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Title: Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions

Author: T. W. Doane

Release date: April 4, 2010 [eBook #31885]
Most recently updated: August 22, 2012

Language: English

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[Pg i]





Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles


Those of Heathen Nations of Antiquity








"He who knows only one religion knows none."—Prof. Max Muller.

"The same thing which is now called Christian Religion existed among the Ancients. They have begun to call Christian the true religion which existed before."—St. 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.

[Pg ii]




Printed in U.S.A.

[Pg iii]


The idea of publishing the work here presented did not suggest itself until a large portion of the material it contains had been accumulated for the private use and personal gratification of the author. In pursuing the study of the Bible Myths, facts pertaining thereto, in a condensed form, seemed to be greatly needed, and nowhere to be found. Widely scattered through hundreds of ancient and modern volumes, most of the contents of this book may indeed be found; but any previous attempt to trace exclusively the myths and legends of the Old and New Testament to their origin, published as a separate work, is not known to the writer of this. Many able writers have shown our so-called Sacred Scriptures to be unhistorical, and have pronounced them largely legendary, but have there left the matter, evidently aware of the great extent of the subject lying beyond. As Thomas Scott remarks, in his English Life of Jesus: "How these narratives (i. e., the New Testament narratives), unhistorical as they have been shown to be, came into existence, it is not our business to explain; and once again, at the end of the task, as at the beginning and throughout, we must emphatically disclaim the obligation." To pursue the subject from the point at which it is abandoned by this and many other distinguished writers, has been the labor of the author of this volume for a number of [Pg iv]years. The result of this labor is herewith submitted to the reader, but not without a painful consciousness of its many imperfections.

The work naturally begins with the Eden myth, and is followed by a consideration of the principal Old Testament legends, showing their universality, origin and meaning. Next will be found the account of the birth of Christ Jesus, with his history until the close of his life upon earth, showing, in connection therewith, the universality of the myth of the Virgin-born, Crucified and Resurrected Saviour.

Before showing the origin and meaning of the myth (which is done in Chapter XXXIX.), we have considered the Miracles of Christ Jesus, the Eucharist, Baptism, the Worship of the Virgin, Christian Symbols, the Birthday of Christ Jesus, the Doctrine of the Trinity, Why Christianity Prospered, and the Antiquity of Pagan Religions, besides making a comparison of the legendary histories of Crishna and Jesus, and Buddha and Jesus. The concluding chapter relates to the question, What do we really know about Jesus?

In the words of Prof. Max Müller (The Science of Religion, p. 11): "A comparison of all the religions of the world, in which none can claim a privileged position, will no doubt seem to many dangerous and reprehensible, because ignoring that peculiar reverence which everybody, down to the mere fetish worshiper, feels for his own religion, and for his own god. Let me say, then, at once, that I myself have shared these misgivings, but that I have tried to overcome them, because I would not and could not allow myself to surrender either what I hold to be the truth, or what I hold still dearer than truth, the right of testing truth. Nor do I regret it. I do not say that the Science of Religion is all gain. No, it entails losses, and losses of many things which we hold dear. But this I will say, that, as far as my humble judgment goes, it does not entail the loss of anything that is essential to true religion, and that, if we strike the balance honestly, the gain is immeasurably greater than the loss."

[Pg v]

"All truth is safe, and nothing else is safe; and he who keeps back the truth, or withholds it from men, from motives of expediency, is either a coward or a criminal, or both."

But little beyond the arrangement of this work is claimed as original. Ideas, phrases, and even whole paragraphs have been taken from the writings of others, and in most, if not in all cases, acknowledged; but with the thought in mind of the many hours of research this book may save the student in this particular line of study; with the consciousness of having done for others that which I would have been thankful to have found done for myself; and more than all, with the hope that it may in some way help to hasten the day when the mist of superstition shall be dispelled by the light of reason; with all its defects, it is most cheerfully committed to its fate by the author.

Boston, Mass., November, 1882.

[Pg vi]

[Pg vii]


Introduction iii
List of Authorities, and Books Quoted from xi
The Creation and Fall of Man 1
The Deluge 19
The Tower of Babel 33
The Trial of Abraham's Faith 36
Jacob's Vision of the Ladder 42
The Exodus from Egypt 48
Receiving the Ten Commandments 58
Samson and his Exploits 62
[Pg viii]CHAPTER IX.
Jonah Swallowed By A Big Fish 77
Circumcision 85
Conclusion Of Part First 88
The Miraculous Birth Of Christ Jesus 111
The Star Of Bethlehem 140
The Song of The Heavenly Host 147
The Divine Child Recognized, and Presented with Gifts 150
The Birth-place of Christ Jesus 154
The Genealogy of Christ Jesus 160
The Slaughter of The Innocents 165
The Temptation, and Fast Of Forty Days 175
The Crucifixion of Christ Jesus 181
The Darkness at the Crucifixion 206
"He Descended into Hell." 211
The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ Jesus 215
The Second Coming of Christ Jesus, and the Millennium 233
Christ Jesus as Judge of the Dead 244
Christ Jesus as Creator, and Alpha and Omega 247
The Miracles of Christ Jesus, and the Primitive Christians 252
Christ Crishna and Christ Jesus 278
Christ Buddha and Christ Jesus 289
The Eucharist or Lord's Supper 305
Baptism 316
The Worship of the Virgin Mother 326
Christian Symbols 339
The Birth-day of Christ Jesus 359
The Trinity 368
Paganism in Christianity 384
Why Christianity Prospered 419
The Antiquity of Pagan Religions 450
Explanation 466
Conclusion 508
Appendix 531


Fig. 1 Fig. 10 Fig. 19 Fig. 28 Fig. 37
Fig. 2 Fig. 11 Fig. 20 Fig. 29 Fig. 38
Fig. 3 Fig. 12 Fig. 21 Fig. 30 Fig. 39
Fig. 4 Fig. 13 Fig. 22 Fig. 31 Fig. 40
Fig. 5 Fig. 14 Fig. 23 Fig. 32 Fig. 41
Fig. 6 Fig. 15 Fig. 24 Fig. 33 Fig. 42
Fig. 7 Fig. 16 Fig. 25 Fig. 34 Fig. 43
Fig. 8 Fig. 17 Fig. 26 Fig. 35
Fig. 9 Fig. 18 Fig. 27 Fig. 36

[Pg xi]





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[Pg xx]Polycarp. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, translated by Archbishop Wake.
Porter (Sir R. K.). Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia, &c., by Sir Robert Kir Porter, in 2 vols. London: Longmans, Hurst, Rees, Orm & Brown, 1821.
Prescott (Wm. H.). History of the Conquest of Mexico, with a preliminary view of the Ancient Mexican Civilization, and the life of the conqueror, Hernando Cortez, by Wm. H. Prescott, in 3 vols. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott & Co., 1873.
Prichard (J. C.). An Analysis of the Historical Records of Ancient Egypt, by J. C. Prichard, M. D., F. R. S. London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, 1838.
——. An Analysis of Egyptian Mythology, and the Philosophy of the Ancient Egyptians, compared with those of the Indians and others, by J. C. Prichard, M. D., F. R. S. London: Sherwood, Gilbert & Piper, 1838.
Priestley (Joseph). A Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with those of the Hindoos and other Ancient Nations, by Joseph Priestley, LL. D., F. R. S. Northumberland: A. Kennedy, 1799.
Protevangelion Apoc. The Protevangelion, or, An Historical Account of the Birth of Christ, and the perpetual Virgin Mary, His Mother, by James the Lesser, Cousin and Brother to the Lord Jesus.
Reber (Geo.). The Christ of Paul, or the Enigmas of Christianity, by Geo. Reber. New York: C. P. Somerby, 1876.
Renan (Ernest). Lectures on the Influence of the Institutions, Thought and Culture of Rome on Christianity, and the Development of the Catholic Church, by Ernest Renan, of the French Academy. Translated by Charles Beard, B. A. London: Williams & Norgate, 1880.
Renouf (P. Le Page). Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religion of Ancient Egypt, by P. Le Page Renouf. London: Williams & Norgate, 1880.
Reville (Albert). History of the Dogma of the Deity of Jesus Christ, by Albert Reville. London: Williams & Norgate, 1870.
Rhys-Davids (T. W.) Buddhism: Being a Sketch of the Life and Teachings of Gautama, the Buddha, by T. W. Rhys-Davids, of the Middle Temple, Barrister-at-Law, and late of the Ceylon Civil Service. London: Soc. for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Scott (Thomas). The English Life of Jesus, by Thomas Scott. Published by the Author. London: 1872.
Septchenes (M. Le Clerc de). The Religion of the Ancient Greeks, Illustrated by an Explanation of their Mythology. Translated from the French of M. Le Clerc de Septchenes. London: 1788.
[Pg xxi]Sharpe (Samuel). Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity, with their Influence on the Opinions of Modern Christendom, by Samuel Sharpe. London: J. R. Smith, 1863.
Shih-king (The). The Shih-King, or Book of Poetry. Translated from the Chinese by James Legge. London: Macmillan & Co., 1879.
Shobeil (F.). Persia; containing a description of the Country, with an account of its Government, Laws, and Religion, by Frederick Shobeil. Philadelphia: John Grigg, 1828.
Smith. Smith's Comprehensive Dictionary of the Bible, with many important Additions and Improvements. Edited by Rev. Samuel Barnum. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1879.
Smith (George). Assyrian Discoveries: An account of Explorations and Discoveries on the Site of Nineveh during 1873 and 1874, by George Smith, of the Department of Oriental Antiquity, British Museum. Now York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1875.
——. The Chaldean Account of Genesis, containing the description of the Creation, the Fall of Man, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, the Times of the Patriarchs and Nimrod; Babylonian Fables, and Legends of the Gods, from the Cuneiform Inscriptions, by George Smith, of the British Museum. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1876.
Socrates. The Ancient Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus, of Constantinople, in Seven Books. Translated out of the Greek Tongue by Meredith Hanmer, D. D. London: George Miller, 1636.
Spencer (Herbert). The Principles of Sociology, by Herbert Spencer, in 2 vols. New York; D. Appleton & Co., 1877.
Squire (E. G.). The Serpent Symbol, and the Worship of the Reciprocal Principles of Nature in America, by E. G. Squire, A. M. New York: George P. Putnam, 1861.
Stanley (A. P.). Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church, by Arthur P. Stanley, D. D., Dean of Westminster. New York: Charles Scribner, 1863.
——. In a Sermon preached in Westminster Abbey on February 28th, 1880, after the funeral of Sir Charles Lyell, entitled: "The Religious Aspect of Geology."
Steinthal (H.). The Legend of Samson: An Essay, by H. Steinthal, Professor of the University of Berlin. Appendix to Goldzhier's Hebrew Mythology.
Synchronology. Synchronology of the Principal Events in Sacred and Profane History from the Creation to the Present Time. Boston: S. Hawes, 1870.
[Pg xxii]Tacitus (C.). The Annals of Cornelius Tacitus, the Roman Historian. Translated by Arthur Murphy, Esq. London: Jones & Co., 1831.
——. The History of Cornelius Tacitus. Translated by Arthur Murphy. London: Jones & Co., 1831.
——. Treatise on the Situation, Manners, and People of Germany, by Cornelius Tacitus. Translated by Arthur Murphy. London: Jones & Co., 1831.
Taylor (Charles). Taylor's Fragments: Being Illustrations of the Manners, Incidents, and Phraseology of the Holy Scriptures. Intended as an Appendix to Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible. London: W. Stratford, 1801.
Taylor (Robert). The Diegesis: Being a Discovery of the Origin, Evidences, and Early History of Christianity, by Rev. Robert Taylor, A. B. (From the London Edit.) Boston: J. P. Mendum, 1873.
——. Syntagma of the evidences of the Christian Religion, by Rev. Robert Taylor, A. B., with a brief Memoir of the Author. (From the London Edit.) Boston: J. P. Mendum, 1876.
Taylor (Thomas). Taylor's Mysteries; A Dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, by Thomas Taylor. Amsterdam.
Thornton (Thomas). A History of China, from the Earliest Records to the Treaty with Great Britain in 1842, by Thomas Thornton, Esq., Member of the R. A. S. London: William H. Allen & Co., 1844.
Tylor (E. B.). Researches Into the Early History of Mankind, and the Development of Civilization, by Edward B. Tylor. 2d Edit. London: John Murray, 1870.
——. Primitive Culture; Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, &c., by Edward B. Tylor, in 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1871.
Vishnu Purana. The Vishnu Purana, A System of Hindoo Mythology and Tradition, Translated from the Original Sanscrit, by H. H. Wilson, M. A., F. R. S. London: 1840.
Volney (C. F.). New Researches in Ancient History, Translated from the French of C. F. Volney, Count and Peer of France. (From the London Edit.) Boston: J. P. Mendum, 1874.
——. The Ruins; or, Meditations on the Revolutions of Empires, by Count de Volney, Translated under the immediate inspection of the Author. (From the latest Paris Edit.) Boston: J. P. Mendum, 1872.
Wake (C. S.). See Westropp.
Westropp (H. M.). Ancient Symbol Worship. Influence of the Phallic Ideas in the Religions of Antiquity, by Hodder M. Westropp [Pg xxiii]and C. S. Wake, with Appendix by Alexander Wilder, M. D. London: Trübner & Co., 1874.
Williams (Monier). Indian Wisdom; or Examples of the Religious, Philosophical, and Ethnical Doctrines of the Hindoos, by Monier Williams, M. A., Prof. of Sanscrit in the University of Oxford. London: W. H. Allen, 1875.
——. Hinduism; by Monier Williams, M. A., D. C. L., Published under the Direction of the Committee of General Literature and Education Appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. London: 1877.
Wisdom (Apoc.). The Book of Wisdom, Attributed to Solomon, King of Israel.
Wise (Isaac M.). The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth. A Historic Treatise on the Last Chapters of the Gospel, by Dr Isaac M. Wise. Cincinnati.


Beausobre's Histoire Critique de Manichée et du Manicheisme, Amsterdam 1734; Baronius' Annales Ecclesiastici; Hydes' Historia Religionis Veterum Persarum; Rawlinson's Herodotus; Lenormant's The Beginnings of History; Hardwick's Christ and other Masters; Daillé's Treatise on the Right Use of the Fathers, London, 1841; Apollonius de Tyana, sa vie, ses voyages, et ses prodiges, par Philostrate, Paris, 1862; Sir John Malcolm's History of Persia, in 2 vols., London, 1815; Michaelis' Introduction to the New Testament, in 4 vols. edited by Dr. Herbert Marsh, London, 1828; Archbishop Wake's Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers, London, 1719; Jeremiah Jones' Canon of the New Testament, in 3 vols., Oxford, 1793; Milman's History of Christianity; Barrow's Travels in China, London, 1840; Deane's Worship of the Serpent, London, 1883; Baring-Gould's Lost and Hostile Gospels, London, 1874; B. F. Westcott's Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, 4th Edit., London, 1875; Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, in 6 vols., Amer. ed. 1810; J. W. Rosses' Tacitus and Bracciolini, London, 1878; and the writings of the Christian Fathers, Justin Martyr, St. Clement of Alexandria, Irenæus, Origen, Tertullian and Minucius Felix.

[Pg xxiv]

[Pg 1]






The Old Testament commences with one of its most interesting myths, that of the Creation and Fall of Man. The story is to be found in the first three chapters of Genesis, the substance of which is as follows:

After God created the "Heavens" and the "Earth," he said: "Let there be light, and there was light," and after calling the light Day, and the darkness Night, the first day's work was ended.

God then made the "Firmament," which completed the second day's work.

Then God caused the dry land to appear, which he called "Earth," and the waters he called "Seas." After this the earth was made to bring forth grass, trees, &c., which completed the third day's work.

The next things God created were the "Sun,"[1:1] "Moon" and [Pg 2]"Stars," and after he had set them in the Firmament, the fourth day's work was ended.[2:1]

After these, God created great "whales," and other creatures which inhabit the water, also "winged fowls." This brought the fifth day to a close.

The work of creation was finally completed on the sixth day,[2:2] when God made "beasts" of every kind, "cattle," "creeping things," and lastly "man," whom he created "male and female," in his own image.[2:3]

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh[2:4] day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day, from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."

After this information, which concludes at the third verse of Genesis ii., strange though it may appear, another account of the Creation commences, which is altogether different from the one we have just related. This account commences thus:

"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day (not days) that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."

It then goes on to say that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,"[2:5] which appears to be the first thing he made. After planting a garden eastward in Eden,[2:6] the Lord God put the man therein, "and out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life,[2:7] also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of [Pg 3]Knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads." These four rivers were called, first Pison, second Gihon, third Hiddekel, and the fourth Euphrates.[3:1]

After the "Lord God" had made the "Tree of Life," and the "Tree of Knowledge," he said unto the man:

"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Then the Lord God, thinking that it would not be well for man to live alone, formed—out of the ground—"every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."

After Adam had given names to "all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to every beast of the field," "the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he (the Lord God) took one of his (Adam's) ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof."

"And of the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto Adam." "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed."

After this everything is supposed to have gone harmoniously, until a serpent appeared before the woman[3:2]—who was afterwards called Eve—and said to her:

"Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

The woman, answering the serpent, said:

"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, lest ye die."

Whereupon the serpent said to her:

[Pg 4]

"Ye shall not surely die" (which, according to the narrative, was the truth).

He then told her that, upon eating the fruit, their eyes would be opened, and that they would be as gods, knowing good from evil.

The woman then looked upon the tree, and as the fruit was tempting, "she took of the fruit, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat." The result was not death (as the Lord God had told them), but, as the serpent had said, "the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."

Towards evening (i. e., "in the cool of the day"), Adam and his wife "heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden," and being afraid, they hid themselves among the trees of the garden. The Lord God not finding Adam and his wife, said: "Where art thou?" Adam answering, said: "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."

The "Lord God" then told Adam that he had eaten of the tree which he had commanded him not to eat, whereupon Adam said: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat."

When the "Lord God" spoke to the woman concerning her transgression, she blamed the serpent, which she said "beguiled" her. This sealed the serpent's fate, for the "Lord God" cursed him and said:

"Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life."[4:1]

Unto the woman the "Lord God" said:

"I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Unto Adam he said:

"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

[Pg 5]

The "Lord God" then made coats of skin for Adam and his wife, with which he clothed them, after which he said:

"Behold, the man is become as one of us,[5:1] to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (he must be sent forth from Eden).

"So he (the Lord God) drove out the man (and the woman); and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life."

Thus ends the narrative.

Before proceeding to show from whence this legend, or legends, had their origin, we will notice a feature which is very prominent in the narrative, and which cannot escape the eye of an observing reader, i. e., the two different and contradictory accounts of the creation.

The first of these commences at the first verse of chapter first, and ends at the third verse of chapter second. The second account commences at the fourth verse of chapter second, and continues to the end of the chapter.

In speaking of these contradictory accounts of the Creation, Dean Stanley says:

"It is now clear to diligent students of the Bible, that the first and second chapters of Genesis contain two narratives of the Creation, side by side, differing from each other in most every particular of time and place and order."[5:2]

Bishop Colenso, in his very learned work on the Pentateuch, speaking on this subject, says:

"The following are the most noticeable points of difference between the two cosmogonies:

"1. In the first, the earth emerges from the waters and is, therefore, saturated with moisture.[5:3] In the second, the 'whole face of the ground' requires to be moistened.[5:4]

[Pg 6]"2. In the first, the birds and the beasts are created before man.[6:1] In the second, man is created before the birds and the beasts.[6:2]

"3. In the first, 'all fowls that fly' are made out of the waters.[6:3] In the second 'the fowls of the air' are made out of the ground.[6:4]

"4. In the first, man is created in the image of God.[6:5] In the second, man is made of the dust of the ground, and merely animated with the breath of life; and it is only after his eating the forbidden fruit that 'the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil.'[6:6]

"5. In the first, man is made lord of the whole earth.[6:7] In the second, he is merely placed in the garden of Eden, 'to dress it and to keep it.'[6:8]

"6. In the first, the man and the woman are created together, as the closing and completing work of the whole creation,—created also, as is evidently implied, in the same kind of way, to be the complement of one another, and, thus created, they are blessed together.[6:9]

"In the second, the beasts and birds are created between the man and the woman. First, the man is made of the dust of the ground; he is placed by himself in the garden, charged with a solemn command, and threatened with a curse if he breaks it; then the beasts and birds are made, and the man gives names to them, and, lastly, after all this, the woman is made out of one of his ribs, but merely as a helpmate for the man.[6:10]

"The fact is, that the second account of the Creation,[6:11] together with the story of the Fall,[6:12] is manifestly composed by a different writer altogether from him who wrote the first.[6:13]

"This is suggested at once by the circumstance that, throughout the first narrative, the Creator is always spoken of by the name Elohim (God), whereas, throughout the second account, as well as the story of the Fall, he is always called Jehovah Elohim (Lord God), except when the writer seems to abstain, for some reason, from placing the name Jehovah in the mouth of the serpent.[6:14] This accounts naturally for the above contradictions. It would appear that, for some reason, the productions of two pens have been here united, without any reference to their inconsistencies."[6:15]

Dr. Kalisch, who does his utmost to maintain—as far as his knowledge of the truth will allow—the general historical veracity of this narrative, after speaking of the first account of the Creation, says:

"But now the narrative seems not only to pause, but to go backward. The grand and powerful climax seems at once broken off, and a languid repetition appears to follow. Another cosmogony is introduced, which, to complete the perplexity, is, in many important features, in direct contradiction to the former.

"It would be dishonesty to conceal these difficulties. It would be weakmindedness and cowardice. It would be flight instead of combat. It would be an ignoble retreat, instead of victory. We confess there is an apparent dissonance."[6:16]

[Pg 7]

Dr. Knappert says:[7:1]

"The account of the Creation from the hand of the Priestly author is utterly different from the other narrative, beginning at the fourth verse of Genesis ii. Here we are told that God created Heaven and Earth in six days, and rested on the seventh day, obviously with a view to bring out the holiness of the Sabbath in a strong light."

Now that we have seen there are two different and contradictory accounts of the Creation, to be found in the first two chapters of Genesis, we will endeavor to learn if there is sufficient reason to believe they are copies of more ancient legends.

We have seen that, according to the first account, God divided the work of creation into six days. This idea agrees with that of the ancient Persians.

The Zend-Avesta—the sacred writings of the Parsees—states that the Supreme being Ahuramazdâ (Ormuzd), created the universe and man in six successive periods of time, in the following order: First, the Heavens; second, the Waters; third, the Earth; fourth, the Trees and Plants; fifth, Animals; and sixth, Man. After the Creator had finished his work, he rested.[7:2]

The Avesta account of the Creation is limited to this announcement, but we find a more detailed history of the origin of the human species in the book entitled Bundehesh, dedicated to the exposition of a complete cosmogony. This book states that Ahuramazdâ created the first man and women joined together at the back. After dividing them, he endowed them with motion and activity, placed within them an intelligent soul, and bade them "to be humble of heart; to observe the law; to be pure in their thoughts, pure in their speech, pure in their actions." Thus were born Mashya and Mashyâna, the pair from which all human beings are descended.[7:3]

The idea brought out in this story of the first human pair having originally formed a single androgynous being with two faces, separated later into two personalities by the Creator, is to be found in the Genesis account (v. 2). "Male and female created he them, and blessed them, and named their name Adam." Jewish tradition in the Targum and Talmud, as well as among learned rabbis, allege that Adam was created man and woman at the same time, having two faces turned in two opposite directions, and that the Creator separated the feminine half from him, in order to make of her a distinct person.[7:4]

[Pg 8]

The ancient Etruscan legend, according to Delitzsch, is almost the same as the Persian. They relate that God created the world in six thousand years. In the first thousand he created the Heaven and Earth; in the second, the Firmament; in the third, the Waters of the Earth; in the fourth, the Sun, Moon and Stars; in the fifth, the Animals belonging to air, water and land; and in the sixth, Man alone.[8:1]

Dr. Delitzsch, who maintains to the utmost the historical truth of the Scripture story in Genesis, yet says:

"Whence comes the surprising agreement of the Etruscan and Persian legends with this section? How comes it that the Babylonian cosmogony in Berosus, and the Phœnician in Sanchoniathon, in spite of their fantastical oddity, come in contact with it in remarkable details?"

After showing some of the similarities in the legends of these different nations, he continues:

"These are only instances of that which they have in common. For such an account outside of Israel, we must, however, conclude, that the author of Genesis i. has no vision before him, but a tradition."[8:2]

Von Bohlen tells us that the old Chaldæan cosmogony is also the same.[8:3]

To continue the Persian legend; we will now show that according to it, after the Creation man was tempted, and fell. Kalisch[8:4] and Bishop Colenso[8:5] tell us of the Persian legend that the first couple lived originally in purity and innocence. Perpetual happiness was promised them by the Creator if they persevered in their virtue. But an evil demon came to them in the form of a serpent, sent by Ahriman, the prince of devils, and gave them fruit of a wonderful tree, which imparted immortality. Evil inclinations then entered their hearts, and all their moral excellence was destroyed. Consequently they fell, and forfeited the eternal happiness for which they were destined. They killed beasts, and clothed themselves in their skins. The evil demon obtained still more perfect power over their minds, and called forth envy, hatred, discord, and rebellion, which raged in the bosom of the families.

Since the above was written, Mr. George Smith, of the British Museum, has discovered cuneiform inscriptions, which show conclusively that the Babylonians had this legend of the Creation and [Pg 9]Fall of Man, some 1,500 years or more before the Hebrews heard of it.[9:1] The cuneiform inscriptions relating to the Babylonian legend of the Creation and Fall of Man, which have been discovered by English archæologists, are not, however, complete. The portions which relate to the Tree and Serpent have not been found, but Babylonian gem engravings show that these incidents were evidently a part of the original legend.[9:2] The Tree of Life in the Genesis account appears to correspond with the sacred grove of Anu, which was guarded by a sword turning to all the four points of the compass.[9:3] A representation of this Sacred Tree, with "attendant cherubim," copied from an Assyrian cylinder, may be seen in Mr. George Smith's "Chaldean Account of Genesis."[9:4] Figure No. 1, which we have taken from the same work,[9:5] shows the tree of knowledge, fruit, and the serpent. Mr. Smith says of it:

"One striking and important specimen of early type in the British Museum collection, has two figures sitting one on each side of a tree, holding out their hands to the fruit, while at the back of one (the woman) is scratched a serpent. We know well that in these early sculptures none of these figures were chance devices, but all represented events, or supposed events, and figures in their legends; thus it is evident that a form of the story of the Fall, similar to that of Genesis, was known in early times in Babylonia."[9:5]

man and woman with a snake behind her reaching for fruit

This illustration might be used to illustrate the narrative of Genesis, and as Friedrich Delitzsch has remarked (G. Smith's Chaldäische Genesis) is capable of no other explanation.

M. Renan does not hesitate to join forces with the ancient commentators, in seeking to recover a trace of the same tradition among the Phenicians in the fragments of Sanchoniathon, translated into Greek by Philo of Byblos. In fact, it is there said, in speaking of the first human pair, and of Æon, which seems to be the translation of Havvâh (in Phenician [Pg 10]Havâth) and stands in her relation to the other members of the pair, that this personage "has found out how to obtain nourishment from the fruits of the tree."

The idea of the Edenic happiness of the first human beings constitutes one of the universal traditions. Among the Egyptians, the terrestrial reign of the god Râ, who inaugurated the existence of the world and of human life, was a golden age to which they continually looked back with regret and envy. Its "like has never been seen since."

The ancient Greeks boasted of their "Golden Age," when sorrow and trouble were not known. Hesiod, an ancient Grecian poet, describes it thus:

"Men lived like Gods, without vices or passions, vexation or toil. In happy companionship with divine beings, they passed their days in tranquillity and joy, living together in perfect equality, united by mutual confidence and love. The earth was more beautiful than now, and spontaneously yielded an abundant variety of fruits. Human beings and animals spoke the same language and conversed with each other. Men were considered mere boys at a hundred years old. They had none of the infirmities of age to trouble them, and when they passed to regions of superior life, it was in a gentle slumber."

In the course of time, however, all the sorrows and troubles came to man. They were caused by inquisitiveness. The story is as follows: Epimetheus received a gift from Zeus (God), in the form of a beautiful woman (Pandora).

"She brought with her a vase, the lid of which was (by the command of God), to remain closed. The curiosity of her husband, however, tempted him to open it, and suddenly there escaped from it troubles, weariness and illness from which mankind was never afterwards free. All that remained was hope."[10:1]

Among the Thibetans, the paradisiacal condition was more complete and spiritual. The desire to eat of a certain sweet herb deprived men of their spiritual life. There arose a sense of shame, and the need to clothe themselves. Necessity compelled them to agriculture; the virtues disappeared, and murder, adultery and other vices, stepped into their place.[10:2]

The idea that the Fall of the human race is connected with agriculture is found to be also often represented in the legends of the East African negroes, especially in the Calabar legend of the Creation, which presents many interesting points of comparison with the biblical story of the Fall. The first human pair are called by a bell at meal-times to Abasi (the Calabar God), in heaven; and in place of the forbidden tree of Genesis are put agriculture [Pg 11]and propagation, which Abasi strictly denies to the first pair. The Fall is denoted by the transgression of both these commands, especially through the use of implements of tillage, to which the woman is tempted by a female friend who is given to her. From that moment man fell and became mortal, so that, as the Bible story has it, he can eat bread only in the sweat of his face. There agriculture is a curse, a fall from a more perfect stage to a lower and imperfect one.[11:1]

Dr. Kalisch, writing of the Garden of Eden, says:

"The Paradise is no exclusive feature of the early history of the Hebrews. Most of the ancient nations have similar narratives about a happy abode, which care does not approach, and which re-echoes with the sounds of the purest bliss."[11:2]

The Persians supposed that a region of bliss and delight called Heden, more beautiful than all the rest of the world, traversed by a mighty river, was the original abode of the first men, before they were tempted by the evil spirit in the form of a serpent, to partake of the fruit of the forbidden tree Hôm.[11:3]

Dr. Delitzsch, writing of the Persian legend, observes:

"Innumerable attendants of the Holy One keep watch against the attempts of Ahriman, over the tree Hôm, which contains in itself the power of the resurrection."[11:4]

The ancient Greeks had a tradition concerning the "Islands of the Blessed," the "Elysium," on the borders of the earth, abounding in every charm of life, and the "Garden of the Hesperides," the Paradise, in which grew a tree bearing the golden apples of Immortality. It was guarded by three nymphs, and a Serpent, or Dragon, the ever-watchful Ladon. It was one of the labors of Hercules to gather some of these apples of life. When he arrived there he found the garden protected by a Dragon. Ancient medallions represent a tree with a serpent twined around it. Hercules has gathered an apple, and near him stand the three nymphs, called Hesperides.[11:5] This is simply a parallel of the Eden myth.

The Rev. Mr. Faber, speaking of Hercules, says:

"On the Sphere he is represented in the act of contending with the Serpent, the head of which is placed under his foot; and this Serpent, we are told, is that which guarded the tree with golden fruit in the midst of the garden of the Hesperides. But the garden of the Hesperides was none other than the garden of Paradise; consequently the serpent of that garden, the head of which is crushed beneath the heel of Hercules, and which itself is described as encircling with its [Pg 12]folds the trunk of the mysterious tree, must necessarily be a transcript of that Serpent whose form was assumed by the tempter of our first parents. We may observe the same ancient tradition in the Phœnician fable representing Ophion or Ophioneus."[12:1]

And Professor Fergusson says:

"Hercules' adventures in the garden of the Hesperides, is the Pagan form of the myth that most resembles the precious Serpent-guarded fruit of the Garden of Eden, though the moral of the fable is so widely different."[12:2]

The ancient Egyptians also had the legend of the "Tree of Life." It is mentioned in their sacred books that Osiris ordered the names of some souls to be written on this "Tree of Life," the fruit of which made those who ate it to become as gods.[12:3]

Among the most ancient traditions of the Hindoos, is that of the "Tree of Life"—called Sôma in Sanskrit—the juice of which imparted immortality. This most wonderful tree was guarded by spirits.[12:4]

Still more striking is the Hindoo legend of the "Elysium" or "Paradise," which is as follows:

"In the sacred mountain Meru, which is perpetually clothed in the golden rays of the Sun, and whose lofty summit reaches into heaven, no sinful man can exist. It is guarded by a dreadful dragon. It is adorned with many celestial plants and trees, and is watered by four rivers, which thence separate and flow to the four chief directions."[12:5]

The Hindoos, like the philosophers of the Ionic school (Thales, for instance), held water to be the first existing and all-pervading principle, at the same time allowing the co-operation and influence of an immaterial intelligence in the work of creation.[12:6] A Vedic poet, meditating on the Creation, uses the following expressions:

"Nothing that is was then, even what is not, did not exist then." "There was no space, no life, and lastly there was no time, no difference between day and night, no solar torch by which morning might have been told from evening." "Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled in gloom profound, as ocean without light."[12:7]

The Hindoo legend approaches very nearly to that preserved in the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, it is said that Siva, as the Supreme Being, desired to tempt Brahmá (who had taken human form, and was called Swayambhura—son of the self-existent), and for this object he dropped from heaven a blossom of the sacred fig tree.

[Pg 13]

Swayambhura, instigated by his wife, Satarupa, endeavors to obtain this blossom, thinking its possession will render him immortal and divine; but when he has succeeded in doing so, he is cursed by Siva, and doomed to misery and degradation.[13:1] The sacred Indian fig is endowed by the Brahmins and the Buddhists with mysterious significance, as the "Tree of Knowledge" or "Intelligence."[13:2]

There is no Hindoo legend of the Creation similar to the Persian and Hebrew accounts, and Ceylon was never believed to have been the Paradise or home of our first parents, although such stories are in circulation.[13:3] The Hindoo religion states—as we have already seen—Mount Meru to be the Paradise, out of which went four rivers.

We have noticed that the "Gardens of Paradise" are said to have been guarded by Dragons, and that, according to the Genesis account, it was Cherubim that protected Eden. This apparent difference in the legends is owing to the fact that we have come in our modern times to speak of Cherub as though it were an other name for an Angel. But the Cherub of the writer of Genesis, the Cherub of Assyria, the Cherub of Babylon, the Cherub of the entire Orient, at the time the Eden story was written, was not at all an Angel, but an animal, and a mythological one at that. The Cherub had, in some cases, the body of a lion, with the head of an other animal, or a man, and the wings of a bird. In Ezekiel they have the body of a man, whose head, besides a human countenance, has also that of a Lion, an Ox and an Eagle. They are provided with four wings, and the whole body is spangled with innumerable eyes. In Assyria and Babylon they appear as winged bulls with human faces, and are placed at the gateways of palaces and temples as guardian genii who watch over the dwelling, as the Cherubim in Genesis watch the "Tree of Life."

Most Jewish writers and Christian Fathers conceived the Cherubim as Angels. Most theologians also considered them as Angels, until Michaelis showed them to be a mythological animal, a poetical creation.[13:4]

[Pg 14]

We see then, that our Cherub is simply a Dragon.

To continue our inquiry regarding the prevalence of the Eden-myth among nations of antiquity.

The Chinese have their Age of Virtue, when nature furnished abundant food, and man lived peacefully, surrounded by all the beasts. In their sacred books there is a story concerning a mysterious garden, where grew a tree bearing "apples of immortality," guarded by a winged serpent, called a Dragon. They describe a primitive age of the world, when the earth yielded abundance of delicious fruits without cultivation, and the seasons were untroubled by wind and storms. There was no calamity, sickness, or death. Men were then good without effort; for the human heart was in harmony with the peacefulness and beauty of nature.

The "Golden Age" of the past is much dwelt upon by their ancient commentators. One of them says:

"All places were then equally the native county of every man. Flocks wandered in the fields without any guide; birds filled the air with their melodious voices; and the fruits grew of their own accord. Men lived pleasantly with the animals, and all creatures were members of the same family. Ignorant of evil, man lived in simplicity and perfect innocence."

Another commentator says:

"In the first age of perfect purity, all was in harmony, and the passions did not occasion the slightest murmur. Man, united to sovereign reason within, conformed his outward actions to sovereign justice. Far from all duplicity and falsehood, his soul received marvelous felicity from heaven, and the purest delights from earth."

Another says:

"A delicious garden refreshed with zephyrs, and planted with odoriferous trees, was situated in the middle of a mountain, which was the avenue of heaven. The waters that moistened it flowed from a source called the 'Fountain of Immortality'. He who drinks of it never dies. Thence flowed four rivers. A Golden River, betwixt the South and East, a Red River, between the North and East, the River of the Lamb between the North and West."

The animal Kaiming guards the entrance.

Partly by an undue thirst for knowledge, and partly by increasing sensuality, and the seduction of woman, man fell. Then passion and lust ruled in the human mind, and war with the animals began. In one of the Chinese sacred volumes, called the Chi-King, it is said that:

"All was subject to man at first, but a woman threw us into slavery. The wise husband raised up a bulwark of walls, but the woman, by an ambitious desire of knowledge, demolished them. Our misery did not come from heaven, but from a woman. She lost the human race. Ah, unhappy Poo See! thou kindled the fire [Pg 15]that consumes us, and which is every day augmenting. Our misery has lasted many ages. The world is lost. Vice overflows all things like a mortal poison."[15:1]

Thus we see that the Chinese are no strangers to the doctrine of original sin. It is their invariable belief that man is a fallen being; admitted by them from time immemorial.

The inhabitants of Madagascar had a legend similar to the Eden story, which is related as follows:

"The first man was created of the dust of the earth, and was placed in a garden, where he was subject to none of the ills which now affect mortality; he was also free from all bodily appetites, and though surrounded by delicious fruit and limpid streams yet felt no desire to taste of the fruit or to quaff the water. The Creator had, moreover, strictly forbid him either to eat or to drink. The great enemy, however, came to him, and painted to him, in glowing colors, the sweetness of the apple, and the lusciousness of the date, and the succulence of the orange."

After resisting the temptations for a while, he at last ate of the fruit, and consequently fell.[15:2]

A legend of the Creation, similar to the Hebrew, was found by Mr. Ellis among the Tahitians, and appeared in his "Polynesian Researches." It is as follows:

After Taarao had formed the world, he created man out of aræa, red earth, which was also the food of man until bread was made. Taarao one day called for the man by name. When he came, he caused him to fall asleep, and while he slept, he took out one of his ivi, or bones, and with it made a woman, whom he gave to the man as his wife, and they became the progenitors of mankind. The woman's name was Ivi, which signifies a bone.[15:3]

The prose Edda, of the ancient Scandinavians, speaks of the "Golden Age" when all was pure and harmonious. This age lasted until the arrival of woman out of Jotunheim—the region of the giants, a sort of "land of Nod"—who corrupted it.[15:4]

In the annals of the Mexicans, the first woman, whose name was translated by the old Spanish writers, "the woman of our flesh," is always represented as accompanied by a great male serpent, who seems to be talking to her. Some writers believe this to be the tempter speaking to the primeval mother, and others that it is intended to represent the father of the human race. This Mexican Eve is represented on their monuments as the mother of twins.[15:5]

[Pg 16]

Mr. Franklin, in his "Buddhists and Jeynes," says:

"A striking instance is recorded by the very intelligent traveler (Wilson), regarding a representation of the Fall of our first parents, sculptured in the magnificent temple of Ipsambul, in Nubia. He says that a very exact representation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is to be seen in that cave, and that the serpent climbing round the tree is especially delineated, and the whole subject of the tempting of our first parents most accurately exhibited."[16:1]

Nearly the same thing was found by Colonel Coombs in the South of India. Colonel Tod, in his "Hist. Rajapoutana," says:

"A drawing, brought by Colonel Coombs from a sculptured column in a cave-temple in the South of India, represents the first pair at the foot of the ambrosial tree, and a serpent entwined among the heavily-laden boughs, presenting to them some of the fruit from his mouth. The tempter appears to be at that part of his discourse, when

'——his words, replete with guile,
Into her heart too easy entrance won:
Fixed on the fruit she gazed.'

"This is a curious subject to be engraved on an ancient Pagan temple."[16:2]

So the Colonel thought, no doubt, but it is not so very curious after all. It is the same myth which we have found—with but such small variations only as time and circumstances may be expected to produce—among different nations, in both the Old and New Worlds.

man and woman near fruit tree containing a snake

Fig. No. 2, taken from the work of Montfaucon,[16:3] represents one of these ancient Pagan sculptures. Can any one doubt that it is allusive to the myth of which we have been treating in this chapter?

That man was originally created a perfect being, and is now only a fallen and broken remnant of what he once was, we have seen to be a piece of mythology, not only unfounded in fact, but, beyond intelligent question, proved untrue. What, then, is the significance of the exposure of this myth? What does its loss as a scientific fact, and as a portion of Christian dogma, imply? It implies that with it—although many Christian divines who admit this to be a legend, do not, [Pg 17]or do not profess, to see it—must fall the whole Orthodox scheme, for upon this MYTH the theology of Christendom is built. The doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures, the Fall of man, his total depravity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the devil, hell, in fact, the entire theology of the Christian church, falls to pieces with the historical inaccuracy of this story, for upon it is it built; 'tis the foundation of the whole structure.[17:1]

According to Christian dogma, the Incarnation of Christ Jesus had become necessary, merely because he had to redeem the evil introduced into the world by the Fall of man. These two dogmas cannot be separated from each other. If there was no Fall, there is no need of an atonement, and no Redeemer is required. Those, then, who consent in recognizing in Christ Jesus a God and Redeemer, and who, notwithstanding, cannot resolve upon admitting the story of the Fall of man to be historical, should exculpate themselves from the reproach of inconsistency. There are a great number, however, in this position at the present day.

Although, as we have said, many Christian divines do not, or do not profess to, see the force of the above argument, there are many who do; and they, regardless of their scientific learning, cling to these old myths, professing to believe them, well knowing what must follow with their fall. The following, though written some years ago, will serve to illustrate this style of reasoning.

The Bishop of Manchester (England) writing in the "Manchester Examiner and Times," said:

"The very foundation of our faith, the very basis of our hopes, the very nearest and dearest of our consolations are taken from us, when one line of that sacred volume, on which we base everything, is declared to be untruthful and untrustworthy."

The "English Churchman," speaking of clergymen who have "doubts," said, that any who are not throughly persuaded "that the Scriptures cannot in any particular be untrue," should leave the Church.

The Rev. E. Garbett, M. A., in a sermon preached before the University of Oxford, speaking of the "historical truth" of the Bible, said:

[Pg 18]

"It is the clear teaching of those doctrinal formularies, to which we of the Church of England have expressed our solemn assent, and no honest interpretation of her language can get rid of it."

And that:

"In all consistent reason, we must accept the whole of the inspired autographs, or reject the whole."

Dr. Baylee, Principal of a theological university—St. Aiden's College—at Birkenhead, England, and author of a "Manual," called Baylee's "Verbal Inspiration," written "chiefly for the youths of St. Aiden's College," makes use of the following words, in that work:

"The whole Bible, as a revelation, is a declaration of the mind of God towards his creatures on all the subjects of which the Bible treats."

"The Bible is God's word, in the same sense as if he had made use of no human agent, but had Himself spoken it."

"The Bible cannot be less than verbally inspired. Every word, every syllable, every letter, is just what it would be, had God spoken from heaven without any human intervention."

"Every scientific statement is infallibly correct, all its history and narrations of every kind, are without any inaccuracy."[18:1]

A whole volume might be filled with such quotations, not only from religious works and journals published in England, but from those published in the United States of America.[18:2]


[1:1] The idea that the sun, moon and stars were set in the firmament was entertained by most nations of antiquity, but, as strange as it may appear, Pythagoras, the Grecian philosopher, who flourished from 540 to 510 B. C.—as well as other Grecian philosophers—taught that the sun was placed in the centre of the universe, with the planets roving round it in a circle, thus making day and night. (See Knight's Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 59, and note.) The Buddhists anciently taught that the universe is composed of limitless systems or worlds, called sakwalas.

They are scattered throughout space, and each sakwala has a sun and moon. (See Hardy: Buddhist Legends, pp. 80 and 87.)

[2:1] Origen, a Christian Father who flourished about A. D. 230, says: "What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second, and third days, in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon and stars?" (Quoted in Mysteries of Adoni, p. 176.)

[2:2] "The geologist reckons not by days or by years; the whole six thousand years, which were until lately looked on as the sum of the world's age, are to him but as a unit of measurement in the long succession of past ages." (Sir John Lubbock.)

"It is now certain that the vast epochs of time demanded by scientific observation are incompatible both with the six thousand years of the Mosaic chronology, and the six days of the Mosaic creation." (Dean Stanley.)

[2:3] "Let us make man in our own likeness," was said by Ormuzd, the Persian God of Gods, to his WORD. (See Bunsen's Angel Messiah, p. 104.)

[2:4] The number SEVEN was sacred among almost every nation of antiquity. (See ch. ii.)

[2:5] According to Grecian Mythology, the God Prometheus created men, in the image of the gods, out of clay (see Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 26; and Goldzhier: Hebrew Myths, p. 373), and the God Hephaistos was commanded by Zeus to mold of clay the figure of a maiden, into which Athênê, the dawn-goddess, breathed the breath of life. This is Pandora—the gift of all the gods—who is presented to Epimetheus. (See Cox: Aryan Myths, vol. ii., p. 208.)

[2:6] "What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise, in Eden, like a husbandman." (Origen: quoted in Mysteries of Adoni, p. 176.) "There is no way of preserving the literal sense of the first chapter of Genesis, without impiety, and attributing things to God unworthy of him." (St. Augustine.)

[2:7] "The records about the 'Tree of Life' are the sublimest proofs of the unity and continuity of tradition, and of its Eastern origin. The earliest records of the most ancient Oriental tradition refer to a 'Tree of Life,' which was guarded by spirits. The juice of the fruit of this sacred tree, like the tree itself, was called Sôma in Sanscrit, and Haôma in Zend; it was revered as the life preserving essence." (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 414)

[3:1] "According to the Persian account of Paradise, four great rivers came from Mount Alborj; two are in the North, and two go towards the South. The river Arduisir nourishes the Tree of Immortality, the Holy Hom." (Stiefelhagen: quoted in Mysteries of Adoni p. 149.)

"According to the Chinese myth, the waters of the Garden of Paradise issue from the fountain of immortality, which divides itself into four rivers." (Ibid., p. 150, and Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i., p. 210.) The Hindoos call their Mount Meru the Paradise, out of which went four rivers. (Anacalypsis, vol. i., p. 357.)

[3:2] According to Persian legend, Arimanes, the Evil Spirit, by eating a certain kind of fruit, transformed himself into a serpent, and went gliding about on the earth to tempt human beings. His Devs entered the bodies of men and produced all manner of diseases. They entered into their minds, and incited them to sensuality, falsehood, slander and revenge. Into every department of the world they introduced discord and death.

[4:1] Inasmuch as the physical construction of the serpent never could admit of its moving in any other way, and inasmuch as it does not eat dust, does not the narrator of this myth reflect unpleasantly upon the wisdom of such a God as Jehovah is claimed to be, as well as upon the ineffectualness of his first curse?

[5:1] "Our writer unmistakably recognizes the existence of many gods; for he makes Yahweh say: 'See, the man has become as ONE OF US, knowing good and evil;' and so he evidently implies the existence of other similar beings, to whom he attributes immortality and insight into the difference between good and evil. Yahweh, then, was, in his eyes, the god of gods, indeed, but not the only god." (Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 51.)

[5:2] In his memorial sermon, preached in Westminster Abbey, after the funeral of Sir Charles Lyell. He further said in this address:—

"It is well known that when the science of geology first arose, it was involved in endless schemes of attempted reconciliation with the letter of Scripture. There was, there are perhaps still, two modes of reconciliation of Scripture and science, which have been each in their day attempted, and each have totally and deservedly failed. One is the endeavor to wrest the words of the Bible from their natural meaning, and force it to speak the language of science." After speaking of the earliest known example, which was the interpolation of the word "not" in Leviticus xi. 6, he continues: "This is the earliest instance of the falsification of Scripture to meet the demands of science; and it has been followed in later times by the various efforts which have been made to twist the earlier chapters of the book of Genesis into apparent agreement with the last results of geology—representing days not to be days, morning and evening not to be morning and evening, the deluge not to be the deluge, and the ark not to be the ark."

[5:3] Gen. i. 9, 10.

[5:4] Gen. ii. 6.

[6:1] Gen. i. 20, 24, 26.

[6:2] Gen. ii. 7, 9.

[6:3] Gen. i. 20.

[6:4] Gen. ii. 19.

[6:5] Gen. i. 27.

[6:6] Gen. ii. 7: iii. 22.

[6:7] Gen. i. 28.

[6:8] Gen. ii. 8, 15.

[6:9] Gen. i. 28.

[6:10] Gen. ii. 7, 8, 15, 22.

[6:11] Gen. ii. 4-25.

[6:12] Gen. iii.

[6:13] Gen. i. 1-ii. 8.

[6:14] Gen. iii. 1, 3, 5.

[6:15] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. pp. 171-173.

[6:16] Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 59.

[7:1] The Relig. of Israel, p. 186.

[7:2] Von Bohlen: Intro. to Gen. vol. ii. p. 4.

[7:3] Lenormant: Beginning of Hist. vol. i. p. 6.

[7:4] See Ibid. p. 64; and Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 31.

[8:1] "The Etruscans believed in a creation of six thousand years, and in the successive production of different beings, the last of which was man." (Dunlap: Spirit Hist. p. 357.)

[8:2] Quoted by Bishop Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 115.

[8:3] Intro. to Genesis, vol. ii. p. 4.

[8:4] Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 63.

[8:5] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 158.

[9:1] See Chapter xi.

[9:2] Mr. Smith says, "Whatever the primitive account may have been from which the earlier part of the Book of Genesis was copied, it is evident that the brief narration given in the Pentateuch omits a number of incidents and explanations—for instance, as to the origin of evil, the fall of the angels, the wickedness of the serpent, &c. Such points as these are included in the cuneiform narrative." (Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 13, 14.)

[9:3] Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 88.

[9:4] Ibid. p. 89.

[9:5] Ibid. p. 91.

[10:1] Murray's Mythology, p. 208.

[10:2] Kalisch's Com. vol. i. p. 64.

[11:1] Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 87.

[11:2] Com. on the Old Test. vol. i. p. 70.

[11:3] Ibid.

[11:4] Ibid. "The fruit, and sap of this 'Tree of Life' begat immortality." (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 240.)

[11:5] See Montfaucon: L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 211, and Pl. cxxxiii.

[12:1] Faber: Origin Pagan Idolatry, vol. i. p. 443; in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 237.

[12:2] Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 13.

[12:3] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 159.

[12:4] See Bunsen's Keys of St. Peter, p. 414.

[12:5] Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 153.

[12:6] Buckley: Cities of the Ancient World, p. 148.

[12:7] Müller: Hist. Sanskrit Literature, p. 559.

[13:1] See Wake: Phallism in Ancient Religions, pp. 46, 47; and Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 408.

[13:2] Hardwick: Christ and Other Masters, p. 215.

[13:3] See Jacolliot's "Bible in India," which John Fisk calls a "very discreditable performance," and "a disgraceful piece of charlatanry" (Myths, &c. p. 205). This writer also states that according to Hindoo legend, the first man and woman were called "Adima and Heva," which is certainly not the case. The "bridge of Adima" which he speaks of as connecting the island of Ceylon with the mainland, is called "Rama's bridge;" and the "Adam's footprints" are called "Buddha's footprints." The Portuguese, who called the mountain Pico d' Adama (Adam's Peak), evidently invented these other names. (See Maurice's Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 301, 362, and vol. ii. p. 242).

[13:4] See Smith's Bible Dic. Art. "Cherubim," and Lenormant's Beginning of History, ch. iii.

[15:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 206-210, The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. pp. 152, 153, and Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 38.

[15:2] Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 31.

[15:3] Quoted by Müller: The Science of Relig., p. 302.

[15:4] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 409.

[15:5] See Baring Gould's Legends of the Patriarchs; Squire's Serpent Symbol, p. 161, and Wake's Phallism in Ancient Religions, p. 41.

[16:1] Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 403.

[16:2] Tod's Hist. Raj., p. 581, quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 404.

[16:3] L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i.

[17:1] Sir William Jones, the first president of the Royal Asiatic Society, saw this when he said: "Either the first eleven chapters of Genesis, all due allowance being made for a figurative Eastern style, are true, or the whole fabric of our religion is false." (In Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 225.) And so also did the learned Thomas Maurice, for he says: "If the Mosaic History be indeed a fable, the whole fabric of the national religion is false, since the main pillar of Christianity rests upon that important original promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent." (Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 20.)

[18:1] The above extracts are quoted by Bishop Colenso, in The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. pp. 10-12, from which we take them.

[18:2] "Cosmogony" is the title of a volume lately written by Prof. Thomas Mitchell, and published by the American News Co., in which the author attacks all the modern scientists in regard to the geological antiquity of the world, evolution, atheism, pantheism, &c. He believes—and rightly too—that, "if the account of Creation in Genesis falls, Christ and the apostles follow: if the book of Genesis is erroneous, so also are the Gospels."

[Pg 19]



After "man's shameful fall," the earth began to be populated at a very rapid rate. "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. . . . . There were giants in the earth in those days,[19:2] and also . . . mighty men . . . men of renown."

But these "giants" and "mighty men" were very wicked, "and God saw the wickedness of man . . . and it repented the Lord that he had made man upon the earth,[19:3] and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said; I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (for) Noah was a just man . . . and walked with God. . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them, and, behold, I will [Pg 20]destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood, rooms shalt thou make in the ark, (and) a window shalt thou make to the ark; . . . . And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven, and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee shall I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives, with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come in to thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee and for them. Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him."[20:1]

When the ark was finished, the Lord said unto Noah:

"Come thou and all thy house into the ark. . . . Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female."[20:2]

Here, again, as in the Eden myth, there is a contradiction. We have seen that the Lord told Noah to bring into the ark "of every living thing, of all flesh, two of every sort," and now that the ark is finished, we are told that he said to him: "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens," and, "of fowls also of the air by sevens." This is owing to the story having been written by two different writers—the Jehovistic, and the Elohistic—one of which took from, and added to the narrative of the other.[20:3] The account goes on to say, that:

"Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark. . . . Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two, unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah."[20:4]

We see, then, that Noah took into the ark of all kinds of beasts, of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth, two of every sort, and that this was "as God had commanded Noah." This clearly shows that the writer of these words knew nothing of the command [Pg 21]to take in clean beasts, and fowls of the air, by sevens. We are further assured, that, "Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him."

After Noah and his family, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, the fowls of the air, and every creeping thing, had entered the ark, the Lord shut them in. Then "were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. . . . . And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man. And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."[21:1] The object of the flood was now accomplished, "all flesh died that moved upon the earth." The Lord, therefore, "made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged. The fountains of the deep, and the windows of heaven, were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters decreased continually. . . . . And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark, which he had made. And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. He also sent forth a dove, . . . but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark." . . .

At the end of seven days he again "sent forth the dove out of the ark, and the dove came in to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf, plucked off."

At the end of another seven days, he again "sent forth the dove, which returned not again to him any more."

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. Then Noah and his wife, and his sons, and his sons' wives, and every living thing that was in the ark, went forth out of the ark. "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, . . . and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake."[21:2]

[Pg 22]

We shall now see that there is scarcely any considerable race of men among whom there does not exist, in some form, the tradition of a great deluge, which destroyed all the human race, except their own progenitors.

