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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

The system of Metempsychosis prevails


this pantheistic doctrine, it followed that man's soul is immortal though material.

Upon this sort of immortality of our soul, the rulers built a system of punishment, called Metempsychosis, or transmigration of the souls. This system was so much the better adapted to the then received religion, that all the souls being simply different emanations from the same fire ether, the consequence was that all the souls were homogeneous, and differed only in appearance, and by the nature of the bodies to which the fire-principle, which composed their substance, united. Virgil said that the souls of all animals are an emanation of the fire ether, and that the difference of their operations on earth is to be ascribed only to the difference of vases, or organized bodies, which receive this substance; or, according to the words of Servius, the lesser or greater perfection of their operations is in ratio of the nature of the bodies.

The Indians, among whom, even in our days, the system of Metempsychosis prevails, think that man's soul is absolutely of the same nature as that of other animals. They say that man is superior to them, not in his soul but in his body, whose organization is more perfect and more apt to receive the action of the great Being, viz., of the universe, than theirs are. They ground their opinion on the example of children and of old men, whose organs being too weak yet, or having been weakened, do not

permit their senses to have the same activity which is displayed in a mature age.

The soul, in the exercise of her operations, being necessarily in submission to the body which she animates; and all souls flowing from the immense reservoir called universal soul, it follows that the portion of the fire ether which animates a man, might as well animate an ox, a lion, an eagle, a whale, or any other beast. Fate caused that she would animate a man, and such a man; but when the soul will be disengaged from this first body, and will return to her source, she will be able to pass into the body of another animal; and her activity will be lesser or greater, in ratio of the organization of the new body into which she will pass.

All the great work of nature being reduced to successive organizations and destructions, in which the same matter is ten thousand times used under ten thousand forms, the subtle matter of the soul, carried in that current, brings life to all the moulds which open to receive her. Thus the same water flown from a same reservoir, enters the various pipes which are opened, rolls on and empties either as a fountain, or as a cascade, according to the forms of the orifices of the pipes; then it congregates, evaporates, and forms clouds which brings it back down to the earth, to experience again an infinity of modifications. It is the same of the fluid of the soul spread in the various canals of the animal organization, flowing from the bright mass of which the ethereal substance is composed; thence being carried to the earth by the generating force distributed among the animals, continually ascending and descending in the universe, and circulating within new bodies diversely organized.

Such was the basis of Metempsychosis, which became one of the most powerful political engines in the hands of the ancient rulers, legislators and mystagogues. Pythagoras brought this doctrine from the Orient to Greece, and to Italy. This philosopher, and Empedocles after him, taught that the souls of the criminals, when death separated them from the bodies they animated, passed into the bodies of beasts in order to suffer, under those divers forms the punishment of their wickedness, until they might recover, by expiation, their native purity. So this transmigration of the souls was a punishment of the gods. The Stoicians held this doctrine; and the emperor Marcus-Aurelius, in the ninth book of his Works, said: "The spiritus, or breath, which animates us, passes from one body into another."

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