Secret Societies of All Ages - Charles Heckethorn

BOOK ???? EMANATIONISTS ' A chaogeful strife, A glowing life, I weave on the whirring loom of Time, The living garments of the Deity." —Goethe, FomsL YOL. 1. THE CABBALA 104. Its Origin.—The Cabbala (from the Hindoo Kapila, the inventor of the philosophy of numbers) is the summary of the labours of the sects of Judaism, and is occupied in the mystical interpretation of the Scriptures, and in metaphysical speculations concerning the Deity and the worlds visible and invisible. The Jews say that it was communicated to Moses by God Himself. Now, although it is not at all improbable that the writer, to whom history has given the name of Moses, did leave to his successors some secret doctrines, yet the fantastic doctrines of the Cabbala concerning angels and demons are purely Chaldean; at Babylon the Jews ingrafted on Monotheism the doctrine of the Two Principles. Daniel, the pontiff of the Magi and prophet of the Jews, may be considered as the chief founder of the Cabbala, which was conceived at Babylon, and received as the forbidden fruit of the strange woman. The ancient Jews had some idea of angels, but did not ascribe to them any particular functions, though to each patriarch they assigned a special familiar spirit. The Alexandrian School made many additions to that foreign importation; Philo supplemented Daniel. The speculative portion of the Cabbala, whose foundation consists in the doctrine of Emanation, was developed in that School; the philosophical systems of Pythagoras and Plato were combined with Oriental philosophy, and from these proceeded Gnosticism and Neo-platonism. 105. Date of Cabbala.—The first documentary promulgation of the Cabbala may roughly be stated to have taken place within the century before and half a century after our era. The greater culture of the Jewish people, the supreme tyranny of the letter of the law and rabbinical minuteness, furthered the spread of occult theology, whose chief text-books are the " Sepher-yetzirah," or Book of the Creation, probably by Akiba, and the "Zohar," the Book of Light, attributed to Simon-ben-Joachai, the pupil of Akiba, 83 84 consisting of fantastic commentaries on the books of Moses. What farrago the book contains may be inferred from the representation it gives of God. His head is that of a veryold man, wearing one thousand millions and seven thousand curis of white wool; his beard is as white as snow, reaching to his navel, and has thirteen divisions, each of which comprises the greatest mysteries. The Jews did not become acquainted with it before the end of the thirteenth century. Akiba was a Jewish rabbi and teacher of the Mishna (107). He was executed for having taken part in the insurrection of Bar-Cochba (Son of the Star, Numb. xxiv. 17) in A.D. 135. 106. The Book of the Creation.—In this work Adam considers the mystery of the universe. In his monologue he declares the forces and powers of reason, which attempts to discover the bond which unites in a common principle all the elements of things; and in this investigation he adopts a method different from the Mosaic. He does not descend from God to the creation, but studying the universe, seeking the unity in variety and multiplicity, the law in the phenomenon, he ascends from the creation to God—a prolific method, but which leads the Cabbalists to seek fantastic analogies between superior and inferior powers, between heaven and earth, between the things and the signs of thought. Hence arose all the arts of divination and conjuration, and the most absurd superstitions. According to Cabbalistic conception, the universe, which to Pythagoras is a symbol of the mysterious virtues of numbers, is only a marvellous page on which all existing things were written by the supreme artificer with the first ten numbers and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The ten abstract numbers are the general forms of things, the " supreme categories of ideas." Thus, number one represents the spirit of the living God, the universal generative power; number two is the breath of the animating spirit; three is the aqueous, and four the igneous principle. The imprint of the letters on the universe is indestructible, and is the only character that can enable us to discover the Supreme Cause, to recompose the name of God, the Logos, written on the face of the world. Nor are all the letters of equal Virtue; three, called the mothers, have the precedence, and refer to the triads found in various physical and mental orders; seven others are called double, because from them arise the things constantly opposed to one another; the remaining twelve are called simple, and refer to twelve attributes of man. 107. Different Kinds of Cabbala.—It is of two kinds, THE CABBALA 85 theoretical and practical. The latter is engaged in the construction of talismans and amulets, and is therefore totally unworthy of our notice. But it may be interesting to believers in modern charlatanism to know that this practical Cabbala was early employed in the production of spiritualistic phenomena; divining tables, furnished with a writing apparatus, were common in the days of Tertullian, as we learn from his Apology, One Frederick Brentz, a Jew converted to Christianity in 16 10, explained, or tried to explain, in a book against his former co-religionists, how the Jews raised tables, with stones of several hundredweights on them, by means of Cabbalistic conjuration. The theoretical Cabbala is divided into the literal and dogmatic. The dogmatic is the summary of the metaphysical doctrines taught by the Cabbalistic doctors; the literal is a mystical mode of explaining sacred things by a peculiar use of the letters of words. This literal Cabbala, called the Mishna, is again subdivided into three branches, the first considering words according to the numerical value of the letters composing them. This branch is called Gematria, and for an example of it the reader is referred to Mithras (30), the name of the sun, whose letters make up the number 365, the number of days during which the sun performs his course. The second branch is called Notaricon, and is a mode of constructing one word out of the initials or finals of many. Thus of the sentence in Deut xxx. 12, "Who shall go up for us to heaven? *' in Hebrew noDlCn D ll'PJ? D, the initial letters of each word are taken to form the word nbD, ''circumcision.'* The third mode is called Temura, or permutation of letters, such as is familiarly known as an anagram. 108. Visions of EzekieL—Cabbalistic terms and inventions, not destitute of poetic ideas, lent themselves to the requirements of the mystics, sectaries, and alchymists. It suflSces to consider that portion of the system whose object is the study of the visions of Ezekiel, to form an idea of the fantastic and mythological wealth of the Cabbala. This branch of the Cabbala is called the Marcava. In the visions of Ezekiel, God is seated on a throne, surrounded with strange winged figures—the man, the bull, the lion, and the eagle, four zodiacal signs, like "the glory which he saw by the river of Chebar," that is, among the Chaldeans, famous for their astronomical knowledge. The rabbis call the visions the description of the celestial car, and 86 discover therein profound mysteries. Maimonides reduced those visions to the astronomical ideas of his time; the Cabbala surrounded them with its innumerable hosts of angels. Besides the angels that preside over the stars, elements, virtues, vices, passions, the lower world is peopled by genii of both sexes, holding a position between angels and men—the elemental spirits of the Rosicrucians. The good angels are under the command of Metatron, also called Sar Happanim, the angel of the Divine countenance. The evil angels are subject to Samual, or Satan, the angel of death. Besides the Indian metempsychosis the Cabbalists admit another, which they call " impregnation," consisting in a union of several souls in one body, which takes place when any soul needs the assistance of others to attain to the beatific vision. 109. The Creation out of Nothing.—The primitive Being is called the Ancient of Days, the ancient Ring of Light, incomprehensible, infinite, eternal, a closed eye. Before he manifested himself all things were in him, and he was called The Nothing, the Zero-world. Before the creation of the world the primitive light of God, Nothing, filled all, so that there was no void; but when the Supreme Being determined to manifest His perfections, He withdrew into Himself, and let go forth the first emanation, a ray of light, which is the cause and beginning of all that exists, and combines the generative and conceptive forces. He commenced by forming an imperceptible point, the point-world; then with that thought He constructed a holy and mysterious form, and finally covered it with a rich vestment—the universe. From the generative and conceptive forces issued forth the first-bom of God, the universal form, the creator, preserver, and animating principle of the world, Adam Kadmon, called the macrocosm; whilst man, born out of and living in it, and comprising, in fact, what the typical or celestial man comprises potentially, is called the microcosm. But before the Ensoph or Infinite revealed Himself in that form of the primitive man, other emanations, other worlds, had succeeded each other, which were called " sparks," which grew fainter the more distant they were from the centre of emanation. Around Adam Kadmon were formed the countless circles of posterior emanations, which are not beings having a life of their own, but attributes of God, vessels of omnipotence, types of creation. The ten emanations from Adam Kadmon are called Sephiroth, the " powers " of Philo, and the " aeons " of the Gnostics. THE CABBALA 87 no. Bevival of Cabbalistic Doctrines.—As among Christians the Apocalypse, so among Jews the Cabbala has always had its devoted students. Such a one was Lobele (d. 1609), who was chief rabbi at Prague, and considered such a saint, that no being born of woman was thought fit to wait on him; he was attended by a servitor produced by magic, or a slave formed of clay. Being deeply versed in all the mysteries of the Cabbala, he was endowed with supernatural powers, but he, wisely perhaps, kept his knowledge to himself; he did not even have pupils. But about the middle of the last century Jacob Franck, originally a distiller in Poland, collected around him a crowd of Jewish followers in Podolia, who, abjuring rabbinical dogmatism, adopted the mystical teaching of the Cabbala. The book Zohar (105) was the basis of their doctrines, whence they were called Zoharists, the Illuminated. The Roman Catholic clergy, who in these doQtrines saw an approach to Christianity, at first protected them; but on the death of the Bishop of Podolia they were persecuted by the rabbis, so that they had to disperse, and Franck himself was imprisoned until 1773, when he was released by the Russians. He then tried to establish himself at Vienna, but being driven thence found a refuge at Offenbach, near Frankfort, where he gathered many followers, and lived in great style, as he received liberal subsidies from the Jews. He died in 1791, when the society was dissolved; a few remnants may still be found in Poland, where they are known as Christian Jews. They form a kind of religious order, practising certain Jewish rites, and professing mystical doctrines, kept secret from outsiders. Another Cabbalistic sect was formed about the same time (1740) by Israel of Podolia, calling themselves the "New Saints "; they professed to work miracles by using the Cabbalistic name of Jehovah. Israel had great success, and left forty thousand followers. Frederick Bahrdt and C. Frederick Nicolai, the former in his " Introduction " to Cornelius Agrippa's Cabbala, and the latter in his "Travels through Germany and Switzerland, 178 1," both mention the Cabbala of the Capucin Father Tertius of Ratisbon, written in Latin, w;hich he utilised for fortune-telling. A somewhat similar Cabbala was published (circa 1790) in the " Delphic Oracle," edited by Professor K. [anne?]. " For Humbug never waneth When Folly lends its help." 88 SECEBT SOCIETIES The Cabbala was estimated at its true value by the Jesuit Pererius (1535-1610), who in his book " De Magia" calls it an " unscientific, silly, and ridiculous system." And yet in the last quarter of this century Alphonse Louis Constant, who wrote under the pseudonym of Eliphas Levi Zahed a number of books which are highly esteemed by modern students of " occult " matters, performed, by means of Cabbalistic power, the ceremonial evocation of ApoUonius of Tyana, and was patronised, among other people of note, by Lord Lytton, who had him down to Knebworth! Some forms of superstition do die hard. II SONS OF THE WIDOW 111. Origin of Heligion of Love.—A Persian slave, whose powerful imagination brought forth a doctrine desolating, but extraordinary by originality of invention and variety of episodes, three centuries after the appearance of Christ, and when Orientalism was on the point of disappearing from the West, founded a theogony and instituted a sect which revived Eastern influence in Europe, and by means of the Crusades spread schism and revolt throughout the Catholic worid. The action of this rebellious disciple of Zoroaster, of this restorer of the ancient faith of the Magi, mixed with Christian forms and Gnostic symbols, had an extension and duration which, though called in doubt by the past, modern criticism discovers in the intrinsic philosophy of a great part of the sects formed in the bosom of Catholicism. At the head of this gigantic movement of intelligence and conscience, which devoted itself to the most singular superstitions in order to shake off the yoke of Eome, are Gnosticism and Manichasism, Oriental sects, the last and glorious advance of a theogony which, seeing the rule of so large a portion of the earth pass away from itself, undertook to recover it with mysteries and the evocation of poetic phantoms. 112. Manes.