The Miracles Of Christ Jesus And The Primitive Christians





The legendary history of Jesus of Nazareth, contained in the books of

the New Testament, is full of prodigies and wonders. These alleged

prodigies, and the faith which the people seem to have put in such a

tissue of falsehoods, indicate the prevalent disposition of the people

to believe in everything, and it was among such a class that

Christianity was propagated. All leaders of religion had the reputation

of having performed miracles; the biographers of Jesus, therefore, not

wishing their Master to be outdone, have made him also a

wonder-worker, and a performer of miracles; without them Christianity

could not prosper. Miracles were needed in those days, on all special

occasions. "There is not a single historian of antiquity, whether Greek

or Latin, who has not recorded oracles, prodigies, prophecies, and

miracles, on the occasion of some memorable events, or revolutions of

states and kingdoms. Many of these are attested in the gravest manner by

the gravest writers, and were firmly believed at the time by the

people."[252:1]



Hindoo sacred books represent Crishna, their Saviour and Redeemer, as

in constant strife against the evil spirit. He surmounts extraordinary

dangers; strews his way with miracles; raising the dead, healing the

sick, restoring the maimed, the deaf and the blind; everywhere

supporting the weak against the strong, the oppressed against the

powerful. The people crowded his way and adored him as a GOD, and these

miracles were the evidences of his divinity for centuries before the

time of Jesus.



The learned Thomas Maurice, speaking of Crishna, tells us that he passed

his innocent hours at the home of his foster-father, in rural

diversions, his divine origin not being suspected, until repeated

miracles soon discovered his celestial origin;[252:2] and Sir William

Jones speaks of his raising the dead, and saving multitudes by his

miraculous powers.[253:1] To enumerate the miracles of Crishna would

be useless and tedious; we shall therefore mention but a few, of which

the Hindoo sacred books are teeming.



When Crishna was born, his life was sought by the reigning monarch,

Kansa, who had the infant Saviour and his father and mother locked in a

dungeon, guarded, and barred by seven iron doors. While in this dungeon

the father heard a secret voice distinctly utter these words: "Son of

Yadu, take up this child and carry it to Gokool, to the house of Nanda."

Vasudeva, struck with astonishment, answered: "How shall I obey this

injunction, thus vigilantly guarded and barred by seven iron doors that

prohibit all egress?" The unknown voice replied: "The doors shall open

of themselves to let thee pass, and behold, I have caused a deep slumber

to fall upon thy guards, which shall continue till thy journey be

accomplished." Vasudeva immediately felt his chains miraculously

loosened, and, taking up the child in his arms, hurried with it through

all the doors, the guards being buried in profound sleep. When he came

to the river Yumna, which he was obliged to cross to get to Gokool, the

waters immediately rose up to kiss the child's feet, and then

respectfully retired on each side to make way for its transportation, so

that Vasudeva passed dry-shod to the opposite shore.[253:2]



When Crishna came to man's estate, one of his first miracles was the

cure of a leper.



A passionate Brahman, having received a slight insult from a certain

Rajah, on going out of his doors, uttered this curse: "That he should,

from head to foot, be covered with boils and leprosy;" which being

fulfilled in an instant upon the unfortunate king, he prayed to Crishna

to deliver him from his evil. At first, Crishna did not heed his

request, but finally he appeared to him, asking what his request was? He

replied, "To be freed from my distemper." The Saviour then cured him of

his distemper.[253:3]



Crishna was one day walking with his disciples, when "they met a poor

cripple or lame woman, having a vessel filled with spices, sweet-scented

oils, sandal-wood, saffron, civet and other perfumes. Crishna making a

halt, she made a certain sign with her finger on his forehead, casting

the rest upon his head. Crishna asking her what it was she would

request of him, the woman replied, nothing but the use of my limbs.

Crishna, then, setting his foot upon hers, and taking her by the hand,

raised her from the ground, and not only restored her limbs, but

renewed her age, so that, instead of a wrinkled, tawny skin, she

received a fresh and fair one in an instant. At her request, Crishna and

his company lodged in her house."[254:1]



On another occasion, Crishna having requested a learned Brahman to ask

of him whatever boon he most desired, the Brahman said, "Above all

things, I desire to have my two dead sons restored to life." Crishna

assured him that this should be done, and immediately the two young men

were restored to life and brought to their father.[254:2]



The learned Orientalist, Thomas Maurice, after speaking of the miracles

performed by Crishna, says:



"In regard to the numerous miracles wrought by Crishna, it

should be remembered that miracles are never wanting to the

decoration of an Indian romance; they are, in fact, the life

and soul of the vast machine; nor is it at all a subject of

wonder that the dead should be raised to life in a history

expressly intended, like all other sacred fables of Indian

fabrication, for the propagation and support of the whimsical

doctrine of the Metempsychosis."[254:3]



To speak thus of the miracles of Christ Jesus, would, of course, be

heresy--although what applies to the miracles of Crishna apply to those

of Jesus--we, therefore, find this gentleman branding as "infidel" a

learned French orientalist who was guilty of doing this thing.



Buddha performed great miracles for the good of mankind, and the

legends concerning him are full of the most extravagant prodigies and

wonders.[254:4] "By miracles and preaching," says Burnouf, "was the

religion of Buddha established."



R. Spence Hardy says of Buddha:



"All the principal events of his life are represented as being

attended by incredible prodigies. He could pass through the

air at will, and know the thoughts of all beings."[254:5]



Prof. Max Mueller says:



"The Buddhist legends teem with miracles attributed to Buddha

and his disciples--miracles which in wonderfulness certainly

surpass the miracles of any other religion."[254:6]



Buddha was at one time going from the city of Rohita-vastu to the city

of Benares, when, coming to the banks of the river Ganges, and wishing

to go across, he addressed himself to the owner of a ferry-boat, thus;

"Hail! respectable sir! I pray you take me across the river in your

boat!" To this the boatman replied, "If you can pay me the fare, I will

willingly take you across the river." Buddha said, "Whence shall I

procure money to pay you your fare, I, who have given up all worldly

wealth and riches, &c." The boatman still refusing to take him across,

Buddha, pointing to a flock of geese flying from the south to the north

banks of the Ganges, said:



"See yonder geese in fellowship passing o'er the Ganges,

They ask not as to fare of any boatman,

But each by his inherent strength of body

Flies through the air as pleases him.

So, by my power of spiritual energy,

Will I transport myself across the river,

Even though the waters on this southern bank

Stood up as high and firm as (Mount) Semeru."[255:1]



He then floats through the air across the stream.



