If there is one fable, which would seem entitled to escape the analysis, which we have undertaken of religious poems and sacred legends, by the laws of physical and astronomical science, it is doubtless that of Christ, or the legend, which under that name is really dedicated to the worship of the Sun. The hatred, which the sectarians of that religion,—jealous to make their form of worship dominant over all others,—have shown against those, who worshipped Nature, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, against the Roman Deities, whose temples and altars they have upset,—would suscitate the idea, that their worship did not form a part of that otherwise universal religion. But the error of a people about the true object of its worship has never proved anything else but its own ignorance. Because, if in the opinion of the Greeks, Hercules and Bacchus were men, who had been raised to the ranks of Gods; and if in the opinion of the people of Egypt, Isis was a benevolent Queen, who had formerly reigned over Egypt, the worship of Bacchus, of Hercules and of Isis would be nevertheless the worship of the Sun and the Moon.
The Romans ridiculed the Deities, which were worshipped on the shores of the Nile; they proscribed Annubis, Isis and Serapis, and yet they worshipped themselves Mercury, Diana, Ceres and Pluto, in other words, absolutely the same Gods under other names and under different forms; so much is the ignorant vulgar swayed by names. Pluto said, that the Greeks had worshipped since the remotest antiquity, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, and yet the same Pluto was not aware, that they had still preserved at his time the same Gods under the names of Hercules and Bacchus, of Apollo, Diana and Æsculapius, &c., as we have shown in our larger work. Convinced of this truth, that the opinions, which a nation has of the character of its religion, proves nothing else but its faith, and does not change its nature, we shall carry our investigations even into the very sanctuaries of modern Rome, and we shall find that the God Lamb, which they worship there, is the ancient Jupiter of the Romans, who frequently takes the same forms under the name of Ammon, in other words, those of the “Ram” or of the “vernal Lamb;” that the conqueror of the Prince of Darkness at Easter, is the same God, who triumphs in the poem of the Dionysiacs over Typhon at the same epoch, who redeems the evil, which the Chief of Darkness had introduced into the World under the form of a serpent, with which form Typhon was invested. We shall also recognize there under the name of Peter, old Janus with his keys and his bark, at the head of the twelve Deities of the twelve months, the altars of which are at his feet. We feel, that we shall have to overcome a great many prejudices, and that those, who agree with us, that Bacchus and Hercules are nothing else, but the Sun, will not easily agree, that the worship of Christ is nothing more, than the worship of the Sun.
But let them reflect, that the Greeks and the Romans would have willingly yielded their opinion on the evidences, which we shall produce, when they would not have so easily consented to the point, of not recognizing in Hercules and Bacchus Heroes and Princes, who had merited by their achievements, to be raised to the rank of the Gods. Every one takes good care, to guard against anything, which might destroy the illusion of an ancient prejudice, which education, example and the habit of believing have fortified. Thus, notwithstanding the clearest evidence, with which we shall support our assertions, we only hope to convince the wise man, who reflects; the sincere friend of truth, disposed to sacrifice to it his prejudices, whenever it shall become evident to him. It is but too true, that we write only for him; the rest is devoted to ignorance and to the priests, who live at the expense of the credulity of the people, which they lead like a vile drove.
We shall therefore not investigate, whether the Christian religion is a revealed religion. None but dunces will believe in revealed ideas and in ghosts. The philosophy of our days has made too much progress, in order to be obliged to enter into a dissertation on the communications of the Deity with man, excepting those, which are made by the light of reason and by the contemplation of Nature. We shall not even begin with a disquisition, whether there ever existed a philosopher or an impostor, called Christ, who might have established the religion, known by the name of Christianism; because, supposing even, that we should give up this last point, the Christians would not be satisfied with it, if we did not go so far, as to acknowledge in Christ an inspired man, a son of God, a God himself, crucified for our sins; yes indeed, it is a God, which they want, a God, who in times of yore should have taken his dinner on Earth, and whom they eat now a-days. Now we have not the remotest idea of carrying our condescensions so far as that. With regard to those, who would be satisfied, if we should make of him simply a philosopher or a man, without attributing to him a divine character, we invite them to examine that question, when we shall have analysed the worship of the Christians independently of him or of those, who may have established it, that this institution is due either to one or more men, or that its origin dates from the reign of Augustus or Tiberius, as the modern legend would seem to indicate, and as it is commonly believed; or that it is traced up to a higher antiquity, and that it takes its source in the Mithraie worship, as established in Persia, in Armenia, in Capadocia and even at Rome, as we believe it has been the case. The important point, is to understand thoroughly the nature of the worship of the Christians, whosoever may be its author. Now it will not be very difficult to prove, that it is again the worship of Nature and of the Sun, her first and most brilliant agent; that the hero of the legends known by the name of the Gospel, is the same hero, who has been sung, only with far more genius, in the poems on Bacchus, on Osyris, on Hercules, on Adonis, &c.
When we shall have shown,—that the pretended history of a God, born of a Virgin at the winter solstice, who resusitates at Easter or at the equinox of spring, after having descended into hell; of a God, who has twelve apostles in his train, whose leader has all the attributes of Janus; of a God-conqueror of the Prince of Darkness, who restores to mankind the dominion of Light, and who redeems the evils of Nature—is merely a solar fable, like all those, which we have analysed, it will be quite as indifferent, or of as little consequence to examine, whether there ever existed a man by the name of Christ, as it would be to enquire, whether some Prince was called Hercules, provided it will be conclusively demonstrated, that the being, consecrated by worship under the name of Christ, is the Sun, and that the marvelousness of the legend or of the same poem, has that luminary for its object; because it would seem then to be proved, that the Christians are mere worshippers of the Sun, and that their priests have the same religion as those of Peru, whom they have caused to be put to death. Let us then examine the foundations, on which the dogmas of this religion rest.
The first basis is the existence of a great disorder having been introduced into the World by a Serpent, which had tempted a woman, to pluck forbidden fruits; a trespass, which had for conseqence, the knowlege of evil, until then unknown to man, and which could only be redeemed by a God conqueror of death and of the Prince of Darkness. This is the fundamental dogma of the Christian religion; because in the opinion of the Christians, the incarnation of Christ had become necessary, merely, because he had to redeem the Evil introduced into the Universe by the Serpent, which had seduced the first woman and the first man. These two dogmas cannot be separated from each other: if there is no sin, there is no atonement; if there is no tresspasser, then no redeemer is required. Now this fall of the first man, or this supposition of the double state of man, who had been created first by the principle of Good, enjoying all the benefits, with which the World is filled by it, and afterwards passing under the dominion of the principle of Evil, into a state of unhappiness and degradation, from which he could not be saved except by the principle of Good and of Light,—is a cosmogonic fable, of the nature of those, which were made by the Magi on Ormuzd and Ahriman, or rather it is merely a “copy” of them. Let us consult their books. We have already seen in the IV Chapter of this work, how the Magi had represented the World under the emblem of an egg, divided into twelve parts, six of which belonged to Ormuzd or the God author of Good and of Light, and the six others to Ahriman, author of Evil and of Darkness; and how the good and the evil in Nature was the result of the combined action of these two principles. We have likewise observed, that the six portions of the reign of the good principle, included the six mouths, which follow the equinox of spring, up to that of autumn, and that the six portions of the reign of the bad principle comprised the six months of autumn and winter. In this manner was the time of the annual revolution distributed between these two Chiefs, one of which organized the animal creation, ripened the fruits; and the other destroyed the effects, which had been produced by the first, and disturbed the harmony, of which Heaven and Earth offered the spectacle during the six months of spring and summer. This cosmogonical idea has also been expressed by the Magi in another manner. They suppose, that from time without end or from eternity, a limited period had been created, which incessantly renews itself. They divide this period into twelve thousand small parts, which they call years in allegorical style. Six thousand of these fractions belong to the principle of Good, and the other six to that of Evil; and that there may be no mistake, they make each one of these millesimal divisions, or each one thousand, correspond to one of the signs, through which the Sun makes the transit during each one of the twelve months. The first one thousand, they say, corresponds to the “Lamb,” the second to the Bull, the third to the Twins, &c. Under these first six signs, or under the signs of the first six months of the equinoctial year, they place the reign and the beneficent action of the principle of Light, and under the other six signs, they place the action of the principle of Evil. It is at the seventh sign, corresponding to the Balance, or at the first of the signs of autumn, of the season of fruits and of winter, that they place the commencement of the reign of Darkness and of Evil. This reign lasts until the return of the Sun to the sign of the Lamb, which corresponds to the month of March and to Easter. This is the foundation of their theological system about the distribution of the opposing forces of the two principles, to the action of which, man is subject, during each solar revolution; this is the tree of Good and of Evil, near which Nature has placed him. Let us hear their own statements.
Time, says the author of the “Boundesh,” is composed of twelve thousand years: the thousands belonging to God, include the Lamb, the Bull, the Twins, the Cancer, the Lion and the Ear of Corn or the Virgin, which makes six thousand years. If we substitute for the word “year,” that of the fractions, or small periods of time, and for the name of the signs, those of the months, and we shall have March, April, June, July and August, in other words: the beautiful months of periodical vegetation. After those thousands of God comes the Balance. Then began the career of Ahriman in the World. After that cones the Bowman or the Sagittarius, and “Afrasiab” committed the Evil, &c.
If we substitute for the names of the signs, or of the Balance, the Scorpion, the Sagittarius and the Capricorn, the Waterman and the Fishes, those of the months of September, October, November, December, January and February, we shall have the six times affected by the principal of Evil and its effects, which are the hoary frosts, the snow, the winds, and excessive rains. It will be observed, that the evil Genius begins to exercise his fatal influence in September or in the season of fruits and of apples, by the introduction of cold weather, by the destruction of plants, &c. It is then, that man becomes aware of the evils, which he ignored in spring and summer in the beautiful climates of the northern hemisphere.
This is the idea, which the author of the Genesis wanted to express in the fable of the woman, who, being seduced by a serpent, plucks the fatal apple, which, like Panthora's box, was the source of evil to mankind.
“The supreme God,” says the author of ‘Modimel el Tawarik,’ “created first Man and the Bull in an elevated place, and they remained there three thousand years, without experiencing any evil. These three thousand years include the Lamb, the Bull and the Twins. Afterwards they remain on Earth, other three thousand years, without trouble or adversity, and these three thousand years correspond to the Cancer, the Lion, the Ear of Corn or the Virgin.” Here are then the above mentioned six thousand under the name of the six thousands of God, and the signs assigned to the reign of the principle of Good.
“After that, with the seventh thousand, corresponding to the Balance, or in other words to September, according to our mode of counting,—the Evil made its appearance, and man began to till the ground.”
In another place of this cosmogony, it is said: “that the whole duration of the World, from the beginning to the end, had been fixed at twelve thousand years; that man remained in the upper part, in other words in the boreal and upper hemisphere three thousand years without evil. He remained still other three thousand years in the same condition, when ‘Ahriman’ showed himself afterwards, engendering evils and strife in the seventh thousand, in other words, under the sign of the Balance, over which the celestial Serpent is placed. It was then, when the Good and the Evil commingled.”
Here then, where the boundaries of the diminion of the two principles touched each other, there was the point of contact of Good and of Evil, where, to speak in the allegorical language of the Genesis—the tree of knowledge of Good and of Evil was planted, which man could not touch, without coming immediately under the dominion of the principle of Evil, to which belong the signs of autumn and of winter. Until that time he had been Heaven's favorite. Ormuzd had lavished all his blessings on him; but this God of Goodness had a rival and an enemy in Ahriman, who would poison his most precious gifts, and man became his victim at the moment, when the God of Day retreated towards the southern climates. Then would the nights resume their dominion, and Ahriman's deadly blast, under the form and under the ascendant of the Serpent of the constellations, would lay waste the beautiful gardens, where man had been placed by Ormuzd. Here is the theological idea, which the author of the Genesis took from the cosmogony of the Persians, ornamenting it after his own fashion. Zoroaster, or the author of the Genesis of the Magi, expresses himself as follows, when describing the consecutive action of the two principles.
Ormuzd, he says, the God of Light and of the good principle, informs Zoroaster, that he had given to man a place of delight and abundance. “If I had not given him this place of delight, no other being would have done so. This place was called ‘Eiren,’ which at the beginning was more beautiful than all the World, which my power has called into existence. Nothing could equal the beauty of this delightful place, which I had granted. I was the first, who acted, and afterwards Petiare (which is Ahriman, or the bad principle): this Petiare Ahriman, full of death and corruption, made in the river the great ‘Adder,’ the mother of winter, which congealed the water, the earth and the trees.”
According to the formal expressions used in this cosmogony, it follows, that the evil introduced into the World, is the winter. Who shall be its redeemer? The God of spring or the Sun in its passage under the sign of the Lamb the forms of which are taken by the Christ of the Christians, because he is “the Lamb, that taketh away the sins of the World,” and under this emblem is he represented in the monuments of the first Christians.
It is evident, that the question here is only of the physical and periodical evil, which the Earth experiences annually by the retreat of the Sun, which is the source of life and of light for all that lives on the surface of our globe. This cosmogony contains therefore only an allegorical picture of the phenomena of Nature and of the influence of the celestial signs; because the Serpent, or the great Adder, which ushers winter into the World, is, like the Balance, one of the constellations placed on the boundaries, which separate the dominion of the two principles, or in other words, in the present instance, on the equinox of autumn. This therefore is the true Serpent, the forms of which are taken by Ahriman in the fable of the Magi, as also in that of the Jews, in order to introduce the Evil into the World; for this reason call the Persians this malevolent Genius the Star Serpent and the celestial Serpent, the Serpent of Eve. It is in Heaven, that they make Ahriman creep along, under the form of a Serpent. The Boundesh, or the Genesis of the Persians holds the following language: “Ahriman, or the principle of Evil and of Darkness, he from whom all the Evil in this World is proceeding, penetrated into Heaven under the form of a Serpent, accompanied by Dews or bad Genii, whose only business is to destroy.” And in an other place he says: “When the bad Genii desolated the World, and when the Star Serpent made itself a road between Heaven and Earth, or in other words: when it rose on the horizon, &c.”
Now, at what epoch of the annual revolution rises the celestial Serpent, united to the Sun, on the horizon with that luminary? When the Sun has arrived at the Balance, over which the constellation of the Serpent is extended, in other words, at the seventh sign, counting from the Lamb, or at the sign under which, as we have seen above, the Magi had fixed the commencement of the reign of the evil principle and the introduction of the Evil into the Universe.
The cosmogony of the Jews introduces the Serpent with a man and a woman. In it the Serpent is made to speak; but one feels, that all this is peculiar to the oriental genius and belongs to the character of the allegory. The foundation of the theological idea is absolutely the same. It is quite true, there is no mention made by the Jews about the Serpent having introduced winter, which destroyed all the blessings of Nature; but it is said there, that man felt the necessity of covering himself, and that he was compelled to till the ground, an operation, which is performed in and which corresponds to autumn. It is not said, that it was at the seventh thousand or under the seventh sign, when the change happened in the situation of man; but the action of the good principle is there divided into six times, and it is on the seventh, that its rest or the cessation of its energy is placed, as well as the fall of man in the season of fruits and the introduction of the Evil by the Serpent, the forms of which was taken by the bad principle, or the Devil, in order to tempt the first mortals. They fix the locality of the scene in the same countries, which are comprised under the name of Eiren or Iran, and towards the sources of the great rivers Euphrates, Tigris, Phison or of the Araxes; only instead of Eiren, the Hebrew copyists have put Eden, as the two letters, “r” and “d,” in that language, have a remarkable ressemblance. In the Hebrew Genesis the millesimal expression, which is employed in that of the Persians, is not used; but the Genesis of the ancient Tuscans, conceived for the remainder in the same terms, as that of the Hebrews, has preserved this allegorical denomination of the divisions of time, during which the all-powerful action of the Sun, the soul of Nature is exercised. Its expressions on this point, are as follows:
“The God architect of the Universe has employed and consecrated twelve thousand years to the works, which he has produced, and he has divided them into twelve times, distributed in the twelve signs, or houses of the Sun.
“At the first thousand, he made Heaven and Earth.
“At the second, the Firmament, which he called Heaven.
“At the third, he made the Sea and the waters which flow upon the Earth (dans la terre).
“At the fourth, he made the two great flambeaux of Nature.
“At the fifth, he made the spirit (âme) of the birds, of the reptiles, of the animals, which live in the air, on land and in the waters.
“At the sixth thousand, he made man.”
