(Volume I [867 pages], Volume II [525 pages])
VOLUME II - BOOK II - CHAPTER I
CHRISTIAN RELIGION NOT NEW—THE CARMELITES PYTHAGOREANS—PONTIFEX MAXIMUS—SEVEN SACRAMENTS. EUCHARIST—BAPTISM—CHRISTENING—CONFIRMATION—BAPTISM OF BELLS—ORDINATION—MARRIAGE—EXTREME UNCTION—PURGATORY—AURICULAR CONFESSION
I shall now proceed to complete the proof of the truth of the doctrine of Ammonius Saccas, by shewing that every part of the VULGAR Christian religion is the same as that of the vulgar religion of the Gentiles; that there is nothing new in the Roman Catholic religion; that, in short, it is Reformed or Protestant Gentilism.
… It is more than probable that every part has been copied from some former religion; that no part of what has been really the system of the Christian priests was invented originally for their use. To tradition it is indebted for every doctrine and rite which it possesses, though to fraudulent and dishonest practices it is chiefly indebted for their establishment. This will be said to be a severe and unjust sentence against the priests; but I am supported in my charge against them of systematic falsity and fraud, by some of our first divines—Burnet, Mosheim, &c. In the very early ages they not only practised it, but that they reduced it to system; (I allude to Origen's Œconomia;) the avowed it; and they justified it, by declaring it to be meritorious if in a good cause. I repeat, it was justified by the highest divines of the church—openly practised—I believe was never disavowed by any Pope, Council, or authorized body; and, as I have proved in this work, is continued by Archbishops to this day, who just practise as much fraud, as the improved state of the human will tolerate.
Now if we reflect upon the contents of the last book, and consider that all the esoteric doctrines of the Orientals and the tribe of Ioudi or Jews, and of Plato and the Heathens generally, were at the bottom the same; we shall not be surprised at finding the Lama of Rome adopting such of the forms and ceremonies of his Heathen predecessors as he thought consistent with its restoration to what was, in his opinion, its primeval purity—what he considered its corruptions being left out.
The Rev. Robert Taylor, in his Diegesis, has undertaken to shew what Protestants have maintained to be corruptions of Christianity were the origination of it : and that the early Christians were nothing but Egyptian Essenes or Monks, and that the Gospel histories were extracts or compilations from the secret writings of these persons. To support this assertion, he has given a translation of the sixteenth chapter of the second book of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, in which the early Christians are most clearly proved to have been the Monks called Essenes. That the Gospel histories are not originals, has been admitted by all divines I believe, who have, or who wish to have, any character for learning. Reasoning after the manner of the German divines—Semler, Lessing, Niemeyer, Halfeld, Eichhorn, Michaelis, &c.,—the learned Bishop Marsh has put this out of all doubt. … Their parishes, churches, bishops, priests, deacons, festivals, are all identically the same. … Long before Mr. Taylor wrote, I had written my opinion that the Essenes were not Christians, but that the Christians of the Pope were Essenes.* All the fine moral doctrines which are attributed to the Samaritan Nazarite, and I doubt not justly attributed to him, are to be found among the doctrines of these ascetics; but they are found unalloyed with the pernicious, demoralising nonsense, which St. Paul and some of the fathers of the Romish Church obtruded into their religion, and into what they were pleased to call, though to miscal his religion : and a great part, and the worst part of which, has been retained by Protestants. If the opinion be well founded, that their Scriptures were the originals of the Gospel histories, then it will follow almost certainly, that they must have been the same as the Samaneans or Gymnosophists of Porphyry and Clemens Alexandrinus, and their books, which they were bound by such solemn oaths to keep secret, must have been the Vedas of India; or some Indian books containing mythoses of Moses and Jesus Christ : and this opinion, the striking similarity between the histories of Buddha, Cristna, and Jesus, seems strongly to support.
* See Vol. I. pp. 81-84.
… The Romish Church, I believe, maintains that the Essenes and Carmelites were the same order of men. Of the truth of this I have no doubt. Pythagoras is allowed to have been an Essenean, and he dwelt or was initiated into the order on Carmel. Pope Gregory the Great invited the Carmelites from Syria and Egypt to Rome, and founded two most splendid and beautiful monasteries of the barefoot and the calceated orders; and at that time he abolished their old rule, and gave them a new one.
The Carmelites are in a very particular manner attached to the worship of the Virgin Maria, more particularly than any of the other monastic orders. In Egypt, they dwelt, as Eusebius says, on the borders of the lake of Maria, and in Upper Egypt the Gymnosophists, that is, the Indian philosophers, were found in the island of Meroe. This, in the old language without points, would be the same as Maria. It was near this place that Dr. Wilson found the temple with the history of the flight of Joseph and Mary in it, depicted with the greatest truth and precision, noticed before in Vol. I. p.272. Now this being considered, I think it raises a presumption that there was some foundation for the story of Jesus, or some other person for whom he has been substituted, fleeing from a tyrant who wished to kill him, and who may have been dedicated, as Samuel was by his parents, and who may, therefore, have become an object of jealousy to the tyrant, and of attention to the Eastern Astrologers, who might know that the period was ending, as Virgil knew it at Rome, and that a protecting Genius would come to preside over the new age; and in consequence these astrologers, kings, might come to offer him gifts—kings of the Mithraic order of the Magi, (vide Tertullian,) like our kings at arms of the order of heralds, not kings of nations. …
Certainly the fact noticed by Mr. Taylor, that Philo described the Essenes before Christ was born, and that Eusebius has shewn that those very Essenes, so described, were Christians, at once proves that the Christians of his sect were not the followers of the man who lived and preached in the time of Tiberius. …
The great and striking similarity between the doctrines of the Essenes, of Jesus, and of Pythagoras, amounts almost to proof of the identity of the systems.
Pythagoras maintained the existence of one Supreme God, the immortality of the soul, and a state of future rewards or punishments. These sentiments were common to him and almost all the ancient philosophers. He probably believed in the existence of a great number of created beings, superior to man in their natures and attributes, but in every way inferior to God their Creator. Under different names they answer exactly to the angels of the Brahmins, the Magi, the Jews, the Essenes, and the Christians. The morality which he taught was in a very high degree refined and good. In it is to be found, I believe, every doctrine for which the Christian religion has been so much celebrated by its admirers. The truth of this assertion may be seen in almost every page of Jamblicus's Life of Pythagoras. …
His followers were divided into two classes, one called Pythagoreans, the other Pythagorists. The former only had their possessions in common, and are what answer to those amongst the Christians called elect or perfect—who were, in short, the monks and nuns. They rose before daylight, and though strictly worshipers of one God, that always paid a certain adoration to the sun at its rising. Pythagoras, as well as his disciple Plato, considered the soul to be confined in the body as a certain kind of punishment, and that old age was not to be considered with reference to an egress from the present life, but to the beginning of a blessed life in future.*
* Jamblicus's Life of Pythag. By Taylor, Chap. v. p.18, passim.
This passage from Burnet's* suggest several important observations. I was not a little gratified to find that the close relation between the Hindoos and the most respectable of all the Jewish sects, of which I have not the slightest doubt Jesus Christ was a member, that of the Essenes, had been observed by this very learned man almost a hundred years ago, before the late blaze of light from the East had shone upon us. What would he have said had he lived till now ? I think from the tria vota substantialia being common both to the Essenes and the Samaneans of Porphyry, there can be no doubt that the latter were correctly oriental Essenes.—Their history must have been well known in the time of Pliny : and his observation of their continuance per millia sæculorum decidedly proves their existence, if proof were wanting, long before the time of Christ; therefore they could not be merely Christian monks. They could be no other than Sophees.
* Arch. Phil. Cap. vii. pp. 69, 70, 4to.
I cannot help entertaining a suspicion that the Samaneans of Porphyry and Clemens Alexandrinus, the Buddhists or Brachmans, as they are called, the Chaldæans, confessed by Burnet to be only a sect,* the Essenes, and the Druides, were, in fact, all orders of monks. Perhaps they were originally one order, but in long periods of time split it into separate communities, as we have them in Europe—but all having the same vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience—vows which, in fact, reduce all monks to one order or genus.
* Arch. Phil. Cap. iv. p.20.
I shall now proceed to shew, that the remainder of what, in modern times, are called the rites of the church of Jesus of Nazareth have nothing to do with him, and are only figments of the old Gentile religion, and I shall begin at the head, the Pontifex Maximus.
The Roman Pontifex Maximus was called King of the Age.* This was the same as Cyrus, Aiwn twn aiwnwn. As endowed with a portion of the holy spirit he was God. Thus in him resided a portion of the divinity on earth. It was from these mysticisms that the power of both the ancient and modern chief priests were derived. …
* Basnage, Book. iii. Chap. xxiii.
Tertullian calls the Pontifex Maximus KING OF THE AGE. This isBasileuj aiwn twn aiwnwn —King of the cycles. Dionysius of Halicarnassus assures us, that the Pontifices Maximi had a sovereign authority in the most important affairs, for to them was referred the judgment of all causes which concerned sacred things, as well as those in which individuals were concerned, as those of the public. They made new laws on their own authority, as new occasions called for them. … They had power to punish at their discretion those who failed to execute their commands, according to the exigency of the case; but were themselves subject to no other person, and were not obliged to render an account either to the senate or to the people. When the high priest died his place was filled by the choice of the college, and not by the senate or people.* All this is strictly papistical.
* Dion. Halicar. Ant. Tom. Lib. ii.; also Livy in his Life of Numa, Lib. i.
Alexander ab Alexandro says,* That the sovereign Pontiff was elevated in honour above all others. The people had as much veneration for his dignity as for that of a king. He had his lictors and guards, his peculiar chair and litter, the same as the consuls : he alone had the power of ascending to the capitol in a chariot. He presided and ruled in the sacred college over all the other pontiffs : the augurs, the priests, and the vestal virgins, all obeyed him : he had the power of chastising them at his pleasure. He governed according to his pleasure all sacred things. He ordered on what altars, to what Gods, by what hostiæ, victims, on what days and in what temples the sacrifices should be made : he fixed the feasts and the fasts, when it was permitted to the people to work and when it was forbidden. If this be compared with the Papal powers it would be found in every thing to agree. The Canonists maintain that the Pope is not subject to any human law; that he cannot be judged either by the emperor or by the clergy collectively, neither by the kings nor by the people; that it is necessary to salvation to believe, that all creatures are subject to him; that as the Sun is said to be the lord of the planets, so the Pope is the father of all dignities.**
* Genial. Dierum, Lib. ii. ** Extrav. de Concess. III. Præb. C. Sedes Apost. In Glossa Dist. 19, c.
The Pontifex Maximus had under him a regular gradation of priestly officers, precisely like those of the Pontifex Maximus of the moderns—the Pope. He had, in the first place, his college of high priests, of whom his council was composed, with whom he deliberated concerning important affairs. To answer this, the Pope had his cardinals. The Pontifex Maximus had also persons called highnesses,* who answered to the Primates, the Archbishops, and the Bishops : he had also lesser ones, who answered to the Parsons and Curates of the Pope, and were called Curiones, whence comes our word Curate. He had also a number of Flamens, that is to say, (Prestres,) priests, who assisted in the offices of the church as at this day.** The Abbé Marolles confesses the conformity, including the Vestals, who are the Nuns.
* Blond, Rom. Triumph. Lib. ii. p.31. ** Mem. De Mar.
At first the Pontifex Maximus did not interfere with secular affairs; this was, I suppose, after the expulsion of the kings who were priests; but, by degrees, he encroached on the secular authority, till, in the time of Cæsar, he had become so formidable that the Dictator found it necessary to take the office himself, and thus he acquired possession, by the union of the secular and ecclesiastical authority, of absolute and legal power; and the emperors, as may be seen from coins, after Cæsar, were both Pontifices Maximi and Emperors. The popes followed most closely the footsteps of their predecessors. At first, they did not meddle with secular concerns, but acknowledged the supremacy of the Emperors, and themselves as vassals; but after the death of Constantine the First, pleading a gift from him of the kingdom of Italy, they assumed the crown, which they yet affect to wear, never yielding up their pretension to it; for they hold the same doctrine as the Protestant Church of England—that Nullum Tempus occurrit Ecclesiæ.
The Roman Pontiff had the name of Papa, which is the same as the natives of central Asia gave to their principal God Jupiter, as may be seen in the fourth book of Herodotus. He was also called SOVEREIGN Pontiff, which was the title that the Pagans gave to their chief priest.
The Emperors, as Roman Pagan pontiffs, claimed the same power and exercised it, as delegates of the person described by theTHS 608—until the last age should arrive. They established the claim attempted to be set up by Antiochus, by Sylla, and by Scipio Africanus. At last, Nero claimed to be the Tenth Avatar. Infinite have been the pains of the priests to conceal these things, but I flatter myself they have failed.
