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The Gnostics and Their Remains

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« Reply #150 on: March 12, 2009, 01:28:07 pm »

that they may not be polluted by Matter. Now therefore, Mary, this is the manner whereby the mystery of Baptism remitteth sins and all transgressions.

(301) And when the Saviour had thus spoken, he said to his disciples: Do ye understand in what manner I speak with you? Then came forth Mary, saying: Of a truth, Lord, I perceive in reality all the things that thou hast said. Touching this matter of the Remission of Sins, thou speaketh aforetime to us in a parable, saying: I am come to bring fire upon the earth; nay, more, let it burn as much as I please. And, again thou hast set it forth openly, saying: I have a baptism wherewith I will baptise and how shall I endure until it be accomplished? Ye think that I am come to bring peace upon the earth? By no means so, but dissension, which I am come to bring. For from this time forth there shall be five in one house; three shall be divided against two, and two against three. This, Lord, is the word that thou speakest openly. But concerning the word that thou spakest: I am come to bring fire upon the earth, and let it burn so much as I please: in this thou hast spoken of the mystery of Baptism in the world, and let it burn as much as thou pleasest for to consume all the sins of the soul, that it may purge them away. And again thou hast shewn the same forth openly, saying: I have a baptism wherewith I will baptise, and how shall I endure until it be accomplished? The which is this; Thou wilt not tarry in the world until the baptisms be accomplished to purify all the perfect souls. And again what thou spakest unto us aforetime: "Do ye suppose I am come to bring peace upon earth," &c. (302). This signifieth the mystery of Baptism which thou hast brought into the world, because it hath brought about dissension in the body of the world, because it hath divided the Counterfeit of the spirit, the Body, and the Fate thereof, into one party, and the Soul and the Power into the other party. The same is, "There shall be three against two, and two against three." And when Mary had spoken these things the Saviour said: Well done, thou Spiritual One in the pure light, this is the interpretation of my saying.

Then Mary went on and said: Bear with me, Lord, whilst I yet inquire of thee. Lo! we know now fully after what form

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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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« Reply #151 on: March 12, 2009, 01:28:22 pm »

Baptism remitteth sin. Now therefore declare unto us the mystery of the Three Courts, and the mystery of the First Mystery, and likewise the mystery of the Ineffable One; in what form do these also remit sin? Do they remit sin in the form of baptism or not? (303) The Saviour answered again: By no means; but all the mysteries of the Three Courts remit in the soul, and in all the regions of the Rulers, all the sins that the soul hath committed even from the beginning. They remit also the sins that the soul shall have committed afterwards up to the time that each one of the mysteries taketh unto itself, the time whereof I will declare unto you hereafter. Moreover the mystery of the First Mystery, and the mystery of the Ineffable One, remit unto the soul in all the regions of the Rulers all the sins and transgressions that it hath committed. And not only do they remit, but they do not impute sin * to the soul, from henceforth for ever by reason of the free-grace of the mystery and the exceeding glory of the same. Then said the Saviour: Do ye understand all that I have said unto you? Then Mary answered: Lord, I have caught up all the words thou hast spoken. Now therefore as to the saying that all the mysteries of the Three Courts remit sins, and blot out iniquities. Concerning this same matter hath David the prophet spoken, saying: "Blessed are they whose sins they have remitted, and whose iniquities they have covered," and as to thy saying that the mystery of the First Mystery, and the mystery of the Ineffable One, do not only remit all sin unto the soul for ever, but also do not suffer sin to be imputed unto the same for ever and ever, by reason of the free-gift of the great mystery, and the exceeding glory thereof; concerning this same matter David the prophet foretold, saying: "Blessed are they unto whom the Lord will not impute sin," which signifieth they will not impute sin from henceforth unto those that receive the mystery of the First Mystery and the mystery of the Ineffable One. Then answered the Saviour: Well done, thou Spiritual One, this is the interpretation of my word.