—Manes, redeemed from slavery by a rich Persian widow, whence he was called the " son of the widow," and his disciples "sons of the widow," of prepossessing aspect, learned in the Alexandrian philosophy, initiated into the Mithraic mysteries, traversed the regions of India, touched on the confines of China, studied the evangelical doctrines, and so lived in the midst of many religious systems, deriving light from all, and satisfied by none. He was born at a propitious moment, and his temperament fitted him for arduous and fantastic undertakings and schemes. Possessing great penetration and an inflexible will, he comprehended the expansive force of Christianity, 89 90 SECEET SOCIETIES and resolved to profit thereby, masking Gnostic and Cabbalistic ideas under Christian names and rites. In order to establish this Christian revelation, he called himself the Paraclete announced by Christ to His disciples, attributing to himself, in the Gnostic manner, a great superiority over the Apostles, rejecting the Old Testament, and allowing to the sages of the pagans a philosophy superior to Judaism. A.D. 270. 113. Manichceism.—The dismal conceptions of a dualism, pure and simple, the eternity and absolute evil of matter, the non-resurrection of the body, the perpetuity of the principle of evil—these preside over the compound that took its name from him, and confound Mithras with Christ, the Gospel with the Zend-Avesta, Magism with Judaism. The Unknown Father, the Infinite Being, of Zoroaster, is entirely rejected by Manes, who divides the universe into two dominions, that of light and that of darkness, irreconcilable, whereof one is superior to the other; but, great difference the first, instead of conquering the latter into goodness, reduces it to impotence, conquers, but does not suppress or convince it. The God of light has innumerable legions of combatants (aeons), at whose head are twelve superior angels, corresponding with the twelve signs of the zodiac. Satanic matter is surrounded by a similar host, which, having been captivated by the charms of the light, endeavours to conquer it; wherefore the head of the celestial kingdom, in order to obviate this danger, infuses life into a new power, and appoints it to watch the frontiers of heaven. That power is called the "Mother of Life," and is the soul of the world, the " Divine," the primitive thought of the Supreme Ens, the heavenly " Sophia " of the Gnostics. As a direct emanation of the Eternal it is too pure to unite with matter, but a son is born unto it, the first man, who initiates the great struggle with the demons. When the strength of the man fails him, the " Living Spirit" comes to his assistance, and having led him back to the kingdom of light, raises above the world that part of the celestial soul not contaminated by contact with the demons—a perfectly pure soul, the Eedeemer, the Christ, who attracts to Himself and frees from matter the light and soul of the first man. In these abstruse doctrines lies concealed the Mithraic worship of the sun. The followers of Manes were divided into " Elect " and " Listeners "; the former had to renounce eveiy corporeal enjoyment, everything that can darken the celestial light in us; the second were less rigorously treated. Both might SONS OF THE WIDOW 91 attain immortality by means of purification in an ample lake placed in the moon (the baptism of celestial water), and sanctification in the solar fire (the baptism of celestial fire), where reside the Eedeemer and the blessed spirits. 114. Life of Manes.—The career of Manes was chequered and stormy, a foreshadowing of the tempests that were to arise against his sect. After having enjoyed the unstable favour of the court, and acquired the fame of a great physician, he found himself unable to save the life of one of the sons of the prince. He was consequently exiled, and roved through Turkistan, Hindostan, and the Chinese Empire. He dwelt for one year in a cave, living on herbs, during which time his followers, having received no news from him, said that he had ascended to heaven, and were believed, not only by the "Listeners," but by the people. The new prince recalled him to court, showered honours on him, erected a sumptuous palace for him, and consulted him on all state affairs. But Barahm, the successor of this prince, at the instigation of the Magi, made him pay dearly for his short happiness, for he put him to a cruel death: he had him flayed alive. 115. Progress of Manichceism.—The government of the sect, already existing with degrees, initiatory rites, signs, and passwords, was continued by astute chiefs, who more and more attracted to themselves the Christians by the use of orthodox language, making them believe that their object was to recall Christianity to its first purity. But the sect was odious to the Church of Eome, because it had issued from rival Persia; and so for two hundred years it was banished from the empire, and the Theodosiau Codex is full of laws against it. Towards the end of the fourth century it spread in Africa and Spain. It had peace, and flourished under the mother of the Emperor Anastasius (491-518); but Justin renewed the persecution. In the ninth century that female fiend, Theodora, the wife of the Emperor Theophilus, caused more than one hundred thousand Manichasans to be slain. But changing its name, seat, and figurative language, Manichaeism spread in Bulgaria, Lombardy (Patarini), France (Cathari, Albigenses), etc., united with the Saracens, and openly made war upon the Emperor, and its followers perished by thousands in battle and at the stake; and from its secular trunk sprang the so-called heresies of the Hussites and WyckliflBtes, which opened the way for Protestantism. In those gloomy Middle Ages, in fact, arose those countless legions of sectaries, bound by a common pact, whose exist 92 SECEET SOCIETIES ence only then becomes manifest when the sinister light of the burning pile flashes through the darkness in which they conceal themselves. The Freemasons undoubtedly, through the Templars, inherited no small portion of their ritual from them; they were very numerous in all the courts, and even in the dome of St. Peter, and baptized in blood with new denominations and ordinances. 1 1 6. Doctrines.—The sacred language of Manichaeism was most glowing, and founded on that concert of voices and ideas, called in Pythagorean phraseology the "harmony of the spheres," which established a connection between the mystic degrees and the figured spheres by means of conventional terms and images; and it is known that the Albigenses and Patarini recognised each other by signs, A Provenqal Patarino, who had fled to Italy in 1240, everywhere met with a friendly reception, revealing himself to the brethren by means of conventional phrases. He everywhere found the sect admirably organised, with churches, bishops, and apostles of the most active propaganda, who overran France, Germany, and England. The Manichaean language, moreover, was ascetic, and loving, and Christian; but the neophyte, after having once entered the sect, was carried beyond, and gradually alienated from the Papal Church. The mysteries had two chief objects in view—that of leading the neophyte, by first insensibly changing his former opinions and dispositions, and then of gradually instructing him in the conventional language, which, being complicated and varied, required much study and much time. But not all were admitted to the highest degrees. Those that turned back, or could not renounce former ideas, remained always in the Church, and were not introduced into the sanctuary. These were simple Christians and sincere listeners, who, put of zeal for reform, often encountered death, as, for instance, the canons of Orleans, who were condemned to the stake by King Robert in 1022. But those who did not turn back were initiated into all those things which it was important should be known to the most faithful members of the sect. The destruction of Rome, and the establishment of the heavenly Jerusalem spoken of in the Apocalypse, were the chief objects aimed at. 117. Spread of Religion of Love.—The religion of love did not end with the massacre of the Albigenses, nor were its last echoes the songs of the troubadours; for we meet with it in a German sect which in 1550 pretended to receive a supernatural light from the Holy Spirit. In Holland, also, SONS OF THE WIDOW 93 a sect of Christians arose in 1555, called the "Family of Love," and deriving its origin from one Henry Nicholas, of Westphalia. He taught that the essence of religion consisted in the feelings of Divine love; that the union of the soul with Christ transforms it into the essence of the Deity; that the Scriptures ought to be interpreted in an allegorical manner. No very damnable heresies, one would think; but when the sect made its appearance in England, about the year 1580, their books were publicly burnt, and the sect dispersed. Ill THE GNOSTICS 1 1 8. Character of Gnosticism.—The leading ideas of Platonism are also found in the tenets of the Gnostics (i.e., "Those who know," coloro che sanno.—Inf. iv. 131), and they continued, during the second and third centuries, the schools that raised a barrier between recondite philosophy and vulgar superstition. Under this aspect Gnosticism is the most universal heresy, the mother of many posterior heresies, even of Arianism, and reappears among the alchymists, mystics, and modern transcendentalists. 119. Doctrines.—The Gnostics assumed an infinite, invisible Being, an abyss of darkness, who, unable to remain inactive, diffused himself in emanations, decreasing in perfection the further they were removed from the centre that produced them. They had their grand triad, whose personifications—Matter, the Demiurgus, and the Saviour— comprised and represented the history of mankind and of the world. The superior emanations, partakers of the attributes of the Divine essence, are the ** aeons," distributed in classes accordiug to symbolical numbers. Their union forms the " pleroma," or the fulness of intelligence. The last and most imperfect emanation of the pleroma, according to one of the two grand divisions of Gnosticism, is the Demiurgus, a balance of light and darkness, of strength and weakness, who, without the concurrence of the unknown Father, produces this world, there imprisoning the souls, for he is the primary evil, opposed to the primary good. He encumbers the souls with matter, from which they are redeemed by Christ, one of the sublime powers of the pleroma, the Divine thought, intelligence, the spirit. For humanity is destined to raise itself again from the material to the spiritual life; to free itself from Nature, and to govern it, and to live again in immortal beauty. According to the other party of the Gnostics, the Demiurgus was the representative and organ of the highest God, 94 THE GNOSTICS 95 who was placed by the Divine will especially over the Jewish people as their Jehovah. Men are divided into three classes: the terrestrial men, of the earth earthy, tied and bound by matter; the spiritual men, the Pnenmatikoi, who attain to the Divine light; the Psychikoi, who only rise up to the Demiurgus. The Jews, subject to Jehovah, were Psychikoi; the Pagans were terrestrial men; the true Christians or Gnostics, PneumatikoL 120. Development of Gnosticisin.—Simon Magus; Menander, his successor; Cerinthus, the apostle of the Millennium, and some others who lived in the first century, are looked upon as the founders of Gnosticism, which soon divided into as many sects as there arose apostles. This may be called the obscure period of Gnosticism. But at the beginning of the second century the sect of Basilides of Alexandria arose, and with it various centres of Gnosticism in Egypt, Syria, Eome, Spain, etc. Basilides, who corrupted Gnosticism with Indian and Egyptian fancies, assumed 365 aeons or cycles of creation, which were expressed by the word abraxas, whose letters, according to their numerical value in Greek, produce the number 365. By " abraxas " was meant, in its deeper sense, the Supreme God; but the reader will at once detect the astronomical bearing, and remember the words Mithras and Belenus, which also severally represent that number, and the Supreme God, viz., the sun. Valentinus also is a famous Gnostic, whose fundamental doctrine is that all men shall be restored to their primeval state of perfection; that matter, the refuge of evil, shall be consumed by fire—which is also the doctrine of Zoroaster; and that the spirits in perfect maturity shall ascend into the pleroma, there to enjoy all the delights of a perfect union with their companions. From the Valentinians sprang the Ophites, calling themselves so after the serpent that by tempting Eve brought into the world the blessings of knowledge; and the Cainites, who maintained that Cain had been the first Gnostic, in opposition to the blind, unreasoning faith of Abel, and therefore persecuted by the Demiurgus, Jehovah. On this idea is founded the Masonic Legend of the Temple. The Antitacts (opponents to the law), like the Ishmaelites at a later period, taught their adepts hatred against all positive religions and laws. The Adamites looked upon marriage as the fruit of sin; they called their lascivious initiation "paradise," held all indulgence in carnal delights lawful, and advocated the abolition of dress. The Pepuzians varied their initiations with the apparition of phantasms, among 96 SECEET SOCIETIES whom was a woman crowned with the sun and twelve stars, and having the moon under her feet—the Isis of Egypt and the Ceres of Greece. They found in the Apocalypse all their initiatory terminology. A gnostic stone, represented in the work of Chifflet, shows seven stars of equal size, with a larger one above; these probably mean the seven planets and the sun. There are, moreover, figured on it a pair of compasses, a square, and other geometrical emblems. Thus all religious initiations are ever reducible to astronomy and natural phenomena. 121. Spirit of Gnosticism.—The widely opposite ideas of polytheism, pantheism, monotheism, the philosophical systems of Plato, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, together with the mysticism and demonology that after the Jewish captivity created the Cabbala—all these went towards forming Gnosticism. And the aristocracy of mind, powerful and numerous as none had ever been before, that arose in the first centuries of our era, even when adopting the new faith, could not but loathe the thought of sharing it completely with the crowd of freed and unfreed slaves around them—with the low and poor in spirit. The exclasiveness of Gnosticism, which was one of the causes why it was violently persecuted by the Fathers of the Church as damnable heresy, was undoubtedly, next to the attractiveness of its dogmas, one of the chief reasons of its rapid propagation and its lasting influence on modern religious systems. It is said that the Gnostics recognised one another by slightly tickling the palm of the person with whom they shook hands. IV THE ESSENES 122. Connection of Jvdaism and Gnosticism.