Why Christianity Prospered

We now come to the question, Why did Christianity prosper, and why was

Jesus of Nazareth believed to be a divine incarnation and Saviour?

There were many causes for this, but as we can devote but one chapter to

the subject, we must necessarily treat it briefly.

For many centuries before the time of Christ Jesus there lived a sect of

religious monks known as Essenes, or Therapeutae;[419:1] these

/> entirely disappeared from history shortly after the time assigned for

the crucifixion of Jesus. There were thousands of them, and their

monasteries were to be counted by the score. Many have asked the

question, "What became of them?" We now propose to show, 1. That they

were expecting the advent of an Angel-Messiah; 2. That they considered

Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah; 3. That they came over to

Christianity in a body; and, 4. That they brought the legendary

histories of the former Angel-Messiahs with them.

The origin of the sect known as Essenes is enveloped in mist, and will

probably never be revealed. To speak of all the different ideas

entertained as to their origin would make a volume of itself, we can

therefore but glance at the subject. It has been the object of Christian

writers up to a comparatively recent date, to claim that almost

everything originated with God's chosen people, the Jews, and that

even all languages can be traced to the Hebrew. Under these

circumstances, then, it is not to be wondered at that we find they have

also traced the Essenes to Hebrew origin.

Theophilus Gale, who wrote a work called "The Court of the Gentiles"

(Oxford, 1671), to demonstrate that "the origin of all human

literature, both philology and philosophy, is from the Scriptures and

the Jewish church," undoubtedly hits upon the truth when he says:

"Now, the origination or rise of these Essenes (among the

Jews) I conceive by the best conjectures I can make from

antiquity, to be in or immediately after the Babylonian

captivity, though some make them later."

Some Christian writers trace them to Moses or some of the prophets, but

that they originated in India, and were a sort of Buddhist sect, we

believe is their true history.

Gfroerer, who wrote concerning them in 1835, and said that "the Essenes

and the Therapeutae are the same sect, and hold the same views," was

undoubtedly another writer who was touching upon historical ground.

The identity of many of the precepts and practices of Essenism and

those of the New Testament is unquestionable. Essenism urged on its

disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.[420:1]

The Essenes forbade the laying up of treasures upon earth.[420:2] The

Essenes demanded of those who wished to join them to sell all their

possessions, and to divide it among the poor brethren.[420:3] The

Essenes had all things in common, and appointed one of the brethren as

steward to manage the common bag.[420:4] Essenism put all its members on

the same level, forbidding the exercise of authority of one over the

other, and enjoining mutual service.[420:5] Essenism commanded its

disciples to call no man master upon the earth.[420:6] Essenism laid the

greatest stress upon being meek and lowly in spirit.[420:7] The Essenes

commended the poor in spirit, those who hunger and thirst after

righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemaker. They

combined the healing of the body with that of the soul. They declared

that the power to cast out evil spirits, to perform miraculous cures,

&c., should be possessed by their disciples as signs of their

belief.[420:8] The Essenes did not swear at all; their answer was yea,

yea, and nay, nay.[420:9] When the Essenes started on a mission of

mercy, they provided neither gold nor silver, neither two coats, neither

shoes, but relied on hospitality for support.[420:10] The Essenes,

though repudiating offensive war, yet took weapons with them when they

went on a perilous journey.[421:1] The Essenes abstained from connubial

intercourse.[421:2] The Essenes did not offer animal sacrifices, but

strove to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable

unto God, which they regarded as a reasonable service.[421:3] It was the

great aim of the Essenes to live such a life of purity and holiness as

to be the temples of the Holy Spirit, and to be able to prophesy.[421:4]

Many other comparisons might be made, but these are sufficient to show

that there is a great similarity between the two.[421:5] These

similarities have led many Christian writers to believe that Jesus

belonged to this order. Dr. Ginsburg, an advocate of this theory, says:

"It will hardly be doubted that our Saviour himself belonged

to this holy brotherhood. This will especially be apparent

when we remember that the whole Jewish community, at the

advent of Christ, was divided into three parties, the

Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, and that every Jew

had to belong to one of these sects. Jesus, who, in all

things, conformed to the Jewish law, and who was holy,

harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, would

therefore naturally associate himself with that order of

Judaism which was most congenial to his holy nature. Moreover,

the fact that Christ, with the exception of once, was not

heard of in public until his thirtieth year, implying that he

lived in seclusion with this fraternity, and that though he

frequently rebuked the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, he

never denounced the Essenes, strongly confirms this


The facts--as Dr. Ginsburg calls them--which confirm his conclusions,

are simply no facts at all. Jesus may or may not have been a member of

this order; but when it is stated as a fact that he never rebuked the

Essenes, it is implying too much. We know not whether the words said to

have been uttered by Jesus were ever uttered by him or not, and it is

almost certain that had he rebuked the Essenes, and had his words been

written in the Gospels, they would not remain there long. We hear very

little of the Essenes after A. D. 40,[421:7] therefore, when we read of

the "primitive Christians," we are reading of Essenes, and others.

