The Freethinker's Text Book, Part II.
Annie Besant

Part 4 out of 6

69 Vitellius
69 Vespasian
79 Titus
81 Domitian
96 Nerva
98 Trajan associated
117 Hadrian
138 Antoninus Pius
161 Marcus Aurelius
180 Commodus
192 Pertinax
193 Julian
211 Caracalla and Geta
217 Macrinus
218 Heliogabalus
222 Alexander Severus
235 Maximin
237 The Gordians
Maximus and Galbinus
238 Maximus, Galbinus, and Gordian
238 Gordian alone
244 Philip
249 Decius
251 Gallus
253 Valerian
260 Gallienus
268 Claudius
270 Aurelian
275 Tacitus
276 Florianus
276 Probus
282 Carus
283 Carinus and Numerian
285 Diocletian
286 Maximian associated
305 Galerius and Constantius
305 Severus and Maximin
306 Constantine
324 Constantine alone

* * * * *


* * * * *


" quoted by Meredith...225
Agbarus, letter of, in Eusebius...243
Akiba, quoted in Keim...315
Alford, Greek Testament...288
Apostolic Fathers...215, 216, 217, 218, 220, 221, 230
Athenagoras, Apology...226
Augustine, Syntagma, quoted in Diegesis...234

Barnabas, Epistle of...233, 302
Besant, According to St. John...337
Butler, Lives of the Fathers, etc...324

Caecilius, quoted in Diegesis...348
Celsus, quoted by Norton...233
Clement, First Epistle...233, 299, 300, 301
Clementine, Homilies...310
" quoted in Supernatural Religion...301
Corpus Ignatianum, quoted in Apostolic Fathers...218

Davidson, Introduction to New Testament...286, 294, 295, 296, 298

Ellicott, quoted in Cowper's Apocryphal Gospels...250

Epiphanius, quoted by Norton...297
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History...216, 230, 231, 234, 243, 246, 248
250, 257, 260, 277, 279, 284, 290
291, 292, 294, 321, 323
" quoted in Apostolic Fathers...217

Faustus, quoted in Diegesis...284

Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire...195, 206, 209, 112
213, 227, 322
Giles, Christian Records...197, 207, 230, 259, 261, 263, 265
267, 276, 288, 293, 297, 313, 328
335, 336

Hegesippus, quoted in Supernatural Religion...302
Home, Introduction to New Testament...197, 203

Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans...220
" " Ephesians...233
" " Philippians...302
Inman, Ancient Faiths...344
Irenaeus, Against Heresies...258, 291, 323, 336
" quoted in Keim...234
" quoted in Eusebius...258

Jones, The Canon of the New Testament...240, 245, 257
Jones, Sir W., Asiatic Researches...345
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews...195, 198, 315
" Wars of the Jews...317
" Discourse on Hades...198
Justin Martyr, First Apology...231, 253, 302, 347
" Second Apology...226, 323
" Dialogue with Trypho...231, 275, 302, 310

Keim, Jesus of Nazara...197, 202, 315

Lardner, Answer to Dr. Chandler, quoted from
" Credibility of the
Gospels...209, 210, 211, 216, 218
230, 263, 269

Marcus Aurelius...206
Marsh, quoted in Norton...267
" quoted in Giles...287
Meredith, Prophet of Nazareth...223
Mosheim, Ecclesiastical
History...214, 216, 217, 235, 237, 238, 239
Muratori, Canon of...282

Nicodemus, Gospel of...253
Norton, Genuineness of the Gospels...215, 216, 219, 247,
263, 269, 295

Origen, quoted in Gibbon...213
" " Diegesis...234
" " Supernatural Religion...323

Paley, Evidences of Christianity...198, 202, 203, 205
208, 209, 210, 212, 228, 229, 231
235, 236, 243, 244, 247, 248, 260
262, 269, 273, 281, 290, 309, 317
Papias, quoted by Eusebius...291
" Irenaeus...291
Parkhurst, Hebrew Lexicon...346
Pliny, Epistles...203
Pilate, Acts of...253

Quadratus, quoted by Eusebius...230

Renan, Vie de Jesus...197
Row, The Supernatural in the New Testament...325, 327

Sanday, Gospels in the Second Century...248, 269, 270
279, 287, 298, 300, 302, 305, 311
Scott, English Life of Jesus...334
Sharpe, Egyptian Mythology...347
Smyrna, Circular Epistle of the Church of...221
Strange, Portraiture and Mission of Jesus...198, 201, 210
321, 348
Strauss, Life of Jesus...289, 312, 320, 330, 331, 332
Suetonius...201, 202, 225
Supernatural Religion... 215, 216, 219, 229, 246, 247, 248
249, 260, 261, 266, 268, 269, 271
276, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283
290, 292, 293, 295, 301, 302, 303
304, 322, 325

Tacitus, Annals...199, 222, 225
Taylor, Diegesis...196, 200, 201, 205, 206, 208, 212, 346
Tertullian, Apology...226
" De Spectaculis...323
" quoted in Gibbon...213
" " Meredith...225
Thomas, Gospel of...251
Tischendorf, When were our Gospels Written?...248, 270

Westcott, On the Canon of the New Testament...216, 229, 247, 249
256, 268, 270, 274
275, 278, 286

* * * * *


Analogies of Christian doctrines...347
Apocryphal Gospels, specimens of...250
" Books, recognised...245
Authenticity of Apology of Quadratus...230
" Epistle of Barnabas...229
" " Clement...214
" " Ignatius...217
" " Polycarp...216
" " Smyrna...220
" Vision of Hermas...216

Books read in churches...248
" in volume of Scriptures...249

Christian Agapae...223
Christianity advantageous to tyrants...237

Date of birth of Christ...333
Dates of Fathers, etc...349
Dates of Roman Emperors...350
Diatessaron of Tatian...259

Evidence of Adrian...206
" Apostolic Fathers...263, 267
" Barnabas...268
" Basilides and Valentinus...280
" Canon of Muratori...282
" Clement ...269
" Clementines...279
" Hegesippus...277
" Hermas...269
" Ignatius...270
" Josephus...195
" Justin Martyr...271
" Marcion...281
" Marcus Aurelius...206
" Papias...271
" Pliny...203
" Polycarp...270
" Suetonius...201
" Tacitus...199

Forgeries in Early Church...238
" List of...240
Four Gospels: when recognised...257
" why only four...258

Gospels, changes made in...283
" contradictions in...328
" contradictions between synoptical and fourth...337
" growth of...285, 289
" identity of modern and ancient unproven...262
" many current...266
" of later origin...311
" of Matthew and Mark not those of Papias...290
" original, different from canonical...298
" similarity of canonical and uncanonical...245
" synoptical...286
" time of selection unknown...256
Genealogies of Jesus...328
Greek not commonly known by Jews...314

Ignorance of Early Fathers...232

Krishna, meaning of...345

Length of Jesus' Ministry..336
Life of Christ from Justin Martyr...306

Martyrs, small number of...212
Massacre of infants unlikely...333
Matthew, written in Hebrew...394
Morality of Early Christians...221
Mythical Theory of Jesus...340

Passages in Fathers, not in canonical Gospels...301
Persecution, absence of...209
Phrase "it is written"...247
Positions laid down as to Gospels...236
Position A...238
" B...245
" C...256
" D...257
" E...261
" F...262
" G...290
" H...298
" I...311
" J...314
" K...316
Prophecies, Messianic...342

Silence of Jewish writers...198, 201, 259
" Pagan " ...193, 206
Story of Christ pre-Christian...340
Son-worship and Christ...343

Temptation of Christ...334
Ten Persecutions...350
Types of Christ...345


There are two ancient and widely-spread creeds to which we must chiefly
look for the origin of Christianity, namely, Sun-worship and
Nature-worship. It is doubtful which of the twain is the elder, and they
are closely intertwined, the central idea of each being the same;
personally, I am inclined to think that Nature-worship is the older of
the two, because it is the simpler and the nearer; the barbarian, slowly
emerging into humanity, would be more likely to worship the force which
was the most immediately wonderful to him, the power of generation of
new life; to recognise the sun as the great life producer seems to imply
some little growth of reason and of imagination; sun-worship seems the
idealisation of nature-worship, for the same generative force is adored
in both, and round the idea of this production of new life all creeds
revolve. Christian symbols and Christian ceremonies speak as plainly to
the student of ancient religions as the stars speak to the astronomer,
and the rocks to the geologian; Christian Churches are as full of the
fossil relics of the old creeds as are the earth's strata of the bones
of extinct animals. We shall expect to find, then, a family resemblance
running through all Eastern creeds--of which Christianity is one--and we
shall not be surprised to find similar symbols expressing similar ideas;
there are, in fact, cardinal symbols re-appearing in all these allied
religions; the virgin and child; the trinity in unity; the cross; these
have their roots struck deep in human nature, and are found in every
Eastern creed. So also can we trace sacraments and ceremonies, and many
minor dogmas. In looking back into those ancient creeds it is necessary
to get rid of the modern fashion of regarding any natural object as
immodest. Sir William Jones justly remarks that in Hindustan "it never
seems to have entered the heads of the legislators, or people, that
anything natural could be offensively obscene; a singularity which
pervades all their writings and conversation, but is no proof of
depravity in their morals" ("Asiatic Researches," vol. i., p. 255).
Gross injustice is sometimes done to ancient creeds by contemplating
them from a modern point of view; in those days every power of Nature
was thought divine, and most divine of all was deemed the power of
creation, whether worshipped in the sun, whose beams impregnated the
earth, or in the male and female organs of generation, the universal
creators of life in the animal world; thus we find in all ancient
sculptures carvings of the phallus and the yoni, expressed both
naturally and symbolically, the representations becoming more and more
conventional and refined as civilisation advanced; of the infant world
it may be said that it was "naked, and was not ashamed;" as it grew
older, and clothed the human form, it also draped its religious symbols,
but as the body remains unaltered under its garments, so the idea
concealed beneath the emblems remains the same.

The union of male and female is, then, the foundation of all religions;
the heaven marries the earth, as man marries woman, and that union is
the first marriage. Saturn is the sky, the male, or active energy; Rhea
is the earth, the female, or receptive; and these are the father and the
mother of all. The Persians of old called the sky Jupiter, or Jupater,
"Ju the Father." The sun is the agent of the generative power of the
sky, and his beams fecundate the earth, so that from her all life is
produced. Thus the sun becomes worshipped as the Father of all, and the
sun is the emblem which crowns the images of the Supreme God; the vernal
equinox is the resurrection of the sun, and the sign of the zodiac in
which he then is becomes the symbol of his life-producing power; thus
the bull, and afterwards the ram, became his sign as Life-Giver, and the
Sun-god was pictured as bull, or as ram (or lamb), or else with the
horns of his, emblem, and the earthly animals became sacred for his
sake. Mithra, the Sun-god of Persia, is sculptured as riding on a bull;
Osiris, the Sun-god of Egypt, wears the horns of the bull, and is
worshipped as Osiris-Apis, or Serapis, the Sun-god in the sign of Apis,
the bull. Later, by the precession of the equinoxes, the sun at the
vernal equinox has passed into the sign of the ram (called in Persia,
the lamb), and we find Jupiter Ammon, Jupiter with ram's horns, and
Jesus the Lamb of God. These symbols all denote the sun victorious over
darkness and death, giving life to the world. The phallus is the other
great symbol of the Life-Giver, generating life in woman, as the sun in
the earth. Bacchus, Adonis, Dionysius, Apollo, Hercules, Hermes,
Thammuz, Jupiter, Jehovah, Jao, or Jah, Moloch, Baal, Asher, Mahadeva,
Brahma, Vishnu, Mithra, Atys, Ammon, Belus, with many another, these are
all the Life-Giver under different names; they are the Sun, the Creator,
the Phallus. Red is their appropriate colour. When the sun or the
Phallus is not drawn in its natural form, it is indicated by a symbol:
the symbol must be upright, hard, or else burning, either conical, or
clubbed at one end. Thus--the torch, flame of fire, cone, serpent,
thyrsus, triangle, letter T, cross, crosier, sceptre, caduceus, knobbed
stick, tall tree, upright stone, spire, tower, minaret, upright pole,
arrow, spear, sword, club, upright stump, etc., are all symbols of the
generative force of the male energy in Nature of the Supreme God.

