Category Archives: History

Scientific proof of doubtful Biblical narratives

The Old Testament’s made-up camels are a problem for Zionism:
Obviously it has upset fundamentalists. Everyone else has known for decades that there is even less evidence for the historical truth of the Old Testament than there is for that of the Qur’an.
A detail from The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Jacopo da Empoli. Scientists have proved that the camels in the story of Abraham and Isaac are a fiction. Photograph: Corbis
There are 21 references to camels in the first books of the Bible, and now we know they are all made up.
Some of them are quite startlingly verisimilitudinous, such as the story of Abraham’s servant finding a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24: “Then the servant left, taking with him 10 of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim and made his way to the town of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was towards evening, the time the women go out to draw water.”
But these camels are made up, all 10 of them. Two Israeli archaeozoologists have sifted through a site just north of modern Eilat looking for camel bones, which can be dated by radio carbon.
None of the domesticated camel bones they found date from earlier than around 930BC – about 1,500 years after the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are supposed to have taken place. Whoever put the camels into the story of Abraham and Isaac might as well have improved the story of Little Red Riding Hood by having her ride up to Granny’s in an SUV.
How can you tell whether a camel skeleton is from a wild or tamed animal? You look at the leg bones, and if they are thickened this shows they have been carrying unnaturally heavy loads, so they must have been domesticated. If you have a graveyard of camels, you can also see what proportion are males, and which are preferred for human uses because they can carry more.
All these considerations make it clear that camels were not domesticated anywhere in the region before 1000BC.
Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef, the scientists who carried out the research, point out that the domestication of camels was hugely important economically, because they made trade possible over much larger regions of the Arabian peninsula. But that is not what has provoked excitement about their claim.
Obviously it has upset fundamentalists. Everyone else has known for decades that there is even less evidence for the historical truth of the Old Testament than there is for that of the Qur’an. But the peculiarly mealy-mouthed nature of the quotes they gave the New York Times (which is not much concerned with the feelings of Christian fundamentalists) shows where the real problem is.
The history recounted in the Bible is a huge part of the mythology of modern Zionism. The idea of a promised land is based on narratives that assert with complete confidence stories that never actually happened. There are of course other ways to argue for the Zionist project, and still further arguments about the right of Israelis to live within secure boundaries now that the country exists. But although those stand logically independent of the histories invented – as far as we can tell – in Babylonian captivity during the sixth century BC, they make little emotional sense without the history. And it is emotions that drive politics.
by Andrew Brown,
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace
Peace Forum Network

Bible- Introduction

Bible is the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity also revered by Muslims, who as an article faith are required to believe in all the prophets and scriptures. Quran mentions 25 prophets by name and Books, of Abraham [Muhsaf-e-Ibrahim], Torah, Psalms and Gospel [Injeel] to Jesus Christ. Jews and Christians are addressed as ‘people of the book” by Quran with special status. ‘The word ‘Bible’ is derived from Greek biblos (“book”) can be compared with byblos (“Papyrus”: The writing material of ancient times and also the plant from which it was derived). In the fifth century, name ‘Bible’ began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the “Library of Divine Revelation.” The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in the English language. Interestingly the word ‘Bible’ does not exist in the scripture. The order as well as the number of books differs between the Jewish Bible, the Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Bible. The suffix “pedia” is from the Greek root ‘paideia‘ [Παιδεία] meaning education, culture. ‘Bible-Pedia’  is eduction, learning about Bible , its relationship with Jesus Christ & Christianity.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~  ~ ~ ~ 

A Comprehensive Introduction to Bible
“PREFACE” To The Revised  Standard Version 

Revised Standard Version of the Bible is an authorized revision of the American Standard Version, published in 1901, which was a revision of the King James Version, published in 1611. The first English version of the Scriptures made by direct translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, and the first to be printed, was the work of William Tyndale. He met bitter opposition. He was accused of willfully perverting the meaning of the Scriptures, and his New Testaments were ordered to be burned as “untrue translations.” He was finally betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and in October 1536, was publicly executed and burned at the stake.

Yet Tyndale’s work became the foundation of subsequent English versions, notably those of Coverdale, 1535; Thomas Matthew (probably a pseudonym for John Rogers), 1537; the Great Bible, 1539; the Geneva Bible, 1560; and the Bishops’ Bible, 1568. In 1582 a translation of the New Testament, made from the Latin Vulgate by Roman Catholic scholars, was published atRheims. The translators who made the King James Version took into account all of these preceding versions; and comparison shows that it owes something to each of them. It kept felicitous phrases and apt expressions, from whatever source, which had stood the test of public usage. It owed most, especially in the New Testament, to Tyndale. The King James Version had to compete with the Geneva Bible in popular use; but in the end it prevailed, and for more than two and a half centuries no other authorized translation of the Bible into English was made. The King James Version became the “Authorized Version” of the English-speaking peoples.
The King James Version has with good reason been termed “the noblestmonumentofEnglishprose.” Its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for “its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression . . . the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.” It entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples. We owe to it an incalculable debt.
Yet the King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manu­scripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation. The task was undertaken, by authority of the Church of England, in 1870. The English Revised Version of the Bible was published in 1881-1885; and the American Standard Version, its variant em­bodying the preferences of the American scholars associated in the works was published in 1901.
Because of unhappy experience with unauthorized publications in the two decades between 1881 and 1901, which tampered with the text of the English Revised Version in the supposed interest of the American public, the American Standard Version was copyrighted, to protect the text from unauthorized changes. In 1928 this copyright was acquired by the International Council of Religious Education, and thus passed into the ownership of the churches of theUnited States andCanada which were associated in this Council through their boards of education and publication.
The Council appointed a committee of scholars to have charge of the text of the American Standard Version and to undertake inquiry as to whether further revision was necessary. For more than two years the Committee worked upon the problem of whether or not revision should be undertaken; and if so, what should be its nature and extent. In the end the decision was reached that there is need for a thorough revision of the version of 1901, which will stay as close to the Tyndale-King James tradition as it can in the light of our present knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek texts and their meaning on the one hand, and our present understanding of English on the other.
In 1937 the revision was authorized by vote of the Council, which directed that the resulting version should “embody the best results of modern scholarship as to the meaning of the Scriptures, and express this meaning in English diction which is designed for use in public and private worship and preserve those qualities which have given to the King James Version a supreme place in English literature.”
Thirty-two scholars have served as members of the Committee charged with making the revision, and they have secured the review and counsel of an Advisory Board of fifty representatives of the co-operating denominations. The Committee has worked in two sections, one dealing with the Old Testament and one with the New Testament. Each section has submitted its work to the scrutiny of the members of the other section; and the charter of the Committee requires that all changes be agreed upon by a two-thirds vote of the total membership of the Committee. The Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was published in 1946. The publication of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments was authorized by vote of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. in 1951.
The problem of establishing the correct Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Old Testament is very different from the corresponding problem in the New Testa­ment. For the New Testament we have a large number of Greek manuscripts, preserving many variant forms of the text. Some of them were made only two or three centuries later than the original composition of the books. For the Old Testament only late manuscripts survive, all (with the exception of the Dead Sea texts of Isaiah and Habakkuk and some fragments of other books) based on a standardized form of the text established many centuries after the books were written.
The present revision is based on the consonantal Hebrew and Aramaic text as fixed early in the Christian era and revised by Jewish scholars (the “Masoretes”) of the sixth to ninth centuries. The vowel signs, which were added by the Masoretes, are accepted also in the main, but where a more probable and convincing reading can be obtained by assuming different vowels, this has been done. No notes are given in such cases, because the vowel points are less ancient and reliable than the consonants.
Departures from the consonantal text of the best manuscripts have been made only where it seems clear that errors in copying had been made before the text was standardized. Most of the corrections adopted are based on the ancient ver­sions (translations into Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, and Latin), which were made before the time of the Masoretic revision and therefore reflect earlier forms of the text. In every such instance a footnote specifies the version or versions from which the correction has been derived, and also gives a translation of the Masoretic Text.
Sometimes it is evident that the text has suffered in transmission, but none of the versions provides a satisfactory restoration. Here we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the most probable reconstruction of the original text. Such corrections are indicated in the footnotes by the abbrevia­tion Cn, and a translation of the Masoretic Text is added.
The discovery of the meaning of the text, once the best readings have been established, is aided by many new resources for understanding the original languages. Much progress has been made in the historical and comparative study of these languages. A vast quantity of writings in related Semitic languages, some of them only recently discovered, has greatly enlarged our knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Sometimes the present translation will be found to render a Hebrew word in a sense quite different from that of the traditional interpretation. It has not been felt necessary in such cases to attach a footnote, because no change in the text is involved and it may be assumed that the new rendering was not adopted without convincing evidence. The analysis of religious texts from the ancient Near East has made clearer the significance of ideas and practices recorded in the Old Testament. Many difficulties and obscurities, of course, remain. Where the choice between two meanings is particularly difficult or doubtful, we have given an alternative rendering in a footnote. If in the judgment of the Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure, either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of our present knowledge of the language, that fact is indicated by a note. It should not be assumed, however, that the Committee was entirely sure or unanimous concerning every rendering not so indicated. To record all minority views was obviously out of the question.
A major departure from the practice of the American Standard Version is the rendering of the Divine Name, the “Tetragrammaton.” The American Standard Version used the term “Jehovah“; the King James Version had employed this in four places, but everywhere else, except in three cases where it was employed as part of a proper name, used the English word lord (or in certain cases god) printed in capitals. The present revision returns to the procedure of the King James Version, which follows the precedent of the ancient Greek and Latin translators and the long established practice in the reading of the Hebrew scrip­tures in the synagogue. While it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced “Yahweh,” this pronunciation was not indicated when the Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal Hebrew text. To the four conso­nants YHWH of the Name, which bad come to be regarded as too sacred to be pronounced, they attached vowel signs indicating that in its place should be read the Hebrew word Adonai meaning “Lord” (or Elohim meaning “God”). The ancient Greek translators substituted the word Kyrios (Lord) for the Name. The Vulgate likewise used the Latin word Dominus. The form “Jehovah” is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin. For two reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version: (1) the word “Jehovah” does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew; and (2) the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom He had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.
The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of manuscript copying. It was essentially the Greek text of the New Testament as edited by Beza, 1589, who closely followed that published by Erasmus, 1516-1535, which was based upon a few medieval manuscripts. The earliest and best of the eight manuscripts which Erasmus consulted was from the tenth century, and he made the least use of it because it differed most from the commonly received text; Beza had access to two manuscripts of great value, dating from the fifth and sixth centuries, but he made very little use of them because they differed from the text published by Erasmus.
We now possess many more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, and are far better equipped to seek to recover the original wording of the Greek text. The evidence for the text of the books of the New Testament is better than for any other ancient book, both in the number of extant manuscripts and in the nearness of the date of some of these manuscripts to the date when the book was originally written.
The revisers in the 1870’s had most of the evidence that we now have for the Greek text, though the most ancient of all extant manuscripts of the Greek New Testament were not discovered until 1931. But they lacked the resources which discoveries within the past eighty years have afforded for understanding the vocabulary, grammar and idioms of the Greek New Testament. An amazing body of Greek papyri has been unearthed in Egypt since the 1870’s—private letters, official reports, wills, business accounts, petitions, and other such trivial, everyday recordings of the activities of human beings. In 1895 appeared the first of Adolf Deissmann’s studies of these ordinary materials. He proved that many words which had hitherto been assumed to belong to what was called “Biblical Greek” were current in the spoken vernacular of the first century A.D. The New Testament was written in the Koine, the common Greek which was spoken and understood practically everywhere throughout the Roman Empire in the early centuries of the Christian era. This development in the study of New Testament Greek has come since the work on the English Revised Version and the American Standard Version was done, and at many points sheds new light upon the meaning of the Greek text.
A major reason for revision of the King James Version, which is valid for both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is the change since 1611 in English usage. Many forms of expression have become archaic, while still generally intelligible—;the use of thou, thee, thy, thine and the verb endings -est and -edst, the verb endings -etb and -th, it came to pass that whosoever, whatsoever, inso­much that, because that, for that, unto; howbeit, peradventure, holden, afore­time, must needs, would fain, behooved., to you-ward, etc. Other words are obsolete and no longer understood by the common reader. The greatest problem, however, is presented by the English words which are still in constant use but now convey a different meaning from that which they had in 1611 and in the King James Version. These words were once accurate translations of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures; but now, having changed in meaning, they have become misleading. They no longer say what the King James translators meant them to say. Thus, the King James Version uses the word “let” in the sense of “hinder,” “prevent” to mean “precede”allow” in ‘the sense of “approve,” “communicate” for “share,” “conversation” for “conduct,” “comprehend” for “overcome,” “ghost” for “spirit,” “wealth” for “well-being,” “allege” for “prove,” “demand” for “ask,” “take no thought” for “be not anxious,” etc.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, was published on September 30, 1952, and has met with wide acceptance. This preface does not undertake to set forth in detail the lines along which the revision proceeded. That is done in pamphlets entitled An Introduc­tion to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament and An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament, written by members of the Committee and designed to help the general public to understand the main principles which have guided this comprehensive revision of the King James and American Standard versions.
These principles were reaffirmed by the Committee in 1959, in connection with a study of criticisms and suggestions from various readers. As a result, a few changes were authorized for subsequent editions, most of them corrections of punctuation, capitalization, or footnotes. Some of them are changes of words or phrases made in the interest of consistency, clarity or accuracy of translation.
The Second Edition of the translation of the New Testament (1971) profits from textual and linguistic studies published since the Revised Standard Version New Testament was first issued in 1946. Many proposals for modification were submitted to the Committee by individuals and by two denominational com­mittees. All of these were given careful attention by the Committee.
Two passages, the longer ending of Mark (16.9-20) and the account of the woman caught in adultery (John 7.5-3-8.11), are restored to the text, separated from it by a blank space and accompanied by informative notes describing the various arrangements of the text in the ancient authorities. With new manuscript support two passages, Luke 22.19b-20 and 24.51b, are restored to the text, and one passage, Luke 22.43-44 is placed in the note, as is a phrase in Luke 12.39. Notes are added which indicate significant variations, additions, or omissions in the ancient authorities (Mt 9.34; Mk 3.16; 7.4; Lk 24.32, 51, etc.).
Among the new notes are those giving the equivalence of ancient coinage with the contemporary day’s or year’s wages of a labourer Mt 18.24,28; 20.2, etc.). Some of the revisions clarify the meaning through rephrasing or reordering the text (see Mk 5.42; Lk 22.29-30; Jn 10.33; I Cor 3.9; 2 Cor 5.19; Heb 13.13). Even when the changes appear to be largely matters of English style, they have the purpose of presenting to the reader more adequately the meaning of the text (see Mt 10.8; 12.1; 15.29; 17.20; Lk 7.36; 11.17; 12.40; Jn 16.9; Rom 10.16; 1 Cor 12.24;2 Cor 2.3; 3.5, 6; etc.).
The Revised Standard Version Bible seeks to preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the years. It is intended for use in public and private worship, not merely for reading and instruction. We have resisted the temptation to use phrases that are merely current usage, and have sought to put the message of the Bible in simple, enduring words that are worthy to stand in the great Tyndale-King James tradition. We are glad to say, with the King James translators: “Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one … but to make a good one better.”
The Bible is more than a historical document to be preserved. And it is more than a classic of English literature to be cherished and admired. It is a record of God’s dealing with men, of God’s revelation of Himself and His will. It records the life and work of Him in whom the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among men. The Bible carries its full message, not to those who regard it simply as a heritage of the pastor praise its literary style, but to those who read it that they may discern and understand God’s Word to men. That Word must not be disguised in phrases that are no longer clear, or hidden under words that have changed or lost their meaning. It must stand forth in language that is direct and plain and meaningful to people today. It is our hope and our earnest prayer that this Revised Standard Version of the Bible may be used by God to speak to men in these momentous times, and to help them to understand and believe and obey His Word.

[Source: “PREFACE” to THE BIBLE , REVISED STANDARD VERSION, Published By WM. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd, For The British & Foreign Bible Society, Printed inGreat Britain, RS53P-100M-1972(14) – ISBN 0564 001015]

See Next: Bible-Analysis


We now come to the last, but certainly not least, question to be answered; which is, what do we really know of the man Jesus of Nazareth? How much of the Gospel narratives can we rely upon as fact?

Jesus of Nazareth is so enveloped in the mists of the past, and his history so obscured by legend, that it may be compared to footprints in the sand. We know some one has been there, but as to what manner of man he may have been, we certainly know little as fact. The Gospels, the only records we have of him,[508:1] have been proven, over and over again, unhistorical and legendary; to state anything as positive about the man is nothing more nor less than assumption; we can therefore conjecture only. Liberal writers philosophize and wax eloquent to little purpose, when, after demolishing the historical accuracy of the New Testament, they end their task by eulogizing the man Jesus, claiming for him the highest praise, and asserting that he was the best and grandest of our race;[508:2] but this manner of reasoning (undoubtedly consoling to many) facts do not warrant. We may consistently revere his name, and place it in the long list of the great and noble, the reformers and religious teachers of the past, all of whom have done their part in bringing about the freedom we now enjoy, but to go beyond this, is, to our thinking, unwarranted.
If the life of Jesus of Nazareth, as related in the books of the New Testament, be in part the story of a man who really lived and suffered, that story has been so interwoven with images borrowed from myths of a bygone age, as to conceal forever any fragments of history which may lie beneath them. Gautama Buddha was undoubtedly an historical personage, yet the Sun-god myth has been added to his history to such an extent that we really know nothing positive about him. Alexander the Great was an historical personage, yet his history is one mass of legends. So it is with Julius Cesar, Cyrus, King of Persia, and scores of others. “The story of Cyrus’ perils in infancy belongs to solar mythology as much as the stories of the magic slipper, of Charlemagne and Barbarossa. His grandfather, Astyages, is purely a mythical creation, his name being identical with that of the night demon, Azidahaka, who appears in the Shah-Nameh as the biting serpent.”
The actual Jesus is inaccessible to scientific research. His image cannot be recovered. He left no memorial in writing of himself; his followers were illiterate; the mind of his age was confused. Paul received only traditions of him, how definite we have no means of knowing, apparently not significant enough to be treasured, nor consistent enough to oppose a barrier to his own speculations. As M. Renan says: “The Christ who communicates private revelations to him is a phantom of his own making;” “it is himself he listens to, while fancying that he hears Jesus.”[509:1]
In studying the writings of the early advocates of Christianity, and Fathers of the Christian Church, where we would naturally look for the language that would indicate the real occurrence of the facts of the Gospel—if real occurrences they had ever been—we not only find no such language, but everywhere find every sort of sophistical ambages, ramblings from the subject, and evasions of the very business before them, as if on purpose to balk our research, and insult our skepticism. If we travel to the very sepulchre of Christ Jesus, it is only to discover that he was never there: history seeks evidence of his existence as a man, but finds no more trace of it than of the shadow that flits across the wall. “The Star of Bethlehem” shone not upon her path, and the order of the universe was suspended without her observation.
She asks, with the Magi of the East, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” and, like them, finds no solution of her inquiry, but the guidance that guides as well to one place as another; descriptions that apply to Æsculapius, Buddha and Crishna, as well as to Jesus; prophecies, without evidence that they were ever prophesied; miracles, which those who are said to have seen, are said also to have denied seeing; narratives without authorities, facts without dates, and records without names. In vain do the so-called disciples of Jesus point to the passages in Josephus and Tacitus;[510:1] in vain do they point to the spot on which he was crucified; to the fragments of the true cross, or the nails with which he was pierced, and to the tomb in which he was laid. Others have done as much for scores of mythological personages who never lived in the flesh. Did not Damus, the beloved disciple of Apollonius of Tyana, while on his way to India, see, on Mt. Caucasus, the identical chains with which Prometheus had been bound to the rocks? Did not the Scythians[510:2] say that Hercules had visited their country? and did they not show the print of his foot upon a rock to substantiate their story?[510:3] Was not his tomb to be seen at Cadiz, where his bones were shown?[510:4] Was not the tomb of Bacchus to be seen in Greece?[510:5] Was not the tomb of Apollo to be seen at Delphi?[510:6] Was not the tomb of Achilles to be seen at Dodona, where Alexander the Great honored it by placing a crown upon it?[510:7] Was not the tomb of Æsculapius to be seen in Arcadia, in a grove consecrated to him, near the river Lusius?[510:8] Was not the tomb of Deucalion—he who was saved from the Deluge—long pointed out near the sanctuary of Olympian Jove, in Athens?[510:9] Was not the tomb of Osiris to be seen in Egypt, where, at stated seasons, the priests went in solemn procession, and covered it with flowers?[510:10] Was not the tomb of Jonah—he who was “swallowed up by a big fish”—to be seen at Nebi-Yunus, near Mosul?[510:11] Are not the tombs of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Seth, Abraham, and other Old Testament characters, to be seen even at the present day?[510:12] And did not the Emperor Constantine dedicate a beautiful church over the tomb of St. George, the warrior saint?[510:13] Of what value, then, is such evidence of the existence of such an individual as Jesus of Nazareth? The fact is, “the records of his life are so very scanty, and these have been so shaped and colored and modified by the hands of ignorance and superstition and party prejudice and ecclesiastical purpose, that it is hard to be sure of the original outlines.”
In the first two centuries the professors of Christianity were divided into many sects, but these might be all resolved into two divisions—one consisting of Nazarenes, Ebionites, and orthodox; the other of Gnostics, under which all the remaining sects arranged themselves. The former are supposed to have believed in Jesus crucified, in the common, literal acceptation of the term; the latter—believers in the Christ as an Æon—though they admitted the crucifixion, considered it to have been in some mystic way—perhaps what might be called spiritualiter, as it is called in the Revelation: but notwithstanding the different opinions they held, they all denied that the Christ did really die, in the literal acceptation of the term, on the cross.[511:1] The Gnostic, or Oriental, Christians undoubtedly took their doctrine from the Indian crucifixion[511:2] (of which we have treated in Chapters XX. and XXXIX.), as well as many other tenets with which we have found the Christian Church deeply tainted. They held that:
“To deliver the soul, a captive in darkness, the ‘Prince of Light,’ the ‘Genius of the Sun,’ charged with the redemption of the intellectual world, of which the Sun is the type, manifested itself among men; that the light appeared in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not; that, in fact, light could not unite with darkness; it put on only the appearance of the human body; that at the crucifixion Christ Jesus only appeared to suffer. His person having disappeared, the bystanders saw in his place a cross of light, over which a celestial voice proclaimed these words; ‘The Cross of Light is called Logos, Christos, the Gate, the Joy.'”
Several of the texts of the Gospel histories were quoted with great plausibility by the Gnostics in support of their doctrine. The story of Jesus passing through the midst of the Jews when they were about to cast him headlong from the brow of a hill (Luke iv. 29, 30), and when they were going to stone him (John iii. 59; x. 31, 39), were examples not easily refuted.
The Manichean Christian Bishop Faustus expresses himself in the following manner:
“Do you receive the gospel? (ask ye). Undoubtedly I do! Why then, you also admit that Christ was born? Not so; for it by no means follows that in believing the gospel, I should therefore believe that Christ was born! Do you then think that he was of the Virgin Mary? Manes hath said, ‘Far be it that I should ever own that Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . . . .'” etc.[512:1]
Tertullian’s manner of reasoning on the evidences of Christianity is also in the same vein, as we saw in our last chapter.[512:2]
Mr. King, speaking of the Gnostic Christians, says:
“Their chief doctrines had been held for centuries before (their time) in many of the cities in Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as Mystæ, upon the establishment of direct intercourse with India, under the Seleucidæ and Ptolemies. The college of Essenes and Megabyzæ at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curets of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”[512:3]
These early Christian Mystics are alluded to in several instances in the New Testament. For example:
“Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.”[512:4] “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”[512:5]
This is language that could not have been used, if the reality of Christ Jesus’ existence as a man could not have been denied, or, it would certainly seem, if the apostle himself had been able to give any evidence whatever of the claim.
The quarrels on this subject lasted for a long time among the early Christians. Hermas, speaking of this, says to the brethren:
“Take heed, my children, that your dissensions deprive you not of your lives. How will ye instruct the elect of God, when ye yourselves want correction? Wherefore admonish one another, and be at peace among yourselves; that I, standing before your father, may give an account of you unto the Lord.”[512:6]
Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Smyrnæans, says:[512:7]
“Only in the name of Jesus Christ, I undergo all, to suffer together with him; he who was made a perfect man strengthening me. Whom some, not knowing, do deny; or rather have been denied by him, being the advocates of death, rather than of the truth. Whom neither the prophecies, nor the law of Moses, have persuaded; nor the Gospel itself even to this day, nor the sufferings of any one of us. For they think also the same thing of us; for what does a man profit me, if he shall praise me, and blaspheme my Lord; not confessing that he was truly made man?”
In his Epistle to the Philadelphians he says:[513:1]
“I have heard of some who say, unless I find it written in the originals, I will not believe it to be written in the Gospel. And when I said, It is written, they answered what lay before them in their corrupted copies.”
Polycarp, in his Epistle to the Philippians, says:[513:2]
“Whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, he is Antichrist: and whosoever does not confess his sufferings upon the cross, is from the devil. And whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts; and says that there shall neither be any resurrection, nor judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.”
Ignatius says to the Magnesians:[513:3]
“Be not deceived with strange doctrines; nor with old fables which are unprofitable. For if we still continue to live according to the Jewish law, we do confess ourselves not to have received grace. For even the most holy prophets lived according to Jesus Christ. . . . Wherefore if they who were brought up in these ancient laws came nevertheless to the newness of hope; no longer observing Sabbaths, but keeping the Lord’s Day, in which also our life is sprung up by him, and through his death, whom yet some deny. By which mystery we have been brought to believe, and therefore wait that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only master. . . . . These things, my beloved, I write unto you, not that I know of any among you that be under this error; but as one of the least among you, I am desirous to forewarn you that ye fall not into the snares of vain doctrine.”
After reading this we can say with the writer of Timothy,[513:4] “Without controversy, great is the MYSTERY of godliness.”
Beside those who denied that Christ Jesus had ever been manifest in the flesh, there were others who denied that he had been crucified.[513:5] This is seen from the words of Justin Martyr, in his Apology for the Christian Religion, written A. D. 141, where he says:
“As to the objection to our Jesus’s being crucified, I say, suffering was common to all the Sons of Jove.”[513:6]
This is as much as to say: “You Pagans claim that your incarnate gods and Saviours suffered and died, then why should not we claim the same for our Saviour?”
The Koran, referring to the Jews, says:
“They have not believed in Jesus, and have spoken against Mary a grievous calumny, and have said: ‘Verily we have slain Christ Jesus, the son of Mary’ (the apostle of God). Yet they slew him not, neither crucified him, but he was represented by one in his likeness. And verily they who disagreed concerning him were in a doubt as to this matter, and had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an uncertain opinion.”[514:1]
This passage alone, from the Mohammedan Bible, is sufficient to show, if other evidence were wanting, that the early Christians “disagreed concerning him,” and that “they had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an uncertain opinion.”
In the books which are now called Apocryphal, but which were the most quoted, and of equal authority with the others, and which were voted not the word of God—for obvious reasons—and were therefore cast out of the canon, we find many allusions to the strife among the early Christians. For instance; in the “First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,”[514:2] we read as follows:
“Wherefore are there strifes, and anger, and divisions, and schisms, and wars, among us? . . . Why do we rend and tear in pieces the members of Christ, and raise seditions against our own body? and are come to such a height of madness, as to forget that we are members one of another.”
In his Epistle to the Trallians, Ignatius says:[514:3]
“I exhort you, or rather not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, that ye use none but Christian nourishment; abstaining from pasture which is of another kind. I mean Heresy. For they that are heretics, confound together the doctrine of Jesus Christ with their own poison; whilst they seem worthy of belief. . . . Stop your ears, therefore, as often as any one shall speak contrary to Jesus Christ, who was of the race of David, of the Virgin Mary. Who was truly born, and did eat and drink; was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; was truly crucified and dead; both those in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, being spectators of it. . . . But if, as some who are atheists, that is to say, infidels, pretend, that he only seemed to suffer, why then am I bound? Why do I desire to fight with beasts? Therefore do I die in vain.”
We find St. Paul, the very first Apostle of the Gentiles, expressly avowing that he was made a minister of the gospel, which had already been preached to every creature under heaven,[514:4] and preaching a God manifest in the flesh, who had been believed on in the world,[514:5] therefore, before the commencement of his ministry; and who could not have been the man of Nazareth, who had certainly not been preached, at that time, nor generally believed on in the world, till ages after that time.[514:6] We find also that:
1. This Paul owns himself a deacon, the lowest ecclesiastical grade of the Therapeutan church.
2. The Gospel of which these Epistles speak, had been extensively preached and fully established before the time of Jesus, by the Therapeuts or Essenes, who believed in the doctrine of the Angel-Messiah, the Æon from heaven.[515:1]
Leo the Great, so-called (A. D. 440-461), writes thus:
“Let those who with impious murmurings find fault with the Divine dispensations, and who complain about the lateness of our Lord’s nativity, cease from their grievances, as if what was carried out in later ages of the world, had not been impending in time past. . . .
“What the Apostles preached, the prophets (in Israel) had announced before, and what has always been (universally) believed, cannot be said to have been fulfilled too late. By this delay of his work of salvation, the wisdom and love of God have only made us more fitted for his call; so that, what had been announced before by many Signs and Words and Mysteries during so many centuries, should not be doubtful or uncertain in the days of the gospel. . . God has not provided for the interests of men by a new council or by a late compassion; but he had instituted from the beginning for all men, one and the same path of salvation.”[515:2]
This is equivalent to saying that, “God, in his ‘late compassion,’ has sent his Son, Christ Jesus, to save us, therefore do not complain or ‘murmur’ about ‘the lateness of his coming,’ for the Lord has already provided for those who preceded us; he has given them ‘the same path of salvation’ by sending to them, as he has sent to us, a Redeemer and a Saviour.”
Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Typho,[515:3] makes a similar confession (as we have already seen in our last chapter), wherein he says that there exists not a people, civilized or semi-civilized, who have not offered up prayers in the name of a crucified Saviour to the Father and Creator of all things.
Add to this medley the fact that St. Irenæus (A. D. 192), one of the most celebrated, most respected, and most quoted of the early Christian Fathers, tells us on the authority of his master, Polycarp, who had it from St. John himself, and from all the old people of Asia, that Jesus was not crucified at the time stated in the Gospels, but that he lived to be nearly fifty years old. The passage which, most fortunately, has escaped the destroyers of all such evidence, is to be found in Irenæus’ second book against heresies,[515:4] of which the following is a portion:
“As the chief part of thirty years belongs to youth, and every one will confess him to be such till the fortieth year: but from the fortieth year to the fiftieth he declines into old age, which our Lord (Jesus) having attained he taught us the Gospel, and all the elders who, in Asia, assembled with John, the disciple of the Lord, testify; and as John himself had taught them. And he (John?) remained with them till the time of Trajan. And some of them saw not only John but other Apostles, and heard the same thing from them, and bear the same testimony to this revelation.”
The escape of this passage from the destroyers can be accounted for only in the same way as the passage of Minucius Felix (quoted in Chapter XX.) concerning the Pagans worshiping a crucifix. These two passages escaped from among, probably, hundreds destroyed, of which we know nothing, under the decrees of the emperors, yet remaining, by which they were ordered to be destroyed.
In John viii. 56, Jesus is made to say to the Jews: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad.” Then said the Jews unto him: “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?”
If Jesus was then but about thirty years of age, the Jews would evidently have said: “thou art not yet forty years old,” and would not have been likely to say: “thou art not yet fifty years old,” unless he was past forty.
There was a tradition current among the early Christians, that Annas was high-priest when Jesus was crucified. This is evident from the Acts.[516:1] Now, Annas, or Ananias, was not high-priest until about the year 48 a. d.;[516:2] therefore, if Jesus was crucified at that time he must have been about fifty years of age;[516:3] but, as we remarked elsewhere, there exists, outside of the New Testament, no evidence whatever, in book, inscription, or monument, that Jesus of Nazareth was either scourged or crucified under Pontius Pilate. Josephus, Tacitus, Plinius, Philo, nor any of their contemporaries, ever refer to the fact of this crucifixion, or express any belief thereon.[516:4] In the Talmud—the book containing Jewish traditions—Jesus is not referred to as the “crucified one,” but as the “hanged one,”[516:5] while elsewhere it is narrated he was stoned to death; so that it is evident they were ignorant of the manner of death which he suffered.[516:6]
In Sanhedr. 43 a, Jesus it said to have had five disciples, among whom were Mattheaus and Thaddeus. He is called “That Man,” “The Nazarine,” “The Fool,” and “The Hung.” Thus Aben Ezra says that Constantine put on his labarum “a figure of the hung;” and, according to R. Bechai, the Christians were called “Worshipers of the Hung.”
Little is said about Jesus in the Talmud, except that he was a scholar of Joshua Ben Perachiah (who lived a century before the time assigned by the Christians for the birth of Jesus), accompanied him into Egypt, there learned magic, and was a seducer of the people, and was finally put to death by being stoned, and then hung as a blasphemer.
“The conclusion is, that no clearly defined traces of the personal Jesus remain on the surface, or beneath the surface, of Christendom. The silence of Josephus and other secular historians may be accounted for without falling back on a theory of hostility or contempt.[517:1] The Christ-idea cannot be spared from Christian development, but the personal Jesus, in some measure, can be.”
“The person of Jesus, though it may have been immense, is indistinct. That a great character was there may be conceded; but precisely wherein the character was great, is left to our conjecture. Of the eminent persons who have swayed the spiritual destinies of mankind, none has more completely disappeared from the critical view. The ideal image which Christians have, for nearly two thousand years, worshiped under the name of Jesus, has no authentic, distinctly visible, counterpart in history.”
“His followers have gone on with the process of idealization, placing him higher and higher; making his personal existence more and more essential; insisting more and more urgently on the necessity of private intercourse with him; letting the Father subside into the background, as an ‘effluence,’ and the Holy Ghost lapse from individual identity into impersonal influence, in order that he might be all in all as Regenerator and Saviour. From age to age the personal Jesus has been made the object of an extreme adoration, till now faith in the living Christ is the heart of the Gospel; philosophy, science, culture, humanity are thrust resolutely aside, and the great teachers of the age are extinguished in order that his light may shine.” But, as Mr. Frothingham remarks, in “The Cradle of the Christ”: “In the order of experience, historical and biographical truth is discovered by stripping off layer after layer of exaggeration, and going back to the statements of contemporaries. As a rule, figures are reduced, not enlarged, by criticism. The influence of admiration is recognized as distorting and falsifying, while exalting. The process of legend-making begins immediately, goes on rapidly and with accelerating speed, and must be liberally allowed for by the seeker after truth. In scores of instances the historical individual turns out to be very much smaller than he was painted by his terrified or loving worshipers. In no single case has it been established that he was greater, or as great. It is, no doubt, conceivable that such a case should occur, but it never has occurred, in known instances, and cannot be presumed to have occurred in any particular instance. The presumptions are against the correctness of the glorified image. The disposition to exaggerate is so much stronger than the disposition to underrate, that even really great men are placed higher than they belong oftener than lower. The historical method works backwards. Knowledge shrinks the man.”[518:1]
As we are allowed to conjecture as to what is true in the Gospel history, we shall now do so.
The death of Herod, which occurred a few years before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus, was followed by frightful social and political convulsions in Judea. For two or three years all the elements of disorder were abroad. Between pretenders to the vacant throne of Herod, and aspirants to the Messianic throne of David, Judea was torn and devastated. Revolt assumed the wildest form, the higher enthusiasm of faith yielded to the lower fury of fanaticism; the celestial visions of a kingdom of heaven were completely banished by the smoke and flame of political hate. Claimant after claimant of the dangerous supremacy of the Messiah appeared, pitched a camp in the wilderness, raised the banner, gathered a force, was attacked, defeated, banished or crucified; but the frenzy did not abate.
The popular aspect of the Messianic hope was political, not religious or moral. The name Messiah was synonymous with King of the Jews; it suggested political designs and aspirations. The assumption of that character by any individual drew on him the vigilance of the police.

That Jesus of Nazareth assumed the character of “Messiah,” as did many before and after him, and that his crucifixion[520:1] was simply an act of the law on political grounds, just as it was in the case of other so-called Messiahs, we believe to be the truth of the matter.[520:2] “He is represented as being a native of Galilee, the insurgent district of the country; nurtured, if not born, in Nazareth, one of its chief cities; reared as a youth amid traditions of patriotic devotion, and amid scenes associated with heroic dreams and endeavors. The Galileans were restless, excitable people, beyond the reach of conventionalities, remote from the centre of power, ecclesiastical and secular, simple in their lives, bold of speech, independent in thought, thoroughgoing in the sort of radicalism that is common among people who live ‘out of the world,’ who have leisure to discuss the exciting topics of the day, but too little knowledge, culture, or sense of social responsibility to discuss them soundly. Their mental discontent and moral intractability were proverbial. They were belligerents. The Romans had more trouble with them than with the natives of any other province. The Messiahs all started out from Galilee, and never failed to collect followers round their standard. The Galileans, more than others, lived in the anticipation of the Deliverer. The reference of the Messiah to Galilee is therefore already an indication of the character he is to assume.”

To show the state the country must have been in at that time, we will quote an incident or two from Josephus.

A religious enthusiast called the Samaritans together upon Mount Gerizim, and assured them that he would work a miracle. “So they came thither armed, and thought the discourse of the man probable; and as they abode at a certain village, which was called Tirathaba, they got the rest together of them, and desired to go up the mountain in a great multitude together: but Pilate prevented their going up, by seizing upon the roads by a great band of horsemen and footmen, who fell upon those who were gotten together in the village; and when it came to an action, some of them they slew, and others of them they put to flight, and took a great many alive, the principal of whom, and also the most potent of those that fled away, Pilate ordered to be slain.”[521:1]