The first of these which we shall notice, and the one with which the Hebrew agrees most closely, having been copied from it,[22:1] is the Chaldean, as given by Berosus, the Chaldean historian.[22:2] It is as follows:

"After the death of Ardates (the ninth king of the Chaldeans), his son Xisuthrus reigned eighteen sari. In his time happened a great deluge, the history of which is thus described: The deity Cronos appeared to him (Xisuthrus) in a vision, and warned him that upon the fifteenth day of the month Desius there would be a flood, by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to write a history of the beginning, procedure, and conclusion of all things, and to bury it in the City of the Sun at Sippara; and to build a vessel, and take with him into it his friends and relations, and to convey on board everything necessary to sustain life, together with all the different animals, both birds and quadrupeds, and trust himself fearlessly to the deep. Having asked the deity whither he was to sail, he was answered: 'To the Gods;' upon which he offered up a prayer for the good of mankind. He then obeyed the divine admonition, and built a vessel five stadia in length, and two in breadth. Into this he put everything which he had prepared, and last of all conveyed into it his wife, his children, and his friends. After the flood had been upon the earth, and was in time abated, Xisuthrus sent out birds from the vessel; which not finding any food, nor any place whereupon they might rest their feet, returned to him again. After an interval of some days, he sent them forth a second time; and they now returned with their feet tinged with mud. He made a trial a third time with these birds; but they returned to him no more: from whence he judged that the surface of the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and upon looking out found that it was stranded upon the side of some mountain; upon which he immediately quitted it with his wife, his daughter, and the pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth, and, having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods."[22:3]

This account, given by Berosus, which agrees in almost every particular with that found in Genesis, and with that found by George Smith of the British Museum on terra cotta tablets in Assyria, is nevertheless different in some respects. But, says Mr. Smith:

"When we consider the difference between the two countries of Palestine and Babylonia, these variations do not appear greater than we should expect. . . . It was only natural that, in relating the same stories, each nation should [Pg 23]color them in accordance with its own ideas, and stress would naturally in each case be laid upon points with which they were familiar. Thus we should expect beforehand that there would be differences in the narrative such as we actually find, and we may also notice that the cuneiform account does not always coincide even with the account of the same events given by Berosus from Chaldean sources."[23:1]

The most important points are the same however, i. e., in both cases the virtuous man is informed by the Lord that a flood is about to take place, which would destroy mankind. In both cases they are commanded to build a vessel or ark, to enter it with their families, and to take in beasts, birds, and everything that creepeth, also to provide themselves with food. In both cases they send out a bird from the ark three times—the third time it failed to return. In both cases they land on a mountain, and upon leaving the ark they offer up a sacrifice to the gods. Xisuthrus was the tenth king,[23:2] and Noah the tenth patriarch.[23:3] Xisuthrus had three sons (Zerovanos, Titan and Japetosthes),[23:4] and Noah had three sons (Shem, Ham and Japhet).[23:5]

As Cory remarks in his "Ancient Fragments," the history of the flood, as given by Berosus, so remarkably corresponds with the Biblical account of the Noachian Deluge, that no one can doubt that both proceeded from one source—they are evidently transcriptions, except the names, from some ancient document.[23:6]

This legend became known to the Jews from Chaldean sources,[23:7] it was not known in the country (Egypt) out of which they evidently came.[23:8] Egyptian history, it is said, had gone on [Pg 24]uninterrupted for ten thousand years before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus.[24:1] And it is known as absolute fact that the land of Egypt was never visited by other than its annual beneficent overflow of the river Nile.[24:2] The Egyptian Bible, which is by far the most ancient of all holy books[24:3], knew nothing of the Deluge.[24:4] The Phra (or Pharaoh) Khoufou-Cheops was building his pyramid, according to Egyptian chronicle, when the whole world was under the waters of a universal deluge, according to the Hebrew chronicle.[24:5] A number of other nations of antiquity are found destitute of any story of a flood,[24:6] which they certainly would have had if a universal deluge had ever happened. Whether this legend is of high antiquity in India has even been doubted by distinguished scholars.[24:7]

The Hindoo legend of the Deluge is as follows:

"Many ages after the creation of the world, Brahma resolved to destroy it with a deluge, on account of the wickedness of the people. There lived at that time a pious man named Satyavrata, and as the lord of the universe loved this pious man, and wished to preserve him from the sea of destruction which was to appear on account of the depravity of the age, he appeared before him in the form of Vishnu (the Preserver) and said: In seven days from the present time . . . the worlds will be plunged in an ocean of death, but in the midst of the destroying waves, a large vessel, sent by me for thy use, shall stand before thee. Then shalt thou take all medicinal herbs, all the variety of feeds, and, accompanied by seven saints, encircled by pairs of all brute animals, thou shalt enter the spacious ark, and continue in it, secure from the flood, on one immense ocean without light, except the radiance of thy holy companions. When the ship shall be agitated by an impetuous wind, thou shalt fasten it with a large sea-serpent on my horn; for I will be near thee (in the form of a fish), drawing the vessel, with thee and thy attendants. I will remain on the ocean, O chief of men, until a night of Brahma shall be completely ended. Thou shalt then [Pg 25]know my true greatness, rightly named the Supreme Godhead; by my favor, all thy questions shall be answered, and thy mind abundantly instructed."

Being thus directed, Satyavrata humbly waited for the time which the ruler of our senses had appointed. It was not long, however, before the sea, overwhelming its shores, began to deluge the whole earth, and it was soon perceived to be augmented by showers from immense clouds. He, still meditating on the commands of the Lord, saw a vessel advancing, and entered it with the saints, after having carried into effect the instructions which had been given him.

Vishnu then appeared before them, in the form of a fish, as he had said, and Satyavrata fastened a cable to his horn.

The deluge in time abated, and Satyavrata, instructed in all divine and human knowledge, was appointed, by the favor of Vishnu, the Seventh Menu. After coming forth from the ark he offers up a sacrifice to Brahma.[25:1]

The ancient temples of Hindostan contain representations of Vishnu sustaining the earth while overwhelmed by the waters of the deluge. A rainbow is seen on the surface of the subsiding waters.[25:2]

The Chinese believe the earth to have been at one time covered with water, which they described as flowing abundantly and then subsiding. This great flood divided the higher from the lower age of man. It happened during the reign of Yaou. This inundation, which is termed hung-shwuy (great water), almost ruined the country, and is spoken of by Chinese writers with sentiments of horror. The Shoo-King, one of their sacred books, describes the waters as reaching to the tops of some of the mountains, covering the hills, and expanding as wide as the vault of heaven.[25:3]

The Parsees say that by the temptation of the evil spirit men became wicked, and God destroyed them with a deluge, except a few, from whom the world was peopled anew.[25:4]

In the Zend-Avesta, the oldest sacred book of the Persians, of whom the Parsees are direct descendants, there are sixteen countries spoken of as having been given by Ormuzd, the Good Deity, for the Aryans to live in; and these countries are described as a land of delight, which was turned by Ahriman, the Evil Deity, into a [Pg 26]land of death and cold, partly, it is said, by a great flood, which is described as being like Noah's flood recorded in the Book of Genesis.[26:1]

The ancient Greeks had records of a flood which destroyed nearly the whole human race.[26:2] The story is as follows:

"From his throne in the high Olympos, Zeus looked down on the children of men, and saw that everywhere they followed only their lusts, and cared nothing for right or for law. And ever, as their hearts waxed grosser in their wickedness, they devised for themselves new rites to appease the anger of the gods, till the whole earth was filled with blood. Far away in the hidden glens of the Arcadian hills the sons of Lykaon feasted and spake proud words against the majesty of Zeus, and Zeus himself came down from his throne to see their way and their doings. . . . Then Zeus returned to his home on Olympos, and he gave the word that a flood of waters should be let loose upon the earth, that the sons of men might die for their great wickedness. So the west wind rose in its might, and the dark rain-clouds veiled the whole heaven, for the winds of the north which drive away the mists and vapors were shut up in their prison house. On hill and valley burst the merciless rain, and the rivers, loosened from their courses, rushed over the whole plains and up the mountain-side. From his home on the highlands of Phthia, Deukalion looked forth on the angry sky, and, when he saw the waters swelling in the valleys beneath, he called Pyrrha, his wife, and said to her: 'The time has come of which my father, the wise Prometheus, forewarned me. Make ready, therefore, the ark which I have built, and place in it all that we may need for food while the flood of waters is out upon the earth.' . . . Then Pyrrha hastened to make all things ready, and they waited till the waters rose up to the highlands of Phthia and floated away the ark of Deukalion. The fishes swam amidst the old elm-groves, and twined amongst the gnarled boughs on the oaks, while on the face of the waters were tossed the bodies of men; and Deukalion looked on the dead faces of stalwart warriors, of maidens, and of babes, as they rose and fell upon the heavy waves."

When the flood began to abate, the ark rested on Mount Parnassus, and Deucalion, with his wife Pyrrha, stepped forth upon the desolate earth. They then immediately constructed an altar, and offered up thanks to Zeus, the mighty being who sent the flood and saved them from its waters.[26:3]

According to Ovid (a Grecian writer born 43 B. C.), Deucalion does not venture out of the ark until a dove which he sent out returns to him with an olive branch.[26:4]

[Pg 27]

It was at one time extensively believed, even by intelligent scholars, that the myth of Deucalion was a corrupted tradition of the Noachian deluge, but this untenable opinion is now all but universally abandoned.[27:1]

The legend was found in the West among the Kelts. They believed that a great deluge overwhelmed the world and drowned all men except Drayan and Droyvach, who escaped in a boat, and colonized Britain. This boat was supposed to have been built by the "Heavenly Lord," and it received into it a pair of every kind of beasts.[27:2]

The ancient Scandinavians had their legend of a deluge. The Edda describes this deluge, from which only one man escapes, with his family, by means of a bark.[27:3] It was also found among the ancient Mexicans. They believed that a man named Coxcox, and his wife, survived the deluge. Lord Kingsborough, speaking of this legend,[27:4] informs us that the person who answered to Noah entered the ark with six others; and that the story of sending birds out of the ark, &c., is the same in general character with that of the Bible.

Dr. Brinton also speaks of the Mexican tradition.[27:5] They had not only the story of sending out the bird, but related that the ark landed on a mountain. The tradition of a deluge was also found among the Brazilians, and among many Indian tribes.[27:6] The mountain upon which the ark is supposed to have rested, was pointed to by the residents in nearly every quarter of the globe. The mountain-chain of Ararat was considered to be—by the Chaldeans and Hebrews—the place where the ark landed. The Greeks pointed to Mount Parnassus; the Hindoos to the Himalayas; and in Armenia numberless heights were pointed out with becoming reverence, as those on which the few survivors of the dreadful scenes of the deluge were preserved. On the Red River (in America), near the village of the Caddoes, there was an eminence to which the Indian tribes for a great distance around paid devout homage. The Cerro Naztarny on the Rio Grande, the peak of Old Zuni in New Mexico, that of Colhuacan on the Pacific coast, Mount Apoala in Upper Mixteca, and Mount Neba in the province of Guaymi, are some of many elevations asserted by the neighboring [Pg 28]nations to have been places of refuge for their ancestors when the fountains of the great deep broke forth.

The question now may naturally be asked, How could such a story have originated unless there was some foundation for it?

In answer to this question we will say that we do not think such a story could have originated without some foundation for it, and that most, if not all, legends, have a basis of truth underlying the fabulous, although not always discernible. This story may have an astronomical basis, as some suppose,[28:1] or it may not. At any rate, it would be very easy to transmit by memory the fact of the sinking of an island, or that of an earthquake, or a great flood, caused by overflows of rivers, &c., which, in the course of time, would be added to, and enlarged upon, and, in this way, made into quite a lengthy tale. According to one of the most ancient accounts of the deluge, we are told that at that time "the forest trees were dashed against each other;" "the mountains were involved with smoke and flame;" that there was "fire, and smoke, and wind, which ascended in thick clouds replete with lightning." "The roaring of the ocean, whilst violently agitated with the whirling of the mountains, was like the bellowing of a mighty cloud, &c."[28:2]

A violent earthquake, with eruptions from volcanic mountains, and the sinking of land into the sea, would evidently produce such a scene as this. We know that at one period in the earth's history, such scenes must have been of frequent occurrence. The science of geology demonstrates this fact to us. Local deluges were of frequent occurrence, and that some persons may have been saved on one, or perhaps many, such occasions, by means of a raft or boat, and that they may have sought refuge on an eminence, or mountain, does not seem at all improbable.

During the Champlain period in the history of the world—which came after the Glacial period—the climate became warmer, the continents sank, and there were, consequently, continued local floods which must have destroyed considerable animal life, including man. The foundation of the deluge myth may have been laid at this time.

[Pg 29]

Some may suppose that this is dating the history of man too far back, making his history too remote; but such is not the case. There is every reason to believe that man existed for ages before the Glacial epoch. It must not be supposed that we have yet found remains of the earliest human beings; there is evidence, however, that man existed during the Pliocene, if not during the Miocene periods, when hoofed quadrupeds, and Proboscidians abounded, human remains and implements having been found mingled with remains of these animals.[29:1]

Charles Darwin believed that the animal called man, might have been properly called by that name at an epoch as remote as the Eocene period.[29:2] Man had probably lost his hairy covering by that time, and had begun to look human.

Prof. Draper, speaking of the antiquity of man, says:

"So far as investigations have gone, they indisputably refer the existence of man to a date remote from us by many hundreds of thousands of years," and that, "it is difficult to assign a shorter date from the last glaciation of Europe than a quarter of a million of years, and human existence antedates that."[29:3]

Again he says:

"Recent researches give reason to believe that, under low and base grades, the existence of man can be traced back into the Tertiary times. He was contemporary with the Southern Elephant, the Rhinoceros-leptorhinus, the great Hippopotamus, perhaps even in the Miocene, contemporary with the Mastodon."[29:4]

[Pg 30]

Prof. Huxley closes his "Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature," by saying:

"Where must we look for primeval man? Was the oldest Homo Sapiens Pliocene or Miocene, or yet more ancient? . . . If any form of the doctrine of progressive development is correct, we must extend by long epochs the most liberal estimate that has yet been made of the antiquity of man."[30:1]

Prof. Oscar Paschel, in his work on "Mankind," speaking of the deposits of human remains which have been discovered in caves, mingled with the bones of wild animals, says:

"The examination of one of these caves at Brixham, by a geologist as trustworthy as Dr. Falconer, convinced the specialists of Great Britain, as early as 1858, that man was a contemporary of the Mammoth, the Woolly Rhinoceros, the Cave-lion, the Cave-hyena, the Cave-bear, and therefore of the Mammalia of the Geological period antecedent to our own."[30:2]

The positive evidence of man's existence during the Tertiary period, are facts which must firmly convince every one—who is willing to be convinced—of the great antiquity of man. We might multiply our authorities, but deem it unnecessary.

The observation of shells, corals, and other remains of aquatic animals, in places above the level of the sea, and even on high mountains, may have given rise to legends of a great flood.

Fossils found imbedded in high ground have been appealed to, both in ancient and modern times, both by savage and civilized man, as evidence in support of their traditions of a flood; and, moreover, the argument, apparently unconnected with any tradition, is to be found, that because there are marine fossils in places away from the sea, therefore the sea must once have been there.

It is only quite recently that the presence of fossil shells, &c., on high mountains, has been abandoned as evidence of the Noachic flood.

Mr. Tylor tells us that in the ninth edition of "Horne's Introduction to the Scriptures," published in 1846, the evidence of fossils is confidently held to prove the universality of the Deluge; but the argument disappears from the next edition, published ten years later.[30:3]

Besides fossil remains of aquatic animals, boats have been found on tops of mountains.[30:4] A discovery of this kind may have given rise to the story of an ark having been made in which to preserve the favored ones from the waters, and of its landing on a mountain.[30:5]

[Pg 31]

Before closing this chapter, it may be well to notice a striking incident in the legend we have been treating, i. e., the frequent occurrence of the number seven in the narrative. For instance: the Lord commands Noah to take into the ark clean beasts by sevens, and fowls also by sevens, and tells him that in seven days he will cause it to rain upon the earth. We are also told that the ark rested in the seventh month, and the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. After sending the dove out of the ark the first time, Noah waited seven days before sending it out again. After sending the dove out the second time, "he stayed yet another seven days" ere he again sent forth the dove.

This coincidence arises from the mystic power attached to the number seven, derived from its frequent occurrence in astrology.

We find that in all religions of antiquity the number seven—which applied to the sun, moon and the five planets known to the ancients—is a sacred number, represented in all kinds and sorts of forms;[31:1] for instance: The candlestick with seven branches in the temple of Jerusalem. The seven inclosures of the temple. The seven doors of the cave of Mithras. The seven stories of the tower of Babylon.[31:2] The seven gates of Thebes.[31:3] The flute of seven pipes generally put into the hand of the god Pan. The lyre of seven strings touched by Apollo. The book of "Fate," composed of seven books. The seven prophetic rings of the Brahmans.[31:4] The seven stones—consecrated to the seven planets—in Laconia.[31:5] The division into seven castes adopted by the Egyptians and Indians. The seven idols of the Bonzes. The seven altars of the monument of Mithras. The seven great spirits invoked by the Persians. The seven archangels of the Chaldeans. The seven archangels of the Jews.[31:6]

[Pg 32]

The seven days in the week.[32:1] The seven sacraments of the Christians. The seven wicked spirits of the Babylonians. The sprinkling of blood seven times upon the altars of the Egyptians. The seven mortal sins of the Egyptians. The hymn of seven vowels chanted by the Egyptian priests.[32:2] The seven branches of the Assyrian "Tree of Life." Agni, the Hindoo god, is represented with seven arms. Sura's[32:3] horse was represented with seven heads. Seven churches are spoken of in the Apocalypse. Balaam builded seven altars, and offered seven bullocks and seven rams on each altar. Pharaoh saw seven kine, &c., in his dream. The "Priest of Midian" had seven daughters. Jacob served seven years. Before Jericho seven priests bare seven horns. Samson was bound with seven green withes, and his marriage feast lasted seven days, &c., &c. We might continue with as much more, but enough has been shown to verify the statement that, "in all religions of antiquity, the number SEVEN is a sacred number."


[19:1] See "The Deluge in the Light of Modern Science," by Prof. Wm. Denton: J. P. Mendum, Boston.

[19:2] "There were giants in the earth in those days." It is a scientific fact that most races of men, in former ages, instead of being larger, were smaller than at the present time. There is hardly a suit of armor in the Tower of London, or in the old castles, that is large enough for the average Englishman of to-day to put on. Man has grown in stature as well as intellect, and there is no proof whatever—in fact, the opposite is certain—that there ever was a race of what might properly be called giants, inhabiting the earth. Fossil remains of large animals having been found by primitive man, and a legend invented to account for them, it would naturally be that: "There were giants in the earth in those days." As an illustration we may mention the story, recorded by the traveller James Orton, we believe (in "The Andes and the Amazon"), that, near Punin, in South America, was found the remains of an extinct species of the horse, the mastodon, and other large animals. This discovery was made, owing to the assurance of the natives that giants at one time had lived in that country, and that they had seen their remains at this certain place. Many legends have had a similar origin. But the originals of all the Ogres and Giants to be found in the mythology of almost all nations of antiquity, are the famous Hindoo demons, the Rakshasas of our Aryan ancestors. The Rakshasas were very terrible creatures indeed, and in the minds of many people, in India, are so still. Their natural form, so the stories say, is that of huge, unshapely giants, like clouds, with hair and beard of the color of the red lightning. This description explains their origin. They are the dark, wicked and cruel clouds, personified.

[19:3] "And it repented the Lord that he had made man." (Gen. iv.) "God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent." (Numb. xxiii. 19.)

[20:1] Gen. iv.

[20:2] Gen. vi. 1-3.

[20:3] See chapter xi.

[20:4] The image of Osiris of Egypt was by the priests shut up in a sacred ark on the 17th of Athyr (Nov. 13th), the very day and month on which Noah is said to have entered his ark, (See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 165, and Bunsen's Angel Messiah, p. 22.)

[21:1] Gen. vi.

[21:2] Gen. viii.

[22:1] See chapter xi.

[22:2] Josephus, the Jewish historian, speaking of the flood of Noah (Antiq. bk. 1, ch. iii.), says: "All the writers of the Babylonian histories make mention of this flood and this ark."

[22:3] Quoted by George Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 43-44; see also, The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 211; Dunlap's Spirit Hist. p. 138; Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 61, et seq. for similar accounts.

[23:1] Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 285, 286.

[23:2] Volney: New Researches, p. 119; Chaldean Acct. of Genesis, p. 290; Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 417, and Dunlap's Spirit Hist. p. 277.

[23:3] Ibid.

[23:4] Legends of the Patriarchs, pp. 109, 110.

[23:5] Gen. vi. 8.

[23:6] The Hindoo ark-preserved Menu had three sons; Sama, Cama, and Pra-Japati. (Faber: Orig. Pagan Idol.) The Bhattias, who live between Delli and the Panjab, insist that they are descended from a certain king called Salivahana, who had three sons, Bhat, Maha and Thamaz. (Col. Wilford, in vol. ix. Asiatic Researches.) The Iranian hero Thraetona had three sons. The Iranian Sethite Lamech had three sons, and Hellen, the son of Deucalion, during whose time the flood is said to have happened, had three sons. (Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, pp. 70, 71.) All the ancient nations of Europe also describe their origin from the three sons of some king or patriarch. The Germans said that Mannus (son of the god Tuisco) had three sons, who were the original ancestors of the three principal nations of Germany. The Scythians said that Targytagus, the founder of their nation, had three sons, from whom they were descended. A tradition among the Romans was that the Cyclop Polyphemus had by Galatea three sons. Saturn had three sons, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; and Hesiod speaks of the three sons which sprung from the marriage of heaven and earth. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 509.)

[23:7] See chap. xi.

[23:8] "It is of no slight moment that the Egyptians, with whom the Hebrews are represented as in earliest and closest intercourse, had no traditions of a flood, while the Babylonian and Hellenic tales bear a strong resemblance in many points to the narrative in Genesis." (Rev. George W. Cox: Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 340. See also Owen: Man's Earliest History, p. 28, and ch. xi. this work.)

[24:1] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 198, and Knight's Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 107. "Plato was told that Egypt had hymns dating back ten thousand years before his time." (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 185.) Plato lived 429 B. C. Herodotus relates that the priests of Egypt informed him that from the first king to the present priest of Vulcan who last reigned, were three hundred forty and one generations of men, and during these generations there were the same number of chief priests and kings. "Now (says he) three hundred generations are equal to ten thousand years, for three generations of men are one hundred years; and the forty-one remaining generations that were over the three hundred, make one thousand three hundred and forty years," making eleven thousand three hundred and forty years. "Conducting me into the interior of an edifice that was spacious, and showing me wooden colossuses to the number I have mentioned, they reckoned them up; for every high priest places an image of himself there during his life-time; the priests, therefore, reckoning them and showing them to me, pointed out that each was the son of his own father; going through them all, from the image of him who died last until they had pointed them all out." (Herodotus, book ii. chs. 142, 143.) The discovery of mummies of royal and priestly personages, made at Deir-el-Bahari (Aug., 1881), near Thebes, in Egypt, would seem to confirm this statement made by Herodotus. Of the thirty-nine mummies discovered, one—that of King Raskenen—is about three thousand seven hundred years old. (See a Cairo [Aug. 8th,] Letter to the London Times.)

[24:2] Owen: Man's Earliest History, p. 28.

[24:3] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 185.

[24:4] Ibid. p. 411.

[24:5] Owen: Man's Earliest History, pp. 27, 28.

[24:6] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mytho. p. 319.

[24:7] Ibid. p. 320.

[25:1] Translated from the Bhagavat by Sir Wm. Jones, and published in the first volume of the "Asiatic Researches," p. 230, et seq. See also Maurice: Ind. Ant. ii. 277, et seq., and Prof. Max Müller's Hist. Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 425, et seq.

[25:2] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 55.

[25:3] See Thornton's Hist. China, vol. i. p. 30, Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 205, and Priestley, p. 41.

[25:4] Priestley, p. 42.

[26:1] Bunce: Fairy Tales, Origin and Meaning, p. 18.

[26:2] The oldest Greek mythology, however, has no such idea; it cannot be proved to have been known to the Greeks earlier than the 6th century B. C. (See Goldzhier: Hebrew Mytho., p. 319.) This could not have been the case had there ever been a universal deluge.

[26:3] Tales of Ancient Greece, pp. 72-74. "Apollodorus—a Grecian mythologist, born 140 B. C.,—having mentioned Deucalion consigned to the ark, takes notice, upon his quitting it, of his offering up an immediate sacrifice to God." (Chambers' Encyclo., art, Deluge.)

[26:4] In Lundy's Monumental Christianity (p. 209, Fig. 137) may be seen a representation of Deucalion and Pyrrha landing from the ark. A dove and olive branch are depicted in the scene.

[27:1] Chambers' Encyclo., art. Deucalion.

[27:2] Baring-Gould: Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 114. See also Myths of the British Druids, p. 95.

[27:3] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 99.

[27:4] Mex. Antiq. vol. viii.

[27:5] Myths of the New World, pp. 203, 204.

[27:6] See Squire: Serpent Symbol, pp. 189, 190.

[28:1] Count de Volney says: "The Deluge mentioned by Jews, Chaldeans, Greeks and Indians, as having destroyed the world, are one and the same physico-astronomical event which is still repeated every year," and that "all those personages that figure in the Deluge of Noah and Xisuthrus, are still in the celestial sphere. It was a real picture of the calendar." (Researches in Ancient Hist., p. 124.) It was on the same day that Noah is said to have shut himself up in the ark, that the priests of Egypt shut up in their sacred coffer or ark the image of Osiris, a personification of the Sun. This was on the 17th of the month Athor, in which the Sun enters the Scorpion. (See Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 410.) The history of Noah also corresponds, in some respects, with that of Bacchus, another personification of the Sun.

[28:2] See Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 268.

[29:1] "In America, along with the bones of the Mastodon imbedded in the alluvium of the Bourbense, were found arrow heads and other traces of the savages who had killed this member of an order no longer represented in that part of the world." (Herbert Spencer: Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 17.)

[29:2] Darwin: Descent of Man, p. 156. We think it may not be out of place to insert here what might properly be called: "The Drama of Life," which is as follows:

Act i. Azoic: Conflict of Inorganic Forces.
Act ii. Paleozoic: Age of Invertebrates.
Scene   i. Eozoic: Enter Protozoans and Protophytes.
Scene  ii. Silurian: Enter the Army of Invertebrates.
Scene iii. Devonian: Enter Fishes.
Scene  iv. Carboniferous: (Age of Coal Plants) Enter First Air breathers.
Act iii. Mesozoic: Enter Reptiles.
Scene   i. Triassic: Enter Batrachians.
Scene  ii. Jurassic: Enter huge Reptiles of Sea, Land and Air.
Scene iii. Cretaceous: (Age of Chalk) Enter Ammonites.
Act iv. Cenozoic: (Age of Mammals.)
Scene   i. Eocene: Enter Marine Mammals, and probably Man.
Scene  ii. Miocene: Enter Hoofed Quadrupeds.
Scene iii. Pliocene: Enter Proboscidians and Edentates.
Act v. Post Tertiary: Positive Age of Man.
Post Tertiary
Scene   i. Glacial: Ice and Drift Periods.
Scene  ii. Champlain: Sinking Continents; Warmer; Tropical Animals go North.
Scene iii. Terrace: Rising Continents; Colder.
Scene  iv. Present: Enter Science, Iconoclasts, &c., &c.

[29:3] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 199.

[29:4] Ibid. pp. 195, 196.

[30:1] Huxley: Man's Place in Nature, p. 184.

[30:2] Paschel: Races of Man, p. 36.

[30:3] Tylor: Early History of Mankind, p. 328.

[30:4] Ibid. pp. 329, 330

[30:5] We know that many legends have originated in this way. For example, Dr. Robinson, in his "Travels in Palestine" (ii. 586), mentions a tradition that a city had once stood in a desert between Petra and Hebron, the people of which had perished for their vices, and been converted into stone. Mr. Seetzen, who went to the spot, found no traces of ruins, but a number of stony concretions, resembling in form and size the human head. They had been ignorantly supposed to be petrified heads, and a legend framed to account for their owners suffering so terrible a fate. Another illustration is as follows:—The Kamchadals believe that volcanic mountains are the abode of devils, who, after they have cooked their meals, fling the fire-brands out of the chimney. Being asked what these devils eat, they said "whales." Here we see, first, a story invented to account for the volcanic eruptions from the mountains; and, second, a story invented to account for the remains of whales found on the mountains. The savages knew that this was true, "because their old people had said so, and believed it themselves." (Related by Mr. Tylor, in his "Early History of Mankind," p. 326.)

[31:1] "Everything of importance was calculated by, and fitted into, this number (SEVEN) by the Aryan philosophers,—ideas as well as localities." (Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 407).

[31:2] Each one being consecrated to a planet. First, to Saturn; second, to Jupiter; third, to Mars; fourth, to the Sun; fifth, to Venus; sixth, to Mercury; seventh, to the Moon. (The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 269. See also The Angel Messiah, p. 106.)

[31:3] Each of which had the name of a planet.

[31:4] On each of which the name of a planet was engraved.

[31:5] "There was to be seen in Laconia, seven columns erected in honor of the seven planets." (Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 34.)

[31:6] "The Jews believed that the Throne of Jehovah was surrounded by his seven high chiefs: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, &c." (Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 46.)

[32:1] Each one being consecrated to a planet, and the Sun and Moon. Sunday, "Dies Solis," sacred to the SUN. Monday, "Dies Lunae," sacred to the MOON. Tuesday, sacred to Tuiso or Mars. Wednesday, sacred to Odin or Woden, and to Mercury. Thursday, sacred to Thor and others. Friday, sacred to Freia and Venus. Saturday, sacred to Saturn. "The (ancient) Egyptians assigned a day of the week to the SUN, MOON, and five planets, and the number SEVEN was held there in great reverence." (Kenrick: Egypt, i. 238.)

[32:2] "The Egyptian priests chanted the seven vowels as a hymn addressed to Serapis." (The Rosicrucians, p. 143.)

[32:3] Sura: the Sun-god of the Hindoos.

[Pg 33]



We are informed that, at one time, "the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they (the inhabitants of the earth) journeyed from the East, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.

"And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

"And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."[33:1]

Such is the "Scripture" account of the origin of languages, which differs somewhat from the ideas of Prof. Max Müller and other philologists.

Bishop Colenso tells us that:

"The story of the dispensation of tongues is connected by the Jehovistic writer with the famous unfinished temple of Belus, of which probably some wonderful reports had reached him. . . . The derivation of the name Babel from the Hebrew word babal (confound) which seems to be the connecting point between the story and the tower of Babel, is altogether incorrect."[33:2]

[Pg 34]

The literal meaning of the word being house, or court, or gate of Bel, or gate of God.[34:1]

John Fiske confirms this statement by saying:

"The name 'Babel' is really 'Bab-il', or 'The Gate of God'; but the Hebrew writer erroneously derives the word from the root 'babal'—to confuse—and hence arises the mystical explanation, that Babel was a place where human speech became confused."[34:2]

The "wonderful reports" that reached the Jehovistic writer who inserted this tale into the Hebrew Scriptures, were from the Chaldean account of the confusion of tongues. It is related by Berosus as follows:

The first inhabitants of the earth, glorying in their strength and size,[34:3] and despising the gods, undertook to raise a tower whose top should reach the sky, in the place where Babylon now stands. But when it approached the heavens, the winds assisted the gods, and overthrew the work of the contrivers, and also introduced a diversity of tongues among men, who till that time had all spoken the same language. The ruins of this tower are said to be still in Babylon.[34:4]

Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that it was Nimrod who built the tower, that he was a very wicked man, and that the tower was built in case the Lord should have a mind to drown the world again. He continues his account by saying that when Nimrod proposed the building of this tower, the multitude were very ready to follow the proposition, as they could then avenge themselves on God for destroying their forefathers.

"And they built a tower, neither sparing any pains nor being in any degree negligent about the work. And by reason of the multitude of hands employed on it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect. . . . . It was built of burnt brick, cemented together, with mortar made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they had acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners, but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them divers languages, and causing, that through the multitude of those languages they should not be able to understand one another. The place where they built the tower is now called Babylon."[34:5]

The tower in Babylonia, which seems to have been a foundation for the legend of the confusion of tongues to be built upon, was [Pg 35]evidently originally built for astronomical purposes.[35:1] This is clearly seen from the fact that it was called the "Stages of the Seven Spheres,"[35:2] and that each one of these stages was consecrated to the Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury.[35:3] Nebuchadnezzar says of it in his cylinders:

"The building named the 'Stages of the Seven Spheres,' which was the tower of Borsippa (Babel), had been built by a former king. He had completed forty-two cubits, but he did not finish its head. From the lapse of time, it had become ruined; they had not taken care of the exits of the waters, so the rain and wet had penetrated into the brick-work; the casing of burnt brick had bulged out, and the terraces of crude brick lay scattered in heaps. Merobach, my great Lord, inclined my heart to repair the building. I did not change its site, nor did I destroy its foundation, but, in a fortunate month, and upon an auspicious day, I undertook the rebuilding of the crude brick terraces and burnt brick casing, &c., &c."[35:4]

There is not a word said here in these cylinders about the confusion of tongues, nor anything pertaining to it. The ruins of this ancient tower being there in Babylonia, and a legend of how the gods confused the speech of mankind also being among them, it was very convenient to point to these ruins as evidence that the story was true, just as the ancient Mexicans pointed to the ruins of the tower of Cholula, as evidence of the truth of the similar story which they had among them, and just as many nations pointed to the remains of aquatic animals on the tops of mountains, as evidence of the truth of the deluge story.

The Armenian tradition of the "Confusion of Tongues" was to this effect:

The world was formerly inhabited by men "with strong bodies and huge size" (giants). These men being full of pride and envy, "they formed a godless resolve to build a high tower; but whilst they were engaged on the undertaking, a fearful wind overthrew it, which the wrath of God had sent against it. Unknown words were at the same time blown about among men, wherefore arose strife and confusion."[35:5]

The Hindoo legend of the "Confusion of Tongues," is as follows:

There grew in the centre of the earth, the wonderful "World [Pg 36]Tree," or the "Knowledge Tree." It was so tall that it reached almost to heaven. "It said in its heart: 'I shall hold my head in heaven, and spread my branches over all the earth, and gather all men together under my shadow, and protect them, and prevent them from separating.' But Brahma, to punish the pride of the tree, cut off its branches and cast them down on the earth, when they sprang up as Wata trees, and made differences of belief, and speech, and customs, to prevail on the earth, to disperse men over its surface."[36:1]

Traces of a somewhat similar story have also been met with among the Mongolian Tharus in the north of India, and, according to Dr. Livingston, among the Africans of Lake Nganu.[36:2] The ancient Esthonians[36:3] had a similar myth which they called "The Cooking of Languages;" so also had the ancient inhabitants of the continent of Australia.[36:4] The story was found among the ancient Mexicans, and was related as follows:

Those, with their descendants, who were saved from the deluge which destroyed all mankind, excepting the few saved in the ark, resolved to build a tower which would reach to the skies. The object of this was to see what was going on in Heaven, and also to have a place of refuge in case of another deluge.[36:5]

The job was superintended by one of the seven who were saved from the flood.[36:6] He was a giant called Xelhua, surnamed "the Architect."[36:7]

Xelhua ordered bricks to be made in the province of Tlamanalco, at the foot of the Sierra of Cocotl, and to be conveyed to Cholula, where the tower was to be built. For this purpose, he placed a file of men reaching from the Sierra to Cholula, who passed the bricks from hand to hand.[36:8] The gods beheld with wrath this edifice,—the top of which was nearing the clouds,—and were much irritated at the daring attempt of Xelhua. They therefore hurled fire from Heaven upon the pyramid, which threw it down, and killed many of the workmen. The work was then discontinued,[36:9] as each family interested in the building of the tower, received a language of their own,[36:10] and the builders could not understand each other.

[Pg 37]

Dr. Delitzsch must have been astonished upon coming across this legend; for he says:

"Actually the Mexicans had a legend of a tower-building as well as of a flood. Xelhua, one of the seven giants rescued from the flood, built the great pyramid of Cholula, in order to reach heaven, until the gods, angry at his audacity, threw fire upon the building and broke it down, whereupon every separate family received a language of its own."[37:1]

The ancient Mexicans pointed to the ruins of a tower at Cholula as evidence of the truth of their story. This tower was seen by Humboldt and Lord Kingsborough, and described by them.[37:2]

We may say then, with Dr. Kalisch, that:

"Most of the ancient nations possessed myths concerning impious giants who attempted to storm heaven, either to share it with the immortal gods, or to expel them from it. In some of these fables the confusion of tongues is represented as the punishment inflicted by the deities for such wickedness."[37:3]


[33:1] Genesis xi. 1-9.

[33:2] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 268.

[34:1] Ibid. p. 268. See also Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 90.

[34:2] Myths and Myth-makers, p. 72. See also Encyclopædia Britannica, art. "Babel."

[34:3] "There were giants in the earth in those days." (Genesis vi. 4.)

[34:4] Quoted by Rev. S. Baring-Gould: Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 147. See also Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 48, and Volney's Researches in Ancient History, pp. 130, 131.

[34:5] Jewish Antiquities, book 1, ch. iv. p. 30.

[35:1] "Diodorus states that the great tower of the temple of Belus was used by the Chaldeans as an observatory." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, art. "Babel.")

[35:2] The Hindoos had a sacred Mount Meru, the abode of the gods. This mountain was supposed to consist of seven stages, increasing in sanctity as they ascended. Many of the Hindoo temples, or rather altars, were "studied transcripts of the sacred Mount Meru;" that is, they were built, like the tower of Babel, in seven stages. Within the upper dwelt Brahm. (See Squire's Serpent Symbol, p. 107.) Herodotus tells us that the upper stage of the tower of Babel was the abode of the god Belus.

[35:3] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 269. See also Bunsen: The Angel Messiah, p. 106.

[35:4] Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii. p. 484.

[35:5] Legends of the Patriarchs, pp. 148, 149.

[36:1] Ibid. p. 148. The ancient Scandinavians had a legend of a somewhat similar tree. "The Mundane Tree," called Yggdrasill, was in the centre of the earth; its branches covered over the surface of the earth, and its top reached to the highest heaven. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities.)

[36:2] Encyclopædia Britannica, art. "Babel."

[36:3] Esthonia is one of the three Baltic, or so-called, provinces of Russia.

[36:4] Encyclopædia Britannica, art. "Babel."

[36:5] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 27.

[36:6] Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 204.

[36:7] Humboldt: American Researches, vol. i. p. 96.

[36:8] Ibid.

[36:9] Ibid., and Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 204.

[36:10] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 272.

[37:1] Quoted by Bishop Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, vol. iv. p. 272.

[37:2] Humboldt: American Researches, vol. i. p. 97. Lord Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities.

[37:3] Com. on Old Test. vol. i. p. 196.

[Pg 38]



The story of the trial of Abraham's faith—when he is ordered by the Lord to sacrifice his only son Isaac—is to be found in Genesis xxii. 1-19, and is as follows:

"And it came to pass . . . that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him: 'Abraham,' and he said: 'Behold, here I am.' And he (God) said: 'Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.'

"And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went into the place which God had told him. . . . (When Abraham was near the appointed place) he said unto his young men: 'Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to thee. And Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, and laid it upon (the shoulders of) Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said: 'Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' And Abraham said: 'My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.' So they went both of them together, and they came to the place which God had told him of. And Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said: 'Abraham! Abraham! lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.'

"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns, and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. . . . And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham, out of heaven, the second time, and said: 'By myself have I sworn saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, . . . I will bless thee, and . . . I will multiply thy seed as the stars in the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore, and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blest, because thou hast obeyed my voice.' So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba, and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba."

[Pg 39]

There is a Hindoo story related to the Sânkhâyana-sûtras, which, in substance, is as follows: King Hariscandra had no son; he then prayed to Varuna, promising, that if a son were born to him, he would sacrifice the child to the god. Then a son was born to him, called Rohita. When Rohita was grown up his father one day told him of the vow he had made to Varuna, and bade him prepare to be sacrificed. The son objected to being killed and ran away from his father's house. For six years he wandered in the forest, and at last met a starving Brahman. Him he persuaded to sell one of his sons named Sunahsepha, for a hundred cows. This boy was bought by Rohita and taken to Hariscandra and about to be sacrificed to Varuna as a substitute for Rohita, when, on praying to the gods with verses from the Veda, he was released by them.[39:1]

There was an ancient Phenician story, written by Sanchoniathon, who wrote about 1300 years before our era, which is as follows:

"Saturn, whom the Phœnicians call Israel, had by a nymph of the country a male child whom he named Jeoud, that is, one and only. On the breaking out of a war, which brought the country into imminent danger, Saturn erected an altar, brought to it his son, clothed in royal garments, and sacrificed him."[39:2]

There is also a Grecian fable to the effect that one Agamemnon had a daughter whom he dearly loved, and she was deserving of his affection. He was commanded by God, through the Delphic Oracle, to offer her up as a sacrifice. Her father long resisted the demand, but finally succumbed. Before the fatal blow had been struck, however, the goddess Artemis or Ashtoreth interfered, and carried the maiden away, whilst in her place was substituted a stag.[39:3]

Another similar Grecian fable relates that:

"When the Greek army was detained at Aulis, by contrary winds, the augurs being consulted, declared that one of the kings had offended Diana, and she demanded the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia. It was like taking the father's life-blood, but he was persuaded that it was his duty to submit for the good of his country. The maiden was brought forth for sacrifice, in spite of her tears and supplications; but just as the priest was about to strike the fatal blow, Iphigenia suddenly disappeared, and a goat of uncommon beauty stood in her place."[39:4]

There is yet still another, which belongs to the same country, and is related thus:

"In Sparta, it being declared upon one occasion that the gods demanded a human victim, the choice was made by lot, and fell on a damsel named Helena. [Pg 40]But when all was in readiness, an eagle descended, carried away the priest's knife, and laid it on the head of a heifer, which was sacrificed in her stead."[40:1]

The story of Abraham and Isaac was written at a time when the Mosaic party in Israel was endeavoring to abolish idolatry among their people. They were offering up human sacrifices to their gods Moloch, Baal, and Chemosh, and the priestly author of this story was trying to make the people think that the Lord had abolished such offerings, as far back as the time of Abraham. The Grecian legends, which he had evidently heard, may have given him the idea.[40:2]

Human offerings to the gods were at one time almost universal. In the earliest ages the offerings were simple, and such as shepherds and rustics could present. They loaded the altars of the gods with the first fruits of their crops, and the choicest products of the earth. Afterwards they sacrificed animals. When they had once laid it down as a principle that the effusion of the blood of these animals appeased the anger of the gods, and that their justice turned aside upon the victims those strokes which were destined for men, their great care was for nothing more than to conciliate their favor by so easy a method. It is the nature of violent desires and excessive fear to know no bounds, and therefore, when they would ask for any favor which they ardently wished for, or would deprecate some public calamity which they feared, the blood of animals was not deemed a price sufficient, but they began to shed that of men. It is probable, as we have said, that this barbarous practice was formerly almost universal, and that it is of very remote antiquity. In time of war the captives were chosen for this purpose, but in time of peace they took the slaves. The choice was partly regulated by the opinion of the bystanders, and partly by lot. But they did not always sacrifice such mean persons. In great calamities, in a pressing famine, for example, if the people thought they had some pretext to impute the cause of it to their king, they even sacrificed him without hesitation, as the highest price with which they could purchase the Divine favor. In this manner, the first King of Vermaland (a province of Sweden) was burnt in honor of Odin, the Supreme God, to put an end to a great dearth; as we read in the history of Norway. The kings, in their turn, did not spare the blood of their subjects; and many of them even shed that of their children. Earl Hakon, of Norway, offered his son in sacrifice, to obtain of Odin the victory over the Jomsburg pirates. Aun, King of Sweden, [Pg 41]devoted to Odin the blood of his nine sons, to prevail on that god to prolong his life. Some of the kings of Israel offered up their first-born sons as a sacrifice to the god Baal or Moloch.

The altar of Moloch reeked with blood. Children were sacrificed and burned in the fire to him, while trumpets and flutes drowned their screams, and the mothers looked on, and were bound to restrain their tears.

The Phenicians offered to the gods, in times of war and drought, the fairest of their children. The books of Sanchoniathon and Byblian Philo are full of accounts of such sacrifices. In Byblos boys were immolated to Adonis; and, on the founding of a city or colony, a sacrifice of a vast number of children was solemnized, in the hopes of thereby averting misfortune from the new settlement. The Phenicians, according to Eusebius, yearly sacrificed their dearest, and even their only children, to Saturn. The bones of the victims were preserved in the temple of Moloch, in a golden ark, which was carried by the Phenicians with them to war.[41:1] Like the Fijians of the present day, those people considered their gods as beings like themselves. They loved and they hated; they were proud and revengeful; they were, in fact, savages like themselves.

If the eldest born of the family of Athamas entered the temple of the Laphystian Jupiter, at Alos, in Achaia, he was sacrificed, crowned with garlands, like an animal victim.[41:2]

The offering of human sacrifices to the Sun was extensively practiced in Mexico and Peru, before the establishment of Christianity.[41:3]


[39:1] See Müller's Hist. Sanscrit Literature; and Williams' Indian Wisdom, p. 29.

[39:2] Quoted by Count de Volney; New Researches in Anc't Hist., p. 144.

[39:3] See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 104.

[39:4] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 302.

[40:1] Ibid.

[40:2] See chapter xi.

[41:1] Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 368.

[41:2] Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 448.

[41:3] See Acosta: Hist. Indies, vol. ii.

[Pg 42]



In the 28th chapter of Genesis, we are told that Isaac, after blessing his son Jacob, sent him to Padan-aram, to take a daughter of Laban's (his mother's brother) to wife. Jacob, obeying his father, "went out from Beer-sheba (where he dwelt), and went towards Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set. And he took of the stones of the place, and put them for his pillow, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And he beheld the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said: 'I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac, the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.' . . . And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I know it not.' And he was afraid, and said: 'How dreadful is this place, this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven.' And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-el."

The doctrine of Metempsychosis has evidently something to do with this legend. It means, in the theological acceptation of the term, the supposed transition of the soul after death, into another substance or body than that which it occupied before. The belief in such a transition was common to the most civilized, and the most uncivilized, nations of the earth.[42:1]

It was believed in, and taught by, the Brahminical Hindoos,[42:2] the Buddhists,[42:3] the natives of Egypt,[42:4] several philosophers of [Pg 43]ancient Greece,[43:1] the ancient Druids,[43:2] the natives of Madagascar,[43:3] several tribes of Africa,[43:4] and North America,[43:5] the ancient Mexicans,[43:4] and by some Jewish and Christian sects.[43:5]

"It deserves notice, that in both of these religions (i. e., Jewish and Christian), it found adherents as well in ancient as in modern times. Among the Jews, the doctrine of transmigration—the Gilgul Neshamoth—was taught in the mystical system of the Kabbala."[43:6]

"All the souls," the spiritual code of this system says, "are subject to the trials of transmigration; and men do not know which are the ways of the Most High in their regard." "The principle, in short, of the Kabbala, is the same as that of Brahmanism."

"On the ground of this doctrine, which was shared in by Rabbis of the highest renown, it was held, for instance, that the soul of Adam migrated into David, and will come in the Messiah; that the soul of Japhet is the same as that of Simeon, and the soul of Terah, migrated into Job."

"Of all these transmigrations, biblical instances are adduced according to their mode of interpretation—in the writings of Rabbi Manasse ben Israel, Rabbi Naphtali, Rabbi Meyer ben Gabbai, Rabbi Ruben, in the Jalkut Khadash, and other works of a similar character."[43:4]

The doctrine is thus described by Ovid, in the language of Dryden:

"What feels the body when the soul expires,
By time corrupted, or consumed by fires?
Nor dies the spirit, but new life repeats
Into other forms, and only changes seats.
Ev'n I, who these mysterious truths declare,
Was once Euphorbus in the Trojan war;
My name and lineage I remember well,
And how in fight by Spartan's King I fell.
In Argive Juno's fame I late beheld
My buckler hung on high, and own'd my former shield
Then death, so called, is but old matter dressed
In some new figure, and a varied vest.
Thus all things are but alter'd, nothing dies,
And here and there the unbodied spirit flies."

The Jews undoubtedly learned this doctrine after they had been subdued by, and become acquainted with other nations; and the writer of this story, whoever he may have been, was evidently endeavoring to strengthen the belief in this doctrine—he being an advocate of it—by inventing this story, and making Jacob a witness to the truth of it. Jacob would have been looked upon at the time the story was written (i. e., after the Babylonian captivity), [Pg 44]as of great authority. We know that several writers of portions of the Old Testament have written for similar purposes. As an illustration, we may mention the book of Esther. This book was written for the purpose of explaining the origin of the festival of Purim, and to encourage the Israelites to adopt it. The writer, who was an advocate of the feast, lived long after the Babylonish captivity, and is quite unknown.[44:1]

The writer of the seventeenth chapter of Matthew has made Jesus a teacher of the doctrine of Transmigration.

The Lord had promised that he would send Elijah (Elias) the prophet, "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,"[44:2] and Jesus is made to say that he had already come, or, that his soul had transmigrated unto the body of John the Baptist, and they knew it not.[44:3]

And in Mark (viii. 27) we are told that Jesus asked his disciples, saying unto them; "Whom do men say that I am?" whereupon they answer: "Some say Elias; and others, one of the prophets;" or, in other words, that the soul of Elias, or one of the prophets, had transmigrated into the body of Jesus. In John (ix. 1, 2), we are told that Jesus and his disciples seeing a man "which was blind from his birth," the disciples asked him, saying; "Master, who did sin, this man (in some former state) or his parents." Being born blind, how else could he sin, unless in some former state? These passages result from the fact, which we have already noticed, that some of the Jewish and Christian sects believed in the doctrine of Metempsychosis.

According to some Jewish authors, Adam was re-produced in Noah, Elijah, and other Bible celebrities.[44:4]

The Rev. Mr. Faber says:

"Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, might in outward appearance be different men, but they were really the self-same divine persons who had been promised as the seed of the woman, successively animating various human bodies."[44:5]

We have stated as our belief that the vision which the writer of the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis has made Jacob to witness, was intended to strengthen the belief in the doctrine of the Metempsychosis, that he was simply seeing the souls of men ascending and descending from heaven on a ladder, during their transmigrations.

We will now give our reasons for thinking so.

The learned Thomas Maurice tells us that:

[Pg 45]

The Indians had, in remote ages, in their system of theology, the sidereal ladder of seven gates, which described, in a symbolical manner, the ascending and descending of the souls of men.[45:1]

We are also informed by Origen that:

This descent (i. e., the descent of souls from heaven to enter into some body), was described in a symbolical manner, by a ladder which was represented as reaching from heaven to earth, and divided into seven stages, at each of which was figured a gate; the eighth gate was at the top of the ladder, which belonged to the sphere of the celestial firmament.[45:2]

That souls dwell in the Galaxy was a thought familiar to the Pythagoreans, who gave it on their master's word, that the souls that crowd there, descend and appear to men as dreams.[45:3]

The fancy of the Manicheans also transferred pure souls to this column of light, whence they could come down to earth and again return.[45:4]

Paintings representing a scene of this kind may be seen in works of art illustrative of Indian Mythology.

Maurice speaks of one, in which he says:

"The souls of men are represented as ascending and descending (on a ladder), according to the received opinion of the sidereal Metempsychosis in Asia."[45:5]

Mons. Dupuis tells us that:

"Among the mysterious pictures of the Initiation, in the cave of the Persian God Mithras, there was exposed to the view the descent of the souls to the earth, and their return to heaven, through the seven planetary spheres."[45:6]

And Count de Volney says:

"In the cave of Mithra was a ladder with seven steps, representing the seven spheres of the planets by means of which souls ascended and descended. This is precisely the ladder of Jacob's vision. There is in the Royal Library (of France) a superb volume of pictures of the Indian gods, in which the ladder is represented with the souls of men ascending it."[45:7]

In several of the Egyptian sculptures also, the Transmigration of Souls is represented by the ascending and descending of souls from heaven to earth, on a flight of steps, and, as the souls of wicked men were supposed to enter pigs and other animals, therefore pigs, monkeys, &c., are to be seen on the steps, descending from heaven.[45:8]

"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."

[Pg 46]

These are the words of the sacred text. Can anything be more convincing? It continues thus:

"And Jacob awoke out of his sleep . . . and he was afraid, and said . . . this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Here we have "the gate of heaven," mentioned by Origen in describing the Metempsychosis.

According to the ancients, the top of this ladder was supposed to reach the throne of the most high God. This corresponds exactly with the vision of Jacob. The ladder which he is made to see reached unto heaven, and the Lord stood above it.[46:1]

"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it."[46:2]

This concluding portion to the story has evidently an allusion to Phallic[46:3] worship. There is scarcely a nation of antiquity which did not set up these stones (as emblems of the reproductive power of nature) and worship them. Dr. Oort, speaking of this, says:

Few forms of worship were so universal in ancient times as the homage paid to sacred stones. In the history of the religion of even the most civilized peoples, such as the Greeks, Romans, Hindoos, Arabs and Germans, we find traces of this form of worship.[46:4] The ancient Druids of Britain also worshiped sacred stones, which were set up on end.[46:5]

Pausanias, an eminent Greek historian, says:

"The Hermiac statue, which they venerate in Cyllenê above other symbols, is an erect Phallus on a pedestal."[46:6]

This was nothing more than a smooth, oblong stone, set erect on a flat one.[46:7]

The learned Dr. Ginsburg, in his "Life of Levita," alludes to the ancient mode of worship offered to the heathen deity Hermes, or Mercury. A "Hermes" (i. e., a stone) was frequently set up on the road-side, and each traveller, as he passed by, paid his homage to the deity by either throwing a stone on the heap (which was thus collected), or by anointing it. This "Hermes" was the symbol of Phallus.[46:8]

[Pg 47]

Now, when we find that this form of worship was very prevalent among the Israelites,[47:1] that these sacred stones which were "set up," were called (by the heathen), BÆTY-LI,[47:2] (which is not unlike BETH-EL), and that they were anointed with oil,[47:3] I think we have reasons for believing that the story of Jacob's setting up a stone, pouring oil upon it, and calling the place Beth-el, "has evidently an allusion to Phallic worship."[47:4]

The male and female powers of nature were denoted respectively by an upright and an oval emblem, and the conjunction of the two furnished at once the altar and the Ashera, or grove, against which the Hebrew prophets lifted up their voices in earnest protest. In the kingdoms, both of Judah and Israel, the rites connected with these emblems assumed their most corrupting form. Even in the temple itself, stood the Ashera, or the upright emblem, on the circular altar of Baal-Peor, the Priapos of the Jews, thus reproducing the Linga, and Yoni of the Hindu.[47:5] For this symbol, the women wove hangings, as the Athenian maidens embroidered the sacred peplos for the ship presented to Athênê, at the great Dionysiac festival. This Ashera, which, in the authorized English version of the Old Testament is translated "grove," was, in fact, a pole, or stem of a tree. It is reproduced in our modern "Maypole," around which maidens dance, as maidens did of yore.[47:6]


[42:1] See Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Transmigration."

[42:2] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Transmigration." Prichard's Mythology, p. 213, and Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 59.

[42:3] Ibid. Ernest de Bunsen says: "The first traces of the doctrine of Transmigration of souls is to be found among the Brahmins and Buddhists." (The Angel Messiah, pp. 63, 64.)

[42:4] Prichard's Mythology, pp. 213, 214.

[43:1] Gross: The Heathen Religion. Also Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Transmigration."

[43:2] Ibid. Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 13; and Myths of the British Druids, p. 15.

[43:3] Chambers's Encyclo.

[43:4] Ibid.

[43:5] Ibid. See also Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, pp. 63, 64. Dupuis, p. 357. Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, book xviii. ch. 13. Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. 94; and Beal: Hist. Buddha.

[43:6] Chambers, art. "Transmigration."

[44:1] See The Religion of Israel, p. 18.

[44:2] Malachi iv. 5.

[44:3] Matthew xvii. 12, 13.

[44:4] See Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 78.

[44:5] Faber: Orig. Pagan Idol, vol. iii. p. 612; in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 210.

[45:1] Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 202.

[45:2] Contra Celsus, lib. vi. c. xxii.

[45:3] Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 324.

[45:4] Ibid.

[45:5] Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 262.

[45:6] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 344.

[45:7] Volney's Ruins, p. 147, note.

[45:8] See Child's Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 160, 162.

[46:1] Genesis xxviii. 12, 13.

[46:2] Genesis xxviii. 18, 19.

[46:3] "Phallic," from "Phallus," a representation of the male generative organs. For further information on this subject, see the works of R. Payne Knight, and Dr. Thomas Inman.

[46:4] Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 175, 276. See, also, Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology; and Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. and ii.

[46:5] See Myths of the British Druids, p. 300; and Higgins: Celtic Druids.

[46:6] Quoted by R. Payne Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 114, note.

[46:7] See Illustrations in Dr. Inman's Pagan and Christian Symbolism.

[46:8] See Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. pp. 543, 544.

[47:1] Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 177, 178, 317, 321, 322.

[47:2] Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 356.

[47:3] Ibid.

[47:4] We read in Bell's "Pantheon of the Gods and Demi-Gods of Antiquity," under the head of Baelylion, Baelylia or Baetylos, that they are "Anointed Stones, worshiped among the Greeks, Phrygians, and other nations of the East;" that "these Baetylia were greatly venerated by the ancient Heathen, many of their idols being no other;" and that, "in reality no sort of idol was more common in the East, than that of oblong stones erected, and hence termed by the Greeks pillars." The Rev. Geo. W. Cox, in his Aryan Mythology (vol. ii. p. 113), says: "The erection of these stone columns or pillars, the forms of which in most cases tell their own story, are common throughout the East, some of the most elaborate being found near Ghizni." And Mr. Wake (Phallism in Ancient Religions, p. 60), says: "Kiyun, or Kivan, the name of the deity said by Amos (v. 26), to have been worshiped in the wilderness by the Hebrews, signifies God of the pillar."

[47:5] We find that there was nothing gross or immoral in the worship of the male and female generative organs among the ancients, when the subject is properly understood. Being the most intimately connected with the reproduction of life on earth, the Linga became the symbol under which the Sun, invoked with a thousand names, has been worshiped throughout the world as the restorer of the powers of nature after the long sleep or death of winter. But if the Linga is the Sun-god in his majesty, the Yoni is the earth who yields her fruit under his fertilizing warmth.

The Phallic tree is introduced into the narrative of the book of Genesis: but it is here called a tree, not of life, but of the knowledge of good and evil, that knowledge which dawns in the mind with the first consciousness of difference between man and woman. In contrast with this tree of carnal indulgence, tending to death, is the tree of life, denoting the higher existence for which man was designed, and which would bring with it the happiness and the freedom of the children of God. In the brazen serpent of the Pentateuch, the two emblems of the cross and serpent, the quiescent and energising Phallos, are united. (See Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. pp. 113, 116, 118.)

[47:6] See Cox: Aryan Mytho., ii. 112, 113.

[Pg 48]



The children of Israel, who were in bondage in Egypt, making bricks, and working in the field,[48:1] were looked upon with compassion by the Lord.[48:2] He heard their groaning, and remembered his covenant with Abraham,[48:3] with Isaac, and with Jacob. He, therefore, chose Moses (an Israelite, who had murdered an Egyptian,[48:4] and who, therefore, was obliged to flee from Egypt, as Pharaoh sought to punish him), as his servant, to carry out his plans.

