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The Gnostics and Their Remains

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Author Topic: The Gnostics and Their Remains  (Read 3072 times)
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δημιουργός (dēmiourgós, latinized demiurgus δήμιος

« Reply #135 on: March 12, 2009, 01:24:58 pm »

ancient Mysteries was the giving of the "Mark of Mithras." After successfully undergoing each stage of the ordeal, the accepted candidate was marked in a certain indelible manner, but the exact nature of this marking cannot now be ascertained The expressions used by St. Augustine (in Johan. i. dis. 7) lead us to conclude two things: firstly, that the engraved stones, the object of our consideration, were given to the candidate at the end of his probation, for a token of admission into the fraternity, and for a medium of recognition between members: and secondly, that every one, upon admission, was stamped with a secret Mark, indelibly imprinted in his flesh. "Something of the sort has been copied by a certain Spirit, in that he will have his own image to be purchased with blood, forasmuch as he was aware that mankind were some day or another to be redeemed by the shedding of blood." This last expression shows that this Mark was not burnt in, but incised or tattooed; and the same conclusion may be deduced from St. John's using the termχάραγμα, engraving, not στίγμη, branding, for that badge of servitude which all the subjects of the Second Beast, "having horns like a lamb's, and speaking like a dragon," were forced to receive, either in their right hands (i.e., upon the palm) or upon their foreheads, and he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a Mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: "and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the Mark, or the Name of the Beast, or the Number of his Name" (Rev. xiii. 17). These words contain a compendious account of the different kinds of "Stigmata" then in use to distinguish those devoting themselves to any particular deity. The Mark was the figure of the special symbol or attribute of that deity (exactly answering to the caste-marks of the modern Hindoos): the Name was his own, written at full length in some sacred language: the Number was the more recondite way of expressing that name, either by a single numeral in the primitive Chaldæan fashion, or by other letters taken numerically, and yielding the same sum. The author of the Apocalypse very probably had the Mithraicists in view when penning this allegory; yet we may be certain that the members of a secret society did not receive the mark of membership

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upon any conspicuous part of their persons. The same necessity meets us here, as in every other branch of this inquiry, for placing the origin of all such sectarian bodily Marks in India--the true fountainhead, directly or indirectly, of so many Gnostic practices. There, the votaries of the several deities are still distinguished, each by the proper symbol of his patron-god impressed upon his forehead, but by a milder process than of old, being traced, not in his own blood, but with the ashes of cow-dung, the powder of sandal-wood, or coloured-earths, daily renewed. Inasmuch as amongst them the symbol of Fire (Bramah) is an equilateral Triangle, with the apex pointing upwards, it may be conjectured that the Mithraic χάραγμα was the same simple figure, by which indeed Horapollo informs us the Egyptians symbolised the Moon, and Plutarch that Pythagoras expressed the goddess Athene. * Clarkson, however, asserts positively that the Mark of Mithras was the "Tau mysticum," but whence he derived this knowledge I have never been able to ascertain. †

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"And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, 'I am God and there is no other God beside me,' for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come."- Yaltabaoth
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