The Roman Emperors and the Pontifices drew imposts from all the nations of the world. The Pope, in like manner, had his Peter's pence, under which name all Europe paid him tribute. It was the policy of the Roman Emperors to make the Latin tongue the common language of all nations; the Popes desired the same thing—which was the secret reason for their wishing the service always be in Latin, the language of the See.
It was permitted by the Emperors for any one to kill those who were devoted to the infernal Gods; this was imitated by the Popes who granted leave to any person to kill those who were excommunicated. The Emperors and Pagan Pontiffs had habits and shoes of purple; their senators were clothed in the same colour, which they call trabea. The Pope has the same habit and the same shoes, as may be seen in the book of sacred ceremonies.* The Cardinals, who compose his Senate, and whom Pius II. called Senators of the city of Rome, are also clothed with purple.**
* Lib. i. Cap. vi. Sect. I. ** Vide Lips. Lib. iv. Cap. ii. de Admir.seu de Magni. Rom.
When a Pope is crowned, a triumphal procession takes place from the Vatican to the Church of the Lateran, during which the new Pope throws money to the people, precisely as the Emperors and Pontiffs were accustomed to do in the processions on their coronations. As the Emperors and Pontiffs were accustomed to send to their allies, as an acknowledgement of their good offices, a baton of ivory, a painted robe, or similar trifling presents; so the Popes send to kings and princes sometimes a rose, sometimes gloves, and sometimes a sacred sword, or an Agnus Dei.
The title of Pontifex Maximus is strictly Heathen. When the Pope is elected, he is borne in great state too the high altar in St. Peter's, on which he is placed,, and where he receives the adoration of all the Cardinals.1 This is a close copy of the same practice of the Heathen to their high-priest.2 And it appears that Martin IV. was addressed. "O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace."3 The very words used in their service by the Carnutes of Gaul, as we shall soon see.
1 Vide Eustrace's Travels. 2 Priestley's Hist. Corrup. Christ, Vol. II. pp. 295, 329, ed. 1782.
3 Ib. 330, 331.
… The claim of the Popes to supernatural knowledge, is not in reality so monstrously absurd, as at first it seems to be, if every thing were supposed (as I have no doubt it was) to occur in each cycle, as it had done before. As the Supreme Pontiff knew the history of the cycle, he could tell what would happen in any part of it. This was the theory, and he might easily account for his own ignorance or his knowledge not being equal to that of his predecessors, as saints account for want of power to perform miracles,—his own want of faith or his own or the general decay of piety. Excuses of this kind are never wanting to devotees. The Pontifex Maximus carried the crosier, as may be seen on the medals of the high-priest Julius Cæsar, and by law his person was sacred, and his life could be forfeited by no crime. The assassin's dagger was the only resource.* …
* R. Taylor Dieg. pp.141, 142, note.
Having shewn the identity of the ancient and modern Roman Pontifex, I shall now proceed to the celebrated Seven Sacraments of the Romish church, and first to that of the Eucharist.
The first information we have respecting the sacrifice or offering of bread and wine is in Genesis xiv. 18, 19, "And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine : and he was the priest of the most high God. and he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of [by] the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth." There seems no doubt that this king and priest was of the religion of the Persians, of Brahma, of Mithra, and of Abram, as professed at that time. The Mithraitic sacrifice and the payment of tithes are strong circumstances in favour of this opinion. … The Rev. Dr. Milner, Bishop and Apostolic Vicar, says, "It was then in offering up a sacrifice of bread and wine, instead of slaughtered animals, that Melchizedek's sacrifice differed from the generality of those in the old law, and that he prefigured the sacrifice which Christ was to institute in the new law from the same elements. No other sense than this can be elicited from the Scriptures as to this matter; and accordingly the holy fathers* unanimously adhere to this meaning."**
* St. Cypr. Ep. lxiii.; St. August. In Ps. xxxiii.; St. Chrys. Hom. xxxv.; St. Jerom, Ep. cxxvi. &c.
** Milner, End Rel. Cont. Let. 40, p.56.
St. Jerom says, "Melchizedek in typo Christi panem et vinum obtulit : et mysterium Christianum in Salvatoris sanguine et corpore dedicavit."*
* Bryant on Philo, p.275.
It is no little confirmation of this opinion, that we find Jesus Christ in the New Testament represented as a priest after the order of Melchizedek.* To account for this, divines have been much puzzled. If it be admitted, (and I think it will be difficult to be denied,) that the religions of Melchizedek, of Abram, Mithra, and Jesus, were all the same, there will be no difficulty in explaining the passages in the Epistle of the Hebrews respecting Melchizedek. Jesus was correctly a preacher or priest of this order or religion. … However, I cannot well be told that this connexion between the bread and wine of Melchizedek and the Christian eucharist is merely the produce of the fertile imagination, as I am supported, according to Dr. Milner, by the ancient fathers of the church unanimously.
* Heb. vii. 1, 10, 11, 15.
The temple of Jupiter, without statue, on Mount Carmel, where Pythagoras* studied philosophy, was the temple of Melchizedek, as Eupolemus witnesses.**
* Who was a follower of that religion of which Jesus of Nazareth was.
** See Vol. I. p.39, note, pp. 82, 94, 329, 389, 790, 823.
The celebration of the Eucharist by the followers of Mani, and by some other of the early sects, affords a striking trait of identity between the religion or gospel of the Persians or the Magi, and that of Jesus. … The eucharist of the Lord and Saviour, as the Magi called the Sun, the second person of their Trinity, or their eucharistic sacrifice, was always made exactly and in every respect the same as that of the orthodox Christians, except that the latter use wine instead of water. This bread-and-water sacrifice was offered by the Magi of Persia, by the Essenes or Therapeutæ, by the Gnostics, and, indeed, by almost if not all the Eastern Christians, and by Pythagoras in Greece and Numa at Rome.
… M. Marolles, in his Memoirs,* quotes Tibullus, in the fourth elegy of his third book, where he says that the Pagans appease the Divinity with holy bread—Farre pio placant; that Virgil, in the fifth book of the Æneid, says, they rendered honours to Vesta, with holy bread.
See Vol. I. p.215.
… As I have repeatedly observed, the sacrifice without blood was ordered by Numa Pompilius, and practised by Pythagoras. It may be remarked, in passing, that the term to immolate, which is used for sacrifice, may come from the Latin word mola, which was the name that the Pagans gave to the little round bits of bread which they offered to their Gods in this sacrifice. The Mass is also called the Host. This word means a host, a giver of hospitality, and also an enemy, and the host of heaven, and is the name of the harbour of the city of Saturn-ja or Valencia or Rome, Ostia.
Jesus is made to say, "This is my flesh," "This is my blood." If we take these words to the letter, they were evidently not rue. The articles spoken of were neither his flesh nor his blood. Then it is surely only consistent with candour to inquire what meaning could be given to them, agreeable both to common sense and the meaning of this, at that time, ancient ceremony. This, I think, will be found in the fact which we all know, that he abolished among his followers the shocking and disgusting practice, at that time common, of offering sacrifices of flesh and blood, so well described by the Rev. Mr. Faber, and at that time still practised upon grand occasions among the Druids or Chaldees, and Romans, even to the length of offering human victims.—It seems not unlikely that we have only part of the speech of Jesus, that its object was the abolition of that disgusting and atrocious practice, and that his speech had reference to it. Speaking as he did or is said to have done, always in parables, he might readily use the figurative expression in reference to something which had passed before against bloody sacrifices : and at the same tine he might use the words, This is my body, and this is my blood, which I offer; i.e. This is my offering of body (or flesh) and blood, and no other. It was the offering of Melchizedek and of Pythagoras, his predecessors, and, probably, originally of all nations. The bread was always broken, and is yet broken, in the ceremony, and given as a token of remembrance, precisely as he used it. Eat this in remembrance of me. How could any words be more natural ? This agrees very well with what he is made to say in the Gospel of the Nazarenes : "I came to abolish sacrifices, and unless ye cease to offer sacrifices, the wrath of God shall not cease from you."*
… The Rev. T. Taylor, in his answer to Dr. Pye Smith,* says, "There is a passage in Cicero, written forty years before the birth of Christ, in which he ridicules the doctrine of transubstantiation, and asks, how a man can be so stupid as to imagine that which he eats to be a God ? Ut illud quo vescatur Deum esse putet ?"
* P. 111.
The ancients always washed before they sacrificed, says Eustache upon Homer,* and Hesiod forbids any wine to be offered to Jupiter with unwashed hands.** …
* In Il. I. ** Hist. Operum et Dier.
It was the custom of the Pagan priests to confess before they sacrificed, demanding pardon of the Gods and Goddesses. Numa ordered this to be observed by the Romans, not esteeming the sacrifice good, unless the priest has first cleared his conscience by confession. The Romish priests are expected to do this before they celebrate the Mass.*
* Du Choul, p.270.
Numa ordained that the priests who made the sacrifice should be clothed in white, in the habit called an alba.* This is the alb which he carries who celebrates the Mass. Above the alb, Numa ordered the sacrificer to carry a coloured robe, with a pectoral or breast-plate of brass, which is now often changed into gold and silver. This is what is called chasuble. The priests use also a veil, with which they cover the head, called amict. All these ornaments were introduced by Numa. They are also most of them found among the Jews.
* Alex. ab Alex. Lib. iv. Cap. xvii.
The turnings and genuflexions of the priests, and their circular processions, were all ordered by Numa.* The last were also the Diesuls of the Druids. Du Choul has shewn,* that the custom of having the Mass in the morning was take from the Egyptians, who divided the time, like the Romish church, into prime, tierce, and sexte.
* Du Choul, p.275.; and Pol. Virg. Lib. i. 5, Cap. xi.
The Pagans had music in their temples, as the Romish devotees have in their churches. Galien says, they had no sacrifice without music.* …
* Gal. Lib. xvii de Off.; Scaliger, Lib. i. Poet. Cap. xliv.; Strabo, Lib. x.; Arnob. Lib. vii.
The next rite which I shall notice is that of Baptism.
That the ceremony of baptism is older than the time of Jesus is evident from the Gospels; but how much older it may be, it is impossible to ascertain. It was a practice of the followers of Zoraster.* …
* Hyde de Rel. Vet. Pers. Cap. xxxiv. p.406.
M. Beausobre has clearly proved that the Manichæans had the rite of Baptism, both for infants and adults, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. … M. Beausobre* says, "Mani had more than one reason for administering baptism to infants. This custom not only served to confirm his opinion, that corruption is in nature, and comes to man by nature, but in this he conformed to the custom of the Magi, from which he deviated as little as he possibly could. This was the way to give them the taste for his religion. The ancient Persians carried their infants to the temple a few days after they were born, and presented them to the priest before the sun, and before the fire, which was his symbol. Then the priest took the child and baptized it for the purification of the soul. Sometimes he plunged it into a great vase full of water : it was the same ceremony that the father gave a name to the child. When the child had arrived at fifteen years of age, he was presented again to the priest, who confirmed him by giving him the robe called the Sudra and the Girdle. These were the symbols or the sacraments of the promises that he made to God to serve him according to the religion of the Persians." … In fact, the Evangelion of Zoroaster, of the Romish Jesus, and of Mani were all precisely the same in principle, and very nearly the same in all their ceremonies. …
* Liv. ix. Ch. vi. Sect. xvi.
Mosheim shews, by many sound and ingenious arguments, that the rite of baptism was an old ceremony of the Israelites long before the time of Christ.*
* Com. Cent. I. Sect. vi.
After baptism they received the sign of the cross, were anointed, and fed with milk and honey.* Dr. Enfield asserts, that baptism was not used by the Jews, but only by the Samaritans.** If this be true, (but I know no authority for it,) it instantly makes a Samaritan of Jesus Christ. I do not think the Doctor would have liked this.
* Mosh. Hist. Cent. II. Ch. iv. Sec. 13, See Dupuis, sur tous les Cultes, Vol. III. p.325.
** Hist. Phil. Vol. II. p.164.
John the Baptist was nothing but one of the followers of Mithra, with whom the deserts of Syria and the Thebais of Egypt, abounded, under the name of Essenes. He was a Nazarite; and it is a curious and striking circumstance that the fountain of Ænon, where he baptized,1 was sacred to the sun. Though he be said to have baptized Jesus, yet it is very remarkable that he established a religion of his own, as is evident from the men who came to Ephesus, and were there converted from his religion to Christianity by St. Paul.2 This religion is not extinct, but continues in some parts of Asia, as we have formerly noticed, under the name of Mundaites, Nazoreens, Nazoureans, or Christians of St. John.3
1 John iii. 23. 2 Acts xix. 1-7. 3 Vol. I. pp. 540, 657, 808.
Michaelis* states it to be his opinion, that these men, Iohnists as they are now called, were Essenes. In my article on the Essenes this is proved clearly enough. I have no doubt that John was an Essene, as well as Jesus.
