Sixteen Crucified Saviours ~ 2
(Christianity Before Christ, by Kersey Graves. 1875)
Angels, Shepherds and Magi Visit the Saviour’s Birthplace
In an age when Gods and men were on the most familiar terms, and when the character of one furnished a transcript for the other, and when each consented to act a reciprocal part towards elevating, honouring and glorifying the other, the birth of a God or Messiah was, as a matter of course, regarded as an event of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the earth, and even the denizens of heaven also.
And hence we find it related in the history of several of the God-begotten Saviours of antiquity, that as soon as they were born into the world they were visited by ‘wise men from a distance’ (or Magi, as they were called by the Persians and Brahmins). And in some cases they were likewise waited upon and adored by the neighbouring shepherds; and even celestial spirits are reported in some instances as leaving their star-gilt homes to wing their way to the humble mansion, the rude tenement, containing a new-born God, that they might honour and adore ‘the Saviour of men, the Saviour of the world.’
The sacred biographies of both Confucius and Christ furnish examples of the angel host forsaking their golden pavilions in the skies to pay their devoirs to a Deity-begotten bantling, sent down by the ‘Father of Mercies,’ to save a guilt-laden world. And in both cases the Magi are reported as assembling to present their offerings to the infant God.
In the case of Confucius (born 598 BC), it is declared, ‘Five wise men from a distance came to the house, celestial music was heard in the skies, and angels attended the scene.’ (See the Five Volumes.) Now let us observe how strikingly similar to this ancient legend, in each of the several characteristics, is the Christian story. Matthew (ii. i) speaks of ‘wise men from the east’ journeying to Jerusalem to visit the infant Christ, soon after his birth, amongst the mules and oxen in a stable, though he omits to state the number of itinerant adorers who presented themselves on the occasion.
The Persian story is more specific, as it gives the number of Magi who visited the young Saviour of that country as five.
Luke (ii. 13) speaks of ‘a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,’ in gratulation of the birth of the Judean Saviour. Now, when we bear in mind that one method of praising God, with the Orientals, was by music, as we will at once observe that this is only another mode of proclaiming, as in the case of Confucius, that ‘celestial music was heard in the skies.’
And ‘angels attended the scene’ of Confucius’ birth. So, likewise, Luke (ii. 15) relates that the angels, after rejoicing with the shepherds on the occasion of the birth of Christ, ‘went away into heaven.’
How complete the parallel! and, but for the digression, and monopoly of space, we might trace it much further, and show that Confucius, like Christ, had twelve chosen disciples; that he was descended from a royal house of princes, as Christ from the royal house of David; that he, in like manner, retired for a long period from the noise and bustle of society into religious contemplative seclusion; that he inculcated the same Golden Rule of doing to others as we desire them to act toward us, and other moral maxims equal in importance to anything that can be found in the Christian Scriptures, etc.
But to the line of history. Other Saviours at birth, we are told, were visited by both angels and shepherds, also ‘wise men,’ at least great men. Krishna, the eighth avatar of India (1200 BC) (so it is related by the ‘inspired penman’ of their pagan theocracy) was visited by angels, shepherds and prophets (avatars). ‘Immediately after his birth he was visited by a chorus of Devas (angels), and surrounded by shepherds, all of whom were impressed with the conviction of his future greatness.’ We are informed further that ‘gold, frankincense and myrrh’ were presented to him as offerings.
The well-known modern traveller, Mr. Ditson, who visited India but a few years since, uses the emphatic declaration, ‘In fact, as soon as Krishna was born he was saluted by a chorus of Devas, or angels.’ In the evangelical narrative of the Christian Saviour an angel is reported to have saluted his mother thus: ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.’ (Luke, i. 28.) And in the next chapter the angel is reported as joining with ‘the heavenly host’ ‘in praising God.’ A similar report is found in the Hindu bible (the Ramayana), appertaining to the mother of the eighth Saviour, of whom it is declared ‘Brahma and Siva, with a host of attending spirits, came to her and sang, ‘In thy delivery, O favoured among women, all nations shall have cause to exult.’’ And when the celestial infant (Krishna) appeared (it is related in a subsequent chapter), ‘a chorus of heavenly spirits saluted him with hymns; the whole room was illuminated by his light, and the countenance of his father and mother shone with brightness and glory (by reflection), their understandings were opened so that they knew him to be the Preserver of the world, and they began to worship him.’ The last text here quoted brings to mind Luke xxiv. 45, which declares, ‘Then he (Christ) opened their (his parents) understandings.’
The ninth avatar of India (Saki) furnishes to some extent a similar parallel. According to the account of an exploration made in India, and published in the New York Correspondent of 1828, ‘There is on a silver plate in a cave in India an inscription stating that about the time of the advent of Buddha Saki (600 BC), a saint in the woods learned by inspiration that another avatar (Messiah or Saviour) had appeared in the house of Rajah of Lailas. Learning which, he flew through the air to the place, and when he beheld the new-born Saviour he declared him to be the great avatar (Saviour or prophet), and that he was destined to establish a new religion’ – the New Covenant Religion.
We next draw on the history of Greece. It is authentically related of Pythagoras (600 BC) that his fame having reached Miletas and neighbouring cities, men renowned for wisdom (wise men) came to visit him. (Progress of Religious Ideas, vol. i.) In the Anacalypsis we are told that Magi came from the East to offer gifts at Socrates’ birth, bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh,’ the same kind of offering as that presented to the two divine infants Krishna and Christ, according to their respective ‘inspired’ biographers. (See Matt. ii. 4, and the Ramayana).
And the legend of Mithra, of Persia, might also be included in our category of comparison, if we had space for it. All the four Saviours last named (if Socrates may be called such) are reported as having been honoured and enriched with aromatic offerings at their respective births. And we have the statement from Mr. Higgins, that the same assortment of spices (with the gold) constituted the materials offered as gifts to the sun, in Persia more than three thousand years ago; and likewise in Arabia near the same era. And it may be stated here, that an ancient historic account of Zoroaster of Persia (6,000 BC, according to Pliny and Aristotle), speaks of his having also been visited by Magi, or ‘Magia,’ at the period of his earthly advent.
And it is, perhaps, well to note in this place, that ‘Magi’ is the term used in the Apocryphal Gospels, to designate the ‘wise men’ who visited Christ at birth; and that Magi, Magic and Magician are but variations of the same word, at least derivations from the same root, all suggesting a wisdom correlated to the Gods. Osiris, an incarnate deity of Egypt, we may cite as another case of an infantile God receiving signal honours and eclat at birth, as he was visited while yet in the cradle by a host of admiring adorers. ‘People flocked from all parts of the world to behold the heaven-born infant.’ Such a world-wide fame must have had the effect to attract, with the numerous crowd who thronged to see and worship him, no small number of ‘wise men.’
At this stage of our historical exposition, we will suggest it as rather a singular circumstance that the divine Father, in his infinite wisdom, should have chosen to reveal the intelligence of the birth of his son Jesus Christ to a set of nomadic heathen idolaters hundreds of miles distant (though known as ‘wise men’ because of their skill in astrology) before he made it known to his own ‘chosen people’ (the Jews), who had ever regarded themselves as the recipients of his special favours. And perhaps it is still more singular that these pagan pedestrians should have been denominated ‘wise men,’ while men of God’s own election, according to the Christian bible, were often stigmatised and denounced as ‘fools,’ a ‘generation of vipers,’ etc. But it so happens that ‘human reason’ finds many incongruities in ‘Divine Revelations.’
The 25th of December: the Birthday of the Gods
Divested of all explanation, the announcement of the fact that the time of the birth of many of the incarnated Gods and Saviours of antiquity was fixed at the same period, and this period the twenty-fifth of December, celebrated all over Christendom as the birthday of Jesus Christ, would sound marvellously strange, especially when it is noticed that this period formerly dated the birth of a new year – the birth of King Sol. And when we find that the ancient pagans were in the habit of celebrating this venerated twenty-fifth of December as the birthday of their Gods in the same manner Christians now celebrate it as the birthday of Christ, we are driven to admit that something more than mere fortuitous accident must be adduced to account for the coincidence.
According to Dr. Lightfoot, the temple of Jerusalem was employed in celebrating the birthday of a pagan God (Adonis) on the very night Christians assign for the birth of Christ. And Robert Taylor informs us that nearly all the nations of the East were once in the habit of rising at midnight to celebrate the birthday of their Gods, on the twenty-fifth of December. And to this statement Mr. Higgins adds that, ‘At the first moment after midnight of the twenty-fourth of December, the ancient nations celebrated the accouchement of the queen of heaven and celestial virgin, and the birth of the God Sol, the Infant Saviour, and the God of Day.
Bacchus of Egypt, Bacchus of Greece, Adonis of Greece, Krishna of India, Chang-ti of China, Chris of Chaldea, Mithra of Persia, Saki of India, Jao Wapaul (a crucified Saviour of ancient Britain), were all born on the twenty-fifth of December, according to their respective histories. Krishna is represented to have been born at midnight on the twenty-fifth of the month Savarana, which answers to our December, and millions of his disciples celebrated his birthday by decorating their houses with garlands and gilt paper, and the bestowment of presents to friends. The Rev. Mr. Barret tells us, ‘It was once common for the women in Rome to perambulate the streets on the twenty-fifth of December, singing in a loud voice, ‘Unto us a child is born this day.’
The twenty-fifth of December, then, it will be observed, was marked as the birthday of the incarnated Gods, Saviours, and Sons of God, of many of the religious systems of antiquity, long prior to the birth of Christ.
And why his birth was fixed at that date is not hard to account for. According to the celebrated Christian writer Mr. Goodrich, the Christian world had no chronology and recorded no dates for several centuries after the commencement of the Christian era. (See History of all Nations, p. 23.) No event of their history was marked by dates for nearly four hundred years. Hence, the time of Christ’s birth is altogether a matter of conjecture, as is also every other event noticed in the Christian bible. This is proved by the fact that the ablest Christian writers and chronologists differ to the extent of thirty-five hundred years in fixing the time of every event in the bible. A Mr. Kennedy presents us with three hundred different chronological systems, by different Christian writers, all founded on the bible, and proving that the date of its various events are inextricably involved in a labyrinth of doubt, darkness and uncertainty.
Relative to the time of Christ’s birth, the ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ says: ‘Christians count one hundred and thirty-three contrary opinions of different authors concerning the year the Messiah appeared on earth – many of them celebrated writers.’ (Art. Chron.) Mark the declaration – one hundred and thirty-three different opinions as to the year Christ was born in; one hundred and thirty-three different years fixed on by different Christian chronologists as the time of the birth of the most extraordinary and most noted being, as Christians would have us believe, that ever appeared on earth. Think of an omnipotent God descending from heaven, performing astounding miracles, and presenting other proofs of being a God, and yet not one of the three hundred writers of that era take any notice of him, or make any note of his birth or any event of his life. This circumstance is of itself sufficient to banish and dissipate all faith in his divinity.
