The French occultist, Eliphas Levi had said, "The societies of the elder world perished through the materialistic egoism of castes, becoming petrified on their own part, isolating the common people in a hopeless reprobation and reserving the reins of power to a small number of the elect, so that it was deprived of that circulation which is the principle of progress, motion and life.
Power without antagonism, without competition and hence without control, proved fatal to the sacerdotal royalties.
The republics, on the other hand, perished by the conflict of liberties which, in the absence of all duty, hierarchically and highly sanctioned, are speedily converted into so many tyrannies in rivalry with one another.
To find a stable point between these two abysses, the idea of Christian hierophants was to create a society pledged to self-sacrifice by solemn vows, protected by severe rules, recruited by initiation, and, as sole depositary of the great religious and social secrets, making kings and pontiffs without being itself exposed to the corruptions of empire.
Such was the secret of that kingdom of Christ Jesus which, without being of this world, ruled over all its grandeurs. The same idea presided over the establishments of the great religious orders which were so often at war with secular authorities, whether ecclesiastical or civil.
A similar realisation was also dreamed by dissident sects of Gnostics and Illuminati, which claimed to pin their faith on the primitive Christian tradition of St. John. (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 326).