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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Through the means of expiatory rites


lustrations are practiced, even in our days, by many of the Pagans. The Madegasses believe that they can obtain the forgiveness of the punishment of their sins in dipping a piece of gold in a vessel full of water, and in drinking that water. The Father Jesuit Bouchet, a missionary in India, writes: "The Indians say that in bathing in certain rivers sins are _entirely_ remitted; and that their mysterious waters wash not only the bodies, but also purify the souls in an admirable manner."

This testimony, Chateaubriand adds, is confirmed by the Memoirs of the English Society of Calcutta. The waters of the Ganges are reputed as having the greatest expiatory virtue: so the Church of Rome holds that the baptismal waters remit the original and all other sins, and exempt those baptized from punishment.

The Pagans believed that certain ceremonies, and their medals representing the gods, had an expiatory virtue: so the Church of Rome holds that genuflexions, the Agnus Dei, the beads, the medals of the saints, and of the virgin Mary, have an expiatory virtue. The Pagans believed that certain prayers remitted certain sins and their punishment; so the Church of Rome believes that Novenas, indulgences, the recitation of the first chapter of the Gospel of John, etc., remit venial sins, and their punishment. The Pagans went in pilgrimage to chapels, where the prayers of the priests, they thought, had an expiatory virtue greater

than in other temples; this practice and this belief have been preserved even by the Mahomedans. Now there are at the door of the Mosque of Ali, at Mesched-Aly, dervishes, who, for money, expiate with their prayers the sins of the pilgrims: so the Church of Rome believes that the expiatory virtue of the prayers made by priests, in certain chapels of saints and of Mary, where multitudes of pilgrims resort, is greater than that of the prayers made in other temples.

In China, the invocation of Omyto is sufficient to remit the punishment of the greatest crimes. It is on account of it that the followers of the sect of Fo repeat oftentimes, every day, the words, O-myto-Fo! The Indians believed, and still believe, that when a man expires in pronouncing the name of God, and in holding, at the same time, the tail of a cow, he immediately ascends to Paradise. The Bramas never failed, and even do not now, to read every morning the mysterious legend of Gosgendre-Mootsjam; because it is a dogma of the Indian religion that any one who reads this legend every morning, obtains the forgiveness of the punishment of all his sins; so the Church of Rome holds that any one who recites the Angelus when the bell rings, in the morning, at noon, and at sun down, or recites the acts of faith, of hope, and of charity, obtains the remittance of the punishment of several of his venial sins; and, also, that any one who regularly recites the prayers of Saint Brigitte, or who, when he dies, recites with great devotion the prayer Memorare o piissima, etc., will go to Paradise.

Greece was flooded with rituals, ascribed to Orpheus and to Museus, prescribing ceremonies, rites, and practices, which had the virtue of purifying the soul, and of exempting the sinners from the punishment of their sins. The priests of the Pagans persuaded entire towns, cities, and nations, that they could be purified of their crimes, and be exempted from the punishment, which the Deity would inflict upon them, through the means of expiatory rites, of feasts, and of initiations. They made the people believe that this purification, and this exemption, could extend to the living and to the dead, in what they called Teletes, or mysteries; and it was as a consequence of this belief that the priests of Cybel, those of Isis, the Orpheotelestes and others, went among the people to initiate them; but on the condition that they would pay to them large sums of money. This traffic was practiced even by priestesses, and bad women. Demosthenes informs us that the mother of Eschine made a living by it, and also in prostituting her body.

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