- Project Runeberg -  The esoteric meaning of the seven sacraments. The ancient therapeuts. /

(1910) [MARC] Author: Mary Karadja
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in a pure heart. When the human soul has re-beconie
VIRGIN, then the fig-tree shoots forth and our Lady be-
comes manifest in us.
Conybeare informs us in his scholarly work on Philo
that the first Christian historian, Eusebius, identific-d
the ascetic group described in the " De Vita Conteiii-
plativa " with the earliest Christian Church of Ak:i-
andria, which was founded by St. Mark.
This view, passing unquestioned for jnany centuries,
contributed in no small degree to shape the conceptions
of primitive Christianity entertained by mediseval
thinkers. In the sixteenth century it was challenged
because the Papal party made it one of its chief argu-
ments in favour of monkery.
There are, however, numerous points in which the
mode of life of the Therapeuts and that of Catholic re-
ligious communities absolutely varies.
The latter are allowed to embrace the religious profes-
sion while stiU in the prime of youth.
The Therapeuts considered it to be their duty to remain
in the world until the age of f-fty, and there to set an
example of probity and noblfc aims to others. The true
life of solitude and contemplation was the sequel and
reward of am active life of service to their fellow-men.
Catholic ascetics do not, as a rule, give up their life
to independent study. In most monasteries very little
individual liberty is left to the members of the coan-
munity. Their time is strictly regulated, and most of it
is occupied iby endless repetitions of the same prayers
and litanies. Thinking men and women are thus
gradually transformed into praying machines.
The Therapeuts, on the contrary, devoted their time to
the study of the inner meaning of Scripture. They alle-
gorised and svmibolised, and finally saw the UNSEEN.
They were really the forerunners of the Christaan
Gnostics and Jewish Cabbalists.
The Catholic monks and nuns believe that they per-
foi-m a meritorious act by utterly yielding up their will
to that of their religious superiors. Blind obedience
may be a virtue in sheep, but it is no merit in beings,
who have risen above the animal plane. All vows of
absolute spiritual obedience to other men who call them-
selves our superiors, but who may in reality be our
spiritual inferiors, is pernicious. It is not desirable to
annihilate the will. Our aim must be to sanctify it, and
then to strengthen it tenfold. The Free Will is the most
precious gift granted us by God. No one has the right

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