Crucifixion of Christ Jesus – The Myth

The punishment of an individual by crucifixion, for claiming to be “King of the Jews,” “Son of God,” or “The Christ;” which are the causes assigned by the Evangelists for the Crucifixion of Jesus, would need but a passing glance in our inquiry, were it not for the fact that there is much attached to it of a dogmatic and heathenish nature, which demands considerably more than a “passing glance.” The doctrine of atonement for sin had been preached long before the doctrine was deduced from the Christian Scriptures, long before these Scriptures are pretended to have been written. Before the period assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus, the poet Ovid had assailed the demoralizing delusion with the most powerful shafts of philosophic scorn: “When thou thyself art guilty,” says he, “why should a victim die for thee? What folly it is to expect salvation from the death of another.”

The idea of expiation by the sacrifice of a god was to be found among the Hindoos even in Vedic times. The sacrificer was mystically identified with the victim, which was regarded as the ransom for sin, and the instrument of its annulment. The Rig-Veda represents the gods as sacrificing Purusha, the primeval male, supposed to be coeval with the Creator. This idea is even more remarkably developed in the Tāndya-brāhmanas, thus:

“The lord of creatures (prajā-pati) offered himself a sacrifice for the gods.”


And again, in the Satapatha-brāhmana:

“He who, knowing this, sacrifices the Purusha-medha, or sacrifice of the primeval male, becomes everything.”[181:1]

Prof. Monier Williams, from whose work on Hindooism we quote the above, says:

“Surely, in these mystical allusions to the sacrifice of a representative man, we may perceive traces of the original institution of sacrifice as a divinely-appointed ordinance typical of the one great sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of the world.”[182:1]

This idea of redemption from sin through the sufferings and death of a Divine Incarnate Saviour, is simply the crowning-point of the idea entertained by primitive man that the gods demanded a sacrifice of some kind, to atone for some sin, or avert some calamity.

In primitive ages, when men lived mostly on vegetables, they offered only grain, water, salt, fruit, and flowers to the gods, to propitiate them and thereby obtain temporal blessings. But when they began to eat meat and spices, and drink wine, they offered the same; naturally supposing the deities would be pleased with whatever was useful or agreeable to themselves. They imagined that some gods were partial to animals, others to fruits, flowers, etc. To the celestial gods they offered white victims at sunrise, or at open day. To the infernal deities they sacrificed black animals in the night. Each god had some creature peculiarly devoted to his worship. They sacrificed a bull to Mars, a dove to Venus, and to Minerva, a heifer without blemish, which had never been put to the yoke. If a man was too poor to sacrifice a living animal, he offered an image of one made of bread.


In the course of time, it began to be imagined that the gods demanded something more sacred as offerings or atonements for sin. This led to the sacrifice of human beings, principally slaves and those taken in war, then, their own children, even their most beloved “first-born.” It came to be an idea that every sin must have its prescribed amount of punishment, and that the gods would accept the life of one person as atonement for the sins of others. This idea prevailed even in Greece and Rome: but there it mainly took the form of heroic self-sacrifice for the public good. Cicero says: “The force of religion was so great among our ancestors, that some of their commanders have, with their faces veiled, and with the strongest expressions of sincerity,sacrificed themselves to the immortal gods to save their country.”[182:2]

In Egypt, offerings of human sacrifices, for the atonement of sin, became so general that “if the eldest born of the family of Athamas entered the temple of the Laphystian Jupiter at Alos in Achaia, he was sacrificed, crowned with garlands like an animal victim.”[182:3]


When the Egyptian priests offered up a sacrifice to the gods, they pronounced the following imprecations on the head of the victim:

“If any evil is about to befall either those who now sacrifice, or Egypt in general, may it be averted on this head.”[183:1]

This idea of atonement finally resulted in the belief that the incarnate Christ, the Anointed, the God among us, was to savemankind from a curse by God imposed. Man had sinned, and God could not and did not forgive without a propitiatory sacrifice. The curse of God must be removed from the sinful, and the sinless must bear the load of that curse. It was asserted that divine justice required BLOOD.[183:2]

The belief of redemption from sin by the sufferings of a Divine Incarnation, whether by death on the cross or otherwise, was general and popular among the heathen, centuries before the time of Jesus of Nazareth, and this dogma, no matter how sacred it may have become, or how consoling it may be, must fall along with the rest of the material of which the Christian church is built.


Julius Firmicius, referring to this popular belief among the Pagans, says: “The devil has his Christs.”[183:3] This was the general off-hand manner in which the Christian Fathers disposed of such matters. Everything in the religion of the Pagans which corresponded to their religion was of the devil. Most Protestant divines have resorted to the type theory, of which we shall speak anon.

As we have done heretofore in our inquiries, we will first turn to India, where we shall find, in the words of M. l’Abbé Huc, that “the idea of redemption by a divine incarnation,” who came into the world for the express purpose of redeeming mankind, was “general and popular.”[183:4]

“A sense of original corruption,” says Prof. Monier Williams, [Pg 184]seems to be felt by all classes of Hindoos, as indicated by the following prayer used after the Gāyatrī by some Vaishnavas:

“‘I am sinful, I commit sin, my nature is sinful, I am conceived in sin. Save me, O thou lotus-eyed Heri (Saviour), the remover of sin.'”[184:1]

Moreover, the doctrine of bhakti (salvation by faith) existed among the Hindoos from the earliest times.[184:2]

Crishna, the virgin-born, “the Divine Vishnu himself,”[184:3] “he who is without beginning, middle or end,”[184:4] being moved “to relieve the earth of her load,”[184:5] came upon earth and redeemed man by his sufferings—to save him.

The accounts of the deaths of most all the virgin-born Saviours of whom we shall speak, are conflicting. It is stated in one place that such an one died in such a manner, and in another place we may find it stated altogether differently. Even the accounts of the death of Jesus, as we shall hereafter see, are conflicting; therefore, until the chapter on “Explanation” is read, these myths cannot really be thoroughly understood.

As the Rev. Geo. W. Cox remarks, in his Aryan Mythology, Crishna is described, in one of his aspects, as a self-sacrificing and unselfish hero, a being who is filled with divine wisdom and love, who offers up a sacrifice which he alone can make.[184:6]

The Vishnu Purana[184:7] speaks of Crishna being shot in the foot with an arrow, and states that this was the cause of his death. Other accounts, however, state that he was suspended on a tree, or in other words, crucified.

Mons. Guigniaut, in his “Religion de l’Antiquité” says:

“The death of Crishna is very differently related. One remarkable and convincing tradition makes him perish on a tree, to which he was nailed by the stroke of an arrow.”[184:8]

Rev. J. P. Lundy alludes to this passage of Guigniaut’s in his “Monumental Christianity,” and translates the passage “un bois fatal” (see note below) “a cross.” Although we do not think he is justified in doing this, as M. Guigniaut has distinctly stated that this “bois fatal” (which is applied to a gibbet, a cross, a scaffold, etc.) was “un arbre” (a tree), yet, he is justified in doing so on other accounts, for we find that Crishna is represented hanging on a cross, and we know that a cross was frequently called the[Pg 185]”accursed tree.” It was an ancient custom to use trees as gibbets for crucifixion, or, if artificial, to call the cross a tree.[185:1]

A writer in Deuteronomy[185:2] speaks of hanging criminals upon a tree, as though it was a general custom, and says:

“He that is hanged (on a tree) is accursed of God.”

And Paul undoubtedly refers to this text when he says:

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.'”[185:3]

It is evident, then, that to be hung on a cross was anciently called hanging on a tree, and to be hung on a tree was called crucifixion. We may therefore conclude from this, and from what we shall now see, that Crishna was said to have been crucified.

In the earlier copies of Moor’s “Hindu Pantheon,” is to be seen representations of Crishna (as Wittoba),[185:4] with marks of holes in both feet, and in others, of holes in the hands. In Figures 4 and 5 of Plate 11 (Moor’s work), the figures have nail-holes in both feet. Figure 6 has a round hole in the side; to his collar or shirt hangs the emblem of a heart (which we often see in pictures of Christ Jesus) and on his head he has a Yoni-Linga (which we do not see in pictures of Christ Jesus.)


