The Present Truth, vol. 12


The Present Truth, Vol. 12


January 9, 1896

“The Papacy. Early Developments” The Present Truth 12, 2, pp. 19, 20.


NO sooner were the apostles removed from the stage of action, no sooner was their watchful attention gone and their apostolic authority removed, than this very thing appeared of which the apostle had spoken (the “falling away,” considered last week). PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.1

Certain bishops, in order to make easier the conversion of the heathen, to multiply disciples, and by this increase their own influence and authority, began to adopt heathen customs and forms. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.2

When the last of the apostles was dead, the first century was gone; and within twenty years of that time the perversion of the truth of Christ had become wide-spread. In the history of this century and of this subject the historian Mosheim says:— PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.3

It is certain that to religious worship, both public and private, many rites were added, without necessity, and to the offense of sober and good men. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.4

And the reason of this is stated to be that— PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.5

“The Christians were pronounced atheists, because they were destitute of temples, altars, victims, priests, and all that pomp in which the vulgar suppose the essence of religion to consist. For unenlightened persons are prone to estimate religion by what meets their eyes. To silence this accusation, the Christian doctors thought it necessary to introduce some external rites, which would strike the senses of the people, so that they could maintain themselves really to possess all those things of which Christians were charged with being destitute, though under different forms.” PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.6

This was at once to accommodate the Christian worship and its forms to that of the heathen, and was almost at one step to heathenize Christianity. No heathen element or form can be connected with Christianity or its worship, and Christianity remain pure. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.7

Of all the ceremonies of the heathen, the mysteries were the most sacred and most universally practised. Some mysteries were in honor of Bacchus, some of Cybele, but the greatest of all, those considered the most sacred of all and the most widely practised, were the Eleusinian, so called because celebrated at Eleusis in Greece. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.8

But whatever was the mystery that was celebrated, there was always in it, as an essential part of it, the elements of abomination that characterized sun-worship everywhere, because the mysteries were simply forms of the wide-spread and multiform worship of the sun. Among the first of the perversions of the Christian worship was to give to its forms the title and air of the mysteries. For, Mosheim says:— PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.9

“Among the Greeks and the people of the East, nothing was held more sacred than what were called the mysteries. This circumstance led the Christians, in order to impart dignity to their religion, to say that they also had similar mysteries, or certain holy rites concealed from the vulgar; and they not only applied the terms used in the pagan mysteries to Christian institutions, particularly baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but they gradually introduced also the rites which were designated by these terms.” PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.10

Of the Eleusinian mysteries, Anthon (“Ecclesiastical Dictionary”) says: “This mysterious secrecy was solemnly observed and enjoined on all the votaries of the goddess; and if anyone ever appeared at the celebration, either intentionally or through ignorance, without proper introduction, he was immediately punished with death. Persons of both sexes and all ages were initiated at this solemnity; and it was looked upon as so heinous a crime to neglect this sacred part of religion that it was one of the heaviest accusations which contributed to the condemnation of Socrates. The initiated were under the more particular care of the deities, and therefore their lives were supposed to be attended with more happiness and real security than those of other men. This benefit was not only granted during life, but it extended beyond the grave; and they were honored with the first places in the Elysian fields, while others were left to wallow in perpetual filth and ignominy.” PTUK January 9, 1896, page 19.11

There were the greater and the lesser mysteries. The greater were the Eleusinian in fact, and the lesser were invented, according to the mythological story, because Hercules passed near Eleusis, where the greater mysteries were celebrated, and desired to be initiated; but as he was a stranger, and therefore could not lawfully be admitted, a form of mysteries was adopted into which he could be initiated. These were ever afterward celebrated as the lesser, and were observed at Agre. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 20.1

In the course of time the lesser were made preparatory to the greater, and the candidate must be initiated into these before he could be initiated into the greater. “The person who assisted,” says Anthon of the rites of initiation, “was called Hudranos, from hudor, water, which was used at the purification; and they themselves were called the initiated. A year after the initiation at the lesser mysteries they sacrificed a sow to Ceres, and were admitted into the greater, and the secrets of the festivals were solemnly revealed to them. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 20.2

These mysteries, as well as those of Bacchus and others, were directly related to the sun. Says the Encyclopedia Britannica: “The most holy and perfect rite in the Eleusinian Mysteries was to show an ear of corn mowed down in silence, and this was a symbol of the Phrygian Atys.” The Phrygian Atys was simply the incarnation of the sun, and the mysteries being a form of sun worship, cannot be described with decency any further than is spoken by the Apostle Paul, in words spoken with direct reference to this subject. “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” Ephesians 5:11, 12. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 20.3

It was to accommodate the Christian worship to the minds of a people who practised these things that the bishops gave to the Christian ordinances the name of mysteries. The Lord’s Supper was made the greater mystery, baptism the lesser and the initiatory rite to the celebration of the former. After the heathen manner also a white garment was used as the initiatory robe, and the candidate, having been baptized, and thus initiated into the lesser mysteries, was admitted into what was called in the church the order of catechumens, in which order they remained a certain length of time, as in the heathen celebration, before they were admitted to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the greater mystery. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 20.4

Nobody at all familiar with the rites of the Catholic Church to-day, need be told that confirmation and the white dress for the first communion, are simply relics of paganism. PTUK January 9, 1896, page 20.5

Mosheim testifies that before the second century was half gone, before the last of the apostles had been dead forty years, this apostasy, this working of the mystery of iniquity, had so largely spread over both the East and the West, that it is literally true that “a large part, therefore, of the Christian observances and institutions, even in this century, had the aspect of the pagan mysteries.” PTUK January 9, 1896, page 20.6