“It should seem,” adds the author, “that the first six thousand years having preceded the formation of man, the human species must subsist during the six other thousand years, so that the whole time for the construction of this great work, must have been within a period of twelve thousand years.” We have seen, that this period was a fundamental dogma in the theology of the Persians, and that it was divided into equal portions between the two principles. These expressions of “thousands” were replaced by days in the Genesis of the Hebrews; but the number six has always been preserved, as in that of the Tuscans and of the Persians. Thus the ancient Persians, according to Chardin, took the months of the year for the six days of the week, which God employed in the creation: from which it follows, that in the allegorical and mystical style, the expression of thousand years, days, ghaambars, denote simply months, because they were made to correspond to the signs of the zodiac, which are the natural measure of it. Besides the Hebrew Genesis makes use of the same expressions as that of the Tuscans, and moreover the former has, what is wanting in the latter, the distinction of the two principles and the Serpent, which plays such a great figure in the Genesis of the Persians under the name of Ahriman and of the Star Serpent. The one, which unites the features, common to the two cosmogonies, to wit, that of the Persians, and which gives the key to the two others, seems to be the original cosmogony. We shall see therefore throughout the whole of this work, that it is principally the religion of the Magi, from which that of the Christians is derived.
We shall not look therefore for anything else in the Genesis of the Hebrews, which we shall not find in that of the Magi, and we shall see in those marvelous tales, certainly not the history of the first men, but only the allegorical fable made by the Persians on the state of mankind, subject as it is, here below to the empire of the two principles, in other words, the great mystery of the universal administration of the World, which is consecrated in the theology of all nations, and delineated in all manner of forms in the ancient Initiations, as taught by legislators, by philosophers, by poets and theologians, according to the information given by Plutarch. Allegory was then the veil with which sacred science enveloped itself, in order to inspire more respect to the Initiates or Neophites, if we may believe Sanchoniaton on the subject.
The Hebrew Doctors themselves, as well as the Christian Doctors agree, that the books, which we attributed to Moses, were written in the allegorical style, that they frequently represent quite a different meaning, than the literal sense would indicate, and that it would lead to false and absurd notions of the Deity, if we should hold on to the rind, which covers sacred science. It is principally the first and second chapters of the Genesis, that they have acknowledged to contain a hidden and allegorical sense, of which they say we must carefully abstain from giving the interpretation to the vulgar.
The following we quote from “Maimonides,” the wisest of the Rabbies:
“We must not understand or take in a literal sense, what is written in the book on the creation, nor form of it the same ideas, which are participated by the generality of mankind, otherwise our ancient sages would not have so much recommended to us, to hide the real meaning of it, and not to lift the allegorical veil, which covers the truth contained therein. When taken in its literal sense, that work gives the most absurd and most extravagant ideas of the Deity. Whosoever should divine its true meaning, ought to take great care in not divulging it. This is a maxim, repeated to us by all our sages, principally concerning the understanding of the work of the six days. It is possible, that somebody, either through himself, or by means of the light obtained from others, may succeed to divine its meaning; then let him be silent, or if he speaks of it, let it be done only in as veiled a manner as I do, leaving the remainder to be guessed, by those who can hear me.” Maimonides adds, that the enigmatical talent was not peculiar to Moses or to the Jewish Doctors, but that they held it in common with all the wise men of antiquity; and he is right in that, at least in so far as the Orientals were concerned.
Philon, a Jewish writer, held the same opinion of the character of the sacred Books of the Hebrews. He has made two particular treatises, bearing the title: “of the Allegories,” and he traces back to the allegorical sense, the tree of life, the rivers of Paradise, and the other fictions of the Genesis. Although he has not been very felicitous in his explanations, yet he has nevertheless discovered, that it would be absurd, to take these tales in a literal sense. It is acknowledged by all, who have some knowledge of the Scriptures, says Origenes, that everything there is wrapped up under the veil of enigma and parable. This Doctor and all his disciples regarded, in particular the whole story of Adam and Eve, and the fable of the terrestrial Paradise, as an allegory.
Augustin, in his “City of God,” acknowledges, that many people saw in the incident of Eve and the Serpent, as well as in the terrestrial Paradise, only an allegorical fiction. This Doctor, after quoting several explanations, which had been given of it, and which were drawn from morality, adds, that there might be found still better ones; that he was not opposed to it, provided always, says he, that a real history may be found in it also.
How Augustin could reconcile Fable with History, an allegorical fiction with a real fact, I am unable to comprehend.
If he holds on to this reality at the risk of being illogical, it is because he has fallen into a still greater contradiction, to wit: the acknowledgement of the real mission of Christ as the redeemer of the Sin of the first man, and to see in the two first chapters of the Genesis nothing but a simple allegory. As he wanted the redemption of the Evil (or Sin) through Christ to be a historical fact, it was of course necessary that the event of Adam and Eve and the Serpent should be equally historical; because one is inseparably connected with the other. But, on the other side, the very unlikelihood of this romance, allures him into a precious confession: that of the necessity of having recourse to the allegorical explanation, in order to escape from so many absurdities. One can say even with Beausobre, that Augustin abandoned in some measure the Old Testament to the Manicheans, who do not believe in the three first chapters of the Genesis, and that he confesses, that it was impossible to preserve its literal sense, without offending piety and without attributing to God unworthy things; that it is absolutely necessary, for the honor of Moses and his history, to have recourse to allegory. Indeed, “says Origenes,” what man of common sense could ever persuade himself, that there had been a first, a second, a third day, and that each of those days had their evening and their morning, without there having been yet either Sun or Moon or Stars? What man could be silly enough to believe, that God, assuming the character of a gardener, had planted a garden in the East? That the tree of life was a real, a physical tree, the fruit of which had the power to preserve life? &c. This Doctor continues and compares the fable of the temptation of Adam to that of the birth of Love, which had Porus or abundance for father and poverty for mother. He asserts, that there are many stories in the Old Testament, which had not occurred in the way as reported by the sacred author, and that they are nothing but fictions, hiding some secret truth.
If the Christian Doctors, if the fathers of the Church, who have been nothing less than philosophers, could not—in spite of their invincible propensity to believe everything—digest so many absurdities, and have felt the necessity of recurring to the allegorical Key, in order to find out the sense of these sacred enigmas, we, that live in an age, where the want of reasoning is more felt, than that of believing, might as well be permitted to suppose, that these marvelous stories have the same character as that, which all antiquity has given to religious dogmas, and to lift the veil, which covers them. Indeed, everything in this romantic narrative is shocking to the common sense, if it is obstinately taken as a history of facts, which did really happen during the first days, which shone on this World. The idea of a God, or in other words, of the supreme cause, taking body just for the pleasure of taking a walk in a garden; of a woman, conversing with a serpent, listening to it, and receiving its advice; of a man and a woman, organized for reproduction, and yet destined to be immortal, and to provide at infinitum other beings like themselves, who are also reproductive, and who shall live on the fruits of a garden, which shall hold them all during eternity; an apple plucked from a tree, which shall cause death, and fix the hereditary stain of a crime on so many generations of men, who have had no hand in the theft, a crime, which shall not be forgiven so long as men shall not have committed one infinitely greater, a deicide, if it were possible, that such a crime could exist; the woman, since that epoch, condemned to bring forth with pain, as if the pains of delivery were not pertaining to her organization, and were not common to her with all other animals, which did not taste of the fatal apple; of the serpent, forced henceforth to creep, as if a reptile without feet could move otherwise: so many absurd and foolish ideas, collected in one or two chapters of this marvelous book, cannot be admitted as historical facts by any man, who has not entirely extinguished the sacred flambeau of reason in the mire of prejudice. If there should be one amongst our readers, whose courageous credulity should be capable of digesting them, we would frankly request him, to desist from reading us, and to return to the lecture of the tales of the Ass's skin, of Blue Beard, of Tom Thumb, of the Gospel, of the life of the Saints and of the oracles of the Ass of Balaam. Philosophy is only for men; tales are for children. With regard to those, who consent in recognizing in Christ a God Redeemer, and who notwithstanding cannot resolve upon admitting the story about Adam and Eve and the Serpent, and the fall, which made redemption necessary, we shall invite them, to exculpate themselves of the reproach of inconsistency. Indeed, if the fall is not real, what becomes of redemption? Or if the facts have happened otherwise, than the text of the Genesis would make us believe, what confidence can we place in an author, who begins with deceiving at the very first pages, and whose work, notwithstanding, forms the basis of the Christian religion? If finally reduced to confess, that there is a hidden sense in it, then it is a virtual consent, that we must have recourse to allegory, and that is just the thing we are doing. Nothing remains but the examination, whether our allegorical explanation is a good one, and then let our work be judged; this is all we ask, because we are very far from requiring, that people should have also faith, when the question is raised of admitting our opinions. We are quoting texts, we give celestial positions; let them be verified; we draw from it deductions, let them be appreciated for what they are worth. The following is an abridged recapitulation of our explanation:
According to the principles of the cosmogony, or of the Genesis of the Magi,—with which that of the Jews has the greatest affinity, because both put man into a delightful garden, where a Serpent introduced the Evil—there is born from the womb of time without end, or from eternity a finite period, divided into twelve parts, six of which belong to Light, and six to Darkness, six to creative action, and six to destructive action, six to the good and six to the evil of Nature. This period is the annual revolution of Heaven or of the World, which the Magi represent by a mystical egg, divided into twelve parts, six of which belong to the Lord of Goodness and of Light and six to the Chief of Evil and of Darkness; here it is by a tree, which gives the knowledge of good and of evil, and which has twelve fruits; for it is thus described in the Gospel of Eve; there it is by twelve thousand years, six of which are called the thousands of God, and six the thousands of the Devil. These are as many emblems of the year, during which man passes successively from the dominion of light to that of darkness, from that of the long days to that of the long nights, and experiences the physical good and evil, which follow each other in quick succession, or commingle, according to the Sun's approach to, or retreat from our hemisphere, conformably as it organizes sublunary matter through vegetation, or as it abandons it to its principle of inertia, from which follow the disorganization of bodies and the disorder, which winter produces in all elements, and on the surface of the Earth, until Spring restores the harmony again.
It is then, when fecundated by the immortal and spiritual (intelligent) action of the fire Ether, and by the heat of the Sun of the equinoctial Lamb—that Earth becomes a delightful abode for man. But when the Star of day, reaching the Balance and the celestial Serpent, or the signs of autumn, passes into the other hemisphere, then it consigns our regions by its retreat to the hardships of winter, to the impetuous winds, and to all the devastations, which the destructive Genius of Darkness commits in the World. There is no more hope for man, except the return of the Sun to the sign of Spring or to the Lamb, being the first of the signs. This is the Redeemer which he expects.
Now let us see, whether really the God of the Christians, he whom John calls the Light, “which lighteth every man that commeth into the World,” has the character of the God Sun, worshipped by all nations under a great many names and with different attributes; and whether his fable has the same foundation, as all the other solar fables, which we have analysed. Two principal epochs of the solar movement, as we have already observed, have attracted the attention of all men. The first is that of the winter solstice, when the Sun, after seemingly abandoning us, resumes again its route towards our regions, and when the day, in its infancy, is successively increased. The second is that of the equinox of spring, when this mighty luminary spreads its fecundating heat over the whole of Nature, after its transit of the equinoctial line, which separates the reign of light from that of darkness, the abode of Ormuzd from that of Ahriman. To these two epochs have the worshippers of the Star, which dispenses light and life to the World, attached their principal feasts.
The Sun is neither born nor dies in reality: it is always as luminous as it is majestic; but in the relation, which the days, engendered by it, have with the nights, there is in this World a progressive gradation of increase and decrease, which has originated some very ingenious fictions amongst the ancient theologians. They have assimilated this generation, this periodical increase and decrease of the day, to that of man, who after having been born, grown up and reached manhood, degenerates and decreases, until he has finally arrived at the term of the career, allotted to him by Nature to travel over. The God of Day, personified in the sacred allegories, had therefore to submit to the whole destiny of man; he had his cradle and his tomb, under the names either of Hercules or of Bacchus, of Osiris or of Christ. He was a child at the winter solstice, at the moment, when the days begin to grow: under this form they exposed his image in the ancient temples, in order to receive the homage of his worshippers, “because,” says Macrobius, “the day being then the shortest, this God seems to be yet a feeble child. This is the child of the mysteries, he, whose image was brought out from the recesses of their sanctuaries by the Egyptians every year on a certain day.”
This is the child, of which the Goddess of Saïs claimed to be the mother in that famous inscription, where these words could be read: “The fruit, which I have brought forth is the Sun.” This is the feeble child, born in the midst of the darkest night, of which this virgin of Saïs was delivered about the winter solstice, according to Plutarch.
This God had his mysteries and his altars and statues, representing him in the four ages of the human life.
The Egyptians are not the only people, who celebrated at the winter solstice the birth of the God Sun, or of that luminous orb, which redeems Nature every year. The Romans also fixed at that epoch the great festival of the new Sun and the celebration of the solar games, known by the name of games of the circus. They had fixed it at the eighth day before the Calends of January, to-wit: at the same day, which corresponds to our 25th of December, or on the birth-day of the Sun, worshipped under the name of Mithras and Christ. This indication is to be found in a calendar which has been printed in the “Uranology” of father Petan and after the publication of our larger work, where it reads: “On the eighth before the calends of January, ‘natalis invictis,’ birth of the invincible. This invincible was Mithras or the Sun. We celebrate says Julian, the philosopher, some days before the new year's day, the magnificent games in honor of the Sun, to which we give the title of the Invincible. Oh! could I be so happy, as to celebrate them for a long time to come; oh Sun, king of the Universe, thou, who from all eternity was engendered by the first God, of his pure substance, &c.” This is a Platonic expression, because Plato called the Sun the son of God. The title of Invincible is that, which all the monuments of the Mithraic religion give to Mithras or the Sun, the great Divinity of the Persians. “To the God Sun, the invincible Mithras.”
Thus Mithras and Christ were born on the same day, and that day was the birth-day of the Sun. They said of Mithras, that he was the same God as the Sun, “that he was the Light, that lighteth every man, that cometh into the world.” The birth-place of Mithras was placed in a grotto, that of Bacchus and of Jupiter in a cavern, and that of Christ in a stable. It is a parallel, which was drawn by St. Justinus himself. According to tradition, it was in a grotto that Christ was laying, when the Magi came to worship him. But who were the Magi? The worshippers of Mithras or the Sun. What presents did they bring to the new-born God? Three sorts of presents, consecrated to the Sun by the worship of the Arabs, the Chaldeans and other Orientals. By whom are they informed of this birth? By astrology their favorite science. What were their dogmas? They believed, says Chardin, in the eternity of a first Being, which is the Light. What are they presumed to do in the fable? To fulfill the first precept of their religion, which commands them to worship the newborn Sun. What name do the prophets give to Christ? That of Orient. Orient they say is his name. It is at the Orient and not in Orient, that they see his image in the Heavens. And indeed, the sphere of the Magi and of the Chaldeans painted in the Heavens a new-born babe, called Christ or Jesus; it was placed in the arms of the celestial Virgin, or the Virgin of the signs, the very same one, to which Eratosthenes gives the name of Isis, the mother of Horus. To which point of Heaven corresponded this Virgin of the spheres and her child? To the hour of mid-night on the twenty-fifth December, at the same moment, when the birth of the God of the year, the new Sun or Christ is said to take place at the eastern border, at the same point, whence the Sun of the first day rose.