In the Lalita Vistara Buddha is called the "Great Physician" who is to

"dull all human pain." At his appearance the "sick are healed, the deaf

are cured, the blind see, the poor are relieved." He visits the sick

man, Su-ta, and heals soul as well as body.



At Vaisali, a pest like modern cholera was depopulating the kingdom, due

to an accumulation of festering corpses. Buddha, summoned, caused a

strong rain which carried away the dead bodies and cured every one. At

Gaudhara was an old mendicant afflicted with a disease so loathsome that

none of his brother monks could go near him on account of his fetid

humors and stinking condition. The "Great Physician" was, however, not

to be deterred; he washed the poor old man and attended to his maladies.

A disciple had his feet hacked off by an unjust king, and Buddha cured

even him. To convert certain skeptical villagers near Sravasti, Buddha

showed them a man walking across the deep and rapid river without

immersing his feet. Purna, one of Buddha's disciples, had a brother in

imminent danger of shipwreck in a "black storm." The "spirits that are

favorable to Purna and Arya" apprised him of this and he at once

performed the miracle of transporting himself to the deck of the ship.

"Immediately the black tempest ceased, as if Sumera arrested it."[255:2]



When Buddha was told that a woman was suffering in severe labor, unable

to bring forth, he said, Go and say: "I have never knowingly put any

creature to death since I was born; by the virtue of this obedience may

you be free from pain!" When these words were repeated in the presence

of the mother, the child was instantly born with ease.[256:1]



Innumerable are the miracles ascribed to Buddhist saints, and to others

who followed their example. Their garments, and the staffs with which

they walked, are supposed to imbibe some mysterious power, and blessed

are they who are allowed to touch them.[256:2] A Buddhist saint who

attains the power called "perfection," is able to rise and float along

through the air.[256:3] Having this power, the saint exercises it by

mere determination of his will, his body becoming imponderous, as when a

man in the common human state determines to leap, and leaps. Buddhist

annals relate the performance of the miraculous suspension by Gautama

Buddha, himself, as well as by other saints.[256:4]



In the year 217 B. C., a Buddhist missionary priest, called by the

Chinese historians Shih-le-fang, came from "the west" into Shan-se,

accompanied by eighteen other priests, with their sacred books, in order

to propagate the faith of Buddha. The emperor, disliking foreigners and

exotic customs, imprisoned the missionaries; but an angel, genii, or

spirit, came and opened the prison door, and liberated them.[256:5]



Here is a third edition of "Peter in prison," for we have already seen

that the Hindoo sage Vasudeva was liberated from prison in like manner.



Zoroaster, the founder of the religion of the Persians, opposed his

persecutors by performing miracles, in order to confirm his divine

mission.[256:6]



Bochia of the Persians also performed miracles; the places where he

performed them were consecrated, and people flocked in crowds to visit

them.[256:7]



Horus, the Egyptian Saviour, performed great miracles, among which was

that of raising the dead to life.[256:8]



Osiris of Egypt also performed great miracles;[256:9] and so did the

virgin goddess Isis.



Pilgrimages were made to the temples of Isis, in Egypt, by the sick.

Diodorus, the Grecian historian, says that:



"Those who go to consult in dreams the goddess Isis recover

perfect health. Many whose cure has been despaired of by

physicians have by this means been saved, and others who have

long been deprived of sight, or of some other part of the

body, by taking refuge, so to speak, in the arms of the

goddess, have been restored to the enjoyment of their

faculties."[257:1]



Serapis, the Egyptian Saviour, performed great miracles, principally

those of healing the sick. He was called "The Healer of the

World."[257:2]



Marduk, the Assyrian God, the "Logos," the "Eldest Son of Hea;" "He

who made Heaven and Earth;" the "Merciful One;" the "Life-Giver," &c.,

performed great miracles, among which was that of raising the dead to

life.[257:3]



Bacchus, son of Zeus by the virgin Semele, was a great performer of

miracles, among which may be mentioned his changing water into

wine,[257:4] as it is recorded of Jesus in the Gospels.



"In his gentler aspects he is the giver of joy, the healer of

sicknesses, the guardian against plagues. As such he is even a law-giver

and a promoter of peace and concord. As kindling new or strange thoughts

in the mind, he is a giver of wisdom and the revealer of hidden secrets

of the future."[257:5]



The legends related of this god state that on one occasion Pantheus,

King of Thebes, sent his attendants to seize Bacchus, the "vagabond

leader of a faction"--as he called him. This they were unable to do, as

the multitude who followed him were too numerous. They succeeded,

however, in capturing one of his disciples, Acetes, who was led away and

shut up fast in prison; but while they were getting ready the

instruments of execution, the prison doors came open of their own

accord, and the chains fell from his limbs, and when they looked for

him he was nowhere to be found.[257:6] Here is still another edition of

"Peter in prison."



AEsculapius was another great performer of miracles. The ancient Greeks

said of him that he not only cured the sick of the most malignant

diseases, but even raised the dead.



A writer in Bell's Pantheon says:



"As the Greeks always carried the encomiums of their great men

beyond the truth, so they feigned that AEsculapius was so

expert in medicine as not only to cure the sick, but even to

raise the dead."[258:1]



Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, speaking of AEsculapius, says:



"He sometimes appeared unto them (the Cilicians) in dreams and

visions, and sometimes restored the sick to health."



He claims, however, that this was the work of the DEVIL, "who by this

means did withdraw the minds of men from the knowledge of the true

SAVIOUR."[258:2]



For many years after the death of AEsculapius, miracles continued to be

performed by the efficacy of faith in his name. Patients were conveyed

to the temple of AEsculapius, and there cured of their disease. A short

statement of the symptoms of each case, and the remedy employed, were

inscribed on tablets and hung up in the temples.[258:3] There were also

a multitude of eyes, ears, hands, feet, and other members of the human

body, made of wax, silver, or gold, and presented by those whom the god

had cured of blindness, deafness, and other diseases.[258:4]



Marinus, a scholar of the philosopher Proclus, relates one of these

remarkable cures, in the life of his master. He says:



"Asclipigenia, a young maiden who had lived with her parents,

was seized with a grievous distemper, incurable by the

physicians. All help from the physicians failing, the father

applied to the philosopher, earnestly entreating him to pray

for his daughter. Proclus, full of faith, went to the temple

of AEsculapius, intending to pray for the sick young woman to

the god--for the city (Athens) was at that time blessed in

him, and still enjoyed the undemolished temple of THE

SAVIOUR--but while he was praying, a sudden change appeared in

the damsel, and she immediately became convalescent, for the

Saviour, AEsculapius, as being God, easily healed

her."[258:5]



Dr. Conyers Middleton says:



"Whatever proof the primitive (Christian) Church might have

among themselves, of the miraculous gift, yet it could have

but little effect towards making proselytes among those who

pretended to the same gift--possessed more largely and exerted

more openly, than in the private assemblies of the Christians.

