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to the world the picture of a new order of life-a new social arrangement far above, and in advance of, the most perfect of our political compacts. Men need faith in virtue and confidence in each other; for, without these, there can be no stability in business, nor improvement in individual or public morality. They create this faith in virtue, and insure this mutual confidence. They strengthen public morality ; promote peace and good will between man and man; and seek to apply, always and everywhere, the Christian idea of Union and Love, as they are revealed in the command, “Bear one another's burdens.”
The Freemasonry of the Pyramids.
In the foregoing chapter we have ventured to offer the theory, that the mysteries, or secret societies, as they are now termed, are providential institutions, and were employed by the master-spirits of our race as instruments of civilization, and means of social, moral, intellectual, and religious progress. And this theory, we think, will be strongly and curiously confirmed by the investigations we are about to institute.
If we direct our attention to that wonderful people which dwelt on the banks of the Nile, we shall find that the real life of the Egyptians, as a nation—at least so far as history takes any note of it-commences with Osiris and Isis, and with the establishment of the Mysteries.
These two grand and imposing figures in the Egyptian Mythology, when stripped of their mythic and poetic investiture, and shorn of their divine attributes, and brought down to a level with humanity, are seen to be two human beings, who, by the force of their genius, intelligence, and virtue, won the admiration of those wild and untutored barbarians, taught them how to cultivate and prepare the fruits of the earth, and gave them the industrial arts and a civilization. According to the Egyptian historians, anterior to the advent of Osiris and Isis, darkness, savagery, and barbarism filled the earth. They appeared, organized society, laid the foundations of social order, established religion and law, and founded the sacred mysteries.* This assertion is probable enough ; for it is not until after the time of Isis that Egyptian history attains to any degree of consistency, and speaks of the building of cities and temples, and of the constitution of the priesthood.
Simultaneous with the appearance of Egyptian society, and with the genesis of Egyptian civilization, rises into view the Secret Institution of Isis, with its wonderful mysteries and imposing ceremonies. At first, it is probable, from the little that we can gather from ancient historians touching this point, that the initiatory rite was simply a mystic drama, representing the progress of man from a barbarous to a civilized state, and his advancements and struggles, through gloom and toil, toward the supreme perfection, whether in time or eternity. This is plainly seen in the hieroglyphical representation of what is usually termed the "Judgment of Amenti.”
* Vide Herodotus.
Here the neophyte is represented--after passing through various ordeals--as a suppliant in the presence of Osiris, the representative of the divinitywho holds in his hands the flagellum and crook, the emblems of justice and benevolence. Standing in this position, and surrounded by these appalling circumstances, the terrified neophyte was severely questioned, and all the acts of his life scrutinized with the severest exactitude, to ascertain if he were worthy to be allowed to pass on to higher and more important mysteries.*
After passing the dreaded Osiris, still guided by an initiate, disguised under a mask in the form of a dog's head,t he threaded his way through mysterious labyrinths, arriving at length at a stream of water, which he was directed to pass. At the same time, his progress was arrested by three men, also disguised under grotesque forms, who, taking a cup of water from the rivulet, bade the trembling neophyte to drink, addressing him in these words : “ ASPIRANT TO THE HONOR OF A DIVINE COMPANIONSHIP, SEEKER AFTER CELESTIAL TRUTH, THIS IS THE WATER OF FORGETFULNESS ! DRINK TO THE OBLIVION OF ALL YOUR VICES, THE FORGETFULNESS OF ALL YOUR IMPERFECTIONS ; AND THUS BE PREPARED FOR THE RECEPTION OF THE NEW REVELATIONS OF VIRTUE, AND TRUTH, AND GOODNESS, WITH WHICH YOU ARE SOON TO BE HONORED.”
* The myth of the “ Judgment of Amenti” forms a part of the Brok of the Dead," and shadows forth the verities and judgments of the unseer. world. It also formed a part of the initiatory rite of Isis, which aimed to picture forth the same thought.
+ In all the ancient mysteries, the initiates present at the ceremonies were disguised.
It is plain that the initiation was considered by the Egyptians as the end of a profane and vicious life—the palingenesia (new birth) of corrupted human nature—the death of vice and of all bad passions, and the introduction into a new life of purity and virtue. The first trials which led thereto filled the mind of the candidate with uncertainty, perplexity, and doubt. Painfully and with great labor he advanced through tortuous paths, and over yawning chasms, all the more frightful as he was plunged into the most profound darkness! Arrived at the opening scene of initiation, he saw everything under aspects the most terrible and awful ; but soon these spectacles of terror disappeared, with the trembling and fear consequent thereon, and a miraculous and divine light blazed in boundless effulgence around him. Smiling plains, and meadows enamelled with flowers, spread before him, and a bland and fragrant air, loaded with all the perfumes of Arabia Felix, undulated around him. Hymns in honor of the Divinity, and choruses of triumph and joy, agreeably charmed his ears; sublime doctrines of sacred science, including Art, Industry, Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion, were addressed to his understanding ; and spectacles of sublime beauty, and holy visions,