The Christian Bible, as also the scriptures of other faiths, has from remote times been regarded as belonging to a special, even unique, category of literature. Exponents of Oriental religious writings, the early Kabbalists, the disciples of Ammonius Saccus, other Neoplatonists of Alexandria known as Analogeticists and their successors down to modern timesâ€”all these have regarded world scriptures as being largely, but not entirely, allegorical. They looked upon them as being constructed of symbols, analogies and parables. As previously statedâ€”and this is the main theme of this workâ€”these allegories are said to preserve for posterity, to reveal and yet to conceal, profound spiritual and therefore power-bestowing truths.
This method of writing is referred to as the sacred or mystery language and is said to have been invented and used by sages of old in order both to reveal to those who would be helped and to conceal from those who might be harmed a deep spiritual wisdom which can bestow theurgic powers upon its possessors. The necessity for this reservation becomes clear when the use to which modern scientific discoveries are put is observed. One example of the misuse of knowledge is the release, as the explosive agent in atomic bombs, of the energy derived from nuclear fission and fusion.
Recognizing that their discoveries belonged to humankind, the philosophers and scientists of former days knew that such knowledge placed in general hands, and particularly in those of disruptive elements in society, could be extremely dangerous. They therefore constructed the cryptic language in which the inspired scriptures and mythologies of the world have been written. Although based in general upon historical events, these narratives, as earlier suggested, have undermeanings and, in some cases, even a sevenfold significance. While apparently founded on fact, each story is rather an historical metaphor, having an inner purport and containing within itself layer upon layer of hidden knowledge.
Our Lord made use of this method of teaching. When addressing his disciples, he spoke openly of spiritual truths, but to nondisciples, in parables. Indeed, he used the words: â€œGive not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend youâ€ (Matt. 7:6 ). He also said to them, â€œUnto you is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without all these things are done in parablesâ€ (Mark 4:11 ).
One reason for this differentiation is not far to seek. Knowledge can bestow power, and the writers of the sacred language were in the same position in which a small group of modern scientists would find themselves after having first discovered atomic energy and the means for its controlled release. They would not dare immediately to make their discovery universally available. Similarly the sages of old, having investigated the structure of matter and the composition of both universe and human beings and having discovered the forces locked up within them, felt a tremendous sense of responsibility. They had to prevent the misuse of their knowledge and, at the same time, to insure its preservation for the future benefit of humanity.
Actually, in the case of knowledge of the superphysical and spiritual worlds, their structure, their natural forces and intelligences associated with themâ€”and their correspondences with the superphysical vehicles and powers of human beingsâ€”the need for secrecy is far greater. In wrong hands the power which such knowledge makes available is far more dangerous than physical atomic energy. The products of nuclear fission and fusion can destroy only physical objects. If misused, hidden or esoteric knowledge and the power associated with it can, in addition, impair the integrity, harden and warp the nature and, in consequence, seriously retard the evolution of the transgressors and those under their malign influence. The ancient seers, therefore, devised not the algebraical symbols and formulas of the modern scientist but a cryptic language in which some of the words retain their normal meaning, while others are cryptograms or hierograms for spiritual and esoteric truths. In doing this, the writers of old knew that only those who possessed the keys of interpretation would be able to discover the truths which the sacred language both reveals and conceals. The secret is rendered still safer by the fact that, in order to use the keys successfully, one must have developed the intuitive faculty and be imbued with a sense of moral responsibility.
Such, briefly and but partially described, are the origin and some of the purposes of the sacred language in which the scriptures and mythologies of ancient peoples were written.