(305) Then Mary continued, saying: Lord, if a man shall


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« Reply #152 on: March 12, 2009, 01:28:38 pm »

have received the mystery in the mystery of the First Mystery, and afterwards shall turn back and sin, and again shall repent and pray in his own mystery, shall his sin be remitted to him or not? Then answered the Saviour; Whosoever after receiving the mystery shall again sin twelve times, and again repent twelve times, and then shall pray in his own mystery, his sin shall he remitted unto him. But and if, after these twelve times, he shall turn again and transgress, then of a truth his sin shall never more be remitted, so that he may turn again unto his own mystery whatsoever it be. For such an one there is no repentance, unless indeed he hath received the mystery of the Ineffable One that remitteth all sins, and shall remit them at every time.

Then said Mary: Lord, those who have received the mystery of the First Mystery, and then have turned back and sinned, if such without having repented shall depart out of the body, shall they inherit the kingdom or not, forasmuch as they have received the free gift of that mystery? (306) The Saviour answered: Of such the judgment shall be the most merciful amongst all the judgments, for their dwelling is in the Middle Gate * of the Dragon of Outer Darkness, and at the end † of all those that be in torment; because such an one hath received the free gift of the mystery, and hath not remained steadfast therein. Then said Mary: Such as have received the mystery of the Ineffable One and then shall turn back and sin, but afterwards shall repent in their lifetime, how many times shall their sin be remitted unto them? Then answered the Saviour: To such an one, not only if he turn back and sin once, and then repent, shall his sin be remitted, but even if he doth so continually, so long as he shall repent whilst yet alive, not being in hypocrisy, and shall pray according to his own mystery, because those mysteries are merciful and remit sin at every time (307). Then asked Mary: But if such an one shall depart out of the body before he hath repented, what then shall happen unto him? (307) Then answered the Saviour: Of such an one the judgment shall be worse than of any other, and



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« Reply #153 on: March 12, 2009, 01:28:53 pm »

exceeding great; for even if those souls be new ones, * they shall not return unto the changes of the earthly bodies, neither shall they do any work, but they shall be cast out into the uttermost parts of the Outer Darkness, and shall be consumed so that they shall not exist for ever and ever.

(308) To this declaration Mary refers the saying: "Salt is good, but if the salt hath lost its savour," &c.

The following extracts, from the same high authority, will much elucidate the pass-words communicated to the dying believer, which form so important a feature of the Gnostic system.

Benefits of Initiation.--I will declare unto you that mystery, which is this: Whosoever shall have received that One Word, when he shall depart out of the body of the Matter of the Rulers, there shall come the Contentious Receivers to loosen him out of that body, which same Receivers loosen every one departing out of the body. And when they shall have loosened the soul that hath received that mystery which I have declared unto you, in that very moment wherein he is set loose, he becometh a great flood of light in the midst of them. And the Receivers shall fear the light of that soul, and shall tremble, and shall cease through their fear of the great light which they behold. And that soul shall fly up aloft, and the Receivers shall not lay hold upon him, neither shall they discern by what way he is gone, inasmuch as he is become a great Ray of Light, and flieth up aloft, neither is there any Power that can overtake him, nor ever come nigh unto him at all (228). But he passes through all the regions of the Rulers, and also the regions of the offspring of the Light, neither doth he give-in a declaration in any region, nor yet a defence of himself, † nor yet the pass-word (or symbol). Neither can any Power of them all draw near him, but all the regions of the Rulers and of the offspring of the Light shall



