The Gospel of the Holy Twelve
Comments of the Editors
Transcribed and Compiled
by Rev. Mark Wilcox D.D.
The Comments of Section 10
Lections 90 Thru 96
LECTION 90. 4. -The art of cutting and polishing glass and stone was well known in Phoenicia and Egypt, before the Christian era, and in Pompeii numbers of such crystals were found in great variety. It is a beautiful symbol
appealing to the mind.
LECTION 90. 12. -Our Lord never damned or blamed those who could not see the divine truths, which he taught, and receive them. He had patience with them, as being without the fold, without light, and not admissible to the Kingdom, so long as they remained in their darkness and impenitence and self-doomed to eternal death if they
LECTION 91. 5. -The idea of baptizing unconscious infants seems never to have entered the mind of Jesus. He blessed them, but he also blessed other animals, and things that had no sentient life. Baptism implies belief and confession of faith and repentance from evil works and
LECTION 91. 6. -0ver 2,000 years before Christ there existed on the shores of Lake Meeris, in Egypt, a labyrinth of seven circular wall-enclosed winding paths, represented by Boticelli in one of his engravings, which we here reproduce adapted for Christian rites. This was used by the Egyptians in their initiations as a symbol of life, and the wanderings of the soul in the flesh, till "seven times seven" times purified and meet to appear before God. There appears to have been a similar one in Ierusalem before the demolition ordered by Hadrian, and this may well have been used by the Early Christians in receiving candidates for admission into the Christian Church. In after ages, this idea seems confirmed by the remains of Labyrinths to be found at the west end of several Churches in Europe. A beautiful specimen at
Chartres of dark stone, inlaid with light, the winding path of about 666 ft. round to the centre shrine. They were in later ages used as places of pilgrimage or of penitential exercises during Lent and other seasons, but there is no question that the original intention was to symbolize to the penitents the manifold wanderings of the soul in the outer darkness before, being purified, it reached the beatified abode, the marvellous light of the Divine glory , indicated by the central Shrine, whose pavement and walls were of golden colour, and illuminated by many lights. In this shrine was situated the font, descended by seven steps, and the altar at which the candidates were received after their baptism. These sentences, supposed to be part of the rite
of initiation, shew this to be the case: "Going out from My presence ye shall wander in the outer darkness, but in due time ye shall return, and seeking Me through repentance ye shall find Me, who am the Light of all who seek." Again "A Pilgrim am I, wandering from my God through the darkness of the world, I desire to return to my ancient home, whence I came, to see my God who is my light and my joy." Again, "Forty years and nine, yea seven times seven doth Israel wander in the wilderness of this world, for it is a generation that do err in their hearts, knowing my Holy law, and not obeying. But those who shaIl obey my law and overcome the evil with them, are made perfect. They are made pillars in the Temple of God and shall go out no more;" and again, "Glory be to Thee O God, who bringeth us out of darkness into thy marvellous light." All along the walls run sentences from the 78th Psalm describing the wanderings of Israel, which, entering in with lighted taper, the catechumen is supposed to recite to himself.
This building may comprise part of the church attached to
the western end, or separate from it. There remains no trace of it at the present day, nor is any description, like many other things that have been forgotten in the darkness of the early ages of persecution and desolation, like the ruthless tide of destruction which prevailed in our own country in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and from which it has never recovered.
LECTION 91. 7-8. -In the Editor's former work "Palingenesia, or Earth's New Birth," 1884, incorporating some Ideas from this Gospel (part of which he had then received) these two rites referred to, by some oversight were transposed. Here, as in" Church of the Future" 1896, by the same Editor, the correct order is given. It is at present
out of print.
LECTION 92. 4. -Here we have further proof, if any were needed, that Jesus was brought up in the tenets and customs of the Essenes. See "Christianity and Buddhism" (a remarkable book by Arthur Lillie) for the full discussion of the subject.
v. 6. -Similar were the rites of Mithra. From the days of Noah and Melchizedek these pure mysteries were celebrated -though not in the fulness of the light of Christ.
LECTION 94. 7. -From this, as from other words of the Master on previous occasions, it is evident that his servant Paul borrowed from him many of the ideas, and similes and wise sayings scattered through his Epistles, and not Paul only, but also the other Apostles. (See also verse 9).
v. 10. -It has been alleged that the laying down of rites and ordinances for Christianity has been the cause of division and strife in all countries. Nay, rather have not these divisions and dissensions been caused by the omission of the directions given by the One Head acknowledged by all during the period between his resurrection and ascension and the generation immediately after, and the handling of them down by that tradition so liable to corruption in place of the written record. But much more were these divisions and dissensions caused by the interpolation of dogmas not making for goodness and unity, by the suppression from the records of the vital essence in the holy law given by Iesus on the Mount, which, had it been preached and known and obeyed by all, would have made the earth a paradise in place of a hen for the weak and the helpless.