The statement that, with the exception of once, Jesus was not heard in

public life till his thirtieth year, is also uncertain. One of the

early Christian Fathers (Irenaeus) tells us that he did not begin to

teach until he was forty years of age, or thereabout, and that he

lived to be nearly fifty years old.[422:1] "The records of his life

are very scanty; and these have been so shaped and colored and modified

by the hands of ignorance and superstition and party prejudice and

ecclesiastical purpose, that it is hard to be sure of the original


The similarity of the sentiments of the Essenes, or Therapeutae, to those

of the Church of Rome, induced the learned Jesuit, Nicolaus Serarius, to

seek for them an honorable origin. He contended therefore, that they

were Asideans, and derived them from the Rechabites, described so

circumstantially in the thirty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah; at the same

time, he asserted that the first Christian monks were Essenes.[422:2]

Mr. King, speaking of the Christian sect called Gnostics, says:

"Their chief doctrines had been held for centuries before

(their time) in many of the cities of Asia Minor. There, it is

probable, they first came into existence as 'Mystae,' upon the

establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the

Seleucidae and the Ptolemies. The colleges of Essenes and

Megabyzae at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of

Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common

religion, and that originally Asiatic."[422:3]


"The introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine

affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in

the history of religion."[422:4]


"That Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of

the Seleucidae and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the

former) before the beginning of the third century B. C., is

proved to demonstration by a passage in the Edicts of Asoka,

grandson of the famous Chandragupta, the Sandracottus of the

Greeks. These edicts are engraven on a rock at Girnur, in


Eusebius, in quoting from Philo concerning the Essenes, seems to take it

for granted that they and the Christians were one and the same, and

from the manner in which he writes, it would appear that it was

generally understood so. He says that Philo called them "Worshipers,"

and concludes by saying:

"But whether he himself gave them this name, or whether at the

beginning they were so called, when as yet the name of

Christians was not everywhere published, I think it not

needful curiosity to sift out."[422:6]

This celebrated ecclesiastical historian considered it very probable

that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt had been

incorporated into the gospels of the New Testament, and into some

Pauline epistles. His words are:

"It is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which

were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels, and the works

of the apostles, and certain expositions of the ancient

prophets, such as partly that epistle unto the Hebrews, and

also the other epistles of Paul do contain."[423:1]

The principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be connected with

the East, with Parsism, and especially with Buddhism. Among the

doctrines which Essenes and Buddhists had in common was that of the


Godfrey Higgins says:

"The Essenes were called physicians of the soul, or

Therapeutae; being resident both in Judea and Egypt, they

probably spoke or had their sacred books in Chaldee. They were

Pythagoreans, as is proved by all their forms, ceremonies,

and doctrines, and they called themselves sons of Jesse. If

the Pythagoreans or Conobitae, as they are called by Jamblicus,

were Buddhists, the Essenes were Buddhists. The Essenes lived

in Egypt, on the lake of Parembole or Maria, in monasteries.

These are the very places in which we formerly found the

Gymnosophists, or Samaneans, or Buddhist priests to have

lived; which Gymnosophistae are placed also by Ptolemy in

north-eastern India."

"Their (the Essenes) parishes, churches, bishops, priests,

deacons, festivals are all identically the same (as the

Christians). They had apostolic founders; the manners which

distinguished the immediate apostles of Christ; scriptures

divinely inspired; the same allegorical mode of interpreting

them, which has since obtained among Christians, and the same

order of performing public worship. They had missionary

stations or colonies of their community established in Rome,

Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Phillippi, Colosse, and

Thessalonica, precisely such, and in the same circumstances,

as were those to whom St. Paul addressed his letters in those

places. All the fine moral doctrines which are attributed to

the Samaritan Nazarite, and I doubt not justly attributed to

him, are to be found among the doctrines of these


And Arthur Lillie says:

"It is asserted by calm thinkers like Dean Mansel that within

two generations of the time of Alexander the Great, the

missionaries of Buddha made their appearance at

Alexandria.[423:4] This theory is confirmed--in the east by

the Asoka monuments--in the west by Philo. He expressly

maintains the identity in creed of the higher Judaism and that

of the Gymnosophists of India who abstained from the

'sacrifice of living animals'--in a word, the BUDDHISTS. It

would follow from this that the priestly religion of

Babylonia, Palestine, Egypt, and Greece were undermined by

certain kindred mystical societies organized by Buddha's

missionaries under the various names of Therapeutes, Essenes,

Neo-Pythagoreans, Neo-Zoroastrians, &c. Thus Buddhism

prepared the way for Christianity."[424:1]

The Buddhists have the "eight-fold holy path" (Dhammapada), eight

spiritual states leading up to Buddhahood. The first state of the

Essenes resulted from baptism, and it seems to correspond with the first

Buddhistic state, those who have entered the (mystic) stream. Patience,

purity, and the mastery of passion were aimed at by both devotees in the

other stages. In the last, magical powers, healing the sick, casting

out evil spirits, etc., were supposed to be gained. Buddhists and

Essenes seem to have doubled up this eight-fold path into four, for

some reason or other. Buddhists and Essenes had three orders of

ascetics or monks, but this classification is distinct from the

spiritual classifications.[424:2]

The doctrine of the "Anointed Angel," of the man from heaven, the

Creator of the world, the doctrine of the atoning sacrificial death of

Jesus by the blood of his cross, the doctrine of the Messianic antetype

of the Paschal lamb of the Paschal omer, and thus of the resurrection of

Christ Jesus, the third day, according to the Scriptures, these

doctrines of Paul can, with more or less certainty, be connected with

the Essenes. It becomes almost a certainty that Eusebius was right in

surmising that Essenic writings have been used by Paul and the

evangelists. Not Jesus, but Paul, is the cause of the separation of the

Jews from the Christians.[424:3]

The probability, then, that that sect of vagrant quack-doctors, the

Therapeutae, who were established in Egypt and its neighborhood many ages

before the period assigned by later theologians as that of the birth of

Christ Jesus, were the original fabricators of the writings contained in

the New Testament, becomes a certainty on the basis of evidence, than

which history has nothing more certain, furnished by the unguarded, but

explicit, unwary, but most unqualified and positive statement of the

historian Eusebius, that "those ancient Therapeutae were Christians, and

that their ancient writings were our gospels and epistles."

The Essenes, the Therapeuts, the Ascetics, the Monks, the Ecclesiastics,

and the Eclectics, are but different names for one and the self-same


The word "Essene" is nothing more than the Egyptian word for that of

which Therapeut is the Greek, each of them signifying "healer" or

"doctor," and designating the character of the sect as professing to be

endued with the miraculous gift of healing; and more especially so with

respect to diseases of the mind.