Moses was at this time keeping the flock of Jeruth, his father-in-law, in the land of Midian. The angel of the Lord, or the Lord himself, appeared to him there, and said unto him:

"I am the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. . . . I have seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their tormentors; for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land into a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

Then Moses said unto the Lord:

"Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say unto me: What is his name? What shall I say unto them?"

Then God said unto Moses:

"I am that I am."[48:5] "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you."[48:6]

[Pg 49]

And God said, moreover, unto Moses:

"Go and gather the Elders of Israel together, and say unto them: the Lord God of your fathers . . . appeared unto me, saying: 'I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt. And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt . . . unto a land flowing with milk and honey.' And they shall hearken to thy voice, and thou shall come, thou and the Elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him: 'the Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us, and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days journey in the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.'[49:1]

"I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders, which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people (the Hebrews) favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it shall come to pass, that when ye go, ye shall not go empty. But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment. And ye shall put them upon your sons and upon your daughters, and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."[49:2]

The Lord again appeared unto Moses, in Midian, and said:

"Go, return into Egypt, for all the men are dead which sought thy life. And Moses took his wife, and his son, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God (which the Lord had given him) in his hand."[49:3]

Upon arriving in Egypt, Moses tells his brother Aaron, "all the words of the Lord," and Aaron tells all the children of Israel. Moses, who was not eloquent, but had a slow speech,[49:4] uses Aaron as his spokesman.[49:5] They then appear unto Pharaoh, and falsify, "according to the commands of the Lord," saying: "Let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey in the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God."[49:6]

The Lord hardens Pharaoh's heart, so that he does not let the children of Israel go to sacrifice unto their God, in the desert.

[Pg 50]

Moses and Aaron continue interceding with him, however, and, for the purpose of showing their miraculous powers, they change their rods into serpents, the river into blood, cause a plague of frogs and lice, and a swarm of flies, &c., &c., to appear. Most of these feats were imitated by the magicians of Egypt. Finally, the first-born of Egypt are slain, when Pharaoh, after having had his heart hardened, by the Lord, over and over again, consents to let Moses and the children of Israel go to serve their God, as they had said, that is, for three days.

The Lord having given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, they borrowed of them jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and raiment, "according to the commands of the Lord." And they journeyed toward Succoth, there being six hundred thousand, besides children.[50:1]

"And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day, in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light to go by day and night."[50:2]

"And it was told the king of Egypt, that the people fled. . . . And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him. And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, . . . and he pursued after the children of Israel, and overtook them encamping beside the sea. . . . And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel . . . were sore afraid, and . . . (they) cried out unto the Lord. . . . And the Lord said unto Moses, . . . speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the Red Sea, and divide it, and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. . . . And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,[50:3] and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them upon the right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, and his chariots, and his horse-men."

After the children of Israel had landed on the other side of the sea, the Lord said unto Moses:

"Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horse-men. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength. . . . And the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horse-men, and all the host of Pharaoh [Pg 51]that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. . . . And Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses."[51:1]

The writer of this story, whoever he may have been, was evidently familiar with the legends related of the Sun-god, Bacchus, as he has given Moses the credit of performing some of the miracles which were attributed to that god.

It is related in the hymns of Orpheus,[51:2] that Bacchus had a rod with which he performed miracles, and which he could change into a serpent at pleasure. He passed the Red Sea, dry shod, at the head of his army. He divided the waters of the rivers Orontes and Hydaspus, by the touch of his rod, and passed through them dry-shod.[51:3] By the same mighty wand, he drew water from the rock,[51:4] and wherever they marched, the land flowed with wine, milk and honey.[51:5]

Professor Steinthal, speaking of Dionysus (Bacchus), says:

Like Moses, he strikes fountains of wine and water out of the rock. Almost all the acts of Moses correspond to those of the Sun-gods.[51:6]

Mons. Dupuis says:

"Among the different miracles of Bacchus and his Bacchantes, there are prodigies very similar to those which are attributed to Moses; for instance, such as the sources of water which the former caused to sprout from the innermost of the rocks."[51:7]

In Bell's Pantheon of the Gods and Heroes of Antiquity,[51:8] an account of the prodigies attributed to Bacchus is given; among these, are mentioned his striking water from the rock, with his magic wand, his turning a twig of ivy into a snake, his passing through the Red Sea and the rivers Orontes and Hydaspus, and of his enjoying the light of the Sun (while marching with his army in India), when the day was spent, and it was dark to others. All these are parallels too striking to be accidental.

We might also mention the fact, that Bacchus, as well as Moses [Pg 52]was called the "Law-giver," and that it was said of Bacchus, as well as of Moses, that his laws were written on two tables of stone.[52:1] Bacchus was represented horned, and so was Moses.[52:2] Bacchus "was picked up in a box, that floated on the water,"[52:3] and so was Moses.[52:4] Bacchus had two mothers, one by nature, and one by adoption,[52:5] and so had Moses.[52:6] And, as we have already seen, Bacchus and his army enjoyed the light of the Sun, during the night time, and Moses and his army enjoyed the light of "a pillar of fire, by night."[52:7]

In regard to the children of Israel going out from the land of Egypt, we have no doubt that such an occurrence took place, although not in the manner, and not for such reasons, as is recorded by the sacred historian. We find, from other sources, what is evidently nearer the truth.

It is related by the historian Choeremon, that, at one time, the land of Egypt was infested with disease, and through the advice of the sacred scribe Phritiphantes, the king caused the infected people (who were none other than the brick-making slaves, known as the children of Israel), to be collected, and driven out of the country.[52:8]

Lysimachus relates that:

"A filthy disease broke out in Egypt, and the Oracle of Ammon, being consulted on the occasion, commanded the king to purify the land by driving out the Jews (who were infected with leprosy, &c.), a race of men who were hateful to the Gods."[52:9] "The whole multitude of the people were accordingly collected and driven out into the wilderness."[52:10]

Diodorus Siculus, referring to this event, says:

"In ancient times Egypt was afflicted with a great plague, which was attributed to the anger of God, on account of the multitude of foreigners in Egypt: by whom the rites of the native religion were neglected. The Egyptians accordingly drove them out. The most noble of them went under Cadmus and Danaus to Greece, but the greater number followed Moses, a wise and valiant leader, to Palestine."[52:11]

[Pg 53]

After giving the different opinions concerning the origin of the Jewish nation, Tacitus, the Roman historian, says:

"In this clash of opinions, one point seems to be universally admitted. A pestilential disease, disfiguring the race of man, and making the body an object of loathsome deformity, spread all over Egypt. Bocchoris, at that time the reigning monarch, consulted the oracle of Jupiter Hammon, and received for answer, that the kingdom must be purified, by exterminating the infected multitude, as a race of men detested by the gods. After diligent search, the wretched sufferers were collected together, and in a wild and barren desert abandoned to their misery. In that distress, while the vulgar herd was sunk in deep despair, Moses, one of their number, reminded them, that, by the wisdom of his councils, they had been already rescued out of impending danger. Deserted as they were by men and gods, he told them, that if they did not repose their confidence in him, as their chief by divine commission, they had no resource left. His offer was accepted. Their march began, they knew not whither. Want of water was their chief distress. Worn out with fatigue, they lay stretched on the bare earth, heart broken, ready to expire, when a troop of wild asses, returning from pasture, went up the steep ascent of a rock covered with a grove of trees. The verdure of the herbage round the place suggested the idea of springs near at hand. Moses traced the steps of the animals, and discovered a plentiful vein of water. By this relief the fainting multitude was raised from despair. They pursued their journey for six days without intermission. On the seventh day they made halt, and, having expelled the natives, took possession of the country, where they built their city, and dedicated their temple."[53:1]

Other accounts, similar to these, might be added, among which may be mentioned that given by Manetho, an Egyptian priest, which is referred to by Josephus, the Jewish historian.

Although the accounts quoted above are not exactly alike, yet the main points are the same, which are to the effect that Egypt was infected with disease owing to the foreigners (among whom were those who were afterwards styled "the children of Israel") that were in the country, and who were an unclean people, and that they were accordingly driven out into the wilderness.

When we compare this statement with that recorded in Genesis, it does not take long to decide which of the two is nearest the truth.

Everything putrid, or that had a tendency to putridity, was carefully avoided by the ancient Egyptians, and so strict were the Egyptian priests on this point, that they wore no garments made of any animal substance, circumcised themselves, and shaved their whole bodies, even to their eyebrows, lest they should unknowingly harbor any filth, excrement or vermin, supposed to be bred from putrefaction.[53:2] We know from the laws set down in Leviticus, that the Hebrews were not a remarkably clean race.

[Pg 54]

Jewish priests, in making a history for their race, have given us but a shadow of truth here and there; it is almost wholly mythical. The author of "The Religion of Israel," speaking on this subject, says:

"The history of the religion of Israel must start from the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt. Formerly it was usual to take a much earlier starting-point, and to begin with a religious discussion of the religious ideas of the Patriarchs. And this was perfectly right, so long as the accounts of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were considered historical. But now that a strict investigation has shown us that all these stories are entirely unhistorical, of course we have to begin the history later on."[54:1]

The author of "The Spirit History of Man," says:

"The Hebrews came out of Egypt and settled among the Canaanites. They need not be traced beyond the Exodus. That is their historical beginning. It was very easy to cover up this remote event by the recital of mythical traditions, and to prefix to it an account of their origin in which the gods (Patriarchs), should figure as their ancestors."[54:2]

Professor Goldzhier says:

"The residence of the Hebrews in Egypt, and their exodus thence under the guidance and training of an enthusiast for the freedom of his tribe, form a series of strictly historical facts, which find confirmation even in the documents of ancient Egypt (which we have just shown). But the traditional narratives of these events (were) elaborated by the Hebrew people."[54:3]

Count de Volney also observes that:

"What Exodus says of their (the Israelites) servitude under the king of Heliopolis, and of the oppression of their hosts, the Egyptians, is extremely probable. It is here their history begins. All that precedes . . . is nothing but mythology and cosmogony."[54:4]

In speaking of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, Dr. Knappert says:

"According to the tradition preserved in Genesis, it was the promotion of Jacob's son, Joseph, to be viceroy of Egypt, that brought about the migration of the sons of Israel from Canaan to Goshen. The story goes that this Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers, and after many changes of fortune received the vice-regal office at Pharaoh's hands through his skill in interpreting dreams. Famine drives his brothers—and afterwards his father—to him, and the Egyptian prince gives them the land of Goshen to live in. It is by imagining all this that the [Pg 55]legend tries to account for the fact that Israel passed some time in Egypt. But we must look for the real explanation in a migration of certain tribes which could not establish or maintain themselves in Canaan, and were forced to move further on.

"We find a passage in Flavius Josephus, from which it appears that in Egypt, too, a recollection survived of the sojourn of some foreign tribes in the north-eastern district of the country. For this writer gives us two fragments out of a lost work by Manetho, a priest, who lived about 250 B. C. In one of these we have a statement that pretty nearly agrees with the Israelitish tradition about a sojourn in Goshen. But the Israelites were looked down on by the Egyptians as foreigners, and they are represented as lepers and unclean. Moses himself is mentioned by name, and we are told that he was a priest and joined himself to these lepers and gave them laws."[55:1]

To return now to the story of the Red Sea being divided to let Moses and his followers pass through—of which we have already seen one counterpart in the legend related of Bacchus and his army passing through the same sea dry-shod—there is another similar story concerning Alexander the Great.

The histories of Alexander relate that the Pamphylian Sea was divided to let him and his army pass through. Josephus, after speaking of the Red Sea being divided for the passage of the Israelites, says:

"For the sake of those who accompanied Alexander, king of Macedonia, who yet lived comparatively but a little while ago, the Pamphylian Sea retired and offered them a passage through itself, when they had no other way to go . . . and this is confessed to be true by all who have written about the actions of Alexander."[55:2]

He seems to consider both legends of the same authority, quoting the latter to substantiate the former.

"Callisthenes, who himself accompanied Alexander in the expedition," "wrote, how the Pamphylian Sea did not only open a passage for Alexander, but, rising and elevating its waters, did pay him homage as its king."[55:3]

It is related in Egyptian mythology that Isis was at one time on a journey with the eldest child of the king of Byblos, when coming to the river Phœdrus, which was in a "rough air," and wishing to [Pg 56]cross, she commanded the stream to be dried up. This being done she crossed without trouble.[56:1]

There is a Hindoo fable to the effect that when the infant Crishna was being sought by the reigning tyrant of Madura (King Kansa)[56:2] his foster-father took him and departed out of the country. Coming to the river Yumna, and wishing to cross, it was divided for them by the Lord, and they passed through.

The story is related by Thomas Maurice, in his "History of Hindostan," who has taken it from the Bhagavat Pooraun. It is as follows:

"Yasodha took the child Crishna, and carried him off (from where he was born), but, coming to the river Yumna, directly opposite to Gokul, Crishna's father perceiving the current to be very strong, it being in the midst of the rainy season, and not knowing which way to pass it, Crishna commanded the water to give way on both sides to his father, who accordingly passed dry-footed, across the river."[56:3]

This incident is illustrated in Plate 58 of Moore's "Hindu Pantheon."

There is another Hindoo legend, recorded in the Rig Veda, and quoted by Viscount Amberly, from whose work we take it,[56:4] to the effect that an Indian sage called Visvimati, having arrived at a river which he wished to cross, that holy man said to it: "Listen to the Bard who has come to you from afar with wagon and chariot. Sink down, become fordable, and reach not up to our chariot axles." The river answers: "I will bow down to thee like a woman with full breast (suckling her child), as a maid to a man, will I throw myself open to thee."

This is accordingly done, and the sage passes through.

We have also an Indian legend which relates that a courtesan named Bindumati, turned back the streams of the river Ganges.[56:5]

We see then, that the idea of seas and rivers being divided for the purpose of letting some chosen one of God pass through is an old one peculiar to other peoples beside the Hebrews, and the probability is that many nations had legends of this kind.

That Pharaoh and his host should have been drowned in the Red Sea, and the fact not mentioned by any historian, is simply impossible, especially when they have, as we have seen, noticed the fact of the Israelites being driven out of Egypt.[56:6] Dr. Inman, speaking of this, says:

[Pg 57]

"We seek in vain amongst the Egyptian hieroglyphs for scenes which recall such cruelties as those we read of in the Hebrew records; and in the writings which have hitherto been translated, we find nothing resembling the wholesale destructions described and applauded by the Jewish historians, as perpetrated by their own people."[57:1]

That Pharaoh should have pursued a tribe of diseased slaves, whom he had driven out of his country, is altogether improbable. In the words of Dr. Knappert, we may conclude, by saying that:

"This story, which was not written until more than five hundred years after the exodus itself, can lay no claim to be considered historical."[57:2]


[48:1] Exodus i. 14.

[48:2] Exodus ii. 24, 25.

[48:3] See chapter x.

[48:4] Exodus ii. 12.

[48:5] The Egyptian name for God was "Nuk-Pa-Nuk," or "I am that I am." (Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 395.) This name was found on a temple in Egypt. (Higgins' Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 17.) "'I am' was a Divine name understood by all the initiated among the Egyptians." "The 'I am' of the Hebrews, and the 'I am' of the Egyptians are identical." (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 38.) The name "Jehovah," which was adopted by the Hebrews, was a name esteemed sacred among the Egyptians. They called it Y-ha-ho, or Y-ah-weh. (See the Religion of Israel, pp. 42, 43; and Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 329, and vol. ii. p. 17.) "None dare to enter the temple of Serapis, who did not bear on his breast or forehead the name of Jao, or J-ha-ho, a name almost equivalent in sound to that of the Hebrew Jehovah, and probably of identical import; and no name was uttered in Egypt with more reverence than this Iao." (Trans. from the Ger. of Schiller, in Monthly Repos., vol. xx.; and Voltaire: Commentary on Exodus; Higgins' Anac., vol. i. p. 329; vol. ii. p. 17.) "That this divine name was well-known to the Heathen there can be no doubt." (Parkhurst: Hebrew Lex. in Anac., i. 327.) So also with the name El Shaddai. "The extremely common Egyptian expression Nutar Nutra exactly corresponds in sense to the Hebrew El Shaddai, the very title by which God tells Moses he was known to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob." (Prof. Renouf: Relig. of Anc't Egypt, p. 99.)

[48:6] Exodus iii. 1, 14.

[49:1] Exodus iii. 15-18.

[49:2] Exodus iii. 19-22. Here is a command from the Lord to deceive, and lie, and steal, which, according to the narrative, was carried out to the letter (Ex. xii. 35, 36); and yet we are told that this same Lord said: "Thou shalt not steal." (Ex. xx. 15.) Again he says: "That shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him." (Leviticus xix. 18.) Surely this is inconsistency.

[49:3] Exodus iv. 19, 20.

[49:4] Exodus iv. 10.

[49:5] Exodus iv. 16.

[49:6] Exodus v. 3.

[50:1] Exodus vii. 35-37. Bishop Colenso shows, in his Pentateuch Examined, how ridiculous this statement is.

[50:2] Exodus xiii. 20, 21.

[50:3] "The sea over which Moses stretches out his hand with the staff, and which he divides, so that the waters stand up on either side like walls while he passes through, must surely have been originally the Sea of Clouds. . . . A German story presents a perfectly similar feature. The conception of the cloud as sea, rock and wall, recurs very frequently in mythology." (Prof. Steinthal: The Legend of Samson, p. 429.)

[51:1] Exodus xiv. 5-13.

[51:2] Orpheus is said to have been the earliest poet of Greece, where he first introduced the rites of Bacchus, which he brought from Egypt. (See Roman Antiquities, p. 134.)

[51:3] The Hebrew fable writers not wishing to be outdone, have made the waters of the river Jordan to be divided to let Elijah and Elisha pass through (2 Kings ii. 8), and also the children of Israel. (Joshua iii. 15-17.)

[51:4] Moses, with his rod, drew water from the rock. (Exodus xvii. 6.)

[51:5] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 191, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.

[51:6] The Legend of Samson, p. 429.

[51:7] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 135.

[51:8] Vol. i. p. 122.

[52:1] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122; and Higgins: Anacalypsis vol. ii. p. 19.

[52:2] Ibid. and Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 174.

[52:3] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 190; Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. under "Bacchus;" and Higgins: Anacalypsis ii. 19.

[52:4] Exodus ii. 1-11.

[52:5] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 191; Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. under "Bacchus;" and Higgins: p. 19, vol. ii.

[52:6] Exodus ii. 1-11.

[52:7] Exodus xiii. 20, 21.

[52:8] See Prichard's Historical Records, p. 74; also Dunlap's Spirit Hist., p. 40; and Cory's Ancient Fragments, pp. 80, 81, for similar accounts.

[52:9] "All persons afflicted with leprosy were considered displeasing in the sight of the Sun-god, by the Egyptians." (Dunlap: Spirit. Hist. p. 40.)

[52:10] Prichard's Historical Records, p. 75.

[52:11] Ibid. p. 78.

[53:1] Tacitus: Hist. book v. ch. iii.

[53:2] Knight: Anc't Art and Mythology, p. 89, and Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 447. "The cleanliness of the Egyptian priests was extreme. They shaved their heads, and every three days shaved their whole bodies. They bathed two or three times a day, often in the night also. They wore garments of white linen, deeming it more cleanly than cloth made from the hair of animals. If they had occasion to wear a woolen cloth or mantle, they put it off before entering a temple; so scrupulous were they that nothing impure should come into the presence of the gods." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, i. 168.)

"Thinking it better to be clean than handsome, the (Egyptian) priests shave their whole body every third day, that neither lice nor any other impurity may be found upon them when engaged in the service of the gods." (Herodotus: book ii. ch. 37.)

[54:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 27.

[54:2] Dunlap: Spirit Hist. of Man, p. 266.

[54:3] Hebrew Mythology, p. 23.

[54:4] Researches in Ancient History, p. 146.

[55:1] The Religion of Israel, pp. 31, 32.

[55:2] Jewish Antiq. bk. ii. ch. xvi.

[55:3] Ibid. note.

"It was said that the waters of the Pamphylian Sea miraculously opened a passage for the army of Alexander the Great. Admiral Beaufort, however, tells us that, 'though there are no tides in this part of the Mediterranean, considerable depression of the sea is caused by long-continued north winds; and Alexander, taking advantage of such a moment, may have dashed on without impediment;' and we accept the explanation as a matter of course. But the waters of the Red Sea are said to have miraculously opened a passage for the children of Israel; and we insist on the literal truth of this story, and reject natural explanations as monstrous." (Matthew Arnold.)

[56:1] See Prichard's Egyptian Mytho. p. 60.

[56:2] See ch. xviii.

[56:3] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 312.

[56:4] Analysis Relig. Belief, p. 552.

[56:5] See Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 140.

[56:6] In a cave discovered at Deir-el-Bahari (Aug., 1881), near Thebes, in Egypt, was found thirty-nine mummies of royal and priestly personages. Among these was King Ramses II., the third king of the Nineteenth Dynasty, and the veritable Pharaoh of the Jewish captivity. It is very strange that he should be here, among a number of other kings, if he had been lost in the Red Sea. The mummy is wrapped in rose-colored and yellow linen of a texture finer than the finest Indian muslin, upon which lotus flowers are strewn. It is in a perfect state of preservation. (See a Cairo [Aug. 8th] letter to the London Times.)

[57:1] Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 58.

[57:2] The Religion of Israel, p. 41.

[Pg 58]



The receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, from the Lord, is recorded in the following manner:

"In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai, . . . and there Israel camped before the Mount. . . .

"And it came to pass on the third day that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the Mount, and the voice of the tempest exceedingly loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. . . .

"And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the tempest sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

"And the Lord came down upon the Mount, and called Moses up to the top of the Mount, and Moses went up."[58:1]

The Lord there communed with him, and "he gave unto Moses . . . . two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."[58:2]

When Moses came down from off the Mount, he found the children of Israel dancing around a golden calf, which his brother Aaron had made, and, as his "anger waxed hot," he cast the tables of stone on the ground, and broke them.[58:3] Moses again saw the Lord on the Mount, however, and received two more tables of stone.[58:4] When he came down this time from off Mount Sinai, "the skin of his face did shine."[58:5]

[Pg 59]

These two tables of stone contained the Ten Commandments,[59:1] so it is said, which the Jews and Christians of the present day are supposed to take for their standard.

They are, in substance, as follows:

1— To have no other God but Jehovah.
2— To make no image for purpose of worship.
3— Not to take Jehovah's name in vain.
4— Not to work on the Sabbath-day.
5— To honor their parents.
6— Not to kill.
7— Not to commit adultery.
8— Not to steal.
9— Not to bear false witness against a neighbor.
10— Not to covet.[59:2]

We have already seen, in the last chapter, that Bacchus was called the "Law-giver," and that his laws were written on two tables of stone.[59:3] This feature in the Hebrew legend was evidently copied from that related of Bacchus, but, the idea of his (Moses) receiving the commandments from the Lord on a mountain was obviously taken from the Persian legend related of Zoroaster.

Prof. Max Müller says:

"What applies to the religion of Moses applies to that of Zoroaster. It is placed before us as a complete system from the first, revealed by Ahuramazda (Ormuzd), proclaimed by Zoroaster."[59:4]

The disciples of Zoroaster, in their profusion of legends of the master, relate that one day, as he prayed on a high mountain, in the midst of thunders and lightnings ("fire from heaven"), the Lord himself appeared before him, and delivered unto him the "Book of the Law." While the King of Persia and the people were assembled together, Zoroaster came down from the mountain unharmed, bringing with him the "Book of the Law," which had been revealed to him by Ormuzd. They call this book the Zend-Avesta, which signifies the Living Word.[59:5]

[Pg 60]

According to the religion of the Cretans, Minos, their law-giver, ascended a mountain (Mount Dicta) and there received from the Supreme Lord (Zeus) the sacred laws which he brought down with him.[60:1]

Almost all nations of antiquity have legends of their holy men ascending a mountain to ask counsel of the gods, such places being invested with peculiar sanctity, and deemed nearer to the deities than other portions of the earth.[60:2]

According to Egyptian belief, it is Thoth, the Deity itself, that speaks and reveals to his elect among men the will of God and the arcana of divine things. Portions of them are expressly stated to have been written by the very finger of Thoth himself; to have been the work and composition of the great god.[60:3]

Diodorus, the Grecian historian, says:

The idea promulgated by the ancient Egyptians that their laws were received direct from the Most High God, has been adopted with success by many other law-givers, who have thus insured respect for their institutions.[60:4]

The Supreme God of the ancient Mexicans was Tezcatlipoca. He occupied a position corresponding to the Jehovah of the Jews, the Brahma of India, the Zeus of the Greeks, and the Odin of the Scandinavians. His name is compounded of Tezcatepec, the name of a mountain (upon which he is said to have manifested himself to man) tlil, dark, and poca, smoke. The explanation of this designation is given in the Codex Vaticanus, as follows:

[Pg 61]

Tezcatlipoca was one of their most potent deities; they say he once appeared on the top of a mountain. They paid him great reverence and adoration, and addressed him, in their prayers, as "Lord, whose servant we are." No man ever saw his face, for he appeared only "as a shade." Indeed, the Mexican idea of the godhead was similar to that of the Jews. Like Jehovah, Tezcatlipoca dwelt in the "midst of thick darkness." When he descended upon the mount of Tezcatepec, darkness overshadowed the earth, while fire and water, in mingled streams, flowed from beneath his feet, from its summit.[61:1]

Thus, we see that other nations, beside the Hebrews, believed that their laws were actually received from God, that they had legends to that effect, and that a mountain figures conspicuously in the stories.

Professor Oort, speaking on this subject, says:

"No one who has any knowledge of antiquity will be surprised at this, for similar beliefs were very common. All peoples who had issued from a life of barbarism and acquired regular political institutions, more or less elaborate laws, and established worship, and maxims of morality, attributed all this—their birth as a nation, so to speak—to one or more great men, all of whom, without exception, were supposed to have received their knowledge from some deity.

"Whence did Zoroaster, the prophet of the Persians, derive his religion? According to the beliefs of his followers, and the doctrines of their sacred writings, it was from Ahuramazda, the God of light. Why did the Egyptians represent the god Thoth with a writing tablet and a pencil in his hand, and honor him especially as the god of the priests? Because he was 'the Lord of the divine Word,' the foundation of all wisdom, from whose inspiration the priests, who were the scholars, the lawyers, and the religious teachers of the people, derived all their wisdom. Was not Minos, the law-giver of the Cretans, the friend of Zeus, the highest of the gods? Nay, was he not even his son, and did he not ascend to the sacred cave on Mount Dicte to bring down the laws which his god had placed there for him? From whom did the Spartan law-giver, Lycurgus, himself say that he had obtained his laws? From no other than the god Apollo. The Roman legend, too, in honoring Numa Pompilius as the people's instructor, at the same time ascribed all his wisdom to his intercourse with the nymph Egeria. It was the same elsewhere; and to make one more example,—this from later times—Mohammed not only believed himself to have been called immediately by God to be the prophet of the Arabs, but declared that he had received every page of the Koran from the hand of the angel Gabriel."[61:2]


[58:1] Exodus xix.

[58:2] Exodus xxxi. 18.

[58:3] Exodus xxii. 19.

[58:4] Exodus xxxiv.

[58:5] Ibid.

It was a common belief among ancient Pagan nations that the gods appeared and conversed with men. As an illustration we may cite the following, related by Herodotus, the Grecian historian, who, in speaking of Egypt and the Egyptians, says: "There is a large city called Chemmis, situated in the Thebaic district, near Neapolis, in which is a quadrangular temple dedicated to (the god) Perseus, son of (the Virgin) Danae; palm-trees grow round it, and the portico is of stone, very spacious, and over it are placed two large stone statues. In this inclosure is a temple, and in it is placed a statue of Perseus. The Chemmitæ (or inhabitants of Chemmis), affirm that Perseus has frequently appeared to them on earth, and frequently within the temple." (Herodotus, bk. ii. ch. 91.)

[59:1] Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, had TEN commandments. 1. Not to kill. 2. Not to steal. 3. To be chaste. 4 Not to bear false witness. 5. Not to lie. 6. Not to swear. 7. To avoid impure words. 8. To be disinterested. 9. Not to avenge one's-self. 10. Not to be superstitious. (See Huc's Travels, p. 328, vol. i.)

[59:2] Exodus xx. Dr. Oort says: "The original ten commandments probably ran as follows: I Yahwah am your God. Worship no other gods beside me. Make no image of a god. Commit no perjury. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Honor your father and your mother. Commit no murder. Break not the marriage vow. Steal not. Bear no false witness. Covet not." (Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 18.)

[59:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122. Higgins, vol. ii. p. 19. Cox: Aryan Mytho. vol. ii. p. 295.

[59:4] Müller: Origin of Religion, p. 130.

[59:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 257, 258. This book, the Zend-Avesta, is similar, in many respects, to the Vedas of the Hindoos. This has led many to believe that Zoroaster was a Brahman; among these are Rawlinson (See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 831) and Thomas Maurice. (See Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 219.)

The Persians themselves had a tradition that he came from some country to the East of them. That he was a foreigner is indicated by a passage in the Zend-Avesta which represents Ormuzd as saying to him: "Thou, O Zoroaster, by the promulgation of my law, shalt restore to me my former glory, which was pure light. Up! haste thee to the land of Iran, which thirsteth after the law, and say, thus said Ormuzd, &c." (See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 263.)

[60:1] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 301.

[60:2] "The deities of the Hindoo Pantheon dwell on the sacred Mount Meru; the gods of Persia ruled from Albordj; the Greek Jove thundered from Olympus, and the Scandinavian gods made Asgard awful with their presence. . . . Profane history is full of examples attesting the attachment to high places for purpose of sacrifice." (Squire: Serpent Symbols, p. 78.)

"The offerings of the Chinese to the deities were generally on the summits of high mountains, as they seemed to them to be nearer heaven, to the majesty of which they were to be offered." (Christmas's Mytho. p. 250, in Ibid.) "In the infancy of civilization, high places were chosen by the people to offer sacrifices to the gods. The first altars, the first temples, were erected on mountains." (Humboldt: American Researches.) The Himalayas are the "Heavenly mountains." In Sanscrit Himala, corresponding to the M. Gothic, Himins; Alem., Himil; Ger., Swed., and Dan., Himmel; Old Norse, Himin; Dutch, Hemel; Ang.-Sax., Heofon; Eng., Heaven. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 42.)

[60:3] Bunsen's Egypt, quoted in Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 367. Mrs. Child says: "The laws of Egypt were handed down from the earliest times, and regarded with the utmost veneration as a portion of religion. Their first legislator represented them as dictated by the gods themselves and framed expressly for the benefit of mankind by their secretary Thoth." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 173.)

[60:4] Quoted in Ibid.

[61:1] See Squire's Serpent Symbol, p. 175.

[61:2] Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 301.

[Pg 62]



This Israelite hero is said to have been born at a time when the children of Israel were in the hands of the Philistines. His mother, who had been barren for a number of years, is entertained by an angel, who informs her that she shall conceive, and bear a son,[62:1] and that the child shall be a Nazarite unto God, from the womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.

According to the prediction of the angel, "the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him."

"And Samson (after he had grown to man's estate), went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore get her for me to wife."

[Pg 63]

Samson's father and mother preferred that he should take a woman among the daughters of their own tribe, but Samson wished for the maid of the Philistines, "for," said he, "she pleaseth me well."

The parents, after coming to the conclusion that it was the will of the Lord, that he should marry the maid of the Philistines, consented.

"Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath, and, behold, a young lion roared against him (Samson). And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him (the lion) as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand."

This was Samson's first exploit, which he told not to any one, not even his father, or his mother.

He then continued on his way, and went down and talked with the woman, and she pleased him well.

And, after a time, he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, "there was a swarm of bees, and honey, in the carcass of the lion."

Samson made a feast at his wedding, which lasted for seven days. At this feast, there were brought thirty companions to be with him, unto whom he said: "I will now put forth a riddle unto you, if ye can certainly declare it me, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets, and thirty changes of garments. But, if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets, and thirty changes of garments." And they said unto him, "Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it." And he answered them: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."

This riddle the thirty companions could not solve.

"And it came to pass, on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson's wife: 'Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle.'"

She accordingly went to Samson, and told him that he could not love her; if it were so, he would tell her the answer to the riddle. After she had wept and entreated of him, he finally told her, and she gave the answer to the children of her people. "And the men of the city said unto him, on the seventh day, before the sun went down, 'What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion?'"

Samson, upon hearing this, suspected how they managed to find out the answer, whereupon he said unto them: "If ye had not ploughed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle."

[Pg 64]

Samson was then at a loss to know where to get the thirty sheets, and the thirty changes of garments; but, "the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle."

This was the hero's second exploit.

His anger being kindled, he went up to his father's house, instead of returning to his wife.[64:1] But it came to pass, that, after a while, Samson repented of his actions, and returned to his wife's house, and wished to go in to his wife in the chamber; but her father would not suffer him to go. And her father said: "I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her, therefore, I gave her to thy companion. Is not her younger sister fairer than she? Take her, I pray thee, instead of her."

This did not seem to please Samson, even though the younger was fairer than the older, for he "went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned (the foxes) tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burned up both the shocks and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives."

This was Samson's third exploit.

When the Philistines found their corn, their vineyards, and their olives burned, they said: "Who hath done this?"

"And they answered, 'Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he had taken his wife, and given her to his companion.' And the Philistines came up, and burned her and her father with fire. And Samson said unto them: 'Though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.' And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter, and he went and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam."

This "great slaughter" was Samson's fourth exploit.

"Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. And the men of Judah said: 'Why are ye come up against us?' And they answered: 'To bind Samson are we come up, and to do to him as he hath done to us.' Then three thousand men of Judah went up to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson: 'Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that thou hast done unto us?' And he said unto them: 'As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.' And they said unto him: 'We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hands of the Philistines.' And Samson said unto them: 'Swear unto me that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.' And they spake unto him, saying, 'No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hands: but surely we will not kill thee.' And they bound him with two new cords, and [Pg 65]brought him up from the rock. And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burned with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jaw-bone of an ass, and put forth his hand and took it, and slew a thousand men with it."

This was Samson's fifth exploit.

After slaying a thousand men he was "sore athirst," and called unto the Lord. And "God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout, and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived."[65:1]

"Then went Samson to Gaza and saw there a harlot, and went in unto her. And it was told the Gazites, saying, 'Samson is come hither.' And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying: 'In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.' And Samson lay (with the harlot) till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of a hill that is in Hebron."

This was Samson's sixth exploit.

"And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Soreck, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her: 'Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him.'"

Delilah then began to entice Samson to tell her wherein his strength lay.

"She pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death. Then he told her all his heart, and said unto her: 'There hath not come a razor upon mine head, for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb. If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.' And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she went and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying: 'Come up this once, for he hath showed me all his heart.' Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hands (for her).

"And she made him (Samson) sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him."

The Philistines then took him, put out his eyes, and put him in prison. And being gathered together at a great sacrifice in honor of their God, Dagon, they said: "Call for Samson, that he may make us sport." And they called for Samson, and he made them sport.

"And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand. Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.

[Pg 66]"Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.

"And Samson called unto the Lord, and said: 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'

"And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said: 'Let me die with the Philistines.' And he bowed himself with all his might; and (having regained his strength) the house fell upon the lords, and upon the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death, were more than they which he slew in his life."[66:1]

Thus ended the career of the "strong man" of the Hebrews.

That this story is a copy of the legends related of Hercules, or that they have both been copied from similar legends existing among some other nations,[66:2] is too evident to be disputed. Many churchmen have noticed the similarity between the history of Samson and that of Hercules. In Chambers's Encyclopædia, under "Samson," we read as follows:

"It has been matter of most contradictory speculations, how far his existence is to be taken as a reality, or, in other words, what substratum of historical truth there may be in this supposed circle of popular legends, artistically rounded off, in the four chapters of Judges which treat of him. . . .

"The miraculous deeds he performed have taxed the ingenuity of many commentators, and the text has been twisted and turned in all directions, to explain, rationally, his slaying those prodigious numbers single-handed; his carrying the gates of Gaza, in one night, a distance of about fifty miles, &c., &c."

That this is simply a Solar myth, no one will doubt, we believe, who will take the trouble to investigate it.

Prof. Goldziher, who has made "Comparative Mythology" a special study, says of this story:

"The most complete and rounded-off Solar myth extant in Hebrew, is that of Shimshôn (Samson), a cycle of mythical conceptions fully comparable with the Greek myth of Hercules."[66:3]

We shall now endeavor to ascertain if such is the case, by comparing the exploits of Samson with those of Hercules.

The first wonderful act performed by Samson was, as we have seen, that of slaying a lion. This is said to have happened when he was but a youth. So likewise was it with Hercules. At the age of eighteen, he slew an enormous lion.[66:4]

The valley of Nemea was infested by a terrible lion; Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the skin of this monster. After [Pg 67]using in vain his club and arrows against the lion, Hercules strangled the animal with his hands. He returned, carrying the dead lion on his shoulders; but Eurystheus was so frightened at the sight of it, and at this proof of the prodigious strength of the hero, that he ordered him to deliver the accounts of his exploits in the future outside the town.[67:1]

To show the courage of Hercules, it is said that he entered the cave where the lion's lair was, closed the entrance behind him, and at once grappled with the monster.[67:2]

Samson is said to have torn asunder the jaws of the lion, and we find him generally represented slaying the beast in that manner. So likewise, was this the manner in which Hercules disposed of the Nemean lion.[67:3]

The skin of the lion, Hercules tore off with his fingers, and knowing it to be impenetrable, resolved to wear it henceforth.[67:4] The statues and paintings of Hercules either represent him carrying the lion's skin over his arm, or wearing it hanging down his back, the skin of its head fitting to his crown like a cap, and the fore-legs knotted under his chin.[67:5]

Samson's second exploit was when he went down to Ashkelon and slew thirty men.

Hercules, when returning to Thebes from the lion-hunt, and wearing its skin hanging from his shoulders, as a sign of his success, met the heralds of the King of the Minyæ, coming from Orchomenos to claim the annual tribute of a hundred cattle, levied on Thebes. Hercules cut off the ears and noses of the heralds, bound their hands, and sent them home.[67:6]

Samson's third exploit was when he caught three hundred foxes, and took fire-brands, and turned them tail to tail, and put a fire-brand in the midst between two tails, and let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines.

There is no such feature as this in the legends of Hercules, the nearest to it in resemblance is when he encounters and kills the Learnean Hydra.[67:7] During this encounter a fire-brand figures conspicuously, and the neighboring wood is set on fire.[67:8]

[Pg 68]

We have, however, an explanation of this portion of the legend, in the following from Prof. Steinthal:

At the festival of Ceres, held at Rome, in the month of April, a fox-hunt through the circus was indulged in, in which burning torches were bound to the foxes' tails.

This was intended to be a symbolical reminder of the damage done to the fields by mildew, called the "red fox," which was exorcised in various ways at this momentous season (the last third of April). It is the time of the Dog-Star, at which the mildew was most to be feared; if at that time great solar heat follows too close upon the hoar-frost or dew of the cold nights, this mischief rages like a burning fox through the corn-fields.[68:1]

He also says that:

"This is the sense of the story of the foxes, which Samson caught and sent into the Philistines' fields, with fire-brands fastened to their tails, to burn the crops. Like the lion, the fox is an animal that indicated the solar heat, being well suited for this both by its color and by its long-haired tail."[68:2]

Bouchart, in his "Hierozoicon," observes that:

"At this period (i. e., the last third of April) they cut the corn in Palestine and Lower Egypt, and a few days after the setting of the Hyads arose the Fox, in whose train or tail comes the fires or torches of the dog-days, represented among the Egyptians by red marks painted on the backs of their animals."[68:3]

Count de Volney also tells us that:

"The inhabitants of Carseoles, an ancient city of Latium, every year, in a religious festival, burned a number of foxes with torches tied to their tails. They gave, as the reason for this whimsical ceremony, that their corn had been formerly burnt by a fox to whose tail a young man had fastened a bundle of lighted straw."[68:4]

He concludes his account of this peculiar "religious festival," by saying:

"This is exactly the story of Samson with the Philistines, but it is a Phenician tale. Car-Seol is a compound word in that tongue, signifying town of foxes. The Philistines, originally from Egypt, do not appear to have had any colonies. The Phenicians had a great many; and it can scarcely be admitted that they borrowed this story from the Hebrews, as obscure as the Druses are in our own times, or that a simple adventure gave rise to a religious ceremony; it evidently can only be a mythological and allegorical narration."[68:4]

So much, then, for the foxes and fire-brands.

Samson's fourth exploit was when he smote the Philistines "hip and thigh," "with great slaughter."

[Pg 69]

It is related of Hercules that he had a combat with an army of Centaurs, who were armed with pine sticks, rocks, axes, &c. They flocked in wild confusion, and surrounded the cave of Pholos, where Hercules was, when a violent fight ensued. Hercules was obliged to contend against this large armed force single-handed, but he came off victorious, and slew a great number of them.[69:1] Hercules also encountered and fought against an army of giants, at the Phlegraean fields, near Cumae.[69:2]

Samson's next wonderful exploit was when "three thousand men of Judah" bound him with cords and brought him up into Lehi, when the Philistines were about to take his life. The cords with which he was bound immediately became as flax, and loosened from off his hands. He then, with the jaw-bone of an ass, slew one thousand Philistines.[69:3]

A very similar feature to this is found in the history of Hercules. He is made prisoner by the Egyptians, who wish to take his life, but while they are preparing to slay him, he breaks loose his bonds—having been tied with cords—and kills Buseris, the leader of the band, and the whole retinue.[69:4]

On another occasion, being refused shelter from a storm at Kos, he was enraged at the inhabitants, and accordingly destroyed the whole town.[69:5]

Samson, after he had slain a thousand Philistines, was "sore athirst," and called upon Jehovah, his father in heaven, to succor him, whereupon, water immediately gushed forth from "a hollow place that was in the jaw-bone."

Hercules, departing from the Indies (or rather Ethiopia), and conducting his army through the desert of Lybia, feels a burning thirst, and conjures Ihou, his father, to succor him in his danger.

[Pg 70]

Instantly the (celestial) Ram appears. Hercules follows him and arrives at a place where the Ram scrapes with his foot, and there instantly comes forth a spring of water.[70:1]

Samson's sixth exploit happened when he went to Gaza to visit a harlot. The Gazites, who wished to take his life, laid wait for him all night, but Samson left the town at midnight, and took with him the gates of the city, and the two posts, on his shoulders. He carried them to the top of a hill, some fifty miles away, and left them there.

This story very much resembles that of the "Pillars of Hercules," called the "Gates of Cadiz."[70:2]

Count de Volney tells us that:

"Hercules was represented naked, carrying on his shoulders two columns called the Gates of Cadiz."[70:3]

"The Pillars of Hercules" was the name given by the ancients to the two rocks forming the entrance or gate to the Mediterranean at the Strait of Gibraltar.[70:4] Their erection was ascribed by the Greeks to Hercules, on the occasion of his journey to the kingdom of Geryon. According to one version of the story, they had been united, but Hercules tore them asunder.[70:5]

Hercules carrying two pillars

Fig. No. 3 is a representation of Hercules with the two posts or pillars on his shoulders, as alluded to by Count de Volney. We have taken it from Montfaucon's "L'Antiquité Expliquée."[70:6]

J. P. Lundy says of this:

[Pg 71]

"Hercules carrying his two columns to erect at the Straits of Gibraltar, may have some reference to the Hebrew story."[71:1]

We think there is no doubt of it. By changing the name Hercules into Samson, the legend is complete.

Sir William Drummond tells us, in his "Œdipus Judaicus," that:

"Gaza signifies a Goat, and was the type of the Sun in Capricorn. The Gates of the Sun were feigned by the ancient Astronomers to be in Capricorn and Cancer (that is, in Gaza), from which signs the tropics are named. Samson carried away the gates from Gaza to Hebron, the city of conjunction. Now, Count Gebelin tells us that at Cadiz, where Hercules was anciently worshiped, there was a representation of him, with a gate on his shoulders."[71:2]

The stories of the amours of Samson with Delilah and other females, are simply counterparts of those of Hercules with Omphale and Iole. Montfaucon, speaking of this, says:

"Nothing is better known in the fables (related of Hercules) than his amours with Omphale and Iole."[71:3]

Prof. Steinthal says:

"The circumstance that Samson is so addicted to sexual pleasure, has its origin in the remembrance that the Solar god is the god of fruitfulness and procreation. We have as examples, the amours of Hercules and Omphale; Ninyas, in Assyria, with Semiramis; Samson, in Philistia, with Delila, whilst among the Phenicians, Melkart pursues Dido-Anna."[71:4]

Samson is said to have had long hair. "There hath not come a razor upon my head," says he, "for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb."

Now, strange as it may appear, Hercules is said to have had long hair also, and he was often represented that way. In Montfaucon's "L'Antiquité Expliquée"[71:5] may be seen a representation of Hercules with hair reaching almost to his waist. Almost all Sun-gods are represented thus.[71:6]

Prof. Goldzhier says:

"Long locks of hair and a long beard are mythological attributes of the Sun. The Sun's rays are compared with locks of hair on the face or head of the Sun.

[Pg 72]"When the sun sets and leaves his place to the darkness, or when the powerful Summer Sun is succeeded by the weak rays of the Winter Sun, then Samson's long locks, in which alone his strength lies, are cut off through the treachery of his deceitful concubine, Delilah, the 'languishing, languid,' according to the meaning of the name (Delilah). The Beaming Apollo, moreover, is called the Unshaven; and Minos cannot conquer the solar hero Nisos, till the latter loses his golden hair."[72:1]

Through the influence of Delilah, Samson is at last made a prisoner. He tells her the secret of his strength, the seven locks of hair are shaven off, and his strength leaves him. The shearing of the locks of the Sun must be followed by darkness and ruin.

From the shoulders of Phoibos Lykêgênes flow the sacred locks, over which no razor might pass, and on the head of Nisos they become a palladium, invested with a mysterious power.[72:2] The long locks of hair which flow over his shoulders are taken from his head by Skylla, while he is asleep, and, like another Delilah, she thus delivers him and his people into the power of Minos.[72:3]

Prof. Steinthal says of Samson:

"His hair is a figure of increase and luxuriant fullness. In Winter, when nature appears to have lost all strength, the god of growing young life has lost his hair. In the Spring the hair grows again, and nature returns to life again. Of this original conception the Bible story still preserves a trace. Samson's hair, after being cut off, grows again, and his strength comes back with it."[72:4]

Towards the end of his career, Samson's eyes are put out. Even here, the Hebrew writes with a singular fidelity to the old mythical speech. The tender light of evening is blotted out by the dark vapors; the light of the Sun is quenched in gloom. Samson's eyes are put out.

Œdipus, whose history resembles that of Samson and Hercules in many respects, tears out his eyes, towards the end of his career. In other words, the Sun has blinded himself. Clouds and darkness have closed in about him, and the clear light is blotted out of the heaven.[72:5]

The final act, Samson's death, reminds us clearly and decisively of the Phenician Hercules, as Sun-god, who died at the Winter Solstice in the furthest West, where his two pillars are set up to mark the end of his wanderings.

Samson also died at the two pillars, but in his case they are not the Pillars of the World, but are only set up in the middle of a great banqueting-hall. A feast was being held in honor of [Pg 73]Dagon, the Fish-god; the Sun was in the sign of the Waterman, Samson, the Sun-god, died.[73:1]

The ethnology of the name of Samson, as well as his adventures, are very closely connected with the Solar Hercules. "Samson" was the name of the Sun.[73:2] In Arabic, "Shams-on" means the Sun.[73:3] Samson had seven locks of hair, the number of the planetary bodies.[73:4]

The author of "The Religion of Israel," speaking of Samson, says:

"The story of Samson and his deeds originated in a Solar myth, which was afterwards transformed by the narrator into a saga about a mighty hero and deliverer of Israel. The very name 'Samson,' is derived from the Hebrew word, and means 'Sun.' The hero's flowing locks were originally the rays of the sun, and other traces of the old myth have been preserved."[73:5]

Prof. Oort says:

"The story of Samson is simply a solar myth. In some of the features of the story the original meaning may be traced quite clearly, but in others the myth can no longer be recognized. The exploits of some Danite hero, such as Shamgar, who 'slew six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad' (Judges iii. 31), have been woven into it; the whole has been remodeled after the ideas of the prophets of later ages, and finally, it has been fitted into the framework of the period of the Judges, as conceived by the writer of the book called after them."[73:6]

Again he says:

"The myth that lies at the foundation of this story is a description of the sun's course during the six winter months. The god is gradually encompassed by his enemies, mist and darkness. At first he easily maintains his freedom, and gives glorious proofs of his strength; but the fetters grow stronger and stronger, until at last he is robbed of his crown of rays, and loses all his power and glory. Such is the Sun in Winter. But he has not lost his splendor forever. Gradually his strength returns, at last he reappears; and though he still seems to allow himself to be mocked, yet the power of avenging himself has returned, and in the end he triumphs over his enemies once more."[73:7]

Other nations beside the Hebrews and Greeks had their "mighty men" and lion-killers. The Hindoos had their Samson. His name was Bala-Rama, the "Strong Rama." He was considered by some an incarnation of Vishnu.[73:8]

[Pg 74]

Captain Wilford says, in "Asiatic Researches:"

"The Indian Hercules, according to Cicero, was called Belus. He is the same as Bala, the brother of Crishna, and both are conjointly worshiped at Mutra; indeed, they are considered as one Avatar or Incarnation of Vishnou. Bala is represented as a stout man, with a club in his hand. He is also called Bala-rama."[74:1]

There is a Hindoo legend which relates that Sevah had an encounter with a tiger, "whose mouth expanded like a cave, and whose voice resembled thunder." He slew the monster, and, like Hercules, covered himself with the skin.[74:2]

The Assyrians and Lydians, both Semitic nations, worshiped a Sun-god named Sandan or Sandon. He also was believed to be a lion-killer, and frequently figured struggling with the lion, or standing upon the slain lion.[74:3]

Ninevah, too, had her mighty hero and king, who slew a lion and other monsters. Layard, in his excavations, discovered a bas-relief representation of this hero triumphing over the lion and wild bull.[74:4]

The Ancient Babylonians had a hero lion-slayer, Izdubar by name. The destruction of the lion, and other monsters, by Izdubar, is often depicted on the cylinders and engraved gems belonging to the early Babylonian monarchy.[74:5]

Izdubar is represented as a great or mighty man, who, in the early days after the flood, destroyed wild animals, and conquered a number of petty kings.[74:6]

Izdubar resembles the Grecian hero, Hercules, in other respects than as a destroyer of wild animals, &c. We are told that he "wandered to the regions where gigantic composite monsters held and controlled the rising and setting sun, from these learned the road to the region of the blessed, and passing across a great waste of land, he arrived at a region where splendid trees were laden with jewels."[74:7]

He also resembles Hercules, Samson, and other solar-gods, in the particular of long flowing locks of hair. In the Babylonian and Assyrian sculptures he is always represented with a marked physiognomy, and always indicated as a man with masses of curls over his head and a large curly beard.[74:8]

[Pg 75]

Here, evidently, is the Babylonian legend of Hercules. He too was a wanderer, going from the furthest East to the furthest West. He crossed "a great waste of land" (the desert of Lybia), visited "the region of the blessed," where there were "splendid trees laden with jewels" (golden apples).

The ancient Egyptians had their Hercules. According to Herodotus, he was known several thousand years before the Grecian hero of that name. This the Egyptians affirmed, and that he was born in their country.[75:1]

The story of Hercules was known in the Island of Thasos, by the Phenician colony settled there, five centuries before he was known in Greece.[75:2] Fig. No. 4 is from an ancient representation of Hercules in conflict with the lion, taken from Gorio.

Hercules wrestling a lion

Another mighty hero was the Grecian Bellerophon. The minstrels sang of the beauty and the great deeds of Bellerophon throughout all the land of Argos. His arm was strong in battle; his feet were swift in the chase. None that were poor and weak and wretched feared the might of Bellerophon. To them the sight of his beautiful form brought only joy and gladness; but the proud and boastful, the slanderer and the robber, dreaded the glance of his keen eye. For a long time he fought the Solymi and the Amazons, until all his enemies shrank from the stroke of his mighty arm, and sought for mercy.[75:3]

The second of the principal gods of the Ancient Scandinavians was named Thor, and was no less known than Odin among the Teutonic nations. The Edda calls him expressly the most valiant of the sons of Odin. He was considered the "defender" and "avenger." He always carried a mallet, which, as often as he discharged it, returned to his hand of itself; he grasped it with gauntlets of iron, and was further possessed of a girdle which had the virtue of renewing his strength as often as was needful. It was with these formidable arms that he overthrew to the ground the monsters and giants, when he was sent by the gods to oppose their enemies. He was represented of gigantic size, and as the stoutest and strongest [Pg 76]of the gods.[76:1] Thor was simply the Hercules of the Northern nations. He was the Sun personified.[76:2]

Without enumerating them, we can safely say, that there was not a nation of antiquity, from the remotest East to the furthest West, that did not have its mighty hero, and counterpart of Hercules and Samson.[76:3]


[62:1] The idea of a woman conceiving, and bearing a son in her old age, seems to have been a Hebrew peculiarity, as a number of their remarkable personages were born, so it is said, of parents well advanced in years, or of a woman who was supposed to have been barren. As illustrations, we may mention this case of Samson, and that of Joseph being born of Rachel. The beautiful Rachel, who was so much beloved by Jacob, her husband, was barren, and she bore him no sons. This caused grief and discontent on her part, and anger on the part of her husband. In her old age, however, she bore the wonderful child Joseph. (See Genesis, xxx. 1-29.)

Isaac was born of a woman (Sarah) who had been barren many years. An angel appeared to her when her lord (Abraham) "was ninety years old and nine," and informed her that she would conceive and bear a son. (See Gen. xvi.)

Samuel, the "holy man," was also born of a woman (Hannah) who had been barren many years. In grief, she prayed to the Lord for a child, and was finally comforted by receiving her wish. (See 1 Samuel, i. 1-20.)

John the Baptist was also a miraculously conceived infant. His mother, Elizabeth, bore him in her old age. An angel also informed her and her husband Zachariah, that this event would take place. (See Luke, i. 1-25.)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born of a woman (Anna) who was "old and stricken in years," and who had been barren all her life. An angel appeared to Anna and her husband (Joachim), and told them what was about to take place. (See "The Gospel of Mary," Apoc.)

Thus we see, that the idea of a wonderful child being born of a woman who had passed the age which nature had destined for her to bear children, and who had been barren all her life, was a favorite one among the Hebrews. The idea that the ancestors of a race lived to a fabulous old age, is also a familiar one among the ancients.

Most ancient nations relate in their fables that their ancestors lived to be very old men. For instance; the Persian patriarch Kaiomaras reigned 560 years; Jemshid reigned 300 years; Jahmurash reigned 700 years; Dahâk reigned 1000 years; Feridun reigned 120 years; Manugeher reigned 500 years; Kaikans reigned 150 years; and Bahaman reigned 112 years. (See Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. 155, note.)

[64:1] Judges, xiv.

[65:1] Judges, xv.

[66:1] Judges, xvi.

[66:2] Perhaps that of Izdubar. See chapter xi.

[66:3] Hebrew Mythology, p. 248.

[66:4] Manual of Mythology, p. 248. The Age of Fable, p. 200.

[67:1] Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 200.

[67:2] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 249.

[67:3] Roman Antiquities, p. 124; and Montfaucon, vol. i. plate cxxvi.

[67:4] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 249.

[67:5] See Ibid. Greek and Italian Mythology, p. 129, and Montfaucon, vol. i. plate cxxv. and cxxvi.

[67:6] Manual of Mythology, p. 247.

[67:7] "It has many heads, one being immortal, as the storm must constantly supply new clouds while the vapors are driven off by the Sun into space. Hence the story went that although Herakles could burn away its mortal heads, as the Sun burns up the clouds, still he can but hide away the mist or vapor itself, which at its appointed time must again darken the sky." (Cox: Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 48.)

[67:8] See Manual of Mytho., p. 250.

[68:1] Steinthal: The Legend of Samson, p. 398. See, also, Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 240, and Volney: Researches in Anc't History, p. 42.

[68:2] Ibid.

[68:3] Quoted by Count de Volney: Researches in Ancient History, p. 42, note.

[68:4] Volney: Researches in Ancient History, p. 42.

[69:1] See Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 251.

"The slaughter of the Centaurs by Hercules is the conquest and dispersion of the vapors by the Sun as he rises in the heaven." (Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 47.)

[69:2] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 257.

[69:3] Shamgar also slew six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. (See Judges, iii. 31.)

"It is scarcely necessary to say that these weapons are the heritage of all the Solar heroes, that they are found in the hands of Phebus and Herakles, of Œdipus, Achilleus, Philoktetes, of Siguard, Rustem, Indra, Isfendujar, of Telephos, Meleagros, Theseus, Kadmos, Bellerophon, and all other slayers of noxious and fearful things." (Rev. Geo. Cox: Tales of Ancient Greece, p. xxvii.)

[69:4] See Volney: Researches in Ancient History, p. 41. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 239; Montfaucon: L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 213, and Murray: Manual of Mythology, pp. 259-262.

It is evident that Herodotus, the Grecian historian, was somewhat of a skeptic, for he says: "The Grecians say that 'When Hercules arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians, having crowned him with a garland, led him in procession, as designing to sacrifice him to Jupiter, and that for some time he remained quiet, but when they began the preparatory ceremonies upon him at the altar, he set about defending himself and slew every one of them.' Now, since Hercules was but one, and, besides, a mere man, as they confess, how is it possible that he should slay many thousands?" (Herodotus, book ii. ch. 45).

