|On Gideon Ouseley and "The Gospel of the Holy Twelve"|
A reader requested that I take a look at a document entitled The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, which is being promulgated on various websites as a viable alternative view of Jesus. The name associated with this document is Gideon Jasper Ouseley, although curiously, his name appears nowhere on the book copy I received via interlibrary loan.
The book begins with some rather audacious claims. It tells us that a picture of Jesus found in the prefatory material was "copied from the portrait carved on an emerald by order of Tiberius Caesar" which was passed down via the Turks to Pope Innocent VIII. It also tells us of a letter that is "now in the possession of Lord Kelly and in his library," which was written by a Roman official and goes into extensive detail describing Jesus' physical appearance.
Would any Roman official had time for such things? No, not really.
Of course by now you should be suspicious. We don't hear about that emerald, for example, on the National Geographic specials, or in Biblical Archaeology Review. What about the text of this Gospel itself?
The text of this "Gospel" is what appears to be a mix of episodes from the four canonical Gospels, in some places completely unchanged, or changed in ways of little significance. In other places, there are significant changes -- the virgin conception is replaced with Jesus as physical son of Joseph; Jesus is said to have learned magical arts in Egypt and traveled to India and Persia, where he also performed healing miracles; God is called our "Parent in Heaven," and a fourth temptation is added in the desert: Jesus is presented with a beautiful woman, whose affections he refuses.
But the biggest difference overall is a thematic one:
That's the thematic difference: Jesus now supports vegetarianism and has an agenda against animal cruelty.
Now let me make this much clear: I have little doubt that animal cruelty falls in line on the list of sins for which men will be judged. The pledge of dominion over the earth given in Genesis assumes our responsible stewardship. In addition, as one who has adopted a rescue animal (a very sweet poodle) I put my money where my mouth is on these issues.
But it is also clear that this "Gospel" is inauthentic. The evidence for authenticity is extremely poor: We are told that it is derived from "one of the most ancient and complete of early Christian fragments, preserved by one of the monasteries of the Buddhist monks in Thibet, where it was hidden by some of the Essene community for safety from the hands of corrupters..."
But don't plan that trip to Tibet just yet for a look, or for the purpose of verification such as carbon dating: The editors (among them, Emmanuel Swedenborg) didn't actually see this document -- it was given to them "By the Divine Spirit of the Gospel" as a revelation of "a higher Christianity."
By next week sixty different groups could make a claim just as verifiable, promulgating a Jesus supporting the political venture of your choice. But it is clear from comments about this "Gospel" on the Internet that some have accepted it as a genuine record.
I need say little more about the "Gospel of the Holy Twelve". Water your camel if it's thirsty, but don't do it for the sake of this "Gospel".
And now some material of interest. A reader in the UK with access to more primary sources found some material on Ouseley which we will pass along. Some of this is personal testimony and the reader will have to discern for themselves what value it may be assigned.
I first met the Rev. Gideon Jasper Richard Ouseley in October 1897, having heard of him as a vegetarian, an opponent to vivisection, and an enthusiastic advocate of the teaching of the late Dr. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, as set forth in their Lectures on esoteric Christianity, published under the title of The Perfect Way or the Finding of Christ, in which I too was interested. Being at the time in Brighton, where he lived, I called upon him and received a friendly welcome. He confirmed all I had been led to believe of him, and said he was also an abstainer from alcoholic drink, and a non-smoker. He considered that "the direct cause of poverty, bad health and social misery was due to flesh-eating, alcoholic drinking and tobacco smoking". Like Anna Kingsford, he saw in the abolition of flesh-eating "the only effectual means of the world's redemption, whether as regards men themselves or the animals". The true and proper food for man, he said, was ripe fruits (including nuts), pure oil of olives, grains and vegetables, which Mother Earth brought forth in plenty for the sustenance of her children. He was living alone with his wife, his family having grown up and dispersed. Two cats, however, which he regarded as part of his family, must not be omitted from the household. They were his constant companions. He would talk to them, and they followed him about the house. He said they were his only followers, all others were against him and his ideas and people looked upon him as a "crank". He regarded cats as "the most human of all creatures". He was dressed as a cleric, and told me he was a priest of the Catholic Apostolic Church, though not then in active service. His life was devoted to the promulgation of the teaching of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. We had a long talk together, but with some difficulty on account of his deafness. When I told him of my interest in the teaching of The Perfect Way, he said, in his opinion it was "the brightest and best of all revelations that had been given to the World" (1), but he despaired of the world ever receiving it, because "the world had always rejected the Truth; had always crucified Christ and his doctrine, and would it not do so again?" Of this, however, he was sure; "The Church of the future would be the Church of The Perfect Way". No mere ecclesiastical organisation, he said, would in the long run be able to stand against the eternal principles of Justice, Humanity and Love to all manifestations of God, whether human or non human. On parting, he gave me some booklets and pamphlets which he had written, and expressed a hope to see me again. Thus began a friendship which I greatly valued, and now remember with affection.
After the publication of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, hereinafter referred to, a Notice of him "contributed by special request of the Editor", appeared in Men of the Day, and on this I have relied for information regarding his early life. It states that he was "born in Lisbon on the 15th October, 1835, the younger son of the late Sir Ralph Ouseley, K.C.B., brought over to Irland on the death of his father, 14th May 1842, by protestant relatives, educated in Dublin University, in which he graduated 1858, and then married. Having studied therapeutics, he was ordained as a clergyman of the Established Church by the Bishop of Down and Connor, and appointed Curate of Warrenpoint, Co. Down, 1861". But he did not long remain in a Church in which he found himself to be in a false position; and in 1870, "having voluntarily renounced all eating of flesh, strong drink and tobacco, as inconsistent with the humanity and the true religion of Christ, as taught by Him and His apostles", he was received as a priest of the Catholic Apostolic Church, in which he remained until 1894, when "finding his long continued and increasing deafness rendering him unable to execute his ministry, he retired to the Church of his Baptism, being received by the Prior of the Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Kenington, London", in which Church he remained as a layman. Shortly after our meeting, he wrote to me: "Mind, I am not a Romanist, though a Catholic, Christian"...
(1) In a letter to Light (1882, p. 475) he described The Perfect Way as "the most wonderful of all books which have appeared since the Christian era".