It is evident, from the facts just presented, that all systems of Christian chronology are founded on mere conjecture, and hence should be rejected as worthless. What event of Christ’s life, then, can be accepted as certain, when no record was made of it till the time was forgotten, and none for at least half a century after the dawn of the Christian era, according to Dr. Lardner, when nearly all who witnessed it must have been dead?
We think the most reasonable conclusion in the case is, that Christ, instead of performing those Munchausen prodigies attributed to him – such as casting out devils, raising the dead, controlling the elements of nature, etc. – led such an ordinary, obscure life – excelling only in healing the sick and other noble deeds of charity and philanthropy – that he attracted but little notice by the higher classes, or by anybody but those of a similar turn of mind, till he was deified by Constantine, in the year 325 AD Hence, the time of his birth was not recorded, and was forgotten. Consequently, the twenty-fifth of December was selected as his birthday, because it was the birthday of other Gods, and because it was regarded by the heathen, from time immemorial, as the birthday of Sol, the glorious luminary of heaven, it being the period he is born again into a new year, and ‘commences again his journey and his life;’ and because, also, this epoch was, as Sharon Turner informs us, in his ‘History of the Anglo-Saxons,’ the commencement of a new year up to the tenth century.
These events signalised the twenty-fifth of December, and made it a period of sufficient importance to lead the early Christians to suppose it must have been the birthday of their Messiah. Mosheim, however, confesses that the day or the year in which it happened ‘has not been fixed with certainty, notwithstanding the profound researches of the learned.’ So that it is still an open question as to when Christ was born. What day of the month, what year, or what century it took place in, is still unknown. This circumstance is, as before suggested, sufficient of itself to utterly prostrate all faith in the divine claims for Jesus Christ. What would be thought of a witness who should testify in court to the truth of an occurrence of which he did not know the year, or even the century, in which it took place, or who could come no nearer than one hundred and thirty-three years in fixing or guessing at the time.
Titles of Saviours
The various deific titles applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament are regarded by some Christian writers as presumptive evidence of his divinity. But the argument proves too much for the case; as we find the proof in history that many other beings, whom Christians regard as men, were honoured and addressed by the same titles, such as God, Lord, Saviour, Redeemer, Mediator, Messiah, etc.
The Hindu Krishna, more than two thousand years ago, was prayerfully worshiped as ‘God the Most High.’ His disciple Amarca once addressed him thus: ‘Thou art the Lord of all things, the God of the universe, the emblem of mercy, the bestower of salvation. Be propitious O most High God,’ etc. Here he is addressed both as Lord and God. He is also styled ‘God of Gods.’
Adonis of Greece was addressed as ‘God Supreme,’ and Osiris of Egypt as ‘the Lord of Life.’ In Phrygia, it was ‘Lord Atys,’ as Christians say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ.’ Narayan of Bermuda was styled the ‘Holy Living God.’
The title ‘Son of God’ was so common in nearly all religious countries as to excite but little awe or attention.
St. Basil says, ‘Every uncommonly good man was called ,the Son of God.’’ The ‘Asiatic Research’ says, ‘The Tamulese adored a divine Son of God,’ and Thor of the Scandinavians was denominated ‘the first-born Son of God;’ and so was Krishna of India, and other demigods.
It requires, therefore, a wide stretch of faith to believe that Jesus Christ was in any peculiar sense ‘the Son of God,’ because so denominated, or ‘the only begotten Son of God,’ when so many others are reported in history bearing that title.
The title Saviour is found in the legends of every religions country. So also God, Redeemer, and Mediator. ‘When a Mogul or Tibetan is asked who is Krishna,’ says the Christian missionary Huc, ‘the reply is, instantly, ‘the Saviour of men.’’ Buddha was known as ‘the Saviour, Creator and Wisdom of God,’ and Mithra as both Mediator and Saviour, also as ‘the Redeemer,’ and Krishna as ‘the Divine Redeemer,’ also ‘the Redeemer of the World.’ The terms Mediator and Intercessor were also frequently applied to him by his disciples. And both he and Quexalcote were hailed as ‘the Messiah.’ In short, most ancient religious nations were honoured with or expected a Messiah.
Was Jesus Christ the ‘Lamb of God?’ (John i. 9.) So was Krishna styled ‘the Holy Lamb.’ The Mexicans, preferring a full-grown sheep, had their ‘Ram of God.’ The Celts had their ‘Heifer of God,’ and the Egyptians their Bull of God.’ All these terms are ludicrous emblems of Deity, representing him as a quadruped, as the title ‘Lamb of God’ does Jesus Christ, a term no less ludicrous than the titles of the pagan Gods as cited above.
And was Christ ‘the True Light?’ (John i. 9.) So was Krishna likewise called ‘the True Light,’ also ‘the Giver of Light,’ ‘the Inward Light,’ etc. Osiris was ‘the Redeemer of Light,’ and Pythagoras was both ‘Light and Truth.’ Apollonius was styled the ‘True Light of the World;’ while Simon Magus was called ‘the Light of all Men.’
Several nations had also their Christs, though in many cases the word is differently spelled. Chrest, the Greek mode of spelling Christ, may be found on several of the ancient tombstones of that country. The Christian writer Elsley, in his ‘Annotations of the Gospels’ (vol. ix. 25), spells the word Christ in this manner, Chrest. The people of Loretto had a black Saviour, called Chrest, or Christ. Lucian, in his ‘Philopatris,’ admits the ancient Gentiles had the name of Christ, which shows it was a heathen title. The Chaldeans had their Chris, the Hindus their Krishna, the Greeks their Chrest, and the Christians their Christ, all, doubtless, derived from the same original root.
As for Jesus, it was a common name among the Jews long before the advent of Christ. Josephus refers to seven or eight persons by that name, as ‘Jesus, brother of Onias,’ ‘Jesus, son of Phabet,’ etc. Joshua in the Greek form, Jesus, was in still more common use.
Again, was Jesus Christ ‘the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End?’ so, likewise, Krishna proclaimed, ‘I am the Beginning, the Middle, and the End.’ Osiris and Krishna were both proclaimed ‘Judge of the Dead,’ as Jesus was ‘Judge of quick and dead.’ Isaiah represents the Father as proclaiming, ‘I am Jehovah; besides me there is no Saviour.’ (Isa. xliii. 11.) With what consistency, then, can Christ be called ‘the Saviour,’ if there is but one Saviour, and that is the Father?
And other divine titles besides those above named – in fact, all those applied to Christ – are found used also in reference to the older pagan gods, and hence prove nothing.
Several causes contributed to originate a belief in the offices imaginably assigned to divine God-descended Mediators, Redeemers, and Intercessors.
The Saviours of Royal Decent, but Humble Birth
We have the singular coincidence presented in the histories of several of the Saviours of their lineal descent through a line of kings or princes, and yet commencing their probationary life under the most humble and adverse circumstances – being born in stables, caves, and other inauspicious situations.
The story of their royal blood was calculated to add dignity to their characters, while their humble birth in the midst of poverty, and unmarked by ostentation, would evince their humility, meekness, condescension, and absence of pride, and thus proclaim a lesson of humility and resignation to their disciples and followers.
Here, seems to be plainly indicated the motives for assigning them to such a birth, and such a character.
Christ’s lineal descent, it will be remembered, is professedly traced (though in a very zigzag, disjointed manner) from the royal house of David. And yet his royal blood did not save him from the most ignoble and ignominious birth, and obscure exordium of his earth life.
A singular story, and yet a similar story, is told of the Indian Saviour Krishna, who was, according to the Rev. Mr. Allen (India, p. 379) of the royal house of Kousa, traced back through many generations. Yet, in order to teach the world a lesson of true humility, and administer a just reprehension to pride, he submitted to be born in a cave, amid the denizens of subterranean abodes. And here let it be noted, the best and most orthodox writers concede that while Christ is said to have born in a manger, that manger was in a cave. Mr. Fleetwood (a very popular Christian writer) testifies in this matter that ‘the Greek fathers generally agree that the place of Christ’s birth was a cave. (Life of Christ, p. 568.) Then the coincidence in this respect between Christ and Krishna may be set down as complete.
We have no means of learning how many of the Saviours were of royal blood, as the genealogy of some of them is not given. But those whose lineal descent is furnished us are almost uniformly traced to or evinced as springing from royal parentage, and practical humility – so far as it can be taught by an unostentatious birth – is a lesson taught by nearly all. Buddha Saki of Hindustan is directly traced through a royal pedigree.
Speaking on this point, one writer remarks: ‘Tradition affirms that his mother was betrothed to a rajah, and of course her son belonged to the same royal caste that Krishna did during his existence on earth.’ (Prog. Rel. Ideas, vol, i. 84.)
‘The Great Prophet’ of Arabia (Mohammed) not only commenced his earthly career in a humble situation, but resembled Christ in having ‘nowhere to lay his head.’ It is said of the Great Prophet, ‘A cloak spread on the ground served him for a bed, and a skin filled with date leaves was his pillow.’ The genealogy of the God Yu (of China) is traced through a line of princes to a very remote origin, while his whole life was a lesson of practical humility, and proclaimed at every step, This is the way; walk ye in it.’
In order to exalt the dignity and character of the Christian Messiah still higher than a mere claim for a divine origin paternally would have the effect to do, two of his assumed to be inspired biographers have set up for him a claim to a royal lineage through the maternal line.
Hence, they tell us that he descended from and through a line of kings embracing the house of David. But in presenting the names, and the number of generations, in their attempts to make out this royal distinction, this kingly exaltation of birth, they exhibit a most egregious bungle, and the most barefaced tissue of discrepancies. For they not only differ widely with each other in this matter, but differ with the Old Testament genealogy, and differ with those texts which give the maternal ancestry of Jesus.
Indeed, though varying as wide as the poles from each other, they both miss Jesus and arrive at Joseph in tracing down the generations from Abraham (unless we assume they intended to represent Joseph as being his father).
Luke, in his gospel, names and counts off forty-one generations from David, to Joseph, though he had previously represented it as being forty-two; but Matthew says that ‘from Abraham to David are fourteen generations,’ but according to his own showing, and according to his own list of names, there are but thirteen. And then he tells us there are but fourteen generations from David to the carrying away into Babylon. But according to the Old Testament genealogy (see i Chron. iii.) there were eighteen. And then the names comprised in the two genealogies of Matthew and Luke are so widely different from that found in Chronicles, as to set all analogy and agreement at defiance.
In fact, in their whole list of names, from David down to Joseph, they only come together twice. Their names are all different but two, that of Salathiel and Zorobabel, which names alone are found in both lists.
