Fancy’s Fabric Turns Into History

Chapter V

The story turns next to a chapter in revelation that must strike all but a few readers as incredible beyond all possibility of its being the simple truth. Even if the weight of the evidence submitted seems indubitably to support the position, it will still fail acceptance by many. It will leave even those convinced by the presentation shocked, bewildered, incredulous. That so gross a blunder, both gigantic and stupid, could have been perpetrated, and that it could have been foisted upon the world’s intelligence for sixteen centuries without detection by the united acumen of all scholars over that period, will appear impossible. It will be the giraffe whose existence the farmer denied while looking it up and down. It will come close to upsetting Lincoln’s witty apothegm, and almost prove that all the people can be fooled all the time, or for sixteen centuries. It brings the disconcerting realization that after all fifty million Frenchmen can be wrong. The upset of cherished maxims of human polity is distressing. The foundations of homiletics will be shaken. So vast a miscarriage of wisdom, embroiling the mental life of millions for centuries in the darkest superstitions, setting spiritual culture back for ages, will seem too enormous a price to pay for a mere misreading of myths. A consequence of such enormity would seem out of all proportion to the apparently trivial nature of the cause.

But the misreading of myths and allegories, fables and dramas, brought the historical Christ into hypostatization, euhemerized the central spiritual conception in all religion, and thus emasculated what was to have been the most potent dynamic of the whole religious life. It left the world chasing a chimera instead of focusing effort on the culture of spirituality. It threw a possible great civilization under the pall and handicap of the most fantastic conception that ever misdirected the moral genius of man into eccentric and bizarre and eventually cataclysmic channels. It killed the psychological efficacy of the whole religious enterprise, diverting zeal from the one pivot point where zeal alone counts,--the life of the inner consciousness and seat of character, the soul.

The revelation thus heralded and now to be substantiated by accumulated documentation, is the colossal blunder, perpetrated from the third century on, of mistaking myth, drama, ritual, allegory and other forms of typical representation for objective history, and following this by turning the body of myths into alleged occurrence. This chapter and indeed the entire work is the answer to the raucous chorus of protestation that will arise on all sides against the possibility of such a thing, declaring it absurd and demanding the evidence to prove it. In many quarters the declaration will be laughed out of court and given no chance to present its credentials. It can be said in patient appeal for examination of the supporting data that the closer one looks into the matter, the more completely does the apparent absurdity fade away and probability increase to certainty. When scrutiny has been carried on penetratingly enough, the absurdity of its being true turns quite around and gives place to the absurdity of any other view. Not only can the mistake be established on factual evidence, but the perception that a mistake has been made supplies the only hypothesis that yields a full and consistent explanation of all the data extant in the case. It alone provides a formula which solves all the difficulties and tangles involved in the problem. If this is so, it must be accepted and accredited as substantial proof. For if research elicits a formula which enables all the data to be explained rationally and consistently by its key, the formula is considered as satisfactorily established. The key that fits all locks must be the master key. A thousand questions, complications, inconsistencies, contradictions, illogicalities in current interpretation both of scriptural text and historical implication are resolved into entirely consistent intelligibility when the true key is applied. If this resultant can not be accepted as ultimate proof of the correctness of the thesis, it at least gives it the field over every other proposal that does not so resolve the difficulties with half the consonance and reasonableness.

The ancient illuminati depicted the soul’s experience in this life by means of myth, drama, allegory and pictorial ideograph; and in the third century the increasingly ignorant Christian laity and the decreasingly intelligent Christian priesthood conspired at last to convert the whole into supposed history. That is the whole story in a thimble. But we can not go far with it in the thimble. Its full detailing demands a great elaboration. It is frankly the gigantic task to support the claim against determined and crafty opposition, for the very obvious reason that esotericism did not openly proclaim or defend itself, and therefore its defense is not in evidence in rebuttal of opposing claims. The opposition also has possessed the enormous advantage of being able to destroy all the evidence of the other side, a point which has been strikingly mentioned by Sir Gilbert Murray in his studies. It seems clear that a case which must be upheld by the destruction of opposing evidence stands already prejudiced as a weak one.

But there are times when history itself enacts an amazing drama of poetic justice in the operation of moral forces. So long as the voice of ancient Egypt’s wisdom was hushed in silence, so long as the Egyptian papyri and stelae could not be read, the pious imposture could go on. Nearly two millennia passed, with Egypt’s testimony unavailable. But in the fullness of time Napoleon’s Colonel, Broussard, dug up the Rosetta Stone and Napoleon wisely saw its possible value. It is questionable whether, for direct cultural value to all races, any event, battle or reformation in human history surpasses this simple discovery of an entablatured rock. It is fast proving the ghost of retribution, the instrument of justice, the Nemesis of a Christianity fostered by ignorance and superstition. It opens up the vast treasure-house of ancient Egyptian literature, where, once exposed to view, there lies before our eyes the full and incontestable evidence of Christianity’s false claims. That literature supplies the direct missing links in the body of comparative religion study, a study which proves beyond cavil that Christianity was not the first pure divine release of the one "true religion," but only at best a badly mangled copy of earlier Egyptian religion. So far was it from being an advance or improvement over pagan cultures that it is possible to say it was not even a good reprint of them, was in fact a vitiation and sheer caricature of more perfect ancient systems. However much this sounds like the vilest heresy and contumacy in flouting the traditional poses of orthodoxy, the truth should not be suppressed merely because it shocks those who prefer to hold to the set grooves of acceptation and who for a hundred reasons are unwilling to face a humiliating readjustment. Conservatism ever finds an error, when coupled with security, a more comfortable companion than truth admitted to the house with disturbing consequences. Only after new truth has slowly crept into the general body and settled itself commodiously amongst the former elements, will the conservative group adopt it, with the lying manifesto that they had been standing for the innovation all the time. Particularly has this been true of religious conservatism. The last to yield old ground to new positions, it is yet the loudest to extol the new form when finally it has established itself firmly. History supports this analysis.

The Rosetta Stone and Champollion’s marvelous work in deciphering its cryptic hieroglyphics will force Christianity to face its pagan origins and admit at last its long-denied parentage in the ancient Egyptian wisdom. It has spurned its true ancestry, and having in the meantime heaped obloquy and contempt upon it, now finds it humiliating, when the true descent is established, to accept the connection. But it must do so or--perish. It can no longer support its claims in the face of contradictory evidence, which, with the release of Egypt’s hidden wisdom, the rediscovery of the "lost language of symbolism" in which all ancient scriptures were written and the recovery of the buried esoteric meaning of all ancient religion, has been raised in height and volume from hillock to mountain size. With candid truth-seeking as its guiding star, there needs to be instituted a sincere scholastic research of all available documents to trace the causes, motives and circumstances of that devastating surge of forces which swept over the masses in the Roman Empire about the third century and with fell violence stamped out the cult of esoteric wisdom and closed up its schools and academies. With dispiriting unanimity the religious historians and Christian writers hail the suppression of the Mystery Brotherhoods and the philosophical schools as the happy ending of a degenerate paganism and the beginning of a Christianity of spiritual purity. By what distortions or chicanery of logic or sophistry the extinction of the great Plato’s still unexampled wisdom, Socrates’ magnificent dialectic of truth and Aristotle’s consummate perspicacity can be twisted into a triumph of truth over error and the bright dawn of a new day for humanity, is surely not easily discerned. The logical inconsistency of the position is brought vividly to light in the historical phenomenon that transpired a thousand years later, when the strength of the whole Christian system was by the Medieval schoolmen built up on the foundations of the books of the same Plato and Aristotle, the obliteration of whose philosophies from the early Christian doctrinism was hailed as the end of world benightedness and the beginning of world enlightenment. During some earlier centuries of the Medieval period Plato’s Timaeus was the principal authority for Christian exposition; and for nearly a thousand years later Aristotle was the venerated master for all the Schoolmen, with Aquinas in the lead, of the regnant Church. Forsooth, then, it was a benison to humanity to have earlier closed their great colleges under the sycamores of Greece! This is the crooked logic of factual history and in the light of it the world can see at last that Christian claims and Christian acts do not lie straight in the same bed. Had it not been for the Arabians and Moors the Schoolmen would probably never have had a Plato or Aristotle manuscript to found Medieval Christianity upon. The Christian propaganda office has vociferated a thousand times that the closing of the Platonic academies in the fifth century ended the Dark Ages of paganism and heralded the era of true religion. The Catholic Church vociferates with equal vigor that the revival of Aristotelian philosophy and its use as the bulwark of a rationalized Christianity was again the end of the Dark Ages of later Europe. It is a little confusing to be told that the world was saved by the suppression of Grecian esoteric wisdom and saved again by its renaissance. A fuller survey of some aspects of this muddled situation will be undertaken in a later chapter.

The marshaling of data to corroborate the positions taken will again require much quotation of authorities. The pointed force of documentary statements is in large measure lost when reported indirectly. The apology for so much direct quotation is that a work of this kind, combating universally accepted theses and putting forth conclusions which will be everywhere challenged, has no recourse but to summon a powerful array of authoritative statement to its side. The importance of the issues involved will amply justify the extensive citation.

We can put confidence in the sincere utterance of a fair-minded scholar like Mr. G. R. S. Mead, when he makes the following impressive statement (Did Jesus Live 100 Years B.C.?, p. 12):

"Canonical Christianity gradually evolved the mind-bewildering dogma that Jesus was in deed and in truth very God of very God, unique and miraculous in every possible respect; and the Church for some seventeen or eighteen centuries has boldly thrown down this challenge to the intellect and experience of humanity. . . . It is because of this stupendous claim, which has perhaps astonished none more than Himself, that the Church has brought upon herself a scrutiny into the history of her origins that it is totally unable to bear."

