Simon of Samaria.

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APRIL 15, 1887.







    "DO you believe in ghosts?" asked the old lady of Mr. Coleridge.  "No, ma'am," he replied, "I have seen too many of them for that."  In like manner if asked, "Do you believe in controls?" some of us would have to answer, that we had tested too many of them for that.  Quite recently I saw a small collection of lectures: It appeared that when they were delivered a question had been put to the "controls" as to what they thought of the recent hypothesis of the Mythical Christ?  The answer recorded was, that they didn't think much of it!  I should think not.  Had they thought at all?  Did they know anything about it?  Could they discuss the facts or add anything to them?  Were they able to enlighten us in any way upon the matter?  Of this there was not a vestige of a sign.

    I have seen reports of statements made on public platforms concerning verifiable matters of ancient history so frightfully false as to be calculated to discredit all the genuine facts of phenomenal Spiritualism.  For where the teaching is so provably untrue and self-damnatory in matters concerning historic; facts known in this world, no reliance will be placed upon it in regard to any other.  Knowing, too much then about "'controls," I seldom read their revelations, and so it happens that my attention has only just been called to "Simon of Samaria," by means of Dr. Buchanan's letter.

    Turning back to the MEDIUM for March 11, I find it represented by "Spirit Messenger," that Simon of Samaria when in the flesh was a sorcerer, a secularist, and a believer in this world only.  He is made to deny the doctrine of a future state.  It is said of him—"In time, O my God! this soul was distinguished only for his absolute denial of Thy Majesty!"  He is made to say of himself: "I deny a ruling power beyond human knowledge; deny a life beyond the grave."  So far as I can make out, Simon gets converted and becomes a Christian at last through "Dean Stanley," who died just in time to save the poor lost soul.  Whereupon "Busiris, the Ancient of Days," who (see Daniel) is surely nothing less than the Lord God Almighty Himself, offers up a prayer from the rescued soul of Simon now entering into a condition of immortality.

    This is news indeed concerning the old Gnostic; but is it true?  Well, the representation has been put to the psychometrical test by Dr. Buchanan, who, "knowing the power of psychometry to portray any character, ancient or modern," tried it in this present case.  The measure of Simon's soul; his character, and belief, has been taken over again, and the representation of the London medium is corroborated, add guaranteed by the Boston psychometrist.  "He did not believe in any mediator or Supreme Being."  "There may have been some cabalistic and monastic people who believed. in a Supreme Being, but he did not associate with them or with any class."  This inclines one to inquire with Hamlet:—

"Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damned?
 Bring'st with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell?
 Thou com'st in such a questionable shape!"

    Simon of Samaria is a Gnostic friend of mine, in whom I feel a particular interest, as one of those who have suffered (if mind can consciously persist) for eighteen centuries from the falsehoods and forgeries that helped to establish the demoralizing delusion of Historic Christianity.  If I were a believer in the re-incarnation of individual personality, I might fancy that I am one of those same victims come back again consciously to aid in avenging the great wrongs we have sorely suffered for so long, like men made dumb through being buried alive.  Dear Mrs. Woodford did want to persuade me that I had passed this way several times before, and that this was the last time of my incarnation or re-incarceration on earth; but I do not solve the problem or explain the facts of certain psychical experiences by such an interpretation.  Still, if there be any truth in spiritualism, I know something of Simon as well as of Paul.  But, that would not be evidence of a kind to bring into court.  Neither will I make appeal to the Clementine Homilies, where Simon appears as the wicked Mage; because he is too much mixed up there with Paul, to distinguish very clearly which blow is aimed at which person, by the faction of Peter.  But, if Gnostic Christianity can be identified with any public founder whosoever, it is with Simon of Samaria.  The followers of Simon and of Marcion were known to Justin by name as the Christiani.  The name of the Christians as a known sect, so we are told in the Book of Acts, was first heard at Antioch; and that lands us upon Gnostic ground.  Antioch was a stronghold of Gnosticism.  Irenæus tells us that another great Gnostic Teacher, "Saturninus, was of that Antioch which is near Daphne.  It was on this Gnostic ground at Antioch that Paul withstood Peter to his face; and, as I maintain, he did this as a Gnostic, and upon Gnostic grounds.  "Elect Men," says Justin, "went out from Jerusalem into all the earth to denounce the godless heresies of the Christiani!"  "What do you think of that, my Cat?" These Elect Men are identified as the Apostles by Eusebius.  They can be still further identified with Peter and John and their opposition to the Gnostic Paul and the Christiani at Antioch.  The Gnostics were Spiritualist Christians, who preceded as well as opposed Historic Christianity.  At the head of all, as leader, stands Simon of Samaria.  He taught his doctrines, and wrought his wonders long anterior to the Apostles of the later creed or craze.  We are shown in the Book of the Acts what a power he was before the time of Philip and Paul.  He was acknowledged by the people as the "Great Power of God."  He was a Gnostic Christian; and the other Christianity began as Gnosticism, refaced with falsehoods concerning a series of facts alleged to have been historical, which are demonstrably mythical.  By which I do not mean mythical as exaggerations or perversions of truth, but belonging to the Egyptian Mythos.  Of course the setting up of this vast falsehood made all truth a blasphemy.  "The Gnostics," says Irenæus, "have no gospel which is not full of blasphemy.  They denied the Christ carnalized, and were anti-Christian because they were ante-Christian.  "If any one carefully examines all their systems, he will find the Word of God is brought in by all of them, as not having become incarnate (sine carne)."  That is, their Christ could not take flesh once for all; could only be evolved within as the higher life of all.