One of the most common, and the most universally used, is THE CROSS.
Carved at first simply as phallus, it was gradually refined; we meet it
as three balls, one above the two; the letter T indicated it, which, by
the slightest alteration, became the cross now known as the Latin: thus
"Barnabas" says that "the cross was to express the grace by the letter
T" (ante, p. 233). We find the cross in India, Egypt, Thibet, Japan,
always as the sign of life-giving power; it was worn as an amulet by
girls and women, and seems to have been specially worn by the women
attached to the temples, as a symbol of what was, to them, a religious
calling. The cross is, in fact, nothing but the refined phallus, and in
the Christian religion is a significant emblem of its Pagan origin; it
was adored, carved in temples, and worn as a sacred emblem by sun and
nature worshippers, long before there were any Christians to adore,
carve, and wear it. The crowd kneeling before the cross in Roman
Catholic and in High Anglican Churches, is a simple reproduction of the
crowd who knelt before it in the temples of ancient days, and the girls
who wear it amongst ourselves, are--in the most innocent unconsciousness
of its real signification--exactly copying the Indian and Egyptian women
of an elder time. Saturn's symbol was a cross and a ram's horn. Jupiter
bore a cross with a horn. Venus a circle with a cross. The Egyptian
deities a cross and oval. (The signification of these will be dealt with
below.) The Druids sought oak trees with two main arms growing in shape
of a cross, and, if they failed to find such, nailed a beam cross-wise.
The chief pagodas in India are built, like many Christian churches, in
the form of a cross. I have read in a book on church architecture that
churches should be built either in the form of a cross, or else in that
of a ship, typifying the ark; i.e., they should either be built in the
form of the phallus or the yoni, the ship or ark being one of the
symbols of the female energy (see below, p. 361).

The CRUCIFIX, or cross with human figure stretched upon it, is also
found in ancient times, although not so frequently as the simple cross.
The crucifix appears to have arisen from the circle of the horizon being
divided into four parts, North, South, East, and West, and the Sun-god,
drawn within, or on, the circle, came into contact with each cardinal
point, his feet and head touching, or intersecting, two, while his
outstretched arms point to the other quarters. Plato says that the "next
power to the Supreme God was decussated, or figured in the shape of a
cross, on the universe." Krishna is painted and sculptured on a cross.
The Egyptians thus drew Osiris, and sometimes we find a circle drawn
with the dividing lines, and in the midst is stretched the dead body of
Osiris. Robert Taylor gives another origin for the crucifix: "The
ignorant gratitude of a superstitious people, while they adored the
river [Nile] on whose inundations the fertility of their provinces
depended, could not fail of attaching notions of sanctity and holiness
to the posts that were erected along its course, and which, by a
_transverse beam_, indicated the height to which, at the spot where the
beam was fixed, the waters might be expected to rise. This cross at once
warned the traveller to secure his safety, and formed a standard of the
value of land. Other rivers may add to the fertility of the country
through which they pass, but the Nile is the absolute cause of that
great fertility of the Lower Egypt, which would be all a desert, as bad
as the most sandy parts of Africa without this river. It supplies it
both with soil and moisture, and was therefore gratefully addressed, not
merely as an ordinary river-god, but by its express title of the
Egyptian Jupiter. The crosses, therefore, along the banks of the river
would naturally share in the honour of the stream, and be the most
expressive emblem of good fortune, peace, and plenty. The two ideas
could never be separated: the fertilising flood was the _waters of
life_, that conveyed every blessing, and even existence itself, to the
provinces through which they flowed. One other and most obvious
hieroglyph completed the expressive allegory. The _Demon of Famine_,
who, should the waters fail of their inundation, or not reach the
elevation indicated by the position of the transverse beam upon the
upright, would reign in all his horrors over their desolated lands. This
symbolical personification was, therefore, represented as a miserable
emaciated wretch, who had grown up 'as a tender plant, and as a root out
of a dry ground, who had no form nor comeliness; and when they should
see him, there was no beauty that they should desire him.' Meagre were
his looks; sharp misery had worn him to the bone. His crown of thorns
indicated the sterility of the territories over which he reigned. The
reed in his hand, gathered from the banks of the Nile, indicated that it
was only the mighty river, by keeping within its banks, and thus
withholding its wonted munificence, that placed an unreal sceptre in his
gripe. He was nailed to the cross, in indication of his entire defeat.
And the superscription of his infamous title, 'THIS IS THE KING OF THE
JEWS,' expressively indicated that _Famine, Want_, or _Poverty_, ruled
the destinies of the most slavish, beggarly, and mean race of men with
whom they had the honour of being acquainted" ("Diegesis," p. 187).
While it may very likely be true that the miserable aspect given to
Jesus crucified is copied from some such original as Mr. Taylor here
sketches, we are tolerably certain that the general idea of the crucifix
had the solar origin described above.

Very closely joined to the notion of the cross is the idea of the
TRINITY IN UNITY, and we need not delay upon it long. It is as universal
in Eastern religions as the cross, and comes from the same idea; all
life springs from a trinity in unity in man, and, therefore, God is
three in one. This trinity is, of course, symbolised by the cross, and
especially by the lotus, and any "three in one" leaf; from this has come
to Christianity the conventional triple foliage so constantly seen in
Church carvings, the _fleur-de-lis_, the triangle, etc., which are
now--as of old--accepted as the emblems of the trinity. The persons of
the trinity are found each with his own name; in India, Brahma, Vishnu,
Siva, and it is Vishnu who becomes incarnate; in Egypt different cities
had different trinities, and "we have a hieroglyphical inscription in
the British Museum as early as the reign of Sevechus of the eighth
century before the Christian era, showing that the doctrine of Trinity
in Unity already formed part of their religion, and that in each of the
two groups last mentioned the three gods only made one person"
("Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christology," by S. Sharpe, p. 14).
Mr. Sharpe might have gone to much earlier times and "already" have
found the adoration of the trinity in unity; as far back as the first
who bowed in worship before the generative force of the male three in
one. Osiris, Horus, and Ra form one of the Egyptian trinities; Horus the
Son, is also one of a trinity in unity made into an amulet, and called
the Great God, the Son God, and the Spirit God. Horus is the slayer of
Typhon, the evil one, and is sometimes represented as standing on its
head, and as piercing its head with a spear, reminding us of Krishna,
the incarnation of Vishnu, the second person of the Indian Trinity.

These trinities, however, were not complete in themselves, for the
female element is needed for the production of life; hence, we find that
in most nations a fourth person is joined to the trinity, as Isis, the
mother of Horus, in Egypt, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, in
Christendom; the Egyptian trinity is often represented as Osiris, Horus,
and Isis, but we more generally find the female constituting the fourth
element, in addition to the triune, and symbolised by an oval, or
circle, typical of the female organ of reproduction; thus the _crux
ansata_ of the Egyptians, the "symbol of life" held in the hand by the
Egyptian deities, is a cross or oval, i.e., the T with an oval at the
top; the circle with the cross inside, symbolises, again, the male and
female union; also the six-rayed star, the pentacle, the double
triangle, the triangle and circle, the pit with a post in it, the key,
the staff with a half-moon, the complicated cross. The same union is
imaged out in all androgynous deities, in Elohim, Baalim, Baalath,
Arba-il, the bearded Venus, the feminine Jove, the virgin and child. In
countries where the Yoni worship was more popular than that of the
Phallus, the VIRGIN and CHILD was a favourite deity, and to this we now

Here, as in the history of the cross, we find sun and nature worship
intertwined. The female element is sometimes the Earth, and sometimes
the individual. The goddesses are as various in names as the gods. Is,
Isis, Ishtar, Astarte, Mylitta, Sara, Mrira, Maia, Parvati, Mary,
Miriam, Eve, Juno, Venus, Diana, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hera, Rhea, Cybele,
Ceres, and others, are the earth under many names; the receptive female,
the producer of life, the Yoni. Black is the special colour of female
deities, and the black Isis and Horus, the black Mary and Jesus are of
peculiar sanctity. Their emblems are: the earth, moon, star of the sea,
circle, oval, triangle, pomegranate, door, ark, fish, ship, horseshoe,
chasm, cave, hole, celestial virgin, etc. They bore first the titles now
worn by Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, and were reverenced as the
"queen of heaven." Ishtar, of Babylonia, was the "Mother of the Gods,"
and the "Queen of the Stars." Isis, of Egypt, was "our Immaculate Lady."
She was figured with a crown of stars, and with the crescent moon. Venus
was an ark brooded over by a dove, or the moon floating on the water.
They are "the mother," "mamma," "emma," "ummah," or "the woman." The
symbols are everywhere the same, though given with different names.
Everywhere it is Mary, the mother; the female principle in nature,
adored side by side with the male. She shares in the work of creation
and salvation, and has a kind of equality with the Father of all; hence
we hear of the immaculate conception. She produces a child alone in some
stories, without even divine co-operation. The Virgo of the Zodiac is
represented in ancient sculptures and drawings as a woman suckling a
child, and the Paamylian feasts were celebrated at the spring equinox,
and were the equivalent of the Christian feast of the Annunciation, when
the power of the highest overshadowed Mary of Nazareth. Thus in India,
we have Devaki and Krishna; in Egypt, Osiris and Horus--the "Saviour of
the World;" in Christendom, Mary and Christ; the pictures and carvings
of India and Egypt would be indistinguishable from those of Europe, were
it not for the differences of dress. Apis, the sacred Egyptian bull, was
always born without an earthly father, and his mother never had a second
calf. So the later Sun-god, Jesus, is born without sexual intercourse,
and Mary never bears another child. Jupiter visits Leda as a swan; God
visits Mary as an overshadowing dove. The salutation of Gabriel to Mary
is curiously like that of Mercury to Electra: "Hail, most happy of all
women, you whom Jupiter has honoured with his couch; your blood will
give laws to the world, I am the messenger of the gods." The mother of
Fohi, the great Chinese God, became _enceinte_ by walking in the
footsteps of a giant. The mother of Hercules did not lose her virginity.
The savages of St. Domingo represented the chief divinity by a female
figure called the "mother of God." On Friday, the day of Freya, or
Venus, many Christians still eat only fish, fish being sacred to the
female deity.

In Comtism we find the latest development of woman-worship, wherein the
"emotional sex" becomes the sacred sex, to be guarded, cherished,
sustained, adored; and thus in the youngest religion the stamp of the
eldest is found.

Thus womanhood has been worshipped in all ages of the world, and
maternity has been deified by all creeds: from the savage who bowed
before the female symbol of motherhood, to the philosophic Comtist who
adores woman "in the past, the present, and the future," as mother,
wife, and daughter, the worship of the female element in nature has run
side by side with that of the male; the worship is one and the same in
all religions, and runs in an unbroken thread from the barbarous ages to
the present time.

The doctrines of the mediation, and the divinity of Christ, and of the
immortality of the soul, are as pre-Christian as the symbols which we
have examined.

