss einer Geschichte dir Philosophie, 1 Th. p. 344) We find, therefore, in the earliest ages, an æther (spiritual fire) theory, by which many modern theorists endeavour to explain the phenomena of magnetism. This is the 'Ætheræum' of Robert Flood, the Rosicrucian.
Fire, indeed, would appear to have been the chosen-element of God. In the form of a flaming 'bush' He appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai. His presence was denoted by torrents of flame, and in the form of fire He preceded the band of Israelites by night through the dreary wilderness; which is perhaps the origin of the present custom of the Arabians, 'who always carry fire in front of their caravans' (Reade's Veil of Isis). All the early fathers held God the Creator to consist of a 'subtile fire'. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, it was in the form of a tongue of fire, accompanied by a rushing wind. See Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 627 (Parkhurst, in voce ברנ (Sic--JBH)).
The personality of Jehovah is, in Scripture, represented by the Material Trinity of Nature; which also, like the divine antitype, is of one substance. The primal, scriptural type of the Father is Fire; of the Word, Light; and of the Holy Ghost, Spirit, or Air in motion. This material Trinity, as a type, is similar to the material trinity of Plato as, a type, it is used to conceal the 'Secret Trinity'. See Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 627. Holy fires, which were never suffered to die, were maintained in all the temples: of these were the fires in the Temple of the Gaditanean Hercules at Tyre, in the Temple of Vesta at Rome, among the Brachmans of India, among the Jews, and principally among the Persians. Now to prove that all 'appearances' are 'born of Fire', so to speak, according to the ideas of the Rosicrucians.
Light is not radiated from any intensely heated gas or fluid. If nitre is melted, it will not be visible but throw into it any solid body, and as soon as that becomes heated it will radiate light; hence the phenomenon, 'Nasmyth’s willow-leaves', in the sun, must be solid, not gaseous; and through their medium
the whole of our light from the sun is doubtless derived. See the records of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Cambridge Meeting), October 1862. These physical facts were known to the ancient Persians.
The ancient ideas upon these subjects have not come down to us at all definitely. The destruction of ancient manuscripts was effected upon a large. scale. Diocletian has the credit of having burned the books of the Egyptians on the chemistry of gold and silver (alchemy). Cæsar is said to have burned as many as 700,000 rolls at Alexandria; and Leo Isaurus 300,000 at Constantinople in the eighth century, about the time that the Arabians burned the famous Alexandrian Library. Thus our knowledge of the real philosophy of the ancient world is exceedingly limited; almost all the old records, or germinating means of knowledge, being rooted out.
In regard to 'Boudhisme, ou système mystique' as he denominates it, a learned author describes it as 'Métaphysique visionnaire, qui, prenant à tâche de contrarier l’ordre naturel, voulut que le monde palpable et matériel fût une illusion fantastique; que l’existence de l’homme fût un réve dont la mort la était le vrai rèveil: que son corps fût une prison impure dont il devait se hâter de sortir, ou une enveloppe grossière que, pour la rendre perméable à la lumière interne, il devait atténuer, diaphaniser par le jeûne les macérations, les contemplations, et par une foule de pratiques anachorétiques si étranges que le vulgaire étonné ne put s’expliquer le caractère de leurs auteurs qu’en les considérant comme des êtres surnaturels, avec cette difficulté de savoir s’ils furent Dieu devenu homme, ou l’homme devenu Dieu.'--Volney. (C. F.), Les Ruines, p. 210.
'Mind cannot create, it can only perceive.' This
hazardous statement, in its utmost extent, is used simply as an argument against there being the philosophical possibility of religion as derivable from reason only--which will be found to be the mere operation of the forces of the 'world'. No religion is philosophically capable of being defended on the grounds of reason; though one religion may seem (but, in the inner light, it will seem only) to be more reasonable (or probable) than another. Divine light, or faith, or intuition--in other words, the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (to be recognized under its many names)--is that means alone which can carry truth, through the exposure of the futility of all knowable (that is, of all intellectual) truth. Such are the abstract notions of the Gnostics, or 'Illuminati', concerning religion.
'The curtains of Yesterday drop down, the curtains of To-morrow roll up; but Yesterday and To-morrow both are' (Sartor Resartus, edit. 1838, Natural-Supernaturalism', p. 271). To the divine knowledge, the future must be as much present as the present itself.
The explorations of the Rosicrucians may be said to be 'as keys to masked doors in the ramparts of nature, which no mortal can pass through without rousing dread sentries never seen upon this side' (A Strange Story, Lord Lytton, vol. i. p. 265). 'Omnia ex Uno, Omnia in Uno, Omnia ad Unum, Omnia per Medium, et Omnia in Omnibus' (Hermetic axiom).