(2) For Rev. Ouseley, the Christian Church comprised "the elect of humanity in the Unity of the Body of the Christ", "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church: the Witness to all Truth, and the Receiver and Giver of the same: Begotten of the Spirit and Fire of God: Nourished by the waters, seeds and fruits of earth: Who knitteth together the elect in one mystical communion, and atoneth humanity with God". Thus, while the sheep of God are not all of one fold, there is but one flock and one Shepherd, and the Spirit of Christ within us will open the door for all. "The elect" are "one family in God". There is One God in all. It was with such knowledge that Jesus spoke of " My Parent and your Parent", "My God and your God". The mystery of Christ Jesus must be repeated in man.
Under the heading "Drama of the Latter Days", Rev. Ouseley wrote "A Suggestion" which was published in The Theosophist of March, 1884, the Editor of that paper considered it "too good to be lost". Therein he referred to different Churches, Denominations, Sects and Associations, of which are rebuked by Messiah, who personifies the Spirit of Truth", for their errors, while others are denounced for their gross darkness and evil teaching. On the other hand, Philosophers and all seekers after Truth are instructed that "All truth is in God alone, and God is Truth": and that "By the things which are visible and created, they may come to know the invisible thing's of God, the uncreated and eternal" and these are admonished to "Abstain from flesh eating, from drunkenness, from bloodshed, and from all cruelty to any living creature, This do, and ye shall be taught of God". Of the Churches rebuked for errors, only a few of the Church of Rome repent, and by their Pope, who is forsaken by the rest, confess to Messiah: "We sat on the ancient foundations, but we revealed not the ancient truths; we have the kevs of heaven, but we opened not the gate ourselves nor suffered others who desired, to enter. To us was given Light, but we concealed it in a dark place, and those who cried for more light we persecuted and counted as heretics, and caused many to be put to death in our blindness. And even now, 0, Master, we had well nigh again rejected Thee, but by the mercy of the Eternal we heard the holy and true doctrines which once Thou gavest under parables, even the doctrines of ancient times given anew, the new wine of Thy Kingdom; and at length our eyes being opened and our ears being unstopped, we have returned to Thee".
[Ouseley fully] explained to the Carmelite Prior his views regarding,The Perfect Way, teaching, which on no account would he abandon. The Prior asked to see the book, and having read it, said he did not find in it anything contrary to the faith of the Catholic Church. "Why then", asked Rev. Ouseley, "does not the Church teach it?" To which the Prior replied, "You are not at liberty to say it is the teaching of the Catholic Church, but you are free to believe and hold it as a pious opinion". It was on such understanding that, in 1894, he became a member of the Roman Catholic Church, finding, he said, "all that he sought for within that Church after a fashion, and in order to propagate his revelation within its pale". His desire was to "saturate and transmute the Church's own formularies with The Perfect Way doctrine and humanitarianism". He would "revise the formularies, so as to express the teachings in place of concealing them", but he would "never be the head of a scism, never". While he was not a sectarian and hated to be dubbed as such, he would "work with all true reformers and good men who would try to bring the people into ways of righteousness and raise them out of their barbarous habits of' flesh eating, strong drinking, and cruelty of every sort and kind"
While "long continued and increasing deafness" was the ostensible reason given in the above mentioned Notice for his retirement from the official position he held in the Catholic Apostolic Church, he was, in fact, "suspended" on account of his views, "Cast out of Church, with loss of clerical stipend", as he put it. They called his views "anti-Christian". But nevertheless he ceased not to describe himself as "a priest of the Catholic Apostolic Church", which he said, "I still am, and which will apply equally to the earthly Catholic Church".
Some thirteen years before his "suspension", he founded The Order of At-one-ment and United Templars Society, having for its Motto: "One God, one Religion, various names, various forms". The name of the Order was to be understood notinthe popular and erroneous sense of causing the innocent to suffer for in the place of the guilty, but in its true, literal and radical sense of reconciliation of opposing ideas, things, persons or systems; at at-one-ing the human with the Divine, and Man with God, by the Spirit of Christ within the Soul. The Order never had many members, and has long ceased to exist.
Apart from The Gospel of the Holy Twelve and many leaflets and pamphlets on various subjects, the principal books or booklets written by him, were:
(3) In "The Credo of the Elect" we declare our belief in "One God the Father and Mother Almighty; of whose substance are the generations of Heaven and of Earth": and in The Gospel of the Holy Twelve we are many times reminded of the Feminine as well as the Masculine aspect of Deity, both which are manifest in the character of every perfect man. In the Scriptures it is declared that "man is not without the woman", and that "woman is not without the man" in the Lord-that is when "Christ Jesus Son of God, our Lord, who is conceived of the Holy Ghost, and' born of Mary", is manifest in us. He who is spiritual, is transformed into the Divine image. Anna Kingsford (under illumination) said: "Ye are twain, the man with the woman, and she with him, neither man nor woman but one creature". The intellect (man) and the intuition (woman) are united in God. Intuition is purely Spiritual, and has nothing to do with experience gained through the bodily senses. "Every monad of Divine Substance has the potency of twain, as God is twain in one.