[69:5] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 263.

[70:1] Volney: Researches in Anc't History, pp. 41, 42.

In Bell's "Pantheon of the Gods and Demi-Gods of Antiquity," we read, under the head of Ammon or Hammon (the name of the Egyptian Jupiter, worshiped under the figure of a Ram), that: "Bacchus having subdued Asia, and passing with his army through the deserts of Africa, was in great want of water; but Jupiter, his father, assuming the shape of a Ram, led him to a fountain, where he refreshed himself and his army; in requital of which favor, Bacchus built there a temple to Jupiter, under the title of Ammon."

[70:2] Cadiz (ancient Gades), being situated near the mouth of the Mediterranean. The first author who mentions the Pillars of Hercules is Pindar, and he places them there. (Chambers's Encyclo. "Hercules.")

[70:3] Volney's Researches, p. 41. See also Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 357.

[70:4] See Chambers's Encyclopædia, Art. "Hercules." Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 36, note; and Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 201.

[70:5] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Hercules."

[70:6] Vol. i. plate cxxvii.

[71:1] Monumental Christianity, p. 399.

[71:2] Œd. Jud. p. 360, in Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 239.

[71:3] "Rien de plus connu dans la fable que ses amours avec Omphale et Iole."—L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 224.

[71:4] The Legend of Samson, p. 404.

[71:5] Vol. i. plate cxxvii.

[71:6] "Samson was remarkable for his long hair. The meaning of this trait in the original myth is easy to guess, and appears also from representations of the Sun-god amongst other peoples. These long hairs are the rays of the Sun." (Bible for Learners, i. 416.)

"The beauty of the sun's rays is signified by the golden locks of Phoibos, over which no razor has ever passed; by the flowing hair which streams from the head of Kephalos, and falls over the shoulders of Perseus and Bellerophon." (Cox: Aryan Mytho., vol. i. p. 107.)

[72:1] Hebrew Mytho., pp. 137, 138.

[72:2] Cox: Aryan Myths, vol. i. p. 84.

[72:3] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. xxix.

[72:4] The Legend of Samson, p. 408.

[72:5] Cox: Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 72.

[73:1] The Legend of Samson, p. 406.

[73:2] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 237. Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, p. 22. The Religion of Israel, p. 61. The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 418. Volney's Ruins, p. 41, and Stanley: History of the Jewish Church, where he says: "His name, which Josephus interprets in the sense of 'strong,' was still more characteristic. He was 'the Sunny'—the bright and beaming, though wayward, likeness of the great luminary."

[73:3] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 237, and Volney's Researches, p. 43, note.

[73:4] See chapter ii.

[73:5] The Religion of Israel, p. 61. "The yellow hair of Apollo was a symbol of the solar rays." (Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 679.)

[73:6] Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 414.

[73:7] Ibid. p. 422.

[73:8] Williams' Hinduism, pp. 108 and 167.

[74:1] Vol. v. p. 270.

[74:2] Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 155.

[74:3] Steinthal: The Legend of Samson, p. 386.

[74:4] Buckley: Cities of the World, 41, 42.

[74:5] Smith: Assyrian Discoveries, p. 167, and Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 174.

[74:6] Assyrian Discoveries, p. 205, and Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 174.

[74:7] Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 310.

[74:8] Ibid. pp. 193, 194, 174.

[75:1] See Tacitus: Annals, book ii. ch. lix.

[75:2] Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 92.

[75:3] See Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 153.

[76:1] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, pp. 94, 417, and 514.

[76:2] See Cox: Aryan Mythology.

[76:3] See vol. i. of Aryan Mythology, by Rev. G. W. Cox.

"Besides the fabulous Hercules, the son of Jupiter and Alcmena, there was, in ancient times, no warlike nation who did not boast of its own particular Hercules." (Arthur Murphy, Translator of Tacitus.)

[Pg 77]



In the book of Jonah, containing four chapters, we are told the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, saying: "Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness is come up against me."

Instead of obeying this command Jonah sought to flee "from the presence of the Lord," by going to Tarshish. For this purpose he went to Joppa, and there took ship for Tarshish. But the Lord sent a great wind, and there was a mighty tempest, so that the ship was likely to be broken.

The mariners being afraid, they cried every one unto his God; and casting lots—that they might know which of them was the cause of the storm—the lot fell upon Jonah, showing him to be the guilty man.

The mariners then said unto him; "What shall we do unto thee?" Jonah in reply said, "Take me up and cast me forth into the sea, for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you." So they took up Jonah, and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased raging.

And the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the fish's belly. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

The Lord again spake unto Jonah and said:

"Go unto Ninevah and preach unto it." So Jonah arose and went unto Ninevah, according to the command of the Lord, and preached unto it.

There is a Hindoo fable, very much resembling this, to be found in the Somadeva Bhatta, of a person by the name of Saktideva who was swallowed by a huge fish, and finally came out unhurt. The story is as follows:

"There was once a king's daughter who would marry no one [Pg 78]but the man who had seen the Golden City—of legendary fame—and Saktideva was in love with her; so he went travelling about the world seeking some one who could tell him where this Golden City was. In the course of his journeys he embarked on board a ship bound for the Island of Utsthala, where lived the King of the Fishermen, who, Saktideva hoped, would set him on his way. On the voyage there arose a great storm and the ship went to pieces, and a great fish swallowed Saktideva whole. Then, driven by the force of fate, the fish went to the Island of Utsthala, and there the servants of the King of the Fishermen caught it, and the king, wondering at its size, had it cut open, and Saktideva came out unhurt."[78:1]

In Grecian fable, Hercules is said to have been swallowed by a whale, at a place called Joppa, and to have lain three days in his entrails.

Bernard de Montfaucon, speaking of Jonah being swallowed by a whale, and describing a piece of Grecian sculpture representing Hercules standing by a huge sea monster, says:

"Some ancients relate to the effect that Hercules was also swallowed by the whale that was watching Hesione, that he remained three days in his belly, and that he came out bald-pated after his sojourn there."[78:2]

Bouchet, in his "Hist. d'Animal," tells us that:

"The great fish which swallowed up Jonah, although it be called a whale (Matt. xii. 40), yet it was not a whale, properly so called, but a Dog-fish, called Carcharias. Therefore in the Grecian fable Hercules is said to have been swallowed up of a Dag, and to have lain three days in his entrails."[78:3]

Godfrey Higgins says, on this subject:

"The story of Jonas swallowed up by a whale, is nothing but part of the fiction of Hercules, described in the Heracleid or Labors of Hercules, of whom the same story was told, and who was swallowed up at the very same place, Joppa, and for the same period of time, three days. Lycophron says that Hercules was three nights in the belly of a fish."[78:4]

We have still another similar story in that of "Arion the Musician," who, being thrown overboard, was caught on the back of a Dolphin and landed safe on shore. The story is related in "Tales of Ancient Greece," as follows:

Arion was a Corinthian harper who had travelled in Sicily and

[Pg 79]

Italy, and had accumulated great wealth. Being desirous of again seeing his native city, he set sail from Taras for Corinth. The sailors in the ship, having seen the large boxes full of money which Arion had brought with him into the ship, made up their minds to kill him and take his gold and silver. So one day when he was sitting on the bow of the ship, and looking down on the dark blue sea, three or four of the sailors came to him and said they were going to kill him. Now Arion knew they said this because they wanted his money; so he promised to give them all he had if they would spare his life. But they would not. Then he asked them to let him jump into the sea. When they had given him leave to do this, Arion took one last look at the bright and sunny sky, and then leaped into the sea, and the sailors saw him no more. But Arion was not drowned in the sea, for a great fish called a dolphin was swimming by the ship when Arion leaped over; and it caught him on its back and swam away with him towards Corinth. So presently the fish came close to the shore and left Arion on the beach, and swam away again into the deep sea.[79:1]

There is also a Persian legend to the effect that Jemshid was devoured by a great monster waiting for him at the bottom of the sea, but afterwards rises again out of the sea, like Jonah in the Hebrew, and Hercules in the Phenician myth.[79:2] This legend was also found in the myths of the New World.[79:3]

It was urged, many years ago, by Rosenmüller—an eminent German divine and professor of theology—and other critics, that the miracle recorded in the book of Jonah is not to be regarded as an historical fact, "but only as an allegory, founded on the Phenician myth of Hercules rescuing Hesione from the sea monster by leaping himself into its jaws, and for three days and three nights continuing to tear its entrails."[79:4]

That the story is an allegory, and that it, as well as that of Saktideva, Hercules and the rest, are simply different versions of the same myth, the significance of which is the alternate swallowing up and casting forth of Day, or the Sun, by Night, is now all but universally admitted by scholars. The Day, or the Sun, is swallowed up by Night, to be set free again at dawn, and from time to time suffers a like but shorter durance in the maw of the eclipse and the storm-cloud.[79:5]

Professor Goldzhier says:

[Pg 80]

"The most prominent mythical characteristic of the story of Jonah is his celebrated abode in the sea in the belly of a whale. This trait is eminently Solar. . . . As on occasion of the storm the storm-dragon or the storm-serpent swallows the Sun, so when he sets, he (Jonah, as a personification of the Sun) is swallowed by a mighty fish, waiting for him at the bottom of the sea. Then, when he appears again on the horizon, he is spit out on the shore by the sea-monster."[80:1]

The Sun was called Jona, as appears from Gruter's inscriptions, and other sources.[80:2]

In the Vedas—the four sacred books of the Hindoos—when Day and Night, Sun and Darkness, are opposed to each other, the one is designated Red, the other Black.[80:3]

The Red Sun being swallowed up by the Dark Earth at Night—as it apparently is when it sets in the west—to be cast forth again at Day, is also illustrated in like manner. Jonah, Hercules and others personify the Sun, and a huge Fish represents the Earth.[80:4] The Earth represented as a huge Fish is one of the most prominent ideas of the Polynesian mythology.[80:5]

At other times, instead of a Fish, we have a great raving Wolf, who comes to devour its victim and extinguish the Sun-light.[80:6] The Wolf is particularly distinguished in ancient Scandinavian mythology, being employed as an emblem of the Destroying Power, which attempts to destroy the Sun.[80:7] This is illustrated in the story of Little Red Riding-Hood (the Sun)[80:8] who is devoured by the great Black Wolf (Night) and afterwards comes out unhurt.[80:9]

The story of Little Red Riding-Hood is mutilated in the English version. The original story was that the little maid, in her shining Red Cloak, was swallowed by the great Black Wolf, and that she came out safe and sound when the hunters cut open the sleeping beast.[80:10]

[Pg 81]

In regard to these heroes remaining three days and three nights in the bowels of the Fish, they represent the Sun at the Winter Solstice. From December 22d to the 25th—that is, for three days and three nights—the Sun remains in the Lowest Regions, in the bowels of the Earth, in the belly of the Fish; it is then cast forth and renews its career.

Thus, we see that the story of Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, meant originally the Sun swallowed up by Night, and that it is identical with the well-known nursery-tale. How such legends are transformed from intelligible into unintelligible myths, is very clearly illustrated by Prof. Max Müller, who, in speaking of "the comparison of the different forms of Aryan Religion and Mythology," in India, Persia, Greece, Italy and Germany, says:

"In each of these nations there was a tendency to change the original conception of divine powers; to misunderstand the many names given to these powers, and to misinterpret the praises addressed to them. In this manner some of the divine names were changed into half-divine, half-human heroes, and at last the myths which were true and intelligible as told originally of the Sun, or the Dawn, or the Storms, were turned into legends or fables too marvellous to be believed of common mortals. This process can be watched in India, in Greece, and in Germany. The same story, or nearly the same, is told of gods, of heroes, and of men. The divine myth became an heroic legend, and the heroic legend fades away into a nursery tale. Our nursery tales have well been called the modern patois of the ancient sacred mythology of the Aryan race."[81:1]

How striking are these words; how plainly they illustrate the process by which the story, that was true and intelligible as told originally of the Day being swallowed up by Night, or the Sun being swallowed up by the Earth, was transformed into a legend or fable, too marvellous to be believed by common mortals. How the "divine myth" became an "heroic legend," and how the heroic legend faded away into a "nursery tale."

In regard to Jonah's going to the city of Ninevah, and preaching unto the inhabitants, we believe that the old "Myth of Civilization," [Pg 82]so called,[82:1] is partly interwoven here, and that, in this respect, he is nothing more than the Indian Fish Avatar of Vishnou, or the Chaldean Oannes. At his first Avatar, Vishnou is alleged to have appeared to humanity in form like a fish,[82:2] or half-man and half-fish, just as Oannes and Dagon were represented among the Chaldeans and other nations. In the temple of Rama, in India, there is a representation of Vishnou which answers perfectly to that of Dagon.[82:3] Mr. Maurice, in his "Hist. Hindostan," has proved the identity of the Syrian Dagon and the Indian Fish Avatar, and concludes by saying:

"From the foregoing and a variety of parallel circumstances, I am inclined to think that the Chaldean Oannes, the Phenician and Philistian Dagon, and the Pisces of the Syrian and Egyptian Zodiac, were the same deity with the Indian Vishnu."[82:4]

In the old mythological remains of the Chaldeans, compiled by Berosus, Abydenus, and Polyhistor, there is an account of one Oannes, a fish-god, who rendered great service to mankind.[82:5] This being is said to have come out of the Erythraean Sea.[82:6] This is evidently the Sun rising out of the sea, as it apparently does, in the East.[82:7]

Prof. Goldzhier, speaking of Oannes, says:

"That this founder of civilization has a Solar character, like similar heroes in all other nations, is shown . . . in the words of Berosus, who says: 'During the day-time Oannes held intercourse with man, but when the Sun set, Oannes fell into the sea, where he used to pass the night.' Here, evidently, only the Sun can be meant, who, in the evening, dips into the sea, and comes forth again in the morning, and passes the day on the dry land in the company of men."[82:8]

Dagon was sometimes represented as a man emerging from a fish's mouth, and sometimes as half-man and half-fish.[82:9] It was believed that he came in a ship, and taught the people. Ancient history abounds with such mythological personages.[82:10] There was also a Durga, a fish deity, among the Hindoos, represented as a full grown man emerging from a fish's mouth[82:9] The Philistines [Pg 83]worshiped Dagon, and in Babylonian Mythology Odakon is applied to a fish-like being, who rose from the waters of the Red Sea as one of the benefactors of men.[83:1]

On the coins of Ascalon, where she was held in great honor, the goddess Derceto or Atergatis is represented as a woman with her lower extremities like a fish. This is Semiramis, who appeared at Joppa as a mermaid. She is simply a personification of the Moon, who follows the course of the Sun. At times she manifests herself to the eyes of men, at others she seeks concealment in the Western flood.[83:2]

The Sun-god Phoibos traverses the sea in the form of a fish, and imparts lessons of wisdom and goodness when he has come forth from the green depths. All these powers or qualities are shared by Proteus in Hellenic story, as well as by the fish-god, Dagon or Oannes.[83:3]

In the Iliad and Odyssey, Atlas is brought into close connection with Helios, the bright god, the Latin Sol, and our Sun. In these poems he rises every morning from a beautiful lake by the deep-flowing stream of Ocean, and having accomplished his journey across the heavens, plunges again into the Western waters.[83:4]

The ancient Mexicans and Peruvians had likewise semi-fish gods.[83:5]

a Dagon, half-man and half-fish

Jonah then, is like these other personages, in so far as they are all personifications of the Sun; they all come out of the sea; they are all represented as a man emerging from a fish's mouth; and they are all benefactors of mankind. We believe, therefore, that it is one and the same myth, whether Oannes, Joannes, or Jonas,[83:6] differing to a certain extent among different nations, just as we find to be the case with other legends. This we have just seen illustrated in the story of "Little Red Riding-Hood," which is considerably mutilated in the English version.

[Pg 84]

Vishnou emerging from the mouth of a fish

Fig. No. 5 is a representation of Dagon, intended to illustrate a creature half-man and half-fish; or, perhaps, a man emerging from a fish's mouth. It is taken from Layard. Fig. No. 6[84:1] is a representation of the Indian Avatar of Vishnou, coming forth from the fish.[84:2] It would answer just as well for a representation of Jonah, as it does for the Hindoo divinity. It should be noticed that in both of these, the god has a crown on his head, surmounted with a triple ornament, both of which had evidently the same meaning, i. e., an emblem of the trinity.[84:3] The Indian Avatar being represented with four arms, evidently means that he is god of the whole world, his four arms extending to the four corners of the world. The circle, which is seen in one hand, is an emblem of eternal reward. The shell, with its eight convolutions, is intended to show the place in the number of the cycles which he occupied. The book and sword are to show that he ruled both in the right of the book and of the sword.[84:4]


[78:1] Tylor: Early Hist. Mankind, pp. 344, 345.

[78:2] "En effet, quelques anciens disent qu' Hercule fut aussi devorà par la beleine qui gurdoit Hesione, qu'il demeura trois jours dans son ventre, et qu'il sortit chauve de ce sejour." (L'Antiquité Expliqueé, vol. i. p. 204.)

[78:3] Bouchet: Hist. d'Animal, in Anac., vol. i. p. 240.

[78:4] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 638. See also Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 306, and Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Jonah."

[79:1] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 296.

[79:2] See Hebrew Mythology, p. 203.

[79:3] See Tylor's Early Hist. Mankind, and Primitive Culture, vol. i.

[79:4] Chambers's Encyclo., art. Jonah.

[79:5] See Fiske: Myths and Myth Makers, p. 77, and note; and Tylor: Primitive Culture, i. 302.

[80:1] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, pp. 102, 103.

[80:2] This is seen from the following, taken from Pictet: "Du Culte des Carabi," p. 104, and quoted by Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 650: "Vallancy dit que Ionn étoit le même que Baal. En Gallois Jon, le Seigneur, Dieu, la cause prémière. En Basque Jawna, Jon, Jona, &c., Dieu, et Seigneur, Maître. Les Scandinaves appeloient le Soleil John. . . . Une des inscriptions de Gruter montre ques les Troyens adoroient le même astre sous le nom de Jona. En Persan le Soleil est appelè Jawnah." Thus we see that the Sun was called Jonah, by different nations of antiquity.

[80:3] See Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, p. 148.

[80:4] See Tylor: Early History of Mankind, p. 845, and Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, pp. 102, 103.

[80:5] See Tylor: Early History of Mankind, p. 345.

[80:6] Fiske: Myths and Myth Makers, p. 77.

[80:7] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, pp. 88, 89, and Mallet's Northern Antiquities.

[80:8] In ancient Scandinavian mythology, the Sun is personified in the form of a beautiful maiden. (See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 458.)

[80:9] See Fiske: Myths and Myth Makers, p. 77. Bunce: Fairy Tales, 161.

[80:10] Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 307.

"The story of Little Red Riding-Hood, as we call her, or Little Red-Cap, came from the same (i. e., the ancient Aryan) source, and refers to the Sun and the Night."

"One of the fancies of the most ancient Aryan or Hindoo stories was that there was a great dragon that was trying to devour the Sun, and to prevent him from shining upon the earth and filling it with brightness and life and beauty, and that Indra, the Sun-god, killed the dragon. Now, this is the meaning of Little Red Riding-Hood, as it is told in our nursery tales. Little Red Riding-Hood is the evening Sun, which is always described as red or golden; the old grandmother is the earth, to whom the rays of the Sun bring warmth and comfort. The wolf—which is a well-known figure for the clouds and darkness of night—is the dragon in another form. First he devours the grandmother; that is, he wraps the earth in thick clouds, which the evening Sun is not strong enough to pierce through. Then, with the darkness of night, he swallows up the evening Sun itself, and all is dark and desolate. Then, as in the German tale, the night-thunder and the storm-winds are represented by the loud snoring of the wolf; and then the huntsman, the morning Sun, comes in all his strength and majesty, and chases away the night-clouds and kills the wolf, and revives old Grandmother Earth, and brings Little Red Riding-Hood to life again." (Bunce, Fairy Tales, their Origin and Meaning, p. 161.)

[81:1] Müller's Chips, vol. ii. p. 260.

[82:1] See Goldzhier's Hebrew Mythology, p. 198, et seq.

[82:2] See Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 277.

[82:3] See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 259. Also, Fig. No. 5, next page.

[82:4] Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. pp. 418-419.

[82:5] See Pilchard's Egyptian Mythology, p. 190. Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 87. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 646. Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 57.

[82:6] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 646. Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 39, and Cory's Ancient Fragments, p. 57.

[82:7] Civilizing gods, who diffuse intelligence and instruct barbarians, are also Solar Deities. Among these Oannes takes his place, as the Sun-god, giving knowledge and civilization. (Rev. S. Baring-Gould: Curious Myths, p. 367.)

[82:8] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, pp. 214, 215.

[82:9] See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 111.

[82:10] See Chamber's Encyclo., art "Dagon."

[83:1] See Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, and Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Dagon" in both.

[83:2] See Baring-Gould's Curious Myths.

[83:3] See Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 26.

[83:4] Ibid. p. 38.

[83:5] Curious Myths, p. 372.

[83:6] Since writing the above we find that Mr. Bryant, in his "Analysis of Ancient Mythology" (vol. ii. p. 291), speaking of the mystical nature of the name John, which is the same as Jonah, says: "The prophet who was sent upon an embassy to the Ninevites, is styled Ionas: a title probably bestowed upon him as a messenger of the Deity. The great Patriarch who preached righteousness to the Antediluvians, is styled Oan and Oannes, which is the same as Jonah."

[84:1] From Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. i. p. 495.

[84:2] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 634. See also, Calmet's Fragments, 2d Hundred, p. 78.

[84:3] See the chapter on "The Trinity," in part second.

[84:4] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 640.

[Pg 85]



In the words of the Rev. Dr. Giles:

"The rite of circumcision must not be passed over in any work that concerns the religion and literature of that (the Jewish) people."[85:1]

The first mention of Circumcision, in the Bible, occurs in Genesis,[85:2] where God is said to have commanded the Israelites to perform this rite, and thereby establish a covenant between him and his chosen people:

"This is my covenant (said the Lord), which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every male child among you shall be circumcised."

"We need not doubt," says the Rev. Dr. Giles, "that a Divine command was given to Abraham that all his posterity should practice the rite of circumcision."[85:3]

Such may be the case. If we believe that the Lord of the Universe communes with man, we need not doubt this; yet, we are compelled to admit that nations other than the Hebrews practiced this rite. The origin of it, however, as practiced among other nations, has never been clearly ascertained. It has been maintained by some scholars that this rite drew its origin from considerations of health and cleanliness, which seems very probable, although doubted by many.[85:4] Whatever may have been its origin, it is certain that it was practiced by many of the ancient Eastern nations, who never came in contact with the Hebrews, in early times, and, therefore, could not have learned it from them.

The Egyptians practiced circumcision at a very early period,[85:5] [Pg 86]at least as early as the fourth dynasty—pyramid one—and therefore, long before the time assigned for Joseph's entry into Egypt, from whom some writers have claimed the Egyptians learned it.[86:1]

In the decorative pictures of Egyptian tombs, one frequently meets with persons on whom the denudation of the prepuce is manifested.[86:2]

On a stone found at Thebes, there is a representation of the circumcision of Ramses II. A mother is seen holding her boy's arms back, while the operator kneels in front.[86:3] All Egyptian priests were obliged to be circumcised,[86:4] and Pythagoras had to submit to it before being admitted to the Egyptian sacerdotal mysteries.[86:5]

Herodotus, the Greek historian, says:

"As this practice can be traced both in Egypt and Ethiopia, to the remotest antiquity, it is not possible to say which first introduced it. The Phenicians and Syrians of Palestine acknowledge that they borrowed it from Egypt."[86:6]

It has been recognized among the Kaffirs and other tribes of Africa.[86:7] It was practiced among the Fijians and Samoans of Polynesia, and some races of Australia.[86:8] The Suzees and the Mandingoes circumcise their women.[86:9] The Assyrians, Colchins, Phenicians, and others, practiced it.[86:10] It has been from time immemorial a custom among the Abyssinians, though, at the present time, Christians.[86:11]

The antiquity of the custom may be assured from the fact of the New Hollanders, (never known to civilized nations until a few years ago) having practiced it.[86:12]

The Troglodytes on the shore of the Red Sea, the Idumeans, Ammonites, Moabites and Ishmaelites, had the practice of circumcision.[86:11]

The ancient Mexicans also practiced this rite.[86:13] It was also [Pg 87]found among the Amazon tribes of South America.[87:1] These Indians, as well as some African tribes, were in the habit of circumcising their women. Among the Campas, the women circumcised themselves, and a man would not marry a woman who was not circumcised.[87:2] They performed this singular rite upon arriving at the age of puberty.[87:3]

Jesus of Nazareth was circumcised,[87:4] and had he been really the founder of the Christian religion, so-called, it would certainly be incumbent on all Christians to be circumcised as he was, and to observe that Jewish law which he observed, and which he was so far from abrogating, that he declared: "heaven and earth shall pass away" ere "one jot or one tittle" of that law should be dispensed with.[87:5] But the Christians are not followers of the religion of Jesus.[87:6] They are followers of the religion of the Pagans. This, we believe, we shall be able to show in Part Second of this work.


[85:1] Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. i. p. 249.

[85:2] Genesis, xvii. 10.

[85:3] Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. i. p. 251.

[85:4] Mr. Herbert Spencer shows (Principles of Sociology, pp. 290, 295) that the sacrificing of a part of the body as a religious offering to their deity, was, and is a common practice among savage tribes. Circumcision may have originated in this way. And Mr. Wake, speaking of it, says: "The origin of this custom has not yet, so far as I am aware, been satisfactorily explained. The idea that, under certain climatic conditions, circumcision is necessary for cleanliness and comfort, does not appear to be well founded, as the custom is not universal even within the tropics." (Phallism in Ancient Religs., p. 36.)

[85:5] "Other men leave their private parts as they are formed by nature, except those who have learned otherwise from them; but the Egyptians are circumcised. . . . They are circumcised for the sake of cleanliness, thinking it better to be clean than handsome." (Herodotus, Book ii. ch. 36.)

[86:1] We have it also on the authority of Sir J. G. Wilkinson, that: "this custom was established long before the arrival of Joseph in Egypt," and that "this is proved by the ancient monuments."

[86:2] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, pp. 414, 415.

[86:3] Ibid. p. 415.

[86:4] Ibid. and Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 89.

[86:5] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 415.

[86:6] Herodotus: Book ii. ch. 36.

[86:7] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 114. Amberly: Analysis Religious Belief, p. 67, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 309.

[86:8] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 414, and Amberly's Analysis, pp. 63, 73.

[86:9] Amberly: Analysis of Relig. Belief, p. 73.

[86:10] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 414: Amberly's Analysis, p. 63; Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 163, and Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. pp. 18, 19.

[86:11] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 414.

[86:12] Kendrick's Egypt, quoted by Dunlap; Mysteries of Adoni, p. 146.

[86:13] Amberly's Analysis, p. 63, Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 309, and Acosta, ii. 369.

[87:1] Orton: The Andes and the Amazon, p. 322.

[87:2] This was done by cutting off the clytoris.

[87:3] Orton: The Andes and the Amazon, p. 322. Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. p. 563, and Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 319.

"At the time of the conquest, the Spaniards found circumcised nations in Central America, and on the Amazon, the Tecuna and Manaos tribes still observe this practice. In the South Seas it has been met with among three different races, but it is performed in a somewhat different manner. On the Australian continent, not all, but the majority of tribes, practiced circumcision. Among the Papuans, the inhabitants of New Caledonia and the New Hebrides adhere to this custom. In his third voyage, Captain Cook found it among the inhabitants of the Friendly Islands, in particular at Tongataboo, and the younger Pritchard bears witness to its practice in the Samoa or Fiji groups." (Oscar Peschel: The Races of Man, p. 22.)

[87:4] Luke, ii. 21.

[87:5] Matthew, v. 18.

[87:6] In using the words "the religion of Jesus," we mean simply the religion of Israel. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, in every sense of the word, and that he did not establish a new religion, or preach a new doctrine, in any way, shape, or form. "The preacher from 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." (See chap. xi.)

[Pg 88]



There are many other legends recorded in the Old Testament which might be treated at length, but, as we have considered the principal and most important, and as we have so much to examine in Part Second, which treats of the New Testament, we shall take but a passing glance at a few others.

In Genesis xli. is to be found the story of


which is to the effect that Pharaoh dreamed that he stood by a river, and saw come up out of it seven fat kine, and seven lean kine, which devoured the fat ones. He then dreamed that he saw seven good ears of corn, on one stalk, spring up out of the ground. This was followed by seven poor ears, which sprang up after them, and devoured the good ears.

Pharaoh, upon awaking from his sleep, and recalling the dreams which he dreamed, was greatly troubled, "and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof, and Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh." Finally, his chief butler tells him of one Joseph, who was skilled in interpreting dreams, and Pharaoh orders him to be brought before his presence. He then repeats his dreams to Joseph, who immediately interprets them to the great satisfaction of the king.

A very similar story is related in the Buddhist Fo-pen-hing—one of their sacred books, which has been translated by Prof. Samuel Beal—which, in substance, is as follows:

Suddhôdana Raja dreamed seven different dreams in one night, when, "awaking from his sleep, and recalling the visions he had seen, was greatly troubled, so that the very hair on his body stood erect, and his limbs trembled." He forthwith summoned to his side, within his palace, all the great ministers of his council, and [Pg 89]exhorted them in these words: "Most honorable Sirs! be it known to you that during the present night I have seen in my dreams strange and potent visions—there were seven distinct dreams, which I will now recite (he recites the dreams). I pray you, honorable Sirs! let not these dreams escape your memories, but in the morning, when I am seated in my palace, and surrounded by my attendants, let them be brought to my mind (that they may be interpreted.)"

At morning light, the king, seated in the midst of his attendants, issued his commands to all the Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, within his kingdom, in these terms, "All ye men of wisdom, explain for me by interpretation the meaning of the dreams I have dreamed in my sleep."

Then all the wise Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, began to consider, each one in his own heart, what the meaning of these visions could be; till at last they addressed the king, and said: "Mahâ-raja! be it known to you that we never before have heard such dreams as these, and we cannot interpret their meaning."

On hearing this, Suddhôdana was very troubled in his heart, and exceeding distressed. He thought within himself: "Who is there that can satisfy these doubts of mine?"

Finally a "holy one," called T'so-Ping, being present in the inner palace, and perceiving the sorrow and distress of the king, assumed the appearance of a Brahman, and under this form he stood at the gate of the king's palace, and cried out, saying: "I am able fully to interpret the dreams of Suddhôdana Râja, and with certainty to satisfy all the doubts."

The king ordered him to be brought before his presence, and then related to him his dreams. Upon hearing them, T'so-Ping immediately interpreted them, to the great satisfaction of the king.[89:1]

In the second chapter of Exodus we read of


which is done by command of the king.

There are many counterparts to this in ancient mythology; among them may be mentioned that of the infant Perseus, who was, by command of the king (Acrisius of Argos), shut up in a chest, and cast into the sea. He was found by one Dictys, who took great care of the child, and—as Pharaoh's daughter did with the child Moses—educated him.[89:2]

[Pg 90]

The infant Bacchus was confined in a chest, by order of Cadmus, King of Thebes, and thrown into the Nile.[90:1] He, like Moses, had two mothers, one by nature, the other by adoption.[90:2] He was also, like Moses, represented horned.[90:3]

Osiris was also confined in a chest, and thrown into the river Nile.[90:4]

When Osiris was shut into the coffer, and cast into the river, he floated to Phenicia, and was there received under the name of Adonis. Isis (his mother, or wife) wandered in quest of him, came to Byblos, and seated herself by a fountain in silence and tears. She was then taken by the servants of the royal palace, and made to attend on the young prince of the land. In like manner, Demeter, after Aidoneus had ravished her daughter, went in pursuit, reached Eleusis, seated herself by a well, conversed with the daughters of the queen, and became nurse to her son.[90:5] So likewise, when Moses was put into the ark made of bulrushes, and cast into the Nile, he was found by the daughters of Pharaoh, and his own mother became his nurse.[90:6] This is simply another version of the same myth.

In the second chapter of the second book of Kings, we read of


There are many counterparts to this, in heathen mythology.

Hindoo sacred writings relate many such stories—how some of their Holy Ones were taken up alive into heaven—and impressions on rocks are shown, said to be foot-prints, made when they ascended.[90:7]

According to Babylonian mythology, Xisuthrus was translated to heaven.[90:8]

The story of Elijah ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire may also be compared to the fiery, flame-red chariot of Ushas.[90:9] This idea of some Holy One ascending to heaven without dying was found in the ancient mythology of the Chinese.[90:10]

The story of


by throwing a stone and hitting him in the forehead,[90:11] may be [Pg 91]compared to the story of Thor, the Scandinavian hero, throwing a hammer at Hrungnir, and striking him in the forehead.[91:1]

We read in Numbers[91:2] that


to his master, and reproved him.

In ancient fables or stories in which animals play prominent parts, each creature is endowed with the power of speech. This idea was common in the whole of Western Asia and Egypt. It is found in various Egyptian and Chaldean stories.[91:3] Homer has recorded that the horse of Achilles spoke to him.[91:4]

We have also a very wonderful story in that of


This story is related in the tenth chapter of the book of Joshua, and is to the effect that the Israelites, who were at battle with the Amorites, wished the day to be lengthened that they might continue their slaughter, whereupon Joshua said: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. . . . And there was no day like that before it or after it."

There are many stories similar to this, to be found among other nations of antiquity. We have, as an example, that which is related of Bacchus in the Orphic hymns, wherein it says that this god-man arrested the course of the sun and the moon.[91:5]

An Indian legend relates that the sun stood still to hear the pious ejaculations of Arjouan after the death of Crishna.[91:6]

A holy Buddhist by the name of Mâtanga prevented the sun, at his command, from rising, and bisected the moon.[91:7] Arresting the course of the sun was a common thing among the disciples of Buddha.[91:8]

The Chinese also, had a legend of the sun standing still,[91:9] and a legend was found among the Ancient Mexicans to the effect that one of their holy persons commanded the sun to stand still, which command was obeyed.[91:10]

[Pg 92]

We shall now endeavor to answer the question which must naturally arise in the minds of all who see, for the first time, the similarity in the legends of the Hebrews and those of other nations, namely: have the Hebrews copied from other nations, or, have other nations copied from the Hebrews? To answer this question we shall; first, give a brief account or history of the Pentateuch and other books of the Old Testament from which we have taken legends, and show about what time they were written; and, second, show that other nations were possessed of these legends long before that time, and that the Jews copied from them.

The Pentateuch is ascribed, in our modern translations, to Moses, and he is generally supposed to be the author. This is altogether erroneous, as Moses had nothing whatever to do with these five books. Bishop Colenso, speaking of this, says:

"The books of the Pentateuch are never ascribed to Moses in the inscriptions of Hebrew manuscripts, or in printed copies of the Hebrew Bible. Nor are they styled the 'Books of Moses' in the Septuagint[92:1] or Vulgate,[92:2] but only in our modern translations, after the example of many eminent Fathers of the Church, who, with the exception of Jerome, and, perhaps, Origen, were, one and all of them, very little acquainted with the Hebrew language, and still less with its criticism."[92:3]

The author of "The Religion of Israel," referring to this subject, says:

"The Jews who lived after the Babylonish Captivity, and the Christians following their examples, ascribed these books (the Pentateuch) to Moses; and for many centuries the notion was cherished that he had really written them. But strict and impartial investigation has shown that this opinion must be given up; and that nothing in the whole Law really comes from Moses himself except the Ten Commandments. And even these were not delivered by him in the same form as we find them now. If we still call these books by his name, it is only because the Israelites always thought of him as their first and greatest law-giver, and the actual authors grouped all their narratives and laws around his figure, and associated them with his name."[92:4]

As we cannot go into an extended account, and show how this is known, we will simply say that it is principally by internal evidence that these facts are ascertained.[92:5]

[Pg 93]

Now that we have seen that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch, our next endeavor will be to ascertain when they were written, and by whom.

We can say that they were not written by any one person, nor were they written at the same time.

We can trace three principal redactions of the Pentateuch, that is to say, the material was worked over, and re-edited, with modifications and additions, by different people, at three distinct epochs.[93:1]

The two principal writers are generally known as the Jehovistic and the Elohistic. We have—in speaking of the "Eden Myth" and the legend of the "Deluge"—already alluded to this fact, and have illustrated how these writers' narratives conflict with each other.

The Jehovistic writer is supposed to have been a prophet, who, it would seem, was anxious to give Israel a history. He begins at Genesis, ii. 4, with a short account, of the "Creation," and then he carries the story on regularly until the Israelites enter Canaan. It is to him that we are indebted for the charming pictures of the patriarchs. He took these from other writings, or from the popular legends.[93:2]

About 725 B. C. the Israelites were conquered by Salmanassar, King of Assyria, and many of them were carried away captives. Their place was supplied by Assyrian colonists from Babylon, Persia, and other places.[93:3] This fact is of the greatest importance, and should not be forgotten, as we find that the first of the three writers of the Pentateuch, spoken of above, wrote about this time, and the Israelites heard, from the colonists from Babylon, Persia, and other places—for the first time—many of the legends which this writer wove into the fabulous history which he wrote, especially the accounts of the Creation and the Deluge.

The Pentateuch remained in this, its first form, until the year 620 B. C. Then a certain priest of marked prophetic sympathies wrote a book of law which has come down to us in Deuteronomy, iv. 44, to xxvi., and xxviii. Here we find the demands which the Mosaic party at that day were making thrown into the form of laws. It was by King Josiah that this book was first introduced and proclaimed as authoritative.[93:4] It was soon afterwards wove into the work of the first Pentateuchian writer, and at the same time [Pg 94]"a few new passages" were added, some of which related to Joshua, the successor of Moses.[94:1]

At this period in Israel's history, Jehovah had become almost forgotten, and "other gods" had taken his place.[94:2] The Mosaic party, so called—who worshiped Jehovah exclusively—were in the minority, but when King Amon—who was a worshiper of Moloch—died, and was succeeded by his son Josiah, a change immediately took place. This young prince, who was only eight years old at the death of his father, the Mosaic party succeeded in winning over to their interests. In the year 621 B. C., Josiah, now in the eighteenth year of his reign, began a thorough reformation which completely answered to the ideas of the Mosaic party.[94:3]

It was during this time that the second Pentateuchian writer wrote, and he makes Moses speak as the law-giver. This writer was probably Hilkiah, who claimed to have found a book, written by Moses, in the temple,[94:4] although it had only just been drawn up.[94:5]

The principal objections which were brought against the claims of Hilkiah, but which are not needed in the present age of inquiry, was that Shaphan and Josiah read it off, not as if it were an old book, but as though it had been recently written, when any person who is acquainted, in the slightest degree, with language, must know that a man could not read off, at once, a book written eight hundred years before. The phraseology would necessarily be so altered by time as to render it comparatively unintelligible.

We must now turn to the third Pentateuchian writer, whose writings were published 444 b. c.

At that time Ezra (or Ezdras) added to the work of his two predecessors a series of laws and narratives which had been drawn up by some of the priests in Babylon.[94:6] This "series of laws and narratives," which was written by "some of the (Israelitish) priests in Babylon," was called "The Book of Origins" (probably containing the Babylonian account of the "Origin of Things," or the "Creation"). Ezra brought the book from Babylon to Jerusalem. He made some modifications in it and constituted it a code of law for Israel, dove-tailing it into those parts of the Pentateuch which existed before. A few alterations and additions were [Pg 95]subsequently made, but these are of minor importance, and we may fairly say that Ezra put the Pentateuch into the form in which we have it (about 444 B. C.).

These priestly passages are partly occupied with historical matter, comprising a very free account of things from the creation of the world to the arrival of Israel in Canaan. Everything is here presented from the priestly point of view; some events, elsewhere recorded, are touched up in the priestly spirit, and others are entirely invented.[95:1]

It was the belief of the Jews, asserted by the Pirke Aboth (Sayings of the Fathers), one of the oldest books of the Talmud,[95:2] as well as other Jewish records, that Ezra, acting in accordance with a divine commission, re-wrote the Old Testament, the manuscripts of which were said to have been lost in the destruction of the first temple, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem.[95:3] This we know could not have been the case. The fact that Ezra wrote—adding to, and taking from the already existing books of the Pentateuch—was probably the foundation for this tradition. The account of it is to be found in the Apocryphal book of Esdras, a book deemed authentic by the Greek Church.

Dr. Knappert, speaking of this, says:

"For many centuries, both the Christians and the Jews supposed that Ezra had brought together the sacred writings of his people, united them in one whole, and introduced them as a book given by the Spirit of God—a Holy Scripture.

"The only authority for this supposition was a very modern and altogether untrustworthy tradition. The historical and critical studies of our times have been emancipated from the influence of this tradition, and the most ancient statements with regard to the subject have been hunted up and compared together. These statements are, indeed, scanty and incomplete, and many a detail is still obscure; but the main facts have been completely ascertained.

"Before the Babylonish captivity, Israel had no sacred writings. There were certain laws, prophetic writings, and a few historical books, but no one had ever thought of ascribing binding and divine authority to these documents.

"Ezra brought the priestly law with him from Babylon, altering it and amalgamating it with the narratives and laws already in existence, and thus produced the Pentateuch in pretty much the same form (though not quite, as we shall show) as we still have it. These books got the name of the 'Law of Moses,' or simply the 'Law.' Ezra introduced them into Israel (B. C. 444), and gave them binding authority, and from that time forward they were considered divine."[95:4]

From the time of Ezra until the year 287 B. C., when the Pentateuch was translated into Greek by order of Ptolemy [Pg 96]Philadelphus, King of Egypt, these books evidently underwent some changes. This the writer quoted above admits, in saying:

"Later still (viz., after the time of Ezra), a few more changes and additions were made, and so the Pentateuch grew into its present form."[96:1]

In answer to those who claim that the Pentateuch was written by one person, Bishop Colenso says:

"It is certainly inconceivable that if the Pentateuch be the production of one and the same hand throughout, it should contain such a number of glaring inconsistencies. . . . No single author could have been guilty of such absurdities; but it is quite possible, and what was almost sure to happen in such a case, that, if the Pentateuch be the work of different authors in different ages, this fact should betray itself by the existence of contradictions in the narrative."[96:2]

Having ascertained the origin of the Pentateuch, or first five books of the Old Testament, it will be unnecessary to refer to the others here, as we have nothing to do with them in our investigations. Suffice it to say then, that: "In the earlier period after Ezra, none of the other books which already existed, enjoyed the same authority as the Pentateuch."[96:3]

It is probable[96:4] that Nehemiah made a collection of historical and prophetic books, songs, and letters from Persian kings, not to form a second collection, but for the purpose of saving them from being lost. The scribes of Jerusalem, followers of Ezra, who were known as "the men of the Great Synagogue," were the collectors of the second and third divisions of the Old Testament. They collected together the historical and prophetic books, songs, &c., which were then in existence, and after altering many of them, they were added to the collection of sacred books. It must not be supposed that any fixed plan was pursued in this work, or that the idea was entertained from the first, that these books would one day stand on the same level with the Pentateuch.[96:5]

In the course of time, however, many of the Jews began to consider some of these books as sacred. The Alexandrian Jews adopted books into the canon which those of Jerusalem did not, and this difference of opinion lasted for a long time, even till the second century after Christ. It was not until this time that all the books of the Old Testament acquired divine authority.[96:6] It is not known, however, just when the canon of the Old Testament was closed. The time and manner in which it was done is [Pg 97]altogether obscure.[97:1] Jewish tradition indicates that the full canonicity of several books was not free from doubt till the time of the famous Rabbi Akiba,[97:2] who flourished about the beginning of the second century after Christ.[97:3]

After giving a history of the books of the Old Testament, the author of "The Religion of Israel," whom we have followed in this investigation, says:

"The great majority of the writers of the Old Testament had no other source of information about the past history of Israel than simple tradition. Indeed, it could not have been otherwise, for in primitive times no one used to record anything in writing, and the only way of preserving a knowledge of the past was to hand it down by word of mouth. The father told the son what his elders had told him, and the son handed it on to the next generation.

"Not only did the historian of Israel draw from tradition with perfect freedom, and write down without hesitation anything they heard and what was current in the mouths of the people, but they did not shrink from modifying their representation of the past in any way that they thought would be good and useful. It is difficult for us to look at things from this point of view, because our ideas of historical good faith are so utterly different. When we write history, we know that we ought to be guided solely by a desire to represent facts exactly as they really happened. All that we are concerned with is reality; we want to make the old times live again, and we take all possible pains not to remodel the past from the point of view of to-day. All we want to know is what happened, and how men lived, thought, and worked in those days. The Israelites had a very different notion of the nature of historical composition. When a prophet or a priest related something about bygone times, his object was not to convey knowledge about those times; on the contrary, he used history merely as a vehicle for the conveyance of instruction and exhortation. Not only did he confine his narrative to such matters as he thought would serve his purpose but he never hesitated to modify what he knew of the past, and he did not think twice about touching it up from his own imagination, simply that it might be more conducive to the end he had in view and chime in better with his opinions. All the past became colored through and through with the tinge of his own mind. Our own notions of honor and good faith would never permit all this; but we must not measure ancient writers by our own standard; they considered that they were acting quite within their rights and in strict accordance with duty and conscience."[97:4]

It will be noticed that, in our investigations on the authority of the Pentateuch, we have followed, principally, Dr. Knappert's ideas as set forth in "The Religion of Israel."

This we have done because we could not go into an extended investigation, and because his words are very expressive, and just to the point. To those who may think that his ideas are not the same as those entertained by other Biblical scholars of the present [Pg 98]day, we subjoin, in a note below, a list of works to which they are referred.[98:1]

We shall now, after giving a brief history of the Pentateuch, refer to the legends of which we have been treating, and endeavor to show from whence the Hebrews borrowed them. The first of these is "The Creation and Fall of Man."

Egypt, the country out of which the Israelites came, had no story of the Creation and Fall of Man, such as we have found among the Hebrews; they therefore could not have learned it from them. The Chaldeans, however, as we saw in our first chapter, had this legend, and it is from them that the Hebrews borrowed it.

The account which we have given of the Chaldean story of the Creation and Fall of Man, was taken, as we stated, from the writings of Berosus, the Chaldean historian, who lived in the time of Alexander the Great (356-325 B. C.), and as the Jews were acquainted with the story some centuries earlier than this, his works did not prove that these traditions were in Babylonia before the Jewish captivity, and could not afford testimony in favor of the statement that the Jews borrowed this legend from the Babylonians at that time. It was left for Mr. George Smith, of the British Museum, to establish, without a doubt, the fact that this legend was known to the Babylonians at least two thousand years before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus. The cuneiform inscriptions discovered by him, while on an expedition to Assyria, organized by the London "Daily Telegraph," was the means of doing this, and although by far the greatest number of these tablets belong to the age of Assurbanipal, who reigned over Assyria B. C. 670, it is "acknowledged on all hands that these tablets are not the originals, but are only copies from earlier texts." "The Assyrians acknowledge themselves that this literature was borrowed from Babylonian sources, and of course it is to Babylonia we have to look to ascertain the approximate dates of the original documents."[98:2] Mr. Smith then shows, from "fragments of the Cuneiform account of the Creation and Fall" which have been discovered, that, "in the period from b. c. 2000 to [Pg 99]1500, the Babylonians believed in a story similar to that in Genesis." It is probable, however, says Mr. Smith, that this legend existed as traditions in the country long before it was committed to writing, and some of these traditions exhibited great difference in details, showing that they had passed through many changes.[99:1]

Professor James Fergusson, in his celebrated work on "Tree and Serpent Worship," says:

"The two chapters which refer to this (i. e., the Garden, the Tree, and the Serpent), as indeed the whole of the first eight of Genesis, are now generally admitted by scholars to be made up of fragments of earlier books or earlier traditions, belonging, properly speaking, to Mesopotamia rather than to Jewish history, the exact meaning of which the writers of the Pentateuch seem hardly to have appreciated when they transcribed them in the form in which they are now found."[99:2]

John Fiske says:

"The story of the Serpent in Eden is an Aryan story in every particular. The notion of Satan as the author of evil appears only in the later books, composed after the Jews had come into close contact with Persian ideas."[99:3]

Prof. John W. Draper says:

"In the old legends of dualism, the evil spirit was said to have sent a serpent to ruin Paradise. These legends became known to the Jews during their Babylonian captivity."[99:4]

Professor Goldziher also shows, in his "Mythology Among the Hebrews,"[99:5] that the story of the creation was borrowed by the Hebrews from the Babylonians. He also informs us that the notion of the bôrê and yôsêr, "Creator" (the term used in the cosmogony in Genesis) as an integral part of the idea of God, are first brought into use by the prophets of the captivity. "Thus also the story of the Garden of Eden, as a supplement to the history of the Creation, was written down at Babylon."

Strange as it may appear, after the Genesis account, we may pass through the whole Pentateuch, and other books of the Old Testament, clear to the end, and will find that the story of the "Garden of Eden" and "Fall of Man," is hardly alluded to, if at all. Lengkerke says: "One single certain trace of the employment of the story of Adam's fall is entirely wanting in the Hebrew Canon (after the Genesis account). Adam, Eve, the Serpent, the woman's [Pg 100]seduction of her husband, &c., are all images, to which the remaining words of the Israelites never again recur."[100:1]

This circumstance can only be explained by the fact that the first chapters of Genesis were not written until after the other portions had been written.

It is worthy of notice, that this story of the Fall of Man, upon which the whole orthodox scheme of a divine Saviour or Redeemer is based, was not considered by the learned Israelites as fact. They simply looked upon it as a story which satisfied the ignorant, but which should be considered as allegory by the learned.[100:2]

Rabbi Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon), one of the most celebrated of the Rabbis, says on this subject:—

"We must not understand, or take in a literal sense, what is written in the book on the Creation, nor form of it the same ideas which are participated by the generality of mankind; otherwise our ancient sages would not have so much recommended to us, to hide the real meaning of it, and not to lift the allegorical veil, which covers the truth contained therein. When taken in its literal sense, the work gives the most absurd and most extravagant ideas of the Deity. 'Whosoever should divine its true meaning ought to take great care in not divulging it.' This is a maxim repeated to us by all our sages, principally concerning the understanding of the work of the six days."[100:3]

Philo, a Jewish writer contemporary with Jesus, held the same opinion of the character of the sacred books of the Hebrews. He has made two particular treatises, bearing the title of "The Allegories," and he traces back to the allegorical sense the "Tree of Life," the "Rivers of Paradise," and the other fictions of the Genesis.[100:4]

Many of the early Christian Fathers declared that, in the story of the Creation and Fall of Man, there was but an allegorical fiction. Among these may be mentioned St. Augustine, who speaks of it in his "City of God," and also Origen, who says:

"What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second, and third days, in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon and stars? What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise like an husbandman? I believe that every man must hold these things for images under which a hidden sense is concealed."[100:5]

[Pg 101]

Origen believed aright, as it is now almost universally admitted, that the stories of the "Garden of Eden," the "Elysian Fields," the "Garden of the Blessed," &c., which were the abode of the blessed, where grief and sorrow could not approach them, where plague and sickness could not touch them, were founded on allegory. These abodes of delight were far away in the West, where the sun goes down beyond the bounds of the earth. They were the "Golden Islands" sailing in a sea of blue—the burnished clouds floating in the pure ether. In a word, the "Elysian Fields" are the clouds at eventide. The picture was suggested by the images drawn from the phenomena of sunset and twilight.[101:1]

Eating of the forbidden fruit was simply a figurative mode of expressing the performance of the act necessary to the perpetuation of the human race. The "Tree of Knowledge" was a Phallic tree, and the fruit which grew upon it was Phallic fruit.[101:2]

In regard to the story of "The Deluge," we have already seen[101:3] that "Egyptian records tell nothing of a cataclysmal deluge," and that, "the land was never visited by other than its annual beneficent overflow of the river Nile." Also, that "the Pharaoh Khoufou-cheops was building his pyramid, according to Egyptian chronicle, when the whole world was under the waters of a universal deluge, according to the Hebrew chronicle." This is sufficient evidence that the Hebrews did not borrow the legend from the Egyptians.

We have also seen, in the chapter that treated of this legend, that it corresponded in all the principal features with the Chaldean account. We shall now show that it was taken from this.

Mr. Smith discovered, on the site of Ninevah, during the years 1873-4, cylinders belonging to the early Babylonian monarchy, (from 2500 to 1500 B. C.) which contained the legend of the flood,[101:4] and which we gave in Chapter II. This was the foundation for the Hebrew legend, and they learned it at the time of the Captivity.[101:5] The myth of Deucalion, the Grecian hero, was also taken from the same source. The Greeks learned it from the Chaldeans.

We read in Chambers's Encyclopædia, that:

"It was at one time extensively believed, even by intelligent scholars, that [Pg 102]the myth of Deucalion was a corrupted tradition of the Noachian deluge, but this untenable opinion is now all but universally abandoned."[102:1]

This idea was abandoned after it was found that the Deucalion myth was older than the Hebrew.

What was said in regard to the Eden story not being mentioned in other portions of the Old Testament save in Genesis, also applies to this story of the Deluge. Nowhere in the other books of the Old Testament is found any reference to this story, except in Isaiah, where "the waters of Noah" are mentioned, and in Ezekiel, where simply the name of Noah is mentioned.

We stated in Chapter II. that some persons saw in this story an astronomical myth. Although not generally admitted, yet there are very strong reasons for believing this to be the case.

According to the Chaldean account—which is the oldest one known—there were seven persons saved in the ark.[102:2] There were also seven persons saved, according to some of the Hindoo accounts.[102:3] That this referred to the sun, moon, and five planets looks very probable. We have also seen that Noah was the tenth patriarch, and Xisuthrus (who is the Chaldean hero) was the tenth king.[102:4] Now, according to the Babylonian table, their Zodiac contained ten gods called the "Ten Zodiac gods."[102:5] They also believed that whenever all the planets met in the sign of Capricorn, the whole earth was overwhelmed with a deluge of water.[102:6] The Hindoos and other nations had a similar belief.[102:7]

It is well known that the Chaldeans were great astronomers. When Alexander the Great conquered the city of Babylon, the Chaldean priests boasted to the Greek philosophers, who followed his army, that they had continued their astronomical calculations through a period of more than forty thousand years.[102:8] Although this statement cannot be credited, yet the great antiquity of Chaldea cannot be doubted, and its immediate connection with Hindostan, or Egypt, is abundantly proved by the little that is known concerning its religion, and by the few fragments that remain of its former grandeur.

In regard to the story of "The Tower of Babel" little need be said. This, as well as the story of the Creation and Fall of Man, and the Deluge, was borrowed from the Babylonians.[102:9]

[Pg 103]

"It seems," says George Smith, "from the indications in the (cuneiform) inscriptions, that there happened in the interval between 2000 and 1850 B. C. a general collection of the development of the various traditions of the Creation, Flood, Tower of Babel, and other similar legends." "These legends were, however, traditions before they were committed to writing, and were common in some form to all the country."[103:1]

The Tower of Babel, or the confusion of tongues, is nowhere alluded to in the Old Testament outside of Genesis, where the story is related.

The next story in order is "The Trial of Abraham's Faith."

In this connection we have shown similar legends taken from Grecian mythology, which legends may have given the idea to the writer of the Hebrew story.

It may appear strange that the Hebrews should have been acquainted with Grecian mythology, yet we know this was the case. The fact is accounted for in the following manner:

Many of the Jews taken captive at the Edomite sack of Jerusalem were sold to the Grecians,[103:2] who took them to their country. While there, they became acquainted with Grecian legends, and when they returned from "the Islands of the Sea"—as they called the Western countries—they brought them to Jerusalem.[103:3]

This legend, as we stated in the chapter which treated of it, was written at the time when the Mosaic party in Israel were endeavoring to abolish human sacrifices and other "abominations," and the author of the story invented it to make it appear that the Lord had abolished them in the time of Abraham. The earliest Targum[103:4] knows nothing about the legend, showing that the story was not in the Pentateuch at the time this Targum was written.

We have also seen that a story written by Sanchoniathon (about B. C. 1300) of one Saturn, whom the Phenicians called Israel, bore a resemblance to the Hebrew legend of Abraham. Now, Count de Volney tells us that "a similar tradition prevailed among the Chaldeans," and that they had the history of one Zerban—which means "rich-in-gold"[103:5]—that corresponded in many respects with the history of Abraham.[103:6] It may, then, have been from the Chaldean story that the Hebrew fable writer got his idea.

[Pg 104]

The next legend which we examined was that of "Jacob's Vision of the Ladder." We claimed that it probably referred to the doctrine of the transmigration of souls from one body into another, and also gave the apparent reason for the invention of the story.

The next story was "The Exodus from Egypt, and Passage through the Red Sea," in which we showed, from Egyptian history, that the Israelites were turned out of the country on account of their uncleanness, and that the wonderful exploits recorded of Moses were simply copies of legends related of the sun-god Bacchus. These legends came from "the Islands of the Sea," and came in very handy for the Hebrew fable writers; they saved them the trouble of inventing.

We now come to the story relating to "The Receiving of the Ten Commandments" by Moses from the Lord, on the top of a mountain, 'mid thunders and lightnings.

All that is likely to be historical in this account, is that Moses assembled, not, indeed, the whole of the people, but the heads of the tribes, and gave them the code which he had prepared.[104:1] The marvellous portion of the story was evidently copied from that related of the law-giver Zoroaster, by the Persians, and the idea that there were two tables of stone with the Law written thereon was evidently taken from the story of Bacchus, the Law-giver, who had his laws written on two tables of stone.[104:2]

The next legend treated was that of "Samson and his Exploits."