For in the temples of AEsculapius, all kinds of diseases were

believed to be publicly cured, by the pretended help of that

deity, in proof of which there were erected in each temple,

columns or tables of brass or marble, on which a distinct

narrative of each particular cure was inscribed.

Pausanias[258:6] writes that in the temple at Epidaurus there

were many columns anciently of this kind, and six of them

remaining to his time, inscribed with the names of men and

women who had been cured by the god, with an account of their

several cases, and the method of their cure; and that there

was an old pillar besides, which stood apart, dedicated to the

memory of Hippolytus, who had been raised from the dead.

Strabo, also, another grave writer, informs us that these

temples were constantly filled with the sick, imploring the

help of the god, and that they had tables hanging around them,

in which all the miraculous cures were described. There is a

remarkable fragment of one of these tables still extant, and

exhibited by Gruter in his collection, as it was found in the

ruins of AEsculapius's temple in the Island of the Tiber, in

Rome, which gives an account of two blind men restored to

sight by AEsculapius, in the open view,[259:1] and with the

loud acclamation of the people, acknowledging the manifest

power of the god."[259:2]



Livy, the most illustrious of Roman historians (born B. C. 61), tells us

that temples of heathen gods were rich in the number of offerings

which the people used to make in return for the cures and benefits

which they received from them.[259:3]



A writer in Bell's Pantheon says:



"Making presents to the gods was a custom even from the

earliest times, either to deprecate their wrath, obtain some

benefit, or acknowledge some favor. These donations consisted

of garlands, garments, cups of gold, or whatever conduced to

the decoration or splendor of their temples. They were

sometimes laid on the floor, sometimes hung upon the walls,

doors, pillars, roof, or any other conspicuous place.

Sometimes the occasion of the dedication was inscribed, either

upon the thing itself, or upon a tablet hung up with

it."[259:4]



No one custom of antiquity is so frequently mentioned by ancient

historians, as the practice which was so common among the heathens, of

making votive offerings to their deities, and hanging them up in their

temples, many of which are preserved to this day, viz., images of metal,

stone, or clay, as well as legs, arms, and other parts of the body, in

testimony of some divine cure effected in that particular

member.[259:5]



Horace says:



"----Me tabula sacer

Votiva paries indicat humida

Suspendisse potenti

Vestimenta maris Deo." (Lib. 1, Ode V.)



It was the custom of offering ex-votos of Priapic forms, at the

church of Isernia, in the Christian kingdom of Naples, during the last

century, which induced Mr. R. Payne Knight to compile his remarkable

work on Phallic Worship.



Juvenal, who wrote A. D. 81-96, says of the goddess Isis, whose

religion was at that time in the greatest vogue at Rome, that the

painters get their livelihood out of her. This was because "the most

common of all offerings (made by the heathen to their deities) were

pictures presenting the history of the miraculous cure or deliverance,

vouchsafed upon the vow of the donor."[260:1] One of their prayers ran

thus:



"Now, Goddess, help, for thou canst help bestow,

As all these pictures round thy altars show."[260:2]



In Chambers's Encyclopaedia may be found the following:



"Patients that were cured of their ailments (by AEsculapius,

or through faith in him) hung up a tablet in his temple,

recording the name, the disease, and the manner of cure. Many

of these votive tablets are still extant."[260:3]



Alexander S. Murray, of the department of Greek and Roman Antiquities in

the British Museum, speaking of the miracles performed by AEsculapius,

says:



"A person who had recovered from a local illness would dictate

a sculptured representation of the part that had been

affected. Of such sculptures there are a number of examples

in the British Museum."[260:4]



Justin Martyr, in his Apology for the Christian religion, addressed to

the Emperor Hadrian, says:



"As to our Jesus curing the lame, and the paralytic, and

such as were crippled from birth, this is little more than

what you say of your AEsculapius."[260:5]



At a time when the Romans were infested with the plague, having

consulted their sacred books, they learned that in order to be delivered

from it, they were to go in quest of AEsculapius at Epidaurus;

accordingly, an embassy was appointed of ten senators, at the head of

whom was Quintus Ogulnius, and the worship of AEsculapius was established

at Rome, A. U. C. 462, that is, B. C. 288. But the most remarkable

coincidence is that the worship of this god continued with scarcely any

diminished splendor, for several hundred years after the establishment

of Christianity.[260:6]



Hermes or Mercury, the Lord's Messenger, was a wonder-worker. The staff

or rod which Hermes received from Phoibos (Apollo), and which connects

this myth with the special emblem of Vishnu (the Hindoo Saviour), was

regarded as denoting his heraldic office. It was, however, always

endowed with magic properties, and had the power even of raising the

dead.[261:1]



Herodotus, the Grecian historian, relates a wonderful miracle which

happened among the Spartans, many centuries before the time assigned

for the birth of Christ Jesus. The story is as follows:



A Spartan couple of great wealth and influence, had a daughter

born to them who was a cripple from birth. Her nurse,

perceiving that she was misshapen, and knowing her to be the

daughter of opulent persons, and deformed, and seeing,

moreover, that her parents considered her form a great

misfortune, considering these several circumstances, devised

the following plan. She carried her every day to the temple of

the Goddess Helen, and standing before her image, prayed to

the goddess to free the child from its deformity. One day, as

the nurse was going out of the temple, a woman appeared to

her, and having appeared, asked what she was carrying in her

arms; and she answered that she was carrying an infant;

whereupon she bid her show it to her, but the nurse refused,

for she had been forbidden by the parents to show the child to

any one. The woman, however--who was none other than the

Goddess herself--urged her by all means to show it to her, and

the nurse, seeing that the woman was so very anxious to see

the child, at length showed it; upon which she, stroking the

head of the child with her hands, said that she would surpass

all the women in Sparta in beauty. From that day her

appearance began to change, her deformed limbs became

symmetrical, and when she reached the age for marriage she was

the most beautiful woman in all Sparta.[261:2]



Apollonius of Tyana, in Cappadocia, who was born in the latter part of

the reign of Augustus, about four years before the time assigned for the

birth of Jesus, and who was therefore contemporary with him, was

celebrated for the wonderful miracles he performed. Oracles in various

places declared that he was endowed with a portion of Apollo's power to

cure diseases, and foretell events; and those who were affected were

commanded to apply to him. The priests of Iona made over the diseased to

his care, and his cures were considered so remarkable, that divine

honors were decreed to him.[261:3]