Their name of "Ascetics" indicated the severe discipline and exercise

of self-mortification, long fastings, prayers, contemplation, and even

making of themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, as did

Origen, Melito, and others who derived their Christianity from the same

school; Jesus himself is represented to have recognized and approved

their practice.

Their name of "Monks" indicated their delight in solitude, their

contemplative life, and their entire segregation and abstraction from

the world, which Jesus, in the Gospel, is in like manner represented as

describing, as characteristic of the community of which he was a member.

Their name of "Ecclesiastics" was of the same sense, and indicated

their being called out, elected, separated from the general fraternity

of mankind, and set apart to the more immediate service and honor of


They had a flourishing university, or corporate body, established upon

these principles, at Alexandria in Egypt, long before the period

assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus.[425:1]

From this body they sent out missionaries, and had established colonies,

auxiliary branches, and affiliated communities, in various cities of

Asia Minor, which colonies were in a flourishing condition, before the

preaching of St. Paul.

"The very ancient and Eastern doctrine of an Angel-Messiah had been

applied to Gautama-Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the

Essenes of Egypt and of Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic

doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity."[425:2]

In the Pali and Sanscrit texts the word Buddha is always used as a

title, not as a name. It means "The Enlightened One." Gautama Buddha

is represented to have taught that he was only one of a long series of

Buddhas, who appear at intervals in the world, and who all teach the

same system. After the death of each Buddha his religion flourishes for

a time, but finally wickedness and vice again rule over the land. Then

a new Buddha appears, who again preaches the lost Dharma or truth.

The names of twenty-four of these Buddhas who appeared previous to

Gautama have been handed down to us. The Buddhavansa, or "History of

the Buddhas," the last book of the Khuddaka Nikaya in the second

Pitca, gives the lives of all the previous Buddhas before commencing its

account of Gautama himself; and the Pali commentary on the Jatakas

gives certain details regarding each of the twenty-four.[426:1]

An Avatar was expected about every six hundred years.[426:2] At the

time of Jesus of Nazareth an Avatar was expected, not by some of the

Jews alone, but by most every eastern nation.[426:3] Many persons were

thought at that time to be, and undoubtedly thought themselves to be,

the Christ, and the only reason why the name of Jesus of Nazareth

succeeded above all others, is because the Essenes--who were expecting

an Angel-Messiah--espoused it. Had it not been for this almost

indisputable fact, the name of Jesus of Nazareth would undoubtedly not

be known at the present day.

Epiphanius, a Christian bishop and writer of the fourth century, says,

in speaking of the Essenes:

"They who believed on Christ were called JESSAEI (or Essenes),

before they were called Christians. These derived their

constitution from the signification of the name Jesus, which

in Hebrew signifies the same as Therapeutes, that is, a

saviour or physician."

Thus we see that, according to Christian authority, the Essenes and

Therapeutes are one, and that the Essenes espoused the cause of Jesus of

Nazareth, accepted him as an Angel-Messiah, and became known to history

as Christians, or believers in the Anointed Angel.

This ascetic Buddhist sect called Essenes were therefore expecting an

Angel-Messiah, for had not Gautama announced to his disciples that

another Buddha, and therefore another angel in human form, another organ

or advocate of the wisdom from above, would descend from heaven to

earth, and would be called the "Son of Love."

The learned Thomas Maurice says:

"From the earliest post-diluvian age, to that in which the

Messiah appeared, together with the traditions which so

expressly recorded the fall of the human race from a state of

original rectitude and felicity, there appears, from an

infinite variety of hieroglyphic monuments and of written

documents, to have prevailed, from generation to generation,

throughout all the regions of the higher Asia, an uniform

belief that, in the course of revolving ages, there should

arise a sacred personage, a mighty deliverer of mankind from

the thraldom of sin and of death. In fact, the memory of the

grand original promise, that the seed of the woman should

eventually crush the serpent, was carefully preserved in the

breasts of the Asiatics; it entered deeply into their

symbolic superstitions, and was engraved aloft amidst their

mythologic sculptures."[427:1]

That an Angel-Messiah was generally expected at this time may be

inferred from the following facts: Some of the Gnostic sects of

Christians, who believed that Jesus was an emanation from God, likewise

supposed that there were several AEons, or emanations from the Eternal

Father. Among those who taught this doctrine was Basilides and his


SIMON MAGUS was believed to be "He who should come." Simon was worshiped

in Samaria and other countries, as the expected Angel-Messiah, as a God.

Justin Martyr says:

"After the ascension of our Lord into heaven, certain men

were suborned by demons as their agents, who said that they

were gods (i. e., the Angel Messiah). Among these was

Simon, a certain Samaritan, whom nearly all the Samaritans

and a few also of other nations, worshiped, confessing him as

a Supreme God."[427:3]

His miracles were notorious, and admitted by all. His followers became

so numerous that they were to be found in all countries. In Rome, in the

reign of Claudius, a statue was erected in his honor. Clement of Rome,

speaking of Simon Magus, says that:

"He wishes to be considered an exalted person, and to be

considered 'the Christ.' He claims that he can never be

dissolved, asserting that he will endure to eternity."

Montanus was another person who evidently believed himself to be an

Angel-Messiah. He was called by himself and his followers the

"Paraclete," or "Holy Spirit."[428:1]

Socrates, in his Ecclesiastical History, tells us of one Buddhas (who

lived after Jesus):

"Who afore that time was called Terebynthus, which went to the

coasts of Babylon, inhabited by Persians, and there published

of himself many false wonders: that he was born of a virgin,

that he was bred and brought up in the mountains, etc."[428:2]

He was evidently one of the many fanatics who believed themselves to be

the Paraclete or Comforter, the "Expected One."

