Book of the Dead
By some translated the Book of the Master, containing the ancient Egyptian philosophy as to death and the resurrection. A portion of these sacred writings was invariably buried with the dead. The book in facsimile has been published by Doctor Lepsius, and translated by Doctor Birch. The story of the judgment of Amenti forms a part of the Book of the Dead, and shadows forth the verities and judgments of the unseen world.
The Amenti was the Place of Judgment of the Dead, situated in the West, where Osiris was presumed to be buried. There were forty-two assessors of the amount of sin committed, who sat in judgment, and before whom the adjudged passed in succession.
There seems to be a tie which binds Freemasonry to the noblest of the cults and mysteries of antiquity. The most striking exponent of the doctrines and language of the Egyptian Mysteries of Osiris is this Book of the Dead, or Ritual of the Underworld, or Egyptian Bible of 165 chapters, the Egyptian title of which was The Manifestation to Light, or the Book Revealing Light to the Soul. Great dependence was had, as to the immediate attainment of celestial happiness, upon the human knowledge of this wonderful Book, especially of the principal chapters.
On a sarcophagus or tomb of the eleventh dynasty, according to the chronology of Professor Lepsius, say 2420 B.C., is this inscription: "He who knows this book is one who, in the day of the resurrection of the underworld, arises and enters in; but he does not know this chapter, he does not enter in so soon as he arises. " The conclusion of the first chapter says: "If a man knows this book thoroughly, and has it inscribed upon his sarcophagus, he will be manifested in the day in all the forms that he may desire, and entering into his abode will not be turned back" (see Tiele's History of Religions, page 25).
The Egyptian belief was that portions of the Book of the Dead were written by the finger of Thoth, that being the name of the Egyptian god of letters, invention and wisdom, the mouthpiece and recorder of the gods, and umpire of their disputes, back in the mist of time, 3000 B.C. The one hundred and twenty-fifth chapter describes the last judgment. The oldest preserved papyrus is of the eighteenth dynasty. Professor Lepsius fixes the date at 1591 BC.
The most perfect copy of this Book of the Dead is in the Turin Museum, where it covers one side of the walls, in four pieces, 300 feet in length.
The following extract is from the first chapter: "Says That to Osiris, King of Eternity, I am the great God in the divine boat; I fight for thee; I am one of the divine chiefs who are the TRUE LIVING WORD of Osiris. I am That, who makes to be real the word of Horus against his enemies. The word of Osiris against his enemies made truth in That, and the order is executed by That. I am with Horus on the day of celebrating the festival of Osiris, the good Being, whose Word is truth; I make offerings to Ra (the Sun) ; I am a simple priest in the underworld, anointing in Abydos, elevating to higher degrees of initiation; I am prophet in Abydos on the day of opening or up heaving the earth. I behold the mysteries of the door of the underworld; I direct the ceremonies of Mendes; I am the assistant in the exercise of their functions; I AM GRAND MASTER OF THE CRAFTSMEN WHO SET UP THE SACRED ARCH FOR A SUPPORT" (see Truth).
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