It is a fact, which is independent of all hypothesis, independent of all the consequences, which I shall draw from it, that at the precise hour of midnight on the 25th December, in the centuries, when Christianity made its appearance, the celestial sign, which rose at the horizon, and the ascendant of which presided at the opening of the new solar revolution, was the Virgin of the constellations. It is another fact, that the God Sun, born at the winter solstice, is re-united with her and surrounds her with his lustre at the time of our feast of the Assumption, or the re-union of mother and son. And still another fact is that, when she comes out heliacally from the solar rays at the moment, when we celebrate her appearance in the World, or her Nativity. I shall not examine the motive, which caused these feasts to be fixed on these days: it is sufficient for me to say, that those are three facts, which no reasoning can destroy, and out of which an attentive observer, who is well acquainted with the genius of the ancient mystagogues, may draw great consequences, unless people prefer to see in it a mere sport of the hazard; but this, it will be difficult to pursued those, who are on their guard of anything, which might mislead their reasoning faculties and perpetuate their prejudices. At all events it is certain, that this same Virgin, the only one who can become mother without ceasing to be a virgin, fills the three great functions of the Virgin, the mother of Christ, be it in the birth of her son, or in that of her own, or in her conjunction with him in the Heavens. It is chiefly her function as mother, which we shall examine here. It is but natural to suppose, that those who personified the Sun, and who made it pass through the various ages of the human life, who imagined for it a series of wonderful adventures, sung either in poems or narrated in legends, did not fail, to draw its horoscope, the same as horoscopes were drawn for other children at the precise moment of their birth. This was especially the custom of the Chaldeans and of the Magi. Afterwards this feast was celebrated under the name of “dies natalis” or the feast of the birth-day. Now, the celestial Virgin, who presided at the birth of the God Day personified, was presumed to be his mother, and thus fulfill the prophecy of the astrologer, who had said: “A Virgin shall conceive and bring forth,” in other words, that she shall give birth to the God Sun, like the Virgin of Saîs: from this idea are derived the pictures, which are delinated in the sphere of the Magi, of which Abulmazar has given us a description, and of which Kirker, Selden, the famous Pic, Roger Bacon, Albert the Great, Blaëu, Stoffler and a great many others have spoken. We are extracting here the passage from Abulmazar. “We see, says Abulmazar, in the first decan, or in the ten first degrees of the sign of the Virgin, according to the traditions of the ancient Persians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, of Hermes and of Æsculapius, a young maiden, called in the Persian language ‘Seclenidos de Darzama,’ a name, when translated into Arabian by that of 'Adrenedefa,' signifies a chaste, pure and immaculate virgin, of a handsome figure, agreeable countenance, long hair and modest mien. She holds in her hand two ears of corn; she sits on a throne; she nourishes and suckles a babe, which some call Jesus, and the Greeks call Christ.” The Persian sphere, published by Scaliger as a sequel of his notes, on Manilius, gives about the same description of the celestial Virgin; but there is no mention made of the child, which she suckles. It places alongside of her a man, which can only be Bootes, called the foster-father of the son of the Virgin Isis, or of Horus.
In the national library there is an Arabian manuscript, containing the twelve signs, delineated and colored, and there is also to be seen a young child alongside of the celestial Virgin, being represented in about the same style as our Virgins, and like an Egyptian Isis with her son. It is more than probable, that the ancient astrologers have placed in the Heavens the infantile image of the new Sun, in the constellation, which presided over its new birth and at that of the year in the winter solstice, and that from this have originated the fictions of the God Day, conceived in the chaste womb of a virgin, because that constellation was really the Virgin. This conclusion is far more natural, than the opinion of those, who obstinately believe, that there had existed a woman, who had become mother, without ceasing to be virgin, and that the fruit engendered by her, is that Eternal Being, which moves and governs whole Nature. Thus the Greeks said, that their God with the forms of Ram or Lamb, the famous Ammon or Jupiter, was brought up by Themis, which is also one of the names of the Virgin of the constellations; she is also called Ceres, to whom the title of “Holy Virgin” was given, and who was the mother of young Bacchus or of the Sun, the image of which was exposed in the sanctuaries at the winter solstice, in the shape of an infant, according to Macrobius. His testimony is confirmed by the author of the Chronicle of Alexandria, who expresses himself in the following words: “The Egyptians have consecrated up to this day the child-birth of a virgin and the nativity of her son, who is exposed in a 'crib' to the adoration of the people. King Ptolemy, having asked the reason of this custom, he was answered that it was a mystery, taught by a respectable prophet to their fathers.” It is well known, that with them a prophet meant one of the Chiefs of the Initiation.
It is alleged, I do not know on what authority, that the ancient Druids paid also homage to a virgin, with this inscription: “Virgina paritura,” and that her statue was in the territory of Chartres. At all events it is certain, that in the monuments of Mithras, or of the Sun, the worship of which was established in ancient times in Great Britain, there is to be seen a woman, which suckles an infant, and which can be only the mother of the God Day. The English author, who has written a dissertation on this monument, gives the particulars of all the features, which can establish the relationship, which existed between the festivities of the birth of Christ and those of the birth of Mithras. This author, being more pious, than a philosopher, sees there festivities imagined, in conformity with the prophetic notions on the future birth of Christ. He very properly remarks, that the Mithraic worship was spread over the whole Roman Empire, and especially in Gaul and in Great Britain. He also quotes the testimony of St. Hieronymus, who complains, that the Heathens celebrated the feasts of the new-born Sun or of Adonis, also of Mithras in the same place at Bethlehem, where it was said, that Christ was born; which in our opinion, was merely the same worship under a different name, as we have shown in the fable of Adonis, dead and resuscitated like Christ.
After having demonstrated, on what astronomical foundation was reposing the fable of the incarnation of the Sun, under the name of Christ, in the womb of a virgin, we shall now examine the origin of that, which makes him die and afterwards resuscitate at the vernal equinox under the form of the Paschal Lamb.
The Sun, being the only redeemer of the evils, which winter produces, and presumed in the sacerdotal fictions to be born at the solstice, must remain yet three months more in the inferior signs, in the regions affected by evil and darkness, and there be subject to their ruler, before it makes the famous passage of the vernal equinox, which assures its triumph over Night, and which renews the face of the Earth. They must therefore make him live, during all that time, exposed to all the infirmities of mortal life, until he had resumed the rights of Divinity in his triumph. The allegorical genius of the mystagogues shall then soon compose a life for him, and which is convenient for the end, which the Initiation proposes to accomplish. Thus we see Æesopus,—when he wanted to describe the strong and unjust man, oppressing the feeble,—making use figuratively of animals to perform those parts, to whom he gave opposite characters, and imagined an action, proper to attain the moral aim of his apologue. Thus did the Egyptians invent the fable of Osiris or the beneficent Sun, who travels over the Universe, in order to spread over it the countless blessings, of which he is the source, and set up in opposition to him, Typhon, the Prince of Darkness, who counteracts his actions and finally kills him. On such a simple idea as this, did they invent the fable of Osiris and Typhon, in which, one is represented as a legitimate king, and the other as the tyrant of Egypt. Besides the fragments of these ancient sacerdotal fictions, which have been transmitted to us by Diodorus and Plutarch, we have a life of Osiris and of Typhon, composed by bishop Sinesius, because in those times the bishops manufactured legends. In the one here mentioned, the adventures, the characters and the portraits of the two principles of Egyptian theology, were drawn from imagination, yet still after the idea of the character, which each of them had to play, in order to express in a fable the opposite action of the principles, which counteract and contend with each other in Nature. The Persians had also their history of Ormuzd and Ahriman, which contained the account of their battles, and of the victory of the good over the bad principle. The Greeks had a life of Hercules and of Bacchus, which contained the history of their glorious exploits and of the blessings, which they had spread over the whole Earth; and those narrations were ingenious poems, the production of learned men. The history of Christ on the contrary, is nothing but a tiresome legend, having the same character of sadness and dryness, which is the attribute of the legends of the Indians, in which we find only bigots, penitents and Brahmins, living in holy meditation. Their God Vishnu, who became man (or flesh) in Chrisnu, has a great many traits in common with Christ. There are certain vagaries to be met with little Chrisnu, very similar to those, which are attributed to the childhood of Christ in the gospel: when grown he rises from the dead like Christ.
The Magi had also a legend of the Chief of their religion; prodigies had announced his birth. He was exposed to dangers from the time of his infancy, and was obliged to fly into Persia, like Christ into Egypt; like him he was persecuted by a king, his enemy, who wanted to get rid of him. An Angel transported him into Heaven, whence he returned with the book of his law. Like Christ he was tempted by the Devil, who made him magnificent promises, in order to induce him, to become his servant and to be dependent of him. He was calumniated and persecuted by the priests, as Christ was by the Pharisees. He opposed them with miracles, in order to confirm his divine mission and the dogmas, which his book contained. By this parallel we can easily understand, that the authors of the legend of Christ, who make the Magi come to his cradle, guided by the famous star, which people said was predicted by Zoroaster, the Chief of their religion,—would not have failed to introduce in this legend a great many traits, which belonged to the leader of the religion of the Persians, of which Christianism is merely a branch, and with which it has the greatest resemblance, as we shall have occasion to remark, when we shall speak of the Mithraic religion, or of the Sun Mithras, the great Divinity of the Persians.
The authors of that legend had neither knowledge nor genius enough to compose such poems as the cantos on Hercules, Theseus, Jason, Bacchus, &c. Besides the thread of the astronomical science had been lost, and they limited themselves to compose legends with the fragments of the ancient fictions, which were no longer understood. Let us add to all this, that the aim of the leaders of the Initiation into the mysteries of Christ, was a purely moral aim, and that they endeavored to represent, not so much the conquering hero of the Giants and of all kind of evils, with which Nature is afflicted, as the meek, the patient, the charitable man, who had come on Earth to teach by his example the virtues, the practice of which they wished to inculcate upon the Initiates into his mysteries, which were those of the eternal Light. They made him therefore act in this sense, and preach and command the austere practices of the Essenians, which resembled much those of the Brahmins and the devotees of the Indies. He had his disciples, like the Sommona-Kodon of the Siamese, a God also born of a virgin by the action of the Sun; and the number of his Apostles described the great duodecimal division, which is found in all the religions, of which the Sun is the hero; only his legend was more marvelous than amusing, and is showing there a little the ear of the credulous and ignorant Jew. As the author of the sacred fable made him be born amongst the Hebrews, he had to subject him and his mother to the religious rites of that people. Like all Jewish children he had to be circumcised on the eighth day: his mother was obliged, like other Jewish women, to present herself at the Temple, in order to be there purified. One feels, that all this is a necessary sequence of the first idea, or of that, which caused him to be born to preach and to die, in order to resuscitate afterwards: because there cannot be a resurrection without a previous death. Since they had made of it a man, they had to make him pass through all the stages of adolescence and of youth, and he seemed to advance rapidly in knowledge and understanding to such perfection, that at the age of twelve years he astonished all the Doctors. The morals, which they wished to inculcate, were put in lessons in his sermons, or in example in his actions. They imagined miracles with which to support it, and fanatics were employed, who alleged to have been witnesses: for, who is not capable of making miracles anywhere, where willing minds are found ready to believe them? Did they not see them, or believe to have seen them at the tomb of the blessed Paris in so enlightened an age as ours, and in the midst of a population, which could furnish more than one critic, but infinitely more enthusiasts and rogues? All leaders of religion have the reputation of having made miracles: “Fo,” amongst the Chinese made miracles and forty thousand disciples publish everywhere, that they did see them. Odin, amongst the Scandinavians has made them also; he resuscitated dead persons, he also descended into Hell, and he gave to new-born infants a species of baptism. Miracles are the great resort of all religions: nothing is so stoutly believed, as that which is incredible. Bishop Sinesius has said—and he knew something about it—that the people wanted miracles at any price, and that it was impossible to conduct it otherwise. The whole life of Christ was therefore composed in this sense. Those who have “fabricated” it, have added thereto fictitious events, not only at known places, as all the ancient poets have done in the fables of Hercules, Bacchus, Osiris, &c., but also at an epoch with well known names, such as the age of Augustus, of Tiberius, of Pontius Pilate, &c.; which does not prove the real existence of Christ, but only that the sacerdotal fiction is posterior to that epoch; and of this we have no doubt. There have been made even several of them, because they count about sixty Gospels or lives of Christ, and so many stories have been told about him, that immense volumes could scarcely contain them, according to the expression used by one of the authors of these legends. The genius of the mystagogues has launched forth into a vast career, but all have agreed on two fundamental points: on the incarnation, which we have explained, and on the death and the resurrection, which we are going to prove as having only reference to the Sun, and that it is merely the repetition of a tragic event, described in all the mysteries, in all the songs, and in all the legends of the worshippers of the Sun, under a great many different names.
Let us well bear in mind here, what we have proved in another place, that Christ has all the characteristics of the God Sun in his birth, or in his incarnation in the womb of a virgin, and that this birth arrives just at the same moment, when the ancients celebrated that of the Sun or of Mithras, and that it happens beneath the ascendant of a constellation, which, in the sphere of the Magi, carries a babe called Jesus. The actual question now is, to show, that he has also the characteristics of the God Sun in his resurrection, either on account of the epoch, at which this event is presumed to have happened, or on account of the form under which Christ shows himself in his triumph.
In concluding our explanation of the pretended fall of man and of the fable, in which the Serpent introduces the Evil into the World, we observed, that this evil was of a nature; which could only be repaired by the Sun of spring, and that it could be effected by it only. The Redemption of Christ, if he is the God Sun, must necessarily take place at that epoch.
Now it is precisely at the vernal equinox, that Christ triumphs, and that he redeems the misfortunes of mankind in the sacerdotal fable of the Christians, called the life of Christ. Just at that annual epoch those festivities take place, the object of which is the celebration of this great event, because the Easter of the Christians, like that of the Jews is necessarily fixed at the full moon of the vernal equinox, to-wit: at that moment of the year when the Sun conquers and overcomes that famous passage which separates the dominion of the God of Light, from that of the Prince of Darkness, and where in our climes that Luminary re-appears, which gives light and life to all Nature. The Jews and the Christians call it the feast of the Pass-over, because at that time the God Sun or the Lord of Nature passes towards, or approaches us, in order to shower over us his blessings, of which the Serpent of darkness and of autumn had deprived us during all winter. This is the handsome Apollo in the fulness of all vigor of youth, who triumphs over the Serpent Python. This is the feast of the Lord, because this title of respect was given to the Sun; because Adonis and Adonaï styled this Luminary, Lord of the World, in the oriental fable of Adonis, the God Sun, who, like Christ came out victorious from the tomb, after his death had been lamented. In the consecration of the seven days of the week to the seven planets, the day of the Sun is called the day of the Lord. It precedes Monday or the day of the Moon, and follows Saturday or the day of Saturn, two planets, which occupy the extremes of the musical scale, of which the Sun is the center and forms the quart. Therefore the title of “Lord” is under all circumstances a very proper one for the Sun.
This feast of the Pass-over of the Lord was originally fixed on the 25th of March, to wit: three months, day for day, after the feast of his birth, which is also that of the nativity of the Sun. It was then, that this Luminary, while recovering its creative power and all its fecundating activity, was presumed to renovate Nature, to re-establish a new order of things, to create so to say a new Universe on the wreck of the old World, and to make mankind enter through the mediation of the equinoctial Lamb, the realm of Light and blessedness, which its presence brought back.
All these mystical ideas are to be found compiled in this passage of “Cedrenus.” “The first day of the first month,” says this historian, “is the first of the month ‘Nisan;’ it corresponds to the 25th of March of the Romans, and the ‘Phamenot’ of the Egyptians. On that day Gabriel saluted Mary, in order to make her conceive the ‘Savior.’ I observe, that it is the same month Phamenot, that Osiris gave fecundity to the Moon, according to the Egyptian theology. On the very same day, adds Cedrenus, our God, Savior, after the termination of his career, arose from the dead; that is, what our forefathers called the Pass-over, or the passage of the Lord. It is on the same day, that our ancient theologians have fixed also his return, or his second advent, as the new Era had to count from that epoch, because on the same day the Universe had commenced.” All this agrees very well with the last chapter of the Apocalypse, which makes the throne of the equinoctial Lamb the starting point of the new Era, which shall regulate the destinies of the World of Light, and of the friends of Ormuzd.
The same Cedrenus makes Christ die on the 23d of March and resuscitate on the 25th, from which, says he, originates the custom of the Church, to celebrate Easter on the 25th of March, to-wit: on the 8th day before the Calends of April, or three months after the eighth of the Calends of January, at which epoch happened the nativity of the Sun. This eighth of the Calends, whether in January or in April, was the same day, on which the ancient Romans had fixed the arrival of the Sun at the winter solstice and at the vernal equinox. If the eighth of the Calends of January was a holiday in the religion of the worshippers of the Sun, as we have shown above, the eighth of the Calends of April or the 25th of March was one equally so with them. The great mysteries were then celebrated, which symbolized the triumph of the Sun at that epoch every year over the long nights of winter.
In the sacred legends that Luminary was personified: they lamented its supposed death for several days, and they celebrated in songs its resurrection on the 25th of March, or on the eighth of the Calends of April. Of this we are informed by Macrobius, the same Macrobius, who has told us, that at the winter solstice, or on the eighth day before the Calends of January, this same God Sun was represented under the form of a new-born infant, and on that of spring under the emblem of a strong vigorous young man. He adds, that these feasts of the Passion, or of the death and resurrection of the God Day, which had been fixed at the equinox of spring, were to be found in all sects of the religion of the Sun. With the Egyptians, it was the death and resurrection of Osiris, with the Phœnicians it was the death and resurrection of Adonis, and with the Phrygians it represented the tragical adventures of Atys, &c., therefore the God Sun experiences in all religions the same misfortunes as Christ, that like him he triumphs over death, and that this happens just at the same epochs of its annual revolution. It is on those, who persist, to make of Christ another being than the Sun, that the duty devolves, to give us their reasons for such a singular coincidence. As far as we are concerned, who do not believe in these sports of the hazard, we shall simply observe, that the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ, celebrated at Easter, partake of the mysteries of the ancient solar religion or of the worship of universal Nature.
