Imatges de pÓgina

you have adopted; fickle and careless, and superficial in things religious"—such was the criticism of the ancient Barbarian on the young and innovating Greek.

Slowly but surely the wisdom of the Egyptians, of the Babylonians and Chaldæans, and its reflection in some of the Jewish doctors, of Persia, too, and even of India, begins to react on the centre of Grecian thought, and religion and all the great problems of the human soul begin to oust mere scholasticism, beaux arts and belles lettres, from the schools; Alexandria is no longer to be a mere literary city, but a city of philosophy in the old sense of the term; it is to be wisdom-loving; not that it will eventually succeed even in this, but it will try to succeed.

There is to be a new method too. The concealed and hidden for so many centuries will be discussed and analyzed: there will be eclecticism, or a choosing out and synthesizing; there will be syncretism and a mingling of the most heterogeneous elements into some sorry patchwork; there will be analogeticism or comparison and correspondencing; efforts to discover a world-religion; to reconcile the irreconcilable; to synthesize as well science, philosophy and religion; to create a theosophy. It will fail, for the race is nearing its end; it is the searching for truth at the end of a long life with an old brain, with too many old tendencies and prejudices to eradicate. The race will die and the souls that ensouled it will go out of incarnation, to reappear in due time when the wheel has turned. The old race is to be replaced with new blood and new physical vigour; but the mind of the new race is incapable of grasping the problems of its predecessors; Goths, Teutons, Vandals, Huns, Celts, Britons, and Arabs are bodies for a far less developed batch of souls; true the new race will also grow and develop and in its turn reach to manhood and old age, and far transcend its predecessor in every way; but when a child it will think as a child, when a man as a man, and when aged as the aged. What could the barbarian Huns and Goths and Arabs make of the great problems that confronted the highly civilized Alexandrians?


For the new race a new religion therefore, suited to its needs, suited perchance to its genius, suited to its age. What its origins

were are so far shrouded in impenetrable obscurity; what the real history of its founder was is confessedly unknown to all but-the uneducated.

This much, however, is certain, that a new key-note was struck for the tuning up of the new instrument. It is always a dangerous thing to generalize too freely, and paint the past in too staring splashes of colour, for in human affairs we find nothing unmixed; good was mixed with evil in the old method, and evil with good in the new. The new method was to throw open to all men a small portion of the sacred mysteries and secret teachings of the few. The new religion itself professed to throw open "everything"; and many believed that it had revealed all that was revealable. That was because they were as yet children. So bright was the light to them that they perforce believed it came directly from the God of all gods, or rather from God alone, for they would have no more of gods; the gods were straightway transmuted into devils. The "many" had begun to play with psychic and spiritual forces, let loose from the mysteries, and the "many" went mad for a time, and has not yet regained its sanity.

Let us dwell on this intensely interesting phenomenon for a few moments.

It is true that in the Roman Empire, which had just reduced the "world" to its sway, and thus politically united so many streams of ancient civilization and barbarism into one ocean, things were in a very parlous state, morally and socially. The ancient order was beginning to draw to an end. Political freedom and independence were of the past, but intellectual and religious tolerance were still guaranteed, for so far the ancient world knew not the meaning of intolerance.

States were politically subordinated to the control of the Cæsars, but the religious institutions of such states, on which their very lives and polities depended, were left in absolute freedom. Nevertheless the spirit of reality had long left the ancient institutions, they were still maintained as part and parcel of statecraft, and as necessary for the people, who must have a cult, and festivals, and religious shows, then as now; but few took the matter really seriously. For the educated there was philosophy, and the shadow of the ancient mysteries,

But these things were not for the people, not for the uneducated; the priestly orders had forgotten their duties, and using their knowledge for self-aggrandizement, had now almost entirely forgotten what they once had known. It is an old, old story. The ancient church was corrupt, the ancient state enslaved. There must be a protest; partly right, partly wrong, as usual good and evil protesting against evil and good.

It is true that the mysteries are free and open to all-who are worthy.

It is true that morals and virtues are absolutely essential prerequisites-but not these alone.

It is true that there is One God-not Jehovah.

It is true that there are many gods-not to be worshipped.

It is true that philosophy alone cannot solve the problem-but it must not be neglected.

It is true that all men may be saved--but not rather the poor than the rich, the ignorant than the learned.

There is no middle ground in protestantism in things religious; it flies to the opposite pole. Therefore, we are to have for the new order, a wild intolerance, a glorification of ignorance, a wholesale condemnation. A social upheaval, followed by a political triumph. One thing, however, is acquired definitely, a new lease of life for belief.

It was good to believe with all one's heart after so much disbelief; it was good to make virtue paramount as the first allnecessary step to a knowledge of God. It was good to set aside the things of the body and love the things of the soul; it was good to bring reality of life once more into the heart of men.

What might have been if more temperate counsels had prevailed, who can say ?

The main fact is that one race was dying and another being born. The memories of the past crowded into the old brain, but the new brain was unable to remember. As one decayed the other grew and replaced it, and the phenomena presented during the centuries of the change are of the most intricate and amazing nature. One memory alone succeeded in impressing itself on the new brain, suited perhaps to the vigorous and warlike races that were to replace the old races of the Roman Empire, and that was

the Jewish tradition in its crudest form. It would, however, be too long to go further into the matter and show why the Jews themselves, with the exception of a very few, did not accept the new religion, and why the Christians based themselves on the Jewish tradition.

It is enough to remark, that the Jewish populace looked for a leader to restore their political fortunes and physical well-being, while the first Christians, being all Jews, so interwove their tradition with Judaism, that it subsequently could not be disentangled without entire destruction.

And though the beliefs of the Jewish and Christian populace were wide apart, and both the antipodes of those of the Pagan populace, nevertheless the learned among the Rabbis and the best of the Christian theologians show many points of similarity, and both the latter, in some things, are in close contact with the views of our philosophers. The most famous schools of the Rabbis and of the Christian theologians, moreover, are at Alexandria, and so we will conclude our introductory chapter with a few remarks on these Jewish and Christian Schools.

(To be continued.)

G. R. S. MEAD.



AROUND the dogma of the incarnation have been gathered many heresies, especially in the early stages of Christianity, before it could be truly said that there was any well-defined doctrine. Many of the heresies, indeed, are such only according to later renderings of the faith, which may or may not be more in accord with the original teachings, if original teachings there were.

One of the earliest heresies related to the body of Christ. The Docetists held that it was an illusion, a mere appearance, not consisting of matter, and taken on by Jesus for the purpose of manifesting himself. This view was probably due to the idea that matter itself was evil-that peculiar eastern conception of the duality of things, good and evil, spirit and matter, and so on, which tainted so many of the Gnostic teachings. According to a modified view the body of Jesus was not a mere illusion, but was substantial, only of celestial or ethereal substance, and not of ordinary matter.

The orthodox church rebelled against any such conception, which in its opinion would have destroyed the whole plan of salvation, for to save the race the divine mediator must become as a man, and enter an entirely human body. Matter was in itself not regarded as an evil, the evil belonging to the soul within the body.

The Judaic side of Christianity culminated in a sect which, according to later dogmas, also held heretical views of Christ. This aspect of the faith was zealously opposed by Paul, as may be seen from various passages in the New Testament, but it is a doubtful point as to whether the Jewish view, somewhat similar to the Ebionite heresy, was not the earlier Christian teaching, seeing that the religion had its origin in Judaism. According to the Ebionites,

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