A New Gnosis

From The Libertarian Labyrinth
Jump to: navigation, search

Template:WilliamBGreene A New Gnosis was written and published by William Batchelder Greene in 1849.


"We stand between two worlds, or dispensations: on one side is the world of inequality which is passing away; on the other side is the world of equality, which is now commencing.


(1) THE most exalted thought is that of the most exalted object of thought. The Supreme thinks Himself, and is, therefore, the object of his own thought. The Supreme Intelligence is the Abyss of the Father, and is full<ref>A Cause, without its correlative effect, is said to be in the void state, to be in the empty, in the abyssal state. When a cause realises and actualizes the effect it is competent to produce, it is said to be full, and the effect is called the plenum, or pleroma, or the fulness of the cause.</ref> in eternity; for the Supreme Intelligence is supremely intelligible to Himself. The Supremely Intelligible is the effect commensurate with its cause, the express Image, and revelation, of the hidden essence of the father—the eternal, and eternally generated, Word. It is in the bosom of the Trinity that the Abyss of the Father becomes eternally full: and the eternal energy of the Supreme Intelligence, whereby to Himself the Supreme Intelligence becomes Supremely Intelligible, is the Supreme Spirit and Life.

(2) The Supreme, because he is Absolute Cause, is always full. His essence involves existence. He is in eternity, and he exists eternally. The existence of the Absolute [2] Cause is adequate to his subsistence in Trinity. The Absolute cause has its essence in the depth of the Father, who is the Abyss of the Godhead: it has its existence in the Eternal Word, which is the effect of the hidden cause, and the pleroma of the Godhead. Through the outgoing of the Holy Spirit, which is the Eternal Energy and Life of the Father, the abyss of the Godhead becomes eternally full.

(3) The Supreme creates Himself to Himself in eternity; for, from eternity to eternity, he realises Himself to Himself. He is that which creates in eternity, that which is created in eternity, and the creative energy.

(4) The Supreme is Absolute Cause, and produces, by necessity, an Effect commensurate with Himself—absolute and immutable.

In the beginning was the depth of the Father, inaccessible to contemplation, undiscoverable by the logical processes, ineffable.

In the beginning was the Eternal Word, the Supreme as eternally objective to Himself, the self-reflected glory of the Father.

In the beginning was the Moving Spirit, the Eternal Life and Energy of the Father.

Through the outgoing of the Spirit, the depth of the Father becomes full, and the Word is the pleroma of the Abyss of the Godhead.

The doctrine of the Trinity is an enumeration of the essential elements of the Absolute Self-consciousness; and also an affirmation of the PERSONALITY of God. [3]


(1) In the beginning of time, without time, were, in the bosom of the Eternal Word, the Divine Principles, or the abyssal elements of all relative or finite existences. They were, in the Word, in eternity, as a source, spring, and original beginning. These germs were not created through the energy of the Divine Will, for, in the beginning of time, without time, when the Supreme first contemplated himself in that Word which is the mirror eternally reflecting the express image of his own substance, he beheld, as evolutions of his own substance, and conditions of his own power to realise finite and relative existences out of Himself, the pre-ëxisting forms of all possible worlds.

(2) These elements, existing without that relative manifestation wherein their multiplicity consists, were in the bosom of the Word as a strict unity,<ref>The visible universe is the pleroma of the Abyss of the World. The Abyss of the World had its ground, NOT IN THE WILL, BUT IN THE VERY NATURE of God. The visible universe is the object of the contemplation of the Triune and Unipersonal God, and it reflects, in every detail, as in the whole mass, his threefold glories. The human Ego is from eternity to eternity. Though it depends for its being upon the nature of God, yet it is independently of his Will. Man exists in his present relations, by the free favour of God; yet the acts of the human Ego (by reason of its transcendent essence) may be in direct opposition to the Will of God.</ref>and this Unity is the abyss of the universe, the original void of which the visible worlds are the Pleroma.