Matthew tells us that the son of David, through whom Joseph descended, was Solomon, but Luke says it was Nathan. The next name in Matthew’s list is that of Roboam, but the corresponding name in Luke’s list is Mattatha. Matthew’s next name is Abia, which Luke gives as Menan, while Chronicles differs from both, and gives it as Abijah. Matthew says Joram begat Ozias, but Chronicles virtually declares Joram had no such son, although he had a great-great-grandson Uzziah. But Luke says, in effect, there was no such person in the genealogical tree, or family line, as either Joram, Ozias or Uzziah. Matthew says again, ‘Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.’ (Matt. i. ii.)
But Chronicles declares that Jechonias was Jehoiakim’s son, and not Josiah’s, and that Josiah had no such son. And, besides, we learn, from 2 Kings xiii., that Josiah was killed eleven years before the exile to Babylon, and could not well beget a son after he had been defunct a tenth of a century.
Matthew, after naming twenty-four generations as filling out the line, and making it complete between David and Jacob, concludes by saying, ‘and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary.’
But Luke, antecedent to spinning out his list to fourteen generations more than Matthew, that is, making it fourteen generations longer, declares that ‘Joseph was the son of Heli.’ So that Joseph either had two fathers, Jacob and Heli; or Matthew or Luke, or both, were most egregiously mistaken, with all their ‘inspiration.’
Again, Luke says that Salathiel was the son of Neri; but Chronicles says he was the son of Jechonias. And after Chronicles had registered Zorobabel as the son of Penniah, Matthew and Luke, assuming to become ‘wise above what was written,’ both declare that he was the son of Salathiel. They agree here in contradicting Chronicles, which is the only instance but one of their agreement in the whole list of progenitors from David to Joseph.
With this exception they contradict each other all the way through, and in many instances that of Chronicles, too.
This is a strange way, indeed, of proving Jesus Christ to have had two fathers – to be both the son of God and son of David. And it is still stranger that they should trace his genealogy to Joseph, if they did not consider him Joseph’s son. Otherwise, the genealogy of ‘Sinbad the Sailor,’ or ‘Harry Haulaway,’ would have been as apropos. Such are the beautiful harmony and agreement in the words of ‘divine inspiration’ which Christians prate so much about.
And all this appears to be the result of an attempt to elevate the man Christ Jesus to a level with the demigods of antiquity, nearly all of whom claimed to be of royal or princely descent. Matthew and Luke’s attempt to exalt and dignify the character of Christ by making out for him a pure, holy and royal lineage we find, upon a critical examination not only proved a very signal but a very singular and ludicrous failure, for all his female ancestors who are brought to notice were persons of libidinous or licentious tendencies, according to their own biblical history.
‘It is remarkable,’ says Dr. Alexander Walker, (a Christian writer, in his work on Woman, p. 330), ‘that in the genealogy of Christ only four women are named: Thamar, who seduced the father of her late husband, and Rachel, a common prostitute, and Ruth, who, instead of marrying one of her cousins, went to bed with another of them, and Bathsheba, an adulteress, who espoused David the murderer of her first husband.’
What a pedigree for an incarnate God – a being ostensibly of spotless origin! though his impure ancestral origin does not detract from the high moral character and distinguished moral life which marks the history of ‘the man Christ Jesus,’ many incidents of whose life show him to have been what is now known as a spiritual medium.
The World’s Saviours Saved from Destruction in Infancy
Of course such an extraordinary circumstance as the birth of a God into the world must be marked with unusual incidents and great eclat. This was first exhibited by angels, shepherds, prophets, magi or ‘wise men,’ flocking around their cradles. In the second place we observe an unusual display of divine power and providential care on the part of the great Father God, who was still left in heaven to save the young saviours through their infancy.
It is certainly a remarkable circumstance that so many of the infant Saviours should have been threatened with the most imminent danger of destruction, and yet in every case miraculously preserved, and thus were the Saviours saved.
A jealousy seems to have existed in several instances in the mind of the tyrant king or ruler of the country that the young Saviours and prospective spiritual rulers (who were mostly of royal descent) would ultimately acquire such favour with the people, by such a display of superior power and greatness of mind, as to endanger his retaining peaceable possession of the secular throne; to express it in brief, he feared the young God would prove a rival king, and hence took measures to destroy him.
In the case of the Christian Saviour we are told that an angel, or ‘the angel,’ warned Joseph (the assumed father) to take the young Saviour and God and flee with him into Egypt, because ‘Herod the king sought to destroy the young child’s life,’ and had, in order to effect this end, decreed the destruction of all the children under two years old. And Joseph heeded the divine warning, and fled as directed. An angel and a dream, then, it will be observed, were the instrumentalities used to save the young Judean Saviour from massacre.
And strange as it may seem, we find the same agencies had been previously employed to effect the rescue of other Saviours likewise and similarly threatened. In the case of Krishna of India, in particular, the similitude is very striking in nearly every feature of the whole story.
In the first place there is the angel warning. In the Christian story we are not specifically informed how the tyrant Herod first became apprised of the birth of the Judean Saviour. The Hindu story is fuller, and indicates that the angel was not only sufficiently thoughtful to warn the parents to flee from a danger which threatened to dispossess them of a divine child, and the world of a Saviour, but was condescending enough to apprise the tyrant ruler (Cansa) of his danger likewise – as we are told he heard an angel voice announcing that a rival ruler was born in his kingdom.
And hence, like Herod, he set about concocting measures to destroy him without a direct attack. Why either of them should have taken such a circuitous or roundabout way of killing an infant, when the life of the strongest man, and every man in their kingdoms, was at their instant disposal, ‘divine inspiration’ does not inform us.
But so it was. And we must not seek to ‘become wise above what is written’ in their bibles. Herod’s decree required the destruction of all infants under two years of age (see Matt. ii. 16) – first ordering, however, ‘Go, and search diligently for the young child.’ (Matt. ii. 8.) Cansa’s decree ran thus: ‘Let active search be made for whatever young children there may be upon earth, and let every boy in whom there may be found signs of unusual greatness be slain without remorse.’
Now, let it be specially noticed that there is to this day in the cave temple at Elephants, in India, the sculptured likeness of a king represented with a drawn sword, and surrounded with slaughtered infants – admitted by all writers to be much older than Christianity. Mr. Forbes, in his ‘Oriental Memories,’ vol. iii. p. 447, says, ‘The figures of the slaughtered infants in the cave of Elephanta represent them as being all boys, who are surrounded by groups of figures of men and women in the act, apparently, of supplicating for those children.’ And Mr. Higgins testifies relative to the case, that Krishna was carried away by night, and concealed in a region remote from his natal place, for fear of a tyrant whose destroyer it had been foretold he would become, who, for that reason, had ordered all the male children born at that time to be slain. Sculptures in Elephanta attest the story where the tyrant is represented as destroying the children. The date of this sculpture is of the most remote antiquity. ‘He who hath ears to hear, let him hear,’ and deduce the pregnant inference, Joseph and Mary fled with the young Judean God into Egypt; Krishna’s parents likewise fled with the young Hindu Saviour to Gokul.
Now, let us observe for a moment the chain or category or resemblance.
It is further related in the case of Krishna, that as he and his parents approached the River Jumna in their flight, the waters ‘parted hither and thither,’ so that they passed over ‘dry shod,’ like Moses and the Israelites in crossing the Red Sea. And here let it be noted that the representation of this flight, which is said to have occurred at midnight, is like that of the massacre perpetuated and attested by imperishable monuments of stone bearing evidence of being now several thousand years old.
Sir William Jones says: The Indian incarnate God Krishna, the Hindus believe, had a virgin mother of the royal race, who was sought to be destroyed in his infancy about nine hundred years before Christ. It appears that he passed his life in working miracles, and preaching, and was so humble as to wash his friends’ feet; at length, dying, but rising from the dead, he ascended into heaven in the presence of a multitude.’ The Singhalese relate nearly the same things of their Buddha.’ And several authors of Egyptian history refer to a story perpetuated in the Egyptian legends concerning the God Osiris, who was threatened with destruction by the tyrant Amulins, to save whom his parents fled and concealed him in an arm of the River Nile, as Christ was concealed in the same country, and, for aught that appears to the contrary, in the same locality. The mother of another and older Saviour of Egypt fled by a timely warning to Epidamis before the birth of the divine child, and was there delivered of ‘our Lord and Saviour,’ Horus. And the earthly or adopted father of the Grecian Saviour, and God, Alcides, had to flee with him and his mother to Galem for protection from threatening danger.
In the ninth and tenth volumes of the ‘Asiatic Researches,’ we find the story of the ‘only begotten’ or ‘first begotten son of God,’ Salvahana, of Cape Comorin, son of a virgin mother (as were all the other Saviours referred to), and a carpenter by the name of Taishnea. (It will be remembered that Joseph, ‘foster-father of Jesus,’ was a carpenter.) The story of this ‘Son of God’ presents several features very similar to that relating to Jesus. Sir William Jones, Colonel Wilford, and the Rev. Mr. Maurice all confess to the antiquity of this story, as originating before the birth of Christ. Speaking of Zoroaster of Persia (another case), 600 BC, an author remarks, ‘Tradition reports that his mother had alarming dreams of evil spirits seeking to destroy the child to whom she was about to give birth. But a good spirit came to rescue him, and consoled her by saying, ‘Fear not; God Ormuzd will protect the infant, who has sent him as a prophet to the people and the world who are waiting for him.’’ China, too, presents us with a case of the threatened destruction of a Saviour in infancy, evidently recorded more than two thousand five hundred years ago. It is the case of the God Yu, who was concealed in a manner similar to that of Moses – a commemoration of the story of which is perpetuated by an image or picture of the virgin mother with a babe upon her knee – sometimes in her arms. Now, let it be noted that these virgin-born Gods, who, we are told, came ‘to save the world,’ could not save themselves, but had to be protected and saved by other Gods.
Without pursuing the subject further in detail, we may mention by way of recapitulation, that Krishna, Alcides, Zoroaster, Salvahana, Yu, to which list we may add Bacchus, Romulus, Moses and Cyrus, according to their reputed history, were threatened with death and destruction, but were providentially and miraculously preserved. The case of Augustus is related by Suetonius, that of Romulus by Livy, and that of Cyrus by Herodotus. It will be recollected that Pharaoh, like Herod, in order to reach the infant Moses, ordered the massacre of all the male infants (Herod making no distinction of sex), in order that he might, by this singular and circuitous method, reach the object of his jealousy and malignity without passing a direct sentence of death upon him.
The whole story of Herod’s slaughter edict, with the familiar history of its execution, like nearly every other miraculous incident related in ‘The Holy Scriptures,’ which detail their histories, are traceable in the skies. Herod, we are told, literally means hero of the skin – a term applied also to Hercules, a personification of the sun – because the sun, on entering the constellation of the Zodiac in July, was supposed or assumed to invest himself with the skin of the lion, and this became ‘the hero of the skin,’ or a hero with a new skin. Now this solar Herod, passing through the astronomical twins and young infants of May, was said to destroy them, though the word destroy is in the Greek anairean, which any person, on turning to the Greek lexicon, will observe means also to take away, pass through, or withdraw from, so that Pharaoh more properly passed through the infants than destroyed them.