But the chief of all his writings was, "The Gospel of the Holy Twelve", which teaches Christian Pantheism: "By involution and evolution shall the salvation of all the world be accomplished; by the descent of Spirit into matter, and the Ascent of matter into Spirit, through the ages". It was first published by instalments in the columns of The Lindsey & Lincolnshire Star. These were concluded in the early part of 1900, and at the close of the following year, the First Edition was published, and further Editions followed. In 1903 a "revised and enlarged" Edition appears to have been published, and in 1904 a "New and Complete Edition" was published, the last during Rev. Ouseley's lifetime. (4)
This Gospel Rev. Ouseley referred to variously as "The Gospel of the Hebrews", "The Nazarene Gospel", "The Gospel of the Nazarites", "The Essene Gospel", "The Gospel of the Twelve", "The Gospel of the Holy Twelve" (as in title), "The Gospel of the Perfect Life" (as in sub-title): "The Original and Complete Gospel of the Holy Christ", and by other descriptions. It was received by him under inspiration "In dreams and visions of the night", and in "Communications". It was a translation of an original Aramaic document purporting to be a reconstruction and revision of the Gospel narrative. Some portions of it were included in Palingenesia, wherein they were described as "Fragments from the Gospel of the Perfect Life", which had been presented to him (Rev. Ouseley) (5), "in dreams and visions of the night", when "a lectern seemed to appear before him with certain manuscripts thereon, and as it revolved he read the papers then presented to him. In the morning he noted what he had read, whether it came to his memory all at once or gradually, but generally within the day. The fact that in the morning he experienced heaviness, etc., in the eyes, exactly as if he had been reading all night, seemed to him a proof that some abnormal action was in progress". One thing is unquestionable, he could not unaided by some Power higher than and above that of his normal intellect, have written this Gospel, and that such Power was of a Divine nature, is manifest from its contents. At the end of the Gospel are these words: "Glory be to God by Whose power and help it has been written". Soon after our meeting, he wrote to me that he had "no talents others than what I could see in those little booklets" which he had given to me; and that with increasing deafness and diminution of eyesight he regarded himself as "practically a dead man"; but, he added, "all he could do he would do". I mention this for the purpose of drawing attention to what at the time when he was writing this Gospel, he regarded as the limit of his "talents"; and the composition of his Preface thereto does not compare favourably with "those little booklets" above referred to. He said he received the translation of the Gospel from the Spirit, that is, by inspiration. It must not on this account be assumed that the original of which this Gospel is claimed to be a translation or any supplementary matter that may have been added thereto, is of greater historical value than are the four Gospels, none of which is historical in the sense commonly supposed, the object of all being to partray "the divine drama of the Spiritual history of man" that is, of the Soul. But it has this advantage over the others in that it escaped the hands of "correctors" and "corrupters" from which they suffered. Some years ago, the headmaster of a well-known school told me that for the benefit of his pupils he had attempted to write a life of Jesus, relying for his material on the contents of the four Gospels, but he gave up the idea on account of the impossibility of writing from a life of Jesus that would be of any historical value.
(4) In 1923, an Edition, with Introduction and Notes by the late Rev. E. F. Undy, a priest of the Liberal Catholic Church, was published. No further Edition has since been published. Mr. Undy was the author of "The Oripinal Christianity in the The Gospel of the Holy Twelve".
(5) In his Preface to Palingenesia, Rev. Ouseley referred to himself as "The seeress" , and the book is stated to have been written "By Theosopho, a minister of the Holies, and Ellora, a Seeress of the Sanctuary" , manifestly pseudonyms adopted by Rev. Ouseley (regarding himself a duality) for anonymity.
When, later, he came into touch with the teaching of The Perfect Way, he perceived that the object of the writers of the Gospels was not to record history (as usually understood) but by means of allegories and parables, which often took the form of history, to veil and so preserve vital teachings that otherwise would, or might be lost. Thus, while the inclusion of historical events in the Gospels is not denied, the writers thereof none the less wrote not as historians but as teachers of Christian Mysteries, and history, if and so far as any might be introduced therein, was adapted or fitted to teach the intended Mystery. This was no pia fraus (in a bad sense), because the teaching, and the teaching alone was the object and intent of the writers to which fact the Gospels themselves bear witness. "The flesh (or letter) profiteth nothing". The words that I have spoken unto you are Spirit, and are Life". The conversations recorded in the Gospels were manifestly introduced "in order to illustrate and enforce particular doctrines". It cannot be too widely known that in the Scriptures, spiritual processes which are applicable to all, are described and hidden under the guise of historical events which need a spiritual key to unlock their meaning. The feet of the disciples were not washed by Jesus until his garment had been laid aside or removed. Rev. Ouseley found in The Perfect Way Lectures and other writings of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland the key required for the purpose of such removal (6). In an Apologia written by Anna Kingsford shortly before her death, she said: "Enlightened by Inner Light (the Divine Spirit within), I perceived the fallacy and idolatry of popular Christianity, and from that hour in which I received the Spiritual Christ into my heart, I resolved to know him no more after the flesh. The old historical controversies over the facts and dates and phonomena of the Old and New Testaments ceased to torment and perplex me. I perceived that my soul had nothing to do with events occuring on the physical planes, because these could not, by their nature, be cognates to spiritual needs" (7). "Heavenly wisdom", said Thomas A. Kempis, treads under foot all things below", and he testifies to "a hidden manna in the doctrine of Christ".In his Preface thereto, Rev. Ouseley claims that The Gospel of the Holy Twelve as received by him was a translation of "one of the most ancient and complete of early Christian fragments", written in Aramaic, and "used in the first Christian Church in Jerusalem", and that this was "the original Gospel from which the four were more or less copied, with numerous variations and important omissions". The translation, he says, was communicated to him " in numerous fragments at different times, by Emmanuel Swedenborg, Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland, and a priest of a former century giving his name as Placidus, of the Franciscan Order, afterwards a Carmelite", who were the translators thereof (8). He also refers to certain "spiritual manifestations" which he says accompanied the.transcription.
In a recently published book, The Drama of the Soul, by S. B. Best, the spiritual key of "Mystical interpretation of the Gospels'' has been used with good effect to explain "The Inner Initiations of the Master Jesus". Much light regarding the interpretation of the Scriptures will also be found in The Logia or Sayings of the Master, by the late Rev. Todd Ferrier, the founder of The Order of the Cross, and in other of his writings. He resigned his position as Pastor of a Congregational Chapel at Macclesfield to gain freedom to teach the Christianity of The Perfect Way.
Letters written by him to me confirm the above. In one of them he speaks of Placidus as "sitting occasionally by his bedside and discussing many questions". In another he says that "it (the Gospel) has simply poured through me all along, and I feel the guidance of the Spirit". In another that Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland had "revealed to him personally, some restorations of the sacred writings", adding "I say this without one iota of hesitation, for she appeared to me in vision most distinct (and so did he), and gave me a paper to read which I took in my hand and read: Publish it to the world, the means will come, I never had a clearer vision, so distinct and vivid that I actually went looking for the paper she gave me, and here, now, have come the means for this instalment at any rate (in The Lindsey and Lincolnshire Star),and I hope the Editor will publish yet more. Whoever likes can now reprint from the Star in book form" (9). In another that "It (the translation) was given in the main by Edward Maitland and Anna Kingsford, and Swedenborg in part, and a priest named Placidus (Franciscan), and from communications: and I wish to state this simply; and that it was not given in seance rooms, but in dreams and visions of the night". In another: "That Swedenborg, and Maitland, and Anna Kingsford, and also a monk Placidus O.S.F., all combined to give it to me, and at this most critical period, is as true as that your name is Hart, or I am myself"; and in another he spoke of "the friends at whose dictation he wrote it (the Gospel)", of whom, he said, "I am certain as of my own existence and more so, for I do not sometimes know who I am or who I was. I know I was a friend of Jesus". (10)
(7) Life of A. K. (Third Edn.), Vol. II, p. 328.