He at one time went to Ephesus, but as the inhabitants did not hearken

to his preaching, he left there and went to Smyrna, where he was well

received by the inhabitants. While there, ambassadors came from

Ephesus, begging him to return to that city, where a terrible plague was

raging, as he had prophesied. He went immediately, and as soon as he

arrived, he said to the Ephesians: "Be not dejected, I will this day put

a stop to the disease." According to his words, the pestilence was

stayed, and the people erected a statue to him, in token of their

gratitude.[262:1]



In the city of Athens, there was one of the dissipated young citizens,

who laughed and cried by turns, and talked and sang to himself, without

apparent cause. His friends supposed these habits were the effects of

early intemperance, but Apollonius, who happened to meet the young man,

told him he was possessed of a demon; and, as soon as he fixed his

eyes upon him, the demon broke out into all those horrid, violent

expressions used by people on the rack, and then swore he would depart

out of the youth, and never enter another.[262:2] The young man had not

been aware that he was possessed by a devil, but from that moment, his

wild, disturbed looks changed, he became very temperate, and assumed the

garb of a Pythagorean philosopher.



Apollonius went to Rome, and arrived there after the emperor Nero had

passed very severe laws against magicians. He was met on the way by a

person who advised him to turn back and not enter the city, saying that

all who wore the philosopher's garb were in danger of being arrested as

magicians. He heeded not these words of warning, but proceeded on his

way, and entered the city. It was not long before he became an object of

suspicion, was closely watched, and finally arrested, but when his

accusers appeared before the tribunal and unrolled the parchment on

which the charges against him had been written, they found that all the

characters had disappeared. Apollonius made such an impression on the

magistrates by the bold tone he assumed, that he was allowed to go where

he pleased.[262:3]



Many miracles were performed by him while in Rome, among others may be

mentioned his restoring a dead maiden to life.



She belonged to a family of rank, and was just about to be married, when

she died suddenly. Apollonius met the funeral procession that was

conveying her body to the tomb. He asked them to set down the bier,

saying to her betrothed: "I will dry up the tears you are shedding for

this maiden." They supposed he was going to pronounce a funeral oration,

but he merely took her hand, bent over her, and uttered a few words in

a low tone. She opened her eyes, and began to speak, and was carried

back alive and well to her father's house.[263:1]



Passing through Tarsus, in his travels, a young man was pointed out to

him who had been bitten thirty days before by a mad dog, and who was

then running on all fours, barking and howling. Apollonius took his case

in hand, and it was not long before the young man was restored to his

right mind.[263:2]



Domitian, Emperor of Rome, caused Apollonius to be arrested, during one

of his visits to that city, on charge of allowing himself to be

worshiped (the people having given him divine honors), speaking

against the reigning powers, and pretending that his words were inspired

by the gods. He was taken, loaded with irons, and cast into prison. "I

have bound you," said the emperor, "and you will not escape me."



Apollonius was one day visited in his prison by his steadfast disciple,

Damus, who asked him when he thought he should recover his liberty,

whereupon he answered: "This instant, if it depended upon myself," and

drawing his legs out of the shackles, he added: "Keep up your spirits,

you see the freedom I enjoy." He was brought to trial not long after,

and so defended himself, that the emperor was induced to acquit him, but

forbade him to leave Rome. Apollonius then addressed the emperor, and

ended by saying: "You cannot kill me, because I am not mortal;" and as

soon as he had said these words, he vanished from the tribunal.[263:3]

Damus (the disciple who had visited him in prison) had previously been

sent away from Rome, with the promise of his master that he would soon

rejoin him. Apollonius vanished from the presence of the emperor (at

Rome) at noon. On the evening of the same day, he suddenly appeared

before Damus and some other friends who were at Puteoli, more than a

hundred miles from Rome. They started, being doubtful whether or not it

was his spirit, but he stretched out his hand, saying: "Take it, and if

I escape from you regard me as an apparition."[263:4]



When Apollonius had told his disciples that he had made his defense in

Rome, only a few hours before, they marveled how he could have performed

the journey so rapidly. He, in reply, said that they must ascribe it to

a god.[264:1]



The Empress Julia, wife of Alexander Severus, was so much interested in

the history of Apollonius, that she requested Flavius Philostratus, an

Athenian author of reputation, to write an account of him. The early

Christian Fathers, alluding to this life of Apollonius, do not deny the

miracles it recounts, but attribute to them the aid of evil

spirits.[264:2]



Justin Martyr was one of the believers in the miracles performed by

Apollonius, and by others through him, for he says:



"How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power in

certain members of creation? for they prevent, as we see,

the fury of the waves, and the violence of the winds, and the

attacks of wild beasts, and whilst our Lord's miracles are

preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most

numerous, and actually manifested in present facts, so as to

lead astray all beholders."[264:3]



So much for Apollonius. We will now speak of another miracle performer,

Simon Magus.



Simon the Samaritan, generally called Simon Magus, produced marked

effects on the times succeeding him; being the progenitor of a large

class of sects, which long troubled the Christian churches.



In the time of Jesus and Simon Magus it was almost universally believed

that men could foretell events, cure diseases, and obtain control over

the forces of nature, by the aid of spirits, if they knew how to invoke

them. It was Simon's proficiency in this occult science which gained him

the surname of Magus, or Magician.



The writer of the eighth chapter of "The Acts of the Apostles" informs

us that when Philip went into Samaria, "to preach Christ unto them," he

found there "a certain man called Simon, which beforetime in the same

city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that

himself was some great one. To whom they all gave heed, from the least

to the greatest, saying: This man is the great power of God."[264:4]



Simon traveled about preaching, and made many proselytes. He professed

to be "The Wisdom of God," "The Word of God," "The Paraclete, or

Comforter," "The Image of the Eternal Father, Manifested in the

Flesh," and his followers claimed that he was "The First Born of the

Supreme."[265:1] All of these are titles, which, in after years, were

applied to Christ Jesus. His followers had a gospel called "The Four

Corners of the World," which reminds us of the reason given by Irenaeus,

for there being four Gospels among the Christians. He says:



"It is impossible that there could be more or less than

four. For there are four climates, and four cardinal

winds; but the Gospel is the pillar and foundation of the

Church, and its breath of life. The Church, therefore, was to

have four pillars, blowing immortality from every quarter,

and giving life to men."[265:2]



Simon also composed some works, of which but slight fragments remain,

Christian authority having evidently destroyed them. That he made a

lively impression on his contemporaries is indicated by the subsequent

extension of his doctrines, under varied forms, by the wonderful stories

which the Christian Fathers relate of him, and by the strong dislike

they manifested toward him.



Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, says of him:



"The malicious power of Satan, enemy to all honesty, and foe

to all human salvation, brought forth at that time this

monster Simon, a father and worker of all such mischiefs, as

a great adversary unto the mighty and holy Apostles.