Our Figure No. 7 (next page), is a pre-Christian crucifix of Asiatic origin,[185:5] evidently intended to represent Crishna crucified. Figure No. 8 we can speak more positively of, it is surely Crishna crucified. It is unlike any Christian crucifix ever made, and, with that described above with the Yoni-Linga attached to the head, would probably not be claimed as such. Instead of the crown of thorns usually put on the head of the Christian Saviour, it has the turreted coronet of the Ephesian Diana, the ankles are tied together by a cord, and the dress about the loins is exactly the style with which Crishna is almost always represented.[185:6]

Rev. J. P. Lundy, speaking of the Christian crucifix, says:

“I object to the crucifix because it is an image, and liable to gross abuse, just as the old Hindoo crucifix was an idol.”[186:1]


And Dr. Inman says:

“Crishna, whose history so closely resembles our Lord’s, was also like him in his being crucified.”[186:2]

The Evangelist[186:3] relates that when Jesus was crucified two others (malefactors) were crucified with him, one of whom, through his favor, went to heaven. One of the malefactors reviled him, but the other said to Jesus: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” And Jesus said unto him: “Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” According to the Vishnu Purana, the hunter who shot the arrow at Crishna afterwards said unto him: “Have pity upon me, who am consumed by my crime, for thou art able to consume me!” Crishna replied: “Fear not thou in the least. Go, hunter, through my favor, to heaven, the abode of the gods.” As soon as he had thus spoken, a celestial car appeared, and the hunter, ascending it, forthwith proceeded to heaven. Then the illustrious Crishna, having united himself with his own pure, spiritual, inexhaustible, inconceivable, unborn, undecaying, imperishable and universal spirit, which is one with Vasudeva(God),[186:4] abandoned his mortal body, and the condition of the threefold equalities.[186:5]One of the titles of Crishna [Pg 187]is “Pardoner of sins,” another is “Liberator from the Serpent of death.”[187:1]


The monk Georgius, in his Tibetinum Alphabetum (p. 203), has given plates of a crucified god who was worshiped in Nepal. These crucifixes were to be seen at the corners of roads and on eminences. He calls it the god Indra. Figures No. 9 and No. 10 are taken from this work. They are also different from any Christian crucifix yet produced. Georgius says:

“If the matter stands as Beausobre thinks, then the inhabitants of India, and the Buddhists, whose religion is the same as that of the inhabitants of Thibet, have received these new portents of fanatics nowhere else than from the Manicheans. For those nations, especially in the city of Nepal, in the month of August, being about to celebrate the festival days of the god Indra, erect crosses, wreathed with Abrotono, to his memory, everywhere. You have the description of these in letter B, the picture following after; for A is the representation of Indra himself crucified, bearing on his forehead, hands and feet the signs Telech.”[187:2]


P. Andrada la Crozius, one of the first Europeans who went to Nepal and Thibet, in speaking of the god whom they worshiped there—Indra—tells us that they said he spilt his blood for the salvation [Pg 188]of the human race, and that he was pierced through the body with nails. He further says that, although they do not say he suffered the penalty of the cross, yet they find, nevertheless, figures of it in their books.[188:1]

In regard to Beausobre’s ideas that the religion of India is corrupted Christianity, obtained from the Manicheans, little need be said, as all scholars of the present day know that the religion of India is many centuries older than Mani or the Manicheans.[188:2]

In the promontory of India, in the South, at Tanjore, and in the North, at Oude or Ayoudia, was found the worship of the crucified god Bal-li. This god, who was believed to have been an incarnation of Vishnu, was represented with holes in his hands and side.[188:3]

The incarnate god Buddha, although said to have expired peacefully at the foot of a tree, is nevertheless described as a suffering Saviour, who, “when his mind was moved by pity (for the human race) gave his life like grass for the sake of others.”[188:4]

A hymn, addressed to Buddha, says:

“Persecutions without end,
Revilings and many prisons,
Death and murder,
These hast thou suffered with love and patience
(To secure the happiness of mankind),
Forgiving thine executioners.”[188:5]
He was called the “Great Physician,”[188:6] the “Saviour of the World,”[188:7] the “Blessed One,”[188:8] the “God among Gods,”[188:9] the “Anointed,” or the “Christ,”[188:10] the “Messiah,”[188:11] the “Only Begotten,”[188:12] etc. He is described by the author of the “Cambridge Key”[188:13] as sacrificing his life to wash away the offenses of mankind, and thereby to make them partakers of the kingdom of heaven. [Pg 189]This induces him to say “Can a Christian doubt that this Buddha was the TYPE of the Saviour of the World.”[189:1]

As a spirit in the fourth heaven, he resolves to give up “all that glory, in order to be born into the world,” “to rescue all men from their misery and every future consequence of it.” He vows “to deliver all men, who are left as it were without a Saviour.”[189:2]

While in the realms of the blest, and when about to descend upon earth to be born as man, he said:

“I am now about to assume a body; not for the sake of gaining wealth, or enjoying the pleasures of sense, but I am about to descend and be born, among men, simply to give peace and rest to all flesh; to remove all sorrow and grief from the world.”[189:3]

M. l’Abbé Huc says:

“In the eyes of the Buddhists, this personage (Buddha) is sometimes a man and sometimes a god, or rather both one and the other—a divine incarnation, a man-god—who came into the world to enlighten men, toredeem them, and to indicate to them the way of safety. This idea of redemption by a divine incarnation is so general and popular among the Buddhists, that during our travels in Upper Asia we everywhere found it expressed in a neat formula. If we addressed to a Mongol or a Thibetan the question ‘Who is Buddha?’ he would immediately reply: ‘The Saviour of Men!'”[189:4]

According to Prof. Max Müller, Buddha is reported as saying:

“Let all the sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered.”[189:5]

The Indians are no strangers to the doctrine of original sin. It is their invariable belief that man is a fallen being; admitted by them from time immemorial.[189:6] And what we have seen concerning their beliefs in Crishna and Buddha unmistakably shows a belief in a divine Saviour, who redeems man, and takes upon himself the sins of the world; so that “Baddha paid it all, all to him is due.”[189:7]

The idea of redemption through the sufferings and death of a Divine Saviour, is to be found even in the ancient religions of China. One of their five sacred volumes, called the Y-King, says, in speaking of Tien, the “Holy One”:

“The Holy One will unite in himself all the virtues of heaven and earth. By his justice the world will be re-established in the ways of righteousness. He will labor and suffer much. He must pass the great torrent, whose waves shall enter into his soul; but he alone can offer up to the Lord a sacrifice worthy of him.”[190:1]

An ancient commentator says:

“The common people sacrifice their lives to gain bread; the philosophers to gain reputation; the nobility to perpetuate their families. The Holy One (Tien) does not seek himself, but the good of others. He dies to save the world.”[190:2]

Tien, the Holy One, is always spoken of as one with God, existing with him from all eternity, “before anything was made.”

Osiris and Horus, the Egyptian virgin-born gods, suffered death.[190:3] Mr. Bonwick, speaking of Osiris, says:

“He is one of the Saviours or deliverers of humanity, to be found in almost all lands.” “In his efforts to do good, he encounters evil; in struggling with that he is overcome; he is killed.”[190:4]

Alexander Murray says:

“The Egyptian Saviour Osiris was gratefully regarded as the great exemplar of self-sacrifice, in giving his life for others.”[190:5]

Sir J. G. Wilkinson says of him:

“The sufferings and death of Osiris were the great Mystery of the Egyptian religion, and some traces of it are perceptible among other peoples of antiquity. His being the Divine Goodness, and the abstract idea of ‘good,’ his manifestation upon earth (like a Hindoo god), his death and resurrection, and his office as judge of the dead in a future state, look like the early revelation of a future manifestation of the deity converted into a mythological fable.”[190:6]

Horus was also called “The Saviour.” “As Horus Sneb, he is the Redeemer. He is the Lord of Life and the Eternal One.”[190:7] He is also called “The Only-Begotten.”[190:8]

Attys, who was called the “Only Begotten Son”[190:9] and “Saviour,” was worshiped by the Phrygians (who were regarded as one of the [Pg 191]oldest races of Asia Minor). He was represented by them as a man tied to a tree, at the foot of which was a lamb,[191:1]and, without doubt, also as a man nailed to the tree, or stake, for we find Lactantius making this Apollo of Miletus (anciently, the greatest and most flourishing city of Ionia, in Asia Minor) say that:

“He was a mortal according to the flesh; wise in miraculous works; but, being arrested by an armed force by command of the Chaldean judges, he suffered a death made bitter with nails and stakes.”[191:2]

In this god of the Phrygians, we again have the myth of the crucified Saviour of Paganism.

By referring to Mrs. Jameson’s “History of Our Lord in Art,”[191:3] or to illustrations in chapter xl. this work, it will be seen that a common mode of representing a crucifixion was that of a man, tied with cords by the hands and feet, to an upright beam or stake. The lamb, spoken of above, which signifies considerable, we shall speak of in its proper place.