Another one of these Christs was Apollonius. This remarkable man was

born a few years before the commencement of the Christian era, and

during his career, sustained the role of a philosopher, religious

teacher and reformer, and a worker of miracles. He is said to have lived

to be a hundred years old. From the history of his life, written by the

learned sophist and scholar, Philostratus, we glean the following:

Before his birth a god appeared to his mother and informed her that he

himself should be born of her. At the time of her delivery, the most

wonderful things happened. All the people of the country acknowledged

that he was the "Son of God." As he grew in stature, his wonderful

powers, greatness of memory, and marvelous beauty attracted the

attention of all. A great part of his time was spent, when a youth,

among the learned doctors; the disciples of Plato, Chrysippus and

Aristotle. When he came to man's estate, he became an enthusiastic

admirer and devoted follower of Pythagoras. His fame soon spread far and

near, and wherever he went he reformed the religious worship of the day.

He went to Ephesus, like Christ Jesus to Jerusalem, where the people

flocked about him. While at Athens, in Greece, he cast out an evil

spirit from a youth. As soon as Apollonius fixed his eyes upon him, the

demon broke out into the most angry and horrid expressions, and then

swore he would depart out of the youth. He put an end to a plague which

was raging at Ephesus, and at Corinth he raised a dead maiden to life,

by simply taking her by the hand and bidding her arise. The miracles of

Apollonius were extensively believed, by Christians as well as others,

for centuries after his time. In the fourth century Hierocles drew a

parallel between the two Christs--Apollonius and Jesus--which was

answered by Eusebius, the great champion of the Christian church. In it

he admits the miracles of Apollonius, but attributes them to sorcery.

Apollonius was worshiped as a god, in different countries, as late as

the fourth century. A beautiful temple was built in honor of him, and he

was held in high esteem by many of the Pagan emperors. Eunapius, who

wrote concerning him in the fifth century, says that his history should

have been entitled "The Descent of a God upon Earth." It is as Albert

Reville says:

"The universal respect in which Apollonius was held by the

whole pagan world, testified to the deep impression which the

life of this Supernatural Being had left indelibly fixed in

their minds; an expression which caused one of his

contemporaries to exclaim, 'We have a God living among us.'"

A Samaritan, by name Menander, who was contemporary with the apostles of

Jesus, was another of these fanatics who believed himself to be the

Christ. He went about performing miracles, claiming that he was a

SAVIOUR, "sent down from above from the invisible worlds, for the

salvation of mankind."[429:1] He baptized his followers in his own

name. His influence was great, and continued for several centuries.

Justin Martyr and other Christian Fathers wrote against him.

Manes evidently believed himself to be "the Christ," or "he who was to

come." His followers also believed the same concerning him. Eusebius,

speaking of him, says:

"He presumed to represent the person of Christ; he proclaimed

himself to be the Comforter and the Holy Ghost, and being

puffed up with this frantic pride, chose, as if he were

Christ, twelve partners of his new-found doctrine, patching

into one heap false and detestable doctrines of old, rotten,

and rooted out heresies, the which he brought out of


The word Manes, says Usher in his Annals, has the meaning of Paraclete

or Comforter or Saviour. This at once lets us into the secret--a new

incarnation, an Angel-Messiah, a Christ--born from the side of his

mother, and put to a violent death--flayed alive, and hung up, or

crucified, by a king of Persia.[429:3] This is the teacher with his

twelve apostles on the rock of Gualior.

Du Perron, in his life of Zoroaster, gives an account of certain

prophecies to be found in the sacred books of the Persians. One of

these is to the effect that, at successive periods of time, there will

appear on earth certain "Sons of Zoroaster," who are to be the result

of immaculate conceptions. These virgin-born gods will come upon earth

for the purpose of establishing the law of God. It is also asserted that

Zoroaster, when on earth, declared that in the "latter days" a pure

virgin would conceive, and bear a son, and that as soon as the child was

born a star would appear, blazing even at noonday, with undiminished

splendor. This Christ is to be called Sosiosh. He will redeem mankind,

and subdue the Devs, who have been tempting and leading men astray ever

since the fall of our first parents.

Among the Greeks the same prophecy was found. The Oracle of Delphi was

the depository, according to Plato, of an ancient and secret prophecy

of the birth of a "Son of Apollo," who was to restore the reign of

justice and virtue on the earth.[430:1]

Those who believed in successive emanations of AEons from the Throne of

Light, pointed to the passage in the Gospels where Jesus is made to say

that he will be succeeded by the Paraclete or Comforter. Mahommed was

believed by many to be this Paraclete, and it is said that he too told

his disciples that another Paraclete would succeed him. From present

appearances, however, there is some reason for believing that the

Mohammedans are to have their ancient prophecy set at naught by the

multiplicity of those who pretend to be divinely appointed to fulfill

it. The present year was designated as the period at which this great

reformer was to arise, who should be almost, if not quite, the equal of

Mahommed. His mission was to be to to purify the religion from its

corruptions; to overthrow those who had usurped its control, and to

rule, as a great spiritual caliph, over the faithful. According to

accepted tradition, the prophet himself designated the line of descent

in which his most important successor would be found, and even indicated

his personal appearance. The time having arrived, it is not strange that

the man is forthcoming, only in this instance there is more than one

claimant. There is a "holy man" in Morocco who has allowed it to be

announced that he is the designated reformer, while cable reports show

that a rival pretender has appeared in Yemen, in southern Arabia, and

his supporters, sword in hand, are now advancing upon Mecca, for the

purpose of proclaiming their leader as caliph within the sacred city


History then relates to us the indisputable fact that at the time of

Jesus of Nazareth an Angel-Messiah was expected, that many persons

claimed, and were believed to be, the "Expected One," and that the

reason why Jesus was accepted above all others was because the

Essenes--a very numerous sect--believed him to be the true Messiah, and

came over to his followers in a body. It was because there were so many

of these Christs in existence that some follower of Jesus--but no one

knows who--wrote as follows:

"If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or, lo, he

is there; believe him not; for false Christs and false

prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders to

seduce, if it were possible, even the elect."[431:1]

The reasons why Jesus was not accepted as the Messiah by the majority

of the Jews was because the majority expected a daring and irresistible

warrior and conqueror, who, armed with greater power than Caesar, was to

come upon earth to rend the fetters in which their hapless nation had so

long groaned, to avenge them upon their haughty oppressors, and to

re-establish the kingdom of Judah; and this Jesus--although he evidently

claimed to be the Messiah--did not do.