Not long before this Pilate pillaged the temple treasury, and used the “sacred money” to bring a current of water to Jerusalem. The Jews were displeased with this, “and many ten thousands of the people got together and made a clamor against him. Some of them used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habits, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bade the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them with much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition.”[522:1]
It was such deeds as these, inflicted upon the Jews by their oppressors, that made them think of the promised Messiah who was to deliver them from bondage, and which made many zealous fanatics imagine themselves to be “He who should come.”[522:2]
There is reason to believe, as we have said, that Jesus of Nazareth assumed the title of “Messiah.” His age was throbbing and bursting with suppressed energy. The pressure of the Roman Empire was required to keep it down. “The Messianic hope had such vitality that it condensed into moments the moral result of ages. The common people were watching to see the heavens open, interpreted peals of thunder as angel voices, and saw divine potents in the flight of birds. Mothers dreamed their boys would be Messiah. The wildest preacher drew a crowd. The heart of the nation swelled big with the conviction that the hour of destiny was about to strike, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The crown was ready for any kingly head that might assume it.”[522:3]
The actions of this man, throughout his public career, we believe to be those of a zealot whose zeal overrode considerations of wisdom; in fact, a Galilean fanatic. Pilate condemns him reluctantly, feeling that he is a harmless visionary, but is obliged to condemn him as one of the many who persistently claimed to be the “Messiah,” or “King of the Jews,” an enemy of Cæsar, an instrument against the empire, a pretender to the throne, a bold inciter to rebellion. The death he undergoes is the death of the traitor and mutineer,[522:4] the death that was inflicted on many such claimants, the death that would have been decreed to Judas the Galilean,[522:5] had he been captured, and that was inflicted on thousands of his deluded followers. It was the Romans, then, who crucified the man Jesus, and not the Jews.
“In the Roman law the State is the main object, for which the individual must live and die, with or against his will. In Jewish law, the person is made the main object, for which the State must live and die; because the fundamental idea of the Roman law is power, and the fundamental idea of Jewish law is justice.”[523:1] Therefore Caiaphas and his conspirators did not act from the Jewish standpoint. They represented Rome, her principles, interest, and barbarous caprices.[523:2] Not one point in the whole trial agrees with Jewish laws and custom.[523:3] It is impossible to save it; it must be given up as a transparent and unskilled invention of a Gentile Christian, who knew nothing of Jewish law and custom, and was ignorant of the state of civilization in Palestine, in the time of Jesus.
Jesus had been proclaimed the “Messiah,” the “Ruler of the Jews,” and the restorer of the kingdom of heaven. No Roman ear could understand these pretensions, otherwise than in their rebellious sense. That Pontius Pilate certainly understood under the title, “Messiah,” the king (the political chief of the nation), is evident from the subscription of the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” which he did not remove in spite of all protestations of the Jews. There is only one point in which the four Gospels agree, and that is, that early in the morning Jesus was delivered over to the Roman governor, Pilate; that he was accused of high-treason against Rome—having been proclaimed King of the Jews—and that in consequence thereof he was condemned first to be scourged, and then to be crucified; all of which was done in hot haste. In all other points the narratives of the Evangelists differ widely, and so essentially that one story cannot be made of the four accounts; nor can any particular points stand the test of historical criticism, and vindicate its substantiality as a fact.
The Jews could not have crucified Jesus, according to their laws, if they had inflicted on him the highest penalty of the law, since crucifixion was exclusively Roman.[524:1] If the priests, elders, Pharisees, Jews, or all of them wanted Jesus out of the way so badly, why did they not have him quietly put to death while he was in their power, and done at once. The writer of the fourth Gospel seems to have understood this difficulty, and informs us that they could not kill him, because he had prophesied what death he should die; so he could die no other. It was dire necessity, that the heathen symbol of life and immortality—the cross[524:2]—should be brought to honor among the early Christians, and Jesus had to die on the cross (the Roman Gibbet), according to John[524:3] simply because it was so prophesied. The fact is, the crucifixion story, like the symbol of the crucifix itself, came from abroad.[524:4] It was told with the avowed intention of exonerating the Romans, and criminating the Jews, so they make the Roman governor take water, “and wash his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” To be sure of their case, they make the Jews say: “His blood be on us, and on our children.”[524:5]
“Another fact is this. Just at the period of time when misfortune and ruination befell the Jews most severely, in the first post-apostolic generation, the Christians were most active in making proselytes among Gentiles. To have then preached that a crucified Jewish Rabbi of Galilee was their Saviour, would have sounded supremely ridiculous to those heathens. To have added thereto, that the said Rabbi was crucified by command of a Roman Governor, because he had been proclaimed ‘King of the Jews,’ would have been fatal to the whole scheme. In the opinion of the vulgar heathen, where the Roman Governor and Jewish Rabbi came in conflict, the former must unquestionably be right, and the latter decidedly wrong. To have preached a Saviour who was justly condemned to die the death of a slave and villain, would certainly have proved fatal to the whole enterprise. Therefore it was necessary to exonerate Pilate and the Romans, and to throw the whole burden upon the Jews, in order to establish the innocence and martyrdom of Jesus in the heathen mind.”
That the crucifixion story, as related in the synoptic Gospels, was written abroad, and not in the Hebrew, or in the dialect spoken by the Hebrews of Palestine, is evident from the following particular points, noticed by Dr. Isaac M. Wise, a learned Hebrew scholar:
The Mark and Matthew narrators call the place of crucifixion “Golgotha,” to which the Mark narrator adds, “which is, being interpreted, the place of skulls.” The Matthew narrator adds the same interpretation, which the John narrator copies without the word “Golgotha,” and adds, it was a place near Jerusalem. The Luke narrator calls the place of crucifixion “Calvary,” which is the Latin Calvaria, viz., “the place of bare skulls.” Therefore the name does not refer to the form of the hill, but to the bare skulls upon it.[525:1] Now “there is no such word as Golgotha anywhere in Jewish literature, and there is no such place mentioned anywhere near Jerusalem or in Palestine by any writer; and, in fact, there was no such place; there could have been none near Jerusalem. The Jews buried their dead carefully. Also the executed convict had to be buried before night. No bare skulls, bleaching in the sun, could be found in Palestine, especially not near Jerusalem. It was law, that a bare skull, the bare spinal column, and also the imperfect skeleton of any human being, make man unclean by contact, and also by having either in the house. Man, thus made unclean, could not eat of any sacrificial meal, or of the sacred tithe, before he had gone through the ceremonies of purification; and whatever he touched was also unclean (Maimonides, Hil. Tumath Meth., iii. 1). Any impartial reader can see that the object of this law was to prevent the barbarous practice of heathens of having human skulls and skeletons lie about exposed to the decomposing influences of the atmosphere, as the Romans did in Palestine after the fall of Bethar, when for a long time they would give no permission to bury the dead patriots. This law was certainly enforced most rigidly in the vicinity of Jerusalem, of which they maintained “Jerusalem is more holy than all other cities surrounded with walls,” so that it was not permitted to keep a dead body over night in the city, or to transport through it human bones. Jerusalem was the place of the sacrificial meals and the consumption of the sacred tithe, which was considered very holy (Maimonides, Hil. Beth Habchirah, vii. 14); there, and in the surroundings, skulls and skeletons were certainly never seen on the surface of the earth, and consequently there was no place called “Golgotha,” and there was no such word in the Hebrew dialect. It is a word coined by the Mark narrator to translate the Latin term “Calvaria,” which, together with the crucifixion story, came from Rome. But after the Syrian word was made, nobody understood it, and the Mark narrator was obliged to expound it.”[526:1]
In the face of the arguments produced, the crucifixion story, as related in the Gospels, cannot be upheld as an historical fact. There exists, certainly, no rational ground whatever for the belief that the affair took place in the manner the Evangelists describe it. All that can be saved of the whole story is, that after Jesus had answered the first question before Pilate, viz., “Art thou the King of the Jews?” which it is natural to suppose he was asked, and also this can be supposed only, he was given over to the Roman soldiers to be disposed of as soon as possible, before his admirers and followers could come to his rescue, or any demonstration in his favor be made. He was captured in the night, as quietly as possible, and guarded in some place, probably in the high-priest’s court, completely secluded from the eyes of the populace; and early in the morning he was brought before Pilate as cautiously and quietly as it could be done, and at his command, disposed of by the soldiers as quickly as practicable, and in a manner not known to the mass of the people. All this was done, most likely, while the multitude worshiped on Mount Moriah, and nobody had an intimation of the tragical end of the Man of Nazareth.
The bitter cry of Jesus, as he hung on the tree, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” disclosed the hope of deliverance that till the last moment sustained his heart, and betrayed the anguish felt when the hope was blighted; the sneers and hooting of the Roman soldiers expressed their conviction that he had pretended to be what he was not.
The miracles ascribed to him, and the moral precepts put into his mouth, in after years, are what might be expected; history was simply repeating itself; the same thing had been done for others. “The preacher of the Mount, the prophet of the Beatitudes, does but repeat, with persuasive lips, what the law-givers of his race proclaimed in mighty tones of command.”[527:1]
The martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth has been gratefully acknowledged by his disciples, whose lives he saved by the sacrifice of his own, and by their friends, who would have fallen by the score had he not prevented the rebellion ripe at Jerusalem.[527:2] Posterity, infatuated with Pagan apotheoses, made of that simple martyrdom an interesting legend, colored with the myths of resurrection and ascension to that very heaven which the telescope has put out of man’s way. It is a novel myth, made to suit the gross conceptions of ex-heathens. Modern theology, understanding well enough that the myth cannot be saved, seeks refuge in the greatness and self-denial of the man who died for an idea, as though Jesus had been the only man who had died for an idea. Thousands, tens of thousands of Jews, Christians, Mohammedans and Heathens, have died for ideas, and some of them were very foolish. But Jesus did not die for an idea. He never advanced anything new, that we know of, to die for. He was not accused of saying or teaching anything original. Nobody has ever been able to discover anything new and original in the Gospels. He evidently died to save the lives of his friends, and this is much more meritorious than if he had died for a questionable idea. But then the whole fabric of vicarious atonement is demolished, and modern theology cannot get over the absurdity that the Almighty Lord of the Universe, the infinite and eternal cause of all causes, had to kill some innocent person in order to be reconciled to the human race. However abstractly they speculate and subtilize, there is always an undigested bone of man-god, god-man, and vicarious atonement in the theological stomach. Therefore theology appears so ridiculous in the eyes of modern philosophy. The theological speculation cannot go far enough to hold pace with modern astronomy. However nicely the idea may be dressed, the great God of the immense universe looks too small upon the cross of Calvary; and the human family is too large, has too numerous virtues and vices, to be perfectly represented by, and dependent on, one Rabbi of Galilee. Speculate as they may, one way or another, they must connect the Eternal and the fate of the human family with the person and fate of Jesus. That is the very thing which deprives Jesus of his crown of martyrdom, and brings religion in perpetual conflict with philosophy. It was not the religious idea which was crucified in Jesus and resurrected with him, as with all its martyrs; although his belief in immortality may have strengthened him in the agony of death. It was the idea of duty to his disciples and friends which led him to the realms of death. This deserves admiration, but no more. It demonstrates the nobility of human nature, but proves nothing in regard to providence, or the providential scheme of government.
The Christian story, as the Gospels narrate it, cannot stand the test of criticism. You approach it critically and it falls. Dogmatic Christology built upon it, has, therefore, a very frail foundation. Most so-called lives of Christ, or biographies of Jesus, are works of fiction, erected by imagination on the shifting foundation of meagre and unreliable records. There are very few passages in the Gospels which can stand the rigid application of honest criticism. In modern science and philosophy, orthodox Christology is out of the question.
“This ‘sacred tradition’ has in itself a glorious vitality, which Christians may unblameably entitle immortal. But it certainly will not lose in beauty, grandeur, or truth, if all the details concerning Jesus which are current in the Gospels, and all the mythology of his person, be forgotten or discredited. Christianity will remain without Christ.
“This formula has in it nothing paradoxical. Rightly interpreted, it simply means: All that is best in Judæo-Christian sentiment, moral or spiritual, will survive, without Rabbinical fancies, cultured by perverse logic; without huge piles of fable built upon them: without the Oriental Satan, a formidable rival to the throne of God; without the Pagan invention of Hell and Devils.”
In modern criticism, the Gospel sources become so utterly worthless and unreliable, that it takes more than ordinary faith to believe a large portion thereof to be true. The Eucharist was not established by Jesus, and cannot be called a sacrament. The trials of Jesus are positively not true: they are pure inventions.[528:1] The crucifixion story, as narrated, is certainly not true, and it is extremely difficult to save the bare fact that Jesus was crucified. What can the critic do with books in which a few facts must be ingeniously guessed from under the mountain of ghost stories,[528:2] childish miracles,[529:1] and dogmatic tendencies?[529:2] It is absurd to expect of him to regard them as sources of religious instruction, in preference to any other mythologies and legends. That is the point at which modern critics have arrived, therefore, the Gospels have become books for the museum and archæologist, for students of mythology and ancient literature.
The spirit of dogmatic Christology hovers still over a portion of civilized society, in antic organizations, disciplines, and hereditary forms of faith and worship; in science and philosophy, in the realm of criticism, its day is past. The universal, religious, and ethical element of Christianity has no connection whatever with Jesus or his apostles, with the Gospel, or the Gospel story; it exists independent of any person or story. Therefore it needs neither the Gospel story nor its heroes. If we profit by the example, by the teachings, or the discoveries of men of past ages, to these men we are indebted, and are in duty bound to acknowledge our indebtedness; but why should we give to one individual, Jesus of Nazareth, the credit of it all? It is true, that by selecting from the Gospels whatever portions one may choose, a common practice among Christian writers, a noble and grand character may be depicted, but who was the original of this character? We may find the same individual outside of the Gospels, and before the time of Jesus. The moral precepts of the Gospels, also, were in existence before the Gospels themselves were in existence.[529:3] Why, then, extol the hero of the Gospels, and forget all others?
As it was at the end of Roman Paganism, so is it now: the masses are deceived and fooled, or do it for themselves, and persons of vivacious fantasies prefer the masquerade of delusion, to the simple sublimity of naked but majestic truth. The decline of the church as a political power proves beyond a doubt the decline of Christian faith. The conflicts of Church and State all over the European continent, and the hostility between intelligence and dogmatic Christianity, demonstrates the death of Christology in the consciousness of modern culture. It is useless to shut our eyes to these facts. Like rabbinical Judaism, dogmatic Christianity was the product of ages without typography, telescopes, microscopes, telegraphs, and power of steam. “These right arms of intelligence have fought the titanic battles, conquered and demolished the ancient castles, and remove now the débris, preparing the ground upon which there shall be the gorgeous temple of humanity, one universal republic, one universal religion of intelligence, and one great universal brotherhood. This is the new covenant, the gospel of humanity and reason.”
“——Hoaryheaded selfishness has felt
Its death-blow, and is tottering to the grave:
A brighter morn awaits the human day;
War with its million horrors, and fierce hell,
Shall live but in the memory of time,
Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
Look back, and shudder at his younger years.”


[508:1]“For knowledge of the man Jesus, of his idea and his aims, and of the outward form of his career, the New Testament is our only hope. If this hope fails, the pillared firmament of his starry fame is rottenness; the base of Christianity, so far as it was personal and individual, is built on stubble.” (John W. Chadwick.)
[508:2]M. Renan, after declaring Jesus to be a “fanatic,” and admitting that, “his friends thought him, at moments, beside himself;” and that, “his enemies declared him possessed by a devil,” says: “The man here delineated merits a place at the summit of human grandeur.” “This is the Supreme man, a sublime personage;” “to call him divine is no exaggeration.” Other liberal writers have written in the same strain.
[509:1]“The Christ of Paul was not a person, but an idea; he took no pains to learn the facts about the individual Jesus. He actually boasted that the Apostles had taught him nothing. His Christ was an ideal conception, evolved from his own feeling and imagination, and taking on new powers and attributes from year to year to suit each new emergency.” (John W. Chadwick.)
[510:1]This subject is considered in Appendix D.
[510:2]Scythia was a name employed in ancient times, to denote a vast, indefinite, and almost unknown territory north and east of the Black Sea, the Caspian, and the Sea of Aral.
[510:3]See Herodotus, book 4, ch. 82.
[510:4]See Dupuis, p. 264.
[510:5]See Knight’s Anct. Art and Mythology, p. 96, and Mysteries of Adoni, p. 90.
[510:6]See Dupuis, p. 264.
[510:7]See Bell‘s Pantheon, vol. i. p. 7.
[510:8]See Ibid. vol. i. p. 27.
[510:10]Ibid. vol. i. p. 2, and Bonwick, p. 155.
[510:11]See Chambers, art. “Jonah.”
[510:12]See Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 152, and Goldzhier, p. 280.
[510:13]See Curious Myths, p. 264.
[511:1]“Whilst, in one part of the Christian world, the chief objects of interest were the human nature and human life of Jesus, in another part of the Christian world the views taken of his person because so idealistic, that his humanity was reduced to a phantom without reality. The various Gnostic systems generally agreed in saying that the Christ was an Æon, the redeemer of the spirits of men, and that he had little or no contact with their corporeal nature.” (A. Réville: Hist. of the Dogma of the Deity of Jesus.)
[511:2]Epiphanius says that there were TWENTY heresies before Christ, and there can be no doubt that there is much truth in the observation, for most of the rites and doctrines of the Christians of all sects existed before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.
[512:1]“Accipis avengelium? et maxime. Proinde ergo et natum accipis Christum. Non ita est. Neque enim sequitur ut si evangelium accipio, idcirco et natum accipiam Christum. Ergo non putas cum ex Maria Virgine esse? Manes dixit, Absit ut Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum per naturalia pudenda mulieris de scendisse confitear.” (Lardner’s Works, vol. iv. p. 20.)
[512:2]“I maintain,” says he, “that the Son of God was born: why am I not ashamed of maintaining such a thing? Why! because it is itself a shameful thing—I maintain that the Son of God died: well, that is wholly credible because it is monstrously absurd. I maintain that after having been buried, he rose again: and that I take to be absolutely true, because it was manifestly impossible.”
[512:3]King’s Gnostics, p. 1.
[512:4]I. John, iv. 2, 3.
[512:5]II. John, 7.
[512:6]1st Book Hermas: Apoc., ch. iii.
[512:7]Chapter II.
[513:1]Chapter II.
[513:2]Chapter III.
[513:3]Chapter III.
[513:4]I. Timothy, iii. 16.
[513:5]Irenæus, speaking of them, says: “They hold that men ought not to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the form of man,and was supposed to be crucified, and was called Jesus.” (See Lardner: vol. viii. p. 353.) They could not conceive of “the first-begotten Son of God” being put to death on a cross, and suffering like an ordinary being, so they thought Simon of Cyrene must have been substituted for him, as the ram was substituted in the place of Isaac. (See Ibid. p. 857.)
[513:6]Apol. 1, ch. xxi.
[514:1]Koran, ch. iv.
[514:2]Chapter XX.
[514:3]Chapter II.
[514:4]Col. i. 23.
[514:5]I. Timothy, iii. 16.
[514:6]The authenticity of these Epistles has been freely questioned, even by the most conservative critics.
[515:1]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, and Chapter XXXVII., this work.
[515:2]Quoted by Max Müller: The Science of Relig., p. 228.
[515:3]Ch. cxvii.
[515:4]Ch. xxii.
[516:1]Ch. iv. 5.
[516:2]Josephus: Antiq., b. xx. ch. v. 2.
[516:3]It is true there was another Annas high-priest at Jerusalem, but this was when Gratus was procurator of Judea, some twelve or fifteen years before Pontius Pilate held the same office. (See Josephus: Antiq., book xviii. ch. ii. 3.)
[516:4]See Appendix D.
[516:5]See the Martyrdom of Jesus, p. 100.
[516:6]According to Dio Cassius, Plutarch, Strabo and others, there existed, in the time of Herod, among the Roman Syrian heathens, a wide-spread and deep sympathy for a “Crucified King of the Jews.” This was the youngest son of Aristobul, the heroic Maccabee. In the year 43 B. C., we find this young man—Antigonus—in Palestine claiming the crown, his cause having been declared just by Julius Cæsar. Allied with the Parthians, he maintained himself in his royal position for six years against Herod and Mark Antony. At last, after a heroic life and reign, he fell in the hands of this Roman. “Antony now gave the kingdom to a certain Herod, and, having stretched Antigonus on a cross and scourged him, a thing never done before to any other king by the Romans, he put him to death.” (Dio Cassius, book xlix. p. 405.)
The fact that all prominent historians of those days mention this extraordinary occurrence, and the manner they did it, show that it was considered one of Mark Antony’s worst crimes: and that the sympathy with the “Crucified King” was wide-spread and profound. (See The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 106.)
Some writers think that there is a connection between this and the Gospel story; that they, in a certain measure, put Jesus in the place of Antigonus, just as they put Herod in the place of Kansa. (See Chapter XVIII.)
[517:1]Canon Farrar thinks that Josephus’ silence on the subject of Jesus and Christianity, was as deliberate as it was dishonest. (See his Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 63.)
[518:1]Many examples might be cited to confirm this view, but the case of Joseph Smith, in our own time and country, will suffice.
The Mormons regard him very much as Christians regard Jesus; as the Mohammedans do Mohammed; or as the Buddhists do Buddha. A coarse sort of religious feeling and fervor appears to have been in Smith’s nature. He seems, from all accounts, to have been cracked on theology, as so many zealots have been, and cracked to such an extent that his early acquaintances regarded him as a downright fanatic.
The common view that he was an impostor is not sustained by what is known of him. He was, in all probability, of unbalanced mind, a monomaniac, as most prophets have been; but there is no reason to think that he did not believe in himself, and substantially in what he taught. He has declared that, when he was about fifteen, he began to reflect on the importance of being prepared for a future state. He went from one church to another without finding anything to satisfy the hunger of his soul, consequently, he retired into himself; he sought solitude; he spent hours and days in meditation and prayer, after the true manner of all accredited saints, and was soon repaid by the visits of angels. One of these came to him when he was but eighteen years old, and the house in which he was seemed filled with consuming fire. The presence—he styles it a personage—had a pace like lightning, and proclaimed himself to be an angel of the Lord. He vouchsafed to Smith a vast deal of highly important information of a celestial order. He told him that his (Smith’s) prayers had been heard, and his sins forgiven; that the covenant which the Almighty had made with the old Jews was to be fulfilled; that the introductory work for the second coming of Christ was now to begin; that the hour for the preaching of the gospel in its purity to all peoples was at hand, and that Smith was to be an instrument in the hands of God, to further the divine purpose in the new dispensation. The celestial stranger also furnished him with a sketch of the origin, progress, laws and civilization of the American aboriginals, and declared that the blessing of heaven had finally been withdrawn from them. To Smith was communicated the momentous circumstance that certain plates containing an abridgment of the records of the aboriginals and ancient prophets, who had lived on this continent, were hidden in a hill near Palmyra. The prophet was counseled to go there and look at them, and did so. Not being holy enough to possess them as yet, he passed some months in spiritual probation, after which the records were put into his keeping. These had been prepared, it is claimed, by a prophet called Mormon, who had been ordained by God for the purpose, and to conceal them until he should produce them for the benefit of the faithful, and unite them with the Bible for the achievement of his will. They form the celebrated Book of Mormon—whence the name Mormon—and are esteemed by the Latter-Day Saints as of equal authority with the Old and New Testaments, and as an indispensable supplement thereto, because they include God’s disclosures to the Mormon world. These precious records were sealed up and deposited A. D. 420 in the place where Smith had viewed them by the direction of the angel.
The records were, it is held, in the reformed Egyptian tongue, and Smith translated them through the inspiration of the angel, and one Oliver Cowdrey wrote down the translation as reported by the God-possessed Joseph. This translation was published in 1830, and its divine origin was attested by a dozen persons—all relatives and friends of Smith. Only these have ever pretended to see the original plates, which have already become traditional. The plates have been frequently called for by skeptics, but all in vain. Naturally, warm controversy arose concerning the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and disbelievers have asserted that they have indubitable evidence that it is, with the exception of various unlettered interpolations, principally borrowed from a queer, rhapsodical romance written by an eccentric ex-clergyman named Solomon Spalding.
Smith and his disciples were ridiculed and socially persecuted; but they seemed to be ardently earnest, and continued to preach their creed, which was to the effect that the millennium was at hand; that our aboriginals were to be converted, and that the New Jerusalem—the last residence and home of the saints—was to be near the centre of this continent. The Vermont prophet, later on, was repeatedly mobbed, even shot at. His narrow escapes were construed as interpositions of divine providence, but he displayed perfect coolness and intrepidity through all his trials. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was first established in the spring of 1830 at Manchester, N. Y.; but it awoke such fierce opposition, particularly from the orthodox, many of them preachers, that Smith and his associates deemed it prudent to move farther west. They established themselves at Kirtland, O., and won there many converts. Hostility to them still continued, and grew so fierce that the body transferred itself to Missouri, and next to Illinois, settling in the latter state near the village of Commerce, which was renamed Nauvoo.
The Governor and Legislature of Illinois favored the Mormons, but the anti-Mormons made war on them in every way, and the custom of “sealing wives,” which is yet mysterious to the Gentiles, caused serious outbreaks, and resulted in the incarceration of the prophet and his brother Hiram at Carthage. Fearing that the two might be released by the authorities, a band of ruffians broke into the jail, in the summer of 1844, and murdered them in cold blood. This was most fortunate for the memory of Smith and for his doctrines. It placed him in the light of a holy martyr, and lent to them a dignity and vitality they had never before enjoyed.
[520:1]When we speak of Jesus being crucified, we do not intend to convey the idea that he was put to death on a cross of the form adopted by Christians. This cross was the symbol of life and immortality among our heathen ancestors (see Chapter XXXIII.), and in adopting Pagan religious symbols, and baptizing them anew, the Christians took this along with others. The crucifixion was not a symbol of the earliestchurch; no trace of it can be found in the Catacombs. Some of the earliest that did appear, however, are similar to figures No. 42 and No. 43, above, which represent two of the modes in which the Romans crucified their slaves and criminals. (See Chapter XX., on the Crucifixion of Jesus.)
[520:2]According to the Matthew and Mark narrators, Jesus’ head was anointed while sitting at table in the house of Simon the leper. Now, this practice was common among the kings of Israel. It was the sign and symbol of royalty. The word “Messiah” signifies the “Anointed One,” and none of the kings of Israel were styled the Messiah unless anointed. (See The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 42.)
[521:1]Josephus: Antiquities, book xviii. ch. iv. 1.
[522:1]Josephus: Antiquities, book xviii. chap. iii. 2.
[522:2]“From the death of Herod, 4 B. C., to the death of Bar-Cochba, 132 A. D., no less than fifty different enthusiasts set up as the Messiah, and obtained more or less following.” (John W. Chadwick.)
[522:3]“There was, at this time, a prevalent expectation that some remarkable personage was about to appear in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. This personage, they supposed, would be a temporal prince, and they were expecting that he would deliver them from Roman bondage.” (Albert Barnes: Notes, vol. i. p. 7.)
“The central and dominant characteristic of the teaching of the Rabbis, was the certain advent of a great national Deliverer—theMessiah. . . . The national mind had become so inflammable, by constant brooding on this one theme, that any bold spirit rising in revolt against the Roman power, could find an army of fierce disciples who trusted that it should be he who would redeem Israel.” (Geikie: The Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 79.)
[522:4]“The penalty of crucifixion, according to Roman law and custom, was inflicted on slaves, and in the provinces on rebels only.” (The Martyrdom of Jesus, p. 96.)
[522:5]Judas, the Gaulonite or Galilean, as Josephus calls him, declared, when Cyrenius came to tax the Jewish people, that “this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery,” and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty. He therefore prevailed upon his countrymen to revolt. (See Josephus: Antiq., b. xviii. ch. i. 1, and Wars of the Jews, b. ii. ch. viii. 1.)
[523:1]The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, p. 30.
[523:2]“That the High Council did accuse Jesus, I suppose no one will doubt; and since they could neither wish or expect the Roman Governor to make himself judge of their sacred law, it becomes certain that their accusation was purely political, and took such a form as this: ‘He has accepted tumultuous shouts that he is the legitimate and predicted King of Israel, and in this character has ridden into Jerusalem with the forms of state understood to be royal and sacred; with what purpose, we ask, if not to overturn our institutions, and your dominion?’ If Jesus spoke, at the crisis which Matthew represents, the virulent speech attributed to him (Matt. xxiii.), we may well believe that this gave a new incentive to the rulers; for it is such as no government in Europe would overlook or forgive: but they are not likely to have expected Pilate to care for any conduct which might be called an ecclesiastical broil. The assumption of royalty was clearly the point of their attack. Even the mildest man among them may have thought his conduct dangerous and needing repression.” (Francis W. Newman, “What is Christianity without Christ?”)
According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus was completely innocent of the charge which has sometimes been brought against him, that he wished to be considered as a God come down to earth. His enemies certainly would not have failed to make such a pretension the basis and the continual theme of their accusations, if it had been possible to do so. The two grounds upon which he was brought before the Sanhedrim were, first, the bold words he was supposed to have spoken about the temple; and, secondly and chiefly, the fact that he claimed to be the Messiah, i. e., “The King of the Jews.” (Albert Réville: “The Doctrine of the Dogma of the Deity of Jesus,” p. 7.)
[523:3]See The Martyrdom of Jesus, p. 30.
[524:1]See note 4, p. 522.
[524:2]See Matt. xx. 19.
[524:3]John xviii. 31, 32.
[524:4]That is, the crucifixion story as related in the Gospels. See note 1, p. 520.
[524:5]Matthew xxvii. 24, 25.
[525:1]Commentators, in endeavoring to get over this difficulty, say that, “it may come from the look or form of the spot itself, bald, round, and skull-like, and therefore a mound or hillock,” but, if it means “the place of bare skulls,” no such construction as the above can be put to the word.
[526:1]The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 109-111.
[527:1]O. B. Frothingham: The Cradle of the Christ, p. 11.
The reader is referred to “Judaism: Its Doctrines and Precepts,” by Dr. Isaac M. Wise. Printed at the office of the “American Israelite,” Cincinnati, Ohio.
[527:2]If Jesus, instead of giving himself up quietly, had resisted against being arrested, there certainly would have been bloodshed, as there was on many other similar occasions.
[528:1]If what is recorded In the Gospels on the subject was true, no historian of that day could fail to have noticed it, but instead of this there isnothing.
[528:2]See Matthew, xxvii. 51-53.
[529:1]See Matt. xiv. 15-22: Mark, iv. 1-3, and xi. 14; and Luke, vii. 26-37.
[529:2]See Mark, xvi. 16.
[529:3]This fact has at last been admitted by the most orthodox among the Christians. The Rev. George Matheson, D. D., Minister of the Parish of Innellan, and a member of the Scotch Kirk, speaking of the precept uttered by Confucius, five hundred years before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth (“Whatsoever ye would not that others should do unto you, do not ye unto them”), says: “That Confucius is the author of this precept is undisputed, and therefore it is indisputable that Christianity has incorporated an article of Chinese morality. It has appeared to some as if this were to the disparagement of Christianity—as if the originality of its Divine Founder were impaired by consenting to borrow a precept from a heathen source. But in what sense does Christianity set up the claim of moral originality? When we speak of the religion of Christ as having introduced into the world a purer life and a surer guide to conduct, what do we mean? Do we mean to suggest that Christianity has, for the first time, revealed to the world the existence of a set of self-sacrificing precepts—that here, for the first time, man has learned that he ought to be meek, merciful, humble, forgiving, sorrowful for sin, peaceable, and pure in heart? The proof of such a statement would destroy Christianity itself, for an absolute original code of preceptswould be equivalent to a foreign language. The glory of Christian morality is that it is NOT ORIGINAL—that its words appeal to something which already exists within the human heart, and on that account have a meaning to the human ear: no new revelation can be made except through the medium of an old one. When we attribute originality to the ethics of the Gospel, we do so on the ground, not that it has given new precepts, but that it has given us a new impulse to obey the moral instincts of the soul. Christianity itself claims on the field of morals this originality, and this alone—’A new commandment give I unto you, that you love one another.” (St. Giles Lectures, Second Series: The Faiths of the World. Religion of China, by the Rev. George Matheson, D. D., Minister of the Parish of Innellan. Wm. Blackwood & Sons: Edinburgh, 1882.)
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

Antiquity of Pagan Religions

We shall now compare the great antiquity of the sacred books and religions of Paganism with those of the Christian, so that there may be no doubt as to which is the original, and which the copy. Allusions to this subject have already been made throughout this work, we shall therefore devote as little space to it here as possible.

In speaking of the sacred literature of India, Prof. Monier Williams says:
“Sanskrit literature, embracing as it does nearly every branch of knowledge is entirely deficient in one department. It is wholly destitute of trustworthy historical records. Hence, little or nothing is known of the lives of ancient Indian authors, and the dates of their most celebrated works cannot be fixed with certainty. A fair conjecture, however, may be arrived at by comparing the most ancient with the more modern compositions, and estimating the period of time required to effect the changes of structure and idiom observable in the language. In this manner we may be justified in assuming that the hymns of the Veda were probably composed by a succession of poets at different dates between 1500 and 1000 years B. C.”[450:1]
Prof. Wm. D. Whitney shows the great antiquity of the Vedic hymns from the fact that,
“The language of the Vedas is an older dialect, varying very considerably, both in its grammatical and lexical character, from the classical Sanscrit.”
And M. de Coulanges, in his “Ancient City,” says:
“We learn from the hymns of the Vedas, which are certainly very ancient, and from the laws of Manu,” “what the Aryans of the east thought nearly thirty-five centuries ago.”[450:2]
That the Vedas are of very high antiquity is unquestionable; but however remote we may place the period when they were written, we must necessarily presuppose that the Hindostanic race had already attained to a comparatively high degree of civilization, otherwise men capable of framing such doctrines could not have been found. Now this state of civilization must necessarily have been preceded by several centuries of barbarism, during which we cannot possibly admit a more refined faith than the popular belief in elementary deities.
We shall see in our next chapter that these very ancient Vedic hymns contain the origin of the legend of the Virgin-born God and Saviour, the great benefactor of mankind, who is finally put to death, and rises again to life and immortality on the third day.
The Geetas and Puranas, although of a comparatively modern date, are, as we have already seen, nevertheless composed of matter to be found in the two great epic poems, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which were written many centuries before the time assigned as that of the birth of Christ Jesus.[451:1]
The Pali sacred books, which contain the legend of the virgin-born God and Saviour—Sommona Cadom—are known to have been in existence 316 B. C.[451:2]
We have already seen that the religion known as Buddhism, and which corresponds in such a striking manner with Christianity, has now existed for upwards of twenty-four hundred years.[451:3]
Prof. Rhys Davids says:
“There is every reason to believe that the Pitakas (the sacred books which contain the legend of ‘The Buddha’), now extant in Ceylon, are substantially identical with the books of the Southern Canon, as settled at the Council of Patna about the year 250 B. C.[451:4] As no works would have been received into the Canon which were not then believed to be very old, the Pitakas may be approximately placed in the fourth century B. C., and parts of them possibly reach back very nearly, if not quite, to the time of Gautama himself.”[451:5]
The religion of the ancient Persians, which corresponds in so very many respects with that of the Christians, was established by Zoroaster—who was undoubtedly a Brahman[451:6]—and is contained in the Zend-Avesta, their sacred book or Bible. This book is very ancient. Prof. Max Müller speaks of “the sacred book of the Zoroastrians” as being “older in its language than the cuneiform inscriptions of Cyrus (B. C. 560), Darius (B. C. 520), and Xerxes (B. C.485) those ancient Kings of Persia, who knew that they were kings by the grace of Auramazda, and who placed his sacred image high on the mountain-records of Behistun.”[452:1] That ancient book, or its fragments, at least, have survived many dynasties and kingdoms, and is still believed in by a small remnant of the Persian race, now settled at Bombay, and known all over the world by the name of Parsees.[452:2]
“The Babylonian and Phenician sacred books date back to a fabulous antiquity;”[452:3] and so do the sacred books and religion of Egypt.
Prof. Mahaffy, in his “Prolegomena to Ancient History,” says:
“There is indeed hardly a great and fruitful idea in the Jewish or Christian systems which has not its analogy in the Egyptian faith, andall these theological conceptions pervade the oldest religion of Egypt.”[452:4]
The worship of Osiris, the Lord and Saviour, must have been of extremely ancient date, for he is represented as “Judge of the Dead,” in sculptures contemporary with the building of the Pyramids, centuries before Abraham is said to have been born. Among the many hieroglyphic titles which accompany his figure in those sculptures, and in many other places on the walls of temples and tombs, are, “Lord of Life,” “The Eternal Ruler,” “Manifester of Good,” “Revealer of Truth,” “Full of Goodness and Truth,” etc.
In speaking of the “Myth of Osiris,” Mr. Bonwick says:
“This great mystery of the Egyptians demands serious consideration. Its antiquity—its universal hold upon the people for over five thousand years—its identification with the very life of the nation—and its marvellous likeness to the creed of modern date, unite in exciting the greatest interest.”[452:5]
This myth, and that of Isis and Horus, were known before the Pyramid time.[453:1]
The worship of the Virgin Mother in Egypt—from which country it was imported into Europe[453:2]—dates back thousands of years B. C. Mr. Bonwick says:
“In all probability she was worshiped three thousand years before Moses wrote. ‘Isis nursing her child Horus, was represented,’ says Mariette Bey, ‘at least six thousand years ago.’ We read the name of Isis on monuments of the fourth dynasty, and she lost none of her popularity to the close of the empire.”
“The Egyptian Bible is by far the most ancient of all holy books.” “Plato was told that Egypt possessed hymns dating back ten thousand years before his time.”[453:3]
Bunsen says:
“The origin of the ancient prayers and hymns of the ‘Book of the Dead,’ is anterior to Menes; it implies that the system of Osirian worship and mythology was already formed.”[453:4]
And, says Mr. Bonwick:
“Besides opinions, we have facts as a basis for arriving at a conclusion, and justifying the assertion of Dr. Birch, that the work dated from a period long anterior to the rise of Ammon worship at Thebes.”[453:5]
Now, “this most ancient of all holy books,” establishes the fact that a virgin-born and resurrected Saviour was worshiped in Egypt thousands of year before the time of Christ Jesus.
P. Le Page Renouf says:
“The earliest monuments which have been discovered present to us the very same fully-developed civilization and the same religionas the later monuments. . . . The gods whose names appear in the oldest tombs were worshiped down to the Christian times. The same kind of priesthoods which are mentioned in the tablets of Canopus and Rosetta in the Ptolemaic period are as ancient as the pyramids, and more ancient than any pyramid of which we know the date.”[453:6]
In regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. We have just seen that “the development of the One God into a Trinity” pervades the oldest religion of Egypt, and the same may be said of India. Prof. Monier Williams, speaking on this subject, says:
“It should be observed that the native commentaries on the Veda often allude to thirty-three gods, which number is also mentioned in the Rig-Veda. This is a multiple of three, which is a sacred number constantly appearing in the Hindu religious system. It is probable, indeed, that although the Tri-murti is not named in the Vedic hymns,[454:1] yet the Veda is the real source of this Triad of personifications, afterwards so conspicuous in Hindu mythology. This much, at least, is clear, that the Vedic poets exhibited a tendency to group all the forces and energies of nature under three heads, and the assertion that the number of the gods was thirty-three, amounted to saying that each of the three leading personifications was capable of eleven modifications.”[454:2]
The great antiquity of the legends referred to in this work is demonstrated in the fact that they were found in a great measure on the continent of America, by the first Europeans who set foot on its soil. Now, how did they get there? Mr. Lundy, in his “Monumental Christianity,” speaking on this subject, says:
“So great was the resemblance between the two sacraments of the Christian Church (viz., that of Baptism and the Eucharist) and those of the ancient Mexicans; so many other points of similarity, also, in doctrine existed, as to the unity of God, the Triad, the Creation, the Incarnation and Sacrifice, the Resurrection, etc., that Herman Witsius, no mean scholar and thinker, was induced to believe that Christianity had been preached on this continent by some one of the apostles, perhaps St. Thomas, from the fact that he is reported to have carried the Gospel to India and Tartary, whence he came to America.”[454:3]
Some writers, who do not think that St. Thomas could have gotten to America, believe that St. Patrick, or some other saint, must have, in some unaccountable manner, reached the shores of the Western continent, and preached their doctrine there.[454:4] Others have advocated the devil theory, which is, that the devil, being jealous of the worship of Christ Jesus, set up a religion of his own, and imitated, nearly as possible, the religion of Christ. All of these theories being untenable, we must, in the words of Burnouf, the eminent French Orientalist, “learn one day that all ancient traditions disfigured by emigration and legend,belong to the history of India.”
That America was inhabited by Asiatic emigrants, and that the American legends are of Asiatic origin, we believe to be indisputable. There is an abundance of proof to this effect.[454:5]
In contrast to the great antiquity of the sacred books and religions of Paganism, we have the facts that the Gospels were not written by the persons whose names they bear, that they were written many years after the time these men are said to have lived, and that they are full of interpolations and errors. The first that we know of the four gospels is at the time of Irenæus, who, in the second century, intimates that he had received four gospels, as authentic scriptures. This pious forger was probably the author of the fourth, as we shall presently see.
Besides these gospels there were many more which were subsequently deemed apocryphal; the narratives related in them of Christ Jesus and his apostles were stamped as forgeries.
“The Gospel according to Matthew” is believed by the majority of biblical scholars of the present day to be the oldest of the four, and to be made up principally of a pre-existing one, called “The Gospel of the Hebrews.” The principal difference in these two gospels being that “The Gospel of the Hebrews” commenced with giving the genealogy of Jesus from David, through Joseph “according to the flesh.” The story of Jesus being born of a virgin was not to be found there, it being an afterpiece, originating either with the writer of “The Gospel according to Matthew,” or some one after him, and was evidently taken from “The Gospel of the Egyptians.” “The Gospel of the Hebrews“—from which, we have said, the Matthew narrator copied—was an intensely Jewish gospel, and was to be found—in one of its forms—among the Ebionites, who were the narrowest Jewish Christians of the second century. “The Gospel according to Matthew” is, therefore, the most Jewish gospel of the four; in fact, the most Jewish book in the New Testament, excepting, perhaps, theApocalypse and the Epistle of James.
Some of the more conspicuous Jewish traits, to be found in this gospel, are as follows:
Jesus is sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The twelve are forbidden to go among the Gentiles or the Samaritans. They are to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The genealogy of Jesus is traced back to Abraham, and there stops.[455:1] The works of the law are frequently insisted on. There is a superstitious regard for the Sabbath, &c.
There is no evidence of the existence of the Gospel of Matthew,—in its present form—until the year 173, A. D. It is at this time, also, that it is first ascribed to Matthew, by Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis. The original oracles of the Gospel of the Hebrews, however,—which were made use of by the author of our present Gospel of Matthew,—were written, likely enough, not long before the destruction of Jerusalem, but the Gospel itself dates from about A. D. 100.[456:1]
The Gospel according to Luke” is believed to come next—in chronological order—to that of Matthew, and to have been written some fifteen or twenty years after it. The author was a foreigner, as his writings plainly show that he was far removed from the events which he records.
In writing his Gospel, the author made use of that of Matthew, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and Marcion’s Gospel. He must have had, also, still other sources, as there are parables peculiar to it, which are not found in them. Among these may be mentioned that of the “Prodigal Son,” and the “Good Samaritan.” Other parables peculiar to it are that of the two debtors; the friend borrowing bread at night; the rich man’s barns; Dives and Lazarus; the lost piece of silver; the unjust steward; the Pharisee and the Publican.
Several miracles are also peculiar to the Luke narrator’s Gospel, the raising of the widow of Nain’s son being the most remarkable. Perhaps these stories were delivered to him orally, and perhaps he is the author of them,—we shall never know. The foundation of the legends, however, undoubtedly came from the “certain scriptures” of the Essenes in Egypt. The principal object which the writer of this gospel had in view was to reconcile Paulinism and the more Jewish forms of Christianity.[456:2]
The next in chronological order, according to the same school of critics, is “The Gospel according to Mark.” This gospel is supposed to have been written within ten years of the former, and its author, as of the other two gospels, is unknown. It was probably written at Rome, as the Latinisms of the author’s style, and the apparent motive of his work, strongly suggest that he was a Jewish citizen of the Eternal City. He made use of the Gospel of Matthew as his principal authority, and probably referred to that of Luke, as he has things in common with Luke only.
The object which the writer had in view, was to have a neutral go-between, a compromise between Matthew as too Petrine (Jewish), and Luke as too Pauline (Gentile). The different aspects of Matthew and Luke were found to be confusing to believers, and provocative of hostile criticism from without; hence the idea of writing a shorter gospel, that should combine the most essential elements of both. Luke was itself a compromise between the opposing Jewish and universal tendencies of early Christianity, but Mark endeavors by avoidance and omission to effect what Luke did more by addition and contrast. Luke proposed to himself to open a door for the admission of Pauline ideas without offending Gentile Christianity; Mark, on the contrary, in a negative spirit, to publish a Gospel which should not hurt the feelings of either party. Hence his avoidance of all those disputed questions which disturbed the church during the first quarter of the second century. The genealogy of Jesus is omitted; this being offensive to Gentile Christians, and even to some of the more liberal Judaizers. The supernatural birth of Jesus is omitted, this being offensive to the Ebonitish (extreme Jewish) and some of the Gnostic Christians. For every Judaizing feature that is sacrificed, a universal one is also sacrificed. Hard words against the Jews are left out, but with equal care, hard words about the Gentiles.[457:1]
We now come to the fourth, and last gospel, that “according to John,” which was not written until many years after that “according to Matthew.”
“It is impossible to pass from the Synoptic[457:2] Gospels,” says Canon Westcott, “to the fourth, without feeling that the transition involves the passage from one world of thought to another. No familiarity with the general teachings of the Gospels, no wide conception of the character of the Saviour, is sufficient to destroy the contrast which exists in form and spirit between the earlier and later narratives.”
The discrepancies between the fourth and the Synoptic Gospels are numerous. If Jesus was the man of Matthew’s Gospel, he was not the mysterious beingof the fourth. If his ministry was only one year long, it was not three. If he made but one journey to Jerusalem, he did not make many. If his method of teaching was that of the Synoptics, it was not that of the fourth Gospel. If he was the Jew of Matthew, he was not the Anti-Jew of John.[457:3]
Everywhere in John we come upon a more developed stage of Christianity than in the Synoptics. The scene, the atmosphere, is different. In the Synoptics Judaism, the Temple, the Law and the Messianic Kingdom are omnipresent. In John they are remote and vague. In Matthew Jesus is always yearning for his own nation. In John he has no other sentiment for it than hate and scorn. In Matthew the sanction of the Prophets is his great credential. In John his dignity can tolerate no previous approximation.
“Do we ask,” says Francis Tiffany, “who wrote this wondrous Gospel? Mysterious its origin, as that wind of which its author speaks, which bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof and canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. As with the Great Unknown of the book of Job, the Great Unknown of the later Isaiah, the ages keep his secret. The first absolutely indisputable evidence of the existence of the book dates from the latter half of the second century.
The first that we know of the fourth Gospel, for certainty, is at the time of Irenæus (A. D. 179).[458:1] We look in vain for an express recognition of the fourcanonical Gospels, or for a distinct mention of any one of them, in the writings of St. Clement (A. D. 96), St. Ignatius (A. D. 107), St. Justin (A. D. 140), or St. Polycarp (A. D. 108). All we can find is incidents from the life of Jesus, sayings, etc.
That Irenæus is the author of it is very evident. This learned and pious forger says:
“John, the disciple of the Lord, wrote his Gospel to confute the doctrine lately taught by Cerinthus, and a great while before by those called Nicolaitans, a branch of the Gnostics; and to show that there is one God who made all things by his WORD: and not, as they say, that there is one the Creator, and another the Father of our Lord: and one the Son of the Creator, and another, even the Christ, who descended from above upon the Son of the Creator, and continued impassible, and at length returned to his pleroma or fulness.”[458:2]
The idea of God having inspired four different men to write a history of the same transactions,—or rather, of many different men having undertaken to write such a history, of whom God inspired four only to write correctly, leaving the others to their own unaided resources, and giving us no test by which to distinguish the inspired from the uninspired—certainly appears self-confuting, and anything but natural.
The reasons assigned by Irenæus for there being four Gospels are as follows:
“It is impossible that there could be more or less than four. For there are four climates, and four cardinal winds; but the Gospel is the pillar and foundation of the church, and its breath of life. The church therefore was to have four pillars, blowing immortality from every quarter, and giving life to man.[459:1]
It was by this Irenæus, with the assistance of Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian, one of the Latin Fathers, that the four Gospels were introduced intogeneral use among the Christians.
In these four spurious Gospels, and in some which are considered Apocryphal—because the bishops at the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 365) rejected them—we have the only history of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, if all accounts or narratives of Christ Jesus and his Apostles were forgeries, as it is admitted that all theApocryphal ones were, what can the superior character of the received Gospels prove for them, but that they are merely superiorly executed forgeries? The existence of Jesus is implied in the New Testament outside of the Gospels, but hardly an incident of his life is mentioned, hardly a sentence that he spoke has been preserved. Paul, writing from twenty to thirty years after his death, has but a single reference to anything he ever said or did.
Beside these four Gospels there were, as we said above, many others, for, in the words of Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian:
“Not long after Christ’s ascension into heaven, several histories of his life and doctrines, full of pious frauds and fabulous wonders, were composed by persons whose intentions, perhaps, were not bad, but whose writings discovered the greatest superstition and ignorance. Nor was this all; productions appeared, which were imposed upon the world by fraudulent men, as the writings of the holy apostles.”[459:2]
Dr. Conyers Middleton, speaking on this subject, says:
“There never was any period of time in all ecclesiastical history, in which so many rank heresies were publicly professed, nor in which so many spurious books were forged and published by the Christians, under the names of Christ, and the Apostles, and the Apostolic writers, as in those primitive ages. Several of these forged books are frequently cited and applied to the defense of Christianity, by the most eminent fathers of the same ages, as true and genuine pieces.[459:3]
Archbishop Wake also admits that:
“It would be useless to insist on all the spurious pieces which were attributed to St. Paul alone, in the primitive ages of Christianity.”[460:1]
Some of the “spurious pieces which were attributed to St. Paul,” may be found to-day in our canonical New Testament, and are believed by many to be the word of God.[460:2]
The learned Bishop Faustus, in speaking of the authenticity of the New Testament, says:
“It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with, affixed to their works the names of the apostles, or of such as were supposed to have been their companions, asserting that what they had written themselves, was written according to these persons to whom they ascribed it.”[460:3]
Again he says:
“Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord, which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since—as already it has been often proved—these things were not written by Christ, nor his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord, or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they mendaciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them.”[460:4]
What had been said to have been done in India, was said by these “half-Jews” to have been done in Palestine; the change of names and places, with the mixing up of various sketches of the Egyptian, Persian, Phenician, Greek and Roman mythology, was all that was necessary. They had an abundance of material, and with it they built. The foundation upon which they built was undoubtedly the “Scriptures,” or Diegesis, of the Essenes in Alexandria in Egypt, which fact led Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian—”without whom,” says Tillemont, “we should scarce have had any knowledge of the history of the first ages of Christianity, or of the authors who wrote in that time”—to say that the sacred writings used by this sect were none other than “Our Gospels.”
We offer below a few of the many proofs showing the Gospels to have been written a long time after the events narrated are said to have occurred, and by persons unacquainted with the country of which they wrote.
“He (Jesus) came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis,” is an assertion made by the Mark narrator (vii. 31), when there were no coasts of Decapolis, nor was the name so much as known before the reign of the emperor Nero.
Again, “He (Jesus) departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan,” is an assertion made by the Matthew narrator (xix. 1), when the Jordan itself was the eastern boundary of Judea, and there were no coasts of Judea beyond it.
Again, “But when he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither, notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee, and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene,” is another assertion made by the Matthew narrator (ii. 22, 23), when—1. It was a son of Herod who reigned in Galilee as well as Judea, so that he could not be more secure in one province than in the other; and when—2. It was impossible for him to have gone from Egypt to Nazareth, without traveling through the whole extent of Archelaus’s kingdom, or making a peregrination through the deserts on the north and east of the Lake Asphaltites, and the country of Moab; and then, either crossing the Jordan into Samaria or the Lake of Gennesareth into Galilee, and from thence going to the city of Nazareth, which is no better geography, than if one should describe a person as turning aside from Cheapside into the parts of Yorkshire; and when—3. There were no prophets whatever who had prophesied that Jesus “should be called a Nazarene.”
The Matthew narrator (iv. 13) states that “He departed into Galilee, and leaving Nazareth, came and dwelt in Capernaum,” as if he imagined that the city of Nazareth was not as properly in Galilee as Capernaum was; which is much such geographical accuracy, as if one should relate the travels of a hero, who departed into Middlesex, and leaving London, came and dwelt in Lombard street.[461:1]
There are many other falsehoods in gospel geography beside these, which, it is needless to mention, plainly show that the writers were not the persons they are generally supposed to be.
Of gospel statistics there are many falsehoods; among them may be mentioned the following:
“Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness,” is an assertion made by the Luke narrator (Luke iii. 2); when all Jews, or persons living among them, must have known that there never was but one high priest at a time, as with ourselves there is but one mayor of a city.
Again we read (John vii. 52), “Search (the Scriptures) and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet,” when the most distinguished of the Jewish prophets—Nahum and Jonah—were both Galileans.
See reference in the Epistles to “Saints,” a religious order, owing its origin to the popes. Also, references to the distinct orders of “Bishops,” “Priests,” and “Deacons,” and calls to a monastic life; to fasting, etc., when, the titles of “Bishop,” “Priest,” and “Deacon” were given to the Essenes—whom Eusebius calls Christians—and, as is well known, monasteries were the abode of the Essenes or Therapeuts.
See the words for “legion,” “aprons,” “handkerchiefs,” “centurion,” etc., in the original, not being Greek, but Latin, written in Greek characters, a practice first to be found in the historian Herodian, in the third century.
In Matt. xvi. 18, and Matt. xviii. 17, the word “Church” is used, and its papistical and infallible authority referred to as then existing, which is known not to have existed till ages after. And the passage in Matt. xi. 12:—”From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” etc., could not have been written till a very late period.
Luke ii. 1, shows that the writer (whoever he may have been) lived long after the events related. His dates, about the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and the government of Cyrenius (the only indications of time in the New Testament), are manifestly false. The general ignorance of the four Evangelists, not merely of the geography and statistics of Judea, but even of its language,—their egregious blunders, which no writers who had lived in that age could be conceived of as making,—prove that they were not only no such persons as those who have been willing to be deceived have taken them to be, but that they were not Jews, had never been in Palestine, and neither lived at, or at anywhere near the times to which their narratives seem to refer. The ablest divines at the present day, of all denominations, have yielded as much as this.[463:1]
The Scriptures were in the hands of the clergy only, and they had every opportunity to insert whatsoever they pleased; thus we find them full of interpolations. Johann Solomo Semler, one of the most influential theologians of the eighteenth century, speaking of this, says:
“The Christian doctors never brought their sacred books before the common people; although people in general have been wont to think otherwise; during the first ages, they were in the hands of the clergy only.”[463:2]
Concerning the time when the canon of the New Testament was settled, Mosheim says:
“The opinions, or rather the conjectures, of the learned concerning the time when the books of the New Testament were collected into one volume; as also about the authors of that collection, are extremely different. This important question is attended with great and almost insuperable difficulties to us in these later times.”[463:3]
The Rev. B. F. Westcott says:
“It is impossible to point to any period as marking the date at which our present canon was determined. When it first appears, it is presented not as a novelty, but as an ancient tradition.”[463:4]
Dr. Lardner says:
“Even so late as the middle of the sixth century, the canon of the New Testament had not been settled by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged, but Christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves concerning the genuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical, and to determine according to evidence.”[464:1]
The learned Michaelis says:
“No manuscript of the New Testament now extant is prior to the sixth century, and what is to be lamented, various readings which, as appears from the quotations of the Fathers, were in the text of the Greek Testament, are to be found in none of the manuscripts which are at present remaining.”[464:2]
And Bishop Marsh says:
“It is a certain fact, that several readings in our common printed text are nothing more than alterations made by Origen, whose authority was so great in the Christian Church (A. D. 230) that emendations which he proposed, though, as he himself acknowledged, they were supported by the evidence of no manuscript, were very generally received.”[464:3]
In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius gives us a list of what books at that time (A. D. 315) were considered canonical. They are as follows:
“The four-fold writings of the Evangelists,” “The Acts of the Apostles,” “The Epistles of Peter,” “after these the first of John, and that of Peter,” “All these are received for undoubted.” “The Revelation of St. John, some disavow.”
“The books which are gainsaid, though well known unto many, are these: the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, the latter of Peter, the second and third of John, whether they were John the Evangelist, or some other of the same name.”[464:4]
Though Irenæus, in the second century, is the first who mentions the evangelists, and Origen, in the third century, is the first who gives us a catalogue of the books contained in the New Testament, Mosheim’s admission still stands before us. We have no grounds of assurance that the mere mention of the namesof the evangelists by Irenæus, or the arbitrary drawing up of a particular catalogue by Origen, were of any authority. It is still unknown by whom, or where, orwhen, the canon of the New Testament was settled. But in this absence of positive evidence we have abundance of negative proof. We know when it was notsettled. We know it was not settled in the time of the Emperor Justinian, nor in the time of Cassiodorus; that is, not at any time before the middle of the sixth century, “by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged; but Christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves concerning thegenuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical.”
We cannot do better than close this chapter with the words of Prof. Max Müller, who, in speaking of Buddhism, says:
“We have in the history of Buddhism an excellent opportunity for watching the process by which a canon of sacred books is called into existence. We see here, as elsewhere, that during the life-time of the teacher, no record of events, no sacred code containing the sayings of the Master, was wanted. His presence was enough, and thoughts of the future, and more particularly, of future greatness, seldom entered the minds of those who followed him. It was only after Buddha had left the world to enter into Nirvâna, that his disciples attempted to recall the sayings and doings of their departed friend and master. At that time, everything that seemed to redound to the glory of Buddha, however extraordinary and incredible, was eagerly welcomed, while witnesses who would have ventured to criticise or reject unsupported statements, or to detract in any way from the holy character of Buddha, had no chance of ever being listened to. And when, in spite of all this, differences of opinion arose, they were not brought to the test by a careful weighing of evidence, but the names of ‘unbeliever‘ and ‘heretic‘ were quickly invented in India as elsewhere, and bandied backwards and forwards between contending parties, till at last, when the doctors disagreed, the help of the secular power had to be invoked, and kings and emperors assembled councils for the suppression of schism, for the settlement of an orthodox creed, and for the completion of a sacred canon.”[465:1]
That which Prof. Müller describes as taking place in the religion of Christ Buddha, is exactly what took place in the religion of Christ Jesus. That the miraculous, and many of the non-miraculous, events related in the Gospels never happened, is demonstrable from the facts which we have seen in this work, that nearly all of these events, had been previously related of the gods and goddesses of heathen nations of antiquity, more especially of the Hindoo SaviourCrishna, and the Buddhist Saviour Buddha, whose religion, with less alterations than time and translations have made in the Jewish Scriptures, may be traced in nearly every dogma and every ceremony of the evangelical mythology.