* Marsh's Mich. Vol. VI. Ch. xv. § iv. pp. 82, 87.
… When the priest blowed upon the child in baptizing it, in my presence, in the baptistery at Florence, was this to blow away the devils according to the vulgar opinion, or was it the baptism by air—Spiritus Sanctus ? Priests profess to communicate the spiritus sanctus.* The baptism by fire and water was in use by the Romans. It was performed by jumping three times through the flame of a sacred fire, and being sprinkled with water from a branch of laurel. … This is still practised in India.** …
* See Protestant Ordination Service, [and the Petition (to the House of Lords, August 5, 1833) of the Rev. Charles N. Wodehouse, Prebendary of Norwich, for an alteration of this and other parts of the Liturgy. Editor.]
** Vide Maurice’s Ind. Ant. Vol. V. p.1075.
The Etruscans baptized with air, with fire, and with water; this is what is alluded to many times in the Gospels. …
… On the festival of All Souls, at Florence, the monks went around their cloisters and monasteries, in the presence of the author, sprinkling the walls, &c., &c., with holy water, as described by Tertullian to be the practice of the ancient followers of Mithra.
Apuleis also shews, as above stated, that baptism was used in the mysteries of Isis. …
Mr. Maurice shews that purgations or lustrations by water, and holy water, were equally used by the Jews, Persians, Hindoos, and Druids of Britain.* Potter, in his Antiquities, proves that every ancient temple had a vase, filled with holy water. This was called a Piscina, and was probably the Bowli of India, noticed in my first volume.**
* Maur. Ind. Ant. Vol. VI. p.216. ** P. 516, note 2, and pp. 638, 641
… the baptism of BELLS. It is peculiar to the Western part of the world, though somewhere or other, but where I cannot recollect, I have read, that there is a similar ceremony in China.
We are told by Mr. Maurice that bells were sacred utensils of very ancient use in Asia. The dress of the high-priest of the Jews on the most sacred and solemn occasions was trimmed with bells and pomegranates. Calmet* tells us, that the kings of Persia, who were both priests and kings, had their robes trimmed with pomegranates and bells. This almost identifies the Jews and Persians. Mr. Maurice states that bells are used in ceremonials of the pagoda of India to frighten away evil spirits or dæmons, who are supposed to molest the devotee in his religious exercises, by assuming frightful forms, to distract his mind from the performance of his duty. …
* Dict. word bell.
"Pope John XIV., about the year 970, issued a bull for the baptizing of Bells, ‘to cleanse the air of devils.’ The baptizing of Bells was only permitted to the Bishops suffragan, because it was of a more principal kind than that of the infants : priests and deacons could baptize them.
"The tongue of the baptized Bell made the ears of the affrighted demons ring with ‘Raphael Sancta Margereta, ora pro nobis’—these prayers are on bells at St. Margaret’s Mount in Cornwall.
"In Luther’s time the princes of Germany complained to the Legate, ‘that, at the time of baptism, godfathers of the richer sort, after the Suffragan, take hold of the rope, sing together, name the bell, dress it in new clothes, and then have a sumptuous feast."*
* Gravam. Cent. German. Grav. 51.
From the passages here cited it is evident, that the hierarchy of the Christians is a close copy of that of the Persians, and that where the Christian differs from the Jewish it agrees with the Persian, a proof that it is taken from the latter and not from the former. It has been before observed, that Mr. T. Taylor, in his Diegesis, has clearly proved the Christian hierarchy to be the same as that of the Essenes, even to the most minute parts. The larger endowments for the cathedrals bear a marked resemblance to those of ours in this country, many of which were, I have no doubt, the renovated establishments of the ancient Druids.
The rite of marriage was, with the ancient Persians, a religious service; and, for its solemnization, they had a long liturgy or form,1 after the manner of the Greek, the Romish, and the Protestant Christians, and not according to the custom of the Scotch, among whom it is only a civil contract.2 The contents of the liturgy are lost, but we know that the use of the ring, on the second finger from the last of the left hand, was practised by almost all the ancients.3
1 Hyde, ut sup. Cap. xxxiv.
2 It was the same in England from 1653 to 1660, and is considered to be a civil contract in the United States of North America. Editor.
3 Vide Tert. Apol. Cap. vi. pp. 173, &c.
Every one knows with what high estimation oil was held among the Eastern nations, and he has not read the Old Testament with attention who is not acquainted with the very frequent use of anointing among the Jews. …
Whether the Persians had the rite of extreme unction I do not know; but if they had it not, then the Christians must have borrowed it from the Jews. When all other circumstances are considered, few unprejudiced persons will be found to doubt, that this practice was probably common to the Jews and the Persians.
The doctrines of Penance and Purgatory, taught by the Catholics and so much calumniated by the Protestants, are exactly the same in principle as the penances and metempsychosis of the Pythagoreans, Platonists, and Indians. The Romish doctrine of penance is precisely that of the Hindoos, and I have no doubt that from the modified principle of the metempsychosis the doctrine of purgatory took its rise. … And as man has been created fallible in his nature, and inevitably subject to fall into some degree of guilt, it was also thought to follow that his future state of existence could not be eternally miserable. This was the inevitable consequence if the Creator were just; hence arose the doctrine of purgatory—a state of existence in which the soul of man or that part of him that exists after death, and which though invisible must exist, will in future receive the reward of his good or bad conduct.
This was the simple, unadulterated doctrine of the sages of India, Persia, Greece, and Rome : …
The doctrine of purgatory or of a future state, in which man was to receive the greater or less reward of his misconduct in this life, like every thing in which priests have any concern, was soon corrupted and converted into an engine to aggrandize their pernicious order, and to enable them to wallow in luxury and sloth upon the hard earnings of their fellow-creatures. Hence they taught their blind and credulous devotees, that by their superior sanctity they could prevail upon God to alleviate or shorten the term of their future punishment, and by aggravating the faults of the miserable and repentant sinner, in the last stage of weakness and disease, and working upon his terrified imagination, they extorted from him his wealth. Hence arose voluntary acts of supererogation and penances, by suffering which in this life the punishment in another was to be mitigated. Hence masses or services for the dead. Hence extreme unction and all the other figments of Papistiscal foolery among the devotees of the Greek, Catholic, or sectarian Christianity.
It was the general belief of the Pagans, that the souls of the dead would return, to demand of the living that they should offer sacrifice for the purpose of relieving them from the pains which they endured. The Pagans differ from the Romish in this, that they offered up their prayers for the dead on the ninth day, the Romish on the seventh.* This is confirmed by Polydore Virgil.**
* Blondus, Rom. Trium. Lib. ii. p.44. ** Lib. vi. Cap. x.
Lord Kingsborough* states, that the Jews, of the later day I suppose he means, were believers in purgatory.
* Antiq. Of Mexico, Vol. VI. p.96.
Of all the weapons or engines ever yet discovered by rogues to enable them to tyrannize over fools, nothing has ever yet been found so efficacious and powerful as Auricular Confession. "Confess your faults one to another," says St. James, and this put the most secret affairs and counsels of all the states of Christendom into the hands of the Pope and his priests. This powerful engine was itself alone sufficient, in the skilful hands of the priests, to lay all the riches and good things of this world at the feet of holy mother church—to enabled its bloated, pampered hierarchy to ride triumphant over the liberties of mankind, and to reduce the rest of their fellow-creatures to the lowest state of mental debasement and misery. By means of the priests the kings tyrannized over the people, and by means of the slavery of the kings, the priests had at their command the wealth of the whole world.
The observation is as true as it is trite, that a small drop will wear a hole in a large stone : thus causes apparently small by long continued and unceasing action produce effects which to superficial observation seem out of proportion to their power. Of this nature is the practice of auricular confession in the papal church. To this, in a great measure, may be attributed the victory which it gained over all its competitors. … The church possessed by this means a species of omniscience. … Knowledge has been said to be power; this is very true, and this knowledge, for a space of almost a thousand years, enabled the Papal See to dictate laws to the whole European world; and, if the art of printing had not been discovered, would have reduced it to the situation in which Tibet now is, under its grand Lama. …
It would be giving the Christian priests too much credit to allow them the merit of inventing these engines of despotism and priestcraft; they were merely imitators, though they may have improved upon the originals which they copied. They removed some absurdities, they added some stimuli; but all the doctrines to which I have just now drawn the attention of the reader, are to be found with very little deviation in the faith of the oriental nations, and from them they passed to the Christians through the medium of the sects of Gnostics and Essenes, both of which existed among the natives of Asia and Africa long before the time allotted for the birth of Christ. Thus I think the seven celebrated sacraments of the Romish Christians, in which the two held by the Protestants are included, are proved to be nothing but renewed Gentile ceremonies, that is, integral parts of the usually called pestilent and idolatrous superstition of the Pagans.
VOLUME II - BOOK II - CHAPTER II
REVENUES—MONKS AND NUNS—MITRE—ZONE—CASSOCK—PRAYING STANDING—WHITE SURPLICE. TITHES PAID. TONSURE PRACTISED. CROSIER, &c.—CANDLES, INCENSE—PROCESSIONS. IMAGES. ST. ABRAHAM—FESTIVALS—EPIPHANY. ST. DENIS, &c.—BAMBINO AT ROME. DEDICATING CHURCHES, &c., &c.—BULLA. AGNUS DEI. ANGELS—DÆMONS—SUNDAY, DIES SOLIS. VARIOUS CUSTOMS
The revenues of the Romish priests came from the same sources as those of the sacrificers of the Pagans. They had first the tithes, then offerings, which the devotees presented to the Gods, which they took and applied to their own use. But as the offerings were casual, and not always to be depended upon, a provision was made from the public revenue for the different orders, and in general for all those who were employed about the offices of religion. … The Pontifex Maximus, also, had the right to the annates, or fruits of the first year, which he might sell or give away. Another source of wealth was found in the legacies left by those who wished prayers to be said for their souls after their deaths, which is proved by the monuments of the ancient idolaters still remaining. Here is the origin of the Romish prayers for the dead.* Another source of wealth arose from the confiscation of the property of condemned persons. … By these means the priests, in ancient and modern times, have equally amassed great wealth.
* Blondus, Rom. Trium. Lib. ii. p.33.
The Pagans, besides their pontiffs, their priests, and their curiones, had different convents or orders of religious men and women, who took the epithet of holy or divi : some called themselves Quirini from Romulus, others Diales from Jupiter,apo tq Dioj, others Martiales from Mars. They called themselves brothers, because they were bound to one another by reciprocal charity and alliance,* and were all on equal footing. Thus, at this day, we have Jesuits, Augustinians, Benedictines, &c. The Monks among the Pagans were proprietors of land. … Their silence was an exact copy of the silence of Pythagoras; and their vow of poverty was an imitation of that of some of the ancient philosophers, who distributed all their substance to the poor.
* Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Lib. i. Cap. xxxvi.
The Hierophantes, at Athens, drank of the Hemlock to render themselves impotent, that when they came to the Pontificate they might cease to be men. The priests of Egypt never mixed with women, and to extinguish the passion for the female sex they never ate flesh or drank wine.* The priests of the Great Mother drank of a certain river in Phrygia, which putting them in a fury they castrated themselves, and thence were called semi-viri. The priests of Egypt had their fast days, when they abstained from flesh and wine. The priests of Eleusis kept strictly the three commandments given by Triptolemus—to honour their father and mother; the second, to reverence the Gods; and the third, to eat no flesh. Numa established fasts, particularly one in honour of Ceres, when the people offered up their prayers for a good harvest.** The Pagan fasts were to appease the Gods; thus Horace says, Mane die quo tu indicis jejunia. From these examples we see the origin of the Romish fasts.
* Ilieron. Lib. adv. Jovin. ** Liv. Lib. xxxv.
The father Ange de S. Joseph speaks of the ruins of Persepolis in the following terms : "There are many inscriptions on the marble of the ruins, but in characters unknown to all the universe, which shews their great antiquity. Many bas reliefs represent the divinities, the sacrifices, the funeral pomps, processions of men with large vests, long hair, with bonnets in form of a mitre."* From this it is evident that the mitre which we see worn by the priests in the Mithraitic mysteries, and which is till worn on grand occasions by the bishops of the Romish and Greek churches, is of very ancient establishment.
* Beaus. Vol. II. Liv. ii. Ch. iv. p.207.
When young Persians came to be from twelve to fifteen years of age, prayer and ceremonies took place, and they were invested with the girdle.* They were then supposed to be capable of understanding the doctrines of the religion. It was, in fact, the ceremony of confirmation.
* Beaus. Hist. Man. Vol. I. Liv. ii. Ch. iv. p.198.
