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Age of the Rule of Faith: Irenaeus dispute with Gnostic Narcissus

“The Church of Rome was Gnostic – just as much as the Marcionites were – until the beginning and even the middle of the second century; Marcion, the famous Gnostic, did not separate from it until the year 136, and Tatian left it still later. And why did they leave it? Because they had become heretics, the Church pretends; but the history of these cults contributed by esoteric manuscripts gives us an entirely different version. These famous Gnostics, they tell us, separated themselves from the Church because they could not agree to accept a Christ made flesh, and thus began the process of carnalizing the Christ-principle. It was then also that the metaphysical allegory experienced its first transformation – that allegory which was the fundamental doctrine of all the Gnostic fraternities.” (Helena Blavatsky, Notes on Abbé Roca’s “Esoteric Christianity,” Le Lotus, Paris, Vol. 2, No. 9, December, 1887)

This dramatic act of Irenaeus disputing with the Gnostic Narcissus (a pupil of Valentinus), argues that the early Church saw the Gnostic’s intellectual form of Christianity as incapable of reaching the poor, uneducated masses. The argument of Irenaeus in the scene, is that the Gnostic orientation could not have influence, because the Gnostics were an intellectual circle, and education was a luxury of the elite. The bishop underestimates the value of an intellectual, systematic, mature religious philosophy, as well as the capabilities of the masses, which encourages ignorance and fear. The Christian canon (The Gospels, Acts and Epistles) are considered “fragments of gnostic wisdom,” to which it owes its form and terminology, along with the pre-Christian groundwork built on the archaic philosophy of the Mysteries.

“The names of Seneca, of the elder and the younger Pliny, of Tacitus, of Plutarch, of Galen, of the slave Epictetus, and of the emperor Marcus Antoninus, adorn the age in which they flourished, and exalt the dignity of human nature. They filled with glory their respective stations, either in active or contemplative life; their excellent understandings were improved by study; philosophy had purified their minds from the prejudices of the popular superstition; and their days were spent in the pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue. Yet all these sages (it is no less an object of surprise than of concern) overlooked or rejected the perfection of the Christian system. Their language or their silence equally discover their contempt for the growing sect which in their time had diffused itself over the Roman empire. Those among them who condescend to mention the Christians consider them only as obstinate and perverse enthusiasts, who exacted an implicit submission to their mysterious doctrines, without being able to produce a single argument that could engage the attention of men of sense and learning.” (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1, Chapter 15, 1788.)

“(…) there is the esoteric interpretation of the Christian texts which, read in the light of, and translated into, “the language of the Mysteries,” show us the identity of the fundamental and definitely universal truths; by this means, the four Gospels, as well as the Bible of Moses and everything else, from the first to the last, clearly appear to be a symbolic allegory of the same primitive mysteries and the Cycle of Initiation.

In carnalizing the central figure of the New Testament, in imposing the dogma of the Word made flesh, the Latin Church sets up a doctrine diametrically opposed to the tenets of Buddhist and Hindu Esotericism and the Greek Gnosis. Therefore, there will always be an abyss between the East and the West, as long as neither of these dogmas yields. Almost 2,000 years of bloody persecution against Heretics and Infidels by the Church looms before the Oriental nations to prevent them from renouncing their philosophic doctrines in favor of that which degrades the Christos principle. Then again statistics are available to prove that two-thirds of the population of the globe are still far from agreeing to gravitate to “one single Shepherd.” Armies of missionaries are sent to every corner of the earth; money by the millions is sacrificed by Rome every year and by tens of millions by the 350 to 360 Protestant sects, and what is the result of so much effort?” (Helena Blavatsky, Notes on Abbé Roca’s “Esoteric Christianity,” Le Lotus, Paris, Vol. 2, No. 9, December, 1887)

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