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sing hymns, each one in his own place, fearing the flood of light that clotheth that soul, until he shall come into the place of the heirs of the mystery that he hath received, and become conjoined with the members of the same. Verily, I say unto you, ire shall be in all the regions in the time that a man can shoot an arrow. Again I say unto you, whosoever shall receive that mystery and make himself perfect in all the types and figures thereof, that man is in the world, but he is more excellent than the angels, and shall be before them all; he is a man in the world, but he is better than the archangels and shall be before them all (229); he is higher than all the tyrants, and all the lords, and all the gods, and all the luminaries, and all the pure ones, and all the triple powers, and all the Primal Fathers, and all the Unseen Ones; he is a man in the world, but he is more excellent than the great unseen Primal Father, and shall be more exalted than he, and above all those pertaining to the Middle-space, and above all the emanations of the Treasury of Light, and above all the confusion, * and above every region of the Treasure of Light; he is a man in the world, but he shall reign with me (230) in my kingdom; he is a man in the world, but he shall be a king in the Light; he is a man in the world, but he is not of the world; and verily I say unto you, that man is I, and I am that man; and in the dissolution of the world, when the universe shall be raised up, and all the number of perfect souls shall be raised up, and I am made king over all the offspring of the Light, and when I am made king over the seven ΑΜΗΝ, † and the Five Trees, and the Three ΑΜΗΝ, and the Nine Keepers; and when I am king over the Boy of the boy which be the Twin Saviours, and over the Twelve Saviours, and over all the number of perfect souls which have received the mystery of Light, then whosoever shall have received the mystery of the Ineffable One, they shall be joint kings with me and shall sit upon my right hand and upon my left hand in my kingdom. Verily I say unto you, those men are I, and I am



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« Reply #154 on: March 12, 2009, 01:29:06 pm »

those men. For this cause have I said to you formerly, ye shall sit upon your thrones on my right hand and on my left in my kingdom, and ye shall reign together with me (231). Therefore I did not refrain, neither was I abashed to call you my brethren and my fellows, inasmuch as ye shall be joint kings with me in my kingdom. These things therefore I said unto you, knowing that I was about to give unto you the mystery of the Ineffable One, because that mystery is I, and I am that mystery. Now therefore not only ye shall reign with me, but also whatsoever men shall have received that mystery they shall be joint kings with me in my kingdom; and 1 am they, and they are I. But my throne shall be more exalted than theirs; and inasmuch as ye shall receive sorrows in this world beyond all other men whilst ye are preaching the words that I declare unto you, therefore your thrones shall be next to my throne in my kingdom. For this cause I said of old time, in the place where I shall be, my twelve ministers shall be also; but Mary Magdalene, and John the Virgin, shall be the most excellent amongst my disciples. And all men that shall have received the mystery of the Ineffable One shall be upon my right hand and upon my left, for I am they and they are I, and they shall be equal with you in every thing; but your thrones shall be more exalted than theirs, and my throne shall be more exalted than yours (232). And all men that shall find out the Word of the Ineffable One, verily I say unto you all the men that shall know that Word, the same shall understand also the knowledge of all the words that I have spoken unto you, both in their depth and in their height, in their length and in their breadth. And what things I have not told you those I will tell you in their place and in their order in the emanation of the universe. Verily I say unto you, they shall know how the world is established, and after what form those that pertain unto the height (highest place) be made, and for what end the universe was created.

And when the Saviour had said these things, Mary Magdalene came forward and said: Lord, be not wroth with me if I seek out everything with diligence. Whether is the Word of the mystery of the Ineffable One, one thing, and the Word of

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the Knowledge of All, another? Then the Saviour answered, and said: The Word of the mystery of the Ineffable is one thing, and the Word of the Knowledge of All is another. Then said Mary: Suffer me, Lord, to ask thee yet again one thing. Unless when we are living we understand the knowledge of the whole Word of the Ineffable One, we shall not inherit the kingdom of Light? (233). Then the Saviour answered, and said: Of a truth, whosoever shall have received the mystery of the kingdom of Light, the same shall go to inherit it into that place the mystery whereof he hath received. But he shall not obtain the knowledge of the All, wherefore all things were made, except he shall have known that One Word of the Ineffable, the which is the knowledge of all. And again, there is no way of knowing that One Word of knowledge, except a man shall have first received the mystery of the Ineffable One; but every man shall go to inherit that place the mystery whereof he hath received. For which cause I said to you formerly: "He that believeth a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he that believeth a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward," which is this: of whatsoever place each hath received the mystery, into that same place shall he go. He that hath received a humble mystery, the same shall inherit a humble place. He that hath received an excellent mystery, the same shall inherit an exalted place; and every one shall abide in his own place in the light of my kingdom, and every one shall have authority over the Course that is below him, but over that which is above himself he shall not have authority, but shall abide in his inheritance of the light of my kingdom, dwelling in a great light unto which there is no measure, next to the gods and to the Unseen Ones, and he shall be in great joy and gladness (234).