    There was no other special reason why "the disciples" should first have been named as "Christians" at Antioch except that this was a great centre of the Gnostic Christians, who were previously identified with the teachings and works of the wonderful mage of Samaria.  Simon was the great Anti-Christ, in the eyes of the founders of the belief in Historic Christianity, for whom the ante-Christ was always and everywhere the anti-Christ; and it was necessary to account for there being Christians other than the believers in a Carnalized Christ.  This was clumsily attempted in the "Acts" by making Simon become a baptized convert to the new superstition, and then backsliding: a common mode of accounting for Gnostic heretics!

    Irenæus shall furnish us with a crucial instance of the Christian lying on this subject.  He tells us that the Gnostics, such as those who followed Valentinus and Marcion, in the second century, had no existence before these later teachers (B. iii., Ch. 4, 3); whereas he had already stated in his first book that Simon of Samaria was the first and foremost of all the founders of Gnosticism, and the father of all its heresies.

    The establishers of the stupendous falsehood came to consider all truth a blasphemy, if opposed to them.  Every one who denied the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh was damned forthwith and for ever; and chief amongst these was Simon.  To those who know the nature of the Gnostic Christ (see my lecture on the "Seven Souls of Man, and their culmination in Christ") and the tenets the Gnostics taught, the account of Simon's conversion, baptism, and backsliding in the Book of Acts is fool's work or puerile child's play mixed up with knavery.  It is intended to show that Simon the Gnostic Christian acquired his name as such through becoming one of the "historic" Christians, and that afterwards the ante-Christian was only the anti-Christian.  Simon is identified by Irenæus as the Father and founder of all Heresies, which is to confess that the so-called Gnostic heresies were pre-Christian doctrines, and not, as he elsewhere asserts, perversions and distortions of historic facts.  The ignorance of some of these early Fathers concerning the Gnostics, their origin, statue, and teachings, is unfathomable, or else their misrepresentation is infernal.  For example, Hippolytus, in quoting Irenæus on the subject of the Valentinian Tetrad, actually personifies their doctrine of Kol-arbas or the fourfold nature, as "another of those heretics whose name was Colarbasus."

