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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

At least the mysteries of Eleusis


you understand how two religions, though opposed in their dogmas, conjointly exist in peace and harmony in the same cities. The reason of it is, that, though their dogmas are different, these religions use the same language, and that the truth has for the error the same tolerance, and courtesy, which the truth should obtain from the error. Externally the mysteries present but the worship adopted by the people. The hymns sung in public, and the most of the ceremonies retrace to the masses many circumstances of the rape of Proserpine, of the courses of Ceres, of her arrival and sojourn at Eleusis. The vicinity of this city is full of monuments reared in the honor of the goddess, and the priests show, as yet, the stone upon which, tradition relates, she rested when exhausted with fatigue. Thus, on one hand, the ignorant people believe appearances as if they were realities; and on another hand, those who have been initiated, having a clear sight of the spirit of the mysteries, think they are right on account of the purity of their intentions.'

"Whatever it may be of the supposition I have related, the initiation is now but a vain ceremony. Those who have been initiated are not more virtuous than the others; every day they violate their pledge of abstaining from fowl, from fish, from pomegranates, from beans, and several other kinds of fruits, and of vegetables. Several have contracted this sacred engagement through unworthy means; for, not long ago,

we have seen the government permitting the sale of the privilege of participating to the mysteries; and, for a long while, women of ill fame have been admitted to initiation."

As it would require volumes to describe the ceremonies of all these Pagan mysteries, we shall only examine their general character; show forth their end; group together their common features, and glance at the means used by political and religious leaders, to give a full scope to this powerful governmental engine.

The mysteries of Eleusis, and in general of all mysteries, aimed at the amelioration of mankind, at the reformation of morals, and at taking hold of the souls of men with more power than through the means of the laws. If the means used was not lawful, we must however confess that the aim was laudable, not in the minds of kings, emperors, hierophants and other priests, but in itself. Cicero, the illustrious Roman orator, said, that the institution of mysteries was one of the most useful to humanity; at least the mysteries of Eleusis, whose effects, he added, have been to civilize nations; to soften the barbarous and ferocious habits and morals of the first societies of men; and to make known the most important principles of morals, which initiate man to a sort of life that is worthy of his nature.

The same was said of Orpheus, who introduced in Greece the mysteries of Bacchus. Poets wrote of him, that he had tamed tigers and lions; and that he attracted even trees and rocks with the melodious strains of his lyre. Mysteries aimed at the establishment of the reign of justice and of religion, in the system of the rulers, who, from policy, maintained the one by the other. This double end is contained in this verse of Virgil:--"Learn from me to respect justice and the gods;" this was the great lesson given by the Hierophant when the postulants were initiated.

Those initiated learned in those profound sanctuaries, under the dark and deep veil of fables, their duties towards their fellow men; pretended duties which they were taught to the gods, and, more unfortunately yet, pretended duties towards their political and religious leaders, or rather tyrants.

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