We can do no better than continue with some exceedingly valuable declarations from the pen of Gerald Massey, which, however heterodoxical they may appear to the orthodox, cut to the heart of the truth with startling incisiveness. This clear-eyed scholar, with the open pages of Egypt’s symbolical and analogical wisdom under his gaze, showing the complete case for the derivation of Christian material from that august source, stood at a vantage point where few others have stood. Facing this perspective, his decisive advantage was his possession of both penetrating insight into things Egyptian and an unprejudiced open mind. It is to be hoped that our return to sanity and our more piercing discernment into ancient religion may bring us at last to see what he saw ahead of us, and may dispose us to do belated justice to the name of this truth-seeking student whom our blindness cheated of his legitimate honor and reward in his lifetime.

Massey says that the Mosaic account of the creation is allowed by the most learned of Jewish Rabbis, by Philo, Paul and certain of the Patristics to be a myth or symbolical representation; yet the whole structure of the Christian theology is founded on the ignorant assumption that it was not mythical but a veritable human occurrence in the domain of fact. As history, he avers, the Pentateuch has neither head, tail nor vertebrae. It is an indistinguishable mush of myth and mystery. He notes a logical consideration that has been missed by blind zeal to countenance the impossible in a religion of fanatical faith, but that must be granted much validity as an argument. This is the fact that had the Pentateuch been a real history, Palestine and Judea ought to have been found overstrewn with implements of war and work, both of Hebrew manufacture and that of the conquered races, whereas, outside of the Book, no evidence of the numberless combats and the devastation of Jehovah’s enemies in great battles is to be found. Also the country of a people so rich that King David in his poverty could collect one thousand millions of pounds sterling toward building a temple is found without art, sculptures, mosaics, bronzes, pottery or precious stones to lend credence to the Bible story. Proofs of Bible "history" will not be found, avers Massey, not though Palestine be dug up in the search. And how fatuous after all to think of digging in the earth to find the proofs of spiritual myths and allegories! No amount of archaeology can prove a myth.

But there was bound to come a time when the ancient world would begin to write history of the factual sort, or when, as recondite learning and deeper esoteric comprehension waned, the process of weaving actual history into the texture of the myths would make headway. In nearly every land the custodians of the myths sooner or later intermixed some national history with the spiritual dramas. As is so clearly evidenced in Virgil’s Aeneid, the temptation was almost unconquerable at times for the hierophants of religion to interweave the brighter deeds or virtues of a regnant king in the ritual drama, the more particularly since the king in all ancient countries did become the national type and personation of the Sun-God of the temple ceremonies. Kings were almost invariably named after the spiritual Sun-King of the drama. The titles of the Emperor of Ethiopia and Oriental monarchs still testify to this old custom. As nearly as can be determined, the time when this transition from myth to history occurred in Jewish history was in the days of Hezekiah. From then on the allegories of the descent of the gods to earth are made to run into and blend with a line of historical personages. This process, as Massey saw it, so confused the impossible situations found in myth and allegory with the ostensibly possible facts of history that to accredit the narrative as history the mind had to entertain many bizarre and fabulous incidents under the rating of miracle. The blending of history with myth opened the door to the entry of that derationalizing scourge born of religious ineptitude, the belief in miracle, Massey contends. It created the susceptibility to take stock in prodigy, the supernatural, the ominous, which nearly all minds engender from a literal reading of the scriptures. Massey feels that religion has unsettled men’s minds by its glorification of the miraculous and the supernatural, when the whole basis of its true strength and salutary influence for humanity lies in its inculcating the majesty and divinity of the ever-present miracle of the natural. He attests that the sane ancient religion was founded upon the natural, the highest spiritual verities being everywhere presented in the light of their analogy with some natural phenomenon. Massey would have endorsed Emerson’s wise discernment that "the true mark of genius is to see the miraculous in the common." The Hebrew writings were preserved, Massey continues, on account of the sacred mystery that lay underneath the veil of symbol, the veil that Isis boasted no man had lifted from her person. The writings were held in sanctity because of what they veiled; but to the Christians their sanctity goes no deeper than the veil, and is bred and kept alive only by ignorance, "absolute, unquestioning, unsuspecting ignorance of the meaning of symbolism." With them the veil itself is the treasure, and they know not the real treasure beneath it. And since they have centered all the sanctity in the veil, when that is torn off, all the sanctity is lost for them. They have disciplined no faculty which would enable them to see the real treasure when it is exposed to view. They howl that their treasure has been stolen away from them, when only the ornamentally carved lid of the treasure chest has been removed. And this indeed has been the tragedy of the situation. Voltaire, Paine, Ingersol, the Encyclopedists, the Deists, the atheists and the Freethinkers and religious skeptics generally have effectively torn away and trampled under foot the outer garments of Bible myths, all unaware that these clothed the body of truth. The revelation of the absurdity of Bible allegory, taken as supposed history, broadcast by these efforts, set on fire in millions of minds a burning resentment against the whole institution of religion, and the Bible, theology and priestcraft as its criminal accessories. They see nothing in religion worth saving. This upsweep of rationalism, as reaction against centuries of omnicredulous faith, threatens to abolish religion from the earth. This is the price the world is paying for the loss of symbolic genius in the third century. Nothing will save the cult of genuine religion from this menacing hand but the quick restoration of the knowledge that there is no absurdity and nonsense, but only grandeur of truth, when the scriptures are read as sublime spiritual allegories instead of histories. Nothing will stay the besom of devastation but the quick recovery of the lost language of symbolism. For nothing else will bring to light the treasure beneath the veil.

Massey maintains (Book of the Beginnings, Vol. II, p. 180) that when the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in the third century B.C. by some Alexandrian Jews, the process of elimination of the esoteric is very visible. Dates were altered to conceal the true sense. And after the allegories had been transformed into histories, the true or symbolic reading according to the principles of the secret tradition was forbidden to be taught in schools. The Pharisees were so fearful of the popular despoliation of the Apocryphal wisdom by the unworthy that they sought to prevent the teaching of writing to the masses.

Testimony that Massey is correct in saying that myth and history inevitably tend to merge into one is found in the book of a writer whose aim is to disprove the mythical interpretation of the scriptures. T. J. Thorburn, in his The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels (p. 120), writes:

"The myth proper is an explanation of some occurrence in nature--not in history--which deals chiefly with legend in its early stages. The personifications which take place in myths, however, help to link nature with history and to parallel events and persons in history with the phenomena of nature. Thus the legendary and even historical stories often become paralleled, and even confused with mythical ones. . . . In this way it is possible that John (and in a certain sense . . . Jesus also) became analogues of personified natural phenomena."

Very instructive for us today is Thorburn’s next sentence:

"To the modern and European mind this process obscures and weakens the historical character of the human counterpart; to the ancient and Oriental mind it merely added vividness and reality to his picture."

It seems likely that the writer of this sentence did not catch the profounder significance of his own words, which hint at a superficial meaning when really great truth is being uttered. He did not realize that "the human counterpart" of the mythical analogue was man collectively, and not only some characters in Gospel narrative. And what dialectic or logical justification there is in his using the word "merely" in his last sentence it is difficult to see. It seems to be there as evidence of the insatiate impulsion in orthodox minds to cast a slight upon pagan systems at every turn. One of the high purposes of the mythicizing tendency of ancient scripture was directly to "add vividness and reality" to the productions. The writer’s insertion of the word "merely" commits him to saying in effect that the adding of vividness and reality to sacred narrative was something trivial and inconsequential. If the method succeeded in adding vividness and reality, it at least accomplished something that has been lamentably lacking in later presentation of religious material. But Thorburn, in the very effort to discredit the utility of ancient mythicism, has splendidly stated its entire validity. His charge that the admixture of myth in scripture has obscured and weakened the full force of its educative power has a semblance of truth in it only because the interwoven myth has been uncomprehended. The presence of myth in the record has been a stumbling block only because all power to interpret it had been lost. It still remains true that the understanding use of myths by the ancients did vastly enhance the vividness and reality of the truths thus poetically embellished. But it turns out that a statement meant to deprecate the influence of the myth really concedes the claim for its high utility. Thorburn’s unpremeditated admission states with great precision the signal distinction between the ancient sagacious use of the myth and the modern ignorant miscomprehension of its function.

Massey divides humanity into two classes, the knowing and the simple, and says that the knowing ones kept back the esoteric explanation of the myths to let the belief of the untutored masses in the real history take root. "The simple ones, like Bunyan, ‘fell suddenly into an allegory about the journey on the way to glory,’ which allegory, they were led to believe, was purely matter of fact."

The great truth of history remains to be faced, Massey insists, that the Gospel of "Equinoctial Christolatry" was written before, with a totally different rendering, and that the sayings, dogmas, doctrines, types and symbols, including both the cross and the Christ, did not originate where we may have just made acquaintance with them. This cryptology was written before in the books of secret wisdom, now interpretable according to the recovered Gnosis. It was pre-extant in the types which now have been traced from the lowest root to highest branch. It was inscribed before in the records of the past drawn on the starry skies. The truth is that the real origines of the cult of true Christolatry (not Christianity) have never yet been reached; hardly indeed have they even been suspected, because of the supposed "New Beginning" in human history which was taken for granted by those who knew no further. The evidence for all this, however, could not have been adduced before the mythology, typology and Christology of Egypt were discovered in the keeping of the mummies and disinterred from the vaults of the dead. Now, fortunately, the lost language of celestial allegory is being restored, chiefly through the resurrection of ancient Egypt, and scriptures can be read in the sense in which they were originally written.