    In mentioning this fact in my "Natural Genesis," I omitted to state that Hippolytus was but echoing Irenæus, who has a chapter (B. I., 12) on the doctrines of the "followers of Ptolemy AND Colarbasus," in which he says: "He (Colarbasus) affirms this (of the Ogdoad) as confidently as if he had assisted at their birth."  Both Justin Martyr and Irenæus assert that Simon of Samaria was honoured with a statue set up by the Emperor Claudius Cæsar, on account of his magical powers.  Here their ignorance confounds the Sabine God, Semo Sancus, whose statue stood in Rome, with Saint Simon of Samaria.  This is the passage from Irenæus, B. I., ch. 23, 4, "The mystic priests belonging to this sect both lead profligate lives (of course) and practise magical arts, each one to the extent of his ability.  They use exorcisms and incantations; love-potions too, and charms as well as those beings whom they call Familiar Spirits (Paredri), and the senders of dreams (Oniropompi), and whatever other curious arts can be had recourse to.  They also have an image of Simon fashioned after the likeness of Jupiter, which they worship."

    The Simonians, like all Gnostics, were Spiritualists, and Spiritualism was, is, and ever will be, in opposition to the non-spiritual Agnostic misinterpretations of mythology, called Historic Christianity.  Simon wrote a work called the "Great Announcement," a fragment of which is yet extant in a quotation made by Hippolytus.  From this we learn enough to know that he taught the fundamental doctrines of Gnostic Christianity.  He maintained the existence of a "Supreme Power," which he termed the "Great Power," the highest power, invisible, ineffable, incomprehensible, which was the "mind of the universe directing all things."  The Power "who stands, has stood, and will stand for ever."  Irenæus says the same of Menander, the successor to Simon: "He affirms that the Primary Power continues unknown to all; but manifests in men like himself; that was by mediumship, or as the ignoramuses put it, these men claimed to be the Christ in person, and rejected the historical Jesus as a Saviour, of whom they had no need.  Irenæus says the same of another Gnostic who followed Menander: "Saturninus, like Menander, sets forth one father unknown to all."  Simon further set forth that this Supreme Power when figured anthropomorphically, was of a dual nature, male and female, and the Christ, in man was their offspring; but this was the Christ within; not any personal Jesus.  Hence he, like other Gnostics, including Paul, claimed and proclaimed the Christ within; within the woman as well as the man.  Hence it was said that he was a blasphemer who pretended to be the Christ, or greater than the historic figment of the Christ.  All who rejected the legend that was literalized in Rome, and denied the historic interpretation of the Mythos derived from Egypt, were damned as blaspheming heretics by the A-Gnostic Christians who were headed by Peter.  The Christ of Simon was simply the immortal likeness or divine principle in man, considered to be an emanation from the Supreme Being, the Gnostic Light, which enlighteneth every man and woman that cometh into the world.  Justin speaks of Christians as those who were illuminated through the Name of the Christ as an historical character; whereas the Gnostic. Christians said they were illuminated, through the Spirit within.  When Simon claimed to possess this principle, this interior light, they said he claimed to be the Christ in opposition to theirs, and set himself up as the anti-Christian and anti-Jewish Messiah.  As a Spiritualist, he of course denied the corporeal resurrection of the Christ or anybody else, which was hellish heresy to the orthodox Sarkolatræ, of the Petrine Sect who could not understand a Christ that was not made flesh in one single personality, nor a resurrection that was not physical.  And so poor Simon was damned by his ignorant contemporaries; and now he is brought back to us in the same character of the accursed, to be led by the hand of two mediums towards the light of Christianity, to "teach others that which he denied on earth, but which he has received in eternity;" having now "reached to that knowledge which (he) so strenuously denied" when he was on earth.  Here is a Gnostic adept if ever there was one, not a mere theoretical, but a practical and professional Spiritualist; a teacher and demonstrator of the phenomenal facts of Spiritualism; a preacher who set forth that the soul was inherently immortal, because it was an emanation, an embodied wave of the deific motion, scintillating into visibility of life in mundane form.  Of this teaching we have historic record; it is testified to by his deadly enemies; and now we find him brought back like a prisoner in handcuffs, who has been captured after a run of 1,800 years, on purpose to tell us how he had "striven in time to make the promises of the Almighty of none effect," by and through his denial of the soul's immortality.

    "It do, it do, indeed; it really do!"