—At the dispersion of the Jews in the heart of Asia, attempts were made to discover analogies between the Chinese doctrines of Lan-Tze (80) and those of the Hebrews, extending even to the name Jehovah; and it is undeniable that whilst the Jews on the one hand assimilated their dogmas with those of Zoroaster, on the other they diffused Gnostic and Cabbalistic ideas throughout the world. And Lau-Tze has by some been considered as a forerunner of Gnosticism. A fragment of this religious teacher runs thus: " Before the chaos that preceded the birth of the universe, there existed one sole being, boundless and silent, immutable and yet ever active, that may be called the Mother of the universe. I know not its name, but may call it Intelligence. Man has his model on the earth, the earth in heaven, the heaven in Intelligence, and Intelligence in itself." 123. Essenes and Therapeutce.—On their return to Judssa the Jews were split into various sects, such as the Pharisees, whose name is supposed to be derived from Parsees, and Sadducees, Chasidim, and Zadikim. With regard to the Mosaic law the Pharisees were ChoMdim (Pietists), whilst the Samaritans, Essenes, and Sadducees were Zadikim. The former afterwards split into Talmudists, Eabbinists, and Cabbalists (no, Sect of the "New Saints"). But those in which the Eastern element predominated most were the Essenes and the Therapeutae. These two sects have often been confounded, it being assumed that the latter formed the highest degree of the order. But they were quite distinct, having nothing in common except their moral precepts. Their practices were not exclusively Oriental, but by means of the Alexandrian school were connected with Western traditions, and especially with the teachings of Pythagoras. The Essenes, approaching more to the principles of Zoroaster, who held that the soul was to be freed as much as possible VOL. I. G 98 SECEET SOCIETIES from corporeal influences, submitted to fastings and maceration; the Therapeutae, living in Egypt, endeavoured to reconcile the doctrines of the East with the ancient traditions of Greece, wherefore the picture Philo, who strongly sympathised with them, has left us of their society, abounds with Eastern and Pythagorean ideas. It is, however, doubtful whether the work was really written by Philo; by many it is supposed to be the work of a Christian monk, as a panegyric on ascetic monachism. Some writers have attempted to derive the Essenians from the Ephesian priesthood, and tracing some resemblance between the Orphics of Thrace, the Curete of Crete, and the Ephesian priests, the existence of an ancient common doctrine, submerged like a philosophical Atlantis, was suspected, the Grecians being looked upon as a powerful offshoot; but it seems certain that the Essenes had very little of Greece in their rituals, whilst the Therapeutae had a great deal. The Essenes may, with great probability, be derived from the Assideans (i Mac. ii. 42), who, in consequence of the perfidy of Alcimus (i Mac. vii. 13-16), severed their connection with the Temple. In our English Apocrypha, the Assideans are called (i Mac. ii 42) " mighty men of Israel," but the meaning of the original is, " adherents of the old faith." They were not warriors, as has been supposed; they were the first to seek peace (i Mac. vii. 13), for they formed a religious and not a military community. 124. Their Tenets and Customs.—The Essenes were renowned for their moral and virtuous lives. They dwelt in villages, far from towns, tilling the land, owning no slaves, and having all their goods in common. They made no vows of celibacy, but most abstained from marriage, dreading the infidelity and fickleness of woman. They cultivated the physical sciences, and especially medicine. No one was admitted into their community, except after having passed through graduated probations lasting several years. And why they are reckoned among secret societies is, because they may be considered as the opponents of the Jewish priesthood at a time when that priesthood was all-powerful, and any opposition to it was attended with the utmost danger. Now the doctrines of the Essenes were necessarily opposed to the Hebrew faith, and to escape the persecution which they otherwise might have incurred, they in the first instance adopted a name calculated to disarm suspicion, viz., that of Essenes, from the Essen or breastplate worn by the Jewish high-priest, and further took every possible precaution in THE ESSENES 99 the admission of members into their secret order, which was divided into four degrees, and the process of initiation was so an'anged that a candidate, even after having entered the third, did not know the grand secret, and if not found trustworthy to be admitted into the innermost sanctuary, remained totally unconscious of its real nature, and only saw in it the governing ranks, highest in rank, but not otherwise distinguished in point of doctrine. A perfect parallel of this system is found in Freemasonry; the members of the first three degrees are not initiated into the grand so-called secret of Masonry; only in the Eoyal Arch they are informed of it). The four degrees above referred to were respectively called the "Faithful," the "Illuminate," the "Initiated," and the " Perfect." The Faithful received at their initiation a new or baptismal name, and this was engraved with a secret mark upon a white stone (probably alluded to in Eev. ii. 17, which, as we shall hereafter see, was not Christian in its origin), which he retained as a voucher of his membership. The usual sign was the cross, though other signs also were employed. 125. Distinction between the two Sects.—The Therapeutae were more addicted to contemplation and less to labour; they might be called speculative Essenes. They were less opposed to the admission of women, and at some of their festivals they performed dances, in which the fair sex were allowed to join. But whilst not denying themselves the society of women, they banished wine from all their meals; they were afraid, it seems, of the conjunction of Bacchus and Venus. They alone had, or professed to have, the key to the right interpretation of the writings of Moses, a true knowledge of the Cabbala, and according to tradition, Christ was born of parents belonging to the society, who brought up and trained the child in the part he was to play. The Essenes and Therapeutas resided chiefly in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea and in Egypt, and their existence was prolonged into the fourth century of our era. J BOOK III CHRISTIAN INITIATIONS CHEISTIAN INITIATIONS 126. Myth of Horus ChHstianised.—When the story of the Egyptian Horus had, by a concatenation of circumstances . too long to be described here, in Alexandria, been elaborated into the myth of Christ, the latter was at once fitted out with mysteries and initiations thereinto. Traces of them may be found in all the evangelists, but most in St. Paul; and the trials of Christian initiation, as some suppose, are described in Luke xiv., and according to others, Matthew xvii. contains a full declaration of the mysteries made to the elect or initiated. If so, they are conveyed in language as enigmatical as that of the Alchymists. But the story of the Transfiguration on the Mount is an imperfect description of the holding of a quasi-masonic lodge of association in the highest degree. The more the society extended, chiefly by the ambitious schemes of Cerinthus, the more such initiations increased, and thus there gradually arose in the Church the secret discipline. The Cerinthus just mentioned, and who was also ironically called Merinthus—i.e., the " rope "—was really a Gnostic. St. John held him in such abhorrence, that on one occasion he would not bathe with him in the Baths of Ephesus for fear the vault would crumble over the heretic. The primitive Church believed that the Gospel of St. John had been written against Cerinthus, who, to revenge himself, attributed the Apocalypse to St. John. 127. Christian Mysteries.—In the writings of the Fathers the mention of mysterious designations and distinctions becomes more frequent. St. Augustin gives the reason why the secret discipline was adopted by the new believers: Firstly, because the mysteries, so incomprehensible to human intellect, and their simple rites, should not be derided by the Gentiles and those not fully initiated; secondly, to secure greater veneration for those rites; and thirdly, that the holy curiosity of the catechumens should be excited to obtain a perfect knowledge of them. I04 128. Similarity of Christian with Pagan Rites.—At least twenty different incarnate gods were celebrated in the East and West, to each of whom was attributed a history, similar in general details to that of the Christian Messiah, and these various incarnations were all supposed to have preceded Christ in point of chronology; the miracles attributed to Him had been sculptured in temples hoary with age before the date assigned to His birth. In all the ancient mysteries we have seen a representation of the death of the sun; according to some writers, this ceremony was imitated in the Cliristian mysteries by the symbolical slaying of a child, which, in the lower degrees, of course meant the death of Christ. We may here mention, just to show how. old is the custom of the followers of an ancient religion to attribute horrible practices to the professors of a new creed, that the Bomans asserted that, on being initiated into the Christian faith, the aspirant had placed before him a male child, covered with flour, whom he had to stab till he was dead, whereupon all present greedily licked up the blood, tore the body to pieces, and ate them, by which ceremony they were bound to one common silence. The initiated were divided into three classes: hearers, catechumens, and faithful. The hearers formed a noviciate, and were prepared to be instructed in the Christian dogmas. One i)ortion of these dogmas was hidden from the catechumens, who after the prescribed purifications, received baptism or initiation into the theogenesis (divine generation); they then became servants of the faith, and were admitted into the temples, and recognised each other by the sign of the cross. Solemn dances were performed in all the initiations, and the expression, "to come from the ball," which, for instance, we meet with in lius Aristides, the rhetorician (circa 150 A.D.), meant "to betray the mysteries." 1 29. Christian Symbols taken from Pagan Symiols.—Most of the hieroglyphics and symbols of Paganism passed into Christianity. The vine, and the processes of converting its fruit into the most universal of beverages, all belonging among the heathens to the rites of Bacchus, were by the first Christians rendered symbolical of the labours in the vineyard of faith. The ear of com of Ceres furnished the emblem for the bread which Christ divided among His disciples. The palm and crown, which denoted worldly victories, among the Christians signified spiritual triumphs. The wings of the doves were given to the angels and cherubim; the dove of Venus became the Holy Ghost; CHRISTIAN INITIATIONS 105 Diana's stag, the Christian soul panting for the living water; Juno's peacock, that soul after resurrection. The sphinx, the griffin, and the chimera of mythology were by the Christians adopted as having the same power of warding off evil spirits and fornication, which was supposed to belong to the Gorgon's head. The keys of Janus, with St. Peter, expressed the highest power to set free and bind. In the primitive ages the pontiff wore a girdle whence depended seven keys and seven seals, symbols of the mysteries he was to preside over and keep secret. The cross (53) at first was a symbol not openly displayed, and it was not till the sixth century that the body of Christ was exhibited on it. The fish was not a Christian symbol of the Saviour merely because the Greek word for fish, t%5i59, contained the initials of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, as is generally alleged, but because throughout the ancient world water was connected with the idea of salvation: Isis was associated with the fish, Moses means "drawn from the water," Joshua was the sun of Nun, "the fish." Vishnu's first incarnation in the form of a fish and the Cannes of the Chaldeans all have the same meaning. 130. Celebration of the Mysteries.—They were divided into two parts. The first was called the " mass of the catechumens," because the members of that degree were allowed to be present at it, and it embraced what was said from the beginning of the service to the Apostles' Creed. The second was called the "mass of the faithful," and comprised the preparation for the sacrifice, the sacrifice itself, and thanksgiving. When this latter commenced, a deacon intimated to the catechumens to go out, and the phrase used by him on that occasion savours but little of the pretended meekness and toleration of the youthful Church: Sancta Sanctis /oris canss. The faithful being left alone recited the Apostles' Creed, whereby it was seen that all present had been fully initiated, and that all metaphorical or enigmatical language might be dispensed with. 131. Astronomical Meaning of Christianity.—Then the real mystery was unveiled, and the astronomical meaning of Christianity, similar to that of the ancient mysteries, was laid bare. The limits of this work will not allow me to enter into full details, but what follows will sufficiently explain the nature of the secret doctrines of the early Christians. Thus to them the Seven Churches of Asia were the seven months from March to September, both inclusive, as is proved by their names. Christ represented the sun, and io6 His first miracle is turning water into wine, which the sun does every year; His agony in Gethsemane was the , juice of the grape put in the wine-press; His descent into hell was the sun in the winter season; His crucifixion on Calvary (calvus = bald = shorn of His rays) His crossing the equator in the autumn; and His crucifixion in Egypt (Rev. xi. 8) His crossing it in the spring. The beheading of John the Baptist was shown to them to be John, Janus, or Aquarius, having his head cut off by the line of the horizon on the 29th August, wherefore his festival occurs on that day. They knew the Virgin Mary to be the Virgo of the zodiac, the goddess Ceres, who holds out to Adam, or man, the produce of the harvest; the Virgin, wedded to Joseph, astronomically Bootes, which constellation always rises and sets with her. These analogies might be pursued still further, but enough has been said for our present purpose. 132. Prometheus Bound.