In The Book of the Beginnings (Vol. II, p. 226) Massey says that one of two things is sure: "either the Book of Enoch contains the Hebrew history in allegory, or the celestial allegory is the Hebrew history. The parallel is perfect." Nor is there any escape by sticking one’s head in the sand and foolishly fancying that the writer of the Book of Enoch amused himself by transforming a Hebrew history into celestial allegory and concealing its significance by leaving out all the personal names. "On the contrary it is the allegory which has been turned into the later history." Sacred history may and does begin with mythology; but mythology does not commence with history.

Massey’s claim here has been disputed as a farcical fancy; but it can not be waved aside with a mere snort of ridicule when the evidence has to be faced. The Book of Enoch certainly contains the same characters as the sacred and secret history of the Jews, and as these belong to the astronomical allegory in the one book, that is good evidence of their being mythical in the other. There is no doubt that the Book of Enoch is what it claimed to be, the book of the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, with no relation whatever to human history. It should be subjoined to Massey’s last statement that he does not mean that the celestial allegory, while it has no reference to human history objectively, is not all the while the allegorical portrayal of the meaning of all human history. The same is true of the book of Revelation.

Tersely he says that the Hebrew miracles are Egyptian myths, and as such, and only as such, can they be explained in harmony with the nature and reasoning principles of the mind. Held as miracles they are amenable neither to natural fact nor to rational rating. "The sacred writings of the world are not concerned with geography, chronology or human history. The historic spirit is not there. This is so in writing as late as the Talmud." What started out to be the type of history came to be taken as the matter of history, as ignorance submerged the keener diagnosis. The hidden significance fades out from less competent mentality and slips away, letting in more and more the "historical" assumptions. How slow the modern mind has been to see this process at work! Massey promises to restore the lost key hidden in Egypt by the data of comparative religion, which will be remorselessly applied.

Godfrey Higgins is found standing beside Massey in these general conclusions. In The Anacalypsis (p. 366) he writes his rebuke to ecclesiastical insincerity in forceful terms:

"How can any one consider the infinite correlations found in comparative study and not see the mythologic nature of nearly all epic poetry and early ‘history’?"

"Mr. Faber, Mr. Bryant and Nimrod have proved this past doubt. . . . Our priests have taken the emblems for the reality. . . . Our priests will be very angry and deny all this. In all nations, in all times, there has been a secret religion; in all nations, in all time the fact has been denied."

Another passage declares vigorously that it all raises a very unpleasant doubt in his mind, after long consideration, as to whether "we really have one history uncontaminated with judicial astrology." He adds that Sir William Drummond has shown that the names of most of the places in Joshua are astrological, and Gen. Vallency has shown that Jacob’s prophecy is astrological also, with a direct reference to the constellations. To this probably Jacob referred when he bade his children read in the book of the heavens the fate of themselves and their descendants.

Higgins quotes Bryant as saying that it is evident that most of the deified personages never existed, but were mere titles of the Deity, or of the Sun, Deity’s universal symbol, and for our solar system, Deity’s embodiment, as was earlier shown by Macrobius. Nor was there ever any such folly perpetrated in ancient history as the supposition that the gods of the Gentile world had been natives of the countries where they were worshipped. Bryant well observes that it was a chief study of the learned to register the legendary stories concerning the gods, to conciliate the absurdities and to arrange the whole into a chronological series--a fruitless and drudging labor. "For there are in these fables such inconsistencies and contradictions as no act nor industry can remedy. . . . This misled Bishop Cumberland, Waker, Pearson, Petavius, Scaliger, with numberless other learned men, and among the foremost the great Newton." As to the last name, it is not so certain that the great Newton was so completely misled. He states in his Principia that he was led to his great discoveries by many implications of the esoteric study, especially in the books of Jacob Böhme, the shoemaker esotericist. Bryant then goes on to demonstrate that the whole of such material, if literally understood, was a mass of falsity and rubbish.

Higgins makes the direct charge that sublime philosophical truths or virtues have been clothed with bodies and converted into living creatures. Starting with the plausible attempt to screen them from "the vulgar eye," the purpose of concealment worked with such thoroughness that the generality of men came at last to treat them in a literal sense. He attributes the change which resulted in the loss of the esoteric sense to the inevitable fluctuations that come in the run of evolutionary progress.

But the chief fault he places where Massey and others lay it--at the door of a designing priesthood:

"That the rabble were the victims of a degrading superstition I have no doubt. This was produced by the knavery of the ancient priests, and it is in order to reproduce this effect that the modern priests have misrepresented the doctrines of their predecessors. By vilifying and running down the religion of the ancients they have thought they could persuade their votaries that their new religion was necessary for the good of mankind; a religion which in consequence of their corruptions has been found to be in practice much worse and more injurious to the interests of society than the older."

This is frank talk, but nearly every scholar who has covered the ground of the ancient situation with a mind not set in advance against the pagan religions, has felt that this is essentially the truth. One such expression may be given. It is from the pen of the modern Harry Elmer Barnes (The Twilight of Christianity, p. 415):

"What might have happened to western society if the teachings of Jesus had been literally applied, we can not well know with any precision. There seems little doubt, however, that the total results of Christianity to date have been a decisive liability to the human race. There is no doubt whatever that Christianity has actually produced more suffering, misery, bloodshed, intolerance and bigotry than it has ever assuaged or suppressed.

Massey (Luniolatry, p. 2) says there is nothing insane or irrational in mythical representation when the allegorical connotation is thoroughly understood.

"The insanity lies in mistaking it for human history or Divine Revelation. Mythology is the repository of man’s most ancient science, and what concerns us chiefly is this--when truly interpreted once more, it is destined to be the death of those false theologies to which it has unwittingly given birth."

Allegories misinterpreted as supposed history have created a veritable cult of the unreal which is blindly believed.

Commenting on the cry that he would take the living Jesus away from believers, he retorts that we can be none the poorer for losing that which never was a real possession, but only a psychological wraith which deluded us with its seeming substance. To find the true we must first let go the false. In Goethe’s words, until the half-gods go, the whole gods can not come.

Massey says pointedly that there is no greater fraud than that which grew out of the historical interpretation of early legend. This factitious "history" is forever at war, he affirms, with all that is prehistorically true. It not only misinterprets the legend, which would have its own value if rightly scanned, but misrepresents the actual history of early days.

Massey stands firmly on the blunt assertion that the doctrines and dogmas of Christian theology are derived from Egypt and its arcana, and holds that this must be admitted when better acquaintance with that mine of recondite wisdom is made. The door to its adyta is only now opening. The pre-Christian religion was founded on a knowledge of natural and verifiable facts, but the Christian cult was founded on egregious faith which swallowed all that was impossible in fact and unnatural in phenomena. Current orthodoxy is based upon a deluding idealism, derived from literalized legend and misconstrued mythology. The ancients handed over to later generations the science of the human soul, and the Christians have lost it. They substituted the phantom of faith for the knowledge of truth. They propagated a religion that could live only on blind belief, and persecuted all those who would not blindly believe. They shut out the light of nature from their sealed domicile and compelled all others to live in the same dark prison.

The ancient legends and myths do not tell us lies, Massey insists. The men who created them did not deal falsely with us or with nature. "All the falsity lies in their having been falsified through ignorantly mistaking mythology for divine revelation and allegory for historic truth."

Lord Raglan cites Prof. W. Gronbeck (Vol. I, p. 249) in a passage that shows true discernment of the situation which has bred no end of confusion in all philosophical effort:

"In the history of the sacrificial hall the individual warrior is sunk in the god, or, which is the same thing, in the ideal personification of the clan, the hero. This form of history causes endless confusion among later historians when they try their best to arrange the mythical traditions into chronological happenings and the deeds of the clan into annals and lists of kings, and the confusion grows to absurdity when rationalistic logicians strive by the light of sound sense to extricate the kernel of history from the husks of superstition."

This is an accurate, though partial, analysis of the general course which esoteric degeneration has taken, supporting Massey’s robust contention that the Märchen are the distorted wrack and debris of the myths. Until this basic perception of the truth of the relation between general folk lore and religious origins is gained, the efforts of modern studentship to evaluate the place and significance of this important aspect of human interest will be so much groping in the dark and continually missing the truth.

A part of the process of degeneration of esoteric mythology appertaining closely to Christianity is well delineated by G. R. S. Mead in his fine work on Gnostic Christianity, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (p. 118). He writes that in its popular origins the Christian movement had deeply entangled itself with the popular Jewish traditions, which were innocent of all philosophical or kabalistic mysticism, that is, esotericism. But as time went on, either men of greater education joined the ranks or the leaders were forced to study more widely to meet the arguments of educated opponents, and consequently more liberal views obtained a hold among a number of Christians. In time also other great religious traditions and philosophies contributed elements to the popular stream. All such more latitudinarian views, however, were still looked upon with suspicion by the "orthodox." And before long even the moderate esoteric proclivities of Clement and Origen were regarded as a grave danger; so that with the triumph of narrow orthodoxy and the resultant hostility to learning, Origen himself was at last anathematized. It may not be conclusive proof of the evil transformation of good myth into bad history to cite this broad change in Christian polity in those early centuries; but the fact that such a change of posture took place lends to the contention that trends in the direction of literalism and historization of scripture were strongly in current at the time.

