Anda di halaman 1dari 1

Now this and all such, as the foregoing opinions, are discordant to our apprehension, and injurious to the

spirit of Antiquity, which not alone upholds philosophy, that is to say, Ontological Wisdom, as the true object of initiation, but represents the rites themselves as really efficacious to procure it. As the Platonist and Psellus, before cited to the point, distinctly declare, and Cicero, they were truly called Initia, for they were the beginning of a life of reason and virtue; whence men not only derived a better subsistence here, as being drawn from an irrational and brutal life, but were led on to hope and aspire for a more blessed immortality hereafter (6). Nor did the ancients promise this indiscriminately, but to those who were initiated in the Greater Mysteries only, as the Pythagoreans and Plato in Phaedo assert that by such means an assimilation was induced, and final contact with the object of rational inquiry, which is that identity whence, as a principle, we make our first descent. But Iamblicus more particularly explains that it was by arts divinely potent, and not by theoretic contemplation only or by mere doctrinal faith or representations either of reality; but by certain ineffable and sublime media that Theurgists became cognizant partakers in the Wisdom of true Being (7). Heraclitus calls these medicines, as being the help and remedy of imperfect souls; they possessed a power of healing the body likewise, which was extensively practiced in the temples of Esculapius with various minor physico-magical arts, But philosophy, according to Strabo, was the object of the Eleusian rites, and without the initiations of Bacchus and Ceres, he considers the most important branch of human knowledge would never have been attained. Servius, commenting on Virgil, observes that the sacred rites of Bacchus pertained to the purification of souls. Libris patris sacra ad purgationem animarum pertinebant; and again, Animae aere ventilatur, quod erat in sacris Liberi purgationis genus. --- The Greeks conceived that the welfare of the states was moreover secured by these celebrations, and the records refer to them as bestowing that on which human nature stands principally in need, viz., moral enlightenment and purification of life; without the revelation and support afforded by them, indeed, existence was esteemed no better than a living death; the tragedians echoing the sense of the people made the chief felicity to consist therein, as Euripides, by Hercules says, --- I was blessed when I got a sight of the mysteries: --- and in Bacchis, O blessed and happy he who knowing the mysteries of the gods, sanctifies his life, celebrating orgies in the mountains with holy purifications. And Sophocles, to the same purport, --Life only is to be had there, all other places are full of misery and evil (8). The doctrine of the Greater Mysteries, says Clemens Alexandrinus, related to the whole universe; here all instruction ended; nature and all things she contains were unveiled; --- O mysteries truly sacred, O pure light! At the light of torches the veil that covers deity and heaven falls off. I am holy now that I am initiated; it is the Lord himself who is the hierophant; he sets his seal upon the adept whom he illuminates with his beams; and whom, as a recompense for his faith, he will recommend to the eternal love of the Father. These are the orgies of the Mysteries, concludes the bishop, in pious transport, come ye and be initiated. But the usage of the church as not to discover its mysteries to the profane, especially those that relate to the final apotheosis. It is even unwilling to speak of them to the Catechumens, says St Cyrillus, except in obscure terms, in such a manner, however, as that the faithful who are initiated may comprehend, and the rest be discouraged. For by these enigmas the Dagon is overthrown (9). There was undoubtedly a secret, hanging about these celebrations, both Ethnic and Christian, which no record has divulged or common sense literally succeeded to explain away; the belief in providence and a future state were freely promulgated, and ordinary worship apart from these mysteries with which they ought not by any means to be confounded; since that might indeed be perpetuated anywhere, and has been without essentially, changing the state of life. Previous, however, to more fully entering, we are desirous to observe that a few writers on Animal Magnetism, having within these few years become enlightened by that singular discovery, suggest their Trance and its phenomena as a revelation of the temple mysteries and various religious rites. But no one, that we are aware, has developed his suggestion of carried the idea sufficiently above the therapeutic sphere; they appear to have taken a broad view, without particular inquiry into the nature of their rites from the ancients themselves. Had they done this (we speak of the more advanced minds), we are persuaded that with that key in hand, their attention would have been drawn in new directions, and their satisfaction about the modern use of it become much modified by observing the