The text, ‘In Rama there was a voice heard,’ ‘Rachel weeping for her children,’ etc., is quoted by a writer (Strauss) as referring to the children slaughtered by Pharaoh. Let two things be noticed here:
The case of the massacre is an illustration and example of the manner in which all the miraculous stories related in the Christian Scriptures, as having been practically exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ, are traceable to older sources, frequently terminating among the stars.
The Saviours Exhibit Early Proofs of Divinity
Of course, all Gods must be heroes – physically or intellectually, or both. The more danger they encounter, and the earlier they manifest a precocious or preternatural smartness, the more like Gods.
And hence we find several of the Saviours in very early childhood displaying great physical prowess in meeting and conquering danger, while others exhibit their superiority mentally by vanquishing their opponents in argument. Christ first began to exhibit proof of his divine character and greatness by meeting and silencing the doctors in the temple when only about twelve years of age.
And similar proofs of divinity at or near this age is found in the history of some of the pagan Saviours.
Of Christ it is declared, ‘There went out a fame of him through all the region round about.’ (Luke iv. 14.) And of the Grecian Esculapius it is likewise declared, ‘The voice of fame soon published the birth of a miraculous child,’ and ‘the people flocked from all quarters to behold him. Of Confucius of China it is declared, ‘His extensive knowledge and great wisdom soon made him known, and kings were governed by his counsels, and the people adored him wherever he went.’ And it is further declared of this ‘Divine Man,’ that he seemed to arrive at reason and the perfect use of his faculties almost from infancy. It is reported of the God Chang-ti, that when questioned on the subject of government and the duties of princes and rulers while yet a child, his answers were such as to astonish the whole empire by his knowledge and wisdom.
It is related of a Grecian God that he demolished the serpents which attempted to bite or destroy him while in his cradle. ‘The proof of Osiris’s divinity was a blaze of light shining around his cradle soon after he was born. Relative to Pythagoras of the same country, we have it upon the authority of a Christian writer, that he exhibited such a remarkable character, even in youth, as to attract the attention of all who saw and heard him speak.’ And the author further testifies of him that he ‘never was at any time overcome with anger, laughter, or perturbation of mind or precipitation of conduct.’ ‘His fame having reached Miletus and neighbouring cities,’ it is said by another writer, ‘the people flocked to see and hear him, and he was reverenced by multitudes.’
Luke declares of Christ, that the people ‘were astonished at his understanding and answers.’ (Luke ii. 47.) And the ‘Gospel of the Infancy’ tells us that his tutor Zacheas was astonished at his learning, which reminds us of the statement found in ‘The Divine Word’ of the Hindus (The Mahabarat), that the parents of the Saviour Krishna, in making arrangements to give him an education, sent him to a learned Brahmin as tutor, whom he instantly astonished with his vast learning, and under whose tuition he mastered the whole circle of sciences in a day and a night. ‘Men, seeing the wonders performed by this child, told Nanda (his adopted father) that this could not possibly be his son.’
It is told of Buddha Saki of India that, ‘as soon as he was born, a light shone around his cradle, when he stood up and proclaimed his mission, and that the River Ganges, during this time rose in a miraculous manner, which was stilled by his divine power, as Christ stilled the tempest on the sea.’ ‘He was born,’ says the New American Cyclopaedia (vol. iv. p. 61), ‘amidst great miracles, and soon as born, most solemnly proclaims his mission.’
Of Narayan, ‘the Holy,’ it is declared that ‘mysterious words dropped from his lips on various occasions, giving hints of his divine nature and the purposes for which he had come down to the earth.’ (Prog. Rel. Ideas, vol. ix. 128.) The divine power and mission of Yu of China was very early evinced by the display of great miracles.
And here let us observe that some of the Old Testament or Jewish heroes – as Moses, Solomon and Samuel – are reported as exhibiting great superiority of mind in very early life; thus proving (it was thought) that if they were not Gods, they were at least from God – that is, endowed by him with divine power while yet mere children. Thus the histories of all Gods and divine personages run in parallel grooves.
Not of This World : Retirement and Forty Days’ Fasting
Christ taught, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’
And we find that most of the other Saviours virtually and practically taught the same doctrine.
The first practical evincement of it was exhibited by retiring from the world; that is, they retired from the noise and commotion, from the busy scenes of life, into some sequestered spot excluded from human observation. Christ is reported to have withdrawn from society, and to have spent some forty days in the wilderness fasting and being tempted by Satan – a man of straw conjured up in order to furnish the hero God something to combat with, that he might thereby exhibit practical proof of his divine power and prowess. It was simply the two kings or rulers of two hostile kingdoms (heaven and hell) contending for the mastery.
Lord Kingsborough tells us, ‘The ancient Mexicans had a forty days’ fast in honour and memory of one of their demigods or Saviours, who was tempted forty days on a mountain. He is called ‘the Morning Star.’ Mr. Kingsborough (being a Christian) remarks, ‘These things are very curious and mysterious.’
It is said of ‘the Son of God’ and Saviour Krishna that ‘he imparted his doctrines and precepts in the silent depths of the forest.’ Of the Egyptian God Osiris, we are informed in his sacred legends, that ‘he observed both fasting and penance,’ while Pythagoras of Greece spent several years in meditation and retirement in a cave, and was much given to fasting, and often inculcated the doctrine of ‘forsaking the world’ and ‘the things thereof.’ He taught these things both by precept and example, even to ‘the forsaking of relations.’ Both Confucius and the Divine Saviour Chang-ti of China, ‘in order to attain to a more perfect state of holiness,’ spent several years in retirement and ‘divine meditation,’ the former in a wilderness, the latter on a mountain, and fasted, and their disciples after them often fasted in a very devout manner. The Persian Zoroaster also spent several years in retirement and ‘contemplation on true holiness’ – partly in a wilderness and partly on a ‘holy mountain,’ ‘holy mountains’ being the favourite places of resort of most of the holy Saviours, holy Gods, and holy men of antiquity. One of the most ancient Saviours, Thammuz, is reported to have spent twelve years in devout and contemplative retirement from the busy world.’ According to the Christian bible, Moses, Elijah, and Christ, each fasted forty days, and a Mexican Saviour, too (Quexalcote), spent forty days in a similar manner, and other cases are so reported.
We may institute the inquiry here, ‘How happens this coincidence?’
The answer is indicated by ‘the Hierophant,’ which says, ‘Jesus in his baptism and forty days’ fast imitated the passage of the sun through the constellation Aquarius, where John, Joannes, or Janus the baptiser had his domicile, and baptised the earth with his yearly rains.’ Having been baptised in Jordan, he fasted forty days in the wilderness, in imitation of the passage of the sun from the constellation Aquarius through the Fishes to the Lamb or Ram of March. During the forty days when the sun is among the Fishes (in the sign of the Fish) the faithful Catholics, Episcopalians and Mohammedans abstain from meat and live upon the fishes during the season of Lent, as did the Jews and pagans, and did also Jesus, to fulfil all righteousness.’
The Saviours Were Real Personages
It is unwarrantably assumed by Christian writers that the incarnated Gods and crucified Saviours of the pagan religions were all either mere fabulous characters, or ordinary human beings invested with divine titles, and divine attributes; while, on the other hand, the assumption is put forth with equal boldness that Jesus Christ was a real divine personage, ‘seen and believed on in the world, and finally crucified on Mount Calvary.’
But we do not find the facts in history to warrant any such assumptions or any such distinctions. They all stand in these respects upon the same ground and on equal footing.
And their respective disciples point to the same kind of evidence to prove their real existence and their divine character, and to prove that they once walked and talked amongst men, as well as now sit on the eternal throne in heaven ‘at the right hand of the father.’ And we find even Christian writers admitting the once bona fide or personal existence on earth of most of the pagan Saviours.
As to the two chief incarnated Gods of India – Krishna and Saki – there is scarcely ‘a peg left to hang a doubt upon’ as to the fact of their having descended to the earth, taken upon themselves the form of men, and having been worshiped as veritable Gods.
Indeed, we believe but few of the missionaries who have visited that country question the statement and general belief prevalent there of their once personal reality. Col. Todd, in his ‘History of the Rajahs’ (p. 44), says: ‘We must discard the idea that the Mahabarata, the history of Rama, of Krishna, and the five Padua brothers are mere allegories; colossal figures, ancient temples, and caves inscribed with characters yet unknown, confirm the reality, and their race, their cities, and their coins yet exist.’ To argue further the personal reality of this crucified God would be a waste of words, as it is generally admitted, both by historical writers and missionaries.
Mr. Higgins declares, ‘Krishna lived at the conclusion of the brazen age, which is calculated to have been eleven hundred or twelve hundred years before Christ.’ Here is a very positive and specific declaration as to his tangible actuality. Col. Dow, Mr., Robinson, and others use similar language.
Relative to Bacchus, of whose history many writers have spoken as being wholly fabulous or fictitious, Diodorus Siculus says (lib. iii. p. 137), ‘the Libyans claim Bacchus, and say that he was the son of Ammon, a king of Libya; that he built a temple to his father, Amraon.’ And that world-wide famous historian (Mr. Goodrich) is still more explicit, if possible, as to his material entity. After giving it directly as his opinion that there was such a being, he says, ‘He planted vine-yards and fig-trees, and erected many noble cities.’ He moreover tells us, ‘His skill in legislation and agriculture is much praised’ (p. 499).
With respect to Osiris of Egypt, another God-Saviour, Mr. Hittle declares unqualifiedly that ‘Herodotus saw the tomb of Osiris, at Sais nearly five centuries before Christ’ (vol. ix. 246). Rather a strong evidence of his previous personality certainly, but not more so than that furnished by the New York, Journal of Commerce a few years since, relative to the Egyptian Apis or Thulis, whose theophany was annually celebrated, at the rising of the Nile, with great festivities and devotion, several thousand years ago. The Paris correspondent of that journal, after speaking of Mr. Auguste Marietta’s travels, ‘a distinguished scientific gentleman who for four years past had been employed by the French Government in making Egyptian researches,’ having returned home, says, ‘The most important of Mr. Marietta’s discoveries was the tomb of Apis (Thulis), a monument excavated entirely in lime-rock. ‘There are (he says in conclusion) epitaphs, forming a chronological record of each of the Apis buried in the common tomb. The sculpture is of the date of the Pyramids, and the statues are in the best state of preservation; the colours are perfectly bright. The execution is admirable, and they convey an exact idea of the physical character of the primitive population.’
The New American Cyclopaedia (art. Apis) in speaking of this Egyptian God, tells us his lifetime was twenty-five years; in harmony with one of the theological-astronomical cycles of the Egyptians. The same work and volume (p. 132), in speaking of the real existence of Adonis of Greece, tells us, upon the authority of the poet Panyasis, that he was a veritable son of Theias, king of Syria.
