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Vineyard, God the Father (Yahuh) is described as the owner of a vineyard who sends his only begotten Son to receive the fruit of it, and the workers slay him. The “miracle” of Cana is distinctly Bacchanalian in character.
But not only was it believed that the attributes of the dead might be transferred to the living, but the soul of the dead might be so transferred by what is called “inspiration"; and this is handed down to modern times in the idea of apostolic succession. The ghost, or soul, of the Christian Messiah is believed by Catholics to be transferred in this manner to priests—“Receive ye the Holy Ghost," etc.
With primitive man any display of extraordinary bodily energy produced the idea of “possession ” by spirits--at first only bad spirits, or demons. The ancestral ghost was generally the “possessing” spirit, manifesting itself as what we now know to be epilepsy, hysteria, rabies, insanity, etc.; and from these apparently superhuman powers were soon developed the idea of omnipresence as well as that of omnipotence.
Spirits and ghosts were always associated with wind—by the rustling of the leaves, as we have seen, at night ; the rippling of the water, etc.; and the Hebrew and Greek words for spirit, ghost, wind, and breath, or air in motion, are identical, as will be seen elsewhere. It is easy to follow the train of thought in the mind of uncivilized man from spirits entering the bodies of the living to that of being driven out. If one could occur, why not the other ? Thus from “possession” were developed "exorcism,” “sorcery,” and “witchcraft”; and from these again "enchantment” and “miracles.” “The Tahkalis priest lays his hand on the head of the nearest relation of a deceased person, and blows into him the soul or spirit of the departed, which is supposed to come to life in his next child ; and not only in the theory of apostolic succession do we see this inspiration' and 'possession’ idea carried out, but among the most sacerdotal of modern sects, such as the Quakers, Plymouth Brethren, etc., only in a slightly different form. Their ‘being moved by the spirit'is only another mode of expressing being temporarily 'possessed' or 'inspired.
“Along with malevolent 'possession' naturally was evolved benevolent possession,' which state is still prayed for under the expressions 'supernatural strength,' 'inspiration, and
'knowledge.' The Catholic Church still retains 'exorcism,' and has specially-ordained 'exorcists'; and this office was retained in the Established Church down to 1550, when infants were exorcised before baptism as follows: 'I command thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that thou come out and depart from this infant. Jesus was a believer in 'possession' by spirits, which would naturally have formed part of his education by the priests during his youth in Egypt. He is said to have cast out 'unclean’spirits, or demons, from the man in the synagogue (Mark i. 23); out of the poor epileptic boy (Luke ix. 42); and out of the two poor lunatics who lived among the tombs (Matt. viii. 31); and again ‘seven devils 'out of Mary Magdalene (Mark xvi. 9). And he taught that all believers should cast out devils in his name."
Witches were supposed to be in league with Satan, “the prince of the devils,” and to have power to bewitch others. They were also supposed to be given over by the gods to Satan, and to be destined to burn persons in the fires of hell. Such an idea soon led to the logical conclusion that, as these witches were condemned to hell, the sooner they were sent there the better- in fact, it was considered a solemn duty to do so, in order to prevent their malevolent practices, and, by their fearful example, deter others from having dealings with devils, and prevent souls from getting into their clutches. These ideas prevailed in England till 1736. It was a very short step from witchcraft to HERESY. A soul fallen from orthodoxy was believed to be in the hands of Satan; and, if that soul were not sent at once to hell, other souls might be led astray by their teaching or example. “At a torturing and burning which took place at Irvine in 1613, in the affair of Margaret Barclay and others, there were present the Earl of Eglinton, the ministers of Ayr, Kilmarnock, Dalry, and Irvine, when three innocent people were sacrificed.” It is computed that 30,000 persons have been murdered under the inhuman 0. T. order (Ex. xxii. 18), “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” At Clonmel, in 1897, a young wife was actually placed upon the fire by her husband and father, to exorcise the evil spirit out of her, they imagining she was bewitched.
