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Truth was unveiled in all her divine beauty and radiance.
The scene he now beheld was fair and beautiful beyond description. A great variety of spectacles exhibiting virtue triumphant, and enjoying its full reward—the ministry of grief and pain, and even punishment, ending in high perfection and Elysian blisses—and man in the possession of that godlike freedom to which his destiny points, and for which he was created-passed successively before his wondering eyes.
As the neophyte was led forward to receive the benediction and the instructions of the hierophant, the twenty-four attendants clothed in white prostrated themselves to the earth, and in strains of solemn and sublime music sang the following beautiful hymn, composed by Orpheus, the great founder of these Mysteries, in honor of " the Supreme ONE, who is above all:"
“Thou God of heaven and hell, of land and sea !
From Thee; and aye before thy golden throne
The Eleusinian Mysteries were distinguished into the greater and less. The origin of this distinction is thus accounted for: * Hercules, being at Athens, desired to be initiated; but, by the laws, no stranger could be admitted. That they might not offend the hero, whom they respected and feared, nor yet violate the ancient laws, the Athenians instituted the lesser Mysteries, to the celebration of which he was admitted. These were afterward preparatory to the greater, for which the candidate was obliged to fit himself by religious ceremonies, symbolical rites, and various acts of devotion—the design of which was to withdraw his attention, at least for a time, from business and pleasure, to keep him pure, chaste, and unpolluted, and to excite his curiosity in relation to the expected revelations. The period of purification continued a year, and no one could be admitted without this preparation, on pain of death.
* Creuzer, Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Volker, besonders der Griechen. Leipsic, 1819. Vide Potter's Antiquities, vol. ii., p. 20.
The celebration of the Mysteries commenced on the 15th day of the month Boedromion, and continued nine days. The ceremony of admission, already described, was performed in the night, and could not but leave a lasting and deep impression on the mind of the initiate.
In these rites we perceive most clearly a profound religious and philosophical significance. They were both retrospective and prospective-looking backward to the Past of Humanity, and forward to its Future ; and presenting, under an allegorical veil, the whole moral history of man-his natural ignorance, helplessness, and blindness—the gradual dawning of Truth on his mind, and the high and glorious perfection to which he may attain.
The Freemasonry of Pythagoras.
As this celebrated Society singularly confirms the theory of secret association which we have ventured to propose, and as the philosophical Mystagogue, Pythagoras, is frequently mentioned in Masonic traditions, we are confident the reader will not complain if we give a somewhat extended account of the society, and of its founder and of his teachings.
Pythagoras was a Samian by birth, and lived somewhere about the sixth century before Christ. He received his first instruction from Creophilus in his native city. Thence he went to the island of Cyros, and studied with Pherecides, till the death of the latter. He was also for a time the scholar of Thales. He possessed an inquiring mind, a philosophical spirit, and an unquenchable thirst for wisdom. In the pursuit of science he spent considerable time in Phænicia, in communion with the successors of Moschus and other priests of that country, by whom he was initiated into the Cabirian Mysteries. Continuing his journey, he visited va
rious parts of Syria, in order to become acquainted with the most important religious doctrines and usages. He also visited Judea, and a Pythagorean society--the Essæans—existed there as early as the time of the Maccabees, and down to the time of Christ. Recommended by Polycrates, king of Samos, to Amasis, the Egyptian king, he visited Egypt, and was initiated into the Mysteries of Isis,* and became acquainted with all the learning of that remarkable people. From Egypt he journeyed to India, to acquaint himself with the wisdom of the Gymnosophists, visiting the Magi and the Chaldean sages on his way. He also visited Crete, where the priests of Cybele took him to the caverns of Ida, where Jupiter had been cradled, and where, it was pretended, his grave could be seen. There he met Epimenides, whom he initiated into the sacred Mysteries of the Greeks. From Crete he went to Sparta and Elis, and thence to Phlius, where, being asked by King Leon what his profession was, he replied. that "he was a philosopher, friend of wisdom, declaring that the name of sage, or the wise, belonged solely to the divinity.
Having thus acquired all the wisdom of his age, and master of the science of all countries, he returned home and established a school at Samos, where, in imitation of the Egyptians, he taught his doctrines in a symbolical form. His teachings
* Ritter : Geschichte der Pythagoraischen Philosophie.