Tammuz, or Adonis, the Syrian and Jewish Adonai (in Hebrew “Our Lord”), was another virgin-born god, who suffered for mankind, and who had the title of Saviour. The accounts of his death are conflicting, just as it is with almost all of the so-called Saviours of mankind (including the Christian Saviour, as we shall hereafter see) one account, however, makes him a crucified Saviour.[191:4]

It is certain, however, that the ancients who honored him as their Lord and Saviour, celebrated, annually, a feast in commemoration of his death. An image, intended as a representation of their Lord, was laid on a bed or bier, and bewailed in mournful ditties—just as the Roman Catholics do at the present day in their “Good Friday” mass.

During this ceremony the priest murmured:

“Trust ye in your Lord, for the pains which he endured, our salvation have procured.”[191:5]

The Rev. Dr. Parkhurst, in his “Hebrew Lexicon,” after referring to what we have just stated above, says:

“I find myself obliged to refer Tammuz to that class of idols which were originally designed to represent the promised Saviour, the Desire of all Nations. His other name, Adonis, is almost the very Hebrew Adoni orLord, a well-known title of Christ.”[191:6]

Prometheus was a crucified Saviour. He was “an immortal god, a friend of the human race, who does not shrink even from sacrificing himself for their salvation.”[192:1]

The tragedy of the crucifixion of Prometheus, written by Æschylus, was acted in Athens five hundred years before the Christian Era, and is by many considered to be the most ancient dramatic poem now in existence. The plot was derived from materials even at that time of an infinitely remote antiquity. Nothing was ever so exquisitely calculated to work upon the feelings of the spectators. No author ever displayed greater powers of poetry, with equal strength of judgment, in supporting through the piece the august character of the Divine Sufferer. The spectators themselves were unconsciously made a party to the interest of the scene: its hero was their friend, their benefactor, their creator, and their Saviour; his wrongs were incurred in their quarrel—his sorrows were endured for their salvation; “he was wounded for their transgressions, and bruised for their iniquities; the chastisement of their peace was upon him, and by his stripes they were healed;” “he was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” The majesty of his silence, whilst the ministers of an offended god were nailing him by the hands and feet to Mount Caucasus,[192:2] could be only equaled by the modesty with which he relates, while hanging with arms extended in the form of a cross, his services to the human race, which had brought on him that horrible crucifixion.[192:3] “None, save myself,” says he, “opposed his (Jove’s) will,”

“I dared;
And boldly pleading saved them from destruction,
Saved them from sinking to the realms of night.
For this offense I bend beneath these pains,
Dreadful to suffer, piteous to behold:
For mercy to mankind I am not deem’d
Worthy of mercy; but with ruthless hate
In this uncouth appointment am fix’d here
A spectacle dishonorable to Jove.”[192:4]
In the catastrophe of the plot, his especially professed friend, Oceanus, the Fisherman—as his name Petræus indicates,[193:1]—being unable to prevail on him to make his peace with Jupiter, by throwing the cause of human redemption out of his hands,[193:2]forsook him and fled. None remained to be witness of his dying agonies but the chorus of ever-amiable and ever-faithful which also bewailed and lamented him,[193:3] but were unable to subdue his inflexible philanthropy.[193:4]

In the words of Justin Martyr: “Suffering was common to all the sons of Jove.” They were called the “Slain Ones,” “Saviours,” “Redeemers,” &c.

Bacchus, the offspring of Jupiter and Semele,[193:5] was called the “Saviour.”[193:6] He was called the “Only Begotten Son,”[193:7]the “Slain One,”[193:8] the “Sin Bearer,”[193:9] the “Redeemer,”[193:10] &c. Evil having spread itself over the earth, through the inquisitiveness of Pandora, the Lord of the gods is begged to come to the relief of mankind. Jupiter lends a willing ear to the entreaties, “and wishes that his son should be the redeemer of the misfortunes of the world; The Bacchus Saviour. He promises to the earth a Liberator . . The universe shall worship him, and shall praise in songs his blessings.” In order to execute his purpose, Jupiter overshadows the beautiful young maiden—the virgin Semele—who becomes the mother of theRedeemer.[193:11]

“It is I (says the lord Bacchus to mankind), who guides you; it is I who protects you, and who saves you; I who am Alpha and Omega.”[193:12]

Hercules, the son of Zeus, was called “The Saviour.”[193:13] The words “Hercules the Saviour” were engraven on ancient coins and monuments.[193:14] He was also called “The Only Begotten,” and the “Universal Word.” He was re-absorbed into God. He was said by Ovid to be the “Self-produced,” the Generator and Ruler of all things, and the Father of time.[193:15]

Æsculapius was distinguished by the epithet “The Saviour.”[194:1] The temple erected to his memory in the city of Athens was called: “The Temple of the Saviour.”[194:2]

Apollo was distinguished by the epithet “The Saviour.”[194:3] In a hymn to Apollo he is called: “The willing Saviour of distressed mankind.”[194:4]

Serapis was called “The Saviour.”[194:5] He was considered by Hadrian, the Roman emperor (117-138 A. D.), and the Gentiles, to be the peculiar god of the Christians.[194:6] A cross was found under the ruins of his temple in Alexandria in Egypt.[194:7] Fig. No. 11 is a representation of this Egyptian Saviour, taken from Murray’s “Manual of Mythology.” It certainly resembles the pictures of “the peculiar God of the Christians.” It is very evident that the pictures of Christ Jesus, as we know them to-day, are simply the pictures of some of the Pagan gods, who were, for certain reasons which we shall speak of in a subsequent chapter, always represented with long yellow or red hair, and a florid complexion. If such a person as Jesus of Nazareth ever lived in the flesh, he was undoubtedly a Jew, and would therefore have Jewish features; this his pictures do not betray.[194:8]


Mithras, who was “Mediator between God and man,”[194:9] was called “The Saviour.” He was the peculiar god of the Persians, who believed that he had, by his sufferings, worked their salvation, and on this account he was called their Saviour.[194:10] He was also called “The Logos.”[194:11]

The Persians believed that they were tainted with original sin, owing to the fall of their first parents who were tempted by the evil one in the form of a serpent.[194:12]

They considered their law-giver Zoroaster to be also a Divine Messenger, sent to redeem men from their evil ways, and they always worshiped his memory. To this day his followers mention him with the greatest reverence, calling him “The Immortal Zoroaster,” [Pg 195]”The Blessed Zoroaster,” “The First-Born of the Eternal One,” &c.[195:1]

“In the life of Zoroaster the common mythos is apparent. He was born in innocence, of an immaculate conception, of a ray of the Divine Reason. As soon as he was born, the glory arising from his body enlightened the room, and he laughed at his mother. He was called a Splendid Light from the Tree of Knowledge, and, in fine, he or his soul was suspensus a lingo, hung upon a tree, and this was the Tree of Knowledge.”[195:2]

How much this resembles “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.”[195:3]

Hermes was called “The Saviour.” On the altar of Pepi (B. C. 3500) are to be found prayers to Hermes—”He who is the good Saviour.”[195:4] He was also called “The Logos.” The church fathers, Hippolytus, Justin Martyr, and Plutarch (de Iside et Osir) assert that the Logos is Hermes.[195:5] The term “Logos” is Greek, and signifies literally “Word.”[195:6] He was also “The Messenger of God.”[195:7]

Dr. Inman says:

“There are few words which strike more strongly upon the senses of an inquirer into the nature of ancient faiths, than Salvation and Saviour. Both were used long before the birth of Christ, and they are still common among those who never heard of Jesus, or of that which is known among us as the Gospels.”[195:8]

He also tells us that there is a very remarkable figure copied in Payne Knight’s work, in which we see on a man’s shoulders acock’s head, whilst on the pediment are placed the words: “The Saviour of the World.”[195:9]

Besides the titles of “God’s First-Born,” “Only Begotten,” the “Mediator,” the “Shepherd,” the “Advocate,” the “Paraclete or Comforter,” the “Son of God,” the “Logos,” &c.,[195:10] being applied to heathen virgin-born gods, before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, we have also that of Christ and Jesus.
Cyrus, King of Persia, was called the “Christ,” or the “Anointed of God.”[196:1] As Dr. Giles says, “Christ” is “a name having no spiritual signification, and importing nothing more than an ordinary surname.”[196:2] The worshipers of Serapis were called “Christians,” and those devoted to Serapis were called “Bishops of Christ.”[196:3] Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, says, that the names of “Jesus” and “Christ,” were both known and honored among the ancients.[196:4]

Mithras was called the “Anointed” or the “Christ;”[196:5] and Horus, Mano, Mithras, Bel-Minor, Iao, Adoni, &c., were each of them “God of Light,” “Light of the World,” the “Anointed,” or the “Christ.”[196:6]

It is said that Peter called his Master the Christ, whereupon “he straightway charged them (the disciples), and commanded them to tell no man that thing.”[196:7]

The title of “Christ” or “The Anointed,” was held by the kings of Israel. “Touch not my Christ and do my prophets no harm,” says the Psalmist.[196:8]

The term “Christ” was applied to religious teachers, leaders of factions, necromancers or wonder-workers, &c. This is seen by the passage in Matthew, where the writer says:

“There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”[196:9]

The virgin-born Crishna and Buddha were incarnations of Vishnu, called Avatars. An Avatar is an Angel-Messiah, a God-man, aChrist; for the word Christ is from the Greek Christos, an Anointed One, a Messiah.