Note.—The Codex Sinaiticus, referred to on the preceding page, (note 2,) was found at the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai, by Tischendorf, in 1859. He supposes that it belongs to the 4th cent.; but Dr. Davidson (in Kitto’s Bib. Ency., Art. MSS.) thinks different. He says: “Probably it is of the 6th cent.,” while he states that the Codex Vaticanus “is believed to belong to the 4th cent.,” and the Codex Alexandrinus to the 5th cent. McClintock & Strong’s Ency. (Art. MSS.,) relying probably on Tischendorf’s conjecture, places the Codex Sinaiticus first. “It is probably the oldest of the MSS. of the N. T., and of the 4th cent.,” say they. The Codex Vaticanus is considered the next oldest, and the Codex Alexandrinus is placed third in order, and “was probably written in the first half of the 5th cent.” The writer of the art. N. T. in Smith’s Bib. Dic. says: “The Codex Sinaiticus is probably the oldest of the MSS. of the N. T., and of the 4th cent.;” and that the Codex Alexandrinus “was probably written in the first half of the 5th cent.” Thus we see that in determining the dates of the MSS. of the N. T., Christian divines are obliged to resort to conjecture; there being no certainty whatever in the matter. But with all their “suppositions,” “probabilities,” “beliefs” and “conjectures,” we have the words of the learned Michaelis still before us, that: “No MSS. of the N. T. now extant are prior to the sixth cent.” This remark, however, does not cover the Codex Sinaiticus, which was discovered since Michaelis wrote his work on the N. T.; but, as we saw above, Dr. Davidson does not agree with Tischendorf in regard to its antiquity, and places it in the 6th cent.
[450:1]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 19. See also, Prof. Max Müller’s Lectures on the Origin of Religion, pp. 145-158, and p. 67, where he speaks of “the Hindus, who, thousands of years ago, had reached in Upanishads the loftiest heights of philosophy.”
[450:2]The Ancient City, p. 13.
[451:1]See Monier Williams’ Hinduism, pp. 109, 110, and Indian Wisdom, p. 493.
[451:2]See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 576, for the authority of Prof. Max Müller.
[451:3]“The religion known as Buddhism—from the title of ‘The Buddha,’ meaning ‘The Wise,’ ‘The Enlightened’—has now existed for 2400 years, and may be said to be the prevailing religion of the world.” (Chambers’s Encyclo.)
[451:4]This Council was assembled by Asoka in the eighteenth year of his reign. The name of this king is honored wherever the teachings of Buddha have spread, and is reverenced from the Volga to Japan, from Ceylon and Siam to the borders of Mongolia and Siberia. Like his Christian prototype Constantine, he was converted by a miracle. After his conversion, which took place in the tenth year of his reign, he became a very zealous supporter of the new religion. He himself built many monasteries and dagabas, and provided many monks with the necessaries of life; and he encouraged those about his court to do the same. He published edicts throughout his empire, enjoining on all his subjects morality and justice.
[451:5]Rhys Davids’ Buddhism, p. 10.
[452:1]Müller: Lectures on the Science of Religion, p. 235.
[452:2]This small tribe of Persians were driven from their native land by the Mohammedan conquerors under the Khalif Omar, in the seventh century of our era. Adhering to the ancient religion of Persia, which resembles that of the Veda, and bringing with them the records of their faith, the Zend-Avesta of their prophet Zoroaster, they settled down in the neighborhood of Surat, about one thousand one hundred years ago, and became great merchants and shipbuilders. For two or three centuries we know little of their history. Their religion prevented them from making proselytes, and they never multiplied within themselves to any extent, nor did they amalgamate with the Hindoo population, so that even now their number only amounts to about seventy thousand. Nevertheless, from their busy, enterprising habits, in which they emulate Europeans, they form an important section of the population of Bombay and Western India.
[452:3]Movers: Quoted in Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., p. 261.
[452:4]Prolegomena, p. 417.
[452:5]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 162.
[453:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 163.
[453:2]Ibid. p. 142, and King’s Gnostics, p. 71.
[453:3]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, pp. 135, 140, and 143.
[453:4]Quoted in Ibid. p. 186.
[453:6]Renouf: Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 81.
[454:1]That is, the Tri-murti Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, for he tells us that the three gods, Indra, Agni, and Surya, constitute the Vedic chief triad of Gods. (Hinduism, p. 24.) Again he tells us that the idea of a Tri-murti was first dimly shadowed forth in the Rig-Veda, where a triad of principal gods—Agni, Indra and Surya—is recognized. (Ibid. p. 88.) The worship of the three members of the Tri-murti, Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, is to be found in the period of the epic poems, from 500 to 308 B. C. (Ibid. pp. 109, 110, 115.)
[454:2]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 25.
[454:3]Monumental Christianity, p. 890.
[454:4]See Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi.
[455:1]The genealogy which traces him back to Adam (Luke iii.) makes his religion not only a Jewish, but a Gentile one. According to this Gospel he is not only a Messiah sent to the Jews, but to all nations, sons of Adam.
[456:1]See The Bible of To-Day, under “Matthew.”
[456:2]See Ibid. under “Luke.”
[457:1]See the Bible of To-Day, under “Mark.”
[457:2]Synoptics;” the Gospels which contain accounts of the same events—”parallel passages,” as they are called—which can be written side by side, so as to enable us to make a general view or synopsis of all the three, and at the same time compare them with each other. Bishop Marsh says: “The most eminent critics are at present decidedly of opinion that one of the two suppositions must necessarily be adopted, either that the three Evangelists copied from each other, or that all the three drew from a common source, and that the notion of an absolute independence, in respect to the composition of the three first Gospels, is no longer tenable.”
[457:3]“On opening the New Testament and comparing the impression produced by the Gospel of Matthew or Mark with that by the Gospel of John, the observant eye is at once struck with as salient a contrast as that already indicated on turning from the Macbeth or Othello of Shakespeare to the Comus of Milton or to Spenser’s Faerie Queene.” (Francis Tiffany.)
“To learn how far we may trust them (the Gospels) we must in the first place compare them with each other. The moment we do so we notice that the fourth stands quite alone, while the first three form a single group, not only following the same general course, but sometimes even showing a verbal agreement which cannot possibly be accidental.” (The Bible for Learners, vol. ii. p. 27.)
[458:1]“Irenæus is the first person who mentions the four Gospels by name.” (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 328.)
“Irenæus, in the second century, is the first of the fathers who, though he has nowhere given us a professed catalogue of the books of the New Testament, intimates that he had received four Gospels, as authentic Scriptures, the authors of which he describes.” (Rev. R. Taylor: Syntagma, p. 109.)
“The authorship of the fourth Gospel has been the subject of much learned and anxious controversy among theologians. The earliest, and only very important external testimony we have is that of Irenæus (A. D. 179.)” (W. R. Grey: The Creed of Christendom, p. 159.)
[458:2]Against Heresies, bk. ii. ch. xi. sec. 1.
[459:1]Against Heresies, bk. iii. ch. xi. sec. 8.
[459:2]Mosheim: vol. i. p. 109.
[459:3]Middleton’s Works, vol. i. p. 59.
[460:1]Genuine Epist. Apost. Fathers, p. 98.
[460:2]See Chadwick’s Bible of To-Day, pp. 191, 192.
[460:3]“Nec ab ipso scriptum constat, nec ab ejus apostolis sed longo post tempore a quibusdam incerti nominis viris, qui ne sibi non haberetur fides scribentibus quæ nescirent, partim apostolorum, partim eorum qui apostolos secuti viderentur nomina scriptorum suorum frontibus indiderunt, asseverantes secundum eos, se scripsisse quæ scripserunt.” (Faust, lib. 2. Quoted by Rev. R. Taylor: Diegesis, p. 114.)
[460:4]“Multa enim a majoribus vestris, eloquiis Domini nostri inserta verba sunt; quæ nomine signata ipsius, cum ejus fide non congruant, præsertim, quia, ut jam sæpe probatum a nobis est, nec ab ipso hæc sunt, nec ab ejus apostolis scripta, sed multo post eorum assumptionem, a nescio quibus, et ipsis inter se non concordantibus semi-Judæis, per famas opinionesque comperta sunt; qui tamen omnia eadem in apostolorum Domini conferentes nomina vel eorum qui secuti apostolos viderentur, errores ac mendacia sua secundum eos se scripsisse mentiti sunt.” (Faust.: lib. 88. Quoted in Ibid. p. 66.)
[461:1]Taylor‘s Diegesis.
[463:1]Says Prof. Smith upon this point: “All the earliest external evidence points to the conclusion that the synoptic gospels are non-apostolic digests of spoken and written apostolic tradition, and that the arrangement of the earlier material in orderly form took place only gradually and by many essays.”
Dr. Hooykaas, speaking of the four “Gospels,” and “Acts,” says of them: “Not one of these five books was really written by the person whose name it bears, and they are all of more recent date than the heading would lead us to suppose.”
“We cannot say that the “Gospels” and book of “Acts” are unauthentic, for not one of them professes to give the name of its author. They appeared anonymously. The titles placed above them in our Bibles owe their origin to a later ecclesiastical tradition which deserves no confidence whatever.” (Bible for Learners, vol. iii. pp. 24, 25.)
These Gospels “can hardly be said to have had authors at all. They had only editors or compilers. What I mean is, that those who enriched the old Christian literature with these Gospels did not go to work as independent writers and compose their own narratives out of the accounts they had collected, but simply took up the different stories or sets of stories which they found current in the oral tradition or already reduced to writing, adding here and expanding there, and so sent out into the world a very artless kind of composition. These works were then, from time to time, somewhat enriched by introductory matter or interpolations from the hands of later Christians, and perhaps were modified a little here and there. Our first two Gospels appear to have passed through more than one such revision. The third, whose writer says in his preface, that ‘many had undertaken to put together a narrative (Gospel),’ before him, appears to proceed from a single collecting, arranging, and modifying hand.” (Ibid. p. 29.)
[463:2]“Christiani doctores non in vulgus prodebant libros sacros, licet soleant plerique aliteropinari, erant tantum in manibus clericorum, priora per sæcula.” (Quoted in Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 48.)
[463:3]Mosheim: vol. i. pt. 2, ch. ii.
[463:4]General Survey of the Canon, p. 459.
[464:1]Credibility of the Gospels.
[464:2]Marsh’s Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 160. The Sinaitic MS. is believed by Tischendorf to belong to the fourth century.
[464:3]Ibid. p. 368.
[464:4]Eusebius: Ecclesiastical Hist. lib. 3, ch. xxii.
[465:1]The Science of Religion, pp. 30, 31.
Extract from CHAPTER  XXXVIII THE ANTIQUITY OF PAGAN RELIGIONS, “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

How Christianity Expanded?



.” The same thing which is now called CHRISTIAN RELIGION existed among the Ancients. They have begun to call Christianity the true religion which existed before,” SAINT AUGUSTINE.

” Our love for what is old, our reverence for what our fathers used, makes us keep still in the church, and on the very altar cloths, symbols which would excite the smile of an Oriental, and lead him to wonder why we send missionaries to his land, while cherishing his faith in ours.”JAMES BONWICK.


Christianity is the largest world religion with over 1.5 billion followers; it derives its name form Christ Jesus. It is of academic interest to explore through historic evidence that; How a Jewish sect became the world religion?  The clear teachings of Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) as available in the four existing Gospels indicate that he unambiguously preached to Israelis, the same message of Hebrew prophets; obedience and worship to One God: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”(Deuteronomy; 6:4, Mark; 12:29). The essence of the teachings is presented in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew; 5:17-20 also 5:3-12, 6:9-13).
The question of the origin of Jesus, his nature and relation to God, which later became so important, was not raised among his early disciples. The belief that Jesus was a man super-naturally endowed prophet of God was accepted without question. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view. According to Aristides, one of the earliest apologists, the worship of the early Christians was more purely monotheistic even than of the Jews.
After Jesus Christ, the original followers of Jesus Christ continued to live as Jews and practiced what Jesus had taught them. It did not occur to any of them that they could ever be regarded as followers of a new religion.  They were devout and practicing Jews and they were distinguished from their neighbours, only by their faith in the message of Jesus. In the beginning they did not organize themselves as a separate sect and did not have a synagogue of their own.   There was nothing in the message of Jesus, as understood by them, to necessitate a break with Judaism. However, they incurred the enmity of the vested interests among the Jewish higher echelon.
With the conversion of Paul (4–64 C.E) a new period opened in Christian Theology. Paul a Jew and an inhabitant of Tarsus, had spent a long time in Rome, he was a Roman citizen. He realized the strong hold which the Roman religion had on the masses. The intellectuals were under the influence of Plato and Aristotle. Paul seems to have felt that it would not be possible to convert the masses in the Roman Empire without making mutual adjustments. But his practical wisdom was not acceptable to those who had seen and heard Jesus. However, in spite of their difference, they decided to work together for the common cause.
Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) presented a spiritual message and main ideas concerning human conduct. Christian theology, however, was shaped principally by the work of Paul and alike, who adulterated the spiritual message of Jesus. Paul became the foremost proselytizer of the new religion of Christianity. His influence on Christian theology proved to be the most permanent and far-reaching of all Christian writers and thinkers.
The conflict between the Jews and the followers of Jesus was started by the Jews because they felt that the Christians would undermine their “authority”. The gulf progressively began to widen. During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E, they left the city; and refused to take part in the Bar Coachaba rebellion in 132 C.E. These two events brought to the surface the difference between the followers of Jesus Christ and the Jews. Later the efforts of Paul bear fruits, Trinity and other strange doctrines got embedded to form the new religion, ‘Christianity’.
The Gospels written by unknown authors in stages [between 50 to 110 years after Jesus Christ] attributing titles to some familiar names for credibility got some new ideas incorporated. The “Preface” to ‘The Bible, Revised Standard Version’ (RSV) states:-
“The King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation…… The Council appointed a committee of scholars to have charge of the text of the American Standard Version and to undertake inquiry …. If in the judgment of the Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure, either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of our present knowledge of the language, that fact is indicated by a note.” [419:1a]
Similarly many other Biblical scholars like Dr.Bart Ehrman, Lloyd Graham, Burton L. Mack Douglas and Lockhart are also in consensus on existence of serious errors and inconsistencies in the Bible. Moreover many modern scholars like Sir Anthony Buzzard and Joseph Good logically prove that the doctrines of Christianity like Trinity do not get textual support even from the Bible. The message of Jesus Christ was clear and simple monotheistic; “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”(Mark :12:29-30), same in Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41. However the fundamental doctrine of Trinity defines; God as three divine persons (ὑποστάσεις): the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial (ὁμοούσιοι). Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being (οὐσία), this appears to be absurd and irrational to common mind, considered to be a mystery of Christian faith.
Based upon thorough research and historical evidence there is general agreement among many scholars that Christian doctrines like ‘Trinity’, ‘Original Sin’, ‘Salvation through Faith’, ‘Baptism’, ‘Original Sin’, ‘Crucifixion’, ‘Resurrection’, ‘Eucharist’, ‘Birthday of Christ Jesus’ and even ‘Christian Symbols’, have been adapted form other pagan religions. The similarities in the narratives about Jesus Christ, Krishna (Hindu Lord) and Buddha are too obvious to be ignored. The persecution and destruction of works of early scholars like Porphyry (234–305 C.E), Hierocles (430 C.E) and Celsus did not totally eliminate their factual views on Christianity as opposed to the Church.
The question arises that despite being in conflict with teachings of Jesus Christ, lacking in authenticity, logic and rationality, why did Christianity prosper to become a world religion? Why was Jesus of Nazareth believed to be a divine incarnation and Saviour? There were many reasons to it, each requiring a book, however here only four main causes are being touched upon briefly. This is based upon the excerpts with minor changes from the 1882 classic book “Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions” by Thomas William Doane, who undertook extensive research as evident from authentic references quoted to prove the point.

1. Essenes Affinity with Buddhism – A Jumping pad for Christianity:

For many centuries before the time of Christ Jesus there lived a sect of religious monks known as Essenes, or Therapeutæ;[419:1] these entirely disappeared from history shortly after the time assigned for the crucifixion of Jesus. There were thousands of them, and their monasteries were to be counted by the score. Many have asked the question, “What became of them?” We now propose to show:
1. That they were expecting the advent of an Angel-Messiah;
2. That they considered Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah;
3. That they came over to Christianity in a body; and,
4. That they brought the legendary histories of the former Angel-Messiahs with them.
The origin of the sect known as Essenes is enveloped in mist, and will probably never be revealed. To speak of all the different ideas entertained as to their origin would make a volume of it, we can therefore but glance at the subject. It has been the object of Christian writers up to a comparatively recent date, to claim that almost everything originated with God’s chosen people, the Jews, and that even all languages can be traced to the Hebrew. Under these circumstances, then, it is not to be wondered at that we find they have also traced the Essenes to Hebrew origin.
[The Essenes have gained fame in modern times as a result of the discovery of an extensive group of religious documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are commonly believed to be Essenes’ library—although there is no proof that the Essenes wrote them. These documents include preserved multiple copies of the Hebrew Bible untouched from as early as 300 BCE until their discovery in 1946. Some scholars, however, dispute the notion that the Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.]
Theophilus Gale, who wrote a work called “The Court of the Gentiles” (Oxford, 1671), to demonstrate that “the origin of all human literature, both philology and philosophy, is from the Scriptures and the Jewish church,” undoubtedly hits upon the truth when he says:
“Now, the origination or rise of these Essenes (among the Jews) I conceive by the best conjectures I can make from antiquity, to be in or immediately after the Babylonian captivity, though some make them later.”
Some Christian writers trace them to Moses or some of the prophets, but that they originated in India, and were a sort of Buddhist sect, we believe is their true history.
Gfrörer (1803-1861), who wrote concerning them in 1835, and said that “the Essenes and the Therapeutæ are the same sect, and hold the same views,” was undoubtedly another writer who was touching upon historical ground.
The identity of many of the precepts and practices of Essenism and those of the New Testament is unquestionable. Essenism urged on its disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.[420:1] The Essenes forbade the laying up of treasures upon earth.[420:2] The Essenes demanded of those who wished to join them to sell all their possessions, and to divide it among the poor brethren.[420:3] The Essenes had all things in common, and appointed one of the brethren as steward to manage the common bag.[420:4] Essenism put all its members on the same level, forbidding the exercise of authority of one over the other, and enjoining mutual service.[420:5] Essenism commanded its disciples to call no man master upon the earth.[420:6] Essenism laid the greatest stress upon being meek and lowly in spirit.[420:7] The Essenes commended the poor in spirit, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemaker. They combined the healing of the body with that of the soul. They declared that the power to cast out evil spirits, to perform miraculous cures, &c., should be possessed by their disciples as signs of their belief.[420:8] The Essenes did not swear at all; their answer was yea, yea, and nay, nay.[420:9] When the Essenes started on a mission of mercy, they provided neither gold nor silver, neither two coats, neither shoes, but relied on hospitality for support.[420:10] The Essenes, though repudiating offensive war, yet took weapons with them when they went on a perilous journey.[421:1] The Essenes abstained from connubial intercourse.[421:2] The Essenes did not offer animal sacrifices, but strove to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which they regarded as a reasonable service.[421:3] It was the great aim of the Essenes to live such a life of purity and holiness as to be the temples of the Holy Spirit, and to be able to prophesy.[421:4]
Many other comparisons might be made, but these are sufficient to show that there is a great similarity between the two.[421:5] These similarities have led many Christian writers to believe that Jesus belonged to this order. Dr. Ginsburg, an advocate of this theory, says:
“It will hardly be doubted that our Saviour himself belonged to this holy brotherhood. This will especially be apparent when we remember that the whole Jewish community, at the advent of Christ, was divided into three parties, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, and that every Jew had to belong to one of these sects. Jesus, who, in all things, conformed to the Jewish law, and who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, would therefore naturally associate himself with that order of Judaism which was most congenial to his holy nature. Moreover, the fact that Christ, with the exception of once, was not heard of in public until his thirtieth year, implying that he lived in seclusion with this fraternity, and that though he frequently rebuked the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, he never denounced the Essenes, strongly confirms this conclusion.”[421:6]
The facts—as Dr. Ginsburg calls them—which confirm his conclusions are simply no facts at all. Jesus may or may not have been a member of this order; but when it is stated as a fact that he never rebuked the Essenes, it is implying too much. We know not whether the words said to have been uttered by Jesus were ever uttered by him or not, and it is almost certain that had he rebuked the Essenes, and had his words been written in the Gospels, they would not remain there long. We hear very little of the Essenes after A. D. 40,[421:7] therefore, when we read of the “primitive Christians,” we are reading of Essenes, and others.
The statement that, with the exception of once, Jesus was not heard in public life till his thirtieth year, is also uncertain. One of the early Christian Fathers (Irenæus) tells us that he did not begin to teach until he was forty years of age, or thereabout, and that he lived to be nearly fifty years old.[422:1] “The records of his life are very scanty; and these have been so shaped and colored and modified by the hands of ignorance and superstition and party prejudice and ecclesiastical purpose, that it is hard to be sure of the original outlines.”
The similarity of the sentiments of the Essenes, or Therapeutae, to those of the Church of Rome, induced the learned Jesuit, Nicolaus Serarius, to seek for them an honourable origin. He contended therefore, that they were Asideans, and derived them from the Rechabites, described so circumstantially in the thirty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah; at the same time, he asserted that the first Christian monks were Essenes.[422:2]
Mr. King, speaking of the Christian sect called Gnostics, says:
“Their chief doctrines had been held for centuries before (their time) in many of the cities of Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as ‘Mystæ,’ upon the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies. The colleges of Essenes and Megabyzae at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”[422:3]
“The introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in the history of religion.”[422:4]
“That Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of the Seleucidæ and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the former) before the beginning of the third century B. C., is proved to demonstration by a passage in the Edicts of Asoka, grandson of the famous Chandragupta, the Sandracottus of the Greeks. These edicts are engraven on a rock at Girnur, in Guzerat.”[422:5]
Eusebius, in quoting from Philo concerning the Essenes, seems to take it for granted that they and the Christians were one and the same, and from the manner in which he writes, it would appear that it was generally understood so. He says that Philo called them “Worshipers,” and concludes by saying:
“But whether he himself gave them this name, or whether at the beginning they were so called, when as yet the name of Christians was not everywhere published, I think it not needful curiosity to sift out.”[422:6]
This celebrated ecclesiastical historian considered it very probable that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt had been incorporated into the gospels of the New Testament, and into some Pauline epistles. His words are:
“It is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels, and the works of the apostles, and certain expositions of the ancient prophets, such as partly that epistle unto the Hebrews, and also the other epistles of Paul do contain.”[423:1]
The principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be connected with the East, with Parsism, and especially with Buddhism. Among the doctrines which Essenes and Buddhists had in common was that of the Angel-Messiah.[423:2]
Godfrey Higgins says:
“The Essenes were called physicians of the soul, or Therapeutæ; being resident both in Judea and Egypt, they probably spoke or had their sacred books in Chaldee. They were Pythagoreans, as is proved by all their forms, ceremonies, and doctrines, and they called themselves sons of Jesse. If the Pythagoreans or Conobitae as they are called by Jamblicus, were Buddhists, the Essenes were Buddhists. The Essenes lived in Egypt, on the lake of Parembole or Maria, in monasteries. These are the very places in which we formerly found the Gymnosophists, or Samaneans, or Buddhist priests to have lived; which Gymnosophistæ are placed also by Ptolemy in north-eastern India.”
“Their (the Essenes) parishes, churches, bishops, priests, deacons, festivals are all identically the same (as the Christians). They had apostolic founders; the manners which distinguished the immediate apostles of Christ; scriptures divinely inspired; the same allegorical mode of interpreting them, which has since obtained among Christians, and the same order of performing public worship. They had missionary stations or colonies of their community established in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Phillippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica, precisely such, and in the same circumstances, as were those to whom St. Paul addressed his letters in those places. All the fine moral doctrines which are attributed to the Samaritan Nazarite, and I doubt not justly attributed to him, are to be found among the doctrines of these ascetics.”[423:3]
And Arthur Lillie says:
“It is asserted by calm thinkers like Dean Mansel that within two generations of the time of Alexander the Great, the missionaries of Buddha made their appearance at Alexandria.[423:4] This theory is confirmed—in the east by the Asoka monuments—in the west by Philo. He expressly maintains the identity in creed of the higher Judaism and that of the Gymnosophists of India who abstained from the ‘sacrifice of living animals’—in a word, the BUDDHISTS. It would follow from this that the priestly religion of Babylonia, Palestine, Egypt, and Greece were undermined by certain kindred mystical societies organized by Buddha’s missionaries under the various names of Therapeutes, Essenes, Neo-Pythagoreans, Neo-Zoroastrians, &c. Thus Buddhism prepared the way for Christianity.”[424:1]
The Buddhists have the “eight-fold holy path” (Dhammapada), eight spiritual states leading up to Buddhahood. The first state of the Essenes resulted from baptism, and it seems to correspond with the first Buddhistic state, those who have entered the (mystic) stream. Patience, purity, and the mastery of passion were aimed at by both devotees in the other stages. In the last, magical powers, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, etc., were supposed to be gained. Buddhists and Essenes seem to have doubled up this eight-fold path into four, for some reason or other. Buddhists and Essenes had three orders of ascetics or monks, but this classification is distinct from the spiritual classifications.[424:2]
The doctrine of the “Anointed Angel,” of the man from heaven, the Creator of the world, the doctrine of the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus by the blood of his cross, the doctrine of the Messianic antetype of the Paschal lamb of the Paschal omer, and thus of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, the third day, according to the Scriptures, these doctrines of Paul can, with more or less certainty, be connected with the Essenes. It becomes almost a certainty that Eusebius was right in surmising that Essenic writings have been used by Paul and the evangelists. Not Jesus, but Paul, is the cause of the separation of the Jews from the Christians.[424:3]
The probability, then, that that sect of vagrant quack-doctors, the Therapeutæ, who were established in Egypt and its neighbourhood many ages before the period assigned by later theologians as that of the birth of Christ Jesus, were the original fabricators of the writings contained in the New Testament, becomes a certainty on the basis of evidence, than which history has nothing more certain, furnished by the unguarded, but explicit, unwary, but most unqualified and positive statement of the historian Eusebius, that “those ancient Therapeutæ were Christians, and that their ancient writings were our gospels and epistles.”
The Essenes, the Therapeuts, the Ascetics, the Monks, the Ecclesiastics, and the Eclectics, are but different names for one and the self-same sect.
The word “Essene” is nothing more than the Egyptian word for that of which Therapeut is the Greek, each of them signifying “healer” or “doctor,” and designating the character of the sect as professing to be endued with the miraculous gift of healing; and more especially so with respect to diseases of the mind.
Their name of “Ascetics” indicated the severe discipline and exercise of self-mortification, long fasting, prayers, contemplation, and even making of themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, as did Origen, Melito, and others who derived their Christianity from the same school; Jesus himself is represented to have recognized and approved their practice.
Their name of “Monks” indicated their delight in solitude, their contemplative life, and their entire segregation and abstraction from the world, which Jesus, in the Gospel, is in like manner represented as describing, as characteristic of the community of which he was a member.
Their name of “Ecclesiastics” was of the same sense, and indicated their being called out, elected, separated from the general fraternity of mankind, and set apart to the more immediate service and honour of God.
They had a flourishing university, or corporate body, established upon these principles, at Alexandria in Egypt, long before the period assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus.[425:1]
From this body they sent out missionaries, and had established colonies, auxiliary branches, and affiliated communities, in various cities of Asia Minor, which colonies were in a flourishing condition, before the preaching of St. Paul.
“The very ancient and Eastern doctrine of an Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama-Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and of Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity.”[425:2]
In the Pali and Sanscrit texts the word Buddha is always used as a title, not as a name. It means “The Enlightened One.” Gautama Buddha is represented to have taught that he was only one of a long series of Buddhas, who appear at intervals in the world, and who all teach the same system. After the death of each Buddha his religion flourishes for a time, but finally wickedness and vice again rule over the land. Then a new Buddha appears, who again preaches the lost Dharma or truth. The names of twenty-four of these Buddhas who appeared previous to Gautama have been handed down to us. The Buddhavansa, or “History of the Buddhas,” the last book of the Khuddaka Nikaya in the second Pitca, gives the lives of all the previous Buddhas before commencing its account of Gautama himself; and the Pali commentary on the Jatakas gives certain details regarding each of the twenty-four.[426:1]
An Avatar was expected about every six hundred years.[426:2] At the time of Jesus of Nazareth an Avatar was expected, not by some of the Jews alone, but by most every eastern nation.[426:3] Many persons were thought at that time to be, and undoubtedly thought themselves to be, the Christ, and the only reason why the name of Jesus of Nazareth succeeded above all others, is because the Essenes—who were expecting an Angel-Messiah—espoused it. Had it not been for this almost indisputable fact, the name of Jesus of Nazareth would undoubtedly not be known at the present day.
Epiphanius, a Christian bishop and writer of the fourth century, says, in speaking of the Essenes:
“They who believed on Christ were called JESSAEI (or Essenes), before they were called Christians. These derived their constitution from the signification of the name Jesus, which in Hebrew signifies the same as Therapeutes, that is, a saviour or physician.”
Thus we see that, according to Christian authority, the Essenes and Therapeutes are one, and that the Essenes espoused the cause of Jesus of Nazareth, accepted him as an Angel-Messiah, and became known to history as Christians, or believers in the Anointed Angel.
This ascetic Buddhist sect called Essenes were therefore expecting an Angel-Messiah, for had not Gautama announced to his disciples that another Buddha, and therefore another angel in human form, another organ or advocate of the wisdom from above, would descend from heaven to earth, and would be called the “Son of Love.”
The learned Thomas Maurice says:
“From the earliest post-diluvian age, to that in which the Messiah appeared, together with the traditions which so expressly recorded the fall of the human race from a state of original rectitude and felicity, there appears, from an infinite variety of hieroglyphic monuments and of written documents, to have prevailed, from generation to generation, throughout all the regions of the higher Asia, an uniform belief that, in the course of revolving ages, there should arise a sacred personage, a mighty deliverer of mankind from the thraldom of sin and of death. In fact, the memory of the grand original promise, that the seed of the woman should eventually crush the serpent, was carefully preserved in the breasts of the Asiatics; it entered deeply into their symbolic superstitions, and was engraved aloft amidst their mythological sculptures.”[427:1]
That an Angel-Messiah was generally expected at this time may be inferred from the following facts: Some of the Gnostic sects of Christians, who believed that Jesus was an emanation from God, likewise supposed that there were several Aeons, or emanations from the Eternal Father. Among those who taught this doctrine was Basilides and his followers.[427:2]
SIMON MAGUS was believed to be “He who should come.” Simon was worshiped in Samaria and other countries, as the expected Angel-Messiah, as a God.
Justin Martyr says:
“After the ascension of our Lord into heaven, certain men were suborned by demons as their agents, who said that they were gods (i. e., the Angel Messiah). Among these was Simon, a certain Samaritan, whom nearly all the Samaritans and a few also of other nations, worshiped, confessing him as a Supreme God.”[427:3]
His miracles were notorious, and admitted by all. His followers became so numerous that they were to be found in all countries. In Rome, in the reign of Claudius, a statue was erected in his honour. Clement of Rome, speaking of Simon Magus, says that:
“He wishes to be considered an exalted person and to be considered ‘the Christ.’ He claims that he can never be dissolved, asserting that he will endure to eternity.”
Montanus was another person who evidently believed himself to be an Angel-Messiah. He was called by himself and his followers the “Paraclete,” or “Holy Spirit.”[428:1]
Socrates Scholasticus (5th century CE), in his Ecclesiastical History, tells us of one Buddhas (who lived after Jesus):
“Who afore that time was called Terebynthus, which went to the coasts of Babylon, inhabited by Persians, and there published of himself many false wonders: that he was born of a virgin, that he was bred and brought up in the mountains, etc.”[428:2]
He was evidently one of the many fanatics who believed themselves to be the Paraclete or Comforter, the “Expected One.”
Another one of these Christs was Apollonius. This remarkable man was born a few years before the commencement of the Christian era, and during his career, sustained the role of a philosopher, religious teacher and reformer, and a worker of miracles. He is said to have lived to be a hundred years old. From the history of his life, written by the learned sophist and scholar, Philostratus, we glean the following:
Before his birth a god appeared to his mother and informed her that he himself should be born of her. At the time of her delivery, the most wonderful things happened. All the people of the country acknowledged that he was the “Son of God.” As he grew in stature, his wonderful powers, greatness of memory, and marvellous beauty attracted the attention of all. A great part of his time was spent, when a youth, among the learned doctors; the disciples of Plato, Chrysippus and Aristotle. When he came to man’s estate, he became an enthusiastic admirer and devoted follower of Pythagoras. His fame soon spread far and near, and wherever he went he reformed the religious worship of the day. He went to Ephesus, like Christ Jesus to Jerusalem, where the people flocked about him. While at Athens, in Greece, he cast out an evil spirit from a youth. As soon as Apollonius fixed his eyes upon him, the demon broke out into the most angry and horrid expressions, and then swore he would depart out of the youth. He put an end to a plague which was raging at Ephesus, and at Corinth he raised a dead maiden to life, by simply taking her by the hand and bidding her arise. The miracles of Apollonius were extensively believed, by Christians as well as others, for centuries after his time. In the fourth century Hierocles drew a parallel between the two Christs—Apollonius and Jesus—which was answered by Eusebius, the great champion of the Christian church. In it he admits the miracles of Apollonius, but attributes them to sorcery.
Apollonius was worshiped as a god, in different countries, as late as the fourth century. A beautiful temple was built in honour of him, and he was held in high esteem by many of the Pagan emperors. Eunapius, who wrote concerning him in the fifth century, says that his history should have been entitled “The Descent of a God upon Earth.” It is as Albert Reville says:
“The universal respect in which Apollonius was held by the whole pagan world, testified to the deep impression which the life of this Supernatural Being had left indelibly fixed in their minds; an expression which caused one of his contemporaries to exclaim, ‘We have a God living among us.'”
A Samaritan, by name Menander, who was contemporary with the apostles of Jesus, was another of these fanatics who believed himself to be the Christ. He went about performing miracles, claiming that he was a SAVIOUR, “sent down from above from the invisible worlds, for the salvation of mankind.”[429:1] He baptized his followers in his own name. His influence was great, and continued for several centuries. Justin Martyr and other Christian Fathers wrote against him.
Manes evidently believed himself to be “the Christ,” or “he who was to come.” His followers also believed the same concerning him. Eusebius, speaking of him, says:
“He presumed to represent the person of Christ; he proclaimed himself to be the Comforter and the Holy Ghost, and being puffed up with this frantic pride, chose, as if he were Christ, twelve partners of his new-found doctrine, patching into one heap false and detestable doctrines of old, rotten, and rooted out heresies, the which he brought out of Persia.”[429:2]
The word Manes, says Usher in his Annals, has the meaning of Paraclete or Comforter or Saviour. This at once lets us into the secret—a new incarnation, an Angel-Messiah, a Christ—born from the side of his mother, and put to a violent death—flayed alive, and hung up, or crucified, by a king of Persia.[429:3] This is the teacher with his twelve apostles on the rock of Gualior.
Du Perron, in his life of Zoroaster, gives an account of certain prophecies to be found in the sacred books of the Persians. One of these is to the effect that, at successive periods of time, there will appear on earth certain “Sons of Zoroaster,” who are to be the result of immaculate conceptions. These virgin-born gods will come upon earth for the purpose of establishing the law of God. It is also asserted that Zoroaster, when on earth, declared that in the “latter days” a pure virgin would conceive, and bear a son, and that as soon as the child was born a star would appear, blazing even at noonday, with undiminished splendor. This Christ is to be called Sosiosh. He will redeem mankind, and subdue the Devs, who have been tempting and leading men astray ever since the fall of our first parents.
Among the Greeks the same prophecy was found. The Oracle of Delphi was the depository, according to Plato, of an ancient and secret prophecy of the birth of a “Son of Apollo,” who was to restore the reign of justice and virtue on the earth.[430:1]
Those who believed in successive emanations of Aeons from the Throne of Light, pointed to the passage in the Gospels where Jesus is made to say that he will be succeeded by the Parakletos or Comforter. Muhammad [prophet, peace be upon him] was believed by many to be this Parakletos, and it is said that he too told his disciples that another Parakletos [to known as Mehdi, guided one] is the prophesied redeemer who will stay on earth for couple of years before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus Christ, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny. According to accepted tradition, the Prophet himself designated the line of descent in which his most important successor would be found, and even indicated his personal appearance. Many people claimed to be Mehdi, in the Muslim world especially during last two centuries, but their claims proved to be hollow. [modified]
History then relates to us the indisputable fact that at the time of Jesus of Nazareth an Angel-Messiah was expected, that many persons claimed, and were believed to be, the “Expected One,” and that the reason why Jesus was accepted above all others was because the Essenes—a very numerous sect—believed him to be the true Messiah, and came over to his followers in a body. It was because there were so many of these Christs in existence that some follower of Jesus—but no one knows who—wrote as follows:
“If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or, lo, he is there; believe him not; for false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”[431:1]
The reasons why Jesus was not accepted as the Messiah by the majority of the Jews was because the majority expected a daring and irresistible warrior and conqueror, who, armed with greater power than Caear, was to come upon earth to rend the fetters in which their hapless nation had so long groaned, to avenge them upon their haughty oppressors, and to re-establish the kingdom of Judah; and this Jesus—although he evidently claimed to be the Messiah—did not do.
Tacitus (56 – 117 C.E), the Roman historian, says:
“The generality had a strong persuasion that it was contained in the ancient writings of the priests, that at that very time the east should prevail: and that some one, who should come out of Judea, should obtain the empire of the world; which ambiguities foretold Vespasian and Titus. But the common people (of the Jews), according to the influence of human wishes, appropriated to themselves, by their interpretation, this vast grandeur foretold by the fates, nor could be brought to change their opinion for the true, by all their adversities.”
Suetonius, (69/75 – after 130) another Roman historian, says:
“There had been for a long time all over the east a constant persuasion that it was recorded in the fates (books of the fates, or foretellings), that at that time some one who should come out of Judea should obtain universal dominion. It appears by the event that this prediction referred to the Roman emperor; but the Jews, referring it to themselves, rebelled.”
This is corroborated by Josephus, the Jewish historian, who says:
“That which, chiefly excited them (the Jews) to war, was an ambiguous prophecy, which was also found in the sacred books, that at that time some one, within their country, should arise, that should obtain the empire of the whole world. For this they had received by tradition, that it was spoken of one of their nation; and many wise men were deceived with the interpretation. But, in truth, Vespasian’s empire was designed in this prophecy, who was created emperor (of Rome) in Judea.”
As the Rev. Dr. Geikie remarks, the central and dominant characteristic of the teaching of the rabbis, was the certain advent of a great national Deliverer—the Messiah—but not a God from heaven.
For a time Cyrus appeared to realize the promised Deliverer, or, at least, to be the chosen instrument to prepare the way for him, and, in his turn, Zerubabel became the centre of Messianic hopes. In fact, the national mind had become so inflammable, by constant brooding on this one theme, that any bold spirit, rising in revolt against the Roman power, could find an army of fierce disciples who trusted that it should be he who would redeem Israel.[432:1]
The “taxing” which took place under Cyrenius, Governor of Syria (A. D. 7), excited the wildest uproar against the Roman power. The Hebrew spirit was stung into exasperation; the puritans of the nation, the enthusiasts, fanatics, the zealots of the law, the literal constructionists of prophecy, appealed to the national temper, revived the national faith, and fanned into flame the combustible elements that smouldered in the bosom of the race. The Messianic hope was strong in these people; all the stronger on account of their political degradation. Born in sorrow, the anticipation grew keen in bitter hours. That Jehovah would abandon them could not be believed. The thought would be atheism. The hope kept the eastern Jews in a perpetual state of insurrection. The cry “Lo here, lo there!” was incessant. Claimant after claimant of the dangerous supremacy of the Messiah appeared, pitched a camp in the wilderness, raised the banner, gathered a force, was attacked, defeated, banished, or crucified; but the frenzy did not abate.
The last insurrection among the Jews, that of Bar-Cochba—”Son of the Star”—revealed an astonishing frenzy of zeal. It was purely a Messianic uprising. Judaism had excited the fears of the Emperor Hadrian, and induced him to inflict unusual severities on the people. The effect of the violence was to stimulate that conviction to fury. The night of their despair was once more illumined by the star of the east. The banner of the Messiah was raised. Potents, as of old, were seen in the sky; the clouds were watched for the glory that should appear. Bar-Cochba seemed to fill out the popular idea of the deliverer. Miracles were ascribed to him; flames issued from his mouth. The vulgar imagination made haste to transform the audacious fanatic into a child of David. Multitudes flocked to his standard. The whole Jewish race throughout the world was in commotion. The insurrection gained head. The heights about Jerusalem were seized and occupied, and fortifications were erected; nothing but the “host of angels” was needed to insure victory. The angels did not appear; the Roman legions did. The “Messiah,” not proving himself a conqueror, was held to have proved himself an impostor, the “son of a lie.”[433:1]
The impetuous zeal with which the Jews rushed to the standard of this Messianic impostor, in the 130th year of the Christian era, demonstrates the true Jewish character, and shows how readily any one who made the claim, was believed to be “He who should come.” Even the celebrated Rabbi Akiba sanctioned this daring fraud. Akiba declared that the so-called prophecy of Balaam,—”a star shall rise out of Jacob,”—was accomplished. Hence the impostor took his title of Bar-Cochabas, or Son of the Star; and Akiba not only publicly anointed him “KING OF THE JEWS,” and placed an imperial diadem upon his head, but followed him to the field at the head of four-and-twenty thousand of his disciples, and acted in the capacity of master of his horse.
Those who believed on the meek and benevolent Jesus—and whose number was very small—were of that class who believed in the doctrine of the Angel-Messiah,[433:2] first heard of among them when taken captives to Babylon. These believed that just as Buddha appeared at different intervals, and as Vishnu appeared at different intervals, the avatars appeared among the Jews. Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, and Elijah or Elias, might in outward appearance be different men, but they were really the self-same divine person successively animating various human bodies.[433:3] Christ Jesus was the avatar of the ninth age, Christ Cyrus was the avatar of the eighth. Of the hero of the eighth age it is said: “Thus said the Lord to his Anointed (i. e., his Christ), his Messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue nations.”[434:1] The eighth period began about the Babylonish captivity, about six hundred years before Christ Jesus. The ninth began with Christ Jesus, making in all eight cycles before Jesus.
“What was known in Judea more than a century before the birth of Jesus Christ cannot have been introduced among Buddhists by Christian missionaries. It will become equally certain that the bishop and church-historian, Eusebius, was right when he wrote, that he considered it highly probable that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt had been incorporated into our Gospels, and into some Pauline epistles.”[434:2]
For further information on the subject of the connection between Essenism and Christianity, the reader is referred to Taylor’s Diegesis, Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, and the works of S. F. Dunlap. We shall now speak of another powerful lever which was brought to bear upon the promulgation of Christianity; namely, that of FRAUD.