"Coming into the city of Rome, he was so aided by that power

which prevaileth in this world, that in short time he brought

his purpose to such a pass, that his picture was there placed

with others, and he honored as a god."[265:3]



Justin Martyr says of him:



"After the ascension of our Savior into heaven, the DEVIL

brought forth certain men which called themselves gods, who

not only suffered no vexation of you (Romans), but attained

unto honor amongst you, by name one Simon, a Samaritan, born

in the village of Gitton, who (under Claudius Caesar) by the

art of devils, through whom he dealt, wrought devilish

enchantments, was esteemed and counted in your regal city of

Rome for a god, and honored by you as a god, with a

picture between two bridges upon the river Tibris, having this

Roman inscription: 'Simoni deo Sancto' (To Simon the Holy

God). And in manner all the Samaritans, and certain also of

other nations, do worship him, acknowledging him for their

chief god."[265:4]



According to accounts given by several other Christian Fathers, he could

make his appearance wherever he pleased to be at any moment; could poise

himself on the air; make inanimate things move without visible

assistance; produce trees from the earth suddenly; cause a stick to reap

without hands; change himself into the likeness of any other person, or

even into the forms of animals; fling himself from high precipices

unhurt, walk through the streets accompanied by spirits of the dead; and

many other such like performances.[266:1]



Simon went to Rome, where he gave himself out to be an "Incarnate Spirit

of God."[266:2] He became a favorite with the Emperor Claudius, and

afterwards with Nero. His Christian opponents, as we have seen in the

cases cited above, did not deny the miracles attributed to him, but said

they were done through the agency of evil spirits, which was a common

opinion among the Fathers. They claimed that every magician had an

attendant evil spirit, who came when summoned, obeyed his commands, and

taught him ceremonies and forms of words, by which he was able to do

supernatural things. In this way they were accustomed to account for all

the miracles performed by Gentiles and heretics.[266:3]



Menander--who was called the "Wonder-Worker"--was another great

performer of miracles. Eusebius, speaking of him, says that he was

skilled in magical art, and performed devilish operations; and that

"as yet there be divers which can testify the same of him."[266:4]



Dr. Conyers Middleton, speaking on this subject, says:



"It was universally received and believed through all ages of

the primitive church, that there was a number of magicians,

necromancers, or conjurors, both among the Gentiles, and the

heretical Christians, who had each their peculiar demon or

evil spirit, for their associates, perpetually attending on

their persons and obsequious to their commands, by whose help

they could perform miracles, foretell future events, call up

the souls of the dead, exhibit them to open view, and infuse

into people whatever dreams or visions they saw fit, all which

is constantly affirmed by the primitive writers and

apologists, and commonly applied by them to prove the

immortality of the soul."[266:5]



After quoting from Justin Martyr, who says that these magicians could

convince any one "that the souls of men exist still after death," he

continues by saying:



"Lactantius, speaking of certain philosophers who held that

the soul perished with the body, says: 'they durst not have

declared such an opinion, in the presence of any magician,

for if they had done it, he would have confuted them upon the

spot, by sensible experiments; by calling up souls from the

dead, and rendering them visible to human eyes, and making

them speak and foretell future events."[267:1]



The Christian Father Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, who was contemporary

with Irenaeus (A. D. 177-202), went so far as to declare that it was evil

spirits who inspired the old poets and prophets of Greece and Rome. He

says:



"The truth of this is manifestly shown; because those who are

possessed by devils, even at this day, are sometimes exorcised

by us in the name of God; and the seducing spirits confess

themselves to be the same demons who before inspired the

Gentile poets."[267:2]



Even in the second century after Christianity, foreign conjurors were

professing to exhibit miracles among the Greeks. Lucian gives an account

of one of these "foreign barbarians"--as he calls them[267:3]--and says:



"I believed and was overcome in spite of my resistance, for

what was I to do when I saw him carried through the air in

daylight, and walking on the water,[267:4] and passing

leisurely and slowly through the fire?"[267:5]



He further tells us that this "foreign barbarian" was able to raise the

dead to life.[267:6]



Athenagoras, a Christian Father who flourished during the latter part of

the second century, says on this subject:



"We (Christians) do not deny that in several places, cities,

and countries, there are some extraordinary works performed in

the name of idols," i. e., heathen gods.[267:7]



Miracles were not uncommon things among the Jews before and during the

time of Christ Jesus. Casting out devils was an every-day

occurrence,[267:8] and miracles frequently happened to confirm the

sayings of Rabbis. One cried out, when his opinion was disputed, "May

this tree prove that I am right!" and forthwith the tree was torn up by

the roots, and hurled a hundred ells off. But his opponents declared

that a tree could prove nothing. "May this stream, then, witness for

me!" cried Eliezar, and at once it flowed the opposite way.[268:1]



Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that King Solomon was expert

in casting out devils who had taken possession of the body of mortals.

This gift was also possessed by many Jews throughout different ages. He

(Josephus) relates that he saw one of his own countrymen (Eleazar)

casting out devils, in the presence of a vast multitude.[268:2]



Dr. Conyers Middleton says:



"It is remarkable that all the Christian Fathers, who lay so

great a stress on the particular gift of casting out devils,

allow the same power both to the Jews and the Gentiles, as

well before as after our Saviour's coming."[268:3]



Vespasian, who was born about ten years after the time assigned for

the birth of Christ Jesus, performed wonderful miracles, for the good of

mankind. Tacitus, the Roman historian, informs us that he cured a blind

man in Alexandria, by means of his spittle, and a lame man by the

mere touch of his foot.



The words of Tacitus are as follows:



"Vespasian passed some months at Alexandria, having resolved

to defer his voyage to Italy till the return of summer, when

the winds, blowing in a regular direction, afford a safe and

pleasant navigation. During his residence in that city, a

number of incidents, out of the ordinary course of nature,

seemed to mark him as the peculiar favorite of the gods. A man

of mean condition, born at Alexandria, had lost his sight by a

defluxion on his eyes. He presented himself before Vespasian,

and, falling prostrate on the ground, implored the emperor to

administer a cure for his blindness. He came, he said, by the

admonition of Serapis, the god whom the superstition of the

Egyptians holds in the highest veneration. The request was,

that the emperor, with his spittle, would condescend to

moisten the poor man's face and the balls of his eyes.[268:4]

Another, who had lost the use of his hand, inspired by the

same god, begged that he would tread on the part affected.