The idea of _the Mediator_ comes to us from Persia, and the title was
borne by Mithra before it was ascribed to Christ. Zoroaster taught that
there was existence itself, the unknown, the eternal, "Zeruane Akerne,"
"time without bounds." From this issued Ormuzd, the good, the light, the
creator of all. Opposite to Ormuzd is Ahriman, the bad, the dark, the
deformer of all. Between these two great deities comes Mithra, the
Mediator, who is the Reconciler of all things to God, who is one with
Ormuzd, although distinct from him. Mithra, as we have seen, is the Sun
in the sign of the Bull, exactly parallel to Jesus, the Sun in the sign
of the Lamb, both the one and the other being symbolised by that sign of
the zodiac in which the sun was at the spring equinox of his supposed
date. "Mithras is spiritual light contending with spiritual darkness,
and through his labours the kingdom of darkness shall be lit with
heaven's own light; the Eternal will receive all things back into his
favour, the world will be redeemed to God. The impure are to be
purified, and the evil made good, through the mediation of Mithras, the
reconciler of Ormuzd and Ahriman. Mithras is the Good, his name is Love.
In relation to the Eternal he is the source of grace, in relation to man
he is the life-giver and mediator. He brings the 'Word,' as Brahma
brings the Vedas, from the mouth of the Eternal. (See Plutarch 'De Isid.
et Osirid.;' also Dr. Hyde's 'De Religione Vet. Pers.,' ch. 22; see also
'Essay on Pantheism,' by Rev. J. Hunt.) It was just prior to the return
of the Jews from living among the people who were dominated by these
ideas, that the splendid chapter of Isaiah (xl.), or indeed the series
of chapters which form the closing portion of the book, were written:
'Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Prepare ye the way of
the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every
valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.' And
then follows a magnificent description of the greatness and supremacy of
God, and this is followed by chapters which tell of a Messiah, or
conquering prince, who will redeem the nation from its enemies, and
restore them to the light of the divine favour, and which predict a
millennium, a golden age of purified and glorified humanity. It is thus
manifest that the inspiration of these writings came to the Jewish
people from their contact with the religious thought of the Persians,
and not from any supernatural source. From this time the Jews began to
hold worthier ideas concerning God, and to cherish expectations of a
golden age, a kingdom of heaven, which the Messiah, who was to be the
sent messenger of God, should inaugurate. And this kingdom was to be a
kingdom of righteousness, a day of marvellous light, a rule under which
all evil and darkness were to perish" ("Plato, Philo, and Paul," Rev.
J.W. Lake, pp. 15, l6.)

The growth of the philosophical side of the dogma of the _Divinity of
Christ_ is as clearly traceable in Pagan and Jewish thought as is the
dogma of the incarnation of the Saviour-God in the myths of Krishna,
Osiris, etc. Two great teachers of the doctrine of the "Logos," the
"Word," of God, stand out in pre-Christian times--the Greek Plato and
the Jewish Philo. We borrow the following extract from pp. 19, 20, of
the pamphlet by Mr. Lake above referred to, as showing the general
theological position of Plato; its resemblance to Christian teaching
will be at once apparent (it must not be forgotten that Plato lived B.C.

"The speculative thought and the religious teaching of Plato are
diffused throughout his voluminous writings; but the following is a
popular summary of them, by Madame Dacier, contained in her introduction
to what have been classed as the 'Divine Dialogues:'--

"'That there is but one God, and that we ought to love and serve him,
and to endeavour to resemble him in holiness and righteousness; that
this God rewards humility and punishes pride.

"'That the true happiness of man consists in being united to God, and
his only misery in being separated from him.

"'That the soul is mere darkness, unless it be illuminated by God; that
men are incapable even of praying well, unless God teaches them that
prayer which alone can be useful to them.

"'That there is nothing solid and substantial but piety; that this is
the source of all virtues, and that it is the gift of God.

"'That it is better to die than to sin.

"'That it is better to suffer wrong than to do it.

"'That the "Word" ([Greek: Logos]) formed the world, and rendered it
visible; that the knowledge of the Word makes us live very happily here
below, and that thereby we obtain felicity after death.

"'That the soul is immortal, that the dead shall rise again, that there
shall be a final judgment--both of the righteous and of the wicked, when
men shall appear only with their virtues or vices, which shall be the
occasion of their eternal happiness or misery.'"

It is this Logos who was "figured in the shape of a cross on the
universe" (ante, p. 358). The universe, which is but the materialised
thought of God, is made by his Logos, his Word, which is the expression
of his thought. In the Christian creed it is the Logos, the Word of God,
by whom all things are made (John i. 1-3). The very name, as well as the
thought, is the same, whether we turn over the pages of Plato or those
of John. Philo, the great Jewish Platonist, living in Alexandria at the
close of the last century B.C. and in the first half of the first
century after Christ, speaks of the Logos in terms that, to our ears,
seem purely Christian. Philo was a man of high position among the Jews
in Alexandria, being "a man eminent on all accounts, brother to
Alexander the alabarch [governor of the Jews], and one not unskilful in
philosophy" (Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews," bk. xviii., ch. 8,
sec. 1). This "Alexander was a principal person among all his
contemporaries both for his family and wealth" (Ibid, bk. xx, ch. 5,
sec. 2). He was the principal man in the Jewish embassage to Caius
(Caligula) A.D. 39-40, and was then a grey-headed old man. Keim speaks
of him as about sixty or seventy years old at that time, and puts his
birth at about B.C. 20. He writes: "The Theology of Philo is in great
measure founded on his peculiar combination of the Jewish, the Platonic,
and the Neo-Platonic conception of God. The God of the Old Testament,
the exalted God, as he is called by the modern Hegelian philosophy,
stood in close relations to the Greek Philosophers' conception of God,
which believed that the Supreme Being could be accurately defined by the
negative of all that was finite. In accordance with this, Philo also
described God as the simple Entity; he disclaimed for him every name,
every quality, even that of the Good, the Beautiful, the Blessed, the
One. Since he is still better than the good, higher than the Unity, he
can never be known _as_, but only _that_, he is: his perfect name is
only the four mysterious letters (Jhvh)--that is, pure Being. By such
means, indeed, neither a fuller theology nor God's influence on the
world was to be obtained. And yet it was the problem of philosophy, as
well as of religion, to shed the light of God upon the world, and to
lead it again to God. But how could this Being which was veiled from the
world be brought to bear upon it? By Philo, as well as by all the
philosophy of the time, the problem could only be solved illogically.
Yet, by modifying his exalted nature, it might be done. If not by his
being, yet by his work he influences the world; his powers, his angels,
all in it that is best and mightiest, the instrument, the interpreter,
the mediator and messenger of God; his pattern and his first-born, the
Son of God, the Second God, even himself God, the divine Word or Logos
communicate with the world; he is the ideal and actual type of the world
and of humanity, the architect and upholder of the world, the manna and
the rock in the wilderness" ("Jesus of Nazara," vol. i., pp. 281, 282).

"Man is fallen.... There is no man who is without sin, and even the
perfect man, if he should be born, does not escape from it.... Yet there
is a redemption, willed by God himself, and brought to pass by the act
of a wise man. Adam's successors still preserve the types of their
relationship to the Father, although in an obscure form, each man
possesses the knowledge of good and evil and an incorruptible judgment,
subject to reason; his spiritual strength is even now aided by the
Divine Logos, the image, copy, and reflection of the blessed nature.
Hence it follows that man can discern and see all the stains with which
he has wilfully or involuntarily defiled his life, that man by means of
his self-knowledge can decide to subdue his passions, to despise his
pleasures and desires, to wage the battle of repentance, and to be just
at any cost, and by the fundamental virtues of humanity, piety, and
justice, to imitate the virtues of the Father.... In such perfection as
is possible to all, even to women and to slaves, since no one is a slave
by nature, the wise man is truly rich. He is noble and free who can
proudly utter the saying of Sophocles, God is my ruler, not one among
men! Such a one is priest, king, and prophet, he is no longer merely a
son and scholar of the Logos, he is the companion and son of God.... God
is the eternal guide and director of the world, himself requiring
nothing, and giving all to his children. It is of his goodness that he
does not punish as a judge, but that, as the giver of grace, he bears
with all. With him all things are possible; he deals with all, even with
that which is almost beyond redemption. From him all the world hopes for
forgiveness of sins, the Logos, the high priest, and intercessor, and
the patriarchs pray for it; he grants it, not for the world's sake, but
of his own gracious nature, to those who can truly believe. He loves the
humble, and saves those whom he knows to be worthy of healing. His grace
elects the pious before they are born, giving them victory over
sensuality, and steadfastness in virtue. He reveals himself to holy
souls by his Spirit, and by his divine light leads those who are too
weak by nature even to understand the external world, beyond the limits
of human nature to that which is divine" ("Jesus of Nazara," pp.
283-287). Such are the most important passages of Keim's _resume_ of
Philo's philosophy, and its resemblance to Christian doctrine is
unmistakeable, and adds one more proof to the fact that Christianity is
Alexandrian rather than Judaean. It will be well to add to this sketch
the passages carefully gathered out of Philo's works by Jacob Bryant,
who endeavoured to prove, from their resemblance to passages in the New
Testament, that Philo was a Christian, forgetting that Philo's works
were mostly written when Jesus was a child and a youth, and that he
never once mentions Jesus or Christianity. It must not be forgotten that
Philo lived in Alexandria, not in Judaea, and that between the
Canaanitish and the Hellenic Jews there existed the most bitter
hostility, so that--even were the story of Jesus true--it could not have
reached Philo before A.D. 40, at which time he was old and gray-headed.
We again quote from Mr. Lake's treatise, who prints the parallel
passages, and we would draw special attention to the similarity of
phraseology as well as of idea:

_Identity of the Christ of the New Testament with the Logos of Philo._

Philo, describing the Logos, The New Testament, speaking
says:-- of Jesus says:--

'The Logos is the Son 'This is the Son of God.'
of God the Father.'--De John i. 34.

'The first begotten of God.' 'And when he again bringeth
--De Somniis. his first-born into the
world.'--Heb. i. 6.

'And the most ancient of 'That he is the first-born
all beings.'--De Conf. Ling. of every creature.'--Col. i. 15.

'The Logos is the image 'Christ, the image of the
and likeness of God.'--De invisible God.'--Col. i. 15.
Monarch. 'The brightness of his
(God's) glory, and the express
image of his person.'--Heb.
i. 3.

'The Logos is superior to 'Being made so much
the angels.'--De Profugis. better that the angels. Let
all the angels of God worship
him.'--Heb. i. 4, 6.

'The Logos is superior to 'Thou hast put all things
all beings in the world.'--De in subjection under his feet.'
Leg. Allegor. --Heb. ii. 8.

'The Logos is the instrument 'All things were made by
by whom the world was him (the Word or Logos),
made.'--De Leg. Allegor. and without him was not
anything made that was
'The divine word by whom made.'--John i. 3
all things were ordered and
disposed.'--De Mundi Opificio. 'Jesus Christ, by whom
are all things.'--i Cor. viii. 6.

'By whom also he made
the worlds.'--Heb. i. 2.

'The Logos is the light of 'The Word (Logos) was
the world, and the intellectual the true light.'--John i. 9.
sun.'--De Somniis.
'The life and the light of
men.'--John i. 4.

'I am the light of the world.'
--John viii. 12.

'The Logos only can see 'He that is of God, he
God.'--De Confus. Ling. hath seen the Father.'--John
vi. 46.

'No man hath seen God
at any time. The only begotten
Son which is in the
bosom of the Father, he
hath declared him."--John
i. 18.

'He is the most ancient 'Now, O Father, glorify
of God's works.'--De Confus thou me with thine own self
Ling. with the glory which I had
with thee before the world
'And was before all things.' was.'--John xvii. 5.
--De Leg. Allegor.
'He was in the beginning
with God.'--John i. 2.

'Before all worlds.'--2
Tim. i. 9.

