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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

And will sit on a throne erected in the valley of Josaphat

The fiction of the Elysium was directed to the same moral and political aim. Virgil places in the Elysium the heroes who laid down their lives for the defense of their country; also the inventors of arts, and all those who have been useful to their fellow men, and have a title to their gratitude. It was to strengthen this idea that apotheosis was instituted; hence it was taught in the mysteries that Hercules, Bacchus, and the Dioscores were but men, who, by their virtues and their services had obtained immortality. Afterwards the Romans placed Scipio in the Elysium. Cicero ascribed a high station in the Elysium to the true patriots; to the friends of justice; to good sons; to good parents; and to good citizens.

In the Elysium, as Plato described it, kindness and justice were rewarded: there the true patriot, the modest and just Aristides, had been admitted. To this divine recompense piety, eagerness in seeking for truth, and love to it, were the surest titles. When the dead had been judged those who had been pronounced worthy of the Elysium passed to the right hand side, and were led to the Elysium, every one by his guardian angel. Those who had been sentenced to the Tartarus passed to the left hand side, and were dragged thereto, each one by the evil genius that beguiled him while on earth. Onward they were driven, carrying on their back their sentence of condemnation, and the enumeration of all their crimes. Those whose vices were curable were to be released after due expiation and reform.

According to Plato, the dead who have been guilty of murder, sacrilege, and other enormous crimes, shall be endlessly miserable in the Tartarus. Those whose crimes have not been so great shall be detained therein for a year; and, at the expiration of this time they will be brought out, near the marsh of Acheron, by the waters of the Cocyte, and of the Pyriphlegeton rivers. Then they shall humbly beg pardon from those they have wronged; and, if they obtain it, they shall be released; if not they shall be taken back to the Tartarus on the rivers. Virgil also speaks of that state of expiation and purification of the souls of the dead.

Therefore the Pagans held the doctrine of a general judgment of all the then living, and of all the dead, which shall take place at the end of the world.

2d. We prove that there is a striking similarity between the particularities of the doctrine of a general judgment, as held by the Pagans, and the doctrine of a general judgment, as held by the Church of Rome.

The Pagans believed that, immediately before the end of the world, there would be mighty and frightful signs in the heavens; and that the then living mortals would be struck with terror: likewise the Church of Rome believes that, at the end of the world, the columns of the heavens will be shaken; that the signs on high will be so frightful that the then living men will be appalled: also there will be famine, pestilence, war and murders over the whole earth. The Pagans believed that, at the sound of a trumpet, the earth would deliver up her dead to be judged: likewise the Church of Rome believes that four angels will sound a trumpet; and that, when the four trumpets will resound over the earth, all the dead, who had been buried either in the sea or in the earth, will come again to life to be judged.

The Pagans believed that geniuses would force men to the place of judgment: likewise the Church of Rome believes that angels will gather, from the four cardinal points of the earth, the multitude of men to the place of judgment. The Pagans believed that men would be judged in a meadow covered with astophels: likewise the Church of Rome believes that the general judgment will take place in the valley of Josaphat. The Pagans believed that, in the meadow, a throne would be erected, on which Minos, the great judge, would sit: likewise the Church of Rome believes that Jesus Christ, the great judge, will descend from heaven on clouds, and will sit on a throne erected in the valley of Josaphat. The Pagans believed that, near to the throne of Minos, Eacus, Rhadamante and Triptolem, his assistant judges, and good geniuses, or spirits, would stand: likewise the Church of Rome believes, that, near to the throne of Jesus Christ, good angels will stand.

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