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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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« Reply #155 on: March 12, 2009, 01:29:19 pm »

Now therefore I will speak with you touching the glory of those also that shall receive the mystery of the First Mystery. He that hath received the same, at the time when he shall depart out of this body of Matter, the Contentious Receiver shall come that they may take his soul out of the body, and that soul shall become a great Pay of light and shall fly aloft through the midst of them, and shall pass through all the regions and shall

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not give-in any declaration, or defence, or symbol, token (password), but shall pass through all, that he may come and reign over all the places belonging to the First Saviour. In the like manner he that hath received the Second Mystery and the Third and Fourth up to the Twelfth * (235), that soul likewise shall pass through all the regions without giving in his defence, or token, and shall come and reign over all the places belonging to the Twelve Saviours. And in like manner those receiving the second mystery shall reign over the places of the Second Saviour amongst the heirs of light. In like manner those receiving the third and the fourth up to the twelfth, shall reign over the regions of that Saviour whose mystery each hath received. But they shall not be equal with those that have received the mystery of the Ineffable One, but shall abide in the Courses of the Twelve Saviours.

Then Mary answered, saying: Lord, suffer me yet again. How is it that the First Mystery hath twelve mysteries, whereas the Ineffable hath but one? Jesus answered: Of a truth He hath but One, but that mystery maketh three others; the mystery is indeed one, but to each of them there is a different form, and moreover it maketh five mysteries.

As for the First Mystery, when thou hast performed it well in all the forms thereof, when thou departest out of thy body thou shalt forthwith become a great Ray of light, and it shall traverse all the regions of the Rulers and all the regions of Light, all being afraid of that light of the soul, until it shall come into its own kingdom. As for the Second Mystery, he that shall perform the same rightly in all the forms thereof, if he speak it over the head of a man departing out of the body, and into his two ears, that man departing out of the body when he hath received the mystery a second time, and been made partaker of the Word of Truth, † that man's soul shall become, when it leaveth the body, a great flood of light, so as to traverse all the regions until it cometh into the kingdom of that mystery. But and if



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that man hath not received that mystery, neither hath been made partaker of the words of truth, if he that hath performed that mystery shall speak the same into the ears of him who is departing out of the body, verily I say unto you, the soul of that man, although he hath not received the mystery of Light nor partaken of the words of truth, shall not be judged in the places of the Rulers, neither shall it be punished in any place, neither shall the fire touch it, by reason of the mystery of the Ineffable which goeth along with it. And they shall hasten to deliver that soul one to the other, and shall guide it Course after Course, and place (239) after place, until they bring it before the Virgin of Light: for all the regions shall fear the mystery and the Mark * of the kingdom of the Ineffable One that is with it.

And when they have brought the soul unto the Virgin of Light, she shall see the Mark of the mystery of the kingdom of the Ineffable One which is with it. And the Virgin of Light marvelleth thereat, and she judgeth that soul, but suffereth him not to be brought unto the light until he hath accomplished the ministry of the light of that mystery, which be these: the purification of the renouncing of the world and of all the Matter that therein is. And the Virgin of Light sealeth him with a special seal, which is this: in the same month in which he hath departed out of the body, she will cause him to be placed in another body that shall be righteous, and shall obtain the divinity of truth and the high mystery, so that he may inherit the same, and also inherit the Light for ever and ever. This is the grace of the Second Mystery of the Ineffable One.

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« Reply #156 on: March 12, 2009, 01:29:32 pm »

As touching the Third Mystery: the man that hath performed the same duly in all the forms thereof and shall name that mystery over the head of one departing out of the body whether he be living or dead, or abiding in the midst of the torments of the Rulers, † and their different fires, they shall make haste to release



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that man out of them all, and shall bring him before the Virgin of Light, who shall place him in a righteous body that shall inherit the light.

