In Gnosticism as in the other mystic religions we find the same contrast of the initiated and the uninitiated, the same loose organization, the same kind of petty sectarianism and mystery-mongering.
To the uninitiated it would appear that this selection has been made, generally speaking, at random; it is at any rate lacking in the wise discrimination one would expect from the supposed source of its inspiration.
Gutta-percha (getah percha in the vernacular), camphor, cinnamon, cloves, nutmegs, gambir and betel, or areca-nuts, are all produced in the island; most of the tropical fruits flourish, including the much-admired but, to the uninitiated, most evil-smelling durian, a large fruit with an exceedingly strong outer covering composed of stout pyramidal spikes, which grows upon the branches of a tall tree and occasionally in falling inflicts considerable injuries upon passers-by.
The inwardness of primitive religion is, however, non-existent for those who observe it as uninitiated strangers; whilst, again, it evaporates as soon as native custom breaks down under pressure of civilization, when only fragments of meaningless superstition survive: wherefore do travesties of primitive religion abound.
Out of this grew up in the 3rd or 4th century what is known as the arcani disciplina, or secret discipline of the Church, involving the concealment from the uninitiated and unholy of the more sacred parts of the Christian cult, such as baptism and the eucharist, with their various accompaniments, including the Creed and the Lord's Prayer.