Those who, like the learned of the last century, maintain that the Pagans copied from the Hebrews, may say that Samson was the model of all their similar stories, but now that our ideas concerning antiquity are enlarged, and when we know that Hercules is well known to have been the God Sol, whose allegorical history was spread among many nations long before the Hebrews were ever heard of, we are authorized to believe and to say that some Jewish mythologist—for what else are their so-called historians—composed the anecdote of Samson, by partly disfiguring the popular traditions of the Greeks, Phenicians and Chaldeans, and claiming that hero for his own nation.[104:3]

The Babylonian story of Izdubar, the lion-killer, who wandered [Pg 105]to the regions of the blessed (the Grecian Elysium), who crossed a great waste of land (the desert of Lybia, according to the Grecian mythos), and arrived at a region where splendid trees were laden with jewels (the Grecian Garden of the Hesperides), is probably the foundation for the Hercules and other corresponding myths. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that, although the story of Hercules was known in the island of Thasus, by the Phenician colony settled there, five centuries before he was known in Greece,[105:1] yet its antiquity among the Babylonians antedates that.

The age of the legends of Izdubar among the Babylonians cannot be placed with certainty, yet, the cuneiform inscriptions relating to this hero, which have been found, may be placed at about 2000 years B. C.[105:2] "As these stories were traditions," says Mr. Smith, the discoverer of the cylinders, "before they were committed to writing, their antiquity as tradition is probably much greater than that."[105:3]

With these legends before them, the Jewish priests in Babylon had no difficulty in arranging the story of Samson, and adding it to their already fabulous history.

As the Rev. Dr. Isaac M. Wise remarks, in speaking of the ancient Hebrews: "They adopted forms, terms, ideas and myths of all nations with whom they came in contact, and, like the Greeks, in their way, cast them all in a peculiar Jewish religious mold."

We have seen, in the chapter which treats of this legend, that it is recorded in the book of Judges. This book was not written till after the first set of Israelites had been carried into captivity, and perhaps still later.[105:4]

After this we have "Jonah swallowed by a Big Fish," which is the last legend treated.

We saw that it was a solar myth, known to many nations of antiquity. The writer of the book—whoever he may have been—lived in the fifth century before Christ—after the Jews had become acquainted and had mixed with other nations. The writer of this wholly fictitious story, taking the prophet Jonah—who was evidently an historical personage—for his hero, was perhaps intending to show the loving-kindness of Jehovah.[105:5]

[Pg 106]

We have now examined all the principal Old Testament legends, and, after what has been seen, we think that no impartial person can still consider them historical facts. That so great a number of educated persons still do so seems astonishing, in our way of thinking. They have repudiated Greek and Roman mythology with disdain; why then admit with respect the mythology of the Jews? Ought the miracles of Jehovah to impress us more than those of Jupiter? We think not; they should all be looked upon as relics of the past.

That Christian writers are beginning to be aroused to the idea that another tack should be taken, differing from the old, is very evident. This is clearly seen by the words of Prof. Richard A. Armstrong, the translator of Dr. Knappert's "Religion of Israel" into English. In the Preface of this work, he says:

"It appears to me to be profoundly important that the youthful English mind should be faithfully and accurately informed of the results of modern research into the early development of the Israelitish religion. Deplorable and irreparable mischief will be done to the generation, now passing into manhood and womanhood, if their educators leave them ignorant or loosely informed on these topics; for they will then be rudely awakened by the enemies of Christianity from a blind and unreasoning faith in the supernatural inspiration of the Scriptures; and being suddenly and bluntly made aware that Abraham, Moses, David, and the rest did not say, do, or write what has been ascribed to them, they will fling away all care for the venerable religion of Israel and all hope that it can nourish their own religious life. How much happier will those of our children and young people be who learn what is now known of the actual origin of the Pentateuch and the Writings, from the same lips which have taught them that the Prophets indeed prepared the way for Jesus, and that God is indeed our Heavenly Father. For these will, without difficulty, perceive that God's love is none the feebler and that the Bible is no less precious, because Moses knew nothing of the Levitical legislation, or because it was not the warrior monarch on his semi-barbaric throne, but some far later son of Israel, who breathed forth the immortal hymn of faith, 'The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.'"

For the benefit of those who may think that the evidence of plagiarism on the part of the Hebrew writers has not been sufficiently substantiated, we will quote a few words from Prof. Max Müller, who is one of the best English authorities on this subject that can be produced. In speaking of this he says:

"The opinion that the Pagan religions were mere corruptions of the religion of the Old Testament, once supported by men of high authority and great learning, is now as completely surrendered as the attempts of explaining Greek and Latin as the corruptions of Hebrew."[106:1]

Again he says:

[Pg 107]

"As soon as the ancient language and religion of India became known in Europe it was asserted that Sanskrit, like all other languages, was to be derived from Hebrew, and the ancient religion of the Brahmans from the Old Testament. There was at that time an enthusiasm among Oriental scholars, particularly at Calcutta, and an interest for Oriental antiquities in the public at large, of which we, in these days of apathy for Eastern literature, can hardly form an adequate idea. Everybody wished to be first in the field, and to bring to light some of the treasures which were supposed to be hidden in the sacred literature of the Brahmans. . . . No doubt the temptation was great. No one could look down for a moment into the rich mine of religious and mythological lore that was suddenly opened before the eyes of scholars and theologians, without being struck by a host of similarities, not only in the languages, but also in the ancient traditions of the Hindoos, the Greeks, and the Romans; and if at that time the Greeks and Romans were still supposed to have borrowed their language and their religion from Jewish quarters, the same conclusion could hardly be avoided with regard to the language and the religion of the Brahmans of India. . . .

"The student of Pagan religion as well as Christian missionaries were bent on discovering more striking and more startling coincidences, in order to use them in confirmation of their favorite theory that some rays of a primeval revelation, or some reflection of the Jewish religion, had reached the uttermost ends of the world."[107:1]

The result of all this is summed up by Prof. Müller as follows:

"It was the fate of all (these) pioneers, not only to be left behind in the assault which they had planned, but to find that many of their approaches were made in a false direction, and had to be abandoned."[107:2]

Before closing this chapter, we shall say a few words on the religion of Israel. It is supposed by many—in fact, we have heard it asserted by those who should know better—that the Israelites were always monotheists, that they worshiped One God only—Jehovah.[107:3] This is altogether erroneous; they were not different from their neighbors—the Heathen, so-called—in regard to their religion.

In the first place, we know that they revered and worshiped a Bull, called Apis,[107:4] just as the ancient Egyptians did. They [Pg 108]worshiped the sun,[108:1] the moon,[108:2] the stars and all the host of heaven.[108:3]

They worshiped fire, and kept it burning on an altar, just as the Persians and other nations.[108:4] They worshiped stones,[108:5] revered an oak tree,[108:6] and "bowed down" to images.[108:7] They worshiped a "Queen of Heaven" called the goddess Astarte or Mylitta, and "burned incense" to her.[108:8] They worshiped Baal,[108:9] Moloch,[108:10] and Chemosh,[108:11] and offered up human sacrifices to them,[108:12] after which in some instances, they ate the victim.[108:13]

It was during the Captivity that idolatry ceased among the Israelites.[108:14] The Babylonian Captivity is clearly referred to in the book of Deuteronomy, as the close of Israel's idolatry.[108:15]

There is reason to believe that the real genius of the people was first called into full exercise, and put on its career of development at this time; that Babylon was a forcing nursery, not a prison cell; creating instead of stifling a nation. The astonishing outburst of intellectual and moral energy that accompanied the return from the Babylonish Captivity, attests the spiritual activity of that "mysterious and momentous" time. As Prof. Goldziher says: "The intellect of Babylon and Assyria exerted a more than passing influence on that of the Hebrews, not merely touching it, but entering deep into it, and leaving its own impression upon it."[108:16]

[Pg 109]

This impression we have already partly seen in the legends which they borrowed, and it may also be seen in the religious ideas which they imbibed.

The Assyrian colonies which came and occupied the land of the tribes of Israel filled the kingdom of Samaria with the dogma of the Magi, which very soon penetrated into the kingdom of Judah. Afterward, Jerusalem being subjugated, the defenseless country was entered by persons of different nationalities, who introduced their opinions, and in this way, the religion of Israel was doubly mutilated. Besides, the priests and great men, who were transported to Babylon, were educated in the sciences of the Chaldeans, and imbibed, during a residence of fifty years, nearly the whole of their theology. It was not until this time that the dogmas of the hostile genius (Satan), the angels Michael, Uriel, Yar, Nisan, &c., the rebel angels, the battle in heaven, the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection, were introduced and naturalized among the Jews.[109:1]

Note.—It is not generally known that the Jews were removed from their own land until the time of the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar, but there is evidence that Jerusalem was plundered by the Edomites about 800 B. C., who sold some of the captive Jews to the Greeks (Joel, iii. 6). When the captives returned to their country from "the Islands which are beyond the sea" (Jer. xxv. 18, 22), they would naturally bring back with them much of the Hellenic lore of their conquerors. In Isaiah (xi. 11), we find a reference to this first captivity in the following words: "In that day the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Islands of the sea;" i. e., Greece.


[89:1] See Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 111, et seq.

[89:2] Bell's Pantheon, under "Perseus;" Knight: Ancient Art and Mytho., p. 178, and Bulfinch: Age of Fables, p. 161.

[90:1] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 118. Taylor's Diegesis, p. 190. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.

[90:2] Ibid.

[90:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 174. Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 179. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.

[90:4] Bell's Pantheon, art. "Osiris;" and Bulfinch: Age of Fable, p. 391

[90:5] Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, i. 159.

[90:6] Exodus, ii.

[90:7] See Child: Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 6, and most any work on Buddhism.

[90:8] See Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis.

[90:9] See Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 128, note.

[90:10] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 213, 214.

[90:11] I. Samuel, xvii.

[91:1] See Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, p. 430, and Bulfinch: Age of Fable, 440.

[91:2] Chapter xxii.

[91:3] See Smith's Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 188, et seq.

[91:4] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 323.

[91:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.

[91:6] Ibid. i. 191, and ii. 241; Franklin: Bud. & Jeynes, 174.

[91:7] Hardy: Buddhist Legends, pp. 50, 53, and 140.

[91:8] See Ibid.

[91:9] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 191.

[91:10] Ibid. p. 39.

[92:1] "Septuagint."—The Old Greek version of the Old Testament.

[92:2] "Vulgate."—The Latin version of the Old Testament.

[92:3] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. pp. 186, 187.

[92:4] The Religion of Israel, p. 9.

[92:5] Besides the many other facts which show that the Pentateuch was not composed until long after the time of Moses and Joshua, the following may be mentioned as examples: Gilgal, mentioned in Deut. xi. 30, was not given as the name of that place till after the entrance into Canaan. Dan, mentioned in Genesis xiv. 14, was not so called till long after the time of Moses. In Gen. xxxvi. 31, the beginning of the reign of the kings over Israel is spoken of historically, an event which did not occur before the time of Samuel. (See, for further information, Bishop Colenso's Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. ch. v. and vi.)

[93:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 9.

[93:2] Ibid. p. 10.

[93:3] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Jews."

[93:4] The Religion of Israel, pp. 10, 11.

[94:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 11.

[94:2] See Ibid. pp. 120, 122.

[94:3] See Ibid. p. 122.

[94:4] The account of the finding of this book by Hilkiah is to be found in II. Chronicles, ch. xxxiv.

[94:5] See Religion of Israel, pp. 124, 125.

[94:6] Ibid. p. 11.

[95:1] The Religion of Israel, pp. 186, 187.

[95:2] "Talmud."—The books containing the Jewish traditions.

[95:3] See Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Bible."

[95:4] The Religion of Israel, pp. 240, 241.

[96:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 11.

[96:2] The Pentateuch Examined, vol. ii. p. 178.

[96:3] The Religion of Israel, p. 241.

[96:4] On the strength of II. Maccabees, ii. 12.

[96:5] The Religion of Israel, p. 242.

[96:6] Ibid. p. 243.

[97:1] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Bible."

[97:2] Ibid.

[97:3] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Akiba."

[97:4] The Religion of Israel, pp. 19, 23.

[98:1] "What is the Bible," by J. T. Sunderland. "The Bible of To-day," by J. W. Chadwick. "Hebrew and Christian Records," by the Rev. Dr. Giles, 2 vols. Prof. W. R. Smith's article on "The Bible," in the last edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. "Introduction to the Old Testament," by Davidson. "The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua Examined," by Bishop Colenso. Prof. F. W. Newman's "Hebrew Monarchy." "The Bible for Learners" (vols. i. and ii.), by Prof. Oort and others. "The Old Testament in the Jewish Church," by Prof. Robertson Smith, and Kuenen's "Religion of Israel."

[98:2] Smith: Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 22, 29.

[99:1] Ibid. pp. 29, 100. Also, Assyrian Discoveries, p. 397.

[99:2] Tree and Serpent Worship, pp. 6, 7.

[99:3] Myths and Myth-Makers, p. 112.

[99:4] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 62.

[99:5] Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 328, et seq.

[100:1] Quoted by Bishop Colenso: The Pentateuch Examined, iv. 283.

[100:2] "Much of the Old Testament which Christian divines, in their ignorance of Jewish lore, have insisted on receiving and interpreting literally, the informed Rabbis never dreamed of regarding as anything but allegorical. The 'literalists' they called fools. The account of the Creation was one of the portions which the unlearned were specially forbidden to meddle with." (Greg: The Creed of Christendom, p. 80.)

[100:3] Quoted by Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 226.

[100:4] See Ibid. p. 227.

[100:5] Quoted by Dunlap: Mysteries of Adoni, p. 176. See also, Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 406.

[101:1] See Appendix, c.

[101:2] See Westropp & Wakes, "Phallic Worship."

[101:3] In chap. ii.

[101:4] See Assyrian Discoveries, pp. 167, 168, and Chaldean Account of Genesis.

[101:5] "Upon the carrying away of the Jews to Babylon, they were brought into contact with a flood of Iranian as well as Chaldean myths, and adopted them without hesitation." (S. Baring-Gould; Curious Myths, p. 316.)

[102:1] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Deucalion."

[102:2] See chapter ii.

[102:3] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 185, and Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 277.

[102:4] Chapter ii.

[102:5] See Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 153, note.

[102:6] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 254.

[102:7] See Ibid. p. 367.

[102:8] See Ibid. p. 252.

[102:9] Goldzhier: Hebrew Mythology, pp. 130-135, and Smith's Chaldean Account of Genesis.

[103:1] Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 27, 28.

[103:2] See Note, p. 109.

[103:3] See Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 685.

[103:4] "Targum."—The general term for the Aramaic versions of the Old Testament.

[103:5] In Genesis xxiii. 2, Abraham is called rich in gold and in silver.

[103:6] See Volney's Researches in Ancient History, pp. 144-147.

[104:1] The Religion of Israel, p. 49.

[104:2] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 122. Higgins: vol. ii. p. 19.

[104:3] In claiming the "mighty man" and "lion-killer" as one of their own race, the Jews were simply doing what other nations had done before them. The Greeks claimed Hercules as their countryman; stated where he was born, and showed his tomb. The Egyptians affirmed that he was born in their country (see Tacitus, Annals, b. ii. ch. lix.), and so did many other nations.

[105:1] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, pp. 92, 93.

[105:2] Chaldean Account of Genesis, pp. 168 and 174; and Assyrian Discoveries, p. 167.

[105:3] Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 168.

[105:4] See The Religion of Israel, p. 12; and Chadwick's Bible of To-Day, p. 55.

[105:5] See The Religion of Israel, p. 41, and Chadwick's Bible of To-Day, p. 24.

[106:1] The Science of Religion, p. 48.

[107:1] They even claimed that one of the "lost tribes of Israel" had found their way to America, and had taught the natives Hebrew.

[107:2] The Science of Religion, pp. 285, 292.

[107:3] "It is an assumption of the popular theology, and an almost universal belief in the popular mind, that the Jewish nation was selected by the Almighty to preserve and carry down to later ages a knowledge of the One and true God—that the Patriarchs possessed this knowledge—that Moses delivered and enforced this doctrine as the fundamental tenet of the national creed; and that it was, in fact, the received and distinctive dogma of the Hebrew people. This alleged possession of the true faith by one only people, while all surrounding tribes were lost in Polytheism, or something worse, has been adduced by divines in general as a proof of the truth of the sacred history, and of the divine origin of the Mosaic dispensation." (Greg: The Creed of Christendom, p. 145.)

Even such authorities as Paley and Milman have written in this strain. (See quotations from Paley's "Evidences of Christianity," and Dean Milman's "History of the Jews," made by Mr. Greg in his "Creed of Christendom," p. 145.)

[107:4] See the Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 321, vol. ii. p. 102; and Dunlap: Mysteries of Adoni, p. 108.

[108:1] See the Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 317, 418; vol. ii. p. 301. Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 3, and his Spirit Hist., pp. 68 and 182. Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. pp. 782, 783; and Goldziher: Hebrew Mythol., pp. 227, 240, 242.

[108:2] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 317. Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 3; and Spirit Hist., p. 68. Also, Goldziher: Hebrew Mythol., p. 159.

[108:3] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 26, and 317; vol. ii. p. 301 and 328. Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 3. Dunlap's Spirit Hist., 68; Mysteries of Adoni, pp. xvii. and 108; and The Religion of Israel, p. 38.

[108:4] Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, pp. 101, 102.

[108:5] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 175-178, 317, 322, 448.

[108:6] Ibid. 115.

[108:7] Ibid. i. 23, 321; ii. 102, 103, 109, 264, 274. Dunlap's Spirit Hist., p. 108. Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 438; vol. ii. p. 30.

[108:8] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 88, 318; vol. ii. pp. 102, 113, 300. Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. 3; and Mysteries of Adoni, p. xvii. Müller: The Science of Religion, p. 261.

[108:9] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 21-25, 105, 391; vol. ii. pp. 102, 136-138. Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. 3. Mysteries of Adoni, pp. 106, 177. Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. pp. 782, 783. Bunsen: The Keys of St. Peter, p. 91. Müller: The Science of Religion, p. 181. Bal, Bel or Belus was an idol of the Chaldeans and Phenicians or Canaanites. The word Bal, in the Punic language, signifies Lord or Master. The name Bal is often joined with some other, as Bal-berith, Bal-peor, Bal-zephon, &c. "The Israelites made him their god, and erected altars to him on which they offered human sacrifices," and "what is still more unnatural, they ate of the victims they offered." (Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. pp. 113, 114.)

[108:10] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 17, 26; vol. ii. pp. 102, 299, 300. Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 110. Müller: The Science of Religion, p. 285. Moloch was a god of the Ammonites, also worshiped among the Israelites. Solomon built a temple to him, on the Mount of Olives, and human sacrifices were offered to him. (Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. pp. 84, 85.)

[108:11] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. p. 153; vol. ii. pp. 71, 83, 125. Smith's Bible Dictionary art. "Chemosh."

[108:12] The Bible for Learners, vol. i. pp. 26, 117, 148, 319, 320; vol. ii. pp. 16, 17, 299, 300. Dunlap's Spirit Hist., pp. 108, 222. Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. pp. 100, 101. Müller: Science of Religion, p. 261. Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. 113, 114; vol. ii. 84, 85.

[108:13] See note 9 above.

[108:14] See Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, 291.

[108:15] Ibid. p. 27.

[108:16] Goldziher: Hebrew Mythology, p. 319

[109:1] The Talmud of Jerusalem expressly states that the names of the angels and the months, such as Gabriel, Michael, Yar, Nisan, &c., came from Babylon with the Jews. (Goldziher, p. 319.) "There is no trace of the doctrine of Angels in the Hebrew Scriptures composed or written before the exile." (Bunsen: The Angel Messiah, p. 285) "The Jews adopted, during the Captivity, the idea of angels, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Gabriel," &c. (Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 54.) See, for further information on this subject, Dr. Knappert's "Religion of Israel," or Prof. Kuenen's "Religion of Israel."

[Pg 110]

[Pg 111]





According to the dogma of the deity of Jesus, he who is said to have lived on earth some eighteen centuries ago, as Jesus of Nazareth, is second of the three persons in the Trinity, the Son, God as absolutely as the Father and the Holy Spirit, except as eternally deriving his existence from the Father. What, however, especially characterizes the Son, and distinguishes him from the two other persons united with him in the unity of the Deity, is this, that the Son, at a given moment of time, became incarnate, and that, without losing anything of his divine nature, he thus became possessed of a complete human nature; so that he is at the same time, without injury to the unity of his person, "truly man and truly God."

The story of the miraculous birth of Jesus is told by the Matthew narrator as follows:[111:1]

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."[111:2]

[Pg 112]

A Deliverer was hoped for, expected, prophesied, in the time of Jewish misery[112:1] (and Cyrus was perhaps the first referred to); but as no one appeared who did what the Messiah, according to prophecy, should do, they went on degrading each successive conqueror and hero from the Messianic dignity, and are still expecting the true Deliverer. Hebrew and Christian divines both start from the same assumed unproven premises, viz.: that a Messiah, having been foretold, must appear; but there they diverge, and the Jews show themselves to be the sounder logicians of the two: the Christians assuming that Jesus was the Messiah intended (though not the one expected), wrest the obvious meaning of the prophecies to show that they were fulfilled in him; while the Jews, assuming the obvious meaning of the prophecies to be their real meaning, argue that they were not fulfilled in Christ Jesus, and therefore that the Messiah is yet to come.

We shall now see, in the words of Bishop Hawes: "that God should, in some extraordinary manner, visit and dwell with man, is an idea which, as we read the writings of the ancient Heathens, meets us in a thousand different forms."

Immaculate conceptions and celestial descents were so currently received among the ancients, that whoever had greatly distinguished himself in the affairs of men was thought to be of supernatural lineage. Gods descended from heaven and were made incarnate in men, and men ascended from earth, and took their seat among the gods, so that these incarnations and apotheosises were fast filling Olympus with divinities.

In our inquiries on this subject we shall turn first to Asia, where, as the learned Thomas Maurice remarks in his Indian Antiquities, "in every age, and in almost every region of the Asiatic world, there seems uniformly to have flourished an immemorial tradition that one god had, from all eternity, begotten another god."[112:2]

In India, there have been several Avatars, or incarnations of Vishnu,[112:3] the most important of which is Heri Crishna,[112:4] or Crishna the Saviour.

[Pg 113]

In the Maha-bharata, an Indian epic poem, written about the sixth century B. C., Crishna is associated or identified with Vishnu the Preserving god or Saviour.[113:1]

Sir William Jones, first President of the Royal Asiatic Society, instituted in Bengal, says of him:

"Crishna continues to this hour the darling god of the Indian woman. The sect of Hindoos who adore him with enthusiastic, and almost exclusive devotion, have broached a doctrine, which they maintain with eagerness, and which seems general in these provinces, that he was distinct from all the Avatars (incarnations) who had only an ansa, or a portion, of his (Vishnu's) divinity, while Crishna was the person of Vishnu himself in human form."[113:2]

The Rev. D. O. Allen, Missionary of the American Board, for twenty-five years in India, speaking of Crishna, says:

"He was greater than, and distinct from, all the Avatars which had only a portion of the divinity in them, while he was the very person of Vishnu himself in human form."[113:3]

Thomas Maurice, in speaking of Mathura, says:

"It is particularly celebrated for having been the birth-place of Crishna, who is esteemed in India, not so much an incarnation of the divine Vishnu, as the deity himself in human form."[113:4]

Again, in his "History of Hindostan," he says:

"It appears to me that the Hindoos, idolizing some eminent character of antiquity, distinguished, in the early annals of their nation, by heroic fortitude and exalted piety, have applied to that character those ancient traditional accounts of an incarnate God, or, as they not improperly term it, an Avatar, which had been delivered down to them from their ancestors, the virtuous Noachidæ, to descend amidst the darkness and ignorance of succeeding ages, at once to reform and instruct mankind. We have the more solid reason to affirm this of the Avatar of Crishna, because it is allowed to be the most illustrious of them all; since we have learned, that, in the seven preceding Avatars, the deity brought only an ansa, or portion of his divinity; but, in the eighth, he descended in all the plentitude of the Godhead, and was Vishnu himself in a human form."[113:5]

Crishna was born of a chaste virgin,[113:6] called Devaki, who, on account of her purity, was selected to become the "mother of God."

According to the "BHAGAVAT POORAUN," Vishnu said:

"I will become incarnate at Mathura in the house of Yadu, and will issue [Pg 114]forth to mortal birth from the womb of Devaki. . . . It is time I should display my power, and relieve the oppressed earth from its load."[114:1]

Then a chorus of angels exclaimed:

"In the delivery of this favored woman, all nature shall have cause to exult."[114:2]

In the sacred book of the Hindoos, called "Vishnu Purana," we read as follows:

"Eulogized by the gods, Devaki bore in her womb the lotus-eyed deity, the protector of the world. . . .

"No person could bear to gaze upon Devaki, from the light that invested her, and those who contemplated her radiance felt their minds disturbed. The gods, invisible to mortals, celebrated her praises continually from the time that Vishnu was contained in her person."[114:3]

Again we read:

"The divine Vishnu himself, the root of the vast universal tree, inscrutable by the understandings of all gods, demons, sages, and men, past, present, or to come, adored by Brahma and all the deities, he who is without beginning, middle, or end, being moved to relieve the earth of her load, descended into the womb of Devaki, and was born as her son, Vasudeva," i. e., Crishna.[114:4]


"Crishna is the very Supreme Brahma, though it be a mystery[114:5] how the Supreme should assume the form of a man."[114:6]

The Hindoo belief in a divine incarnation has at least, above many others, its logical side of conceiving that God manifests himself on earth whenever the weakness or the errors of humanity render his presence necessary. We find this idea expressed in one of their sacred books called the "Bhágavat Geeta," wherein it says:

"I (the Supreme One said), I am made evident by my own power, and as often as there is a decline of virtue, and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world, I make myself evident, and thus I appear from age to age, for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of virtue."[114:7]

Crishna is recorded in the "Bhágavat Geeta" as saying to his beloved disciple Arjouna:

[Pg 115]

"He, O Arjoun, who, from conviction, acknowledgeth my divine birth (upon quitting his mortal form), entereth into me."[115:1]

Again, he says:

"The foolish, being unacquainted with my supreme and divine nature, as Lord of all things, despise me in this human form, trusting to the evil, diabolic, and deceitful principle within them. They are of vain hope, of vain endeavors, of vain wisdom, and void of reason; whilst men of great minds, trusting to their divine natures, discover that I am before all things and incorruptible, and serve me with their hearts undiverted by other gods."[115:2]

The next in importance among the God-begotten and Virgin-born Saviours of India, is Buddha[115:3] who was born of the Virgin Maya or Mary. He in mercy left Paradise, and came down to earth because he was filled with compassion for the sins and miseries of mankind. He sought to lead them into better paths, and took their sufferings upon himself, that he might expiate their crimes, and mitigate the punishment they must otherwise inevitably undergo.[115:4]

According to the Fo-pen-hing,[115:5] when Buddha was about to descend from heaven, to be born into the world, the angels in heaven, calling to the inhabitants of the earth, said:

"Ye mortals! adorn your earth! for Bôdhisatwa, the great Mahâsatwa, not long hence shall descend from Tusita to be born amongst you! make ready and prepare! Buddha is about to descend and be born!"[115:6]

The womb that bears a Buddha is like a casket in which a relic is placed; no other being can be conceived in the same receptacle; the usual secretions are not formed; and from the time of conception, Maha-maya was free from passion, and lived in the strictest continence.[115:7]

The resemblance between this legend and the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary the mother of Jesus, cannot but be remarked. The opinion that she had ever borne other children was called heresy by Epiphanius and Jerome, long before she had been exalted to the station of supremacy she now occupies.[115:8]

[Pg 116]

M. l'Abbé Huc, a French Missionary, in speaking of Buddha, says:

"In the eyes of the Buddhists, this personage is sometimes a man and sometimes a god, or rather both one and the other, a divine incarnation, a man-god; who came into the world to enlighten men, to redeem them, and to indicate to them the way of safety.

"This idea of redemption by a divine incarnation is so general and popular among the Buddhists, that during our travels in Upper Asia, we everywhere found it expressed in a neat formula. If we addressed to a Mongol or a Thibetan the question, 'Who is Buddha?' he would immediately reply: 'The Saviour of Men.'"[116:1]

He further says:

"The miraculous birth of Buddha, his life and instructions, contain a great number of the moral and dogmatic truths professed in Christianity."[116:2]

This Angel-Messiah was regarded as the divinely chosen and incarnate messenger, the vicar of God. He is addressed as "God of Gods," "Father of the World," "Almighty and All-knowing Ruler," and "Redeemer of All."[116:3] He is called also "The Holy One," "The Author of Happiness," "The Lord," "The Possessor of All," "He who is Omnipotent and Everlastingly to be Contemplated," "The Supreme Being, the Eternal One," "The Divinity worthy to be Adored by the most praiseworthy of Mankind."[116:4] He is addressed by Amora—one of his followers—thus:

"Reverence be unto thee in the form of Buddha! Reverence be unto thee, the Lord of the Earth! Reverence be unto thee, an incarnation of the Deity! Of the Eternal One! 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 deity, the guardian of the universe, the emblem of mercy."[116:5]

The incarnation of Gautama Buddha is recorded to have been brought about by the descent of the divine power called The "Holy Ghost" upon the Virgin Maya.[116:6] This Holy Ghost, or [Pg 117]Spirit, descended in the form of a white elephant. The Tikas explain this as indicating power and wisdom.[117:1]

The incarnation of the angel destined to become Buddha took place in a spiritual manner. The Elephant is the symbol of power and wisdom; and Buddha was considered the organ of divine power and wisdom, as he is called in the Tikas. For these reasons Buddha is described by Buddhistic legends as having descended from heaven in the form of an Elephant to the place where the Virgin Maya was. But according to Chinese Buddhistic writings, it was the Holy Ghost, or Shing-Shin, who descended on the Virgin Maya.[117:2]

The Fo-pen-hing says:

"If a mother, in her dream, behold
A white elephant enter her right side,
That mother, when she bears a son,
Shall bear one chief of all the world (Buddha);
Able to profit all flesh;
Equally poised between preference and dislike;
Able to save and deliver the world and men
From the deep sea of misery and grief."[117:3]

In Prof. Fergusson's "Tree and Serpent Worship" may be seen (Plate xxxiii.) a representation of Maya, the mother of Buddha, asleep, and dreaming that a white elephant appeared to her, and entered her womb.

This dream being interpreted by the Brahmans learned in the Rig Veda, was considered as announcing the incarnation of him who was to be in future the deliverer of mankind from pain and sorrow. It is, in fact, the form which the Annunciation took in Buddhist legends.[117:4]

Bliss beyond mortal mother's filled her breast,
And over half the earth a lovely light
Forewent the morn. The strong hills shook; the waves
Sank lulled; all flowers that blow by day came forth
As 'twere high noon; down to the farthest hells
Passed the Queen's joy, as when warm sunshine thrills
Wood-glooms to gold, and into all the deeps
A tender whisper pierced. 'Oh ye,' it said,
'The dead that are to live, the live who die,
Uprise, and hear, and hope! Buddha is come!'
Whereat in Limbos numberless much peace
Spread, and the world's heart throbbed, and a wind blew
[Pg 118] With unknown freshness over land and seas.
And when the morning dawned, and this was told,
The grey dream-readers said, 'The dream is good!
The Crab is in conjunction with the Sun;
The Queen shall bear a boy, a holy child
Of wondrous wisdom, profiting all flesh,
Who shall deliver men from ignorance,
Or rule the world, if he will deign to rule.'
In this wise was the holy Buddha born."

In Fig. 4, Plate xci., the same subject is also illustrated. Prof. Fergusson, referring to it, says:

"Fig. 4 is another edition of a legend more frequently repeated than almost any other in Buddhist Scriptures. It was, with their artists, as great a favorite as the Annunciation and Nativity were with Christian painters."[118:1]

When Buddha avatar descended from the regions of the souls, and entered the body of the Virgin Maya, her womb suddenly assumed the appearance of clear, transparent crystal, in which Buddha appeared, beautiful as a flower, kneeling and reclining on his hands.[118:2]

Buddha's representative on earth is the Dalai Lama, or Grand Lama, the High Priest of the Tartars. He is regarded as the vicegerent of God, with power to dispense divine blessings on whomsoever he will, and is considered among the Buddhists to be a sort of divine being. He is the Pope of Buddhism.[118:3]

The Siamese had a Virgin-born God and Saviour whom they called Codom. His mother, a beautiful young virgin, being inspired from heaven, quitted the society of men and wandered into the most unfrequented parts of a great forest, there to await the coming of a god which had long been announced to mankind. While she was one day prostrate in prayer, she was impregnated by the sunbeams. She thereupon retired to the borders of a lake, between Siam and Cambodia, where she was delivered of a "heavenly boy," which she placed within the folds of a lotus, that opened to receive him. When the boy grew up, he became a prodigy of wisdom, performed miracles, &c.[118:4]

The first Europeans who visited Cape Comorin, the most [Pg 119]southerly extremity of the peninsula of Hindostan, were surprised to find the inhabitants worshiping a Lord and Saviour whom they called Salivahana. They related that his father's name was Taishaca, but that he was a divine child horn of a Virgin, in fact, an incarnation of the Supreme Vishnu.[119:1]

The belief in a virgin-born god-man is found in the religions of China. As Sir John Francis Davis remarks,[119:2] "China has her mythology in common with all other nations, and under this head we must range the persons styled Fo-hi (or Fuh-he), Shin-noong, Hoang-ty and their immediate successors, who, like the demi gods and heroes of Grecian fable, rescued mankind by their ability or enterprise from the most primitive barbarism, and have since been invested with superhuman attributes. The most extravagant prodigies are related of these persons, and the most incongruous qualities attributed to them."

Dean Milman, in his "History of Christianity" (Vol. i. p. 97), refers to the tradition, found among the Chinese, that Fo-hi was born of a virgin; and remarks that, the first Jesuit missionaries who went to China were appalled at finding, in the mythology of that country, a counterpart of the story of the virgin of Judea.

Fo-hi is said to have been born 3463 years B. C., and, according to some Chinese writers, with him begins the historical era and the foundation of the empire. When his mother conceived him in her womb, a rainbow was seen to surround her.[119:3]

The Chinese traditions concerning the birth of Fo-hi are, some of them, highly poetical. That which has received the widest acceptance is as follows:

"Three nymphs came down from heaven to wash themselves in a river; but scarce had they got there before the herb lotus appeared on one of their garments, with its coral fruit upon it. They could not imagine whence it proceeded, and one was tempted to taste it, whereby she became pregnant and was delivered of a boy, who afterwards became a great man, a founder of religion, a conqueror, and legislator."[119:4]

The sect of Xaca, which is evidently a corruption of Buddhism, claim that their master was also of supernatural origin. Alvarez Semedo, speaking of them, says:

"The third religious sect among the Chinese is from India, from the parts of Hindostan, which sect they call Xaca, from the founder of it, concerning whom they fable—that he was conceived by his mother Maya, from a white elephant, [Pg 120]which she saw in her sleep, and for more purity she brought him from one of her sides."[120:1]

Lao-kiun, sometimes celled Lao-tsze, who is said to have been born in the third year of the emperor Ting-wang, of the Chow dynasty (604 B. C.), was another miraculously-born man. He acquired great reputation for sanctity, and marvelous stories were told of his birth. It was said that he had existed from all eternity; that he had descended on earth and was born of a virgin, black in complexion, described "marvelous and beautiful as jasper." Splendid temples were erected to him, and he was worshiped as a god. His disciples were called "Heavenly Teachers." They inculcated great tenderness toward animals, and considered strict celibacy necessary for the attainment of perfect holiness. Lao-kiun believed in One God whom he called Tao, and the sect which he formed is called Tao-tse, or "Sect of Reason." Sir Thomas Thornton, speaking of him, says:

"The mythological history of this 'prince of the doctrine of the Taou,' which is current amongst his followers, represents him as a divine emanation incarnate in a human form. They term him the 'most high and venerable prince of the portals of gold of the palace of the genii,' and say that he condescended to a contact with humanity when he became incorporated with the 'miraculous and excellent Virgin of jasper.' Like Buddha, he came out of his mother's side, and was born under a tree.

"The legends of the Taou-tse declare their founder to have existed antecedent to the birth of the elements, in the Great Absolute; that he is the 'pure essence of the tëen;' that he is the 'original ancestor of the prime breath of life;' and that he gave form to the heavens and the earth."[120:2]

M. Le Compte says:

"Those who have made this (the religion of Taou-tsze) their professed business, are called Tien-se, that is, 'Heavenly Doctors;' they have houses (Monasteries) given them to live together in society; they erect, in divers parts, temples to their master, and king and people honor him with divine worship."

Yu was another virgin-born Chinese sage, who is said to have lived upon earth many ages ago. Confucius—as though he had been questioned about him—says: "I see no defect in the character of Yu. He was sober in eating and drinking, and eminently pious toward spirits and ancestors."[120:3]

Hâu-ki, the Chinese hero, was of supernatural origin.

The following is the history of his birth, according to the "Shih-King:"

[Pg 121]

"His mother, who was childless, had presented a pure offering and sacrificed, that her childlessness might be taken away. She then trod on a toe-print made by God, and was moved,[121:1] in the large place where she rested. She became pregnant; she dwelt retired; she gave birth to and nourished a son, who was Hâu-ki. When she had fulfilled her months, her first-born son came forth like a lamb. There was no bursting, no rending, no injury, no hurt; showing how wonderful he would be. Did not God give her comfort? Had he not accepted her pure offering and sacrifice, so that thus easily she brought forth her son?"[121:2]

Even the sober Confucius (born B. C. 501) was of supernatural origin. The most important event in Chinese literary and ethical history is the birth of Kung-foo-tsze (Confucius), both in its effects on the moral organization of this great empire, and the study of Chinese philosophy in Europe.

Kung-foo-tsze (meaning "the sage Kung" or "the wise excellence") was of royal descent; and his family the most ancient in the empire, as his genealogy was traceable directly up to Hwang-te, the reputed organizer of the state, the first emperor of the semi-historical period (beginning 2696 B. C.).

At his birth a prodigious quadruped, called the Ke-lin, appeared and prophesied that the new-born infant "would be a king without throne or territory." Two dragons hovered about the couch of Yen-she (his mother), and five celestial sages, or angels, entered at the moment of the birth of the wondrous child; heavenly strains were heard in the air, and harmonious chords followed each other, fast and full. Thus was Confucius ushered into the world.

His disciples, who were to expound his precepts, were seventy-two in number, twelve of whom were his ordinary companions, the depositories of his thoughts, and the witnesses of all his actions. To them he minutely explained his doctrines, and charged them with their propagation after his death. Yan-hwuy was his favorite disciple, who, in his opinion, had attained the highest degree of moral perfection. Confucius addressed him in terms of great affection, which denoted that he relied mainly upon him for the accomplishment of his work.[121:3]

Even as late as the seventeenth century of our era, do we find the myth of the virgin-born God in China.[121:4]

[Pg 122]

All these god-begotten and virgin-born men were called Tien-tse, i. e., "Sons of Heaven."

If from China we should turn to Egypt we would find that, for ages before the time of Jesus of Nazareth, the mediating deity, born of a virgin, and without a worldly father, was a portion of the Egyptian belief.[122:1]

Horus, who had the epithet of "Saviour," was born of the virgin Isis. "His birth was one of the greatest Mysteries of the Egyptian religion. Pictures representing it appear on the walls of temples."[122:2] He is "the second emanation of Amon, the son whom he begot."[122:3] Egyptian monuments represent the infant Saviour in the arms of his virgin mother, or sitting on her knee.[122:4] An inscription on a monument, translated by Champollion, reads thus:

"O thou avenger, God, son of a God; O thou avenger, Horus, manifested by Osiris, engendered of the goddess Isis."[122:5]

The Egyptian god Ra was born from the side of his mother, but was not engendered.[122:6]

The ancient Egyptians also deified kings and heroes, in the same manner as the ancient Greeks and Romans. An Egyptian king became, in a sense, "the vicar of God on earth, the infallible, and the personated deity."[122:7]

P. Le Page Renouf, in his Hibbert Lectures on the Religion of Ancient Egypt, says:

"I must not quit this part of my subject without a reference to the belief that the ruling sovereign of Egypt was the living image and vicegerent of the Sun-god (Ra). He was invested with the attributes of divinity, and that in the earliest times of which we possess monumental evidence."[122:8]

Menes, who is said to have been the first king of Egypt, was believed to be a god.[122:9]

Almost all the temples of the left bank of the Nile, at Thebes, had been constructed in view of the worship rendered to the Pharaohs, their founders, after their death.[122:10]

On the wall of one of these Theban temples is to be seen a picture representing the god Thoth—the messenger of God—telling [Pg 123]the maiden, Queen Mautmes, that she is to give birth to a divine son, who is to be King Amunothph III.[123:1]

An inscription found in Egypt makes the god Ra say to his son Ramses III.:

"I am thy father; by me are begotten all thy members as divine; I have formed thy shape like the Mendesian god; I have begotten thee, impregnating thy venerable mother."[123:2]

Raam-ses, or Ra-mé-ses, means "Son of the Sun," and Ramses Hek An, a name of Ramses III., means "engendered by Ra (the Sun), Prince of An (Heliopolis)."[123:3]

"Thotmes III., on the tablet of Karnak, presents offerings to his predecessors; so does Ramses on the tablet of Abydos. Even during his life-time the Egyptian king was denominated 'Beneficent God.'"[123:4]

The ancient Babylonians also believed that their kings were gods upon earth. A passage from Ménaut's translation of the great inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, reads thus:

"I am Nabu-kuder-usur . . . the first-born son of Nebu-pal-usur, King of Babylon. The god Bel himself created me, the god Marduk engendered me, and deposited himself the germ of my life in the womb of my mother."[123:5]

In the life of Zoroaster, the law-giver of the Persians, the common mythos is apparent. He was born in innocence, of an immaculate conception, of a ray of the Divine Reason. As soon as he was born the glory from his body enlightened the whole room.[123:6] Plato informs us that Zoroaster was said to be "the son of Oromasdes, which was the name the Persians gave to the Supreme God"[123:7]—therefore he was the Son of God.

From the East we will turn to the West, and shall find that many of the ancient heroes of Grecian and Roman mythology were regarded as of divine origin, were represented as men, possessed of god-like form, strength and courage; were believed to have lived on earth in the remote, dim ages of the nation's history; to have been occupied in their life-time with thrilling adventures and extraordinary services in the cause of human civilization, and to have been after death in some cases translated to a life among the gods, and entitled to sacrifice and worship. In the hospitable Pantheon of the Greeks and Romans, a niche was always in readiness [Pg 124]for every new divinity who could produce respectable credentials.

The Christian Father Justin Martyr, says:

"It having reached the Devil's ears that the prophets had foretold the coming of Christ (the Son of God), he set the Heathen Poets to bring forward a great many who should be called the sons of Jove. The Devil laying his scheme in this, to get men to imagine that the true history of Christ was of the same character as the prodigious fables related of the sons of Jove."

Among these "sons of Jove" may be mentioned the following: Hercules was the son of Jupiter by a mortal mother, Alcmene, Queen of Thebes.[124:1] Zeus, the god of gods, spake of Hercules, his son, and said: "This day shall a child be born of the race of Perseus, who shall be the mightiest of the sons of men."[124:2]

Bacchus was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Semele, daughter of Kadmus, King of Thebes.[124:3] As Montfaucon says, "It is the son of Jupiter and Semele which the poets celebrate, and which the monuments represent."[124:4]

Bacchus is made to say:

"I, son of Deus, am come to this land of the Thebans, Bacchus, whom formerly Semele the daughter of Kadmus brings forth, being delivered by the lightning-bearing flame: and having taken a mortal form instead of a god's, I have arrived at the fountains of Dirce and the water of Ismenus."[124:5]

Amphion was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Antiope, daughter of Nicetus, King of Bœotia.[124:6]

Prometheus, whose name is derived from a Greek word signifying foresight and providence, was a deity who united the divine and human nature in one person, and was confessedly both man and god.[124:7]

Perseus was the son of Jupiter by the virgin Danae, daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos.[124:8] Divine honors were paid him, and a temple was erected to him in Athens.[124:9]

Justin Martyr (A. D. 140), in his Apology to the Emperor Adrian, says:

"By declaring the Logos, the first-begotten of God, our Master, Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin, without any human mixture, we (Christians) say no more in this than what you (Pagans) say of those whom you style the Sons of Jove. For [Pg 125]you need not be told what a parcel of sons the writers most in vogue among you assign to Jove. . . .

"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 that you (Pagans) have your Mercury in worship under the title of the Word, a messenger of God. . . .

"As to his (Jesus Christ's) being born of a virgin, you have your Perseus to balance that."[125:1]

Mercury was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Maia, daughter of Atlas. Cyllene, in Arcadia, is said to have been the scene of his birth and education, and a magnificent temple was erected to him there.[125:2]

Æolus, king of the Lipari Islands, near Sicily, was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Acasta.[125:3]

Apollo was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Latona.[125:4] Like Buddha and Lao-Kiun, Apollo, so the Ephesians said, was born under a tree; Latona, taking shelter under an olive-tree, was delivered there.[125:5] Then there was joy among the undying gods in Olympus, and the Earth laughed beneath the smile of Heaven.[125:6]

Aethlius, who is said to have been one of the institutors of the Orphic games, was the son of Jupiter by a mortal mother, Protogenia.[125:7]

Arcas was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother.[125:8]

Aroclus was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother.[125:9]

We might continue and give the names of many more sons of Jove, but sufficient has been seen, we believe, to show, in the words of Justin, that Jove had a great "parcel of sons." "The images of self-restraint, of power used for the good of others, are prominent in the lives of all or almost all the Zeus-born heroes."[125:10]

This Jupiter, who begat so many sons, was the supreme god of the Pagans. In the words of Orpheus:

"Jupiter is omnipotent; the first and the last, the head and the midst; Jupiter, the giver of all things, the foundation of the earth, and the starry heavens."[125:11]

The ancient Romans were in the habit of deifying their living and departed emperors, and gave to them the title of Divus, or the Divine One. It was required throughout the whole empire that divine honors should be paid to the emperors.[125:12] They had a ceremony [Pg 126]called Apotheosis, or deification. After this ceremony, temples, altars, and images, with attributes of divinity, were erected to the new deity. It is related by Eusebius, Tertullian, and Chrysostom, that Tiberius proposed to the Roman Senate the Apotheosis or deification of Jesus Christ.[126:1] Ælius Lampridius, in his Life of Alexander Severus (who reigned A. D. 222-235), says:

"This emperor had two private chapels, one more honorable than the other; and in the former were placed the deified emperors, and also some eminent good men, among them Abraham, Christ, and Orpheus."[126:2]

Romulus, who is said to have been the founder of Rome, was believed to have been the son of God by a pure virgin, Rhea-Sylvia.[126:3] One Julius Proculus took a solemn oath, that Romulus himself appeared to him and ordered him to inform the Senate of his being called up to the assembly of the gods, under the name of Quirinus.[126:4]

Julius Cæsar was supposed to have had a god for a father.[126:5]

Augustus Cæsar was also believed to have been of celestial origin, and had all the honors paid to him as to a divine person.[126:6] His divinity is expressed by Virgil, in the following lines:

"——Turn, turn thine eyes, see here thy race divine,
Behold thy own imperial Roman Sine:
Cæsar, with all the Julian name survey;
See where the glorious ranks ascend to-day!—
This—this is he—the chief so long foretold,
To bless the land where Saturn ruled of old,
And give the Learnean realms a second eye of gold!
The promised prince, Augustus the divine,
Of Cæsar's race, and Jove's immortal line."[126:7]

"The honors due to the gods," says Tacitus, "were no longer sacred: Augustus claimed equal worship. Temples were built, and statues were erected, to him; a mortal man was adored, and priests and pontiffs were appointed to pay him impious homage."[126:8]

Divine honors were declared to the memory of Claudius, after his death, and he was added to the number of the gods. The titles "Our Lord," "Our Master," and "Our God," were given to the Emperors of Rome, even while living.[126:9]

[Pg 127]

In the deification of the Cæsars, a testimony upon oath, of an eagle's flying out of the funeral pile, toward heaven, which was supposed to convey the soul of the deceased, was the established proof of their divinity.[127:1]

Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia (born 356 B. C.), whom genius and uncommon success had raised above ordinary men, was believed to have been a god upon earth.[127:2] He was believed to have been the son of Jupiter by a mortal mother, Olympias.

Alexander at one time visited the temple of Jupiter Ammon, which was situated in an oasis in the Libyan desert, and the Oracle there declared him to be a son of the god. He afterwards issued his orders, letters, decrees, &c., styling himself "Alexander, son of Jupiter Ammon."[127:3]

The words of the oracle which declared him to be divine were as follows, says Socrates:

"Let altars burn and incense pour, please Jove Minerva eke;
The potent Prince though nature frail, his favor you must seek,
For Jove from heaven to earth him sent, lo! Alexander king,
As God he comes the earth to rule, and just laws for to bring."[127:4]

Ptolemy, who was one of Alexander's generals in his Eastern campaigns, and into whose hands Egypt fell at the death of Alexander, was also believed to have been of divine origin. At the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy had been of such signal service to its citizens that in gratitude they paid divine honors to him, and saluted him with the title of Soter, i. e., Saviour. By that designation, "Ptolemy Soter," he is distinguished from the succeeding kings of the Macedonian dynasty in Egypt.[127:5]

Cyrus, King of Persia, was believed to have been of divine origin; he was called the "Christ," or the "Anointed of God," and God's messenger.[127:6]

Plato, born at Athens 429 B. C., was believed to have been the son of God by a pure virgin, called Perictione.[127:7]

The reputed father of Plato (Aris) was admonished in a dream to respect the person of his wife until after the birth of the child of which she was then pregnant by a god.[127:8]

Prof. Draper, speaking of Plato, says:

[Pg 128]

"The Egyptian disciples of Plato would have looked with anger on those who rejected the legend that Perictione, the mother of that great philosopher, a pure virgin, had suffered an immaculate conception through the influences of (the god) Apollo, and that the god had declared to Aris, to whom she was betrothed, the parentage of the child."[128:1]

Here we have the legend of the angel appearing to Joseph—to whom Mary was betrothed—believed in by the disciples of Plato for centuries before the time of Christ Jesus, the only difference being that the virgin's name was Perictione instead of Mary, and the confiding husband's name Aris instead of Joseph. We have another similar case.

The mother of Apollonius (B. C. 41) was informed by a god, who appeared to her, that he himself should be born of her.[128:2] In the course of time she gave birth to Apollonius, who became a great religious teacher, and performer of miracles.[128:3]

Pythagoras, born about 570 B. C., had divine honors paid him. His mother is said to have become impregnated through a spectre, or Holy Ghost. His father—or foster-father—was also informed that his wife should bring forth a son, who should be a benefactor to mankind.[128:4]

Æsculapius, the great performer of miracles,[128:5] was supposed to be the son of a god and a worldly mother, Coronis. The Messenians, who consulted the oracle at Delphi to know where Æsculapius was born, and of what parents, were informed that a god was his father, Coronis his mother, and that their son was born at Epidaurus.

Coronis, to conceal her pregnancy from her father, went to Epidaurus, where she was delivered of a son, whom she exposed on a mountain. Aristhenes, a goat-herd, going in search of a goat and a dog missing from his fold, discovered the child, whom he would have carried to his home, had he not, upon approaching to lift him from the earth, perceived his head encircled with fiery rays, which made him believe the child was divine. The voice of fame soon published the birth of a miraculous infant, upon which the people flocked from all quarters to behold this heaven-born child.[128:6]

Being honored as a god in Phenicia and Egypt, his worship passed into Greece and Rome.[128:7]

[Pg 129]

Simon the Samaritan, surnamed "Magus" or the "Magician," who was contemporary with Jesus, was believed to be a god. In Rome, where he performed wonderful miracles, he was honored as a god, and his picture placed among the gods.[129:1]

Justin Martyr, quoted by Eusebius, tells us that Simon Magus attained great honor among the Romans. That he was believed to be a god, and that he was worshiped as such. Between two bridges upon the River Tibris, was to be seen this inscription: "Simoni Deo Sancto," i. e. "To Simon the Holy God."[129:2]

It was customary with all the heroes of the northern nations (Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders), to speak of themselves as sprung from their supreme deity, Odin. The historians of those times, that is to say, the poets, never failed to bestow the same honor on all those whose praises they sang; and thus they multiplied the descendants of Odin as much as they found convenient. The first-begotten son of Odin was Thor, whom the Eddas call the most valiant of his sons. "Baldur the Good," the "Beneficent Saviour," was the son of the Supreme Odin and the goddess Frigga, whose worship was transferred to that of the Virgin Mary.[129:3]

In the mythological systems of America, a virgin-born god was not less clearly recognized than in those of the Old World. Among the savage tribes his origin and character were, for obvious reasons, much confused; but among the more advanced nations he occupied a well-defined position. Among the nations of Anahuac, he bore the name of Quetzalcoatle, and was regarded with the highest veneration.

For ages before the landing of Columbus on its shores, the inhabitants of ancient Mexico worshiped a "Saviour"—as they called him—(Quetzalcoatle) who was born of a pure virgin.[129:4] A messenger from heaven announced to his mother that she should bear a son without connection with man.[129:5] Lord Kingsborough tells us that the annunciation of the virgin Sochiquetzal, mother of Quetzalcoatle,—who was styled the "Queen of Heaven"[129:6]—was the subject of a Mexican hieroglyph.[129:7]

The embassador was sent from heaven to this virgin, who had two sisters, Tzochitlique and Conatlique. "These three being alone in the house, two of them, on perceiving the embassador from heaven, died of fright, Sochiquetzal remaining alive, to whom the [Pg 130]ambassador announced that it was the will of God that she should conceive a son."[130:1] She therefore, according to the prediction, "conceived a son, without connection with man, who was called Quetzalcoatle."[130:2]

Dr. Daniel Brinton, in his "Myths of the New World," says:

"The Central figure of Toltec mythology is Quetzalcoatle. Not an author on ancient Mexico, but has something to say about the glorious days when he ruled over the land. No one denies him to have been a god. He was born of a virgin in the land of Tula or Tlopallan."[130:3]

The Mayas of Yucatan had a virgin-born god, corresponding entirely with Quetzalcoatle, if he was not the same under a different name, a conjecture very well sustained by the evident relationship between the Mexican and Mayan mythologies. He was named Zama, and was the only-begotten son of their supreme god, Kinchahan.[130:4]

The Muyscas of Columbia had a similar hero-god. According to their traditionary history, he bore the name of Bochica. He was the incarnation of the Great Father, whose sovereignty and paternal care he emblematized.[130:5]

The inhabitants of Nicaragua called their principal god Thomathoyo; and said that he had a son, who came down to earth, whose name was Theotbilahe, and that he was their general instructor.[130:6]

We find a corresponding character in the traditionary history of Peru. The Sun—the god of the Peruvians—deploring their miserable condition, sent down his son, Manco Capac, to instruct them in religion, &c.[130:7]

We have also traces of a similar personage in the traditionary Votan of Guatemala; but our accounts concerning him are more vague than in the cases above mentioned.

We find this traditional character in countries and among tribes where we would be least apt to suspect its existence. In Brazil, besides the common belief in an age of violence, during which the world was destroyed by water, there is a tradition of a supernatural personage called Zome, whose history is similar, in some respects, to that of Quetzalcoatle.[130:8]

The semi-civilized agricultural tribes of Florida had like traditions. The Cherokees, in particular, had a priest and law-giver [Pg 131]essentially corresponding to Quetzalcoatle and Bochica. He was their great prophet, and bore the name of Wasi. "He told them what had been from the beginning of the world, and what would be, and gave the people in all things directions what to do. He appointed their feasts and fasts, and all the ceremonies of their religion, and enjoined upon them to obey his directions from generation to generation."[131:1]

Among the savage tribes the same notions prevailed. The Edues of the Californians taught that there was a supreme Creator, Niparaga, and that his son, Quaagagp, came down upon the earth and instructed the Indians in religion, &c. Finally, through hatred, the Indians killed him; but although dead, he is incorruptible and beautiful. To him they pay adoration, as the mediatory power between earth and the Supreme Niparaga.[131:2]

The Iroquois also had a beneficent being, uniting in himself the character of a god and man, who was called Tarengawagan. He imparted to them the knowledge of the laws of the Great Spirit, established their form of government, &c.[131:3]

Among the Algonquins, and particularly among the Ojibways and other remnants of that stock of the North-west, this intermediate great teacher (denominated, by Mr. Schoolcraft, in his "Notes of the Iroquois," "the great incarnation of the North-west") is fully recognized. He bears the name of Michabou, and is represented as the first-born son of a great celestial Manitou, or Spirit, by an earthly mother, and is esteemed the friend and protector of the human race.[131:4]

I think we can now say with M. Dupuis, that "the idea of a God, who came down on earth to save mankind, is neither new nor peculiar to the Christians," and with Cicero, the great Roman orator and philosopher, that "brave, famous or powerful men, after death, came to be gods, and they are the very ones whom we are accustomed to worship, pray to and venerate."

Taking for granted that the synoptic Gospels are historical, there is no proof that Jesus ever claimed to be either God, or a god; on the other hand, it is quite the contrary.[131:5] As Viscount Amberly says: "The best proof of this is that Jesus never, at any period of his life, [Pg 132]desired his followers to worship him, either as God, or as the Son of God," in the sense in which it is now understood. Had he believed of himself what his followers subsequently believed of him, that he was one of the constituent persons in a divine Trinity, he must have enjoined his Apostles both to address him in prayer themselves, and to desire their converts to do likewise. It is quite plain that he did nothing of the kind, and that they never supposed him to have done so.