In the Sadder, the sacred book of Zoroaster, it is written, that God has commanded the girdle as a sign of the obedience which is due to him.1 It was believed that it rendered the wearer safe from dæmons. All the Christians of the Levant, whether Syrians, Arabians, Egyptians, or Coptes, believe they commit a sin if they go into a church without their girdle.2 They found this practice upon Luke xii. 35. The monks use a girdle with twelve knots to shew that they are followers of the twelve apostles : and when one of them is excommunicated they pull off his girdle. When the Mohamedans receive into their communion a proselyte, either from the sect of the Magi of Christians, they cut off his girdle, which he in future disuses. Thus we see whence the girdle of the monks is taken.3
1 Hyde de Rel. Vet. Pers. p.441. 2 Assem. Vol. III. Pt. I. p.359.
3 D’Herbelot, Bib. Orien. P.68; see also the word Zonnar.
From the same place with the girdle came the use of the Cassock or Sudra. From Hyde we learn that Zoroaster is reported to have said that he received it from heaven along with the girdle : Hyde describes it to be the same with that used by our English clergy, and shews that it was from the girdle that we derived the old English proverb—ungirt unblessed.* … Hyde states that the stole was used in the rites of Mithra. …
* 1 Hyde de Rel. Vet. Pers. Cap. xxx. P.370.
From Hyde we learn that the ancient Persians set apart four days in each month answering to the Sabbath days of the Jews and to our Sundays, which were festivals. On these days they met in their churches, and had more solemn service than on any other days, reading portions of the sacred book, and preaching and inculcating morality and purity. … It is impossible here not to be struck with the identity of the Persian and Christian services. The four days of the month, the reading of portions of the sacred books, the preaching, the liturgia publica, the præscripta forma rituum et precum, the tono seu plano cantu of the Romish, and chanting of the Protestant cathedrals. But perhaps among these different traits of resemblance there is no one more striking than that of the praying standing on the four festival days of the month.* The early Christians always prayed on a Sunday standing. … In Canon sixteen,** worshipping on the knees on Sunday is forbidden. …
* This beautiful festival our absurd modern devotees, who are as ignorant as they are bigoted, wish to change from a festival to a day of humiliation. In my Horæ Sabbaticæ, I have discussed this at length.
** Tertul. De Cor. Cap. iii.
Silius, speaking of the strange rites used in the Gaditan temple of Hercules, says, the priests officiated there barefooted, practised chastity, had no statues, used white linen surplices; and it was a notorious custom with the ancient Phœnicians to pay tithe. The shaving of the head and surplices were borrowed from the Egyptian priests, and the crosier or pastoral staff was the lituus of the Roman augurs.1 The tonsure of the priests and monks is an exact imitation of that of the priests of Isis;2 and St. Epiphanius witnesses also,3 that the priests of Serapis at Athens had the head shaved. …
1 Priestley’s Hist. Cor. Vol. II. p.251, ed. 1782. 2 Apul. Asino Aureo. 3 Hær. 64.
The habit and the ornaments of the ecclesiastics at this day have been copied from those of the ancient Pagans. The cross of the bishops I need not name again. The Lituus or Crosier was the Hieralpha of the Hindoos, taken from the cave of Bala-rama near Muttra, and seen in a variety of fantastic forms on the ancient Egyptian monuments. …
The Amicts and Dominos of the bishops came from the same place; for the Pagans never made any sacrifice without having the head covered with an Amict, which they called Orarium, and a Superhumeral. They wore also an Aube, as the priest does when he goes to say Mass.* And the Falmens were clothed with a robe made with copes, like those which the Romish priests wear in the churches.** …
* Plut. In Ant. Fenestrelle, Chap. v. ** Du Verdier en ses Leçons, Liv. ii. Ch. iv. p. 86.
The use of lamps and candles, in the day-time, in the churches, was copied from the Egyptians, who, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, first invented them.* No person can look into the ancient temples of India and Egypt and not see that candles, either by day or night, could not be dispensed with. All their ceremonies must have been by candle-light, as the most sacred parts of their temples had no windows or openings to admit light. During the delivery of sermons I have sometimes met with churches, in Italy, from which the sun was entirely excluded.
* Strom. i.
The use of incense was common both to Jews and Gentiles. … Alex. ad Alexandro says,* that the Egyptians appeased their Gods with prayers and incense.
* Gen. Dierum, Lib. ii. Cap. xxii.
The processions around the streets and towns, in Catholic countries, are exact imitations of those of the Pagans. When the priests of the Mother of the Gods made their processions through the streets, they carried the image of Jupiter, which they placed for a short time in small bowers dressed out for him, precisely as is done in Paris at the Fête Dieu. … Further accounts of the Heathen processions may be seen in Apuleius.*
* Lib. ii. Metam. P.200, edit. Plautin. 1587; also Polyd. Virgil, Cap. xi. p.414.
The Christians have not only copied the practices of bowing down to the idols of their great men deified or elevated to the rank of inferior Gods or heavenly personages, but they have in many cases adopted the very persons adored by the Heathens. They have not only adopted the same practices of the apotheosis, but they have done it with the same rites and ceremonies, and given the same attributes to their deceased great men. The ancients raised such of their great men or kings to the rank of inferior Gods as had been benefactors to mankind, or as they chose to flatter, calling them by the title divus. The souls of the emperors, if deified, were seen to fly away to heaven, in the form of a bird, from the body, when placed on the funeral pile : thus, in a similar manner the soul of St. Polycarp, when he was burnt, was seen in the form of a dove to wing its way to the mansions of the blessed, and he became divus Polycarp. Thus like divus Augustus, the apostles all became divi; as Divus Paulus, Divus Petrus, &c.
The Roman Divi were considered only as created inferiores divi, and intercessors with the Supreme God, but residents of the heavenly mansions. This is exactly the case with the Christian Divi; they are considered only as intercessors, but residents of the heavenly masions; while the remainder of mankind are excluded from these abodes till the day of judgment. The relics of the Divi of each also received adoration, and, at times, worked miraculous cures. They both had altars erected too them, with lights constantly burning before them. …
… Bochart* then, in support of his assertion that the Romish adoration of saints in nothing but a renewal of the adoration of the Pagan dæmons, observes, that the Canonization of Saints is correctly the Apotheosis of the Pagans, and that Cajetan’s Gods by participation are the very same as Plato’s Qeoi gennhtoi, made Gods, which is the title he gives to his dæmons. All these saints, when they were determined to be fit objects of canonization, were deemed to have been possessed of divine inspiration or the afflatus, in a fuller degree than common priests, all of whom have a portion of the Holy Ghost or the afflatus numinis instilled into them at their ordination by the imposition of the bishops’ hands. These inspirations or entrances into the flesh of portions of the divine spirit are correctly the minor Incarnations or Avatars of the Hindoos, who say, there have been thousands of incarnations or avatars of the Supreme Being.
* Bochart against Veron, p.3, Ch. xxv. p.888; Gale’s Court Gent. Vol. III. Book ii. Ch. ii. Sect iv.
Among the saints of the Roman church we have Saint Abraham and Mary his niece. He came from a place called Edessa in Mesopotamia. He was considered as a saint in the Latin, Greek, and Coptic churches.* His holiday is the 15th of March. If we make allowance for the old style, this brings him to the 25th of March, the Vernal Equinox. We need not repeat what has been proved respecting Maria, the queen of heaven, being the generative power. We here have her identified with Sarah, the wife of the Brahmin, which serves to prove the mythological character of Abraham and Sarah, who are evident enough in these two saints.**
* Butler’s Lives of the Saints.
** See Vol. I. pp. 98, 162, 305, 387, 391, 646, 647, 697, 698. Editor.
The Goddess Februa, or the Februata Juno, became the Purificata Virgo Maria. The old Romans celebrated this festival in precisely the same way as the moderns—by processions with wax lights, &c., and on the same day, the 2d of February. The author of the Perennial Calendar observes, that it is a remarkable coincidence that the festival of the miraculous conception of Juno Jugalis, the blessed Virgin, the Queen of Heaven, should fall on the very same day the modern Romans have fixed the festival of the conception of the blessed Virgin Mary. Being merely a continuation of an ancient festival, there is nothing remarkable in it.
On the 2d of November the festum Dei Mortis is annually celebrated. The priest makes a procession round the burial-ground, with his censer and aspersorio, sprinkling holy water and singing a miserere as he goes along. This, again, is nothing more than a heathen ceremony.
This festival is yet annually celebrated by the Buddhists of Tibet, by the Papists at Rome, and has yet its service and day in the calendar of the Protestant church of England.* …
* All-Saints’ Day—united with All Souls’. This festival was also kept by the Mexicans. See page 31. Editor.
Dr. Hyde* states, that this custom is continued among the fire worshipers or Guebres of Persia at this day : and he observes, that he learns from the Talmud, that this practice was adopted by the Israelites when they were in captivity in that country among the Medes, who are called Persæ. …
* De Religione Vet. Pers.; Vall. Coll. Hib. Vol. IV. p.346.
Now I beg my reader to recollect what he has read in the Preliminary Observations respecting the festival of the Vernal Equinox, when the sun was in Taurus.* This was evidently the counterpart of it—the festival of the Autumnal Equinox—exactly six months from the former. At the Vernal Equinox began the empire of glory, of happiness, of the good principle, of Oromasdes; at the Autumnal Equinox began the empire of the evil principle, of Arhiman, and Bal-Sab. … The identity of the religious rite, in both the East and West, is striking, and proves the wide extent of the Buddhist religion; but it is chiefly important in fixing the chronology. It must have taken place by the true Zodiac about 4680 years before Christ.
* Vol. I. pp. 24-26.
At St. Denis, near Paris, the God Bacchus or Dionusoj is worshiped under the name of St. Denis. At Ancona, on the top of the promontory, Bacchus is worshipped under the name of Liber and Liberius.
I must draw my reader’s attention to the fact, that the ancients had their miracles performed at the shrines of their saints, Divi, just as commonly as the Christians at the shrines of their saints.
The identity of some of the Romish Saints and the Heathen Gods, is in no instance more ridiculously exhibited than in that of St. Denis or Dionysus, the ancient Bacchus; even Mr. Faber is obliged to allow it. He says, *
"Dionysus is cut in pieces by the Mænades on the top of Mount Parnassus : Denis is put to death in the same manner on the summit of Montmartre. Dionysus is placed in a tomb, and his death is bewailed by women : the mangled limbs of Denis are collected by holy females, who weeping consign him to a tomb, over which is built the abbey church that bears his name. Dionysus experiences a wonderful restoration to life, and quits the coffin within which he had been confined : Denis rises again from the dead, replaces his severed head to the amazement of the spectators, and then deliberately walks away. On the southern gateway of the abbey, the whole history of this surprising martyrdom is represented. A sculptured sprig of vine, laden with grapes, is placed at the feet of the holy man : and in all parts may be seen the same tree blended with tigers and associated with a hunting match. Such numerous and close coincidences prevent the possibility of doubting the identity of the God Dionysus and the monkish saint Dionysius. Were I more conversant in the hagiographa of the Latin church I might perhaps be able to produce many other similar instances."
* Pag. Idol. Bk. v. Ch. viii.
There is no doubt that at the town of St. Denis, the Romans had some kind of a temple to the Divus Dionysus or Bacchus, whence the ignorance and roguery of the priests made a saint, a Divus Denis, with all his traditionary adventures.
The way in which the Christians have made their saints is perfectly laughable. An explanation of them may seen in Dupuis.* He shews how they have made their St. Bacchus and Liber, Dionysius—Eleutherius, Rusticus—marked in the calendar, 7th Oct, fest. S. Bacchi, 8th festum S. Demetri, and the 9th fest. S. S. Dionysii, Eleutherii et Rustici.
* Vol. III. p.151.
In the Dyonysiacs, of Nonnus, the God Bacchus is feigned to have fallen in love with the soft genial breeze, under the name of Aura Placida. Out of this they have made the saints Aura and Placida. This festival in on the fifth of October, close to the festival of St. Bacchus, and of St. Denis the Areopagite.
The ancients had a form of wishing happiness to others, in which were used the words perpetuam felicitatem. Out of these words were made St. Perpetua and St. Felicita. In the same way, from the words Rogare and Donare, they have made St. Rogatien and St. Donatien. These examples of their saints exhibit a very striking proof of what I have said respecting the nature of the Romish tradition—all these histories are traditions. From such traditions the whole fabric was raised. The President Fauchet, in his Life of Clovis,* declares ingenuously, that the feasts of the Romish Church were copied from those of the Pagans : and Polydore Virgil regrets that the feasts are more Pagan than Christian.**
* P. 124. ** Lib. vi. Cap. viii. &c.