—The myth of Christ had been foreshadowed 500 years before our era in the tragedy of -schylus ' " Prometheus Bound." Hence the disinclination of the Athenians, to whom this tragedy was familiar, to believe in a Jesus, crucified amidst the most astounding terrestrial and astronomical phenomena, of which, however, no one except the propounders of the new doctrine had ever heard. The name Prometheus deserves attention; it is a compound word: Proma-theos, i,e,, Brahma-theos. In the Tamul, a language derived from the Sanscrit, Brahma is pronounced Prahma. The Indian a has also been turned into 0, for navam, nine, is undoubtedly the etymon of novem; pada, poda, etc. The converse of the change of B into P is found in Baphomet, from Papa and Mahomet, To return to Prometheus: he and Christ perish on a hill; both submit to the law of another god to save mankind; both have their right sides pierced, Prometheus by a vulture, Jesus by a lance, the former on a rock, the latter on a cross; and in the moment of death both expiatory victims utter the same sentiments, that is to say, the Gospels repeat the words put into the mouth of Prometheus 500 years before Christ. What strengthens the identity is the fact that Prometheus has a friend called Oceanus, who in the ancient mythologies is also called Piereus (Pierre), Peter. Now in the tragedy of .schylus we read that Oceanus denied his friend at the moment when the anger of God made him a victim for the sins of the human race. St. Peter, who lived by the ocean or sea, did the same under similar circumstances. CHRISTIAN INITIATIONS 107 133. Abolition of Mysteries.—The number of the faithful having greatly increased—the Christians from being persecuted having become persecutors, and that of the most grasping and barbarous kind—the Church in the seventh century instituted the minor orders, among whom were the doorkeepers, who took the place of the deacons. In 692 every one was ordered thenceforth to be admitted to the public worship of the Christians, their esoteric teaching of the first ages was entirely suppressed, and what had been pure cosmology and astronomy was turned into a pantheon of gods and saints. Nothing remained of the mysteries but the custom of secretly reciting the canon of the Mass. Nevertheless in the Greek Church the priest celebrates divine worship behind a curtain, which is only removed during the elevation of the host, but since at that moment the worshippers prostrate themselves, they are supposed not to see the holy sacrament. II THE APOCALYPSE 134. The Apocalypse.—This book, hitherto accepted as one of genuinely Christian authorship, is • now by competent critics, received in its main substance, and throughout by far the greater part of it, as a purely Jewish composition; in fact, as a Jewish Apocalypse put into a Christian dress after the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The first, three chapters are Christian, of course, but in the fourth chapter the book begins again, and from that to the end, with the exception of a few short passages, which are interpolations, all is purely Jewish, or rather a medley of occidental, Judaic, and sectarian doctrines. The bulk of the work is a description of the Pagan mysteries, which the Christianising adapter transforms into those of the Christian myth; to the latter it is what the " Golden Ass " of Apuleius and the " Sixth Book " of Virgil is to the Pagan mysteries, from which its whole machinery is borrowed. The woman clothed with the sun, standing upon the moon, and symbolising the true Church, is the Egyptian Isis; the attack upon the woman and her offspring by the deluging serpent, which is frustrated by the earth's absorption of the water, is perfectly analogous to the attack of the diluvian serpent Python upon Osiris, or Latona, or Horus, which is similarly frustrated by the destruction of that monster; the false Church, bearing the name of Mystery—of course, referring to the Pagan Mystery — floating on the waters, or riding on a terrific beast, and ultimately plunged into the infernal lake, exhibits the very same aspect as the Great Mother of Paganism sailing over the ocean, riding on the lion, venerated with certain mysteries, and during their celebration plunged into the waters of a sacred lake, denominated the lake of Hades. St Paul himself personates an aspirant about to be initiated, and accordingly the images presented to his mind's eye closely resemble the pageants of the mysteries. The prophet first beholds a door opened in the magnificent temple of heaven, Z08 THE APOCALYPSE 109 and into this he is invited to enter by one who plays the hierophant. Here he witnesses the unsealing of the sacred book, and immediately he is assailed by a troop of ghastly apparitions. Among these are pre-eminently conspicuous a vast serpent, the well-known symbol of the Great Father; and two wild beasts, severally coming up out of the sea and out of the earth. Such hideous figures correspond with the canine phantoms in the Orgies, and with the polymorphic images of the principal hero-god, who was universally deemed the offspring of the sea. Passing these terrific monsters in safety, the prophet, constantly attended by his angel-hierophant, is conducted into the presence of a female, and, like Isis emerging from the sea, and exhibiting herself to the eyes of the aspirant Apuleius, this female divinity, upborne upon the marine wild beast, appears to float upon the surface of many waters. She is said to be an open and systematic harlot, just as the Great Mother was the declared female principle of fecundity, and as she was often propitiated by literal fornication reduced to a religious system; and as the initiated were made to drink a prepared liquor out of a sacred goblet, so this harlot is represented as intoxicating the kings of the earth with the golden cup of her prostitution. On her forehead the very name Mystery is inscribed; its nature the officiating hierophant undertakes to explain. To the sea-born Great Father was ascribed a threefold state; he lived, he died, and he revived, and these changes of condition were duly exhibited in the mysteries. To the sea-born wild beast is similarly ascribed a threefold state; he lives, he dies, and he revives. While dead he lies floating on the mighty ocean, just like Horus, or Osiris, or Siva, or Vishnu; when he revives he emerges from the waters, and whether alive or dead, he bears seven heads and ten horns, numbers that have their prototypes in the mysteries (18, etc.). And as the worshippers of the Great Father bore his special mark, and were distinguished by his name, so the worshippers of the maritime beast equally bear his mark, and are equally designated by his appellation. At length the first or doleful part of these sacred mysteries draws to a close, and the last or joyful part is rapidly approaching. After the prophet has beheld the enemies of God plunged into a dreadful lake or inundation of liquid fire (64), which corresponds with the infernal lake or deluge of the Egyptian mysteries, he is introduced into a splendidly illuminated region expressly adorned with the characteristics of that paradise which was the ultimate scope of the no SECEET SOCIETIES ancient aspirants, while without the holy gate of admission are the whole multitude of the profane, sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth or maketh a lie; but first of all dogs, i,e., the uninitiated, the cowans (kvcov) of Freemasonry. For some modern thinkers the Apocalypse has neither meaning nor value. 135. Pagan Impostors.—The spread of Christianity produced also many opponents to it, either avowed or secret; the latter, however, in most cases desired to see Paganism reformed, not abolished; though rejecting Christianity, they attempted to form a sort of Christianised Paganism. Clever impostors in those days reaped a rich harvest from the credulity of mankind, and sects without end sprang up. Two of the most successful leaders of such were ApoUonius of Tyana and Alexander of Abonoteichos. Their doctrines, ceremonies, and tricks in mystery - mongering were largely founded on the religious and philosophical charlatanism of Pythagoras; they had their day, and passed away, to be constantly resuscitated. BOOK IV ISHMAELITES " And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him."—Gen. xvi. 12. THE LODGE OF WISDOM 136. Legend of the JlfaArfi.— The Arabs had rendered themselves masters of Persia, bat that country did not willingly bear the foreign yoke. In the schism which, after the death of Mahomet, divided his followers, the Persians took the side of Ali, the husband of Mahomet's daughter, Fatima, and the successor of the Prophet. At the end of the eighth century the two great divisions of Mahometans were already split up into numerous sects; but all of them had one belief in common, namely, in the coming of a Messiah, or, in their language, a Mahdi or guide. The Ghoolat, an extravagant sect, had started the doctrine, adopted by other sects, that the last visible imam, or supreme ecclesiastical ruler, had been Ismael, reckoning Ali as the first, and those who thought so were called Ismaelites; whilst others said Askeree, the twelfth imam, to have been the last visible one, and that he had vanished in a cavern at Hilla, on the banks of the Euphrates, where he would remain invisible till the end of the world, when he would reappear as the Mahdi. On this belief a bold adventurer founded the plan of freeing Persia and raising himself to power. On this belief the power of the Mahdi of the present day is founded. 137. Abdallah, the first Pontiff.—The just-mentioned adventurer's name was Abdallah, the son of Mamoon, and grandson of the famous Haroon Er-Easheed. The Ishmaelites were numerous in Persia; he addressed himself to them, telling them that Ismael had indeed been the last imam, but that Mohammed, his son, was a prophet, and the founder of a new religion, which would confirm the doctrine of Ismael, and secure to its followers the empire of the world. Since the creation, he told his followers, there have been six religious periods, each distinguished by the incarnation of a prophet. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet were the prophets of those periods. Their mission was to lead men to ascending degrees of religious perfection. VOL. I. "3 jj 1 14 The seven imams of All's posterity are the seven interpreters of the hidden sense of Mahomet's religion, and the forerunners of the most perfect doctrine, whose triumph is at hand: the doctrine of Mohammed, the son of Ismael. And as seven imams succeeded Mahomet, so there always were seven pontiffs after every previous prophet, and so there will be seven pontiffs after Mohammed. I am the first of these pontiffs. The pontiff's office is to explain to the initiated that every religion has two meanings, the one apparent, intended for the vulgar crowd, the other secret, and only true one, showing that all religions have but one aim. 138. Origin of Quarmatites.—Mohammad-ben-Hosain, surnamed Za'idan, a rich and patriotic Persian, was so captivated by the plan of Abdallah, that he made him a present of two millions of pieces of gold. But being persecuted by the governor of Susiana, Abdallah made his escape to Syria, where one of his missionaries converted, about 887, a certain Hamdan, famous under the name of Quarmat, who formed the sect known as the Quarmatites, whose power, rapidly developed during two centuries, caused the Khalifs to tremble on their thrones. 139. Origin of Fatimite Dynasty.—On Abdallah's death he was followed in the pontificate by one of his sons, Saidben-Hosain-ben-Abdallah, who asserted that he was the expected Fatimite Messiah, the Mahdi; and when he was informed that numerous partisans were anxiously expecting him in Africa, Said, adopting the name of Obaid Allah the Mahdi, passed into Africa, overthrew the dynasty of the Aghlabites, ruling in Tripoli and Tunis, and founded the famous dynasty of the Fatimites (a.d. 909). His greatgrandson, Moizz li dinillah, drove the Khalifs of Bagdad from Egypt, and laid the foundations of Cairo, which he made his capital. 140. The Lodge of Cairo.—Here he founded the Lodge of Cairo, which might correctly be described as a university; it contained many books and scientific instruments; science was the professed object, but the real aim was very different. The course of instruction was divided into nine degrees. The first sought to inspire the pupil with doubts, and with confidence in his teacher who was to solve them. For this purpose captious questions were to show him the absurdity of the literal sense of the Koran, and obscure hints gave him to understand that under that shell was hidden a sweet and nutritious kernel; but the instruction went no further unless the pupil bound himself by dreadful oaths to blind faith THE LODGE OF WISDOM 115 in, and absolute obedience to, his instructor. The second inculcated the recognition of the imams, or directors, appointed by God as the fountains of every kind of knowledge. The third informed him of the number of those blessed or holy imams, and that number was the mystical seven. The fourth informed him that God had sent into the world seven legislators, each of whom had seven coadjutors, and who were called mutes, whilst the legislators were called speakers. The fifth informed him that each of these coadjutors had twelve apostles. The sixth placed before the eyes of the adept, advanced so far, the precepts of the Koran, and he was taught that all the dogmas of religion ought to be subordinate to the rule of philosophy; he was also instructed in the systems of Plato and Aristotle. The seventh degree embraced mystical pantheism. The eighth again brought before him the dogmatic precepts of the Mohammedan law, estimating it at its just value. The ninth degree, finally, as the necessary result of all the former, taught that nothing was to be believed, and that everything was lawful. 141. Progress of Doctrines.