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Key to Theosophy (KEY03.TXT)

Feb 07, 1996 08:54 AM
by ti


Text supplied by Eldon Tucker, Converted to ASCII by Alan Bain.


The Policy of the Theosophical Society

Q. In the days of Ammonius there were several ancient great
religions, and numerous were the sects in Egypt and Palestine
alone. How could he reconcile them?

A. By doing that which we again try to do now. The
Neo-Platonists were a large body, and belonged to various
religious philosophies; so do our Theosophists.

It was under Philadelphus that Judaism established itself in
Alexandria, and forthwith the Hellenic teachers became the
dangerous rivals of the College of Rabbis of Babylon. As the
author of _The Eclectic Philosophy_ very pertinently remarks:

"The Buddhist, Vedantic, and Magian systems were expounded along
with the philosophies of Greece at that period. It was not
wonderful that thoughtful men supposed that the strife of words
ought to cease, and considered it possible to extract one
harmonious system from these various teachings - Panaetius,
Athenagoras, and Clement were thoroughly instructed in Platonic
philosophy, and comprehended its essential unity with the
Oriental systems."

In those days, the Jew Aristobulus affirmed that the ethics of
Aristotle represented the _esoteric_ teachings of the Law of
Moses; Philo Judaeus endeavored to reconcile the _Pentateuch_
with the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy; and Josephus
proved that the Essenes of Carmel were simply the copyists and
followers of the Egyptian Therapeutae (the healers). So it is in
our day. We can show the line of descent of every Christian
religion, as of every, even the smallest, sect. The latter are
the minor twigs or shoots grown on the larger branches; but
shoots and branches spring from the same trunk - the
WISDOM-RELIGION. To prove this was the aim of Ammonius, who
endeavored to induce Gentiles and Christians, Jews and
Idolaters, to lay aside their contention and strife, remembering
only that they were all in possession of the same truth under
various vestments, and were all the children of a common mother.
This is the aim of Theosophy likewise.

Says Mosheim of Ammonius:

"Conceiving that not only the philosophers of Greece, but also
all those of the different barbarian nations, were perfectly in
unison with each other with regard to every essential point, he
made it his business so to expound the thousand tenets of all
these various sects as to show they had all originated from one
and the same source, and tended all to one and the same end."

If the writer on Ammonius in the _Edinburgh Encyclopedia_ knows
what he is talking about, then he describes the modern
Theosophists, their beliefs, and their work, for he says,
speaking of the _Theodidaktos:_

"He adopted the doctrines which were received in Egypt (the
esoteric were those of India) concerning the Universe and the
Deity, considered as constituting one great whole; concerning
the eternity of the world - and established a system of moral
discipline which allowed the people in general to live according
to the laws of their country and the dictates of nature, but
required the wise to exalt their mind by contemplation."

Q. What is your authority for saying this of the ancient
Theosophists of Alexandria?

A. An almost countless number of well-known writers. Mosheim,
one of them, says that:

"Ammonius taught that the religion of the multitude went
hand-in-hand with philosophy, and with her had shared the fate
of being by degrees corrupted and obscured with mere human
conceits, superstitions, and lies; that it ought, therefore, to
be brought back to its original purity by purging it of this
dross and expounding it upon philosophical principles; and the
whole Christ had in view was to reinstate and restore to its
primitive integrity the wisdom of the ancients; to reduce within
bounds the universally-prevailing dominion of superstition; and
in part to correct, and in part to exterminate the various
errors that had found their way into the different popular

This, again, is precisely what the modern Theosophists say. Only
while the great Philaletheian was supported and helped in the
policy he pursued by two Church Fathers, Clement and
Athenagoras, by all the learned Rabbis of the Synagogue, the
Academy and the Groves, and while he taught a common doctrine
for all, we, his followers on the same line, receive no
recognition, but, on the contrary, are abused and persecuted.
People 1,500 years ago are thus shown to have been more tolerant
than they are in this _enlightened_ century.

Q .Was he encouraged and supported by the Church because,
notwithstanding his heresies, Ammonius taught Christianity and
was a Christian?

A. Not at all. He was born a Christian, but never accepted
Church Christianity. As said of him by the same writer:

"He had but to propound his instructions according to the
ancient pillars of Hermes, which Plato and Pythagoras knew
before, and from them constituted their philosophy. Finding the
same in the prologue of the Gospel according to St. John, he
very properly supposed that the purpose of Jesus was to restore
the great doctrine of wisdom in its primitive integrity. The
narratives of the Bible and the stories of the gods he
considered to be allegories illustrative of the truth, or else
fables to be rejected. As says the _Edinburgh Encyclopedia:_

"Moreover, he acknowledged that Jesus Christ was an excellent
_man_ and the "friend of God," but alleged that it was not his
design entirely to abolish the worship of demons (gods), and
that his only intention was to purify the ancient religion."

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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