As the Christians have a particular saint to whom each day in the year is dedicated, and who has his particular service for that day; so the Persians had an angel for each day, and a particular service containing a compliment to the angel of that day.*
* Hyde; Dupuis, Vol. III. p.325, 4to
As I have stated before, to account for the Heathen superstitions in Christian churches, it has been said, that Gregory the Great directed, in order that the prejudices of the vulgar might be as little offended as possible by the change, that the missionaries to Britain, &c., should leave the people in the possession and enjoyment of their festivals, provided they did not actually adore the idols. How can this be reconciled with the actual adoration of the waxen infant, with the most magnificent ceremonies, in the churches in Rome, on the first hour after midnight, on the morning of the 25th of December ? This I have myself witnessed. The priest pass the image in grand procession, each stopping before it, muttering his prayer, going down on his knees, and kissing the toe of the figure. What was this but the ancient worship continued ?
Our long prayers and litanies are exact imitations of those of the Pagans, and are directly in defiance of the command of Jesus Christ. "When ye pray," says he, "use not vain repetitions, as the Heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matt. vi. 7.) How directly this is against the Romish "Kyrie, Elleson; Christe, Eleeson; ora pro nobis; Domine, exaudi nos;" and our "Lord have mercy upon us," in our litany and repetition of creeds, &c. ! All this is an exact imitation of the prayers to Baal, described in 1 Kings xviii. 26, Baal, exaudi nos, which they cried from morning to noon. Thus the Romish devotees count their Paters and the repetition of their Credo, and Ave, Maria, &c., exactly like what Tertullian says of the Pagans—that they think to force heaven with their crowd of prayers. Thus again, in the Protestant Litany, the repetition of the prayer to the Lamb of God is taken from the service of the ancient Carnutes of Gaul.
The ancient Roman children carried around their necks a small ornament in form of a heart, called Bulla. This was imitated by the early Christians. Upon their ancient monuments, in the Vatican, the heart is very common, and it may be seen in numbers of old pictures. After some time it was succeeded by the Agnus Dei, which, like the ancient Bulla, was supposed to avert dangers from the children and the wearers of them. …
This is the heart which the reader has seen in the figures of India, of Greece, and of Rome, noticed in Vol. I. pp. 146, 572. …
As the supreme God Brahma was surrounded with good and bad angels, or, as they are called in the Brahmanical religion, Dewtahs, with some of the latter of whom Cristna the saviour made a war; so with the Persians the Supreme God had his good and bad angels, the latter constantly sided by the destroyer Arhiman, at war with the Supreme Being. Here we see the prototype of the Christian doctrine of the devil and his fallen angels at war with God, and working in every way in their power for the destruction of man. The book of Enoch gives the fullest account of the doctrine of angels. … In the Hindoo work called the Mahabarat, a very long account is given of the wars of Cristna, with the rebellious Dewtahs and Assoors. ...
Mr. Colebrook says, that the Vedas throughout teem with prayers and incantations to avert and repel the molestation of aerial spirits, mischievous imps, who crowd about the sacrifice and impede the religious rite.* This was precisely the doctrine and belief of the early fathers of the Romish Church.
* Astron. Vol. I. p.578.
But the Persians not only had angels and wars of angels against God, similar to those of the Christians, but they actually had the same names, … , such as Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, &c.
Tertullian* says, that Christians were taken for worshipers of the Sun because they prayed towards the East after the manner of those who adored the Sun. He says the same in his book, Ad Nat. Lib. i. Cap. xiii.* Mr. Reeves says, the Christians worshiped towards the East because the altar was there : but why was the altar there, but because the East was the symbol of the good deity—in opposition to the West, the symbol of the Evil One ?
* Apol. Cap. xvi. ** Clemens Alex. (Strom. 7,) and Origen say the same.
The ceremony at Rome on Good-Friday, called the "Agonie," in nothing more than the Pagan ceremony alluded to in Scripture,1 called the women weeping for Tammuz. The charms or amulets of the ancients are still strictly continued in Italy by all classes of people. The funerals are also in many respects the same as those of the ancients. The Protestant practice in England of throwing three handfuls of earth on the coffin, and saying, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, is a copy from the ancient Egyptians,2 and the continuation of a Pagan ceremony, to satisfy the Gods below, in which the priest threw earth three times upon the body—"injecto ter pulvere curras."3 …
1 Ezek. viii. 14. 2 Spineto, p.148. 3 Horace, Lib. i. Ode xxviii. l. 36.
The Jews fasted, and flogged themselves in the temple; the votaries of Isis did the same. In Trans. Acad. Ins. An. 1746, Tome IV., it is shewn, that almost all ancient nations had the practice of fasting.
The Persians used incense after the manner of the Jews, copied by the Christians.*
* Hyde, de Rel. Vet. Pers. Cap. iii. p.99.
For nearly the whole of this section the Author is indebted to a small treatise on the ancient customs of Italy and Sicily, by Mr. Blunt, of St. John’s, Cambridge. Much more of the same kind might be discovered; but why multiply examples, when the case is proved usque ad nauseum ?
… The truth is, that the Romish religion is nothing but a renovation of the old Pagan or Gentile religion, and the Protestant is only a part of the latter. But neither of them can properly be called the religion of Jesus of Nazareth, as I shall shew in a future book.
Eusebius, in the Life of Constantine, admits that he, for the sake of making the Christian religion more plausible to the Gentiles, transferred to it the exterior ornaments which they employed in their religion. Pope Gregory I., surnamed the Great, who Platinus says,* was the inventor of all the ecclesiastical service, followed this method, as every one can see, by the instruction which he gave to a priest called Augustin, whom he sent into Britain to convert the English. "It is not necessary," said he, "to destroy the temples** of the idols, but only the idols, and to substitute the holy water, to build altars, and to deposit relics. If their temples have been well built, it is proper to divert them from the service of dæmons to the service of the true God, in order that the Pagans may be more easily induced to come to worship at the places where they have been accustomed." He added, "That in the place of sacrificing beasts, they should have festivals to the saints or to the founders of the churches, and thus celebrate religious banquets; that thus having the use of some exterior observances they should be more easily drawn to the interior doctrines."
* In Vitâ Greg. I. ** Greg. In Regist. Lib. ix. Epist. 71.
But how completely different is this in opposition to the doctrine of Paul, that evil should not be done that good might ensue; (Rom. iii. 8;) to his advice to the Corinthian converts to flee from idolatry; (1 Cor. x. 14;) and to that of John, "Little children keep yourselves from idols" ! (1 Ep. v. 21.) And how much at variance is it to the praise given by St. Ambrose to Theodosius, when calling him another Josias from destroying the temples of the infidels !* How completely different is all this from the known practice of the first Christians, who would rather submit to be torn to pieces by wild beasts, than place even a sprig of laurel over their doors on a Pagan festival ! …
* Theodoret, Hist. Eccles. Lib. v. Cap. xx.
VOLUME II - BOOK II - CHAPTER III
BETHLEHEM, BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST—BIRTH, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION OF ALL THE GODS—PASSOVER—LAMB OF GOD—GENTILE CRUCIFIXION—JESUS CHRIST WAS NOT CRUCIFIED—JEWISH INCARNATION—PYTHAGORAS—OBSERVATIONS
I shall finish this branch of my subject by shewing, that the birth, death, and resurrection of the body of the incarnate God, was common in almost every temple of Paganism, and that he was not only put to death, but also that he suffered on the cross, and rose again from the dead.
It is impossible to move a step in the examination of the rites and ceremonies of this religion without meeting with circumstances of greater or less importance connected in some way or other with the religion of Mithra or the Sun. Ænon, where John baptized, was sacred to the sun,1 and had a temple dedicated to it.2 Again, when Christ was born, he was sought for and worshiped by the Magi, who had seen his star in the East. Here is an evident allusion to astrology, properly so called, as distinguished from astronomy,—the calculation of nativities by the stars, which in all ages has been closely connected with magic and necromancy. The Magi having arrived at Bethlehem, directed not by A star but by HIS star,3 made their offerings, and celebrated with pious orgies, along with the angels who appeared at the same time, the nativity of the God, the Saviour, in the stable where he was born : but the stable was a cave, and it is still more remarkable, though it has never been pointed out by priests to their gaping congregations, that at THAT very time, the 24th December, at midnight, throughout all the Mithraitic caves of Persia, and in the temples throughout all the world, the same orgies were really in the act of being celebrated to the honour of the God Iaw—the Saviour. And it appears that these orgies did not cease for very many years after the death of Jesus, according to St. Jerom, in this very cave, and if we may believe Dr. Lightfoot,4 they may not have ceased to this time. …
1 See Vol. I. p.110. 2 Bryant, Health. Myth. Vol. I. p.51, 4to.
3 Every Amid or Desire of all Nations had a star to announce his birth to mankind. Thus Abraham, Cæsar, &c., had each his star.
4 Lightfoot, Vol. II. Chap. li. P.48, folio ed.
… And Clarke* tells us, that the Christian ceremonies in the church of the nativity at Bethlehem are celebrated to this day in a CAVE, and are undoubtedly nearly the same as they were celebrated in honour of Adonis in the time of Tertullian and Jerom; and as they yet celebrated at Rome every Christmas-day very early in the morning.
* Vol. IV.
… there was a prophecy in the oracles of Zoroaster, "That a sacred personage should issue from the womb of an immaculate Virgin, and that his coming would be preceded by a brilliant star, whose light would guide them to the place of his nativity."* … This prophecy is evidently alluded to in the Gospel of the Infancy, which says, speaking of the Magi guided by a star, Quemadmodum prædixerat Zorodustht—as Zoroaster had predicted. This Gospel was received by the Nestorians, of whom Buchanan says, there are now about 50,000 in Malabar.** It is a striking circumstance, that the gifts brought by the Magi, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, were what were always offered by the Arabian Magi to the Sun.
* Maur. Ind. Sceptic confuted, p.50. ** P. 136.
… This story of the Magi having been applied to Socrates, by Plato, evidently proves that it was part of the ancient mythos of the renewed incarnation now lost. We have seen that it is found in Babylon, in Athens, and in Syria, and very nearly the same in India.
… Mr. Faber,* speaking of the prophecy of Zoroaster, which I have formerly noticed, says, "The Magi of Persia had a prophecy handed down to them from Zeradusht, (Zoroaster,) that a Virgin should conceive and bear a child; that a star should appear at noon-day and lead them to it. You, my sons, exclaimed the seer, will perceive its rising before any other nation. As soon therefore as you shall behold the star, follow it whithersoever it shall lead you; and adore that mysterious child, offering your gifts with profound humility. He is the almighty WORD, which created the heavens ."
* In Hist. Orig. of Pagan Idol. Bk. iii. Ch. iii.
Now, Mr. Faber truly contends that this prophecy cannot be a Christian forgery, among other reasons, because it is found with the ancient Irish; whose history states, that it was made by a Persian called Zeradusht, and that it was brought to them by a Daru or Druid of Bokhara. The actual identity of the rites and tenets of the Irish with those of the ancients of the East, as well as their existence in Ireland previous to the Christian æra, has been so clearly proved by Borlase, Davies, Valancey, &c.,* that no more need be said about it.
* And by myself in my Celtic Druids, pp.278, &c.
… but the story is plainly nothing but a part of the ancient mythology of the Magi and Brahmins respecting Cristna; who was believed to be an incarnation of the Supreme Being, of one of the persons of their holy and mysterious trinity—to use their language, the Lord and Saviour—three Persons and one God.
Thus the verbum caro factum est is not peculiar to the Christians, but was in fact acknowledged in almost every nation in the world. This was the Logos of the Persians and the Greeks, whose birth was originally fixed to the moment of the winter solstice. This Logos, we have seen,* was the second person of the Trinity—the Iao of the Gentiles.
* Vol. I. pp.119-122.
Tertullian, Jerom, and other fathers of the church, inform us, that the Gentiles celebrated, on the 25th of December or the 8th day before the calends of January, the birth of the God Sol, under the name of Adonis, in a cave, like that of Mithra, (in Persia Mithra; in Egypt, Phœnicia, and Biblis, Adonis,) and that the cave wherein they celebrated his mysteries was that in which Christ was born in the city of Bethlehem, or, according to the strict meaning of the word Bethlehem, in the city of the house of the sun.* This God Adonis is really and literally the Hebrew word09! Adn, yet retained in the Welsh Celtic Adon,** which is translated into Latin Dominus, into Greek Kurioj, and into English Lord, the peculiar name of honour given to Jesus Christ.
* Dupuis, Tome III. p.51, ed. 4to.
** And, from this word, all the rivers called Don have derived their names.
The same God was believed, by the inhabitants of Persia, Asia Minor, and Armenia, under the name Mithra, to have been born in a cave on the 25th of December, to have been put to death, and to have risen again on the 25th of March. In their mysteries the body of a young man, apparently dead, was exhibited, which was feigned to be restored to life. By his sufferings he was believed to have worked their salvation, and on this account he was called their Saviour. His priests watched his tomb to the midnight of the vigil of the 25th of March, with loud cries, and in darkness; when all at once the light burst forth from all parts, and the priest cried, Rejoice, oh sacred initiated, your God is risen. His death, his pains, and sufferings have worked your salvation.*
* Dupuis, Vol. II. p.194; Vol. III. pp. 41, 51, 62, 84.