Belief in Jesus as the Messiah was taught as the first dogma of Christianity, but adoration of Jesus as God was not taught at all.

But we are not left in this matter to depend on conjectural inferences. The words put into the mouth of Jesus are plain. Whenever occasion arose, he asserted his inferiority to the Father, though, as no one had then dreamt of his equality, it is natural that the occasions should not have been frequent.

He made himself inferior in knowledge when he said that of the day and hour of the day of judgment no one knew, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; no one except the Father.[132:1]

He made himself inferior in power when he said that seats on his right hand and on his left in the kingdom of heaven were not his to give.[132:2]

He made himself inferior in virtue when he desired a certain man not to address him as "Good Master," for there was none good but God.[132:3]

The words of his prayer at Gethsemane, "all things are possible unto thee," imply that all things were not possible to him, while its conclusion "not what I will, but what thou wilt," indicates submission to a superior, not the mere execution of a purpose of his own.[132:4] Indeed, the whole prayer would have been a mockery, useless for any purpose but the deception of his disciples, if he had himself been identical with the Being to whom he prayed, and had merely been giving effect by his death to their common counsels. While the cry of agony from the cross, "My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?"[132:5] would have been quite unmeaning if the person forsaken, and the person forsaking, had been one and the same.

Either, then, we must assume that the language of Jesus has been misreported, or we must admit that he never for a moment pretended to be co-equal, co-eternal or consubstantial with God.

[Pg 133]

It also follows of necessity from both the genealogies,[133:1] that their compilers entertained no doubt that Joseph was the father of Jesus. Otherwise the descent of Joseph would not have been in the least to the point. All attempts to reconcile this inconsistency with the doctrine of the Angel-Messiah has been without avail, although the most learned Christian divines, for many generations past, have endeavored to do so.

So, too, of the stories of the Presentation in the Temple,[133:2] and of the child Jesus at Jerusalem,[133:3] Joseph is called his father. Jesus is repeatedly described as the son of the carpenter,[133:4] or the son of Joseph, without the least indication that the expression is not strictly in accordance with the fact.[133:5]

If his parents fail to understand him when he says, at twelve years old, that he must be about his Father's business;[133:6] if he afterwards declares that he finds no faith among his nearest relations;[133:7] if he exalts his faithful disciples above his unbelieving mother and brothers;[133:8] above all, if Mary and her other sons put down his prophetic enthusiasm to insanity;[133:9]—then the untrustworthy nature of these stories of his birth is absolutely certain. If even a little of what they tell us had been true, then Mary at least would have believed in Jesus, and would not have failed so utterly to understand him.[133:10]

The Gospel of Mark—which, in this respect, at least, abides most faithfully by the old apostolic tradition—says not a word about Bethlehem or the miraculous birth. The congregation of Jerusalem to which Mary and the brothers of Jesus belonged,[133:11] and over which the eldest of them, James, presided,[133:12] can have known nothing of it; for the later Jewish-Christian communities, the so-called Ebionites, who were descended from the congregation at Jerusalem, called Jesus the son of Joseph. Nay, the story that the Holy Spirit was the father of Jesus, must have risen among [Pg 134]the Greeks, or elsewhere, and not among the first believers, who were Jews, for the Hebrew word for spirit is of the feminine gender.[134:1]

The immediate successors of the "congregation at Jerusalem"—to which Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers belonged—were, as we have seen, the Ebionites. Eusebius, the first ecclesiastical historian (born A. D. 264), speaking of the Ebionites (i. e. "poor men"), tell us that they believed Jesus to be "a simple and common man," born as other men, "of Mary and her husband."[134:2]

The views held by the Ebionites of Jesus were, it is said, derived from the Gospel of Matthew, and what they learned direct from the Apostles. Matthew had been a hearer of Jesus, a companion of the Apostles, and had seen and no doubt conversed with Mary. When he wrote his Gospel everything was fresh in his mind, and there could be no object, on his part, in writing the life of Jesus, to state falsehoods or omit important truths in order to deceive his countrymen. If what is stated in the interpolated first two chapters, concerning the miraculous birth of Jesus, were true, Matthew would have known of it; and, knowing it, why should he omit it in giving an account of the life of Jesus?[134:3]

The Ebionites, or Nazarenes, as they were previously called were rejected by the Jews as apostates, and by the Egyptian and Roman Christians as heretics, therefore, until they completely disappear, their history is one of tyrannical persecution. Although some traces of that obsolete sect may be discovered as late as the fourth century, they insensibly melted away, either into the Roman Christian Church, or into the Jewish Synagogue,[134:4] and with them perished the original Gospel of Matthew, the only Gospel written by an apostle.

"Who, where masses of men are burning to burst the bonds of time and sense, to deify and to adore, wants what seems earth-born, prosaic fact? Woe to the man that dares to interpose it! Woe to the sect of faithful Ebionites even, and on the very soil of Palestine, that dare to maintain the earlier, humbler tradition! Swiftly do they become heretics, revilers, blasphemers, though sanctioned by a James, brother of the Lord."

Edward Gibbon, speaking of this most unfortunate sect, says:

"A laudable regard for the honor of the first proselytes has countenanced the belief, the hope, the wish, that the Ebionites, or at least the Nazarenes, were [Pg 135]distinguished only by their obstinate perseverance in the practice of the Mosaic rites. Their churches have disappeared, their books are obliterated, their obscure freedom might allow a latitude of faith, and the softness of their infant creed would be variously moulded by the zeal of prejudice of three hundred years. Yet the most charitable criticism must refuse these sectaries any knowledge of the pure and proper divinity of Christ. Educated in the school of Jewish prophecy and prejudice, they had never been taught to elevate their hope above a human and temporal Messiah. If they had courage to hail their king when he appeared in a plebeian garb, their grosser apprehensions were incapable of discerning their God, who had studiously disguised his celestial character under the name and person of a mortal.

"The familiar companions of Jesus of Nazareth conversed with their friend and countryman, who, in all the actions of rational and human life, appeared of the same species with themselves. His progress from infancy to youth and manhood was marked by a regular increase in stature and wisdom; and after a painful agony of mind and body, he expired on the cross."[135:1]

The Jewish Christians then—the congregation of Jerusalem, and their immediate successors, the Ebionites or Nazarenes—saw in their master nothing more than a man. From this, and the other facts which we have seen in this chapter, it is evident that the man Jesus of Nazareth was deified long after his death, just as many other men had been deified centuries before his time, and even after. Until it had been settled by a council of bishops that Jesus was not only a God, but "God himself in human form," who appeared on earth, as did Crishna of old, to redeem and save mankind, there were many theories concerning his nature.

Among the early Christians there were a certain class called by the later Christians Heretics. Among these may be mentioned the "Carpocratians," named after one Carpocrates. They maintained that Jesus was a mere man, born of Joseph and Mary, like other men, but that he was good and virtuous. "Some of them have the vanity," says Irenæus, "to think that they may equal, or in some respects exceed, Jesus himself."[135:2]

These are called by the general name of Gnostics, and comprehend almost all the sects of the first two ages.[135:3] They said that "all the ancients, and even the Apostles themselves, received and taught the same things which they held; and that the truth of the Gospel had been preserved till the time of Victor, the thirteenth Bishop of Rome, but by his successor, Zephyrinus, the truth had been corrupted."[135:4]

Eusebius, speaking of Artemon and his followers, who denied the divinity of Christ, says:

[Pg 136]

"They affirm that all our ancestors, yea, and the Apostles themselves, were of the same opinion, and taught the same with them, and that this their true doctrine (for so they call it) was preached and embraced unto the time of Victor, the thirteenth Bishop of Rome after Peter, and corrupted by his successor Zephyrinus."[136:1]

There were also the "Cerinthians," named after one Cerinthus, who maintained that Jesus was not born of a virgin, which to them appeared impossible, but that he was the son of Joseph and Mary, born altogether as other men are; but he excelled all men in virtue, knowledge and wisdom. At the time of his baptism, "the Christ" came down upon him in the shape of a dove, and left him at the time of his crucifixion.[136:2]

Irenæus, speaking of Cerinthus and his doctrines, says:

"He represents Jesus as the son of Joseph and Mary, according to the ordinary course of human generation, and not as having been born of a virgin. He believed nevertheless that he was more righteous, prudent and wise than most men, and that the Christ descended upon, and entered into him, at the time of his baptism."[136:3]

The Docetes were a numerous and learned sect of Asiatic Christians who invented the Phantastic system, which was afterwards promulgated by the Marcionites, the Manicheans, and various other sects.

They denied the truth and authenticity of the Gospels, as far as they related to the conception of Mary, the birth of Jesus, and the thirty years that preceded the exercise of his ministry.

Bordering upon the Jewish and Gentile world, the Cerinthians labored to reconcile the Gnostic and the Ebionite, by confessing in the same Messiah the supernatural union of a man and a god; and this mystic doctrine was adopted, with many fanciful improvements, by many sects. The hypothesis was this: that Jesus of Nazareth was a mere mortal, the legitimate son of Joseph and Mary, but he was the best and wisest of the human race, selected as the worthy instrument to restore upon earth the worship of the true and supreme Deity. When he was baptized in the Jordan, and not till then, he became more than man. At that time, the Christ, the first of the Æons, the Son of God himself, descended on Jesus in the form of a dove, to inhabit his mind, and direct his actions during the allotted period of his ministry. When he was delivered into the hands of the Jews, the Christ forsook him, flew back to the world of spirits, and left the solitary Jesus to suffer, to [Pg 137]complain, and to die. This is why he said, while hanging on the cross: "My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me?"[137:1]

Here, then, we see the first budding out of—what was termed by the true followers of Jesus—heretical doctrines. The time had not yet come to make Jesus a god, to claim that he had been born of a virgin. As he must, however, have been different from other mortals—throughout the period of his ministry, at least—the Christ must have entered into him at the time of his baptism, and as mysteriously disappeared when he was delivered into the hands of the Jews.

In the course of time, the seeds of the faith, which had slowly arisen in the rocky and ungrateful soil of Judea, were transplanted, in full maturity, to the happier climes of the Gentiles; and the strangers of Rome and Alexandria, who had never beheld the manhood, were more ready to embrace the divinity of Jesus.

The polytheist and the philosopher, the Greek and the barbarian, were alike accustomed to receive—as we have seen in this chapter—a long succession and infinite chain of angels, or deities, or æons, or emanations, issuing from the throne of light. Nor could it seem strange and incredible to them, that the first of the æons, the Logos, or Word of God, of the same substance with the Father, should descend upon earth, to deliver the human race from vice and error. The histories of their countries, their odes, and their religions were teeming with such ideas, as happening in the past, and they were also looking for and expecting an Angel-Messiah.[137:2]

Centuries rolled by, however, before the doctrine of Christ Jesus, the Angel-Messiah, became a settled question, an established tenet in the Christian faith. The dignity of Christ Jesus was measured by private judgment, according to the indefinite rule of Scripture, or tradition or reason. But when his pure and proper divinity had been established on the ruins of Arianism, the faith of the Catholics trembled on the edge of a precipice where it was impossible to recede, dangerous to stand, dreadful to fall; and the manifold inconveniences of their creed were aggravated by the sublime character of their theology. They hesitated to pronounce that God himself, the second person of an equal and consubstantial Trinity, was manifested in the flesh,[137:3] that the Being who pervades the universe had been confined in the womb of Mary; that his [Pg 138]eternal duration had been marked by the days, and months, and years of human existence; that the Almighty God had been scourged and crucified; that his impassible essence had felt pain and anguish; that his omniscience was not exempt from ignorance; and that the source of life and immortality expired on Mount Calvary.

These alarming consequences were affirmed with unblushing simplicity by Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicea, and one of the luminaries of the Church. The son of a learned grammarian, he was skilled in all the sciences of Greece; eloquence, erudition, and philosophy, conspicuous in the volumes of Apollinaris, were humbly devoted to the service of religion.

The worthy friend of Athanasius, the worthy antagonist of Julian, he bravely wrestled with the Arians and polytheists, and though he affected the rigor of geometrical demonstration, his commentaries revealed the literal and allegorical sense of the Scriptures.

A mystery, which had long floated in the looseness of popular belief, was defined by his perverse diligence in a technical form, and he first proclaimed the memorable words, "One incarnate nature of Christ."[138:1]

This was about A. D. 362, he being Bishop of Laodicea, in Syria, at that time.[138:2]

The recent zeal against the errors of Apollinaris reduced the Catholics to a seeming agreement with the double-nature of Cerinthus. But instead of a temporary and occasional alliance, they established, and Christians still embrace, the substantial, indissoluble, and everlasting union of a perfect God with a perfect man, of the second person of the Trinity with a reasonable soul and human flesh. In the beginning of the fifth century, the unity of the two natures was the prevailing doctrine of the church.[138:3] From that time, until a comparatively recent period, the cry was: "May those who divide Christ[138:4] be divided with the sword; may [Pg 139]they be hewn in pieces, may they be burned alive!" These were actually the words of a Christian synod.[139:1] Is it any wonder that after this came the dark ages? How appropriate is the name which has been applied to the centuries which followed! Dark indeed they were. Now and then, however, a ray of light was seen, which gave evidence of the coming morn, whose glorious light we now enjoy. But what a grand light is yet to come from the noon-day sun, which must shed its glorious rays over the whole earth, ere it sets.


[111:1] Matthew, i. 18-25.

[111:2] The Luke narrator tells the story in a different manner. His account is more like that recorded in the Koran, which says that Gabriel appeared unto Mary in the shape of a perfect man, that Mary, upon seeing him, and seeming to understand his intentions, said: "If thou fearest God, thou wilt not approach me." Gabriel answering said: "Verily, I am the messenger of the Lord, and am sent to give thee a holy son." (Koran, ch. xix.)

[112:1] Instead, however, of the benevolent Jesus, the "Prince of Peace"—as Christian writers make him out to be—the Jews were expecting a daring and irresistible warrior and conqueror, who, armed with greater power than Cæsar, 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.

[112:2] Vol. v. p. 294.

[112:3] Moor, in his "Pantheon," tells us that a learned Pandit once observed to him that the English were a new people, and had only the record of one Avatara, but the Hindoos were an ancient people, and had accounts of a great many.

[112:4] This name has been spelled in many different ways, such as Krishna, Khrishna, Krishnu, Chrisna, Cristna, Christna, &c. We have followed Sir Wm. Jones's way of spelling it, and shall do so throughout.

[113:1] See Asiatic Researches, vol. i. pp. 259-275.

[113:2] Ibid. p. 260. We may say that, "In him dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians, ii. 9.)

[113:3] Allen's India, p. 397.

[113:4] Indian Antiquities, vol. iii. p. 45.

[113:5] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 270.

[113:6] Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, Devaki is called the "Virgin Mother," although she, as well as Mary, is said to have had other children.

[114:1] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 327.

[114:2] Ibid. p. 329.

[114:3] Vishnu Purana, p. 502.

[114:4] Ibid. p. 440.

[114:5] "Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began." (Romans, xvi. 15.) "And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy, iii. 16.)

[114:6] Vishnu Purana, p. 492, note 3.

[114:7] Geeta, ch. iv.

[115:1] Bhagavat Geeta, Lecture iv. p. 52.

[115:2] Ibid., Lecture iv. p. 79.

[115:3] It is said that there have been several Buddhas (see ch. xxix). We speak of Gautama. Buddha is variously pronounced and expressed Boudh, Bod, Bot, But, Bud, Budd, Buddou, Bouttu, Bota, Budso, Pot, Pout, Pota, Poti, and Pouti. The Siamese make the final t or d quiescent, and sound the word Po; whence the Chinese still further vary it to Pho or Fo. Buddha—which means awakened or enlightened (see Müller: Sci. of Relig., p. 308)—is the proper way in which to spell the name. We have adopted this throughout this work, regardless of the manner in which the writer from which we quote spells it.

[115:4] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 86.

[115:5] Fo-pen-hing is the life of Gautama Buddha, translated from the Chinese Sanskrit by Prof. Samuel Beal.

[115:6] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 25.

[115:7] Hardy: Manual of Buddhism, p. 141.

[115:8] A Christian sect called Collyridians believed that Mary was born of a virgin, as Christ is related to have been born of her (See note to the "Gospel of the Birth of Mary" [Apocryphal]; also King: The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 91, and Gibbon's Hist. of Rome, vol. v. p. 108, note). This idea has been recently adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. They now claim that Mary was born as immaculate as her son. (See Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 75, and The Lily of Israel, pp. 6-15; also fig. 17, ch. xxxii.)

"The gradual deification of Mary, though slower in its progress, follows, in the Romish Church, a course analogous to that which the Church of the first centuries followed, in elaborating the deity of Jesus. With almost all the Catholic writers of our day, Mary is the universal mediatrix; all power has been given to her in heaven and upon earth. Indeed, more than one serious attempt has been already made in the Ultramontane camp to unite Mary in some way to the Trinity; and if Mariolatry lasts much longer, this will probably be accomplished in the end." (Albert Réville.)

[116:1] Huc's Travels, vol. i. pp. 326, 327.

[116:2] Ibid. p. 327.

[116:3] Oriental Religions, p. 604.

[116:4] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah.

[116:5] Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 309, and King's Gnostics, p. 167.

[116:6] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, pp. 10, 25 and 44.

[117:1] See Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 36, note. Ganesa, the Indian God of Wisdom, is either represented as an elephant or a man with an elephant's head. (See Moore's Hindu Pantheon, and vol. i. of Asiatic Researches.)

[117:2] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 83.

[117:3] Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 38, 39.

[117:4] Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 131.

[118:1] Tree and Serpent Worship, p. 212.

[118:2] King: The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 168, and Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 485. R. Spence Hardy says: "The body of the Queen was transparent, and the child could be distinctly seen, like a priest seated upon a throne in the act of saying bana, or like a golden image enclosed in a vase of crystal; so that it could be known how much he grew every succeeding day." (Hardy: Manual of Buddhism, p. 144.) The same thing was said of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Early art represented the infant distinctly visible in her womb. (See Inman's Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, and chap. xxix. this work.)

[118:3] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 34.

[118:4] Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 185. See also Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 162 and 308.

[119:1] See Asiatic Res., vol. x., and Anac., vol. i. p. 662.

[119:2] Davis: Hist. China, vol. i. p. 161.

[119:3] Thornton: Hist. China, vol. i. pp. 21, 22.

[119:4] Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 184.

[120:1] Semedo: Hist. China, p. 89, in Anac., vol. ii. p. 227.

[120:2] Thornton: Hist. China, vol. i. pp. 134-137. See also Chambers's Encyclo., art. Lao-tsze.

[120:3] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 204, 205.

[121:1] "The 'toe-print made by God' has occasioned much speculation of the critics. We may simply draw the conclusion that the poet meant to have his readers believe with him that the conception of his hero was SUPERNATURAL." (James Legge.)

[121:2] The Shih-King, Decade ii. Ode 1.

[121:3] See Thornton's Hist. China, vol. i. pp. 199, 200, and Buckley's Cities of the Ancient World, pp. 168-170.

[121:4] "Le Dieu La des Lamas est né d'une Vierge: plusieurs princes de l'Asie, entr'autres l'Empereur Kienlong, aujourd'hui regnant à la Chine, et qui est de la race de ces Tartares Mandhuis, qui conquirent cet empire en 1644, croit, et assure lui-même, être descendu d'une Vierge." (D'Hancarville: Res. Sur l'Orig., p. 186, in Anac., vol. ii. p. 97.)

[122:1] See Mahaffy: Proleg. to Anct. Hist., p. 416, and Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 406.

[122:2] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 157.

[122:3] Renouf: Relig. Anct. Egypt, p. 162.

[122:4] See the chapter on "The Worship of the Virgin Mother."

[122:5] "O toi vengeur, Dieu fils d'un Dieu; O toi vengeur, Horus, manifesté par Osiris, engendré d'Isis déesee." (Champollion, p. 190.)

[122:6] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 406.

[122:7] Ibid. p. 247.

[122:8] Renouf: Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 161.

[122:9] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. pp. 67 and 147.

[122:10] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 248.

[123:1] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 407.

[123:2] Renouf: Relig. of Anct. Egypt, p. 163.

[123:3] See Herbert Spencer's Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 420.

[123:4] Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 431.

[123:5] Spencer's Principles of Sociology, vol. i. p. 421.

[123:6] Malcolm: Hist. Persia, vol. i. p. 494.

[123:7] Anac. vol. i. p. 117.

[124:1] Roman Antiq., p. 124. Bell's Panth., i. 128. Dupuis, p. 258.

[124:2] Tales of Anct. Greece, p. 55.

[124:3] Greek and Italian Mytho., p. 81. Bell's Panth., i. 117. Roman Antiq., p. 71, and Murray's Manual Mytho., p. 118.

[124:4] L'Antiquité Expliquée, vol. i. p. 229.

[124:5] Euripides: Bacchae. Quoted by Dunlap: Spirit Hist. of Man, p. 200.

[124:6] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 58. Roman Antiquities, p. 133.

[124:7] See the chapter on "The Crucifixion of Jesus," and Bell's Pantheon, ii. 195.

[124:8] Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 170. Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 161.

[124:9] Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 171.

[125:1] Apol. 1, ch. xxii.

[125:2] Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 67. Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 19.

[125:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 25.

[125:4] Ibid. p. 74, and Bulfinch: p. 248.

[125:5] Tacitus: Annals, iii. lxi.

[125:6] Tales of Anct. Greece, p. 4.

[125:7] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 31.

[125:8] Ibid. p. 81.

[125:9] Ibid. p. 16.

[125:10] Bell's Pantheon, ii. p. 30.

[125:11] Cox: Aryan Mythology, ii. 45.

[125:12] The Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 3.

[126:1] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 78.

[126:2] Quoted by Lardner, vol. iii. p. 157.

[126:3] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 8.

[126:4] Middleton's Letters from Rome, p. 37. In the case of Jesus, one Saul of Tarsus, said to be of a worthy and upright character, declared most solemnly, that Jesus himself appeared to him while on his way to Damascus, and again while praying in the temple at Jerusalem. (Acts xxii.)

[126:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 345. Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 84, 85.

[126:6] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 611.

[126:7] Æneid, lib. iv.

[126:8] Tacitus: Annals, bk. i. ch. x.

[126:9] Ibid. bk. ii, ch. lxxxii. and bk. xiii. ch. ii.

[127:1] See Middleton's Letters from Rome, pp. 37, 38.

[127:2] See Religion of the Ancient Greeks, p. 81, and Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 84, 85.

[127:3] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 8.

[127:4] Socrates: Eccl. Hist. Lib. 3, ch. xix.

[127:5] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 17.

[127:6] See Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 418. Bunsen: Bible Chronology, p. 5, and The Angel-Messiah, pp. 80 and 298.

[127:7] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 113, and Draper: Religion and Science, p. 8.

[127:8] Hardy: Manual Budd., p. 141. Higgins: Anac., i. 618.

[128:1] Draper: Religion and Science, p. 8. Compare Luke i. 26-35.

[128:2] Philostratus, p. 5.

[128:3] See the chapter on Miracles.

[128:4] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 151.

[128:5] See the chapter on Miracles.

[128:6] Bell's Pantheon, i. 27. Roman Ant., 136. Taylor's Diegesis, p. 150.

[128:7] Ibid.

[129:1] Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xiii.

[129:2] Ibid. ch. xiii.

[129:3] See Mallet's Northern Antiquities.

[129:4] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 32, Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. 166 and 175-6.

[129:5] Ibid.

[129:6] See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 176.

[129:7] Ibid. p. 175.

[130:1] See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 176.

[130:2] Ibid. p. 166.

[130:3] Brinton: Myths of the New World, pp. 180, 181.

[130:4] Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 187.

[130:5] Ibid. p. 188.

[130:6] Ibid.

[130:7] Ibid.

[130:8] Ibid. p. 190.

[131:1] Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 191.

[131:2] Ibid.

[131:3] Ibid.

[131:4] Ibid. p. 192.

[131:5] "If we seek, in the first three Gospels, to know what his biographers thought of Jesus, we find his true humanity plainly stated, and if we possessed only the Gospel of Mark and the discourses of the Apostles in the Acts, the whole Christology of the New Testament would be reduced to this: that Jesus of Nazareth was 'a prophet mighty in deeds and in words, made by God Christ and Lord.'" (Albert Réville.)

[132:1] Mark, xiii. 32.

[132:2] Mark, x. 40.

[132:3] Mark, x. 18.

[132:4] Mark, xiv. 36.

[132:5] Mark, xv. 34.

[133:1] Matt. and Luke.

"The passages which appear most confirmatory of Christ's Deity, or Divine nature, are, in the first place, the narratives of the Incarnation and of the Miraculous Conception, as given by Matthew and Luke. Now, the two narratives do not harmonize with each other; they neutralize and negative the genealogies on which depend so large a portion of the proof of Jesus being the Messiah—the marvellous statement they contain is not referred to in any subsequent portion of the two Gospels, and is tacitly but positively negatived by several passages—it is never mentioned in the Acts or in the Epistles, and was evidently unknown to all the Apostles—and, finally, the tone of the narrative, especially in Luke, is poetical and legendary, and bears a marked similarity to the stories contained in the Apocryphal Gospels." (W. R. Greg: The Creed of Christendom, p. 229.)

[133:2] Luke, ii. 27.

[133:3] Luke, ii. 41-48.

[133:4] Matt. xiii. 55.

[133:5] Luke, iv. 22. John, i. 46; vi. 42. Luke, iii. 23.

[133:6] Luke, ii. 50.

[133:7] Matt. xiii. 57. Mark, vi. 4.

[133:8] Matt. xii. 48-50. Mark, iii. 33-35.

[133:9] Mark, iii. 21.

[133:10] Dr. Hooykaas.

[133:11] Acts, i. 14.

[133:12] Acts, xxi. 18. Gal. ii. 19-21.

[134:1] See The Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 57.

[134:2] Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 3, ch. xxiv.

[134:3] Mr. George Reber has thoroughly investigated this subject in his "Christ of Paul," to which the reader is referred.

[134:4] See Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 515-517.

[135:1] Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. pp. 488, 489.

[135:2] See Lardner's Works, vol. viii. pp. 395, 396.

[135:3] Ibid. p. 306.

[135:4] Ibid. p. 571.

[136:1] Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 5, ch. xxv.

[136:2] Lardner: vol. viii. p. 404.

[136:3] Irenæus: Against Heresies, bk. i. c. xxiv.

[137:1] See Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. pp. 492-495.

[137:2] Not a worldly Messiah, as the Jews looked for, but an Angel-Messiah, such an one as always came at the end of a cycle. We shall treat of this subject anon, when we answer the question why Jesus was believed to be an Avatar, by the Gentiles, and not by the Jews; why, in fact, the doctrine of Christ incarnate in Jesus succeeded and prospered.

[137:3] "This strong expression might be justified by the language of St. Paul (God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, &c. I. Timothy, iii. 16), but we are deceived by our modern Bibles. The word which was altered to God at Constantinople in the beginning of the sixth century: the true meaning, which is visible in the Latin and Syriac versions, still exists in the reasoning of the Greek, as well as of the Latin fathers; and this fraud, with that of the three witnesses of St. John (I. John, v. 7), is admirably detected by Sir Isaac Newton." (Gibbon's Rome, iv. 496, note.) Dean Milman says: "The weight of authority is so much against the common reading of both these points (i. e., I. Tim. iii. 16, and I. John, v. 7), that they are no longer urged by prudent controversialists." (Note in Ibid.)

[138:1] Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. pp. 492-497.

[138:2] See Chambers's Encyclopædia, art. "Apollinaris."

[138:3] Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. p. 498.

[138:4] That is, separate him from God the Father, by saying that he, Jesus of Nazareth, was not really and truly God Almighty himself in human form.

[139:1] See Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv. p. 516.

[Pg 140]



Being born in a miraculous manner, as other great personages had been, it was necessary that the miracles attending the births of these virgin-born gods should be added to the history of Christ Jesus, otherwise the legend would not be complete.

The first which we shall notice is the story of the star which is said to have heralded his birth, and which was designated "his star." It is related by the Matthew narrator as follows:[140:1]

"When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying: 'Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.'"

Herod the king, having heard these things, he privately called the wise men, and inquired of them what time the star appeared, at the same time sending them to Bethlehem to search diligently for the young child. The wise men, accordingly, departed and went on their way towards Bethlehem. "The star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."

The general legendary character of this narrative—its similarity in style with those contained in the apocryphal gospels—and more especially its conformity with those astrological notions which, though prevalent in the time of the Matthew narrator, have been exploded by the sounder scientific knowledge of our days—all unite to stamp upon the story the impress of poetic or mythic fiction.

The fact that the writer of this story speaks not of a star but of his star, shows that it was the popular belief of the people among whom he lived, that each and every person was born under a star, and that this one which had been seen was his star.

All ancient nations were very superstitious in regard to the influence of the stars upon human affairs, and this ridiculous idea [Pg 141]has been handed down, in some places, even to the present day. Dr. Hooykaas, speaking on this subject, says:

"In ancient times the Jews, like other peoples, might very well believe that there was some immediate connection between the stars and the life of man—an idea which we still preserve in the forms of speech that so-and-so was born under a lucky or under an evil star. They might therefore suppose that the birth of great men, such as Abraham, for instance, was announced in the heavens. In our century, however, if not before, all serious belief in astrology has ceased, and it would be regarded as an act of the grossest superstition for any one to have his horoscope drawn; for the course, the appearance and the disappearance of the heavenly bodies have been long determined with mathematical precision by science."[141:1]

The Rev. Dr. Geikie says, in his Life of Christ:[141:2]

"The Jews had already, long before Christ's day, dabbled in astrology, and the various forms of magic which became connected with it. . . . They were much given to cast horoscopes from the numerical value of a name. Everywhere throughout the whole Roman Empire, Jewish magicians, dream expounders, and sorcerers, were found.

"'The life and portion of children,' says the Talmud, 'hang not on righteousness, but on their star.' 'The planet of the day has no virtue, but the planet of the hour (of nativity) has much.' 'When the Messiah is to be revealed,' says the book Sohar, 'a star will rise in the east, shining in great brightness, and seven other stars round it will fight against it on every side.' 'A star will rise in the east, which is the star of the Messiah, and will remain in the east fifteen days.'"

The moment of every man's birth being supposed to determine every circumstance in his life, it was only necessary to find out in what mode the celestial bodies—supposed to be the primary wheels to the universal machine—operated at that moment, in order to discover all that would happen to him afterward.

The regularity of the risings and settings of the fixed stars, though it announced the changes of the seasons and the orderly variations of nature, could not be adapted to the capricious mutability of human actions, fortunes, and adventures: wherefore the astrologers had recourse to the planets, whose more complicated revolutions offered more varied and more extended combinations. Their different returns to certain points of the Zodiac, their relative positions and conjunctions with each other, were supposed to influence the affairs of men; whence daring impostors presumed to foretell, not only the destinies of individuals, but also the rise and fall of empires, and the fate of the world itself.[141:3]

The inhabitants of India are, and have always been, very superstitious concerning the stars. The Rev. D. O. Allen, who resided [Pg 142]in India for twenty-five years, and who undoubtedly became thoroughly acquainted with the superstitions of the inhabitants, says on this subject:

"So strong are the superstitious feelings of many, concerning the supposed influence of the stars on human affairs, that some days are lucky, and others again are unlucky, that no arguments or promises would induce them to deviate from the course which these stars, signs, &c., indicate, as the way of safety, prosperity, and happiness. The evils and inconveniences of these superstitions and prejudices are among the things that press heavily upon the people of India."[142:1]

The Nakshatias—twenty-seven constellations which in Indian astronomy separate the moon's path into twenty-seven divisions, as the signs of the Zodiac do that of the sun into twelve—are regarded as deities who exert a vast influence on the destiny of men, not only at the moment of their entrance into the world, but during their whole passage through it. These formidable constellations are consulted at births, marriages, and on all occasions of family rejoicing, distress or calamity. No one undertakes a journey or any important matter except on days which the aspect of the Nakshatias renders lucky and auspicious. If any constellation is unfavorable, it must by all means be propitiated by a ceremony called S'anti.

The Chinese were very superstitious concerning the stars. They annually published astronomical calculations of the motions of the planets, for every hour and minute of the year. They considered it important to be very exact, because the hours, and even the minutes, are lucky or unlucky, according to the aspect of the stars. Some days were considered peculiarly fortunate for marrying, or beginning to build a house; and the gods are better pleased with sacrifice offered at certain hours than they are with the same ceremony performed at other times.[142:2]

The ancient Persians were also great astrologers, and held the stars in great reverence. They believed and taught that the destinies of men were intimately connected with their motions, and therefore it was important to know under the influence of what star a human soul made its advent into this world. Astrologers swarmed throughout the country, and were consulted upon all important occasions.[142:3]

The ancient Egyptians were exactly the same in this respect. According to Champollion, the tomb of Ramses V., at Thebes, contains tables of the constellations, and of their influence on human beings, for every hour of every month of the year.[142:4]

[Pg 143]

The Buddhists' sacred books relate that the birth of Buddha was announced in the heavens by an asterism which was seen rising on the horizon. It is called the "Messianic star."[143:1]

The Fo-pen-hing says:

"The time of Bôdhisatwa's incarnation is, when the constellation Kwei is in conjunction with the Sun."[143:2]

"Wise men," known as "Holy Rishis," were informed by these celestial signs that the Messiah was born.[143:3]

In the Rāmāyana (one of the sacred books of the Hindoos) the horoscope of Rama's birth is given. He is said to have been born on the 9th Tithi of the month Caitra. The planet Jupiter figured at his birth; it being in Cancer at that time.[143:4] Rama was an incarnation of Vishnu. When Crishna was born "his stars" were to be seen in the heavens. They were pointed out by one Nared, a great prophet and astrologer.[143:5]

Without going through the list, we can say that the birth of every Indian Avatar was foretold by celestial signs.[143:6]

The same myth is to be found in the legends of China. Among others they relate that a star figured at the birth of Yu, the founder of the first dynasty which reigned in China,[143:7] who—as we saw in the last chapter—was of heavenly origin, having been born of a virgin. It is also said that a star figured at the birth of Laou-tsze, the Chinese sage.[143:8]

In the legends of the Jewish patriarchs and prophets, it is stated that a brilliant star shone at the time of the birth of Moses. It was seen by the Magi of Egypt, who immediately informed the king.[143:9]

When Abraham was born "his star" shone in the heavens, if we may believe the popular legends, and its brilliancy outshone all the other stars.[143:10] Rabbinic traditions relate the following:

"Abraham was the son of Terah, general of Nimrod's army. He was born at Ur of the Chaldees 1948 years after the Creation. On the night of his birth, Terah's friends—among whom were many of Nimrod's councillors and soothsayers—were feasting in his house. On leaving, late at night, they observed an unusual star in the east, it seemed to run from one quarter of the heavens to the other, and to devour four stars which were there. All amazed in astonishment [Pg 144]at this wondrous sight, 'Truly,' said they, 'this can signify nothing else but that Terah's new-born son will become great and powerful.'"[144:1]

It is also related that Nimrod, in a dream, saw a star rising above the horizon, which was very brilliant. The soothsayers being consulted in regard to it, foretold that a child was born who would become a great prince.[144:2]

A brilliant star, which eclipsed all the other stars, was also to be seen at the birth of the Cæsars; in fact, as Canon Farrar remarks, "The Greeks and Romans had always considered that the births and deaths of great men were symbolized by the appearance and disappearance of heavenly bodies, and the same belief has continued down to comparatively modern times."[144:3]

Tacitus, the Roman historian, speaking of the reign of the Emperor Nero, says:

"A comet having appeared, in this juncture, the phenomenon, according to the popular opinion, announced that governments were to be changed, and kings dethroned. In the imaginations of men, Nero was already dethroned, and who should be his successor was the question."[144:4]

According to Moslem authorities, the birth of Ali—Mohammed's great disciple, and the chief of one of the two principal sects into which Islam is divided—was foretold by celestial signs. "A light was distinctly visible, resembling a bright column, extending from the earth to the firmament."[144:5] Even during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, a hundred years after the time assigned for the death of Jesus, a certain Jew who gave himself out as the "Messiah," and headed the last great insurrection of his country, assumed the name of Bar-Cochba—that is, "Son of a Star."[144:6]

This myth evidently extended to the New World, as we find that the symbol of Quetzalcoatle, the virgin-born Saviour, was the "Morning Star."[144:7]

We see, then, that among the ancients there seems to have been a very general idea that the birth of a great person would be announced by a star. The Rev. Dr. Geikie, who maintains to his utmost the truth of the Gospel narrative, is yet constrained to admit that:

"It was, indeed, universally believed, that extraordinary events, especially [Pg 145]the birth and death of great men, were heralded by appearances of stars, and still more of comets, or by conjunctions of the heavenly bodies."[145:1]

The whole tenor of the narrative recorded by the Matthew narrator is the most complete justification of the science of astrology; that the first intimation of the birth of the Son of God was given to the worshipers of Ormuzd, who have the power of distinguishing with certainty his peculiar star; that from these heathen the tidings of his birth are received by the Jews at Jerusalem, and therefore that the theory must be right which connects great events in the life of men with phenomena in the starry heavens.

If this divine sanction of astrology is contested on the ground that this was an exceptional event, in which, simply to bring the Magi to Jerusalem, God caused the star to appear in accordance with their superstitious science, the difficulty is only pushed one degree backwards, for in this case God, it is asserted, wrought an event which was perfectly certain to strengthen the belief of the Magi, of Herod, of the Jewish priests, and of the Jews generally, in the truth of astrology.

If, to avoid the alternative, recourse be had to the notion that the star appeared by chance, or that this chance or accident directed the Magi aright, is the position really improved? Is chance consistent with any notion of supernatural interposition?

We may also ask the question, why were the Magi brought to Jerusalem at all? If they knew that the star which they saw was the star of Christ Jesus—as the narrative states[145:2]—and were by this knowledge conducted to Jerusalem, why did it not suffice to guide them straight to Bethlehem, and thus prevent the Slaughter of the Innocents? Why did the star desert them after its first appearance, not to be seen again till they issued from Jerusalem? or, if it did not desert them, why did they ask of Herod and the priests the road which they should take, when, by the hypothesis, the star was ready to guide them?[145:3]

It is said that in the oracles of Zoroaster there is to be found a prophecy to the effect that, in the latter days, a virgin would conceive and bear a son, and that, at the time of his birth, a star would shine at noonday. Christian divines have seen in this a prophecy of the birth of Christ Jesus, but when critically examined, it does not stand the test. The drift of the story is this:

Ormuzd, the Lord of Light, who created the universe in six periods of time, accomplished his work by making the first man [Pg 146]and woman, and infusing into them the breath of life. It was not long before Ahriman, the evil one, contrived to seduce the first parents of mankind by persuading them to eat of the forbidden fruit. Sin and death are now in the world; the principles of good and evil are now in deadly strife. Ormuzd then reveals to mankind his law through his prophet Zoroaster; the strife between the two principles continues, however, and will continue until the end of a destined term. During the last three thousand years of the period Ahriman is predominant. The world now hastens to its doom; religion and virtue are nowhere to be found; mankind are plunged in sin and misery. Sosiosh is born of a virgin, and redeems them, subdues the Devs, awakens the dead, and holds the last judgment. A comet sets the world in flames; the Genii of Light combat against the Genii of Darkness, and cast them into Duzakh, where Ahriman and the Devs and the souls of the wicked are thoroughly cleansed and purified by fire. Ahriman then submits to Ormuzd; evil is absorbed into goodness; the unrighteous, thoroughly purified, are united with the righteous, and a new earth and a new heaven arise, free from all evil, where peace and innocence will forever dwell.

Who can fail to see that this virgin-born Sosiosh was to come, not eighteen hundred years ago, but, in the "latter days," when the world is to be set on fire by a comet, the judgment to take place, and the "new heaven and new earth" is to be established? Who can fail to see also, by a perusal of the New Testament, that the idea of a temporal Messiah (a mighty king and warrior, who should liberate and rule over his people Israel), and the idea of an Angel-Messiah (who had come to announce that the "kingdom of heaven was at hand," that the "stars should fall from heaven," and that all men would shortly be judged according to their deeds), are both jumbled together in a heap?


[140:1] Matthew, ch. ii.

[141:1] Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 72.

[141:2] Vol. i. p. 145.

[141:3] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 52.

[142:1] Allen's India, p. 456.

[142:2] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 221.

[142:3] Ibid. p. 261.

[142:4] See Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 456.

[143:1] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, pp. 22, 23, 38.

[143:2] See Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 23, 33, 35.

[143:3] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 36.

[143:4] Williams's Indian Wisdom, p. 347.

[143:5] See Hist. Hindostan, ii. 336.

[143:6] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 561. For that of Crishna, see Vishnu Purana, book v. ch. iii.

[143:7] See Ibid. p. 618.

[143:8] Thornton: Hist. China, vol. i. p. 137.

[143:9] See Anac., i. p. 560, and Geikie's Life of Christ, i. 559.

[143:10] See Ibid., and The Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 72, and Calmet's Fragments, art. "Abraham."

[144:1] Baring-Gould: Legends of the Patriarchs, p. 149.

[144:2] Calmet's Fragments, art. "Abraham."

[144:3] Farrar's Life of Christ, p. 52.

[144:4] Tacitus: Annals, bk. xiv. ch. xxii.

[144:5] Amberly's Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 227.

[144:6] Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 73.

[144:7] Brinton: Myths of the New World, pp. 180, 181, and Squire: Serpent Symbol.

[145:1] Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 144.

[145:2] Matthew ii. 2.

[145:3] See Thomas Scott's English Life of Jesus for a full investigation of this subject.

[Pg 147]



The story of the Song of the Heavenly Host belongs exclusively to the Luke narrator, and, in substance, is as follows:

At the time of the birth of Christ Jesus, there were shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and the angel said: "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host, praising God in song, saying: "Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good will towards men." After this the angels went into heaven.[147:1]

It is recorded in the Vishnu Purana[147:2] that while the virgin Devaki bore Crishna, "the protector of the world," in her womb, she was eulogized by the gods, and on the day of Crishna's birth, "the quarters of the horizon were irradiate with joy, as if moonlight was diffused over the whole earth." "The spirits and the nymphs of heaven danced and sang," and, "at midnight,[147:3] when the support of all was born, the clouds emitted low pleasing sounds, and poured down rain of flowers."[147:4]

Similar demonstrations of celestial delight were not wanting at the birth of Buddha. All beings everywhere were full of joy. Music was to be heard all over the land, and, as in the case of Crishna, there fell from the skies a gentle shower of flowers and perfumes. Caressing breezes blew, and a marvellous light was produced.[147:5]

[Pg 148]

The Fo-pen-hing relates that:

"The attending spirits, who surrounded the Virgin Maya and the infant Saviour, singing praises of 'the Blessed One,' said: 'All joy be to you, Queen Maya, rejoice and be glad, for the child you have borne is holy.' Then the Rishis and Devas who dwelt on earth exclaimed with great joy: 'This day Buddha is born for the good of men, to dispel the darkness of their ignorance.' Then the four heavenly kings took up the strain and said: 'Now because Bôdhisatwa is born, to give joy and bring peace to the world, therefore is there this brightness.' Then the gods of the thirty-three heavens took up the burden of the strain, and the Yama Devas and the Tûsita Devas, and so forth, through all the heavens of the Kama, Rupa, and Arupa worlds, even up to the Akanishta heavens, all the Devas joined in this song, and said: 'To-day Bôdhisatwa is born on earth, to give joy and peace to men and Devas, to shed light in the dark places, and to give sight to the blind."[148:1]

Even the sober philosopher Confucius did not enter the world, if we may believe Chinese tradition, without premonitory symptoms of his greatness.[148:2]

Sir John Francis Davis, speaking of Confucius, says:

"Various prodigies, as in other instances, were the forerunners of the birth of this extraordinary person. On the eve of his appearance upon earth, celestial music sounded in the ears of his mother; and when he was born, this inscription appeared on his breast: 'The maker of a rule for setting the World.'"[148:3]

In the case of Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, at his birth, a voice was heard proclaiming that: "The Ruler of all the Earth is born."[148:4]

In Plutarch's "Isis" occurs the following:

"At the birth of Osiris, there was heard a voice that the Lord of all the Earth was coming in being; and some say that a woman named Pamgle, as she was going to carry water to the temple of Ammon, in the city of Thebes, heard that voice, which commanded her to proclaim it with a loud voice, that the great beneficent god Osiris was born."[148:5]

Wonderful demonstrations of delight also attended the birth of the heavenly-born Apollonius. According to Flavius Philostratus, who wrote the life of this remarkable man, a flock of swans surrounded his mother, and clapping their wings, as is their custom, they sang in unison, while the air was fanned by gentle breezes.

When the god Apollo was born of the virgin Latona in the Island of Delos, there was joy among the undying gods in Olympus, and the Earth laughed beneath the smile of Heaven.[148:6]

[Pg 149]

At the time of the birth of "Hercules the Saviour," his father Zeus, the god of gods, spake from heaven and said:

"This day shall a child be born of the race of Perseus, who shall be the mightiest of the sons of men."[149:1]

When Æsculapius was a helpless infant, and when he was about to be put to death, a voice from the god Apollo was heard, saying:

"Slay not the child with the mother; he is born to do great things; but bear him to the wise centaur Cheiron, and bid him train the boy in all his wisdom and teach him to do brave deeds, that men may praise his name in the generations that shall be hereafter."[149:2]

As we stated above, the story of the Song of the Heavenly Host belongs exclusively to the Luke narrator; none of the other writers of the synoptic Gospels know anything about it, which, if it really happened, seems very strange.

If the reader will turn to the apocryphal Gospel called "Protevangelion" (chapter xiii.), he will there see one of the reasons why it was thought best to leave this Gospel out of the canon of the New Testament. It relates the "Miracles at Mary's labor," similar to the Luke narrator, but in a still more wonderful form. It is probably from this apocryphal Gospel that the Luke narrator copied.


[147:1] Luke, ii. 8-15.

[147:2] Translated from the original Sanscrit by H. H. Wilson, M. D., F. R. S.

[147:3] All the virgin-born Saviours are born at midnight or early dawn.

[147:4] Vishnu Purana, book v. ch. iii. p. 502.

[147:5] See Amberly's Analysis, p. 226. Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 45, 46, 47, and Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 35.

[148:1] See Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 43, 55, 56, and Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 35.

[148:2] See Amberly: Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 84.

[148:3] Davis: History of China, vol. ii. p. 48. See also Thornton: Hist. China, i. 152.

[148:4] See Prichard's Egyptian Mythology, p. 56, and Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 408.

[148:5] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 424, and Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 408.

[148:6] See Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 4.

[149:1] See Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 55.

[149:2] Ibid. p. 45.

[Pg 150]



The next in order of the wonderful events which are related to have happened at the birth of Christ Jesus, is the recognition of the divine child, and the presentation of gifts.

We are informed by the Matthew narrator, that being guided by a star, the Magi[150:1] from the east came to where the young child was.

"And when they were come into the house (not stable) they saw the young child, with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh."[150:2]

The Luke narrator—who seems to know nothing about the Magi from the east—informs us that shepherds came and worshiped the young child. They were keeping their flocks by night when the angel of the Lord appeared before them, saying:

"Behold, I bring you good tidings—for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

After the angel had left them, they said one to another:

"Let us go unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."[150:3]

The Luke narrator evidently borrowed this story of the shepherds from the "Gospel of the Egyptians" (of which we shall speak in another chapter), or from other sacred records of the biographies of Crishna or Buddha.

It is related in the legends of Crishna that the divine child [Pg 151]was cradled among shepherds, to whom were first made known the stupendous feats which stamped his character with marks of the divinity. He was recognized as the promised Saviour by Nanda, a shepherd, or cowherd, and his companions, who prostrated themselves before the heaven-born child. After the birth of Crishna, the Indian prophet Nared, having heard of his fame, visited his father and mother at Gokool, examined the stars, &c., and declared him to be of celestial descent.[151:1]

Not only was Crishna adored by the shepherds and Magi, and received with divine honors, but he was also presented with gifts. These gifts were "sandal wood and perfumes."[151:2] (Why not "frankincense and myrrh?")

Similar stories are related of the infant Buddha. He was visited, at the time of his birth, by wise men, who at once recognized in the marvellous infant all the characters of the divinity, and he had scarcely seen the day before he was hailed god of gods.[151:3]

"'Mongst the strangers came
A grey-haired saint, Asita, one whose ears,
Long closed to earthly things, caught heavenly sounds,
And heard at prayer beneath his peepul-tree,
The Devas singing songs at Buddha's birth."

Viscount Amberly, speaking of him, says:[151:4]

"He was visited and adored by a very eminent Rishi, or hermit, known as Asita, who predicted his future greatness, but wept at the thought that he himself was too old to see the day when the law of salvation would be taught by the infant whom he had come to contemplate."

"I weep (said Asita), because I am old and stricken in years, and shall not see all that is about to come to pass. The Buddha Bhagavat (God Almighty Buddha) comes to the world only after many kalpas. This bright boy will be Buddha. For the salvation of the world he will teach the law. He will succor the old, the sick, the afflicted, the dying. He will release those who are bound in the meshes of natural corruption. He will quicken the spiritual vision of those whose eyes are darkened by the thick darkness of ignorance. Hundreds of thousands of millions of beings will be carried by him to the 'other shore'—will put on immortality. And I shall not see this perfect Buddha—this is why I weep."[151:5]

He returns rejoicing, however, to his mountain-home, for his eyes had seen the promised and expected Saviour.[151:6]

Paintings in the cave of Ajunta represent Asita with the [Pg 152]infant Buddha in his arms.[152:1] The marvelous gifts of this child had become known to this eminent ascetic by supernatural signs.[152:2]

Buddha, as well as Crishna and Jesus, was presented with "costly jewels and precious substances."[152:3] (Why not gold and perfumes?)

Rama—the seventh incarnation of Vishnu for human deliverance from evil—is also hailed by "aged saints"—(why not "wise men"?)—who die gladly when their eyes see the long-expected one.[152:4]

How-tseich, who was one of those personages styled, in China, "Tien-Tse," or "Sons of Heaven,"[152:5] and who came into the world in a miraculous manner, was laid in a narrow lane. When his mother had fulfilled her time:

"Her first-born son (came forth) like a lamb.
There was no bursting, no rending,
No injury, no hurt—
Showing how wonderful he would be."

When born, the sheep and oxen protected him with loving care.[152:6]

The birth of Confucius (B. C. 551), like that of all the demi-gods and saints of antiquity, is fabled to have been attended with allegorical prodigies, amongst which was the appearance of the Ke-lin, a miraculous quadruped, prophetic of happiness and virtue, which announced that the child would be "a king without a throne or territory." Five celestial sages, or "wise men" entered the house at the time of the child's birth, whilst vocal and instrumental music filed the air.[152:7]

Mithras, the Persian Saviour, and mediator between God and man, was also visited by "wise men" called Magi, at the time of his birth.[152:8] He was presented with gifts consisting of gold, frankincense and myrrh.'[152:9]

According to Plato, at the birth of Socrates (469 B. C.) there came three Magi from the east to worship him, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.[152:10]

Æsculapius, the virgin-born Saviour, was protected by goatherds (why not shepherds?), who, upon seeing the child, knew at once that he was divine. The voice of fame soon published the [Pg 153]birth of this miraculous infant, upon which people flocked from all quarters to behold and worship this heaven-born child.[153:1]

Many of the Grecian and Roman demi-gods and heroes were either fostered by or worshiped by shepherds. Amongst these may be mentioned Bacchus, who was educated among shepherds,[153:2] and Romulus, who was found on the banks of the Tiber, and educated by shepherds.[153:3] Paris, son of Priam, was educated among shepherds,[153:4] and Ægisthus was exposed, like Æsculapius, by his mother, found by shepherds and educated among them.[153:5]

Viscount Amberly has well said that: "Prognostications of greatness in infancy are, indeed, among the stock incidents in the mythical or semi-mythical lives of eminent persons."

We have seen that the Matthew narrator speaks of the infant Jesus, and Mary, his mother, being in a "house"—implying that he had been born there; and that the Luke narrator speaks of the infant "lying in a manger"—implying that he was born in a stable. We will now show that there is still another story related of the place in which he was born.


[150:1] "The original word here is 'Magoi,' from which comes our word 'Magician.' . . . The persons here denoted were philosophers, priests, or astronomers. They dwelt chiefly in Persia and Arabia. They were the learned men of the Eastern nations, devoted to astronomy, to religion, and to medicine. They were held in high esteem by the Persian court; were admitted as councilors, and followed the camps in war to give advice." (Barnes's Notes, vol. i. p. 25.)

[150:2] Matthew, ii. 2.

[150:3] Luke, ii. 8-16.

[151:1] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 129, 130, and Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. pp. 256, 257 and 317. Also, The Vishnu Purana.

[151:2] Oriental Religions, pp. 500, 501. See also, Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 353.

[151:3] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 157.

[151:4] Amberly's Analysis, p. 177. See also, Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 36.

[151:5] Lillie: Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. 76.

[151:6] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 6, and Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 58, 60.

[152:1] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 36.

[152:2] See Amberly's Analysis p. 231, and Bunsen's Angel Messiah, p. 36.

[152:3] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 58.

[152:4] Oriental Religions, p. 491.

[152:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 200.

[152:6] See Amberly's Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 226.

[152:7] See Thornton's Hist. China, vol. i. p. 152.

[152:8] King: The Gnostics and their Remains, pp. 134 and 149.

[152:9] Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 353.

[152:10] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 96.

[153:1] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 150. Roman Antiquities, p. 136, and Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 27.

[153:2] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322.

[153:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 213.

[153:4] Ibid. vol. i. p. 47.

[153:5] Ibid. p. 20.

[Pg 154]



The writer of that portion of the Gospel according to Matthew which treats of the place in which Jesus was born, implies, as we stated in our last chapter, that he was born in a house. His words are these:

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east" to worship him. "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother."[154:1]

The writer of the Luke version implies that he was born in a stable, as the following statement will show:

"The days being accomplished that she (Mary) should be delivered . . . she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, there being no room for him in the inn."[154:2]

If these accounts were contained in these Gospels in the time of Eusebius, the first ecclesiastical historian, who flourished during the Council of Nice (A. D. 327), it is very strange that, in speaking of the birth of Jesus, he should have omitted even mentioning them, and should have given an altogether different version. He tells us that Jesus was neither born in a house, nor in a stable, but in a cave, and that at the time of Constantine a magnificent temple was erected on the spot, so that the Christians might worship in the place where their Saviour's feet had stood.[154:3]

In the apocryphal Gospel called "Protevangelion," attributed to James, the brother of Jesus, we are informed that Mary and her husband, being away from their home in Nazareth, and when within three miles of Bethlehem, to which city they were going, Mary said to Joseph:

"Take me down from the ass, for that which is in me presses to come forth."

[Pg 155]

Joseph, replying, said:

"Whither shall I take thee, for the place is desert?"

Then said Mary again to Joseph:

"Take me down, for that which is within me mightily presses me."

Joseph then took her down from off the ass, and he found there a cave and put her into it.

Joseph then left Mary in the cave, and started toward Bethlehem for a midwife, whom he found and brought back with him. When they neared the spot a bright cloud overshadowed the cave.

"But on a sudden the cloud became a great light in the cave, so their eyes could not bear it. But the light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared and sucked the breast of his mother."[155:1]

Tertullian (A. D. 200), Jerome (A. D. 375) and other Fathers of the Church, also state that Jesus was born in a cave, and that the heathen celebrated, in their day, the birth and Mysteries of their Lord and Saviour Adonis in this very cave near Bethlehem.[155:2]

Canon Farrar says:

"That the actual place of Christ's birth was a cave, is a very ancient tradition, and this cave used to be shown as the scene of the event even so early as the time of Justin Martyr (A. D. 150)."[155:3]

Mr. King says:

"The place yet shown as the scene of their (the Magi's) adoration at Bethlehem is a cave."[155:4]

The Christian ceremonies in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem are celebrated to this day in a cave,[155:5] and are undoubtedly nearly the same as were celebrated, in the same place, in honor of Adonis, in the time of Tertullian and Jerome; and as are yet celebrated in Rome every Christmas-day, very early in the morning.

We see, then, that there are three different accounts concerning the place in which Jesus was born. The first, and evidently true one, was that which is recorded by the Matthew narrator, namely, that he was born in a house. The stories about his being born in a stable or in a cave[155:6] were later inventions, caused from the desire to place him in as humble a position as possible in his infancy, and from the fact that the virgin-born Saviours who had preceded [Pg 156]him had almost all been born in a position the most humiliating—such as a cave, a cow-shed, a sheep-fold, &c.—or had been placed there after birth. This was a part of the universal mythos. As illustrations we may mention the following:

Crishna, the Hindoo virgin-born Saviour, was born in a cave,[156:1] fostered by an honest herdsman,[156:2] and, it is said, placed in a sheep-fold shortly after his birth.

How-Tseih, the Chinese "Son of Heaven," when an infant, was left unprotected by his mother, but the sheep and oxen protected him with loving care.[156:3]

Abraham, the Father of Patriarchs, is said to have been born in a cave.[156:4]

Bacchus, who was the son of God by the virgin Semele, is said to have been born in a cave, or placed in one shortly after his birth.[156:5] Philostratus, the Greek sophist and rhetorician, says, "the inhabitants of India had a tradition that Bacchus was born at Nisa, and was brought up in a cave on Mount Meros."