2. Deceit & Fraud:

It was a common thing among the early Christian Fathers and saints to lie and deceive, if their lies and deceits helped the cause of their Christ. Lactantius, an eminent Christian author who flourished in the fourth century, has well said:
“Among those who seek power and gain from their religion, there will never be wanting an inclination to forge and lie for it.”[434:3]
Gregory of Nazianzus, writing to St. Jerome, says:
“A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire. Our forefathers and doctors have often said, not what they thought, but what circumstances and necessity dictated.”[434:4]
The celebrated Eusebius, Bishop of CAESAREA, and friend of Constantine the Great, who is our chief guide for the early history of the Church, confesses that he was by no means scrupulous to record the whole truth concerning the early Christians in the various works which he has left behind him.[434:5] Edward Gibbon, speaking of him, says:
“The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related what might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace of religion. Such an acknowledgment will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history, has not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other; and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with credulity, and more practiced in the arts of courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries.”[435:1]
The great theologian, Beausobre, in his “Histoire de Manichee,” says:
“We see in the history which I have related, a sort of hypocrisy, that has been perhaps, but too common at all times; that churchmen not only do not say what they think, but they do say the direct contrary of what they think. Philosophers in their cabinets; out of them they are content with fables, though they well know they are fables. Nay, more; they deliver honest men to the executioner, for having uttered what they themselves know to be true. How many atheists and pagans have burned holy men under the pretext of heresy? Every day do hypocrites consecrate, and make people adore the host, though as well convinced as I am, that it is nothing but a bit of bread.”[435:2]
M. Daille says:
“This opinion has always been in the world, that to settle a certain and assured estimation upon that which is good and true, it is necessary to remove out of the way, whatsoever may be an hindrance to it. Neither ought we to wonder that even those of the honest, innocent, primitive times made use of these deceits, seeing for a good end they made no scruple to forge whole books.”[435:3]
Reeves, in his “Apologies of the Fathers,” says:
“It was a Catholic opinion among the philosophers, that pious frauds were good things, and that the people ought to be imposed on in matters of religion.”[435:4]
Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian, says:
“It was held as a maxim that it was not only lawful but praiseworthy to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety.”[435:5]
Isaac de Casaubon, the great ecclesiastical scholar, says:
“It mightily affects me, to see how many there were in the earliest times of the church, who considered it as a capital exploit, to lend to heavenly truth the help of their own inventions, in order that the new doctrine might be more readily allowed by the wise among the Gentiles. These officious lies, they were wont to say, were devised for a good end.”[435:6]
The Apostolic Father, Hermas, who was the fellow-laborer of St. Paul in the work of the ministry; who is greeted as such in the New Testament; and whose writings are expressly quoted as of divine inspiration, by the early Fathers, ingenuously confesses that lying was the easily-besetting sin of a Christian. His words are:
“O Lord, I never spake a true word in my life, but I have always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my words.”
To which the holy angel, whom he addresses, condescendingly admonishes him, that as the lie was up, now, he had better keep it up, and as in time it would come to be believed, it would answer as well as truth.[436:1]
Dr. Mosheim admits, that the Platonists and Pythagoreans held it as a maxim, that it was not only lawful, but praiseworthy, to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety. The Jews who lived in Egypt, had learned and received this maxim from them, before the coming of Christ Jesus, as appears incontestably from a multitude of ancient records, and the Christians were infected from both these sources, with the same pernicious error.[436:2]
Of the fifteen letters ascribed to Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch after 69 C.E.), eight have been rejected by Christian writers as being forgeries, having no authority whatever. “The remaining seven epistles were accounted genuine by most critics, although disputed by some, previous to the discoveries of Mr. Cureton, which have shaken, and indeed almost wholly destroyed the credit and authenticity of all alike.”[436:3]
Paul of Tarsus, who was preaching a doctrine which had already been preached to many nation on earth,[436:4] inculcates and avows the principle of deceiving the common people, talks of his having been upbraided by his own converts with being crafty and catching them with guile,[436:5] and of his known and wilful lies, abounding to the glory of God.[436:6]
Even the orthodox Doctor Burnet, an eminent English author, in his treatise “De Statu Mortuorum,” purposely written in Latin, that it might serve for the instruction of the clergy only, and not come to the knowledge of the laity, because, as he said, “too much light is hurtful for weak eyes,” not only justified but recommended the practice of the most consummate hypocrisy, and would have his clergy seriously preach and maintain the reality and eternity of hell torments, even though they should believe nothing of the sort themselves.[437:1]
The incredible and very ridiculous stories related by Christian Fathers and ecclesiastical historians, on whom we are obliged to rely for information on the most important of subjects, show us how untrustworthy these men were. We have, for instance, the story related by St. Augustine, who is styled “the greatest of the Latin Fathers,” of his preaching the Gospel to people without heads. In his 33d Sermon he says:
“I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their foreheads.”[437:2]
This same holy Father bears an equally unquestionable testimony to several resurrections of the dead, of which he himself had been an eye-witness.
In a book written “towards the close of the second century, by some zealous believer,” and fathered upon one Nicodemus, who is said to have been a disciple of Christ Jesus, we find the following:
“We all know the blessed Simeon, the high priest, who took Jesus when an infant into his arms in the temple. This same Simeon had two sons of his own, and we were all present at their death and funeral. Go therefore and see their tombs, for these are open, and they are risen; and behold, they are in the city of Arimathaea, spending their time together in offices of devotion.”[438:1]
Eusebius, “the Father of ecclesiastical history,” Bishop of Caearea, and one of the most prominent personages at the Council of Nice, relates as truth, the ridiculous story of King Agbarus writing a letter to Christ Jesus, and of Jesus’ answer to the same.[438:2] And Socrates relates how the Empress Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem for the purpose of finding, if possible, “the cross of Christ.” This she succeeded in doing, also the nails with which he was nailed to the cross.[438:3]
Beside forging, lying, and deceiving for the cause of Christ, the Christian Fathers destroyed all evidence against themselves and their religion, which they came across. Christian divines seem to have always been afraid of too much light. In the very infancy of printing, Cardinal Wolsey foresaw its effect on Christianity, and in a speech to the clergy, publicly forewarned them, that, if they did not destroy the Press, the Press would destroy them.[438:4] There can be no doubt, that had the objections of Porphyry,[438:5] Hierocles,[438:6] Celsus,[438:7] and other opponents of the Christian faith, been permitted to come down to us, the plagiarism in the Christian Scriptures from previously existing Pagan documents, is the specific charge they would have presented us. But these were ordered to be burned, by the prudent piety of the Christian emperors.

3. Destruction of Evidence: Second Destruction of Library at Alexandria by Theophilus [Patriarch of Alexandria, 385-412 C.E] :

The history of this great Alexandrian library is one of the keys which unlock the door, and exposes to the view the manner in which the Hindu incarnate god Crishna [Krishna], and the meek and benevolent Buddha, came to be worshiped under the name of Christ Jesus as explained later.
In Alexandria, in Egypt, there was an immense library, founded by the Ptolemies. This library was situated in the Alexandrian Museum; the apartments which were allotted for it were beautifully sculptured, and crowded with the choicest statues and pictures; the building was built of marble. This library eventually comprised four hundred thousand volumes [400,000]. In the course of time, probably on account of inadequate accommodation for so many books, an additional library was established, and placed in the temple of Serapis. The number of volumes in this library, which was called the daughter of that in the museum, was eventually three hundred thousand. There were, therefore, seven hundred thousand [700,000] volumes in these royal collections.
In the establishment of the museum, Ptolemy Soter, and his son Philadelphus, had three objects in view: 1) The perpetuation of such knowledge as was then in the world; 2) Its increase; 3.) Its diffusion.
1). For the perpetuation of knowledge. Orders were given to the chief librarian to buy, at the king’s expense, whatever books he could. A body of transcribers was maintained in the museum, whose duty it was to make correct copies of such works as their owners were not disposed to sell. Any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the museum, and when correct copies had been made, the transcript was given to the owner, and the original placed in the library. Often a very large pecuniary indemnity was paid.
2). For the increase of knowledge. One of the chief objects of the museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted themselves to study, and were lodged and maintained at the king’s expense. In the original organization of the museum the residents were divided into four faculties,—Literature, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Medicine. An officer of very great distinction presided over the establishment, and had general charge of its interests. Demetius Phalareus, perhaps the most learned man of his age, who had been Governor of Athens for many years, was the first so appointed. Under him was the librarian, an office sometimes held by men whose names have descended to our times, as Eratosthenes and Apollonius Rhodius. In connection with the museum was a botanical and a zoological garden. These gardens, as their names imply, were for the purpose of facilitating the study of plants and animals. There was also an astronomical observatory, containing armillary spheres, globes, solstitial and equatorial armils, astrolabes, parallactic rules, and other apparatus then in use, the graduation on the divided instruments being into degrees and sixths.
3). For the diffusion of knowledge. In the museum was given, by lectures, conversation, or other appropriate methods, instruction in all the various departments of human knowledge.
There flocked to this great intellectual centre, students from all countries. It is said that at one time not fewer than fourteen thousand were in attendance. Subsequently even the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathers, as Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Athanasius.
The library in the museum was burned during the siege of Alexandria by Julius Caesar. To make amends for this great loss, the library collected by Eumenes, King of Pergamus, was presented by Mark Antony to Queen Cleopatra. Originally it was founded as a rival to that of the Ptolemies. It was added to the collection in the Serapion, or the temple of Serapis.[440:1]
It was not destined, however, to remain there many centuries, as this very valuable library was wilfully destroyed by the Christian Theophilus [Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 412 C.E] and on the spot where this beautiful temple of Serapis stood, in fact, on its very foundation, was erected a church in honor of the “noble army of martyrs,” who had never existed.
This we learn from the historian Gibbon, who says that, after this library was destroyed, “the appearance of the empty shelves excited the regret and indignation of every spectator, whose mind was not totally darkened by religious prejudice.”[440:2]
The destruction of this library was almost the death-blow to free-thought—wherever Christianity ruled—for more than a thousand years.
The death-blow was soon to be struck, however, which was done by Saint Cyril, who succeeded Theophilus as Bishop of Alexandria.
Hypatia, the daughter of Theon, the mathematician, endeavoured to continue the old-time instructions. Each day before her academy stood a long train of chariots; her lecture-room was crowded with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. They came to listen to her discourses on those questions which man in all ages has asked, but which have never yet been answered: “What am I? Where am I? What can I know?”
Hypatia and Cyril; philosophy and bigotry; they cannot exist together. As Hypatia repaired to her academy, she was assaulted by (Saint) Cyril’s mob—a mob of many monks. Stripped naked in the street, she was dragged into a church, and there killed by the club of Peter the Reader. The corpse was cut to pieces, the flesh was scraped from the bones with shells, and the remnants cast into a fire. For this frightful crime Cyril was never called to account. It seemed to be admitted that the end sanctified the means. So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandria, so came to an untimely close the learning that the Ptolemies had done so much to promote.
The fate of Hypatia was a warning to all who would cultivate profane knowledge. Henceforth there was to be no freedom for human thought. Every one must think as ecclesiastical authority ordered him;  C.E 414. In Athens itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinian at length prohibited its teaching and caused all its schools in that city to be closed.[441:1]
After this followed the long and dreary dark ages, but the sun of science, that bright and glorious luminary, was destined to rise again.
The history of this great Alexandrian library is one of the keys which unlock the door, and exposes to our view the manner in which the Hindu incarnate god Crishna [Krishna], and the meek and benevolent Buddha, came to be worshiped under the name of Christ Jesus. For instance, we have just seen:
1. That, “orders were given to the chief librarian to buy at the king’s expense whatever books he could.”
2. That, “one of the chief objects of the museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted themselves to study.”
3. That, “any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the museum and correct copies made.”
4. That, “there flocked to this great intellectual centre students from all countries.”
5. That, “the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathers.”
And also:
6. That, the chief doctrines of the Gnostic Christians “had been held for centuries before their time in many of the cities in Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as ‘Mystæ,’ upon the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies.”
7. That, “the College of ESSENES at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”
8. That, “the introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in the history of religion.”
9. That, “Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of the Seleucidae and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the former) before the beginning of the third century B. C. and is proved to demonstration by a passage in the edicts of Ashoka.” [Ashoka (304–232 BC) was a great Indian King who converted to Buddhism, made it world religion.]
10. That, “it is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels.”
11. That, “the principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be connected with the East, with Parsism [ Zoroastrians ], and especially with Buddhism.”
12. That, “among the doctrines which the Essenes and Buddhists had in common was that of the Angel-Messiah.”
13. That, “they (the Essenes) had a flourishing university or corporate body, established at Alexandria, in Egypt, long before the period assigned for the birth of Christ.”
14. That, “the very ancient and Eastern doctrine of the Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity.”
15. That, “we hear very little of them (the Essenes) after 40 C.E ; and there can hardly be any doubt that the Essenes as a body must have embraced Christianity.”
Here is the solution of the problem. The sacred books of Hindus and Buddhists were among the Essenes, and in the library at Alexandria. The Essenes, who were afterwards called Christians, applied the legend of the Angel-Messiah—”the very ancient Eastern doctrine,” which we have shown throughout this work—to Christ Jesus. It was simply a transformation of names, a transformation which had previously occurred in many cases.[442:1] After this came additions to the legend from other sources. Portions of the legends related of the Persian, Greek and Roman Saviours and Redeemers of mankind, were, from time to time, added to the already legendary history of the Christian Saviour. Thus history was repeating itself. Thus the virgin-born God and Saviour, worshiped by all nations of the earth, though called by different names, was but one and the same.
In a separate chapter we shall see who this One God was, and how the myth originated.
Albert Revillé says:
“Alexandria, the home of Philonism, and Neo-Platonism (and we might add Essenism), was naturally the centre whence spread the dogma of the deity of Jesus Christ. In that city, through the third century, flourished a school of transcendental theology, afterwards looked upon with suspicion by the conservators of ecclesiastical doctrine, but not the less the real cradle of orthodoxy. It was still the Platonic tendency which influenced the speculations of Clement, Origen and Dionysius, and the theory of the Logos was at the foundation of their theology.”[443:1]
Among the numerous gospels in circulation among the Christians of the first three centuries, there was one entitled “The Gospel of the Egyptians.” Epiphanius (385 C.E), speaking of it, says:
“Many things are proposed (in this Gospel of the Egyptians) in a hidden, mysterious manner, as by our Saviour, as though he had said to his disciples, that the Father was the same person, the Son the same person, and the Holy Ghost the same person.”
That this was one of the “Scriptures” of the Essenes becomes very evident when we find it admitted by the most learned of Christian theologians that it was in existence “before either of the canonical Gospels,” and that it contained the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine not established in the Christian church until 327 C.E, but which was taught by this Buddhist sect in Alexandria, in Egypt, which has been well called, “Egypt, the land of Trinities.”
The learned Dr. Grabe thought it was composed by some Christians in Egypt, and that it was published before either of the canonical Gospels. Dr. Mill also believed that it was composed before either of the canonical Gospels, and, what is more important than all, that the authors of it were Essenes.
These “Scriptures” of the Essenes were undoubtedly amalgamated with the “Gospels” of the Christians, the result being the canonical Gospels as we now have them. The “Gospel of the Hebrews,” and such like, on the one hand, and the “Gospel of the Egyptians,” or Essenes, and such like, on the other. That the “Gospel of the Hebrews” spoke of Jesus of Nazareth as the son of Joseph and Mary, according to the flesh, and that it taught nothing about his miracles, his resurrection from the dead, and other such prodigies, is admitted on all hands. That the “Scriptures” of the Essenes contained the whole legend of the Angel-Messiah, which was afterwards added to the history of Jesus, making him a CHRIST, or an Anointed Angel, is a probability almost to a certainty. Do we now understand how all the traditions and legends, originally Indian, escaping from the great focus through Egypt, were able to reach Judea, Greece and Rome?

4. Coercion & Excessive Persecution:

To continue with our subject, “why Christianity prospered,” we must now consider another great support to the cause, i. e., Persecution. Ernest de Bunsen, speaking of Buddha, says:
“His religion has never been propagated by the sword. It has been affected entirely by the influence of peaceable and persevering devotees.”
Can we say as much for what is termed “the religion of Christ?” No! this religion has had the aid of the sword and firebrand, the rack and the thumb-screw. “Persecution,” is to be seen written on the pages of ecclesiastical history, from the time of Constantine [272-337 C.E] even to the present day.[444:1] This Christian emperor and saint was the first to check free-thought.
“We search in vain,” (says M. Renan), “in the collection of Roman laws before Constantine, for any enactment aimed at free thought, or in the history of the emperors, for a persecution of abstract doctrine. Not a single savant was disturbed. Men whom the Middle Ages would have burned—such as Galen, Lucian, Plotinus—lived in peace, protected by the law.”[444:2]
Born and educated a pagan, Emperor Constantine embraced the Christian faith with ulterior motives. Having committed horrid crimes, in fact, having committed murders,[444:3] and,
“When he would have had his (Pagan) priests purge him by sacrifice, of these horrible murders, and could not have his purpose (for they answered plainly, it lay not in their power to cleanse him)[444:4] he lighted at last upon an Egyptian who came out of Iberia, and being persuaded by him that the Christian faith was of force to wipe away every sin, were it ever so heinous, he embraced willingly at whatever the Egyptian told him.”[444:5]
[NOTE.—The learned Christian historian Pagi endeavours to smooth over the crimes of Constantine. He says: “As for those few murders (which Eusebius says nothing about), had he thought it worth his while to refer to them, he would perhaps, with Baronius himself have said, that the young Licinius (his infant nephew), although the fact might not generally have been known, had most likely been an accomplice in the treason of his father. That as to the murder of his son, the Emperor is rather to be considered as unfortunate than as criminal. And with respect to his putting his wife to death, he ought to be pronounced rather a just and righteous judge. As for his numerous friends, whom Eutropius informs us he put to death one after another, we are bound to believe that most of them deserved it, and they were found out to have abused the Emperor’s too great credulity, for the gratification of their own inordinate wickedness, and insatiable avarice; and such no doubt was that SOPATER the philosopher, who was at last put to death upon the accusation of Adlabius, and that by the righteous dispensation of God, for his having attempted to alienate the mind of Constantine from the true religion.” (Pagi Ann. 324, quoted in Latin by Dr. Lardner, vol. iv. p. 371, in his notes for the benefit of the learned reader, but gives no rendering into English.)]
Mons. Dupuis, speaking of this conversion, says:
“Constantine, soiled with all sorts of crimes, and stained with the blood of his wife, after repeated perjuries and assassinations, presented himself before the heathen priests in order to be absolved of so many outrages he had committed. He was answered, that amongst the various kinds of expiations, there was none which could expiate so many crimes, and that no religion whatever could offer efficient protection against the justice of the gods; and Constantine was emperor. One of the courtiers of the palace, who witnessed the trouble and agitation of his mind, torn by remorse, which nothing could appease, informed him, that the evil he was suffering was not without a remedy; that there existed in the religion of the Christians certain purifications, which expiated every kind of misdeeds, of whatever nature, and in whatsoever number they were: that one of the promises of the religion was, that whoever was converted to it, as impious and as great a villain as he might be, could hope that his crimes were immediately forgotten.[445:1] From that moment, Constantine declared himself the protector of a sect which treats great criminals with so much lenity.[445:2] He was a great villain, who tried to lull himself with illusions to smother his remorse.”[445:3]
By the delay of baptism, a person who had accepted the true faith could venture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyment of this world, while they still retained in their own hands the means of salvation; therefore, we find that Constantine, although he accepted the faith, did not get baptized until he was on his death-bed, as he wished to continue, as long as possible, the wicked life he was leading. Mr. Gibbon, speaking of him, says:
“The example and reputation of Constantine seemed to countenance the delay of baptism. Future tyrants were encouraged to believe, that the innocent blood which they might shed in a long reign would instantly be washed away in the waters of regeneration; and the abuse of religion dangerously undermined the foundations of moral virtue.”[445:4]
Eusebius, in his “Life of Constantine,” tells us that:
“When he thought that he was near his death, he confessed his sins, desiring pardon for them of God, and was baptized.
“Before doing so, he assembled the bishops of Nicomedia together, and spake thus unto them:
“‘Brethren, the salvation which I have earnestly desired of God these many years, I do now this day expect. It is time therefore that we should be sealed and signed with the badge of immortality. And though I proposed to receive it in the river Jordan, in which our Saviour for our example was baptized, yet God, knowing what is fittest for me, hath appointed that I shall receive it in this place, therefore let me not be delayed.'”
“And so, after the service of baptism was read, they baptized him with all the ceremonies belonging to this mysterious sacrament. So that Constantine was the first of all the emperors who was regenerated by the new birth of baptism, and that was signed with the sign of the cross.”[446:1]
When Constantine had heard the good news from the Christian monk from Egypt, he commenced by conferring many dignities on the Christians, and those only who were addicted to Christianity, he made governors of his provinces.[446:2] He then issued edicts against heretics,—i. e., those who, like Arius, did not believe that Christ was “of one substance with the Father,” and others—calling them “enemies of truth and eternal life,” “authors and councillors of death,” [446:3] He “commanded by law” that none should dare “to meet at conventiclers,” and that “all places where they were wont to keep their meetings should be demolished,” or “confiscated to the Catholic church;”[446:4] and Constantine was emperor. “By this means,” says Eusebius, “such as maintained doctrines and opinions contrary to the church, were suppressed.”[446:5]
This Constantine, says Eusebius:
“Caused his image to be engraven on his gold coins, in the form of prayer, with his hands joined together, and looking up towards Heaven.” “And over divers gates of his palace, he was drawn praying, and lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven.”[446:6]
After his death, “effigies of this blessed man” were engraved on the Roman coins, “sitting in and driving a chariot, and a hand reached down from heaven to receive and take him up.”[446:7]
The hopes of wealth and honours, the example of an emperor, his exhortations, his irresistible smiles, diffused conviction among  the venal and obsequious crowds which usually fill the apartments of a palace, and as the lower ranks of society are governed by example, the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon followed by dependent multitudes. Constantine passed a law which gave freedom to all the slaves who should embrace Christianity, and to those who were not slaves, he gave a white garment and twenty pieces of gold, upon their embracing the Christian faith. The common people were thus purchased at such an easy rate that, in one year, twelve thousand men were baptised at Rome, besides a proportional number of women and children.[447:1]
To suppress the opinions of philosophers, which were contrary to Christianity, the Christian emperors published edicts. The respective decrees of the emperors Constantine and Theodosius,[447:2] generally ran in the words; “That all writings adverse to the claims of the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they should be found, should be committed to the fire,” as the pious emperors would not that those things tending to provoke God to wrath, should be allowed to offend the minds of the piously disposed.
The following is a decree of the Emperor Theodosius of this purport:
“We decree, therefore, that all writings, whatever, which Porphyry or anyone else hath written against the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they shall be found should be committed to the fire; for we would not suffer any of those things so much as to come to men’s ears, which tend to provoke God to wrath and offend the minds of the pious.”[447:3]
A similar decree of the emperor for establishing the doctrine of the Trinity, concludes with an admonition to all who shall object to it, that,
“Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, may think proper to inflict upon them.”[447:4]
This orthodox emperor (Theodosius, 379 – 395 C.E) considered every heretic (as he called those who did not believe as he and his ecclesiastics professed) a rebel against the supreme powers of heaven and of [earth (he being one of the supreme powers of earth), and each of the powers might exercise their peculiar jurisdiction over the soul and body of the guilty.
The decrees of the Council of Constantinople had ascertained the true standard of the faith, and the ecclesiastics, who governed the conscience of Theodosius, suggested the most effectual methods of persecution. In the space of fifteen years he promulgated at least fifteen severe edicts against the heretics, more especially against those who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.[448:1]
Arius [presbyter (256 – 336) in Alexandria, declared that, in the nature of things, a father must be older than his son] was excommunicated for his so-called heretical notions concerning the Trinity. His followers, who were very numerous, were called Arians. Their writings, if they had been permitted to exist,[448:2] would undoubtedly contain the lamentable story of the persecution which affected the church under the reign of the impious Emperor Theodosius.
In Asia Minor the people were persecuted by orders of Constantius, and these orders were more than obeyed by Macedonius. The civil and military powers were ordered to obey his commands; the consequence was, he disgraced the reign of Constantius. “The rites of baptism were conferred on women and children, who, for that purpose, had been torn from the arms of their friends and parents; the mouths of the communicants were held open by a wooden engine, while the consecrated bread was forced down their throats; the breasts of tender virgins were either burned with red-hot egg-shells, or inhumanly compressed between sharp and heavy boards.”[448:3] The principal assistants of Macedonius—the tool of Constantius—in the work of persecution, were the two bishops of Nicomedia and Cyzicus, who were esteemed for their virtues, and especially for their charity.[448:4]
Julian, the successor of Constantius, has described some of the theological calamities which afflicted the empire, and more especially in the East, in the reign of a prince who was the slave of his own passions, and of those of his eunuchs: “Many were imprisoned, and persecuted, and driven into exile. Whole troops of those who are styled heretics were massacred, particularly at Cyzicus, and at Samosata. In Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Gallatia, and in many other provinces, towns and villages were laid waste, and utterly destroyed.”[449:1]
Persecution of Norwegians & Heathens to accept Christianity:
Persecutions in the name of Christ Jesus were inflicted on the heathen in most every part of the then known world. Even among the Norwegians, the Christian sword was unsheathed. They clung tenaciously to the worship of their forefathers, and numbers of them died real martyrs for their faith, after suffering the cruelest torments from their persecutors. It was by sheer compulsion that the Norwegians embraced Christianity. The reign of Olaf Tryggvason, a Christian king of Norway (995-1000 C.E. ), was in fact entirely devoted to the propagation of the new faith, by means the most revolting to humanity. His general practice was to enter a district at the head of a formidable force, summon a Thing,[449:2] and give the people the alternative of fighting with him, or of being baptized. Most of them, of course, preferred baptism to the risk of a battle with an adversary so well prepared for combat; and the recusants were tortured to death with fiend-like ferocity, and their estates confiscated.[449:3]
Wikipedia mentions: “Several instances of Olaf’s attempts lead to days of remembrance amongst modern heathens similar manner to feast days of martyred Christian saints. Raud the Strong (remembered January 9) refused to convert and, after a failed attempt using a wooden pin to pry open his mouth to insert a snake, was killed by a snake goaded by a hot poker through a drinking horn into Raud’s mouth and down his throat. Eyvind Kinnrifi (February 9) likewise refused and was killed by a brazier of hot coals resting on his belly. The possibly apocryphal figure, Sigrid the Haughty (November 9), was said to have refused to marry Olaf if it meant forgoing her forefather’s religion upon which Olaf slapped her with his glove, an act that prompted her to unite his enemies against him some years later.”


Despite obliteration efforts, the affinity of Buddha, Essences and Christianity can still be traced historically. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: “The name Buddha is mentioned for the first time in Christian literature–and there only once — by Clement of Alexandria about AD 200; and it vanished after that from Christian literature for a full 1,300 years. The Apologists from the 2nd to the 5th centuries used legend and myth. Clement of Alexandria employed them as allegories to make Christian concepts intelligible to Greek converts.” It further adds: “It is possible that through the centuries the vast majority of believers have not used the term ‘essence’ to describe the central focus of their faith. The term is itself of Greek origin and thus represents only one part of the tradition, one element in the terms that have gone into making up Christianity. The search for an ‘essence’ may be more urgent for philosophers, theologians (who interpret the language of the believing community), or historians than it is for the regular believers who do not share the burden of scholars. ‘Essence’ refers to those qualities that give something its identity and are at the centre of what makes that thing different from everything else. To Greek philosophers it meant something intrinsic to and inherent in a thing or category of things, which gave it its character and thus separated it from everything of different character. Thus Jesus Christ belongs to the essential character of Christianity and gives it identity in the same way that Buddha does for Buddhism.”
After formulating the new religion with the label of Jesus Christ, next phase was propagation. Beside forging, lying, and deceiving for the cause of Christ, the Christian Fathers destroyed all evidence against themselves and their religion, which they came across. It was a Catholic opinion among the philosophers, that pious frauds were good things, and that the people ought to be imposed on in matters of religion.”[435:4] Christian divines seem to have always been afraid of too much light. In the very infancy of printing, Cardinal Wolsey foresaw its effect on Christianity, and in a speech to the clergy, publicly forewarned them, that, if they did not destroy the Press, the Press would destroy them.[438:4] To suppress the opinions of philosophers, which were contrary to Christianity, the Christian emperors published edicts. Persecution was legitimised to expand the new faith. The respective decrees of the emperors Constantine and Theodosius,[447:2] generally ran in the words; “That all writings adverse to the claims of the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they should be found, should be committed to the fire,” “Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, may think proper to inflict upon them.”[447:4]
Persecutions in the name of Christ Jesus were inflicted on the heathen in most every part of the then known world. Even among the Norwegians, the Christian sword was unsheathed. Many died for their faith, after suffering the cruelest torments from their persecutors. It was by sheer compulsion that the Norwegians embraced Christianity. The reign of Olaf Tryggvason, a Christian king of Norway (995-1000 C.E. ), was in fact entirely devoted to the propagation of the new faith, by means the most revolting to humanity.
Paradoxically, the end of “established Christianity” in the old sense resulted in the most rapid and most widespread expansion in the history of the church. The Christianization of the Americas and the evangelization of Asia, Africa, and Australasia for the first time gave geographic substance to the Christian title “ecumenical.” Much of the evangelization appeared to be an integral part of military conquest. Growth in areas and in numbers, however, need not be equivalent to growth in influence. The original methodology of oppression and persecution was supplemented with new techniques of education, charity and other social welfare services. Missionaries working with Red Cross and other NGOs [Non Governmental organizations] in war and calamity hit areas are first visible to be noticed busy in noble works. Despite its continuing strength throughout the modern period, Christianity retreated on many fronts and lost much of its prestige and authority both politically and intellectually. Free flow of information has opened new avenues to the people; now its difficult to convince that 1+1+1=1 not 3. Some straightaway turn to atheism while those who take a deep look find Islam as rationally acceptable.