Express confirmation of one of the stages described by Mead is at hand in the statement of an eminent modern theologian, Benjamin W. Bacon, of Yale Divinity School, in his work, Jesus and Paul (p. 23). He declares that by creditable estimate Christianity lost one half of its following to Marcion and other Gnostic "heretics" bent on tearing it away from its Jewish associations and making it over in the true likeness of a Greek Mystery cult of individual spiritual realization. This was the movement which Mead has spoken of, due to the influx of Platonic and esoteric philosophies from Alexandria and Hellenic centers. It was an effort on the part of the more knowing ones to save Christianity from the debacle toward which it was fast heading through the corruption of the sound esoteric teaching. Almost every apologist for Christianity has hailed the defeat of the Hellenic philosophy’s incursion into the early theology of the Church as the triumph of the faith and the salvation of Christianity. A fuller treatment of this chapter of Christian history is reserved for other connections in the study. It must suffice for the moment to say here that if by the repulse of Greek philosophy the Church gained the ignorant masses of the people, it not only failed to help their unintelligence, but further it lost its own power to bring spiritual light and rational nourishment to the more illumined of mankind.

It may be that there is an exoteric rendering of spiritual allegory that would purvey true meaning to the lower brackets in the intellectual scale. The supposition prevails that the truths of life can be made simple, for the simple. It has rarely worked out that way. In all historic cases where the esoteric rendition has been lost and the exoteric substituted, the popular conceptions of the profounder purport have become, not truth simplified, but truth distorted into untruth. There perhaps could and should be the milk for babes as well as the meat for stronger digestion. But, as it has worked out in actuality in the course of history, the exoteric milk, once it is dispensed among the populace, always tends to become churned into a little-nourishing cheese. Instead of instructing the simpler minds in simpler aspects of the truth, it ends by plunging them into myriad forms of outright error. In the historical sequel, it is sadly to be said, it has been proven that esotericism has carried the true meaning and exotericism only a false caricature. The exoteric doctrine has ever mistaught the popular mind. So Massey says: "An exoteric rendering has taken place of the esoteric representation, which contained the only true interpretation." And he gives the reason: wisdom designed for the enlightenment of the inner spiritual consciousness of evolved men "was converted into history" for the secular mind and "all turned topsy-turvy by changing" the soul of all humanity into one mortal man.

"In this way the noble, full, flowing river of old Egypt’s wisdom ended in a quagmire of prophecies for the Jews and a dried-up wilderness of desert sands for the Christians. And on these shifting sands the ‘historic’ Christians reared their temple of the eternal which is giving way at last because it was not founded on the solid rock, and because no amount of blood would ever suffice to solidify the sand or form a concrete foundation or even a buttress for the crumbling building."

The Gospel of the Christians, he expounds, began with a collection of Sayings of Jesus, "fatuously supposed to have been an historic teacher of that name." It originated, he implies, as a set of moral apothegms, but ended as believed history. Even the Jerusalem, which was a name to denote the heavenly Paradise of spiritual bliss, or the Jerusalem above, became in ignorant minds the Jerusalem on the map! And the Exodus of the children of Israel from this mundane sphere in a passage across the Reed Sea of this mortal life to the home of celestial glory, became the screaming farce of 2,125,000 marching men, women, children and camp followers, parading about for forty years over Sinai’s and Arabia’s desert sands, trailing millions of sheep, oxen, and cattle, subsisting in an arid land with little vegetation and water! Verily "history" must be strained to fairy-tale credulity, when it has to stretch its possibilities to accommodate the free sweep of imaginative typology. Massey concludes one sentence with the clause--"in an Exodus from Egypt which can no longer be considered historical," an Exodus that he says elsewhere "was never more than frankly allegorical." That Massey is not merely indulging in iconoclastic swashbuckling, it is to be noted that whatever pretense the Exodus from Egypt had to being considered as history has been demolished at one blow by Moffatt’s proper translation of the Red Sea as the "Reed Sea," a term used by the Egyptians to denote the human body, which is seven-eighths water, and must be crossed by the evolving soul to reach the Promised Land. When it is seen that the Exodus of the Old Testament is finally identical with the Resurrection in the New, it can be granted that the literal rendering of the Israelites’ journey from Egypt’s bondage to Canaan’s milk and honey becomes excellent material for light comedy. But light comedy comes close to turning into heavy tragedy when it is further realized that the soul’s dramatized bondage to the flesh in the "Egypt" of the body, has likewise been construed into the "historical captivities" of the Jews in Assyria, Babylon and Nineveh!

Incidentally it may be interjected that according to the evidence so far collected in Massey’s day (at least to 1900), there has never been found on the monuments of Egypt any mention or record of the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt, or their having played a part in Egyptian history save in one case. Petrie discovered on a stele erected by King Merenptah II a reference to "the people of Ysiraal." "But," says Massey, "there is nothing whatever in the inscription of King Merenptah corresponding to a corroborative of the Biblical story of the Israelites in the land of Egypt on their exodus into the land of Canaan." The inscription found by Petrie says that the people of Ysiraal in Syria were cut up root and branch by Merenptah. Massey insists that "Israel in Syria was not Israel in Egypt." Israel in Egypt was not an ethnical entity, but the spiritual "children of Ra" in the "lower Egypt of Amenta, which is entirely mythical." Mythical, yes; but typical of the real home of living mortals in this "lower Egypt of Amenta" that is the dramatic ritual name for a planet called Earth,--a fact, it must be confessed which even Massey did not discern. Herodotus, affirms Kenealy, makes no mention of the Israelites--nor of Solomon.

The Book of Revelation, Massey contends, is the drama of the astrological mysteries and has been mistaken for human history; and the mythical aeonial cataclysm at the end of the cycle has been misread into the catastrophic "end of the world." Revelation, he goes on, has been commonly assumed to constitute a historic link between the Old Testament and the New.

"It has been taken as a supplement to the Gospels, as if the history of Jesus had been continued into the wedded life after the marriage of the Bride and the Lamb, and that they dwelt together ever after in that New Jerusalem which ‘came down out of heaven’ ‘as a bride adorned for her husband,’ when the tabernacle of God which was to dwell with man took the place of the Old Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans. The present contention is that the book is and always has been inexplicable because it was based upon the symbolism of the Egyptian astronomical mythology without the Gnosis or ‘the meaning which hath wisdom’ that is absolutely necessary for an explanation of the subject-matter; and because the debris of the ancient wisdom has been turned to account as data for pre-Christian prophecy that was supposed to have had its fulfilment in Christian history."

Besides being the parent of a mass of false religious "history," mythicism evidently has been the father of endless ecclesiastical folly. One aspect of this folly has been the misinterpretation of Revelation as aspects of world history, when, as Massey says,

"the book as it stands has no intrinsic value and very little meaning until the fragments of ancient lore have been collated, correlated and compared with the original mythos and eschatology of Egypt."

Revelation has been found to be cognate with the Enoch manuscripts and, says Massey,

"Enoch, like John, was in the spirit. His internal sight was opened and he beheld a vision which was in the heavens. But his vision was admittedly astronomical. In it he ‘beheld the secrets of the heavens and of paradise according to its divisions’ (Ch. 41). The record of his vision is called ‘the book of the revolutions of the luminaries of heaven,’ and is said to contain ‘the entire account of the world forever, until a new work shall have been effected, which will be eternal’" (Ch. 71).

Much more material of the sort shows Enoch to have been the source of Revelation and the contents of both books to be astronomical allegory. Why scholars have been so slow to see the intimate relation between Revelation and its obvious prototype, the Enoch, is another of the riddles of ecclesiastical history which cry aloud for solution.

It was no less a Christian celebrity than Albertus Magnus of the Medieval Church who uttered the following, relative to a connection between Christianity and astrology:

"The Mysteries of the Incarnation, from the Conception on to the Ascension into heaven, are shown us on the face of the sky and are signified by the stars."

The sole fulfillment of prophecy, according to Massey, was astronomical, in the lunar and stellar cycles, marking the stages of cosmic evolution. The basis of Massey’s conclusions is well laid if his contention is true--and he presents massive evidence for it--that all that went into the making of the Christian historical set-up was long pre-extant as something quite other than history, was in fact expressly non-historical, in the Egyptian mythology and eschatology. For when the sun at the Easter equinox entered the sign of the Fishes, about 255 B.C., the Jesus who stands as the founder of the so-called Christianity was at least ten thousand years of age, and had been traveling hither as the Ever Coming One through all this preceding time. During that vast period the young Fulfiller had been periodically mothered by the Virgin (of the zodiac!), with Seb (equated by many symbolic indication with Joseph) for his reputed foster-father, and with Anup, the Egyptian baptizer (equated likewise with John) as his herald and precursor in the wilderness. All that time he had fought the battle with Satan in the desert or on the mount during forty days and nights each year. During those ten thousand years that same incarnation of the divine ideal, in the character of Iusa, the Coming Son, had saturated the mind of Egypt with its exalting influence. Little did the men of that epoch dream that their ideal figure of man’s divinity would in time be rendered historical as a man of flesh and be hailed as the fulfiller of astronomical prophecy.