Tacitus, the Roman historian, says:

"The generality had a strong persuasion that it was contained

in the ancient writings of the priests, that at that very time

the east should prevail: and that some one, who should come

out of Judea, should obtain the empire of the world; which

ambiguities foretold Vespasian and Titus. But the common

people (of the Jews), according to the influence of human

wishes, appropriated to themselves, by their interpretation,

this vast grandeur foretold by the fates, nor could be brought

to change their opinion for the true, by all their


Suetonius, another Roman historian, says:

"There had been for a long time all over the east a constant

persuasion that it was recorded in the fates (books of the

fates, or foretellings), that at that time some one who should

come out of Judea should obtain universal dominion. It

appears by the event, that this prediction referred to the

Roman emperor; but the Jews, referring it to themselves,


This is corroborated by Josephus, the Jewish historian, who says:

"That which, chiefly excited them (the Jews) to war, was an

ambiguous prophecy, which was also found in the sacred

books, that at that time some one, within their country,

should arise, that should obtain the empire of the whole

world. For this they had received by tradition, that it was

spoken of one of their nation; and many wise men were deceived

with the interpretation. But, in truth, Vespasian's empire was

designed in this prophecy, who was created emperor (of Rome)

in Judea."

As the Rev. Dr. Geikie remarks, the central and dominant characteristic

of the teaching of the rabbis, was the certain advent of a great

national Deliverer--the Messiah--but not a God from heaven.

For a time Cyrus appeared to realize the promised Deliverer, or, at

least, to be the chosen instrument to prepare the way for him, and, in

his turn, Zerubabel became the centre of Messianic hopes. In fact, the

national mind had become so inflammable, by constant brooding on this

one theme, that any bold spirit, rising in revolt against the Roman

power, could find an army of fierce disciples who trusted that it should

be he who would redeem Israel.[432:1]

The "taxing" which took place under Cyrenius, Governor of Syria (A. D.

7), excited the wildest uproar against the Roman power. The Hebrew

spirit was stung into exasperation; the puritans of the nation, the

enthusiasts, fanatics, the zealots of the law, the literal

constructionists of prophecy, appealed to the national temper, revived

the national faith, and fanned into flame the combustible elements that

smoldered in the bosom of the race. The Messianic hope was strong in

these people; all the stronger on account of their political

degradation. Born in sorrow, the anticipation grew keen in bitter hours.

That Jehovah would abandon them could not be believed. The thought would

be atheism. The hope kept the eastern Jews in a perpetual state of

insurrection. The cry "Lo here, lo there!" was incessant. Claimant after

claimant of the dangerous supremacy of the Messiah appeared, pitched a

camp in the wilderness, raised the banner, gathered a force, was

attacked, defeated, banished, or crucified; but the frenzy did not


The last insurrection among the Jews, that of Bar-Cochba--"Son of the

Star"--revealed an astonishing frenzy of zeal. It was purely a

Messianic uprising. Judaism had excited the fears of the Emperor

Hadrian, and induced him to inflict unusual severities on the people.

The effect of the violence was to stimulate that conviction to fury. The

night of their despair was once more illumined by the star of the east.

The banner of the Messiah was raised. Potents, as of old, were seen in

the sky; the clouds were watched for the glory that should appear.

Bar-Cochba seemed to fill out the popular idea of the deliverer.

Miracles were ascribed to him; flames issued from his mouth. The vulgar

imagination made haste to transform the audacious fanatic into a child

of David. Multitudes flocked to his standard. The whole Jewish race

throughout the world was in commotion. The insurrection gained head. The

heights about Jerusalem were seized and occupied, and fortifications

were erected; nothing but the "host of angels" was needed to insure

victory. The angels did not appear; the Roman legions did. The

"Messiah," not proving himself a conqueror, was held to have proved

himself an impostor, the "son of a lie."[433:1]

The impetuous zeal with which the Jews rushed to the standard of this

Messianic impostor, in the 130th year of the Christian era, demonstrates

the true Jewish character, and shows how readily any one who made the

claim, was believed to be "He who should come." Even the celebrated

Rabbi Akiba sanctioned this daring fraud. Akiba declared that the

so-called prophecy of Balaam,--"a star shall rise out of Jacob,"--was

accomplished. Hence the impostor took his title of Bar-Cochabas, or

Son of the Star; and Akiba not only publicly anointed him "KING OF THE

JEWS," and placed an imperial diadem upon his head, but followed him to

the field at the head of four-and-twenty thousand of his disciples, and

acted in the capacity of master of his horse.

Those who believed on the meek and benevolent Jesus--and whose number

was very small--were of that class who believed in the doctrine of the

Angel-Messiah,[433:2] first heard of among them when taken captives to

Babylon. These believed that just as Buddha appeared at different

intervals, and as Vishnu appeared at different intervals, the avatars

appeared among the Jews. Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, and Elijah or Elias,

might in outward appearance be different men, but they were really the

self-same divine person successively animating various human

bodies.[433:3] Christ Jesus was the avatar of the ninth age, Christ

Cyrus was the avatar of the eighth. Of the hero of the eighth age it

is said: "Thus said the Lord to his Anointed (i. e., his Christ),

his Messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue

nations."[434:1] The eighth period began about the Babylonish captivity,

about six hundred years before Christ Jesus. The ninth began with

Christ Jesus, making in all eight cycles before Jesus.