LECTION 95. 5. -There is no doubt that the "power" here referred to means the spiritual power which we read of as exercised by the followers of Jesus and other great prophets in all ages more or less. Taking the various accounts in the Gospel and ecclesiastical history as correct, miracles (i.e., wondrous works wrought by the exercise of faith and will power and often by the uses of subtle forces of nature, quite natural, but seemingly supernatural to those in ignorance of these forces) were of frequent occurrences in those days, even as they are in these days, but better understood, false miracles being no proof of the non-existence of true ones. Often they would be the effect exercised on the minds and imaginations of vast numbers of the poor and afl1icted, the diseased and suffering of humanity by faith in some great champions of the oppressed, themselves destroyed by the oppressor, yet realised by faith, if not by actual knowledge as still living and acting, with hands outstretched to heal and bless those who invoked their aid.
v. 9. -From the testimony of the Jews, John viii. 57, A. V., it appears that Jesus at that time was not far from fifty years of age, and this is supported by S. lrenmus, 120-200 A.D., who appeals to the gospel as received by those of his day and to all the elders as testifying the same," those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, affirming that John conveyed to them this tradition." "Some of them," he says again, "not only saw John but the other Apostles also, and heard the very same tradition from them. Bond bear testimony to the truth of the statement."
The Editor of this Gospel has been credibly informed by an esteemed friend of his, "a Syrian Bishop," and a relative of the late learned Pope Pius IX., that he frequently (in private) assured him that he firmly held this (as a private opinion), the present time (1870) not being yet ripe for a public declaration on this and similar subjects, now introduced into the notes to this and other publications of the O.A.
LECTION 95. 8. -Mary Magdalene was chosen by our Lord as a type of the Church, in her fallen condition, redeemed by His love, and would be fitly one of the first fruits taken to be with her Lord, as Ioseph and Mary were after. She was the constant companion of Iesus' Ministry, to him she ministered of her substance, she anointed him for his Ministry, and for his Burial. She was the last at the Cross, and the first at the Tomb, and to her aJone He gave the commission, " Go tell Peter," and wheresoever the Gospel was to be preached, her love and devotion to her Master were to be declared.
LECTION 96. 1. -This number, 120, has many mystic significances, and was foreshadowed by the number of souls saved in the Ark at the Flood ("The Original Genesis"), which included 48 (i.e., double 7 + 34) + 72, a number of deep mystic significance.
v. 2. -The manifestations described here have been repeated in modern times. What God does in one age, whether by angels, spirits, or adepts in the flesh, the same unchanging God repeats in another. Whether the miracle respecting the preaching of Peter took place in the persons of the Apostles, or in their hearers, we have no means of ascertaining, but the fact remains. Most probably in the hearing of the hearers, so that each was enabled spiritually to understand. or else all were moved to speak and to hear in a tongue common to all.
LECTION 96. 9. -These words would seem to suggest 50 years at the natural term of the working life of men and women, after which they should be relieved from the necessity of further labour. Having worked for six weeks of years, man is entitled to the Sabbath of Rest from further servile labour.
v. 5. -That these material symbols mentioned were actually used in this assembly may be doubted by some. It is more likely that the disciple, who had the gift of spiritual sight and hearing developed, heard and saw some of the things here described, as symbols of deep inner truths. The expression "to none was given aught that was not given to all," seems to shew this to be the case, and that It was understood in a mystic and spiritual sense.
LECTION 96. 12. -From the earliest times the Ecclesiastioal grades and orders of the Christian Church were, in the Local Church, seven in number. 1, The Angel or President. 2, The Presbyter. 3, the Deacons. To these were added 4, Readers. 5, Singers. 6, Acolytes. 7, Door- keepers. Each of these, from the Angel or Bishop downwards, had his help or coadjuter to represent him in his absence. And among the Laity were, 1, The Faithful. 2, the Penitents. 3, the Catechumens. The Angel or President of the Local Church was a Pastor in the Universal Church, in which the Supreme head, under Iesus Christ, his Vice. regent was the Angel or Bishop of the Universal Church and under him 12 Apostles, 12 Prophets, 12 Evangelists, and 19 Pastors, constituting the higher Priesthood of the Universal Church. Each with his coadjutor, as in the Local Church, to represent him in his absence. Under these were the Deacons, one to each Priest, 48 in number. These constituted the supreme Council of one hundred (the supreme Angel or Pontiff having two additional Coadjutcrs chosen by him). But there is a higher meaning, mystical and doctrinal.