'The Logos is esteemed 'Christ, who is over all,
the same as God.'--De God blessed for evermore.'
Somniis. --Rom. ix. 5.

'Who, being in the form
of God. thought it no robbery
to be equal with God.'--Phil.
ii. 6.

'The Logos was eternal.' 'Christ abideth for ever.
--De Plant. Noe. --John xii. 34.

'But to the Son he saith,
Thy throne, O God, is for
ever and ever.'--Heb. i. 8.

'The Logos supports the 'Upholding all things by
world, is the connecting the word of his power.'--Heb.
power by which all things i. 3.
are united.'--De Profugis.
'By him all things consist.'
'The Logos is nearest to --Col. i. 17.
God, without any separation;
being, as it were, fixed upon 'I and my Father are one.'
the only true existing Deity, --John x. 30.
nothing coming between to 'That they may be one as
disturb that unity."--De we are.'--John i. 18.

'The Logos is free from 'The only begotten Son,
all taint of sin, either who is in the bosom of the
voluntary or involuntary.'--De Father.'--John i. 18.
'The blood of Christ, who
'The Logos the fountain offered himself without
of life. spot to God.'--Heb. ix. 14.

'It is of the greatest 'Who did no sin, neither
consequence to every person to was guile found in his
strive without remission to mouth.'--1 Pet. ii. 22.
approach to the divine Logos,
the Word of God above, who 'Whosoever shall drink of the
is the fountain of all wisdom; water that I shall give him,
that by drinking largely shall never thirst, but the
of that sacred spring, instead water that I shall give him
of death, he may be rewarded shall be in him a well of
with everlasting life.'--De water springing up into
Profugis. everlasting life,'--John iv. 14.

'The Logos is the shepherd 'The great shepherd of the
of God's flock. flock... our Lord Jesus.'--
Heb. xiii. 20.
'The deity, like a shepherd,
and at the same time 'I am the good shepherd, and
like a monarch, acts with the know my sheep, and am known
most consummate order and of mine.'--John x. 14.
rectitude, and has appointed
his First-born, the upright 'Christ ... the shepherd and
Logos, like the substitute of guardian of your souls.'--
a mighty prince, to take care 1 Pet. ii. 25.
of his sacred flock.'--De
Agricult. 'For Christ must reign till he
hath put all his enemies under
The Logos, Philo says, is his feet.'--1 Cor xv. 25.
'The great governor of the
world; he is the creative and 'Christ, above all principality,
princely power, and through and might, and dominion, and
these the heavens and the every name that is named, not
whole world were produced.' only in this world, but in the
--De Profugis. world to come .. and God hath
put all things under his feet.'--
Eph. i. 21, 22

'The Logos is the physician 'The spirit of the Lord is
that heals all evil.'--De upon me, because he hath
Leg. Allegor. anointed me to heal the
broken-hearted.'--Luke iv.

_The Logos the Seal of God._ _Christ the Seal of God._

'The Logos, by whom the 'In whom also, after that
world was framed, is the seal, ye believed, ye were sealed
after the impression of which with the holy seal of promise.'
everything is made, and is --Eph. i. 13
rendered the similitude and 'Jesus, the son of man ... him
image of the perfect Word of hath God the Father
God.'--De Profugis. sealed.'--John vi. 27.

'The soul of man is an 'Christ, the brightness of
impression of a seal, of which his (God's) glory, and the
the prototype and original express image of his person.
characteristic is the everlasting --Heb. i. 3.
Logos.'--De Plantatione

_The Logos the source of _Christ the source of eternal
immortal life_. life_.

Philo says 'that when the 'The dead (in Christ) shall
soul strives after its best and be raised incorruptible.'--1
noblest life, then the Logos Cor. xv. 52
frees it from all corruption, 'Because the creature itself
and confers upon it the gift also shall be delivered
of immortality.'--De C.Q. from the bondage of corruption
Erud. Gratia. into the glorious liberty of
the children of God.'--Rom.
vii. 21.
The New Testament calls
Philo speaks of the Logos Christ the Beloved Son:--'This
not only as the Son of God is my beloved Son
and his first begotten, but in whom I am well pleased.'
also styles him 'his beloved --Matt. iii. 17; Luke ix. 35;
Son.'--De Leg. Allegor. 2 Pet. i. 17
'The Son of his love.'--Col.
i. 13.

Philo says 'that good men 'But ye are come unto mount
are admitted to the assembly Zion, and to the city of the
of the saints above. living God, and to an
innumerable company of angels,
'Those who relinquish human and to the spirits of just men
doctrines, and become made perfect.'--Heb. xii. 22, 23
the well-disposed disciples of
God, will be one day translated 'Giving thanks unto the Father
to an incorruptible and which hath made us the
perfect order of beings."--De inheritance of the saints in
Sacrifices. light.'--Col. i. 12.

Philo says 'that the just The New Testament makes Jesus to
man, when he dies is translated say:
to another state by the
Logos, by whom the world 'No man can come to me, except
was created. For God by the Father which hath sent me
his said Word (Logos), by draw him; and I will raise him
which he made all things, up on the last day.'--John vi. 44
will raise the perfect man
from the dregs of this world, 'No man cometh to the Father but
and exalt him near himself. by me.'--John xvi. 6.
He will place him near his
own person.'--De Sacrificiis. 'Where I am, there also shall my
servant be ... him will my father
Philo says that the Logos honour.'
is the true High Priest, who
is without sin and anointed The New Testament speaks of Jesus
by God:-- as the High Priest:

'It is the world, in which 'Seeing then that we have a great
the Logos, God's First-born, High Priest that is passed into
that great High Priest, resides. the heavens, Jesus, the Son of
And I assert that this God, let is hold fast our
High Priest is no man, but profession.'--Heb. iv. 14.
the Holy Word of God; who
is not capable of either 'For such an High Priest became us,
voluntary or involuntary sin, who is holy, harmless, undefiled,
and hence his head is anointed separate from sinners.'--Heb. vii. 26.
with oil.'--De Profugis.
The New Testament says of Christ:
Philo mentions the Logos
as the great High Priest and 'We have such an High Priest, who is
Mediator for the sins of the set on the throne of the majest in
world. Speaking of the rebellion the heavens, a mediator of a
of Korah, he introduces the better covenant.'--Heb. viii. 1-6.
Logos as saying :--
'But Christ being come an High
'It was I who stood in the Priest ... entered at once into
middle between the Lord and the holy place, having obtained
you. eternal redemption for us.'--Heb.
ix. 11, 12.
'The sacred Logos pressed
with zeal and without remission The New Testament says of John, the
that he might stand forerunner of Jesus, that he preached
between the dead and the 'the baptism of repentance for the
living.--Quis Rerum Div. remission of sins.'--Mark i. 4.
Jesus says:--
The Logos, the Saviour
God, who brings salvation as 'Ye will not come to me, that ye
the reward of repentance and might have life.'--John v. 40.
'Beloved, we be now the sons of
'If then men have from God; and it doth not yet appear
their very souls a just what we shall be; but we know that
contrition, and are changed, when he doth appear we shall be
and have humbled themselves for like him.'--1 John iii. 2.
their past errors, acknowledging
and confessing their 'As we have born the image of the
sins, such persons shall find earthy, we shall also bear the image
pardon from the Saviour and of the heavenly.'--1 Cor. xv. 49.
merciful God, and receive a
most choice and great advantage 'For if we have been planted
of being like the Logos together in the likeness of his
of God, who was originally death, we shall be also in the
the great archetype after likeness of his resurrection.'--
which the soul of man was Rom. vi. 5.
formed.'--De Execrationibus.

Here, then, we get, complete, the idea of Christ as the Word of God, and
we see that Christianity is as lacking in originality on these points as
in everything else. We may note, also, that this Platonic idea was
current among the Jews before Philo, although he gives it to us more
thoroughly and fully worked out: in the apocryphal books of the Jews we
find the idea of the Logos in many passages in Wisdom, to take but a
single case.

The widely-spread existence of this notion is acknowledged by Dean
Milman in his "History of Christianity." He says: "This Being was more
or less distinctly impersonated, according to the more popular or more
philosophic, the more material or the more abstract, notions of the age
or people. This was the doctrine from the Ganges, or even the shores of
the Yellow Sea to the Ilissus; it was the fundamental principle of the
Indian religion and the Indian philosophy; it was the basis of
Zoroastrianism; it was pure Platonism; it was the Platonic Judaism of
the Alexandrian school. Many fine passages might be quoted from Philo,
on the impossibility that the first self-existing Being should become
cognisable to the sense of man; and even in Palestine, no doubt, John
the Baptist and our Lord himself spoke no new doctrine, but rather the
common sentiment of the more enlightened, when they declared that 'no
man had seen God at any time.' In conformity with this principle, the
Jews, in the interpretation of the older Scriptures, instead of direct
and sensible communication from the one great Deity, had interposed
either one or more intermediate beings as the channels of communication.
According to one accredited tradition alluded to by St. Stephen, the law
was delivered by the 'disposition of angels;' according to another, this
office was delegated to a single angel, sometimes called the angel of
the Law (see Gal. iii. 19); at others, the Metatron. But the more
ordinary representative, as it were, of God, to the sense and mind of
man, was the Memra, or the Divine Word; and it is remarkable that the
same appellation is found in the Indian, the Persian, the Platonic, and
the Alexandrian systems. By the Targumists, the earliest Jewish
commentators on the Scriptures, this term had been already applied to
the Messiah; nor is it necessary to observe the manner in which it has
been sanctified by its introduction into the Christian scheme. This
uniformity of conception and coincidence of language indicates the
general acquiescence of the human mind in the necessity of some
mediation between the pure spiritual nature of the Deity and the moral
and intellectual nature of man" (as quoted by Lake). And "this
uniformity of conception and coincidence of language indicates," also,
that Christianity has only received and repeated the religious ideas
which existed in earlier times. How can that be a revelation from God
which was well known in the world long before God revealed it? The
acknowledgment of the priority of Pagan thought is the destruction of
the supernatural claims of Christianity based on the same thought; that
cannot be supernatural after Christ which was natural before him, nor
that sent down from heaven which was already on earth as the product of
human reason. The Rev. Mr. Lake fairly says: "We have evidence--clear,
conclusive, irrefutable evidence--as to what this doctrine really is. We
can trace its birth-place in the philosophic speculations of the ancient
world, we can note its gradual development and growth, we can see it in
its early youth passing (through Philo and others) from Grecian
philosophy into the current of Jewish thought; then, after resting
awhile in the Judaism of the period of the Christian era, we see it
slightly changing its character, as it passes through Gamaliel,
Paul--the writers of the Fourth Gospel and of the Epistle to the
Hebrews--through Justin Martyr and Tertullian, into the stream of early
Christian thought, and now from a sublime philosophical speculation it
becomes dwarfed and corrupted into a church dogma, and finally gets
hardened as a frozen mass of absurdity, stupidity, and blasphemy, in the
Nicene and Athanasian creeds" ("Philo, Plato, and Paul," pp. 71, 72).

The idea of IMMORTALITY was by no means "brought to light" by Christ, as
is pretended. The early Jews had clearly no idea of life after death;
"for in death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who shall
give thee thanks?" (Ps. vi. 5). "Like the slain that lie in the grave,
whom thou rememberest no more.... Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy lovingkindness be
declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy
wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of
forgetfulness?" (Ps. lxxxviii. 5, 10-12). "The dead praise not the Lord"
(Ps. cxv. 17). "I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons
of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they
themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men
befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so
dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that man hath no
pre-eminence above a beast" (Eccles. iii. 18, 19). "There is no work,
nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave" (Ibid, ix. 10).
"The grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go
down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he
shall praise thee" (Is. xxxviii. 18, 19). In strict accordance with this
belief, that death was the end of man, the pre-captivity Jews regarded
wealth, strength, prosperity, and all earthly blessings, as the reward
of virtue. After the captivity they change their tone; in the
post-Babylonian Psalms life after death is distinctly spoken of: "My
flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell"
(Ps. xvi. 9, 10); together with other passages. In the apocryphal Jewish
Scriptures the belief in immortality appears over and over again.