(8) Rev. Undy (see note 4, ante) without questioning the mode of reception by Rev. Ouseley of the Gospel, questions whether the four persons named as the communicators thereof to him were the translators thereof into English, because of their ignorance of the Aramaic language. Such reasoning may, I think, be falacious. In the case of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland although neither of them as such knew Aramaic they both claimed to have been living at the time of and knew Jesus, in which case they both in that life must have known Aramaic. As regards the other two communicators, I do not see reason for doubting the accuracy of Rev. Ouseley's statement.
(9) In the Star, the contributions (by I.O.M.A.) are described as "Reminiscences of the Master, by a Disciple", "Being fragments selected from The Gospel of the Perfect Life by one of the Twelve".
(10) During Rev. Ouseley's lifetime, I regarded this as a confidential communication the sincerity of which could not be doubted any more than could its possibility be questioned by anyone who believes in reincarnation. He told me that he well remembered Jerusalem although he was never there in this incarnation. Later on, reference is made to some his former incarnations and of his tendency in this incarnation "to certain Jewish practices".
Rev. Ouseley maintained that Divine Truth is revealed only from within. "Seek from within", he said, "Seek nought from without. Within is the true light. Without is bewilderment and darkness. All knowledge comes from within. Nothing from without". He could not understand why the Spiritualists of his time, many of whom were ready to accept as true anything that came through mediums, disregarded or ignored the revelation that had come to him from within. Inspired thoughts would come to him when he was out walking, "breathing the fresh morning air". "I go out", he said, "and inspiration comes. I carry a note book with me".
In 1898 he lost his wife, and in the following year married again. His second wife survived him, having done all she could to help him in his declining years. By nature he was active, and his mind was clear, but in 1903, he wrote: "None on earth so depressed, shut in and stamped out as I am. I am cast out of the Church for being for the very Gospel that would save them, and the reformers of any kind cast me out equally for bringing them the gift from above". "All my life from ten years of age, I have received nothing but losses and crossing of my will one way or another, and now I am a dying man. I feel very ill. The utter solitude. I have now to grope in the dark after things, deaf and nearly blind as I am. I Iong to go on and on, but everything is against me everything, everything, I am weary of life, Eternal solitude, and worn out body and soul... My eyes compel me to give up now. Good night. God bless you". Another cause of depression was the pain, misery and distress he endured on account of the wrongs done to his "suffering brethren" the Animals. Deaf though he was on the outer plane, he was not spiritually deaf, nor was he spiritually blind. He heard the cries of the Animals. He said, "Every night I lie awake most unhappy. I know not a moment goes by but hundreds of my fellow creatures, cats, rabbits, dogs and others are brutally done to death by devils in human form. All life is One. I am conscious of the sufferings, the sufferings of the earth, ever conscious, but especially at night, and I cannot rest; and the message to mend or mitigate all this is rejected by men blind and deaf to it. They see not nor understand. It is hell to me, the lowest depth of hell. I know no such thing as sleep". Also he was worried about the future of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve. What would become of it after his death? His great fear was that it might then be under the control of those who would suppress it, or (as he put it) "lock up from the world that which had been given to him for the enlightenment of the world"; and even more he feared the hand of the "corrector", for correction would mean sowing "tares" among "the good seed" to which he likened the text of the Gospel that had been given to him to sow in the world "The contradiction of sinners". What had happened in the past might happen again, and would happen should this Gospel be under the control of materialists, in whose hands "correction" would be "corruption". He believed that the true riches of the Gospel had been committed to his trust. Such fears led him in 1904 to transfer to a friend his copyright therein, with a request "not to let it get into the hands of ritualists, whether Roman or Anglican". He held that the Festival of the Holy Innocents had not received from the Church its due unfoldment, for "Herod" (the symbol of materialism) "put to death the innocents because Jesus was born among them, seeking thus to extinguish him", and all who accepted and embraced the teaching of this Gospel would be "Innocents".
In 1905, he wrote: "I am nearly finished, and my destiny awaits me. They are ready to receive me". "Day is dark". "There is not a verse of David describing his grief and tears that does not exactly describe me". A later letter the last received from him says: "I have been driven nearly mad by this continual isolation
I am unchanged as ever. With abiding love to both (11) and assurance of my affection, Yours very sincerely, G. J. Ouseley". On the 9th December, 1906, he passed away in his seventy second year. A Notice of him appeared in Light (5th and 12th January, 1907). And now may he rest in peace with the knowledge that his life of self sacrifice for Truth and Humanity a life without ambition for any worldly, honour or desire for any worldly gain was not lived in vain, for, Where Mercy, Love and Pity dwell. There God is dwelling too".
At its close, he told me, "It was his misfortune to have been born with great ideas, and inability to carry them out as he would wish, whilst he had done his best and spent his all, absolutely his all, on the work". He mounted the upward path on adversities, frustrations and disappointments. Such were his steps on the ladder of God which reaches from earth to heaven. Whilst he sowed in tears, he swerved not from adherence to the Truth revealed to him from within. For such as he, life cannot end in failure. It can end only in "The Triumph song of Heaven".
"In their mouths a victorious psalm, In their hands a robe and a palm. ".
