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"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 favorite 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 Saviors 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.
Mr. Taylor informs us that some of the early disciples of the Christian faith demolished accessible monuments representing and memorializing 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 Christian professors 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 Hindoo rejoices in knowing only "Chrishna 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 Savior -- 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.
We will now lay before the reader a brief account of the crucifixion of more than a dozen virgin-born Gods and sin-atoning Saviors, predicated upon facts which have escaped the hands of the Christian iconoclasts determined to know only Jesus Christ crucified. We will first notice the case of the Indian God- Chrishna.
I. -- CRUCIFIXION OF CHRISHNA OF INDIA, 1200 B.C.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 Savior, 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, Chrishna, 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 memorialized in history, or embalmed as a sacred idol in the memories of his devout worshipers.
Mr. Moore, an English traveler and writer, in a large collection of drawings taken from Hindoo sculptures and monuments, which he has arranged together in a work entitled "The Hindoo Pantheon," has one representing, suspended on the cross, the Hindoo crucified God and Son of God, "our Lord and Savior" Chrishna, 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. Savior 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 Romish 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 Hindoo and Christian Saviors, and demonstrating the doctrine of the crucifixion as having been practically realized, 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 plagiarized 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-chiseled 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 antichrists. Some of the disciples of the oriental systems cherished this conviction, and Christians and Mahommedans 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 Savior and sin-atoning Chrishna. "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 Hindoo 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 cognizable. The account of the crucifixion was gone -- canceled 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 Hindoo 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 neighbors zealous "for the faith once delivered to the saints," who endeavored 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 Hindoos, 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 Monsier 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 rumors 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 Hindoo 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 Savior of men," Chrishna 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. (Further citations of this character will be found under the head of Parallels, Chapter XXXII.)
Thus we have the proof deeply and indelibly carved in the old, time-chiseled rocks of India -- that their "Lord and Savior Chrishna" 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 Chrishna) as containing the original of our gospel history?"
Christian reader, please ponder over the facts of this chapter, and let conviction have its perfect work.
LIFE, CHARACTER, RELIGION, AND MIRACLES OF CHRISHNAThe history of Chrishna Zeus (or Jeseus, as some writers spell it) is contained principally in the Baghavat Gita, the episode portion of the Mahabaret bible. The book is believed to be divinely inspired, like all other bibles; and the Hindoos 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 B.C.
The hundreds of counterparts to the history of Christ, proving their histories to be almost identical, will be found enumerated in Chapter XXXII, such as -- 1. His miraculous birth by a virgin. 2. The mother and child being visited by shepherds, wise men and the angelic host, who joyously sang, "In thy delivery, O favored among women, all nations shall have cause to exult." 3. The edict of the tyrant ruler Cansa, ordering all the first born to be put to death. 4. The miraculous escape of the mother and child from his bloody decree by the parting of the waves of the River Jumna to permit them to pass through on dry ground. 5. The early retirement of Chrishna to a desert. 6. His baptism or ablution in the River Ganges, corresponding to Christ's baptism in Jordan. 7. His transfiguration at Madura, where he assured his disciples that "present or absent, I will always be with you." 8. He had a favorite disciple (Arjoon), who was his bosom friend, as John was Christ's. 9. He was anointed with oil by women, like Christ. 10. A somewhat similar fish story is told of him -- his disciples being enabled by him to catch large draughts of the finny prey in their nets. (For three hundred other similar parallels, see Chapter XXXII.)
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 Chrishna 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 Savior, 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. (For proof, see Chapter on Bibles.)
We have the remarkable admission of the Christian Examiner that "the best precepts of the (Christian) bible are contained in the Hindoo 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 Chrishna 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: --
II. -- CRUCIFIXION OF THE HINDOO SAKIA, 600 B.C.How many Gods who figured in Hindoo 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 Sakia, Budha Sakia, or Sakia 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 Saviors.
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.
Sakia, 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 jesses 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 Saviors, 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, Sakia 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, viz.:
"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. i.p. 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 sympathized 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 Savior 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 honors 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 Budha'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 Dahmma 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 Budha 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 stigmatized 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 recognizes 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: --
Budha 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 Nepaul mountains, about 600 B.C. 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.