To say that Jesus "brought life and immortality to light through the
Gospel," even to the Jews, is to contend for a position against all
evidence. If from the Jews we turn to the Pagan thinkers, immortality is
proclaimed by them long before the Jews have dreamed about it. The
Egyptians, in their funeral ritual, went through the judgment of the
soul before Osiris: "The resurrection of the dead to a second life had
been a deep-rooted religious opinion among the Egyptians from the
earliest times" ("Egyptian Mythology," Sharpe, p. 52), and they appear to
have believed in a transmigration of souls through the lower animals,
and an ultimate return to the original body; to this end they preserved
the body as a mummy, so that the soul, on its return, might find its
original habitation still in existence: any who believe in the
resurrection of the body should clearly follow the example of the
ancient Egyptians. In later times, the more instructed Egyptians
believed in a spiritual resurrection only, but the mass of the people
clung to the idea of a bodily resurrection (Ibid, p. 54). "It is to the
later times of Egyptian history, perhaps to the five centuries
immediately before the Christian era, that the religious opinions
contained in the funeral papyri chiefly belong. The roll of papyrus
buried with the mummy often describes the funeral, and then goes on to
the return of the soul to the body, the resurrection, the various trials
and difficulties which the deceased will meet and overcome in the next
world, and the garden of paradise in which he awaits the day of
judgment, the trial on that day, and it then shows the punishment which
would have awaited him if he had been found guilty" (Ibid, p. 64). We
have already seen that the immortality of the soul was taught by Plato
(ante, p. 364). The Hindus taught that happiness or misery hereafter
depended upon the life here. "If duty is performed, a good name will be
obtained, as well as happiness, here and after death" ("Mahabharata,"
xii., 6,538, in "Religious and Moral Sentiments from Indian Writers," by
J. Muir, p. 22). The "Mahabharata" was written, or rather collected, in
the second century before Christ. "Poor King Rantideva bestowed water
with a pure mind, and thence ascended to heaven.... King Nriga gave
thousands of largesses of cows to Brahmans; but because he gave away one
belonging to another person, he went to hell" (Ibid, xiv. 2,787 and
2,789. Muir, pp, 31, 32). "Let us now examine into the theology of
India, as reported by Megasthenes, about B.C. 300 (Cory's 'Ancient
Fragments,' p. 226, _et seq_.). 'They, the Brahmins, regard the present
life merely as the conception of persons presently to be born, and death
as the birth into a life of reality and happiness, to those who rightly
philosophise: upon this account they are studiously careful in preparing
for death'" (Inman's "Ancient Faiths," vol. ii., p. 820). Zoroaster
(B.C. 1,200, or possibly 2,000) taught: "The soul, being a bright fire,
by the power of the Father remains immortal, and is the mistress of
life" (Ibid, p. 821). "The Indians were believers in the immortality of
the soul, and conscious future existence. They taught that immediately
after death the souls of men, both good and bad, proceed together along
an appointed path to the bridge of the gatherer, a narrow path to
heaven, over which the souls of the pious alone could pass, whilst the
wicked fall from it into the gulf below; that the prayers of his living
friends are of much value to the dead, and greatly help him on his
journey. As his soul enters the abode of bliss, it is greeted with the
word, 'How happy art thou, who hast come here to us, mortality to
immortality!' Then the pious soul goes joyfully onward to Ahura-Mazdao,
to the immortal saints, the golden throne, and Paradise" (Ibid, p. 834).
From these notions the writer of the story of Jesus drew his idea of the
"narrow way" that led to heaven, and of the "strait gate" through which
many would be unable to pass. Cicero (bk. vi. "Commonwealth," quoted by
Inman) says: "Be assured that, for all those who have in any way
conducted to the preservation, defence, and enlargement of their native
country, there is a certain place in heaven, where they shall enjoy an
eternity and happiness." It is needless to further multiply quotations
in order to show that our latest development of these Eastern creeds
only reiterated the teaching of the earlier phases of religious thought.

"But, at least," urge the Christians, "we owe the sublime idea of the
UNITY OF GOD to revelation, and this is grander than the Polytheism of
the Pagan world." Is it not, however, true, that just as Christians urge
that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are but one God, so the thinkers
of old believed in one Supreme Being, while the multitudinous gods were
but as the angels and saints of Christianity, his messengers, his
subordinates, not his rivals? All savages are Polytheists, just as were
the Hebrews, whose god "Jehovah" was but their special god, stronger
than the gods of the nations around them, gods whose existence they
never denied; but as thought grew, the superior minds in each nation
rose over the multitude of deities to the idea of one Supreme Being
working in many ways, and the loftiest flights of the "prophets" of the
Jewish Scriptures may be paralleled by those of the sages of other
creeds. Zoroaster taught that "God is the first, indestructible,
eternal, unbegotten, indivisible, dissimilar" ("Ancient Fragments,"
Cory, p. 239, quoted by Inman). In the Sabaean Litany (two extracts only
of this ancient work are preserved by El Wardi, the great Arabic
historian) we read: "Thou art the Eternal One, in whom all order is
centred.... Thou dost embrace all things. Thou art the Infinite and
Incomprehensible, who standest alone" ("Sacred Anthology," by M.D.
Conway, pp. 74, 75). "There is only one Deity, the great soul. He is
called the Sun, for he is the soul of all beings. That which is One, the
wise call it in divers manners. Wise poets, by words, make the
beautiful-winged manifold, though he is One" ("Rig-Veda," B.C. 1500,
from "Anthology," p.76). "The Divine Mind alone is the whole assemblage
of the gods.... He (the Brahmin) may contemplate castle, air, fire,
water, the subtile ether, in his own body and organs; in his heart, the
Star; in his motion, Vishnu; in his vigour, Hara; in his speech, Agni;
in digestion, Mitra; in production, Brahma; but he must consider the
supreme Omnipresent Reason as sovereign of them all" ("Manu," about B.C.
1200; his code collected about B.C. 300; from "Anthology," p. 81). On an
ancient stone at Bonddha Gaya is a Sanscrit inscription to Buddha, in
which we find: "Reverence be unto thee, an incarnation of the Deity and
the Eternal One. OM! [the mysterious name of God, equivalent to pure
existence, or the Jewish Jhvh] the possessor of all things in vital
form! Thou art Brahma, Veeshnoo, and Mahesa!... I adore thee, who art
celebrated by a thousand names, and under various forms" ("Asiatic
Researches," Essay xi., by Mr. Wilmot; vol. i., p. 285). Plato's
teaching is, "that there is but one God" (ante, p. 364), and wherever we
search, we find that the more thoughtful proclaimed the unity of the
Deity. This doctrine must, then, go the way of the rest, and it must be
acknowledged that the boasted revelation is, once more, but the
speculation of man's unassisted reason.

Turning from these cardinal doctrines to the minor dogmas and ceremonies
of Christianity, we shall still discover it to be nothing but a survival
of Paganism.

BAPTISM seems to have been practised as a religious rite in all solar
creeds, and has naturally, therefore, found its due place in the latest
solar faith. "The idea of using water as emblematic of spiritual
washing, is too obvious to allow surprise at the antiquity of this rite.
Dr. Hyde, in his treatise on the 'Religion of the Ancient Persians,'
xxxiv. 406, tells us that it prevailed among that people. 'They do not
use circumcision for their children, but only baptism or washing for the
inward purification of the soul. They bring the child to the priest into
the church, and place him in front of the sun and fire, which ceremony
being completed, they look upon him as more sacred than before. Lord
says that they bring the water for this purpose in bark of the
Holm-tree; that tree is in truth the Haum of the Magi, of which we spoke
before on another occasion. Sometimes also it is otherwise done by
immersing him in a large vessel of water, as Tavernier tells us. After
such washing, or baptism, the priest imposes on the child the name given
by his parents'" ("Christian Records," Rev. Dr. Giles, p. 129).

"The Baptismal fonts in our Protestant churches, and we can hardly say
more especially the little cisterns at the entrance of our Catholic
chapels, are not imitations, but an unbroken and never interrupted
continuation of the same _aquaminaria_, or _amula_, which the learned
Montfaucon, in his 'Antiquities,' shows to have been _vases of holy
water, which were placed by the heathens at the entrance of their
temples, to sprinkle themselves with upon entering those sacred
edifices_" ("Diegesis," R. Taylor, p. 219). Among the Hindus, to bathe
in the Ganges is to be regenerated, and the water is holy because it
flows from Brahma's feet. Tertullian, arguing that water, as being God's
earliest and most favoured creation, and brooded over by the
spirit--Vishnu also is called Narayan, "moving on the waters"--was
sanctifying in its nature, says: "'Well, but the nations, who are
strangers to all understanding of spiritual powers, ascribe to their
idols the imbuing of waters with the self-same efficacy.' So they do,
but these cheat themselves with waters which are widowed. For washing is
the channel through which they are initiated into some sacred rites of
some notorious Isis or Mithra; and the gods themselves likewise they
honour by washings.... At the Appollinarian and Eleusinian games they
are baptised; and they presume that the effect of their doing that is
the regeneration, and the remission of the penalties due to their
perjuries.... Which fact, being acknowledged, we recognise here also the
zeal of the devil rivalling the things of God, while we find him, too,
practising baptism in his subjects" ("On Baptism," chap. v.). As "the
devil" did it first, it seems scarcely fair to accuse _him_ of copying.

Closely allied to baptism is the idea of regeneration, being born again.
In baptism the purification is wrought by the male deity, typified in
the water flowing from the throne or the feet of the god. In
regeneration without water the purification is wrought by the female
deity. The earth is the mother of all, and "as at birth the new being
emerges from the mother, so it was supposed that emergence from a
terrestrial cleft was equivalent to a new birth" (Inman's "Ancient
Faiths," vol. i., p. 415; ed. 1868). Hence the custom of squeezing
through a hole in a rock, or passing through a perforated stone, or
between and under stones set up for the purpose; a natural cleft in a
rock or in the earth was considered as specially holy, and to some of
these long pilgrimages are still made in Eastern lands. On emerging from
the hole, the devotee is re-born, and the sins of the past are no longer
counted against him.

CONFIRMATION was also a rite employed by the ancient Persians.
"Afterwards, in the fifteenth year of his age, when he begins to put on
the tunic, the sudra and the girdle, that he may enter upon religion,
and is engaged upon the articles of belief, the priest bestows upon him
confirmation, that he may from that time be admitted into the number of
the faithful, and may be looked upon as a believer himself" (Dr. Hyde on
"Religion of the Ancient Persians," tr. by Dr. Giles in "Christian
Records," pp. 129, 130).