If more evidence be needed to show that the origin of the data of the Christ’s "life" was in the astronomical mythos, it is at hand in the historical datum that there was in the early Church a diversity of opinion among the Christian Fathers as to whether their Christ was born in the winter solstice or in the vernal equinox. According to Clement of Alexandria the twenty-fifth of March was held by the Christian following to have been the natal day of the Lord from heaven. Others maintained that this was the day of the incarnation. But in Rome the festival of Lady’s Day was celebrated on the twenty-fifth of March, in commemoration of the miraculous conception in the womb of the virgin, who gave birth to the divine child at Christmas, nine months afterwards. According to the Gospel of James, or the Protevangelium, the birth was in the equinox and consequently not at Christmas. It is as clear as any fact can be that this uncertainty as to the birth-date of the Christos and the argument as to whether it occurred at the solstice or the equinox imply indubitably that the birth itself was not being considered as transpiring historically, or as an event, but as an item of astronomical symbolism. The very fact that it was placed on such a cardinal point in the year as the solstice, or the equinox, is practically decisive on this point. Indubitably the birthday of the Messiah was hardly ever thought of as a date, but rather always as a point of significance. This was so true in the ancient days that almost it could be said that it was the date that was the significant thing rather than the event allegedly transpiring on it. If the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem had been regarded as purely historical, the only point at issue would have been simply: on what day of the year did it occur? Why was it held that the blessed event necessarily had to occur at the most pivotal point in the solar allegory? Of course the only true answer to all this is that all ancient religion was clothed in the solar myth. No denial of this general fact can stand. On the basis of this datum, so well known to comparative religion students, so little known to the hypnotized occupants of church pews, how can it be denied that in the minds of all people of intelligence in antiquity the fulfillment of sacred "prophecy" was to come in the cloak and guise of astronomical periodicity, and not as once-upon-a-time or once-for-all history? Not only, avers Massey, did the later scribes follow the scheme and ground-plan of Egyptian solar mythicism, but they seem actually to have gone so far as to copy the earlier scriptures.

Khebt, the birthplace of the child in "lower Egypt," and Mitzraim, Egypt, are names of the old Sabaean birthplace in the north belonging to the celestial allegory, and were later applied geographically to Egypt the country. The Egypt of the Hebrew writings is a "country" in the astronomical myth, the "land" of mental bondage, bordered by a "Red Sea" that was never on any map save that ancient uranograph or chart of the heavens picturing the details of the soul or solar myth under astrological signatures. Khebt, Mitzraim, Egypt are names of that lower house of nature where the soul descends to have its incubation and death until the course of growth is finished. At the end of the cycle of mundane experience it hears its Father’s voice exclaiming: "Out of Egypt have I called my son." The Exodus out of Egypt, under that or another name, "is the common property of all mythology," says Massey.

Another most important elucidation from his pen is the following (Book of the Beginnings, I, p. 186):

"The earliest nomes of Egypt were astronomes, the divisions of the stars, whence came the name of astronomy; not merely a naming but a noming of the stars into groups, divisions and nomes. . . . Enough at present to affirm that the earliest chart was celestial and that its divisions and names were afterwards geographically adopted in many lands from one common Egyptian original."

Lest this critically vital pronouncement on the science of ancient astrography fail to receive its due consideration in the counsels of modern studentship, it should be added for greater explicitness here that the divisions, localities, features, together with their names, found in all ancient religiography were taken directly in the first instance from the early allegorical charts of the starry heavens and scattered over the maps and insinuated into the histories of all ancient civilized lands. (Perhaps the work most clearly demonstrating this procedure and its startling results is Godfrey Higgins’ grand old tome, The Anacalypsis, to which reference should be had for fuller evidence.) He who would interpret the sage scriptures must begin with the uranograph, where consummate wisdom--not childish fancy--first wrote the allegory of man’s true history. It is a fact of stupendous significance for those who can see what the ancient books are teaching that in the primitive books of early Egypt Hermes instructs Taht in the nature of the "tabernacle of the zodiacal circle."

Massey can at least cite the Gnostic wing of early Christianity as supporting his conclusions in this field. He writes:

"The Gnostics asserted truly that celestial persons and scenes had been transferred to earth in the gospel and that it is only within the pleroma or the zodiac that we can identify the originals of both." (The Natural Genesis, II, 422.)

This does not need to rest on his bare assertion. Christianity’s own historian, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons in the second century, corroborates it: "The Gnostics truly declared that all the supernatural transactions asserted in the Gospels ‘were counterparts (or representations) of what took place above.’" (Irenaeus, Book I, Ch. VII, p. 2.)

Further Christian testimony along the same line comes from that other early historian of the cult, Eusebius, whose statements are often important, however (as universally recognized and admitted) twisted and unreliable they generally are (Eusebius, b. ii, C. XVII). On this history Massey bases the statement that "it is admitted by Eusebius that the canonical Christian gospels and epistles were the ancient writings of the Essenes or Therapeutae reproduced in the name of Jesus." Eusebius did not admit things he should have admitted, and he certainly was the last historian to admit anything hostile to the Christian movement. If he has admitted this point it was because he could not avoid it. It must therefore be true. And if true, there are no words at immediate command to acclaim the significance of this amazing admission. It concedes the whole truth of Massey’s great volumes, and virtually does the same for the contentions of the present work. The Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament were ancient books of the Essenes! Eusebius was merely testifying to what nearly all men of intelligence in his age knew to be the truth, that the Gospels, Epistles and Apocrypha were just portions of the mass of arcane esoteric wisdom transmitted, for centuries orally in the Mysteries, and later in written form, from remote antiquity to their age. One can envision the different, and happier, course that medieval and modern Occidental history might have taken had this admission of the Christian historian not been hidden out of sight for long centuries. The ghost of those dead centuries might justifiably come forth and demand to know why this admission was buried. And the living voice of the present generation, torn with a titanic strife that has grown out of ideologies that were warped by the lack of fundamental truth in traditional religions, might with ample justice rise to demand why the admission is not proclaimed anew at this juncture.

That the Sermon on the Mount is a derivative from ancient arcane religions is seen in the light of the fact that the Seventh Book of Hermes is entitled: "His Secret Sermon in the Mount of Regeneration and the Profession of Silence." The Hermetic books are of great antiquity, perhaps the oldest in the world. Isaac Myer, the Kabalist scholar, so declared them.

Surely the witness of such a high Patristic as Clement of Alexandria is worthy of credence. He says that all who have treated of divine matters have always hid the principle of things and delivered the truth enigmatically by signs and symbols and allegories and metaphors, "yet this foundation of primitive fable has been converted into our basis of fact." We have already noted Diodorus’ statement that the Egyptians regarded the Greeks as impostors because they reissued the ancient mythology as their own history.

Justin Martyr, second century Church Father, dashes the foundation stones from under many an arrant Christian claim when he tells the Romans that by

"declaring the Logos, the first begotten Lord, our master Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin mother, without any human mixture, and to be crucified and dead, and to have risen again and ascended into heaven, we say no more than what you say of those whom you style the sons of Jove."

This was written at the early date of the second century, when the new cult found it desirable to emphasize its kinship with paganism, which it did especially through the words of this same Justin Martyr. But only two centuries later the members of this new faith could afford to flout the pagan mythological foundations and brazenly proclaim the uniqueness of their doctrines and rituals.

Zeal to transform allegory into history was not daunted even by the incredible difficulties of changing mythical personages into real human figures. Thus Sut-Typhon, or Sevekh, the crocodile-headed divinity, type of the power of nature buried in the atom, the energies of life submerged in water, the symbol of matter, was converted into Satan, the personal devil. In this line hardly anything could be more revelatory of modern mental ineptitude in the face of the myths than the assertions of such a learned scholar as the Egyptologist, Budge, who after reciting the details of the "life" of the Egyptian Father-God Osiris, that he suffered death and mutilation at the hands of his enemies, that the fourteen cut portions of his body were scattered about and buried over the land of Egypt, that his sister-wife Isis sought him sorrowing and at length found him, that she fanned him with her wings and gave him air, that she raised up his reconstituted body whole and living, united anew with him and brought forth his son Horus, and that Osiris then became God and King of the underworld,--Budge asks us to take this as the literal history of a man on earth! He says that his body was probably buried in the tomb at Abydos. An endless amount of similar fabulous material we have been asked to take as factual history. Is it to be wondered at that the counsels of sanity in a world dominated by such delusions now and again plunge the nations into a vast general wreckage?

Josephus argues that he is under the necessity, when recounting one of the Mosaic "miracles," of "relating this history as it is described in the sacred books," i.e., allegorically, or in the style in which it was given in the writings which were considered divine because they did not relate to human events.

Drews, one of the writers who in the nineteenth century worked at the mythical interpretation of the Gospels, corroborates Massey’s identification of Joseph with the Egyptian earth-god Seb, as the foster-father of the divine child:

"Joseph . . . was originally a god, and in reality the whole of the family and home life of the Messiah Jesus took place among the gods. It was only reduced to that of a human being in lowly circumstances by the fact that Paul described the descent of the Messiah upon earth as an assumption of poverty and a relinquishment of his heavenly splendor. Hence when the myth was turned into history, Christ was transformed into a poor man in the economic sense of the word, while Joseph, the divine artificer and father of the sun, became an ordinary carpenter."