It is chiefly in the religion of Mithras or the God Sun, worshipped under that name by the Magi, that we find mostly those features of analogy with the death and resurrection of Christ and with the mysteries of the Christians. Mithras, who was also born on the 25th December like Christ, died as he did; and he had his sepulchre, over which his disciples came to shed tears. During the night the priests carried his image to a tomb, expressly prepared for him; he was laid out on a litter, like the Phœnician Adonis. These funeral ceremonies, like those on good Friday, were accompanied with funeral dirges and the groans of his priests; after having spent some time with these expressions of feigned grief; after having lighted the sacred flambeau or their Paschal candle and anointed the image with Chrism or perfumes, one of them came forward and pronounced with the gravest mien these words: “Be of good cheer, sacred band of Initiates (“initiés,”) your God has risen from the dead; his pains and his sufferings shall be your salvation.” Why, exclaims the Christian writer, from whom we have all these details—why do you exhort these unhappy people to rejoice? Why do you deceive them with false promises? The death of your God is known: but there is no proof of his new life. There is no oracle, which warrants his resurrection; he did not show himself to the people after his death, in order that they might believe in his Divinity. It is an idol, which you bury; it is an idol over which you shed tears; it is an idol, which you are drawing from the tomb; and after your sorrows, you are now rejoicing. It is yourself, who deliver your God, &c. I ask you, continued Firmicus, who has seen your God with ox-horns, whose death afflicts you so much? And I shall ask Firmicus and his credulous Christians: and you, who are so much afflicted about the death of the Lamb, slaughtered in order to wash out with his blood the sins of the World,—who has seen your God in the forms of a Lamb, of which you celebrate the triumph and the resurrection?
Do you ignore, that two thousand years before the Christian era, to which epoch the religion of the Persians and the Mithraic worship, or the Bull of Mithras is traced,—the Sun made the transit of the equinox under the sign of the Bull, and that it is merely through the effect of the precession of the equinoxes, that this passage in our days is under the sign of the Lamb; that there is nothing changed but the celestial forms and the name? That the worship is absolutely the same? And it would really seem, in this instance, as if Firmicus, in his onset on the ancient religions, had set his heart on it, to collect all the traits of analogy, which their mysteries had with those of the Christians. He clings chiefly to the Mithraic Initiation, of which he draws a pretty uniform parallel with that of Christ, and to which it has so much resemblance, merely because it is one and the same sect. It is true, he explains all this conformity, which exists between these two religions, by asserting, as Tertullian and St. Justin did, that a long time before there were Christians in existence, the Devil had taken pleasure to have their future mysteries and ceremonies copied by his worshippers. This may be an excellent reason for certain Christians, such as there are plenty in our days, but an extremely paltry one for men of common sense. As far as we are concerned, we, who do not believe in the Devil, and who are not, like them, in his secrets, we shall simply observe, that the religion of Christ, founded like all the others on the worship of the Sun, has preserved the same dogmas, the same practices, the same mysteries or very nearly so; that everything has been in common; because the God was the same; that there were only the accessories, which could differ, but that the basis was absolutely the same. The oldest apologists of the Christian religion agree, that the Mithraic religion had its sacraments, its baptism, its penitence, its Eucharist and its consecration by mystical words; that the catechumens of that religion had preparatory trials, more rigorous than those of the Christians; that the Initiates or the faithful marked their foreheads with a sacred sign; that they admitted also the dogma of the resurrection; that they were presented with the crown, which ornamented the forehead of the martyrs; that their sovereign Pontiff was not allowed to marry several times; that they had their virgins and their laws of continence; finally, that they had everything, which has since been practiced by the Christians. Of course, Tertullian calls again the Devil to his assistance, in order to explain away so complete a resemblance. But as there is not the slightest difficulty, without the intervention of the Devil, to perceive, that whenever two religions resemble each other so completely, the oldest must be the mother and the youngest the daughter, we shall conclude, that since the worship of Mithras is infinitely older than that of Christ, and its ceremonies a great deal anterior to those of the Christians, that therefore the Christians are incontestably either sectarians or plagiarists of the religion of the Magi.
I shall add with the learned “Hyde,” that concerning the Angels, the theory of the Persians was more complete, than that of the Jews and of the Christians; that they acknowledged the distinction of the Angels into Angels of Light and Angels of Darkness; that they knew the narratives of their battles, and the names of the Angels, which have been admitted into our religion; that they baptised their children and gave them a name; that they had the fiction of Paradise and of Hell, which is likewise found with the Greeks and the Romans, and with several other nations; that they possessed a hierarchical order, and the whole ecclesiastical constitution of the Christians, which, according to Hyde, dates back with them more than three thousand years. But I shall not say with him, that we should see in this resemblance the work of Providence, which has willed, that the Persians should do in anticipation, what the Christians should do at some future day. If Hyde, (who was born in an island, where superstition is almost always to be found alongside of philosophy, forming with it a monstrous alliance)—was not deterred through fear of shocking the prejudices of his time and of his country, to disguise in this way the opinion, which such a striking resemblance must necessarily awaken in him,—then we must confess, that wisdom is not always common sense, and is by no means its equal. I shall therefore agree with Hyde, that the two religions are similar in almost all points; but I shall come to the conclusion, that they form only one, or at all events, that they are only two sects of the ancient religion of the Orientals, worshippers of the Sun, and that their institutions, as well, their principal dogmas had—at least as far as their basis is concerned, one common origin. It is still the Sun, which is the God of their religion, may he be called Christ or Mithras, Osiris or Bacchus, Adonis or Atys, &c. Let us now pass to the forms, which characterize the God Sun of the Christians in his triumph.
These forms are very naturally taken from the celestial sign, thro’ which the Star of Day passed at the time, when it restored to our hemisphere the long days and heat. At the epoch, when Christianism came to be known in the West, and more than fifteen centuries before, this sign was the Ram, which the Persians in their cosmogony call the Lamb, as we have shown before. This was the sign of the exaltation of the Sun in the system of the astrologers, and the ancient Sabismus had fixed there its grandest feast. It was therefore the Sun's return to the celestial Lamb, which annually regenerated Nature. This then is the form, which this majestic Luminary, this beneficent God, this savior of mankind, took in its triumph. And this is,—to speak in mystical style, “the Lamb, which redeemeth the sins of the World.”
The same as Ahriman, or the ruler of darkness, had assumed the forms of the constellation, which in autumn brought back the long nights and winter, so also had the God of Light, his conqueror, to take in spring the forms of the celestial sign, under which his triumph was accomplished. This is the wholly natural consequence, which follows from the principles, which we have adopted in the explanation of the fable about the introduction of the Evil by the Serpent. We know besides, that it was peculiar to the genius of the worshippers of the Sun, to paint that Luminary under the forms and with the attributes of the celestial signs, with which it was in conjunction each month: this was the origin of the various metamorphoses of Jupiter with the Greeks, and those of Vishnu with the East Indians. For instance, they painted a young man leading a ram, or who carried a ram on his shoulders, or who had his front armed with the horns of a ram. Jupiter Ammon was represented under this last form. Christ also, took the name and the forms of a lamb, and this animal was the symbolical expression, under which he was designated. People did not say the Sun of the Lamb, but simply the Lamb, as the Sun of the Lion, or Hercules, was frequently called the Lion. These are merely the various expressions of the same idea, and a varied usage of the same celestial animal in the pictures made of the Sun of Spring.
This denomination of the Lamb, which was given in preference to Christ or the God of Light in his equinoctial triumph, is to be found every where in the sacred books of the Christians, but especially so in their book of Initiation, known by the name of the Apocalypse. The faithful or those, who had been initiated are there qualified as disciples of the Lamb. The slaughtered Lamb is there represented in the midst of four animals, which are also found in the constellations, and which are placed at the four cardinal points of the sphere. It is before the Lamb, that the Genii of the twenty-four hours, designated under the emblem of old men, prostrate themselves. It is the slaughtered Lamb, according to the phrase, which is worthy to receive all power, divinity, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and benediction; it is the Lamb, which opens the book of fate, designated under the emblem of a book, closed with seven seals.
All the nations of the Universe are placing themselves before the throne and before the Lamb. They are dressed in white; they have palms in their hands, and sing with a loud voice: Glory to our God, who is sitting on the throne! It will be remembered that the celestial Lamb or the Ram is the sign of the exaltation of the God Sun, and this victorious luminary seems to be carried on it in its triumph. The Lamb is surrounded by the duodecimal court or retinue, of which it is the leader in the celestial signs. It appears to be standing on the mountain, and the twelve tribes surround it, and are appointed to follow it, wherever it goes.
The conquerors of the Dragon are to be seen there, singing the canticle of the Lamb. It would be superfluous to multiply here the passages, in which this mysterious name is repeated. Everywhere we see, that the God of Light under the name of the Lamb, was the great Divinity, which was the great object of devotion in the Initiations of the Christians. The mysteries of Christ are therefore merely the mysteries of the God Sun in its equinoctial triumph, when it assumes the forms of the first sign, or those of the celestial Lamb: consequently the figure of the Lamb was the emblem or the seal, with which in those times the Neophytes of this sect were marked. It was there “tessera,” and the symbolical attribute, by which the brethren of this religious fraternity or freemasonry made themselves known to each other. The Christians of that time, made their children wear around their necks the symbolical image of the Lamb. Everybody knows the famous “Agnus Dei.”
The oldest representation of the God of the Christians was a figure of a Lamb, to which sometimes a vase was added, into which his blood flowed, and at other times couched at the foot of a cross. This custom subsisted up to the year 680, and until the pontificate of Agathon, during the reign of Constantine Pogonat. By the sixth synod of Constantinople, (cannon 82) it was ordained, that instead of the ancient symbol, which had been the Lamb, the figure of a man fastened to a cross should be represented; all this was confirmed by Pope Adrian I. This symbol may still be seen on the tabernacle or on the little shrine, in which our priests shut up the Sun of gold or of silver, consisting of the circular image of their God, as also in front of their altars. The Lamb is there frequently represented in a couching position, sometimes on a cross, and at other times on the book of Fate, closed with seven seals. This number seven is that of the seven spheres, of which the Sun is the Soul, and the movement or revolution of which is counted from the point of Aries, or the equenoctial Lamb.
This is that Lamb, which the Christians say, had been immolated since the origin, of the World. “Agnus occisus ab origine mundi.” It furnishes matter of an antithesis to an author of the prose of Easter, “victimae paschali” &c., “Agnus redemit oves,” &c. All the hymns of that festivity, which correspond to the “hilaries” of the ancient worshippers of the Sun, festivals, which were celebrated then at the same epoch, give us a description of the victory of the Lamb over the Prince of darkness. The candle, known by the name of the Paschal candle, was lighted, in order to represent the triumph of Light. The priests are dressed in white, a color peculiar to Ormuzd or to the God of Light. The new fire is consecrated, also the lustral or holy water; everything is renovated in the temples, as in Nature. The ancient Romans did the same thing in the month of March, and substituted new laurels in the houses of their “flamines,” (archpriests) and in the places dedicated to hold their meetings. Thus the Persians in their feasts of Neuruz, or of the entry of the Sun into the sign of the Lamb of spring, celebrate in songs the renovation of all things, and the new day, of the new month, of the new year, of the new time, which shall renew all, which is the offspring of time. They have also their feast of the cross a few days before; it is followed a few days after by that of victory.
It was at that epoch, that their ancient Perseus, a Genius placed at the equinoctial point, was presumed of having drawn from Heaven the eternal fire, and consecrated it in their Pyras, where it was kept up by the Magi; the same fire, which the Vestals preserved at Rome, and from which was drawn every year in spring, that which they burned in the temples. The same ceremony was practiced in Egypt, as may be seen in an ancient monument of the Egyptian religion. A wood-pile is there remarked, being formed of three piles of wood of ten pieces each, a number equal to that of the “decans,”1 and of the divisions of the signs from ten degrees to ten degrees. There are therefore thirty pieces of wood, as many degrees as are counted to the sign. Over each of these three piles is couched a Lamb or Ram, and above it there is an immense image of the Sun, the rays of which are prolonged down to the earth. The priests touch these rays with the tip of the finger, and draw from it the sacred fire, which is to kindle the funeral pile of the Lamb, and to inflame the Universe. This picture makes us remember the equinoctial feast of spring, celebrated in Egypt under Aries or under the Lamb, commemorative of the fire of Heaven, typifying the conflagration of the World. In that feast everything was marked red or of the color of fire, as in the Pass-over of the Jews or in their feast of the Lamb. This resurrection of the sacred eternal fire, which is boiling in the Sun, and which every year in spring restores Nature to life in our hemisphere, was the true and genuine resurrection of the Sun Christ. It is with a view of rendering practically this idea, that the bishop of Jerusalem shuts himself up every year in a little vault, called the sepulchre of Christ. He is provided with some packages of small candles; with a steel he strikes fire and lights them; at the same time a burst of light takes place, similar to our pyrotechnical fires at the Opera, in order to make the people believe, that the sacred fire had fallen from Heaven to the Earth. After that, the bishop comes out from the vault, exclaiming: The Heavenly fire has descended and the sacred candle has been lighted. The credulous people flock there in crowds, in order to buy these candles, because the people everywhere are the dupes of the priests.
The name of the Lamb was given to Christ, and he was in ancient times represented under that emblem only, because Christ is the Sun, and because the triumph of the Sun happens every year under the celestial sign of the Lamb, or under the sign, which was at that time the first of the twelve, and in which the vernal equinox took place. The Trojans had the white Lamb consecrated for a victim to the Sun, and their country was famous on account of the mysteries of Atys, in which the equinoctial Lamb played a great figure.
Like the Christians, who suppose that their God Sun Christ had been fastened to a wooden cross, so have the Phrygians, being worshippers of the Sun under the name of Atys, represented him in his passion by a young man tied to a tree, which was cut down with great ceremony. At the foot of the tree, there was a Lamb or the equinoctial Ram of Spring.
These mysteries of Atys lasted three days. These days were days of mourning, followed immediately by the feast of the Hilaries, or days of rejoicing, on which, as we have observed elsewhere, the happy epoch was celebrated, when the Sun Atys reassumed its dominion over the long nights.
This festival was that of the 25th March, or of the eighth day before the Calends of April, in other words, it fell on the same day, when Easter and the triumph of Christ was originally solemnized, and when Hallelujah, a real glee of the Hilaries, and Haec dies &c. was sung. This is the day made by our Lord; let it be for us a day of rejoicing and cheerfulness. The famous prose: O filii et filiae, &c. was also sung. The only difference in these two festivals, was the name of the hero of the tragedy, who in both fables is found to be the same God. Hence it was in Phrygia, where the famous book of the Initiation into the mysteries of the Lamb, called the Apocalypse, had its origin. The Emperor Julian investigated the reasons, why the equinox of Spring was chosen for that solemnity, and he tells us, that it was on account of the Sun passing over the line, which separated it from our climes, and because it is prolonging the duration of the days in our hemisphere, which happens, he adds, when the King Sun passes under the sign of the Ram or the Lamb. At his approach, we celebrate in the mysteries the presence of the God Savior and Redeemer.
The reason why the Ram or the Lamb is playing now with the Christians so important a figure, is because it fills the part, which in ancient times was occupied by the Bull in the mysteries of Bacchus and Mithras. Osiris and Bacchus were both represented with the forms of the ancient equinoctial Bull, and died and resuscitated like Christ: the mysteries of their passion were represented in their sanctuaries, as were those of Atys and of Christ, with the Phrygians and with the Christians.