(3) This universe lay in the Abyss as if broken and collapsed, as it reveals itself to the mind after the process of abstraction which has been applied to all cognisable things. No quality by which the different bodies in nature now contra-distinguish themselves from each other, manifested itself in [4] the abyss. All properties, all the activities of nature, were dead and inoperative; they were sleeping in the darkness of their own original essence: All that by which each thing now manifests its own existence, was then in the virtual state: all properties, all activities, were then, not in act, but only in the power of acting. Whatever we now behold as fullness, was then beheld by God's eye as total void. In this immense abyss, there was nothing to be seen, no darkness, no fire, no light, no creature, no change, no springing source, but an unsearchable deep without existence; yet it is that ground of essence, and root of substance, from which the visible universe proceeded. The spirit of the creature, when, by continuous Abstraction, it obtains power to contemplate this original abyss, sees in it neither essence nor existence: but—in the beginning of time without time—God's eye saw all things in it, for, though no visible existence can be seen in it, yet is it the original ground and essence whence all visible existences were drawn forth.


(1) This universe is a Divine process of thought, the development of an infinite and eternal Poem. The Supreme thinks the Universe, and that thought is its existence. As the human poet finds in his memory the rough materials for his poem, so the supreme finds the materials for the universe in the Abyss of the world. As the poet separates and defines the different elements that enter into his conception, so the Supreme, by the laws of individual existence and by the efflux of light, separates the elements which are in the unity of indifference, under the property of weight, and by polarization, contradistinguishes them from each other. [5] as the poet, by throwing his spirit into his work, co-ordinates the parts into one whole, so the Supreme, by the brooding of his spirit upon the elements of the world, brings them, into relations with each other, making them to concur, and to move forward toward the fulfilment the end which he proposes to himself in the work of creation.

(2) As man gathers in memory, the material of thought, which he proposes to make the subject of meditation, so the Supreme gathered in the abyss of the world, the elements of the present visible universe. When the original germs were thus gathered, they became the object of the Divine meditation, and were UNDIVINE, FOR THE SUPREME CONTRADISTINGUISHED HIMSELF FROM THEM in contemplation. Then the worlds existed OUT OF the Supreme, in the sole property or quality of the Word—a vague, unformed, and empty mass, indistinguishable, immersed in utter darkness, existing in the unity of indifference, self centering in the sole power of weight and gravity.

(3) As a man distinguishes and defines the elements which enter into his conception, giving to each its own properties and place, and establishing the relations of each to all, so the Supreme separated from each other the elements which were in the original chaos under darkness, giving to each the properties and qualities that belonged to it after its kind,: and the chaos was no longer formless, for this separation of individuals was effected in the out-speaking of the Word, which outspeaking is the ground of all logical distinctions. This outspeaking operated in the effusion of [6] Light, for Light in its proper quality, Light is that which contradistinguishes, individualizes, and polarizes: it was therefore by the efflux of Light that each individual thing was established according to its kind, according to its individuality and law.

(4) Thus the universe appeared as a chaos of heavy matter, subjected to form—a chaos partly emerged from the abyss, and partly involved in the abyss. For the universe was without life and motionless; it was composed of many centers and powers, but was without change, without springing sources. The universe, though it was a pleroma according to the principles of weight and light, was void according to its peculiar end and aim.

(5) As man causes his spirit to operate on the materials present to his imagination, making those principles modify and subordinate each other to the end of accomplishing the unity of his conception, so the Supreme caused his Spirit to move on the face of the abyss, brooding over the depth, and transmitting to it electricity or heat, which is the great impelling and animating principle of the universe.


(1) It is the Trinity in joint coöperation, Father, Word, and Spirit, which is the Ground of the Abyss and the Creator of the worlds from that Abyss. The Triune Deity is before the Abyss, is distinct from it, and exists in a transcendent [7] essence, in the lofty sphere of the still eternity far above, and excluding all mutation and change.