The name Jesus, which is pronounced in Hebrew Yezua, and is sometimes Grecized into Jason, was very common. After the Captivity it occurs quite frequently, and is interchanged with the name Joshua. Indeed Joshua, the successor of Moses, is called Jesus in the New Testament more than once,[196:10] though the meaning of the two names is not really quite the same. We know of a Jesus, son of Sirach, a writer of proverbs, whose collection is [Pg 197]preserved among the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. The notorious Barabbas[197:1] or son of Abbas, was himself called Jesus. Among Paul’s opponents we find a magician called Elymas, the Son of Jesus. Among the early Christians a certain Jesus, also called Justus, appears. Flavius Josephus mentions more than ten distinct persons—priests, robbers, peasants, and others—who bore the name of Jesus, all of whom lived during the last century of the Jewish state.[197:2]

To return now to our theme—crucified gods before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.

The holy Father Minucius Felix, in his Octavius, written as late as A. D. 211, indignantly resents the supposition that the sign of the cross should be considered exclusively as a Christian symbol, and represents his advocate of the Christian argument as retorting on an infidel opponent. His words are:

“”As for the adoration of crosses which you (Pagans) object against us (Christians), I must tell you, that we neither adore crosses nor desire them; you it is, ye Pagans . . . who are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses . . . for what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, but crosses gilt and beautiful. Your victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a cross with a man upon it.”[197:3]

The existence, in the writings of Minucius Felix, of this passage, is probably owing to an oversight of the destroyers of all evidences against the Christian religion that could be had. The practice of the Romans, here alluded to, of carrying a cross with a man on it, or, in other words, a crucifix, has evidently been concealed from us by the careful destruction of such of their works as alluded to it. The priests had everything their own way for centuries, and to destroy what was evidence against their claims was a very simple matter.

It is very evident that this celebrated Christian Father alludes to some Gentile mystery, of which the prudence of his successors has deprived us. When we compare this with the fact that for centuries after the time assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus, he was not represented as a man on a cross, and that the Christians did not have such a thing as a crucifix, we are inclined to think that the effigies of a black or dark-skinned crucified man, which were to be seen in many places in Italy even during the last century, may have had something to do with it.[197:4]

While speaking of “a cross with a man on it” as being carried by the Pagan Romans as a standard, we might mention the fact, related by Arrian the historian,[198:1] that the troops of Porus, in their war with Alexander the Great, carried on their standards the figure of a man.[198:2] Here is evidently the crucifix standard again.

“This must have been (says Mr. Higgins) a Staurobates or Salivahana, and looks very like the figure of a man carried on their standards by the Romans. This was similar to the dove carried on the standards of the Assyrians. This must have been the crucifix of Nepaul.”[198:3]

Tertullian, a Christian Father of the second and third centuries, writing to the Pagans, says:

“The origin of your gods is derived from figures moulded on a cross. All those rows of images on your standards are the appendages of crosses; those hangings on your standards and banners are the robes of crosses.”[198:4]

We have it then, on the authority of a Christian Father, as late as A. D. 211, that the Christians “neither adored crosses nor desired them,” but that the Pagans “adored crosses,” and not that alone, but “a cross with a man upon it.” This we shall presently find to be the case. Jesus, in those days, nor for centuries after, was not represented as a man on a cross. He was represented as a lamb, and the adoration of the crucifix, by the Christians, was a later addition to their religion. But this we shall treat of in its place.

We may now ask the question, who was this crucified man whom the Pagans “adored” before and after the time of Jesus of Nazareth? Who did the crucifix represent? It was, undoubtedly, “the Saviour crucified for the salvation of mankind,” long before the Christian Era, whose effigies were to be seen in many places all over Italy. These Pagan crucifixes were either destroyed, corrupted, or adopted; the latter was the case with many ancient paintings of the Bambino,[198:5] on which may be seen the wordsDeo Soli. Now, these two words can never apply to Christ Jesus. He was not Deus Solus, in any sense, according to the idiom of the Latin language, and the Romish faith. Whether we construe the words to “the only God,” or “God alone,” they are equally heretical. No priest, in any age of the Church, would have thought of putting them there, but finding them there, they tolerated them.

In the “Celtic Druids,” Mr. Higgins describes a crucifix, a lamb, and an elephant, which was cut upon the “fire tower”[Pg 199]—so-called—at Brechin, a town of Forfarshire, in Scotland. Although they appeared to be of very ancient date, he supposed, at that time, that they were modern, and belonged to Christianity, but some years afterwards, he wrote as follows:

“I now doubt (the modern date of the tower), for we have, over and over again, seen the crucified man before Christ. We have also found ‘The Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world,’ among the Carnutes of Gaul, before the time of Christ; and when I contemplate these, and the Elephant or Ganesa,[199:1] and theRing[199:2] and its Cobra,[199:3] Linga,[199:4] Iona,[199:5] and Nandies, found not far from the tower, on the estate of Lord Castles, with the Colidei, the island of Iona, and Ii, . . . I am induced to doubt my former conclusions. The Elephant, the Ganesa of India, is a very stubborn fellow to be found here. The Ring, too, when joined with other matters, I cannot get over. All these superstitions must have come from India.”[199:6]

On one of the Irish “round towers” is to be seen a crucifix of unmistakable Asiatic origin.[199:7]

If we turn to the New World, we shall find strange though it may appear, that the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians worshiped acrucified Saviour. This was the virgin-born Quetzalcoatle whose crucifixion is represented in the paintings of the “Codex Borgianus,” and the “Codex Vaticanus.”

These paintings illustrate the religious opinions of the ancient Mexicans, and were copied from the hieroglyphics found in Mexico. The Spaniards destroyed nearly all the books, ancient monuments and paintings which they could find; had it not been for this, much more regarding the religion of the ancient Mexicans would have been handed down to us. Many chapters were also taken—by the Spanish authorities—from the writings of the first historians who wrote on ancient Mexico. All manuscripts had to be inspected previous to being published. Anything found among these heathens resembling the religion of the Christians, was destroyed when possible.[199:8]

The first Spanish monks who went to Mexico were surprised to find the crucifix among the heathen inhabitants, and upon inquiring what it meant, were told that it was a representation of [Pg 200]Bacob (Quetzalcoatle), the Son of God, who was put to death byEopuco. They said that he was placed on a beam of wood, with his arms stretched out, and that he died there.[200:1]

Lord Kingsborough, from whose very learned and elaborate work we have taken the above, says:

“Being questioned as to the manner in which they became acquainted with these things, they replied that the lords instructed their sons in them, and that thus this doctrine descended from one to another.”[200:2]

Sometimes Quetzalcoatle or Bacob is represented as tied to the cross—just as we have seen that Attys was represented by the Phrygians—and at other times he is represented “in the attitude of a person crucified, with impressions of nail-holes in his hands and feet, but not actually upon a cross”—just as we have found the Hindoo Crishna, and as he is represented in Fig. No. 8. Beneath this representation of Quetzalcoatle crucified, is an image of Death, which an angry serpent seems threatening to devour.[200:3]

On the 73d page of the Borgian MS., he is represented crucified on a cross of the Greek form. In this print there are alsoimpressions of nails to be seen on the feet and hands, and his body is strangely covered with suns.[200:4]

In vol. ii. plate 75, the god is crucified in a circle of nineteen figures, and a serpent is depriving him of the organs of generation.

