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KING. — Let us from point to point this story know.” –– All’s Well That Ends Well.

Act v., Scene 3.

“He is the One, self-proceeding; and from Him all things proceed.

And in them He Himself exerts His activity; no mortal

BEHOLDS HIM, but HE beholds all!” — Orphic Hymn.

 “And Athens, O Athena, is thy own!

Great Goddess hear! and on my darkened mind

Pour thy pure light in measure unconfined;

That sacred light, O all-proceeding Queen,

Which beams eternal from thy face serene.

My soul, while wand’ring on the earth, inspire

With thy own blessed and impulsive fire!” — PROCLUS; TAYLOR: To Minerva.

“Now faith is the substance of things. . . . By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with

them that believed not, when she had received the spies in peace.— Hebrews xi. 1, 31.

 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man hath faith, and have not works? Can

 FAITH save him? . . . Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when

she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” — James ii. 14, 25. CLEMENT describes Basilides, the Gnostic, as “a philosopher devoted to the contemplation of divine things.” This very appropriate expression may be applied to many of the founders of the more important sects which later were all engulfed in one — that stupendous compound of unintelligible dogmas enforced by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others, which is now termed Christianity. If these must be called heresies, then early Christianity itself must be included in the number. Basilides and Valentinus preceded Irenaeus and Tertullian; and the two latter Fathers had less facts than the two former Gnostics to show that their heresy was plausible. Neither divine right nor truth brought about the triumph of their Christianity; fate alone was propitious. We can assert, with entire plausibility, that there is not one of all these sects — Kabalism, Judaism, and our present Christianity included — but sprung from the two main branches of that one mother-trunk, the once universal religion, which antedated the Vedaic ages — we speak of that prehistoric Buddhism which merged later into Brahmanism.

The religion which the primitive teaching of the early few apostles most resembled — a religion preached by Jesus himself — is the elder of these two, Buddhism. The latter as taught in its primitive purity, and carried to perfection by the last of the Buddhas, Gautama, based its

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moral ethics on three fundamental principles. It alleged that 1, every thing existing, exists from natural causes; 2, that virtue brings its own reward, and vice and sin their own punishment; and, 3, that the state of man in this world is probationary. We might add that on these three principles rested the universal foundation of every religious creed; God, and individual immortality for every man — if he could but win it. However puzzling the subsequent theological tenets; however seemingly incomprehensible the metaphysical abstractions which have convulsed the theology of every one of the great religions of mankind as soon as it was placed on a sure footing, the above is found to be the essence of every religious philosophy, with the exception of later Christianity. It was that of Zoroaster, of Pythagoras, of Plato, of Jesus, and even of Moses, albeit the teachings of the Jewish law-giver have been so piously tampered with.

We will devote the present chapter mainly to a brief survey of the numerous sects which have recognized themselves as Christians; that is to say, that have believed in a Christos, or an ANOINTED ONE. We will also endeavor to explain the latter appellation from the kabalistic stand-point, and show it reappearing in every religious system. It might be profitable, at the same time, to see how much the earliest apostles — Paul and Peter, agreed in their preaching of the new Dispensation. We will begin with Peter.

We must once more return to that greatest of all the Patristic frauds; the one which has undeniably helped the Roman Catholic Church to its unmerited supremacy, viz.: the barefaced assertion, in the teeth of historical evidence, that Peter suffered martyrdom at Rome. It is but too natural that the Latin clergy should cling to it, for, with the exposure of the fraudulent nature of this pretext, the dogma of apostolic succession must fall to the ground.

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