In his famous Life of Jesus (1835, Vol. II, Sec. 48) D. F. Strauss states that in the ancient Church the most reflective among the Fathers considered that the celestial Voice of the Old Testament was not like an ordinary voice, produced by vibrations of the air and apparent to the organs of sense, but an internal impression which God produced in those with whom he designed to communicate; and it is in this way that Origen and Theodore of Mopsuete have maintained previously that the apparition at the time of the baptism of Jesus was a vision and not a natural reality. Simple people, says Origen, take lightly the great cosmic processes described in the book; but those who think more profoundly believe that in their dreams they have had evidence by their corporeal senses "when it has simply been a movement of their minds." Had the discriminating practical wisdom evidenced by Origen here been generally exercised throughout the run of the centuries by the simple and the wise alike, the annals of religion would not have contained the record of hallucination and fanatical credulity which they hold.

Drews and Graetz alike regard Josephus’ mention of John the Baptist as "a shameless interpolation."

Is it an inconsequential thing that J. M. Robertson (Christianity and Mythology, p. 82 ff.) can write the following?

"That Joshua is a purely mythical personage was long ago decided by the historical criticism of the school of Colenso and Kuenen; that he was originally a solar deity can be established at least as satisfactorily as the solar character of Moses, if not as that of Samson."

He notes that in the Semitic tradition, wherein is preserved a variety of myths, which the Bible-makers, for obvious reasons, suppressed or transformed, Joshua is the son of the mythical Miriam, that is, he was probably an ancient Palestinian Sun-God. Dupuis (L’Origine de Tous les Cultes) places John the Baptist among purely mythical personages and in harmony with many other writers identifies his name with that of Oannes, the Babylonian fish-avatar of Berosus’ account, the Ea (Hea) of the more ancient Sumerians.

In his effort to refute the mythical interpretation T. J. Thorburn shows glaringly the bewilderment of scholars anent this theme when he affirms (p. 320) that in the case of the nature-cults the spring revival of the god is simply typical of the annual resurrection of life in nature. This is putting the cart before the horse surely. He goes on to prove the infinite "superiority" and greater "nobility" of Christianity over the pagan mythological idea by saying that in the Christian resurrection (as given by St. Paul in I Corinthians, 15) both Jesus himself and with him all believers rise to a new and more glorious life, in which a "spiritual body" replaces the material or "natural body." The death and revival of the cult-god is an annual matter; Jesus and the Christian die and are raised from the dead "once for all." How great the obtuseness which prevented the scholars from seeing that the pagan typism did not end with the sprouting grain and budding leaf of spring, but from that as type proceeded to the very thing that is claimed to have been the sole possession of Christianity! It is not easy to picture sixteen centuries of the best acumen of the western world floundering over the simple matter of recognizing that the ancient pagans set their cycle of religious expression to the time and tune of nature’s solar hymn, as at once the most luminous and moving suggestion of the cyclical advance of man’s divinity. Unless we deny to men of the stature of Plato any sagacity beyond childishness, it is naturally assumable that they did not, as Thorburn thinks, lose the spiritual reality in the natural typism. The solar myth was not to celebrate the sprouting of the corn; the sprouting of the grain was called upon to help the mind frame a more realistic conception of the resurrection of the divine seed that had been, like the grain, buried in the earth of flesh and sense. The sages used nature to vivify spiritual processes. As most poets have done, they worshipped spirit through its reflection in nature. They saw that an approach to a lively apprehension of the deeper aspects of truth was vastly facilitated and enhanced by the contemplation of their counterpart in the physical world. How false to charge that the pagan world had only the physical fact and could not go beyond it! The evidence is mountainous in bulk that pagan eyes pierced through the phenomena of nature to the truth of higher levels. Pagan spiritual discernment was all the keener for its close beholding of the natural world. The assumption that in his primitive infantilism the pagan stopped at nature, while the Christian went on to God, is a rank heresy. It is defied by all the fact of antiquity. Rebuttal of this gratuitous depreciation of past civilization is firmly based upon the early production of scriptures of the most exalted wisdom. The authors of these high revelations knew the realm of sublimer truth that lay beyond nature, and they also knew the mighty fact that nature was the outer visible analogue of this other world of truth. Then as now, esoteric genius grasped the distinction between outer and inner, but ancient sapiency recognized better than modern the essential kinship of the two.

An interesting sidelight is cast on our discussion by G. R. S. Mead, already quoted, who in his Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (Gnosticism), says:

"With much sincerity our Gnostics found these numbers and processes in the prologue to Genesis and elsewhere in the Old Covenant Library; . . . But when we find that they treated the Gospel-legends also not as history but as allegory, and not only as allegory but as symbolical of the drama of initiation, the matter becomes of deep interest" to the student of religion.

In his The Story of Chaldea Zenaïde A. Ragozin says that the tenth chapter of Genesis is the oldest and most important document in existence concerning the origins of races and nations, but in order properly to understand it and appreciate its value and bearing, "it must not be forgotten that each name in the list is that of a race, a people or a tribe, not that of a man."

To substantiate his statement on this point Ragozin cites the authority of "many scientists and churchmen" and quotes no less a Church Father than St. Augustine, who pointedly says that the names in the tenth chapter of Genesis represent "nations not men." (De Civitate Dei, XVII, 3.) So again we find racial entities or groups made to masquerade exoterically as "men."

Much data from various sources go to prove that the New Testament--as now known--was compiled from esoteric texts, which were themselves covered by a thick film of allegory and even veiled behind misleading "blinds," the "dark sayings" of fiction and parable. It is unthinkable, impossible that any merely human brain could have concocted the alleged "life" of the Jewish Jesus, culminating in the awful tragedy of Calvary. How, then, came this "life" to be written? Esoteric comprehension answers that it came from the ignorant literalization of the story of the Christ-Aeon of the Gnostic and Essene books, and from the writings of the ancient Tanaim, who connected the kabalistic Jesus or Joshua with the Biblical personifications. The Gnostic records contained the epitome of the chief scenes enacted during the Mysteries of Initiation, from most remote times; although even that was given out invariably under the garb of semi-allegory whenever put on paper. The ancient Tanaim, sage authors of the Kabalah (in its oral tradition) who handed on their wisdom to the later Talmudists, possessed the secrets of the Mystery language; and it is in this language, as has been said earlier, that the Gospels were written. It is possible for us to see, then, what it was that the ignorant literalizers of such material turned into "history."

A fair parallel of the turning of the Christos into "Christ" is seen in the cycle of stories centering about the mythical hero Siegfried. The myths developed as popular tradition, their mythological significance was forgotten and in course of time historical personages were identified with the characters. (See The Perfect Way, Kingsford and Maitland.)

Massey emphasizes the significant fact that there is found no "fall of man" in mythology. The devastating conception, as popularly misunderstood, came in only through the misreading of religious allegory and dramatization. Theologians from the first were bitterly opposed to its antithesis, the ascent of man through evolution. The scientific view of man’s ascent clashed with their lugubrious obsession. They clung to the heavy weapon of the "fall" in the sense of sheer "sin" and not understood as the natural, normal, necessary and wholly salutary descent of soul into matter and body, because it gave them a useful psychological cudgel over the laity. From the distorted application of what should have been clear in the myth was hatched that brood of morbid doctrines such as the fall of man into carnal sin, man’s whimsical thwarting of God’s plan, the depravity of both man and matter, the filthy nature of the flesh, the glorification of asceticism and bodily mortification, original sin, the corruption of natural man, the evil of the world, and others whose only basis of existence at all was the stupid perversion of ancient typology and the literalization of Genesis. And Massey flings the irony of his pen at the fact that "such literalization of mythology is continued to be taught as God’s truth to the men and women of the future in their ignorant and confiding childhood." Higgins (Anacalypsis, 514) likewise expostulates against the asinine failure to distinguish between "the real and the fabulous." "It is allowed that Cristna is the sun, and yet they talk of him as a man." He directly charges that "It is evidently almost the only employment of the idle priests to convert their historical account into a riddle and again to give their doctrines and riddles the appearance of history." The temptation to give in full his indignant accusation on this score in his own words is difficult to resist:

"And the reason why all our learned men have totally failed in their endeavors to discover the meaning of the ancient mythologies is to be found in their obstinate perseverance in attempting to construe all the mythoses, meant for enigma, to the very letter. I have no doubt that anciently every kind of ingenuity which can be imagined was exerted from time to time to invent and compose new riddles, till all history became in fact a great enigma. In modern times as much ingenuity has been exercised to conceal the enigma and by explanation to show that it was meant for reality. . . . Before the time of Herodotus every ancient history is a mythical performance, in short, a gospel--a work written to enforce virtue and morality and to conceal the mythos--and every temple had one. The Iliad and Odyssey, the plays of Aeschylus, the Cyropaedia, the Aeneid, the early history of Rome, the Sagas of Scandinavia, the Sophis of Abraham, the secret Book of the Athenians, the Delphic verses of Olen, the 20,000 verses repeated by heart to the Druids, the Vedah or Bedahs."

What has not been understood in the declaration that Cristna is the sun, is that he is not venerated as the sun in the heavens, but as the sun or divine spark in man. It can at last be said positively that the ancients did not worship the sun in itself, but as the analogical cosmic counterpart in the solar system of the central divine fire in the human heart.

In a printed lecture entitled Gnostic and Historic Christianity, Massey makes the positive statement that the early Christians did convert esoteric material into history:

"The claim of Christianity to possess divine authority rests on the ignorant belief that the mystical Christ could and did become a Person, whereas the Gnosis proves the corporeal Christ to be only a counterfeit presentment of the trans-corporeal man; consequently a historical portraiture is and ever must be a fatal mode of falsifying and discrediting the Spiritual Reality."