In the speculations of the Gnostics, the astronomical points Cancer and Capricorn are called the 'Gates of the Sun'. Cancer, moreover, is termed the 'Gate of Man'; Capricorn, is the 'Gate of the Gods'. These are Platonic views, as Macrobius declares. With the influences of the planets, Saturn brings reason and intelligence; Jupiter, power of action; Mars governs
the irascible principle, the Sun produces sensation and speculation, Venus inspires the appetites, Mercury bestows the power of declaring and expressing, and the Moon confers the faculty of generating and augmenting the body. The Egyptian 'winged disc' is a symbol of 'Tat', Taut', or 'Thoth' (Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride). The lions’ heads, so frequently observable, in the sculptures decorating fountains, bespeak the astral influences under Leo, which produce the rains in the ardent month of July; and in this view they are regarded as the discharges of the 'sacred fountains'. Lions’ heads, with fountains, are observable in architecture all the world over. All architecture is primarily derivable from two mathematical lines (| and --), which, united (and intersecting), form the 'cross'. The first 'mark' is the origin of the 'upright' tower, pyramid, or imitation ascending 'flame of fire', which aspires against the force of gravity; also of the steeple, or phallus, all over the world. The second, or horizontal, 'mark' is the symbol of the tabernacle, chest, or ark, or fluent or base-line, which is the expression of all Egyptian, Grecian, and Jewish templar architecture. The union of the two lines gives the Christian, universal cross-form, in the blending of the 'two dispensations'--Old and New, or 'Law' and 'Gospel'. Now, both of these lines, in the Rosicrucian sense, have special magic 'powers', or gifts, according to their several places, and according to the 'supernatural extra forces brought' specially to bear on them through the operations of those who know how (and when) to direct the occult power.
Those powers bestowed upon the original deserving 'Man', and not extinguished in the existing 'Man', are his still--if he retain any glimpse of his original spark of light.
Justinus Kerner, in his Scherin von Prevorst, most
ingeniously anatomizes the inner man, and makes him consist of 'Seele', 'Nerven-geist', and' 'Geist'. The 'Nerven-geist', or nervous energy, being of a grosser nature, continues united with the 'Seele' on its separation from the body, rendering it visible in the form of an apparition, and enabling it to effect material objects, make noises, move articles, and suchlike things perceptible to the living sense--in short, to 'spucken'. According to its nature, this composite being takes a longer or shorter time to be dissolved; the 'Geist' alone being immortal (The Gnostics and their Remains, note to p. 46).
An Ancient Homily on Trinity Sunday has the following: 'At the deth of a manne, three bells should be ronge as his knyll in worship of the Trinitie. And for a woman 1, who was the Second Person of the Trinitie, two bells should be ronge.' Here we have the source of the emblematic difficulty among the master-masons, who constructed the earlier cathedrals, as to the addition and as to the precise value of the second (or feminine) tower at the western end (or Galilee) of a church.
Valentinus is called the 'profoundest doctor of the Gnosis'. According to him, the 'Eons' (angels, or effusions) number fifteen pairs, which represent the thirty degrees of each sign of the zodiac. The name of the great Gnostic deity, Abraxas, is derived as follows: 'Ab' or 'Af' ('Let it be'); 'Rax' or 'Rak' ('Adore'); 'Sas' or 'Sax' for 'Sadshi' ('Name'). 'The entire Gnostic system was not derived either from the Kabala, or from the Grecian philosophy; but from the East, as Mosheim long ago maintained': so declares the author of The Gnostics and their Remains; but it is a thorough mistake,
both in his authority (Mosheim), and also in himself. We shall successfully show this before we have done.
As soon as Jesus was born, according to the Gnostic speculative view of Christianity, Christos, uniting himself with Sophia (Holy Wisdom), descended through the seven planetary regions, assuming in each an analogous form to the region, and concealing his true nature from its genii, whilst he attracted into himself the sparks of Divine Light they severally retained in their angelic essence. Thus Christos, having passed through the seven Angelic Regions before the 'THRONE', entered into the man Jesus, at the moment of his baptism in the Jordan. 'At the moment of his baptism in the Jordan'--mark. Up to that point he was natural--but not the 'Christ'. This will recall his exclamation of world’s disclaimer to the Virgin:--'Woman, what have I to do with thee?' From that time forth, being supernaturally gifted, Jesus began to work miracles. Before that, he had been completely ignorant of his mission. When on the cross, Christos and Sophia left his body, and returned to their own sphere. Upon his death, the two took the man 'Jesus', and abandoned his material body to the earth; for the Gnostics held that the true Jesus did not (and could not) physically suffer on the cross and die, but that Simon of Cyrene, who bore his cross, did in reality suffer in his room: 'And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross' (St. Mark xv. 21). The Gnostics contended that a portion of the real history of the Crucifixion was never written.
Asserting that a miraculous substitution of persons took place in the great final act of the 'Crucifixion', the Gnostics maintained that the 'Son of God' could not suffer physically upon the cross, the apparent
sufferer being .human only--real body having no part with him.
