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sicknesses of the people : as a philosopher and priest, he taught them science, philosophy, and religion : as a political economist, he taught the arts of government and social organization : and, as. a poet, he composed and sung those marvellous songs—the first voices of a new civilization-which harmonized and softened the fierce tempers of savage men, and charmed them into the obedience of law and order.
All the ancients unite in ascribing to the songs of Orpheus a miraculous force. His seven-chorded harp was celebrated throughout the ancient world, and possessed, it is said, miracle-working powers. Wherever he went, it was his inseparable companion. Moved by its mysterious and thrilling harmonies, the trees danced for very joy ; the wild waves and winds were calmed ; the most savage of beasts came and crouched lovingly at his feet ; and men, ruder than the brutes and wilder than the tempests, were charmed from their forest homes and mountain dens, laid aside their savage ferocity, and yielded to the laws and habitudes of civilized life.
But may not this myth have another and more important sense ? May not that seven-stringed lyre, which, under the skilled hand of this great conjurer of the ancient world, exercised such a mighty influence in taming men and moving the nations, have reference to that mystic circle, that secret principle, through the agency of which the elements of a new civilization were communicated to the world, and those glorious types of justice, and equity, and virtue--which were subsequently realized in Grecian thought and life--were brought down from heaven to earth ? And the divine ideas of Unity and Love, and the sentiment of Fraternity-were not these that miracle-working music, the secret of the sublime enchantment?
The death of Orpheus was singularly tragical, and the manner of it is well established, although the causes which led to the catastrophe are involved in some obscurity. But the most authentic accounts lead us to believe that, after the death of Eurydice, whom he loved so deeply, he was seized with a strange antipathy to the whole sex. At all events, he ever after was invulnerable to all the charms and attractions of female beauty. Prompted, unconsciously perhaps, by this feeling, he introduced the rule of celibacy into his Brotherhood, which so excited the anger of the women, that, seizing an occasion when the initiates had assembled, and left (as their custom was) their arms at the gates of the temple, they took possession of them, and, taking the temple by storm, Orpheus and his associates were put to the sword. Orpheus was cut to pieces, and his head and his harp were thrown into the river which bathed the foundations of the sacred temple. But, according to the old fable, they could not entirely kill the prophet and miracle-worker ; for it is related that as they floated on the surface of the river downward to the ocean, the head continued to chant the celestial hymns, and the harp still resounded with those sublime strains which had ofttimes appeased the storm and calmed the turbulence of the sea !
This myth affords us a beautiful image of the immortality of Truth--of the perpetual efficacy and power of the Life and Word of a wise and good man! Orpheus was murdered, but the influence of his life was everlasting. It continued to throb in the Grecian heart through long centuries! His word and his life were an immortal psalm, which continued to sing in the ear of Greece the lessons of celestial wisdom, and the prophecy of a golden age.
The particular fact to which we desire to direct the reader's attention is, that Grecian civilization commences with Orpheus and his Mysteries. He stood, as it were, at the portals of Grecian life, and directed the genius of that wonderful people in the way it should take, and led it onward toward that brilliant destiny which it finally achieved. Freemasonry was the instrument he employed to effect the social regeneration of his country. Through it came to the states of Greece that Order of Life which has made them celebrated in all subsequent ages.
WHEN Orpheus, the Thracian singer, first introduced his institution into Greece, the rites were celebrated in the forests and on high hills. Afterward, however, a temple of vast extent and magnificent appearance was erected near Eleusis, and consecrated as the depository of the sacred Mysteries. Hence the Institution which was founded by Orpheus came to be known in subsequent ages by the name of " THE ELEUSINIA."
The early history of this Institution, in Greece, is involved in considerable obscurity. But we find that at a very remote period, even before the age of Hercules, it had acquired a wide renown, and exercised a powerful influence over Grecian life, and thought, and manners. By its agency, ideas made immense progress, and Art, Science, Philosophy, Ethics, and Letters, were carried to a high degree of perfection. So important did these Mysteries become, that initiation was regarded as an affair of supreme interest. Even kings and princes were ambitious of the honor of wearing the mystic cincture of the Order. The illuminated were considered the favorites of Heaven, worthy of all the honors of this world, and the highest awards of the next.
Although we cannot tell precisely how extensive the circle of truths might have been, to elucidate which was the aim of the Institution, we have reason to believe that it neglected no important facts of either profane or sacred science. The rites of initiation were sacred or philosophical dramas, extremely fascinating to the imaginative mind, and intended to shadow forth the profoundest mysteries of the Universe, of God, the Soul, and human destiny.
Among the persons who officiated at the ceremonies, and governed the initiates, were the Hierophant, the Torch-Bearer, the Sacred Herald, the Priest, and Archon. The Hierophant, at initiation, appeared in a robe of more than regal splendor, and sat on a throne brilliant with gold, over which arched a rainbow, in the circle of which were seen the moon and seven stars. He was regarded as the representative of the Creator, and bore, suspended from his neck, a golden globe, the symbol of absolute power and universal dominion. Before him were twenty-four attendants clothed in white, and wearing crowns of gold; while around him burned with a dazzling radiance seven huge flambeaux, whose light, reflected by a thousand burnished mir