But of all the characters who figured in the mythological works or lawless rhapsodies of the ancients, and worshiped by them as crucified Gods and sin-atoning Saviours, none has, perhaps, been so indubitably, so positively, and so universally set down as mythological or fabulous as that of Prometheus of Caucasus.
And yet Mr. Lempriere, D.D., tells us in his Classical Dictionary that he was the son of Japetus. Sir Isaac Newton say he was a descendant of the famous African Sesostris; while that erudite and masterly historian (Mr. Higgins) seems to have entertained no doubt of his personal esse; nor, indeed, of many, if any, of the pagan Saviours, as the following declaration will show. He says, ‘Finding men in India and other countries of the same name of the inferior Gods (as it is quite common to name men for them) has led some to conclude that those deified men never existed, but are merely mythological names of the sun. True, the first supreme God of every nation (not excepting the Jews) was the sun. But more modernly the names were transferred to men.’ Again, he says, ‘Inasmuch as some of them are found to have been real bona fide human beings, there is nothing unreasonable in concluding that all were.’ And if we take into consideration the true and indisputable fact that the priests had everything at their disposal, and the strongest motives for concealing and suppressing, not to say garbling and destroying evidence, it is not to be wondered at that the histories of some of these Gods should be somewhat obscure and ambiguous. Further on he declares, ‘In every case the Saviour was incarnate, and in nearly every case the place in which he was actually born was exhibited to the people.’ And upon the authority of the Hierophant, we will add, the memories of many of them have been consecrated and perpetuated by tombs placed beside their temples, which is perhaps the most convincing species of evidence that could be offered.
The evidence, then, is precisely of the same character as that offered in the case of Jesus Christ to prove that the pagan Saviours did really possess a substantial, earthly and bodily existence. Though it is true that it never has been universally conceded or believed by Christian themselves that Jesus Christ ever had a personal or corporeal existence on earth.
Cotilenius, in a note on Ignatius, Epistle to the Trallians, written in the third century of the Christian era, declares that ‘it is as absurd to deny the doctrine which taught that Jesus Christ’s body was a phantom as to deny that the sun shone at midday.’ His physical body of course was meant, for it appears he believed in his eternal existence as a spirit in heaven.
And we find whole sects advocating similar views in the early ages of the Christian church. ‘One of the most primitive and learned sects,’ says a writer, ‘were the Manicheans, who denied that Jesus Christ ever existed in flesh and blood, but believed him to be a God in spirit only; others denied him to be a God, but believed him to have been a prophet, or inspired character, like the Unitarians of the present day. Some denied his crucifixion, others asserted it.
It is more than probable that this was the cause of dispute between Paul and Barnabas, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, seeing that Paul had laid such peculiar emphasis on ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified.’
And this conclusion is corroborated by its being expressly stated in the Gospel of Barnabas that ‘Jesus Christ was not crucified, but was carried to heaven by four angels.’ ‘There was a long list,’ says the same writer, ‘from the earliest times, of sincere Christians who denied that Jesus Christ rose from the dead;’ while, as we may remark here, there could not have been at that early date any grounds for denying these things, had he really figured in the world in the miraculous and extraordinary and public manner as that related in the Gospels.
Sixteen Crucified Saviours
‘For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.’ (I Cor. ii. 2.) There must have existed a very considerable amount of skepticism in the community as to the truth of the report of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the country and era of its occurrence to make it necessary thus to erect it into an important dogma, and make it imperative to believe it. There must have been a large margin for distrusting its truth.
The determination not to know anything but the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was narrowing down his knowledge to rather a small compass.
And such a resolution would necessarily preclude him from acquainting himself with the history of any other cases of crucifixion that might have occurred before that of his own favourite Messiah. ‘What! Was there ever a case of crucifixion beside that of Jesus Christ?’ a good Christian brother or sister sometimes exclaims, when the world’s sixteen crucified Saviours are spoken of.
We meet the question with the reply: ‘You seem to be a disciple of Paul, whose position would not allow him to know of any other cases of crucifixion but that of Jesus Christ. Hence, he may have considered it meritorious to perpetuate his ignorance on the subject. And you, perhaps, are ignorant from the same cause’.
It is the nature of all religions based on fear and unchangeable dogmas, to deter and thus exclude its disciples from all knowledge adverse to their own creeds. And sometimes their own religions systems are magnified to such an exalted appreciation above all others as to lead them to destroy the evidence of the existence of the latter for fear of their ultimate rivalry.
Some of the early disciples of the Christian faith demolished accessible monuments representing and memorialising the crucifixion of the ancient oriental sin-atoning Gods, so that they are now unknown in the annals of Christian history. Hence, the surprise excited in the minds of Christians when other cases are mentioned.
Such influences as referred to above have shut out from the minds of the disciples of several religious systems a knowledge of all crucified Gods but their own. Hence, the Hindu rejoices in knowing only ‘Krishna and him crucified.’ The Persian entwines around his heart the remembrance only of the atoning sufferings on the cross of Mithra the Mediator. The Mexican daily sends up his earnest, soul-breathing prayer for the return of the spirit of his crucified Saviour – Quexalcote. While the Caucasian, with equal devotion, chants daily praises to his slain ‘Divine Intercessor’ for voluntarily offering himself upon the cross for the sins of a fallen race. And the Christian disciple hugs to his bosom the bloody cross of the murdered Jesus, unhaunted by the suspicion that other Gods died for the sins of man long anterior to the advent of the immaculate Nazarene.
Here is a brief account of the crucifixion of more than a dozen virgin-born Gods and sin-atoning Saviours, predicated upon facts which have escaped the hands of the Christian iconoclasts determined to know only Jesus Christ crucified.
Among the sin-atoning Gods who condescended in ancient times to forsake the throne of heaven, and descend upon the plains of India, through human birth, to suffer and die for the sins and transgressions of the human race, the eighth Avatar, or Saviour, may be considered the most important and the most exalted character, as he led the most conspicuous life, and commanded the most devout and the most universal homage. And while some of the other incarnate demigods were invested with only a limited measure of the infinite deityship, Krishna, according to the teachings of their New Testament (the Ramazand), comprehended in himself ‘a full measure of the God-head bodily.’ The evidence of his having been crucified is as conclusive as any other sacrificial or sin-atoning God, whose name has been memorialised in history, or embalmed as a sacred idol in the memories of his devout worshipers.
Mr. Moore, an English traveller and writer, in a large collection of drawings taken from Hindu sculptures and monuments, which he has arranged together in a work entitled ‘The Hindu Pantheon,’ has one representing, suspended on the cross, the Hindu crucified God and Son of God, ‘our Lord and Saviour’ Krishna, with holes pierced in his feet, evidently intended to represent the nail-holes made by the act of crucifixion. Mr. Higgins, who examined this work, which he found in the British Museum, makes a report of a number of the transcript drawings intended to represent the crucifixion of this oriental and mediatorial God, which we will here condense. The Saviour is represented with a hole in the top of one foot, just above the toes, where the nail was inserted in the act of crucifixion.
In another drawing he is represented exactly in the form of a Roman Christian crucifix, but not fixed or fastened to a tree, though the legs and feet are arranged in the usual way, with nail-holes in the latter. There is a halo of glory over it, emanating from the heavens above, just as we have seen Jesus Christ represented in a work by a Christian writer, entitled ‘Quarles’ Emblems,’ also in other Christian books. In several of the icons (drawings) there are marks of holes in both feet, and in others of holes in the hands only. In the first drawing which he consulted the marks are very faint, so as to be scarcely visible. In figures four and five of plate eleven the figures have nail-holes in both feet, while the hands are not represented. Figure six has on it the representation of a round hole in the side. To his collar or shirt hangs an emblem of a heart, represented in the same manner as those attached to the imaginary likenesses of Jesus Christ, which may now be found in some Christian countries Figure ninety-one has a hole in one foot and a nail through the other, and a round nail or pin mark in one hand only, while the other is ornamented with a dove and a serpent (both emblems of deity in the Christian’s bible).
Now, we raise the query here, and drive it into the innermost temple of the Christian’s conscience, with the overwhelming force of the unconquerable logic of history. What does all this mean?
And if they will only let convention have its perfect work while answering this question unhampered by the inherited prejudices of a thousand years, they can henceforth rejoice in the discovery of a glorious historical truth, calculated to disenthrall their minds from the soul-cramping superstitions of crosses, crucifixions and bloody atonements on which they have been accustomed to hang the salvation of the world.
If the credibility of the relation of these incidents going to prove an astonishing coincidence in the sacred histories of the Hindu and Christian Saviours, and demonstrating the doctrine of the crucifixion as having been practically realised, and preached to the world long anterior to the offering of a God ‘once for all’ on Mount Calvary; if its credibility rested on mere ‘ex parte’ testimony, mere pagan tradition, or even upon the best digested and most authentic annals of the past that have escaped the ravages time, there might still be a forlorn hope for the stickler for the Christian faith now struggling in the agonies of a credal skepticism, that the whole thing has been plagiarised from the Christian Gospels. For paper and parchment history can be – and has been – mutilated. But the verity of this account rests upon no such a precarious basis. Its antiquity, reaching far beyond the Christian era, is corroborated and demonstrated by imperishable monuments, deep-chiselled indentures burrowed into the granite rock, which bid defiance to the fingers of time, and even the hands of the frenzied iconoclast, to destroy or deface, though impelled and spurred on to the effort by the long-cherished conviction burning in his soul, that the salvation of the human race depends upon believing that ‘there is no other name given under heaven whereby men can be saved’ than his own crucified God, and that all others are but thieves robbers and Antichrist’s. Some of the disciples of the oriental systems cherished this conviction, and Christians and Mohammedans seem to have inherited it in magnified proportions.
Hence, we are credibly informed that some of the earlier Christian saints, having determined, like Paul, ‘to know only Jesus Christ and him crucified,’ made repeated efforts to obliterate these sacred facts (so fatally damaging to their one-sided creeds) from the page of history. Mr. Higgins suggests that if we could have persons less under the influence of sectarian prejudice to visit, examine, and report on the sculptures and monuments of India, covered over as they are with antiquated and significant figures appertaining to and illustrating their religious history, we might accumulate still more light bearing upon the history of the crucifixion of the Saviour and sin-atoning Krishna. ‘Most of our reports,’ he declares, ‘are fragmentary, if not one-sided, having come through the hands of Christian missionaries, bishops and priests.’
He informs us that a report on the Hindu religion, made out by a deputation from the British Parliament, sent to India for the purpose of examining their sacred books and monuments, being left in the hands of a Christian bishop at Calcutta, and with instructions to forward it to England, was found, on its arrival in London, to be so horribly mutilated and eviscerated as to be scarcely cognisable. The account of the crucifixion was gone – cancelled out. The inference is patent.