The last lines of this excerpt carry the burden and gist of the effort here made to assert the psychological and spiritual disservice of the "historical Christ." Massey goes on to enlarge upon the theme and says that Paul chides the "foolish Galatians" for beginning by believing in the spiritual Christos and ending by believing in the Jesus of the flesh; and Massey declares that Paul was himself a Gnostic, the founder of a new sect of Gnosis which recognized only a "Christ-spirit" for the divine Avatar. One must go to the Gnostic writings to discover the pristine teachings of the Jesus in the Mysteries. The literal falsifiers dragged the spiritual divinity of man into matter and the dust. And to cover their fatal work they burned--among other books--the twenty-four volumes of the Gnostic Basilides, by order of the Church. Clement described Basilides as "the philosopher devoted to the contemplation of divine things." The books burned were his works on the Interpretations of the Gospels, and they would be of priceless value to the world today.

Indications that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament must be something far other than historical record are found in the startling pronouncement made by the Alexandrian Clement (Stromateis, XVII):

"The Scriptures having perished in the captivity of Nabuchodonozar, Esdras the Levite, priest in the times of Artaxerxes, King of the Persians, having become inspired in the exercise of prophecy, restored again the whole of the ancient Scriptures."

As this very claim has been made with Ezra as the inspired prophet instead of Esdras, there is at least the suggested possibility that Ezra and Esdras are two variants of the same name, which could even be the "Isra-" of "Israel" with the divine "el" dropped. In the religious myth it was of course Israel that was to restore the lost substance of the divine revelation! However that may be, if the whole body of scripture that covered the antiquity of the human family and all the particulars of the "race" "chosen" by God to exemplify his dealings with all humanity was lost, and what purports to be that scripture is in fact only the inner vision of a man divinely inspired, the most that can be said for it is that it is a very precarious foundation on which to base the moral and spiritual guidance of the human race.

What meager chance the scriptures ever had of being taken for history must be seen to be reduced to a vanishing minimum when we consider the words of the Egyptian God, Tem or Atum.

"I am Tem," he says, "the dweller in his Disk, or Re in his rising in the eastern horizon of the sky. I am Yesterday; I know Today. I am the Bennu which is in Anu (Heliopolis) and I keep the register of the things which are created and of those which are not yet in existence."

The recording of events that have not yet occurred is a proposal to make the modern scholar run from ghosts. It ought to be a consideration of sufficient force to open the obdurate minds of the deniers of the mythical structure of ancient scriptures to note that in those scriptures much of "history" recorded is still in the womb of time and yet unborn. This portion at any rate is not the record of that which has happened. The answer to this will of course be that it is the record of that which will, objectively happen. As to that, it may be interjected in passing, there is very substantial doubt. One of the largest blind-spots before the eyes of orthodox interpreters of scripture has ever been their fatuous belief in the literalness of so-called Bible prophecy. There is not room for a dissertation upon it here, but only enough space to say bluntly that, in the usual sense of forecast of future objective events, there is not and never was any historical prophecy in the Old Testament or the New. There is some delineation by the seers and sages of the general phases and aspects of later evolution of humanity in the cycle on earth; there is no specific foretelling of coming events on the plane of world history. Evolutionary typism and allegorical scenarios of the shape of things to come can without much difficulty often be made to look like historical description. Events do often match the frame of dramatism in which they are set. Deluded by these appearances, thousands of religious votaries have spilled rivers of printers’ ink in the tracing of the configuration of events in their time back to Bible "prophecy." Philological scholarship should have corrected this dupery long ago by announcing the correct meaning of the words "prophecy" and "prophet." From the Greek pro-, "forth" or "out," and phemi, "to speak," the prophet is simply a preacher, one who speaks out the truth, proclaims, gives forth. There is nothing in the word which has any reference to the forecasting of the future. A prophet is simply a preacher, utterer of truth. To this can be added the startling statement that the passages in the Bible which have always been taken for objective prophecies are, like most other material in the scriptures, allegorical visions or poetical depictions of the cyclical processes. This fact should add impressiveness to the strong position here taken that an unbelievable quantity of literal rubbish has to be cleared out of the way before a sane approach to scriptural interpretation can even begin to be made.

There is much support for the fact that the supposed simple origin of the name "Christians," its adoption by a sect that sprang up in the wake of the life of the Galilean preacher called the Christ, is by no means the truth of the matter at all. A passage from Mead’s work, Did Jesus Live 100 Years B.C.? (p. 325) tells us a far different story, and indicates we are dealing with something other than history in these things:

"The followers of Jesus had apparently hitherto been ‘ashamed’ of being called ‘Christiani.’ . . . It is highly possible that the name Christiani was first used by the Pagans to signify Messianists of all kinds, and was only finally adopted by the followers of Jesus in their public dealings with the Pagans, presumably first in apologetic literature, where we find it is of frequent occurrence from about the second quarter of the second century."

There is scarcely a single common or general belief about the chief items of the Christian faith that may be called orthodox which, on deeper scholastic inquiry, does not turn out to be a popular falsification of something utterly different in its pristine form.

Prof. J. H. Rose is driven to admit (Folk-Lore, Vol. XLVI, 22) that "we have not yet an agreed and perfected technique" for distinguishing history from sagas. No wonder this is so, comments Lord Raglan (The Hero, 61), since there is but one way to mark the difference, and that is by checking alleged history with facts known from other sources. When this is done the sagas break down utterly--as history.

Another scholar, Prof. Nilsson, complains of that utter disregard for history and geography which is peculiar to epic poetry. But, says Raglan, history was not their concern, and geography was an inconsequential side issue. And Prof. Hooke (Myth and Ritual, 6) says that both the Minotaur and Perseus myths pictorialize human sacrifice and are a product of myth and ritual united. Raglan himself states that the true study of Homer has hardly yet begun and will not get us anywhere until students see that the poems have no historical foundation, but are to be taken as documents picturing the evolution of religious ideas, in which sense they become highly important. Again he says that all the difficulties of interpretation disappear when it is realized that these great works are ritual narratives. He asserts that all the main incidents in the Trojan cycle take place in the first and tenth years of the siege and that in the mythological cycles, especially those of Troy and Thebes, all the main events are represented as taking place at intervals of about ten years. There are many resemblances: both cities were built where a cow lay down; both were unsuccessfully attacked, but ten years later stormed and razed to the ground; Hector is a leading hero of both cities. Nearly every state desired to be founded by refugees from Troy or Thebes. There was a Troy in Egypt built by Semiramis (Asiatic Researches, Vol. III, 454), according to Higgins. Trojan refugees are found in Epirus, Threspotia, Cyprus, Crete, Venice, Rome, Daunia, Calabria, Sicily, Lisbon, Asturia, Pamphylia, Arabia, Macedonia, Holland, Auvergne, Paris, Sardinia, Alicia, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Libya. The Trojan story was a myth, a sacred history, and became a vast conglomeration of fable and truth.

The origin of the ten-year period so frequently occurring in all these recitals is no doubt the fabulous legend that the Titans fought with the gods for ten years. The Titans represent of course the elementary forces of nature, and the gods stand for the intellectual and spiritual powers. Every traditional myth sought to depict the aspects of this universal conflict.

In Quest magazine of April 1912 a Dr. Anderson writes:

"The critic . . . will proceed to prove that the stories of the trial, arrest and crucifixion are quite understandable as scenes in a mystery play, but are quite inexplicable as facts of history. The trial is represented as lasting through one night when, as Renan points out, an Eastern city is wrapped in silence and darkness, quite natural as scenes in a mystery-play, but not as actual history."

It represents at least some, and possibly great, difficulty to reconcile the fact that Jesus was a Jew with the other fact that the Gospels dealing with him were written in Greek.

"A professional Egyptologist (Dictionary of the Bible, Smith, V. 3, p. 1018) has written respecting the passage of the Red Sea: ‘It would be impious to attempt an explanation of what is manifestly miraculous.’ To such a depth of degradation can Bibliolatry reduce the human mind! Such is the spirit in which the subject has been crawled over." (Massey: Book of the Beginnings, II, 176).

The reference to the Red Sea brings up one of the most direct and astounding proofs that Old Testament "history" is not history, and can by no possibility be held as such. This has been briefly hinted at, but needs further emphasis. If the partisans of the historical view of archaic literature insist that the Exodus narrative is history, their insistence places them in the most ridiculous of predicaments and in short makes simpletons of them. At the end of the debate they are left holding the bag, the gold brick vanished. For the Red Sea, whether that of the map or that of the myth, is no longer in the Bible! It is clean gone out of the story. The learned scholar, James Moffatt, of Glasgow University, has dropped it out of the correct translation, replacing it with the "Reed Sea," drawn direct from Egypt’s mythicism! Assumably his reasons for this rendering, in view of the blasting consequences flowing from it, must have been quite decisive and certain. So if there was no Red Sea in the story, the Israelites could not have crossed it. With this change the whole story falls. Practically, with the deletion from the Old Testament of the historicity of the descent into Egypt and the Exodus from it, the entire structure of "history" in the Bible is shot to pieces. At last the proper mythical translation of one word tears the mask of stupid literalism off the face of ancient esoteric wisdom, and leaves a long deluded and hypnotized world rudely shaken out of intellectual stupor, and with eyes torn suddenly open from its dream, gaping in stunned bewilderment at the wreckage of its illusion. Of all "rude awakenings" this is perhaps the most shocking, but also the most salutary.

