From: 1948 – De Laurence’s Catalog of Books on Occultism – Magic – Mysticism – Religion – The Cabala – Yoga – Astrology and all related subjects – Occult Students’ Equipment – Talismanic and Symbolic Jewelry
Mystic and Master Occultist, de Laurence is world-famous as an Adept of the Highest Rank. His lifelong study of religious thought and emotion have brought him recognition and renown while his humanistic and sympathetic insight have endeared his name to thousands. His works are everywhere and his name stands high on the roster of independent and intrepid thinkers of all time.
“Because, it is given unto you to know the Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given,” was the reply, which was that of an initiate. “Therefore, I speak unto them in parables; because, they seeing, see not, and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.” Moreover, we find Jesus expressing his thoughts still clearer – and in sentences which are purely Pythagorean – when, during the Sermon on the Mount, he says:
“Give ye not that which is sacred to the dogs,
Neither cast ye your pearls before swine;
For the swine will tread them under their feet
And the dogs will turn and rend you.”
Professor A. Wilder, the editor of Taylor’s Eleusinian Mysteries, observes “a like disposition on the part of Jesus and Paul to classify their doctrines as esoteric and exoteric, the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God ‘for the apostles,’ and ‘parables’ for the multitude. ‘We speak wisdom,’ says Paul, ‘among them that are perfect’ (or initiated).”
In the Eleusinian and other Mysteries the participants were always divided into two classes, the newphytes and the perfect. The former were sometimes admitted to the preliminary initiation: the dramatic performance of Ceres, or the soul, descending to Hades.* But it was given only to the ‘Perfect” to enjoy and learn the Mysteries of the divine Elysium, the celestial abode of the blessed; this Elysium being unquestionably the same as the “kingdom of Heaven.” To contradict or reject the above, would be merely to shut one’s eyes to the truth.
The narrative of the Apostle Paul, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians (xii. 3, 4), has struck several scholars, well versed in the descriptions of the mystical rites of the initiation given by some classics, as alluding most undoubtedly to the final Epopteia.
“I knew a certain man – whether in body or outside of body. I know not: God knoweth – who was rapt into Paradise, and heard things ineffable which it is not lawful for a man to repeat.” These words have rarely, so far as I know, been regarded by commentators as an allusion to the beautific visions of an “initiated” seer. But the phraseology is unequivocal. These things “which it is not lawful to repeat,” are hinted at in the same words, and the reason for it assigned, is the same as that which we find repeatedly expressed by Plato, Proclus, Iamblichus, Herodotus, and other classics. “We speak WISDOM only among them who are PERFECT,” says Paul; the plain and undeniable translation of the sentence being: “We speak of the profound (or final) esoteric doctrines of the Mysteries (which were denominated wisdom) only among them who are initiated.”** So in relation to the “man who was rapt into Paradise” – and who was evidently Paul himself*** – the Christian word Paradise having replaced that of Elysium. To complete the proof, I might recall the words of Plato, which show that before an initiate could see the gods in their purest light, he had to become liberated from his material body; i. e., to separate his astral body from it. Apuleius also describes his initiation into the Mysteries in the same way:
“I approached the confines of death; and, having trodden on the threshold of Proserpina, returned, having been carried through all the elements. In the depths of midnight, I saw the sun glittering with a splendid light, together with the infernal and supernal gods, and to these divinities approaching, I paid the tribute of devout adoration.”
Thus, in common with Pythagoras and other hierophant reformers, Jesus divided his teachings into exoteric and esoteric. Following faithfully the Pythagoreo-Essenean ways, he never sat at a meal without saying “grace.” “The priest prays before his meal,” says Josephus describing the Essenes. Jesus also divided his followers into “neophytes,” “brethren,” and the “Perfect,” if we may judge from the difference he made between them. But his career at least as a public Rabbi, was of too short duration to allow him to establish a regular school of his own; and with the exception, perhaps, of John, it does not seem that he had initiated any other apostle. The Gnostic amulets and talismans are mostly the emblems of the apocalyptic allegories. The “seven vowels” are closely related to the “seven seals“; and the mystic title Abraxas, partakes as much of the composition of Shem Hamphirosh, “the holy word,” or ineffable name, as the name called: The word of God, that, “no man knew but he himself,” as John expresses it.
* This descent to Hades signified the inevitable fate of each soul to be united for a time with a terrestrial body. This union, or dark prospect for the soul to find itself imprisoned within the dark tenement of a body, was considered by all the ancient philosophers and is even by the modern Buddhists, as a punishment.
** “The profound or esoteric doctrines of the ancients were denominated wisdom, and afterward philosophy, and also the Gnosis, or knowledge. They related to the human soul, its divine parentage, its supposed degradation from its high estate by becoming connected with “generation” or the physical world, its onward progress and restoration to God by regeneration or… transmigrations.” Ibid, p. 2, footnote.
*** Cyril of Jerusalem asserts it. See vi. 10.
END OF PART TWO