Lord Kingsborough, commenting on these paintings, says:

“It is remarkable that in these Mexican paintings the faces of many of the figures are black, and that the visage of Quetzalcoatle is frequently painted in a very deformed manner.”[200:5]

His lordship further tells us that (according to the belief of the ancient Mexicans), “the death of Quetzalcoatle upon the cross” was “an atonement for the sins of mankind.”[200:6]

Dr. Daniel Brinton, in his “Myths of the New World,” tells us that the Aztecs had a feast which they celebrated “in the early spring,” when “victims were nailed to a cross and shot with an arrow.”[200:7]

Alexander Von Humboldt, in his “American Researches,” also speaks of this feast, when the Mexicans crucified a man, and pierced him with an arrow.[200:8]

The author of Monumental Christianity, speaking of this, says:

“Here is the old story of the Prometheus crucified on the Caucasus, and of all other Pagan crucifixions of the young incarnate divinities of India, Persia, Asia Minor and Egypt.”[201:1]

This we believe; but how did this myth get there? He does not say, but we shall attempt to show, in a future chapter, how thisand other myths of Eastern origin became known in the New World.[201:2]

It must not be forgotten, in connection with what we have seen concerning the Mexican crucified god being sometimes represented as black, and the feast when the crucified man was shot with an arrow, that effigies of a black crucified man were found in Italy; that Crishna, the crucified, is very often represented black; and that Crishna was shot with an arrow.

Crosses were also found in Yucatan, as well as Mexico, with a man upon them.[201:3] Cogolludo, in his “History of Yucatan,” speaking of a crucifix found there, says:

“Don Eugenio de Alcantara (one of the true teachers of the Gospel), told me, not only once, that I might safely write that the Indians of Cozumel possessed this holy cross in the time of their paganism; and that some years had elapsed since it was brought to Medira; for having heard from many persons what was reported of it, he had made particular inquiries of some very old Indians who resided there, who assured him that it was the fact.”

He then speaks of the difficulty in accounting for this crucifix being found among the Indians of Cozumel, and ends by saying:

“But if it be considered that these Indians believed that the Son of God, whom they called Bacob, had died upon a cross, with his arms stretched out upon it, it cannot appear so difficult a matter to comprehend that they should have formed his image according to the religious creed which they possessed.”[201:4]

We shall find, in another chapter, that these virgin-born “Saviours” and “Slain Ones;” Crishna, Osiris, Horus, Attys, Adonis, Bacchus, &c.—whether torn in pieces, killed by a boar, or crucified—will all melt into ONE.

We now come to a very important fact not generally known, namely: There are no early representations of Christ Jesus suffering on the cross.

[Pg 202]Rev. J. P. Lundy, speaking of this, says:

“Why should a fact so well known to the heathen as the crucifixion be concealed? And yet its actual realistic representation never once occurs in the monuments of Christianity, for more than six or seven centuries.”[202:1]

Mrs. Jameson, in her “History of Our Lord in Art,” says:

“The crucifixion is not one of the subjects of early Christianity. The death of our Lord was represented by various types, but never in its actual form.

“The earliest instances of the crucifixion are found in illustrated manuscripts of various countries, and in those ivory and enameled forms which are described in the Introduction. Some of these are ascertained, by historical or by internal evidence, to have been executed in the ninth century, there is one also, of an extraordinary rude and fantastic character, in a MS. in the ancient library of St. Galle, which is ascertained to be of the eighth century. At all events, there seems no just grounds at present for assigning an earlier date.”[202:2]

“Early Christian art, such as it appears in the bas-reliefs on sarcophagi, gave but one solitary incident from the story of Our Lord’s Passion, and that utterly divested of all circumstances of suffering. Our Lord is represented as young and beautiful, free from bonds, with no ‘accursed tree’ on his shoulders.”[202:3]

The oldest representation of Christ Jesus was a figure of a lamb,[202:4] to which sometimes a vase was added, into which his blood flowed, and at other times couched at the foot of a cross. This custom subsisted up to the year 680, and until the pontificate of Agathon, during the reign of Constantine Pogonat. By the sixth synod of Constantinople (canon 82) it was ordained that instead of the ancient symbol, which had been the Lamb, the figure of a man fastened to a cross (such as thePagans had adored), should be represented. All this was confirmed by Pope Adrian I.[202:5]

A simple cross, which was the symbol of eternal life, or of salvation, among the ancients, was sometimes, as we have seen, placed alongside of the Lamb. In the course of time, the Lamb was put on the cross, as the ancient Israelites had put the paschal lamb centuries before,[202:6] and then, as we have seen, they put a man upon it.

Christ Jesus is also represented in early art as the “Good Shepherd,” that is, as a young man with a lamb on his shoulders.[202:7]

[Pg 203]This is just the manner in which the Pagan Apollo, Mercury and others were represented centuries before.[203:1]

Mrs. Jameson says:

“Mercury attired as a shepherd, with a ram on his shoulders, borne in the same manner as in many of the Christian representations, was no unfrequent object (in ancient art) and in some instances led to a difficulty in distinguishing between the two,”[203:2] that is, between Mercury and Christ Jesus.

M. Renan says:

“The Good Shepherd of the catacombs in Rome is a copy from the Aristeus, or from the Apollo Nomius, which figured in the same posture on the Pagan sarcophagi; and still carries the flute of Pan, in the midst of the four half-naked seasons.”[203:3]

The Egyptian Saviour Horus was called the “Shepherd of the People.”[203:4]

The Hindoo Saviour Crishna was called the “Royal Good Shepherd.”[203:5]

We have seen, then, on the authority of a Christian writer who has made the subject a special study, that, “there seems no just grounds at present for assigning an earlier date,” for the “earliest instances of the crucifixion” of Christ Jesus, represented in art, than the eighth or ninth century. Now, a few words in regard to what these crucifixes looked like. If the reader imagines that the crucifixes which are familiar to us at the present day are similar to those early ones, we would inform him that such is not the case. The earliest artists of the crucifixion represent the Christian Saviour as young and beardless, always without the crown of thorns, alive, and erect, apparently elate; no signs of bodily suffering are there.[203:6]

On page 151, plate 181, of Jameson’s “History of Our Lord in Art” (vol. ii.), he is represented standing on a foot-rest on the cross, alive, and eyes open. Again, on page 330, plate 253, he is represented standing “with body upright and arms extended straight, with no nails, no wounds, no crown of thorns—frequently clothed, and with a regal crown—a God, young and beautiful, hanging, as it were, without compulsion or pain.”

On page 167, plate 188, are to be seen “the thieves bound to their [Pg 204]cross (which is simply an upright beam, without cross-bars), with the figure of the Lord standing between them.” He is not bound nor nailed to a cross; no cross is there. He is simply standing erect in the form of a cross. This is a representation of what is styled, “Early crucifixion with thieves.” On page 173, plate 190, we have a representation of the crucifixion, in which Jesus and the thieves are represented crucified on the Egyptiantau (see Fig. No. 12). The thieves are tied, but the man-god is nailed to the cross. A similar representation may be seen on page 189, plate 198.

On page 155, plate 183, there is a representation of what is called “Virgin and St. John at foot of cross,” but this cross is simplyan upright beam (as Fig. No. 13). There are no cross-bars attached. On page 167, plate 188, the thieves are tied to an upright beam (as Fig. 13), and Jesus stands between them, with arms extended in the form of a cross, as the Hindoo Crishna is to be seen in Fig. No. 8. On page 157, plate 185, Jesus is represented crucified on the Egyptian cross (as No. 12).

Some ancient crucifixes represent the Christian Saviour crucified on a cross similar in form to the Roman figure which stands for the number ten (see Fig. No. 14). Thus we see that there was no uniformity in representing the “cross of Christ,” among the early Christians; even the cross which Constantine put on his “Labarum,” or sacred banner, was nothing more than the monogram of the Pagan god Osiris (Fig. No. 15),[204:1] as we shall see in a subsequent chapter.

The dogma of the vicarious atonement has met with no success whatever among the Jews. The reason for this is very evident. The idea of vicarious atonement, in any form, is contrary to Jewish [Pg 205]ethics, but it is in full accord with the Gentile. The law ordains that[205:1] “every man shall be put to death for his own sin,” and not for the sin or crime committed by any other person. No ransom should protect the murderer against the arm of justice.[205:2] The principle of equal rights and equal responsibilities is fundamental in the law. If the law of God—for as such it is received—denounces the vicarious atonement, viz., to slaughter an innocent person to atone for the crimes of others, then God must abhor it. What is more, Jesus is said to have sanctioned this law, for is he not made to say: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.”[205:3]


“Salvation is and can be nothing else than learning the laws of life and keeping them. There is, in the modern world, neither place nor need for any of the theological ‘schemes of salvation’ or theological ‘Saviours.’ No wrath of either God or devil stands in man’s way; and therefore no ‘sacrifice’ is needed to get them out of the way. Jesus saves only as he helps men know and keep God’s laws. Thousands of other men, in their degree, are Saviours in precisely the same way. As there has been no ‘fall of man,’ all the hundreds of theological devices for obviating its supposed effects are only imaginary cures for imaginary ills. What man does need is to be taught the necessary laws of life, and have brought to bear upon him adequate motives for obeying them. To know and keep God’s laws is being reconciled to him. This is health; and out of health—that is, the perfect condition of the whole man, called holiness or wholeness—comes happiness, in this world and in all worlds.”

