EGYPT'S MANY RELIGIONS. 311
the keeping of the highest among the initiated Hierophants of antiquity. it is only the partial use of a few out of the seven which paned, through the treason of some early Church Fathersˇ ex-initiates of the Temples ˇ into the hands of the new sect of the Nazarenes. Some of the early Popes were initiates, hut the last fragments of their knowledge have now fallen into the power of the Jesuits, who have turned them into a system of sorcery.
It is maintained that INDIA (not in its present limits, but including its ancient boundaries) is the only country in the world which still has among her sons adepts, who have the knowledge of all the seven sub-systems and the key to the entire system. Since the fall of Memphis, Egypt began to lose those keys one by one, and Chaldea had preserved only three in the days of Heron*. As for the Hebrews, in all their writings they show no more than a thorough knowledge of the astronomical, geometrical and numerical systems of symbolizing all the human, and especially the physiological functions They never had the higher keys.
"Every time I hear people talking of the religion of Egypt," writes M. Gaston Maspero, the great French Egyptologist and the successor of Matiette Bey, "I ant tempted to ask which of the Egyptian religions they are talking about? Is it of the Egyptian religion of the 4th Dynasty, or of the Egyptian religion of the Ptolemaic period? Is it of the religion of the rabble, or of that of the learned men? Of that which was taught in the schools of Heliopolis, or of that other which was in the minds and conceptions of the Theban sacerdotal class? For, between the first tomb of Memphis, which bears the carlouche of a king of the third dynasty, and the last stones at Esneh under Caesar-Philippus, the Arabian, there is an interval of at least five thousand years. Leaving aside the invasion of the Shepherds, the Ethiopian and Assyrian dominions, the Persian conquest, Greek colonization, and the thousand revolutions of its political life, Egypt has passed during those five thousand years through many vicissitudes of life, moral and intellectual. Chapter XVII of the Book of the Dead which seems to contain the exposition of the system of the world as it was understood at Heliopolis during the time of the first dynasties, is known to us only by a few copies of the eleventh and twelfth dynasties. Each of the verses composing it was already at the time interpreted in three or four different ways; so different, indeed, that according to this or another school, the Demiurge became the solar fire ˇ Ra-shoo, or the primordial water. Fifteen centuries later, the number of readings had increased considerably. Time had. in its count, modified the ideas about the universe and the forces that ruled It. During the hardly 18 centuries that Christianity exists, it has worked,