Rev. Ouselev's philosophy of life was (in his own words) as follows: "As the Sun cometh from the East and shineth even unto the West, arising out of darkness and setting in darkness again, so also is man. When he cometh from the darkness it is that he hath shone before, when he, goeth into darkness it is that he may shine again where ye see not. So man hath before, even as he liveth now, and he goeth to his rest for a time and cometh into life again. So through many lives and experiences he is made perfect, and when he is perfect he is made a pillar in the temple of God, and he goeth in and out no more. He dieth no more, seeing that death hath no more dominion over them who are perfect. Again and again is man born into this and other worlds, till his soul is purified from all evil and made perfect in all good. Marvel not then that I said, ye must be born again of water and of fire (and what these signify ye know). They who have done evil go into corrective chastisement for an age, and they who have done good go into happiness for an age, and when perfect they go into life eternal. God is just, and to everyone is given that which they have deserved. As they sow they shall also reap, and each goeth into his own place which he hath prepared for himself and for which he is fit, till his time is come and another place is given to him for futher amendment. And they only who persist in wickedness to the end shall die, they shall go out as a candle and be extinguished as a flame". (From Rev. Ouseley's "Suggestions", referred to in footnote 2).
(11) The reference includes my wife.
Like all Sacred Scriptures, "The Gospel of the Holy Twelve" is mystical, and for right understanding it must be so interpreted. Its value lies in the teaching which in the garment is veiled. Rev. Ouseley described it as "The True Story of the Perfect Life". To understand the teaching, the garment must he lifted or removed. Then, in the words of the Talmud, "Falsehood passes away, but truth remains". In all sacred mysteries, parables are used as garments for Truth that is hidden in its very expression. In one of the "Sayings of Jesus" as recorded in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri we are told: "That which is hidden from thee shall be revealed to thee. For there is nothing hidden which shall not be made manifest, nor buried which shall not be raised". To those who hid "the key of knowledge" Jesus said: "Ye entered not in yourselves and to them that were entering in ye opened not". Ultimately, "Truth itself is unutterable save by God to God". As stated in The Gospel of the Holy Twelve: "Truth one and absolute is in God alone. To men is Truth revealed, according to their capacity to understand and receive". "Look", said Anna Kingsford, "for the sufficient meaning of the manifest Universe and of the written Word, and thou shalt find only their Mystical sense". Says Thomas A. Kempis: "To some" (the literalists) "I speak things common. To others in great light I reveal mysteries", "My words are Spirit and Life and are not to be estimated by the sense of Man". "They (the prophets) deliver the letter but Thou explainest the meaning of the things sealed. They cry with words, but Thou givest understanding to the hearer". At the close of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve we read: "For them that believe regarding the Spirit rather than the letter which killeth, the things herein related are true as Spiritual Verities, for others they are as an idle tale". It was not without profound meaning that Jesus said: "Raise the stone" of the indwelling Self (to the level of Spirit), "and there thou shalt find Me", "Cleave the wood" of the lower and outer consciousness, "and there am I (12) . The "Son of God in man" must be lifted up for the right understanding of Holy Scripture. Jesus said unto "the sick of the palsy" and there are many such, "Arise, and take up thy couch".
One of the first acts of Jesus after his resurrection was to "open the Scriptures" to two of his disciples, Cleophas and another whom he joined on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. These disciples he found "reasoning together" about the things which had then lately come to pass; and forthwith "he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself", and he blamed them for their "folly" and for their "slowness of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken" (13). Their very reasoning together implies a limitation of consciousness to the outter and lower mental planes, wherein are seen but "the shadows of the tomb". Thus were their Spiritual eyes "holden". Their "heart" was "slow",_a slowness which indicated lack of spiritual understanding. It was on this ground that the "reasoning together" of the two disciples was blamed as "folly". But "while he talked with them by the way, and while he opened to them the Scriptures", a change came over them, "their hearts did burn within them", and their Spiritual eyes were opened. They awoke and knew him. He was known of them in the "breaking of the Bread" of Divine Truth which is the food of the soul.
(12) From one of the "Logia" or "Sayings of Jesus" (The Oxyrhynchus, Papyri): also recorded in The Gospel Of The Holy Twelve. It was to this mystical "Wood", " Gloomy Wood, that Dante referred in the opening lines of his Inferno. (See Cary's translation).
(13) The prophets were not always right. The "folly' of the disciples was that they believed "all that the prophets had spoken". Had they listened to the dlctates of their hearts rather than to the reasoning of their minds, their Spiritual eyes would not have been "holden". In another of "The Sayings of Jesus" (in the Oxyrhychus Papyri), Jesus said, "My soul grieveth over the sons of men, because they are blind in their heart and see not", and in the Canonical Gospel it is stated that Jesus warned his followers to "beware of False Prophets which come sheep's clothing, but inwardly are raving wolfves". They would be known "by their fruits".
And on the opening of their Spiritual eyes, he whom therefore they had known outwardly, "Vanished from their sight", and they were enabled to testify, "The Lord is risen indeed"!
"Most of the mistakes of the materialists", said Anna Kingsford, "arise from understanding localities and things material, when they should understand conditions and principles". The letter of Scripture is but the shadow of Divine Truth. The Shadow which, as Tennyson said, "sits and waits for me in the waste"
The Shadow cloaked from head to foot, Who keeps the keys of all the creeds".
"Those", said Buddha, "who mistake the shadow for the substance and the substance for the shadows, never arrive at Reality, but follow false aims. Those who know the substance as the substance and the shadow as the shadow, arrive at Reality, and follow right aims." (The Dhammapada).
Why are certain teachings hidden beneath the letter? Why, it may be asked, did Jesus, like the other great Masters, teach the multitude in parables? The answer is, the Mysteries cannot be taught by the bloodguilty, nor may they, except as "dark sayings", be given to those the multitude who live like carnivorous animals. On this, The Gospel of the Holy Twelve is explicit: "They who partake of benefits which are gotten by wronging God's creatures, cannot be righteous", nor can they "whose hands are stained with blood, or whose mouths are defiled with flesh", touch holy things or teach the mysteries of the kingdom, nor are they fit to receive the higher mysteries, "For this people's heart is waxed gross" (14)
(14) In 1937 there was published a Gospel entitled The Gospel of Peace of Jesus Christ by the disciple John, edited by Edmond Szekely, and "translated directly from the Aramaic tongue, spoken by Jesus and his beloved disciple John", the translation having been made by Edmond Szekely and Purcell Weaver. In his Foreword the Editor says: "The content of this book is only a fragment of the complete manuscripts which exist in Aramaic in the library of the Vatican, and in ancient Slav in the Royal Library of the Hapssburgs", such Aramaic and ancient Slav texts having been compared by the Editor, This "fragment deals for the most part with " the healing works of Jesus" many of which were affected by metods now known as nature cures. It is therein recorded that Jesus said: "He who kills, kills himself; and whoso eats the flesh of slain beasts, eats, of the body of death. For in his blood every drop of their blood turns to poison, and their death will become his death". The command against killing is insisted on throughout, and the eating of all dead food is condemned.