[419:1]”Numerous bodies of ascetics (Therapeutæ), especially near Lake Mareotis, devoted themselves to discipline and study, abjuring society and labor, and often forgetting, it is said, the simplest wants of nature, in contemplating the hidden wisdom of the Scriptures. Eusebius even claimed them as Christians; and some of the forms of monasticism were evidently modeled after the Therapeutæ.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, art. “Alexandria.”)
[420:1]Comp. Matt. vi. 33; Luke, xii. 31.
[420:2]Comp. Matt. vi. 19-21.
[420:3]Comp. Matt. xix. 21; Luke, xii. 33.
[420:4]Comp. Acts, ii. 44, 45; iv. 32-34; John, xii. 6; xiii. 29.
[420:5]Comp. Matt. xx. 25-28; Mark, ix. 35-37; x. 42-45.
[420:6]Comp. Matt. xxiii. 8-10.
[420:7]Comp. Matt. v. 5; xi. 29.
[420:8]Comp. Mark, xvi. 17; Matt. x. 8; Luke, ix. 1, 2; x. 9.
[420:9]Comp. Matt. v. 34.
[420:10]Comp. Matt. x. 9, 10.
[421:1]Comp. Luke, xxii. 36.
[421:2]Comp. Matt. xix. 10-12; I. Cor. viii.
[421:3]Comp. Rom. xii. 1.
[421:4]Comp. I. Cor. xiv. 1, 39.
[421:5]The above comparisons have been taken from Ginsburg’s “Essenes,” to which the reader is referred for a more lengthy observation on the subject.
[421:6]Ginsburg’s Essenes, p. 24.
[421:7]”We hear very little of them after A. D. 40; and there can hardly be any doubt that, owing to the great similarity existing between their precepts and practices and those of primitive Christians, the Essenes as a body must have embraced Christianity.” (Dr. Ginsburg, p. 27.)
[422:1]This will be alluded to in another chapter.
[422:2]It was believed by some that the order of Essenes was instituted by Elias, and some writers asserted that there was a regular succession of hermits upon Mount Carmel from the time of the prophets to that of Christ, and that the hermits embraced Christianity at an early period. (See Ginsburgh’s Essenes, and Hardy’s Eastern Monachism, p. 358.)
[422:3]King’s Gnostics and their Remains, p. 1.
[422:4]Ibid. p. 6.
[422:5]King’s Gnostics, p. 23.
[422:6]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xvii.
[423:1]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xvii.
[423:2]Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. vii. “The New Testament is the Essene-Nazarene Glad Tidings! Adon, Adoni, Adonis, style of worship.” (S. F. Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. iii.)
[423:3]Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 747; vol. ii. p. 34.
[423:4]”In this,” says Mr. Lillie, “he was supported by philosophers of the calibre of Schilling and Schopenhauer, and the great Sanscrit authority, Lassen. Renan also sees traces of this Buddhist propagandism in Palestine before the Christian era. Hilgenfeld, Mutter, Bohlen, King, all admit the Buddhist influence. Colebrooke saw a striking similarity between the Buddhist philosophy and that of the Pythagoreans. Dean Milman was convinced that the Therapeuts sprung from the ‘contemplative and indolent fraternities’ of India.” And, he might have added, the Rev. Robert Taylor in his “Diegesis,” and Godfrey Higgins in his “Anacalypsis,” have brought strong arguments to bear in support of this theory.
[424:1]Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. vi.
[424:2]Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 121.
[424:3]Ibid. p. 240.
[425:1]”The Essenes abounded in Egypt, especially about Alexandria.” (Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xvii.)
[425:2]Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 255.
[426:1]Rhys Davids’ Buddhism, p. 179.
[426:2]This is clearly shown by Mr. Higgins in his Anacalypsis. It should be remembered that Gautama Buddha, the “Angel-Messiah,” and Cyrus, the “Anointed” of the Lord, are placed about six hundred years before Jesus, the “Anointed.” This cycle of six hundred years was called the “great year.” Josephus, the Jewish historian, alludes to it when speaking of the patriarchs that lived to a great age. “God afforded them a longer time of life,” says he, “on account of their virtue, and the good use they made of it in astronomical and geometrical discoveries, which would not have afforded the time for foretelling (the periods of the stars), unless they had lived six hundred years; for the great year is completed in that interval.” (Josephus, Antiq., bk. i. c. iii.) “From this cycle of six hundred,” says Col. Vallancey, “came the name of the bird Phœnix, called by the Egyptians Phenu, with the well-known story of its going to Egypt to burn itself on the altar of the Sun (at Heliopolis) and rise again from its ashes, at the end of a certain period.”
[426:3]”Philo’s writings prove the probability, almost rising to a certainty, that already in his time the Essenes did expect an Angel-Messiah as one of a series of divine incarnations. Within about fifty years after Philo’s death, Elkesai the Essene probably applied this doctrine to Jesus, and it was promulgated in Rome about the same time, if not earlier, by the Pseudo-Clementines.” (Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 118.)
“There was, at this time (i. e., at the time of the birth of Jesus), a prevalent expectation that some remarkable personage was about to appear in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. By computing the time mentioned by Daniel (ch. ix. 23-27), they knew that the period was approaching when the Messiah should appear. This personage, they supposed, would be a temporal prince, and they were expecting that he would deliver them from Roman bondage. It was natural that this expectation should spread into other countries.” (Barnes’ Notes, vol. i. p. 27.)
[427:1]Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 273.
[427:2]See Lardner’s Works, vol. viii. p. 353.
[427:3]Apol. 1, ch. xxvi.
[428:1]See Lardner’s Works, vol. viii. p. 593.
[428:2]Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. i. ch. xvii.
[429:1]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 3, ch. xxiii.
[429:2]Ibid. lib. 7, ch. xxx.
[429:3]The death of Manes, according to Socrates, was as follows: The King of Persia, hearing that he was in Mesopotamia, “made him to be apprehended, flayed him alive, took his skin, filled it full of chaff, and hanged it at the gates of the city.” (Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. xv.)
[430:1]Plato in Apolog. Anac., ii. p. 189.
[431:1]Mark, xiii. 21, 22.
[432:1]Geikie: Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 79.
[433:1]Frothingham’s Cradle of the Christ.
[433:2]”The prevailing opinion of the Rabbis and the people alike, in Christ’s day, was, that the Messiah would be simply a great prince, who should found a kingdom of matchless splendor.” “With a few, however, the conception of the Messiah’s kingdom was pure and lofty. . . . Daniel, and all who wrote after him, painted the ‘Expected One’ as a heavenly being. He was the ‘messenger,’ the ‘Elect of God,’ appointed from eternity, to appear in due time, and redeem his people.” (Geikie’s Life of Christ, vol. i. pp. 80, 81.)
In the book of Daniel, by some supposed to have been written during the captivity, by others as late as Antiochus Epiphanes (B. C. 75), the restoration of the Jews is described in tremendous language, and the Messiah is portrayed as a supernatural personage, in close relation with Jehovah himself. In the book of Enoch, supposed to have been written at various intervals between 144 and 120 (B. C.) and to have been completed in its present form in the first half of the second century that preceded the advent of Jesus, the figure of the Messiah is invested with superhuman attributes. He is called “The Son of God,” “whose name was spoken before the Sun was made;” “who existed from the beginning in the presence of God,” that is, was pre-existent. At the same time his human characteristics are insisted on. He is called “Son of Man,” even “Son of Woman,” “The Anointed” or “The Christ,” “The Righteous One,” &c. (Frothingham: The Cradle of the Christ, p. 20.)
[433:3]This is clearly seen from the statement made by the Matthew narrator (xvii. 9-13) that the disciples of Christ Jesus supposed John the Baptist was Elias.
[434:1]Isaiah, xlv. 1.
[434:2]Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 17.
[434:3]Quoted in Middleton’s Letters from Rome, p. 51.
[434:4]Hieron ad Nep. Quoted Volney’s Ruins, p. 177, note.
[434:5]See his Eccl. Hist., viii. 21.
[435:1]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. pp. 79, 80.
[435:2]”On voit dans l’histoire que j’ai rapportée une sorte d’hypocrisie, qui n’a peut-être été que trop commune dans tous les tems. C’est que des ecclésiastiques, non-seulement ne disent pas ce qu’ils pensent, mais disent tout le contraire de ce qu’ils pensent. Philosophes dans leur cabinet, hors delà, ils content des fables, quoiqu’ils sachent bien que ce sont des fables. Ils font plus; ils livrent au bourreau des gens de biens, pour l’avoir dit. Combiens d’athées et de profanes ont fait brûler de saints personnages, sous prétexte d’hérésie? Tous les jours des hypocrites, consacrent et font adorer l’hostie, bien qu’ils soient aussi convaincus que moi, que ce n’est qu’un morceau de pain.” (Tom. 2, p. 568.)
[435:3]On the Use of the Fathers, pp. 36, 37.
[435:4]Quoted in Taylor‘s Syntagma, p. 170.
[435:5]Mosheim: vol. 1, p. 198.
[435:6]”Postremo illud quoque me vehementer movet, quod videam primis ecclesiæ temporibus, quam plurimos extitisse, qui facinus palmarium judicabant, cælestem veritatem, figmentis suis ire adjutum, quo facilius nova doctrina a gentium sapientibus admitteretur Officiosa hæc mendacia vocabant bono fine exeogitata.” (Quoted in Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 44, and Giles’ Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 19.)
[436:1]See the Vision of Hermas, b. 2, c. iii.
[436:2]Mosheim, vol. i. p. 197. Quoted in Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 47.
[436:3]Dr. Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 99.
[436:4]”Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” (Colossians, i. 23.)
[436:5]”Being crafty, I caught you with guile.” (II. Cor. xii. 16.)
[436:6]”For if the truth of God had more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner.” (Romans, iii. 7.)
[437:1]”Si me tamen audire velis, mallem te pænas has dicere indefinitas quam infinitas. Sed veniet dies, cum non minus absurda, habebitur et odiosa hæc opinio quam transubstantiatio hodie.” (De Statu Mort., p. 304. Quoted in Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 43.)
[437:2]Quoted in Taylor‘s Syntagma, p. 52.
Among the ancients, there were many stories current of countries, the inhabitants of which were of peculiar size, form or features. Our Christian saint evidently believed these tales, and thinking thus, sought to make others believe them. We find the following examples related by Herodotus: “Aristeas, son of Caystrobius, a native of Proconesus, says in his epic verses that, inspired by Apollo, he came to the Issedones; that beyond the Issedones dwell the Arimaspians, a people that have only one eye.” (Herodotus, book iv. ch. 13.) “When one has passed through a considerable extent of the rugged country (of the Seythians), a people are found living at the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all bald from their birth, both men and women alike, and they are flat-nosed, and have large chins.” (Ibid. ch. 23.) “These bald men say, what to me is incredible, that men with goat’s feet inhabit these mountains; and when one has passed beyond them, other men are found, who sleep six months at a time, but this I do not at all admit.” (Ibid. ch. 24.) In the country westward of Libya, “there are enormous serpents, and lions, elephants, bears, asps, and asses with horns, and monsters with dog’s heads and without heads, who have eyes in their breasts, at least, as the Libyans say, and wild men and wild women, and many other wild beasts which are not fabulous.” (Ibid. ch. 192.)
[438:1]Nicodemus, Apoc., ch. xii.
[438:2]See Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. xiv.
[438:3]Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. xiii.
[438:4]In year 1444, Caxton published the first book ever printed in England. In 1474, the then Bishop of London, in a convocation of his clergy, said: “If we do not destroy this dangerous invention, it will one day destroy us.” (See Middleton’s Letters from Rome, p. 4.) The reader should compare this with Pope Leo X.’s avowal that, “it is well known how profitable this fable of Christ has been to us;” and Archdeacon Paley’s declaration that “he could ill afford to have a conscience.”
[438:5]Porphyry, who flourished about the year 270 A. D., a man of great abilities, published a large work of fifteen books against the Christians. “His objections against Christianity,” says Dr. Lardner, “were in esteem with Gentile people for a long while; and the Christians were not insensible of the importance of his work; as may be concluded from the several answers made to it by Eusebius, and others in great repute for learning.” (Vol. viii. p. 158.) There are but fragments of these fifteen books remaining, Christian magistrates having ordered them to be destroyed. (Ibid.)
[438:6]Hierocles was a Neo-Platonist, who lived at Alexandria about the middle of the fifth century, and enjoyed a great reputation. He was the author of a great number of works, a few extracts of which alone remain.
[438:7]Celsus was an Epicurean philosopher, who lived in the second century A. D. He wrote a work called “The True Word,” against Christianity, but as it has been destroyed we know nothing about it. Origen claims to give quotations from it.
[440:1]Draper: Religion and Science, pp. 18-21.
[440:2]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 146.
[441:1]Draper: Religion and Science, pp. 55, 56. See also, Socrates’ Eccl. Hist., lib. 7, ch. xv.
[442:1]We have seen this particularly in the cases of Crishna and Buddha. Mr. Cox, speaking of the former, says: “If it be urged that the attribution to Crishna of qualities or powers belonging to the other deities is a mere device by which his devotees sought to supersede the more ancient gods, the answer must be that nothing has been done in his case which has not been done in the case of almost every other member of the great company of the gods.” (Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 130.) These words apply to the case we have before us. Jesus was simply attributed with the qualities or powers which had been previously attributed to other deities. This we hope to be able to fully demonstrate in our chapter on “Explanation.”
[443:1]”Dogma of the Deity of Jesus Christ,” p. 41.
[444:1]Adherents of the old religion of Russia have been persecuted in that country within the past year, and even in enlightened England, a gentleman has been persecuted by government officials because he believes in neither a personal God or a personal Devil.
[444:2]Renan, Hibbert Lectures, p. 22.
[444:3]The following are the names of his victims:
Maximian,  His wife’s father,           A. D. 310
Bassianus, His sister’s husband,   A. D. 314
Licinius,     His nephew,                  A. D. 319
Fausta,       His wife,     A. D. 320
Sopater,     His former friend,         A. D. 321
Licinius,     His sister’s husband,   A. D. 325
Crispus,     His own son,                 A. D. 326
Dr. Lardner, in speaking of the murders committed by this Christian saint, is constrained to say that: “The death of Crispus is altogether without any good excuse, so likewise is the death of the young Licinianus, who could not have been more than a little above eleven years of age, and appears not to have been charged with any fault, and could hardly be suspected of any.”
[444:4]The Emperor Nero could not be baptized and be initiated into Pagan Mysteries—as Constantine was initiated into those of the Christians—on account of the murder of his mother. And he did not dare to compel—which he certainly could have done—the priests to initiate him.
[444:5]Zosimus, in Socrates, lib. iii. ch. xl.
[445:1]”The sacrament of baptism was supposed to contain a full and absolute expiation of sin; and the soul was instantly restored to its original purity and entitled to the promise of eternal salvation. Among the proselytes of Christianity, there were many who judged it imprudent to precipitate a salutary rite, which could not be repeated. By the delay of their baptism, they could venture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyments of this world, while they still retained in their own hands the means of a sure and speedy absolution.” (Gibbon: ii. pp. 272, 273.)
[445:2]”Constantine, as he was praying about noon-tide, God showed him a vision in the sky, which was the sign of the cross lively figured in the air, with this inscription on it: ‘In hoc vince;’ that is, ‘By this overcome.'” This is the story as related by Eusebius (Life of Constantine, lib. 1, ch. xxii.), but it must be remembered that Eusebius acknowledged that he told falsehoods. That night Christ appeared unto Constantine in his dream, and commanded him to make the figure of the cross which he had seen, and to wear it in his banner when he went to battle with his enemies. (See Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, lib. 1, ch. xxiii. See also, Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. ii.)
[445:3]Dupuis, p. 405.
[445:4]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 373. The Fathers, who censured this criminal delay, could not deny the certain and victorious efficacy even of a death-bed baptism. The ingenious rhetoric of Chrysostom (A. D. 347-407) could find only three arguments against these prudent Christians. 1. “That we should love and pursue virtue for her own sake, and not merely for the reward. 2. That we may be surprised by death without an opportunity of baptism. 3. That although we shall be placed in heaven, we shall only twinkle like little stars, when compared to the suns of righteousness who have run their appointed course with labor, with success, and with glory.” (Chrysostom in Epist. ad Hebræos. Homil. xiii. Quoted in Gibbon’s “Rome,” ii. 272.)
[446:1]Lib. 4, chs. lxi. and lxii., and Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xxvi.
[446:2]Eusebius: Life of Constantine, lib. 2, ch. xliii.
[446:3]Ibid. lib. 3, ch. lxii.
[446:4]Ibid. lib. 3, ch. lxiii.
[446:5]Ibid. lib. 3, ch. lxiv.
[446:6]Ibid. lib. 4, ch. xv.
[446:7]Ibid. ch. lxiii.
Plato places the ferocious tyrants in the Tartarus, such as Ardiacus of Pamphylia, who had slain his own father, a venerable old man, also an elder brother, and was stained with a great many other crimes. Constantine, covered with similar crimes, was better treated by the Christians, who have sent him to heaven, and sainted him besides.
[447:1]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 274.
[447:2]”Theodosius, though a professor of the orthodox Christian faith, was not baptized till 380, and his behavior after that period stamps him as one of the most cruel and vindictive persecutors who ever wore the purple. His arbitrary establishment of the Nicene faith over the whole empire, the deprivation of civil rites of all apostates from Christianity and of the Eunomians, the sentence of death on the Manicheans, and Quarto-decimans all prove this.” (Chambers’s Encyclo., art. Theodosius.)
[447:3]Quoted in Taylor‘s Syntagma, p. 54.
[447:4]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 81.
[448:1]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. pp. 91, 92.
[448:2]All their writings were ordered to be destroyed.
[448:3]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 359.
[448:4]Ibid. note 154.
[449:1]Julian: Epistol. lii. p. 436. Quoted in Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 360.
[449:2]”Thing”—a general assembly of the freemen, who gave their assent to a measure by striking their shields with their drawn swords.
[449:3]See Mallet’s Northern Antiquities, pp. 180, 351, and 470.
Modified Extract from CHAPTER  XXXVII, WHY CHRISTIANITY PROSPERED “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

The Trinity

“Say not there are three Gods, God is but One God.” (Koran)
The teachings of Jesus Christ as available in the four Gospels indicate that he preached to Israelis, the same message of Hebrew prophets, obedience and worship to One God: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”(Deuteronomy; 6:4, Mark; 12:29). The essence of the teachings is presented in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew; 5:17-20 also 5:3-12,  6:9-13).
The question of the origin of Jesus, his nature and relation to God, which later became so important, was not raised among his early disciples. The belief that Jesus was a man super-naturally endowed prophet of God was accepted without question. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view. According to Aristides, one of the earliest apologists, the worship of the early Christians was more purely monotheistic even than of the Jews.
After Jesus Christ, the original followers of Jesus Christ continued to live as Jews and practiced what Jesus had taught them. It did not occur to any of them that they could ever be regarded as followers of a new religion.  They were devout and practicing Jews and they were distinguished from their neighbours, only by their faith in the message of Jesus. In the beginning they did not organize themselves as a separate sect and did not have a synagogue of their own.   There was nothing in the message of Jesus, as understood by them, to necessitate a break with Judaism. However, they incurred the enmity of the vested interests among the Jewish higher echelon.
With the conversion of Paul (4–64 C.E) a new period opened in Christian Theology. Paul a Jew and an inhabitant of Tarsus, had spent a long time in Rome, he was a Roman citizen. He realized the strong hold which the Roman religion had on the masses. The intellectuals were under the influence of Plato and Aristotle. Paul seems to have felt that it would not be possible to convert the masses in the Roman Empire without making mutual adjustments. But his practical wisdom was not acceptable to those who had seen and heard Jesus. However, in spite of their difference, they decided to work together for the common cause.
Jesus Christ presented a spiritual message and main ideas concerning human conduct. Christian theology, however, was shaped principally by the work of Paul and alike, who adulterated the spiritual message of Jesus. Paul became the foremost proselytizer of the new religion of Christianity. His influence on Christian theology proved to be the most permanent and far-reaching of all Christian writers and thinkers.
The conflict between the Jews and the followers of Jesus was started by the Jews because they felt that the Christians would undermine their “authority”. The gulf progressively began to widen. During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E, they left the city; and refused to take part in the Bar Coachaba rebellion in 132 C.E. These two events brought to the surface the difference between the followers of Jesus Christ and the Jews.
Later the efforts of Paul bear fruits, Trinity and other strange doctrines got embedded to form the new religion, ‘Christianity’, falsely relating with Jesus Christ.
The doctrine of the Trinity is the highest and most mysterious doctrine of the Christian church. It declares that there are three persons in the Godhead or divine nature—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost—and that “these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory, although distinguished by their personal propensities.” The most celebrated statement of the doctrine is to be found in the Athanasian creed,[368:1] which asserts that:
“The Catholic [368:2] faith is this: That we worship One God as Trinity, and Trinity in Unity-neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance—for there is One person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.”
As M. Reville remarks:
“The dogma of the Trinity displayed its contradictions with true bravery. The Deity divided into three divine persons, and yet these three persons forming only One God; of these three the first only being self-existent, the two others deriving their existence from the first, and yet these three persons being considered as perfectly equal; each having his special, distinct character, his individual qualities, wanting in the other two, and yet each one of the three being supposed to possess the fullness of perfection—here, it must be confessed, we have the deification of the contradictory.”[368:3]

Heathen Origin of Trinity:

We shall now see that this very peculiar doctrine of three in one, and one in three, is of heathen origin, and that it must fall with all the other dogmas of the Christian religion. The number three is sacred in all theories derived from oriental sources. Deity is always a trinity of some kind, or the successive emanations proceeded in threes.[369:1]

Trinity in Indian Religions

Trimurti in Hinduism:

If we turn to India we shall find that one of the most prominent features in the Indian theology is the doctrine of a divine triad, governing all things. This triad is called Tri-murti—from the Sanskrit word tri (three) and murti (form)—and consists of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. It is an inseparable unity, though three in form.[369:2]
“When the universal and infinite being Brahma—the only really existing entity, wholly without form, and unbound and unaffected by the three Gunas or by qualities of any kind—wished to create for his own entertainment the phenomena of the universe, he assumed the quality of activity and became a male person, as Brahma the creator. Next, in the progress of still further self-evolution, he willed to invest himself with the second quality of goodness, as Vishnu the preserver, and with the third quality of darkness, as Siva the destroyer. This development of the doctrine of triple manifestation (tri-murti), which appears first in the Brahmanized version of the Indian Epics, had already been adumbrated in the Veda in the triple form of fire, and in the triad of gods, Agni, Sūrya, and Indra; and in other ways.”[369:3]
This divine Tri-murti—says the Brahmans and the sacred books—is indivisible in essence, and indivisible in action; mystery profound! Which is explained in the following manner:
Brahma represents the creative principle, the un-reflected or un-evolved protogoneus state of divinity—the Father.
Vishnu represents the protecting and preserving principle, the evolved or reflected state of divinity—the Son.[369:4]
Siva is the principle that presides at destruction and re-construction—the Holy Spirit.[369:5]
The third person was the Destroyer, or, in his good capacity, the Regenerator. The dove was the emblem of the Regenerator. As the spiritus was the passive cause (brooding on the face of the waters) by which all things sprang into life, the dove became the emblem of the Spirit, or Holy Ghost, the third person.
These three gods are the first and the highest manifestations of the Eternal Essence, and are typified by the three letters composing the mystic syllable OM or AUM. They constitute the well known Trimurti or Triad of divine forms which characterizes Hinduism. It is usual to describe these three gods as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, but this gives a very inadequate idea of their complex characters. Nor does the conception of their relationship to each other become clearer when it is ascertained that their functions are constantly interchangeable, and that each may take the place of the other, according to the sentiment expressed by the greatest of Indian poets, Kalidasa (Kumara-sambhava, Griffith, vii. 44):
“In those three persons the One God was shown—Each first in place, each last—not one alone; Of Siva, Vishnu, Brahmā, each may be First, second, third, among the blessed three.”
A devout person called Attencin, becoming convinced that he should worship but one deity, thus addressed Brahma, Vishnu and Siva:
“O you three Lords; know that I recognize only One God; inform me therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my vows and adorations.”
The three gods became manifest to him, and replied:
“Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us; what to you appears such is only by semblance; the Single Being appears under three forms, but he is One.”[370:1]
Sir William Jones says:
“Very respectable natives have assured me, that one or two missionaries have been absurd enough in their zeal for the conversion of the Gentiles, to urge that the Hindus were even now almost Christians; because their Brahmā, Vishnou, and Mahesa (Siva), were no other than the Christian Trinity.”[370:2]
Thomas Maurice, in his “Indian Antiquities,” describes a magnificent piece of Indian sculpture, of exquisite workmanship, and of stupendous antiquity, namely:
“A bust composed of three heads, united to one body, adorned with the oldest symbols of the Indian theology, and thus expressly fabricated according to the unanimous confession of the sacred sacerdotal tribe of India, to indicate the Creator, the Preserver, and the Regenerator, of mankind; which establishes the solemn fact, that from the remotest eras, the Indian nations had adored a triune deity.”[371:1]
There are many Indian sculptures representing the Triune God,[371:2] evidently similar to the one described above by Mr. Maurice. It is taken from “a very ancient granite” in the museum at the “Indian House,” and was dug from the ruins of a temple in the island of Bombay.

Trinity in Buddhism:

The Buddhists, as well as the Brahmans, have had their Trinity from a very early period.
Mr. Faber, in his “Origin of Heathen Idolatry,” says:
“Among the Hindus, we have the Triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; so, among the votaries of Buddha, we find the self-triplicated Buddha declared to be the same as the Hindu Trimurti. Among the Buddhist sect of the Jainists, we have the triple Jiva, in whom the Trimurti is similarly declared to be incarnate.”
In this Trinity Vajrapani answers to Brahmā, or Jehovah, the “All-father,” Manjusri is the “deified teacher,” the counterpart of Krishna or Jesus, and Avalokitesvara is the “Holy Spirit.”
Buddha was believed by his followers to be, not only an incarnation of the deity, but “God himself in human form”—as the followers of Krishna believed him to be—and therefore “three gods in one.” This is clearly illustrated by the following address delivered to Buddha by a devotee called Amora:
“Reverence be unto thee, O God, in the form of the God of mercy, the dispeller of pain and trouble, the Lord of all things, the guardian of the universe, the emblem of mercy towards those who serve thee—OM! the possessor of all things in vital form. Thou art Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa; thou art Lord of all the universe. Thou art under the proper form of all things, movable and immovable, the possessor of the whole, and thus I adore thee. I adore thee, who art celebrated by a thousand names, and under various forms; in the shape of Buddha, the god of mercy.”[371:3]
Buddhist Trinity in Japan & China:
The inhabitants of China and Japan, the majority of whom are Buddhists, worship God in the form of a Trinity. Their name for him (Buddha) is Fo, and in speaking of the Trinity they say: “The three pure, precious or honourable Fo.”[372:1] This triad is represented in their temples by images similar to those found in the pagodas of India, and when they speak of God they say: “Fo is one person, but has three forms.”[372:2]
In a chapel belonging to the monastery of Poo-ta-la, which was found in Manchow-Tartary, was to be seen representations of Fo, in the form of three persons.[372:3]
Navarette, in his account of China, says:
“This sect (of Fo) has another idol they call Sanpao. It consists of three, equal in all respects. This, which has been represented as an image of the Most Blessed Trinity, is exactly the same with that which is on the high altar of the monastery of the Trinitarians at Madrid. If any Chinese whatsoever saw it, he would say that Sanpao of his country was worshiped in these parts.”
And Mr. Faber, in his “Origin of Heathen Idolatry,” says:
“Among the Chinese, who worship Buddha under the name of Fo, we find this God mysteriously multiplied into three persons.”
The mystic syllable O. M. or A. U. M. is also reverenced by the Chinese and Japanese,[372:4] as we have found it reverenced by the inhabitants of India.
The followers of Laou-tsze, or Laou-keum-tsze—a celebrated philosopher of China, and deified hero, born 604 B. C.—known as the Taou sect, are also worshipers of a Trinity.[372:5] It was the leading feature in Laou-keun’s system of philosophical theology, that Taou, the eternal reason, produced one; one produced two; two produced three; and three produced all things.[372:6] This was a sentence which Laou-keun continually repeated, and which Mr. Maurice considers, “a most singular axiom for a heathen philosopher.”[372:7]
The sacred volumes of the Chinese state that:
“The Source and Root of all is One. This self-existent unity necessarily produced a second. The first and second, by their union, produced a third. These Three produced all.”[372:8]
The ancient emperors of China solemnly sacrificed, every three years, to “Him who is One and Three.”[372:9]

Egyptian Trinity & Logos:

The ancient Egyptians worshiped God in the form of a Trinity, which was represented in sculptures on the most ancient of their temples. The celebrated symbol of the wing, the globe, and the serpent, is supposed to have stood for the different attributes of God.[373:1]
The priests of Memphis, in Egypt, explained this mystery to the novice, by intimating that the premier (first) monad created the dyad, who engendered the triad, and that it is this triad which shines through nature.
Thulis, a great monarch, who at one time reigned over all Egypt, and who was in the habit of consulting the oracle of Serapis, is said to have addressed the oracle in these words:
“Tell me if ever there was before one greater than I, or will ever be one greater than me?”
The oracle answered thus:
“First God, afterward the Word, and with them the Holy Spirit, all these are of the same nature, and make but one whole, of which the power is eternal. Go away quickly, mortal, thou who hast but an uncertain life.”[373:2]
The idea of calling the second person in the Trinity the Logos, or Word [373:3] is an Egyptian feature, and was engrafted into Christianity many centuries after the time of Christ Jesus.[373:4] Apollo, who had his tomb at Delphi in Egypt, was called the Word.[373:5]
Mr. Bonwick, in his “Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought,” says:
“Some persons are prepared to admit that the most astonishing development of the old religion of Egypt was in relation to the Logos or Divine Word, by whom all things were made, and who, though from God, was God. It had long been known that Plato, Aristotle, and others before the Christian era, cherished the idea of this Demiurgus; but it was not known till of late that Chaldeans and Egyptians recognized this mysterious principle.”[373:6]
“The Logos or Word was a great mystery (among the Egyptians), in whose sacred books the following passages may be seen: ‘I know the mystery of the divine Word;’ ‘The Word of the Lord of All, which was the maker of it;’ ‘The Word—this is the first person after himself, uncreated, infinite ruling over all things that were made by him.'”[374:1]
The Assyrians had Marduk for their Logos;[374:2] one of their sacred addresses to him reads thus:
“Thou art the powerful one—Thou art the life-giver—Thou also the prosperer—Merciful one among the gods—Eldest son of Hea, who made heaven and earth—Lord of heaven and earth, who an equal has not—Merciful one, who dead to life raises.”[374:3]
The Chaldeans had their Memra or “Word of God,” corresponding to the Greek Logos, which designated that being who organized and who still governs the world, and is inferior to God only.[374:4]
The Logos was with Philoa most interesting subject of discourse, tempting him to wonderful feats of imagination. There is scarcely a personifying or exalting epithet that he did not bestow on the Divine Reason. He described it as a distinct being; called it “a Rock,” “The Summit of the Universe,” “Before all things,” “First-begotten Son of God,” “Eternal Bread from Heaven,” “Fountain of Wisdom,” “Guide to God,” “Substitute for God,” “Image of God,” “Priest,” “Creator of the Worlds,” “Second God,” “Interpreter of God,” “Ambassador of God,” “Power of God,” “King,” “Angel,” “Man,” “Mediator,” “Light,” “The Beginning,” “The East,” “The Name of God,” “The Intercessor.”[374:5]
This is exactly the Logos of John. It becomes a man, “is made flesh;” appears as an incarnation; in order that the God whom “no man has seen at any time,” may be manifested.

Greek Trinity & Logos:

The worship of God in the form of a Trinity was to be found among the ancient Greeks. When the priests were about to offer up a sacrifice to the gods, the altar was three times sprinkled by dipping a laurel branch in holy water, and the people assembled around it were three times sprinkled also. Frankincense was taken from the censer with three fingers, and strewed upon the altar three times. This was done because an oracle had declared that all sacred things ought to be in threes, therefore, that number was scrupulously observed in most religious ceremonies.[374:6]
Orpheus[374:7] wrote that:
“All things were made by One godhead in three names, and that this god is all things.”[375:1]
This Trinitarian view of the Deity he is said to have brought from Egypt, and the Christian Fathers of the third and fourth centuries claimed that Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Plato—who taught the doctrine of the Trinity—had drawn their theological philosophy from the writings of Orpheus.[375:2]
The works of Plato were extensively studied by the Church Fathers, one of whom joyfully recognizes in the great teacher, the schoolmaster who, in the fullness of time, was destined to educate the heathen for Christ, as Moses did the Jews.[375:3]
The celebrated passage: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,“[375:4] is a fragment of some Pagan treatise on the Platonic philosophy, evidently written by Irenaeus.[375:5] It is quoted by Amelius, a Pagan philosopher, as strictly applicable to the Logos, or Mercury, the Word, apparently as an honorable testimony borne to the Pagan deity by a barbarian—for such is what he calls the writer of John i. 1. His words are:
“This plainly was the Word, by whom all things were made, he being himself eternal, as Heraclitus also would say; and by Jove, the same whom the barbarian affirms to have been in the place and dignity of a principal, and to be with God, and to be God, by whom all things were made, and in whom everything that was made has its life and being.”[375:6]
The Christian Father, Justin Martyr, apologizing for the Christian religion, tells the Emperor Antoninus Pius, that the Pagans need not taunt the Christians for worshiping the Logos, which “was with God, and was God,” as they were also guilty of the same act.
“If we (Christians) hold,” says he, “some opinions near of kin to the poets and philosophers, in great repute among you, why are we thus unjustly hated?” “There’s Mercury, Jove’s interpreter, in imitation of the Logos, in worship among you,” and “as to the Son of God, called Jesus, should we allow him to be nothing more than man, yet the title of the ‘Son of God’ is very justifiable, upon the account of his wisdom, considering you have your Mercury, (also called the ‘Son of God’) in worship under the title of the Word and Messenger of God.”[375:7]
We see, then, that the title “Word” or “Logos,” being applied to Jesus, is another piece of Pagan amalgamation with Christianity. It did not receive its authorized Christian form until the middle of the second century after Christ.[376:1]

Trinity Worship in Ancient Religions:

Pagan Romans:

The ancient Pagan Romans worshiped a Trinity.
An oracle is said to have declared that there was, “first God, then the Word, and with them the Spirit.”[376:2]
Here we see distinctly enumerated, God, the Logos, and the Spirit or Holy Ghost, in ancient Rome, where the most celebrated temple of this capital—that of Jupiter Capitolinus—was dedicated to three deities, which three deities were honoured with joint worship.[376:3]


The ancient Persians worshiped a Trinity.[376:4]
This trinity consisted of Oromasdes, Mithras, and Ahriman.[376:5] It was virtually the same as that of the Hindus: Oromasdes was the Creator, Mithras was the “Son of God,” the “Saviour,” the “Mediator” or “Intercessor,” and Ahriman was the Destroyer. In the oracles of Zoroaster the Persian lawgiver, is to be found the following sentence:
“A Triad of Deity shines forth through the whole world, of which a Monad (an invisible thing) is the head.”[376:6]
Plutarch, “De Iside et Osiride,” says:
“Zoroaster is said to have made a threefold distribution of things: to have assigned the first and highest rank to Oromasdes, who, in the Oracles, is called the Father; the lowest to Ahrimanes; and the middle to Mithras; who, in the same Oracles, is called the second Mind.”

Assyrians and Phenicians:

The Assyrians and Phenicians worshiped a Trinity.[376:7]
“It is a curious and instructive fact, that the Jews had symbols of the divine Unity in Trinity as well as the Pagans.”[376:8] The Cabbala had its Trinity: “the Ancient, whose name is sanctified, is with three heads, which make but one.”[376:9]
Rabbi Simeon Ben Jochai says:
“Come and see the mystery of the word Elohim: there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet, notwithstanding, they are all One, and joined together in One, and cannot be divided from each other.”
According to Dr. Parkhurst:
“The Vandals[376:10] had a god called Triglaff. One of these was found at Hertungerberg, near Brandenburg (in Prussia). He was represented with three heads. This was apparently the Trinity of Paganism.”[377:1]


The ancient Scandinavians worshiped a triple deity who was yet one god.
It consisted of Odin, Thor, and Frey. A triune statue representing this Trinity in Unity was found at Upsal in Sweden.[377:2] The three principal nations of Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway) vied with each other in erecting temples, but none were more famous than the temple at Upsal in Sweden. It glittered on all sides with gold. It seemed to be particularly consecrated to the Three Superior Deities, Odin, Thor and Frey. The statues of these gods were placed in this temple on three thrones, one above the other. Odin was represented holding a sword in his hand: Thor stood at the left hand of Odin, with a crown upon his head, and a scepter in his hand; Frey stood at the left hand of Thor, and was represented of both sexes. Odin was the supreme God, the Al-fader; Thor was the first-begotten son of this god, and Frey was the bestower of fertility, peace and riches. King Gylfi of Sweden is supposed to have gone at one time to Asgard (the abode of the gods), where he beheld three thrones raised one above another, with a man sitting on each of them. Upon his asking what the names of these lords might be, his guide answered: “He who sitteth on the lowest throne is the Lofty One; the second is the equal to the Lofty One; and he who sitteth on the highest throne is called the Third.”[377:3]

Ancient Druids, Siberians, Tartars:

The ancient Druids also worshiped: “Ain Treidhe Dia ainm Taulac, Fan, Mollac;” which is to say: “Ain triple God, of name Taulac, Fan, Mollac.”[377:4]
The ancient inhabitants of Siberia worshiped a triune God.
In remote ages, wanderers from India directed their eyes northward, and crossing the vast Tartarian deserts, finally settled in Siberia, bringing with them the worship of a triune God. This is clearly shown from the fact stated by Thomas Maurice, that:
“The first Christian missionaries who arrived in those regions, found the people already in possession of that fundamental doctrine of the true religion, which, among others, they came to impress upon their minds, and universally adored an idol fabricated to resemble, as near as possible, a Trinity in Unity.”
This triune God consisted of, first “the Creator of all things,” second, “the God of Armies,” third, “the Spirit of Heavenly Love,” and yet these three were but one indivisible God.[377:5]
The Tartars also worshiped God as a Trinity in Unity.
On one of their medals, which is now in the St. Petersburg Museum, may be seen a representation of the triple God seated on the lotus.[378:1]
Even in the remote islands of the Pacific Ocean, the supreme deities are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, the latter of which is symbolized as a bird.[378:2]

Ancient Mexicans and Peruvians:

The supreme God of the Mexicans (Tezcatlipoca), who had, as Lord Kingsborough says, “all the attributes and powers which were assigned to Jehovah by the Hebrews,” had associated with him two other gods, Huitzlipochtli and Tlaloc; one occupied a place upon his left hand, the other on his right. This was the Trinity of the Mexicans.[378:3]
When the bishop Don Bartholomew de las Casas proceeded to his bishopric, which was in 1545, he commissioned an ecclesiastic, whose name was Francis Hernandez, who was well acquainted with the language of the Indians (as the natives were called), to visit them, carrying with him a sort of catechism of what he was about to preach. In about one year from the time that Francis Hernandez was sent out, he wrote to Bishop las Casas, stating that:
“The Indians believed in the God who was in heaven; that this God was the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and that the Father was named Yzona, the Son Bacab, who was born of a Virgin, and that the Holy Ghost was called Echiah.”[378:4]
The Rev. Father Acosta says, in speaking of the Peruvians:
“It is strange that the devil after his manner hath brought a Trinity into idolatry, for the three images of the Sun called Apomti, Churunti, and Intiquaoqui, signifieth Father and Lord Sun, the Son Sun, and the Brother Sun.
“Being in Chuquisaca, an honourable priest showed me an information, which I had long in my hands, where it was proved that there was a certain oratory, whereat the Indians did worship an idol called Tangatanga, which they said was ‘One in Three, and Three in One.’ And as this priest stood amazed thereat, I said that the devil by his internal and obstinate pride (whereby he always pretends to make himself God) did steal all that he could from the truth, to employ it in his lying and deceits.”[378:5]
The doctrine was recognized among the Indians of the Californian peninsula. The statue of the principal deity of the New Granadian Indians had “three heads on one body,” and was understood to be “three persons with one heart and one will.”[378:6]

Important Deductions:

  • The result of our investigations then, is that, for ages before the time of Christ Jesus or Christianity, God was worshiped in the form of a TRIAD, and that this doctrine was extensively diffused through many nations.
  • That it was established in regions as far distant as China and Mexico, and immemorially acknowledged through the whole extent of Egypt and India.
  • That it flourished with equal vigour among the snowy mountains of Tibet, and the vast deserts of Siberia.
  • That the barbarians of central Europe, the Scandinavians, and the Druids of Britain and Ireland, bent their knee to an idol of a Triune God.
  • What then becomes of “the Ever-Blessed Trinity” of Christianity? It must fall, together with all the rest of its dogmas, and be buried with the Pagan debris.
The learned Thomas Maurice imagined that this mysterious doctrine must have been revealed by God to Adam, or to Noah, or to Abraham, or to somebody else. Notice with what caution he wrote (A. D. 1794) on this subject. He says:
“In the course of the wide range which I have been compelled to take in the field of Asiatic mythology, certain topics have arisen for discussion, equally delicate and perplexing. Among them, in particular, a species of Trinity forms a constant and prominent feature in nearly all the systems of Oriental theology.”
After saying, “I venture with a trembling step,” and that, “It was not from choice, but from necessity, that I entered thus upon this subject,” he concludes:
“This extensive and interesting subject engrosses a considerable portion of this work, and my anxiety to prepare the public mind to receive it, my efforts to elucidate so mysterious a point of theology, induces me to remind the candid reader, that visible traces of this doctrine are discovered, not only in the three principals of the Chaldaic theology; in the Triplasios Mithra of Persia; in the Triad, Brahmā, Vishnu, and Siva, of India—where it was evidently promulgated in the Geeta, fifteen hundred years before the birth of Plato;[379:1] but in the Numen Triplex of Japan; in the inscription upon the famous medal found in the deserts of Siberia, “To the Triune God,” to be seen at this day in the valuable cabinet of the Empress, at St. Petersburg; in the Tanga-Tanga, or Three in One, of the South Americans; and, finally, without mentioning the vestiges of it in Greece, in the Symbol of the Wing, the Globe, and the Serpent, conspicuous on most of the ancient temples of Upper Egypt.”[379:2]

How Trinity entered Christianity?

While Paul of Tarsus, the man who could rightfully be considered the true founder of Christianity, did formulate many of its doctrines, that of the Trinity was not among them. He did, however, lay the groundwork for such when he put forth the idea of Jesus being a “divine Son.” After all, a Son does need a Father, and what about a vehicle for God’s revelations to man? In essence, Paul named the principal players, but it was the later Church fathers who put the matter together. Essenes, the third Jewish sect, which is not mentioned in writings after Jesus, had affinity with Buddhism. Essenes are considered to have formed the bulk of early followers of Jesus Christ, later Christians. They acted as a bridge with ‘Hindu, Buddhist and Egyptian Trinity’ through Alexandria, once the centre of knowledge including Eastern & Indian religions.

Alexandrian Library:

The history of the great Alexandrian library is one of the keys which unlock the door, and exposes to the view the manner in which the heathen doctrines including Trinity sneaked in to the monotheistic teachings of Jesus Christ such that Hindu incarnate god Krishna, and the meek and benevolent Buddha, came to be worshiped under the name of Christ Jesus. In Alexandria, in Egypt, there was an immense library, founded by the Ptolemies [Egyptian dynasty of Macedonian kings (323-30 B.C.). The Ptolemies included Ptolemy I (367-283 BC), a general in Alexander the Great’s army who succeeded him as ruler of Egypt (323-285 BC), and Ptolemy XV (47-30), who ruled as coregent (44-30 BC) with his mother, Cleopatra.]. Any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the museum, and when correct copies had been made, the transcript was given to the owner, and the original placed in the library. The library in the museum was burned during the siege of Alexandria by Julius Caesar. To make amends for this great loss, the library collected by Eumenes, King of Pergamus, was presented by Mark Antony to Queen Cleopatra. [379:3].
The salient features, functions, importance and long term implications of Alexandria library are:
1. That, “orders were given to the chief librarian to buy at the king’s expense whatever books he could.”
2. That, “one of the chief objects of the museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted themselves to study.”
3. That, “any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the museum and correct copies made.”
4. That, “there flocked to this great intellectual centre students from all countries.”
5. That, “the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathers.”
And also:
6. That, the chief doctrines of the Gnostic Christians “had been held for centuries before their time in many of the cities in Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as ‘Mystae’ upon the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies.”
7. That, “the College of ESSENES at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”
8. That, “the introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in the history of religion.”
9. That, “Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of the Seleucidae and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the former) before the beginning of the third century B. C. and is proved to demonstration by a passage in the edicts of Ashoka.” [Ashoka (304–232 BC) was a great Indian King who converted to Buddhism, made it world religion.]
10. That, “it is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels.”
11. That, “the principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be connected with the East, with Parsism [ Zoroastrians ], and especially with Buddhism.”
12. That, “among the doctrines which the Essenes and Buddhists had in common was that of the Angel-Messiah.”
13. That, “they (the Essenes) had a flourishing university or corporate body, established at Alexandria, in Egypt, long before the period assigned for the birth of Christ.”
14. That, “the very ancient and Eastern doctrine of the Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity.”
15. That, “we hear very little of them (the Essenes) after 40 C.E ; and there can hardly be any doubt that the Essenes as a body must have embraced Christianity.”
Here is the solution of the problem. The sacred books of Hindus and Buddhists were among the Essenes, and in the library at Alexandria. The Essenes, who were afterwards called Christians, applied the legend of the Angel-Messiah—”the very ancient Eastern doctrine,” which we have shown throughout this work—to Christ Jesus. It was simply a transformation of names, a transformation which had previously occurred in many cases.[379:4] After this came additions to the legend and myths like Trinity from other sources. Portions of the legends related of the Persian, Greek and Roman Saviours and Redeemers of mankind, were, from time to time, added to the already legendary history of the Christian Saviour. Thus history was repeating itself. Thus the virgin-born God and Saviour, worshiped by many nations of the earth, though called by different names, was but one and the same.
This very valuable library was wilfully destroyed by the Christian Theophilus [Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 412 C.E]. The destruction of this library was almost the death-blow to free-thought—wherever Christianity ruled—for more than a thousand years.

Egypt, the land of Trinities, Essenes & Gospels:

“Alexandria, the home of Philonism, and Neo-Platonism (and we might add Essenism), was naturally the centre whence spread the dogma of the deity of Jesus Christ. In that city, through the third century, flourished a school of transcendental theology, afterwards looked upon with suspicion by the conservators of ecclesiastical doctrine, but not the less the real cradle of orthodoxy. It was still the Platonic tendency which influenced the speculations of Clement, Origen and Dionysius, and the theory of the Logos was at the foundation of their theology.” says Albert Revillé  [379:3]
Among the numerous gospels in circulation among the Christians of the first three centuries, there was one entitled “The Gospel of the Egyptians.” Epiphanius (385 C.E), speaking of it, says:
“Many things are proposed (in this Gospel of the Egyptians) in a hidden, mysterious manner, as by our Saviour, as though he had said to his disciples, that the Father was the same person, the Son the same person, and the Holy Ghost the same person.”
That this was one of the “Scriptures” of the Essenes becomes very evident when we find it admitted by the most learned of Christian theologians that it was in existence “before either of the canonical Gospels,” and that it contained the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine not established in the Christian church until 327 C.E, but which was taught by this Buddhist sect in Alexandria, in Egypt, which has been well called, “Egypt, the land of Trinities.”
The learned Dr. Grabe thought it was composed by some Christians in Egypt, and that it was published before either of the canonical Gospels. Dr. Mill also believed that it was composed before either of the canonical Gospels, and, what is more important than all, that the authors of it were Essenes.
These “Scriptures” of the Essenes were undoubtedly amalgamated with the “Gospels” of the Christians, the result being the canonical Gospels as we now have them. The “Gospel of the Hebrews,” and such like, on the one hand, and the “Gospel of the Egyptians,” or Essenes, and such like, on the other. That the “Gospel of the Hebrews” spoke of Jesus of Nazareth as the son of Joseph and Mary, according to the flesh, and that it taught nothing about his miracles, his resurrection from the dead, and other such prodigies, is admitted on all hands. That the “Scriptures” of the Essenes contained the whole legend of the Angel-Messiah, which was afterwards added to the history of Jesus, making him a CHRIST, or an Anointed Angel, is a probability almost to a certainty. Do we now understand how all the traditions and legends, originally Indian, escaping from the great focus through Egypt, were able to reach Judea, Greece and Rome?
According to an other similar historic narrative, it was a long time after the followers of Christ Jesus had made him a God, before they ventured to declare that he was “God himself in human form,” and, “the second person in the Ever-Blessed Trinity.” It was Justin Martyr (103–165 C.E ), a Christian convert from the Platonic school,[380:1] who, about the middle of the second century, first promulgated the opinion, that Jesus of Nazareth, the “Son of God,” was the second principle in the Deity, and the Creator of all material things. He is the earliest writer to whom the opinion can be traced. This knowledge, he does not ascribe to the Scriptures, but to the special favour of God.[380:2]
Tertullian, a lawyer and presbyter of the third century Church in Carthage, was the first to use the word “Trinity” when he put forth the theory that the Son and the Spirit participate in the being of God, but all are of one being of substance with the Father.

Controversies on Trinity:

In these Trinitarian controversies, which first broke out in Egypt—Egypt, the land of Trinities—the chief point in the discussion was to define the position of “the Son.”
There lived in Alexandria a presbyter of the name of Arius, a disappointed candidate for the office of bishop. He took the ground that there was a time when, from the very nature of Sonship, the Son did not exist, and a time at which he commenced to be, asserting that it is the necessary condition of the filial relation that a father must be older than his son. But this assertion evidently denied the co-eternity of the three persons of the Trinity, it suggested a subordination or inequality among them, and indeed implied a time when the Trinity did not exist. Hereupon, the bishop, who had been the successful competitor against Arius, displayed his rhetorical powers in public debates on the question, and, the strife spreading, the Jews and Pagans, who formed a very large portion of the population of Alexandria, amused themselves with theatrical representations of the contest on the stage—the point of their burlesques being the equality of age of the Father and the Son. Such was the violence the controversy at length assumed, that the matter had to be referred to the emperor (Constantine).
At first he looked upon the dispute as altogether frivolous, and perhaps in truth inclined to the assertion of Arius, that in the very nature of the thing a father must be older than his son. So great, however, was the pressure laid upon him, that he was eventually compelled to summon the Council of Nicea, which, to dispose of the conflict, set forth a formulary or creed, and attached to it this anathema:
“The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes those who say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, and that, before he was begotten, he was not, and that, he was made out of nothing, or out of another substance or essence, and is created, or changeable, or alterable.”
Constantine at once enforced the decision of the council by the civil power.[381:1]
Even after this “subtle and profound question” had been settled at the Council of Nice, those who settled it did not understand the question they had settled. Athanasius, who was a member of the first general council, and who is said to have written the creed which bears his name, which asserts that the true Catholic faith is this:
“That we worship One God as Trinity, and Trinity in Unity—neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance—for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost, but the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal,”
—also confessed that whenever he forced his understanding to meditate on the divinity of the Logos, his toilsome and unavailing efforts recoiled on themselves; that the more he thought the less he comprehended; and the more he wrote the less capable was he of expressing his thoughts.[382:1]
We see, then, that this great question was (considered to be) settled, not by the consent of all members of the council, but simply because the majority were in favour of it. Jesus of Nazareth was “God himself in human form;” “one of the persons of the Ever-Blessed Trinity,” who “had no beginning, and will have no end,” because the majority of the members of this council said so. Hereafter—so it was decreed—all must believe it; if not, they must not oppose it, but forever hold their peace.