At the first moment after midnight of the 24th of December, all the nations of the earth, by common consent, celebrated the accouchement of the Queen of Heaven, of the Celestial Virgin of the sphere, and the birth of the God Sol, the infant Orus or Aur, the God of Day, called by the Gentiles the hope and promise of all nations, the Saviour of mankind from the empire of Ahriman and darkness.
The Egyptians celebrated the birth of the son of Isis on the 25th of December, or the 8th day before the calends of January. This Eratosthenes says was the God of Day, and that Isis or Ceres was symbolical of the year. The son of the Holy Virgin, as they called Ceres, was Osiris : he was born on the 25th of December. … On this day, at the same moment, the Romans began to celebrate the feast of the Brumalia in honour of the birth of the God of Day—of the Sol invincible—Natalis Solis invicti—described in vast numbers of very old pictures in Italy, with the legend Deo Soli, perhaps mistaken by the monks, and thus retained; or perhaps having a secret meaning.
The most important of all the different parts of the complicated system of Christianity, are the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his Resurrection from the dead. It will now be my duty to shew whence the collectors of traditions drew these particulars respecting him; where the great men, the venerable fathers, who believed that there were four Gospels because there were four winds—that men were raised from the dead sæpissimè—that boys were defiled and girls became pregnant by demons—found these traditions, and applied them to a person said to be put to death in Judea.
We are told by Diogenes Laertius, that the ancient Persians or the Magi believed in the resurrection of the body. To go no further, his evidence in unquestionable.* …
* Beausobre, Tome II. Liv. ii. Ch. iv. p.204.
Here we see the resurrection of the dead proved to have been the doctrine of Zoroaster or of the Persians, upon evidence of the most unquestionable kind. It seems impossible to doubt the fact. This is not a mere future state of life; it is the actual resurrection of St. Paul, with a real body, but yet a spiritual body, i.e. a body purified by fire, as it is described. It is an exact picture of the enjoyments of the Christians during the expected Millenium, and the reign of Jesus upon earth for a thousand years—the Hindoo renewal of the cycle of the age of gold.
But a belief in the resurrection was not confined to Persia; it extended, like the doctrine of the immaculate conception and solstitial birth, to every nation in the world.
The birth-place of Bacchus, called Sabazius or Sabaoth, was claimed by several places in Greece; but on mount Telmissus, in Thrace, his worship seems to have been chiefly celebrated. He was born of a virgin on the 25th of December; he performed great miracles for the good of mankind; particularly one in which he changed water into wine; he rode in a triumphal procession on an ass; he was put to death by the Titans, and rose again from the dead on the 25th of March : he was always called the Saviour.* …
* Dupuis, Vol. II. Liv. ii. Pt. ii. pp. 195, 197, and notes.
Certain priests of the Church of England account for the location of the birth of Jesus Christ on the same day as that of Adonis, Mithra, &c., by saying, that it is known not to have been his actual birth-day, but that it was adopted by the church the more readily to draw the Pagans to the true faith. The only answer necessary to be given to these persons is, that those of them who have any information at all upon the subject know, that the question of the day was a subject of great dispute among the early Christians, and THEY KNOW also very well, that the reason they assign has not a word of truth in it.
The resurrection of Christ was fixed precisely to the time of the Passover of the Jews, of which Passover I shall now treat.
Cedrenus fixes the primitive creation to the 25th of March. The first day of the first month, he says, is the first of the month Nisan, which answers to the 25th of March of the Romans. In this day Gabriel gave the salutation to Mary to conceive the Saviour. On the same day the God, the Saviour, rose again from the dead—that day which the ancient fathers called the passover or the passage of the Lord. The ancient fathers fixed the second coming of the Lord to take place on the 25th of March. Cedrenus represents Christ as having died in the nineteenth year of Tiberius, on the 23d of March, and to have risen again on the 25th. From this comes the custom, he says, of celebrating the Passover on the 25th of March. On this day the true light rose from the tomb. Though the festival of the resurrection is now on the Sunday after the full moon of the equinox, it was formerly on the 25th of March, as Cedrenus asserts. This is confirmed by Theodore of Gaza.* This festival is known in the writings of the fathers by the name pervigilium paschæ. …
* Dupuis, Vol. III. p.56.
The following passage from Georgius will shew, that the crucifixion and resurrection of Buddha took place precisely at the same time as all the others : In plenilunio mensis tertii, quo mors Xacæ accidit.*
* Georg. Alph. Tib. p.510.
If any unprejudiced person read the accounts of the plagues of Egypt, the passage of the angel over the houses of the Israelites, when the first-born of the Egyptians were slain, the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, &c., &c., and give an honest opinion, he certainly must admit that they are absolutely incredible. Then what are we to make of them ? The fact is, they are parts of an astronomical allegory—if not invented, at least compiled or written about the time allotted to the reigns of the first three kings, Saul, David, and Solomon. The whole history of the plagues, &c., keeps pace very well with the Labours of Hercules, the Conquests of Bacchus, the Argonautic Expedition, &c.; each literally believed by the people, and each in its literal sense despised by the CHIEF priests, whose object in that age, as in this, was and is to keep mankind in ignorance and darkness.
The following passage of Frickius de Druidis* will prove that "the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world" might very well be prophesied of by the Sibyls before the time of Christ. It will also complete the proof that the Jesus of the Roman Church was no philosopher of Samaria in the time of Tiberius. It proves also that our Litany is part of the ancient Pagan ritual, and as such gives it a new degree of interest.
* Frickius de Druidis, Cap. x. pp. 99, 100.
Of this remarkable passage, I submit the following translation :
… "It is thus related, as handed down from antiquity—that an image of the Carnutensian Virgin, which is seen to this day, was formerly carved in the sacred grave of the Carnutes, and, with the unanimous consent of king Priscus and the nobles of the nation, was placed, by the hands of the Druids, in a certain holy cavern, and dedicated to the Virgin of the Conception. This mystery they either learned from the Sibylline or prophetic oracles, or they received it by an extraordinary revelation from heaven. When Priscus was dying, he named the Virgin of the Conception the heiress of the crown and dominion of the Carnutes. But the events which gave rise to the new worship is thus narrated :
"When a great dissension had arisen among the Gauls, and the authority of the magistrates had not interposed to quell the excitement, and it had arrived at such a height that every thing was falling into confusion through the public contentions, an image was sent down from heaven, to a certain grave personage, who was more likely than any other person to extinguish such a flame—on the base of which were inscribed these words : ‘O LAMB OF GOD, THAT TAKETH AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD ! HAVE MERCY UPON US.’ When he had publicly shewn this image to the assembled Gauls, and had repeated a few words which had been revealed to him by God himself, he so instantly affected and moved the minds of all, that no one thought of returning home till peace was restored. Each, therefore, embracing the rest, they interchanged forgiveness of all injuries. Moreover, in order to perpetuate the memory of so happy a reconciliation, they made an Image of the Virgin of the Conception, to which they thenceforth paid the highest honour.—Such nearly is the account of Rigordius."
Rigord, quoted above, by Frickius, and whom L’Escalopier also quotes, mentions, that among the Gauls, and especially in Chartes, there existed, a hundred years (N. B.) BEFORE the birth of our Saviour, the prophetic tradition of a Virgin that was to bear a son—VIRGO PARITURA.* He also observes, that the Egyptians held the same persuasion, "and not only worshiped such a future virgin mother, prior to the birth of our Saviour, but exhibited the effigy of her son lying in the manger, in the manner the infant Jesus was afterwards laid in the cave at Bethlehem.** …" The sacrifice of the Agni or the Yagni sacrifice of India already described, was allusive to the Lamb of Isaiah and of Gaul.
* L’Escaloperius, de Theologia veterum Gallorum, Cap. x. ** As in Luke ii. 7.
I think I may now assume that I cannot be accused of very gross credulity in believing, that the son of the Virgin of Isaiah, and the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, were the same—both existing long before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.
It follows, then, that the mysteries of Christ are the mysteries of the Lamb, and that the mysteries of the Lamb are mysteries of the same nature as those of the Mithraitic Bull, to which they succeeded by the effect of the precession of the equinoxes, which substituted the slain lamb for the slain bull. The Christian mysteries of the lamb are proved to be taken from the mysteries of Mithra, of the Persians, by the circumstance that the Persians alone have the lamb for the symbol of the equinoctial sign : the other nations have the full grown Ram.
There are not many circumstances more striking than that of Jesus Christ being originally worshiped under the form of a Lamb—the actual lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. "Though many churches in this age were adorned with the images of saints and martyrs, there do not appear to be many of Christ. These are said to have been introduced by the Cappadocians; and the first of these were only symbolical ones, being made in the form of a Lamb. One of this kind Epiphanius found in the year 389, and he was so provoked at it that he tore it. It was not till the council of Constantinople, called In Trullo, held so late as the year 707, that pictures of Christ were ordered to be drawn in the form of men."*
* Priestly’s Hist. Corr. Vol. I. p.339; Seuer, A.D. 707.
Priestly is perfectly right : the custom of exposing the symbolical Lamb to the veneration of the people continued to the year 608, when Agathon was pope, and Constantine Pogonat was emperor. It was ordained, in the sixth Synod of Constantinople,* that, in the place of the figure of a lamb, the symbol used to that time, the figure of a man nailed to a cross should in future be used, which was confirmed by Adrian the First. But the Pope Adrian the First, in the seventh council, in his epistle to Tarasius, Bishop of Constantinople, had approved the representation of Christ under the form of the Lamb and adopted it.**
* Can. 82. ** Dupuis, sur tous les Cultes, Tome III. p.61, 4to.
It requires no very great exertion of the imagination to form an idea in what manner the ignorant and fanatical devotees, when they applied the worship of the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world to the man Jesus, should seize hold of and apply to him every doctrine, rite, or ceremony, which the idle traditions of the vulgar attributed to the Lamb in different countries where they happened to prevail. The God Sol, Mithra, and Iao, being the same as the Lamb of God, it seems natural enough that the ceremonies, &c., of the being passing under those names should be adopted by his followers. Hence it is that we find them all mixed together in the worship of Jesus. And, as the worship under the name of Mithra prevailed most in the different Western countries of the world, it is not surprising that his peculiar doctrines and ceremonies should most prevail in the new religion.
We have seen that Mr. Bryant, Dupuis, and others, have shewn that the worship of the constellation of Aries was the worship of the Sun in his passage through that sign, and this connects with the worship of the Lamb the different rites which were used by different nations in the worship of the God Sol—the Dominus Sol—under the different names of Hercules, Bacchus, Mithra, Adonis, &c., &c., their baptisms, oblations of bread and water, their births, deaths, resurrections after three days, and triumphs over the powers of hell and of darkness. In all this can a person be so blind as not to see the history of the God Iaw, IHS, Ihsqj, the a and w—the incarnate God—the Lamb of God sacrificed to take away the sins of the world ? As might be expected, we find this Saviour originally described and adored under the form of a Lamb. In many places of Italy, particularly at Florence, he is described as a Lamb, with the cross held by his fore-leg. But, in most places, these representations have been destroyed in compliance with the bulls or decrees above-named, which unwittingly let us into the secret, which, without them, we might have guessed at, but could not have certainly known.
Over the high altar of the cathedral at Mayence, on the Rhine, is a golden lamb, as large as life, couchant, upon a book sealed with seven seals, and surrounded with a glory. Over the high altar of the cathedral of Bon, also, there is a Lamb in silver, as large as life, couchant on a book, sealed with seven seals, and surrounded with a golden glory. In the gateway of the Middle Temple in London may be seen one of these Lambs : he holds a cross with his fore-leg, and has the sun for his head, with a lamb’s face. This is a relic of the ancient Knights Templars. In the late repairs of their building the lawyers have shewn much good taste in not destroying it. I rejoice that such of my countrymen as cannot go abroad, may see the remnant of the ancient superstition at home. I advise the Masonic Templars to add this to their eight-point red cross.
I will now shew my reader that the crucifixion of Christ is, like all the remainder of the Romish mythos, a close copy from Paganism.
"Plato died about 348 before our æra. The beginning of John’s Gospel is evidently Platonic. This philosopher was himself believed to have been born of a pure virgin; and in his writings had drawn up the imaginary character of a DIVINE MAN, whose ideal picture he completed by the supposition that such a man would be crucified"*—a supposition under which the secret mythos was evidently concealed, but which would be clearly understood by the initiated. Having penetrated into the mysteries, we understand it.
* Taylor’s Syntagma, in answer to J. P. S. [Dr. John Pye Smith?] p.95, note.