FOOTNOTES:

[181:1]Monier Williams: Hinduism, pp. 36-40.
[182:1]Monier Williams: Hinduism, p. 36.
[182:2]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 303.
[182:3]Kenrick’s Egypt, vol. i. p. 443.
[183:1]Herodotus: bk. ii. ch. 39.
[183:2]In the trial of Dr. Thomas (at Chicago) for “doctrinal heresy,” one of the charges made against him (Sept. 8, 1881) was that he had said “the Blood of the Lamb had nothing to do with salvation.” And in a sermon preached in Boston, Sept. 2, 1881, at the Columbus Avenue Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. Andrew A. Bonar. D. D., the preacher said: “No sinner dares to meet the holy God until his sin has been forgiven, or until he has received remission. The penalty of sin is death, and this penalty is not remitted by anything the sinner can do for himself, but only through the Bloodof Jesus. If you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour, you can take the blood of Jesus, and with boldness present it to the Father as payment in full of the penalties of all your sins. Sinful man has no right to the benefits and the beauties and glories of nature. These were all lost to him through Adam’s sin, but to the blood of Christ’s sacrifice he has a right; it was shed for him. It is Christ’s death that does the blessed work of salvation for us. It was not his life nor his Incarnation. His Incarnation could not pay a farthing of our debt, but his blood shed in redeeming love, pays it all.” (See Boston Advertiser, Sept. 3, 1881.)
[183:3]Habet ergo Diabolus Christos suos.
[183:4]Huc’s Travels, vol. i. pp. 326 and 327.
[184:1]Hinduism, p. 214.
[184:2]Ibid. p. 115.
[184:3]Vishnu Purana, p. 440.
[184:4]Ibid.
[184:5]Ibid.
[184:6]Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 132.
[184:7]Pages 274 and 612.
[184:8]”On reconte fort diversement la mort de Crishna. Une tradition remarquable et avérée le fait périr sur un bois fatal (un arbre), ou il fut cloué d’un coup de flèche.” (Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 144.)
[185:1]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 499, and Mrs. Jameson’s “History of Our Lord in Art,” ii. 317, where he cross is called the “accursed tree.”
[185:2]Chap. xxi. 22, 23: “If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”
[185:3]Galatians, iii. 13.
[185:4]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 146, and Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 402.
The crucified god Wittoba is also called Balü. He is worshiped in a marked manner at Pander-poor or Bunder-poor, near Poonah.” (Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 750, note 1.)
“A form of Vishnu (Crishna), called Viththal or Vithobā, is the popular god at Pandharpur in Mahā-ráshtrá, the favorite of the celebrated Marāthi poet Tukārāma.” (Prof. Monier Williams: Indian Wisdom, p. xlviii.)
[185:5]See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, p. 160.
[185:6]This can be seen by referring to Calmet, Sonnerat, or Higgins, vol. ii., which contain plates representing Crishna.
[186:1]Monumental Christianity, p. 128.
[186:2]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 411.
[186:3]Luke, xxiii. 39-43.
[186:4]Vasudeva means God. See Vishnu Purana, p. 274.
[186:5]Vishnu Purana, p. 612.
[187:1]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 72.
[187:2]”Si ita se res habet, ut existimat Beausobrius, Indi, et Budistæ quorum religio, eadem est ac Tibetana, nonnisi a Manichæis nova hæc deliriorum portenta acceperunt. Hænamque gentes præsertim in urbe Nepal, Luna XII. Badr seuBhadon Augusti mensis, dies festos auspicaturæ Dei Indræ, erigunt ad illius memoriam ubique locorum crucesamictas Abrotono. Earum figuram descriptam habes ad lit. B, Tabula pone sequenti. Nam A effigies est ipsius Indræ crucifixi signa Telech in fronte manibus pedibusque gerentis.” (Alph Tibet, p. 203. Quoted in Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 130.)
[188:1]”Ils conviennent qu’il a répandu son sang pour le salut du genre humain, ayant été percé de clous par tout son corps. Quoiqu’ils ne disent pas qu’il a souffert le supplice de la croix, ou en trouve pourtant la figure dans leurs livres.” (Quoted in Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.)
[188:2]”Although the nations of Europe have changed their religions during the past eighteen centuries, the Hindoo has not done so, except very partially. . . . The religious creeds, rites, customs, and habits of thought of the Hindoos generally, have altered little since the days of Manu, 500 years B. C.” (Prof. Monier Williams: Indian Wisdom, p. iv.)
[188:3]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 147, 572, 667 and 750; vol. ii. p. 122, and note 4, p. 185, this chapter.
[188:4]See Max Müller’s Science of Religion, p. 224.
[188:5]Quoted in Lillie’s Buddhism, p. 93.
[188:6]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 20.
[188:7]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, pp. 20, 25, 85. Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 247. Huc’s Travels, vol. i. pp. 326, 327, and almost any work on Buddhism.
[188:8]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 20.
[188:9]Ibid. Johnson’s Oriental Religions, p. 604. See also Asiatic Researches, vol. iii., or chapter xii. of this work.
[188:10]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 18.
[188:11]Ibid.
[188:12]Ibid.
[188:13]Vol. i. p. 118.
[189:1]Quoted in Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.
[189:2]Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 20.
[189:3]Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 33.
[189:4]Huc’s Travels, vol. i. pp. 326, 337.
[189:5]Müller: Hist. Sanscrit Literature, p. 80.
[189:6]See Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. v. p. 95, and Williams: Hinduism, p. 214.
[189:7]”He in mercy left paradise, and came down to earth, because he was filled with compassion for the sins and miseries of mankind. He sought to lead them into better paths, and took their sufferings upon himself, that he might expiate their crimes, and mitigate the punishment they must otherwise inevitably undergo.” (Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. ii. p. 86.)
“The object of his mission on earth was to instruct those who were straying from the right path, expiate the sins of mortals by his own sufferings, and produce for them a happy entrance into another existence by obedience to his precepts and prayers in his name. They always speak of him as one with God from all eternity. His most common title is ‘The Saviour of the World.'” (Ibid. vol. i. p. 247.)
[190:1]Quoted in Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 211.
[190:2]Ibid.
[190:3]See Renouf: Religions of Ancient Egypt, p. 178.
[190:4]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 155.
[190:5]Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 848.
[190:6]In Rawlinson’s Herodotus, vol. ii. p. 171. Quoted in Knight’s Art and Mythology, p. 71.
[190:7]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 185.
[190:8]See Mysteries of Adoni, p. 88.
[190:9]See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii. note.
[191:1]Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 255.
[191:2]Vol. ii.
[191:3]Lactant. Inst., div. iv. chap. xiii. In Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 544.
[191:4]See chapter xxxix. this work.
[191:5]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 114, and Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 163.
[191:6]See the chapter on “The Resurrection of Jesus.”
[192:1]Chambers’s Encyclo., art. “Prometheus.”
[192:2]”Prometheus has been a favorite subject with the poets. He is represented as the friend of mankind, who interposed in their behalf when Jove was incensed against them.” (Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 32.)
“In the mythos relating to Prometheus, he always appears as the friend of the human race, suffering in its behalf the most fearful tortures.” (John Fiske: Myths and Myth-makers, pp. 64, 65.) “Prometheus was nailed to the rocks on Mount Caucasus, with arms extended.” (Alexander Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 82.) “Prometheus is said to have been nailed up with arms extended, near the Caspian Straits, on Mount Caucasus. The history of Prometheus on the Cathedral at Bordeaux (France) here receives its explanation.” (Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 113.)
[192:3]See Æschylus’ “Prometheus Chained.” Translated by the Rev. R. Potter: Harper & Bros., N. Y.