And we have it upon the authority of this same reliable and truthful writer (Sir Godfrey Higgins) that the author of the Hindu Pantheon (Mr. Moor), after having announced his intention to publish it to the world, was visited and labored with by some of his devout Christian neighbours zealous ‘for the faith once delivered to the saints,’ who endeavoured to dissuade him from publishing such facts to the world as he represented his book to contain, for fear it would have the effect to unsettle the faith of some of the weak brethren (some of the weak-kneed church members) in the soul-saving religion of Jesus Christ, by raising doubts in their minds as to the originality of the gospel story of the crucifixion of Christ, or at least of his having been crucified as a God for a sin-offering. His crucifixion is a possible event. It may be thus far a true narrative, but the adjunct of the atonement, with its efficacy to obliterate the effects of sin, connected with the idea that an infinite, omnipotent and self-existent God was put to death, when a human form was slain upon the cross – never, no, never. It is a thought too monstrous to find lodgment in an enlightened human mind.
Another case evincing the same spirit as that narrated above is found in the circumstance of a Christian missionary (a Mr. Maurice) publishing a historical account of this man-god or demigod of the Hindus, and omitting any allusion to his crucifixion; this was entirely left out, apparently from design. His death, resurrection and ascension were spoken of, but the crucifixion skipped over. He could not have been ignorant of this chapter in his history, as the writers preceding him, from whom he copied, had related it.
Among this number may be mentioned the learned French writer Monsieur Guigniant, who, in his ‘Religion of the Ancients,’ speaks so specifically of the crucifixion of this God, as to name the circumstance of his being nailed to a tree. He also states, that before his exit he made some remarkable prophecies appertaining to the crimes and miseries of the world in the approaching future, reminding us of the wars and rumours of wars predicted by the Christian Messiah. Mr. Higgins names the same circumstance.
We have it upon the authority of more than one writer on Hindu or Indian antiquities that there is a rock temple at Mathura in the form of a cross, and facing the four cardinal points of the compass, which is admitted by all beholders as presenting the proof in bold relief of extreme age, and inside of this temple stands a statue of ‘the Saviour of men,’ Krishna of India, presenting the proof of being coeval in construction with the temple itself by the circumstance of its being cut out of the same rock and constituting a part of the temple.
Thus we have the proof deeply and indelibly carved in the old, time-chiselled rocks of India that their ‘Lord and Saviour Krishna’ atoned for the sins of a grief-stricken world by ‘pouring out his blood as a propitiatory offering’ while stretched upon the cross. No wonder, in view of such historic bulwarks, Col. Wiseman, for ten years a Christian missionary should have exclaimed, ‘Can we be surprised that the enemies of our holy religion should seize upon this legend (the crucifixion of Krishna) as containing the original of our gospel history?’
The history of Krishna Zeus (or Jeseus, as some writers spell it) is contained principally in the Baghavat Gita, the episode portion of the Mahabarata bible. The book is believed to be divinely inspired, like all other bibles; and the Hindus claim for it an antiquity of six thousand years. Like Christ, he was of humble origin, and like him had to encounter opposition and persecution.
But he seems to have been more successful in the propagation of his doctrines for it is declared, ‘he soon became surrounded by many earnest followers, and the people in vast multitudes followed him, crying aloud, ‘This is indeed the Redeemer promised to our fathers’.’ His pathway was thickly strewn with miracles, which consisted in healing the sick, curing lepers, restoring the dumb, deaf and the blind, raising the dead, aiding the weak, comforting the sorrow-stricken, relieving the oppressed, casting out devils, etc. He come not ostensibly to destroy the previous religion, but to purify it of its impurities, and to preach a better doctrine. He came, as he declared, ‘to reject evil and restore the reign of good, and redeem man from the consequences of the fall, and deliver the oppressed earth from its load of sin and suffering.’ His disciples believed him to be God himself, and millions worshiped him as such in the time of Alexander the Great, 330 BC
The hundreds of counterparts to the history of Christ, proving their histories to be almost identical:
Like Christ, he taught much by parables and precepts. A notable sermon preached by him is also reported, which we have not space for here.
On one occasion, having returned from a ministerial journey, as he entered Madura, the people came out in crowds to meet him, strewing the ground with the branches of cocoa-nut trees, and desiring to hear him. He addressed them in parables – the conclusion and moral of one of which, called the parable of the fishes, runs thus: ‘And thus it is, O people of Madura, that you ought to protect the weak and each other, and not retaliate upon an enemy the wrongs he may have done you.’ Here we see the peace doctrine preached in its purity. ‘And thus it was,’ says a writer, ‘that Krishna spread among the people the holy doctrines of purest morality, and initiated his hearers into the exalted principles of charity, of self-denial, and self-respect at a time when the desert countries of the west were inhabited only by savage tribes;’ and we will add, long before Christianity was thought of. Purity of life and spiritual insight, we are told, were distinguishing traits in the character of this oriental sin-atoning Saviour, and that ‘he was often moved with compassion for the downtrodden and the suffering.’
A Buddhist in Ceylon, who sent his son to a Christian school, once remarked to a missionary, ‘I respect Christianity as a help to Buddhism.’ Thus is disclosed the fact that the motives of some of ‘the heathen’ in sending to Christian schools is the promotion of their own religion, which they consider superior, and in many respects most of them are.
We have the remarkable admission of the Christian Examiner that ‘the best precepts of the (Christian) bible are contained in the Hindu Baghavat.’ Then it is not true that ‘Christ spake as man never spake.’ And if his ‘best precepts’ were previously recorded in an old heathen bible, then they afford no proof of his divinity. This suicidal concession of the Examiner pulls up the claims of orthodox Christianity by the roots.
And many of the precepts uttered by Krishna display a profound wisdom and depth of thought equal to any of those attributed to Jesus Christ. In proof of the statement, we will cite a few examples out of the hundreds in our possession:
Compare these fifty-one precepts of Krishna with the forty-two precepts of Christ, and you must confess they suffer nothing by the comparison. If we had space we would like to quote also from the Vedas. We will merely cite a few examples relative to woman.
Before we close this chapter we must anticipate and answer an objection. It will be said that the reported amours of Krishna and his encounter with Canna constitute a criticism on his character. If so, we will point to Christ’s fight or angry combat with the money-changers in the temple as an offset to it. And then it should be remembered that Krishna’s disciples claim that these stories are mere fable, or allegorical, and are not found in the most approved or canonical writings.
How many Gods who figured in Hindu history suffered death upon the cross as atoning offerings for the sins of mankind is a point not clearly established by their sacred books. But the death of the God above named, known as Saki, Buddha Saki, or Saki Muni, is distinctly referred to by several writers, both oriental and Christian, though there appears to be in Buddhist countries different accounts of the death of the famous and extensively worshiped sin-atoning Saviours.
In some countries, the story runs, a God was crucified by an arrow being driven through his body, which fastened him to a tree; the tree, with the arrow thus projecting at right angles, formed the cross, emblematical of the atoning sacrifice.
Saki, an account states, was crucified by his enemies for the humble act of plucking a flower in a garden – doubtless seized on as a mere pretext, rather than as being considered a crime.
One of the accusations brought against Christ, it will be remembered, was that of plucking the ripened ears of corn on the Sabbath. And it is a remarkable circumstance, that in the pictures of Christian countries representing the virgin Mary with the infant Jesus in her arms, either the child or the mother is frequently represented with a bunch of flowers in the hand.
Here, let it be noted, the association of flowers with divinely born Saviours, in India, is indicated in the religious books of that country to have originated from the conception of the virgin parting with the flowers of her virginity by giving birth to a divine child, whereby she lost the immortality of her physical nature, it being transferred by that act to her Deity-begotten son. And from this circumstance, Saki is represented as having been crucified for abstracting a flower from a garden. That his crucifixion was designed as a sin-atoning offering, is evident from the following declaration found in his sacred biography:
‘He in mercy left Paradise, and came down to earth because he was filled with compassion for the sins and miseries of mankind. He sought to lead them into better paths, and took their sufferings upon himself that he might expiate their crimes and mitigate the punishment they must otherwise inevitably undergo.’ (Prog. Rel. Ideas, vol. ix. 86.)
He believed and taught his followers that all sin is inevitably punished, either in this or the future life; and so great were his sympathy and tenderness, that he condescended to suffer that punishment himself, by an ignominious death upon the cross, after which he descended into Hades (Hell), to suffer for a time (three days) for the inmates of that dreadful and horrible prison, that he might show he sympathised with them. After his resurrection, and before his ascension to heaven, as well as during his earthly sojourn, he imparted to the world some beautiful, lofty, and soul-elevating precepts.
‘The object of his mission,’ says a writer, ‘was to instruct those who were straying from the right path, and expiate the sins of mortals by his own suffering, and procure for them a happy entrance into Paradise by obedience to his precepts and prayers to his name. (Ibid.) ‘His followers always speak of him as one with God from all eternity.’ (Ibid.) His most common title was ‘the Saviour of the World.’ He was also called ‘the Benevolent One,’ ‘the Dispenser of Grace,’ ‘the Source of Life, the Light of the World,’ ‘the True Light,’ etc.
His mother was a very pure, refined, pious and devout woman; never indulged in any impure thoughts, words or actions. She was so much esteemed for her virtues and for being the mother of a God, that an escort of ladies attended her wherever she went. The trees bowed before her as she passed through the forest, and flowers sprang up wherever her foot pressed the ground. She was saluted as ‘the Holy Virgin, Queen of Heaven.’
It is said that when her divine child was born, he stood upright and proclaimed, ‘I will put an end to the sufferings and sorrows of the world.’ And immediately a light shone around about the young Messiah. He spent much time in retirement, and like Christ in another respect, was once tempted by a demon who offered him all the honours and wealth of the world. But he rebuked the devil, saying, Be gone; hinder me not.’
He began, like Christ, to preach his gospel and heal the sick when about twenty-eight years of age. And it is declared, ‘the blind saw, the deaf heard, the dumb spoke, the lame danced and the crooked became straight.’ Hence, the people declared, ‘He is no mortal child, but an incarnation of the Deity.’ His religion was of a very superior character. He proclaimed, ‘My law is a law of grace for all.’ His religion knew no race, no sex, no caste, and no aristocratic priesthood.
‘It taught,’ says Max Muller, ‘the equality of all men, and the brotherhood of the human race.’ ‘All men, without regard to rank, birth or nation,’ says Dunckar, ‘form, according to Buddha’s view, one great suffering association in this earthly vale of tears; therefore, the commandments of love, forbearance, patience, compassion, pity, brotherliness of all men.’ Klaproth (a German professor of oriental languages) says this religion is calculated to ennoble the human race. ‘It is difficult to comprehend,’ says a French writer (M. Leboulay), ‘how men, not assisted by revelation, could have soared so high, and approached so near the truth.’