LECTION 96. l3. -Here we have suggested the earthly Trinity of Jesus, Mary, Joseph; the reflection on earth of the celestial Trinity of Father, Mother, Son-daughter ; and so clearly as to avoid all idea of worship, latreia, to created beings. Nothing in the text is affirmed or denied, but simply "they were not," "the Lord took them" even as God is said to have taken Enoch, and as he took Mary Magdalene, Jesus being first of first-fruits and Mary mystically one with him, as Christ and his Church are one. Then Mary and Ioseph followed after (whether in flesh or Spirit we are not told) to be with him, whom they venerated here on earth. If the assumption of Mary his Mother has been defined by the Church (to guard the doctrine of the true Divinity of Christ) shall not also the assumption of her lmmaculate spouse? The authority in the four accepted Gospels is, for the B. V .M. no greater than it would be for Ioseph in this case. Already the Church sings of Iesus, Mary Bond Ioseph as the reflection, the shadow on earth, of the heavenly and eternal Trinity of Father, Mother Bond Holy Child. The immaculate Virgin and her spouse represent the great assembly of the just made perfect-the regenerate compa.ny of the sons and daughters of God Almighty, in whom there is no spot or stain of imperfection, the Bride of the Lamb, of whom the Temple on Mount Zion was an earthly symbol.
LECTION 96. 18. -This is most probably the oldest of the creed forms, if for a "creed" it was intended, long lost but now restored. It clearly expresses the faith and the practice
of the Early Christian Church (reaching back, perhaps, in some truths, to the days before Noah), which we see glimpses of elsewhere in the writings that remain to us. The decree of the Church in her first general council at Jerusalem, founded on it as a deep psychological insight, and given under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, is well known, though generally forgotten or ignored by Christians; for the logical deduction is total abstinence from flesh meat, which can only be obtained for food by the destruction of innocent life, whether by bloodshed or by strangling. And such destruction of life for selfish ends is placed with fornication and other deadly sins. Some portions of the Epistles of S. Paul in the A. V., notwithstanding all these, are manifestly interpolations of a later date after the discipline of the Church had been relaxed, and the evil customs Bond fashions of the world had sought and gained admission in the Church in union with a corrupt state. Both this symbol of Faith and the 12 Precepts of Jesus have been published before in a separate leaflet form in the year 1881.
v. 22. -It has been asserted by Church historians of all shades of opinion that incense was not used in the Christian Church till the fourth century. Here we have evidence of the contrary, and proof that in the early Church of Jeruslem It was in use at the time this Gospel was written. This with other ceremonies, ornament., etc., not peculiar to Iudaism (e.p. the high priest's golden plate or mitre, which S. James is Bald to have worn as president of the Church of Ierusalem), were retained. The truth seems to be that the use of it was laid aside for a time as a matter of expediency on account of the danger to the lives of the brethren, as it helped materially their persecutors to find out their hidden places of meeting. When the persecutions were over and the Church emerged from the concealment of the catacombs into the light of open day in the fourth century, then it was resumed, and this was the only reason of what could exist, for its discontinuance being of divine appointment as we have seen, though not essentially necessary any more perhaps than music, or lights or vestments.
v. 22. -Probably as a traditional memory of this recorded event, a peculiar custom exists in the East to this day. The Great Bell of the Kremlin Tower Is heard during the entire time of the chanting of the Creed. The same in other Oriental Churches, where every bell in the Church rings during the creed, as well as at the elevation and other parts of the Liturgy. (See O'Brien's "History of the Mass," &c.)
Again, referring to the Essenes as a religious body, the popular impression is that the Cenobite or Monastic life did not rise in Christendom till the Fourth Century. The fact is, it was coeval with, if not antecedent to, Christendom, as
among the Essenes and Therapeutre, and even before them in the "school of the Prophets" in the Jewish Church. The Carthusian Monasteries in the Catholic Church give a good idea of these early monks and nuns, and their mode of life, &c. (See Arthur Lillies "Christianity and Buddhism," larger work). It is the natural outcome of earnestness and devotion, despised and rejected by the world that will not
receive nor give heed to higher teachings but only to its own self-interests, insanities and follies, and reject the life of obedience to God's laws." Ye are the salt of the earth, a city set on a hill, a light shining in a dark place." Thus, with few exceptions, were these institutions of old, and still are, where the evil influence of the world has not crept in like a serpent coiling round the Tree of Life.
v. 26. -Here we subjoin the ancient Anathema omitted in the first Edition which we are now admonished to restore to the complete Edition as now published.
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