Enforcement of Doctrine:

The Emperor Theodosius declared his resolution of expelling from all the churches of his dominions, the bishops and their clergy who should obstinately refuse to believe, or at least to profess, the doctrine of the Council of Nice. His lieutenant, Sapor, was armed with the ample powers of a general law, a special commission, and a military force; and this ecclesiastical resolution was conducted with so much discretion and vigour, that the religion of the Emperor was established.[382:2]
Here we have the historical fact, that bishops of the Christian church, and their clergy, were forced to profess their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity.
We also find that:
“This orthodox Emperor (Theodosius) considered every heretic (as he called those who did not believe as he and his ecclesiastics professed) as a rebel against the supreme powers of heaven and of earth (he being one of the supreme powers of earth) and each of the powers might exercise their peculiar jurisdiction over the soul and body of the guilty.
“The decrees of the Council of Constantinople had ascertained the true standard of the faith, and the ecclesiastics, who governed the conscience of Theodosius, suggested the most effectual methods of persecution. In the space of fifteen years he promulgated at least fifteen severe edicts against the heretics, more especially against those who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.”[382:3]
Thus we see one of the many reasons why the “most holy Christian religion” spread so rapidly!
Arius—who declared that in the nature of things a father must be older than his son—was excommunicated for his so-called heretical notions concerning the Trinity. His followers, who were very numerous, were called Arians. Their writings, if they had been permitted to exist,[383:1] would undoubtedly contain the lamentable story of the persecution which affected the church under the reign of the impious Emperor Theodosius.

Bible & Trinity Today:

References in the Bible to a Trinity of divine beings are vague. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus is telling his disciples to go out and preach to all nations. While the “Great Commission” does make mention of the three persons who later become components of the Trinity, the phrase “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” is quite clearly an addition to Biblical text – that is, not the actual words of Jesus – as can be seen by two factors: Baptism in the early Church, as discussed by Paul in his letters, was done only in the name of Jesus; and the “Great Commission” found in the first gospel written, that of Mark, bears no mention of Father, Son and or Holy Ghost (Mark 16:15).
The only other reference in the Bible closer to Trinity can be found in the Epistle 1 John, V: 7, which reads thus: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one,” is one of the numerous interpolations which were inserted into the books of the New Testament, many years after these books were written.[380:3]These passages are retained and circulated as the word of God, or as of equal authority with the rest, though known and admitted by the learned on all hands, to be forgeries, wilful and wicked interpolations hence is not found in modern versions of the Bible.
[Dr C.I, Scofield, D.D. backed by eight other D.D.’s declared: “It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted.” The fundamentalist Christians still retain this fabrication whereas; in all the modern translations including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1971, First edition this pious deceit has been unceremoniously expunged, while others adds note; ‘not found in prior to 16th century Greek manuscripts’, more at: ]
It can, therefore, be seen that the concept of a Trinity of divine beings was not an idea put forth by Jesus Christ. This doctrine, now subscribed to by Christians all over the world, is entirely man-made in origin adopted from heathens.
The subtle and profound questions concerning the nature, generation, the distinction, and the quality of the three divine persons of the mysterious triad, or Trinity, were agitated in the philosophical and in the Christian schools of Alexandria in Egypt,[380:4] but it was not a part of the established Christian faith until as late as A. D. 327, when the question was settled at the Councils of Nice and Constantinople. Up to this time there was no understood and recognized doctrine on this high subject. The Christians were for the most part accustomed to use scriptural expressions in speaking of the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, without defining articulately their relation to one another.[380:5]

Islam & Trinity:

While Christianity have problems defining the essence of God, such is not the case in Islam. “They do blaspheme who say: God  is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no god except One God.” (Qur’an 5:73). Christianity claims to be a monotheistic religion. Monotheism, however, has as its fundamental belief that God is One; the Christian doctrine of the Trinity – God being Three-in-One – is seen by Muslims, like many rational Christians as a form of polytheism. “…your God is One God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.” (Qur’an 18:110), “…I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore, serve Me (and no other)…” (Qur’an 21:92)


Brutal punishments and even death did not stop the controversy over the doctrine of the Trinity, which continues even today. The majority of Christians, when asked to explain this fundamental doctrine of their faith, can offer nothing more than “I believe it because I was told to do so.” It is explained away as “mystery” – yet the Bible says in I Corinthians 14:33 that “… God is not the author of confusion…”
The Unitarian denomination of Christianity has kept alive the teachings of Arius in saying that God is one; they do not believe in the Trinity. As a result, mainstream Christians abhor them, and the National Council of Churches has refused their admittance. In Unitarianism, the hope is kept alive that Christians will someday return to the original teachings of Jesus: “…Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8) [383:3]. Many Christians in confusion are turning to atheism, but those with deeper insight find Islam to be logical choice.

[368:1]The celebrated passage (I. John, v. 7) “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one,” is now admitted on all hands to be an interpolation into the epistle many centuries after the time of Christ Jesus. (See Giles’ Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 12. Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 556. Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 886. Taylor’s Diegesis and Reber’s Christ of Paul.)
[368:2]That is, the true faith.
[368:3]Dogma Deity Jesus Christ, p. 95.
[369:1]”The notion of a Triad of Supreme Powers is indeed common to most ancient religions.” (Prichard’s Egyptian Mytho., p. 285.)
“Nearly all the Pagan nations of antiquity, in their various theological systems, acknowledged a trinity in the divine nature.” (Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 35.)
“The ancients imagined that their triad of gods or persons, only constituted one god.” (Celtic Druids, p. 197.)
[369:2]The three attributes called Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, are indicated by letters corresponding to our A. U. M., generally pronounced OM. This mystic word is never uttered except in prayer, and the sign which represents it in their temples is an object of profound adoration.
[369:3]Monier Williams’ Indian Wisdom, p. 324.
[369:4]That is, the Lord and Saviour Crishna. The Supreme Spirit, in order to preserve the world, produced Vishnu. Vishnu came upon earth for this purpose, in the form of Crishna. He was believed to be an incarnation of the Supreme Being, one of the persons of their holy and mysterious trinity, to use their language, “The Lord and Savior—three persons and one god.” In the Geita, Krishna is made to say: “I am the Lord of all created beings.” “I am the mystic figure O. M.” “I am Brahmā Vishnu, and Siva, three gods in one.”
[369:5]See The Heathen Religion, p. 124.
[370:1]Allen’s India, pp. 382, 383.
[370:2]Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 272.
[371:1]Indian Antiquities, vol. iv. p. 372.
[371:2]Taken from Moore’s “Hindu Pantheon,” plate 81.
[371:3]Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. pp. 285, 286. See also, King’s Gnostics, 167.
[372:1]Davis’ China, vol. ii. p. 104.
[372:2]Ibid. pp. 103 and 81.
[372:3]Ibid. pp. 105, 106.
[372:4]Ibid. pp. 103, 81.
[372:5]Ibid. 110, 111. Bell’s Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 36. Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., 150.
[372:6]Indian Antiquities, vol. v. p. 41. Dupuis, p. 285. Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., 150.
[372:7]Indian Antiquities, vol. v. p. 41.
This Taou sect, according to John Francis Davis, and the Rev. Charles Gutzlaff, both of whom have resided in China—call their trinity “the three pure ones,” or “the three precious ones in heaven.” (See Davis’ China, vol. ii. p. 110, and Gutzlaff’s Voyages, p. 307.)
[372:8]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 210.
[373:1]Indian Antiquities, vol. i. p. 127.
[373:2]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 14.
The following answer is stated by Manetho, an Egyptian priest, to have been given by an Oracle to Sesostris: “On his return through Africa he entered the sanctuary of the Oracle, saying: ‘Tell me, O thou strong in fire, who before me could subjugate all things? and who shall after me?’ But the Oracle rebuked him, saying, ‘First, God; then the Word; and with them, the Spirit.'” (Nimrod, vol. i. p. 119, in Ibid. vol. i. p. 805.)
Here we have distinctly enumerated God, the Logos, and the Spirit or Holy Ghost, in a very early period, long previous to the Christian era.
[373:3]I. John, v. 7. John, i. 1.
[373:4]The Alexandrian theology, of which the celebrated Plato was the chief representative, taught that the Logos was “the second God;” a being of divine essence, but distinguished from the Supreme God. It is also called “the first-born Son of God.”
“The Platonists furnished brilliant recruits to the Christian churches of Asia Minor and Greece, and brought with them their love for system and their idealism.” “It is in the Platonizing or Alexandrian, branch of Judaism that we must seek for the antecedents of the Christian doctrine of the Logos.” (A. Revillé: Dogma Deity Jesus, p. 29.)
[373:5]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102. Mithras, the Mediator, and Saviour of the Persians, was called the Logos. (See Dunlap’s Son of the Man, p. 20. Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 75.) Hermes was called the Logos. (See Dunlap’s Son of the Man, p. 39, marginal note.)
[373:6]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 402.
[374:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 404.
[374:4]Ibid. p. 28.
[374:5]Frothingham’s Cradle of the Christ, p. 112.
[374:6]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 307.
[374:7]Orpheus is said to have been a native of Thracia, the oldest poet of Greece, and to have written before the time of Homer; but he is evidently a mythological character.
[375:1]See Indian Antiquities, vol. iv. p. 332, and Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 189.
[375:2]See Chambers’s Encyclo., art. “Orpheus.”
[375:3]Ibid., art. “Plato.”
[375:4]John, i. 1.
[375:5]The first that we know of this gospel for certain is during the time of Irenæus, the great Christian forger.
[375:6]See Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 185.
[375:7]Apol. 1. ch. xx.-xxii.
[376:1]See Fiske: Myths and Myth-makers, p. 205. Celsus charges the Christians with a recoinage of the misunderstood doctrine of the Logos.
[376:2]See Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 105.
[376:3]See Indian Antiquities, vol. iii. p. 158.
[376:4]See Indian Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 346. Monumental Christianity, p. 65, and Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 819.
[376:6]Indian Antiquities, vol. iv. p. 259.
[376:7]See Monumental Christianity, p. 65, and Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 819.
[376:8]Monumental Christianity, p. 923. See also, Maurice’s Indian Antiquities.
[376:9]Idra Suta, Sohar, iii. 288. B. Franck, 138. Son of the Man, p. 78.
[376:10]Vandals—a race of European barbarians, either of Germanic or Slavonic origin.
[377:1]Parkhurst: Hebrew Lexicon, Quoted in Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 216.
[377:2]See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 169. Maurice: Indian Antiq., vol. v. p. 14, and Gross: The Heathen Religion, p. 210.
[377:3]See Mallet’s Northern Antiquities.
[377:4]Celtic Druids, p. 171; Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 123; and Myths of the British Druids, p. 448.
[377:5]Indian Antiquities, vol. v. pp. 8, 9.
[378:1]Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 48.
[378:2]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 169.
[378:3]Squire: Serpent Symbol, pp. 179, 180. Mexican Ant., vol. vi. p. 164.
[378:4]Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 164.
[378:5]Acosta: Hist. Indies, vol. ii. p. 373. See also, Indian Antiq., vol. v. p. 26, and Squire’s Serpent Symbol, p. 181.
[378:6]Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 181.
[379:1]The ideas entertained concerning the antiquity of the Geeta, at the time Mr. Maurice wrote his Indian Antiquities, were erroneous. This work, as we have elsewhere seen, is not as old as he supposed. The doctrine of the Trimurti in India, however, is to be found in theVeda, and epic poems, which are of an antiquity long anterior to the rise of Christianity, preceding it by many centuries. (See Monier Williams’ Indian Wisdom, p. 324, and Hinduism, pp. 109, 110-115.)
“The grand cavern pagoda of Elephants, the oldest and most magnificent temple in the world, is neither more nor less than a superb temple of a Triune God.” (Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. iii. p. ix.)
[379:2]Indian Antiquities, vol. i. pp. 125-127.
[379:3]Draper: Religion and Science, pp. 18-21.
[379:4]We have seen this particularly in the cases of Crishna and Buddha. Mr. Cox, speaking of the former, says: “If it be urged that the attribution to Crishna of qualities or powers belonging to the other deities is a mere device by which his devotees sought to supersede the more ancient gods, the answer must be that nothing has been done in his case which has not been done in the case of almost every other member of the great company of the gods.” (Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 130.) These words apply to the case we have before us. Jesus was simply attributed with the qualities or powers which had been previously attributed to other deities. This we hope to be able to fully demonstrate in our chapter on “Explanation.”
[479:3]King’s Gnostics, p. 23.
[380:1]We have already seen that Plato and his followers taught the doctrine of the Trinity centuries before the time of Christ Jesus.
[380:2]Israel Worsley’s Enquiry, p. 54. Quoted in Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 116.
[380:3]”The memorable test (I. John v. 7) which asserts the unity of the three which bear witness in heaven, is condemned by the universal silence of the orthodox Fathers, ancient versions, and authentic manuscripts. It was first alleged by the Catholic Bishop whom Hunneric summoned to the Conference of Carthage (A. D. 254), or, more properly, by the four bishops who composed and published the profession of faith, in the name of their brethren.” (Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 556, and note 117.) None of the ancient manuscripts now extant, above four-score in number, contain this passage. (Ibid. note 116.) In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Bible was corrected. Yet, notwithstanding these corrections, the passage is still wanting in twenty-five Latin manuscripts. (Ibid. note 116. See also Dr. Giles’ Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 12. Dr. Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 886. Rev. Robert Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 421, and Reber’s Christ of Paul.)
[380:4]See Gibbon’s Rome, ii. 309.
[380:5]Chambers’s Encyclo., art. “Trinity.”
[381:1]Draper: Religion and Science, pp. 53, 54.
[382:1]Athanasius, tom. i. p. 808. Quoted in Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 310.
Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople, was so much amazed by the extraordinary composition called “Athanasius’ Creed,” that he frankly pronounced it to be the work of a drunken man. (Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 555, note 114.)
[382:2]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 87.
[382:3]Ibid. pp. 91, 92.
[383:1]All their writings were ordered to be destroyed, and any one found to have them in his possession was severely punished.
[383:3] Aisha Brown, “Who Invented  Trinity? “
The Trinity:

Christian Symbols

A thorough investigation of this subject would require a volume, therefore, as we can devote but a chapter to it, it must necessarily be treated somewhat slightingly.

The first of the Christian Symbols which we shall notice is the CROSS.
Overwhelming historical facts show that the cross was used, as a religious emblem, many centuries before the Christian era, by every nation in the world. Bishop Colenso, speaking on this subject, says:—
“From the dawn of organized Paganism in the Eastern world, to the final establishment of Christianity in the West, the cross was undoubtedly one of the commonest and most sacred of symbolical monuments. Apart from any distinctions of social or intellectual superiority, of caste, color, nationality, or location in either hemisphere, it appears to have been the aboriginal possession of every people in antiquity.
“Diversified forms of the symbol are delineated more or less artistically, according to the progress achieved in civilization at the period, on the ruined walls of temples and palaces, on natural rocks and sepulchral galleries, on the hoariest monoliths and the rudest statuary; on coins, medals, and vases of every description; and in not a few instances, are preserved in the architectural proportions of subterranean as well as superterranean structures of tumuli, as well as fanes.
“Populations of essentially different culture, tastes, and pursuits—the highly-civilized and the semi-civilized, the settled and the nomadic—vied with each other in their superstitious adoration of it, and in their efforts to extend the knowledge of its exceptional import and virtue amongst their latest posterities.
“Of the several varieties of the cross still in vogue, as national and ecclesiastical emblems, and distinguished by the familiar appellations of St. George, St. Andrew, the Maltese, the Greek, the Latin, &c., &c., there is not one amongst them, the existence of which may not be traced to the remotest antiquity. They were the common property of the Eastern nations.
“That each known variety has been derived from a common source, and is emblematical of one and the same truth may be inferred from the fact of forms identically the same, whether simple or complex, cropping out in contrary directions, in the Western as well as the Eastern hemisphere.”[339:1]
The cross has been adored in India from time immemorial, and was a symbol of mysterious significance in Brahmanical iconography. It was the symbol of the Hindoo god Agni, the “Light of the World.”[340:1]
In the Cave of Elephanta, over the head of the figure represented as destroying the infants, whence the story of Herod and the infants of Bethlehem (which was unknown to all the Jewish, Roman, and Grecian historians) took its origin, may be seen the Mitre, the Crosier, and the Cross.[340:2]
It is placed by 
 in the hand of Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, Crishna, Tvashtri and Jama. To it the worshipers of Vishnu attribute as many virtues as does the devout Catholic to the Christian cross.[340:3] Fra Paolino tells us it was used by the ancient kings of India as a sceptre.[340:4]
Two of the principal pagodas of India—Benares and Mathura—were erected in the forms of vast crosses.[340:5] The pagoda at Mathura was sacred to the memory of the Virgin-born and crucified Saviour Crishna.[340:6]
Buddhist sacred Swastica
The cross has been an object of profound veneration among the Buddhists from the earliest times. One is the sacred Swastica (Fig. No. 21). It is seen in the old Buddhist Zodiacs, and is one of the symbols in the Asoka inscriptions. It is the sectarian mark of the Jains, and the distinctive badge of the sect of Xaca Japonicus. The Vaishnavas of India have also the same sacred sign.[340:7] And, according to Arthur Lillie,[340:8] “the only Christian cross in the catacombs is this Buddhist Swastica.”
Buddhist cross
The cross is adored by the followers of the Lama of Thibet.[340:9] Fig. No. 22 is a representation of the most familiar form of Buddhist cross. The close [Pg 341]resemblance between the ancient religion of Thibet and that of the Christians has been noticed by many European travellers and missionaries, among whom may be mentioned Pere Grebillon, Pere Grueber, Horace de la Paon, D’Orville, and M. L’Abbé Huc. The Buddhists, and indeed all the sects of India, marked their followers on the head with the sign of the cross.[341:1] This was undoubtedly practiced by almost all heathen nations, as we have seen in the chapter on the Eucharist that the initiates into the Heathen mysteries were marked in that manner.
The ancient Egyptians adored the cross with the profoundest veneration. This sacred symbol is to be found on many of their ancient monuments, some of which may be seen at the present day in the British Museum.[341:2] In the museum of the London University, a cross upon a Calvary is to be seen upon the breast of one of the Egyptian mummies.[341:3] Many of the Egyptian images hold a cross in their hand. There is one now extant of the Egyptian Saviour Horus holding a cross in his hand,[341:4] and he is represented as an infant sitting on his mother’s knee, with a cross on the back of the seat they occupy.[341:5]
Egyptian cross
The commonest of all the Egyptian crosses, the CRUX ANSATA (Fig. No. 23) was adopted by the Christians. Thus, beside one of the Christian inscriptions at Phile (a celebrated island lying in the midst of the Nile) is seen both a Maltese cross and a crux ansata.[341:6] In a painting covering the end of a church in the cemetery of El Khargeh, in the Great Oasis, are three of these crosses round the principal subject, which seems to have been a figure of a saint.[341:7] In an inscription in a Christian church to the east of the Nile, in the desert, these crosses are also to be seen. Beside, or in the hand of, the Egyptian gods, this symbol is generally to be seen. When the Saviour Osiris is represented holding out the crux ansata to a mortal, it signifies that the person to whom he presents it has put off mortality, and entered on the life to come.[341:8]
The Greek cross, and the cross of St. Anthony, are also found [Pg 342]on Egyptian monuments. A figure of a Shari (Fig. No. 24), from Sir Gardner Wilkinson’s book, has a necklace round his throat, from which depends a pectoral cross. A third Egyptian cross is that represented in Fig. No. 25, which is apparently intended for a Latin cross rising out of a heart, like the mediæval emblem of “Cor in Cruce, Crux in Corde:” it is the 
 of goodness.[342:1]
Shari wearing pectoral cross
Egyptian cross
It is related by the ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Sozomon, that when the temple of Serapis, at Alexandria, in Egypt, was demolished by one of the Christian emperors, beneath the foundation was discovered a cross. The words of Socrates are as follows:
“In the temple of Serapis, now overthrown and rifled throughout, there were found engraven in the stones certain letters . . . resembling the form of the cross. The which when both Christians and Ethnics beheld, every one applied to his proper religion. The Christians affirmed that the cross was a sign or token of the passion of Christ, and the proper cognizance of their profession. The Ethnics avouched that therein was contained something in common, belonging as well to Serapis as to Christ.[342:2]
It should be remembered, in connection with this, that the Emperor Hadrian saw no difference between the worshipers of Serapis and the worshipers of Christ Jesus. In a letter to the Consul Servanus he says:
“There are there (in Egypt) Christians who worship Serapis, and devoted to Serapis are those who call themselves ‘Bishops of Christ.'”[342:3]
The ancient Egyptians were in the habit of putting a cross on their sacred cakes, just as the Christians of the present day do on Good Friday.[342:4] The plan of the chamber of some Egyptian sepulchres has the form of a cross,[342:5] and the cross was worn by Egyptian ladies as an ornament, in precisely the same manner as Christian ladies wear it at the present day.[342:6]
The ancient Babylonians honored the cross as a religious symbol. It is to be found on their oldest monuments. Anu, a deity who stood at the head of the Babylonian mythology, had a cross for his [Pg 343]sign or symbol.[343:1] It is also the 
 of the Babylonian god Bal.[343:2] A cross hangs on the breast of Tiglath Pileser, in the colossal tablet from Nimroud, now in the British Museum. Another king, from the ruins of Ninevah, wears a Maltese cross on his bosom. And another, from the hall of Nisroch, carries an emblematic necklace, to which a Maltese cross is attached.[343:3] The most common of crosses, the crux ansata(Fig. No. 21) was also a sacred symbol among the Babylonians. It occurs repeatedly on their cylinders, bricks and gems.[343:4]
The ensigns and standards carried by the Persians during their wars with Alexander the Great (B. C. 335), were made in the form of a cross—as we shall presently see was the style of the ancient Roman standards—and representations of these cross-standards have been handed down to the present day.
Sir Robert Ker Porter, in his very valuable work entitled: “Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, and Ancient Babylonia,”[343:5] shows the representation of abas-relief, of very ancient antiquity, which he found at Nashi-Roustam, or the Mountain of Sepulchres. It represents a combat between two horsemen—Baharam-Gour, one of the old Persian kings, and a Tartar prince. Baharam-Gour is in the act of charging his opponent with a spear, and behind him, scarcely visible, appears an almost effaced form, which must have been his standard-bearer, as the ensign is very plainly to be seen. This ensign is a cross. There is another representation of the same subject to be seen in a bas-relief, which shows the standard-bearer and his cross ensign very plainly.[343:6] This bas-relief belongs to a period when the Arsacedian kings governed Persia,[343:7] which was within a century after the time of Alexander, and consequently more than two centuries B. C.
two men carrying a cross
Sir Robert also found at this place, sculptures cut in the solid rock, which are in the form of crosses. These belong to the early race of Persian monarchs, whose dynasty terminated under the sword of Alexander the Great.[343:8] At the foot of Mount Nakshi-Rajab, he also found bas-reliefs, among which were two figures carrying a cross-standard. Fig. No. 26 is a representation of this.[343:9] It is coeval with the sculptures found at Nashi-Roustam,[343:10] and therefore belongs to a period before the time of Alexander’s invasion.
The cross is represented frequently and prominently on the coins [Pg 344]of Asia Minor. Several have a ram or lamb on one side, and a cross on the other.[344:1] On some of the early coins of the Phenicians, the cross is found attached to a chaplet of beads placed in a circle, so as to form a complete rosary, such as the Lamas of Thibet and China, the Hindoos, and the Roman Catholics, now tell over while they pray.[344:2] On a Phenician medal, found in the ruins of Citium, in Cyprus, and printed in Dr. Clark’s “Travels” (vol. ii. c. xi.), are engraved a cross, a rosary, and a lamb.[344:3] This is the “Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.”
tomb with angels and a cross
The ancient Etruscans revered the cross as a religious emblem. This sacred sign, accompanied with the heart, is to be seen on their monuments. Fig. No. 27, taken from the work of Gorrio (Tab. xxxv.), shows an ancient tomb with angels and the cross thereon. It would answer perfectly for a Christian cemetery.
Calvary cross
The cross was adored by the ancient Greeks and Romans for centuries before the Augustan era. An ancient inscription in Thessaly is accompanied by a Calvary cross (Fig. No. 28); and Greek crosses of equal arms adorn the tomb of Midas (one of the ancient kings), in Phrygia.[344:4]
The adoration of the cross by the Romans is spoken of by the Christian Father Minucius Felix, when denying the charge of idolatry which was made against his sect.
“As for the adoration of cross,” (says he to the Romans), “which you object against us, I must tell you that we neither adore crosses nor desire them. You it is, ye Pagans, who worship wooden gods, who are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses, as being part of the same substance with your deities. For what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, but crosses, gilt and beautiful. Your victorious trophies not only represent a cross, but a cross with a man upon it.”[345:1]
The principal silver coin among the Romans, called the denarius, had on one side a personification of Rome as a warrior with a helmet, and on the reverse, a chariot drawn by four horses. The driver had a cross-standard in one hand. This is a representation of a denarius of the earliest kind, which was first coined 296 B. C.[345:2] The cross was used on the roll of the Roman soldiery as the sign of life.[345:3]
But, long before the Romans, long before the Etruscans, there lived in the plains of Northern Italy a people to whom the cross was a religious symbol, the sign beneath which they laid their dead to rest; a people of whom history tells nothing, knowing not their name; but of whom antiquarian research has learned this, that they lived in ignorance of the arts of civilization, that they dwelt in villages built on platforms over lakes, and that they trusted to the cross to guard, and may be to revive, their loved ones whom they committed to the dust.
The examination of the tombs of Golasecca proves, in a most convincing, positive, and precise manner that which the terramares of Emilia had only indicated, but which had been confirmed by the cemetery of Villanova, that above a thousand years B. C., the cross was already a religious emblem of frequent employment.[345:4]
“It is more than a coincidence,” (says the Rev. S. Baring-Gould), “that Osiris by the cross should give life eternal to the spirits of the just; that with the cross Thor should smite the head of the great Serpent, and bring to life those who were slain; that beneath the cross the Muysca mothers should lay their babes, trusting to that sign to secure them from the power of evil spirits; that with that symbol to protect them, the ancient people of Northern Italy should lay them down in the dust.”[345:5]
The cross was also found among the ruins of Pompeii.[345:6]
It was a sacred emblem among the ancient Scandinavians.
“It occurs” (says Mr. R. Payne Knight), “on many Runic monuments found in Sweden and Denmark, which are of an age long anterior to the approach of Christianity to those countries, and, probably, to its appearance in the world.”[346:1]
Their god Thor, son of the Supreme god Odin, and the goddess Freyga, had the hammer for his symbol. It was with this hammer that Thor crushed the head of the great Mitgard serpent, that he destroyed the giants, that he restored the dead goats to life, which drew his car, that he consecrated the pyre of Baldur.This hammer was a cross.[346:2]
The cross of Thor is still used in Iceland as a magical sign in connection with storms of wind and rain.
King Olaf, Longfellow tells us, when keeping Christmas at Drontheim:
“O’er his drinking-horn, the signHe made of the Cross Divine,And he drank, and mutter’d his prayers;But the Berserks evermoreMade the sign of the hammer of ThorOver theirs.”
Actually, they both made the same symbol.
This we are told by Snorro Sturleson, in the Heimskringla (Saga iv. c. 18), when he describes the sacrifice at Lade, at which King Hakon, Athelstan’s foster-son, was present:
“Now when the first full goblet was filled, Earl Sigurd spoke some words over it, and blessed it in Odin’s name, and drank to the king out of the horn; and the king then took it, and made the sign of the cross over it. Then said Kaare of Greyting, ‘What does the king mean by doing so? will he not sacrifice?’ But Earl Sigurd replied, ‘The King is doing what all of you do who trust in your power and strength; for he is blessing the full goblet in the name of Thor, by making the sign of his hammer over it before he drinks it.”[346:3]
The cross was also a sacred emblem among the Laplanders. “In solemn sacrifices, all the Lapland idols were marked with it from the blood of the victims.”[346:4]
It was adored by the ancient Druids of Britain, and is to be seen on the so-called “fire towers” of Ireland and Scotland. The “consecrated trees” of the Druids had a cross beam attached to them, making the figure of a cross. On several of the most curious and most ancient monuments of Britain, the cross is to be seen, evidently cut thereon by the Druids. Many large stones throughout Ireland have these Druid crosses cut in them.[346:5]
Cleland observes, in his “Attempt to Revive Celtic Literature,” that the Druids taught the doctrine of an overruling providence, and the immortality of the soul: that they had also their Lent, their Purgatory, their Paradise, their Hell, their Sanctuaries, and the similitude of the May-pole in form to the cross.[347:1]
“In the Island of I-com-kill, at the monastery of the Culdees, at the time of the Reformation, there were three hundred and sixty crosses.”[347:2] The Caaba at Mecca was surrounded by three hundred and sixty crosses.[347:3] This number has nothing whatever to do with Christianity, but is to be found everywhere among the ancients. It represents the number of days of the ancient year.[347:4]
When the Spanish missionaries first set foot upon the soil of America, in the fifteenth century, they were amazed to find that the cross was as devoutly worshiped by the red Indians as by themselves. The hallowed symbol challenged their attention on every hand, and in almost every variety of form. And, what is still more remarkable, the cross was not only associated with other objects corresponding in every particular with those delineated on Babylonian monuments; but it was also distinguished by the Catholic appellations, “the tree of subsistence,” “the wood of health,” “the emblem of life,” &c.[347:5]
When the Spanish missionaries found that the cross was no new object of veneration to the red men, they were in doubt whether to ascribe the fact to the pious labors of St. Thomas, whom they thought might have found his way to America, or the sacrilegious subtlety of Satan. It was the central object in the great temple of Cozamel, and is still preserved on the bas-reliefs of the ruined city of Palenque. From time immemorial it had received the prayers and sacrifices of the Aztecs and Toltecs, and was suspended as an august emblem from the walls of temples in Popogan and Cundinamarca.[347:6]
The ruined city of Palenque is in the depths of the forests of Central America. It was not inhabited at the time of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. They discovered the temples and palaces of Chiapa, but of Palenque they knew nothing. According to tradition it was founded by Votan in the ninth century before the Christian era. The principal building in this ruined city is the palace. A noble tower rises above the courtyard in the centre. In [Pg 348]this building are several small temples or chapels, with altars standing. At the back of one of these altars is a slab of gypsum, on which are sculptured two figures, one on each side of a cross (Fig. No. 29). The cross is surrounded with rich feather-work, and ornamental chains.[348:1] “The style of scripture,” says Mr. Baring-Gould, “and the accompanying hieroglyphic inscriptions, leave no room for doubting it to be a heathen representation.”[348:2]
cross in Palenque
The same cross is represented on old pre-Mexican MSS., as in the Dresden Codex, and that in the possession of Herr Fejervary, at the end of which is a colossal cross, in the midst of which is represented a bleeding deity, and figures stand round a Tau cross, upon which is perched the sacred bird.[348:3]
The cross was also used in the north of Mexico. It occurs among the Mixtecas and in Queredaro. Siguenza speaks of an Indian cross which was found in the cave of Mixteca Baja. Among the ruins on the island of Zaputero, in Lake Nicaragua, were also found old crosses reverenced by the Indians. White marble crosses were found on the island of St. Ulloa, on its discovery. In the state of Oaxaca, the Spaniards found that wooden crosses were erected as sacred symbols, so also in Aguatoleo, and among the Zapatecas. The cross was venerated as far as Florida on one side, and Cibola on the other. In South America, the same sign was considered symbolical and sacred. It was revered in Paraguay. In Peru the Incas honored a cross made out of a single piece of jasper; it was an emblem belonging to a former civilization.[348:4]
Among the Muyscas at Cumana the cross was regarded with devotion, and was believed to be endowed with power to drive away evil spirits; consequently new-born children were placed under the sign.[348:5]
The Toltecs said that their national deity Quetzalcoatle—whom we have found to be a virgin-born and crucified Saviour—had introduced [Pg 349]the sign and ritual of the cross, and it was called the “Tree of Nutriment,” or “Tree of Life.”[349:1]
Malcom, in his “Antiquities of Britain,” says
“Gomara tells that St. Andrew’s cross, which is the same with that of Burgundy, was in great veneration among the Cumas, in South America, and that they fortified themselves with the cross against the incursions of evil spirits, and were in use to put them upon new-born infants; which thing very justly deserves admiration.”[349:2]
Felix Cabrara, in his “Description of the Ancient City of Mexico,” says:
“The adoration of the cross has been more general in the world, than that of any other emblem. It is to be found in the ruins of the fine city of Mexico, near Palenque, where there are many examples of it among the hieroglyphics on the buildings.”[349:3]
In “Chambers’s Encyclopædia” we find the following:
“It appears that the sign of the cross was in use as an emblem having certain religious and mystic meanings attached to it, long before the Christian era; and the Spanish conquerors were astonished to find it an object of religious veneration among the nations of Central and South America.”[349:4]
Lord Kingsborough, in his “Antiquities of Mexico,” speaks of crosses being found in Mexico, Peru, and Yucatan.[349:5] He also informs us that the banner of Montezuma was a cross, and that the historical paintings of the “Codex Vaticanus” represent him carrying a cross as his banner.[349:6]
A very fine and highly polished marble cross which was taken from the Incas, was placed in the Roman Catholic cathedral at Cuzco.[349:7]
Few cases have been more powerful in producing mistakes in ancient history, than the idea, hastily taken by Christians in all ages, that every monument of antiquity marked with a cross, or with any of those symbols which they conceived to be monograms of their god, was of Christian origin. The early Christians did not adopt it as one of their symbols; it was not until Christianity began to be paganized that it became a Christian monogram, and even then it was not the cross as we know it to-day. “It is not until the middle of the fifth century that the pure form of the cross emerges to light.”[349:8] The cross of Constantine was nothing more than the monogram of Osiris, the monogram of Osiris, and afterwards of Christ.[349:9] This is seen [Pg 350]from the fact that the “Labarum,” or sacred banner of Constantine—on which was placed the sign by which he was to conquer—was inscribed with this sacred monogram. Fig. No. 30 is a representation of the Labarum, taken from Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible. The author of “The History of Our Lord in Art” says:
“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 expressly set forth, proves that the so-called cross upon it was nothing else than the same ever-recurring monogram of Christ.”[350:1]
Labarum, a sacred banner
Now, this so-called monogram of Christ, like everything else called Christian, is of Pagan origin. It was the monogram of the Egyptian Saviour, Osiris, and also of Jupiter Ammon.[350:2] As M. Basnage remarks in his Hist. de Juif:[350:3]
“Nothing can be more opposite to Jesus Christ, than the Oracle of Jupiter Ammon. And yet the same cipher served the false god as well as the true one; for we see a medal of Ptolemy, King of Cyrene, having an eagle carrying a thunderbolt, with the monogram of Christ to signify the Oracle of Jupiter Ammon.”
Rev. J. P. Lundy says:
“Even the P.X., which I had thought to be exclusively Christian, are to be found in combination thus: P.X. symbol (just as the early Christians used it), on coins of the Ptolemies, and on those of Herod the Great, struck forty years before our era, together with this other form, so often seen on the early Christian monuments, viz.: P with horizontal cross-bar.”[350:4]
This monogram is also to be found on the coins of Decius, a Pagan Roman emperor, who ruled during the commencement of the third century.[350:5]
Another form of the same monogram is X over H and X H. The monogram of the Sun was Y superimposed over P. P. H. All these are now called monograms of Christ, and are to be met with in great numbers in almost [Pg 351]every church in Italy.[351:1] The monogram of Mercury was a cross.[351:2]The monogram of the Egyptian Taut was formed by three crosses.[351:3] The monogram of Saturn was a cross and a ram’s horn; it was also a monogram of Jupiter.[351:4] The monogram of Venus was a cross and a circle.[351:5] The monogram of the Phenician Astarte, and the Babylonian Bal, was also a cross and a circle.[351:6] It was also that of Freya, Holda, and Aphrodite.[351:7] Its true significance was the Linga and Yoni.
The cross, which was so universally adored, in its different forms among heathen nations, was intended as an emblem or symbol of the Sun, of eternal life, the generative powers, &c.[351:8]
As with the cross, and the X. P., so likewise with many other so-called Christian symbols—they are borrowed from Paganism. Among these may be mentioned the mystical three letters I. H. S., to this day retained in some of our Protestant, as well as Roman Catholic churches, and falsely supposed to stand for “Jesu Hominium Salvator,” or “In Hoc Signo.” It is none other than the identical monogram of the heathen god Bacchus,[351:9] and was to be seen on the coins of the Maharajah of Cashmere.[351:10] Dr. Inman says:
“For a long period I. H. S., I. E. E. S
, was a monogram of Bacchus; letters now adopted by Romanists. Hesus was an old divinity of Gaul, possibly left by the Phenicians. We have the same I. H. S. in Jazabel, and reproduced in our Isabel. The idea connected with the word is ‘Phallic Vigor.'”[351:11]
The Triangle, which is to be seen at the present day in Christian churches as an emblem of the “Ever-blessed Trinity,” is also of Pagan origin, and was used by them for the same purpose.
Among the numerous symbols, the Triangle is conspicuous in India. Hindoos attached a mystic signification to its three sides, and generally placed it in their temples. It was often composed of lotus plants, with an eye in the center.[351:12] It was sometimes represented in connection with the mystical word AUM[351:13] (Fig. No. 31), and sometimes surrounded with rays of glory.[351:14]
This symbol was engraved upon the tablet of the ring which the religious chief, called the Brahm-âtma wore, as one of the signs of [Pg 352]his dignity, and it was used by the Buddhists as emblematic of the Trinity.[352:1]
The ancient Egyptians signified their divine Triad by a single Triangle.[352:2]
Mr. Bonwick says:
“The Triangle was a religious form from the first. It is to be recognized in the Obelisk and Pyramid (of Egypt). To this day, in some Christian churches, the priest’s blessing is given as it was in Egypt, by the sign of a triangle; viz.: two fingers and a thumb. An Egyptian god is seen with a triangle over his shoulders. This figure, in ancient Egyptian theology, was the type of the Holy Trinity—three in one.”[352:3]
And Dr. Inman says:
“The Triangle is a sacred symbol in our modern churches, and it was the sign used in ancient temples before the initiated, to indicate the Trinity—three persons ‘co-eternal together, and co-equal.'”[352:4]
The Triangle is found on ancient Greek monuments.[352:5] An ancient seal (engraved in the Mémoires de l’Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres), supposed to be of Phenician origin, “has as subject a standing figure between two stars, beneath which are handled crosses. Above the head of the deity is the TRIANGLE, or symbol of the Trinity.”[352:6]
Hindu AUM triangle
One of the most conspicuous among the symbols intended to represent the Trinity, to be seen in Christian churches, is the compound leaf of the trefoil. Modern story had attributed to St. Patrick the idea of demonstrating a trinity in unity, by showing the shamrock to his hearers; but, says Dr. Inman, “like many other things attributed to the moderns, the idea belongs to the ancients.”[352:7]
The Trefoil adorned the head of Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, and is to be found among the Pagan symbols or representations of [Pg 353]the three-in-one mystery.[353:1] Fig. No. 32 is a representation of the Trefoil used by the ancient Hindoos as emblematic of their celestial Triad—Brahma, Vishnu and Siva—and afterwards adopted by the Christians.[353:2] The leaf of the Vila, or Bel-tree, is typical of Siva’s attributes, because triple in form.[353:3]
The Trefoil was a sacred plant among the ancient Druids of Britain. It was to them an emblem of the mysterious three in one.[353:4] It is to be seen on their coins.[353:5]
The Tripod was very generally employed among the ancients as an emblem of the Trinity, and is found composed in an endless variety of ways. On the coins of Menecratia, in Phrygia, it is represented between two asterisks, with a serpent wreathed around a battle-axe, inserted into it, as an accessory symbol, signifying preservation and destruction. In the ceremonial of worship, the number three was employed with mystic solemnity.[353:6]
Hindoo Trefoil
The three lines, or three human legs, springing from a central disk or circle, which has been called a Trinacria, and supposed to allude to the island of Sicily, is simply an ancient emblem of the Trinity. “It is of Asiatic origin; its earliest appearance being upon the very ancient coins of Aspendus in Pamphylia; sometimes alone in the square incuse, and sometimes upon the body of an eagle or the back of a lion.”[353:7]
We have already seen, in the chapter on the crucifixion, that the earliest emblems of the Christian Saviour were the “Good Shepherd” and the “Lamb.” Among these may also be mentioned the Fish. “The only satisfactory explanation why Jesus should be represented as a Fish,” says Mr. King, in his Gnostics and their Remains,[353:8] “seems to be the circumstance that in the quaint jargon of the Talmud the Messiah is often designated ‘Dag,’ or ‘The Fish;'” and Mr. Lundy, in his “Monumental Christianity,” says:
“Next to the sacred monogram (the P.X. symbol) the Fish takes its place in importance as a sign of Christ in his special office of Saviour.” “In the Talmud the Messiah is called ‘Dag’ or ‘Fish.'” “Where did the Jews learn to apply ‘Dag’ to their Messiah? And why did the primitive Christians adopt it as a sign of Christ?” “I cannot disguise facts. Truth demands no concealment or apology. Paganism has its types and prophecies of Christ as well as Judaism. What then is the Dag-on of the old Babylonians? The fish-god or being that taught them all their civilization.”[354:1]
As Mr. Lundy says, “truth demands no concealment or apology,” therefore, when the truth is exposed, we find that Vishnu, the Hindoo Messiah, Preserver, Mediator and Saviour, was represented as a “dag,” or fish. The Fish takes its place in importance as a sign of Vishnu in his special office of Saviour.
cross-fish catacomb design
Prof. Monier Williams says:
“It is as Vishnu that the Supreme Being, according to the Hindoos, exhibited his sympathy with human trials, his love for the human race. Nine principal occasions have already occurred in which the god has thus interposed for the salvation of his creatures. The first was Matsaya, the Fish. In this Vishnu became a fish to save the seventh Manu, the progenitor of the human race, from the universal deluge.”[354:2]
We have already seen, in Chap. IX., the identity of the Hindoo Matsaya and the Babylonian Dagon.
The fish was sacred among the Babylonians, Assyrians and Phenicians, as it is among the Romanists of to-day. It was sacred also to Venus, and the Romanists still eat it on the very day of the week which was called “Dies veneris,” Venus’ day; fish day.[354:3] It was an emblem of fecundity. The most ancient symbol of the productive power was a fish, and it is accordingly found to be the universal symbol upon many of the earliest coins.[354:4] Pythagoras and his followers did not eat fish. They were ascetics, and the eating of fish was supposed to tend to carnal desires. This ancient superstition is entertained by many even at the present day.
The fish was the earliest symbol of Christ Jesus. Fig. No. 33 is a design from the catacombs.[354:5] This cross-fish is not unlike the sacred monogram.
That the Christian Saviour should be called a fish may at first appear strange, but when the mythos is properly understood (as we shall endeavor to make it inChap. XXXIX.), it will not appear so. The Rev. Dr. Geikie, in his “Life and Words of Christ,” says that a fish stood for his name, from the significance of the Greek letters in the word that expresses the idea, and for this reason he was called a fish. But, we may ask, why was Buddha not only called Fo, or Po, butDag-Po, which was literally the Fish Po, or Fish Buddha? The fish did not stand for his name. The idea that Jesus was called a fish because the Messiah is designated “Dag” in the Talmud, is also an unsatisfactory explanation.
Julius Africanus (an early Christian writer) says:
“Christ is the great Fish taken by the fish-hook of God, and whose flesh nourishes the whole world.”[355:1]
“The fish friedWas Christ that died,”
is an old couplet.[355:2]
Prosper Africanus calls Christ,
“The great fish who satisfied for himself the disciples on the shore, and offered himself as a fish to the whole world.”[355:3]
The Serpent was also an emblem of Christ Jesus, or in other words, represented Christ, among some of the early Christians.
Moses set up a brazen serpent in the wilderness, and Christian divines have seen in this a type of Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Gospels sanction this; for it is written:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.”
From this serpent, Tertullian asserts, the early sect of Christians called Ophites took their rise. Epiphanius says, that the “Ophites sprung out of the Nicolaitans and Gnostics, who were so called from the serpent, which they worshiped.” “The Gnostics,” he adds, “taught that the ruler of the world was of a dracontic form.” The Ophites preserved live serpents in their sacred chest, and looked upon them as the mediator between them and God. Manes, in the third century, taught serpent worship in Asia Minor, under the name of Christianity, promulgating that
Christ was an incarnation of the Great Serpent, who glided over the cradle of the Virgin Mary, when she was asleep, at the age of a year and a half.[355:4]
“The Gnostics,” says Irenaeus, “represented the Mind (the Son, [Pg 356]the Wisdom) in the form of a serpent,” and “the Ophites,” says Epiphanius, “have a veneration for the serpent; they esteem him the same as Christ.” “They even quote the Gospels,” says Tertullian, “to prove that Christ was an imitation of the serpent.”[356:1]
The question now arises, Why was the Christian Saviour represented as a serpent? Simply because the heathen Saviours were represented in like manner.
From the earliest times of which we have any historical notice, the serpent has been connected with the preserving gods, or Saviours; the gods of goodness and of wisdom. In Hindoo mythology, the serpent is intimately associated with Vishnu, the preserving god, the Saviour.[356:2] Serpents are often associated with the Hindoo gods, as emblems of eternity.[356:3] It was a very sacred animal among the Hindoos.[356:4]
Worshipers of Buddha venerate serpents. “This animal,” says Mr. Wake, “became equal in importance as Buddha himself.” And Mr. Lillie says:
“That God was worshiped at an early date by the Buddhists under the symbol of the Serpent is proved from the sculptures of oldest topes, where worshipers are represented so doing.”[356:5]
The Egyptians also venerated the serpent. It was the special symbol of Thoth, a primeval deity of Syro-Egyptian mythology, and of all those gods, such as Hermes and Seth, who can be connected with him.[356:6] Kneph and Apap were also represented as serpents.[356:7]
Herodotus, when he visited Egypt, found sacred serpents in the temples. Speaking of them, he says:
“In the neighborhood of Thebes, there are sacred serpents, not at all hurtful to men: they are diminutive in size, and carry two horns that grow on the top of the head. When these serpents die, they bury them in the temple of Jupiter; for they say they are sacred to that god.”[356:8]
The third member of the Chaldean triad, Héa, or Hoa, was represented by a serpent. According to Sir Henry Rawlinson, the most important titles of this deity refer “to his functions as the source of all knowledge and science.” Not only is he “The Intelligent Fish,” but his name may be read as signifying both “Life” and a “Serpent,” and he may be considered as “figured by the great serpent which occupies so conspicuous a place among the [Pg 357]symbols of the gods on the black stones recording Babylonian benefactors.”[357:1]
The Phenicians and other eastern nations venerated the serpent as symbols of their beneficent gods.[357:2]
As god of medicine, Apollo, the central figure in Grecian mythology, was originally worshiped under the form of a serpent, and men invoked him as the “Helper.” He was the Solar Serpent-god.[357:3]
Æsculapius, the healing god, the Saviour, was also worshiped under the form of a serpent.[357:4] “Throughout Hellas,” says Mr. Cox, “Æsculapius remained the ‘Healer,’ and the ‘Restorer of Life,’ and accordingly the serpent is everywhere his special emblem.”[357:5]
Why the serpent was the symbol of the Saviours and beneficent gods of antiquity, will be explained in Chap. XXXIX.
The Dove, among the Christians, is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Matthew narrator relates that when Jesus went up out of the water, after being baptized by John, “the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.”
Here is another piece of Paganism, as we find that the Dove was the symbol of the Holy Spirit among all nations of antiquity. Rev. J. P. Lundy, speaking of this, says:
“It is a remarkable fact that this spirit (i. e., the Holy Spirit) has been symbolized among all religious and civilized nations by theDove.”[357:6]
And Earnest De Bunsen says:
“The symbol of the Spirit of God was the Dove, in Greek, peleia, and the Samaritans had a brazen fiery dove, instead of the brazen fiery serpent. Both referred to fire, the symbol of the Holy Ghost.”[357:7]
Buddha is represented, like Christ Jesus, with a dove hovering over his head.[357:8]
The virgin goddess Juno is often represented with a dove on her head. It is also seen on the heads of the images of Astarte, Cybele, and Isis; it was sacred to Venus, and was intended as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.[357:9]
Even in the remote islands of the Pacific Ocean, a bird is believed to be an emblem of the Holy Spirit.[357:10]
R. Payne Knight, in speaking of the “mystic Dove,” says:
“A bird was probably chosen for the emblem of the third person (i. e., the Holy Ghost) to signify incubation, by which was figuratively expressed the fructification of inert matter, caused by the vital spirit moving upon the waters.
“The Dove would naturally be selected in the East in preference to every other species of bird, on account of its domestic familiarity with man; it usually lodging under the same roof with him, and being employed as his messenger from one remote place to another. Birds of this kind were also remarkable for the care of their offspring, and for a sort of conjugal attachment and fidelity to each other, as likewise for the peculiar fervency of their sexual desires, whence they were sacred to Venus, and emblems of love.”[358:1]
Masons’ marks are conspicuous among the Christian symbols. On some of the most ancient Roman Catholic cathedrals are to be found figures of Christ Jesus with Mason’s marks about him.
Many are the so-called Christian symbols which are direct importations from paganism. To enumerate them would take, as we have previously said, a volume of itself. For further information on this subject the reader is referred to Dr. Inman’s “Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism,” where he will see how many ancient Indian, Egyptian, Etruscan, Grecian and Roman symbols have been adopted by Christians, a great number of which are Phallicemblems.[358:2]