. . . In the presence of a prodigious multitude, all erect

with expectation, he advanced with an air of serenity, and

hazarded the experiment. The paralytic hand recovered its

functions, and the blind man saw the light of the sun.[268:5]

By living witnesses, who were actually on the spot, both

events are confirmed at this hour, when deceit and flattery

can hope for no reward."[268:6]



The striking resemblance between the account of these miracles, and

those attributed to Jesus in the Gospels "according to" Matthew and

Mark, would lead us to think that one had been copied from the other,

but when we find that Tacitus wrote his history A. D. 98,[269:1] and

that the "Matthew" and Mark narrators' works were not known until

after that time,[269:2] the evidence certainly is that Tacitus was

not the plagiarist, but that this charge must fall on the shoulders of

the Christian writers, whoever they may have been.



To come down to earlier times, even the religion of the Mahometans is a

religion of miracles and wonders. Mahomet, like Jesus of Nazareth, did

not claim to perform miracles, but the votaries of Mahomet are more

assured than himself of his miraculous gifts; and their confidence and

credulity increase as they are farther removed from the time and place

of his spiritual exploits. They believe or affirm that trees went forth

to meet him; that he was saluted by stones; that water gushed from his

fingers; that he fed the hungry, cured the sick, and raised the dead;

that a beam groaned to him; that a camel complained to him; that a

shoulder of mutton informed him of its being poisoned; and that both

animate and inanimate nature were equally subject to the apostle of God.

His dream of a nocturnal journey is seriously described as a real and

corporeal transaction. A mysterious animal, the Borak, conveyed him from

the temple of Mecca to that of Jerusalem; with his companion Gabriel he

successively ascended the seven heavens, and received and repaid the

salutations of the patriarchs, the prophets, and the angels in their

respective mansions. Beyond the seventh heaven, Mahomet alone was

permitted to proceed; he passed the veil of unity, approached within two

bow-shots of the throne, and felt a cold that pierced him to the heart,

when his shoulder was touched by the hand of God. After a familiar,

though important conversation, he descended to Jerusalem, remounted the

Borak, returned to Mecca, and performed in the tenth part of a night the

journey of many thousand years. His resistless word split asunder the

orb of the moon, and the obedient planet stooped from her station in the

sky.[269:3]



These and many other wonders, similar in character to the story of Jesus

sending the demons into the swine, are related of Mahomet by his

followers.



It is very certain that the same circumstances which are claimed to have

taken place with respect to the Christian religion, are also claimed to

have taken place in the religions of Crishna, Buddha, Zoroaster,

AEsculapius, Bacchus, Apollonius, Simon Magus, &c. Histories of these

persons, with miracles, relics, circumstances of locality, suitable to

them, were as common, as well authenticated (if not better), and as much

believed by the devotees as were those relating to Jesus.



All the Christian theologians which the world has yet produced have not

been able to procure any evidence of the miracles recorded in the

Gospels, half so strong as can be procured in evidence of miracles

performed by heathens and heathen gods, both before and after the time

of Jesus; and, as they cannot do this, let them give us a reason why we

should reject the one and receive the other. And if they cannot do this,

let them candidly confess that we must either admit them all, or reject

them all, for they all stand on the same footing.



In the early times of the Roman republic, in the war with the Latins,

the gods Castor and Pollux are said to have appeared on white horses in

the Roman army, which by their assistance gained a complete victory: in

memory of which, the General Posthumius vowed and built a temple to

these deities; and for a proof of the fact, there was shown, we find, in

Cicero's time (106 to 43 B. C.), the marks of the horses' hoofs on a

rock at Regillum, where they first appeared.[270:1]



Now this miracle, with those which have already been mentioned, and many

others of the same kind which could be mentioned, has as authentic an

attestation, if not more so, as any of the Gospel miracles. It has, for

instance: The decree of a senate to confirm it; visible marks on the

spot where it was transacted; and all this supported by the best authors

of antiquity, amongst whom Dionysius, of Halicarnassus, who says that

there was subsisting in his time at Rome many evident proofs of its

reality, besides a yearly festival, with a solemn sacrifice and

procession, in memory of it.[270:2]



With all these evidences in favor of this miracle having really

happened, it seems to us so ridiculous, that we wonder how there could

ever have been any so simple as to believe it, yet we should believe

that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, after he had been in the tomb

four days, our only authority being that anonymous book known as the

"Gospel according to St. John," which was not known until after A. D.

173. Albert Barnes, in his "Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity,"

speaking of the authenticity of the Gospel miracles, makes the following

damaging confession:



"An important question is, whether there is any stronger

evidence in favor of miracles, than there is in favor of

witchcraft, or sorcery, or the re-appearance of the dead, of

ghosts, of apparitions? Is not the evidence in favor of these

as strong as any that can be adduced in favor of miracles?

Have not these things been matters of universal belief? In

what respect is the evidence in favor of the miracles of the

Bible stronger than that which can be adduced in favor of

witchcraft and sorcery? Does it differ in nature and degrees;

and if it differs, is it not in favor of witchcraft and

sorcery? Has not the evidence in favor of the latter been

derived from as competent and reliable witnesses? Has it not

been brought to us from those who saw the facts alleged? Has

it not been subjected to a close scrutiny in the courts of

justice, to cross-examination, to tortures? Has it not

convinced those of highest legal attainments; those accustomed

to sift testimony; those who understood the true principles of

evidence? Has not the evidence in favor of witchcraft and

sorcery had, what the evidence in favor of miracles has not

had, the advantage of strict judicial investigation? and been

subjected to trial, where evidence should be, before courts of

law? Have not the most eminent judges in the most civilized

and enlightened courts of Europe and America admitted the

force of such evidence, and on the ground of it committed

great numbers of innocent persons to the gallows and to the

stake? I confess that of all the questions ever asked on the

subject of miracles, this is the most perplexing and the most

difficult to answer. It is rather to be wondered at that it

has not been pressed with more zeal by those who deny the

reality of miracles, and that they have placed their

objections so extensively on other grounds."



It was a common adage among the Greeks, "Miracles for fools," and the

same proverb obtained among the shrewder Romans, in the saying: "The

common people like to be deceived--deceived let them be."