Likewise the physical "tabernacle" of the Old Testament, in and at the door of which the Eternal was wont to meet and confabulate with Moses, has vanished along with the Red Sea, and we find the mythical "trysting-tent" in its stead. Male soul and female body in the divine allegory meet and hold their tryst here in the flesh on earth. From it they go on to the marriage, out of which the Christos in man is born.

A word must be interposed here with regard to the bearing of the Jewish rejection of the Messianic Jesus on the debate. Since the wretched persecution of a whole race has gushed from the rejection, there is no lack of warrant for giving the matter full treatment. The work here undertaken is in the large the treatment; but a few conclusions of Massey on the subject can be advanced here with benefit. In his great work, Ancient Egypt, The Light of the World (p. 519) he speaks with great candor. Referring to the Jews who in their popular trends came close to literalizing the scriptural allegories, he says:

"They pursued their messianic phantom to the verge of the quagmire, but drew back in time to escape. They left it for the Christians to take the final fatal plunge into the bog in which they have wallowed, always sinking, ever since; and if the Jews did but know it, the writings called Jewish have wrought an appalling avengement upon their ignorant persecutors, who are still proving themselves to be Christians . . . by ignominiously mutilating and piteously massacring the Jews."

Massey does not mean that the avengement of the Jewish scriptures on Christianity consists of the massacres, of course; he means that the adoption by Christianity of the body of Hebrew scriptures as their Old Testament has been the means of saddling on the back of Christianity the fatal incubus of a vast corpus of myth adopted because it was supposed to be history, and is now seen to be not that at all, but pagan mythology plucked from Egypt! There is no avengement equal to that of the irony of events. The logic of events is inexorable and merciless. Massey speaks in words momentous for the world today and for the time to come, when he writes:

"If the Jews had only held on to the sonship of Iu, the su or sif [the suffix su, sif, sef is Egyptian for son, heir, prince, and the name Jesus came from the combination of the divine Iu(Ju), the Christ, with su or sif, giving us the Egyptian Iusu, or Iusif, Jesus or Joseph] they might have spoiled the market for the spurious wares of the ‘historic’ Savior, and saved the world from wars innumerable, and from countless broken hearts and immeasurable mental misery. But they let go the sonship of @insert Hebrew [IE or JE] with the growth of their monolatry. They could not substitute the ‘historic’ sonship; they had lost touch with Egypt, and the wisdom that might have set them right was no longer available against the Christian misconstruction. They failed to fight the battle of the Gnostics and retired from the conflict dour and dumb; strong and firm enough to suffer the blind and brutal Juden-Hetze [baiting of Jews] of all these centuries, but powerless to bring forward their natural allies, the Egyptian reserves, and helpless to conclude a treaty or enforce a truce."

This was the catastrophe entailed for both Judaism and Christianity, as well as for the whole world, in the loss of Egypt’s august contribution.

In the finale Massey pays this well-considered tribute to the refusal of Jewry to endorse the historization of mythology:

"And here the present writer would remark that, in his view, the Jewish rejection of Christianity constitutes one of the sanest and the bravest intellectual triumphs of all time. It is worth all that the race has suffered from the persecution of the Christian world."

If there is the providential rulership of the universe that misses not even the fall of a sparrow, it is to be assumed that adjustment of a wrong so flagrant and enormous as the slaughter over sixteen hundred years of a people who merely refused to go along with a doltish substitution of history for allegory, will in due time be made.

Another item of most vivid significance is brought out by Massey (B. O. B. II, 188). He discloses the fact that at a date in the reign of Tahtmes III, some two and a half centuries earlier than the "historical Exodus"--on the scholastic insistence that there was such an event--there were inscribed on a pylon at Thebes in a list of 1200 names of places conquered or garrisoned by the Egyptians, the original names of the towns and districts of Canaan to the number of 115, which, says Massey, is "nothing less than the synoptical table of the Promised Land made 250 years before the Exodus." This comes close to writing the geography and history of a nation before that history has taken place on the actual scene. As we shall find that the "life" of Jesus was in effect written before he "lived," so here we see the geography of a nation charted before the places became the locale of the events which gave their names fame in history. All this points to the whole catalogue of such charts and lists and maps as being allegorical depictions and systematic typographs covering a structure of meaning of the most esoteric and cryptic sort. The Canaanitish names mentioned in the list are Astaroth-Karnaim, Avilah, Berytus, Bashan, Beth-Sappuah or Tebekim, Ephron (Hebron), Hishbon, Hamath, Judah, Kadesh, Kison, Megiddo, Sameshu (Damascus) and others.

Among hundreds of passages to be culled out of early Patristic writing which throw doubt on the veracity of the historical side of Christianity we have a strange statement in Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho: "In the dialogue we find Trypho saying, ‘Ye follow an empty rumor and make a Christ for yourselves. . . . If he was born and lived somewhere, he is entirely unknown.’" A more straightforward report on the true situation in the second century, marked by the claims and denials of historians, is hardly to be had. It sounds as if the early Church Father, taking part in the original debate as to the historicity, argues on the side taken by the present work. It was as if he said: "The Christ of the Gospels is the mythical and ritualistic figure; if a historical Christ did live, you have no record of his existence." The entire present debate might be summarized in the same words. His sentences might well be made the concluding ones of our last page. He, too, might have said: "Ye have reduced the cosmic majesty of the Logos to the mean stature of a Galilean peasant."

Clement of Alexandria (Stromata VII, 7, 106) records the astounding fact that the doctrine of the Evangel was delivered to Basilides, the consecrated student of sacred things, by the Apostle Matthew and Glaucus, a disciple of Peter! And there is evidence that the Gospel then delivered must have differed widely from the present New Testament. Tertullian’s distorted accounts of this deposit left to posterity are no faithful guide to a true evaluation of it. Yet even the little this partisan fanatic gives shows the chief Gnostic doctrines to be identical with the broader and deeper esoteric wisdom of the East.

And another proof of the claim that the Gospel of Matthew in the usual Greek texts is not the original Gospel written in Hebrew is found with no less an authority than St. Jerome (Hieronymus) for support. The suspicion of a conscious and gradual euhemerization of the Christ principle from the beginning grows into decided conviction as one reads a certain confession contained in Book II of the Comment of Matthew by Hieronymus. For we find in it the proof of a deliberate substitution of the whole Gospel, the one now in the canon having been evidently rewritten by the zealous Jerome. This is well authenticated as genuine history. How far the rewriting and editorial tampering with the primitive gnostic fragments which have now become the New Testament went, may be inferred from reading Supernatural Religion, which ran through some twenty-three editions. The authorities and documentary support cited by its author are overwhelming in quantity and impressiveness. Jerome says that he was sent toward the close of the fourth century by "their Felicities," the Bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, to Caesarea with the mission to compare the Greek text (the only one they ever had) with the Hebrew original version preserved by the Nazarenes in their library and to translate it. He translated it, but under protest; for, as he says, the Evangel "exhibited matter not for edification, but for destruction." The destruction of what?--must be asked. Doubtless of the doctrine that Jesus the Nazarene and the Christos are one. Hence, for the "destruction" of the newly planned religion which separated the two. In this same letter the Saint--the same that advised his converts to kill their fathers and trample on the bosoms of their mothers if their parents stood between their sons and Christ--admits that Matthew did not wish his Gospel to be openly written, hence that the manuscript was a secret one. Yet while admitting also that this Gospel was "written in Hebrew characters and by the hand of himself [Matthew], in another place he contradicts this and assures posterity that as it was tampered with and rewritten by a disciple of Manichaeus named Seleucus . . . the ears of the Church properly refused to listen to it." (Hieronymus: Commentary to Matthew, Bk. II, Chap. XII, 13).

Gibbon, in a footnote on p. 432 of his great history, gives us material that ought to be granted consideration. He says:

"The modern critics are not disposed to believe what the Fathers almost unanimously assert, that St. Matthew composed a Hebrew Gospel, of which only the Greek translation is extant. It seems, however, dangerous to reject their testimony."

A volume of comment might be made on data of this sort, which could be enlarged to great proportions. There is at any rate enough of it in the Patristic and early sectarian and polemic literature of the Christian movement to provide a sufficient deterrent to the open dissemination of this body of Church history among the general laity. So extensive a policy of concealment, amounting practically to a conspiracy of silence, argues a case difficult to defend.

It may not be inappropriate to conclude this chapter with a reflection forced upon the mind of Gerald Massey toward the later years of a life given to a searching study of the origins of Christianity. It is a tribute of no mean impressiveness to the power of religious influences even when the true inner import of the ritual expressing them is unknown. Dilating upon the Egyptian Mystery ritual, he says:

"In this divine drama the natural realities are represented with no perniciously destructive attempt to conceal the characters under a mask of history. Majestically moving in their own might, of pathetic appeal to human sympathies, they are simply represented for what they may be worth when rightly apprehended. But so tremendous was this tragedy in the Osirian Mysteries, so heart-melting the legend of divinest pity that lived on with its rootage in Amenta and its flowerage in the human mind, that an historic travesty has kept the stage and held the tearful gaze of generation after generation for nineteen hundred years."

If the mere husk of religious truth has exerted so amazing an influence upon mortals, what might have been the transcendent exaltation of the mind and purgation of the life of the race if the golden corn itself had been preserved! But the corn was lost and the husk alone remained when the myths of truth were converted into the falsities of "history."