"The Prometheus Bound of Æschylus was acted as a tragedy in Athens, 500 years before the Christian æra. The plot or fable of the drama, being then confessedly derived from the universally recognized type of an infinitely remote antiquity; yet presenting not one or two, but innumerable coincidences with the Christian tragedy; not only the more prominent situations, but the very sentiments, and often the words of the two heroes are precisely the same." "Prometheus made the first man and woman out of clay"—"was a God." He "exposed himself to the wrath of God, incurred by him in his zeal to save mankind."* He was crucified on a rock, instead of a beam of timber.
* Ibid. pp. 97, 98, and note.
Here, I think, from this little scrap, which has escaped from the Argonautic mysteries, we see enough to raise the probability that in them were acted over, or celebrated, the whole of the Mosaic and Christian mythoses—the whole of what we have found mixed together in the rites of the Brahmins of South India, as given by the Jesuits, the mythos of Moses, and of the person treated on by the Erythræan Sibyl. It appears that these rites were celebrated in the autumn, to which they must, of course, have been removed by the precession of the equinoxes. We have seen before, Vol. I. pp. 822-824, that it was admitted by Clemens Alexandrinus, who had been himself initiated, that the mysteries of Eleusis were taken from the books of Moses. …
When I reflect upon what I have written respecting the Erythræan Sibyl, and that Justin Martyr says she told all the history of Christ, almost every thing which had happened to him, and that I have found the Tammuz or Adonis in the part of India where the Christians of St. Thomas were found, and compare it with what Parkhurst has said above respecting Tammuz, Adonis, &c., I can come to but one conclusion.
I must request my reader to look back to the description of divine love crucified, (Vol. I. p. 497,) and reconsider what has been said respecting Baliji, Wittoba, or Salivahana, the cross-borne, (ib. 667, 750, 764,) respecting the deaths and resurrections of Adonis, Æsculapius, &c., &c.; and I think he will not be surprised to find a crucified Saviour among the Romans. This he will now see has been handed down to us on evidence in its nature absolutely unimpeachable. Minutius Felix, a very celebrated Christian father, who lived about the end of the second century, in a defence of the Christian religion, called Octavius, has the following passage :
"You certainly who worship wooden Gods, are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses, as being parts of the same substance with your Deities. For what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, but crosses gilt and purified ? Your victorious trophies, not only represent a simple cross, BUT A CROSS WITH A MAN ON IT. The sign of a cross naturally appears in a ship, either when she is under sail or rowed with expanded oars, like the palm of our hands : not a jugum erected but exhibits the sign of a cross : and when a pure worshiper adores the true God with hands extended, he makes the same figure. Thus you see that the sign of the cross has either some foundation in nature, or IN YOUR OWN RELIGION : and therefore not to be objected against Christians."*
* Min. Fel. Sect. xxix.
To whom could Cicero believe the acrostic of the Sibyl, mentioned in Volume I. pp. 574-576, applied ? I now answer, to the crucified person commemorated on the standard, and who that might be, I ask the priest—for it is their order which has destroyed all the evidence respecting him. But I think few persons will now doubt that it was the BLACK crucified person whose effigy we see in thousands of places all over Italy—the Saviour crucified for the salvation of mankind, long before the Christian æra.
How great must have been the caution of the priests in leaving not a single Gentile, or, at least, Roman remnant of this crucified person, or any thing which could lead us to him, so that to this solitary, though very complete, Christian evidence, we are obliged for our knowledge of him ! This consideration is quite enough to account for lacunæ in our copies of Tacitus, of Livy, of the Greek plays of Æschylus, Euripides, &c., &c., : for, to copies made by the hands of priests, we are indebted for every work of these authors which we possess.
How very extraordinary that not a single icon should be left ! For their deficiency, there must be some other cause besides the astute care of the priests; and that cause is readily explained—the icons have become Christian crucifixes. Of these great numbers are to be seen in all Romish countries, which have every mark of extreme antiquity. It is the same with the very old pictures carrying the inscription, Deo Soli, and Soli Deo Mitræ, and Nama Sebadiah, which we have found in Kaliwakam, in the Tamul language in India, noticed in Volume I. p. 776, note, p. 779, … However, it is certainly proved as completely as it is possible in the nature of things for a fact of this nature to be proved, that the Romans has a crucified object of adoration, and this could be no other than an incarnation of the God Sol, represented in some way to have been crucified. It cannot be doubted that to mere accident we are indebted for the passage of Minutius Felix.
How can any one doubt that this was the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world—the Solar Lamb incarnate ? The Lamb of God slain as an atonement for the sins of the world may be Romish Christianity, and it may be true, but it is not the Gospel of Jesus, the Nazarite of Samaria.
Georgius says,* "… ‘Ils conviennet qu’il a répandu [Cho Conjoc] son sang pour le salut du genre humain, ayant été percé de clous par tout son corps. Quoiqu’ils ne disent pas qu’il a souffert le supplice de la croix, on en trouve pourtant la figure dans leur livres : Leur grand Lama célèbre une espèce de sacrifice avec du pain et du vin dont il prend une petite quantité, et distribue le reste aux Lamas presens à cette cérémonie.’ "
* Alph. Tib. p.211.
The Cambridge Key says, "Buddha, the author of happiness and a portion of Narayen, the Lord Haree-sa, the preserver of all, appeared in this ocean of natural beings at the close of the Dwapar, and beginning of the Calijug : He who is omnipotent, and everlasting to be contemplated; the Supreme God, the eternal ONE, the divinity worthy to be adored by the most pious of mankind, appeared with a portion of his divine nature."* "Jayadeva describes him as bathing in blood, or sacrificing his life to wash away the offences of mankind, and thereby to make them partakers of the kingdom of heaven. Can any Christian doubt that this Buddha was the type of the Saviour of the world ?"**
* In the Haree-sa, the preserver of all, we have the Hebrew%9% ere geneatrix, and 3:* iso the Saviour; and in the Haree or Heri we also have the Greek Erwj, Divine Love, the Saviour of all.
** Camb. Key, Vol. I. p.118.
In the Apocalypse or Revelation, ch. xi. ver. 8, is a very extraordinary passage. It has two readings. In one it says that your Lord was crucified in Egypt, in the other, the received text, it says our Lord was crucified, &c. Griesbach says of the former indubiè genuina. This evidently alludes to the man crucified of Minutius Felix, who was thus crucified at Rome, in Egypt, Greece, India, at Miletus, &c. This is obviously a piece of Heathen mythology, of which, in the West, the priests have nearly deprived us; but there is no room to doubt that it is one of the Salivahanas, Staurobateses, Baliis, Wittobas, Prometheuses, Semiranises, and Ixions, of the East. If we take the passage to mean our Lord, we have the Heathen or Gnostic cross-born of Egypt, (for Christians do not pretend that Jesus was crucified in Egypt,) grafted on the Romish Christianity, like all their other rites and ceremonies. …
It seems to me quite impossible for any person to have read the preceding part of this work with attention, and not to have felt convinced that there has originally been one universal mythos, repeated in a vast number of different and very distant places. …
In almost every mythos we see the same immaculate conception, the same ten months’ pregnancy, the same attemps of an enemy to destroy the infant, the same triumph of the infant, his glorious and benevolent character and life, his final violent death, and his resurrection to life and immortality; and all this constantly connected with a town on seven hills, &c., &c., &c.
When I reflect deeply upon certain facts which cannot be disputed, and upon the identity of the worship of Tammuz, in Western Syria, of Tammuz of Egypt, and Tamus both in Northern and Southern India, that is, the two Eastern Syrias; upon the high probability, (shall I not say certainty ?) that the Esseneans of Egypt and Western Syria were Pythagoreans and followers of theCrhj, that is, Christians, before the time of Jesus of Nazareth; upon the account of Christian doctrines in Southern India, given by the Jesuits—and upon the extraordinary fact that, when the work of Eusebius is properly translated, as given by the Rev. R. Taylor, the whole doctrine and church establishment of the Christians is found among the Esseneans of Egypt; I cannot help suspecting that the church of the Pagan Christian Constantine was nothing but the transplantation of the Essenes to the West, and that the secret, allegorical doctrines of these monks were those of the God Adonis, or Thamas, the Saviour re-incarnated or renewed every new cycle.
I presume it is well known to my reader, that in the first two centuries the professors of Christianity were divided into many sects; but these might be all resolved into two divisions—one consisting of Nazarenes, Ebionites, and Orthodox; the other of Gnostics, under which all the remaining sects arranged themselves. The former believed in Jesus Christ crucified, in the common, literal acceptation of the term; the latter, though they admitted the crucifixion, considered it to have been in some mystic way—perhaps what might be called spiritualiter, as it is called in the Revelation : but notwithstanding the different opinions they held, they all denied that Christ did really die, in the literal acceptation of the term, on the cross. These Gnostics or Oriental Christians took their doctrine from the Indian crucifixion of which we have just treated, as well as many other tenets with which we have found the Romish Church deeply tainted. This my reader must see will enable him to account for many extraordinary things.
… I shall be accused of not believing the crucifixion, except as an allegory. But I may doubt this fact (though I expressly say, I do not here state my opinion upon it), and yet be a Christian, as much, at least, as the celebrated Christian SAINT, APOLOGIST, and MARTYR, the orthodox writer against heresies, the BISHOP of Lyons, SAINT IRENÆUS, from whose works I have extracted the following passage.* I think I surely have the right to call myself a Christian, if I am of the religion of this orthodox Saint and Martyr : but I repeat, at present I do not state my opinion.
* Lib. ii. Cap. xxxix. of Dr. Grabe’s Irenæus.
"A demonstration that the Lord preached after his baptism not (merely) for one year; but that he employed (in preaching) the whole term of his life. For he came to save all through himself : all I say who through him are born again to God—infants, little children, boys, youths, and old people. Therefore he came (preached) in every stage of life : and made an infant with infants, sanctifying infants : a child among children, sanctifying those of the same age as himself : and at the same time supplying an example to them of piety, of justice, and of submission : a youth among youths, becoming an example to youths, and sanctifying them to the Lord. So also an elder among elders, that the teacher might be perfect in all things, not only according to the exposition (law or rule) of truth, but also to the period of life—and sanctifying at the same time the elders, becoming an example even to them : after that he came to death that he might be the first-born from the dead, he himself having pre-eminence in all things, the prince of life, above all, and exceeding all. But to establish their own forgery that it is written of him, to call (it ?) the acceptable year of the Lord, they say against themselves that he preached (during) one year (only ?) and suffered on the twelfth month (of it ?) They have forgotten—giving up every (important ?) affair of his, and taking away the more necessary, the more honourable, and, I say, that more advanced period of his, in which, teaching diligently, he presided over all. For how did he obtain disciples if he did not teach ? And how did he teach—not having attained the age of a master (or doctor ?) For he came to baptism who had not yet completed thirty years of age : (for thus Luke who indicates his years lays it down : and Jesus was as it were entering on thirty years when he came to baptism :) and after (his ?) baptism he preached only one year :—(on) completing his thirtieth year he suffered (death) being as yet only a young man, who had not attained maturity. But as the chief part of thirty years belongs to youth, (or, and a person of thirty may be considered a young man ?) and every one will confess him to be such till the fortieth year : but from the fortieth to the fiftieth year he declines into old age, which our Lord having attained he taught as the Gospel, and all the elders who, in Asia assembled with John the disciple of the lord, testify, and (as) John himself had taught them. And he (John ?) remained with them till the time of Trajan. And some of them saw not only John but other apostles, and heard the same things from them, and bear the same testimony to this revelation."
I do not doubt that what I have said respecting the evidence of Irenæus will excite great surprise, and probably smiles of contempt in many persons; but I call upon all such individuals, not to give way to their vulgar prejudices, but to try this evidence by the rules by which evidence is examined in a court of justice. This is the only way of bringing the matter to a fair decision; but I believe there are very few, of even educated persons, who ever think upon the nature or value of evidence, or know that the consideration of the subject is of any consequence. This is the reason why so much nonsense is found to be believed, even by persons who, on other topics, evince a sound and discriminating judgment.
From this passage of St. Irenæus’s, which has so fortunately escaped the hands of the destroyers, we learn the fact which cannot be disputed, that the doctrine of Christ crucified, preached in so pointed a manner by St. Paul, was, to say the least of it, a vexata questio among Christians even in the second century : this shews that we are merely a sect of Paulites.
If Col. Wilford may be believed, the orthodox were not the only persons who disputed the age of Christ. Speaking of the sectaries, he says, "Some insisted that he lived thirty, thirty-three, forty, and others nearly but not quite fifty years. Stephanus Gobarus has collected many of these idle notions, in the extracts made of his works by Photius."* They may be idle notions in the opinion of Col. Wilford, but they support the evidence of Irenæus, and what I have said, that it was a vexata questio.
* Asiat. Res. Vol. X. p.93.
