“As we proceed, we will point out the evidences of this identity of vows, formulas, rites, and doctrines, between the ancient faiths. We will also show that not only their memory is still preserved in India, but also that the Secret Association is still alive and as active as ever. That, after reading what we have to say, it may be inferred that the chief pontiff and hierophants, the Brahmatma, is still accessible to those “who know”, though perhaps recognized by another name; and that the ramifications of his influence extend throughout the world. But we will now return again to the early Christian period.
As though he were not aware that there was any esoteric significance to the exoteric symbols, and that the Mysteries themselves were composed of two parts, the lesser at Agrae, and the higher ones at Eleusinia, Clemens Alexandrinus, with a rancorous bigotry that one might expect from a renegade Neo-Platonist, but is astonished to find in this generally honest and learned Father, stigmatized the Mysteries as indecent and diabolical.
Whatever were the rites enacted among the neophytes before they passed to a higher form of instruction; however misunderstood were the trials of Katharsis or purification, during which they were submitted to every kind of probation, and however much the immaterial or physical aspect might have led to calumny, it is but wicked prejudice which can compel a person to say that under this external meaning, there was not a far deeper and spiritual significance.
It is positively absurd to judge the ancients from our own standpoint of propriety and virtue. And most assuredly it is not for the Church – which now stands accused by all the modern symbologists of having adopted precisely these same emblems in their coarsest aspect, and feels herself powerless to refute the accusations – to throw the stone at those who were her models.
When men like Pythagoras, Plato, Iamblichus, renowned for their severe morality, took part in the Mysteries, and spoke of them with veneration, it ill behooves our modern critics to judge them so rashly upon their merely external aspects. Iamblichus explains the worst; and his explanation, for an unprejudiced mind, ought to be perfectly plausible. “Exhibitions of this kind””, he says, “in the Mysteries were designed to free us from licentious passions, by gratifying the sight, and at the same time vanquishing all evil thought, through the awful sanctity with which these rites were accompanied.” “The wisest and best men in the Pagan world”, adds Dr. Warburton, “are unanimous in this, that the Mysteries were instituted pure, and proposed the noblest ends by the worthiest means.”
H. P. Blavatsky