The age in which Rev. Ouseley lived was "no age of "faith". It was materialistic and anti-Christian. Wickedness was legalized. There was materialism in science and materialism in religion. Rev. Ouseley "dared not give up the revelation made to him", and he feared that the teaching for which he stood and for the promulgation of which he had devoted his life would, after his death, be suppressed. People lost in pleasure, would not buy mystical writings. He had no faith in democracy or in democratic government. He was not a worshipper of God Demos. Vox populi was not for him Vox Dei. "Dernocracy", he said, "is rotten", "Reformers ignore religion", "Religion is repellant to everyone in these days". Referring to members of humanitarian societies having objects with which he was in sympathy, he said, "I am the only one among all these reforms who stand for God and Religion. All the rest will have their ideas without God". "Not all I have said, nor twice as much, I am convinced, will ever awaken the consciousness of a people deadened by materialism".
But Rev. Ouseley was not alone in condemning Atheistic Socialism: for in his Potentiae Signorum it is declared by the writer that no nation can vote itself out of the Jurisdiction of the Spirit of God, even by the biggest of mandates, without voting itself also out of the Jurisdiction of His protection and Grace. There is a greater Godhead than that of the people. Equality must be sought by building upward.
Theology was "scientific religion". Rev. Ouseley understood the inner truths taught by founders of great religions. He knew, as said Buddha, that "All the Buddhas teach the same truth". He brought with him from the long ages of the past, knowledge which he had gained in former incarnations. He said,
"I find cropping up through my present existence tendencies and reminiscences: (a) A tendency to use fire, the sun, etc., as symbols of Deity; (b) Occasional reminiscences of Egyptian worship, and a strong partiality to cats. (c) A tendency to Indian philosophy and Buddhistic ideas which come as a new thing, but as something I have known before. (d) A tendency to certain Jewish practices, abhorrence of swine flesh and other "unclean" animals, and all the more since I came to renounce flesh eating altogether.
(e) A tendency to use Christian Catholic ceremonial and symbols, which to me are symbols of an older faith, and still more Catholic". He believed that "In one of his past incarnations he was a Magian priest, and adored God by fire. (b) In the next he was a priestess of Isis, engaged in Egyptian rites. (c) In the next he was a Buddhist monk. (d) In the next he was a Jewish high priest, and (e) In his last, a Catholic Bishop in Spain". It was reminiscences such as these that account for his "strong leaning towards Catholicity in religion, and in particular, his "strong tendencies and unaccountable sympathies with Judaism on the one hand, and Buddhism on the other, which he saw united in one Catholic Religion", and he looked forward to the time when "the ethical teaching of Buddha and Jesus be universally understood and followed". The rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church, the Greek Church, and the Church of which he was then a priest, were for him symbols enshrining eternal truths; Truths which the Church by falling from the Spirit which giveth Life to the fleshly letter which killeth, had ceased to reveal". Rites and ceremonies in themselves were nothing apart from their signification. That which is true, is true without authority; and that which is false, authority cannot make true. in The Gospel of the Holy Twelve we read: "God who is pure Spirit and pervades all, does not regard the forms and rites, but the hearts that offer them", "Beneath all external religions and rites, there is but one religion underlying all, even the religion of the Spirit of Truth". As a Christian, he used Christian terminology. The Perfect Way lectures demonstrate Christianity to be "a symbolic synthesis of the fundamental truths contained in all religions". The great religions of the world are as tongues of God all speaking the same language. Thus was it on the day of Pentecost, when "the Law of Christ" was preached unto the multitude, "each man hearing the word in his own tongue wherein he was born".
Christian sects and denominations today differ about doctrines which, for the most part, they do not understand. The Gospel of the Holy Twelve was written for people of all religions, as also for those of no particular religion. It declares that "God hath raised up witnesses to the Truth in every nation and every age, that all might know the will of the Eternal, and do it, and after that, enter into the Kingdom to be rulers and workers with the Eternal"(15). "In the midst of you there is One whom ye know not: He baptizeth with the Fire of the Holy One".
