Nebsecht strode quickly up the stairs. Several of the priests placed themselves together in groups as soon as they saw him, and began singing. He paid no heed to them, however, but hastened on to the uppermost terrace, where he found his friend occupied in writing.
Soon he learnt all that had happened, and wrathfully he cried: “You are too honest for those wise gentlemen in the House of Seti, and too pure and zealous for the rabble here. I knew it, I knew what would come of it if they introduced you to the mysteries. For us initiated there remains only the choice between lying and silence.”
“The old error!” said Pentaur, “we know that the Godhead is One, we name it, ‘The All,’ ‘The Veil of the All,’ or simply ‘Ra.’ But under the name Ra we understand something different than is known to the common herd; for to us, the Universe is God, and in each of its parts we recognize a manifestation of that highest being without whom nothing is, in the heights above or in the depths below.”
“To me you can say everything, for I also am initiated,” interrupted Nebsecht.
“But neither from the laity do I withhold it,” cried Pentaur, “only to those who are incapable of understanding the whole, do I show the different parts. Am I a liar if I do not say, ‘I speak,’ but ’my mouth speaks,’ if I affirm, ‘Your eye sees,’ when it is you yourself who are the seer. When the light of the only One manifests itself, then I fervently render thanks to him in hymns, and the most luminous of his forms I name Ra. When I look upon yonder green fields, I call upon the faithful to give thanks to Rennut, that is, that active manifestation of the One, through which the corn attains to its ripe maturity. Am I filled with wonder at the bounteous gifts with which that divine stream whose origin is hidden, blesses our land, then I adore the One as the God Hapi, the secret one. Whether we view the sun, the harvest, or the Nile, whether we contemplate with admiration the unity and harmony of the visible or invisible world, still it is always with the Only, the All-embracing One we have to do, to whom we also ourselves belong as those of his manifestations in which lie places his self-consciousness. The imagination of the multitude is limited. . . . "
“And so we lions,
["The priests,” says Clement of Alexandria, “allow none to be participators in their mysteries, except kings or such amongst themselves as are distinguished for virtue or wisdom.” The same thing is shown by the monuments in many places]
give them the morsel that we can devour at one gulp, finely chopped up, and diluted with broth as if for the weak stomach of a sick man.”
“Not so; we only feel it our duty to temper and sweeten the sharp potion, which for men even is almost too strong, before we offer it to the children, the babes in spirit. The sages of old veiled indeed the highest truths in allegorical forms, in symbols, and finally in a beautiful and richly-colored mythos, but they brought them near to the multitude shrouded it is true but still discernible.”