This "Gospel of the Holy Twelve " (Evangelists) of the Christian Dispensation is one of the most ancient and complete of early Christian fragments, preserved in 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 and now for the first time translated from the Aramaic. The contents clearly show it to be an early Essenian writing. This ancient community of the Jewish Church called Yessenes, Iessenes, Nazarites, or Nazirs, strongly resembling the Therapeutae, and the Buddhists, who practised community of goods, daily ablutions, daily worship, and renounced flesh eating, and strong drink and the sacrifice of animals, and the doctrine of "atonement" for the sins of some by the vicarious and involuntary suffering of others, as held by the Pharisees and Sadducees, and by the heathen before them; thus preparing the way for those Orders and Communities of men and women which have since arisen throughout the East and West, like cities set on hill, to shew the more perfect way to Christians living. in the world, notably those of S. Basil in the East, and S. Benedict in the West, and, with them, the Carthusians and the Franciscans, and before them all, the Carmelites (who had their headquarters on Mount Carmel) to whom they are similar in their customs, and even their dress, if not altogether identical with them, tracing their origin to Elias, abstaining from all flesh meats and strong drinks, whose symbol was, it is said, an iron cross in a circle, and among the animals, the Lamb and the Dove their special emblems. See Philo (in Loco) or Kitto's Cyclopaedia (art, Essenes), also Arthur Lillie's "Christianity and Buddhism."
In this community Jesus, and His cousin John were brought up from childhood, and some, if not all, of His early disciples, apparently among that section of them which regarded marriage as a venerable institution, " honorable in all men." Their "Gospel of the Holy Twelve " was communicated to the Editors, 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. By them it was translated from the original, and given to the Editors in the flesh, to be supplemented in their proper places, where indicated, from the "Four Gospels " (A. V.) revised where necessary by the same.
To this explanation, the Editors cannot add, nor from it take away. By the Divine Spirit was the Gospel communicated to the four above mentioned, and by them translated, and given to the writers; not in seance rooms (where too often resort the idle, the frivolous and the curious, attracting spirits similar to themselves, rather than the good), but "in dreams and visions of the night," and by direct guidance, has God instructed them by chosen instruments; and now they give it to the world, that some may be wiser unto Salvation, while those who reject it, remain in their blindness, till they will to see.
That the contents of this most ancient Gospel set forth a higher moral and religious teaching, as the basis of the Christian Church, than any other that has come down to us, requires but the reading of eyes divested of prejudice, and the perception of a regenerate heart, and intelligent mind, to receive and appreciate. The giving of the New Law on the Holy Mount is a scene that, once read, can never be forgotten, though it was not "with blackness and thunder and the sound of the trump." The mode of communicating the present work may raise the senseless sneer of the ignorant and the conceited, who (strange to say) readily receive, or profess to receive, with little or no enquiry, similar communications of early days, in which the Church practised invocations of the departed, as now, and received from them revelations almost universally recognized and accepted, as Professor Falcomer (Genoa) and others have shown, many of them much more marvellous and incredible. Also the millions of people, of all times and in all places (120 millions estimated in Europe alone) excluding imposters and self-deceived who are ever with us - the tares among the wheat - besides the thousands of learned thinkers and students, investigators and writers not given to trifling, but to studious research, have given their verdict, that such things are, not only possible, but actualities, showing that God works the same way to-day, that he did thousands of years ago, through angels and ministering spirits, to rouse and elevate the hearts of men and women to higher things.
lnasmuch as this Gospel touches on many questions of vital moment now discussed in this age, and little known in those times, it may well be termed par excellence the prophetic and ethical Gospel, and critics and scholars will remember that the writings of Justin Martyn, Papias and others, distinctly speak of, and quote from, the "Gospel of the Hebrews " known otherwise as "the Gospel of the Twelve Apostles " and the "Gospel of the Nazarites," used then, chiefly in the Church at Jerusalem, and the original of Matthew's Gospel in Hebrew which we have in Greek. This identifies it as the original Gospel from which the others were more or less closely copied, with numerous variations and important omissions by accident, or design, to suit the corrupt taste of the worldly.