[192:4]Ibid. p. 82.
[193:1]Petræus was an interchangeable synonym of the name Oceanus.
[193:2]”Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying: Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.” (Matt. xvi. 22.)
[193:3]”And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.” (Luke, xxiii. 27.)
[193:4]See Taylor’s Diegesis, pp. 193, 194, or Potter’s Æschylus.
[193:5]”They say that the god (Bacchus), the offspring of Zeus and Demeter, was torn to pieces.” (Diodorus Siculus, in Knight, p. 156, note.)
[193:6]See Knight: Anct. Art and Mythology, p. 98, note. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, 258. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102.
[193:7]Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii. note.
[193:8]Ibid.
[193:9]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 169.
[193:10]Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 135.
[193:11]Ibid.
[193:12]Beausobre quotes the inscription on a monument of Bacchus, thus: “C’est moi, dit il, qui vous conduis, C’est moi, qui vous conserve, ou qui vous sauve; Je sui Alpha et Omega, &c.” (See chap. xxxix this work.)
[193:13]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 195. Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 152. Dunlap: Mysteries of Adoni, p. 94.
[193:14]See Celtic Druids, Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 153, and Montfaucon, vol. i.
[193:15]See Mysteries of Adoni, p. 91, and Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 322.
[194:1]See Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 153.
[194:2]See the chapter on “Miracles of Jesus.”
[194:3]See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 254.
[194:4]See Monumental Christianity, p. 186.
[194:5]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 15.
[194:6]See Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 86.
[194:7]See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 15, and our chapter on Christian Symbols.
[194:8]This subject will be referred to again in chapter xxxix.
[194:9]See Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., pp. 237, 241, 242, and Mysteries of Adoni, p. 123, note.
[194:10]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 99.
[194:11]See Dunlap’s Son of the Man, p. 20.
“According to the most ancient tradition of the East-Iranians recorded in the Zend-Avesta, the God of Light (Ormuzd) communicated his mysteries to some men through his Word.” (Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 75.)
[194:12]Wake: Phallism, &c., p. 47.
[195:1]Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 258, 259.
[195:2]Malcolm: Hist. Persia, vol. i. Ap. p. 494; Nimrod, vol. ii. p. 31. Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 649.
[195:3]Col. i. 26.
[195:4]See Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 102.
[195:5]See Dunlap’s Son of the Man, p. 89, marginal note.
[195:6]”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John, i. 1.)
[195:7]See Bell’s Pantheon, vol. ii. 69 and 71.
[195:8]Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 652.
[195:9]Ibid. vol. i. p. 537.
[195:10]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 119. Knight’s Ancient Art and Mythology, pp. xxii. and 98. Dunlap’s Son of the Man, p. 71, and Spirit History, pp. 183, 205, 206, 249. Bible for Learners, vol. ii. p. 25. Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. pp. 195, 237, 516, besides the authorities already cited.
[196:1]See Bunsen’s Bible Chronology, p. 5. Keys of St. Peter, 135. Volney’s Ruins, p. 168.
[196:2]Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, p. 64, vol. ii.
[196:3]Ibid. p. 86, and Taylor’s Diegesis, pp. 202, 206, 407. Dupuis: p. 267.
[196:4]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. iv.
[196:5]See Dunlap’s Son of the Man, p. 78.
[196:6]See Ibid. p. 39.
[196:7]Luke, iv. 21.
[196:8]Psalm, cv. 15. The term “an Anointed One,” which we use in English, is Christos in Greek, and Messiah in Hebrew. (See Bible for Learners, and Religion of Israel, p. 147.)
[196:9]Matthew, xxiv. 24.
[196:10]Acts, vii. 45; Hebrews, iv. 8; compare Nehemiah, viii. 17.
[197:1]He who, it is said, was liberated at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
[197:2]See Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 60.
[197:3]Octavius, c. xxix.
[197:4]See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 116.
[198:1]In his History of the Campaigns of Alexander.
[198:2]See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.
[198:3]Ibid.
[198:4]Apol. c. 16; Ad Nationes, c. xii.
[198:5]See the chapter on “The Worship of the Virgin.”
[199:1]Ganesa is the Indian God of Wisdom. (See Asiatic Researches, vol. i.)
[199:2]The Ring and circle was an emblem of god, or eternity, among the Hindoos. (See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, p. 87.)
[199:3]The Cobra, or hooded snake, is a native of the East Indies, where it is held as sacred. (See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 16, and Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship.)
[199:4]Linga denotes, in the sectarian worship of the Hindoos, the Phallus, an emblem of the male or generative power of nature.
[199:5]Iona, or Yoni, is the counterpart of Linga, i. e., an emblem of the female generative power. We have seen that these were attached to the effigies of the Hindoo crucified Saviour, Crishna.
[199:6]Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 130.
[199:7]See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, pp. 253, 254, 255.
[199:8]See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. pp. 165 and 179.
[200:1]See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 166.
[200:2]Ibid. p. 162.
[200:3]Ibid. p. 161.
[200:4]Ibid. p. 167.
[200:5]Ibid. p. 167.
[200:6]Ibid. p. 166.
[200:7]Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 95.
[200:8]See, also, Monumental Christianity, p. 393.
“Once a year the ancient Mexicans made an image of one of their gods, which was pierced by an arrow, shot by a priest of Quetzalcoatle.” (Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., 207.)
[201:1]Monumental Christianity, p. 393.
[201:2]See Appendix A.
[201:3]See Monumental Christianity, p. 390, and Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 169.
[201:4]Quoted by Lord Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 172.
[202:1]Monumental Christianity, p. 246.
[202:2]History of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 137.
[202:3]Ibid. p. 317.
[202:4]See Illustrations in Ibid. vol. i.
[202:5]See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 252. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. 111, and Monumental Christianity, p. 246,et seq.
[202:6]The paschal lamb was roasted on a cross, by ancient Israel, and is still so done by the Samaritans at Nablous. (See Lundy’s Monumental Christianity, pp. 19 and 247.)
“The lamb slain (at the feast of the passover) was roasted whole, with two spits thrust through it—one lengthwise, and one transversely—crossing each other near the fore legs; so that the animal was, in a manner, crucified. Not a bone of it might be broken—a circumstance strongly representing the sufferings of our Lord Jesus, the passover slain for us.” (Barnes’s Notes, vol. i. p. 292.)
[202:7]See King: The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 138. Also, Monumental Christianity, and Jameson’s History of Our Lord in Art, for illustrations.
[203:1]See King’s Gnostics, p. 178. Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii., and Jameson’s History of Our Lord in Art, ii. 340.
[203:2]Jameson: Hist. of Our Lord in Art, p. 340, vol. ii.
[203:3]Quoted in Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii. note.
[203:4]Dunlap: Spirit Hist., p. 185.
[203:5]See chapter xvii. and vol. ii. Hist. Hindostan.
[203:6]See Jameson’s Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 142.
[204:1]”It would be difficult to prove that the cross of Constantine was of the simple construction as now understood. . . . As regards the Labarum, the coins of the time, in which it is especially set forth, prove that the so-called cross upon it was nothing else than the same ever-recurring monogram of Christ” (that is, the XP). (History of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 310. See also, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, art. “Labarum.”)
[205:1]Deut. xxiv. 16.
[205:2]Num. xxv. 31-34.
[205:3]Matt. v. 17, 18.