It is important to bear in mind that while the souls of the Righteous become vehicles of Divine manifestation, all inspired writings are coloured by the character or mentality of the instrument or medium through whom they come. They are not to be regarded as infallible in every word. Inspiration of the Spirit does not necessarily imply infallibility of utterance, because no man is wholly without error. In The Gospel of the Holy Twelve we read that even among the prophets after they were annointed by the Holy Spirit, there has been found "the word of error": "Utterance of sin" and "unrighteousness"(16). Rev. Ouseley insisted that "For a divine message its own truth is the best evidence of genuine inspiration"; which is "the inbreathing of the Divine through the spiritual organism planted in man for that purpose". Inspiration has its birth in God. "To men Truth is revealed according to their capacity to understand and receive it". Rev. Ouseley was the instrument chosen for the reception and editing of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, and it is not surprising to find therein teaching harmonizing with his own mentality. The truth of the teaching therein is best evidence of his fitness to be the instrument for its reception and promulgation. He regarded The Gospel of the Holy Twelve as the true basis for the teaching of The Perfect Way, and when told by an objector thereto that it was "likely to popularize the teaching of that book", his reply was; "This shews me I am on the right track". Thus, we find great stress laid upon the doctrine of the Divine Duality (17). He could not understand why God should be worshipped as a masculine God on1y, all "Father" and no "Mother", when He is "Our Father Mother". He said, "Men must see and ackknowledge the Divine in woman, and worship God as the Divine Mother as well as Father". It is unfortunate that there is not in our language a pronoun to express such duality. The doctrine of the Trinity, implies a Duality in the Unity. In the Unity there abides Original Life of Celestial Force ("God the Father"), and Original Being of Celestial Substance ("God the Mother"); and this Spiritual Duality becomes manifest as "God the Holy Ghost", by procession through their Word, Logos, or Son "The only Begotten Son of God", who, as such, becomes the Third Person of the Celestial Trinity. The Life and Substance of the Eternal One are given and shed through "the Son", for the creation, sustenance and redemption of the Universe. The Creation and Salvation of the World is thus achieved "By the Descent of Spirit into Matter, and the Ascent of Matter into Spirit through the ages", and such is the teaching of The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, as all great religions: "The Lamb of God" is "slain from the foundation of the World"(18). We also find in this Gospel a command of Jesus that we "Love one another and all the creatures of God, God being in all creatures. Children are to be "brought up in the ways of righteousness, neither eating flesh, nor drinking strong drink; nor hurting the creatures which God hath given into the hands of man to protect". That Jesus came into the world to put an end to bloody sacrifices and flesh eating is explicit: "For this end have I come into the world, that I may put away all blood offerings and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by men", "I am come to end the sacrifices and feasts of blood". One of the questions put to Jesus at bis trial before Caiaphas, and intended to bring about his condemnation was, "Dost thou abolish the sacrifices of the law, and the eating of flesh? Many instances are given of the kindness of Jesus to animals and of his opposition to all forms of cruelty and injustice. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, no "fatted calf" is said to have been slain to welcome the son on his return home (19). Also the doctrine of Reincarnation is definately taught by Jesus as the means whereby man is "made perfect through suffering,", "Changes of life for the perfecting of souls". Having thus become "purified through many births and experiences", man shall die no more, neither shall he be born anymore, for death hath no nore dominion over him. In this teaching ther is no "scape goat" Christianity: no forgiveness or remission of sin by "vicarious atonement": For sins against the law of God there can be no remission save by repentance and amendment".
(15) See note 2.
(16) See note 13.
(17) See note 3.
(18) The meaning of this is that God "of whose substance are the generations of Heaven and of Earth", by His act of self-immolation in Creation becomes "crucified, dead and buried". The seal of the sepulchre is broken in Man Regenerate. In The Perfect Way we read: Deity descends into conditions and distributes of Itself to be the Life and Substance of the universe, alike for its creation, its sustentation and its redemption", The blood of the Lamb of God is Love, and Love is, "the blood of God" that redeems, redemption being of Spirit from Matter which is the grave of Spirit. The process of redemption is completed in Man in the character of Christ Jesus, wherein Man becomes regenerate and a "Son of God" as well as "Son of Man". The manhood is taken into the Godhead.
It is described in the Gospel story of the life of Jesus which as therein related is the typical life of Man Regenerate, Regeneration, which is new birth on higher planes of consciousness, must be preceded by inward purification of Soul. The soul must become "Virgin" before the birth therein of Christ Jesus can take place, "Christ Jesus the Son of God, our Lord, is conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary" or purified soul purified through the involved Divine life or love element which riseth up from within, and Man, so regenerate, "Riseth again from the dead" and "Ascendeth into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God". Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God".
(19) The Scriptures, which were written in the vernacular, are not always to be understood literally and this apart from any mytical interpretation which may have been in the mind of the writer; and the reference in this parable to the "fatted calf", is a case in point. The expression is to be understood in a figurative or metaphorical sense, and not literally. Dr. Harnish, in his book jehoshua Nazir says: the Essenes who were all non flesh eaters for "all flesh foods and animal fats were by them considered an abomination in the sight of God" (p. 187), had "a commond fund" which in case of necessity could be drawn upon; otherwise any needed supply of food could be obtained from the larder of the community, which was known as "the fatted calf", upon which demands were made, and to empty which was figuratively described as Killing the fatted calf" (p. 185). The expression therefore meant neither more nor less than emptying the larder.
Many instances could be given to shew the harmony that existed between the teaching to be found in The Gospel of the Holy Twelve and the mentality of its recipient. Rev. Ouseley raised certain objections to "the Scriptures as they are", from which The Gospel of the Holy Twelve is free. While he never swerved from the teaching of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, he objected to some of the parables to be found in the Canonical Gospels being used or employed by them in illustration thereof. He pointed out that some of such parables, if taken literally, teach wrong". While he held the teaching of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland to be "the truth in substance", he wished it were based "on sounder foundations than the Scriptures as they are" (20). He put the case thus: "I lay it down as an absolute canon or rule that no narrative or parable or other writing which, taken literally, inculcates falsehood or cruelty or injustice or oppression, can possibly have been given by the Spirit of God or Good, or can be safely made to serve as a basis for the higher Spiritual Truth by any mode of interpretation, being untrue in itself (whether on the physical or moral plane) and out of harmony with the undoubted teachings of the Spirit of Truth". As an example, he referred to "the legend of Cain and Abel", which, taken literally, "inculcates the immorality of sacrificing innocent life to propitiate an angry Deity". Another example is to be found in the parable of the Prodigal Son and the killing of "the fatted calf", above referred to. It must not from this be assumed that Rev. Ouseley disregarded "the Scriptures as they are", for, in one of his booklets, "A Nation Regenerated" having expressed his opinion as above, he said: "The Scriptures contain the Word of God, but often interpolated and transposed by the error of man, whether by accident or design. Shall we cast away the gold or despise it for the sake of the dross mingled with it? Doing this we should be fools, not wise".
(20) The teaching of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland was not based on any Scriptures. They disclaimed authority whether of book, person or institution, however sacred, exalted or venerable, as the basis or foundation for their teaching. Their appeal was to the Spiritual understanding within man: "The Spirit within you is Divine, it is God".