To those who may think it a difficulty, that the name of this notorious body (the Essenes) not less notorious than the Pharisees or Sadducees, so often spoken of, is not once mentioned either in this Gospel, or in the received four, the very silence ought to appeal, as an eloquent testimony to its origin.
It is the opinion, after much patient study and research of that learned traveller and author, Mr. Arthur Lillie, in his works on "Buddhism and Christianity " that "the earliest and only authentic Gospel must come from the Essenes, and all that is anti-Essene (in our four) is accretion." This Gospel we claim to have recovered by the help of our co-workers in the unseen.
This new and complete edition we have revised and enlarged, not only in the explanatory preface (itself enlarged from the second) but also by additional matter and corrections which escaped our notice in first issue, and also important notes, which may prevent misunderstanding by the unthinking, and the wrong thinking, who form the vast majority of readers in this age. These are now incorporated with this edition. The number of verses in each lecture have been better arranged, while the number of Lections remain the same.
The writers have been at great pains to verify in the early Christian writers most of these older utterances of Iesus, strange in modern ears, as far as their present limitation would admit, many of them being utterly lost to the world till the present revelation.
It is with some reluctance that the Editors in this new and complete edition allude to some of the phenomena accompanying the transcription of this Gospel, but in these days of cold unbelief and scepticism concerning everything sacred, it may be a consolation to some who may have had similar experiences, and not entirely without interest to others, when they are not quite hardened, to know that to the writers and mediums of this revelation, spiritual manifestations have been given of an undoubted nature, especially toward the end of the transcription of this Gospel, though deaf and closed for many years to physical sounds. Thus, voices were heard of a choir singing a sacred chant, and bells ringing as in mid-air, and the musical rendering and recitation of certain portions, chiefly those not to be found in the Four Gospels of the A.V., though alluded to, with the well-known oriental cadences of readers in some grand old cathedral, as if the inspiring spirits wished to set their seal to the reality of their presence, and perhaps to the truths which were written, though nothing to overwhelm with the crushing weight of infallible authority the judgment and calm reason and discernment which God had given them, and here they are permitted to add a little of what they have already said, of the unseen translators of the ancient Gospel.
Of Emmanuel Swedenborg (d. 1772), the Swedish seer and mystic, that he was seen by three trustworthy clairvoyants in the spirit-form as an elderly clergyman, in the dress of a former generation, interesting himself in the work of translating and supervision, some of the said clairvoyants never having heard of him till they saw his portrait - being presented with it by the Editor - at once recognized it, with the exclamation : " that is he;" "it is his very dress," added two of them.
Of Placidus (cir. 1326), he was known only by the Editor as that Carmelite monk, sitting occasionally by his bedside and discussing many questions. To the query, "Suppose that in these days of discovery of ancient documents some ancient and genuine MSS. were found in which it was clearly written, 'Joseph begat Jesus of Mary his wife, who was afterwards called the Christ,' Do you think the Church dogma of the immaculate conception would be imperilled to your mind ? " he instantly replied, "Not in the least, the Church would in that case propound and define the immaculate conception of Joseph as well as his bride - the safeguard would be doubled." Judge of the Editor's surprise, when within six months after news came from the East of the discovery by Mrs. Lewis of a most ancient and undoubtedly genuine MSS. of the Holy Gospels, with these very words in the first chapter of St. Matthew, preceding the interpolation, without which the sense of the entire is evident and complete.
Of Edward Maitland (d.1892), his esteemed friend, from the beginning to the end of his great work, the "Perfect Way" in 1881, that though originally a member of an Evangelical family in the Anglican Church, he was the first to bring into its due prominence the doctrines of the' "Father-Motherhood" in God, Reincarnation, etc., calling on the then Pope, Leo XIII., to define them as undoubted Articles of the Faith, being the proper Ecclesiastical basis of the religious equality of woman with man - the intuition with the Intellect in the coming age of illumination.
