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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

The hierophant and other priests taught

Aristoteles was accused of impiety by the hierophant Eurymedon, for having sacrificed to the manes of his wife, according to the rite practiced in the worship of Ceres. He had to flee, and to retire at Chalcis to save his life; and in order to clear his name from this stain he ordered his heirs to erect a statue to Ceres. Eschyles, having been charged with having written about mysterious subjects, saved his life only by proving that he had never been initiated. The entry of the temple of Ceres, and the participation to her mysteries, were prohibited to the slaves, and to those whose birth was not legal; to women of ill fame, to the philosophers who denied a Providence, such as the Epicureans, etc. This interdiction was considered as a great deprivation, for it was generally believed among the people that initiation was the greatest blessing.

In fact, those initiated were taught that they belonged to a class of privileged beings, and were the favorites of the gods. The priests of Samothrace credited their initiation by promising favorable winds, a speedy and safe navigation to travelers who were candidates to their mysteries. Those initiated to the mysteries of Orpheus believed that they were no longer under the rule of the evil principle; that initiation made them holy, and secured to them future happiness. After the ceremonies of the initiation the candidate thus answered to the priest: "I have rejected the evil and found the good." After that he considered himself, and was considered by his fellows, wholly purified.

Those who were initiated to the mysteries of Eleusis believed that the sun shone brighter and purer to their eyes than to the sight of other men; also that the goddesses inspired and gave them counsels from the heaven, as seen by the example of Pericles. Initiation was considered as freeing the soul from the darkness of error; as preventing misfortunes; and as securing happiness on earth.

One of the greatest blessings and privileges of the initiation, the hierophant and other priests taught, was to secure here below a direct communion with the gods, and more especially beyond the grave. According to Cicero, Isocrates, and the rhetor Aristides, when he who had been initiated departed from this earthly life he inhabited meadows enameled with flowers of a celestial beauty, and lighted with a sun brighter and purer than the one we see. In that charming abode he was to live centuries, and long preserve his youth. When arrived at an old age, he was to become young again. There was no labor, no sorrow, but all was rapture and delight.

In the Greek and Roman mysteries the unity and also the trinity of God were consecrated dogmas. Jupiter was adored as the father of the gods and of men, and as filling the whole universe with his power. He was the supreme monarch of nature: the names of gods ascribed to the other deities were more of an association in the title than in the nature of their power, for each one of them had a particular work to perform under the command of the supreme God. In the mysteries of the religion of the Greeks, a hymn expressing the unity of God or Jupiter was sung; and the High Priest, turning towards the worshipers, said: "Admire the master of the universe; he is one; he is everywhere." It was acknowledged by Eusebius, St. Augustine, Lactance, Justin, Athenagoras, and many other Fathers of the Church, that the dogma of the unity of God was admitted by ancient philosophers, and was the basis of the religion of Orpheus, and of all the mysteries of the Greeks.

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