"What was known in Judea more than a century before the birth of Jesus

Christ cannot have been introduced among Buddhists by Christian

missionaries. It will become equally certain that the bishop and

church-historian, Eusebius, was right when he wrote, that he considered

it highly probable that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt

had been incorporated into our Gospels, and into some Pauline


For further information on the subject of the connection between

Essenism and Christianity, the reader is referred to Taylor's Diegesis,

Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, and the works of S. F. Dunlap. We shall now

speak of another powerful lever which was brought to bear upon the

promulgation of Christianity; namely, that of FRAUD.

It was a common thing among the early Christian Fathers and saints to

lie and deceive, if their lies and deceits helped the cause of their

Christ. Lactantius, an eminent Christian author who flourished in the

fourth century, has well said:

"Among those who seek power and gain from their religion,

there will never be wanting an inclination to forge and lie

for it."[434:3]

Gregory of Nazianzus, writing to St. Jerome, says:

"A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the

people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire. Our

forefathers and doctors have often said, not what they

thought, but what circumstances and necessity


The celebrated Eusebius, Bishop of CAESAREA, and friend of Constantine

the Great, who is our chief guide for the early history of the Church,

confesses that he was by no means scrupulous to record the whole truth

concerning the early Christians in the various works which he has left

behind him.[434:5] Edward Gibbon, speaking of him, says:

"The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius

himself, indirectly confesses that he has related what might

redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that

could tend to the disgrace of religion. Such an acknowledgment

will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so

openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history, has

not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other;

and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the

character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with

credulity, and more practiced in the arts of courts, than that

of almost any of his contemporaries."[435:1]

The great theologian, Beausobre, in his "Histoire de Manichee," says:

"We see in the history which I have related, a sort of

hypocrisy, that has been perhaps, but too common at all times;

that churchmen not only do not say what they think, but they

do say the direct contrary of what they think. Philosophers in

their cabinets; out of them they are content with fables,

though they well know they are fables. Nay, more; they deliver

honest men to the executioner, for having uttered what they

themselves know to be true. How many atheists and pagans have

burned holy men under the pretext of heresy? Every day do

hypocrites consecrate, and make people adore the host, though

as well convinced as I am, that it is nothing but a bit of


M. Daille says:

"This opinion has always been in the world, that to settle a

certain and assured estimation upon that which is good and

true, it is necessary to remove out of the way, whatsoever may

be an hinderance to it. Neither ought we to wonder that even

those of the honest, innocent, primitive times made use of

these deceits, seeing for a good end they made no scruple to

forge whole books."[435:3]

Reeves, in his "Apologies of the Fathers," says:

"It was a Catholic opinion among the philosophers, that pious

frauds were good things, and that the people ought to be

imposed on in matters of religion."[435:4]

Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian, says:

"It was held as a maxim that it was not only lawful but

praiseworthy to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a

lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and


Isaac de Casaubon, the great ecclesiastical scholar, says:

"It mightily affects me, to see how many there were in the

earliest times of the church, who considered it as a capital

exploit, to lend to heavenly truth the help of their own

inventions, in order that the new doctrine might be more

readily allowed by the wise among the Gentiles. These

officious lies, they were wont to say, were devised for a good


The Apostolic Father, Hermas, who was the fellow-laborer of St. Paul in

the work of the ministry; who is greeted as such in the New Testament;

and whose writings are expressly quoted as of divine inspiration, by the

early Fathers, ingenuously confesses that lying was the easily-besetting

sin of a Christian. His words are:

"O Lord, I never spake a true word in my life, but I have

always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to

all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my


To which the holy angel, whom he addresses, condescendingly admonishes

him, that as the lie was up, now, he had better keep it up, and as in

time it would come to be believed, it would answer as well as


Dr. Mosheim admits, that the Platonists and Pythagoreans held it as a

maxim, that it was not only lawful, but praiseworthy, to deceive, and

even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of

truth and piety. The Jews who lived in Egypt, had learned and received

this maxim from them, before the coming of Christ Jesus, as appears

incontestably from a multitude of ancient records, and the Christians

were infected from both these sources, with the same pernicious


Of the fifteen letters ascribed to Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch after 69

A. D.), eight have been rejected by Christian writers as being

forgeries, having no authority whatever. "The remaining seven

epistles were accounted genuine by most critics, although disputed by

some, previous to the discoveries of Mr. Cureton, which have shaken,

and indeed almost wholly destroyed the credit and authenticity of all


Paul of Tarsus, who was preaching a doctrine which had already been

preached to every nation on earth,[436:4] inculcates and avows the

principle of deceiving the common people, talks of his having been

upbraided by his own converts with being crafty and catching them with

guile,[436:5] and of his known and willful lies, abounding to the glory

of God.[436:6]

Even the orthodox Doctor Burnet, an eminent English author, in his

treatise "De Statu Mortuorum," purposely written in Latin, that it

might serve for the instruction of the clergy only, and not come to the

knowledge of the laity, because, as he said, "too much light is hurtful

for weak eyes," not only justified but recommended the practice of the

most consummate hypocrisy, and would have his clergy seriously preach

and maintain the reality and eternity of hell torments, even though they

should believe nothing of the sort themselves.[437:1]

The incredible and very ridiculous stories related by Christian Fathers

and ecclesiastical historians, on whom we are obliged to rely for

information on the most important of subjects, show us how

untrustworthy these men were. We have, for instance, the story related

by St. Augustine, who is styled "the greatest of the Latin Fathers," of

his preaching the Gospel to people without heads. In his 33d Sermon he


"I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with

some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this

country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two

great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more

southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their


This same holy Father bears an equally unquestionable testimony to

several resurrections of the dead, of which he himself had been an


In a book written "towards the close of the second century, by some

zealous believer," and fathered upon one Nicodemus, who is said to have

been a disciple of Christ Jesus, we find the following:

"We all know the blessed Simeon, the high priest, who took

Jesus when an infant into his arms in the temple. This same

Simeon had two sons of his own, and we were all present at

their death and funeral. Go therefore and see their tombs,

for these are open, and they are risen; and behold, they are

in the city of Arimathaea, spending their time together in

offices of devotion."[438:1]

Eusebius, "the Father of ecclesiastical history," Bishop of Caesarea, and

one of the most prominent personages at the Council of Nice, relates as

truth, the ridiculous story of King Agbarus writing a letter to Christ

Jesus, and of Jesus' answer to the same.[438:2] And Socrates relates how

the Empress Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem

for the purpose of finding, if possible, "the cross of Christ." This she

succeeded in doing, also the nails with which he was nailed to the


Beside forging, lying, and deceiving for the cause of Christ, the

Christian Fathers destroyed all evidence against themselves and their

religion, which they came across. Christian divines seem to have always

been afraid of too much light. In the very infancy of printing, Cardinal

Wolsey foresaw its effect on Christianity, and in a speech to the

clergy, publicly forewarned them, that, if they did not destroy the

Press, the Press would destroy them.[438:4] There can be no doubt, that

had the objections of Porphyry,[438:5] Hierocles,[438:6] Celsus,[438:7]

and other opponents of the Christian faith, been permitted to come down

to us, the plagiarism in the Christian Scriptures from previously

existing Pagan documents, is the specific charge they would have

presented us. But these were ordered to be burned, by the prudent piety

of the Christian emperors.

In Alexandria, in Egypt, there was an immense library, founded by the

Ptolemies. This library was situated in the Alexandrian Museum; the

apartments which were allotted for it were beautifully sculptured, and

crowded with the choicest statues and pictures; the building was built

of marble. This library eventually comprised four hundred thousand

volumes. In the course of time, probably on account of inadequate

accommodation for so many books, an additional library was established,

and placed in the temple of Serapis. The number of volumes in this

library, which was called the daughter of that in the museum, was

eventually three hundred thousand. There were, therefore, seven hundred

thousand volumes in these royal collections.

In the establishment of the museum, Ptolemy Soter, and his son

Philadelphus, had three objects in view: 1. The perpetuation of such

knowledge as was then in the world; 2. Its increase; 3. Its diffusion.

1. For the perpetuation of knowledge. Orders were given to the chief

librarian to buy, at the king's expense, whatever books he could. A body

of transcribers was maintained in the museum, whose duty it was to make

correct copies of such works as their owners were not disposed to sell.

Any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the

museum, and when correct copies had been made, the transcript was given

to the owner, and the original placed in the library. Often a very large

pecuniary indemnity was paid.

2. For the increase of knowledge. One of the chief objects of the

museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted

themselves to study, and were lodged and maintained at the king's

expense. In the original organization of the museum the residents were

divided into four faculties,--Literature, Mathematics, Astronomy, and

Medicine. An officer of very great distinction presided over the

establishment, and had general charge of its interests. Demetius

Phalareus, perhaps the most learned man of his age, who had been

Governor of Athens for many years, was the first so appointed. Under him

was the librarian, an office sometimes held by men whose names have

descended to our times, as Eratosthenes and Apollonius Rhodius. In

connection with the museum was a botanical and a zoological garden.

These gardens, as their names imply, were for the purpose of

facilitating the study of plants and animals. There was also an

astronomical observatory, containing armillary spheres, globes,

solstitial and equatorial armils, astrolabes, parallactic rules, and

other apparatus then in use, the graduation on the divided instruments

being into degrees and sixths.

3. For the diffusion of knowledge. In the museum was given, by

lectures, conversation, or other appropriate methods, instruction in all

the various departments of human knowledge.

There flocked to this great intellectual centre, students from all

countries. It is said that at one time not fewer than fourteen thousand

were in attendance. Subsequently even the Christian church received from

it some of the most eminent of its Fathers, as Clemens Alexandrinus,

Origen, Athanasius, &c.

The library in the museum was burned during the siege of Alexandria by

Julius Caesar. To make amends for this great loss, the library collected

by Eumenes, King of Pergamus, was presented by Mark Antony to Queen

Cleopatra. Originally it was founded as a rival to that of the

Ptolemies. It was added to the collection in the Serapion, or the temple

of Serapis.[440:1]

It was not destined, however, to remain there many centuries, as this

very valuable library was willfully destroyed by the Christian

Theophilus, and on the spot where this beautiful temple of Serapis

stood, in fact, on its very foundation, was erected a church in honor of

the "noble army of martyrs," who had never existed.

This we learn from the historian Gibbon, who says that, after this

library was destroyed, "the appearance of the empty shelves excited the

regret and indignation of every spectator, whose mind was not totally

darkened by religious prejudice."[440:2]

The destruction of this library was almost the death-blow to

free-thought--wherever Christianity ruled--for more than a thousand


The death-blow was soon to be struck, however, which was done by Saint

Cyril, who succeeded Theophilus as Bishop of Alexandria.

Hypatia, the daughter of Theon, the mathematician, endeavored to

continue the old-time instructions. Each day before her academy stood a

long train of chariots; her lecture-room was crowded with the wealth and

fashion of Alexandria. They came to listen to her discourses on those

questions which man in all ages has asked, but which have never yet been

answered: "What am I? Where am I? What can I know?"

Hypatia and Cyril; philosophy and bigotry; they cannot exist together.

As Hypatia repaired to her academy, she was assaulted by (Saint) Cyril's

mob--a mob of many monks. Stripped naked in the street, she was

dragged into a church, and there killed by the club of Peter the

Reader. The corpse was cut to pieces, the flesh was scraped from the

bones with shells, and the remnants cast into a fire. For this

frightful crime Cyril was never called to account. It seemed to be

admitted that the end sanctified the means. So ended Greek philosophy in

Alexandria, so came to an untimely close the learning that the

Ptolemies had done so much to promote.