    And if this be Simon, what has become of poor Helena, who personated the "lost sheep" that Simon sought to save?  The Christian Theodoret swears that Simon bought a public prostitute called Selene or Helena, and travelled about with her in public, and committed all sorts of crimes with her in secret.  He exhibited her as the female counterpart of himself.  This Selene or Helen he called the Mother-Nature, and sometimes the Holy Ghost.  The statement opens up a chasm of ghastly ignorance.  The divine Selene is confounded with a woman, a harlot at that! as was the human Simon with a deity.  Simon was one of those Gnostics who maintained that the Supreme Being included both sexes.  Some of them considered the First Intelligence female, because the mother on earth was first recognised as the breather or inflator of a soul; whence the feminine type of the Holy Ghost, ultimated at last in Mary.  Some of the Christian founders maintained that woman qua woman had no soul, and that deity was solely male; she merely represented matter flowing away in dissolution; with her issue of blood from the wound in nature.  She could only be saved by laying hold of the skirts of the male Christ, and drawing virtue out of him.  Here the story in the Gospels should be read by means of the Gnostic version, enough of 'which is given by Irenæus (Ante-Nicene Library).  Even Paul taught or at least the teaching is to be found in his Epistles (1 Tim., ii., 15), that woman is to be saved by her child-bearing.  Having no souls themselves, the poor creatures were told to come to the male Jesus, who alone could give them one of his grace.  The time was when women, were disqualified because no female could receive the mystic—

                                                                                      —or Seal of Circumcision!

    I hold a letter in my hand from a lady friend of mine who writes: "A clergyman, told me the other day, that no woman was destined as a woman to reach immortality; to do this she must become a man."  The poor blockhead did not know how to handle his weapon.  He should have pointed to Jesus as the female mode of getting maled for heaven!  To use a slang phrase, Isn't that a "lovely wheeze" for womankind!  Well, Simon—in opposition to the Contemporary Idiots or idiotai—taught that the soul, as image of his supreme being, was female as well as male; and I know women who will help to make up a heaven for all such Simonians?  As Helen or Selene was a Goddess, a feminine form of the lunar Logos, perhaps that may account for her non-appearance with Simon the Samaritan?  Evidently then, we have not got at the real Simon Pure, and it would be supremely interesting to know what this damnable misrepresentation means, and whence it arises.  Is it the result of unconscious ignorance on this side, or of conscious lying on the other?  Is it a mixture of both, and doubly delusive in consequence?  In the case of A.T.T.P. there can be no bias nor unconscious prejudice in favour of misrepresenting an opponent of Historic Christianity.  Of the medium's mind or predilections I know nothing.  But I do know that someone, somewhere, is responsible for a representation of Simon, which is as false now as it was in the time of Irenæus, or Justin, or Peter.  Is it that those who were impostors or imposed upon in this life are desirous of keeping up the delusion, and still seek to make new converts here for the sake of companionship hereafter, now they find themselves upon the losing side?  What is the inevitable inference, but that the knowledge of Simon is limited mainly to the Christian misrepresentation of the man, as we have it extant in the Book of Acts?  That version, at the very least, was more or less known to the four minds involved in this portrait of Simon, through which we have the same old lying likeness of him put into the new frame.  "Simon the Sorcerer" is a nick-name that identifies itself with the Christian report.  Simon the knower, Simon the wise, Simon the Spiritualist, Simon the worshipper of the Supreme Being, Simon the teacher of immortality: that would have called up quite a different image in the seer's glass.  Let them try again, and present a portrait of the real Simon as known to history on the other side of the house, and more or less to me.  The mirror of mediumship has been so darkened by the shadows of the Christian falsifications, that the other world can be shown no true reflections of its face, if it comes to look, and we can see no veritable likeness in it.  A new, a natural, a gnostic, a truthful education is absolutely necessary for mediums before we can expect to see with any clearness where we now perceive so dimly.

    There is a dark shadow ever hanging overhead and haunting the Chriatiani like a cloud made up of the frowning souls of maligned and murdered men, women, and little children, whose bodies were tortured and trodden underground or scattered in ashes from the fires of martyrdom.  If Simon comes back at all, it will be in the cloud of these that will blast where it breaks and lightens with mental melinite; and not as a whimpering delinquent who seeks to be taken in now by that false system of salvation; which he rejected of old because he was a Gnostic; one of the enlightened who knew better.