Fire was a very old remedy for driving out evil spirits, and was used in baptism—sometimes alone, and at others with water. The Romans used both in their baptisms. John is made to say in Matthew (iii. 11): “I baptize you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [literally holy wind and with fire." Baptism by immersion or sprinkling was a very ancient pagan custom for driving out evil spirits and remitting sins. It was practised by nearly every ancient nation. The Mithraists of Persia and the Jews, in their baptisms, marked the sign of the cross on the forehead many centuries before the Christian Messiah was born or thought of. This marking with the cross on the forehead is mentioned in the Apocalypse (Rev. xiii. 16, 18). In Mongolia and Thibet candles burn, incense is offered, and the child is dipped three times in water, accompanied by prayers, and named. In the time of Eusebius those received into the Christian Church were initiated by prayer and the laying on of hands, called by him “the ancient custom” (vii., ii.), which was followed till the time of Stephen. Controversies arose in his time as to whether members should be received “after the ancient custom” or “by baptism, after the heathen custom.” The command in Mark (xvi. 15, 16) is of comparatively recent date. The goddess Nundina took her name from the ninth day, on which all male children were sprinkled with holy water (as females were on the eighth), named, and a certificate given of “regeneration.” In the Roman ritual the priest exorcises the infant's ears and nostrils with spittle before baptizing it, which is an old charm against the “evil eye.”
We must understand that the sect known in ancient times as Baptists, and more recently as Hemero-Baptists, Mandaites, Nazarites, or Gnostics, had no connection whatever with Christianism, which was a later religious development, any more than with present-day Baptists, for they detested both Jews and Christians. They were a variety of Essene ascetics, and had a book called “The Book of Adam,” in which is contained the mythos of Noë and most of Genesis, for they still exist in the East-chiefly in the neighbourhood of Bussora. John was their founder, and had the usual twelve apostles, besides thirty disciples. “They hold the principle of the renewal of worlds, abhor bloody sacrifices, and do not use the rite of circumcision ; therefore they cannot have come from the Jews. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke (as we now have them) make Jesus to have been both circumcised and baptized—that is, to be both a Jew and a disciple of John. The circumcision is not mentioned in the John Gospel, and the chapters in which it is narrated are a later addition. If Jesus had been a Jew, and derived his name, according to Jewish custom, from the place of his birth, he would have been called Jesus of Bethlehem, or of Nazareth.”* The Baptists taught that “from the throne of God flowed a primitive Jordan (the river of wisdom), from which again flowed 360,000 Jordans. This is why Jesus is said to have been baptized of John in Jordan.”† The word “manda,” from which Mandaite was derived, was the Chaldee for gnosis, or knowledge. The “ Christ,” “Panangria,” or “ Universal Light of the Planets ” of this sect, was called Iao, or IAQUE-identical with Yahuh and the biblical " Jehovah ” (Ye-ho-weh).
DANCING AND PRAYER—BIBLICAL PROMISES—THE UTILITY
OF PRAYER—ACTUAL FAITH IN PRAYER—THE LOGIC OF PRAYER.
The earliest prayer was a dance, and in the early Christian Church special provision was made for dancing in the “choir” (Greek, choros = a dance). The presules, or bishops, led the dance on feast days. “The angels were believed to be always dancing, and the glorious company of the Apostles is really a chorus of dancers.” Dancing, however, in the Christian Church fell into discredit through the immoralities of the love feasts, but faintly survives in Church processions. Basil said : “As it [dancing] will be our occupation in heaven, it had better be practised betimes on earth.” The Chorentes—an order of monks-retired into the desert to obtain salvation by dancing. “At Limoges the people used to dance round the choir of the church, and at the end of each psalm, instead of the • Gloria Patri,' sang : ‘Saint Marcel, pray for us, and we will dance in honour of you.'" Up to the time of the Reformation dancing was practised in the Catholic cathedrals of Spain, Portugal, Rousillon, Peru, and Mexico; and to this day a dancing procession takes place on Whit Tuesday at Echternach, in Luxembourg. Survivals of this custom are to be seen in the Welsh followers of Whitfield called “ Jumpers," the “Dancers” of Ohio, and the “Shakers.” Spoken prayer originated in an incantation, remains of which are seen in the frequent repetitions in the liturgies of such expressions as “ Kyrie eleison” (“ Lord have mercy upon us ") and “Good Lord deliver us,” in which the Deity is first flattered by being called “good,” then asked to deliver from the evil ones, or powers of