… I maintain, that the evidence of Irenæus is the best evidence which we possess of the death of Jesus Christ; because it is the evidence of an unwilling witness. …
… When we find from Irenæus that he was not murdered or killed, all we can make out of our four gospel-histories is, that they were allegories, parables, apologues, to conceal the secret doctrine. … I know that a great outcry will be made at me for saying that Jesus Christ was the sun. In the vulgar acceptation of the words, I can only say that this is not true. But that Jesus or the Logos was believed to be a portion of ethereal fire by every one of the early fathers, is a fact; …
I must now beg my reader to review all the different accounts of the mythos which he has seen in all quarters of the world—lastly, taking that of Tibet, the part of the world whence the Ioudi came, and let him consider all the proofs of the identity between it and Rome—the same monks and monasteries, nuns and nunneries, by the same names of Beguines, (Romish monks and Beguine nuns, as it will be said, founded by Nestorians,) the same tria vota substantiala, the same tonsures and dresses, the three sacraments of orders, eucharist, and baptism, and many other things,—and I think he will at once be obliged to allow, that there are in both the remains of the same mythos which I have been describing. In Rome, in its rites and ceremonies, it remains almost perfect, and in Tibet nearly the same.
I now request my reader to turn to the history of Pythagoras, given in Volume I. pp. 150, 151, and to consider carefully all the particulars enumerated respecting him, as they so remarkably coincide with the gospel history of Jesus Christ; then to p. 168; then to p. 210, and observe the close connexion of the Indian avatars and the date of Pythagoras; and, lastly, to pp. 95, 96, of this book, and I am quite certain he must admit the identity of the two mythoses, histories, parables, or whatever he may choose to call them, of Jesus and Pythagoras. …
Now I contend that, when all the peculiar circumstances are taken into consideration, there is a high probability that in the man crucified of Minutius, we have Pythagoras; and that the Christians, from whom we receive all our books, have suppressed the history of the crucifixion, and inserted in the place of it the story, that Pythagoras was burnt in his house by the populace. We must not forget that he established his school at Cortona, which I have shewn, in Volume I. p.787, was the same as Cristona, and that we learn from Jerom, that one of the earliest of the names borne by the Christians, was the same as that of South India, Crestons,—of India, whence we have seen the Camasene, the Loretto, the Pallatini, the Saturnia, &c., &c., came to Italy.
Whenever the Holy Ghost was described as given to man, it was in the form of fire, if visible to the eye. Its effects always were, wisdom accompanied by power; but the power was never supposed to exist independently of the wisdom. This wisdom was the Holy Ghost, as we have seen, and whenever we closely analyse this, we always find the igneous principle at the bottom. Is it, then, a wonder, that we find the ancient Indian, Chaldean, or Collidean Ioudi, and the Persians in the earliest and most uncorrupted state of their religion, offering their adoration to the solar fire, either as the emblem of the creative wisdom, or as the Wisdom and Power itself ? Is it not surprising that the popes, in their anxiety to support this doctrine, should have yielded to the popular wish in adopting the rites and ceremonies with which the ancient system, in fact the system of the realgnwsij, was always accompanied ?
If we turn our minds back to what wee have seen, we shall find with the Romish church every rite of Paganism; every thing which has been disguised by being charged to the Gnostics is found there, without a single exception. Irenæus was evidently a Gnostic. If he were not, how came he to place the Zodiac on the floor of his church ? a part of which, not worn away by the feet of devotees, is yet remaining. He was of the sect of the Christ not crucified. How is all this to be accounted for, except that what the first Christian fathers all taught was true, namely that there was an esoteric and an exoteric religion ? A great part of what I have unfolded, indeed almost the whole of it, applies to the Gnostics; that is, to the Jesus described by the disputed chapters of Matthew and Luke—to Jesus of Bethlehem. St. Paul preaches, in a very pointed manner, Christ crucified; this was in opposition to the Christ not crucified of the Gnostics; and, in later times, of the Manichæans and Mohamedans. Gnosticism was the secret religion of the conclave. They had Jesus of Bethlehem for the people, Jesus of Nazareth for the conclave and the cardinals. For the people, they had and have Jesus crucified; for the conclave, Jesus not crucified. This will appear to many persons at first absolutely incredible. Most fortunately the church has been guilty of the oversight of letting the passage of Irenæus escape. One of the most earliest, most celebrated, most respected, and most quoted authority of its ancient bishops, saints, and martyrs, tells us in distinct words, that Jesus was not crucified under Herod and Pontius Pilate, but that he lived to be fifty years of age. This negatives the whole story of Herod and Pontius Pilate. This he tells us on the authority of his master St. Polycarp, also a martyr, who had it from St. John himself, and from all the people of Asia. It will, perhaps, be said, that Irenæus was a weak old man. He was not always old, and he must have heard this when young, under his master Polycarp, and have retained the knowledge of it during his whole life, and thus must have had plenty of time to inquire into the truth of what he had heard; and, weak or not, he was a competent witness to the dry matter of fact, viz. that he was told it by St. Polycarp and the elders of Asia.
That the idea of the Trinitarian character of the Deity should be taken from the doctrines of the ancient philosophers, will surprises no one who considers how much they are praised by the most respectable of the Christian fathers—I speak of Clemens Alexandrinus, Justin, Ammonius Saccas, Origen, &c. Clemens expressly says, that the rudiments of celestial wisdom, taught by Christ, may be found in the philosophy of the Greeks; this is Esoteric Christianity. And Justin says, that Socrates was a Christian, and that, before the advent of Jesus Christ, philosophy was the only way to eternal life. He calls itMegijon cthmoa, "a thing most acceptable in the sight of God, and the only sure guide to a state of perfect felicity." The opinion of the early fathers in this subject may be seen at length in Vol. II. of Vidal’s translation of the Commentaries of Mosheim, note, p. 114.
The division of the secret Christian religion into three degrees, the same as the division at Eleusis, namely, Purification, Initiation, and Perfection, described in my first Volume, p. 822, is of itself sufficient under the circumstances to prove the secret religions of the Christians and the Gentiles the same.
The favourite objects with Ammonius, as appear from the disputation and writings of his disciples, which I stated in Volume I. pp. 824, 825, were those of not only bringing about a reconciliation between the different philosophic sects, Greeks as well as barbarians, but also of producing a harmony of all religions, even of Christianity and Heathenism, and of prevailing on all wise and good men of every nation to lay aside their contentions and quarrels, and to unite together as one large family, the children of one common mother. With a view to the accomplishment of these ends, therefore, he maintained, that divine wisdom had been first brought to light and nurtured among the people of the East by Hermes, Zoroaster, and other great and sacred characters; that it was warmly espoused and cherished by Pythagoras and Plato, among the Greeks; from whom, although the other Grecian sages might appear to have dissented, yet that with nothing more than the exercise of an ordinary degree of judgment and attention, it was very possible to make this discordance entirely vanish, and shew that it was chiefly in their manner of expressing their sentiments that they varied.* Surely nothing could be more desirable than the objects aimed at by Ammonius, or more deserving of the exertion of a good man.
* Mosheim’s Comm. Cent. ii. p.132.
Amidst all the confusion of sects, two leading doctrines may be perceived—that of those who held the literal meaning, at the head of which was Paul; and that of those who held the allegorical or learned, of which were Pantænus, Clemens, Origen, Justin, Philo, and Plato.
The more I reflect upon Gnosticism, the more I am convinced that in it we have, in fact, the real science of antiquity—for a long time almost lost—but, I trust, by means of our oriental discoveries, yet to be recovered. …
Ammonius Saccas, the greatest of the early fathers, held Jesus Christ in veneration, as a person of a divine character and a teacher of celestial wisdom.* It was not till after the time of Justin Martyr that the Paulites of Rome began to prevail against the philosophers of Alexandria, where, in its catechetical school, the original Chrestianity was taught; and from the hands of such men as Plato, Philo, Pantænus, and Ammonius, it fell into the hands of such men as Calvin, Brothers, Wilberforce, and Halhed; and the consequence was, that instead of a religion of refined philosophy and WISDOM, it became a religion of monks and devil-drivers, whose object, by the destruction of books and their authors, was to get the upper hand of those they could not refute, and to reduce all mankind to their own level. With these people, the popes, who were equally desirous of power, formed an alliance, and, to conceal this, fabricated the Acts of the Apostles, the Latin character of which is visible in every page : for a proof of this, Mr. Evanson’s Dissonance of the Gospels may be consulted.
* Mosheim’s Comm. ut sup. p.127.
The history of the sun, I repeat, is the history of Jesus Christ. The sun is born on the 25th of December, the birth-day of Jesus Christ. The first and greatest of the labours of Jesus Christ is his victory over the serpent, the evil principle, or the devil. In his first labour Hercules strangled the serpent, as did Cristna, Bacchus, &c. This is the sun triumphing over the powers of hell and darkness; and, as he increases, he prevails, till he is crucified in the heavens, or is decussated in the form of a cross, (according to Justin Martyr,*) when he passes the equator at the vernal equinox. But before he rises he is dead for on day and about four hours. This is nearly the time necessary to be intercalated every six hundred years, to make the calculation come right; at the beginning of the third day he rises again to life and immortality. The twelve labours of Hercules are his labours in passing through the signs of the zodiac, which are so similar to the history of Jesus Christ, as to induce the reverend, pious, and orthodox Parkhurst, to declare them types of what the real Saviour was to do and suffer. These celestial images are what induced the learned Alphonso the Great to declare, that the whole history of Jesus Christ might be read in the stars.
* See Vol. I. p.789.
In this book I think I have proved, that every rite, ceremony, and doctrine, which is found in the Christian religion, was a close copy of that of the Gentiles. Mr. Mosheim* is obliged to admit this, nearly to the extent here stated, and he endeavours to disguise and palliate it by pretending that they were taken into the Christian religion. But as I have proved that every rite, ceremony, and doctrine, of the Romish church is taken from the Heathens, and existed before the time of Jesus Christ, I beg leave to ask, Where is the remainder which is not Pagan, and which is to constitute the Christianity of the present day ? The Christianity of Jesus Christ, from his own mouth, I shall exhibit in a future book, in its native and beautiful simplicity, unalloyed with Pagan, Paulite, Romish, Lutheran, or Calvinistic nonsense.
* Comm. Cent. ii. Sect. xxxvi. n.
That which I have written is intended for the use of philosophers, as I have said in my Preface. How should the generality of mankind, occupied in the affairs of life, be expected to understand such a book ? No, no; let them attend to their secular concerns, count their beads, and say their prayers, resting content with the religion of their ancestors, and be assured that God is equally present with the pious Hindoo in the temple, the Jew in the synagogue, the Mohamedan in the mosque, and the Christian in the church. Peter said, very wisely, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."*
* Acts x. 34, 35.—For most of the articles in the above parallel between the rites of the ancient and modern Romans, I am indebted to a small treatise lent me by my friend Ed. Upham, Esq., entitled, "Les Conformités des Cérémonies Modernes avec les Anciennes." Imprimé l’An 1667.
I must fairly admit, that I cannot read what I have written without an incredible melancholy. In what a state of delusion have four-fifths of mankind been kept, and still are kept, by the dishonesty of the remainder; and, in the teeth of my humble and feeble efforts, I fear always will be kept ! But, at all events, I have done my duty; I fear, I know what I shall receive, from my self-sufficient and ignorant countrymen. But yet, a new æra is rising. There still is hope in the bottom of the box. But one word more I must say of the Eternal City, before I close this article; it may serve for a warning.
It is a striking circumstance that the Pagans themselves boasted of the greatness of Rome, not only as the capital of the empire, but as the head of their religion, of which it was the centre; on account of which it was called by AtheneusOuranopolin, or the Holy City, Ruma Mamma, the residence of the Gods.* It was called the Goddess of the earth and of the nations, at the very moment that the axe was laid to its root, and that, by the treason of Constantine, its altars about to be overthrown, its religion destroyed, and it was to be degraded to the rank of a provincial Town. Thus, at this time, when loaded with corruption, its religion rotten to the core, and evidently at its last grasp, still, as in former times, it calls itself eternal; its pompous, empty, tawdry cardinals, bending beneath ermine, fat, and ignorance, waddle about their grass-grown streets and crumbling ruins, which would long since have yielded to the pest which surrounds them, had not the remnant of the fine arts of Greece procured it a temporary respite. But proud Rome, thy race is nearly run—thy day nearly over. One century more, and, like haughty Babylon, the curious stranger, probably with fear and trembling, will ramble round thy ruins, and say, This was the eternal city ! Here was Rome.
* Lucan, lib. i., Deûm Sedes, Mart. lib. xii. Epigrorum. 8; Claud. De Laud. Stillic.
Sure as the shaft that slayeth in the night,
The pestilence glides slowly, robed in light
All-glorious Italy, o’er thy fair champaign
The smiling fiend extends her silent reign,
And desolation follows. Lo ! she stands
On the proud capitol, with noiseless hands
Showering the secret ruin on the dome
Of thy great temple, everlasting Rome !
HERBERT’S Pia della Pietra, p. 12.
Link to Volume II - Book III.