Historical Reprints Religion Origin of All Religious Worship

Origin of All Religious Worship

Origin of All Religious Worship
Catalog # SKU3856
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Charles Francois Dupuis
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Origin of All
Religious Worship

Charles Francois Dupuis

The word God seems intended to express the idea of a power universal and eternally active, which gives impulse to the movements of all Nature, following the laws of a harmony alike constant and wonderful, and developing itself in various forms, which organized matter can take, which blends itself with and animates everything and which seems to constitute One, and only to belong to itself, in its infinite variety of modifications.



Such is the vital force, which comprehends in itself the Universe, or that systematic combination of all the bodies, which one eternal chain binds amongst themselves and which a perpetual movement rolls majestically through the bosom of space and Time without end. When man began to reason upon the causes of his existence and preservation, also upon those of the multiplied effects, which are born and die around him, where else but in this vast and admirable Whole could he have placed at first that sovereignly powerful cause, which brings forth everything, and in the bosom of which all re-enters, in order to issue again by a succession of new generations and under different forms. This power being that of the World itself, it was therefore the World, which was considered as God, or as the supreme and universal cause of all the effects produced by it, of which mankind forms a part. This is that great God, the first or rather the only God, who has manifested himself to man through the veil of the matter which he animates and which forms the immensity of the Deity. This is also the sense of that sublime inscription of the temple of Sais: I am all that has been, all that is, and all that shall be, and no mortal has lifted yet the veil, that covers me.

Although this God was everywhere and was all, which bears a character of grandeur and perpetuity in this eternal World, yet did man prefer to look for him in those elevated regions, where that mighty and radiant luminary seems to travel through space, overflowing the Universe with the waves of its light, and through which the most beautiful as well as the most beneficient action of the Deity is enacted on Earth. It would seem as if the Almighty had established his throne above that splendid azure vault, sown with brilliant lights, that from the summit of the heavens he held the reins of the World, that he directed the movements of its vast body, and contemplated himself in forms as varied as they are admirable, wherein he modifies himself incessantly. "The World," says Pliny, "or what we otherwise call Heaven, which comprises in its immensity the whole creation, is an eternal, an infinite God, which has never been " created, and which shall never come to an end. To look for something else beyond it, is useless labour for man, and out (f his reach. Behold that truly sacred Being, eternal and immense, which in eludes within itself everything; it is All in All, or rather itself is All. It is the work of Nature, and itself is Nature." Thus spoke the greatest philosopher as well as the wisest of ancient naturalists. He believed that the World and Heaven ought to be called the supreme cause and God. According to his theory, the World is eternally working within itself and upon itself, it is at the same time the maker and the work. It is the universal cause of all the effects, which it contains. Nothing exists outside of it, it is all that has been, all that is, and all that shall be, in other words: Nature itself or God, because by the name of God we mean the eternal infinite and sacred Being, which as cause, contains within itself all that is produced. This is the character, which Pliny attributes to the World, which he calls the great God, beyond whom we shall seek in vain for another.

This doctrine is traced up to the highest antiquity with the Egyptians and the East Indians. The former had their great Pan, who combined in himself all the characters of universal Nature, and who was originally merely a symbolical expression of her fruitful power. The latter have their God Vishnu, whom they confound frequently with the World, although they make of him sometimes only a fraction of that treble force, of which the universal power is composed. They say, that the Universe is nothing else but the form of Vishnu; that he carries it within his bosom; that all that has been, all that is, and all that shall be, is in him; that he is the beginning and the end of all things; that he is All, that he is a Being alone and supreme, who shows himself right before our eyes, in a thousand forms. He is an infinite: Being, adds the Bagawadam, inseparable from the Universe, which essentially is one with him, because say the Indians. Vishnu is All, and All is in him; which is entirely a similar expression as the one used by Pliny, in order to characterize the God-Universe, or the World, the supreme cause of all the effects produced.

In the opinion of the Brahmins, as well as that of Pliny, the great-maker or the great Demiurgus is not separated or distinguished from his work. The World is not a machine foreign to the Divinity, which is created and moved by it and outside of it; it is the development of the divine substance; it is one of the forms under which God shows himself before our eyes. The essence of the World is one and indivisible with that of Bramah, who organizes it. He, who sees the World, sees God, so far as men can see him; as he, who sees the body of a man and his movements, sees man, so much as can be seen of him, although the principle of his movements, of his life and of his mind, remain concealed under the envelope, which the hand touches and the eyes perceives. It is the same with the sacred body of the Deity or of the God-Universe. Nothing exists but in him and through him; outside of him all is nonentity or abstraction. His power is that of the Divinity itself. His movements are those of the great Being, principle of all the others; and his wonderful order is the organization of his visible substance and of that portion of himself, which God shows to man. In this magnificent spectacle, which the Deity presents to us of itself, were conceived the first ideas of God and the supreme cause; on him were fixed the eyes of all those, who have investigated the source of life of all creatures. The first men worshipped the various members of this sacred body of the World, and not feeble mortals, who are carried away in the current of the torrent of ages. And where is indeed the man, who could have maintained the parallel, which might have been drawn between him and Nature?