The fathers of the Church and the writers of the Christian sect speak frequently of these feasts, celebrated in honor of Osiris, who died and arose from the dead, and they draw a parallel with the adventures of their God. Athanasius, Augustin, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Minutius Felix, Lactantius, Firmicus, as also the ancient authors, who have spoken of Osiris or of the God Sun, worshipped under that name in Egypt, all agree in the description of the universal mourning of the Egyptians at that festival, when the commemoration of that death took place, the same as we do with the Sun Christ every good Friday. They describe the ceremonies, which were practised at his sepulchre, the tears, which were there shed during several days, and the festivities and rejoicings, which followed after that mourning, at the moment when his resurrection was announced. He had descended into the lower regions or Hell, and afterwards came out of it again, in order to make his conjunction with Horus, the God of spring, and to triumph over the Prince of darkness, or Typhon his enemy, who had put him to death. These mysteries, in which the spectacle of his passion was given, were called the mysteries of the night. These ceremonies had the same object in view, as those of the worship of Atys, according to Macrobius, and had reference to the Sun, the conqueror of darkness, which was represented by the Serpent, of which Typhon took the forms in autumn, during the passage of that Luminary under the Scorpion.
The same may be said about Bacchus, who, as all the Ancients agree, was the same as the Egyptian Osiris and as the God Sun, the infantile image of which was exhibited for the adoration of the people during the winter solstice. Bacchus was put to death, descended into Hell and resuscitated, and the mysteries of his passion were celebrated every year; those feasts were called: “Titanic” and feasts of the “perfect” night. It was supposed, that this God had been cut into pieces by the Giants, but that his mother Ceres reunited his members, and that he reappeared young and strong. In order to represent his passion a bull was killed, the flesh of which was eaten in a raw state, because Bacchus or the God Sun, painted with the forms of the Bull, had been torn to pieces by the Titans. This was in no way the representation of the slaughtered Lamb, it was that of the Ox torn into pieces, which was given in those mysteries. In Mingrelia it was a roasted lamb, which the Prince tears into pieces with his own hands, and which he distributes among his courtiers at the feast of Easter.
Julius Firmicus, from whom we have the Cretan legend on the life and death of Bacchus, and who persists in making a man of him, the same as he did with Christ, acknowledges however, that the Heathens explained these fictions through Nature; and that they regarded these tales as so many solar fables. It is also true, that he objects to all these reasons, as there will be also many people, who will not admit our explanations, either through ignorance, or being inclined, to slander what they do not comprehend, as all the Fathers of the Church used to do in their criticisms on Paganism. Firmicus goes even so far as to defend the Sun, which seemed to him to have been outraged by these fictions, and he makes it hold an allocution, in which the God of Day complains of these attempts to dishonor him by these impertinent fables, by which he is sometimes drowned in the Nile under the names of Osiris and Horus, at other times mutilated under those of Atys and Adonis, or boiled in a caldron or roasted on a spit like Bacchus; he might also have added: by which at another time he is crucified under the name of Christ. At all events according to Firmicus, it would seem pretty evident that the tradition has been preserved with the Heathens, that all these tragical adventures were merely mystical fictions on the Sun. This is what we prove even now by our explanations of the fable of Christ, put to death and resuscitated at the vernal equinox.
They gave to Bacchus, the same as to Christ, the title of “Savior,” also to Jupiter or to the God with horns of a ram, who had his statue in the temple of the Virgin, Minerva Polias, at Athens.
Besides the idea of a God, who had come down on Earth in order to save mankind, is neither new nor peculiar to the Christians. The Ancients believed, that the supreme God had sent at various epochs his sons or his grandsons, in order to occupy themselves with the happiness of mankind. In this number, they placed Hercules and Bacchus, in other words, the God Sun, whom they praised in songs under these different denominations.
The same as Christ, so did Bacchus perform miracles: he has healed the sick and has predicted the future. Since his childhood he was threatened with the loss of his life, just like Christ, whom Herod wanted to put to death. The miracle of the three pitchers, which were filled again with wine in his temple, certainly equals that of the wedding at Cana. On the 6th of January the commemorative festival of this hero of the Christian religion takes place: and at the “nones” of the same month a similar miracle was enacted at the island of Andros. Every year was to be seen there running a spring, the liquor of which tasted like wine. It would seem that the author of the legend of Christ had made a collection of various marvelous fictions, which were current among the worshippers of the Sun under different names. Bacchus was called, as Christ, God, Son of God, and his Spirit, which united with matter or with the body. Like Christ, Bacchus has established Initiations or Mysteries, in which the famous Serpent, which has since played such a conspicuous figure in the fable of the Lamb, was put in scene, the same as the apples of the Hesperides. The Initiations were an engagement to virtue. Its disciples expected also his second advent; they hoped that he would assume at some future day the government of the Universe, and that he would restore to man his primary felicity. They were often persecuted, like the worshippers of Christ, and as those of Serapis, or as the worshippers of the Sun, adored under those two names. To those who held meetings in order to celebrate these mysteries, many crimes were imputed, the same as they were to the first Christians, and in general to all, who celebrate secret and new mysteries. In certain legends they gave him Ceres, or the celestial Virgin, as mother. In more ancient legends, it was the daughter of Ceres, or Proserpine, who had conceived him in her amours with the supreme God, metamorphosed into a Serpent. This Serpent is the famous Serpent of Æsculapius, which healed all kinds of sickness, like that, which Moses brought up in the desert, and to which Christ compares himself. A Bacchus, with bull's horns was born thereof, because in reality, each time when the Sun made its conjunction with this Serpent of autumn, the Bull of Spring was then in the ascendant, giving thus its forms to Bacchus, and carrying his nurses the Hyades. In the centuries which followed, he had to take the forms of the Lamb, and it was then, when Ceres, or the celestial Virgin, became his Mother, in this sense, that she presided at his birth; because, as already stated, he was represented under the emblem of a new-born infant at the winter solstice, in order to represent a kind of infancy of the God Sun or Day, worshipped under the name of Bacchus in Greece, in Thracia, in Asia Minor, in India and Arabia; under that of Osiris in Egypt, of Mithras in Persia and of Adonis in Phœnicia; because Adonis is the same as Osiris and Bacchus, as acknowledged by ancient authors. But under this latter name, his legend differs from that of Osiris and Bacchus; it is less pompous. It is not the history of a conqueror nor of a king; it is simply that of a young man of matchless beauty, such as the Sun was portrayed at spring time. The Goddess, who presides over the generation of beings fell desperately in love with him. He is snatched away by death; an enormous wild boar, in the hunting season, wounds him at the very source of fecundity. The unfortunate lover of Venus dies; he descends to the lower regions or to Hell. They mourn for him on Earth. He visits the Goddess of the lower regions, the mother of Bacchus, and is kept there by her for six months. But at the end of six months he is again restored to life and to his love who enjoys his presence for other six months, only to lose him and find him afterwards again. The same mourning and the same rejoicings succeeded each other and were renewed each year. All the authors, who have mentioned this sacred fable, have agreed to see in Adonis the Sun; in his death, its departure from our climes; in his stay in the lower regions—the six months which it spends in the lower hemisphere, abode of the long nights; in his return to light, its transit to the upper hemisphere, where it remains also six months, while the earth is smiling and adorns herself with all the graces which vegetation and the Goddess, presiding over the generation of all beings, can bestow.
This is the explanation given to this fable by Macrobius, as he understood it, and it wants only to be completed by astronomical positions, which we have given in our larger work at the article of Adonis and Venus. Besides, this philosopher perceived very well, that this fiction, like that of Osiris and Atys, to which he assimilates it, has no other object but the Sun and its progressive course in the zodiac, compared with the state of the Earth in the two great epochs of the movement of this Luminary, be it with that, which brings it nearer to our climes, or with that, when it withdraws from it. This annual phenomenon was the subject of mournful ditties and of joyful songs in succession, and of religious ceremonies, in which the death of the God Sun, Adonis was deplored, and afterwards his return to life or his resurrection was hailed with joyful hymns. A magnificent couch was dressed up for him alongside the Goddess of generation and of spring, of the mother of Love and of the Graces. Baskets of flowers, of perfumes, of pastry, of fruits were prepared as offerings, in other words, the first fruits of all the blessings which the Sun brings forth. He was invited by songs to yield to the wishes of the mortals. But before singing his return to life, there were mournful rites celebrated in honor of his suffering and of his death. He had his disciples, who went to weep at his tomb, and who shared the grief of Venus, and afterwards her rejoicing. The feast of his resurrection was fixed at the 25th of March, according to Corsini, or at the eight before the Calends of April.
The obsequies of Adonis were celebrated at Alexandria with the utmost display; his image was carried with great solemnity to a tomb, which served the purpose of rendering him the last honors. They were also celebrated at Athens. Plutarch, in his life of Alcibiades and of Nicias, tells us, that it was at the time of the celebration of the death of Adonis, that the Athenian fleet set sail for its unlucky expedition to Sicily; that nothing but images of dead Adonises were to be met with in the streets, and that they were carried to the sepulchre in the midst of an immense train of women, crying and beating their breasts, and imitating in every particular the lugubrious pomp of interments. Sinister omens were drawn from it, which were only too much realized by subsequent events. The women of Argos—because women are everywhere the support of superstition—went like Martha and Mary to weep over the dead Adonis, and this lugubrious ceremony took place in a chapel of the God “Savior,” or of the God Lamb or Ram, Jupiter, being invoked under the name of Savior.
Procopius and St. Cyril speak of these mournful anniversaries, celebrated in honor of the death of Adonis, and of the festivities and rejoicings, which followed at the occasion of his resurrection. People shed tears over the lover of Venus, the large wound he had received was shown, just as the wound was shown, which was made to Christ by the thrust of the spear. Aided by these fictions and by the pomp displayed in the annual representation of the unhappy adventures of Adonis, they tried to make the people believe its reality; because people became finally accustomed to the belief, that supposed adventures are real facts, when a great many stories and monuments would seem to attest their existence. Nevertheless, in spite of all these sacred legends, notwithstanding the illusion created by these ceremonies, the tendency of which was to make people believe that Adonis had been a man, who had really existed, just as our Christian Doctors also want to make us believe the same of the Sun Christ, the Heathens, if I may be permitted to use this word, having comparatively little instruction in their religion, have not been taken in so easily like ourselves. For instance, they have always seen in Adonis the Sun personified, and they believed, that all the marvelous events of the lover of Venus, dead and resuscitated, had to be explained by natural philosophy, and by the annual phenomena of the revolution of that Luminary. The poems of Orpheus and of Theocritus on Adonis showed clearly enough, that the only theme treated in this fiction was about the God, who introduces the Year and the Seasons. These poets invite him, to come with the new year, in order to fill Nature with joy and happiness and to call forth all the blessings from the bosom of mother Earth. To the Hours and to the Seasons devolved the duty of bringing him back and ushering him in again at the twelfth month. Orpheus calls Adonis the God of a thousand names, the fosterer of Nature, the God, whose light is extinguished and kindled again by the revolution of the Hours, and who now descends to the Tartarus, and then again ascends the Olympus, in order to dispense that heat, which sets vegetation into activity.
The Sun, under the name of Horus, son of the virgin Isis, experienced similar misfortunes. He was persecuted by black Typhon, who took the forms of a Serpent. Before his triumph over him, he was torn to pieces like Bacchus, but afterwards he was recalled into life by the Goddess his mother, who granted him immortality. We find the principal features of this sacred romance in the Christian authors, and in the writings of the Fathers of the Church. They give us a description of the grief of Isis at the death of her son, and of the feasts, which she instituted on that occasion; which at first were mournful, but which very soon changed into festivities and joyous hymns, when she had found him again. But Horus, as acknowledged by all the Ancients, is the same as Apollo, and Apollo is the God Sun; whence it follows, that the mournful ceremonies, succeeded by the joyous festivities in honor of Horus, dead and resuscitated, had still the Sun for object. It was therefore a fundamental point of the religion of the Sun, to make it die and resuscitate, and to present this double event by analogous religious ceremonies and sacred legends: hence those tombs erected everywhere to the Divinity of the Sun under various names. Hercules had his tomb at Cadiz, where his bones were shown. Jupiter had his tomb in Greece; Bacchus had his also; Osiris had a great many in Egypt. They exhibited at Delphi that of Apollo, where he was deposited, after having been put to death by the Serpent Python. Three women came to weep at his tomb, just like those three women who came to weep at the tomb of Christ. Apollo triumphed afterwards over his enemy the terrible Python, and this victory was solemnized every year in spring by games, of the most solemn character. The Hyperboreans, whose grand Divinity was Apollo, celebrated also every year at the equinox of spring the return of the Sun to the sign of the Lamb, and these ceremonies were prolonged until the rising of the Pleiades. Apollo took also the title of Savior. This was the name given to him by the people of Ambracia. At Athens and Sparta they celebrated in his honor festivities at the full moon of spring, in other words: at that full moon, at which had been established the feast of the Lamb or the Passover of the Jews, and the Easter of the Christians.
The Tchuvaches, a northern people, made sacrifices to the Sun at the beginning of spring. The most solemn feast of the Tartars is the Joun or that of spring. That of the Kalmucks takes place at the first full moon in April: they call this first equinoctial day and this feast, the white day. In all the isles of Greece, they celebrated feasts in honor of the lovely God of spring, the conqueror of winter and of the Serpent Python, and these feasts were called feasts of congratulation, in rejoicing over the salvation, says Eusthates.
It would be useless, to multiply further the examples of similar festivities, which were celebrated all over our hemispheres, commemorative of the famous transit of the Sun in his approach towards our regions and as a testimonial of joy over the blessings, which his presence is spreading.
We have produced sufficient proof to show, that almost everywhere these festivities and rejoicings were preceded by several days of mourning, during which people wept over the death of the personified Sun, before they sang Hallelujahs in honor of its return, or allegorically speaking, of his resurrection and triumph over the Prince of Darkness and over the Genius of Winter. The Phrygians called these festivities, the feasts of the revival of the Sun, which they imagined as sleeping during the six months of autumn and winter. The Paphlagonians supposed it to be in chains in winter, and they sung in spring the happy event of its delivery from captivity. By far the greatest number made it resuscitate, after having given the spectacle of the tragical events of its pretended death. As we have shown, all these mystical fictions had no other object in view, but to represent the alternation of the victories of Night over Day and of Day over Night, and that succession of activity and rest of the Earth, influenced by the action of the Sun. These annual phenomena were described in allegorical style under the tragical forms of death, crucifixion, tearing into pieces, always followed by a resurrection. The fable of Christ, born at the winter solstice like the Sun, and triumphing at the equinox of spring, under the forms of the equinoctial Lamb, has therefore all the traits of the ancient solar fables, with which we have compared it. The feasts of the religion of the Christians, like all solar religions, are essentially connected with the principal epochs of the annual movement of the Star of Day; from which we shall conclude, that if Christ had been a man, it was a man who resembled the personified Sun in an extraordinary degree; that his mysteries have all the characteristics of those of the worshippers of the Sun, or rather to be plain and speak without circumlocution, that the Christian religion, in its legends as well as in its mysteries, has only for its object, the worship of the eternal Light, as manifested to man through the Sun.
We are not the only ones, nor the first, who have this idea of the religion of the Christians. Their apologist, Tertullian, agrees, that from the earliest days of the introduction of this religion in the West, the more enlightened men, who had examined into it, pronounced it to be merely a sect of the Mithraic religion, and that the God of the Christians like that of the Persians, was the Sun. In Christianism there were sundry practices remarked, which betrayed that origin; the Christians never said their prayers, without facing the East, or that part of the World, whence the sun rises. All their temples, or all their religious meeting houses were anciently facing the rising Sun. Their holy day in each week had reference to the day of the Sun, called Sunday, or the day of the Lord Sun. The ancient Franks called Sunday the day of the Sun. All these practices derived their origin from the very nature of their religion. The Manicheans,2 whose religion was a compound of Christianism and Magiism, always faced in their prayers, that part where the Sun was. Zoroaster gave to his disciples the same precept. The Manicheans, who had not entirely lost the thread of the religious opinions of the Persians on the two principles and on the Sun Mithras, of which Christ is a copy, said therefore, that Christ was the Sun, or that Christ resided in the Sun, where the Ancients had also placed Apollo and Hercules. This fact is attested by Theodoret, St. Cyril and St. Leon. It was in consequence of this opinion, that the other Christians, who styled themselves “the better believers,” doubtless because they were more ignorant, did not admit them into their communion, except by making them abjure the heresy, or the dogma of their religion, which consisted in the belief that Christ and the Sun was only one and the same thing. There are still two Christian sects in the East, who are regarded as worshippers of the Sun. The Gnostics and the Basilidians,—being the most learned Sectarians, which this religion has had, and at the same time almost the oldest,—have preserved many of the characteristics which betrayed the origin of this solar worship. They gave to their Christ the name of “Iao,” which the oracle of Claros, in Macrobius, gives to the Sun. They had their 365 Eons (Œons) or Genii, being an equal number of that of the 365 days, engendered by the Sun, and their Ogdoad, representative of the spheres. Finally Christianism has so much conformity with the worship of the Sun, that the Emperor Adrian called the Christians the worshippers of Serapis, in other words, the Sun; because Serapis was the same as Osiris, and the ancient medals, with the impress of Serapis, have this legend: “Sun Serapis.” We are therefore, neither the first nor the only ones, who have ranked the Christians in the class of worshippers of the Sun: and if our assertion should seem a paradox, it is at least not a new one.