Of Doctor Anna Kingsford (d. 1888), his coadjutor, it may be sufficient to say that she was the medium of "The Illuminations" published separately, being many years before his death received into the Latin communion by Cardinal Manning, who well understood her religious doubts and convictions, and saw nothing in them to prevent her reception into the Catholic Church. She recanted nothing of her convictions and died a member of the Latin church, though by interference of her relatives she was buried with Protestant rites.
With these four, but unconnected with their work of translation and delivery, there should be mentioned the presence and unexpected appearance of John Wesley, who, with his brother Charles the poet, appeared in the usual clerical gown or preaching dress, as an Oxford Fellow, by which, and in other ways he was recognized. Alluding to the Hymn, written by him or his brother, in which he expressed his belief in the unalterable fixity of the Eternal State, he cited the words, of another of his Hymns, "Mortals cry, a man is dead; Angels sing, a child is born," and explained their fuller meaning as he now sees it, viz., that death is only the gate to another life, and that there is no immediate change - as is supposed by many, the same opinions, habits and belief, continuing for a time till corrected in the higher life, and that the distinctions he drew in his lifetime were much too sharp, and had no good foundation in holy writ in its true interpretation.
At the same time was heard the singing of a hymn, afterwards used among his people.
"Iesu, and shall it ever be,
A mortal man ashamed of Thee,
* * *
Rather may this my glory be,
That Christ is not ashamed of me."
In which the Editor recognized the well-remembered voices of two sisters, in the Dublin branch of his Society, long since passed away, one preceding the other by a short space, to be with their Lord whom they loved and served on earth.
Of John Wesley (d. 1791) also it may be said that he, too, was of the number that ate not flesh nor drank strong drink. Writing to the Bishop of London in 1747 , he said: " Thanks be to God, since the time that I gave up the use of flesh and wine, I have been delivered from all physical ills." As formerly, the writers and the transmitters of sacred Scriptures (in their purity for the benefit of humanity) were sometimes forced, by motive of prudence, to conceal their personalities while in the flesh, knowing well, that for a divine message, its own truth was the best evidence of genuine inspiration, and that by reason of its truthfully rebuking the cherished views of the many, they would meet with the usual reward from the ignorant and worldly-persecution of one kind or another - misrepresentation of motives, personal depreciation (the favorite refuge of those who cannot refute, and will not accept )- so now for the same reason, seeking neither praise nor blame from men, the visible Editors of these Scriptures withhold their names. For the world is the same now as then, yea, worse, for these are the days of unbelief in God, the Good, the Beautiful and the True- "the rude latter days" of which the late Father Faber spoke so touchingly - when courtesy is almost unknown, and reverence and faith are well-nigh dead, and obedience to God is counted nought, when it would restrain or interfere with some perverse and wicked fashion or folly of the day, or some deep-rooted evil habits or customs of long standing.
As this Gospel was not addressed to the heathen, but chiefly to the true followers of Jesus, in the early days of the Church of Jerusalem, so now it is sent to modern Christians who have fallen into worse than heathen darkness, if perchance it may be received by a few men and women of "Peace and Goodwill" to whom "Peace on Earth" was originally announced. It is quite immaterial to the Editors whether it be or be not received, though to them who reject or ignore it, it may be otherwise.