Dunckar says this oriental God ‘taught self-denial, chastity, temperance, the control of the passions, to bear injustice from others, to suffer death quietly, and without hate of your persecutor, to grieve not for one’s own misfortunes, but for those of others.’ An investigation of their history will show that they lived up to these moral injunctions. ‘Besides the five great commandments,’ says a Wesleyan missionary (Spense Hardy) in his Dhamma Padam, ‘every shade of vice, hypocrisy, anger, pride, suspicion, greediness, gossiping, and cruelty to animals is guarded against by special precepts. Among the virtues, recommended, we find not only reverence for parents, care for children, submission to authority, gratitude, moderation in all things, submission in time of trial, equanimity at all times, but virtues, unknown in some systems of morality, such as the duty of forgiving injuries, and not rewarding evil for evil.’ And we will add, both charity and love are specially recommended.
We have it also upon the authority of Dunckar that Buddha proclaimed that salvation and redemption have come for all, even the lowest and most abject classes.’ For he broke down the iron caste of the Brahminical code which had so long ruled India, and aimed to place all mankind upon a level. His followers have been stigmatised by Christian professors as ‘idolaters.’ But Sir John Bowring, in his ‘Kingdom and People of Siam,’ denies that they are idolaters – ‘because,’ says he, ‘no Buddhist believes his image to be God, or anything more than an outward representation of Deity.’ Their deific images are looked upon with the same views and feelings as a Christian venerates the photograph of his deceased friend. Hence, If one is an idolater, the other is also. With respect to the charge of polytheism, Missionary Huc says, ‘that although their religion embraces many inferior deities, who fill the same office’s that angels do under the Christian system, yet,’ – adds M. Huc – ‘monotheism is the real character of Buddhism;’ and confirms the statement by the testimony of a Tibetan.
It should be noted here that although Buddhism succeeded in converting about three hundred millions, or one-third of the inhabitants of the globe, it was never propagated by the sword, and never persecuted the disciples of other religions. Its conquests were made by a rational appeal to the human mind. Mr. Hodgson says, ‘It recognises the infinite capacity of the human intellect.’ And St. Hilaire declares, ‘Love for all beings is its nucleus; and to love our enemies, and not prosecute, are the virtues of this people.’ Max Muller says, ‘Its moral code, taken by itself, is one of the most perfect the world has ever known.’
Its five commandments are:
To establish the above cited doctrines and precepts, Buddha sent forth his disciples into the world to preach his gospel to every creature. And if any convert had committed a sin in word, thought or deed, he was to confess and repent. One of the tracts which they distributed declares, ‘There is undoubtedly a life after this, in which the virtuous may expect the reward of their good deeds … judgment takes place immediately after death.’
Buddha and his followers set an example to the world of enduring opposition and persecution with great patience and non-resistance. And some of them suffered martyrdom rather than abandon their principles, and gloried in thus sealing their doctrines with their lives.
A story is told of a rich merchant by the name of Purna, forsaking all to follow his lord and master; and also of his encountering and talking with a woman of low caste at a well, which reminds us of similar incidents in the history of Christ. But his enemies, becoming jealous and fearful of his growing power, finally crucified him near the foot of the Nepal mountains, about 600 BC But after his death, burial and resurrection, we are told he ascended back to heaven, where millions of his followers believed he had existed with Brahma from all eternity.
(In the cases of crucifixion which follow, nothing like accuracy can be expected with respect to the dates of their occurrence, as all history covering the period beyond the modern era, or prior to the time of Alexander the Great (330 BC) is involved in a labyrinth of uncertainty with respect to dates. Hence, bible chronologists differ to the extent of three thousand years with respect to the time of every event recorded in the Old Testament. Compare the Hebrew and Septuagint versions of the bible: The former makes the world three thousand nine hundred and forty-four, and the latter five thousand two hundred and seventy years old at the birth of Christ – a difference of thirteen hundred and twenty-six years. And other translations differ still more widely. All the cases of crucifixion which follow occurred before the time of Christ, but the exact time of many of them cannot be fixed with certainty.)
The history of this God is furnished us in fragments by several writers, portions of which will be found in other chapters of this work. The fullest history extant of this God-Saviour is probably that of Ctesias (400 BC), author of ‘Persika.’ The poet has perpetuated his memory in rhyme.
Mr. Higgins informs us (Anac. vol. ix. 246) that this God was crucified at the period above named, as a sin-atoning offering. The stanza just quoted is predicated upon the following Greek text, translated by Godwin: ‘Trust ye in God, for out of his loins salvation has come unto us.’ Julius Firmicus speaks of this God ‘rising from the dead for the salvation of the world.’ The Christian writer Parkhurst alludes to this Saviour as preceding the advent of Christ, and as filling to some extent the same chapter in sacred history.
We have a very conclusive historical proof of the crucifixion of this heathen God. Mr. Higgins tells us, ‘He is represented in his history with nail-holes in his hands and the soles of his feet.’ Nails, hammers and pincers are constantly seen represented on his crucifixes, and are objects of adoration among his followers. And the iron crown of Lombardy has within it a nail of what is claimed as his true original cross, and is much admired and venerated on that account. The worship of this crucified God, according to our author, prevails chiefly in the Travancore and other southern countries in the region of Madura.
With respect to the crucifixion of this ancient Saviour, we have this very definite and specific testimony that ‘he was crucified on a tree in Nepal.’ (See Georgius, p. 202.) The name of this incarnate God and oriental Saviour occurs frequently in the holy bibles and sacred books of other countries. Some suppose that Iao (often spelt Jao) is the root of the name of the Jewish God Jehovah.
Mr. Higgins informs us that the Celtic Druids represent their God Hesus as having been crucified with a lamb on one side and an elephant on the other, and that this occurred long before the Christian era. Also that a representation of it may now be seen upon ‘the fire-tower of Brechin.’
In this symbolical representation of the crucifixion, the elephant, being the largest animal known, was chosen to represent the magnitude of the sins of the world, while the lamb, from its proverbial innocent nature, was chosen to represent the innocence of the victim (the God offered as a propitiatory sacrifice). And thus we have ‘the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world’ – symbolical language used with respect to the offering of Jesus Christ. And here is indicated very clearly the origin of the figure. It is evidently borrowed from the Druids. We have the statement of the above writer that this legend was found amongst the Canutes of Gaul long before Jesus Christ was known to history. (See Anac. vol. ii. p. 130.)
Historical authority, relative to the crucifixion of this Mexican God, and to his execution upon the cross as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of mankind, is explicit, unequivocal and ineffaceable. The evidence is tangible, and indelibly engraved upon steel and metal plates. One of these plates represents him as having been crucified on a mountain; another represents him as having been crucified in the heavens, as St. Justin tells us Christ was. According to another writer, he is sometimes represented as having been nailed to a cross, and by other accounts as hanging with a cross in his hand. The ‘Mexican Antiquities’ (vol. vi. p. 166) says, ‘Quexalcote is represented in the paintings of ‘Codex Borgianus’ as nailed to the cross.’ Sometimes two thieves are represented as having been crucified with him.
That the advent of this crucified Saviour and Mexican God was long anterior to the era of Christ, is admitted by Christian writers, as we have shown elsewhere. In the work above named ‘Codex Borgianus,’ may be found the account, not only of his crucifixion, but of his death, burial, descent into hell, and resurrection on the third day. And another work, entitled ‘Codex Vaticanus,’ contains the story of his immaculate birth by a virgin mother by the name of Chimalman.
Many other incidences are found related of him in his sacred biography, in which we find the most striking counterparts to the more modern gospel story of Jesus Christ, such as his forty days’ temptation and fasting, his riding on an ass, his purification in the temple, his baptism and regeneration by water, his forgiving of sins, being anointed with oil, etc. ‘All these things, and many more, found related of this Mexican God in their sacred books,’ says Lord Kingsborough (a Christian writer), ‘are curious and mysterious.’ (See the books above cited.)
The crucifixion of this Roman Saviour is briefly noticed by Mr. Higgins, and is remarkable for presenting (like other crucified Gods) several parallel features to that of the Judean Saviour, not only in the circumstances related as attending his crucifixion, but also in a considerable portion of his antecedent life.
He is represented, like Christ:
In the account of the crucifixion of Prometheus of Caucasus, as furnished by Seneca, Hesiod, and other writers, it is stated that he was nailed to an upright beam of timber, to which were affixed extended arms of wood, and that this cross was situated near the Caspian Straits. The modern story of this crucified God, which represents him as having been bound to a rock for thirty years, while vultures preyed upon his vitals, Mr. Higgins pronounces an impious Christian fraud. ‘For,’ says this learned historical writer, ‘I have seen the account which declares he was nailed to a cross with hammer and nails.’ (Anac. vol. i. 327.) Confirmatory of this statement is the declaration of Mr. Southwell, that ‘he exposed himself to the wrath of God in his zeal to save mankind.’
The poet, in portraying his propitiatory offering, says:
The ‘New American Cyclopaedia’ (vol. ix. 157) contains the following significant declaration relative to this sin-atoning oriental Saviour: ‘It is doubtful whether there is to be found in the whole range of Greek letters deeper pathos than that of the divine woe of the beneficent demigod Prometheus, crucified on his Scythian crags for his love to mortals.’ Here we have first-class authority for the crucifixion of this oriental God.
In Lempriere’s ‘Classical Dictionary,’ Higgins’ ‘Anacalypsis,’ and other works, may be found the following particulars relative to the final exit of the God above named:
‘The cause for which he suffered,’ says Mr. Southwell, ‘was his love for the human race.’ Mr. Taylor makes the statement in his Syntagma (p. 95), that the whole story of Prometheus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection was acted in pantomime in Athens five hundred years before Christ, which proves its great antiquity. Minutius Felix, one of the most popular Christian writers of the second century (in his ‘Octavius,’ sect. 29), thus addresses the people of Rome: ‘Your victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a cross with a man on it,’ and this man St. Jerome calls a God.
Thulis of Egypt, whence comes ‘Ultima Thule,’ died the death of the cross about thirty-five hundred years ago.
Ultima Thule was the island which marked the ultimate bounds of the extensive empire of this legitimate descendant of the Gods.
This Egyptian Saviour appears also to have been known as Zulis, and with this name – Mr. Wilkison tells us – ‘his history is curiously illustrated in the sculptures, made seventeen hundred years BC, of a small, retired chamber lying nearly over the western adytum of the temple.’ We are told twenty-eight lotus plants near his grave indicate the number of years be lived on the earth. After suffering a violent death, he was buried, but rose again, ascended into heaven, and there became ‘the judge of the dead,’ or of souls in a future state. Wilkison says he came down from heaven to benefit mankind, and that he was said to be full of grace and truth.’
The account of the crucifixion of the God and Saviour Indra may be found in Georgius, Thibetinum Alphabetum, p. 230. A brief notice of the case is all we have space for here. In the work just referred to may be found plates representing this Tibetan Saviour as having been nailed to the cross. There are five wounds, representing the nail-holes and the piercing of the side. The antiquity of the story is beyond dispute.