Having explained the fables, which constitute the marvelous part of Christianism and its dogmas, we shall now enter into the examination of its metaphysical part, and into its most abstract theology, which is known by the name of the Holy Trinity. We shall follow the same track, which we have pursued so far, and we shall show even to the end, that the Christians have absolutely nothing, which they might call their own. They are a set of ignorant Plagiarists, which we shall strip of their masks; nothing belongs to them, except the crimes of their priests.
In order to explain the fable of the death and of the resurrection of Christ, we have collected the legends of the different religions, which had their origin in the East and were propagated in the West, nearly during the same centuries as that of the Christians, and we have furthermore shown, that they hold all the cosmical allegories of their religion in common with the Mithraics, the Isiacs, the mysteries of Atys, Bacchus, Adonis, &c. We shall now equally show, that their theology has the same foundation, on the same basis, as that of the Grecians, the Egyptians, the East Indians, &c., that it includes the same abstract ideas, which are found in the writings of the philosophers of those times, and that it has borrowed chiefly many dogmas from the Platonists; finally, that the Christian religion, in its theological part, as well as in its sacred legend, and in the tragical adventures of its God, has nothing, which is not to be found in all the other religions many years before the establishment of Christianism. Their writers and their Doctors shall furnish us here with the very authorities, which shall convict them of Plagiarism.
The dogma of the unity of God, which is the first theological tenet of the Christians is not at all peculiar to their sect. It has been admitted by all the ancient philosophers, and the religion, which was even popular with the Heathens, in the midst of an apparent Polytheism, always acknowledged a superior, a primary ruler, to whom the others were subordinate, be it under the names of Gods or Genii or of Angels or Izeds, &c., just as our Angels and our Saints are to the supreme God. Such was the great Jupiter of the Greeks and of the Romans, that Jupiter, father of the Gods and of mankind, who filled the Universe with his substance. He was the sovereign Monarch of Nature, and the names of the Gods taken by the other Divinities, were an association rather in the title, than in the power, of the primary God, sovereign and absolute master of all the others. Scripture itself gives the name of Gods to beings, which are subordinate to the primary God, without prejudice to the Unity of the Chief or of the primary cause. The same was the case with the Jupiter of the Greeks: they repeat incessantly the title of One or of the only One, which they give to their Jupiter. Jupiter is one, they say. The oracle of Apollo admits also a God uncreated, born of himself, dwelling in the midst of the fire Ether, a God placed at the head of all the hierarchy.
In the mysteries of the religion of the Greeks, a hymn was sung, which expressed clearly that unity. The grand priest addressing the Neophyte, said to him: “Behold the Lord of the Universe; He is One; He exists everywhere.”
It is a truth acknowledged by Eusebius, Augustin, Lactantius, Justin, Athenagoras and a great many other writers, who were the apologists of Christianism, that the dogma of the unity of God, was received by the philosophers of old, and that it formed the basis of the religion of Orpheus and of all the mysteries of the Greeks.
I know, that the Christians will reply, that the ancient philosophers, who existed many centuries before the establishment of Christianism, got these dogmas from the revelation made to the first men. But, besides the revelation being an absurdity, I answer, that there is not the slightest necessity of having recourse to this supernatural machinery, when the series of philosophical abstractions is known, which had led the Ancients to the acknowledgment of the unity of a first principle, and when they themselves give us the motives, which had determined them, to admit the “Monad or the primary Unity.” These motives are simple; they spring from the very nature of the operation of our mind and from the form, under which the universal action of the Great All is presented to us.
The correspondence or relation between all parts of the World, and their tendency towards a common center of movement and of life, which seems to maintain its harmony and to produce its concord, have led men—who looked upon the great All as an immense God—to admit his unity, not conceiving anything outside the assemblage or collection of all the beings, or outside of the whole. It was the same case with those, who looked upon the Universe as a grand effect. The union of all the parts of the work, and the regular working of the whole system of the World, made them also admit an only cause for a single effect, so that the unity of God became a principle in the mind of those, who confounded God with the World, and who did not distinguish the Maker from the Work, like Plinius and all the most ancient philosophers. “All things,” says Marcus Aurelius, “are connected with each other by a sacred concatenation, and there is not one, which is a stranger to the other; because all beings have been linked together, in order to form a Whole, from which depends the beauty of the Universe. There is only one World, which includes All, an only God, who is ubiquitous, a sole eternal Matter, an only Law, which is Reason, common to all beings.”
The dogma of the Unity of God will be seen here in those few words of the Emperor philosopher, which dogma was acknowledged as a consequence of the Unity of the World, or in other words, the philosophical opinion and the motive, which gave it birth. The fathers of the Church have inferred the unity of God, from the unity of the World; in other words, the unity of Cause from the unity of Effect; because with them the Effect is distinguished from the Cause, or that God is “separate” from the World; in other words, they admit an abstract Cause, instead of a real Being, which is the World. One amongst them, Athanasius, expresses himself about it in the following manner: “As there is but one Nature and only one order for all things, we must conclude, that there is only one God, architect and disposer, and infer from the unity of the work that of the maker.”
It will be observed from this, that the Christians deduce the unity of God from the unity of the World, exactly the same thing, as all the Heathen Philosophers did before them. In all this, the natural march of the human mind will be recognized, and we do not feel at all the necessity to make the Deity intervene by the absurd supposition of a revelation.
All the Platonists admitted the unity of the Archetype or of the model, upon which God had created the World, also the unity of the Demiurgos, or of the God artificer (“Dieu artiste”) by a succession of the same philosophic principles, or in other words: by the very unity of the work, as may be seen in Proclus and in all the Platonists.
Those, who like Pythagoras, employed the theory of numbers, in order to explain the theological verities, gave also to the Monad the title of Cause and principle. They expressed through the number One, or through unity the first Cause, and inferred the unity of God conformably to mathematical abstractions. The unity is reproduced everywhere in numbers: everything proceeds from unity. It was the same with the divine Monad. Subordinate to this unity were sundry Triads, which expressed faculties emanating therefrom and from secondary Intelligences.
Others, while observing the form of human administrations, and especially that of the governments in the East, where at all times monarchy has been the only administration known, believed, that it was the same with the Government of the Universe, in which all the partial forces seemed to be united under the direction and under the authority of a single ruler or Chief, in order to produce this perfect concord, from which results the system of the World. Despotism itself favored this opinion, which represented monarchy as the image of the government of the Gods, because all despotism has a tendency to concentrate power in unity, and to confound legislation and execution.
The picture of the social organization, the mathematics and the reasonings of philosophy have thus led the Ancients, by different, but all very human routes, to prefer the unity to multiplicity in a primary and supreme Cause, or in the Principle of the Principles, according to the expressions of Simuplicius. “The primary Principle,” says this philosopher, “being the center of all the others, includes them all in one single union; it is before everything, it is the Cause of the causes, the Principle of the principles, the God of the Gods. Principles may therefore be called simply certain particular principles, and Principle of the principles, that general Principle or Cause of the beings, which are placed above all other things.”
It is thus, that the Universe, or the universal Cause, containing within itself all the other causes, which are parts of it, was thought to be the Principle of the principles, and the Supreme Unity, from which everything emanated. Those who had created an abstract or an ideal World, and a God equally abstract and separate from the World, who had created the World after a sempiternal model, reasoned in the same way of the God, cause of the Universe, because the material World has always furnished the type of the intellectual World, and it is always after that, what man sees, that he forms his opinions of that, which he does not see. The dogma of the Unity of God, even with the Christians, has therefore its origin in the purely human reasonings, which had been made many centuries before Christians were thought of, which may be seen in Pythagoras, in Plato and their disciples. It is the same with their Triad or Trinity; in other words, with the subdivision of the primary Cause in intelligence or divine wisdom and in spirit or universal life of the World.
It is proper here to recollect, what was said in our fourth Chapter about the Soul or the life of the World, and its intelligence or spiritualism; it is from this philosophical dogma, that the Trinity of the Christians had its origin. Man was compared to the Universe, and the Universe to Man, and as Man was called the Microscosmos or little World, they made of the World an immense Giant, including on a grand scale, and as it were in its source, that, which constituted Man on a small scale and by emanation. It was remarked, that there existed in Man a principle of motion and of life, which he held in common with the other animals. This principle manifested itself by the breath, in latin Spiritus or the Spirit. Besides this first principle, there existed a second one, that, by which Man, in reasoning and combining ideas, reaches wisdom; this is the intelligence, which is found within him in a far more eminent degree than with the other animals. This faculty of the human Soul is called in the Grecian language “logos,” which is translated in Latin by “Ratio and Verbum.” That Greek word expresses two distinct ideas, rendered by two different words in Latin,—and in French, by (“raison”) reason, “verbe” or word. The second is merely the image of the first; because the word is the mirror of the thought: it is the thought, which is rendered intelligible to others, and which takes body, as it were, in the air, modified by the organs of speech. These two principles in Man, do not make of him two distinct beings: still two distinct beings may be made of it, by personifying them, but it is always the living and thinking Man, in whose unity all his faculties commingle, as it were, in their source. It was the same in the Universe, God immense and alone, including all in Himself. His life or His “spiritus,” like His intelligence or “logos,” eternal, immense like Himself, are blended in his primary or radical unity, called father, because from it these two faculties emanated. The God-Universe could not be conceived otherwise, than living of the universal life, and intelligent of an equally universal intelligence. Life was not intelligence, but both were the life or the “Spiritus,” and the intelligence, or the divine wisdom, which essentially belonged to the Divinity of the World, and which formed a portion of its only substance; because nothing existed, which was not one of its parts. All these distinctions belong to the Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy, and suppose not yet a revelation. No expression was more familiar to the ancient philosophers, than the following: “The Universe is one great animated being, which includes within itself all the principles of life and intelligence, possessed by particular beings. This great Being—eminently animated, and eminently intelligent, is God itself, in other words, God, Word or Reason, Spirit or universal life.”
The universal Soul, designed under the name of Spiritus, and compared to the spirit of life, which animates all Nature, was chiefly distributed in the seven celestial spheres, the combined action of which was presumed to regulate the destinies of Man, and to spread the germs of life, in all which is born here below. The Ancients, represented this “unique breath,” which the harmony of the spheres produce, by a flute of seven pipes, which they placed in the hands of Pan, or the image designed to represent universal Nature; whence the opinion is also derived, that the soul of the World was included in the number seven; an idea, which the Christians have borrowed from the Platonists, and which they have expressed by the “sacrum septuarium” or by the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. Like the breath of Pan, so was that of the Holy Ghost, according to St. Justin, divided into seven spirits. The unction of the proselytes was accompanied by an invocation of the Holy Ghost; it was called the mother of the seven houses; signifying, according to Beausabre, mother of the seven Heavens: the word “spiritus” being in the Hebrew language of the feminine gender.
The Mussulmans and the oriental Christians give to the third person of the Trinity, as an essential attribute “the Life:” this is, according to the former, one of the attributes of the Divinity, which the Christians call “person.” The Syrians call it “Mehaia,” vivifying. The “Credo” of the Christians gives it the epithet of “vivificandnm.” There is therefore in their theology the principle of life, which animates Nature or that universal soul, principle of motion of the World and of all beings, which have life. This is that vivifying and divine power, which emanated from God, who, according to Varron, governs the world by motion and reason; because it is the Spiritus, which gives life and motion to the World; and it is reason or wisdom which give it direction and which regulate its effects. This “Spiritus” was God, according to the system of the ancient philosophers, who wrote on the universal soul or on the “spiritus mundi.” It is, according to Virgil, the nourishing power of the World: “spiritus intus alit.” The Divinity, which emanated from the primary Monad, extended as far as the Soul of the World, according to Plato and Porphyrius, or up to the third God, in order to use their expressions. Thus the “Spiritus” was God, or rather a faculty of the universal Divinity.
Besides the principle of life and motion, those same philosophers admitted a principle of mind or intelligence and wisdom; under the names of “nous” and of “logos,” or of reason and word of God. They made it reside principally in the luminous substance. The word “Light” means also the intelligence and the physical light; because the intelligence or the mind is to the soul, what the light is to the eye. It is therefore not at all surprising to observe the Christians to say of Christ, that he is the Light, “which lighteth every man that cometh into the World,” (St. John, chap. I, ver. 9) and to make him the Son of the Father of all Light, which is true in the metaphysical, as well as in the physical sense; Christ being the luminous part of the divine essence, rendered sensible to man through the Sun, in which it is incorporated or is of the same body. Under this last form, it is susceptible of augmentation and diminution, and therefore could have been the subject of sacred fictions, such as were made on the birth and death of the God Sun, Christ.
The Stoics placed the mind of Jupiter, or the all-wise intelligence, which governs the world, in the luminous substance of the fire Ether, which they regarded as the source of the human mind. This opinion on the nature of intelligence, makes it a little material; but men have reasoned on matter, which they saw and which struck their senses, before they dreamt of the immaterial Being, which they have created by abstraction. The more or less subtilty in matter does not prevent of its being matter; and the soul with the Ancients, was merely an emanation of the subtile matter, which they believed to be endowed with the faculty of thinking. Just as we say, the breath of life, we say also the fire of genius, and the light of the spirit; and that, which this day passes merely as a metaphor, was in olden times a proper and natural expression, in order to designate the principle of life and of the mind.
Pythagoras has characterized that qualification of the Deity by the word lucid or luminous, calling God not only the active and subtile substance, which circulates in every part of the World, but distinguished it still further with the epithet “luminous,” in order to indicate the intelligence, as he had designated the principle of life by the active and vivifying power, which moves and animates the World. By this last attribute Man partook of the nature of animals; by the first he was related to the natural Gods or to the planets formed of the ethereal substance: on that account even the stars (“les astres”) were supposed to have intelligence and to be gifted with reason.
According to St. Augustin, the creation of celestial Intelligences is contained in that of the substance of the Light. They participate of this eternal Light, which constitutes the wisdom of God, and which we call—says he—his only Son. This opinion is very much like that of Varron and of the Stoics on the stars, which were believed to be intelligent, and to live in the bosom of the light of the Ether, which is the substance of the Deity.
Zoroaster taught that when God organized the matter of the Universe, he sent his “Will” under the form of a most brilliant light; it appeared under the form of man.
The Valentinians, in their allegorical generation of the various attributes of the Deity, make the Word, or the Reason and the Life, spring from the divine intelligence or spirit. This is evidently, says Beausobre, the soul of the Universe, the two properties of which are Life and Reason.
The Phœnicians located in the substance of the Light, the intelligent part of the Universe, and that of our souls, being an emanation of it.
The Egyptian theology, the principles of which are consigned in the pages of the Pimander, whoever may be the author of that work—made the Logos or the Word, in other words, the intelligence and the universal wisdom of the Divinity reside in the luminous substance. Instead of two persons being added to the first Being, he gives it two sexes, the Light and the Life. The soul of man is born from the Life, and the pure spirit from the Light. Jamblicus also regarded the Light to be the intelligent part, or the intellect of the universal soul.
The oracles of the Chaldeans and the dogmas of Zoroaster, preserved by Phleton and Psellus, mention frequently this intelligent fire, the source of our intelligence.
The Maguseans believed, that matter had perception and sentiment, and that which it wanted was the intelligence, a perfection, which belongs to the Light.
The “Guebres” worship still in our days in Light, the most beautiful attribute of the Deity. “Fire,” they say, “produces Light, and Light is God.” This fire, is the fire Ether, in which the ancient theology placed the substance of the Divinity, and the universal soul of the World, whence emanate Light and Life, or to use the expressions of the Christians, the “Logos” or the Word, “which lighteth every man that cometh into the World,” and the Spiritus or the Holy Ghost, that vivifies all.
Manes calls God “an eternally intelligent Light, eminently pure, not being mixed up with any darkness whatsoever.” He says, “that Christ is the son of the eternal Light.” Thus Plato called the Sun the only son of God, and the Manicheans located Christ in that luminary, as we have already observed.