(NOTE. -- 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 B.C.) 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.]
III. -- THAMMUZ OF SYRIA CRUCIFIED, 1160 B.C.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-Savior is probably that of Ctesias (400 B.C.), author of "Persika." The poet has perpetuated his memory in rhyme.
"Trust, ye saints, your Lord restored,
Mr. Higgins informs us (Anac. vol. i.p. 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 Savior as preceding the advent of Christ, and as filling to some extent the same chapter in sacred history.
IV. -- CRUCIFIXION OF WITTOBA OF THE TELINGONESIC, 552 B.C.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.
V. -- IAO OF NEPAUL CRUCIFIED, 622 B.C.With respect to the crucifixion of this ancient Savior, we have this very definite and specific testimony that "he was crucified on a tree in Nepaul." (See Georgius, p. 202.) The name of this incarnate God and oriental Savior 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.
VI. -- HESUS OF THE CELTIC DRUIDS CRUCIFIED, 834 B.C.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 innocency 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.)
VII. -- QUEXALCOTE OF MEXICO CRUCIFIED, 587 B.C.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 engraven 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 Savior 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.)
VIII. -- QUIRINUS OF ROME CRUCIFIED, 506 B.C.The crucifixion of this Roman Savior is briefly noticed by Mr. Higgins, and is remarkable for presenting (like other crucified Gods) several parallel features to that of the Judean Savior, 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: --
IX. -- (AESCHYLUS) PROMETHEUS CRUCIFIED, 547 B.C.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: --
"Lo! streaming from the fatal tree
"Well might the sun in darkness hide,
The "New American Cyclopedia" (vol. i.p. 157) contains the following significant declaration relative to this sin-atoning oriental Savior: "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 Dictonary," Higgins' "Anacalypsis," and other works, may be found the following particulars relative to the final exit of the God above named, viz.: --
These coincidences furnish still further proof that the tradition of the crucifixion of Gods has been very long prevalent among the heathen.
X. -- CRUCIFIXION OF THULIS OF EGYPT, 1700 B.C.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 Savior 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 B.C., 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."
XI. -- CRUCIFIXION OF INDRA OF TIBET, 725 B.C.The account of the crucifixion of the God and Savior 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 Savior 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.
Marvelous 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 Saviors. 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 subjedtion 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."
XII. -- ALCESTOS OF EURIPIDES CRUCIFIED, 600 B.C.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.
XIII. -- ATYS OF PHRYGIA CRUCIFIED, 1170 B.C.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.
XIV. -- CRITE OF CHALDEA CRUCIFIED, 1200 B.C.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 Savior 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.
XV. -- BALI OF ORISSA CRUCIFIED, 725 B.C.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.
XVI. -- MITHRA OF PERSIA CRUCIFIED, 600 B.C.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 B.C., 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 Savior, extending through his whole life, and forming a parallel to similar incidents of the Christian Savior, 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 Chrishna 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) i.e., 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 -- i.e., 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, realized 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, (i.e., 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. (See Chap. XVII., Aphanasia).
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 docctrine 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 honorable title of a "Savior" 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 offense. 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 lodgment in a rational mind.
ORIGIN OF THE BELIEF OF THE CRUCIFIXION OF GODSIt 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 aggrandizing 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 honors. They failed of an exaltation to the deityship, and hence are not now worshiped as Gods.
Christian reader, 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?
NOTE. -- The author desires it to 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 his aim or desire to prove them to be real historical events, nor to establish any certain number of cases. Indeed, he deems it unimportant to know, if it could be determined, whether they are fact or fiction, or whether one God was crucified, or many. The moral lesson designed to be taught by this chapter 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 he feels certain no reader will dispute then he is not concerned to know whether he has 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. The reader is, therefore, left to decide each case for himself, according as he may value the evidence presented. More authorities could have been adduced, and a more extended history presented of each God brought to notice. But this would have operated to exclude other matter, which the author considers of more importance.
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