St. Chrysostom declares that "miracles are proper only to excite

sluggish and vulgar minds, men of sense have no occasion for them;"

and that "they frequently carry some untoward suspicion along with

them;" and Saint Chrysostom, Jerome, Euthemius, and Theophylact, prove

by several instances, that real miracles had been performed by those

who were not Catholic, but heretic, Christians.[271:1]



Celsus (an Epicurean philosopher, towards the close of the second

century), the first writer who entered the lists against the claims of

the Christians, in speaking of the miracles which were claimed to have

been performed by Jesus, says:



"His miracles, granted to be true, were nothing more than

the common works of those enchanters, who, for a few

oboli, will perform greater deeds in the midst of the Forum,

calling up the souls of heroes, exhibiting sumptuous banquets,

and tables covered with food, which have no reality. Such

things do not prove these jugglers to be sons of God; nor do

Christ's miracles."[271:2]



Celsus, in common with most of the Grecians, looked upon Christianity

as a blind faith, that shunned the light of reason. In speaking of the

Christians, he says:



"They are forever repeating: 'Do not examine. Only believe,

and thy faith will make thee blessed. Wisdom is a bad

thing in life; foolishness is to be preferred.'"[272:1]



He jeers at the fact that ignorant men were allowed to preach, and

says that "weavers, tailors, fullers, and the most illiterate and rustic

fellows," set up to teach strange paradoxes. "They openly declared that

none but the ignorant (were) fit disciples for the God they worshiped,"

and that one of their rules was, "let no man that is learned come among

us."[272:2]



The miracles claimed to have been performed by the Christians, he

attributed to magic,[272:3] and considered--as we have seen

above--their miracle performers to be on the same level with all Gentile

magicians. He says that the "wonder-workers" among the Christians

"rambled about to play tricks at fairs and markets," that they never

appeared in the circles of the wiser and better sort, but always took

care to intrude themselves among the ignorant and uncultured.[272:4]



"The magicians in Egypt (says he), cast out evil spirits, cure

diseases by a breath, call up the spirits of the dead, make

inanimate things move as if they were alive, and so influence

some uncultured men, that they produce in them whatever sights

and sounds they please. But because they do such things shall

we consider them the sons of God? Or shall we call such things

the tricks of pitiable and wicked men?"[272:5]



He believed that Jesus was like all these other wonder-workers, that is,

simply a necromancer, and that he learned his magical arts in

Egypt.[272:6] All philosophers, during the time of the Early Fathers,

answered the claims that Jesus performed miracles, in the same manner.

"They even ventured to call him a magician and a deceiver of the

people," says Justin Martyr,[272:7] and St. Augustine asserted that it

was generally believed that Jesus had been initiated in magical art in

Egypt, and that he had written books concerning magic, one of which was

called "Magia Jesu Christi."[272:8] In the Clementine Recognitions,

the charge is brought against Jesus that he did not perform his miracles

as a Jewish prophet, but as a magician, an initiate of the heathen

temples.[272:9]



The casting out of devils was the most frequent and among the most

striking and the oftenest appealed to of the miracles of Jesus; yet, in

the conversation between himself and the Pharisees (Matt. xii. 24-27),

he speaks of it as one that was constantly and habitually performed by

their own exorcists; and, so far from insinuating any difference

between the two cases, expressly puts them on a level.



One of the best proofs, and most unquestionable, that Jesus was accused

of being a magician, or that some of the early Christians believed him

to have been such, may be found in the representations of him performing

miracles. On a sarcophagus to be found in the Museo Gregoriano,

which is paneled with bas-reliefs, is to be seen a representation of

Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave. He is represented as a young man,

beardless, and equipped with a wand in the received guise of a

necromancer, whilst the corpse of Lazarus is swathed in bandages

exactly as an Egyptian mummy.[273:1] On other Christian monuments

representing the miracles of Jesus, he is pictured in the same manner.

For instance, when he is represented as turning the water into wine, and

multiplying the bread in the wilderness, he is a necromancer with a

wand in his hand.[273:2]



Horus, the Egyptian Saviour, is represented on the ancient monuments

of Egypt, with a wand in his hand raising the dead to life, "just as

we see Christ doing the same thing," says J. P. Lundy, "in the same way,

to Lazarus, in our Christian monuments."[273:3]



Dr. Conyers Middleton, speaking of the primitive Christians, says:



"In the performance of their miracles, they were always

charged with fraud and imposture, by their adversaries. Lucian

(who flourished during the second century), tells us that

whenever any crafty juggler, expert in his trade, and who knew

how to make a right use of things, went over to the

Christians, he was sure to grow rich immediately, by making a

prey of their simplicity. And Celsus represents all the

Christian wonder-workers as mere vagabonds and common cheats,

who rambled about to play their tricks at fairs and markets;

not in the circles of the wiser and the better sort, for among

such they never ventured to appear, but wherever they observed

a set of raw young fellows, slaves or fools, there they took

care to intrude themselves, and to display all their

arts."[273:4]



The same charge was constantly urged against them by Julian, Porphyry

and others. Similar sentiments were entertained by Polybius, the Pagan

philosopher, who considered all miracles as fables, invented to preserve

in the unlearned a due sense of respect for the deity.[273:5]



Edward Gibbon, speaking of the miracles of the Christians, writes in

his familiar style as follows:



"How shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and

philosophic world, to those evidences which were represented

by the hand of Omnipotence, not to their reason, but to their

senses? During the age of Christ, of his apostles, and of

their first disciples, the doctrine which they preached was

confirmed by innumerable prodigies. The lame walked, the blind

saw, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, demons were

expelled, and the laws of nature were frequently suspended for

the benefit of the church. But the sages of Greece and Rome

turned aside from the awful spectacle, and, pursuing the

ordinary occupations of life and study, appeared unconscious

of any alterations in the moral or physical government of the

world."[274:1]



The learned Dr. Middleton, whom we have quoted on a preceding page,

after a searching inquiry into the miraculous powers of the Christians,

says:



"From these short hints and characters of the primitive

wonder-workers, as given both by friends and enemies, we may

fairly conclude, that the celebrated gifts of these ages were

generally engrossed and exercised by the primitive Christians,

chiefly of the laity, who used to travel about from city to

city, to assist the ordinary pastors of the church, and

preachers of the Gospel, in the conversion of Pagans, by the

extraordinary gifts with which they were supposed to be indued

by the spirit of God, and the miraculous works which they

pretended to perform. . . .