It was also the opinion of the Valentinians. “Man,” says Beausobre, “not being able to conceive anything more beautiful, purer, nor more incorruptible than Light, easily imagined, that the most eminent nature, could only be a most perfect Light. We find this idea promulgated amongst all the nations, which are renowned for their wisdom. Holy Writ itself is not denying this opinion. In all the apparitions of the Deity, it is always seen surrounded by fire and light. It is from the midst of a fiery bush, that the Eternal speaks to Moses. Mount Tabor is supposed to be surrounded by light, when the father of all Light spoke to his son. The famous controversy of the monks of Mount Athos, on the nature of this uncreated and eternal Light, which was the Deity itself, is well known.”
The best informed fathers of the Church, and the orthodox writers say continually: “that God is a light, a light most sublime, that all the lights, whatever their brilliancy may be, are merely a small emanation, a feeble ray of that light; that the son is a light without beginning; that God is an inaccessible Light, shining for ever and never disappearing; that all the virtues, surrounding the Deity, are lights of a secondary order, rays of the primary Light.”
This is in general the style of the Fathers before and after the council of Nicea. “The Word,” they say, “is the Light, which has come into the World; it springs from the innermost of that Light, which exists by itself; it is God born from God; it is a Light, which emanates from a Light. The soul itself is luminous, because it is the breath of the eternal life, &c.”
The theology of Orpheus teaches likewise, that the Light, being the most ancient of all beings, and the most sublime, is God, that inaccessible God, which envelops all in its substance, and which is called, “Council, Light and Life.” These theological ideas have been copied by the Evangelist John, when be says: “That the Life was the Light, and that the Light was the Life, and that the Light was the Word or the council and divine wisdom.”
This Light was not an abstract and metaphysical Light, as Beausobre has very judiciously observed, but a real Light, which the immortal spirits contemplated in Heaven: at all events many Fathers have believed it so, as it is proved by the same Beausobre.
There cannot be any doubt about it, according to the authorities, which we have cited, that it was a dogma, which was received in the most ancient theologies, that God was a luminous substance, and that the Light constituted properly the intelligent part of the universal soul of the World, or of the God Universe. From this, it follows, that the Sun, which is its greatest center, must have been regarded as the intelligence, the mind itself of the World, or at least as its principal seat: hence the epithet “mens mundi” or the mind of the World, the eye of Jupiter, as the ancient theologians called it, like that of the primary production of the Father, or his first born son.
All those ideas have passed into the theology of the worshippers of the Sun, under the name of Christ, which make of it the Son of the Father, or of the primary God; his first emanation, consubstantial God or Being formed of the same luminous substance. The God Sun is therefore likewise the “Logos,” the Word or the mind of the great Being or of the great God-Universe; in other words, that he happens to possess all the characters, which the Christians give to the Redeemer, which in their religion, when well analysed, is nothing but the Sun. I know, that the Christians, who are profoundly ignorant of the origin of their religion,—repudiate all the materialism of this theory, and that they have, in imitation of the Platonists, spiritualized all the ideas of ancient theology. Yet, it is nevertheless true, that the system of the spiritualists is entirely chalked out after that of the materialists; that it was born after the latter, and that it borrowed from it all the divisions, in order to create the chimera of a God and of a World purely intellectual. Men have contemplated the visible Light, they have worshipped the Sun, which struck their eyes, before they created by abstraction a spiritual Sun; they have admitted a World, an only God, before they placed the Deity in the Unity itself of the great Being, which includes all within him. But since then, people have reasoned on this factitious World in the same manner, as the Ancients did on the real World, and the intellectual God had also his principle of intelligence or mind, and his principle of Life equally intellectual, whence they made emanate the life and the spirit, manifesting itself in the visible World. There was also a intellectual Sun, of which the visible Sun was merely the image; an incorporeal Light, of which the Light of this World was a wholly a corporeal emanation; finally an incorporeal Word, and a Word invested with a body, and rendered perceptible to man. This body was the corporeal substance of the Sun, above which they placed the uncreated and intellectual Light, or the spiritual “Logos.” This refinement of Platonic philosophy has furnished the author of the Gospel of St. John, with the only theological piece, which is found in the Gospel. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” (St. John, I, ver. 14.)
That last Word, or that Light, which is incorporated in the disk of the Sun, to which alone it was incumbent to see its Father, as Martianus Capella says in his hymn, which he addressed to that Luminary—was subordinate to time and connected with its periodical revolution. That alone experienced alterations in its Light, which seemed to be born, to grow, to decrease and to end, to succumb by turns under the efforts of the Prince of Darkness and to triumph over him, whilst the spiritual Sun, always radiant in the bosom of its Father, or of its primary unity, ignored change or diminution, and shone with eternal splendor, inseparable from its principle.
All these distinctions of the spiritual and of the corporeal Sun are to be found in the splendid allocution of the Emperor Julian addressed to the Sun, and which contains the theological principle of that age. In this way will be explained the two natures of Christ and his incarnation, which originated the fable, which has been made on Christ, invested with a body, born in the womb of a Virgin, dead and resuscitated.
Proclus, in his commentary on the “Republic of Plato,” considers the Sun under two relations or aspects, as God uncreated, and as God engendered. With regard to the luminous principle, which illuminates all, it is sacred, and it is not, when considered as body. When taken in the sense of being uncreated, it rules all visible bodies; when taken in that of being created, then it forms a part of the beings, which are ruled and governed. In this Platonic subtilty may be seen the distinction of the two natures of the Sun, and consequently of Christ, who, as we have shown in another place, is nothing but the Sun. Such was the character of the philosophy in the most renowned schools, when the Christians composed their logical code: the authors of those works, the Fathers, spoke the language of the philosophy of their times. Thus St. Justin, one of the most zealous defenders of the Christian dogma tells us, that there are two natures to be distinguished in the Sun; the nature of the Light; and that of the body of the Sun, into which it is incorporated. It is the same, adds this Father—with the two natures of Christ: “Word or Logos,” when he is understood, as united to his Father, and Man, or “Word incarnate,” when he dwells amongst us. We shall not say, like Justin: “that it is the same with the two natures of Christ; but that we have here the two natures of Christ or of the Sun, which are worshipped under that name.
The Light, supposed to be incorporeal and invisible in the system of the spiritualists, to which Christianism belongs, is that “pure Logos” of the Deity, which resides in the spiritual World, and in the bosom of the primary God. But the Light, becoming perceptible to man, when it is united in the radiant disk of that divine body called “Sun,” is the uncreated Light, which takes body (flesh) and comes to dwell amongst us. This is that “logos” incorporate or incarnate, which descended into this visible World, and which had to be the Redeemer of the misfortunes of the World. If he had always remained in the bosom of the invisible Being, its light and heat, which alone could redeem the disorder, which the Serpent of winter had introduced on Earth,—would have been lost to us, and through their absence, there would have been no remedy for our evil. But the principle of Light, while uniting itself with the Sun, and communicating itself through that organ to the sensible Universe, dissipated darkness and the long winter nights, by its light, and by its heat banished the cold, which had held in chains the fructifying power, which spring, every year, imprints to all the elements. Here is the Redeemer expected by the whole Earth, and it is under the form or under the sign of the Lamb at Easter, that he consummates this great work of the regeneration of mankind.
Even here we see, that the Christians possess nothing in their theology, which they might call their own, and all the subtilties of metaphysics they have borrowed from the ancient philosophers and chiefly from the Platonists. Their opinion on the “Spiritus,” or on the soul of the World, and on the universal intelligence or mind, known by the name of Word or Wisdom of God, was a dogma of Pythagoras and of Plato. Macrobius has given us a piece of ancient theology or of Platonism, which includes a veritable “Trinity,” of which that of the Christians is a mere copy. He says, that the World has been formed by the universal Soul: this Soul corresponds with our Spiritus, or Spirit. The Christians, when they invoke their “Holy Ghost,” call it also the creator: “Veni, creator Spiritus, &c.”
He adds, that from this Spirit or this Soul proceeds that intelligence, which he calls “mens” (mind.) This is, what we have shown above, the universal intelligence or mind, of which the Christians have made their “Logos or Word,” Wisdom of God; and that intelligence or mind which he makes originate with the primary or the supreme God. Is this not then the Father, the Son or the wisdom, and the Spirit which creates and vivifies all? There is nothing, no—not even the expression “to proceed,” which has not been held in common by the two theologies in the filiation of the three primary Beings.
Macrobius goes still farther: he traces the three principles back to a primary unity, which is the sovereign God. Having thus established the basis of his theory on that trinity, he adds: “You see, how the Unity or the original Monad of the primary Cause is wholly and indivisibly preserved, even up to the soul or the Spiritus which animates the World.” To these dogmas of Heathen theology, which have passed into that of the Christians, may be attributed the origin not only of the dogma of the three principles, but also that of their reunion in a primary unity. From this primary unity those principles emanate; they resided primitively in the unity of the World “intelligent and living,” or of the World animated by the breath of the universal Soul and governed by the spirit or mind, both of which were confounded in the unity of the great God called World, or in the idea of the Universe, an only God, the source of mind and of life of all the other beings.
All that, which was material in this ancient theology, was spiritualized by the modern Platonists and by the Christians, who have created a Trinity wholly of abstractions, which was personified, or to adopt their language, of which they have made as many persons, who partook in common the primary and only Divinity of the primary and universal Cause.
It will thus be seen, that the dogma of the Trinity, or of the unity of a primary principle, into a principle of intelligence or mind, and into a principle of universal life, including within itself the unique Being, which reunites all the partial causes—is a mere theological fiction, and one of those abstractions, which separate momentally, through the mind, that which is itself essentially indivisible and inseparable, and which isolate (in order to personify them) the constituent attributes of a Being, which necessarily is only One.
Thus have the East Indians, while personifying the sovereign power of God, given him three Sons: one signifies the power to create, the second that to preserve, and the third that to destroy. Such is the origin of the famous Trinity of the Indians, for the Christians are not the only ones who have a Trinity. The Indians had their's also many centuries before Christianism. They had in like manner the incarnation of the second person of that Trinity, known by the name of Vishnu. In one of these incarnations he takes the name of Chrisnu. They make the Sun the depositary of this triple power, and they give it twelve forms and twelve names, one for each month, just as we give to Christ twelve apostles. It is in the month of March or under the sign of the Lamb, that he takes the name of Vishnu. The threefold power in their theology represents only the Unity.
The Chinese have likewise a kind of mysterious Trinity. The first Being engenders a second, and those two a third one. With us the Holy Ghost proceeds also from the Father and from the Son. These Three have made everything. The great Ternion or the grand Unity, the Chinese say, comprehends three; one is three, and three are one. The Jesuit Kirker, in his dissertations on the Unity and Trinity of the first principles, traces all these metaphysical subtilties up to Pythagoras and to the Egyptian Mercuries. Augustin himself alleges, that opinions of the Deity very much like those professed by the Christians, were to be found nearly with all the nations of the World, that the Pythagoreans, the Platonists and many other philosophers, Atlantes, Libyans, Egyptians, Persians, Chaldeans, Scythians, Gauls and Spanish, had many dogmas in common with them on the God of Light and Goodness, He ought to have added, that all these philosophers had existed before the Christians were thought of, and to come with us finally to the conclusion that the Christians had borrowed from them their theological dogmas, at least in those points, which they hold in common.
From all we have said in this chapter it follows, that Christianism, which is of modern origin, at least in the West, has borrowed everything from the ancient religions; that the fable of the terrestrial Paradise and of the introduction of the Evil by the Serpent, which serves as the basis of the dogma of the incarnation of Christ and of his title of Redeemer, has been borrowed from the books of Zoroaster, and is merely an allegory of the physical good and evil, which commingle in equal degree with the operations of Nature at each solar revolution; that the Redeemer from the evil, and the conqueror of darkness is the Sun of Easter or the equinoctial Lamb; that the legend of Christ, dead and resuscitated, resembles, as far as genius is concerned, all the legends and ancient poems on the Star of Day personified, and that the mysteries of his death and resurrection are those of the death and resurrection of Osiris, of Bacchus, of Adonis, but principally of Mithras, or the Sun worshipped under a great many different names with different nations; that the dogmas of their theology and especially that of the three principles, belong to many theologies much older than that of the Christians, and are found also with the Platonists, in Plotin, in Macrobius and other writers, foreign to Christianism and imbued with the principles professed by Plato, many centuries before Christianism was known, and afterwards by their sectarians, in the times, when the first Christian Doctors wrote; finally, that the Christians possess absolutely nothing, which might be called their own work, much less that of the Deity.
Having, I presume, demonstrated, that the incarnation of Christ is that of the Sun, that his death and resurrection has likewise the Sun for object, and finally that the Christians are indeed nothing else but worshippers of the Sun, like the Peruvians, whom they caused to be murdered,—I now come to the great question to know: whether Christ has ever existed, Yes or No?” If it is intended by this question to ask, whether Christ, the object of the worship of the Christians, is a real being or an ideal one; he is evidently a real being, because we have shown him to be the Sun. There cannot be any doubt about, that anything is more real than the luminary, which “lighteth every man that cometh into the World.” It has existed, is still existing and shall exist yet for a long while to come. If it is asked: whether there ever existed a man, charlatan or philosopher, who called himself Christ, and who had established under that name the ancient Mysteries of Mithras, of Adonis, &c., it is of very little importance to our work, whether he may have existed or not. Nevertheless we believe, that he did not, and we think, that in the same manner, as the worshippers of Hercules believed, that a Hercules, author of the twelve labors, had actually existed, and that they were mistaken, because the hero of that poem was the Sun, so also the worshippers of the Sun-Christ are mistaken, by giving a human existence to the personified Sun in their legend; because ultimately, what guarantee have we of the existence of such a man? The general belief of the Christians since the origin of that sect, or at least since the time that these sectarians wrote. But evidently those admit only a Christ, who had been born in the womb of a Virgin, who had died, descended into Hell and resuscitated; the one whom they call the Lamb, which has redeemed the sins of the World, and who is the hero of the legend. We have however proved, that this same one is the Sun, and not at all a man, let him be philosopher or charlatan; and yet such is their ignorance, that they would no more agree, that it is a philosopher, whom they worship as God, than they would consent to recognize the Sun in their Christ.
Shall we look for testimony of the existence of Christ, as philosopher or imposter, in the writings of heathen authors? But not one of them, at least of those, whose works have come down to us, has treated this question “ex professo,” or has given us his history. Hardly near a hundred years after the epoch, in which his legend makes him live, are to be found some historians, who say a word about it; besides, it is not so much of him, than of the so-called Christians, that they speak. If that word escapes Tacitus, it is in order to give the ethymology of the Christian name, which, as people said, came from the name of a certain Christ, put to death under Pilate, in other words, Tacitus says, what the legend narrates, and we have shown that this legend was a solar fiction.
If Tacitus had spoken of the Brahmins, he would have also said, that they took their name from a certain Brahma, who had lived in the Indies, because they had also made his legend; and nevertheless Brahma would not have more existed for that as man, because Brahma is merely the name of one of the three attributes of the personified Deity. Tacitus, having occasion to speak in his history, of Nero and of the Christian sect, gave the received ethymology of this name, without troubling himself about investigating, whether Christ had really existed, or whether it was the name of the hero of a sacred legend. Such an examination was absolutely foreign to his work.
Thus Suetonius, in speaking of the Jews, supposes, that they caused a great deal of commotion at Rome under Claudius, and that they were stirred up to it by a certain Christ, a turbulent man, and who was the cause of their being driven from Rome by that Emperor. To whom of these two historians shall we believe, to Tacitus or to Suetonius, who agree so little about the place and the time, in which that pretended Christ had lived? The Christians will prefer Tacitus, whose statement seems to be more in accordance with the solar legend. As far as we are concerned, we shall merely remark, that these two historians have spoken of Christ only upon vague rumors, without attaching thereto the slightest importance, and that, on that point, their testimony cannot offer a sufficient guarantee of the existence of Christ as a man, either as legislator, or impostor. If that existence had been so unquestionable, we should not have seen in the times of Tertullian, authors—who had more seriously discussed the question and examined the origin of Christianism—assert, that the worship of the Christians was that of the Sun, and had not for object a man, who had formerly existed. Let us acknowledge in good faith, that those, who make of Christ a legislator or imposter, do so only, because they have not sufficient faith to make a God of him, nor have they sufficiently compared his fable with the solar fables, in order to discover only the hero of a “sacerdotal fable.” Those who cannot admit the achievements of Hercules as real facts, nor see in Hercules a God, have just in the same way been reduced to make a great Prince of him, whose history had been embellished by marvelous stories. I know, that this manner of explaining everything is very simple indeed, and does not require any great effort; but for that very reason it does not give us a true result, and Hercules is nevertheless the personified Sun sung in a poem. I know that the times, in which they make Christ live, approach nearer to our century, than that of Hercules. But when an error is once established, and the Doctors place an enlightened criticism amongst the number of crimes, when they manufacture books, or alter or burn them, there is no remedy for retracing our step, particularly after such a long lapse of time.