As As regards Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, their mission was not to revise parables, but to interinterpret them. The purpose of their collaboration proved to be "the restoration of the esoteric Philsophy or Theosophy of the West, and the interpretation thereby of the Christian and kindred religions". They were told: "the time had come for the unsealing of the world's Bibles, and their own appointed mission was that of unsealing the Bibles of the West" Bibles which in their esoteric sense, deal not with Material Things, but with Spiritual Realities, such parts thereof as are Mystical, requiring a Mystic consideration. Their was to be "a Gospel of interpretation". Nothing new would be told. That which was ancient, would be interpreted. Christ Jesus was to be "lifted up". The perfection or otherwise of the form in which Divine Truth had been expressed, was not their concern; and no one in our time has been better qualified than were they to interpret "the Scriptures as they are". That The Gospel of the Holy Twelve will be a help to a right Understanding of the Scriptures is my belief, ever bearing in mind the well known adage: "He who would eat the kernel must crack the shell". For the writer of this Gospel as will be noticed the prediction by Jesus therein was fulfilled. He said to his disciples: "They shall put you out of the Synagogues because they have not known the All-Parent, nor me". And if it be asked who are his disciples, the answer is given thus: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another, and shew mercy and love to all creatures of God".
Let us bear in mind the following words recorded in "the New Sayings of Jesus" (in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri: "Jesus saith, Let not him who seeks ... cease until he finds, and when he finds he shall be astonished; astonished he shall reach the Kingdom, and having reached the Kingdom he shall rest".
SAMUEL HOPGOOD HART The Round House, Ilfracombe, Devon, England February 22, 1952
READER: Maitland is one of the editors who removed Ouseley's name from the Holy Twelve document. Did he see the original text? nope, for:
...about a couple of years after the commencement of our [Anna Kingsford's and Edward Maitland's] collaboration, the purpose of which had proved to be the restoration of the esoteric philosophy or Theosophy of the West, and the interpretation thereby of the Christian and kindred religions, a like collaboration, also between a woman and a man, had been commenced, having a similar object in regard to the esoteric philosophy or Theosophy of the East, and both parties had [until] now been working on lines thus parallel in complete ignorance of each other's existence. And while, moreover, our knowledges were derived directly from celestial sources, the hierarchy of the Church Invisible in the holy heavens, theirs claimed as their source certain ancient lodges of Adepts said to inhabit the inaccessible heights of the Thibetan Himalayas, an order of men credited with the possession of knowledges and powers which constituted them beings apart and worthy of divine honours.
source: Anna Kingsford, Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophists by Edward Maitland
READER: You know where E Swedenborg gets mentioned as one of the editors of the Holy Twelve nonsenese, and yet lived a century earlier. (medium, died 1772) Well, E Maitland was in a trance in Swedenborg's library, and ...
1. Paris, June 6, 1878. Read, in the earlyhours of the morning, in sleep, in a library purporting to be that of Emmanuel Swedenborg, in the spiritual world, Swedenborg himself being present, and written down on waking. As we subsequently ascertained, it represents the doctrine of that famous seer, but without his limitations. Like most of the writing, thus beheld by the seeress, it was in German text and archaic spelling, and also, like several others, was given in immediate response to a mental request for light on the subjects treated, made by me without her knowledge either of my request or of my need, or being able of herself to have supplied the want. On seeking--also from transcendental sources--to know more respecting this experience, we received for answer that "a portion of Swedenborg is still in this sphere, through which he can communicate withthose with whom he is in affinity"; and that, under his magnetism, theseeress had been enabled--as stated in the preface--to recover these recollections. The capitals of the original are retained, but the spelling ismodernised. E. M. (i.e. Edward Maitland)
I've also found this,
Christian Pantheism of the Fifth (English) sub-race had its beginning in the works of Anna Bonus Kingsford (1846-1888).She was quite a leading lady of 19th. century western Europe. In 1870 she became a Roman Catholic, later separatedfrom her minister husband and throughout her life was an editor of numerous women's rights magazines. Between 1874and 1880, she lived in Paris with her spiritual mentor, Edward Maitland, as uncle and niece, to attend and finallygraduate from medical school (where she was refused in England). During this time, her and Maitland experimentedtogether in spiritual researches as mediums. They were contacted by elementary spirits, ancient Egyptian and Greekspirits, by individual spirits such as that of Apollonius of Tyana and Swedenborg and even had visions of scenesfrom the life of Christ. These very occult "illuminations" produced a coherent dogma of Esoteric Christianitywhich they sponsored as a "new Gospel". During May and June of 1881, Maitland and Kingsford presentedthis material in a series of lectures in London to private audiences. The lectures were published a year lateras THE PERFECT WAY or the FINDING OF CHRIST.
In 1883 Kingsford was elected president of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society and obviously she musthave had a close working relationship with the good Madame H.P.B. Even though she was more connected to GnosticChristianity and Egyptian Hermetic sciences, the Mahatma letters state that her appointment was approved by themaster Koot Hoomi. A fierce battle arose over her appointment with A.P. Sinnett who had returned to London in April1883 after losing his newspaper editorship in India. Nowhere was the schism between Western Christian occultismas represented by Kingsford and Maitland and Eastern Indian occultism as represented by Blavatsky and Sinnett moreevident than the split in the London Lodge. To solve the problem, Olcott offered Kingsford her own separate chartercalled, "the Hermetic Lodge of the Theosophical Society." which she accepted while Sinnett got his candidateelected as new president of the London Lodge of the T.S. Renamed the "Hermetic Society", Kingsford andMaitland enjoyed a huge success giving lectures and publishing books on Egyptian Hermeticism.As her Esoteric Christianity (based upon Egyptian Hermeticism) evolved, she became learned in the additionaloccult sciences of Alchemy, the Hebrew scriptures, the Hebrew Kabbalah, Gnostic Christianity, Orphism, Angelologyand in 1887, thru the manuscripts Eliphas Levi, the occult astrology of Trithemius and the coming age of Michael.Had she not died an early death, she might have accomplished a synthesis of the entire Western tradition of occultismand her special brand of the new Christian revelation. Her Christian esotericism had its unique influence on AnnieBesant, C.W.Leadbeater, G.R.S.Mead, A.E.Waite, C.C.Massey and her financial sponser, the Lady Caithness.
(above source, THE SEPTENARY IN RELIGIONA. The Lemniscate of Religion)
I've also got this link: http://home.swipnet.se/corbie/Fuskwww/twelve.html
which speaks of the spiritistic connections also. Maitland and Kingsford had apparently died by the time Ouseley concocts his manuscript. The above URL conjectures Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine (1888 - it's online, too) is one source for his "work" - and yes, Blavatsky HAD been to Tibet about this time!
Ernest Udny was a theosophist and gets several mentions in their literature.