Marvellous stories are told of the birth of the Divine Redeemer. His mother was a virgin of black complexion, and hence his complexion was of the ebony hue, as in the case of Christ and some other sin-atoning Saviours. He descended from heaven on a mission of benevolence, and ascended back to the heavenly mansion after his crucifixion. He led a life of strict celibacy, which, he taught, was essential to true holiness. He inculcated great tenderness toward all living beings. He could walk upon the water or upon the air; he could foretell future events with great accuracy. He practiced the most devout contemplation, severe discipline of the body and mind, and acquired the most complete subjection of his passions. He was worshiped as a God who had existed as a spirit from all eternity, and his followers were called ‘Heavenly Teachers.’
The ‘English Classical Journal’ (vol. xxxvii.) furnishes us with the story of another crucified God, known as Alcestos – a female God or Goddess; and in this respect, it is a novelty in sacred history, being the first, if not the only example of a feminine God atoning for the sins of the world upon the cross. The doctrine of the trinity and atoning offering for sin was inculcated as a part of her religion.
Speaking of this crucified Messiah, the Anacalypsis informs us that several histories are given of him, but all concur in representing him as having been an atoning offering for sin. And the Latin phrase ‘suspensus lingo,’ found in his history, indicates the manner of his death. He was suspended on a tree, crucified, buried and rose again.
The Chaldeans, as Mr. Higgins informs us, have noted in their sacred books the account of the crucifixion of a God with the above name. He was also known as ‘the Redeemer,’ and was styled ‘the Ever Blessed Son of God,’ ‘the Saviour of the Race,’ ‘the Atoning Offering for an Angry God.’ And when he was offered up, both heaven and earth were shaken to their foundations.
We learn by the oriental books, that in the district of country known as Orissa, in Asia, they have the story of a crucified God, known by several names, including the above, all of which, we are told, signify ‘Lord Second,’ having reference to him as the second person or second member of the trinity, as most of the crucified Gods occupied that position in the trial of deities constituting the trinity, as indicated by the language ‘Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,’ the Son, in all cases, being the atoning offering, ‘the crucified Redeemer,’ and the second person of the trinity. This God Bali was also called Baliu, and sometimes Bel. The Anacalypsis informs us (vol. i. 257) that monuments of this crucified God, bearing great age, may be found amid the ruins of the magnificent city of Mahabalipore, partially buried amongst the figures of the temple.
This Persian God, according to Mr. Higgins, was ‘slain upon the cross to make atonement for mankind, and to take away the sins of the world.’ He was reputedly born on the twenty-fifth day of December, and crucified on a tree. It is a remarkable circumstance that two Christian writers (Mr. Faber and Mr. Bryant) both speak of his being slain,’ and yet both omit to speak of the manner in which he was put to death. And the same policy has been pursued with respect to other crucified Gods of the pagans, as we have shown elsewhere.
Our list is full, or we might note other cases of crucifixion. Devatat of Siam, Ixion of Rome, Apollonius of Tyana in Cappadocia, are all reported in history as having died the death of the cross.’
Ixion, 400 BC, according to Nimrod, was crucified on a wheel, the rim representing the world, and the spokes constituting the cross. It is declared, ‘He bore the burden of the world’ (that is, ‘the sins of the world’) on his back while suspended on the cross. Hence, he was sometimes called ‘the crucified spirit of the world.’
With respect to Apollonius, it is a remarkable, if not a suspicious circumstance that should not be passed unnoticed, that several Christian writers, while they recount a long list of miracles and remarkable incidents in the life of this Cappadocian Saviour, extending through his whole life, and forming a parallel to similar incidents of the Christian Saviour, not a word is said about his crucifixion.
And a similar policy has been pursued with respect to Mithra and other sin-atoning Gods, including Krishna and Prometheus, as before noticed.
This important chapter in their history has been omitted by Christian writers for fear the relation of it would damage the credibility of the crucifixion of Christ, or lessen its spiritual force. For, like Paul, they were ‘determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (i Cor. ii. 2) that is, to know no other God had been crucified but Jesus Christ. They thus exalted the tradition of the crucifixion into the most important dogma of the Christian faith. Hence, their efforts to conceal from the public a knowledge of the fact that it is of pagan origin.
By reference to Mackey’s ‘Lexicon of Freemasonry (p. 35) we learn that Freemasons secretly taught the doctrine of the crucifixion, atonement and resurrection long anterior to the Christian era, and that similar doctrines were taught in ‘all the ancient mysteries,’ thus proving that the conception of these tenets of faith existed at a very early period of time.
And it may be noted here, that the doctrine of salvation by crucifixion had likewise, with most of the ancient forms of religious faith, an astronomical representation – that is, a representation in astronomical symbols. According to the emblematical figures comprised in their astral worship, people were saved by the sun’s crucifixion or crossification, realised by crossing over the equinoctial line into the season of spring, and thereby gave out a saving heat and light to the world and stimulated the generative organs of animal and vegetable life. It was from this conception that the ancients were in the habit of carving or painting the organs of generation upon the walls of their holy temples. The blood of the grape, which was ripened by the heat of the sun, as he crossed over by resurrection into spring, (that is, was crucified), was symbolically ‘the blood of the cross,’ or ‘the blood of the Lamb.’
If we should be met here with the statement, that the stories of the ancient crucifixions of Gods were mere myths or fables, unwarrantably saddled on to their histories as mere romance, and have no foundation in fact, we reply – there is as much ground for suspecting the same thing as being true of Jesus Christ.
One of the most celebrated and most frequently quoted Christian writers of the ancient bishops (Irenaeus) declares upon the authority of the martyr Polycarp, who claimed to have got it from St. John and all the elders of Asia, that Jesus Christ was not crucified, but lived to be about fifty years old.
We find there has always been a margin for doubt amongst his own followers as to the fact of his crucifixion.
Many of the early Christians and contemporary Jews and Gentiles doubted it, and some openly disputed its ever having taken place. Others bestowed upon it a mere spiritual signification, and not a few considered it symbolical of a holy life.’ One circumstance, calculated to lead to the entire discredit of the story of the crucifixion of Christ, is the relation, in connection with it, of a violent convulsion of nature, and the resurrection of the long-buried saints – events not supported by any authentic contemporaneous history, sacred or profane.
And as these events must be set down as fabulous, they leave the mind in doubt with respect to the fact of the crucifixion itself, especially when the many absurdities involved in the doctrine of the crucifixion are brought to view, in connection with it, some of them so palpably erroneous that an unlettered savage could see and point them out.
The Indian chief Red Jacket is reported to have replied to the Christian missionaries, when they urged upon his attention the benefits of Christ’s death by crucifixion, ‘Brethren, if you white men murdered the son of the Great Spirit, we Indians have nothing to do with it, and it is none of our affair. If he had come among us, we would not have killed him. We would have treated him well. You must make amends for that crime yourselves.’
This view of the crucifixion suggested to the mind of an illiterate heathen we deem more sensible and rational than that of the orthodox Christians, which makes it a meritorious act and a moral necessity. For this would not only exonerate Judas from any criminality or guilt for the part he took in the affair, but would entitle him as well as Christ to the honourable title of a ‘Saviour’ for performing an act without which the crucifixion and consequent salvation of the world could not have been effected. If it was necessary for Christ to suffer death upon the cross as an atonement for sin, then the act of crucifixion was right, and a monument should be erected to the memory of Judas for bringing it about. We challenge Christian logic to find a flaw in this argument.
And another important consideration arises here. If the inhabitants of this planet required the murderous death of a God as an atonement, we must presume that the eighty-five millions of inhabited worlds recently discovered by astronomers are, or have been, in equal need of a divine atonement. And this would require the crucifixion of eighty-five millions of Gods. Assuming one of these Gods to be crucified every minute, the whole would occupy a period of nearly twenty years. This would be killing off Gods at rather a rapid rate, and would make the work of the atonement and salvation a very murderous and bloody affair – a conception which brings to the mind a series of very revolting reflections.
The conception of Gods coming down from heaven, and being born of virgins, and dying a violent death for the moral blunders of the people, originated in an age of the world when man was a savage, and dwelt exclusively upon the animal plane, and blood was the requisition for every offence. And it was an age when no world was known to exist but the one we inhabit. The stars were then supposed to be mere blazing tapers set in the azure vault to light this pygmy planet, or peep-holes for Gods to look out of heaven, to see and learn what is going on below. Such conceptions are in perfect keeping with the doctrine of the atoning crucifixion of Gods, which could never have originated or been entertained for a moment by an astronomer, with a knowledge of the existence of innumerable worlds. For as there is to the monotheistic Christian but one God, or Son of God, to be offered, he must be incarnated and crucified every day for a thousand years to make a sin-offering for each of these worlds – a conception too monstrous and preposterous to find a lodgement in a rational mind.
Origin of the Belief of the Crucifixion of Gods
It has always been presumed that death, and especially death by crucifixion, involved the highest state of suffering possible to be endured by mortals. Hence, the Gods must suffer in this way as an example of courage and fortitude, and to show themselves willing to undergo all the affliction and misery incident to the lot, and unavoidable to the lives of their devoted worshipers. They must not only be equal, but superior to their subjects in this respect. Hence, they would not merely die, but choose, or at least uncomplainingly submit to the most ignoble and ignominious mode of suffering death that could be devised, and that was crucifixion. This gave the highest finishing touch to the drama.
And thus the legend of the crucifixion became the crowning chapter, the aggrandising episode in the history of their lives. It was presumed that nothing less than a God could endure such excruciating tortures without complaining.
Hence, when the victim was reported to have submitted with such fortitude that no murmur was heard to issue from his lips, this circumstance of itself was deemed sufficient evidence of his Godship. The story of the crucifixion, therefore, whether true or false, deified or helped deify many great men and exalt them to the rank of Gods. Though some of the disciples of Buddhism, and some of the primitive professors of Christianity also (including, according to Christian history, Peter and his brother Andrew), voluntarily chose this mode of dying in imitation of their crucified Lord, without experiencing, however, the desired promotion to divine honours. They failed of an exaltation to the deityship, and hence are not now worshiped as Gods.
To all Christians: What can you now make of the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ but a borrowed legend – at least the story of his being crucified as a God?
(It must be understood with respect to the cases of crucifixion here briefly narrated, that they are not vouched for as actual occurrences, of which there is much ground to doubt. It has neither been the aim or desire to prove them to be real historical events, nor to establish any certain number of cases. Indeed, it unimportant to know, if it could be determined, whether they are fact or fiction, or whether one God was crucified, or many. The lesson to be learned is, simply, that the belief in the crucifixion of Gods was prevalent in various oriental or heathen countries long prior to the reported crucifixion of Christ. If this point is established – which no one can dispute – then we are not concerned whether we have made out sixteen cases of crucifixion or not. Six will prove it as well as sixteen. In fast, one case is sufficient to establish the important proposition in view. Everyone is, therefore, left to decide each case for themselves, according as they may value the evidence presented.)
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