If there are ages of light for philosophers, in other words for a very small number of men, all ages are ages of darkness for the multitude, particularly with regard to religion. We may judge of the credulity of the nations in those times, by the impudence of the authors of the first legends. If they are to be believed, they not merely have heard say, but they have seen, what they relate. What! Absurd things, extravagant, through their very marvelousness, and acknowledged to be impossible by every man, who has sufficient knowledge of the process of Nature. It is said, that those were plain men, who wrote. The legend certainly is dull enough; but men so stupid as to believe everything, or to say, that they saw, what they could not have seen, do not offer us any historical guarantee whatsoever. Besides they were far from being simply men, without education and enlightenment, who have left us the Gospel. The trace of imposture is still there discernable. One amongst them, after having written very nearly the same, which is contained in the three others, says: “that the hero of his legend has made many other things, the which, if they should be written every one, he supposes, that even the World itself could not contain the books that should be written.” (St. John, xxi. v. 24.) The hyperbole is a little strong, but finally how comes it, that of all these miracles, not one should have reached us, and that the four Evangelists shut themselves up very nearly within a circle of the same facts? Has there not some skill been displayed by those, who have transmitted to us those writings? and have they not tried to come to a proper understanding amongst themselves, so as to establish a verisimilitude in the narratives of men, who are presumed, as not to have concerted amongst themselves? What! There are a thousand remarkable events in the life of Christ, and nevertheless the four authors of his life agree to speak only of the same things! These events are concealed by all the disciples of Christ; the tradition and the sacred writers are all dumb on the subject. The Gascon author of the legend, known by the name of St. John, has doubtless counted upon the eventuality, that he would have for readers only fervent believers, in other words, dunces. Finally, to admit the testimony of those books as a proof of the existence of Christ, would be an engagement to believe anything; because if they are right when they say, that Christ did live amongst them, what reason could we have, not to believe, that he had lived as they tell us, and that his life was marked by the miraculous events, which they deal out (“qu’ils debitent?”) Consequently good Christians believe them, and if they are silly, they are at least consistent enough. I know, that it could be possible, that they might have either deceived us, or that they might have been mistaken themselves about the particulars of the life of Christ, without this same error being prejudicial to his existence. But again, even with regard to the existence, what confidence or trust can we have in authors, who deceive, or who are mistaken in all the rest, especially when it is known, that there is a sacred legend, of which the Sun, under the name of Christ, is the hero? Is it not very natural, to be induced to believe, that the worshippers of the Sun-Christ may have given him a historical existence, just as the worshippers of that same Sun gave him one under the names of Adonis, Bacchus, Hercules and Osiris, although the enlightened leaders of these religions knew very well, that Bacchus, Osiris, Hercules and Adonis had never existed as men, and that they were merely the God-Sun personified? Besides, nobody was more ignorant and more credulous than the first Christians, with whom there was no trouble at all, to make them adopt an Oriental legend on Mithras or on the Sun, without the Doctors themselves,—who had received it from other and more ancient priests,—suspecting in the least, that their new worship was still the Sun. It is an old fable, which has been renewed by illiterate men, whose only object was, to unite with it the elements of morality, under the name of Doctrine of Christ, Son God, whom they made speak, and whose mysteries were celebrated many centuries before in the obscurity of the sanctuaries under the names of Mithras and of Adonis. They might just as well have been placed in the mouth of the latter, if his gallant and too notorious love affairs had permitted it. A mystical and less known name of the Sun was therefore chosen, and the authors of the legend approached its events to the age in which they lived, without fearing in the least the criticism of a sect, where credulity is a sacred duty.
The impudence, in the way of imposture can hardly be carried farther, than it was done by the first Christian writers, who were either fanatics or who made fanatics. A letter of St. Denis, the Areopagite, is quoted, attesting, that he and the sophist Apollophanes were at Heliopolis, or at the city of the Sun, when the pretended eclipse of the Sun took place, which contrary to all laws of Nature happened with the full moon at the death of the Sun or of Christ; therefore, it is a miracle. He affirms, that they saw distinctly the Moon placing herself under the Sun, remaining there fully three hours, and afterwards returning to the East, to the point opposite, where she ought to be found only a fortnight after. When such shameless falsifiers are found, in order to manufacture such pieces in the hope of being believed, it is a proof, that there are always a great number of dunces on hand, ready to believe all, and that one might venture almost anything. There are in Phlegon a great many marvelous stories, which attest the shameful credulity of that age. The history of Dion Cassius is not less replete with all kinds of prodigies, showing plainly the facility, with which people believed in those days in miracles. The alleged prodigies operated by Simon, the Magician, and the faith, which people seemed to put in such a tissue of falsehoods, indicate the prevalent disposition of the people to believe in everything, and it was amongst such a class of people, that Christianism originated and was propagated. If the martyrology of the three first centuries, and the history of the miracles of Christianism is attentively read, we shall blush for the human race, which has been so strangely dishonored by imposture on one side and by credulity on the other, and that on such a basis it is claimed to sustain the history and the existence of a God or a Godlike man, of whom no person of sense, nor any writer foreign to his sect has ever spoken, even at the times, when he ought to have astonished the Universe by his miracles. They are reduced to look, nearly a hundred years after, for a passage in Tacitus, giving the etymology of the word Christian, in order to prove the existence of Christ, or to interpolate, by a pious fraud, a passage in Josephus. If the latter author had known Christ, he would not have neglected to expatiate on him in his history, especially having to speak about a man, who had played such a prominent figure in his country. When people are obliged to have recourse to such pitiful means, they show sufficiently their embarrassment to persuade men, who desire to have an explanation of what they are asked to believe. If there had really existed a man in Judea, remarkable either as a great legislator or philosopher, or as a notorious impostor, would Tacitus have limited himself with saying, merely of Christ, that he had died in Judea? What reflections to a philosophic writer, such as he was, would not have furnished an extraordinary man thus put to death? The evidence is plain, that Tacitus did not attach to it any importance whatever, and that for him Christ was merely a word, which gave the etymology of the name of Christians, Sectarians but recently known at Rome, and who were much decried and hated in the beginning. He therefore did merely say, what he had heard say, in accordance with the testimony of credulous Christians, and nothing more. It is therefore neither Tacitus nor Suetonius, but still the Christians, who are our guarantees. I know, that much stress will be laid on the universal faith of the worshippers of Christ, who have attested his existence and his miracles from century to century, just as they have attested those of many Martyrs and Saints, yet in whose miracles nobody believes more. But I have already observed in another place, when speaking of Hercules, that the belief of many generations in matters of religion, did absolutely prove nothing more, than the credulity of those, who believed it, and that Hercules was nevertheless the Sun, whatever the Greeks may have believed or said about it. A great error is more easily propagated, than a great truth, because it is easier to believe, than to reason, and because people prefer the marvels of romances to the simplicity of history. If this rule of criticism should be adopted, people would oppose to that argument of the Christians, the firm belief, which every nation has had and still has in the miracles and oracles of their religion, in order to prove the truth of it, and I doubt that the Christians would admit that proof. We shall therefore do the same thing, when the question is about their's. I know, that they will say, that truth is alone on their side; but the others will say as much. Who shall be the judge? Common sense and not faith nor received opinion, however general they may be. They say, that it would upset all the foundations of history, not to believe in the existence of Christ and in the truth of the narrative of his apostles and of the sacred writers. The brother of Cicero said also: “It would be upsetting all the foundations of history, in denying the truth of the oracles of Delphi.” I shall ask the Christians whether they believe in the upsetting of the foundations of history, when they attack these pretended oracles, and whether the Roman orator would have also believed in the upsetting of the foundations of history, in denying the truth of their prophecies, supposing that he should have known them. Everybody defends his chimera and not history.
Nothing attracted such universal attention, and was longer believed in, than astrology, while nothing has a frailer basis, nor has given more fallacious results. Astrology has put its seal on all the monuments of antiquity; nothing was wanting to its predictions but truth; and yet the Universe has believed and still believes in it. Cicero himself wanted to prove the reality of divination by a great many facts, which he states in support of his assertion, and chiefly by the universal belief in it: he adds, that this art may be traced back to the highest antiquity; that there existed no nation, which has not had its oracles, its conjurors, its augurs, its prophets; which has not believed in dreams, in fate, &c. This is all very true; but what can we conclude from all this? That credulity is a malady of mankind of very ancient date, nay an inveterate epidemic, which has spread all over the earth, and that the World may be divided into two classes, in rogues who lead, and in fools, who let themselves be led. The reality of ghosts might thus likewise be proved by the antiquity and the universality of this opinion, and the miracles of St. Roch and of Æsculapius by the “ex voto” deposed in their temples. Human reason has very narrow limits. Credulity is a bottomless pit, swallowing up everything, which is thrown into it, and which rejects nothing. I shall therefore not believe in the certitude of the augural science, because I am told that Accius Navius, in order to prove the infallibility of the science, invited Tarquinius to imagine something, which he should do, and that the latter having thought, that he would cut a flint stone with a razor, the augur forthwith executed the thing. A statue erected in the public square, perpetuated the memory of this prodigy, and attested to all the Romans, that the augurial art was infallible. The swaddling clothes of Christ and the wood from his cross do not prove any more his existence, than the foot prints of Hercules confirm the existence of that hero, and that the columns erected in the plains of St. Denis will assuredly not convince me, that St. Denis had passed by those places in carrying there his head. I shall see in St. Denis or Dyonysius, the ancient Grecian Bacchus, and the Egyptian Osiris, whose head traveled every year from the shores of the Nile to Biblos, like that of Orpheus on the waters of the Hebrus; and here the occasion presents itself to show, up to what point people are led by imposture and ignorance, when once the priest has made himself master of its mind.
The Greeks worshipped Bacchus under the name of Dionysius or Denis; he was regarded as the Chief and first author of their mysteries, the same as Elenther. This last name was also an epithet which they had given him, and which the Latins have translated by the word “Liber:” they celebrated in his honor two principal feasts, one in spring, and the other in the season of the vintage. This latter was a rural festivity and was celebrated in the country or in the fields: it was the opposite of the feasts of spring, which were called feasts of the city or “urbana.” A day was added thereto, in honor of Demetrius, King of Macedonia, who held his court at Pella, near the gulf of Thessalonica. Bacchus was the Oriental name of the same God. The feasts of Bacchus had therefore to be announced in the Heathen calendar by these words: “Festum Dionysii, Eleutherii, Rustici.” Our good forefathers have made three Saints out of it: Saint Denis, Saint Eleuther and Saint Rustic, his companions. On the preceding day they read: Feast of Demetrius. They have fixed on the eve of St. Denis, the feast of St. Demetrius, of whom they made a martyr of Thessalonica. They add, that it was Maximian, who put him to death in consequence of his despair on account of the death of “Lyaëus;” and “Lyaëas” is one of the names of Bacchus as well as “Demetrius.” They placed on the day before the eve, the feast; of St. Bacchus, of whom they made a martyr of the Orient. Therefore those, who should wish to take the trouble and read the Latin calendar, or the brief, which serves as a guide to our priests in the commemoration of the Saints, and in the celebration of the feasts, would see there on the 7th October, Festum Sancti Bacchi, on the 8th, Festum Sancti Demetrii, and on the 9th, Festum Sanctorum Dionysii, Eleutherii, et Rustici. Thus, they have made Saints out of several epithets, or out of different denominations of the same God, Bacchus, Dyonysius or Denis, Liber or Eleutheros. Those epithets became as many companions. We have seen in our explanation of the poem of Nonnus, that Baccus married Zephyr, or the gentle breeze, under the name of the nymph Aura. Now! two days before the feast of Denis or Bacchus, they celebrated that of Aura Placida or of the Zephyr, under the name of Saint Aura and Saint Placida.
Thus it happened, that the formula of wishing “perpetual felicitas,” or everlasting felicity, gave birth to two Saints, Perpetuity and Felicity or perpetual felicity, which are not separated in the invocation; that to pray and to give, or “rogare et donare” became St. Rogatian, and St. Donatian which are not more separated than St. Felicity and St. Perpetuity. Saint Flora and Saint Lucy, or light and flower were made both together a holy-day. Saint Bibiana had her holy-day at the epoch, when the Greeks celebrated the opening of the casks or the ceremony of the Pithoëgies; Saint Apollinaria some days after the celebration of the Apollinarian games by the Romans. They have not even left the “ides” of the month, without making a Saint of it, under the name of Saint Ides. The true face or the image of Christ, “vera eicon or iconin” became Saint Veronica.
The beautiful star of the crown, “Margarita,” placed over the serpent “Ophiuchus” was changed into Saint Margaret, under whose feet a Serpent or a Dragon is painted, and her feast was celebrated a few days after the setting of that star.
Saint Hippolyte, dragged by his horses, had his holy-day, the same as the lover of Phædra or the son of Theseus. It is said, that the remains or the bones of the latter were brought from the island of Scyros to Athens by Cimon. To these pretended relics sacrifices were offered, as if it had been Theseus himself, who had returned to the city. Every year this solemnity was repeated on the 8th of November: Our calendar fixes at the same time the feast of Saint Relics.
It will be seen by this, that the Heathen calendar, and the physical or moral beings, which were thus personified, mostly entered into the Christian calendar, without meeting with many obstacles.
I shall not pursue these reflections further, because my object in this work was not that of pointing out all the mistakes of ignorance, and the impudence of imposture, but to trace the Christian religion back to its true origin; to show its filiation, to explain the bond, which unites it to all the others, and to prove, that it is also included within the circle of the universal religion or of the worship rendered to Nature and to the Sun as its principal agent. My object shall have been attained, if I have succeeded in convincing a small number of my readers (because the many I abandon to the priests) and that it should seem to them proved, that Christ is merely the Sun, that the Mysteries of the Christian religion have the Light for object, like those of the Persians and of Mithras, of Osiris, Adonis, &c., and that this religion differs only in the names from the ancient religions; that the foundation is absolutely the same; and that finally a good Christian is also a worshipper of that luminary, which is the source of all light. After that, it will be of very little consequence, when people will persist in believing in the existence of Christ, who is not more that of the legend, nor that of the Mysteries. We do not feel the want of this second Christ, because he would be absolutely foreign to the hero of the Christian religion, in other words, to the one, whose nature we take an especial interest in determining thoroughly. So far as we are concerned, we think, that this second Christ has never existed, and we believe, that there will be more than one judicious reader, who will be of our opinion, and who will acknowledge, that Christ was no more a real man, than the Hercules of the twelve labors.
We shall not conceal that many others will be found, who, while admitting our explanations on the basis of the mysteries of Christianism, shall persist to make of Christ either a legislator or an impostor, because before reading our work, they had already formed that idea of him, and because it is very difficult to discard first formed opinions. In as much as their philosophy cannot go any further, we shall not go to the trouble of longer arguments, in order to show them the non existence of real historical proofs, which might justify the belief, that Christ had existed as a man.
Finally, there are a great many men so badly organized,
that they believe everything, except that, which is dictated by
common sense and sound reason, and who are as much afraid
of philosophy as the hydrophobist is of water; those will not
read our pages, and we shall not care much about it: we repeat,
that we did not write for them. Their mind is the pasture
of priests, the same as corpses are that of worms. We
only write for the friends of humanity and reason. The rest
belongs to another World; and truly their God said to them,
that his kingdom was not of this World or in other words, of
the World, where people will reason, and that blessed are
those, who are poor in spirit, because the kingdom of Heaven
belongs to them. Let them have their chimeras, and let us
not envy the priest for such a conquest. Let us pursue our
way without stopping to count the more or less suffrages,
which may be obtained by thus offending credulity, and after
having laid bare the sanctuary, wherein the priest shuts himself
up, let us not expect, that he will invite those, whom he
cheats, to read our work. It is sufficient for us to know, that
a glorious revolution, which must have taken place entirely
for the benefit of reason, as it originated it, makes them
powerless for doing harm, or to draw from writers by force
the shameful retractions of Buffon.
1 Decan, a name given by the ancient astronomers to the arc of the Zodiac, comprising ten degrees, or one-third of each sign of the Zodiac. [Return to text.]
Followers of Manes, a Persian.
[Return to text.]
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