(243) Moreover in the dissolution of the Universe, that is, when the number of perfect souls is made up, and the mystery is accomplished on account of which the Universe has been created, then I will spend a thousand years, according to the years of light, ruling over the offspring of the light, and over the number of the perfect souls which have received all the mysteries. Then Mary said, Lord, how many years in the years of this world is one year of light? Jesus answered, One day of light is one thousand years of this world, wherefore thirty and six myriads and a half of the years of the world make one year of light. I shall therefore reign a thousand years of light, being king in the middle of the last Parastates, * being king over all the offspring of light, and over all the number of perfect souls that have received the mysteries of light. And ye, my disciples, and each one that hath received the mysteries of the Ineffable One, shall be upon my right hand and upon my left, being kings together with me in my kingdom. And those likewise that receive the three mysteries of the five mysteries of the Ineffable shall be kings together with you in the kingdom of light. But they shall not be equal with you, and with those receiving the mystery of the Ineffable One, for they shall continue kings behind you. And those receiving the five mysteries of the Ineffable shall remain behind the three mysteries being kings also. Likewise those receiving the twelve mysteries of the First Mystery, they too shall abide as kings behind the five mysteries of the Ineffable One. And they also are kings each one of them according to his course, and all receiving in the mysteries in all the places of the Court of the Ineffable One, so that they shall be kings also but come after such as have received the mystery of the First Mystery: being sent forth according to the glory of each, so that those receiving high mysteries shall dwell in high places, but those receiving humble mysteries shall abide in humble places.


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« Reply #157 on: March 12, 2009, 01:29:49 pm »

These are the Three Lots of the Kingdom of Light, and the mysteries of these Three Lots of Light are exceeding great. Ye will find them in the great Second Book of ΙΕV; but I will give unto you and declare unto you the mysteries of each lot, which be more exalted than any other place (246), and are chief both as to place and as to order: the which also lead all mankind within, into lofty places; according to the, court belonging to their inheritance, so that ye have no need of any of the lower mysteries, but ye will find them in the Second Book of ΙΕV which Enoch wrote when I spoke with hint out of the Tree of Knowledge and out of the Tree of Life in the Paradise of Adam.

Now therefore after I shall have declared unto you all Emanation, I will give and I will tell unto you the Three Lots of my Kingdom which be the chief of all.

Inasmuch as Ordeals and Meritorious Penances held so important a place in the Mithraic ceremonial, it will not be irrelevant here to adduce for comparison a series of the kind as excogitated by the extravagant imagination of the Brahmins. The penances of the demon Taraka, the Tapa-asura, by means whereof he constrained Brahma to grant him whatever he chose to demand, are thus enumerated, each stage being of one century's duration. 1. He stood on one foot, holding up the other with both hands towards heaven, his eyes fixed immovably upon the sun. 2. He stood on one great toe. 3. He took for sustenance nothing but water. 4. He lived similarly upon air. 5. He remained immersed in the water. 6. He was buried in the earth, continuing, as during the last penance, in continued adoration. 7. He performed the same act in the fire. 8. He stood on his head with his feet upwards. 9. He stood resting on one hand. 10. He hung by his hands from a tree. 11. He hung on a tree by his feet, with his head downwards. (The twelfth degree Moor (Edward Moor, The Hindu Pantheon--JBH.) has, for some reason, omitted.)

By means like these, termed the Yog, the ascetic Yogī is enabled to obtain nine several gifts, that set him above all the laws of Nature. For example, he may expand or contract his body to any size he pleases; he may float in the air upon a sunbeam; he may exert all his sense at an infinite distance from the objects of them; with other capabilities of like kind.

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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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« Reply #158 on: March 12, 2009, 01:30:06 pm »

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[paragraph continues] And with respect to the sixth penance of Taraka, this, incredible as it appears, is still performed. To be buried alive in a small vault covered deep with earth until a crop of grain, sown over him at the time of inhumation, shall be ripe for cutting, is yet esteemed the most efficacious of good works for extorting from heaven the blessing most desired by the patient or his employer (the doctrine of vicarious atonement being most thoroughly Hindoo). The English Resident at Runjeet Singh's court has minutely described all the preparation made by the royal proxy, (whose regular trade it was thus to die for others), and the successful completion of his penance, which occupied the space of six weeks. The Resident assisted at the closing and the opening of the vault, and was certain that no deception could possibly have been practised by the Yogi. The blessing aimed at was the gift of fecundity for a favourite queen of Runjeet's.