—These were the ends aimed At—human responsibility and dignity were to be annihilated; the throne of the descendants of Fatima was to be surrounded with an army of assassins, a formidable body-guard; a mysterious militia was to be raised, that should spread far and wide the fame and terror of the caliphate of Cairo, and inflict fatal blows on the abhorred rule of Bagdad. The missionaries spread widely, and in Arabia and Syria partisans were won to whom the designs of the order were unknown, but who had with fearful solemnity sworn blind obedience. The nocturnal labours of the Lodge of Cairo lasted a century; and its doctrines, which ended with denying all truth, morality, and justice, necessarily produced something very extraordinary. So terrible a shock to the human conscience led to one of those phenomena that leave a sanguinary and indelible trace on the page of history. It remains to be noticed that Hakem Biamrillah, the founder of the sect of the Druses (157), was originally a member of the Lodge of Cairo. The Mahdists have come to the front again in the present troubles in the Sudan. But accolrding to the Times correspondent (5th June 1896), -their power is at an end. Abdullah el Taaisha, who called himself the Khalifa of the Mahdi, now styles himself the Sultan of the Sudan, but his followers seem decreasing, and as they no longer form a secret society, their doings do not enter into the scope of this work. II THE ASSASSINS 142. Foundation of Order.—Only Arabia and Syria could have been the theatre of the dismal deeds of the Old Man or rather Lord of the Mountain, Hassan Sabbah was one of the days or missionaries of the School of Cairo, a man of adventurous spirit, who, having greatly distinguished himself, acquired much influence at Cairo. This influence, however, excited the envy of others, who succeeded in having him exiled. He had been put on board a ship to take him out of the country, but a storm arising, all considered themselves lost. But Hassan, assuming an authoritative air, exclaimed, " The Lord has promised me that no evil shall befall me." Suddenly the storm abated, and the sailors cried, "A miracle!" and became his followers. Hassan traversed Persia, preaching and making proselytes, and having seized the fortress of Alamut (1090), on the borders of Irak, and Dilem, which he called the " House of Fortune," he there established his rule. 143. Influence of Hassan.—What kind of rule? The history of .his time is full of his name. Kings in the very centre of Europe trembled at it; his powerful arm reached everywhere. Philip Augustus of France was so afraid of him that he dared not stir without his guard around him; and perhaps the otherwise implacable Lord of the Mountain forgave him because of his fear. At first he showed no other intention but to increase the sway of the caliphate of Cairo, but was not long before throwing of the mask, because his fierce character submitted with difficulty to cunning and hypocrisy. He reduced the nine degrees into which the adherents of the Lodge of Cairo were divided to seven, placing himself at the head, with the title of Seydna or Sidna, whence the Spanish Cid, and the Italian Signore. The term Assassins is a corruption of Hashishim, derived from hashish (the hemp plant), with which the chief intoxi THE ASSASSINS 117 cated his followers when they entered on some desperate 'enterprise. 144. Degrees of the Order.—To regulate the seven degrees he composed the Catechism of the Order. The first degree recommended to the missionary attentively to watch the •disposition of the candidate, before admitting him to the order. The second impressed it upon him to gain the confidence of the candidate, by flattering his inclinations and passions; the third, to involve him in doubts and difficulties t)y showing him the absurdity of the Koran; the fourth, to exact from him a solemn oath of fidelity and obedience, with a promise to lay his doubts before his instructor; and the fifth, to show him that the most famous men of Church and State belonged to the secret order. The sixth, called " Confirmation," enjoined on the instructor to examine the proselyte concerning the whole preceding course, and firmly to establish him in it. The seventh, finally, called the ' Exposition of the Allegory," gave the keys of the sect. 145. Devotion of Followers.—The followers were divided into two great hosts, " self-sacrificers " and "aspirants." The first, despising fatigues, dangers, and tortures, joyfully gave their lives whenever it pleased the great master, who required them either to protect himself or to carry out his mandates of death. The victim having been pointed out, the faithful, clothed in a white tunic with a red sash, the colours of innocence and blood, went on their mission, without being deterred by distance or danger. Having found the person they sought, they awaited the favourable moment for slaying him, and their daggers seldom missed their aim. Conrad of Montferrat, having quarrelled with Easchid-addin, the then Lord of the Mountain, and also caused a number of Musulman prisoners, brought from Tyre, to be massacred, Saladin induced Easchid-addin to kill Conrad. Eichard Coeur-de-Lion was long accused of having instigated the murder. Two Assassins allowed themselves to be baptized, and placing themselves beside him, seemed only intent on praying; but the favourable opportunity presenting itself, they slew him, and one of them took refuge in a church. But hearing that the prince had been carried off still alive, he again forced his way into Montferrat's presence, and This, at least, is the usual derivation. But it is doubtful, for hashish was not taken by the Assassins only, but by all Eastern nations. Possibly the word is derived from the Arab A—In that inacces* sible nest the vulture-soul of its master was alone with his own ambition; and the very solitude, which constituted his power, must at times have weighed heavy upon him. And so it is said that he composed theological works, and gave himself up to frequent religious exercises. And this need not surprise us; theological studies are no bar to ferocity, and mystical gentleness is often found united with sanguinary fury. But he killed with calculation, to gain fame and power, to inspire fear and secure success. He impressed on his followers the belief that he could see things happening at a distance, and having established a pigeon-post, he was frequently informed of distant events with a surprising THE ASSASSINS 119 rapidity. A Persian caliph thought of attacking and dispersing the sect, and foand on his pillow a dagger and a letter from Hassan, saying, " What has been placed beside thy head may be planted in thy heart." In spite of yeara he remained sanguinary to the last. With his own hand he killed his two sons; the one for having slain a day, and the other for having tasted wine. He did not design to found a dynasty or regular government, but an order, sect, or secret society; and perhaps his sons perished in consequence of badly disguising their desire to succeed him. 148. Further Instances of Devotion in Followers.—The obedience to the faithful did not cease with Hassan's death, as the following will show. Henry, Count of Champagne, had to pass close by the territory of the Assassins; one of the successors of Hassan, £ishad-ad-din, invited him to visit the fortress, which invitation the Count accepted. On making the round of the towers, two of the " faithful," at a sign from the " Lord," stabbed themselves to the heart, and fell at the feet of the terrified Count; whilst the master coolly said, " Say but the word, and at a sign from me you shall see them all thus on the ground." The Sultan having sent an ambassador to summon the rebellious Assassins to submission, the lord, in the presence of the ambassador, said to one of the faithful, " Kill thyself! " and he did it; and to another, " Throw thyself from this tower! " and he hurled himself down. Then turning to the ambassador, he said, " Seventy thousand followers obey me in the same manner. This is my reply to your master." The only exaggeration in this is probably in the number, the whole number of followers being never estimated above forty thousand, many of whom, moreover, were not " faithful ones," but only aspirants. 149. Murder ofBaschid-addin's Ambassador.—The Knights of the Temple had possessions in the neighbourhood of those of the Assassins, and their superior power had enabled them, at what time is uncertain, to render the latter tributaries to the amount of 2000 ducats per annum. Easchid-addin, to whom all religions were alike, conceived the idea of releasing himself from this tribute by becoming, together with his people, Christians. He therefore sent in 1 172 an ambassador to Amalric, king of Jerusalem, offering to embrace Christianity, provided the king would engage the Templars to renounce the tribute. The king readily assented to this, and at the same time assured the Templars that they should not be losers, as he would pay them the 2000 ducats annually 120 out of his treasnry. The Templars made no objection, but on his way home the Ishmaelite ambassador was murdered by some Knights of the Temple, who, it would appear, acted by the orders of their superior, who probably —Raschid-addin died in 1 192. His successors had neither his genius nor his prestige. The days of the sect were counted. In 1256 Hoolagoo, the brother of Mongoo, the Great Khan of Mongolia, invaded Persia, and exterminated all the Assassins he could seize. Eokn-addin, the last Master of Alamut, was put to death; most of his fortresses fell into the hands of Hoolagoo. But the Mameluk Sultan of Egypt having in 1 260 defeated the Mongolians, the fortresses were restored to the Ishmaelites. But this was only a respite; in 1265 *t®y e forced to pay tribute to the Sultan of Egypt. Sarim, the then chief of the Assassins, in 1 270 made one more effort to throw off the Egyptian yoke, but he was defeated, and in 1273 the Assassins had surrendered all their strong places to Baibars I., Sultan of Egypt. But this ruler had no intention, like Hoolagoo, of exterminating the Assassins; his object was to turn them to account. Ibn Batoutah, the traveller, in 1326 found them residing in their ancient towns and fortified places: they are, he says, the arrows of the Sultan, with which he reaches his enemies. And from the preface to a collection of anecdotes regarding Easchid-addin, made by Abou Firas about the year 1324, we learn that the doctrines of the Assassins continued to be openly professed. 151. Modern Assassins.—The sect is still in existence, both in Persia and Syria. The Persian Ishmaelites dwell chiefly in Roodbar, but they are to be met with all over the East, and even appear as traders on the banks of the Ganges. A. Drummond, British Consul at Aleppo, in his "Travels through Several Parts of Asia" (London, 1754, fol.), says (p. 217), "Some authors assert that these people [the Assassins] were entirely extirpated in the thirteenth THE ASSASSINS 121 century by the Tartars . . . but I, who have lived so long in this infernal place, will venture to affirm that some of their spawn still exists in the mountains that surround us; for nothing is so cruel, barbarous, and execrable that is not acted, and even gloried in, by these cursed Gourdina" Further, M. Eousseau, the French Consul at Aleppo, when travelling through Persia in 18 10, found that the Assassins recognised as their chief an imam of the posterity of Ali residing at Kehk, a small village between Ispahan and Teheran. His name was Shah Khaliloullah, and he was revered almost like a god and credited with the power of working miracles. Fraser, another traveller, says that the followers of Khaliloullah would, when he pared his nails, fight for the clippings; the water in which he washed became holy water. This chief was killed, during a temporary sojourn at Yezd, in a riot against the governor of the town, and he was succeeded by his son. 152. A Modern Assassin Chief.—In 1866 a singular law case was decided at Bombay. There is in that city a numerous community of traders called Khodjas. A Persian, Aga Khan Mehelati, i.e., a native of Mehelat, a place situate near Khek, had sent an agent to Bombay to claim from the Khodjas the annual tribute due from them to him, and amounting to about; 10,000. The claim was resisted, and the British court was appealed to by Aga Khan. Sir Joseph Arnold investigated his claim. The Aga proved his pedigree, showing that he descended in a direct line from the fourth grandmaster of Alamut, and Sir Joseph declared it proved; and it was further demonstrated by the trial that the Khodjas were members of the ancient sect of the Assassins, to which sect they had been converted four hundred years before by an Ishmaelite missionary, who composed a work which has remained the sacred book of the Khodjas; it is written in a jargon which only the initiated can understand. In 1841-42, during the Afghan war, Aga Khan furnished to the British Government a contingent of light cavalry, raised at his own expense, for which he was awarded a pension, which, besides the;£'20,ooo per annum he receives from the Khodjas, enables him to live in good style either at Bombay, or Puna, or Bangalore, where he indulges in his favourite pastime, hunting. When the Prince of Wales was in India he paid a visit to Aga Khan, whose ancestor, Easchid-addin Sinan, had spared the life of Kichard Cceurde-Lion. 153. Christian Princes in League with Assassi7is.—Several 122 Christian princes were suspected of conniving at the deedsof the Assassins. Kichard of England is one of them; but we have seen (145) that he is free from the charge of having instigated the murder of that Conrad of Montferrat spoken of above. There also existed for a long time a rumour that Bichard had attempted the life of the king of Prance through Hassan and his Assassins. The nephew of Barbarossa, Frederick II., was excommunicated by Innocent II. for having caused the Duke of Bavaria to be slain by the Assassins; and Frederick II., in a letter to the king of Bohemia, accuses the Duke of Austria of having by similar agents attempted his life. Historians also mention an Arab who, in 1 1 58, was discovered in the imperial camp at the siege of Milan, and on the point of stabbing the emperor. Who had armed that Assassin? It is not known. Mutual distrust existed amongst the rulers of Europe, and the power of Hassan and his successors increased in accordance with it Ill THE KOSHENIAH 154. The Rosheniah Sect and its Founder.