LORD'S SUPPER.--Bread and wine appear to have been a regular offering to
the Sun-god, whose beams ripen the corn and the grape, and who may
indeed, by a figure, be said to be transubstantiated thus for the food
of man. The Persians offered bread and wine to Mithra; the people of
Thibet and Tartary did the same. Cakes were made for the Queen of
heaven, kneaded of dough, and were offered up to her with incense and
drink-libations (Jer. vii. 18, and xliv. 19). Ishtar was worshipped with
cakes, or buns, made out of the finest flour, mingled with honey, and
the ancient Greeks offered the same: this bread seems to have been
sometimes only offered to the deity, sometimes also eaten by the
worshippers; in the same way the bread and the wine are offered to God
in the Eucharist, and he is prayed to accept "our alms _and oblations_."
The Easter Cakes presented by the clergyman to his parishioners--an old
English custom, now rarely met with--are the cakes of Ishtar, oval in
form, symbolising the yoni. We have already dealt fully with the
apparent similarity between the Christian Agapae, and the Bacchanalian
mysteries (ante, pp. 222-227). The supper of Adoneus, Adonai, literally,
the "supper of the Lord," formed part of these feasts, identical in name
with the supper of the Christian mysteries. The Eleusinian mysteries,
celebrated at Eleusis, in honour of Ceres, goddess of corn, and Bacchus,
god of wine, compel us to think of bread and wine, the very substance of
the gods, as it were, there adored. And Mosheim gives us the origin of
many of the Christian eucharistic ceremonies. He writes: "The profound
respect that was paid to the Greek and Roman mysteries, and the
extraordinary sanctity that was attributed to them, was a further
circumstance that induced the Christians to give their religion a mystic
air, in order to put it upon an equal foot, in point of dignity, with
that of the Pagans. For this purpose they gave the name of mysteries to
the institutions of the gospel, and decorated particularly the holy
Sacrament with that solemn title. They used in that sacred institution,
as also in that of baptism, several of the terms employed in the heathen
mysteries; and proceeded so far, at length, as even to adopt some of the
rites and ceremonies of which these renowned mysteries consisted. This
imitation began in the Eastern provinces; but after the time of Adrian,
who first introduced the mysteries among the Latins, it was followed by
the Christians, who dwelt in the Western parts of the Empire. A great
part, therefore, of the service of the church, in this century [A.D.
100-200], had a certain air of the heathen mysteries, and resembled them
considerably in many particulars" ("Eccles. Hist.," 2nd century, p. 56).

The whole system of THE PRIESTHOOD was transplanted into Christianity
from Paganism; the Egyptian priesthood, however, was in great part
hereditary, and in this differs from the Christian, while resembling the
Jewish. The priests of the temple of Dea (Syria) were, on the other
hand, celibate, and so were some orders of the Egyptian priests. Some
classes of priests closely resembled Christian monks, living in
monasteries, and undergoing many austerities; they prayed twice a day,
fasted often, spoke little, and lived much apart in their cells in
solitary meditation; in the most insignificant matters the same
similarity may be traced. "When the Roman Catholic priest shaves the top
of his head, it is because the Egyptian priest had done the same before.
When the English clergyman--though he preaches his sermon in a silk or
woollen robe--may read the Liturgy in no dress but linen, it is because
linen was the clothing of the Egyptians. Two thousand years before the
Bishop of Rome pretended to hold the keys of heaven and earth, there was
an Egyptian priest with the high-sounding title of Appointed keeper of
the two doors of heaven, in the city of Thebes" ("Egyptian Mythology,"
S. Sharpe, preface, p. xi.). The white robes of modern priests are
remnants of the same old faith; the more gorgeous vestments are the
ancient garb of the priests officiating in the temple of female deities;
the stole is the characteristic of woman's dress; the pallium is the
emblem of the yoni; the alb is the chemise; the oval or circular
chasuble is again the yoni; the Christian mitre is the high cap of the
Egyptian priests, and its peculiar shape is simply the open mouth of the
fish, the female emblem. In old sculptures a fish's head, with open
mouth pointing upwards, is often worn by the priests, and is scarcely
distinguishable from the present mitre. The modern crozier is the hooked
staff, emblem of the phallus; the oval frame for divine things is the
female symbol once more. Thus holy medals are generally oval, and the
Virgin is constantly represented in an oval frame, with the child in her
arms. In some old missals, in representations of the Annunciation, we
see the Virgin standing, with the dove hovering in front above her, and
from the dove issues a beam of light, from the end of which, as it
touches her stomach, depends an oval containing the infant Jesus.

The tinkling bell--used at the Mass at the moment of consecration--is
the symbol of male and female together--the clapper, the male, within
the hollow shell, the female--and was used in solar services at the
moment of sacrifice. The position of the fingers of the priest in
blessing the congregation is the old symbolical position of the fingers
of the solar priest. The Latin form, with the two fingers and thumb
upraised--copied in Anglican churches--is said rightly by ecclesiastical
writers to represent the trinity; but the trinity it represents is the
real human trinity: the more elaborate Greek form is intended to
represent the cross as well. The decoration of the cross with flowers,
specially at Easter-tide, was practised in the solar temples, and there
the phallus, upright on the altar, was garlanded with spring blossoms,
and was adored as the "Lord and Giver of Life, proceeding from the
Father," and indeed one with him, his very self. The sacred books of the
Egyptians were written by the god Thoth, just as the sacred books of the
Christians were written by the god the Holy Ghost. The rosary and cross
were used by Buddhists in Thibet and Tartary. The head of the religion
in those countries, the Grand Llama, is elected by the priests of a
certain rank, as the Pope by his Cardinals. The faithful observe fasts,
offer sacrifice for the dead, practise confession, use holy water,
honour relics, make processions; they have monasteries and convents,
whose inmates take vows of poverty and chastity; they flagellate
themselves, have priests and bishops--in fact, they carry out the whole
system of Catholicism, and have done so, since centuries before Christ,
so that a Roman Catholic priest, on his first mission among them,
exclaimed that the Devil had invented an imitation of Christianity in
order to deceive and ruin men. As with baptism, the imitation is older
than the original!

"The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other
nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for
fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations, by
Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God. [This is
the way a Christian writer accounts for the resemblance his candour
forces him to confess; we should put it, that Christianity, growing out
of Paganism, naturally preserved many of its customs.].... Hence it
happened that in these times the religion of the Greeks and Romans
differed very little in its external appearance from that of the
Christians. They had both a most pompous and splendid ritual. Gorgeous
robes, mitres, tiaras, wax-tapers, crosiers, processions, lustrations,
images, gold and silver vases, and many such circumstances of pageantry,
were equally to be seen in the heathen temples and the Christian
churches" (Mosheim's "Eccles. Hist.," fourth century, p. 105). Says
Dulaure: "These two Fathers [Justin and Tertullian] are in no fashion
embarrassed by this astonishing resemblance; they both say that the
devil, knowing beforehand of the establishment of Christianity, and of
the ceremonies of this religion, inspired the Pagans to do the same, so
as to rival God and injure Christian worship" ("Histoire Abregee de
Differens Cultes," t. i., p. 522; ed. 1825).

The idea of _angels and devils_ has also spread from the far East; the
Jews learned it from the Babylonians, and from the Jews and the
Egyptians it passed into Christianity. The Persian theology had seven
angels of the highest order, who ever surrounded Ormuzd, the good
creator; and from this the Jews derived the seven archangels always
before the Lord, and the Christians the "seven spirits of God" (Rev.
iii. 1), and the "seven angels which stood before God" (Ibid, viii. 2).
The Persians had four angels--one at each corner of the world;
Revelation has "four angels standing on the four corners of the earth"
(vii. 1). The Persians employed them as Mediators with the Supreme; the
majority of Christians now do the same, and all Christians did so in
earlier times. Origen, Tertullian, Chrysostom, and other Fathers, speak
of angels as ruling the earth, the planets, etc. Michael is the angel of
the Sun, as was Hercules, and he fights with and conquers the dragon, as
Hercules the Python, Horus the monster Typhon, Krishna the serpent. The
Persians believed in devils as well as in angels, and they also had
their chief, Ahriman, the pattern of Satan. These devils--or dews, or
devs--struggled against the good, and in the end would be destroyed, and
Ahriman would be chained down in the abyss, as Satan in Rev. xx. Ahriman
flew down to earth from heaven as a great dragon (Rev. xii. 3 and 9),
the angels arming themselves against him (Ibid, verse 7). Strauss
remarks: "Had the belief in celestial beings, occupying a particular
station in the court of heaven, and distinguished by particular names,
originated from the revealed religion of the Hebrews--had such a belief
been established by Moses, or some later prophet--then, according to the
views of the supranaturalist, they might--nay, they must--be admitted to
be correct. But it is in the Maccabaean Daniel and in the apocryphal
Tobit that this doctrine of angels, in its more precise form, first
appears; and it is evidently a product of the influence of the Zend
religion of the Persians on the Jewish mind. We have the testimony of
the Jews themselves that they brought the names of the angels with them
from Babylon" ("Life of Jesus," vol. i., p. 101).

Dr. Kalisch, after having remarked that "the notions [of the Jews]
concerning angels fluctuated and changed," says that "at an early
period, the belief in spirits was introduced into Palestine from eastern
Asia through the ordinary channels of political and commercial
interchange," and that to the Hebrew "notions heathen mythology offers
striking analogies;" "it would be unwarranted," the learned doctor goes
on, "to distinguish between the 'established belief of the Hebrews' and
'popular superstition;' we have no means of fixing the boundary line
between both; we must consider the one to coincide with the other, or we
should be obliged to renounce all historical inquiry. The belief in
spirits and demons was not a concession made by educated men to the
prejudices of the masses, but a concession which all--the educated as
well as the uneducated--made to Pagan Polytheism" ("Historical and
Critical Commentary on the Old Testament." Leviticus, part ii., pp.
284-287. Ed. 1872). "When the Jews, ever open to foreign influence in
matters of faith, lived under Persian rule, they imbibed, among many
other religious views of their masters, especially their doctrines of
angels and spirits, which, in the region of the Euphrates and Tigris,
were most luxuriantly developed." Some of the angels are now
"distinguished by names, which the Jews themselves admit to have
borrowed from their heathen rulers;" "their chief is Mithron, or
Metatron, corresponding to the Persian Mithra, the mediator between
eternal light and eternal darkness; he is the embodiment of divine
omnipotence and omnipresence, the guardian of the world, the instructor
of Moses, and the preserver of the law, but also a terrible avenger of
disobedience and wickedness, especially in his capacity of Supreme Judge
of the dead" (Ibid, pp. 287, 288). This is "the angel of the Lord" who
went before the children of Israel, of whom God said "my name is in him"
(see Ex. xxiii. 20-23), and who is identified by many Christian
commentators as the second person in the Trinity. The belief in devils
is the other side of the belief in angels, and "we see, above all, Satan
rise to greater and more perilous eminence both with regard to his power
and the diversity of his functions." "This remarkable advance in
demonology cannot be surprising, if we consider that the Persian system
known as that of Zoroaster, and centering in the dualism of a good and
evil principle, flourished most and attained its fullest development,
just about the time of the Babylonian exile" (Ibid, pp. 292, 293). The
Persian creed supplies us, as Dr. Kalisch has well said, with "the
sources from which the demonology of the Talmud, the Fathers and the
Catholic Church has been derived" (Ibid, p. 318).

The whole ideas of the _judgment of the dead_, the _destruction of the
world by fire_, and the _punishment of the wicked_, are also purely
Pagan. Justin Martyr says truly that as Minos and Rhadamanthus would
punish the wicked, "we say that the same thing will be done, but by the
hand of Christ" ("Apology" 1, chap. viii). "While we say that there will
be a burning up of all, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of the
Stoics; and while we affirm that the souls of the wicked, being endowed
with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those of the
good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence, we shall
seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers" (Ibid, chap.
xx). In the Egyptian creed Osiris is generally the Judge of the dead,
though sometimes Horus is represented in that character; the dead man is
accused before the Judge by Typhon, the evil one, as Satan is the
"accuser of the brethren;" forty-two assessors declare the innocence of
the accused of the crimes they severally note; the recording angel
writes down the judgment; the soul is interceded for by the lesser gods,
who offer themselves as an atoning sacrifice (see Sharpe's "Egyptian
Mythology," pp. 49-52). A pit, or lake of fire, is the doom of the
condemned. The good pass to Paradise, where is the tree of life: the
fruit of this tree confers health and immortality. In the Persian
mythology the tree of life is planted by the stream that flows from the
throne of Ormuzd (Rev. xxii. i and 2). The Hindu creed has the same
story, and it is also found among the Chinese.