Æsculapius, who was the son of God by the virgin Coronis, was left exposed, when an infant, on a mountain, where he was found and cared for by a goatherd.[156:6]

Romulus, who was the son of God by the virgin Rhea-Sylvia, was left exposed, when an infant, on the banks of the river Tiber, where he was found and cared for by a shepherd.[156:7]

Adonis, the "Lord" and "Saviour," was placed in a cave shortly after his birth.[156:8]

Apollo (Phoibos), son of the Almighty Zeus, was born in a cave at early dawn.[156:9]

Mithras, the Persian Saviour, was born in a cave or grotto,[156:10] at early dawn.

Hermes, the son of God by the mortal Maia, was born early in the morning, in a cave or grotto of the Kyllemian hill.[156:11]

Attys, the god of the Phrygians,[156:12] was born in a cave or grotto.[156:13]

The object is the same in all of these stories, however they may differ in detail, which is to place the heaven-born infant in the most humiliating position in infancy.

We have seen it is recorded that, at the time of the birth [Pg 157]of Jesus "there was a great light in the cave, so that the eyes of Joseph and the midwife could not bear it." This feature is also represented in early Christian art. "Early Christian painters have represented the infant Jesus as welcoming three Kings of the East, and shining as brilliantly as if covered with phosphuretted oil."[157:1] In all pictures of the Nativity, the light is made to arise from the body of the infant, and the father and mother are often depicted with glories round their heads. This too was a part of the old mythos, as we shall now see.

The moment Crishna was born, his mother became beautiful, and her form brilliant. The whole cave was splendidly illuminated, being filled with a heavenly light, and the countenances of his father and his mother emitted rays of glory.[157:2]

So likewise, it is recorded that, at the time of the birth of Buddha, "the Saviour of the World," which, according to one account, took place in an inn, "a divine light diffused around his person," so that "the Blessed One" was "heralded into the world by a supernatural light."[157:3]

When Bacchus was born, a bright light shone round him,[157:4] so that, "there was a brilliant light in the cave."

When Apollo was born, a halo of serene light encircled his cradle, the nymphs of heaven attended, and bathed him in pure water, and girded a broad golden band around his form.[157:5]

When the Saviour Æsculapius was born, his countenance shone like the sun, and he was surrounded by a fiery ray.[157:6]

In the life of Zoroaster the common mythos is apparent. He was born in innocence of an immaculate conception of a Ray of the Divine Reason. As soon as he was born, the glory arising from his body enlightened the whole room, and he laughed at his mother.[157:7]

It is stated in the legends of the Hebrew Patriarchs that, at the birth of Moses, a bright light appeared and shone around.[157:8]

There is still another feature which we must notice in these narratives, that is, the contradictory statements concerning the time when Jesus was born. As we shall treat of this subject more fully in the chapter on "The Birthday of Christ Jesus," we shall allude to it here simply as far as necessary.

[Pg 158]

The Matthew narrator informs us that Jesus was born in the days of Herod the King, and the Luke narrator says he was born when Cyrenius was Governor of Syria, or later. This is a very awkward and unfortunate statement, as Cyrenius was not Governor of Syria until some ten years after the time of Herod.[158:1]

The cause of this dilemma is owing to the fact that the Luke narrator, after having interwoven into his story, of the birth of Jesus, the old myth of the tax or tribute, which is said to have taken place at the time of the birth of some previous virgin-born Saviours, looked among the records to see if a taxing had ever taken place in Judea, so that he might refer to it in support of his statement. He found the account of the taxing, referred to above, and without stopping to consider when this taxing took place, or whether or not it would conflict with the statement that Jesus was born in the days of Herod, he added to his narrative the words: "And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria."[158:2]

We will now show the ancient myth of the taxing. According to the Vishnu Purana, when the infant Saviour Crishna was born, his foster father, Nanda, had come to the city to pay his tax or yearly tribute to the king. It distinctly speaks of Nanda, and other cowherds, "bringing tribute or tax to Kansa" the reigning monarch.[158:3]

It also describes a scene which took place after the taxes had been paid.

Vasudeva, an acquaintance of Nanda's, "went to the wagon of Nanda, and found Nanda there, rejoicing that a son (Crishna) had been born to him.

"Vasudeva spoke to him kindly, and congratulated him on having a son in his old age.[158:4]

"'Thy yearly tribute,' he added, 'has been paid to the king . . . why do you delay, now that your affairs are settled? Up, Nanda, quickly, and set off to your own pastures.' . . . Accordingly Nanda and the other cowherds returned to their village."[158:5]

Now, in regard to Buddha, the same myth is found.

Among the thirty-two signs which were to be fulfilled by the mother of the expected Messiah (Buddha), the fifth sign was recorded to be, "that she would be on a journey at the time of her [Pg 159]child's birth." Therefore, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets," the virgin Maya, in the tenth month after her heavenly conception, was on a journey to her father, when lo, the birth of the Messiah took place under a tree. One account says that "she had alighted at an inn when Buddha was born."[159:1]

The mother of Lao-tsze, the Virgin-born Chinese sage, was away from home when her child was born. She stopped to rest under a tree, and there, like the virgin Maya, gave birth to her son.[159:2]

Pythagoras (B. C. 570), whose real father was the Holy Ghost,[159:3] was also born at a time when his mother was away from home on a journey. She was travelling with her husband, who was about his mercantile concerns, from Samos to Sidon.[159:4]

Apollo was born when his mother was away from home. The Ionian legend tells the simple tale that Leto, the mother of the unborn Apollo, could find no place to receive her in her hour of travail until she came to Delos. The child was born like Buddha and Lao-tsze—under a tree.[159:5] The mother knew that he was destined to be a being of mighty power, ruling among the undying gods and mortal men.[159:6]

Thus we see that the stories, one after another, relating to the birth and infancy of Jesus, are simply old myths, and are therefore not historical.


[154:1] Matthew, ii.

[154:2] Luke, ii.

[154:3] Eusebius's Life of Constantine, lib. 3, chs. xl., xli. and xlii.

[155:1] Protevangelion. Apoc. chs. xii., xiii., and xiv., and Lily of Israel, p. 95.

[155:2] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 98, 99.

[155:3] Farrar's Life of Christ, p. 38, and note. See also, Hist. Hindostan, ii. 311.

[155:4] King: The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 134.

[155:5] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 95.

[155:6] Some writers have tried to connect these by saying that it was a cave-stable, but why should a stable be in a desert place, as the narrative states?

[156:1] Aryan Myths, vol. ii. p. 107.

[156:2] See Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 259.

[156:3] See Amberly's Analysis, p. 226.

[156:4] See Calmet's Fragments, art. "Abraham."

[156:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 321. Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 118, and Dupuis, p. 284.

[156:6] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 150, and Bell's Pantheon under "Æsculapius."

[156:7] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 218.

[156:8] See Ibid. vol. i. p. 12.

[156:9] Aryan Mythology, vol. i. pp. 72, 158.

[156:10] See Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, p. 124, and Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 134.

[156:11] Ibid.

[156:12] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 255.

[156:13] See Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, p. 124.

[157:1] Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 460.

[157:2] Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 133. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 130. See also, Vishnu Purana, p. 502, where it says:

"No person could bear to gaze upon Devaki from the light that invested her."

[157:3] See Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 43, 46, or Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, pp. 34, 35.

[157:4] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322, and Dupuis: Origin of Relig. Belief, p. 119.

[157:5] Tales of Anct. Greece, p. xviii.

[157:6] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 27. Roman Antiquities, p. 136.

[157:7] Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 460. Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 649.

[157:8] See Hardy: Manual of Buddhism, p. 145.

[158:1] See the chapter on "Christmas."

[158:2] It may be that this verse was added by another hand some time after the narrative was written. We have seen it stated somewhere that, in the manuscript, this verse is in brackets.

[158:3] See Vishnu Purana, book v. chap. iii.

[158:4] Here is an exact counterpart to the story of Joseph—the foster-father, so-called—of Jesus. He too, had a son in his old age.

[158:5] Vishnu Purana, book v. chap. v.

[159:1] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 34. See also, Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 32, and Lillie: Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. 73.

[159:2] Thornton: Hist. China, i. 138.

[159:3] As we saw in Chapter XII.

[159:4] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 150.

[159:5] See Rhys David's Buddhism, p. 25.

[159:6] See Cox: Aryan Myths, vol. ii. p. 31.

[Pg 160]



The biographers of Jesus, although they have placed him in a position the most humiliating in his infancy, and although they have given him poor and humble parents, have notwithstanding made him to be of royal descent. The reasons for doing this were twofold. First, because, according to the Old Testament, the expected Messiah was to be of the seed of Abraham,[160:1] and second, because the Angel-Messiahs who had previously been on earth to redeem and save mankind had been of royal descent, therefore Christ Jesus must be so.

The following story, taken from Colebrooke's "Miscellaneous Essays,"[160:2] clearly shows that this idea was general:

"The last of the Jinas, Vardhamâna, was at first conceived by Devanandā, a Brahmānā. The conception was announced to her by a dream. Sekra, being apprised of his incarnation, prostrated himself and worshiped the future saint (who was in the womb of Devanandā); but reflecting that no great saint was ever born in an indigent or mendicant family, as that of a Brahmānā, Sekra commanded his chief attendant to remove the child from the womb of Devanandā to that of Trisala, wife of Siddhartha, a prince of the race of Jeswaca, of the Kasyapa family."

In their attempts to accomplish their object, the biographers of Jesus have made such poor work of it, that all the ingenuity Christianity has yet produced, has not been able to repair their blunders.

The genealogies are contained in the first and third Gospels, and although they do not agree, yet, if either is right, then Jesus was not the son of God, engendered by the "Holy Ghost," but the legitimate son of Joseph and Mary. In any other sense they amount to nothing. That Jesus can be of royal descent, and yet [Pg 161]be the Son of God, in the sense in which these words are used, is a conclusion which can be acceptable to those only who believe in alleged historical narratives on no other ground than that they wish them to be true, and dare not call them into question.

The Matthew narrator states that all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen, from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen, and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Jesus are fourteen generations.[161:1] Surely nothing can have a more mythological appearance than this. But, when we confine our attention to the genealogy itself, we find that the generations in the third stage, including Jesus himself, amount to only thirteen. All attempts to get over this difficulty have been without success; the genealogies are, and have always been, hard nuts for theologians to crack. Some of the early Christian fathers saw this, and they very wisely put an allegorical interpretation to them.

Dr. South says, in Kitto's Biblical Encyclopædia:

"Christ's being the true Messiah depends upon his being the son of David and king of the Jews. So that unless this be evinced the whole foundation of Christianity must totter and fall."

Another writer in the same work says:

"In these two documents (Matthew and Luke), which profess to give us the genealogy of Christ, there is no notice whatever of the connection of his only earthly parent with the stock of David. On the contrary, both the genealogies profess to give us the descent of Joseph, to connect our Lord with whom by natural generation, would be to falsify the whole story of his miraculous birth, and overthrow the Christian faith."

Again, when the idea that one of the genealogies is Mary's is spoken of:

"One thing is certain, that our belief in Mary's descent from David is grounded on inference and tradition and not on any direct statement of the sacred writings. And there has been a ceaseless endeavor, both among ancients and moderns, to gratify the natural cravings for knowledge on this subject."

Thomas Scott, speaking of the genealogies, says:

"It is a favorite saying with those who seek to defend the history of the Pentateuch against the scrutiny of modern criticism, that the objections urged against it were known long ago. The objections to the genealogy were known long ago, indeed; and perhaps nothing shows more conclusively than this knowledge, the disgraceful dishonesty and willful deception of the most illustrious of Christian doctors."[161:2]

[Pg 162]

Referring to the two genealogies, Albert Barnes says:

"No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than these, and various attempts have been made to explain them. . . . Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. But though this solution is plausible and may be true, yet it wants evidence."

Barnes furthermore admits the fallibility of the Bible in his remarks upon the genealogies; 1st, by comparing them to our fallible family records; and 2d, by the remark that "the only inquiry which can now be fairly made is whether they copied these tables correctly."

Alford, Ellicott, Hervey, Meyer, Mill, Patritius and Wordsworth hold that both genealogies are Joseph's; and Aubertin, Ebrard, Greswell, Kurtz, Lange, Lightfoot and others, hold that one is Joseph's, and the other Mary's.

When the genealogy contained in Matthew is compared with the Old Testament they are found to disagree; there are omissions which any writer with the least claim to historical sense would never have made.

When the genealogy of the third Gospel is turned to, the difficulties greatly increase, instead of diminish. It not only contradicts the statements made by the Matthew narrator, but it does not agree with the Old Testament.

What, according to the three first evangelists, did Jesus think of himself? In the first place he made no allusion to any miraculous circumstances connected with his birth. He looked upon himself as belonging to Nazareth, not as the child of Bethlehem;[162:1] he reproved the scribes for teaching that the Messiah must necessarily be a descendant of David,[162:2] and did not himself make any express claim to such descent.[162:3]

As we cannot go into an extended inquiry concerning the genealogies, and as there is no real necessity for so doing, as many others have already done so in a masterly manner,[162:4] we will continue our investigations in another direction, and show that Jesus was not the only Messiah who was claimed to be of royal descent.

[Pg 163]

To commence with Crishna, the Hindoo Saviour, he was of royal descent, although born in a state the most abject and humiliating.[163:1] Thomas Maurice says of him:

"Crishna, in the male line, was of royal descent, being of the Yadava line, the oldest and noblest of India; and nephew, by his mother's side, to the reigning sovereign; but, though royally descended, he was actually born in a state the most abject and humiliating; and, though not in a stable, yet in a dungeon."[163:2]

Buddha was of royal descent, having descended from the house of Sakya, the most illustrious of the caste of Brahmans, which reigned in India over the powerful empire of Mogadha, in the Southern Bahr.[163:3]

R. Spence Hardy says, in his "Manual of Buddhism:"

"The ancestry of Gotama Buddha is traced from his father, Sodhódana, through various individuals and races, all of royal dignity, to Maha Sammata, the first monarch of the world. Several of the names, and some of the events, are met with in the Puranas of the Brahmins, but it is not possible to reconcile one order of statement with the other; and it would appear that the Buddhist historians have introduced races, and invented names, that they may invest their venerated sage with all the honors of heraldry, in addition to the attributes of divinity."

How remarkably these words compare with what we have just seen concerning the genealogies of Jesus!

Rama, another Indian avatar—the seventh incarnation of Vishnu—was also of royal descent.[163:4]

Fo-hi; or Fuh-he, the virgin-born "Son of Heaven," was of royal descent. He belonged to the oldest family of monarchs who ruled in China.[163:5]

Confucius was of royal descent. His pedigree is traced back in a summary manner to the monarch Hoang-ty, who is said to have lived and ruled more than two thousand years before the time of Christ Jesus.[163:6]

Horus, the Egyptian virgin-born Saviour, was of royal descent, having descended from a line of kings.[163:7] He had the title of "Royal Good Shepherd."[163:8]

Hercules, the Saviour, was of royal descent.[163:9]

[Pg 164]

Bacchus, although the Son of God, was of royal descent.[164:1]

Perseus, son of the virgin Danae, was of royal descent.[164:2]

Æsculapius, the great performer of miracles, although a son of God, was notwithstanding of royal descent.[164:3]

Many more such cases might be mentioned, as may be seen by referring to the histories of the virgin-born gods and demi-gods spoken of in Chapter XII.


[160:1] That is, a passage in the Old Testament was construed to mean this, although another and more plausible meaning might be inferred. It is when Abraham is blessed by the Lord, who is made to say: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Genesis, xxii. 18.)

[160:2] Vol. ii. p. 214.

[161:1] Matthew, i. 17.

[161:2] Scott's English Life of Jesus.

[162:1] Matthew, xiii. 54; Luke, iv. 24.

[162:2] Mark, ii. 35.

[162:3] "There is no doubt that the authors of the genealogies regarded him (Jesus), as did his countrymen and contemporaries generally, as the eldest son of Joseph, Mary's husband, and that they had no idea of anything miraculous connected with his birth. All the attempts of the old commentators to reconcile the inconsistencies of the evangelical narratives are of no avail." (Albert Réville: Hist. Dogma, Deity, Jesus, p. 15.)

[162:4] The reader is referred to Thomas Scott's English Life of Jesus, Strauss's Life of Jesus, The Genealogies of Our Lord, by Lord Arthur Hervey, Kitto's Biblical Encyclopædia, and Barnes' Notes.

[163:1] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 130. Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 259, and Allen's India, p. 379.

[163:2] Hist. Hindostan, ii. p. 310.

[163:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 157. Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah. Davis: Hist. of China, vol. ii. p. 80, and Huc's Travels, vol. i. p. 327.

[163:4] Allen's India, p. 379.

[163:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 200, and Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Fuh-he."

[163:6] Davis: History of China, vol. ii. p. 48, and Thornton: Hist. China, vol. i. p. 151.

[163:7] See almost any work on Egyptian history or the religions of Egypt.

[163:8] See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, p. 403.

[163:9] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 152. Roman Antiquities, p. 124, and Bell's Pantheon, i. 382.

[164:1] See Greek and Italian Mythology, p. 81. Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 117. Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 118, and Roman Antiquities, p. 71.

[164:2] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 170, and Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 161.

[164:3] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 27. Roman Antiquities, p. 136, and Taylor's Diegesis, p. 150.

[Pg 165]



Interwoven with the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus, the star, the visit of the Magi, &c., we have a myth which belongs to a common form, and which, in this instance, is merely adapted to the special circumstances of the age and place. This has been termed "the myth of the dangerous child." Its general outline is this: A child is born concerning whose future greatness some prophetic indications have been given. But the life of the child is fraught with danger to some powerful individual, generally a monarch. In alarm at his threatened fate, this person endeavors to take the child's life, but it is preserved by divine care.

Escaping the measures directed against it, and generally remaining long unknown, it at length fulfills the prophecies concerning its career, while the fate which he has vainly sought to shun falls upon him who had desired to slay it. There is a departure from the ordinary type, in the case of Jesus, inasmuch as Herod does not actually die or suffer any calamity through his agency. But this failure is due to the fact that Jesus did not fulfill the conditions of the Messiahship, according to the Jewish conception which Matthew has here in mind. Had he—as was expected of the Messiah—become the actual sovereign of the Jews, he must have dethroned the reigning dynasty, whether represented by Herod or his successors. But as his subsequent career belied the expectations, the evangelist was obliged to postpone to a future time his accession to that throne of temporal dominion which the incredulity of his countrymen had withheld from him during his earthly life.

The story of the slaughter of the infants which is said to have taken place in Judea about the time of the birth of Jesus, is to be found in the second chapter of Matthew, and is as follows:

"When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: 'Where is he [Pg 166]that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.' When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said: 'Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word.'"

The wise men went to Bethlehem and found the young child, but instead of returning to Herod as he had told them, they departed into their own country another way, having been warned of God in a dream, that they should not return to Herod.

"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under."

We have in this story, told by the Matthew narrator—which the writers of the other gospels seem to know nothing about,—almost a counterpart, if not an exact one, to that related of Crishna of India, which shows how closely the mythological history of Jesus has been copied from that of the Hindoo Saviour.

Joguth Chunder Gangooly, a "Hindoo convert to Christ," tells us, in his "Life and Religion of the Hindoos," that:

"A heavenly voice whispered to the foster father of Crishna and told him to fly with the child across the river Jumna, which was immediately done.[166:1] This was owing to the fact that the reigning monarch, King Kansa, sought the life of the infant Saviour, and to accomplish his purpose, he sent messengers 'to kill all the infants in the neighboring places.'"[166:2]

Mr. Higgins says:

"Soon after Crishna's birth he was carried away by night and concealed in a region remote from his natal place, for fear of a tyrant whose destroyer it was foretold he would become; and who had, for that reason, ordered all the male children born at that period to be slain."[166:3]

Sir William Jones says of Crishna:

"He passed a life, according to the Indians, of a most extraordinary and incomprehensible nature. His birth was concealed through fear of the reigning tyrant Kansa, who, at the time of his birth, ordered all new-born males to be slain, yet this wonderful babe was preserved."[166:4]

In the Epic poem Mahabarata, composed more than two thousand years ago, we have the whole story of this incarnate deity, born of a virgin, and miraculously escaping in his infancy from the reigning tyrant of his country, related in its original form.

[Pg 167]

Representations of this flight with the babe at midnight are sculptured on the walls of ancient Hindoo temples.[167:1]

This story is also the subject of an immense sculpture in the cave-temple at Elephanta, where the children are represented as being slain. The date of this sculpture is lost in the most remote antiquity. It represents a person holding a drawn sword, surrounded by slaughtered infant boys. Figures of men and women are also represented who are supposed to be supplicating for their children.[167:2]

Thomas Maurice, speaking of this sculpture, says:

"The event of Crishna's birth, and the attempt to destroy him, took place by night, and therefore the shadowy mantle of darkness, upon which mutilated figures of infants are engraved, darkness (at once congenial with his crime and the season of its perpetration), involves the tyrant's bust; the string of death heads marks the multitude of infants slain by his savage mandate; and every object in the sculpture illustrates the events of that Avatar."[167:3]

Another feature which connects these stories is the following:

Sir Wm. Jones tells us that when Crishna was taken out of reach of the tyrant Kansa who sought to slay him, he was fostered at Mathura by Nanda, the herdsman;[167:4] and Canon Farrar, speaking of the sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt, says:

"St. Matthew neither tells us where the Holy Family abode in Egypt, nor how long their exile continued; but ancient legends say that they remained two years absent from Palestine, and lived at Mataréëh, a few miles north-east of Cairo."[167:5]

Chemnitius, out of Stipulensis, who had it from Peter Martyr, Bishop of Alexandria, in the third century, says, that the place in Egypt where Jesus was banished, is now called Matarea, about ten miles beyond Cairo, that the inhabitants constantly burn a lamp in remembrance of it, and that there is a garden of trees yielding a balsam, which was planted by Jesus when a boy.[167:6]

Here is evidently one and the same legend.

Salivahana, the virgin-born Saviour, anciently worshiped near Cape Comorin, the southerly part of the Peninsula of India, had the same history. It was attempted to destroy him in infancy by a tyrant who was afterward killed by him. Most of the other circumstances, with slight variations, are the same as those told of Crishna and Jesus.[167:7]

[Pg 168]

Buddha's life was also in danger when an infant. In the southern country of Magadha, there lived a king by the name of Bimbasara, who, being fearful of some enemy arising that might overturn his kingdom, frequently assembled his principal ministers together to hold discussion with them on the subject. On one of these occasions they told him that away to the north there was a respectable tribe of people called the Sâkyas, and that belonging to this race there was a youth newly-born, the first-begotten of his mother, &c. This youth, who was Buddha, they said was liable to overturn him, they therefore advised him to "at once raise an army and destroy the child."[168:1]

In the chronicles of the East Mongols, the same tale is to be found repeated in the following story:

"A certain king of a people called Patsala, had a son whose peculiar appearance led the Brahmins at court to prophesy that he would bring evil upon his father, and to advise his destruction. Various modes of execution having failed, the boy was laid in a copper chest and thrown into the Ganges. Rescued by an old peasant who brought him up as his son, he, in due time, learned the story of his escape, and returned to seize upon the kingdom destined for him from his birth."[168:2]

Hau-ki, the Chinese hero of supernatural origin, was exposed in infancy, as the "Shih-king" says:

"He was placed in a narrow lane, but the sheep and oxen protected him with loving care. He was placed in a wide forest, where he was met with by the wood-cutters. He was placed on the cold ice, and a bird screened and supported him with its wings," &c.[168:3]

Mr. Legge draws a comparison with this to the Roman legend of Romulus.

Horus, according to the Egyptian story, was born in the winter, and brought up secretly in the Isle of Buto, for fear of Typhon, who sought his life. Typhon at first schemed to prevent his birth and then sought to destroy him when born.[168:4]

Within historical times, Cyrus, king of Persia (6th cent. B. C.), is the hero of a similar tale. His grandfather, Astyages, had dreamed certain dreams which were interpreted by the Magi to mean that the offspring of his daughter Mandane would expel him from his kingdom.

Alarmed at the prophecy, he handed the child to his kinsman Harpagos to be slain; but this man having entrusted it to a shepherd to be exposed, the latter contrived to save it by exhibiting to [Pg 169]the emissaries of Harpagos the body of a still-born child of which his own wife had just been delivered. Grown to man's estate Cyrus of course justified the prediction of the Magi by his successful revolt against Astyages and assumption of the monarchy.

Herodotus, the Grecian Historian (B. C. 484), relates that Astyages, in a vision, appeared to see a vine grow up from Mandane's womb, which covered all Asia. Having seen this and communicated it to the interpreters of dreams, he put her under guard, resolving to destroy whatever should be born of her; for the Magian interpreters had signified to him from his vision that the child born of Mandane would reign in his stead. Astyages therefore, guarding against this, as soon as Cyrus was born sought to have him destroyed. The story of his exposure on the mountain, and his subsequent good fortune, is then related.[169:1]

Abraham was also a "dangerous child." At the time of his birth, Nimrod, king of Babylon, was informed by his soothsayers that "a child should be born in Babylonia, who would shortly become a great prince, and that he had reason to fear him." The result of this was that Nimrod then issued orders that "all women with child should be guarded with great care, and all children born of them should be put to death."[169:2]

The mother of Abraham was at that time with child, but, of course, he escaped from being put to death, although many children were slaughtered.

Zoroaster, the chief of the religion of the Magi, was a "dangerous child." Prodigies had announced his birth; he was exposed to dangers from the time of his infancy, and was obliged to fly into Persia, like Jesus into Egypt. Like him, he was pursued by a king, his enemy, who wanted to get rid of him.[169:3]

His mother had alarming dreams of evil spirits seeking to destroy the child to whom she was about to give birth. But a good spirit came to comfort her and said: "Fear nothing! Ormuzd will protect this infant. He has sent him as a prophet to the people. The world is waiting for him."[169:4]

Perseus, son of the Virgin Danae, was also a "dangerous child." Acrisius, king of Argos, being told by the oracle that a son born of his virgin daughter would destroy him, immured his daughter Danae in a tower, where no man could approach her, and by this means hoped to keep his daughter from [Pg 170]becoming enceinte. The god Jupiter, however, visited her there, as it is related of the Angel Gabriel visiting the Virgin Mary,[170:1] the result of which was that she bore a son—Perseus. Acrisius, on hearing of his daughter's disgrace, caused both her and the infant to be shut up in a chest and cast into the sea. They were discovered by one Dictys, and liberated from what must have been anything but a pleasant position.[170:2]

Æsculapius, when an infant, was exposed on the Mount of Myrtles, and left there to die, but escaped the death which was intended for him, having been found and cared for by shepherds.[170:3]

Hercules, son of the virgin Leto, was left to die on a plain, but was found and rescued by a maiden.[170:4]

Œdipous was a "dangerous child." Laios, King of Thebes, having been told by the Delphic Oracle that Œdipous would be his destroyer, no sooner is Œdipous born than the decree goes forth that the child must be slain: but the servant to whom he is intrusted contents himself with exposing the babe on the slopes of Mount Kithairon, where a shepherd finds him, and carries him, like Cyrus or Romulus, to his wife, who cherishes the child with a mother's care.[170:5]

The Theban myth of Œdipous is repeated substantially in the Arcadian tradition of Telephos. He is exposed, when a babe, on Mount Parthenon, and is suckled by a doe, which represents the wolf in the myth of Romulus, and the dog of the Persian story of Cyrus. Like Moses, he is brought up in the palace of a king.[170:6]

As we read the story of Telephos, we can scarcely fail to think of the story of the Trojan Paris, for, like Telephos, Paris is exposed as a babe on the mountain-side.[170:7] Before he is born, there are portents of the ruin which he is to bring upon his house and people. Priam, the ruling monarch, therefore decrees that the child shall be left to die on the hill-side. But the babe lies on the slopes of Ida and is nourished by a she-bear. He is fostered, like Crishna and others, by shepherds, among whom he grows up.[170:8]

Iamos was left to die among the bushes and violets. Aipytos, the chieftain of Phaisana, had learned at Delphi that a child had been born who should become the greatest of all the seers and prophets of the earth, and he asked all his people where the babe [Pg 171]was: but none had heard or seen him, for he lay away amid the thick bushes, with his soft body bathed in the golden and pure rays of the violets. So when he was found, they called him Iamos, the "violet child;" and as he grew in years and strength, he went down into the Alpheian stream, and prayed to his father that he would glorify his son. Then the voice of Zeus was heard, bidding him come to the heights of Olympus, where he should receive the gift of prophecy.[171:1]

Chandragupta was also a "dangerous child." He is exposed to great dangers in his infancy at the hands of a tributary chief who has defeated and slain his suzerain. His mother, "relinquishing him to the protection of the Devas, places him in a vase, and deposits him at the door of a cattle pen." A herdsman takes the child and rears it as his own.[171:2]

Jason is another hero of the same kind. Pelias, the chief of Iolkos, had been told that one of the children of Aiolos would be his destroyer, and decreed, therefore, that all should be slain. Jason only is preserved, and brought up by Cheiron.[171:3]

Bacchus, son of the virgin Semele, was destined to bring ruin upon Cadmus, King of Thebes, who therefore orders the infant to be put into a chest and thrown into a river. He is found, and taken from the water by loving hands, and lives to fulfill his mission.[171:4]

Herodotus relates a similar story, which is as follows:

"The constitution of the Corinthians was formerly of this kind; it was an oligarchy, (a government in the hands of a selected few), and those who were called Bacchiadæ governed the city. About this time one Eetion, who had been married to a maiden called Labda, and having no children by her, went to Delphi to inquire of the oracle about having offspring. Upon entering the temple he was immediately saluted as follows; 'Eetion, no one honors thee, though worthy of much honor. Labda is pregnant and will bring forth a round stone; it will fall on monarchs, and vindicate Corinth.' This oracle, pronounced to Eetion, was by chance reported to the Bacchiadæ, who well knew that it prophesied the birth of a son to Eetion who would overthrow them, and reign in their stead; and though they comprehended, they kept it secret, purposing to destroy the offspring that should be born to Eetion. As soon as the woman brought forth, they sent ten persons to the district where Eetion lived, to put the child to death; but, the child, by a divine providence, was saved. His mother hid him in a chest, and as they could not find the child they resolved to depart, and tell those who sent them that they had done all that they had commanded. After this, Eetion's son grew up, and having escaped this danger, the name of Cypselus was given him, from the chest. When Cypselus reached man's estate, and consulted the oracle, an ambiguous answer was given him at Delphi; relying on which he attacked and got possession of Corinth."[171:5]

[Pg 172]

Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were exposed on the banks of the Tiber, when infants, and left there to die, but escaped the death intended for them.

The story of the "dangerous child" was well known in ancient Rome, and several of their emperors, so it is said, were threatened with death at their birth, or when mere infants. Julius Marathus, in his life of the Emperor Augustus Cæsar, says that before his birth there was a prophecy in Rome that a king over the Roman people would soon be born. To obviate this danger to the republic, the Senate ordered that all the male children born in that year should be abandoned or exposed.[172:1]

The flight of the virgin-mother with her babe is also illustrated in the story of Astrea when beset by Orion, and of Latona, the mother of Apollo, when pursued by the monster.[172:2] It is simply the same old story, over and over again. Someone has predicted that a child born at a certain time shall be great, he is therefore a "dangerous child," and the reigning monarch, or some other interested party, attempts to have the child destroyed, but he invariably escapes and grows to manhood, and generally accomplishes the purpose for which he was intended. This almost universal mythos was added to the fictitious history of Jesus by its fictitious authors, who have made him escape in his infancy from the reigning tyrant with the usual good fortune.

When a marvellous occurrence is said to have happened everywhere, we may feel sure that it never happened anywhere. Popular fancies propagate themselves indefinitely, but historical events, especially the striking and dramatic ones, are rarely repeated. That this is a fictitious story is seen from the narratives of the birth of Jesus, which are recorded by the first and third Gospel writers, without any other evidence. In the one—that related by the Matthew narrator—we have a birth at Bethlehem—implying the ordinary residence of the parents there—and a hurried flight—almost immediately after the birth—from that place into Egypt,[172:3] the slaughter of the infants, and a journey, after many months, from Egypt to Nazareth in Galilee. In the other story—that told by the Luke narrator—the parents, who have lived in Nazareth, came to Bethlehem only for business of the State, and the casual birth in the cave or stable is followed by a quiet sojourn, during which the child is circumcised, and by a leisurely journey to Jerusalem; [Pg 173]whence, everything having gone off peaceably and happily, they return naturally to their own former place of abode, full, it is said over and over again, of wonder at the things that had happened, and deeply impressed with the conviction that their child had a special work to do, and was specially gifted for it. There is no fear of Herod, who seems never to trouble himself about the child, or even to have any knowledge of him. There is no trouble or misery at Bethlehem, and certainly no mourning for children slain. Far from flying hurriedly away by night, his parents celebrate openly, and at the usual time, the circumcision of the child; and when he is presented in the temple, there is not only no sign that enemies seek his life, but the devout saints give public thanks for the manifestation of the Saviour.

Dr. Hooykaas, speaking of the slaughter of the innocents, says:

"Antiquity in general delighted in representing great men, such as Romulus, Cyrus, and many more, as having been threatened in their childhood by fearful dangers. This served to bring into clear relief both the lofty significance of their future lives, and the special protection of the deity who watched over them.

"The brow of many a theologian has been bent over this (Matthew) narrative! For, as long as people believed in the miraculous inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, of course they accepted every page as literally true, and thought that there could not be any contradiction between the different accounts or representations of Scripture. The worst of all such pre-conceived ideas is, that they compel those who hold them to do violence to their own sense of truth. For when these so-called religious prejudices come into play, people are afraid to call things by their right names, and, without knowing it themselves, become guilty of all kinds of evasive and arbitrary practices; for what would be thought quite unjustifiable in any other case is here considered a duty, inasmuch as it is supposed to tend toward the maintenance of faith and the glory of God!"[173:1]

As we stated above, this story is to be found in the fictitious gospel according to Matthew only; contemporary history has nowhere recorded this audacious crime. It is mentioned neither by Jewish nor Roman historians. Tacitus, who has stamped forever the crimes of despots with the brand of reprobation, it would seem then, did not think such infamies worthy of his condemnation. Josephus also, who gives us a minute account of the atrocities perpetrated by Herod up to even the very last moment of his life, does not say a single word about this unheard-of crime, which must have been so notorious. Surely he must have known of it, and must have mentioned it, had it ever been committed. "We can readily imagine the Pagans," says Mr. Reber, "who composed the learned and intelligent men of their day, at work in exposing the story of Herod's cruelty, by showing that, considering the [Pg 174]extent of territory embraced in the order, and the population within it, the assumed destruction of life stamped the story false and ridiculous. A governor of a Roman province who dared make such an order would be so speedily overtaken by the vengeance of the Roman people, that his head would fall from his body before the blood of his victims had time to dry. Archelaus, his son, was deposed for offenses not to be spoken of when compared with this massacre of the infants."

No wonder that there is no trace at all in the Roman catacombs, nor in Christian art, of this fictitious story, until about the beginning of the fifth century.[174:1] Never would Herod dared to have taken upon himself the odium and responsibility of such a sacrifice. Such a crime could never have happened at the epoch of its professed perpetration. To such lengths were the early Fathers led, by the servile adaptation of the ancient traditions of the East, they required a second edition of the tyrant Kansa, and their holy wrath fell upon Herod. The Apostles of Jesus counted too much upon human credulity, they trusted too much that the future might not unravel their maneuvers, the sanctity of their object made them too reckless. They destroyed all the evidence against themselves which they could lay their hands upon, but they did not destroy it all.


[166:1] A heavenly voice whispered to the foster-father of Jesus, and told him to fly with the child into Egypt, which was immediately done. (See Matthew, ii. 13.)

[166:2] Life and Relig. of the Hindoos, p. 134.

[166:3] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 129. See also, Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 134, and Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 331.

[166:4] Asiatic Researches, vol. i. pp. 273 and 259.

[167:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 61.

[167:2] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. 130, 13-, and Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. i. pp. 112, 113, and vol. iii. pp. 45, 95.

[167:3] Indian Antiquities, vol. i. pp. 112, 113.

[167:4] Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 259.

[167:5] Farrar's Life of Christ, p. 58.

[167:6] See Introduction to Gospel of Infancy, Apoc.

[167:7] See vol. x. Asiatic Researches.

[168:1] Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 103, 104.

[168:2] Amberly's Analysis, p. 229.

[168:3] The Shih-king. Decade ii, ode 1.

[168:4] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, pp. 158 and 186.

[169:1] Herodotus, bk. 1, ch. 110.

[169:2] Calmet's Fragments, art. "Abraham."

[169:3] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 240.

[169:4] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. "Religions of Persia."

[170:1] In the Apocryphal Gospel of the Birth of Mary and "Protevangelion."

[170:2] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 9. Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 58, and Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 161.

[170:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 27. Cox: Aryan Mytho. vol. ii. p. 34.

[170:4] Cox: Aryan Mytho. vol. ii. p. 44.

[170:5] Ibid. p. 69, and Tales of Ancient Greece, p. xlii.

[170:6] Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 14.

[170:7] Ibid. p. 75.

[170:8] Ibid. p. 78.

[171:1] Cox: Aryan Mytho. ii. p. 81.

[171:2] Ibid. p. 84.

[171:3] Ibid. p. 150.

[171:4] Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 188. Cox: Aryan Mytho. vol. ii. p. 296.

[171:5] Herodotus: bk. v. ch. 92.

[172:1] See Farrar's Life of Christ, p. 60.

[172:2] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 168.

[172:3] There are no very early examples in Christian art of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. (See Monumental Christianity, p. 289.)

[173:1] Bible for Learners, vol. iii. pp. 71-74.

[174:1] See Monumental Christianity, p. 238.

[Pg 175]



We are informed by the Matthew narrator that, after being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness "to be tempted of the devil."

"And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him he said: 'If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.' . . . Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him: 'If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.' . . . Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto him:' All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' Then saith Jesus unto him, 'Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."[175:1]

This is really a very peculiar story; it is therefore not to be wondered at that many of the early Christian Fathers rejected it as being fabulous,[175:2] but this, according to orthodox teaching, cannot be done; because, in all consistent reason, "we must accept the whole of the inspired autographs or reject the whole,"[175:3] and, because, "the very foundations of our faith, the very basis of our hopes, the very nearest and dearest of our consolations, are taken from us, when one line of that sacred volume, on which we base everything, is declared to be untruthful and untrustworthy."[175:4]

The reason why we have this story in the New Testament is because the writer wished to show that Christ Jesus was proof against all temptations, that he too, as well as Buddha and others, could resist the powers of the prince of evil. This Angel-Messiah was tempted by the devil, and he fasted for forty-seven days and nights, without taking an atom of food.[175:5]

[Pg 176]

The story of Buddha's temptation, presented below, is taken from the "Siamese Life of Buddha," by Moncure D. Conway, and published in his "Sacred Anthology," from which we take it.[176:1] It is also to be found in the Fo-pen-hing,[176:2] and other works on Buddha and Buddhism. Buddha went through a more lengthy and severe trial than did Jesus, having been tempted in many different ways. The portion which most resembles that recorded by the Matthew narrator is the following:

"The Grand Being (Buddha) applied himself to practice asceticism of the extremest nature. He ceased to eat (that is, he fasted) and held his breath. . . . Then it was that the royal Mara (the Prince of Evil) sought occasion to tempt him. Pretending compassion, he said: 'Beware, O Grand Being, your state is pitiable to look on; you are attenuated beyond measure, . . . you are practicing this mortification in vain; I can see that you will not live through it. . . . Lord, that art capable of such vast endurance, go not forth to adopt a religious life, but return to thy kingdom, and in seven days thou shalt become the Emperor of the World, riding over the four great continents.'"

To this the Grand Being, Buddha, replied:

"'Take heed, O Mara; I also know that in seven days I might gain universal empire, but I desire not such possessions. I know that the pursuit of religion is better than the empire of the world. You, thinking only of evil lusts, would force me to leave all beings without guidance into your power. Avaunt! Get thou away from me!'

"The Lord (then) rode onwards, intent on his purpose. The skies rained flowers, and delicious odors pervaded the air."[176:3]

Now, mark the similarity between these two legends.

Was Jesus about "beginning to preach" when he was tempted by the evil spirit? So was Buddha about to go forth "to adopt a religious life," when he was tempted by the evil spirit.

Did Jesus fast, and was he "afterwards an hungered"? So did Buddha "cease to eat," and was "attenuated beyond measure."

Did the evil spirit take Jesus and show him "all the kingdoms of the world," which he promised to give him, provided he did not lead the life he contemplated, but follow him?

So did the evil spirit say to Buddha: "Go not forth to adopt a religious life, and in seven days thou shalt become an emperor of the world."

Did not Jesus resist these temptations, and say unto the evil one, "Get thee behind me, Satan"?

So did Buddha resist the temptations, and said unto the evil one, "Get thee away from me."

[Pg 177]

After the evil spirit left Jesus did not "angels come and minister unto him"?

So with Buddha. After the evil one had left him "the skies rained flowers, and delicious odors pervaded the air."

These parallels are too striking to be accidental.

Zoroaster, the founder of the religion of the Persians, was tempted by the devil, who made him magnificent promises, in order to induce him to become his servant and to be dependent on him, but the temptations were in vain.[177:1] "His temptation by the devil, forms the subject of many traditional reports and legends."[177:2]

Quetzalcoatle, the virgin-born Mexican Saviour, was also tempted by the devil, and the forty days' fast was found among them.[177:3]

Fasting and self-denial were observances practiced by all nations of antiquity. The Hindoos have days set apart for fasting on many different occasions throughout the year, one of which is when the birth-day of their Lord and Saviour Crishna is celebrated. On this occasion, the day is spent in fasting and worship. They abstain entirely from food and drink for more than thirty hours, at the end of which Crishna's image is worshiped, and the story of his miraculous birth is read to his hungry worshipers.[177:4]

Among the ancient Egyptians, there were times when the priests submitted to abstinence of the most severe description, being forbidden to eat even bread, and at other times they only ate it mingled with hyssop. "The priests in Heliopolis," says Plutarch, "have many fasts, during which they meditate on divine things."[177:5]

Among the Sabians, fasting was insisted on as an essential act of religion. During the month Tammuz, they were in the habit of fasting from sunrise to sunset, without allowing a morsel of food or drop of liquid to pass their lips.[177:6]

The Jews also had their fasts, and on special occasions they gave themselves up to prolonged fasts and mortifications.

Fasting and self-denial were observances required of the Greeks who desired initiation into the Mysteries. Abstinence from food, chastity and hard couches prepared the neophyte, who broke his fast on the third and fourth day only, on consecrated food.[177:7]

The same practice was found among the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians. Acosta, speaking of them, says:

[Pg 178]

"These priests and religious men used great fastings, of five and ten days together, before any of their great feasts, and they were unto them as our four ember weeks. . . .

"They drank no wine, and slept little, for the greatest part of their exercises (of penance) were at night, committing great cruelties and martyring themselves for the devil, and all to be reputed great fasters and penitents."[178:1]

In regard to the number of days which Jesus is said to have fasted being specified as forty, this is simply owing to the fact that the number forty as well as seven was a sacred one among most nations of antiquity, particularly among the Jews, and because others had fasted that number of days. For instance; it is related[178:2] that Moses went up into a mountain, "and he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights, and he did neither eat bread, nor drink water," which is to say that he fasted.

In Deuteronomy[178:3] Moses is made to say—for he did not write it, "When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, . . . then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water."

Elijah also had a long fast, which, of course, was continued for a period of forty days and forty nights.[178:4]

St. Joachim, father of the "ever-blessed Virgin Mary," had a long fast, which was also continued for a period of forty days and forty nights. The story is to be found in the apocryphal gospel Protevangelion.[178:5]

The ancient Persians had a religious festival which they annually celebrated, and which they called the "Salutation of Mithras." During this festival, forty days were set apart for thanksgiving and sacrifice.[178:6]

The forty days' fast was found in the New World.

Godfrey Higgins tells us that:

"The ancient Mexicans had a forty days' fast, in memory of one of their sacred persons (Quetzalcoatle) who was tempted (and fasted) forty days on a mountain."[178:7]

Lord Kingsborough says:

"The temptation of Quetzalcoatle, and the fast of forty days, . . . are very curious and mysterious."[178:8]

The ancient Mexicans were also in the habit of making their [Pg 179]prisoners of war fast for a term of forty days before they were put to death.[179:1]

Mr. Bonwick says:

"The Spaniards were surprised to see the Mexicans keep the vernal forty days' fast. The Tammuz month of Syria was in the spring. The forty days were kept for Proserpine. Thus does history repeat itself."[179:2]

The Spanish monks accounted for what Lord Kingsborough calls "very curious and mysterious" circumstances, by the agency of the devil, and burned all the books containing them, whenever it was in their power.

The forty days' fast was also found among some of the Indian tribes in the New World. Dr. Daniel Brinton tells us that "the females of the Orinoco tribes fasted forty days before marriage,"[179:3] and Prof. Max Müller informs us that it was customary for some of the females of the South American tribes of Indians "to fast before and after the birth of a child," and that, among the Carib-Coudave tribe, in the West Indies, "when a child is born the mother goes presently to work, but the father begins to complain, and takes to his hammock, and there he is visited as though he were sick. He then fasts for forty days."[179:4]

The females belonging to the tribes of the Upper Mississippi, were held unclean for forty days after childbirth.[179:5] The prince of the Tezcuca tribes fasted forty days when he wished an heir to his throne, and the Mandanas supposed it required forty days and forty nights to wash clean the earth at the deluge.[179:6]

The number forty is to be found in a great many instances in the Old Testament; for instance, at the end of forty days Noah sent out a raven from the ark.[179:7] Isaac and Esau were each forty years old when they married.[179:8] Forty days were fulfilled for the embalming of Jacob.[179:9] The spies were forty days in search of the land of Canaan.[179:10] The Israelites wandered forty years in the wilderness.[179:11] The land "had rest" forty years on three occasions.[179:12] The land was delivered into the hand of the Philistines forty years.[179:13] Eli judged Israel forty years.[179:14] King David reigned forty years.[179:15]

[Pg 180]

King Solomon reigned forty years.[180:1] Goliath presented himself forty days.[180:2] The rain was upon the earth forty days at the time of the deluge.[180:3] And, as we saw above, Moses was on the mount forty days and forty nights on each occasion.[180:4] Can anything be more mythological than this?

The number forty was used by the ancients in constructing temples. There were forty pillars around the temple of Chilminar, in Persia; the temple at Baalbec had forty pillars; on the frontiers of China, in Tartary, there is to be seen the "Temple of the forty pillars." Forty is one of the most common numbers in the Druidical temples, and in the plan of the temple of Ezekiel, the four oblong buildings in the middle of the courts have each forty pillars.[180:5] Most temples of antiquity were imitative—were microcosms of the Celestial Templum—and on this account they were surrounded with pillars recording astronomical subjects, and intended both to do honor to these subjects, and to keep them in perpetual remembrance. In the Abury temples were to be seen the cycles of 650-608-600-60-40-30-19-12, etc.[180:6]


[175:1] Matthew, iv. 1-11.

[175:2] See Lardner's Works, vol. viii. p. 491.

[175:3] Words of the Rev. E. Garbett, M. A., in a sermon preached before the University of Oxford, England.

[175:4] The Bishop of Manchester (England), in the "Manchester Examiner and Times."

[175:5] See Lillie's Buddhism, p. 100.

[176:1] Pp. 44 and 172, 173.

[176:2] Translated by Prof. Samuel Beal.

[176:3] See also Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, pp. 38, 39. Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. xxviii., xxix., and 190, and Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. xvii.

[177:1] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 240.

[177:2] Chambers's Encyclo. art. "Zoroaster."

[177:3] See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 200.

[177:4] Life and Relig. of the Hindoos, p. 134.

[177:5] Baring-Gould: Orig. Relig. Belief, vol. i. p. 341.

[177:6] Ibid.

[177:7] Ibid. p. 340.

[178:1] Acosta: Hist. Indies, vol. ii. p. 339.

[178:2] Exodus, xxiv. 28.

[178:3] Deut. ix. 18.

[178:4] 1 Kings, xix. 8.

[178:5] Chapter i.

[178:6] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 272.

[178:7] Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 19.

[178:8] Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. pp. 197-200.

[179:1] See Kingsborough's Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 223.

[179:2] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 370.

[179:3] Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 94.

[179:4] Max Müller's Chips, vol. ii. p. 279.

[179:5] Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 94.

[179:6] Ibid. According to Genesis, vii. 12, "the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights" at the time of the flood.

[179:7] Genesis, viii. 6.

[179:8] Gen. xxv. 20-xxvi. 34.

[179:9] Gen. i. 3.

[179:10] Numbers, xiii. 25.

[179:11] Numbers, xiii. 13.

[179:12] Jud. iii. 11; v. 31; viii. 28.

[179:13] Jud. xiii. 1.

[179:14] I. Samuel, iv. 18.

[179:15] I. Kings, ii. 11.

[180:1] I. Kings, xi. 42.

[180:2] I. Samuel, xvii. 16.

[180:3] Gen. vii. 12.

[180:4] Exodus, xxiv. 18-xxxiv. 28.

[180:5] See Higgins' Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 798; vol. ii. p. 402.

[180:6] See Ibid. vol. ii. p. 708.

[Pg 181]



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

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

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

And again, in the Satapatha-brāhmana:

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

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

[Pg 182]

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

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

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

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

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

[Pg 183]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mons. Guigniaut, in his "Religion de l'Antiquité" says:

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

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

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

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

And Paul undoubtedly refers to this text when he says:

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

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

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

crucified Crishna

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

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

[Pg 186]

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

crucified Crishna

And Dr. Inman says:

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

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

crucified god Indra

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

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

crucified god Indra

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

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

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

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

A hymn, addressed to Buddha, says:

"Persecutions without end,
Revilings and many prisons,
Death and murder,
These hast thou suffered with love and patience
(To secure the happiness of mankind),
Forgiving thine executioners."[188:5]

He was called the "Great Physician,"[188:6] the "Saviour of the World,"[188:7] the "Blessed One,"[188:8] the "God among Gods,"[188:9] the "Anointed," or the "Christ,"[188:10] the "Messiah,"[188:11] the "Only Begotten,"[188:12] etc. He is described by the author of the "Cambridge Key"[188:13] as sacrificing his life to wash away the offenses of mankind, and thereby to make them partakers of the kingdom of heaven. [Pg 189]This induces him to say "Can a Christian doubt that this Buddha was the TYPE of the Saviour of the World."[189:1]

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

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

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

M. l'Abbé Huc says:

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

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

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

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

[Pg 190]

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

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

An ancient commentator says:

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

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

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

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

Alexander Murray says:

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

Sir J. G. Wilkinson says of him:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During this ceremony the priest murmured:

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

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

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

[Pg 192]

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

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

"I dared;
And boldly pleading saved them from destruction,
Saved them from sinking to the realms of night.
For this offense I bend beneath these pains,
Dreadful to suffer, piteous to behold:
For mercy to mankind I am not deem'd
Worthy of mercy; but with ruthless hate
In this uncouth appointment am fix'd here
A spectacle dishonorable to Jove."[192:4]

[Pg 193]

In the catastrophe of the plot, his especially professed friend, Oceanus, the Fisherman—as his name Petræus indicates,[193:1]—being unable to prevail on him to make his peace with Jupiter, by throwing the cause of human redemption out of his hands,[193:2] forsook him and fled. None remained to be witness of his dying agonies but the chorus of ever-amiable and ever-faithful which also bewailed and lamented him,[193:3] but were unable to subdue his inflexible philanthropy.[193:4]

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

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

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

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

[Pg 194]

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

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

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

Egyptian Saviour Serapis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Inman says:

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

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

Besides the titles of "God's First-Born," "Only Begotten," the "Mediator," the "Shepherd," the "Advocate," the "Paraclete or Comforter," the "Son of God," the "Logos," &c.,[195:10] being applied to heathen virgin-born gods, before the time assigned for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, we have also that of Christ and Jesus.

[Pg 196]

Cyrus, King of Persia, was called the "Christ," or the "Anointed of God."[196:1] As Dr. Giles says, "Christ" is "a name having no spiritual signification, and importing nothing more than an ordinary surname."[196:2] The worshipers of Serapis were called "Christians," and those devoted to Serapis were called "Bishops of Christ."[196:3] Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, says, that the names of "Jesus" and "Christ," were both known and honored among the ancients.[196:4]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Pg 198]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Kingsborough, commenting on these paintings, says:

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

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

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

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

[Pg 201]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mrs. Jameson says:

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

M. Renan says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


[181:1] Monier Williams: Hinduism, pp. 36-40.

[182:1] Monier Williams: Hinduism, p. 36.

[182:2] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 303.

[182:3] Kenrick's Egypt, vol. i. p. 443.

[183:1] Herodotus: bk. ii. ch. 39.

[183:2] In the trial of Dr. Thomas (at Chicago) for "doctrinal heresy," one of the charges made against him (Sept. 8, 1881) was that he had said "the Blood of the Lamb had nothing to do with salvation." And in a sermon preached in Boston, Sept. 2, 1881, at the Columbus Avenue Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. Andrew A. Bonar. D. D., the preacher said: "No sinner dares to meet the holy God until his sin has been forgiven, or until he has received remission. The penalty of sin is death, and this penalty is not remitted by anything the sinner can do for himself, but only through the Blood of Jesus. If you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour, you can take the blood of Jesus, and with boldness present it to the Father as payment in full of the penalties of all your sins. Sinful man has no right to the benefits and the beauties and glories of nature. These were all lost to him through Adam's sin, but to the blood of Christ's sacrifice he has a right; it was shed for him. It is Christ's death that does the blessed work of salvation for us. It was not his life nor his Incarnation. His Incarnation could not pay a farthing of our debt, but his blood shed in redeeming love, pays it all." (See Boston Advertiser, Sept. 3, 1881.)

[183:3] Habet ergo Diabolus Christos suos.

[183:4] Huc's Travels, vol. i. pp. 326 and 327.

[184:1] Hinduism, p. 214.

[184:2] Ibid. p. 115.

[184:3] Vishnu Purana, p. 440.

[184:4] Ibid.

[184:5] Ibid.

[184:6] Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 132.

[184:7] Pages 274 and 612.

[184:8] "On reconte fort diversement la mort de Crishna. Une tradition remarquable et avérée le fait périr sur un bois fatal (un arbre), ou il fut cloué d'un coup de flèche." (Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 144.)

[185:1] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 499, and Mrs. Jameson's "History of Our Lord in Art," ii. 317, where the cross is called the "accursed tree."

[185:2] Chap. xxi. 22, 23: "If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance."

[185:3] Galatians, iii. 13.

[185:4] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 146, and Inman's Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 402.

"The crucified god Wittoba is also called Balü. He is worshiped in a marked manner at Pander-poor or Bunder-poor, near Poonah." (Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 750, note 1.)

"A form of Vishnu (Crishna), called Viththal or Vithobā, is the popular god at Pandharpur in Mahā-ráshtrá, the favorite of the celebrated Marāthi poet Tukārāma." (Prof. Monier Williams: Indian Wisdom, p. xlviii.)

[185:5] See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, p. 160.

[185:6] This can be seen by referring to Calmet, Sonnerat, or Higgins, vol. ii., which contain plates representing Crishna.

[186:1] Monumental Christianity, p. 128.

[186:2] Ancient Faiths, vol. i. p. 411.

[186:3] Luke, xxiii. 39-43.

[186:4] Vasudeva means God. See Vishnu Purana, p. 274.

[186:5] Vishnu Purana, p. 612.

[187:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 72.

[187:2] "Si ita se res habet, ut existimat Beausobrius, Indi, et Budistæ quorum religio, eadem est ac Tibetana, nonnisi a Manichæis nova hæc deliriorum portenta acceperunt. Hænamque gentes præsertim in urbe Nepal, Luna XII. Badr seu Bhadon Augusti mensis, dies festos auspicaturæ Dei Indræ, erigunt ad illius memoriam ubique locorum cruces amictas Abrotono. Earum figuram descriptam habes ad lit. B, Tabula pone sequenti. Nam A effigies est ipsius Indræ crucifixi signa Telech in fronte manibus pedibusque gerentis." (Alph Tibet, p. 203. Quoted in Higgins' Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 130.)

[188:1] "Ils conviennent qu'il a répandu son sang pour le salut du genre humain, ayant été percé de clous par tout son corps. Quoiqu'ils ne disent pas qu'il a souffert le supplice de la croix, ou en trouve pourtant la figure dans leurs livres." (Quoted in Higgins' Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.)

[188:2] "Although the nations of Europe have changed their religions during the past eighteen centuries, the Hindoo has not done so, except very partially. . . . The religious creeds, rites, customs, and habits of thought of the Hindoos generally, have altered little since the days of Manu, 500 years B. C." (Prof. Monier Williams: Indian Wisdom, p. iv.)

[188:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 147, 572, 667 and 750; vol. ii. p. 122, and note 4, p. 185, this chapter.

[188:4] See Max Müller's Science of Religion, p. 224.

[188:5] Quoted in Lillie's Buddhism, p. 93.

[188:6] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 20.

[188:7] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, pp. 20, 25, 85. Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 247. Huc's Travels, vol. i. pp. 326, 327, and almost any work on Buddhism.

[188:8] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 20.

[188:9] Ibid. Johnson's Oriental Religions, p. 604. See also Asiatic Researches, vol. iii., or chapter xii. of this work.

[188:10] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 18.

[188:11] Ibid.

[188:12] Ibid.

[188:13] Vol. i. p. 118.

[189:1] Quoted in Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.

[189:2] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 20.

[189:3] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 33.

[189:4] Huc's Travels, vol. i. pp. 326, 337.

[189:5] Müller: Hist. Sanscrit Literature, p. 80.