[339:1]The Pentateuch Examined, vol. vi. p. 113.
[340:1]Monumental Christianity, p. 14.
[340:2]Baring-Gould: Curious Myths, p. 301. Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 220.
[340:3]Curious Myths, p. 301.
[340:4]Ibid. p. 302.
[340:5]Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 350.
[340:6]Ibid. vol. iii. p. 47.
[340:7]Curious Myths, pp. 280-282. Buddha and Early Buddhism, pp. 7, 9, and 22, and Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 223.
[340:8]Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. 227.
[340:9]Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 409. Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 230.
[341:1]See Ibid.
[341:2]See Celtic Druids, p. 126; Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 217, and Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, pp. 216, 217 and 219.
[341:3]Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 217.
[341:4]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 58.
[341:5]See Inman’s “Symbolism,” and Lundy’s Monu. Christianity, Fig. 92.
[341:6]Baring-Gould: Curious Myths, p. 285.
[341:7]Hoskins’ Visit to the great Oasis, pl. xii. in Curious Myths, p. 286.
[341:8]Curious Myths, p. 286.
[342:1]Curious Myths, p. 287.
[342:2]Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. v. ch. xvii.
[342:3]Quoted by Rev. Dr. Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 86, and Rev. Robert Taylor: Diegesis, p. 202.
[342:4]See Colenso’s Pentateuch Examined, vol. vi. p. 115.
[342:5]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 12.
[342:6]Ibid. p. 219.
[343:1]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 218, and Smith’s Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 54.
[343:2]Egyptian Belief, p. 218.
[343:3]Bonomi: Ninevah and Its Palaces, in Curious Myths, p. 287.
[343:4]Curious Myths, p. 287.
[343:5]Vol. i. p. 337, pl. xx.
[343:6]Travels in Persia, vol. i. p. 545, pl. xxi.
[343:7]Ibid. p. 529, and pl. xvi
[343:8]Ibid., and pl. xvii.
[343:9]Ibid. pl. xxvii.
[343:10]Ibid. p. 573.
[344:1]Curious Myths, p. 290.
[344:2]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 31.
[344:3]See Illustration in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 224.
[344:4]Baring-Gould: Curious Myths, p. 291.
[345:1]Octavius, ch. xxix.
[345:2]See Chambers’s Encyclo., art. “Denarius.”
[345:3]Curious Myths, p. 291.
[345:4]Ibid. pp. 291, 296.
[345:5]Ibid. p. 311.
[345:6]The Pentateuch Examined, vol. vi. p. 115.
[346:1]Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 30.
[346:2]Curious Myths, pp. 280, 281.
[346:3]Ibid. pp. 281, 282.
[346:4]Knight: Ancient Art and Mytho., p. 30.
[346:5]See Celtic Druids, pp. 126, 130, 131.
[347:1]Cleland, p. 102, in Anac., i. p. 716.
[347:2]Celtic Druids, p. 242, and Chambers’s Encyclo., art. “Cross.”
[347:4]See Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. 103.
[347:5]The Pentateuch Examined, vol. vi. p. 114.
[347:6]Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 95.
[348:1]Stephens: Central America, vol. ii. p. 346, in Curious Myths, p. 298.
[348:2]Curious Myths, p. 298
[348:3]Klemm Kulturgeschichte, v. 142, in Curious Myths, pp. 298, 299.
[348:4]Curious Myths, p. 299.
[348:5]Müller: Geschichte der Amerikanischen Urreligionen, in Ibid.
[349:1]Curious Myths, p. 301.
[349:2]Quoted in Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 30.
[349:3]Quoted in Celtic Druids, p. 131.
[349:4]Chambers’s Encyclo., art. “Cross.”
[349:5]Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. pp. 165, 180.
[349:6]Ibid. p. 179.
[349:7]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 32.
[349:8]Jameson’s Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 318.
[349:9]“These two letters in the old Samaritan, as found on coins, stand, the first for 400, the second for 200-600. This is the staff of Osiris. It is also the monogram of Osiris, and has been adopted by the Christians, and is to be seen in the churches in Italy in thousands of places. See Basnage (lib. iii. c. xxxiii.), where several other instances of this kind may be found. In Addison‘s ‘Travels in Italy‘ there is an account of a medal, at Rome, of Constantius, with this inscription; In hoc signo Victor eris .” (Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 222.)
[350:1]Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 316.
[350:2]See Celtic Druids, p. 127, and Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 218.
[350:3]Bk. iii. c. xxiii. in Anac., i. p. 219.
[350:4]Monumental Christianity, p. 125.
[350:5]See Celtic Druids, pp. 127, 128.
[351:1]See Ibid. and Monumental Christianity, pp. 15, 92, 123, 126, 127.
[351:2]See Celtic Druids, p. 101. Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 220. Indian Antiq., ii. 68.
[351:3]See Celtic Druids, p. 101. Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 103.
[351:4]See Celtic Druids, p. 127, and Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 201.
[351:5]See Celtic Druids, p. 127.
[351:6]See Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 218.
[351:7]See Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. 115.
[351:8]See The Pentateuch Examined, vol. vi. pp. 113-115.
[351:9]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 221 and 328. Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 187. Celtic Druids, p. 127, and Isis Unveiled, p. 527, vol. ii.
[351:10]See Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 212.
[351:11]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. pp. 518, 519.
[351:12]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 94.
[351:13]This word—AUM—stood for Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, the Hindoo Trinity.
[351:14]See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 31.
[352:1]See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 81.
[352:2]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 196.
[352:3]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 213.
[352:4]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 328.
[352:5]See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 196.
[352:6]Curious Myths, p. 289.
[352:7]Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. i. pp. 153, 154.
[353:1]See Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 242.
[353:2]See Inman’s Pagan and Christian Symbolism, p. 30.
[353:3]See Williams’ Hinduism, p. 99.
[353:4]See Myths of the British Druids, p. 448.
[353:5]Ibid. p. 601.
[353:6]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 170.
[353:7]Ibid. pp. 169, 170.
[353:8]Page 138.
[354:1]Monumental Christianity, pp. 130, 132, 133.
[354:2]Indian Wisdom, p. 329.
[354:3]Inman: Anct. Faiths, vol. i. pp. 528, 529, and Müller: Science of Relig., p. 315.
[354:4]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 111.
[354:5]Lillie: Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. 227.
[355:1]Quoted in Monumental Christianity, p. 134.
[355:2]Ibid. p. 135.
[355:3]Ibid. p. 372.
[355:4]Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 246.
[356:1]Fergusson: Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 9.
[356:2]Wake: Phallism in Ancient Religs., p. 72.
[356:3]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 169.
[356:4]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 16, and Fergusson: Tree and Serpent Worship.
[356:5]Wake, p. 73. Lillie: p. 20.
[356:6]Wake, p. 40, and Bunsen’s Keys, p. 101.
[356:7]Champollion, pp. 144, 145.
[356:8]Herodotus, bk. ii. ch. 74.
[357:1]Wake: Phallism in Anct. Religs., p. 30.
[357:2]See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 16. Cox: Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 128. Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship, and Squire’s Serpent Symbol.
[357:3]Deane: Serpent Worship, p. 213.
[357:4]Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 7, and Bulfinch: Age of Fable, p. 397.
[357:5]Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 36.
[357:6]Monumental Christianity, p. 293.
[357:7]Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 44.
[357:9]Monumental Christianity, pp. 323 and 234.
[357:10]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 169.
[358:1]Knight’s Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 170.
[358:2]See also R. Payne Knight’s Worship of Priapus, and the other works of Dr. Thomas Inman.
Extract from CHAPTER XXXIII, Christian Symbols “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

Worship of Virgin Mother

The worship of the “Virgin,” the “Queen of Heaven,” the “Great Goddess,” the “Mother of God,” &c., which has become one of the grand features of the Christian religion—the Council of Ephesus (A. D. 431) having declared Mary “Mother of God,” her assumption being declared in 813, and her Immaculate Conception by the Pope and Council in 1851[326:1]—was almost universal, for ages before the birth of Jesus, and “the pure virginity of the celestial mother was a tenet of faith for two thousand years before the virgin now adored was born.”[326:2]

virgin Devaki with her son Crishna
In India, they have worshiped, for ages, DeviMaha-Devi—”The One Great Goddess”[326:3]—and have temples erected in honor of her.[326:4] Gonzales states that among the Indians he found a temple “Parituræ Virginis“—of the Virgin about to bring forth.[326:5]
Maya, the mother of Buddha, and Devaki the mother of Crishna, were worshiped as virgins,[326:6] and represented with the infant Saviours in their arms, just as the virgin of the Christians is represented at the present day. Maya was so pure that it was impossible for God, man, or Asura to view her with carnal desire. Fig. No. 16 is [Pg 327]a representation of the Virgin Devaki, with, the infant Saviour Crishna, taken from Moor’s “Hindu Pantheon.”[327:1] “No person could bear to gaze upon Devaki, because of the light that invested her.” “The gods, invisible to mortals, celebrated her praise continually from the time that Vishnu was contained in her person.”[327:2]
“Crishna and his mother are almost always represented black,”[327:3] and the word “Crishna” means “the black.”
The Chinese, who have had several avatars, or virgin-born gods, among them, have also worshiped a Virgin Mother from time immemorial. Sir Charles Francis Davis, in his “History of China,” tells us that the Chinese at Canton worshiped an idol, to which they gave the name of “The Virgin.”[327:4]
The Rev. Joseph B. Gross, in his “Heathen Religion,” tells us that:
“Upon the altars of the Chinese temples were placed, behind a screen, an image of Shin-moo, or the ‘Holy Mother,’ sitting with a child in her arms, in an alcove, with rays of glory around her head, and tapers constantly burning before her.”[327:5]
Shin-moo is called the “Mother Goddess,” and the “Virgin.” Her child, who was exposed in his infancy, was brought up by poor fishermen. He became a great man, and performed wonderful miracles. In wealthy houses the sacred image of the “Mother Goddess” is carefully kept in a recess behind an altar, veiled with a silken screen.[327:6]
The Rev. Mr. Gutzlaff, in his “Travels,” speaking of the Chinese people, says:
“Though otherwise very reasonable men, they have always showed themselves bigoted heathens. . . . They have everywhere built splendid temples, chiefly in honor of Ma-tsoo-po, the ‘Queen of Heaven.'”[327:7]
Isis, mother of the Egyptian Saviour, Horus, was worshiped as a virgin. Nothing is more common on the religious monuments of Egypt than the infant Horus seated in the lap of his virgin mother. She is styled “Our Lady,” the “Queen of Heaven,” “Star of the Sea,” “Governess,” “Mother of God,” “Intercessor,” “Immaculate [Pg 328]Virgin,” &c.;[328:1] all of which epithets were in after years applied to the Virgin Mother worshiped by the Christians.[328:2]
“The most common representation of Horus is being nursed on the knee of Isis, or suckled at her breast.”[328:3] In Monumental Christianity (Fig. 92), is to be seen a representation of “Isis and Horus.” The infant Saviour is sitting on his mother’s knee, while she gazes into his face. A cross is on the back of the seat. The author, Rev. J. P. Lundy, says, in speaking of it:
“Is this Egyptian mother, too, meditating her son’s conflict, suffering, and triumph, as she holds him before her and gazes into his face? And is this CROSS meant to convey the idea of life through suffering, and conflict with Typho or Evil?”
In some statues and basso-relievos, when Isis appears alone, she is entirely veiled from head to foot, in common with nearly every other goddess, as a symbol of a mother’s chastity. No mortal man hath ever lifted her veil.
Isis was also represented standing on the crescent moon, with twelve stars surrounding her head.[328:4] In almost every Roman Catholic Church on the continent of Europe may be seen pictures and statues of Mary, the “Queen of Heaven,” standing on the crescent moon, and her head surrounded with twelvestars.
Dr. Inman, in his “Pagan and Christian Symbolism,” gives a figure of the Virgin Mary, with her infant, standing on the crescent moon. In speaking of this figure, he says:
“In it the Virgin is seen as the ‘Queen of Heaven,’ nursing her infant, and identified with the crescent moon. . . . Than this, nothing could more completely identify the Christian mother and child, with Isis and Horus.”[328:5]
This crescent moon is the symbol of Isis and Juno, and is the Yoni of the Hindoos.[328:6]
The priests of Isis yearly dedicated to her a new ship (emblematic of the Yoni), laden with the first fruits of spring. Strange as it may seem, the carrying in procession of ships, in which the Virgin Mary takes the place of the heathen goddesses, has not yet wholly gone out of use.[328:7]
Isis is also represented, with the infant Saviour in her arms, enclosed in a framework of the flowers of the Egyptian bean, or lotus.[328:8] The Virgin Mary is very often represented in this manner, as those who have studied mediæval art, well know.
Dr. Inman, describing a painting of the Virgin Mary, which is to be seen in the South Kensington Museum, and which is enclosed in a framework of flowers, says:
“It represents the Virgin and Child precisely as she used to be represented in Egypt, in India, in Assyria, Babylonia, Phœnicia, and Etruria.”[329:1]
The lotus and poppy were sacred among all Eastern nations, and were consecrated to the various virgins worshiped by them. These virgins are represented holding this plant in their hands, just as the Virgin, adored by the Christians, is represented at the present day.[329:2] Mr. Squire, speaking of this plant, says:
“It is well known that the ‘Nymphe‘—lotus or water-lily—is held sacred throughout the East, and the various sects of that quarter of the globe represented their deities either decorated with its flowers, holding it as a sceptre, or seated on a lotus throne or pedestal.Lacshmi, the beautiful Hindoo goddess, is associated with the lotus. The Egyptian Isis is often called the ‘Lotus-crowned,’ in the ancient invocations. The Mexican goddess Corieotl, is often represented with a water-plant resembling the lotus in her hand.”[329:3]
Mary has been Conceived Without Sin
In Egyptian and Hindoo mythology, the offspring of the virgin is made to bruise the head of the serpent, but the Romanists have given this office to the mother. Mary is often seen represented standing on the serpent. Fig. 17 alludes to this, and to her immaculate conception, which, as we have seen, was declared by the Pope and council in 1851. The notion of the divinity of Mary was broached by some at the Council of Nice, and they were thence named Marianites.
The Christian Father Epiphanius accounts for the fact of the Egyptians worshiping a virgin and child, by declaring that the prophecy—”Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son”—must have been revealed to them.[329:4]
In an ancient Christian work, called the “Chronicle of Alexandria,” occurs the following:
“Watch how Egypt has constructed the childbirth of a virgin, and the birth of her son, who was exposed in a crib to the adoration of the people.”[330:1]
We have another Egyptian Virgin Mother in Neith or Nout, mother of “Osiris the Saviour.” She was known as the “Great Mother,” and yet “Immaculate Virgin.”[330:2] M. Beauregard speaks of
“The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin (Mary), who can henceforth, as well as the Egyptian Minerva, the mysterious Neith, boast of having come from herself, and of having given birth to god.”[330:3]
What is known in Christian countries as “Candlemas day,” or the Purification of the Virgin Mary, is of Egyptian origin. The feast of Candlemas was kept by the ancient Egyptians in honor of the goddess Neith, and on the very day that is marked on our Christian almanacs as “Candlemas day.”[330:4]
The ancient Chaldees believed in a celestial virgin, who had purity of body, loveliness of person, and tenderness of affection; and who was one to whom the erring sinner could appeal with more chance of success than to a stern father. She was portrayed as a mother, although a virgin, with a child in her arms.[330:5]
The ancient Babylonians and Assyrians worshiped a goddess mother, and son, who was represented in pictures and in images as an infant in his mother’s arms (see Fig. No. 18). Her name was Mylitta, the divine son was Tammuz, the Saviour, whom we have seen rose from the dead. He was invested with all his father’s attributes and glory, and identified with him. He was worshiped as mediator.[330:6]
There was a temple at Paphos, in Cyprus, dedicated to the Virgin Mylitta, and was the most celebrated one in Grecian times.[330:7]
mother Mylitta with son Tammuz
The ancient Etruscans worshiped a Virgin Mother and Son
 who was represented in pictures and images in the arms of his mother. This was the goddess Nutria, to be seen in Fig. No. 19. On the arm of the mother is an inscription in Etruscan letters. This goddess was also worshiped in Italy. Long before the Christian era temples and statues were erected in memory of her. “To the Great Goddess Nutria,” is an inscription which has been found among the ruins of a temple dedicated to her. No doubt the Roman Church would have claimed her for a [Pg 331]Madonna, but most unluckily for them, she has the name “Nutria,” in Etruscan letters on her arm, after the Etruscan practice.
The Egyptian Isis was also worshiped in Italy, many centuries before the Christian era, and all images of her, with the infant Horus in her arms, have been adopted, as we shall presently see, by the Christians, even though they represent her and her child as black as an Ethiopian, in the same manner as we have seen that Devaki and Crishna were represented.
goddess Nutria with infant son
The children of Israel, who, as we have seen in a previous chapter, were idolaters of the worst kind—worshiping the sun, moon and stars, and offering human sacrifices to their god, Moloch—were also worshipers of a Virgin Mother, whom they styled the “Queen of Heaven.”
Jeremiah, who appeared in Jerusalem about the year 625 B. C., and who was one of the prophets and reformers, rebukes the Israelites for their idolatry and worship of the “Queen of Heaven,” whereupon they answer him as follows:
“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us, in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the city of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then we had plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
“But since we left off to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the Queen of [Pg 332]Heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?”[332:1]
The “cakes” which were offered to the “Queen of Heaven” by the Israelites were marked with a cross, or other symbol of sun worship.[332:2] The ancient Egyptians also put a cross on their “sacred cakes.”[332:3] Some of the early Christians offered “sacred cakes” to the Virgin Mary centuries after.[332:4]
The ancient Persians worshiped the Virgin and Child. On the monuments of Mithra, the Saviour, the Mediating and Redeeming God of the Persians, the Virgin Mother of this god is to be seen suckling her infant.[332:5]
The ancient Greeks and Romans worshiped the Virgin Mother and Child for centuries before the Christian era. One of these was Myrrha,[332:6] the mother ofBacchus, the Saviour, who was represented with the infant in her arms. She had the title of “Queen of Heaven.”[332:7] At many a Christian shrine the infant Saviour Bacchus may be seen reposing in the arms of his deified mother. The names are changed—the ideas remain as before.[332:8]
The Rev. Dr. Stuckley writes:
“Diodorus says Bacchus was born of Jupiter, the Supreme God, and Ceres (Myrrha). Both Ceres and Proserpine were called Virgo(Virgin). The story of this woman being deserted by a man, and espoused by a god, has somewhat so exceedingly like that passage, Matt. i. 19, 20, of the blessed Virgin’s history, that we should wonder at it, did we not see the parallelism infinite between the sacred and the profane history before us.
“There are many similitudes between the Virgin (Mary) and the mother of Bacchus (also called Mary—see note 6 below)—in all the old fables. Mary, or Miriam, St. Jerome interprets Myrrha Maris. Orpheus calls the mother of Bacchus a Sea Goddess (and the mother of Jesus is called ‘Mary, Star of the Sea.'”)[332:9]
Thus we see that the reverend and learned Dr. Stuckley has clearly [Pg 333]made out that the story of Mary, the “Queen of Heaven,” the “Star of the Sea,” the mother of the Lord, with her translation to heaven, &c., was an old story long before Jesus of Nazareth was born. After this Stuckley observes that the Pagan “Queen of Heaven” has upon her head a crown of twelve stars. This, as we have observed above, is the case of the Christian “Queen of Heaven” in almost every Romish church on the continent of Europe.
The goddess Cybele was another. She was equally called the “Queen of Heaven” and the “Mother of God.” As devotees now collect alms in the name of the Virgin Mary, so did they in ancient times in the name of Cybele. The Galli now used in the churches of Italy, were anciently used in the worship of Cybele (called Galliambus, and sang by her priests). “Our Lady Day,” or the day of the Blessed Virgin of the Roman Church, was heretofore dedicated to Cybele.[333:1]
Minerva, who was distinguished by the title of “Virgin Queen,”[333:2] was extensively worshiped in ancient Greece. Among the innumerable temples of Greece, the most beautiful was the Parthenon, meaning, the Temple of the Virgin Goddess. It was a magnificent Doric edifice, dedicated to Minerva, the presiding deity of Athens.
Juno was called the “Virgin Queen of Heaven.”[333:3] She was represented, like Isis and Mary, standing on the crescent moon,[333:4] and was considered the special protectress of women, from the cradle to the grave, just as Mary is considered at the present day.
Diana, who had the title of “Mother,” was nevertheless famed for her virginal purity.[333:5] She was represented, like Isis and Mary, with stars surrounding her head.[333:6]
The ancient Muscovites worshiped a sacred group, composed of a woman with a male child in her lap, and another standing by her. They had likewise another idol, called the golden heifer, which, says Mr. Knight, “seems to have been the animal symbol of the same personage.”[333:7] Here we have the Virgin and infant Saviour, with the companion (John the Baptist), and “The Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world,” among the ancient Muscovites[Pg 334]before the time of Christ Jesus. This goddess had also the title of “Queen of Heaven.

The ancient Germans worshiped a virgin goddess under the the name of Hertha, or Ostara, who was fecundated by the active spirit, i. e., the “Holy Spirit.”[334:2] She was represented in images as a woman with a child in her arms. This image was common in their consecrated forests, and was held peculiarly sacred.[334:3] The Christian celebration called Easter derived its name from this goddess.
The ancient Scandinavians worshiped a virgin goddess called Disa. Mr. R. Payne Knight tells us that:
“This goddess is delineated on the sacred drums of the Laplanders, accompanied by a child, similar to the Horus of the Egyptians, who so often appears in the lap of Isis on the religious monuments of that people.”[334:4]
The ancient Scandinavians also worshiped the goddess Frigga. She was mother of “Baldur the Good,” his father being Odin, the supreme god of the northern nations. It was she who was addressed, as Mary is at the present day, in order to obtain happy marriages and easy childbirths. The Eddas style her the most favorable of the goddesses.[334:5]
In Gaul, the ancient Druids worshiped the Virgo-Paritura as the “Mother of God,” and a festival was annually celebrated in honor of this virgin.[334:6]
In the year 1747 a monument was found at Oxford, England, of pagan origin, on which is exhibited a female nursing an infant.[334:7] Thus we see that the Virgin and Child were worshiped, in pagan times, from China to Britain, and, if we turn to the New World, we shall find the same thing there; for, in the words of Dr. Inman, “even in Mexico the ‘Mother and Child’ were worshiped.”[334:8]
This mother, who had the title of “Virgin,” and “Queen of Heaven,”[334:9] was Chimalman, or Sochiquetzal, and the infant was Quetzalcoatle, the crucified Saviour. Lord Kingsborough says:
“She who represented ‘Our Lady’ (among the ancient Mexicans) had her hair tied up in the manner in which the Indian women tie and fasten their hair, [Pg 335]and in the knot behind was inserted a small cross, by which it was intended to show that she was the Most Holy.”[335:1]
The Mexicans had pictures of this “Heavenly Goddess” on long pieces of leather, which they rolled up.[335:2]
The annunciation to the Virgin Chimalman, that she should become the mother of the Saviour Quetzalcoatle, was the subject of a Mexican hieroglyphic, and is remarkable in more than one respect. She appears to be receiving a bunch of flowers from the embassador or angel,[335:3] which brings to mind the lotus, the sacred plant of the East, which is placed in the hands of the Pagan and Christian virgins.
The 25th of March, which was celebrated throughout the ancient Grecian and Roman world, in honor of “the Mother of the Gods,” was appointed to the honor of the Christian “Mother of God,” and is now celebrated in Catholic countries, and called “Lady day.”[335:4] The festival of the conception of the “Blessed Virgin Mary” is also held on the very day that the festival of the miraculous conception of the “Blessed Virgin Juno” was held among the pagans,[335:5] which, says the author of the “Perennial Calendar,” “is a remarkable coincidence.”[335:6] It is not such a very “remarkable coincidence” after all, when we find that, even as early as the time of St. Gregory, Bishop of Neo-Cæsarea, who flourished about A. D. 240-250, Pagan festivals were changed into Christian holidays. This saint was commended by his namesake of Nyssa for changing the Pagan festivals into Christian holidays, the better to draw the heathens to the religion of Christ.[335:7]
The month of May, which was dedicated to the heathen Virgin Mothers, is also the month of Mary, the Christian Virgin.
Now that we have seen that the worship of the Virgin and Child was universal for ages before the Christian era, we shall say a few words on the subject of pictures and images of the Madonna—so called.
The most ancient pictures and statues in Italy and other parts of Europe, of what are supposed to be representations of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus, are black. The infant god, in the arms of his black mother, his eyes and drapery white, is himself perfectly black.[335:8]
Godfrey Higgins, on whose authority we have stated the above, informs us that, at the time of his writing—1825-1835—images and [Pg 336]paintings of this kind were to be seen at the cathedral of Moulins; the famous chapel of “the Virgin” at Loretto; the church of the Annunciation, the church of St. Lazaro, and the church of St. Stephens, at Genoa; St. Francis, at Pisa; the church at Brixen, in the Tyrol; the church at Padua; the church of St. Theodore, at Munich—in the two last of which the white of the eyes and teeth, and the studied redness of the lips, are very observable.[336:1]
“The Bambino[336:2] at Rome is black,” says Dr. Inman, “and so are the Virgin and Child at Loretto.”[336:3] Many more are to be seen in Rome, and in innumerable other places; in fact, says Mr. Higgins,
“There is scarcely an old church in Italy where some remains of the worship of the black Virgin, and black child, are not met with;” and that “pictures in great numbers are to be met with, where the white of the eyes, and of the teeth, and the lips a little tinged with red, like the black figures in the museum of the Indian company.”[336:4]
Virgin of Loretto
Fig. No. 20 is a copy of the image of the Virgin of Loretto. Dr. Conyers Middleton, speaking of it, says:
“The mention of Loretto puts me in mind of the surprise that I was in at the first sight of the Holy Image, for its face is as black as a negro’s. But I soon recollected, that this very circumstance of its complexion made it but resemble the more exactly the old idols of Paganism.”[336:5]
The reason assigned by the Christian priests for the images being black, is that they are made so by smoke and incense, but, we may ask, if they became black by smoke, why is it that the white drapery, white teeth, and the white of the eyes have not changed in color? Why are the lips of a bright red color? Why, we may also ask, are the black images crowned and adorned with jewels, just as the images of the Hindoo and Egyptian virgins are represented?
When we find that the Virgin Devaki, and the Virgin Isis were represented just as these so-called ancient Christian idols represent Mary, we are led to the conclusion that they are Pagan idols adopted by the Christians.
We may say, in the words of Mr. Lundy, “what jewels are doing on the neck of this poor and lowly maid, it is not easy to say.”[337:1] The crown is also foreign to early representations of the Madonna and Child, but not so to Devaki and Crishna,[337:2] and Isis and Horus. The coronation of the Virgin Mary is unknown to primitive Christian art, but is common in Pagan art.[337:3] “It may be well,” says Mr. Lundy, “to compare some of the oldest Hindoo representations of the subject with the Romish, and see how complete the resemblance is;”[337:4] and Dr. Inman says that, “the head-dress, as put on the head of the Virgin Mary, is of Grecian, Egyptian, and Indian origin.”[337:5]
The whole secret of the fact of these early representations of the Virgin Mary and Jesus—so-called—being black, crowned, and covered with jewels, is that they are of pre-Christian origin; they are Isis and Horus, and perhaps, in some cases, Devaki and Crishna, baptized anew.
The Egyptian “Queen of Heaven” was worshiped in Europe for centuries before and after the Christian Era.[337:6] Temples and statues were also erected in honor of Isis, one of which was at Bologna, in Italy.
Mr. King tells us that the Emperor Hadrian zealously strove to reanimate the forms of that old religion, whose spirit had long since passed away, and it was under his patronage that the creed of the Pharaohs blazed up for a moment with a bright but fictitious lustre.[337:7] To this period belongs a beautiful sard, in Mr. King’s collection, representing Serapis[337:8] and Isis, with the legend: “Immaculate is Our Lady Isis.”[337:9]
Mr. King further tells us that:
“The ‘Black Virgins‘ so highly reverenced in certain French cathedrals during the long night of the middle ages, proved, when at last examined critically, basalt figures of Isis.”[337:10]
And Mr. Bonwick says:
“We may be surprised that, as Europe has Black Madonnas, Egypt had Black [Pg 338]images and pictures of Isis. At the same time it is a little odd that the Virgin Mary copies most honored should not only be Black, but have a decided Isis cast of feature.”[338:1]
The shrine now known as that of the “Virgin in Amadon,” in France, was formerly an old Black Venus.[338:2]
“To this we may add,” (says Dr. Inman), “that at the Abbey of Einsiedelen, on Lake Zurich, the object of adoration is an old black doll, dressed in gold brocade, and glittering with jewels. She is called, apparently, the Virgin of the Swiss Mountains. My friend, Mr. Newton, also tells me that he saw, over a church door at Ivrea, in Italy, twenty-nine miles from Turin, the fresco of a Black Virgin and child, the former bearing a triple crown.”[338:3]
This triple crown is to be seen on the heads of Pagan gods and goddesses, especially those of the Hindoos.
Dr. Barlow says:
“The doctrine of the Mother of God was of Egyptian origin. It was brought in along with the worship of the Madonna by Cyril (Bishop of Alexandria, and the Cyril of Hypatia) and the monks of Alexandria, in the fifth century. The earliest representations of the Madonna have quite a Greco-Egyptian character, and there can be little doubt that Isis nursing Horus was the origin of them all.”[338:4]
And Arthur Murphy tells us that:
“The superstition and religious ceremonies of the Egyptians were diffused over Asia, Greece, and the rest of Europe. Brotier says, that inscriptions of Isis and Serapis (Horus?) have been frequently found in Germany. . . . The missionaries who went in the eighth and ninth centuries to propagate the Christian religion in those parts, saw many images and statues of these gods.”[338:5]
These “many images and statues of these gods” were evidently baptized anew, given other names, and allowed to remain where they were.
In many parts of Italy are to be seen pictures of the Virgin with her infant in her arms, inscribed with the words: “Deo Soli.” This betrays their Pagan origin.



[326:1]See Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 115, and Monumental Christianity, pp. 206 and 226.
[326:2]Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 159.
[326:3]See Williams’ Hinduism.
[326:4]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 540.
[326:5]See Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 185.
[326:6]St. Jerome says: “It is handed down as a tradition among the Gymnosophists of India, that Buddha, the founder of their system was brought forth by a virgin from her side.” (Contra Jovian, bk. i. Quoted in Rhys Davids’ Buddhism, p. 183.)
[327:1]Plate 59.
[327:2]Monumental Christianity, p. 218.
Of the Virgin Mary we read: “Her face was shining as snow, and its brightness could hardly be borne. Her conversation was with the angels, &c.” (Nativity of Mary, Apoc.)
[327:3]See Ancient Faiths, i. 401.
[327:4]DavisChina, vol. ii. p. 95.
[327:5]The Heathen Relig., p. 60.
[327:6]Barrows: Travels in China, p. 467.
[327:7]Gutzlaff’s Voyages, p. 154.
[328:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 141.
[328:2]See The Lily of Israel, p. 14.
[328:3]Kenrick’s Egypt, vol. i. p. 425.
[328:4]See Draper’s Science and Religion, pp. 47, 48, and Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 804.
[328:5]Pagan and Christian Symbolism, p. 50.
[328:6]See Monumental Christianity, p. 307, and Dr. Inman’s Ancient Faiths.
[328:7]See Cox’s Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 119, note.
[328:8]See Pagan and Christian Symbolism, pp. 13, 14.
[329:1]Pagan and Christian Symbolism, pp. 4, 5.
[329:2]See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, pp. 45, 104, 105.
“We see, in pictures, that the Virgin and Child are associated in modern times with the split apricot, the pomegranate, rimmon, and the Vine, just as was the ancient Venus.” (Dr. Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 528.)
[329:3]Serpent Symbol, p. 39.
[329:4]Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 185.
[330:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 143.
[330:2]Ibid. p. 115.
[330:3]Quoted in Ibid. p. 115.
[330:4]Ibid., and Kenrick’s Egypt.
[330:5]Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 59.
[330:6]See Monumental Christianity, p. 211, and Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 350.
[330:7]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 213.
[332:1]Jeremiah, xliv. 16-22.
[332:2]See Colenso’s Lectures, p. 297, and Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 148.
[332:3]See the Pentateuch Examined, vol. vi. p. 115, App., and Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 148.
[332:4]See King’s Gnostics, p. 91, and Monumental Christianity, p. 224.
[332:5]See Dupuis: Origin of Relig. Belief, p. 237.
[332:6]It would seem more than chance that so many of the virgin mothers and goddesses of antiquity should have the same name. The mother of Bacchus was Myrrha: the mother of Mercury or Hermes was Myrrha or Maia (See Fergusson’s Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 186, and Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 233); the mother of the Siamese Saviour—Sommona Cadom—was called Maya Maria, i. e., “the Great Mary;” the mother of Adonis was Myrrha (See Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 314, and Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 253); the mother of Buddha was Maya; now, all these names, whether Myrrha, Maia or Maria, are the same as Mary, the name of the mother of the Christian Saviour. (See Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. pp. 353 and 780. Also, Dunlap’s Mysteries of Adoni, p. 124.) The month of May was sacred to these goddesses, so likewise is it sacred to the Virgin Mary at the present day. She was also called Myrrha and Maria, as well as Mary. (See Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 304, and Son of the Man, p. 26.)
[332:7]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 303, 304.
[332:8]Prof. Wilder, in “Evolution,” June, ’77. Isis Unveiled, vol. ii.
[332:9]Stuckley: Pal. Sac. No. 1, p. 34, in Anacalypsis, i. p. 304.
[333:1]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 305.
[333:2]See Bell‘s Pantheon, and Knight: Ancient Art and Mytho., p. 175.
[333:3]See Roman Antiquities, p. 73. Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 82, and Bell‘s Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 160.
[333:4]See Monumental Christianity, p. 308—Fig. 144.
[333:5]See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., pp. 175, 176.
[333:6]See Montfaucon, vol. i. plate xcii.
[333:7]Knight’s Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 147.
[334:1]Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 109, 110.
[334:2]See Knight’s Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 21.
[334:3]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 374, and Mallet: Northern Antiquities.
[334:4]Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 147.
[334:5]See Mallet’s Northern Antiquities.
[334:6]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 108, 109, 259. Dupuis: Orig. Relig. Belief, p. 257. Celtic Druids, p. 163, and Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 184.
[334:7]See Celtic Druids, p. 163, and Dupuis, p. 237.
[334:8]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 100.
[334:9]See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 33, and Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 176.
[335:1]Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 176.
[335:4]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 304.
[335:5]Ibid. vol. ii. p. 82.
[335:6]Quoted in Ibid.
[335:7]See Middleton’s Letters from Rome, p. 236.
[335:8]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 138.
[336:1]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 138.
[336:2]Bambino—a term in art, descriptive of the swaddled figure of the infant Saviour.
[336:3]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 401.
[336:4]Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 138.
[336:5]Letters from Rome, p. 84.
[337:1]Monumental Christianity, p. 208.
[337:2]See Ibid. p. 229, and Moore’s Hindu Pantheon, Inman’s Christian and Pagan Symbolism, Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. ii., where the figures of Crishna and Devaki may be seen, crowned, laden with jewels, and a ray of glory surrounding their heads.
[337:3]Monumental Christianity, p. 227.
[337:5]Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 767.
[337:6]In King’s Gnostics and their Remains, p. 109, the author gives a description of a procession, given during the second century by Apuleius, in honor of Isis, the “Immaculate Lady.”
[337:7]King’s Gnostics, p. 71.
[337:8]“Serapis does not appear to be one of the native gods, or monsters, who sprung from the fruitful soil of Egypt. The first of the Ptolemies had been commanded, by a dream, to import the mysterious stranger from the coast of Pontus, where he had been long adored by the inhabitants of Sinope; but his attributes and his reign were so imperfectly understood, that it became a subject of dispute, whether he represented the bright orb of day, or the gloomy monarch of the subterraneous regions.” (Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 143.)
[337:10]King’s Gnostics, p. 71, note.
[338:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 141. “Black is the color of the Egyptian Isis.” (The Rosecrucians, p. 154.)
[338:2]Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 159. In Montfaucon, vol. i. plate xcv., may be seen a representation of a Black Venus.
[338:3]Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 264.
[338:4]Quoted in Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 142.
[338:5]Notes 3 and 4 to Tacitus’ Manners of the Germans.
Extract from CHAPTER Worship of Virgin Mother,  “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


Baptism, or purification from sin by water, is supposed by many to be an exclusive Christian ceremony. The idea is that circumcision was given up, butbaptism took its place as a compulsory form indispensable to salvation, and was declared to have been instituted by Jesus himself or by his predecessor John.[316:1] That Jesus was baptized by John may be true, or it may not, but that he never directly enjoined his followers to call the heathen to a share in the privileges of the Golden Age is gospel doctrine;[316:2] and this saying:

“Go out into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature. And whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, but whoever believes not shall be damned,”
must therefore be of comparatively late origin, dating from a period at which the mission to the heathen was not only fully recognized, but even declared to have originated with the followers of Jesus.[316:3] When the early Christians received members among them they were not initiated by baptism, but with prayer and laying on of hands. This, says Eusebius, was the “ancient custom,” which was followed until the time of Stephen. During his bishopric controversies arose as to whether members should be received “after the ancient Christian custom” or by baptism,[316:4] after the heathen custom. Rev. J. P. Lundy, who has made ancient religions a special study, and who, being a thorough Christian writer, endeavors to get over the difficulty by saying that:
“John the Baptist simply adopted and practiced the universal custom of sacred bathing for the remission of sins. Christ sanctioned it; the church inherited it from his example.”[316:5]
When we say that baptism is a heathen rite adopted by the Christians, we come near the truth. Mr. Lundy is a strong advocate of the type theory—of which we shall speak anon—therefore the above mode of reasoning is not to be wondered at.
The facts in the case are that baptism by immersion, or sprinkling in infancy, for the remission of sin, was a common rite, to be found in countries the most widely separated on the face of the earth, and the most unconnected in religious genealogy.[317:1]
If we turn to India we shall find that in the vast domain of the Buddhist faith the birth of children is regularly the occasion of a ceremony, at which the priest is present. In Mongolia and Thibet this ceremony assumes the special form of baptism. Candles burn and incense is offered on the domestic altar, the priest reads the prescribed prayers, dips the child three times in water, and imposes on it a name.[317:2]
Brahmanism, from the very earliest times, had its initiatory rites, similar to what we shall find among the ancient Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Mr. Mackenzie, in his “Royal Masonic Cyclopædia,” (sub voce “Mysteries of Hindustan,”) gives a capital digest of these mysteries from the “Indische Alterthum-Skunde” of Lassen. After an invocation to the SUN, an oath was demanded of the aspirant, to the effect of implicit obedience to superiors, purity of body, and inviolable secrecy. Water was then sprinkled over him, suitable addresses were made to him, &c. This was supposed to constitute theregeneration of the candidate, and he was now invested with the white robe and the tiara. A peculiar cross was marked on his forehead, and the Tau cross on his breast. Finally, he was given the sacred word, A. U. M.[317:3]
The Brahmans had also a mode of baptism similar to the Christian sect of Baptists, the ceremony being performed in a river.
The officiating Brahman priest, who was called Gooroo, or Pastor,[318:1] rubbed mud on the candidate, and then plunged him three times into the water. During the process the priest said:
“O Supreme Lord, this man is impure, like the mud of this stream; but as water cleanses him from this dirt, do thou free him from his sin.”[318:2]
Rivers, as sources of fertility and purification, were at an early date invested with a sacred character. Every great river was supposed to be permeated with the divine essence, and its waters held to cleanse from all moral guilt and contamination. And as the Ganges was the most majestic, so it soon became the holiest and most revered of all rivers. No sin too heinous to be removed, no character too black to be washed clean by its waters. Hence the countless temples, with flights of steps, lining its banks; hence the array of priests, called “Sons of the Ganges,” sitting on the edge of its streams, ready to aid the ablutions of conscience-stricken bathers, and stamp them as white-washed when they emerge from its waters. Hence also the constant traffic carried on in transporting Ganges water in small bottles to all parts of the country.[318:3]
The ceremony of baptism was a practice of the followers of Zoroaster, both for infants and adults.
M. Beausobre tells us that:
“The ancient Persians carried their infants to the temple a few days after they were born, and presented them to the priest before the sun, and before the fire, which was his symbol. Then the priest took the child and baptized it for the purification of the soul.Sometimes he plunged it into a great vase full of water: it was in the same ceremony that the father gave a name to the child.”[318:4]
The learned Dr. Hyde also tells us that infants were brought to the temples and baptized by the priests, sometimes by sprinkling and sometimes by immersion, plunging the child into a large vase filled with water. This was to them a regeneration, or a purification of their souls. A name was at the same time imposed upon the child, as indicated by the parents.[318:5]
The rite of baptism was also administered to adults in the Mithraic mysteries during initiation. The foreheads of the initiated being marked at the same time with the “sacred sign,” which was none other than the sign of the CROSS.[319:1] The Christian Father Tertullian, who believed it to be the work of the devil, says:
“He BAPTIZES his believers and followers; he promises the remission of sins at the sacred fount, and thus initiates them into the religion of Mithra; he marks on the forehead his own soldiers,” &c.[319:2]
“He marks on the forehead,” i. e., he marks the sign of the cross on their foreheads, just as priests of Christ Jesus do at the present day to those who are initiated into the Christian mysteries.
Again, he says:
“The nations who are strangers to all spiritual powers (the heathens), ascribe to their idols (gods) the power of impregnating the waters with the same efficacy as in Christian baptism.” For, “in certain sacred rites of theirs, the mode of initiation is by baptism,” and “whoever had defiled himself with murder, expiation was sought in purifying water.”[319:3]
He also says that:
“The devil signed his soldiers in the forehead, in imitation of the Christians.”[319:4]
And St. Augustin says:
“The cross and baptism were never parted.”[319:5]
The ancient Egyptians performed their rite of baptism, and those who were initiated into the mysteries of Isis were baptized.[319:6]
Apuleius of Madura, in Africa, who was initiated into these mysteries, shows that baptism was used; that the ceremony was performed by the attending priest, and that purification and forgiveness of sin was the result.[319:7]
The custom of baptism in Egypt is known by the hieroglyphic term of “water of purification.” The water so used in immersion absolutely cleansed the soul, and the person was said to be regenerated.[320:1]
They also believed in baptism after death, for it was held that the dead were washed from their sins by Osiris, the beneficent saviour, in the land of shades, and the departed are often represented (on the sarcophagi) kneeling before Osiris, who pours over them water from a pitcher.[320:2]
The ancient Etruscans performed the rite of baptism. In Tab. clxxii. Gorius gives two pictures of ancient Etruscan baptism by water. In the first, the youth is held in the arms of one priest, and another is pouring water upon his head. In the second, the young person is going through the same ceremony, kneeling on a kind of altar. At the time of its baptism the child was named, blessed and marked on the forehead with the sign of the cross.[320:3]
Baptism, or the application of water, was a rite well known to the Jews before the time of Christ Jesus, and was practiced by them when they admitted proselytes to their religion from heathenism. When children were baptized they received the sign of the cross, were anointed, and fed with milk and honey.[320:4] “It was not customary, however, among them, to baptize those who were converted to the Jewish religion, until after the Babylonish captivity.”[320:5] This clearly shows that they learned the rite from their heathen oppressors.
Baptism was practiced by the ascetics of Buddhist origin, known as the Essenes.[320:6] John the Baptist was, evidently, nothing more than a member of this order, with which the deserts of Syria and the Thebais of Egypt abounded.
The idea that man is restrained from perfect union with God by his imperfection, uncleanness and sin, was implicitly believed by the ancient Greeks andRomans. In Thessaly was yearly celebrated a great festival of cleansing. A work bearing the name of “Museus” was a complete ritual of purifications. The usual mode of purification was dipping in water (immersion), or it was performed by aspersion. These sacraments were held to have virtue independent of the dispositions of the candidates, an opinion which called forth the sneer of Diogenes, the Grecian historian, when he saw some one undergoing baptism by aspersion.
“Poor wretch! do you not see that since these sprinklings cannot repair your grammatical errors, they cannot repair either, the faults of your life.”[321:1]
And the belief that water could wash out the stains of original sin, led the poet Ovid (43 B. C.) to say:
“Ah, easy fools, to think that a whole floodOf water e’er can purge the stain of blood.”
These ancient Pagans had especial gods and goddesses who presided over the birth of children. The goddess Nundina took her name from the ninth day,on which all male children were sprinkled with holy water,[321:2] as females were on the eighth, at the same time receiving their name, of which addition to the ceremonial of Christian baptism we find no mention in the Christian Scriptures. When all the forms of the Pagan nundination were duly complied with, the priest gave a certificate to the parents of the regenerated infant; it was, therefore, duly recognized as a legitimate member of the family and of society, and the day was spent in feasting and hilarity.[321:3]
Adults were also baptized; and those who were initiated in the sacred rites of the Bacchic mysteries were regenerated and admitted by baptism, just as they were admitted into the mysteries of Mithra.[321:4] Justin Martyr, like his brother Tertullian, claimed that this ablution was invented by demons, in imitation of thetrue baptism, that their votaries might also have their pretended purification by water.[321:5]
Infant Baptism was practiced among the ancient inhabitants of northern Europe—the Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders—long before the first dawn of Christianity had reached those parts. Water was poured on the head of the new-born child, and a name was given it at the same time. Baptism is expressly mentioned in the Hava-mal and Rigs-mal, and alluded to in other epic poems.[322:1]
The ancient Livonians (inhabitants of the three modern Baltic provinces of Courland, Livonia, and Esthonia), observed the same ceremony; which also prevailed among the ancient Germans. This is expressly stated in a letter which the famous Pope Gregory III. sent to their apostle Boniface, directing him how to act in respect to it.[322:2]
The same ceremony was performed by the ancient Druids of Britain.[322:3]
Among the New Zealanders young children were baptized. After the ceremony of baptism had taken place, prayers were offered to make the child sacred, and clean from all impurities.[322:4]
The ancient Mexicans baptized their children shortly after birth. After the relatives had assembled in the court of the parents’ house, the midwife placed the child’s head to the east, and prayed for a blessing from the Saviour Quetzalcoatle, and the goddess of the water. The breast of the child was then touched with the fingers dipped in water, and the following prayer said:
“May it (the water) destroy and separate from thee all the evil that was beginning in thee before the beginning of the world.”
After this the child’s body was washed with water, and all things that might injure him were requested to depart from him, “that now he may live again and be born again.”[322:5]
Mr. Prescott alludes to it as follows, in his “Conquest of Mexico:”[322:6]
“The lips and bosom of the infant were sprinkled with water, and the Lord was implored to permit the holy drops to wash away that sin that was given to it before the foundation of the world, so that the child might be born anew.” “This interesting rite, usually solemnized with great formality, in the presence of assembled friends and relations, is detailed with minuteness by Sahagun and by Zuazo, both of them eyewitnesses.”
Rev. J. P. Lundy says:
“Now, as baptism of some kind has been the universal custom of all religious nations and peoples for purification and regeneration, it is not to be wondered at that it had found its way from high Asia, the centre of the Old World’s religion and civilization, into the American continent. . . .
“American priests were found in Mexico, beyond Darien, baptizing boys and girls a year old in the temples at the cross, pouring the water upon them from a small pitcher.”[323:1]
The water which they used was called the “WATER OF REGENERATION.”[323:2]
The Rev. Father Acosta alludes to this baptism by saying:
“The Indians had an infinite number of other ceremonies and customs which resembled to the ancient law of Moses, and some to those which the Moores use, and some approaching near to the Law of the Gospel, as the baths or Opacuna, as they called them;they did wash themselves in water to cleanse themselves from sin.”[323:3]
After speaking of “confession which the Indians used,” he says:
“When the Inca had been confessed, he made a certain bath to cleanse himself, in a running river, saying these words: ‘I have told my sins to the Sun (his god); receive them, O thou River, and carry them to the Sea, where they may never appear more.‘”[323:4]
He tells us that the Mexicans also had a baptism for infants, which they performed with great ceremony.[323:5]
Baptism was also practiced in Yucatan. They administered it to children three years old; and called it REGENERATION.[323:6]
The ancient Peruvians also baptized their children.[323:7]
History, then, records the fact that all the principal nations of antiquity administered the rite of baptism to their children, and to adults who were initiated into the sacred mysteries. The words “regenerationem et impunitatem perjuriorum suorum“—used by the heathen in this ceremony—prove that the doctrines as well as the outward forms were the same. The giving of a name to the child, the marking of him with the cross as a sign of his being a soldier of Christ, followed at fifteen years of age by his admission into the mysteries of the ceremony of confirmation, also prove that the two institutions are identical. But the most striking feature of all is the regeneration—and consequent forgiveness of sins—the being “born again.” This shows that the Christian baptism indoctrine as well as in outward ceremony, was precisely that of the heathen. We have seen that it was supposed to destroy all the evil in him, and all things that might injure him were requested to depart from him. So likewise among the Christians; the priest, looking upon the child, and baptizing him, was formerly accustomed to say:
“I command thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that thou come out and depart from this infant, whom our Lord Jesus Christ has vouchsafed to call to this holy baptism, to be made member of his body and of his holy congregation. And presume not hereafter to exercise any tyranny towards this infant, whom Christ hath bought with his precious blood, and by this holy baptism called to be of his flock.”
The ancients also baptized with fire as well as water. This is what is alluded to many times in the gospels; for instance, Matt. (iii. 11) makes John say, “I, indeed, baptize you with water; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE.”
The baptism by fire was in use by the Romans; it was performed by jumping three times through the flames of a sacred fire. This is still practiced in India. Even at the present day, in some parts of Scotland, it is a custom at the baptism of children to swing them in their clothes over a fire three times, saying, “Now, fire, burn this child, or never.” Here is evidently a relic of the heathen baptism by fire.
Christian baptism was not originally intended to be administered to unconscious infants, but to persons in full possession of their faculties, and responsible for their actions. Moreover, it was performed, as is well known, not merely by sprinkling the forehead, but by causing the candidate to descend naked into the water, the priest joining him there, and pouring the water over his head. The catechumen could not receive baptism until after he understood something of the nature of the faith he was embracing, and was prepared to assume its obligations. A rite more totally unfitted for administration to infants could hardly have been found. Yet such was the need that was felt for a solemn recognition by religion of the entrance of a child into the world, that this rite, in course of time, completely lost its original nature, and, as with the heathen, infancy took the place of maturity: sprinkling of immersion. But while the age and manner of baptism were altered, the ritual remained under the influence of the primitive idea with which it had been instituted. The obligations were no longer confined to the persons baptized, hence they must be undertaken for them. Thus was the Christian Church landed in the absurdity—unparalleled, we believe, in any other natal ceremony—of requiring the most solemn promises to be made, not by those who were thereafter to fulfill them, but by others in their name; these others having no power to enforce their fulfillment, and neither those actually assuming the engagement, nor those on whose behalf it was assumed, being morally responsible in case it should be broken. Yet this strange incongruity was forced upon the church by an imperious want of human nature itself, and the insignificant sects who have adopted the baptism of adults only, have failed, in their zeal for historical consistency, to recognize a sentiment whose roots lie far deeper than the chronological foundation of Christian rites, and stretch far wider than the geographical boundaries of the Christian faith.
The intention of all these forms of baptism is identical. Water, as the natural means of physical cleansing, is the universal symbol of spiritual purification. Hence immersion, or washing, or sprinkling, implies the deliverance of the infant from the stain of original sin.[325:1] The Pagan and Christian rituals, as we have seen, are perfectly clear on this head. In both, the avowed intention is to wash away the sinful nature common to humanity; in both, the infant is declared to be born again by the agency of water. Among the early Christians, as with the Pagans, the sacrament of baptism was supposed to contain a full and absolute expiation of sin; and the soul was instantly restored to its original purity, and entitled to the promise of eternal salvation. Among the proselytes of Christianity, there were many who judged it imprudent to precipitate a salutary rite, which could not be repeated; to throw away an inestimable privilege, which could never be recovered. By the delay of their baptism, they could venture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyments of this world, while they still retained in their own hands the means of a sure and easy absolution. St. Constantine was one of these.

[316:1]The Rev. Dr. Geikie makes the assertion that: “With the call to repent, John united a significant rite for all who were willing to own their sins, and promise amendment of life. It was the new and striking requirement of baptism, which John had been sent by divine appointment to INTRODUCE.” (Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 394.)
[316:2]See Galatians, ii. 7-9. Acts, x. and xi.
[316:3]See The Bible for Learners, vol. iii. pp. 658 and 472.
[316:4]See Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 7, ch. ii.
[316:5]Monumental Christianity, p. 385.
[317:1]“Among all nations, and from the very earliest period, WATER has been used as a species of religious sacrament. . . . Water was the agent by means of which everything was regenerated or born again. Hence, in all nations, we find the Dove, or Divine Love, operating by means of its agent, water, and all nations using the ceremony of plunging, or, as we call it, baptizing, for the remission of sins, to introduce the candidate to a regeneration, to a new birth unto righteousness.” (Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 529.)
“Baptism is a very ancient rite pertaining to heathen religions, whether of Asia, Africa, Europe or America.” (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 416.)
“Baptism, or purification by water, was a ceremony common to all religions of antiquity. It consists in being made clean from some supposed pollution or defilement.” (Bell’s Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 201.)
“L’usage de ce Baptéme par immersion, qui subsista dans l’Occident jusqu’ au 8e ciècle, se maintient encore dans l’Eglise Greque: c’est celui que Jean le Précurseur administra, dans le Jourdain, à Jesus Christ même. Il fut pratiqué chez les Juifs, chez les Grecs, et chez presque tous les peuples, bien des siècles avant l’existence de la religion Chrétienne.” (D’Ancarville: Res., vol. i. p. 292.)
[317:2]See Amberly’s Analysis, p. 61. Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 42. Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 69, and Lillie’s Buddhism, pp. 55 and 184.
[317:3]Lillie’s Buddhism, p. 134.
[318:1]Life and Religion of the Hindus, p. 94.
[318:2]Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 125.
“Every orthodox Hindu is perfectly persuaded that the dirtiest water, if taken from a sacred stream and applied to his body, either externally or internally, will purify his soul.” (Prof. Monier Williams: Hinduism, p. 157.) The Egyptians bathed in the water of the Nile; the Chaldeans and Persians in the Euphrates, and the Hindus, at we have seen, in the Ganges, all of which were considered as “sacred waters” by the different nations. The Jews looked upon the Jordan in the same manner.
Herodotus, speaking of the Persians’ manners, says:
“They (the Persians) neither make water, nor spit, nor wash their hands in a river, nor defile the stream with urine, nor do they allow any one else to do so, but they pay extreme veneration to all rivers.” (Hist. lib. i. ch. 138.)
[318:3]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 176.
[318:4]Hist. Manichee, lib. ix. ch. vi. sect. xvi. in Anac., vol. ii. p. 65. See also, Dupuis: Orig. Relig. Belief, p. 249, and Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 392.
[318:5]“Pro infantibus non utuntur circumcisione, sed tantum baptismo seu lotione ad animæ purificationem internam. Infantem ad sacerdotem in ecclesiam adductum sistunt coram sole et igne, quâ factâ ceremoniâ, eundem sanctiorem existimant. D. Lord dicit quod aquam ad hoc afferunt in cortice arboris Holm: ea autem arbor revers est Haum Magorum, cujus mentionem aliâ occasione supra fecimus. Alias, aliquando fit immergendo in magnum vas aquæ, ut dicit Tavernier. Post talem lotionem seu baptismum, sacerdos imponit nomen à parentibus inditum.” (Hyde de Rel. Vet. Pers., p. 414.) After this Hyde goes on to say, that when he comes to be fifteen years of age he is confirmed by receiving the girdle, and the sudra or cassock.
[319:1]See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. xxv. Higgins: Anac., vol. i pp. 218 and 222. Dunlap: Mysteries of Adoni, p. 189. King: The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 51.
[319:2]De Præscrip. ch. xi.
[319:4]“Mithra signat illic in frontibus milites suos.”
[319:5]“Semper enim cruci baptismus jungitur.” (Aug. Temp. Ser. ci.)
[319:6]See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 69, and Monumental Christianity, p. 385.
[319:7]“Sacerdos, stipatum me religiosa cohorte, deducit ad proximas balucas; et prius sueto lavraco traditum, prœfatus deûm veniam, purissimē circumrorans abluit.” (Apuleius: Milesi, ii. citat. a Higgins: Anac., vol. ii. p. 69.)
[320:1]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 416. Dunlap: Mysteries Adoni, p. 139.
[320:2]Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 392.
[320:3]See Higgins: Anac., vol. ii. pp. 67-69.
[320:4]Barnes: Notes, vol. i. p. 38. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 65.
[320:5]Barnes: Notes, vol. i. p. 41.
[320:6]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 121, Gainsburgh’s Essenes, and Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 66, 67.
[321:1]Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 391.
[321:2]Holy Water“—water wherein the person is baptized, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Church of England Catechism.)
[321:3]See Taylor’s Diegesis, pp. 333, 334, and Higgins’ Anacalypsis, ii. p. 65.
[321:4]See Taylor‘s Diegesis, pp. 80 and 232, and Baring-Gould’s Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 391.
“De-là-vint, que pour devenir capable d’entendre les secrets de la création, révélés dans ces mêmes mystères, il fallut se faire régénérerpar l’initiation. Cette cérémonie, par laquelle, on apprenoit les vrais principes de la vie, s’opéroit par le moyen de l’eau qui voit été celui de la régénération du monde. On conduisoit sur les bords de l’Ilissus le candidat qui devoit être initié; apres l’avoir purifié avec le sel et l’eau de la mer, on repandoit de l’orge sur lui, on le couronnoit de fleurs, et l’Hydranos ou le Baptisseur le plongeoit dans le fleuve.” (D’Ancarville: Res., vol. i. p. 292. Anac., ii. p. 65.)
[321:5]Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 232.
[322:1]See Mallet’s Northern Antiquities, pp. 306, 313, 320, 366. Baring-Gould’s Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. pp. 392, 393, and Dupuis, p. 242.
[322:2]Mallet: Northern Antiquities, p. 206.
[322:3]Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 393. Higgins: Anac., vol. ii. p. 67, and Davies: Myths of the British Druids.
[322:4]Sir George Grey: Polynesian Mytho., p. 32, in Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 392.
[322:5]See Viscount Amberly’s Analysis Relig. Belief, p. 59.
[322:6]Vol. i. p. 64.
[323:1]Monumental Christianity, pp. 389, 390.
[323:2]Kingsborough: Mex. Antiq., vol. vi. p. 114.
[323:3]Hist. Indies, vol. ii. p. 369.
[323:4]Ibid. p. 361.
[323:5]Ibid. p. 369.
[323:6]Monumental Christianity, p. 390.
[323:7]Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 416.
[325:1]That man is born in original sin seems to have been the belief of all nations of antiquity, especially the Hindus. This sense of original corruption is expressed in the following prayer, used by them:
“I am sinful, I commit sin, my nature is sinful, I am conceived in sin. Save me, O thou lotus-eyed Heri, the remover of Sin.” (Williams’ Hinduism, p. 214.)
Extract from CHAPTER XXXI, Babtism; “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

Eurchrist or Lord’s Supper

We are informed by the Matthew narrator that when Jesus was eating his last supper with the disciples,

“He took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”[305:1]
According to Christian belief, Jesus instituted this “Sacrament[305:2]—as it is called—and it was observed by the primitive Christians, as he had enjoined them; but we shall find that this breaking of bread, and drinking of wine,—supposed to be the body and blood of a god[305:3]—is simply another piece of Paganism imbibed by the Christians.
The Eucharist was instituted many hundreds of years before the time assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus. Cicero, the greatest orator of Rome, and one of the most illustrious of her statesmen, born in the year 106 B. C., mentions it in his works, and wonders at the strangeness of the rite. “How can a man be so stupid,” says he, “as to imagine that which he eats to be a God?” There had been an esoteric meaning attached to it from the first establishment of themysteries among the Pagans, and the Eucharistia is one of the oldest rites of antiquity.
The adherents of the Grand Lama in Thibet and Tartary offer to their god a sacrament of bread and wine.[305:4]
P. Andrada La Crozius, a French missionary, and one of the first Christians who went to Nepaul and Thibet, says in his “History of India:”
“Their Grand Lama celebrates a species of sacrifice with bread and wine, in which, after taking a small quantity himself, he distributes the rest among the Lamas present at this ceremony.”[306:1]
In certain rites both in the Indian and the Parsee religions, the devotees drink the juice of the Soma, or Haoma plant. They consider it a god as well as a plant, just as the wine of the Christian sacrament is considered both the juice of the grape, and the blood of the Redeemer.[306:2] Says Mr. Baring-Gould:
“Among the ancient Hindoos, Soma was a chief deity; he is called ‘the Giver of Life and of health,’ the ‘Protector,’ he who is ‘the Guide to Immortality.’ He became incarnate among men, was taken by them and slain, and brayed in a mortar. But he rose in flame to heaven, to be the ‘Benefactor of the World,’ and the ‘Mediator between God and Man.‘ Through communion with him in his sacrifice, man, (who partook of this god), has an assurance of immortality, for by that sacrament he obtains union with his divinity.”[306:3]
The ancient Egyptians—as we have seen—annually celebrated the Resurrection of their God and Saviour Osiris, at which time they commemorated his death by the Eucharist, eating the sacred cake, or wafer, after it had been consecrated by the priest, and become veritable flesh of his flesh.[306:4] The bread, after sacerdotal rites, became mystically the body of Osiris, and, in such a manner, they ate their god.[306:5] Bread and wine were brought to the temples by the worshipers, as offerings.[306:6]
The Therapeutes or Essenes, whom we believe to be of Buddhist origin, and who lived in large numbers in Egypt, also had the ceremony of the sacrament among them.[306:7] Most of them, however, being temperate, substituted water for wine, while others drank a mixture of water and wine.
Pythagoras, the celebrated Grecian philosopher, who was born about the year 570 B. C., performed this ceremony of the sacrament.[306:8] He is supposed to have visited Egypt, and there availed himself of all such mysterious lore as the priests could be induced to impart. He and his followers practiced asceticism, and peculiarities of diet and clothing, similar to the Essenes, which has led some scholars to believe that he instituted the order, but this is evidently not the case.
The Kenite “King of Righteousness,” Melchizedek, “a priest of the Most High God,” brought out BREAD and WINE as a sign or symbol of worship; as the mystic elements of Divine presence. In the visible symbol of bread and wine they worshiped the invisible presence of the Creator of heaven and earth.[307:1]
To account for this, Christian divines have been much puzzled. The Rev. Dr. Milner says, in speaking of this passage:
“It was in offering up a sacrifice of bread and wine, instead of slaughtered animals, that Melchizedek’s sacrifice differed from the generality of those in the old law, and that he prefigured the sacrifice which Christ was to institute in the new law from the same elements. No other sense than this can be elicited from the Scripture as to this matter; and accordingly the holy fathers unanimously adhere to this meaning.”[307:2]
This style of reasoning is in accord with the TYPE theory concerning the Virgin-born, Crucified and Resurrected Saviours, but it is not altogether satisfactory. If it had been said that the religion of Melchizedek, and the religion of the Persians, were the same, there would be no difficulty in explaining the passage.
Not only were bread and wine brought forth by Melchizedek when he blessed Abraham, but it was offered to God and eaten before him by Jethro and the elders of Israel, and some, at least, of the mourning Israelites broke bread and drank “the cup of consolation,” in remembrance of the departed, “to comfort them for the dead.”[307:3]
It is in the ancient religion of Persia—the religion of Mithra, the Mediator, the Redeemer and Saviour—that we find the nearest resemblance to the sacrament of the Christians, and from which it was evidently borrowed. Those who were initiated into the mysteries of Mithra, or became members, took the sacrament of bread and wine.[307:4]
M. Renan, speaking of Mithraicism, says:
“It had its mysterious meetings: its chapels, which bore a strong resemblance to little churches. It forged a very lasting bond of brotherhood between its initiates: it had a Eucharist, a Supper so like the Christian Mysteries, that good Justin Martyr, the Apologist, can find only one explanation of the apparent identity, namely, that Satan, in order to deceive the human race, determined to imitate the Christian ceremonies, and so stole them.”[307:5]
The words of St. Justin, wherein he alludes to this ceremony, are as follows:
“The apostles, in the commentaries written by themselves, which we call Gospels, have delivered down to us how that Jesus thus commanded them: He having taken bread, after he had given thanks,[308:1] said, Do this in commemoration of me; this is my body. And having taken a cup, and returned thanks, he said: This is my blood, and delivered it to them alone. Which thing indeed the evil spirits have taught to be done out of mimicry in the Mysteries and Initiatory rites of Mithra.
“For you either know, or can know, that bread and a cup of water (or wine) are given out, with certain incantations, in the consecration of the person who is being initiated in the Mysteries of Mithra.”[308:2]
This food they called the Eucharist, of which no one was allowed to partake but the persons who believed that the things they taught were true, and who had been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sin.[308:3] Tertullian, who flourished from 193 to 220 A. D., also speaks of the Mithraic devotees celebrating the Eucharist.[308:4]
The Eucharist of the Lord and Saviour, as the Magi called Mithra, the second person in their Trinity, or their Eucharistic sacrifice, was always made exactly and in every respect the same as that of the orthodox Christians, for both sometimes used water instead of wine, or a mixture of the two.[308:5]
The Christian Fathers often liken their rites to those of the Therapeuts (Essenes) and worshipers of Mithra. Here is Justin Martyr’s account of Christian initiation:
“But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and assented to our teachings, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and the illuminatedperson. Having ended our prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water. When the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those that are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water.”[308:6]
In the service of Edward the Sixth of England, water is directed to be mixed with the wine.[309:1] This is a union of the two; not a half measure, but a double one. If it be correct to take it with wine, then they were right; if with water, they still were right; as they took both, they could not be wrong.
The bread, used in these Pagan Mysteries, was carried in baskets, which practice was also adopted by the Christians. St. Jerome, speaking of it, says:
“Nothing can be richer than one who carries the body of Christ (viz.: the bread) in a basket made of twigs.”[309:2]
The Persian Magi introduced the worship of Mithra into Rome, and his mysteries were solemnized in a cave. In the process of initiation there, candidates were also administered the sacrament of bread and wine, and were marked on the forehead with the sign of the cross.[309:3]
The ancient Greeks also had their “Mysteries,” wherein they celebrated the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The Rev. Robert Taylor, speaking of this, says:
“The Eleusinian Mysteries, or, Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, was the most august of all the Pagan ceremonies celebrated, more especially by the Athenians, every fifth year,[309:4] in honor of Ceres, the goddess of corn, who, in allegorical language, had given us her flesh to eat; as Bacchus, the god of wine, in like sense, had given us his blood to drink. . . .
“From these ceremonies is derived the very name attached to our Christian sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,—’those holy Mysteries;’—and not one or two, but absolutely all and every one of the observances used in our Christian solemnity. Very many of our forms of expression in that solemnity are precisely the same as those that appertained to the Pagan rite.”[309:5]
Prodicus (a Greek sophist of the 5th century B. C.) says that, the ancients worshiped bread as Demeter (Ceres) and wine as Dionysos (Bacchus);[309:6]therefore, when they ate the bread, and drank the wine, after it had been consecrated, they were doing as the Romanists claim to do at the present day, i. e.,eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their god.[309:7]
Mosheim, the celebrated ecclesiastical historian, acknowledges that:
“The profound respect that was paid to the Greek and Roman Mysteries, and the extraordinary sanctity that was attributed to them, induced the Christians of the second century, to give their religion a mystic air, in order to put it upon an equal footing in point of dignity, with that of the Pagans. For this purpose they gave the name of Mysteries to the institutions of the Gospels, and decorated particularly the ‘Holy Sacrament’ with that title; they used the very terms employed in the Heathen Mysteries, and adopted some of the rites and ceremonies of which those renowned mysteries consisted. This imitation began in the eastern provinces; but, after the time of Adrian, who first introduced the mysteries among the Latins, it was followed by the Christians who dwelt in the western part of the empire. A great part, therefore, of the service of the Church in this—the second—century, had a certain air of the Heathen Mysteries, and resembled them considerably in many particulars.”[310:1]

Eleusinian Mysteries and Christian Sacraments Compared

1. “But as the benefit of Initiation was great, such as were convicted of witchcraft, murder, even though unintentional, or any other heinous crimes, were debarred from those mysteries.”[310:2]
1. “For as the benefit is great, if, with a true penitent heart and lively faith, we receive that holy sacrament, &c., if any be an open and notorious evil-liver, or hath done wrong to his neighbor, &c., that he presume not to come to the Lord’s table.”[310:3]
2. “At their entrance, purifying themselves, by washing their hands in holy water, they were at the same time admonished to present themselves with pure minds, without which the external cleanness of the body would by no means be accepted.”[310:4]
2. See the fonts of holy water at the entrance of every Catholic chapel in Christendom for the same purpose.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”[310:5]

3. “The priests who officiated in these sacred solemnities, were called Hierophants, or ‘revealers of holy things.'”[310:6]
3. The priests who officiate at these Christian solemnities are supposed to be ‘revealers of holy things.’
4. The Pagan Priest dismissed their congregation with these words:
The Lord be with you.[310:7]
4. The Christian priests dismiss their congregation with these words:
The Lord be with you.
These Eleusinian Mysteries were accompanied with various rites, expressive of the purity and self-denial of the worshiper, and were therefore considered to be an expiation of past sins, and to place the initiated under the special protection of the awful and potent goddess who presided over them.[310:8]
These mysteries were, as we have said, also celebrated in honor of Bacchus as well as Ceres. A consecrated cup of wine was handed around after supper, called the “Cup of the Agathodaemon”—the Good Divinity.[311:1] Throughout the whole ceremony, the name of the Lord was many times repeated, and his brightness or glory not only exhibited to the eye by the rays which surrounded his name (or his monogram, I. H. S.), but was made the peculiar theme or subject of their triumphant exultation.[311:2]
The mystical wine and bread were used during the Mysteries of Adonis, the Lord and Saviour.[311:3] In fact, the communion of bread and wine was used in the worship of nearly every important deity.[311:4]
The rites of Bacchus were celebrated in the British Islands in heathen times,[311:5] and so were those of Mithra, which were spread over Gaul and Great Britain.[311:6] We therefore find that the ancient Druids offered the sacrament of bread and wine, during which ceremony they were dressed in white robes,[311:7] just as the Egyptian priests of Isis were in the habit of dressing, and as the priests of many Christian sects dress at the present day.
Among some negro tribes in Africa there is a belief that “on eating and drinking consecrated food they eat and drink the god himself.”[311:8]
The ancient Mexicans celebrated the mysterious sacrament of the Eucharist, called the “most holy supper,” during which they ate the flesh of their god. The bread used at their Eucharist was made of corn meal, which they mixed with blood, instead of wine. This was consecrated by the priest, and given to the people, who ate it with humility and penitence, as the flesh of their god.[311:9]
Lord Kingsborough, in his “Mexican Antiquities,” speaks of the ancient Mexicans as performing this sacrament; when they made a cake, which they calledTzoalia. The high priest blessed it in his manner, after which he broke it into pieces, and put it into certain very clean vessels. He then took a thorn ofmaguery, which resembles a thick needle, with which he took up with the utmost reverence single morsels, which he put into the mouth of each individual, after the manner of a communion.[311:10]
The writer of the “Explanation of Plates of the Codex Vaticanus,”—which are copies of Mexican hieroglyphics—says:
“I am disposed to believe that these poor people have had the knowledge of our mode of communion, or of the annunciation of the gospel; or perhaps the devil, most envious of the honor of God, may have led them into this superstition, in order that by this ceremony he might be adored and served as Christ our Lord.”[312:1]
The Rev. Father Acosta says:
“That which is most admirable in the hatred and presumption of Satan is, that he hath not only counterfeited in idolatry and sacrifice, but also in certain ceremonies, our Sacraments, which Jesus Christ our Lord hath instituted and the holy Church doth use, having especially pretended to imitate in some sort the Sacrament of the Communion, which is the most high and divine of all others.”
He then relates how the Mexicans and Peruvians, in certain ceremonies, ate the flesh of their god, and called certain morsels of paste, “the flesh and bones of Vitzilipuzlti.”
“After putting themselves in order about these morsels and pieces of paste, they used certain ceremonies with singing, by means whereof they (the pieces of paste) were blessed and consecrated for the flesh and bones of this idol.”[312:2]
These facts show that the Eucharist is another piece of Paganism adopted by the Christians. The story of Jesus and his disciples being at supper, where the Master did break bread, may be true, but the statement that he said, “Do this in remembrance of me,”—”this is my body,” and “this is my blood,” was undoubtedly invented to give authority to the mystic ceremony, which had been borrowed from Paganism.
Why should they do this in remembrance of Jesus? Provided he took this supper with his disciples—which the John narrator denies[312:3]—he did not do anything on that occasion new or unusual among Jews. To pronounce the benediction, break the bread, and distribute pieces thereof to the persons at table, was, and is now, a common usage of the Hebrews. Jesus could not have commanded born Jews to do in remembrance of him what they already practiced, and what every religious Jew does to this day. The whole story is evidently a myth, as a perusal of it with the eye of a critic clearly demonstrates.
The Mark narrator informs us that Jesus sent two of his disciples to the city, and told them this:
“Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water; follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.”[313:1]
The story of the passover or the last supper, seems to be introduced in this unusual manner to make it manifest that a divine power is interested in, and conducting the whole affair, parallels of which we find in the story of Elieser and Rebecca, where Rebecca is to identify herself in a manner pre-arranged by Elieser with God;[313:2] and also in the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, where by God’s directions a journey is made, and the widow is found.[313:3]
It suggests itself to our mind that this style of connecting a supernatural interest with human affairs was not entirely original with the Mark narrator. In this connection it is interesting to note that a man in Jerusalem should have had an unoccupied and properly furnished room just at that time, when two millions of pilgrims sojourned in and around the city. The man, it appears, was not distinguished either for wealth or piety, for his name is not mentioned; he was not present at the supper, and no further reference is made to him. It appears rather that the Mark narrator imagined an ordinary man who had a furnished room to let for such purposes, and would imply that Jesus knew it prophetically. He had only to pass in his mind from Elijah to his disciple Elisha, for whom the great woman of Shunem had so richly furnished an upper chamber, to find a like instance.[313:4] Why should not somebody have furnished also an upper chamber for the Messiah?
The Matthew narrator’s account is free from these embellishments, and simply runs thus: Jesus said to some of his disciples—the number is not given—
“Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.”[313:5]
In this account, no pitcher, no water, no prophecy is mentioned.[313:6]
It was many centuries before the genuine heathen doctrine of Transubstantiation—a change of the elements of the Eucharist into the real body and blood of Christ Jesus—became a tenet of the Christian faith. This greatest of mysteries was developed gradually. As early as the second century, however, the seeds were planted, when we find Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenæus advancing the opinion, that the mere bread and wine became, in the Eucharist, something higher—the earthly, something heavenly—without, however, ceasing to be bread and wine. Though these views were opposed by some eminent individual Christian teachers, yet both among the people and in the ritual of the Church, the miraculous or supernatural view of the Lord’s Supper gained ground. After the third century the office of presenting the bread and wine came to be confined to the ministers or priests. This practice arose from, and in turn strengthened, the notion which was gaining ground, that in this act of presentation by the priest, a sacrifice, similar to that once offered up in the death of Christ Jesus, though bloodless, was ever anew presented to God. This still deepened the feeling of mysterious significance and importance with which the rite of the Lord’s Supper was viewed, and led to that gradually increasing splendor of celebration which took the form of the Mass. As in Christ Jesus two distinct natures, the divine and the human, were wonderfully combined, so in the Eucharist there was a corresponding union of the earthly and the heavenly.
For a long time there was no formal declaration of the mind of the Church on the real presence of Christ Jesus in the Eucharist. At length a discussion on the point was raised, and the most distinguished men of the time took part in it. One party maintained that “the bread and wine are, in the act of consecration, transformed by the omnipotence of God into the very body of Christ which was once born of Mary, nailed to the cross, and raised from the dead.” According to this conception, nothing remains of the bread and wine but the outward form, the taste and the smell; while the other party would only allow that there issome change in the bread and wine themselves, but granted that an actual transformation of their power and efficacy takes place.
The greater accordance of the first view with the credulity of the age, its love for the wonderful and magical, the interest of the priesthood to add lustre, in accordance with the heathens, to a rite which enhanced their own office, resulted in the doctrine of Transubstantiation being declared an article of faith of the Christian Church.
Transubstantiation, the invisible change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, is a tenet that may defy the powers of argument and pleasantry; but instead of consulting the evidence of their senses, of their sight, their feeling, and their taste, the first Protestants were entangled in their own scruples, and awed by the reputed words of Jesus in the institution of the sacrament. Luther maintained a corporeal, and Calvin a real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; and the opinion of Zuinglius, that it is no more than a spiritual communion, a simple memorial, has slowly prevailed in the reformed churches.[315:1]
Under Edward VI. the reformation was more bold and perfect, but in the fundamental articles of the Church of England, a strong and explicit declaration against the real presence was obliterated in the original copy, to please the people, or the Lutherans, or Queen Elizabeth. At the present day, the Greek and Roman Catholics alone hold to the original doctrine of the real presence.
Of all the religious observances among heathens, Jews, or Turks, none has been the cause of more hatred, persecution, outrage, and bloodshed, than the Eucharist. Christians persecuted one another like relentless foes, and thousands of Jews were slaughtered on account of the Eucharist and the Host.

[305:1]Matt. xxvi. 26. See also, Mark, xiv. 22.
[305:2]At the heading of the chapters named in the above note may be seen the words: “Jesus keepeth the Passover (and) instituteth the Lord’s Supper.”
[305:3]According to the Roman Christians, the Eucharist is the natural body and blood of Christ Jesus verè et realiter, but the Protestant sophistically explains away these two plain words verily and indeed, and by the grossest abuse of language, makes them to meanspiritually by grace and efficacy. “In the sacrament of the altar,” says the Protestant divine, “is the natural body and blood of Christ verè et realiter, verily and indeed, if you take these terms for spiritually by grace and efficacy; but if you mean really and indeed, so that thereby you would include a lively and movable body under the form of bread and wine, then in that sense it is not Christ’s body in the sacrament really and indeed.”
[305:4]See Inman’s Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 203, and Anacalypsis, i. 232.
[306:1]“Leur grand Lama célèbre une espèce de sacrifice avec du pain et du vin dont il prend une petite quantité, et distribue le reste aux Lamas presens à cette cérémonie.” (Quoted in Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.)
[306:2]Viscount Amberly’s Analysis, p. 46.
[306:3]Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 401.
[306:4]See Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 163.
[306:5]See Ibid. p. 417.
[306:6]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 179.
[306:7]See Bunsen’s Keys of St. Peter, p. 199; Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 60, and Lillie’s Buddhism, p. 136.
[306:8]See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 60.
[307:1]See Bunsen’s Keys of St. Peter, p. 55, and Genesis, xiv. 18, 19.
[307:2]St. Jerome says: “Melchizédek in typo Christi panem et vinum obtulit: et mysterium Christianum in Salvatoris sanguine et corpore dedicavit.”
[307:3]See Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 227.
[307:4]See King’s Gnostics and their Remains, p. xxv., and Higgins’ Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 58, 59.
[307:5]Renan’s Hibbert Lectures, p. 35.
[308:1]In the words of Mr. King: “This expression shows that the notion of blessing or consecrating the elements was as yet unknown to the Christians.”
[308:2]Apol. 1. ch. lxvi.
[308:4]De Præscriptione Hæreticorum, ch. xl. Tertullian explains this conformity between Christianity and Paganism, by asserting that the devil copied the Christian mysteries.
[308:5]“De Tinctione, de oblatione panis, et de imagine resurrectionis, videatur doctiss, de la Cerda ad ea Tertulliani loca ubi de hiscerebus agitur. Gentiles citra Christum, talia celébradant Mithriaca quæ videbantur cum doctrinâ eucharistæ et resurrectionis et aliis ritibus Christianis convenire, quæ fecerunt ex industria ad imitationem Christianismi: unde Tertulliani et Patres aiunt eos talia fecisse, duce diabolo, quo vult esse simia Christi, &c. Volunt itaque eos res suas ita compârasse, ut Mithræ mysteria essent eucharistiæ Christianæ imago. Sic Just. Martyr (p. 98), et Tertullianus et Chrysostomus. In suis etiam sacris habebant Mithriaci lavacra (quasi regenerationis) in quibus tingit et ipse (sc. sacerdos) quosdam utique credentes et fideles suos, et expiatoria delictorum de lavacro repromittit et sic adhuc initiat Mithræ.” (Hyde: De Relig. Vet. Persian, p. 113.)
[308:6]Justin: 1st Apol., ch. lvi.
[309:1]Dr. Grabes’ Notes on Irenæus, lib. v. c. 2, in Anac., vol. i. p. 60.
[309:2]Quoted in Monumental Christianity, p. 370.
[309:3]See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 369.
“The Divine Presence called his angel of mercy and said unto him: ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark of Tau (Τ, the headless cross) upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof.'” Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 305.
[309:4]They were celebrated every fifth year at Eleusis, a town of Attica, from whence their name.
[309:5]Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 212.
[309:6]Müller: Origin of Religion, p. 181.
[309:7]“In the Bacchic Mysteries a consecrated cup (of wine) was handed around after supper, called the cup of the Agathodaemon.” (Cousin: Lec. on Modn. Phil. Quoted in Isis Unveiled, ii. 513. See also, Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., p. 217.)
[310:1]Eccl. Hist. cent. ii. pt. 2, sec. v.
[310:2]Bell‘s Pantheon, vol. i. p. 282.
[310:3]Episcopal Communion Service.
[310:4]Bell‘s Pantheon, vol. i. p. 282.
[310:5]Hebrews, x. 22.
[310:6]See Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 213.
[310:7]See Ibid.
[310:8]Kenrick’s Egypt, vol. i. p. 471.
[311:1]See Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., p. 217, and Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 513.
[311:2]See Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 214.
[311:3]See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 139.
[311:4]See Ibid. p. 513.
[311:5]See Myths of the British Druids, p. 89.
[311:6]See Dupuis: Origin of Relig. Belief, p. 238.
[311:7]See Myths of the British Druids, p. 280, and Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 376.
[311:8]Herbert Spencer: Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 299.
[311:9]See Monumental Christianity, pp. 390 and 393.
[311:10]Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 220.
[312:1]Quoted In Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 221.
[312:2]Acosta: Hist. Indies, vol. ii. chs. xiii. and xiv.
[312:3]According to the “John” narrator, Jesus ate no Paschal meal, but was captured the evening before Passover, and was crucified before the feast opened. According to the Synoptics, Jesus partook of the Paschal supper, was captured the first night of the feast, and executed on the first day thereof, which was on a Friday. If the John narrator’s account is true, that of the Synoptics is not, or vice versa.
[313:1]Mark, xiv. 13-16.
[313:2]Gen. xxiv.
[313:3]I. Kings, xvii. 8.
[313:4]II. Kings, iv. 8.
[313:5]Matt. xxvi. 18, 19.
[313:6]For further observations on this subject, see Dr. Isaac M. Wise’s “Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth,” a valuable little work, published at the office of the American Israelite, Cincinnati, Ohio.
[315:1]See Gibbon’s Rome, vol. v. pp. 399, 400. Calvin, after quoting Matt. xxvi. 26, 27, says: “There is no doubt that as soon as these words are added to the bread and the wine, the bread and the wine become the true body and the true blood of Christ, so that the substance of bread and wine is transmuted into the true body and blood of Christ. He who denies this calls the omnipotence of Christ in question, and charges Christ himself with foolishness.” (Calvin’s Tracts, p. 214. Translated by Henry Beveridge, Edinburgh, 1851.) In other parts of his writings, Calvin seems to contradict this statement, and speaks of the bread and wine in the Eucharist as being symbolical. Gibbon evidently refers to the passage quoted above.
Extract from CHAPTER XXX, Eurchrist or  Lord’s Supper “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