At the point of the miraculous transference of persons, Christos and Sophia (the Divine) left his body, and returned to their own heaven. Upon his death on earth, the two withdrew the 'Being' Jesus (spiritually), and gave him another body, made up of ether (Rosicrucian Ætheræum). Thenceforward he consisted of the two first Rosicrucian principles only, soul and spirit; which was the cause that the disciples did not recognize him after the resurrection. During his sojourn upon earth of eighteen months after he had risen, he received from Sophia (Soph, Suph), or Holy Wisdom, that perfect knowledge or illumination, that true 'Gnosis', which he communicated to the small number of the Apostles who were capable of receiving the same:
The Gnostic authorities are St. Irenæus in the first place, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, St. Epiphanius. The Gnostics are divided into sects, bearing the names of Valentinians, Carpocratians, Basilideans, and Manichæans. Γνωσις, Gnosis, Gnossos: thence 'Gnostics'.
As the Son of God remained unknown to the world, so must the disciple of Basilides also remain unknown to the rest of mankind. As they know all this, and yet must live amongst strangers, therefore must they conduct themselves towards the rest of the world as invisible and unknown. Hence their motto, 'Learn to know all, but keep thyself unknown' (Irenæus).
The speech of an angel or of a spirit with man is heard as sonorously as the speech of one man with another, yet it is not heard by others who stand near, but by the man himself alone. The reason is, that the speech of an angel or of a spirit flows first into
the man’s thought, and, by an internal way, into his organ of hearing, and thus actuates it from within; whereas the speech of man flows first into the air, and, by an external way, into his organ of hearing, which it actuates from without. Hence it is evident that the speech of an angel and of a spirit with man is heard in man, and, since it equally affects the organs of hearing, that it is equally sonorous (Swedenborg; also Occult Sciences, p. 93; London, 1855).
The Greek Bacchanals were well acquainted with the mythos of Eve, since they constantly, invoked her, or a person under her name, in their ceremonies.
Black is the Saturnian colour--also that of the Egyptian Isis. Under the strange head of the embodiment of Deity under darkness, the following remarkable facts may be considered: the Virgin and Child are depicted black at the Cathedral at Moulins, at the famous Chapel of the Virgin at Loretto, in the Church of the Annunciation at Rome, at the Church of St. Lazaro and the Church of St. Stephen at Genoa, at that of St. Francisco at Pisa, at the Church of Brixen in the Tyrol, at a church in (and at the Cathedral of) Augsburgh, where the black figures are as large as life, at the Borghese Chapel in Rome, at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in the Pantheon, and in a small chapel at St. Peter’s, on the right-hand side, on entering, near the door. The reader can make references in his memory to these places, if he be a traveller.
The writer, who goes by the name of Dionysius Areopagita, teaches that the highest spiritual truth is revealed only to those who have transcended every ascent of every holy height, and have left behind all divine lights and sounds and heavenly discoursing, and have passed into that Darkness where HE really is (as saith the Scripture) who is ALL, above all things
[paragraph continues] (De Mystica Theologia, cap. i. sec. 3; Hours with the Mystics, by R. A. Vaughan, note to book i. chap. 2).
The words graven upon the zone and the feet of the Ephesian Diana, which Hesychius has preserved, are the following:
'These Ephesian words', says Plutarch (Sympos), 'the Magi used to recite over those possessed with devils.' 'Damnameneus' is seen on a Gnostic amulet in the De la Turba Collection (The Gnostics, p. 94).
The Argha had the form of a crescent. The Argo, arc, or arche, is the navis biprora. It is clear that, as neither the full moon nor the half-moon was ever the object of worship, it is the crescent horns of the moon which imply the significance. These mean the woman-deity in every religion.
The snake associated with the mysteries among the Hindoos is the cobra-di-capella. It is said that the snake on the heads of all the Idols in Egypt was a Cobra. The name of the monarch or Chief Priest in Thibet is the Lama, or the Grand Lama. Prester-John is the great Priest, or Prestre (Prêtre), Ian, Ion, Jehan, or John (the Sun). Lamia is the 'snake' among the Ophidians; Lama is the hand: lamh, hand, is a divine name in the Scythian tongue. It also means the number 10, and the Roman numeral X, which is a cross. Now, the double pyramid, or
[paragraph continues] Hexalpha, or 'Solomon's Seal', or 'Wizard's Foot', which, according to the Eastern allegory, is placed (as that of St. Michael) upon the Rebellious Spirits in their 'abyss', or 'prison'.
Pyr is the Greek name of fire (thence Pyramid), and mythologically of the sun, who was the same as Hercules. And the great analyser of mythology assures us that Pur was the ancient name of Latian Jupiter, the father of Hercules; that he was the deity of fire; that his name was particularly retained amongst the people of Præneste, who had been addicted to the rites of fire. Fire, in short, in these mythologies, as also in all the Christian churches, meets us at every turn. But we must not mix up heathen ideas and Christian ideas in these matters.
172:1 This is a curious direct assertion that the Saviour of the World was feminine.