—Another sect which grew out of that of the Ishmaelites was that of the Rosheniah. It was founded by Bayezid Ansari, the son of Abdullah, an Ulema of the tribe of Vurmud in Afghanistan. This Bayezid, though his father wished to bring him up to the priesthood, preferred traffic to learning, and took to the business of a travelling dealer in horses. Once, when staying on business in the district of Calinjir, he fell in with a malhed, which is a common epithet by which Moslem writers denominate the Ishmaelites. From him Bayezid imbibed a new religious creed, and began to profess and inculcate it on his return home. But neither his father nor his neighbours favouring it, he left his native country, and found for a while a refuge with Ahmed, Sultan of Ningashar in Afghanistan. But meeting with much opposition on the part of the people, he left Ningashar, and took up his residence among the Afghans of Gharihel, in the vicinity of Peshawur, where he had little difficulty in gaining proselytes whom he initiated into his doctrines. They were graduated into eight degrees of knowledge, each of which are termed zeker, and his disciples were in the same manner arranged into eight classes, which he denominated Khilwat. He composed for his followers formularies of instruction; to the Afghans he delivered his instructions in the Afghan, to the Hindoos in Hindi, and to the Persians in the Persian language; and such was the versatility of his genius, that even his enemies admit his writings to be composed in the most attractive style. When his disciples had reached the eighth mystic degree, he informed them that they had now attained perfection, and had nothing more to do with the ordinances or prohibitions of the law. He then collected his most trusty followers into a body, took up his residence in the steep mountains of Afghanistan, plundered merchants, levied contributions, and propagated his doctrines by force of arms* X23 124 It was said that the female sex were his most ardent votaries, and he employed them to seduce the young men of the Afghan tribes. In the first stages of their initiation the young men and young women were classed separately, but as they advanced in illumination these restrictions were removed, and they were allowed to mix in promiscuous assemblies. As his power increased the expression of his doctrines became more bold 3 he totally denied the doctrine of a future state, and directed his most perfect disciples to follow their pleasures without reserve, and gratify their inclinations without scruple. He also inculcated on his followers an absolute right to dispose of the lives and properties of all who did not adhere to his sect. He eventually removed to the district of Hashtnagar, which the Afghans consider the region of their original settlement in Afghanistan, where he founded a city, and assumed the title of Pir Boshan, which may be translated the * Father of light,' whence his followers took the name of Rosheniah, or the Enlightened. 155. Death of Bayezid.—The Moghul Government became alarmed at the spread of Bayezid's doctrines. Mahsan Khan Ghazi, an oflScer of great merit, who was then governor of Cabul, made a sudden irruption into the district of Hashtnagar, and having seized Bayezid, conducted him to Cabul, where he exhibited him as a spectacle to the populace, with his hair shaven on one side of the head, and left untouched on the other. But Bayezid is said to have bribed Mahsan Khan's religious instructor, whereby he regained his liberty. Bayezid then retreated with his followers to the almost inaccessible hill country of Tirah, where he set about retrieving his late disgrace, and prosecuted his plans with such vigour and policy, that his sect began to assume a national character, and his doctrines to be considered as the peculiar religion of the Afghans. Bayezid announced his design of conquering Khorasan and Hindustan, but on descending with that view into the plains of Ningashar, he was again met by Mahsan Khan Ghazi, who routed his irregular forces, and the leader himself with difficulty made his escape; but the fatigues he underwent and the distress he suffered within a few days put an end to his life. 1 56. JSxtinction of Sect.—But his followers were numerous and enthusiastic; on his death his eldest son addressed them thus: " Come on, my friends; your Pir is not dead, but has resigned his place to his son. Sheik Omar, and conferred on him and his followers the empire of the whole world." But THE ROSHENIAH 125 Omar was soon after slain in a battle with the Tusefzei, the bravest and most powerful of all the Afghan tribes. Of his four brothers, Jalal-eddin, the youngest alone remained alive, and he also, after various changes of good and ill fortune, perished by the sword of a soldier of the Hazarah tribe. He was succeeded by Ahdad, his son; he perished by a musket-shot when besieged in his fortress of Meaghae by the Moghuls (about 1650). The Afghans, after his death, carried away Abdal Kader, his son, and betook themselves to the mountains. When the emperor's army entered the fortress, the daughter of Ahdad, who had found no opportunity of escape, was roaming about the walls, when one of the soldiers attempted to seize her. She threw her robe over her face, and flung herself down from the battlements and perished. The descendants of Ahdad continued to rule till about 1700, when Cerimdad was put to death by Said Khan of larakhan, after having surrendered up the government. His brother, AUah-da-Khani, was appointed a command of four thousand in the Dakhin. He died about 1730. IV THE DEUSES 157. Origin of Sect of Druses.—The Ishmaelites of Egypt tind Syria may be found even to this day in some of the sects of Islam. Their primitive physiognomy reveals itself but faintly; but their profile is seen in the lineaments of some of the heretical families wandering in the wilderness or on Mount Lebanon; objects of inquietude to the Turkish Government, of wonder to travellers, and of study to science. Of these, the Druses, living in Northern Syria, and possessing about forty towns and villages, are perhaps the most remarkable. Their sect may be said to date its rise from the supposed incarnation of God in Hakem Biamr Allah, publicly announced at Cairo in 1020. This Hakem was the sixth caliph of Egypt; and Darazi, his confessor, took an active part in promoting the imposture, which, however, was at first so badly received that he was compelled to take refuge in the deserts of the Lebanon, where, receiving liberal pecuniary support from Hakem, he found hearers among the Arabs, and soon made converts. According to other accounts, Darazi was killed for preaching his doctrine, and thus became the first martyr to the new religion. A footing thus gained, corespondence was opened with Egypt, and Hamz?, a Persian mystic and vizier of Hakem, who had from the first been a zealous supporter of Hakem's divinity, hastened to avail himself of the favourable opening. Ten years did not elapse before the two clever rogues or fieiy fanatics had converted nearly all the Arab tribes inhabiting the Lebanon, while one portion of them were set apart and initiated into the mysteries of the doctrines of Hamz. But he did not give his name to the sect; by a natural etymology the disciples of Darazi, the first teacher, obtained the name of Druses, though they reject it, and call themselves Unitarians. We may thus look upon the Patimite Caliph Hakem, the Persian Hamz, and the Turk Darazi -as the founders of the Druse system, Hakem being its poli Z26 THE DRUSES 127 tical founder, Hamz its intellectual framer, and Darazi its -expositor and propagator. 158. Religious Books of the Druses.—Hamz associated with himself four assistants, to whom, as well as to himself, he gave high-sounding names. He called himself, for instance: Universal Reason, the Centre, the Messiah of Nations, Jesus, the United, i,e,, He who is ever united with the god Hakem. He had, moreover, 159 disciples, who went about preaching. The Druses call their religious books, " The Sittings of the Rulers and their Learned Men; " they are comprised in ix volumes: the first has the title, " The Diploma; " the second, " The Refutation; " the third, ** The Awakening; " the fourth, "The First of the Seven Parts;" the fifth, "The Staircase;" and the sixth, "The Reproaches." In 1 8 17, the Druses obtained a seventh volume from a Christian, who alleged to have found it in an Egyptian school, and which they call "The Book of the Greeks." 159. Murder of Hakem.—Hakem was one of the most cruel monsters on record, a Saracenic Nero. Amidst carnage and the most revolting persecutions he spread his doctrine. But in Egypt, where he resided, his heresy outraged the true believers, and his savagery the whole people. Sitt El Mulk, his own sister, headed the malcontents, and one evening when, according to his custom, he took his ride on a white ss, she caused him to be assassinated by some trusty followers, who, after having despatched him with their daggers, undressed him and securely concealed the naked body. They then carefully fastened up his clothes again, by order of his sister, who did not wish the belief in his divinity to be destroyed. At last, when the caliph did not return, and those sent to look for him returned with the news that they had found his clothes but not his body, it was said that Hakem had simply rendered himself invisible, to test the faith of his followers, and to punish apostates on his return. And the Druses, to explain the miracle say that Hakem possessed a body of a more subtile substance than the usual human body, and could go forth out of his clothes without opening or tearing them. The dagger cuts in them are explained away as mysterious indications of -certain purposes of their deity. 160. Hcbkem's Successor.—Hakem left two sons, but the sect did not acknowledge them as such. Ali Ess Ssahir, who succeeded his father as caliph, is reported to have said to Hamz6, "Worship me, as you worshipped my father;" but Hamz replied, "Our Lord, who be praised, neither 128 begat nor was he begotten." Ali replied, " Then I and my brother are illegitimate?" Hamz answered, *You have said it, and borne testimony against yourself." Thereupon the enraged Ali ordered the wholesale murder of the Unitarians unless they returned to the true Moslem faith. Those who refused were either slain or fled to Syria to their co-religionists. Ali, to conciliate the people, who had by his father's despotism and oppression been greatly embittered against his dynasty, gave up all title to divine honours and the rights it implied. i6l. Doctrines.—The Druses believe in the transmigration of souls; but probably it is merely a figure, as it was to the Pythagoreans. Hakem is their prophet; and they have seven commandments, religious and moral. The first of these is veracity, by which is understood faith in the unitarian religion they profess, and the abhorrence of that lie which is called polytheism, incredulity, error. To a brother perfect truth and confidence are due; but it is allowable, nay, a duty, to be false towards men of another creed. The sect is divided into three degrees, Profanes, Aspirants and Wise, A Druse who has entered the second, may return to the first degree, but incurs death if he reveal what he has learned. In their secret meetiugs they are supposed to worship a calf's head; but as their religious books are full of denuDciations against idolatry, and as they also compare Judaism, Christianity, and Mahommedanism to a calf, it is more probable that this eflSgy represents the principle of falsehood and evil, Iblis, the rival and enemy of Hakem. The Druses have also been accused of licentious orgies; and are said by Bespier in his " Remarks on Bicaut " [an English diplomatist (d. 1700)] to marry their own daughters;, but according to the evidence of resident Christians, a young Druse, as soon as he is initiated, gives up all dissolute habits, and becomes, at least in appearance, quite another man, meriting, as in other initiations, the title of "new-bom." The initiated are known by the appellation of Ockals, and form a kind of priesthood in the midst of the general population. According to their traditions, the world was at the appearance of God in the form of Hakem, three thousand four hundred and thirty million years old, and they believe, like the Chiliasts of England and America, that the millennium is close at hand. The Wise often retire into hermitages, whereby they acquire great honour and influence. When discoursing with a Mahommedan, the Druses profess to be of the same creed; when talking with a Christian, they THE DEUSES 129 are Christians. They defend this deception by alleging that it is not lawful to reveal any dogma of their creed to a "Black," or unbeliever; and their secrecy with regard to their religion has led them to adopt signs and passwords, such as are in use among Freemasons and other secret societies. When in doubt whether a stranger with whom they conversed belonged to their sect, they would ask, "Do people in your part of the country sow balm-seed?' If the other replied, " Yes, it is sown in the hearts of the faithful," he probably was a co-religionist; but he might be an Aspirant only, and therefore they would question him further as to some of the secret dogmas; if he did not understand the drift of their question, they would know that he was not initiated into the higher grades. But their signs and test-words and phrases had frequently to be changed, their import having been discovered by the Blacks, wfich happened especially when the extensive hermit village of Bajjada, near Chasbaia, was destroyed in 1838 by the troops of Ibrahim Pasha, and the sacred books of the Druses were made publicly known. 162. Cicstoms of the Druses.—Every village has its meetinghouses, where religious and political affairs are discussed every Thursday night, the Wise, men and women, attending. The resolutions passed at such meetings are communicated to the district meetings, held in the chief village of every district, which again report to the general assembly in the town of Baklin on Mount Lebanon. This was the fortified seat of government until, in this century, Deir El-Kammar (the moon-monastery) was built as the Lebanon metropolis. At the general assembly the questions raised at the district meetings are discussed, and the deputies from the different villages who have attended, on their return home, announce the decisions arrived at; so that the Druses, in fact, have a regular family council, to which, however, the Wise only are admitted, the uninitiated never being consulted in political or social matters. The civil government of the Druses is in the hands of the Sheiks, who again are subject to the Emir, or Prince of Lebanon. They are warlike and industrious, and two traits in their character deserve notice and commendation; they refuse to give up any man who has sought refuge amongst them, and detest the European tall hat, which they compare to a "cooking-pot," and laugh at. In the days when Burckhardt visited them, one of their maledictions was, "May God put a hat on you!" The number of Druses does not exceed fifty or sixty thousand, exclusively VOL. I. I 130 SEOEET SOCIETIES occupying in the Lebanon upwards of forty large towns and villages, and nearly two hundred and thirty villages with a mixed population of Druses and Christians, whilst in the Anti-Lebanon they are also possessed of nearly eighty exclusively Druse villages. 