The monastic life comes to us from India and from Egypt; in both
countries solitaries and communities are found. Bartholemy St. Hilaire,
in his book on Buddha, gives an account of the Buddhist monasteries
which is worthy perusal. From Egypt the contagion of asceticism spread
over Christendom. "From Philo also we learn that a large body of
Egyptian Jews had embraced the monastic rules and the life of
self-denial, which we have already noted among the Egyptian priests.
They bore the name of Therapeuts. They spent their time in solitary
meditation and prayer, and only saw one another on the seventh day. They
did not marry; the women lived the same solitary and religious life as
the men. Fasting and mortification of the flesh were the foundation of
their virtues" ("Egyptian Mythology," S. Sharpe, p. 79). In these
Egyptian deserts grew up those wild and bigoted fanatics--some Jews,
some Pagans, and apparently no difference between them--who, appearing
later under the name of Christians, formed the original of the Western
monasticism. It was these monks who tore Hypatia to pieces in the great
church of Alexandria, and who formed the strength of "that savage and
illiterate party, who looked upon all sorts of erudition, particularly
that of a philosophical kind, as pernicious, and even destructive to
true piety and religion" (Mosheim's "Eccles. Hist," p. 93). There can be
no doubt of the identity of the Christians and the Therapeuts, and this
identity is the real key to the spread of "Christianity" in Egypt and
the surrounding countries. Eusebius tells us that Mark was said to be
the first who preached the Gospel in Egypt, and "so great a multitude of
believers, both of men and women, were collected there at the very
outset, that in consequence of their extreme philosophical discipline
and austerity, Philo has considered their pursuits, their assemblies,
and entertainments, as deserving a place in his descriptions" ("Eccles.
Hist," bk. ii., chap. xvi). We will see what Philo found in Egypt,
before remarking on the date at which he lived. Eusebius states (we
condense bk. ii., chap. xvii) that Philo "comprehends the regulations
that are still observed in our churches even to the present time;" that
he "describes, with the greatest accuracy, the lives of our ascetics;"
these Therapeuts, stated by Eusebius to be Christians, were "everywhere
scattered over the world," but they abound "in Egypt, in each of its
districts, and particularly about Alexandria." In every house one room
was set aside for worship, reading, and meditation, and here they kept
the "inspired declarations of the prophets, and hymns," they had also
"commentaries of ancient men," who were "the founders of the sect;" "it
is highly probable that the ancient commentaries which he says they
have, are the very Gospels and writings of the apostles;" Eusebius
thinks that none can "be so hardy as to contradict his statement that
these Therapeuts were Christians, when their practices are to be found
among none but in the religion of Christians;" and "why should we add to
these their meetings, and the separate abodes of the men and the women
in these meetings, and the exercises performed by them, which are still
in vogue among us at the present day, and which, especially at the
festival of our Saviour's passion, we are accustomed to pass in fasting
and watching, and in the study of the divine word? All these the
above-mentioned author has accurately described and stated in his
writings, and are the same customs that are observed by us alone, at the
present day, particularly the vigils of the great festival, and the
exercises in them, and the hymns that are commonly recited among us....
Besides this, he describes the grades of dignity among those who
administer the ecclesiastical services committed to them, those of the
deacons, and the presidencies of the episcopate as the highest." Thus
Philo wrote of "the original practices handed down from the apostles."
The important points to notice here are: that in the time of Philo,
these Christians were scattered all over the world; that the
commentaries they had, which Eusebius says were the Christian's gospels,
were the works of _ancient_ men, who founded the sect, so that the
founders were men who lived long before Philo's time; that they were
thoroughly organised, proving thereby that their sect was not a new one
in his day; that the "discipline," organised association, ranks of
priests, etc., implied a long existence of the sect before Philo studied
it, and that such existence was clearly not consistent with any
persecution being then directed against it. Philo writes of flourishing
and orderly communities, founded by men who had long since passed away,
and had bequeathed their writings to their followers for their
instruction and guidance. And what was the date of Philo? He himself
gives us a clear note of time; in A.D. 40 he was sent on an embassy to
the Emperor Caligula at Rome, to complain of a persecution to which the
Jews were being subjected by Flaccus; he describes himself as being, in
A.D. 40, "a grey-headed old man." The Rev. J.W. Lake puts him at
sixty-five or seventy years of age at that period, and consequently
would place his birth twenty-five or thirty years before the birth of
Jesus ("Plato, Philo, and Paul," by Rev. J.W. Lake, pp. 33, 34).
Gibbon, in a note to chap. 15, vol. ii. (p. 180), says that "by proving
it (the treatise on the Therapeuts) was composed as early as the time of
Augustus, Basnage has demonstrated, in spite of Eusebius, and a crowd of
modern Catholics, that the Therapeuts were neither Christians nor
monks." Or rather, he has proved that Christians existed before the time
of Christ, since Augustus died A.D. 14, and before that date Philo found
a long-established sect holding Christian doctrines and practising
"apostolic" customs. A man, who in A.D. 40 was grey-headed, spoke of the
Christian Gospels as writings of ancient men, founders of a
well-organised sect. Now we see why Christianity has so much in common
with the Egyptian mythology. Because it grew out of Egypt; its Gospels
came from thence; its ceremonies were learned there; its virgin is Isis;
its Christ Osiris and Horus; the mask of the revelation of God drops
from off it, and we see the true face, the ancient Egyptian religion,
with a feature here and there moulded by the cognate ideas of other
Eastern creeds, all of which flowed into Alexandria, and mingled in its
seething cauldron of thought.

There is also a Jewish sect which we must not overlook, in dealing with
the sources of Christianity, that, namely, known as the Essenes. Gibbon
regards the Therapeuts and the Essenes as interchangeable terms, but
more careful investigation does not bear out this conclusion, although
the two sects strongly resemble each other, and have many doctrines in
common; he says, however, truly: "The austere life of the Essenians,
their fasts and excommunications, the community of goods, the love of
celibacy, their zeal for martyrdom, and the warmth, though not the
purity of their faith, already offered a lively image of the primitive
discipline" ("Decline and Fall," vol. ii., ch. xv., p. 180). It is to
Josephus that we must turn for an account of the Essenes; a brief sketch
of them is given in Antiquities of the Jews, bk. xviii., chap. i. He
says: "The doctrine of the Essenes is this: That all things are best
ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that
the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for; and when
they send what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not
offer sacrifices, because they have more pure lustrations of their own;
on which account they are excluded from the common court of the temple,
but offer their sacrifices themselves; yet is their course of life
better than that of other men; and they entirely addict themselves to
husbandry." They had all things in common, did not marry and kept no
servants, thus none called any master (Matt. xxiii. 8, 10). In the "Wars
of the Jews," bk. ii., chap, viii., Josephus gives us a fuller account.
"There are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers of
the first of whom are the Pharisees; of the second the Sadducees; and
the third sect who pretends to a severer discipline are called Essenes.
These last are Jews by birth, and seem to have a greater affection for
one another than the other sects [John xiii. 35]. These Essenes reject
pleasures as an evil [Matt. xvi. 24], but esteem continence and the
conquest over our passions to be virtue. They neglect wedlock.... They
do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage [Matt. xix. 12, last
clause of verse, 1 Cor. vii. 27, 28, 32-35, 37, 38, 40].... These men
are despisers of riches [Matt. xix. 21, 23, 24] ... it is a law among
them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to
the whole order [Acts iv. 32-37, v. 1-11].... They also have stewards
appointed to take care of their common affairs [Acts vi. 1-6].... If any
of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open for them,
just as if it were their own [Matt. x. 11].... For which reason they
carry nothing with them when they travel into remote parts [Matt. x. 9,
10].... As for their piety towards God, it is very extraordinary; for
before sunrising they speak not a word about profane matters, but put up
certain prayers which they have received from their forefathers, as if
they made a supplication for its rising [the Essenes were then
sun-worshippers].... A priest says grace before meat; and it is unlawful
for anyone to taste of the food before grace be said. The same priest,
when he hath dined, says grace again after meat; and when they begin,
and when they end, they praise God, as he that bestows their food upon
them [Eph. v. 18-20. 1 Cor. x. 30, 31. 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5].... They
dispense their anger after a just manner, and restrain their passion
[Eph. iv. 26].... Whatsoever they say also is firmer than an oath; but
swearing is avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury; for
they say, that he who cannot be believed without swearing by God, is
already condemned [Matt. v. 34-37]." We insert these references into the
account given by Josephus of the Essenes, in order to show the identity
of teaching of the Gospels and the Essenes. The Essenes excommunicated
those who sinned grievously; each promised, on entrance to the society,
to exercise piety, observe justice, do no harm to any, show fidelity to
all, and especially to those in authority, love truth, reprove lying,
keep his hands clear from theft, and his soul from unlawful gains. The
resemblance between the Essenes and the early Christians is on many
points so strong that it is impossible to deny that the two are
connected; if Jesus of Nazareth had any historical existence, he must
have been one of the sect of the Essenes, who publicly preached many of
their doctrines, and endeavoured to popularise them. We are thus led to
conclude that the Jewish side of Christianity is simply Essenian, but
that the major part of the religion is purely Pagan, and that its rise
under the name of Christianity must be sought for in Alexandria rather
than in Judaea.

The saints who play so great a part in the history of Christianity are,
solely and simply, the old Pagan deities under new names. The ancient
creeds were intertwined with the daily life of the people, and passed
on, practically unchanged, although altered in name. "Ancient errors, in
spite of the progress of knowledge, were respected. Civilisation, as it
grew, only refined them, embellished them, or hid them under an
allegorical veil" ("Histoire Abregee de Differens Cultes," Dulaure, t.
i., p. 20). "A remarkable passage in the life of Gregory, surnamed
Thaumaturgus, i.e., the wonder-worker, will illustrate this point in the
clearest manner. This passage is as follows [here it is given in Latin]:
'When Gregory perceived that the ignorant multitude persisted in their
idolatry, on account of the pleasures and sensual gratifications which
they enjoyed at the Pagan festivals, he granted them a permission to
indulge themselves in the like pleasures, in celebrating the memory of
the holy martyrs, hoping that, in process of time they would return, of
their own accord, to a more virtuous and regular course of life.' There
is no sort of doubt that, by this permission, Gregory allowed the
Christians to dance, sport, and feast at the tombs of the martyrs upon
their respective festivals, and to do everything which the Pagans were
accustomed to do in their temples, during the feasts celebrated in
honour of their gods" (Mosheim's "Eccles. Hist.," 2nd century; note, p.
56). "The virtues that had formerly been ascribed to the heathen
temples, to their lustrations, to the statues of their gods and heroes,
were now attributed to Christian churches, to water consecrated by
certain forms of prayer, and to the images of holy men. And the same
privileges that the former enjoyed under the darkness of Paganism, were
conferred upon the latter under the light of the Gospel, or, rather,
under that cloud of superstition that was obscuring its glory. It is
true that, as yet, images were not very common [of this there is no
proof]; nor were there any statues at all [equally unproven]. But it is,
at the same time, as undoubtedly certain, as it is extravagant and
monstrous, that the worship of the martyrs was modelled, by degrees,
according to the religious services that were paid to the gods before
the coming of Christ" (Ibid, 4th century; p. 98). The fact is, that
wherever there was a popular god, he passed into the pantheon of
Christendom under a new name, as "Christianity" spread. Dulaure, in his
work above-quoted, gives a mass of details--mostly very unsavoury--which
leave no doubt upon this point. The essence of the old worship was the
worship of Nature, as we have seen, and a favourite deity was Priapus;
this god was worshipped under the names of St. Fontin, St. Guerlichon,
or Greluchon, St. Remi, St. Gilles, St. Arnaud, SS. Cosmo and Damian,
etc., in the various provinces of France, Italy, and other Roman
Catholic lands; and his worship, with its distinctive rites of the most
indecent character, remained in practice up to, at least, 1740 in
France, and 1780 in Italy. (See throughout the above work.) If
Christians knew a little more about their creed they would be far less
proud of it, and far less devout, than they are at present.

