BLTC Press Titles


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The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


Eighteen centuries of the Orthodox church

by Alexander Hugh Hore

Excerpt:

THERE has always been one Church, although under two dispensations, the Jewish and the Christian; "Judaism was the husk in which the kernel of Christianity ripened." But contemporaneously with it four great Kingdoms (@a(TiXftnt\ or Empires (imperia) passed along the stage of the world's history—the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, Roman— all performing the work appointed them by God till "the fulness of time " should come; all preparing the way for the "fifth Kingdom," "not made with hands," which should last for ever.

Before the long promised Messiah came, the first three had run 'their allotted course, had misused their greatness, and having been "weighed by God in the balance and found wanting" (Dan. v. 27) had been succeeded by one still greater, "whose brightness was excellent, and the form thereof terrible" (Ibid. ii. 31). This was the Roman, the fourth great Empire of the world. The Prophet Daniel describes it as "bright and excellent," but "terrible;" bright and excellent, that is, in the majesty lent it by God, but "terrible" in the abuse of the gifts entrusted to it.

Only words expressive of extreme terror can be found by the Prophet to characterize the great Roman1 Empire. "Strong as iron .... as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things," it was to "crush and break ;" "dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly " to " stamp the residue under its feet " and "devour the whole earth." But it too, like the Empires which went before it, was to be broken in pieces and become " like the chaff of the summer threshing floor " under " the great mountain that filled the whole earth" (Ibid. ii. 35).

The eras which we classify as B.C. and A.D. are not an arbitrary distinction, but the one planned by God. At the time of Christ's Coming, the Kingdom of Brass, in the Prophet Daniel's language, had given way to the Kingdom of Iron, and for nearly, a century and a half Greece had been a province of Rome. The physical might of Rome had subdued Greece, but the mind of Greece mastered Rome; the Romans gave up much of their old beliefs, and the Greek Deities were incorporated into the Roman faith. Rome governed almost the whole world, but the world under the Roman Empire, instead of becoming better had become worse. The epoch which witnessed the early growth of Christianity was, says Dean Farrara, an epoch of which the horror and the degradation have rarely been equalled, and perhaps never exceeded, in the annals of mankind."

In B.C. 63 Jerusalem was taken by Pompey; Hyrcanus, the last of the Maccabees, was made a tributary Prince, and Judaea became a Roman province. The sceptre having thus departed from Judah " the fulness of time" had come, and the Roman Emperor himself was made the unwitting instrument for carrying out God's decrees. "There went out

"Early Days of Christianity.

a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." Thus was brought about the fulfilment of Micah's prophecy (v. 2) that from Bethlehem He should come forth that was to be "the Ruler in Israel." "All went to be taxed, every one to his own city," and Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David, "because he was of the house and lineage of David." Women were not obliged by the edict to accompany their husbands, and the journey was long, some seventy miles ; yet the Virgin Mary, by divine guidance, went with him, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah (vii. 14), "a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son."

Immediately after the Saviour's Birth, Angelic messengers conveyed to humble shepherds, tending their flocks by night, the good tidings of great joy that on that day was born in the city of David a Saviour which was Christ the Lord. Twelve days afterwards occurred the event which we in the West commemorate as the Epiphany and the Greek Church as the Seofydveia, the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. Wise men (Mdyoi, as the Priests of Persia were called), recognizing in the Star which they saw in the East, the Star of Jacob predicted by Balaam (Numbers xxiv. 17), went to Jerusalem to enquire the birthplace of Him that was born King of the Jews. At Jerusalem the Star again appeared and went before them (-rrpofjyev a\iTov?) to Bethlehem, till it came and stood over (e-irdvta) the place where the Child lay—whether it was in the ^dTinl, or whether His parents had removed to a house in Bethlehem, we are not told ;—but when they saw Him they fell down and worshipped Him, presenting Him with gifts, gold as to the King of Kings, frankincense to represent His eternal Priesthood, and myrrh to typify the Burial of the Man Christ.


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