163. Druses and Maronites.—The Druses were frequently at war with the Maronites, a neighbouring Christian sect, so called after Maro, its founder {prca 400 A.D.), originally fugitive Monothelites, who had settled on Mount Lebanon after the accession of Anastasius II. (496-8), who persecuted them as long as the Turkish Government favoured the Druses, in order to keep down the influence of the Maronites. The former, though the less warlike people, generally prevailed against the latter, but when the ruling Emir, Bence-Schihab, with his family, seceded from Mahommedanism and became Maronite Christians, the Maronites were for a time masters of the situation. In i860, however, when the Maronites, for the promotion of Christianity, declared war against the Druses, Turkey again assisted the latter. True, the Porte afterwards changed sides, and supported the Maronites, partly because Europe insisted on the Christians being protected, and partly because it suited Turkish policy to so protect them; for the Maronites had by that time been so weakened, that Turkey considered the opportunity favourable to break the power of the Druses also. Since then the latter are under a governor appointed by the Porte. 164. The ATisaireeh or Nuseiriyeh.—This is another Syrian sect, who worship a mystic Triad, consisting of Ali, Mohammad, and an early companion of the latter, Selman el Farsi, whence their mystical name, Ams, formed from the initial letters of the three names. This TWad is ultimately resolved into Light, or the Sky, the Sun, and the Moon, the first being illimitable, the second proceeding from the first, and the last proceeding from the other two. Their religion is largely made up of Christian, Jewish, and Mohammedan elements, but there cannot be a doubt that beneath them all are remnants of the old Sabsean faith. Some of their doctrines, which have become known, advocate the most licentious practices, especially between the priests and the female members of their congregations. They invoke the Deity under extraordinary appellations, such as " Prince of Bees," "Lion," "End of Ends." They are supposed to be the aborigines of Northern Syria, and to have remained in the ' At the present time (July 1896) the Druses are in rebellion against the Tarks. THE DRUSES 131 mountain chain stretching from Mount Oassius to the Lebanon, while successive tides of conquest have swept along the valleys on either side. It is difficult to ascertain exactly the details of their religion, both because it is secret and ill-digested, and because few among them understand it, or have fixed points of agreement or disagreement They number about two hundred thousand, and derive their name from a sectary called Nusairi. Burckhardt, in his " Travels in Syria and Palestine," gives some curious particulars concerning them, which will not bear transferring to these pages. V THE DEKVISHES 165. Deimshes.—Also called Fakirs, and a monastic order of Islamism. Mahomet prohibited the introduction of monks into his religious system; but thirty years after the death of the Prophet, monks made their appearance, and it is supposed that there are now seventy-two orders of them. But twelve of them are undoubtedly older than Islamism. The four chief orders are: i. The Rifajeh, who carry black flags and wear black or dark-brown turbans. They practise jugglers' tricks, such as swallowing daggers, eating fire, charming serpents, etc. 2. The Kaderijeh, with white flags and turbans; they are chiefly fishermen. 3. The Said Bidani, whose founder'is the greatest saint of the Egyptian Moslems, Said Achmed El Bidani. Their colours are red and white, and they are divided into several sects. They wear an absurd costume and act as buffoons. 4. The Said Ibrahim, with green flags, and turbans. All that is known of them is that they have a monastery at Alexandria. 166. Shiites and Sunnites.—The Dervishes are, moreover, divided into two grand bodies, named as above, the former being Egyptian, the latter Turkish Dervishes. These latter are our great enemies in India. The pilgrims from that country propagate at Constantinople antagonism to our rule, and return to India strengthened with the sympathies of the Mussulman world. It is a remarkable circumstance, that though the Ulema are opposed to the Dervishes, they being looked upon as heterodox, men of great intellect, orthodox in their principles, and occupying high positions in the state, should enrol themselves in the order. The only explanation may be found in their study of the Persian Soof ee poets, whose doctrine, which is that of the Dervishes, is that form of spiritualism which ends in Pantheism, teaching that God is, or may enter into, all things spiritual, and which approximates to that materialism of which Buddhism is the exponent. 167. Doctrines.—The Dervishes have their "Paths," which 133 THE DERVISHES 133 are generally governed by twelve oflScers, the oldest " Court " superintending the others by right of seniority. The master of the Court is called Sheik, and he has his deputies, caliphs, or successors, of which there may be many. The order is divided into four " columns " or degrees. The first is that of ** Humanity," which supposes " annihilation in the Sheik; " the second is that of the "Path," in which the "murid," or disciple, attains spiritual powers and self-annihilation into the " Peer," or founder of the Path. The third stage is called " Knowledge," and the raurid is supposed to become inspired, which is called " annihilation into the Prophet." The fourth degree leads him even to God, when he becomes part of the Deity, and sees him in all things. After this, the Sheik confers on him the grade of " Caliph," or " Honorary Master," for, in their mythical language, "the man must die before the saint can be born, and when born, he is but a useless and despicable animal." There is a widespread belief in the East that the Freemasons are in secret connection with the Dervishes; but the idea is foolish and unlikely. It was, however, always suspected that whenever mischief against our rule is astir among the Mussulman population, especially in India, the Dervishes are at the bottom of it. It is not quite certain to what order the Dervishes we have to fight in Africa belong, but it is clear that, unlike their brethren in Asia, they pursue political ends, and are instigated by fierce fanaticism; and as every Mohammedan can belong to a religious order without any outward indication of it, and as such connection is always kept secret, Great Britain does not really know the number of her enemies in Africa. BOOK V HERETICS " The heretic foxes have various faces, but they all hang together hy their tails."—Pope Geegoky IX. HERETICS 1 68. Transition from Ancient to Modern Initiations.— An order of facts now claims our attention which in a certain manner signalises the transition from ancient to modern initiations. An extraordinary phenomenon in social conditions becomes apparent, so strikingly different from what we meet with in antiquity, as to present itself as a new starting-point. Hitherto we have seen the secret organising itself in the higher social classes, so as to deprive the multitude of truths, whose revelation could not have taken place without injury and danger to tbe hierarchy. At the base we find polytheism, superstition; at the summit, deism, rationalism, the most abstract philosophy. 169. Spirit of Ancient and Modern Secret Societies.—The secret societies of antiquity were theological, and theology frequently inculcated superstition; but in the deepest recesses of the sanctuary there was a place, where it would laugh at itself and the deluded people, and draw to itself the intelligences that rebelled against the servitude of fear, by initiating them into the only creed worthy of a free man. To that theology, therefore, otherwise very learned and not cruel, and which promoted art and science, much may be forgiven, attributing perhaps not to base calculation, but to sincere conviction and thoughtful prudence, the dissimulation with which it concealed the treasures of truth and knowledge, that formed its power, glory, and, in a certain manner, its privilege. In modern times the high religious and political spheres have no secrets, for they have no privilege of knowledge, nor initiation which confer on those higher in knowledge the right to sit on the seat of the mighty, and no one, without being guilty of an anachronism and preparingf or himself bitter disappointments, can seek the truth where there is but a delusive show of it Whoever persists in making any fictitious height the object of his ambition, removes his eyes from the 138 horizon which, lit up by the dawn, casts light around his feet,, while his head is yet in darkness. Henceforth secret societies are popular and religious, not in the sense of the constituted and official church, but of a rebellious and sectarian church;. and since at a period when the authority of the church i& paramount, and religion circulates through all the veins of the state, no change can be effected without heresy so this must necessarily be the first aspect of political and intellectual revolt. This heresy makes use of the denial and rejection of official dogmas, in order to overthrow the hated clerocracy, and to open for itself a road to civil freedom. 170. The Circumcellians.—The Papacy was necessarily the first cradle of the new conspirators, who at an early date arose out of it In the second century the Adamites became conspicuous. They asserted that by Christ's death they were as innocent as Adam before the Fall, and were accused of praying naked in their assemblies. We may incidentally mention that the sect was renewed in the fifteenth century by one Picard, a native of Flanders. But a more important sect which arose in the first century of Christianity was that of the Circumcellians, who were a branch of the Donatists the followers of Donatus, the schismatic Bishop of Carthage (a.d. 311), who at that early age already preached against the corruptions of the Bomish Church. By the violent pei> secution they experienced, some of the Bishop's adherents were turned into fanatics, and bands of them roamed about the country (hence their name, compounded of circum cellos), preaching reformation and redressing grievances, setting free slaves, and remitting debts, without consulting the parties most interested, and occasionally committing greater crimes. Some of these fanatics, in a mistaken zeal for martyrdom, threw themselves down precipices, leaped into the fire, or cut their own throats. The sect existed some thirteen or fourteen years, when it was suppressed by the magistracy. A heretical sect, bearing the same name, existed also in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Germany, denying the authority of popes, bishops, and priests, and the legality of ecclesiastical interdicts. 171. The Albigenses.—One of the most extensive and active heresies was that of the Albigenses, so called after their chief town, Albi, whence they spread all over Southern Prance. The sect was the offspring of ManichaBism; it fructified in its turn the germs of the Templars and Bosicrucians, and of all those associations that continued the struggle and fought against ecclesiastical and civil oppression. HERETICS 139 172. Objects of the AlMgenses.—It is to be noticed that the object of the Albigenses in so far differed from that of all posterior sects, that its blows were intended for Papal Rome alone; and wholly Papal was the revenge taken through the civil arm, and with priestly rage. The Albigenses were the Ghibellines of France, and combined with all who were opposed to Rome, especially with Frederick II. and the ragonese, in maintaining the rights of kings against the pretensions of the Papal See. Their doctrines had a special influence on the University of Bologna, wholly imperial; Dante was imperialistic, tainted with that doctrine, and therefore hated by the Guelphs. 173. Tenets of the Albigenses.—Toulouse was the Rome of that church, which had its pastors, bishops, provincial and general councils, like the official church, and assembled under its banners the dissenters of a great portion of Europe, all meditating the ruin of Rome and the restoration of the kingdom of Jerusalem. The rising in Provence gathered strength from the circumstances in which it took place. The Crusaders had revived Eastern Manichaeism, placing Europe in immediate contact with sophisticated Greece, with Mahommedan and Pantheistic Asia. The East, moreover, contributed Aristotle and his Arab commentators, to which must be added the subtleties of the cabala and the materialism of ideas. Philosophy, republicanism, and industry assailed the Holy See. Various isolated rebellions had revealed the general spirit, and wholesale slaughter had not repressed it; the rationalism of the Waldenses—so called after Peter Waldo, the founder of the sect—connected itself with the German mysticism of the Rhine and the Netherlands, where the operatives rose against the counts and the bishops. Every apostle that preached pure morality, the religion of the spirit, the restoration of the primitive church, found followers; the century of Louis IX., or the Saint (1226-70), is the century of unbelief in the Church of Rome, and the Impossibilia of Sigero foreshadowed those of Strauss. 174. Aims of the Albigenses.—The heresy of the Albigenses made such progress along the shores of the Mediterranean, that several countries seemed to separate from Rome, while princes and emperors openly favoured it. Not satisfied with already considering impious Rome overthrown, the Albigenses suddenly turned towards the Crusaders, at first looked at with indifference, hoping to make Jerusalem the glorious and powerful rival of Rome, there to establish the seat of the Albigenses, to restore the love of religion in its first I40 home, to found on earth the heavenly Jerusalem, of which Godfrey of Bouillon was proclaimed king. This was the man who had carried fire and sword into Rome, slain (isth October 1080) the anti-Caesar Rodolphe, "the king elected by priests," and thrust the Pope out of the holy city, deserving thereby, and by the hopes entertained of him, the infinite praises for his piety, purity, and chastity bestowed on him by the troubadours, who originally appeared in the first quarter of the twelfth century, in the allegorical compositions known by the name of the " Knight of the Swan." The project of making Jerusalem the rival of Rome assigned an important part to the Templars, who perhaps were aware of and sharers in it. 175. The Cathari.