For long ages, since the destruction of Jerusalem, the aspect of God, as the Eternal Mother ("Holy Spirit"), One with the Eternal Father, has been concealed from our eyes by clouds of human tradition, error and superstition, but now the Sun of Righteousness (the Divine Mother}, shines in its fulness from behind the clouds of darkness that have so long hidden it from view, and it shines alike on believer and unbeliever, on those who see and feel its warmth, and on those who will to remain in darkness, and perish for want of light. It is written, "Behold I come from behind the clouds and every eye shall see Me whom they have pierced, and all of the earth who see, shall wail because of their iniquities. "The world is deaf to the beloved Voice, and hears not, blind and sees not, but only the things which make for its own lusts. As of yore, approaching to the Holy City, Jesus wept, so now to modem Christendom He seems to say, "lerusalem, Ierusalem, thou that stonest the prophets and revilest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her chicken under her wings, but ye would not! Oh that thou hadst listened in this thy day to the things which make (through righteousness) for thy peace, but ye would not! Behold the day cometh, when thine enemies shall cast a trench before thee and surround thee on every side, and burn thee with fire, leaving not one stone upon another. Behold now is your house left unto you desolate, and ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed are They who come in the Name of the Holy One."
The Editors Of The Gospel Of The Holy Twelve.
To The Reader
THE all-pitying love of our Saviour embraces not only embraces mankind, but also the "lower " creatures of God, sharers with us of the one breath of life, and with us on the one road of ascent to that which is higher. Never has the Providence with which the All-Merciful watches over the animals "unendowed with reason," as well as over "reason-endowed" man, been more impressively brought home to us than in the saying of Iesus : '"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God ? "
How were it possible to think otherwise, than that the Saviour "would have had pity and compassion on the creatures who must bear their pain in silence. Would it not seem to us like a blasphemy if we were to hear it said that Jesus or Mary would have beheld, without pity or succour the illtreatment of helpless animals? Nay, certainly, when our Saviour brought redemption to a world sunk in selfishness, hard-heartedness and misery, and proclaimed the Gospel of an all-embracing love, there was, surely, a share in this redemption for all suffering creatures, since when man opened his heart to this Divine Love, there was no room left for pitiless hardness towards the other creatures of God, who have, like man, been called into life with the capacity of enjoyment and of suffering. They bear the marks of the Redeemer, who practises this all-pitying love. And how little it is that the minimum of Christian compassion for helpless creatures demands of us! Only to inflict on them no torture, and to help them when in trouble, or appeal to us for succour, and when, of necessity, we take their life, to let it be a speedy death with the least pain; a gentle Bleep. But, alas! how little are we penetrated with these divine lessons of mercy and compassion. How many grievous tortures are inflicted on helpless creatures under the pretence of science, or to gratify an unnatural appetite, or cruel lusts, or the promptings of vanity.
As an aid to a higher Christianity these fragments of a fuller Gospel are now presented, giving us the Feminine tenderness as the Masculine strength of the Perfect Christ.
The greater and more important portion of these reminiscences have formed the groundwork and basis of various teachings issued by the Order of At-one-ment since 1881, when it was incepted, and are now for the first time given in their entirety, throwing additional light on the real doctrine of Iesus, or elucidating of the contents of the canonical Gospels as commonly received. retaining the translation of the A. V. wherever possible, or sufficiently clear. It will he for the Church of the Future when revising the entire Scriptures to give it its primary place, the original and complete "Gospel of the Holy Christ," using the others for a confirmation from four other witnesses that every word may be established to them who are not in a condition to receive the good-ness, purity and truth of the former.
Like all other inspired writings (but not necessarily infallible in every word) these writings from within the Veil must be taken on their own internal evidence of a Higher Teaching. For inspiration of the Spirit no more necessarily implies infallibility than the divine breath of life inbreathed by man, necessarily implies freedom from all accidents, diseases or miseries incidental to mortal life.
It is a faithless and perverse generation, as of old, that seeks for signs, and to them saith the Spirit, "there shall no sign be given," for were the very writers of this Gospel raised from the dead, and were they to testify to their authorship, they would not believe, unbelieving critics would still ask for a sign, and the more they were given the more they would ask in the hardness of their hearts. The sign is The Truth - the pure in heart they shall see it.
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
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