The "Taurobolia," or Baptism of Blood, during the later ages of the Western Empire, held the foremost place, as the means of purification from sin, however atrocious. Prudentius has left a minute description of this horrid rite, in which the person to be regenerated, being stripped of his clothing, descended into a pit, which was covered with planks pierced full of holes; a bull was slaughtered upon them, whose hot blood, streaming down through these apertures (after the fashion of a shower-bath), thoroughly drenched the recipient below. The selection of the particular victim proves this ceremony in connection with the Mithraica, which latter, as Justin says, had a "Baptism for the remission of Sins"; and the Bull being in that religion the recognised emblem of life, his blood necessarily constituted the most effectual laver of regeneration. No more conclusive evidence of the value then attached to the Taurobolia can be adduced, than the fact mentioned by Lampridius that the priest-emperor Heliogabalus thought it necessary to submit to its performance; and a pit, constructed for the purpose as late as the fourth century, has lately been discovered within the sacred precincts of the Temple at Eleusis, the most holy spot in all Greece.

The subject will find its most appropriate conclusion in the

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« Reply #159 on: March 12, 2009, 01:30:17 pm »

list of "Degrees" to be taken in the Mysteries, as laid down by M. Lajard, in his elaborate treatise, 'Le Culte de Mithra,' * These degrees were divided into four stages, Terrestrial, Aerial, Igneous, and Divine, each consisting of three. The Terrestrial comprised the Soldier, the Lion, the Bull. The Aerial, the Vulture, the Ostrich, the Raven. The Igneous, the Gryphon, the Horse, the Sun. The Divine, the Eagle, the Sparrow-Hawk, the Father of fathers. Lajard's theory is best elucidated by quoting his way of expounding a very frequent cylinder-subject. Be finds the admission to the degree of "The Soldier," in the group where a man is seen standing before a "hierophant," or priest, who stands on the back of a bull couchant on a platform. The hierophant, wearing a cap tipped by a crescent, holds out to the neophyte a curved sword, symbol of admission into the Order. A priestess stands apart, separated from him by the horn, or Tree of Life, over which soars the emblem of the Assyrian Triad. Her cap is tipped by the Sun-star, but she also wears the crescent, to show the hermaphrodite nature of Mylitta!

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« Reply #160 on: March 12, 2009, 01:30:33 pm »

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« Reply #161 on: March 12, 2009, 01:30:55 pm »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Footnotes
141:* The Cabiri, "punishers," of the ancient mythology, performing their former duties under the new dispensation.

142:* Ἀντιμῖμον Πνεύματος, one of the four component parts of the soul; equivalent apparently to our "Conscience."

142:† A clear allusion to the Mithraic "torture of the fire."

142:‡The particle of the Godhead mixed up in the quadruple composition of the Inner Man.

144:* This is the doctrine that "knowledge" renders all actions free from sinfulness--as held by the Simonians.

145:* This term is borrowed from the ancient Gates of the Amenti.

145:† The lost place, answering to the Limbo of the mediæval Hell.

146:* That is, have occupied the body for the first time; not souls that after punishment for their sins in this life, have been placed again in bodies to undergo a second probation upon earth.

146:† All this is borrowed from the Egyptian "Ritual of the Dead," concerning the soul's passage on its way to the palace of Osiris Socharis, "the Occidental," through the One-and-twenty Gates , each guarded by its own Genius, and each requiring a separate address.

147:* The Creation of the Demiurgus, in which the Particle of the Godhead is mixed up and lost in the heap of Matter.

147:† Title probably borrowed from the former Amenti, the four sons of Osiris, and keepers of Elysium.

150:* This gradation seems borrowed from the twelve degrees in the Mithraic initiation.