—Italy, though watched by Rome, nay, because watched, supported the new doctrines. Milan was one of the most active foci of the Cathari (the Pure); in 1 166 that city was more heretical than Catholic. In 11 50 there were Cathari at Florence, and the women especially were most energetic iA the dissemination of the dogmas of the sect, which became so powerful as to effect in the city a revolution in favour of the Ghibellines. At Orvieto Catharism prevailed in 1125, and was persecuted in 1 163; the persecution was most fierce at Verona, Ferrara, Modena, &c. In 1224 a great number of these sectaries met in Calabria and Naples, and even Rome was full of them. But Lombardy and Tuscany were always the chief seats of this revolt. 176. Doctrines and Tenets.—But we have only scanty notices of this sect, because, unlike other heretical associations, it sought to conceal its operations. It bore great resemblance to Manichaeism and the dogmas of the Albigenses, like which latter, it concealed its doctrines not only from the world at large, but even from its proselytes of inferior degrees. They believed in the metempsychosis, assuming that to attain to the light, seven such transmigrations were required; but, as in other cases, this was probably an emblematic manner of speaking of the degrees of initiation. They attributed the origin of the visible and of the invisible world to different creators; the former was the creation of the evil spirit, wherefore they rejected the Old Testament account of the creation, as also the incarnation of Christ, purgatory, hell, etc. They had communistic tendencies, and were averse to marriage; philanthropists, above all they led industrious lives, combined saving habits with charity, founded schools and hospitals, crossed lands and seas to make proselytes, denied to magistrates the right of taking HBEETICS 141 away life, did not disapprove of suicide, and preceded the Templars in the contempt of the cross. They could not understand how Christians could adore the instrument of the death of the Saviour, and said that the cross was the figure of the beast mentioned in the Apocalypse and an abomination in a holy place. They performed their ceremonies in woods, caverns, remote valleys; wherefore those belonging to this heresy and others deriving from it could well answer the question: Where did our ancient brethren meet before there were any lodges? In every place. They were accused of strangling or starving the dying, and of burning children; charges also brought against the Mithraics, Christians, Gnostics, Jews, and quite recently against the Irish Roman Catholics. The accusation, as in the other cases, probably arose from some symbolical sacrifice, literally interpreted by their opponents. They had four sacraments, and the consolation consisted in the imposition of hands, or baptism of the Holy Spirit, which, bestowed only on adults, remitted sins, imparted the consoling spirit, and secured eternal salvation. During persecutions the ceremonies were shortened, and were held at night and secretly: the lighted tapers symbolised the baptism of fire. At the ceremony of initiation the priest read the first eighteen verses of the Gospel of St. John, a custom still practised in some Masonic degrees. In remembrance of his initiation the novice received a garment made of fine linen and wool, which he wore under his shirt; the women a girdle, which they also wore next to the skin just under the bosom. 177. Persemition of the Cathari.—The following may suffice as an instance of the persecution to which the Cathari were subject in those religious days. Dolcino, the leader of a sect of the Cathari, who called themselves the " Apostolic," because they endeavoured to restore the Christianity of the Apostles, and who predicted the downfall of the then already most corrupt Papacy, was pursued by the Inquisition (1307). With 1400 of his followers, Dolcino took refuge on a hill in the district of Vercelli. But the Apostolic were taken; Dolcino and his wife Margaret were torn to pieces, limb by limb, by order of the holy fathers, and the pieces afterwards burnt by the public executioner. Against such of the followers of Dolcino as had not been seized with their leader, Clement V. ordered a crusade, granting plenary absolution to all who took part in it. Fifteen years after Dolcino's death thirty of his disciples were burnt alive on the marketplace at Padua. 142 SEOEET SOCIETIES 178. The Waldenaes or Vaudois.—This sect arose in the twelfth century, and was so named after its founder, Peter Waldus, a rich citizen of Lyons. Its aims were, to a great extent, similar to those of the Albigenses. Persecuted by the Church, its members spread over a great part of Europe. In the thirteenth century the Pope instituted a crusade against them, the details of which belong to general history. The principles of the Vaudois, however, remained unsubdued, and at the Reformation their descendants were reckoned among the Protestants, though they differed, and continue to differ, from them in many doctrinal points, and they remain as a distinct sect in many parts of Europe. But it was only in 1848 that by the edict of the king of Sardinia they were granted religious liberty and equal civil and political rights with the Roman Catholic population of that kingdom. According to Rulman Merswin, who wrote between 1370-80 at Strasbourg, a community of Vaudois then lived hidden in the mountains of Switzerland, calling themselves by the name of ** Friends of God.'* The Anabaptists, Lollards, Beghards, and Beguines all sprang from this sect. 179. Zuciferians.—Another sect which sprung from the Cathari was that of the Luciferians, which must not be confounded with that so named after Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari, and which existed for a short time under Theodosius the Great. The Luciferians, or Devil-worshippers, to be spoken of here arose in the twelfth or thirteenth century; their chief seats were in the principality of East Friesland. The Frieslanders, having refused to pay tithes to the archbishops of Bremen, they wei'e proclaimed heretics. Konrad von Marburg, infamous for hypocrisy and cruelty, took the part of the Church, and nothing shows the mental besottedness of the clergy of those days better than the report sent to the Pope, Gregory IX., and adopted by this latter as a true statement of facts, as is apparent from his Bull, published in 1233. According to Konrad's report, as reproduced in the Pope's Bull, the Luciferians, when initiating a candidate, first caused a frog or toad to appear to him, which he had to kiss, or to draw its tongue and saliva into his own mouth. This animal usually appeared in its natural size, sometimes as large as a goose, but more generally as large as a baker's oven! Then a pale man, consisting of only skin and bone, appeared to the novice, who had to kiss him, after which the novice lost all recollection of the Catholic faith. A black tom-cat then descended through a statue, which was always found HEEETICS 143 in the meeting-place of these heretics, and when they all had kissed the animal's hinder quarters, the lights were extinguished, and the most licentious practices indulged in. The candles having been re-lighted, a man appeared, more glorious than the sun in his upper parts, while the lower part of his body resembled that of a cat, who received a piece of cloth torn off the novice's clothes, as a pledge that henceforth the new initiate belonged to him. These heretics further said that God unjustly cast Lucifer into hell, but that eventually the devil would be restored to his former glory and happiness. 180. Origin of Devil-worship.—Now it is certain that in ' the dark ages, when men were crushed under superstition and cruelty, when cleric and secular oppressors—the former the worse of the two—rendered life almost unbearable to the serf and the bondsman, these, seeing themselves forsaken by God and his saints, naturally appealed to the Devil for protection, and hence a kind of Devil-worship arose; wherefore we may accept the charge brought against the Luciferians of believing in the Devil's eventual restoration as true; nor is it a serious one: very pious people such, as the Everlasting Gospellers, held that belief. But the other charges are too absurd to require serious refutation. We are told that the Luciferians had their signs of re<50gnition, and used to accost one another thus: "Lucifer, who has been wronged, greets thee." To prevent an uninitiated to enter their assemblies, they would put the question, " Do thorns prick to-day? " the answer to which is not recorded, but of course was known to the initiated only. The places where they held their meetings were called "cellars of repentance." The charge of committing unnatural crimes brought against them was one brought by the Church against all heretics; but the Luciferians were not so accused till late in the thirteenth century, when the sect had ceased to exist, having been exterminated by the word and fire of Holy Mother Church. Tliere existed numerous other sects, named either after their founders or the localities in which they arose, such as the Messalians, the Bogomiles, supposed to be sprung from the latter, the Cainians, the Encrafites, and others; yet none of them were of such importance as those spoken of above. But whatever might be their determination, the members of all these sects in the course of several centuries supplied many victims to the torture-chambers and faggots of the Inquisition, the Church cunningly mixing up heresy 144 SECEET SOCIETIES with witchcraft. Thomas Stapleton, who during the reign of Queen Elizabeth emigrated to Holland, to escape the persecution of the Eoman Catholics in this country, wrote a book on the question why clergy and witchcraft spread simultaneously to such an extent, which two evils he called the twin-children of the Devil. The author died in 1598. Even after this date it was damnable heresy to deny the existence of witchcraft. In 1725 the principality of HohenzoUem Hechingen in Wiirtemburg by public decree promised five florins reward to any one bringing in, dead or alive, a goblin, nixy, or other spook of the kind! • 181. Rd'igion of the Troubacburs.—Troubadours and Albigenses drew closer together in persecution; their friendship increased in the school of sorrow. They sang and fought for one another, and their songs expired on the blazing piles; wherefore it appears reasonable to consider the troubadours as the organisers of that vast conspiracy directed against the Church of Rome, the champions of a revolt which had not for its guide and object material interests and vulgar ambi-tion, but a religion and a polity of love. Here love is considered, not as an affection which all more or less experience and understand, but as an art, a science, acquired by means of the study and practice of sectarian rites and laws; and the artists under various names appear scattered throughout many parts of Europe. It is difficult, indeed, to determine the boundaries within which the Gay Science was diffused* The singers of love are met with as the troubadours of the Langue d'Oc and the Langue d'Oa'i, the minnesangers and minstrels. 1 82. Difficulty to understand the Troubadours.—The singers of Provence—whose language was by the Popes called the language of heresy—are nearly unintelligible to us, and we know not how to justify the praises bestowed upon their poetry by such men as Dante, Petrarch, Chaucer; nor dare we, since we do not understand their verses, call their inspiration madness, nor deny them the success they undoubtedly achieved. It appears more easy and natural to think that those free champions of a heresy who were not permitted clearly to express their ideas, preferred the obscure turns of poetry and light forms that concealed their thoughts, as the sumptuous and festive courts of love perhaps concealed the " Lodges " of the Albigenses from the eye of the Papal Inquisition. The same was done for political purposes at various periods. Thus we have Gringore's La Chasse du Cerf des Cerfs (a pun designating Pope efulius II., by allusion to HEEETICS 145 the serms servorum), in which that Pope is held up to ridicule. But some of the troubadours, such, for instance, as Walther von der Vogelweide, d. 1228, and Peter Cardinal, d. 1306, sang openly against the abuses of the Church and the corrupt lives of the clergy. 1 83. Poetry of Troubadours.—Arnaldo Danielle was obscure even for his contemporaries; according to the Monk of Montaudon, " no one understands his songs," and yet Dante and Petrarch praise him above every other ProvenQal poet, calling him the "great Master of Love," perhaps a title of sectarian dignity, and extolling his style, which they would not have done had they not been able to decipher his meaning. The effusions of the troubadours were always addressed to some lady, though they dared not reveal her name; what Hugo de Brunet says applies to all: " If I be asked to whom my songs are addressed, I keep it a secret. I pretend to such a one, but it is nothing of the kind." The mistress invoked, there can be no doubt, like Dante's Beatrice, was the purified religion of love, personified as the Virgin Sophia. 184. Degrees among Troubadours.—There were four degrees, but the "Romance of the Rose" divides them into four and three, producing again the mystic number seven. This poem describes a castle, surrounded with a sevenfold wall, which is covered with emblematical figures, and no one was admitted into the castle that could not explain their mysterious meaning. The troubadours also had their secret signs of recognition, and the " minstrels " are supposed to have been so called because they were the " ministers " of a secret worship. 185. Courts of Love.—I have already alluded to these; they probably gave rise to the Lodges of Adoption, the Knights and Nymphs of the Rose, etc. The degrees pronounced therein with pedantic proceedings, literally interpreted, are frivolous or immoral, and therefore incompatible with the morals and manners of the Albigenses, which were on the whole pure and austere. The Courts of Love may therefore have concealed far sterner objects than the decision of questions of mere gallantry; and it is noticeable that these courts, as well as the race of troubadours, became extinct with the extinction of the Albigenses by the sword of De Montf ort and the faggots of the Inquisition. VOL. I.