Mr. Glennie, in a pamphlet reprinted from "In the Morning Land," points
out the resemblance between Christianity and "Osirianism," as he names
the religion of Osiris: "'The peculiar character of Osiris,' says Sir
Gardner Wilkinson, 'his coming upon earth for the benefit of mankind,
with the titles of "Manifester of Good" and "Revealer of Truth;" his
being put to death by the malice of the Evil One; his burial and
resurrection, and his becoming the judge of the dead, are the most
interesting features of the Egyptian religion. This was the great
mystery; and this myth and his worship were of the earliest times, and
universal in Egypt.' And, with this central doctrine of Osirianism, so
perfectly similar to that of Christianism, doctrines are associated
precisely analogous to those associated in Christianism with its central
doctrine. In ancient Osirianism, as in modern Christianism, the Godhead
is conceived as a Trinity, yet are the three Gods declared to be only
one God. In ancient Osirianism, as in modern Christianism, we find the
worship of a divine mother and child. In ancient Osirianism, as in
modern Christianism, there is a doctrine of atonement. In ancient
Osirianism, as in modern Christianism, we find the vision of a last
judgment, and resurrection of the body. And finally, in ancient
Osirianism, as in modern Christianism, the sanctions of morality are a
lake of fire and tormenting demons on the one hand, and on the other,
eternal life in the presence of God. Is it possible, then, that such
similarities of doctrines should not raise the most serious questions as
to the relation of the beliefs about Christ to those about Osiris; as to
the cause of this wonderful similarity of the doctrines of Christianism
to those of Osirianism; nay, as to the possibility of the whole
doctrinal system of modern orthodoxy being but a transformation of the
Osiris-myth?" ("Christ and Osiris," pp. 13, 14).

Thus we find that the cardinal doctrines and the ceremonies of
Christianity are of purely Pagan origin, and that "Christianity" was in
existence long ages before Christ. Christianity is only, as we have
said, a patchwork composed of old materials; from the later Jews comes
the Unity of God; from India and Egypt the Trinity in Unity; from India
and Egypt the crucified Redeemer; from India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome,
the virgin mother and the divine son; from Egypt its priests and its
ritual; from the Essenes and the Therapeuts its ascetism; from Persia,
India, and Egypt, its Sacraments; from Persia and Babylonia its angels
and its devils; from Alexandria the blending into one of many lines of
thought. There is nothing original in this creed, save its special
appeal to the ignorant and to babes; "not many wise men after the flesh"
are found among its adherents; it is an appeal to the darkness of the
world, not to its light: to superstition, not to knowledge; to faith,
not to reason. As its root is, so also are its fruits, and when--after
glancing at its morality--we turn to its history, we shall see that the
corrupt tree bears corrupt fruit, and that from the evil stem of a
thinly disguised Paganism spring forth the death-bringing branches of
the Upas-tree Christianity, stunting the growth of the young
civilisation of the West, and drugging, with its poisonous
dew-droppings, the Europe which lay beneath its shade, swoon-slumbering
in the death stupor of the Ages of Darkness and of Faith.

* * * * *


* * * * *


Cicero, Commonwealth, quoted by Inman...376
Cory, Ancient Fragments, quoted by Inman...377

Dulaure, Histoire Abregee de Differens Cultes...383, 390

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History...386

Gibbon, Decline and Fall...388
Glennie, In the Morning Land...391

Hyde, quoted by Giles...378, 379

Inman, Ancient Faiths...376, 379

Jones, Sir W., Asiatic Researches...356, 377
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews...364, 388
" Wars of the Jews...389
Justin Martyr, First Apology...385

Kalisch, Historical and Critical Commentary...384, 385
Keim, Jesus of Nazara...365

Lake, Plato, Philo, and Paul...363, 364, 367, 374, 388

Mahabharata, quoted by Muir...376
Manu, quoted in Anthology...377
Milman, History of Christianity, quoted by Lake...373
Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History...380, 382, 386, 390, 391

" summarised by Mdme. Dacier...364

Rig Veda, quoted in Anthology...377

Sabaean Litany, quoted in Anthology...377
Sharpe, Egyptian Mythology...360, 375, 381, 385, 386
Strauss, Life of Jesus...383

Taylor, Diegesis...359, 378
Tertullian, On Baptism...379

Zoroaster, quoted by Inman...376

* * * * *


Angels and devils...383



Devils and angels...383
Divinity of Christ...363



Judgment of the Dead...385

Logos, ideas of...364
Lord's Supper...379


Nature and Sun-worship the origin of creeds...355

Osirianism and Christianity...391

Philo, date of...367, 387
Plato's teaching...364

Saints, old gods...391
Symbols of male energy...356
" female energy...361
" both in present ceremonies...381


Union of male and female foundation of religion...355
Unity of God...377

Virgin and child...360

Zoroaster's teaching...362, 376


How much may fairly be included under the title "Christian Morality"?
Some of the more enlightened Christians would confine the term to the
morality of the New Testament, and would exclude the Hebrew code as
being the outcome of a barbarous age. But the Freethinker may fairly
contend that any moral rules taught by the Bible are part of Christian
morality. By the statute 9 and 10 William III, cap. 32, the "Holy
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament" are declared to be "of divine
authority," and there is no exclusion indicated of the Mosaic code; this
statute is binding on all British subjects educated as Christians, and
enacts penalties against those who infringe it. By Article VI. of the
Church of England, Holy Scripture is defined as "those canonical books
of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in
the Church," and a list is subjoined. In Article VII. we are instructed
that the "Commandments which are called moral" are to be obeyed, but
that the "civil precepts" of the Mosaic code ought not "of necessity to
be received in any commonwealth;" from which we may conclude that the
Church does not feel bound to enforce, as "of necessity," polygamy,
prostitution, murder of heretics, and slavery. She does not venture to
designate such precepts as immoral, but she does not feel bound in
conscience to enforce them, for which small concession we must feel
grateful. Passing from the law of the land to the Bible itself, we find
that the Mosaic code must certainly be recognised as divine. Jesus
himself proclaims: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the
prophets, I am not come to destroy but to fulfil," and this is
emphasised by the declaration: "Whosoever, therefore, shall break _one
of these least_ commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called
least in the kingdom of heaven." The Broad Church party will be very
little, if this be true. Turning to the Old Testament, we find that some
of the most immoral precepts are spoken by God himself, immediately
after the "Ten Commandments;" surely that which "The Lord said" out of
"the thick darkness where God was," from the top of Sinai "on a smoke,
with the thunderings and lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet," can
scarcely be reverently designated as "the outcome of a barbarous age"?
Yet it is under these circumstances that God taught that a Hebrew
servant might be bought for seven years; that a wife might be given him
by his master, and that the wife and the children proceeding from the
union belonged to the master; that the servant could only go free by
deserting his wife and his own children and leaving them in slavery (Ex.
xxi. 1-6). It was under these circumstances that God taught that a man
might sell his daughter to be a "maid servant" (the translator's
euphemism for concubine), and that, "if she please not her master" she
may be bought back again, or if he "take him another" (translator
supplying "wife" as throwing an air of respectability over the
transaction) she may go free (Ibid. 7-11). It was under these
circumstances that God taught that if a man should beat a male or female
slave to death, he should not be punished, providing the slave did not
die till "a day or two" after, because the slave was only "his money"
(Ibid. 20, 21). Why blame a Legree, when he only acts on the permission
given by God from Mount Sinai? Dr. Colenso writes: "I shall never forget
the revulsion of feeling with which a very intelligent Christian native,
with whose help I was translating these words into the Zulu tongue,
first heard them as words said to be uttered by the same great and
gracious Being whom I was teaching him to trust in and adore. His whole
soul revolted against the notion, that the great and blessed God, the
merciful Father of all mankind, would speak of a servant, or maid, as
mere 'money,' and allow a horrible crime to go unpunished, because the
victim of the brutal usage had survived a few hours. My own heart and
conscience at the time fully sympathised with his" ("The Pentateuch and
Book of Joshua," p. 9, ed. 1862). It was under these circumstances that
God taught that a thief, who possessed nothing of his own, should "be
sold for his theft" (Ex. xxii. 3). It was under these circumstances that
God taught: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" (Ibid 18). To this
cruel and wicked command myriads of unfortunate human beings have been
sacrificed; in the course of the Middle Ages hundreds of thousands
perished; in France and Germany "many districts and large towns burned
two, three, and four hundred witches every year, in some the annual
executions destroyed nearly one per cent. of the whole population....
The Reformation, which swept away so many superstitions, left this, the
most odious of all, in full activity. The Churchmen of England, the
Lutherans of Germany, the Calvinists of Geneva, Scotland, and New
England rivalled the most bigoted Roman Catholics in their severities.
Indeed, the Calvinists, though the most opposite of all to the Church of
Rome, were in this respect perhaps the most implicit imitators of her
delusions" ("The Bible; What it is," by C. Bradlaugh, p. 262). "During
the seventeenth century, 40,000 persons are said to have been put to
death for witchcraft in England alone. In Scotland the number was
probably, in proportion to the population, much greater; for it is
certain that even in the last forty years of the sixteenth century the
executions were not fewer than 17,000" (Ibid, p. 263). The Puritans in
New England signalised themselves by their merciless severity towards
wizards and witches. France was the first country to stem the tide of
cruelty. In 1680 Louis XIV. "issued a proclamation prohibiting all
future prosecutions for witchcraft; and directing that even those who
might profess the art should only be punished as impostors." In England
"the last execution was at Huntingdon, in 1716;" in Scotland, at
Darnock, in 1722. The last person burned as a witch was Maria Sanger, at
Wurzburg, in Bavaria, 1749 (Ibid, p. 265). Such fruit has borne the
command of God from Sinai. It was under these circumstances that God
taught that any who sacrificed to any God but himself should be "utterly
destroyed" (Ex. xxii. 20). The practical effect of this we shall
presently see, in conjunction with other passages.

If we pass from these precepts, given with such special solemnity, to
the other articles of the so-called Mosaic code, we shall find rules of
an equally immoral character. Lev. xxiv. 16 commands that "he that
blasphemeth the name of the Lord" shall be stoned. Lev. xxv. 44-46
directs the Hebrews to buy bondmen and bondwomen of the nations around
them, "and ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after
you, to inherit them for a possession," thus sanctioning the
slave-traffic. Leviticus xxvii. 29 distinctly commands human sacrifice,
forbidding the redemption of any that are "devoted of men." Clear as the
words are, their meaning has been hotly contested, because of the stain
they affix on the Mosaic code. "[Hebrew: MOT VOMOT]" that he die. The
commentators take much trouble to soften this terrible sentence.
According to Raschi, it concerns a man condemned to death, in which case
he must not be redeemed for money. According to others, it is necessary
that the person shall be devoted by public authority, and not by private
vow; and the Talmud speaks of Jephthah as a fanatic for having thought
that a human being could serve as a victim, as a burnt-offering; but
there are too many facts which prove the existence and the execution of
this barbarous law; see, besides, the paraphrase of Ben Ouziel: [Hebrew:
KL APRShA TMVL DDYN QShVL MYTChYYB] "all anathema which shall be
anathematised of the human race cannot be redeemed neither by money, by
vows, nor by sacrifices, neither by prayers for mercy before God, since


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