150:† This is what Epiphanies relates of the practice of the Heracleonites of communicating the pass-word to the ear of the dying man.

151:* It has the impression of the royal seal stamped upon it.

151:† Here we have the first hint of masses performed for the dead. A similar idea is involved in the practice mentioned by St. Paul of being "baptized for the sake of deceased persons." A singular Italian usage alluded to by Dante in his 'Vendetta di Dio non Teme Suppe,' refers to something of the sort done to appease the manes. A homicide who had eaten sops in wine upon the grave of the slain man was thereby freed from the vendetta of the family.--(Purgat. xxxiii. 35.)

152:* The deity whose place is next to the Supreme Light; to judge from the primary sense of the word.

155:* Lajard discovers upon the Babylonian cylinders representations of admission to the several degrees, of which they were given, as certificate to the initiated: and accounts for their enormous extant numbers by the supposition that every one, upon proceeding to a higher degree, threw away the cylinder marking the preceding one. But the complicated system of the Mithraici was evidently the creation of much later times, and of a religion vainly struggling for life.



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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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« Reply #162 on: March 13, 2009, 03:08:34 pm »

p. 156

ST. AUGUSTINE ON GNOSTICISM.
The transition from orthodoxy to Gnosticism, in its last and most elaborate phase is well pointed out by the following reminiscences of St. Augustine, describing his own experiences. In his eighteenth or nineteenth year he had begun to study the Scriptures, to satisfy himself as to the truth of the religion in which he had been brought up. "Consequently I set to work to study the Holy Scriptures, in order that I might discover what was their true character. And to! I behold a thing not discovered unto the proud, nor revealed unto babes; but humble in gait, lofty in issue, and veiled in mysteries; and I was not such a one as could enter therein, neither to bow down my neck unto the steps thereof. For I did not think then, as I speak now, when I was studying Scripture, but it seemed to me unworthy to be compared with the sublimity of Cicero's eloquence. Nevertheless that Scripture was such as should grow up together with babes, but I disdained to be a babe, and being puffed up with pride I fancied myself a grown-up man. So it came to pass that I fell in with men full of pride, dotards, too carnal, and great talkers, in whose mouth is a snare of the Devil, and bird-lime made up with a mixture of the syllables of Thy Name, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Paraclete's, our Comforter the Holy Ghost. All these names did not proceed out of their mouth except as far as the sound and echo of the tongue go, but their heart was utterly void of truth. And they used to repeat 'Truth and Truth,' and so did they repeat her name to me, but she was nowhere amongst them, but they spoke false things, not only concerning thee who art the Truth in truth, but even concerning the elements of this world of ours, thy creation; concerning which even the philosophers, who declared what is true, I ought to have slighted for the love of Thee, O my Father, the Supreme Good, the Beauty of all things beautiful. O Truth! Truth! how inwardly did the marrow of my soul sigh after thee even then, whilst they were

p. 157
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« Reply #163 on: March 13, 2009, 03:08:59 pm »

perpetually dinning thy name into my ears, and after various fashions with the mere voice, and with many and huge books of theirs. And these were the dishes upon which were served up to me who was hungering after thee, nothing but the Sun and the Moon, thy fair works indeed, but not thyself, and not even the first amongst thy works. For thy spiritual works are before those corporeal works, however splendid and heavenly they may be. But even for those, thy higher works, I hungered and thirsted not, but for thee only, O Truth! wherein there is no change, neither shadow of turning. And again there were set before me, in those same dishes, splendid phantoms, than which it were even better to love the Sun himself, for he was true as far as regards one's eyes, rather than to love those fictions whereby the soul was deceived through the eyes. And yet because I believed them to be Thee, I ate thereof though not greedily, because Thou didst not taste in my mouth as thou really art, for thou wert not those empty fictions; neither was I nourished thereby, but rather weakened. Food in dreams is like to the food of one awake, yet the sleepers are not fed by the same, for they sleep on: but those dishes were not in any wise like unto Thee as thou now hast spoken to me, &c."

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« Reply #164 on: March 13, 2009, 03:09:07 pm »

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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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