[189:6] See Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. v. p. 95, and Williams: Hinduism, p. 214.

[189:7] "He in mercy left paradise, and came down to earth, because he was filled with compassion for the sins and miseries of mankind. He sought to lead them into better paths, and took their sufferings upon himself, that he might expiate their crimes, and mitigate the punishment they must otherwise inevitably undergo." (Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. ii. p. 86.)

"The object of his mission on earth was to instruct those who were straying from the right path, expiate the sins of mortals by his own sufferings, and produce for them a happy entrance into another existence by obedience to his precepts and prayers in his name. They always speak of him as one with God from all eternity. His most common title is 'The Saviour of the World.'" (Ibid. vol. i. p. 247.)

[190:1] Quoted in Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 211.

[190:2] Ibid.

[190:3] See Renouf: Religions of Ancient Egypt, p. 178.

[190:4] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 155.

[190:5] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 848.

[190:6] In Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. ii. p. 171. Quoted in Knight's Art and Mythology, p. 71.

[190:7] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 185.

[190:8] See Mysteries of Adoni, p. 88.

[190:9] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii. note.

[191:1] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 255.

[191:2] Vol. ii.

[191:3] Lactant. Inst., div. iv. chap. xiii. In Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 544.

[191:4] See chapter xxxix. this work.

[191:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 114, and Taylor's Diegesis, p. 163.

[191:6] See the chapter on "The Resurrection of Jesus."

[192:1] Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Prometheus."

[192:2] "Prometheus has been a favorite subject with the poets. He is represented as the friend of mankind, who interposed in their behalf when Jove was incensed against them." (Bulfinch: The Age of Fable, p. 32.)

"In the mythos relating to Prometheus, he always appears as the friend of the human race, suffering in its behalf the most fearful tortures." (John Fiske: Myths and Myth-makers, pp. 64, 65.) "Prometheus was nailed to the rocks on Mount Caucasus, with arms extended." (Alexander Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 82.) "Prometheus is said to have been nailed up with arms extended, near the Caspian Straits, on Mount Caucasus. The history of Prometheus on the Cathedral at Bordeaux (France) here receives its explanation." (Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 113.)

[192:3] See Æschylus' "Prometheus Chained." Translated by the Rev. R. Potter: Harper & Bros., N. Y.

[192:4] Ibid. p. 82.

[193:1] Petræus was an interchangeable synonym of the name Oceanus.

[193:2] "Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying: Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee." (Matt. xvi. 22.)

[193:3] "And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him." (Luke, xxiii. 27.)

[193:4] See Taylor's Diegesis, pp. 193, 194, or Potter's Æschylus.

[193:5] "They say that the god (Bacchus), the offspring of Zeus and Demeter, was torn to pieces." (Diodorus Siculus, in Knight, p. 156, note.)

[193:6] See Knight: Anct. Art and Mythology, p. 98, note. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, 258. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102.

[193:7] Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii. note.

[193:8] Ibid.

[193:9] Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 169.

[193:10] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 135.

[193:11] Ibid.

[193:12] Beausobre quotes the inscription on a monument of Bacchus, thus: "C'est moi, dit il, qui vous conduis, C'est moi, qui vous conserve, ou qui vous sauve; Je sui Alpha et Omega, &c." (See chap. xxxix this work.)

[193:13] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 195. Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 152. Dunlap: Mysteries of Adoni, p. 94.

[193:14] See Celtic Druids, Taylor's Diegesis, p. 153, and Montfaucon, vol. i.

[193:15] See Mysteries of Adoni, p. 91, and Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 322.

[194:1] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 153.

[194:2] See the chapter on "Miracles of Jesus."

[194:3] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 254.

[194:4] See Monumental Christianity, p. 186.

[194:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 15.

[194:6] See Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 86.

[194:7] See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 15, and our chapter on Christian Symbols.

[194:8] This subject will be referred to again in chapter xxxix.

[194:9] See Dunlap's Spirit Hist., pp. 237, 241, 242, and Mysteries of Adoni, p. 123, note.

[194:10] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 99.

[194:11] See Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 20.

"According to the most ancient tradition of the East-Iranians recorded in the Zend-Avesta, the God of Light (Ormuzd) communicated his mysteries to some men through his Word." (Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 75.)

[194:12] Wake: Phallism, &c., p. 47.

[195:1] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. pp. 258, 259.

[195:2] Malcolm: Hist. Persia, vol. i. Ap. p. 494; Nimrod, vol. ii. p. 31. Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 649.

[195:3] Col. i. 26.

[195:4] See Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 102.

[195:5] See Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 89, marginal note.

[195:6] "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John, i. 1.)

[195:7] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. 69 and 71.

[195:8] Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 652.

[195:9] Ibid. vol. i. p. 537.

[195:10] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 119. Knight's Ancient Art and Mythology, pp. xxii. and 98. Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 71, and Spirit History, pp. 183, 205, 206, 249. Bible for Learners, vol. ii. p. 25. Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. pp. 195, 237, 516, besides the authorities already cited.

[196:1] See Bunsen's Bible Chronology, p. 5. Keys of St. Peter, 135. Volney's Ruins, p. 168.

[196:2] Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, p. 64, vol. ii.

[196:3] Ibid. p. 86, and Taylor's Diegesis, pp. 202, 206, 407. Dupuis: p. 267.

[196:4] Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. iv.

[196:5] See Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. 78.

[196:6] See Ibid. p. 39.

[196:7] Luke, iv. 21.

[196:8] Psalm, cv. 15. The term "an Anointed One," which we use in English, is Christos in Greek, and Messiah in Hebrew. (See Bible for Learners, and Religion of Israel, p. 147.)

[196:9] Matthew, xxiv. 24.

[196:10] Acts, vii. 45; Hebrews, iv. 8; compare Nehemiah, viii. 17.

[197:1] He who, it is said, was liberated at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.

[197:2] See Bible for Learners, vol. iii. p. 60.

[197:3] Octavius, c. xxix.

[197:4] See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 116.

[198:1] In his History of the Campaigns of Alexander.

[198:2] See Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 118.

[198:3] Ibid.

[198:4] Apol. c. 16; Ad Nationes, c. xii.

[198:5] See the chapter on "The Worship of the Virgin."

[199:1] Ganesa is the Indian God of Wisdom. (See Asiatic Researches, vol. i.)

[199:2] The Ring and circle was an emblem of god, or eternity, among the Hindoos. (See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, p. 87.)

[199:3] The Cobra, or hooded snake, is a native of the East Indies, where it is held as sacred. (See Knight: Anct. Art and Mytho., p. 16, and Fergusson's Tree and Serpent Worship.)

[199:4] Linga denotes, in the sectarian worship of the Hindoos, the Phallus, an emblem of the male or generative power of nature.

[199:5] Iona, or Yoni, is the counterpart of Linga, i. e., an emblem of the female generative power. We have seen that these were attached to the effigies of the Hindoo crucified Saviour, Crishna.

[199:6] Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 130.

[199:7] See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, pp. 253, 254, 255.

[199:8] See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. pp. 165 and 179.

[200:1] See Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 166.

[200:2] Ibid. p. 162.

[200:3] Ibid. p. 161.

[200:4] Ibid. p. 167.

[200:5] Ibid. p. 167.

[200:6] Ibid. p. 166.

[200:7] Brinton: Myths of the New World, p. 95.

[200:8] See, also, Monumental Christianity, p. 393.

"Once a year the ancient Mexicans made an image of one of their gods, which was pierced by an arrow, shot by a priest of Quetzalcoatle." (Dunlap's Spirit Hist., 207.)

[201:1] Monumental Christianity, p. 393.

[201:2] See Appendix A.

[201:3] See Monumental Christianity, p. 390, and Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 169.

[201:4] Quoted by Lord Kingsborough: Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 172.

[202:1] Monumental Christianity, p. 246.

[202:2] History of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 137.

[202:3] Ibid. p. 317.

[202:4] See Illustrations in Ibid. vol. i.

[202:5] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 252. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. 111, and Monumental Christianity, p. 246, et seq.

[202:6] The paschal lamb was roasted on a cross, by ancient Israel, and is still so done by the Samaritans at Nablous. (See Lundy's Monumental Christianity, pp. 19 and 247.)

"The lamb slain (at the feast of the passover) was roasted whole, with two spits thrust through it—one lengthwise, and one transversely—crossing each other near the fore legs; so that the animal was, in a manner, crucified. Not a bone of it might be broken—a circumstance strongly representing the sufferings of our Lord Jesus, the passover slain for us." (Barnes's Notes, vol. i. p. 292.)

[202:7] See King: The Gnostics and their Remains, p. 138. Also, Monumental Christianity, and Jameson's History of Our Lord in Art, for illustrations.

[203:1] See King's Gnostics, p. 178. Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii., and Jameson's History of Our Lord in Art, ii. 340.

[203:2] Jameson: Hist. of Our Lord in Art, p. 340, vol. ii.

[203:3] Quoted in Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxii. note.

[203:4] Dunlap: Spirit Hist., p. 185.

[203:5] See chapter xvii. and vol. ii. Hist. Hindostan.

[203:6] See Jameson's Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 142.

[204:1] "It would be difficult to prove that the cross of Constantine was of the simple construction as now understood. . . . As regards the Labarum, the coins of the time, in which it is especially set forth, prove that the so-called cross upon it was nothing else than the same ever-recurring monogram of Christ" (that is, the XP). (History of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. p. 310. See also, Smith's Bible Dictionary, art. "Labarum.")

[205:1] Deut. xxiv. 16.

[205:2] Num. xxv. 31-34.

[205:3] Matt. v. 17, 18.

[Pg 206]



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

The Matthew narrator, in addition to this, tells us that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is spoken of by Virgil, where he says:

"He (the Sun) covered his luminous head with a sooty darkness,
And the impious ages feared eternal night."[207:7]

It is also referred to by Tibullus, Ovid, and Lucian (poets), Pliny, Appian, Dion Cassius, and Julius Obsequenes (historians.)[207:8]

[Pg 208]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Pg 210]

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

"In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets."[210:1]

Belief in the influence of the stars over life and death, and in special portents at the death of great men, survived, indeed, to recent times. Chaucer abounds in allusions to it, and still later Shakespeare tells us:

"When beggars die there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes."

It would seem that this superstition survives even to the present day, for it is well known that the dark and yellow atmosphere which settled over so much of the country, on the day of the removal of President Garfield from Washington to Long Branch, was sincerely held by hundreds of persons to be a death-warning sent from heaven, and there were numerous predictions that dissolution would take place before the train arrived at its destination.

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


[206:1] Luke, xxiii. 44, 45.

[206:2] Matthew, xxvii. 51-53.

[206:3] Amberly: Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 268.

[206:4] Life of Christ, vol. ii. p. 643.

[207:1] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 71.

[207:2] Rhys David's Buddhism, pp. 36, 37.

[207:3] See Potter's Æschylus, "Prometheus Chained," last stanza.

[207:4] Farrar's Life of Christ, p. 52.

[207:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 616, 617.

[207:6] See Ibid. and Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 159 and 590, also Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, book xiv. ch. xii. and note.

"Cum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit
Impiaquæ æternam timuerunt sæcula noctem."

[207:8] See Gibbon's Rome, vol. i. pp. 159 and 590.

[208:1] Tales of Ancient Greece, p. 46.

[208:2] Ibid. pp. 61, 62.

[208:3] Ibid. p. 270.

[208:4] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 822.

[208:5] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 106.

[209:1] See Kingsborough's Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 5.

[209:2] The Fathers of the Church seem to cover the whole earth with darkness, in which they are followed by most of the moderns. (Gibbon. Luke, xxiii. 44, says "over all the earth.")

[209:3] Origen (a Father of the third century) and a few modern critics, are desirous of confining it to the land of Judea. (Gibbon.)

[209:4] Seneca, a celebrated philosopher and historian, born in Spain a few years B. C., but educated in Rome, and became a "Roman."

[209:5] Pliny the elder, a celebrated Roman philosopher and historian, born about 23 A. D.

[209:6] Seneca: Quaest. Natur. l. i. 15, vi. l. vii. 17. Pliny: Hist. Natur. l. ii.

[209:7] Gibbon's Rome, i. 589, 590.

[209:8] Matt. xvi. 20.

[210:1] Hamlet, act 1, s. 1.

[Pg 211]



The doctrine of Christ Jesus' descent into hell is emphatically part of the Christian belief, although not alluded to by Christian divines excepting when unavoidable.

In the first place, it is taught in the Creed of the Christians, wherein it says:

"He descended into hell, and on the third day he rose again from the dead."

The doctrine was also taught by the Fathers of the Church. St. Chrysostom (born 347 A. D.) asks:

"Who but an infidel would deny that Christ was in hell?"[211:1]

And St. Clement of Alexandria, who flourished at the beginning of the third century, is equally clear and emphatic as to Jesus' descent into hell. He says:

"The Lord preached the gospel to those in Hades, as well as to all in earth, in order that all might believe and be saved, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the gospel, as He did descend, it was either to preach the gospel to all, or to the Hebrews only. If accordingly to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there."[211:2]

Origen, who flourished during the latter part of the second, and beginning of the third centuries, also emphatically declares that Christ Jesus descended into hell.[211:3]

Ancient Christian works of art represent his descent into hell.[211:4]

The apocryphal gospels teach the doctrine of Christ Jesus' descent into hell, the object of which was to preach to those in bondage there, and to liberate the saints who had died before his advent on earth.

[Pg 212]

On account of the sin committed by Adam in the Garden of Eden, all mankind were doomed, all had gone to hell—excepting those who had been translated to heaven—even those persons who were "after God's own heart," and who had belonged to his "chosen people." The coming of Christ Jesus into the world, however, made a change in the affairs of man. The saints were then liberated from their prison, and all those who believe in the efficacy of his name, shall escape hereafter the tortures of hell. This is the doctrine to be found in the apocryphal gospels, and was taught by the Fathers of the Church.[212:1]

In the "Gospel of Nicodemus" (apoc.) is to be found the whole story of Christ Jesus' descent into hell, and of his liberating the saints.

Satan, and the Prince of Hell, having heard that Jesus of Nazareth was about to descend to their domain, began to talk the matter over, as to what they should do, &c. While thus engaged, on a sudden, there was a voice as of thunder and the rushing of winds, saying: "Lift up your gates, O ye Princes, and be ye lifted up, O ye everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall come in."

When the Prince of Hell heard this, he said to his impious officers: "Shut the brass gates . . . and make them fast with iron bars, and fight courageously."

The saints having heard what had been said on both sides, immediately spoke with a loud voice, saying: "Open thy gates, that the King of Glory may come in." The divine prophets, David and Isaiah, were particularly conspicuous in this protest against the intentions of the Prince of Hell.

Again the voice of Jesus was heard saying: "Lift up your gates, O Prince; and be ye lifted up, ye gates of hell, and the King of Glory will enter in." The Prince of Hell then cried out: "Who is the King of Glory?" upon which the prophet David commenced to reply to him, but while he was speaking, the mighty Lord Jesus appeared in the form of a man, and broke asunder the fetters which before could not be broken, and crying aloud, said: "Come to me, all ye saints, who were created in my image, who were condemned by the tree of the forbidden fruit . . . live now by the word of my cross."

Then presently all the saints were joined together, hand in hand, and the Lord Jesus laid hold on Adam's hand, and ascended from hell, and all the saints of God followed him.[212:2]

[Pg 213]

When the saints arrived in paradise, two "very ancient men" met them, and were asked by the saints: "Who are ye, who have not been with us in hell, and have had your bodies placed in paradise?" One of these "very ancient men" answered and said: "I am Enoch, who was translated by the word of God, and this man who is with me is Elijah the Tishbite, who was translated in a fiery chariot."[213:1]

The doctrine of the descent into hell may be found alluded to in the canonical books; thus, for instance, in I. Peter:

"It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison."[213:2]

Again, in "Acts," where the writer is speaking of David as a prophet, he says:

"He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption."[213:3]

The reason why Christ Jesus has been made to descend into hell, is because it is a part of the universal mythos, even the three days' duration. The Saviours of mankind had all done so, he must therefore do likewise.

Crishna, the Hindoo Saviour, descended into hell, for the purpose of raising the dead (the doomed),[213:4] before he returned to his heavenly seat.

Zoroaster, of the Persians, descended into hell.[213:5]

Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, descended into hell.[213:6]

Horus, the virgin-born Saviour, descended into hell.[213:7]

Adonis, the virgin-born Saviour, descended into hell.[213:8]

Bacchus, the virgin-born Saviour, descended into hell.[213:9]

Hercules, the virgin-born Saviour, descended into hell.[213:10]

Mercury, the Word and Messenger of God, descended into hell.[213:11]

[Pg 214]

Baldur, the Scandinavian god, after being killed, descended into hell.[214:1]

Quetzalcoatle, the Mexican crucified Saviour, descended into hell.[214:2]

All these gods, and many others that might be mentioned, remained in hell for the space of three days and three nights. "They descended into hell, and on the third day rose again."[214:3]


[211:1] Quoted by Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 46.

[211:2] Strom, vi. c. 6.

[211:3] Contra Celsus, bk. ii. c. 43.

[211:4] See Jameson's Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. pp. 354, 355.

[212:1] See Jameson's Hist. of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. pp. 250, 251.

[212:2] Nicodemus: Apoc. ch. xvi. and xix.

[213:1] Nicodemus: Apoc. ch. xx.

[213:2] I. Peter, iii. 17-19.

[213:3] Acts, ii. 31.

[213:4] See Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 237. Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 168, and Maurice: Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 85.

[213:5] See Monumental Christianity, p. 286.

[213:6] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 256, Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, and Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, pp. 125, 152.

[213:7] See Chap. XXXIX.

[213:8] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 12.

[213:9] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 257, and Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, p. 33.

[213:10] See Taylor's Mysteries, p. 40, and Mysteries of Adoni, pp. 94-96.

[213:11] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 72. Our Christian writers discover considerable apprehension, and a jealous caution in their language, when the resemblance between Paganism and Christianity might be apt to strike the mind too cogently. In quoting Horace's account of Mercury's descent into hell, and his causing a cessation of the sufferings there, Mr. Spence, in "Bell's Pantheon," says: "As this, perhaps, may be a mythical part of his character, we had better let it alone."

[214:1] See Bonwick: Egyptian Belief, p. 169, and Mallet, p. 448.

[214:2] See Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 166.

[214:3] See the chapter on Explanation.

[Pg 215]



The story of the resurrection of Christ Jesus is related by the four Gospel narrators, and is to the effect that, after being crucified, his body was wrapped in a linen cloth, laid in a tomb, and a "great stone" rolled to the door. The sepulchre was then made sure by "sealing the stone" and "setting a watch."

On the first day of the week some of Jesus' followers came to see the sepulchre, when they found that, in spite of the "sealing" and the "watch," the angel of the Lord had descended from heaven, had rolled back the stone from the door, and that "Jesus had risen from the dead."[215:1]

The story of his ascension is told by the Mark[215:2] narrator, who says "he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God;" by Luke,[215:3] who says "he was carried up into heaven;" and by the writer of the Acts,[215:4] who says "he was taken up (to heaven) and a cloud received him out of sight."

We will find, in stripping Christianity of its robes of Paganism, that these miraculous events must be put on the same level with those we have already examined.

Crishna, the crucified Hindoo Saviour, rose from the dead,[215:5] and ascended bodily into heaven.[215:6] At that time a great light enveloped the earth and illuminated the whole expanse of heaven. Attended by celestial spirits, and luminous as on that night when he was born in the house of Vasudeva, Crishna pursued, by his own light, the journey between earth and heaven, to the bright paradise from whence he had descended. All men saw him, and exclaimed, "Lo, Crishna's soul ascends its native skies!"[215:7]

[Pg 216]

Samuel Johnson, in his "Oriental Religions," tells us that Râma—an incarnation of Vishnu—after his manifestations on earth, "at last ascended to heaven," "resuming his divine essence."

"By the blessings of Râma's name, and through previous faith in him, all sins are remitted, and every one who shall at death pronounce his name with sincere worship shall be forgiven."[216:1]

The mythological account of Buddha, the son of the Virgin Maya, who, as the God of Love, is named Cam-deo, Cam, and Cama, is of the same character as that of other virgin-born gods. When he died there were tears and lamentations. Heaven and earth are said equally to have lamented the loss of "Divine Love," insomuch that Maha-deo (the supreme god) was moved to pity, and exclaimed, "Rise, holy love!" on which Cama was restored and the lamentations changed into the most enthusiastic joy. The heavens are said to have echoed back the exulting sound; then the deity, supposed to be lost (dead), was restored, "hell's great dread and heaven's eternal admiration."[216:2]

The coverings of the body unrolled themselves, and the lid of his coffin was opened by supernatural powers.[216:3]

Buddha also ascended bodily to the celestial regions when his mission on earth was fulfilled, and marks on the rocks of a high mountain are shown, and believed to be the last impression of his footsteps on this earth. By prayers in his name his followers expect to receive the rewards of paradise, and finally to become one with him, as he became one with the Source of Life.[216:4]

Lao-Kiun, the virgin-born, he who had existed from all eternity, when his mission of benevolence was completed on earth, ascended bodily into the paradise above. Since this time he has been worshiped as a god, and splendid temples erected to his memory.[216:5]

Zoroaster, the founder of the religion of the ancient Persians, who was considered "a divine messenger sent to redeem men from their evil ways," ascended to heaven at the end of his earthly career. To this day his followers mention him with the greatest reverence, calling him "The Immortal Zoroaster," "The Blessed Zoroaster," "The Living Star," &c.[216:6]

[Pg 217]

Æsculapius, the Son of God, the Saviour, after being put to death, rose from the dead. His history is portrayed in the following lines of Ovid's, which are prophecies foretelling his life and actions:

"Once, as the sacred infant she surveyed,
The god was kindled in the raving maid;
And thus she uttered her prophetic tale:
Hail, great Physician of the world! all hail!
Hail, mighty infant, who in years to come
Shalt heal the nations, and defraud the tomb!
Swift be thy growth, thy triumphs unconfined,
Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind.
Thy daring art shall animate the dead,
And draw the thunder on thy guilty head;
Then shalt thou die, but from the dark abode
Shalt rise victorious, and be twice a god."[217:1]

The Saviour Adonis or Tammuz, after being put to death, rose from the dead. The following is an account given of the rites of Tammuz or of Adonis by Julius Firmicius (who lived during the reign of Constantine):

"On a certain night (while the ceremony of the Adonia, or religious rites in honor of Adonis, lasted), an image was laid upon a bed (or bier) and bewailed in doleful ditties. After they had satiated themselves with fictitious lamentations, light was brought in: then the mouths of all the mourners were anointed by the priests (with oil), upon which he, with a gentle murmur, whispered:

'Trust, ye Saints, your God restored.
Trust ye, in your risen Lord;
For the pains which he endured
Our salvation have procured.'

"Literally, 'Trust, ye communicants: the God having been saved, there shall be to us out of pain, Salvation.'"[217:2]

Upon which their sorrow was turned into joy.

Godwyn renders it:

"Trust ye in God, for out of pains,
Salvation is come unto us."[217:3]

Dr. Prichard, in his "Egyptian Mythology," tells us that the Syrians celebrated, in the early spring, this ceremony in honor of the resurrection of Adonis. After lamentations, his restoration was commemorated with joy and festivity.[217:4]

Mons. Dupuis says:

"The obsequies of Adonis were celebrated at Alexandria (in Egypt) with the utmost display. His image was carried with great solemnity to a tomb, which served the purpose of rendering him the last honors. Before singing his return [Pg 218]to life, there were mournful rites celebrated in honor of his suffering and his death. The large wound he had received was shown, just as the wound was shown which was made to Christ by the thrust of the spear. The feast of his resurrection was fixed at the 25th of March."[218:1]

In Calmet's "Fragments," the resurrection of Adonis is referred to as follows:

"In these mysteries, after the attendants had for a long time bewailed the death of this just person, he was at length understood to be restored to life, to have experienced a resurrection; signified by the re-admission of light. On this the priest addressed the company, saying, 'Comfort yourselves, all ye who have been partakers of the mysteries of the deity, thus preserved: for we shall now enjoy some respite from our labors:' to which were added these words: 'I have scaped a sad calamity, and my lot is greatly mended.' The people answered by the invocation: 'Hail to the Dove! the Restorer of Light!'"[218:2]

Alexander Murray tells us that the ancient Greeks also celebrated this festival in honor of the resurrection of Adonis, in the course of which a figure of him was produced, and the ceremony of burial, with weeping and songs of wailing, gone through. After these a joyful shout was raised: "Adonis lives and is risen again."[218:3]

Plutarch, in his life of Alcibiades and of Nicias, tells us that it was at the time of the celebration of the death of Adonis that the Athenian fleet set sail for its unlucky expedition to Sicily; that nothing but images of dead Adonises were to be met with in the streets, and that they were carried to the sepulchre in the midst of an immense train of women, crying and beating their breasts, and imitating in every particular the lugubrious pomp of interments. Sinister omens were drawn from it, which were only too much realized by subsequent events.[218:4]

It was in an oration or address delivered to the Emperors Constans and Constantius that Julius Firmicius wrote concerning the rites celebrated by the heathens in commemoration of the resurrection of Adonis. In his tide of eloquence he breaks away into indignant objurgation of the priest who officiated in those heathen mysteries, which, he admitted, resembled the Christian sacrament in honor of the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, so closely that there was really no difference between them, except that no sufficient proof had been given to the world of the resurrection of Adonis, and no divine oracle had borne witness to his resurrection, [Pg 219]nor had he shown himself alive after his death to those who were concerned to have assurance of the fact that they might believe.

The divine oracle, be it observed, which Julius Firmicius says had borne testimony to Christ Jesus' resurrection, was none other than the answer of the god Apollo, whom the Pagans worshiped at Delphos, which this writer derived from Porphyry's books "On the Philosophy of Oracles."[219:1]

Eusebius, the celebrated ecclesiastical historian, has also condescended to quote this claimed testimony from a Pagan oracle, as furnishing one of the most convincing proofs that could be adduced in favor of the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

"But thou at least (says he to the Pagans), listen to thine own gods, to thy oracular deities themselves, who have borne witness, and ascribed to our Saviour (Jesus Christ) not imposture, but piety and wisdom, and ascent into heaven."

This was vastly obliging and liberal of the god Apollo, but, it happens awkwardly enough, that the whole work (consisting of several books) ascribed to Porphyry, in which this and other admissions equally honorable to the evidences of the Christian religion are made, was not written by Porphyry, but is altogether the pious fraud of Christian hands, who have kindly fathered the great philosopher with admissions, which, as he would certainly never have made himself, they have very charitably made for him.[219:2]

The festival in honor of the resurrection of Adonis was observed in Alexandria in Egypt—the cradle of Christianity—in the time of St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (A. D. 412), and at Antioch—the ancient capital of the Greek Kings of Syria—even as late as the time of the Emperor Julian (A. D. 361-363), whose arrival there, during the solemnity of the festival, was taken as an ill omen.[219:3]

It is most curious that the arrival of the Emperor Julian at Antioch—where the followers of Christ Jesus, it is said, were first called Christians—at that time, should be considered an ill omen. Why should it have been so? He was not a Christian, but a known apostate from the Christian religion, and a zealous patron of Paganism. The evidence is very conclusive; the celebration in honor of the resurrection of Adonis had become to be known as a Christian festival, which has not been abolished even unto this day. The ceremonies held in Roman Catholic countries on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday, are nothing more than the festival of the death and resurrection of Adonis, as we shall presently see.

[Pg 220]

Even as late as the year A. D. 386, the resurrection of Adonis was celebrated in Judea. St. Jerome says:

"Over Bethlehem (in the year 386 after Christ) the grove of Tammuz, that is, of Adonis, was casting its shadow! And in the grotto where formerly the infant Anointed (i. e., Christ Jesus) cried, the lover of Venus was being mourned."[220:1]

In the idolatrous worship practiced by the children of Israel was that of the worship of Adonis.

Under the designation of Tammuz, this god was worshiped, and had his altar even in the Temple of the Lord which was at Jerusalem. Several of the Psalms of David were parts of the liturgical service employed in his worship; the 110th, in particular, is an account of a friendly alliance between the two gods, Jehovah and Adonis, in which Jehovah adorns Adonis for his priest, as sitting at his right hand, and promises to fight for him against his enemies. This god was worshiped at Byblis in Phœnicia with precisely the same ceremonies: the same articles of faith as to his mystical incarnation, his precious death and burial, and his glorious resurrection and ascension, and even in the very same words of religious adoration and homage which are now, with the slightest degree of variation that could well be conceived, addressed to the Christ of the Gospel.

The prophet Ezekiel, when an exile, painted once more the scene he had so often witnessed of the Israelitish women in the Temple court bewailing the death of Tammuz.[220:2]

Dr. Parkhurst says, in his "Hebrew Lexicon":

"I find myself obliged to refer Tammuz, as well as the Greek and Roman Hercules, to that class of idols which were originally designed to represent the promised Saviour (Christ Jesus), the desire of all nations. His other name, Adonis, is almost the very Hebrew word 'Our Lord,' a well-known title of Christ."[220:3]

So it seems that the ingenious and most learned orthodox Dr. Parkhurst was obliged to consider Adonis a type of "the promised Saviour (Christ Jesus), the desire of all nations." This is a very favorite way for Christian divines to express themselves, when pushed thereto, by the striking resemblance between the Pagan, virgin-born, crucified, and resurrected gods and Christ Jesus.

If the reader is satisfied that all these things are types or symbols of what the "real Saviour" was to do and suffer, he is welcome [Pg 221]to such food. The doctrine of Dr. Parkhurst and others comes with but an ill grace, however, from Roman Catholic priests, who have never ceased to suppress information when possible, and when it was impossible for them to do so, they claimed these things to be the work of the devil, in imitation of their predecessors, the Christian Fathers.

Julius Firmicius has said: "The devil has his Christs," and does not deny that Adonis was one. Tertullian and St. Justin explain all the conformity which exists between Christianity and Paganism, by asserting "that a long time before there were Christians in existence, the devil had taken pleasure to have their future mysteries and ceremonies copied by his worshipers."[221:1]

Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, after being put to death, rose from the dead,[221:2] and bore the title of "The Resurrected One."[221:3]

Prof. Mahaffy, lecturer on ancient history in the University of Dublin, observes that:

"The Resurrection and reign over an eternal kingdom, by an incarnate mediating deity born of a virgin, was a theological conception which pervaded the oldest religion of Egypt."[221:4]

The ancient Egyptians celebrated annually, in early spring, about the time known in Christian countries as Easter, the resurrection and ascension of Osiris. During these mysteries the misfortunes and tragical death of the "Saviour" were celebrated in a species of drama, in which all the particulars were exhibited, accompanied with loud lamentations and every mark of sorrow. At this time his image was carried in a procession, covered—as were those in the temples—with black veils. On the 25th of March his resurrection from the dead was celebrated with great festivity and rejoicings.[221:5]

Alexander Murray says:

"The worship of Osiris was universal throughout Egypt, where he was gratefully regarded as the great exemplar of self-sacrifice—in giving his life for others—as the manifestor of good, as the opener of truth, and as being full of goodness and truth. After being dead, he was restored to life."[221:6]

Mons. Dupuis says on this subject:

"The Fathers of the Church, and the writers of the Christian sect, speak frequently of these feasts, celebrated in honor of Osiris, who died and arose from [Pg 222]the dead, and they draw a parallel with the adventurers of their Christ. Athanasius, Augustin, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Lactantius, Firmicius, as also the ancient authors who have spoken of Osiris . . . all agree in the description of the universal mourning of the Egyptians at the festival, when the commemoration of that death took place. They describe the ceremonies which were practiced at his sepulchre, the tears, which were there shed during several days, and the festivities and rejoicings, which followed after that mourning, at the moment when his resurrection was announced."[222:1]

Mr. Bonwick remarks, in his "Egyptian Belief," that:

"It is astonishing to find that, at least, five thousand years ago, men trusted an Osiris as the 'Risen Saviour,' and confidently hoped to rise, as he arose, from the grave."[222:2]

Again he says:

"Osiris was, unquestionably, the popular god of Egypt. . . . Osiris was dear to the hearts of the people. He was pre-eminently 'good.' He was in life and death their friend. His birth, death, burial, resurrection and ascension, embraced the leading points of Egyptian theology." "In his efforts to do good, he encounters evil. In struggling with that, he is overcome. He is killed. The story, entered into in the account of the Osiris myth, is a circumstantial one. Osiris is buried. His tomb was the object of pilgrimage for thousands of years. But he did not rest in his grave. At the end of three days, or forty, he arose again, and ascended to heaven. This is the story of his humanity." "As the invictus Osiris, his tomb was illuminated, as is the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem now. The mourning song, whose plaintive tones were noted by Herodotus, and has been compared to the 'miserere' of Rome, was followed, in three days, by the language of triumph."[222:3]

Herodotus, who had been initiated into the Egyptian and Grecian "Mysteries," speaks thus of them:

"At Sais (in Egypt), in the sacred precinct of Minerva; behind the chapel and joining the wall, is the tomb of one whose name I consider it impious to divulge on such an occasion; and in the inclosure stand large stone obelisks, and there is a lake near, ornamented with a stone margin, formed in a circle, and in size, as appeared to me, much the same as that in Delos, which is called the circular. In this lake they perform by night the representation of that person's adventures, which they call mysteries. On these matters, however, though accurately acquainted with the particulars of them, I must observe a discreet silence; and respecting the sacred rites of Ceres, which the Greeks call Thesmyphoria, although I am acquainted with them, I must observe silence except so far as is lawful for me to speak of them."[222:4]

Horus, son of the virgin Isis, experienced similar misfortunes. The principal features of this sacred romance are to be found in the writings of the Christian Fathers. They give us a description of the grief which was manifested at his death, and of the rejoicings at his resurrection, which are similar to those spoken of above.[222:5]

[Pg 223]

Atys, the Phrygian Saviour, was put to death, and rose again from the dead. Various histories were given of him in various places, but all accounts terminated in the usual manner. He was one of the "Slain Ones" who rose to life again on the 25th of March, or the "Hilaria" or primitive Easter.[223:1]

Mithras, the Persian Saviour, and mediator between God and man, was believed by the inhabitants of Persia, Asia Minor and Armenia, to have been put to death, and to have risen again from the dead. In their mysteries, the body of a young man, apparently dead, was exhibited, which was feigned to be restored to life. By his sufferings he was believed to have worked their salvation, and on this account he was called their "Saviour." His priests watched his tomb to the midnight of the veil of the 25th of March, with loud cries, and in darkness; when all at once the lights burst forth from all parts, and the priest cried:

"Rejoice, Oh sacred Initiated, your god is risen. His death, his pains, his sufferings, have worked our salvation."[223:2]

Mons. Dupuis, speaking of the resurrection of this god, says:

"It is chiefly in the religion of Mithras. . . . that we find mostly these features of analogy with the death and resurrection of Christ, and with the mysteries of the Christians. Mithras, who was also born on the 25th of December, like Christ, died as he did; and he had his sepulchre, over which his disciples came to shed tears. During the night, the priests carried his image to a tomb, expressly prepared for him; he was laid out on a litter, like the Phœnician Adonis.

"These funeral ceremonies, like those on Good Friday (in Roman Catholic churches), were accompanied with funeral dirges and groans of the priests; after having spent some time with these expressions of feigned grief; after having lighted the sacred flambeau, or their paschal candle, and anointed the image with chrism or perfumes, one of them came forward and pronounced with the gravest mien these words: 'Be of good cheer, sacred band of Initiates, your god has risen from the dead. His pains and his sufferings shall be your salvation.'"[223:3]

In King's "Gnostics and their Remains" (Plate XI.), may be seen the representation of a bronze medal, or rather disk, engraved [Pg 224]in the coarsest manner, on which is to be seen a female figure, standing in the attitude of adoration, the object of which is expressed by the inscription—ORTVS SALVAT, "The Rising of the Saviour"—i. e., of Mithras.[224:1]

"This medal" (says Mr. King), "doubtless had accompanied the interment of some individual initiated into the Mithraic mysteries; and is certainly the most curious relic of that faith that has come under my notice."[224:2]

Bacchus, the Saviour, son of the virgin Semele, after being put to death, also arose from the dead. During the commemoration of the ceremonies of this event the dead body of a young man was exhibited with great lamentations, in the same manner as the cases cited above, and at dawn on the 25th of March his resurrection from the dead was celebrated with great rejoicings.[224:3] After having brought solace to the misfortunes of mankind, he, after his resurrection, ascended into heaven.[224:4]

Hercules, the Saviour, the son of Zeus by a mortal mother, was put to death, but arose from the funeral pile, and ascended into heaven in a cloud, 'mid peals of thunder. His followers manifested gratitude to his memory by erecting an altar on the spot from whence be ascended.[224:5]

Memnon is put to death, but rises again to life and immortality. His mother Eos weeps tears at the death of her son—as Mary does for Christ Jesus—but her prayers avail to bring him back, like Adonis or Tammuz, and Jesus, from the shadowy region, to dwell always in Olympus.[224:6]

The ancient Greeks also believed that Amphiaraus—one of their most celebrated prophets and demi-gods—rose from the dead. They even pointed to the place of his resurrection.[224:7]

Baldur, the Scandinavian Lord and Saviour, is put to death, but does not rest in his grave. He too rises again to life and immortality.[224:8]

When "Baldur the Good," the beneficent god, descended into hell, Hela (Death) said to Hermod (who mourned for Baldur): "If all things in the world, both living and lifeless, weep for him, then shall he return to the Æsir (the gods)." Upon hearing this, messengers were dispatched throughout the world to beg everything [Pg 225]to weep in order that Baldur might be delivered from hell. All things everywhere willingly complied with this request, both men and every other living being, so that wailing was heard in all quarters.[225:1]

Thus we see the same myth among the northern nations. As Bunsen says:

"The tragedy of the murdered and risen god is familiar to us from the days of ancient Egypt: must it not be of equally primeval origin here?" [In Teutonic tradition.]

The ancient Scandinavians also worshiped a god called Frey, who was put to death, and rose again from the dead.[225:2]

The ancient Druids celebrated, in the British Isles, in heathen times, the rites of the resurrected Bacchus, and other ceremonies, similar to the Greeks and Romans.[225:3]

Quetzalcoatle, the Mexican crucified Saviour, after being put to death, rose from the dead. His resurrection was represented in Mexican hieroglyphics, and may be seen in the Codex Borgianus.[225:4]

The Jews in Palestine celebrated their Passover on the same day that the Pagans celebrated the resurrection of their gods.

Besides the resurrected gods mentioned in this chapter, who were believed in for centuries before the time assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus, many others might be named, as we shall see in our chapter on "Explanation." In the words of Dunbar T. Heath:

"We find men taught everywhere, from Southern Arabia to Greece, by hundreds of symbolisms, the birth, death, and resurrection of deities, and a resurrection too, apparently after the second day, i. e., on the third."[225:5]

And now, to conclude all, another god is said to have been born on the same day[225:6] as these Pagan deities; he is crucified and buried, and on the same day[225:7] rises again from the dead. Christians of Europe and America celebrate annually the resurrection of their [Pg 226]Saviour in almost the identical manner in which the Pagans celebrated the resurrection of their Saviours, centuries before the God of the Christians is said to have been born. In Roman Catholic churches, in Catholic countries, the body of a young man is laid on a bier, and placed before the altar; the wound in his side is to be seen, and his death is bewailed in mournful dirges, and the verse, Gloria Patri, is discontinued in the mass. All the images in the churches and the altar are covered with black, and the priest and attendants are robed in black; nearly all lights are put out, and the windows are darkened. This is the "Agonie," the "Miserere," the "Good Friday" mass. On Easter Sunday[226:1] all the drapery has disappeared; the church is illuminated, and rejoicing, in place of sorrow, is manifest. The Easter hymns partake of the following expression:

"Rejoice, Oh sacred Initiated, your God is risen. His death, his pains, his sufferings, have worked our salvation."

Cedrenus (a celebrated Byzantine writer), speaking of the 25th of March, says:

"The first day of the first month, is the first of the month Nisan; it corresponds to the 25th of March of the Romans, and the Phamenot of the Egyptians. On that day Gabriel saluted Mary, in order to make her conceive the Saviour. I observe that it is the same month, Phamenot, that Osiris gave fecundity to Isis, according to the Egyptian theology. On the very same day, our God Saviour (Christ Jesus), after the termination of his career, arose from the dead; that is, what our forefathers called the Pass-over, or the passage of the Lord. It is also on the same day, that our ancient theologians have fixed his return, or his second advent."[226:2]

We have seen, then, that a festival celebrating the resurrection of their several gods was annually held among the Pagans, before the time of Christ Jesus, and that it was almost universal. That it dates to a period of great antiquity is very certain. The adventures of these incarnate gods, exposed in their infancy, put to death, and rising again from the grave to life and immortality, were acted on the Deisuls and in the sacred theatres of the ancient Pagans,[226:3] just as the "Passion Play" is acted to-day.

Eusebius relates a tale to the effect that, at one time, the Christians [Pg 227]were about to celebrate "the solemn vigils of Easter," when, to their dismay, they found that oil was wanted. Narcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem, who was among the number, "commanded that such as had charge of the lights, speedily to bring unto him water, drawn up out of the next well." This water Narcissus, "by the wonderful power of God," changed into oil, and the celebration was continued.[227:1]

This tells the whole story. Here we see the oil—which the Pagans had in their ceremonies, and with which the priests anointed the lips of the Initiates—and the lights, which were suddenly lighted when the god was feigned to have risen from the dead.

With her usual policy, the Christian Church endeavored to give a Christian significance to the rites borrowed from Paganism, and in this case, as in many others, the conversion was particularly easy.

In the earliest times, the Christians did not celebrate the resurrection of their Lord from the grave. They made the Jewish Passover their chief festival, celebrating it on the same day as the Jews, the 14th of Nisan, no matter in what part of the week that day might fall. Believing, according to the tradition, that Jesus on the eve of his death had eaten the Passover with his disciples, they regarded such a solemnity as a commemoration of the Supper and not as a memorial of the Resurrection. But in proportion as Christianity more and more separated itself from Judaism and imbibed paganism, this way of looking at the matter became less easy. A new tradition gained currency among the Roman Christians to the effect that Jesus before his death had not eaten the Passover, but had died on the very day of the Passover, thus substituting himself for the Paschal Lamb. The great Christian festival was then made the Resurrection of Jesus, and was celebrated on the first pagan holiday—Sun-day—after the Passover.

This Easter celebration was observed in China, and called a "Festival of Gratitude to Tien." From there it extended over the then known world to the extreme West.

The ancient Pagan inhabitants of Europe celebrated annually this same feast, which is yet continued over all the Christian world. This festival began with a week's indulgence in all kinds of sports, called the carne-vale, or the taking a farewell to animal food, because it was followed by a fast of forty days. This was in honor of the Saxon goddess Ostrt or Eostre of the Germans, whence our Easter.[227:2]

[Pg 228]

The most characteristic Easter rite, and the one most widely diffused, is the use of Easter eggs. They are usually stained of various colors with dye-woods or herbs, and people mutually make presents of them; sometimes they are kept as amulets, sometimes eaten. Now, "dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt;"[228:1] the ancient Persians, "when they kept the festival of the solar new year (in March), mutually presented each other with colored eggs;"[228:2] "the Jews used eggs in the feast of the Passover;" and the custom prevailed in Western countries.[228:3]

The stories of the resurrection written by the Gospel narrators are altogether different. This is owing to the fact that the story, as related by one, was written to correct the mistakes and to endeavor to reconcile with common sense the absurdities of the other. For instance, the "Matthew" narrator says: "And when they saw him (after he had risen from the dead) they worshiped him; but some doubted."[228:4]

To leave the question where this writer leaves it would be fatal. In such a case there must be no doubt. Therefore, the "Mark" narrator makes Jesus appear three times, under such circumstances as to render a mistake next to impossible, and to silence the most obstinate skepticism. He is first made to appear to Mary Magdalene, who was convinced that it was Jesus, because she went and told the disciples that he had risen, and that she had seen him. They—notwithstanding that Jesus had foretold them of his resurrection[228:5]—disbelieved, nor could they be convinced until he appeared to them. They in turn told it to the other disciples, who were also skeptical; and, that they might be convinced, Jesus also appeared to them as they sat at meat, when he upbraided them for their unbelief.

This story is much improved in the hands of the "Mark" narrator, but, in the anxiety to make a clear case, it is overdone, as often happens when the object is to remedy or correct an oversight or mistake previously made. In relating that the disciples doubted the words of Mary Magdalene, he had probably forgotten Jesus had promised them that he should rise, for, if he had told them this, why did they doubt?

Neither the "Matthew" nor the "Mark" narrator says in what way Jesus made his appearance—whether it was in the body or only in the spirit. If in the latter, it would be fatal to the whole theory [Pg 229]of the resurrection, as it is a material resurrection that Christianity taught—just like their neighbors the Persians—and not a spiritual.[229:1]

To put this disputed question in its true light, and to silence the objections which must naturally have arisen against it, was the object which the "Luke" narrator had in view. He says that when Jesus appeared and spoke to the disciples they were afraid: "But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed they had seen a spirit."[229:2] Jesus then—to show that he was not a spirit—showed the wounds in his hands and feet. "And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them."[229:3] After this, who is there that can doubt? but, if the fish and honeycomb story was true, why did the "Matthew" and "Mark" narrators fail to mention it?

The "Luke" narrator, like his predecessors, had also overdone the matter, and instead of convincing the skeptical, he only excited their ridicule.

The "John" narrator now comes, and endeavors to set matters right. He does not omit entirely the story of Jesus eating fish, for that would not do, after there had been so much said about it. He might leave it to be inferred that the "Luke" narrator made a mistake, so he modifies the story and omits the ridiculous part. The scene is laid on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias. Under the direction of Jesus, Peter drew his net to land, full of fish. "Jesus said unto them: Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise."[229:4]

It does not appear from this account that Jesus ate the fish at all. He took the fish and gave to the disciples; the inference is that they were the ones that ate. In the "Luke" narrator's account the statement is reversed; the disciples gave the fish to Jesus, and he ate. The "John" narrator has taken out of the story that which was absurd, but he leaves us to infer that the "Luke" narrator was careless in stating the account of what took place. If we leave out of the "Luke" narrator's account the part that relates to the fish and honeycomb, he fails to prove what it really [Pg 230]was which appeared to the disciples, as it seems from this that the disciples could not be convinced that Jesus was not a spirit until he had actually eaten something.

Now, if the eating part is struck out—which the "John" narrator does, and which, no doubt, the ridicule cast upon it drove him to do—the "Luke" narrator leaves the question just where he found it. It was the business of the "John" narrator to attempt to leave it clean, and put an end to all cavil.

Jesus appeared to the disciples when they assembled at Jerusalem. "And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side."[230:1] They were satisfied, and no doubts were expressed. But Thomas was not present, and when he was told by the brethren that Jesus had appeared to them, he refused to believe; nor would he, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."[230:2] Now, if Thomas could be convinced, with all his doubts, it would be foolish after that to deny that Jesus was not in the body when he appeared to his disciples.

After eight days Jesus again appears, for no other purpose—as it would seem—but to convince the doubting disciple Thomas. Then said he to Thomas: "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing."[230:3] This convinced Thomas, and he exclaimed: "My Lord and my God." After this evidence, if there were still unbelievers, they were even more skeptical than Thomas himself. We should be at a loss to understand why the writers of the first three Gospels entirely omitted the story of Thomas, if we were not aware that when the "John" narrator wrote the state of the public mind was such that proof of the most unquestionable character was demanded that Christ Jesus had risen in the body. The "John" narrator selected a person who claimed he was hard to convince, and if the evidence was such as to satisfy him, it ought to satisfy the balance of the world.[230:4]

The first that we knew of the fourth Gospel—attributed to John—is from the writings of Irenæus (A. D. 177-202), and the evidence is that he is the author of it.[230:5] That controversies were rife in his day concerning the resurrection of Jesus, is very evident from other sources. We find that at this time the resurrection of [Pg 231]the dead (according to the accounts of the Christian forgers) was very far from being esteemed an uncommon event; that the miracle was frequently performed on necessary occasions by great fasting and the joint supplication of the church of the place, and that the persons thus restored by their prayers had lived afterwards among them many years. At such a period, when faith could boast of so many wonderful victories over death, it seems difficult to account for the skepticism of those philosophers, who still rejected and derided the doctrine of the resurrection. A noble Grecian had rested on this important ground the whole controversy, and promised Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, that if he could be gratified by the sight of a single person who had been actually raised from the dead, he would immediately embrace the Christian religion.

"It is somewhat remarkable," says Gibbon, the historian, from whom we take the above, "that the prelate of the first Eastern Church, however anxious for the conversion of his friend, thought proper to decline this fair and reasonable challenge."[231:1]

This Christian saint, Irenæus, had invented many stories of others being raised from the dead, for the purpose of attempting to strengthen the belief in the resurrection of Jesus. In the words of the Rev. Jeremiah Jones:

"Such pious frauds were very common among Christians even in the first three centuries; and a forgery of this nature, with the view above-mentioned, seems natural and probable."

One of these "pious frauds" is the "Gospel of Nicodemus the Disciple, concerning the Sufferings and Resurrection of our Master and Saviour Jesus Christ." Although attributed to Nicodemus, a disciple of Jesus, it has been shown to be a forgery, written towards the close of the second century—during the time of Irenæus, the well-known pious forger. In this book we find the following:

"And now hear me a little. 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 Arimathæa, spending their time together in offices of devotion."[231:2]

The purpose of this story is very evident. Some "zealous believer," observing the appeals for proof of the resurrection, wishing to make it appear that resurrections from the dead were [Pg 232]common occurrences, invented this story towards the close of the second century, and fathered it upon Nicodemus.

We shall speak, anon, more fully on the subject of the frauds of the early Christians, the "lying and deceiving for the cause of Christ," which is carried on even to the present day.

As President Cheney of Bates College has lately remarked, "The resurrection is the doctrine of Christianity and the foundation of the entire system,"[232:1] but outside of the four spurious gospels this greatest of all recorded miracles is hardly mentioned. "We have epistles from Peter, James, John, and Jude—all of whom are said by the evangelists to have seen Jesus after he rose from the dead, in none of which epistles is the fact of the resurrection even stated, much less that Jesus was seen by the writer after his resurrection."[232:2]

Many of the early Christian sects denied the resurrection of Christ Jesus, but taught that he will rise, when there shall be a general resurrection.

No actual representation of the resurrection of the Christian's Saviour has yet been found among the monuments of early Christianity. The earliest representation of this event that has been found is an ivory carving, and belongs to the fifth or sixth century.[232:3]


[215:1] See Matthew, xxviii. Mark, xvi. Luke, xxiv. and John, xx.

[215:2] Mark, xvi. 19.

[215:3] Luke, xxiv. 51.

[215:4] Acts, i. 9.

[215:5] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 240. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. pp. 142 and 145.

[215:6] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 131. Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 168. Asiatic Researches, vol. i. pp. 259 and 261.

[215:7] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 72. Hist. Hindostan, ii. pp. 466 and 473.

"In Hindu pictures, Vishnu, who is identified with Crishna, is often seen mounted on the Eagle Garuda." (Moore: Hindu Panth. p. 214.) And M. Sonnerat noticed "two basso-relievos placed at the entrance of the choir of Bordeaux Cathedral, one of which represents the ascension of our Saviour to heaven on an Eagle." (Higgins: Anac., vol. i. p. 273.)

[216:1] Oriental Religions, pp. 494, 495.

[216:2] Asiatic Res., vol. x. p. 129. Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 103.

[216:3] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 49.

[216:4] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 86. See also, Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 159.

[216:5] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 214.

[216:6] Ibid. p. 258.

[217:1] Ovid's Metamorphoses, as rendered by Addison. Quoted in Taylor's Diegesis, p. 148.

[217:2] Quoted by Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 114. See also, Taylor's Diegesis, pp. 163, 164.

[217:3] Taylor's Diegesis, p. 164.

[217:4] Prichard's Egyptian Mythology, pp. 66, 67.

[218:1] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 161. See also, Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, p. 23, and Spirit Hist. of Man, p. 216.

[218:2] Calmet's Fragments, vol. ii. p. 21.

[218:3] Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 86.

[218:4] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 261.

[219:1] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, p. 247, and Taylor's Diegesis, p. 164.

[219:2] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 164. We shall speak of Christian forgeries anon.

[219:3] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 2.

[220:1] Quoted in Dunlap's Son of the Man, p. vii. See also, Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. xxvii.

"From the days of the prophet Daniel, down to the time when the red cross knights gave no quarter (fighting for the Christ) in the streets of Jerusalem, the Anointed was worshiped in Babylon, Basan, Galilee and Palestine." (Son of the Man, p. 38.)

[220:2] Ezekiel, viii. 14.

[220:3] Quoted in Taylor's Diegesis, p. 162, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 114.

[221:1] See Justin: Cum. Typho, and Tertullian: De Bap.

[221:2] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 16, and vol. i. p. 519. Also, Prichard's Egyptian Mythology, p. 66, and Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 163.

[221:3] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 166, and Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, pp. 124, 125.

[221:4] Prolegomena to Ancient History.

[221:5] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102.

[221:6] Murray: Manual of Mythology, pp. 347, 348.

[222:1] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 256.

[222:2] Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. vi.

[222:3] Ibid. pp. 150-155, 178.

[222:4] Herodotus, bk. ii. chs. 170, 171.

[222:5] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 263, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. 108.

[223:1] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 169. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 104. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 255. Dunlap's Mysteries of Adoni, p. 110, and Knight: Anct. Art and Mythology, p. 86.

[223:2] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 99. Mithras remained in the grave a period of three days, as did Christ Jesus, and the other Christs. "The Persians believed that the soul of man remained yet three days in the world after its separation from the body." (Dunlap: Mysteries of Adoni, p. 63.)

"In the Zoroastrian religion, after soul and body have separated, the souls, in the third night after death—as soon as the shining sun ascends—come over the Mount Berezaiti upon the bridge Tshinavat which leads to Garonmana, the dwelling of the good gods." (Dunlap's Spirit Hist., p. 216, and Mysteries of Adoni, 60.)

The Ghost of Polydore says:

"Being raised up this third day—light,
Having deserted my body!"

(Euripides, Hecuba, 31, 32.)

[223:3] Dupuis: Origin of Religious Beliefs, pp. 246, 247.

[224:1] King's Gnostics and their Remains, p. 225.

[224:2] Ibid. p. 226.

[224:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 102. Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, pp. 256, 257, and Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 169.

[224:4] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 135, and Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. 322.

[224:5] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 294. See also, Goldzhier's Hebrew Mythology, p. 127. Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322, and Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Hercules."

[224:6] Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 90.

[224:7] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 56.

[224:8] Aryan Mytho., vol. ii p. 94.

[225:1] Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 449.

[225:2] See Knight: Ancient Art and Mythology, p. 85.

[225:3] See Davies: Myths and Rites of the British Druids, pp. 89 and 208.

[225:4] See Kingsborough's Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 166.

[225:5] Quoted in Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 174.

[225:6] As we shall see in the chapter on "The Birth-day of Christ Jesus."

[225:7] Easter, the triumph of Christ, was originally solemnized on the 25th of March, the very day upon which the Pagan gods were believed to have risen from the dead. (See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, pp. 244, 255.)

A very long and terrible schism took place in the Christian Church upon the question whether Easter, the day of the resurrection, was to be celebrated on the 14th day of the first month, after the Jewish custom, or on the Lord's day afterward; and it was at last decided in favor of the Lord's day. (See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 90, and Chambers's Encyclopædia, art. "Easter.")

The day upon which Easter should be celebrated was not settled until the Council of Nice. (See Euseb. Life of Constantine, lib. 3, ch. xvii. Also, Socrates' Eccl. Hist. lib. 1, ch. vi.)

[226:1] Even the name of "Easter" is derived from the heathen goddess, Ostrt, of the Saxons, and the Eostre of the Germans.

"Many of the popular observances connected with Easter are clearly of Pagan origin. The goddess Ostara or Eastre seems to have been the personification of the morning or East, and also of the opening year or Spring. . . . With her usual policy, the church endeavored to give a Christian significance to such of the rites as could not be rooted out; and in this case the conversion was practically easy." (Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Easter.")

[226:2] Quoted in Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 244.

[226:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 340.

[227:1] Eccl. Hist., lib. 6, c. viii.

[227:2] Anacalypsis, ii. 59.

[228:1] See Bonwick's Egyptian Belief, p. 24.

[228:2] See Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Easter."

[228:3] Ibid.

[228:4] Matthew, xxviii. 17.

[228:5] See xii. 40; xvi. 21; Mark, ix. 31; xiv. 23; John, ii. 10.

[229:1] "And let not any one among you say, that this very flesh is not judged, neither raised up. Consider, in what were ye saved? in what did ye look up, if not whilst ye were in this flesh? We must, therefore, keep our flesh as the temple of God. For in like manner as ye were called in the flesh, ye shall also come to judgment in the flesh. Our one Lord Jesus Christ, who has saved us, being first a spirit, was made flesh, and so called us: even so we also in this flesh, shall receive the reward (of heaven)." (II. Corinthians, ch. iv. Apoc. See also the Christian Creed: "I believe in the resurrection of the body.")

[229:2] Luke, xxiv. 37.

[229:3] Luke, xxiv. 42, 43.

[229:4] John, xxi. 12, 13.

[230:1] John, xx. 20.

[230:2] John, xx. 25.

[230:3] John, xx. 27.

[230:4] See, for a further account of the resurrection, Reber's Christ of Paul; Scott's English Life of Jesus; and Greg's Creed of Christendom.

[230:5] See the Chapter xxxviii.