If it is alleged, that it is to Force, to which altars were first erected, where is that mortal, whose strength could have been compared to that immeasurable, incalculable one, which is scattered all over the World and developed under so many forms and through so many different degrees, producing such wonderful effects; which holds the Sun in equilibrium in the centre of the planetary system; which propels the planets, and yet, retains them in their orbits; which unchains the winds, heaves up the seas or calms the storm; which darts the lightning, displaces and overthrows mountains by volcanic eruptions, and holds the whole Universe in eternal activity? Can it be believed, that the admiration, which this force even to this day produces on our minds, did not equally affect the first mortals, who contemplated in silence the spectacle of the World, and who tried to divine the almighty cause, which set so many different springs in motion? Instead of supposing that the son of Alcmena had replaced the God-Universe and brought him into oblivion, is it not more simple to assume, that man, not being able to paint or represent the power of Nature, except by images as feeble as himself, endeavoured to find in that of the lion or in that of a robust man the figurative expression, with which he designed to awaken the idea of the force of the World? It was not the man or Hercules, who had raised himself to the rank of the Deity, it was the Deity which was lowered and abased to the level of man, who lacked the means to paint or represent it.

Therefore, it was not the apotheosis of man, but rather the degradation of the Deity by symbols and images, which has seemed to displace all in the worship rendered to the supreme cause and its parts, and in the feasts designed to celebrate its greatest operations. If it is to the gratitude of mankind for benefits received, that the institution of religious ceremonies and the most august mysteries of antiquity, must be attributed, can it be believed, that mortals, whether Ceres or Bacchus, had higher merits in the eyes of men, than that Earth, which from its fruitful bosom brings forth the crops and fruits, which Heaven feeds with its waters, and which the Sun warms and matures with its fire? that Nature, showering upon us its bountiful treasures, should have been forgotten, and that only some mortals should have been remembered, who had given instructions how to use it? To suppose such a thing, would be to acknowledge our ignorance of the power, which Nature always exercised over man, whose attention is ceaselessly claimed by her, on account of his absolute dependence on her, and of his wants. True it is, that sometimes audacious mortals wanted to contend with the veritable gods for their incense and to share it with them, but such an extorted worship lasted only so long, as flattery and fear had an interest in its continuation. Domitian was nothing but a monster under Trajan. Augustus himself was soon forgotten, but Jupiter remained master of the Capitol. Old Saturn was always held in veneration amongst the ancient communities of Italy, where he was worshipped as the God of time, the same as Janus, or the Genius who opens to him the course of the seasons. Pomona and Flora preserved their altars, and the various constellations continued to be the heralds of the feasts of the sacred calendar, because they were those of Nature.

The reason, why the worship of ma}; has always met with obstacles in its establishment and maintenance amongst its equals, is to be found in man himself, when compared with the great Being, which we call the Universe. In man all is weakness, while in the Universe all is grand, all is strength, all is power. Man is born, grows and dies, and scarcely shares for an instant the eternal duration of the World, of which he occupies such an infinitesimal point. Being the issue of dust, he very soon returns to it entirely, while Nature alone remains with its formations and its power, and from the remains of mortal beings is reconstructing new ones. It knows no old age, nor alteration of its strength. Our fathers did not see it come into existence, nor shall our great grand children see it come to an end. When we shall descend into the grave, we shall leave it behind just as young, as when we first sprung into life from its bosom. The farthest posterity shall see the Sun rise as brilliant, as we see it now, and as our fathers saw it. To be born to grow, to get old and to die, express ideas, which do not belong to universal Nature, they being only the attributes of mankind and of the other effects produced by the former.

"The Universe," says Ocellus of Lucania, "when considered in its totality, gives us no indication whatsoever, which would betray an origin or portend a destruction, nobody has seen it spring into existence, nor grow or improve, it is always the same in the same manner, always uniform and like itself." Thus spoke one of the oldest philosophers, whose writings have come down to us, and since then our observations have made no additions to our knowledge. The Universe seems to us the same, as it appeared to him. Is not this character of perpetuity belonging to the Deity, or to the supreme cause? What would then God be, If he was not all that, which to us seems to be Nature and the internal power which moves it? Shall we search beyond this World for that eternal uncreated Being, of which there is no proof of existence? Is it in the class of produced effects, that we shall place that immense cause, beyond which we see nothing but phantoms, the creatures of our own imagination? I know, that the mind of man, whose reveries are uncontrollable, has gone beyond that, which the eye perceives, and has overleaped the barrier, which Nature has placed before its sanctuary. It has substituted for the cause it saw in action, an other cause, which it did not see, as beyond and superior to it, without in the least troubling itself about the means to prove its reality. Man asked, who had made the World, just as if it had been proved, that the World had been made; nor did he at all enquire, who had made this God, foreign to the World, entirely convinced, that one could exist, without having been made; all of which the philosophers have really thought of the World, or of the universal and visible cause. Because man is only an effect, he wanted also the World to be one, and in the delirium of his metaphysics, he imagined an abstract Being called God, separated from the World and from the cause of the World, placed above the immense sphere, which circumscribes the system of the Universe, and it was only himself alone the guarantee of the existence of this new cause; and thus did man create God. But this audacious conjecture is not his first step.

The ascendancy, which the visible cause exercises over him is too strong for conceiving the idea of shaking it off so soon. He believed for a long while in the evidence of his own eyes, before he indulged in the illusions of his own imagination, and lost himself in the unknown regions of an invisible World. He saw God, or the great cause in the Universe, before he searched for him beyond it, and he circumscribed his Worship to the sphere of the World, which he saw, before he imagined a God in a World, which he did not see. This abuse of the mind, this refinement of metaphysics is of a very recent date in the history of religious opinions, and may be considered as an exception of the universal religion, which had for its object the visible Nature, and the active and spiritual force, which seems to spread through all its parts, as it may be easily ascertained by the testimony of historians, and by the political and religious monuments of the ancients.

404 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover - Print size, 12 point font

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