(2) The universe was created in the Three Principles, and was, as it were, baptized or immersed, into the power of those principles. It received, the eternal Word, its actual existence in the quality of weight or gravity: in the outspeaking of the Word, it received the power whereby the various elements of chaos individualize themselves distinguishing themselves from each other, by receiving, transmitting, and reflecting Light: in the energy of that spirit, the chaotic elements received their individual motions, whether motion in space under material conditions, or inward, LIVING motion.<ref>Heb: yom, or ivom; Gr: aion; Lat: ævum; Light's manifestation, revolving age, dispensation, world, day.</ref> Thus the world, emerging from the abyss, was clothed upon with a simple form of Kosmical existence, and first appeared as a fire mist, but after revolving ages, as an abyss of Waters. The world was immersed in waters; it was baptised into the three principles. The world was baptised into the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.

(3) In the second grand epoch of the creation, the waters were divided from the waters; in the third grand epoch, the dry lend was made, though the operation of the three Principles, to appear; in the succeeding epochs the fulness of the harmony and beauty of the visible world was actualized.

(4) The Apostle Paul represents the act of creation as continuous, and affirms that the whole creation continues at the present time to groan, travailing in pain for the redemption of man's PHYSICAL EXISTENCE: he represents the conversion of the disciples as a crisis in the work of the creation, [8] calling that conversion a new creation, and the disciples themselves new creatures in Jesus.

(5) Christianity is not an isolated fact in the world's history, but a portion of the integral plan of the original creation. The Messiah is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world; and conversion is but a higher operation of the same Holy Spirit which brooded in its life-giving power upon the chaotic deep—an operation which takes effect in conjunction with the free action of the human soul. In baptism, therefore, which is a symbol of the inward transformation of the believer in Christ, the disciple is immersed in water to signify that he reenters, as far as his previous life is concerned, into the chaotic state; is raised again from the water, to show forth that he is inwardly the subject to a new creation. Water is used in baptism for a perpetual testimony of the connection between conversion and the Divine act of creation: the believer is buried with Christ in baptism, being baptised into his death, and is rare again to newness of life.

(6) John preached in the wilderness, and baptised with the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; and the Messiah, that he might fulfil all righteousness, suffered himself to be baptized with the baptism of John. But his baptism, though administered by John, was Christian baptism, and not the baptism, for when Jesus came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon him. The baptism of Christ differed from the baptism of John in this, that the baptism of John is the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and therefore a purification, while the baptism of Christ is a baptism into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and therefore, not a purification, but a symbol of a new creation. As the original creation [9] was immersed, or baptized, in the powers of the Father, Word and Spirit, in which it existed and had its subsistence, so the Christian, in a higher manner; and in accordance with his moral nature, is immersed in the power of the Father, Word, and Life, and his baptism in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, symbolises this kosmical truth.

(7) Christian baptism did not exist until after our Lord's resurrection, for the command to baptise into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost was not given till then: neither, indeed, could it have been; for the apostle John teaches us that the Holy Ghost, the life-giving power which operates on the moral nature of man, was not given till Jesus was glorified. Our Lord also himself teaches us that the Holy Ghost, or the Comforter, could not come till he went away: and, in fact, it is explicitly stated that the Holy Ghost first came upon the Apostles on the day of Pentacost; and we know that they were instructed to tarry in Jerusalem till they had received this Divine Spirit—they were to remain till they received this power from On High, and then they were to go into all the world baptising such as believed, into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When Paul found any who were ignorant of the Holy Ghost, he baptised them anew with the baptism of Jesus, because the baptism of John belonged to a prior dispensation, to an earlier kosmical day or epoch.

(8) Baptism is the symbol of spiritual regeneration—of a new birth. A man cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time, but the water symbolishes the original chaos which is the womb of the world. The book of Genesis treats of the creation of the visible world, but the Gospel treats of the creation of man as a spiritual existence inheriting [10] eternal life. Baptism, therefore, is, under the Christian dispensation, an initiation into the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine which constitutes the foundation of the doctrine of Life Eternal; an initiation also into the kosmogonic doctrines of the Old and New Testaments. Baptism is the seal put upon him who comprehends these doctrines, and who is regenerated by a knowledge of the truth. The fundamental idea of Baptism is, therefore, no purification, but CREATION.