"We have just reason to suspect that there was some original

fraud in the case; and that the strolling wonder-workers, by a

dexterity of jugglery which art, not heaven, had taught them,

imposed upon the credulity of the pious Fathers, whose strong

prejudices and ardent zeal for the interest of Christianity

would dispose them to embrace, without examination, whatever

seemed to promote so good a cause. That this was really the

case in some instances, is certain and notorious, and that it

was so in all, will appear still more probable, when we have

considered the particular characters of the several Fathers,

on whose testimony the credit of these wonderful narratives

depends."[274:2]



Again he says:



"The pretended miracles of the primitive church were all mere

fictions, which the pious and zealous Fathers, partly from a

weak credulity, and partly from reasons of policy, believing

some perhaps to be true, and knowing all of them to be useful,

were induced to espouse and propagate, for the support of a

righteous cause."[274:3]



Origen, a Christian Father of the third century, uses the following

words in his answer to Celsus:



"A vast number of persons who have left those horrid

debaucheries in which they formerly wallowed, and have

professed to embrace the Christian religion, shall receive a

bright and massive crown when this frail and short life is

ended, though they don't stand to examine the grounds on

which their faith is built, nor defer their conversion till

they have a fair opportunity and capacity to apply themselves

to rational and learned studies. And since our adversaries are

continually making such a stir about our taking things on

trust, I answer, that we, who see plainly and have found the

vast advantage that the common people do manifestly and

frequently reap thereby (who make up by far the greater

number), I say, we (the Christian clergy), who are so well

advised of these things, do professedly teach men to believe

without examination."[275:1]



Origen flourished and wrote A. D. 225-235, which shows that at that

early day there was no rational evidence for Christianity, but it was

professedly taught, and men were supposed to believe "these things"

(i. e. the Christian legends) without severe examination.



The primitive Christians were perpetually reproached for their gross

credulity, by all their enemies. Celsus, as we have already seen,

declares that they cared neither to receive nor give any reason for

their faith, and that it was a usual saying with them: "Do not examine,

but believe only, and thy faith will save thee;" and Julian affirms

that, "the sum of all their wisdom was comprised in the single precept,

'believe.'"



Arnobius, speaking of this, says:



"The Gentiles make it their constant business to laugh at our

faith, and to lash our credulity with their facetious jokes."



The Christian Fathers defended themselves against these charges by

declaring that they did nothing more than the heathens themselves had

always done; and reminds them that they too had found the same method

useful with the uneducated or common people, who were not at leisure to

examine things, and whom they taught therefore, to believe without

reason.[275:2]



This "believing without reason" is illustrated in the following words of

Tertullian, a Christian Father of the second century, who reasons on the

evidence of Christianity as follows:



"I find no other means to prove myself to be impudent with

success, and happily a fool, than by my contempt of shame; as,

for instance--I maintain that the son of God was born: why am

I not ashamed of maintaining such a thing? Why! but because it

is a shameful thing. I maintain that the son of God died:

well, that is wholly credible because it is monstrously

absurd. I maintain that after having been buried, he rose

again: and that I take to be absolutely true, because it was

manifestly impossible."[275:3]



According to the very books which record the miracles of Jesus, he never

claimed to perform such deeds, and Paul declares that the great reason

why Israel did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah was that "the Jews

required a sign."[276:1] He meant: "Signs and wonders are the only

proofs they will admit that any one is sent by God and is preaching the

truth. If they cannot have this palpable, external proof, they withhold

their faith."



A writer of the second century (John, in ch. iv. 18) makes Jesus aim at

his fellow-countrymen and contemporaries, the reproach: "Unless you see

signs and wonders, you do not believe." In connection with Paul's

declaration, given above, these words might be paraphrased: "The reason

why the Jews never believed in Jesus was that they never saw him do

signs and wonders."



Listen to the reply he (Jesus) made when told that if he wanted people

to believe in him he must first prove his claim by a miracle: "A wicked

and adulterous generation asks for a sign, and no sign shall be given

it except the sign of the prophet Jonas."[276:2] Of course, this answer

did not in the least degree satisfy the questioners; so they presently

came to him again with a more direct request: "If the kingdom of God is,

as you say, close at hand, show us at least some one of the signs in

heaven which are to precede the Messianic age." What could appear more

reasonable than such a request? Every one knew that the end of the

present age was to be heralded by fearful signs in heaven. The light of

the sun was to be put out, the moon turned to blood, the stars robbed of

their brightness, and many other fearful signs were to be shown![276:3]

If any one of these could be produced, they would be content; but if

not, they must decline to surrender themselves to an idle joy which must

end in a bitter disappointment; and surely Jesus himself could hardly

expect them to believe in him on his bare word.



Historians have recorded miracles said to have been performed by other

persons, but not a word is said by them about the miracles claimed to

have been performed by Jesus.



Justus of Tiberias, who was born about five years after the time

assigned for the crucifixion of Jesus, wrote a Jewish History. Now, if

the miracles attributed to Christ Jesus, and his death and resurrection,

had taken place in the manner described by the Gospel narrators, he

could not have failed to allude to them. But Photius, Patriarch of

Constantinople, tells us that it contained "no mention of the coming of

Christ, nor of the events concerning him, nor of the prodigies he

wrought." As Theodore Parker has remarked: "The miracle is of a most

fluctuating character. The miracle-worker of to-day is a

matter-of-fact juggler to-morrow. Science each year adds new wonders to

our store. The master of a locomotive steam-engine would have been

thought greater than Jupiter Tonans, or the Elohim, thirty centuries

ago."



In the words of Dr. Oort: "Our increased knowledge of nature has

gradually undermined the belief in the possibility of miracles, and the

time is not far distant when in the mind of every man, of any culture,

all accounts of miracles will be banished together to their proper

region--that of legend."



What had been said to have been done in India was said by the "half

Jew"[277:1] writers of the Gospels to have been done in Palestine. The

change of names and places, with the mixing up of various sketches of

Egyptian, Phenician, Greek and Roman mythology, was all that was

necessary. They had an abundance of material, and with it they built. A

long-continued habit of imposing upon others would in time subdue the

minds of the impostors themselves, and cause them to become at length

the dupes of their own deception.





FOOTNOTES:



[252:1] Dr. Conyers Middleton: Free Enquiry, p. 177.



[252:2] Indian Antiquities, vol. iii. p. 46.



[253:1] Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 237.



[253:2] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 331.



[253:3] Ibid. p. 319.



[254:1] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 320. Vishnu Parana, bk. v. ch. xx.



[254:2] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 68.



[254:3] Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 269.



[254:4] See Hardy's Buddhist Legends, and Eastern Monachism. Beal's

Romantic Hist. Buddha. Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, and Huc's Travels, &c.



[254:5] Hardy: Buddhist Legends, pp. xxi. xxii.



[254:6] The Science of Religion, p. 27.



[255:1] Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 246, 247.



[255:2] Dhammapada, pp. 47, 50 and 90. Bigandet, pp. 186 and 192.

Bournouf: Intro. p. 156. In Lillie's Buddhism, pp. 139, 140.



[256:1] Hardy: Manual of Buddhism.



[256:2] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 229.



[256:3] See Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 135, and Hardy:

Buddhist Legends, pp. 98, 126, 137.



[256:4] See Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 135.



[256:5] Thornton: Hist. China, vol. i. p. 341.



[256:6] See Dupuis: Origin of Religious Belief, p. 240, and Inman's

Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 460.



[256:7] S





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