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CHAPTER XXI

THE DARKNESS AT THE CRUCIFIXION.
The Luke narrator informs us that at the time of the death of Christ Jesus, the sun was darkened, and there was darkness over the earth from the sixth until the ninth hour; also the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.[206:1]
The Matthew narrator, in addition to this, tells us that:

“The earth did quake, and the rocks were rent, and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of their graves . . . and went into the holy city and appeared unto many.”[206:2]

“His star” having shone at the time of his birth, and his having been born in a miraculous manner, it was necessary that at the death of Christ Jesus, something miraculous should happen. Something of an unusual nature had happened at the time of the death of other supernatural beings, therefore something must happen at his death; the myth would not have been complete without it. In the words of Viscount Amberly: “The darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour, the rending of the temple veil, the earthquake, the rending of the rocks, are altogether like the prodigies attending the decease of other great men.”[206:3]

The Rev. Dr. Geikie, one of the most orthodox writers, says:[206:4]

“It is impossible to explain the origin of this darkness. The passover moon was then at the full, so that it could not have been an eclipse. The early Fathers, relying on a notice of an eclipse that seemed to coincide in time, though it really did not, fancied that the darkness was caused by it, but incorrectly.”

Perhaps “the origin of this darkness” may be explained from what we shall now see.

At the time of the death of the Hindoo Saviour Crishna, there [Pg 207]came calamities and bad omens of every kind. A black circle surrounded the moon, and the sun was darkened at noon-day; the sky rained fire and ashes; flames burned dusky and livid; demons committed depredations on earth; at sunrise and sunset, thousands of figures were seen skirmishing in the air; spirits were to be seen on all sides.[207:1]

When the conflict began between Buddha, the Saviour of the World, and the Prince of Evil, a thousand appalling meteors fell; clouds and darkness prevailed. Even this earth, with the oceans and mountains it contains, though it is unconscious, quaked like a conscious being—like a fond bride when forcibly torn from her bridegroom—like the festoons of a vine shaken under the blast of a whirlwind. The ocean rose under the vibration of this earthquake; rivers flowed back toward their sources; peaks of lofty mountains, where countless trees had grown for ages, rolled crumbling to the earth; a fierce storm howled all around; the roar of the concussion became terrific; the very sun enveloped itself in awful darkness, and a host of headless spirits filled the air.[207:2]

When Prometheus was crucified on Mount Caucasus, the whole frame of nature became convulsed. The earth did quake, thunder roared, lightning flashed, the wild winds rent the vexed air, the boisterous billows rose, and the dissolution of the universe seemed to be threatened.[207:3]

The ancient Greeks and Romans, says Canon Farrar,[207:4] had always considered that the births and deaths of great men were announced by celestial signs. We therefore find that at the death of Romulus, the founder of Rome, the sun was darkened, and there was darkness over the face of the earth for the space of six hours.[207:5]

When Julius Cæsar, who was the son of a god, was murdered, there was a darkness over the earth, the sun being eclipsed for the space of six hours.[207:6]

This is spoken of by Virgil, where he says:

“He (the Sun) covered his luminous head with a sooty darkness,
And the impious ages feared eternal night.”[207:7]
It is also referred to by Tibullus, Ovid, and Lucian (poets), Pliny, Appian, Dion Cassius, and Julius Obsequenes (historians.)[207:8]

When Æsculapius the Saviour was put to death, the sun shone dimly from the heavens; the birds were silent in the darkened groves; the trees bowed down their heads in sorrow; and the hearts of all the sons of men fainted within them, because the healer of their pains and sickness lived no more upon the earth.[208:1]

When Hercules was dying, he said to the faithful female (Iole) who followed him to the last spot on earth on which he trod, “Weep not, my toil is done, and now is the time for rest. I shall see thee again in the bright land which is never trodden by the feet of night.” Then, as the dying god expired, darkness was on the face of the earth; from the high heaven came down the thick cloud, and the din of its thunder crashed through the air. In this manner, Zeus, the god of gods, carried his son home, and the halls of Olympus were opened to welcome the bright hero who rested from his mighty toil. There he now sits, clothed in a white robe, with a crown upon his head.[208:2]

When Œdipus was about to leave this world of pain and sorrow, he bade Antigone farewell, and said, “Weep not, my child, I am going to my home, and I rejoice to lay down the burden of my woe.” Then there were signs in the heaven above and on the earth beneath, that the end was nigh at hand, for the earth did quake, and the thunder roared and echoed again and again through the sky.[208:3]

“The Romans had a god called Quirinius. His soul emanated from the sun, and was restored to it. He was begotten by the god of armies upon a virgin of the royal blood, and exposed by order of the jealous tyrant Amulius, and was preserved and educated among shepherds. He was torn to pieces at his death, when he ascended into heaven; upon which the sun was eclipsed or darkened.”[208:4]

When Alexander the Great died, similar prodigies are said to have happened; again, when foul murders were committed, it is said that the sun seemed to hide its face. This is illustrated in the story of Atreus, King of Mycenae, who foully murdered the children of his brother Thyestes. At that time, the sun, unable to endure a sight so horrible, “turned his course backward and withdrew his light.”[208:5]

At the time of the death of the virgin-born Quetzalcoatle, the [Pg 209]Mexican crucified Saviour, the sun was darkened, and withheld its light.[209:1]

Lord Kingsborough, speaking of this event, considers it very strange that the Mexicans should have preserved an account of it among their records, when “the great eclipse which sacred history records” is not recorded in profane history.

Gibbon, the historian, speaking of this phenomenon, says:

“Under the reign of Tiberius, the whole earth,[209:2] or at least a celebrated province of the Roman empire,[209:3] was involved in a perpetual darkness of three hours. Even this miraculous event, which ought to have excited the wonder, the curiosity, and the devotion of mankind, passed without notice in an age of science and history. It happened during the life-time of Seneca[209:4] and the elder Pliny,[209:5] who must have experienced the immediate effects, or received the earliest intelligence, of the prodigy. Each of these philosophers, in a laborious work, has recorded all the great phenomena of nature, earthquakes, meteors, comets and eclipses, which his indefatigable curiosity could collect.[209:6] But the one and the other have omitted to mention the greatest phenomenon to which the mortal eye has been witness since the creation of the globe.”[209:7]

This account of the darkness at the time of the death of Jesus of Nazareth, is one of the prodigies related in the New Testament which no Christian commentator has been able to make appear reasonable. The favorite theory is that it was a natural eclipse of the sun, which happened to take place at that particular time, but, if this was the case, there was nothing supernatural in the event, and it had nothing whatever to do with the death of Jesus. Again, it would be necessary to prove from other sources that such an event happened at that time, but this cannot be done. The argument from the duration of the darkness—three hours—is also of great force against such an occurrence having happened, for an eclipse seldom lasts in great intensity more than six minutes.

Even if it could be proved that an eclipse really happened at the time assigned for the crucifixion of Jesus, how about the earthquake, when the rocks were rent and the graves opened? and how about the “saints which slept” rising bodily and walking in the streets of the Holy City and appearing to many? Surely, the faith that would remove mountains,[209:8] is required here.

Shakespeare has embalmed some traditions of the kind exactly analogous to the present case:

“In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.”[210:1]
Belief in the influence of the stars over life and death, and in special portents at the death of great men, survived, indeed, to recent times. Chaucer abounds in allusions to it, and still later Shakespeare tells us:

“When beggars die there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.”
It would seem that this superstition survives even to the present day, for it is well known that the dark and yellow atmosphere which settled over so much of the country, on the day of the removal of President Garfield from Washington to Long Branch, was sincerely held by hundreds of persons to be a death-warning sent from heaven, and there were numerous predictions that dissolution would take place before the train arrived at its destination.

As Mr. Greg remarks, there can, we think, remain little doubt in unprepossessed minds, that the whole legend in question was one of those intended to magnify Christ Jesus, which were current in great numbers at the time the Matthew narrator wrote, and which he, with the usual want of discrimination and somewhat omnivorous tendency, which distinguished him as a compiler, admitted into his Gospel.
FOOTNOTES:

[206:1] Luke, xxiii. 44, 45.
[206:2] Matthew, xxvii. 51-53.
[206:3] Amberly: Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 268.
[206:4] Life of Christ, vol. ii. p. 643.
[207:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 71.
[207:2] Rhys David’s Buddhism, pp. 36, 37.
[207:3] See Potter’s Æschylus, “Prometheus Chained,” last stanza.
[207:4] Farrar’s Life of Christ, p. 52.
[207:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 616, 617.
[207:6] See Ibid. and Gibbon’s Rome, vol. i. pp. 159 and 590, also Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, book xiv. ch. xii. and note.
[207:7]
“Cum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit
Impiaquæ æternam timuerunt sæcula noctem.”
[207:8] See Gibbon’s Rome, vol. i. pp. 159 and 590.
[208:1] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 46.
[208:2] Ibid. pp. 61, 62.
[208:3] Ibid. p. 270.
[208:4] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 822.
[208:5] See Bell‘s Pantheon, vol. i. p. 106.
[209:1] See Kingsborough’s Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 5.
[209:2] The Fathers of the Church seem to cover the whole earth with darkness, in which they are followed by most of the moderns. (Gibbon. Luke, xxiii. 44, says “over all the earth.”)
[209:3] Origen (a Father of the third century) and a few modern critics, are desirous of confining it to the land of Judea. (Gibbon.)
[209:4] Seneca, a celebrated philosopher and historian, born in Spain a few years B. C., but educated in Rome, and became a “Roman.”
[209:5] Pliny the elder, a celebrated Roman philosopher and historian, born about 23 A. D.
[209:6] Seneca: Quaest. Natur. l. i. 15, vi. l. vii. 17. Pliny: Hist. Natur. l. ii.
[209:7] Gibbon’s Rome, i. 589, 590.
[209:8] Matt. xvi. 20.
[210:1] Hamlet, act 1, s. 1.


Extract from “BIBLE MYTHS AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” By T. W. DOANE,  1882. Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
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