The fate of Hypatia was a warning to all who would cultivate profane

knowledge. Henceforth there was to be no freedom for human thought.

Every one must think as ecclesiastical authority ordered him; A. D.

414. In Athens itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinian at length

prohibited its teaching and caused all its schools in that city to be


After this followed the long and dreary dark ages, but the sun of

science, that bright and glorious luminary, was destined to rise again.

The history of this great Alexandrian library is one of the keys which

unlock the door, and exposes to our view the manner in which the Hindoo

incarnate god Crishna, and the meek and benevolent Buddha, came to

be worshiped under the name of Christ Jesus. For instance, we have

just seen:

1. That, "orders were given to the chief librarian to buy at the king's

expense whatever books he could."

2. That, "one of the chief objects of the museum was that of serving as

the home of a body of men who devoted themselves to study."

3. That, "any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once

to the museum and correct copies made."

4. That, "there flocked to this great intellectual centre students from

all countries."

5. That, "the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent

of its Fathers."

And also:

6. That, the chief doctrines of the Gnostic Christians "had been held

for centuries before their time in many of the cities in Asia Minor.

There, it is probable, they first came into existence as 'Mystae,' upon

the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the

Seleucidae and the Ptolemies."

7. That, "the College of ESSENES at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the

Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common

religion, and that originally Asiatic."

8. That, "the introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine

affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in the

history of religion."

9. That, "Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of the

Seleucidae and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the former) before the

beginning of the third century B. C. and is proved to demonstration by

a passage in the edicts of Asoka."

10. That, "it is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which

were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels."

11. That, "the principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be

connected with the East, with Parsism, and especially with Buddhism."

12. That, "among the doctrines which the Essenes and Buddhists had

in common was that of the Angel-Messiah."

13. That, "they (the Essenes) had a flourishing university or

corporate body, established at Alexandria, in Egypt, long before the

period assigned for the birth of Christ."

14. That, "the very ancient and Eastern doctrine of the

Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama Buddha, and so it was

applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and Palestine, who

introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic


15. That, "we hear very little of them (the Essenes) after A. D. 40;

and there can hardly be any doubt that the Essenes as a body must have

embraced Christianity."

Here is the solution of the problem. The sacred books of Hindoos and

Buddhists were among the Essenes, and in the library at Alexandria.

The Essenes, who were afterwards called Christians, applied the

legend of the Angel-Messiah--"the very ancient Eastern doctrine,"

which we have shown throughout this work--to Christ Jesus. It was simply

a transformation of names, a transformation which had previously

occurred in many cases.[442:1] After this came additions to the

legend from other sources. Portions of the legends related of the

Persian, Greek and Roman Saviours and Redeemers of mankind, were, from

time to time, added to the already legendary history of the Christian

Saviour. Thus history was repeating itself. Thus the virgin-born God

and Saviour, worshiped by all nations of the earth, though called by

different names, was but one and the same.

In a subsequent chapter we shall see who this One God was, and how

the myth originated.

Albert Reville says:

"Alexandria, the home of Philonism, and Neo-Platonism (and

we might add Essenism), was naturally the centre whence

spread the dogma of the deity of Jesus Christ. In that city,

through the third century, flourished a school of

transcendental theology, afterwards looked upon with suspicion

by the conservators of ecclesiastical doctrine, but not the

less the real cradle of orthodoxy. It was still the Platonic

tendency which influenced the speculations of Clement, Origen

and Dionysius, and the theory of the Logos was at the

foundation of their theology."[443:1]

Among the numerous gospels in circulation among the Christians of the

first three centuries, there was one entitled "The Gospel of the

Egyptians." Epiphanius (A. D. 385), speaking of it, says:

"Many things are proposed (in this Gospel of the Egyptians) in

a hidden, mysterious manner, as by our Saviour, as though he

had said to his disciples, that the Father was the same

person, the Son the same person, and the Holy Ghost the same


That this was one of the "Scriptures" of the Essenes, becomes very

evident when we find it admitted by the most learned of Christian

theologians that it was in existence "before either of the canonical

Gospels," and that it contained the doctrine of the Trinity, a

doctrine not established in the Christian church until A. D. 327, but

which was taught by this Buddhist sect in Alexandria, in Egypt, which

has been well called, "Egypt, the land of Trinities."

The learned Dr. Grabe thought it was composed by some Christians in

Egypt, and that it was published before either of the canonical

Gospels. Dr. Mill also believed that it was composed before either of

the canonical Gospels, and, what is more important than all, that the

authors of it were Essenes.

These "Scriptures" of the Essenes were undoubtedly amalgamated with the

"Gospels" of the Christians, the result being the canonical Gospels as

we now have them. The "Gospel of the Hebrews," and such like, on the

one hand, and the "Gospel of the Egyptians," or Essenes, and such like,

on the other. That the "Gospel of the Hebrews" spoke of Jesus of

Nazareth as the son of Joseph and Mary, according to the flesh, and

that it taught nothing about his miracles, his resurrection from the

dead, and other such prodigies, is admitted on all hands. That the

"Scriptures" of the Essenes contained the whole legend of the

Angel-Messiah, which was afterwards added to the history of Jesus,

making him a CHRIST, or an Anointed Angel, is a probability almost

to a certainty. Do we now understand how all the traditions and legends,

originally Indian, escaping from the great focus through Egypt, were

able to reach Judea, Greece and Rome?

To continue with our subject, "why Christianity prospered," we must now

speak of another great support to the cause, i. e., Persecution.

Ernest de Bunsen, speaking of Buddha, says:

"His religion has never been propagated by the sword. It has

been effected entirely by the influence of peaceable and

persevering devotees."

Can we say as much for what is termed "the religion of Christ?" No! this

religion has had the aid of the sword and firebrand, the rack and the

thumb-screw. "Persecution," is to be seen written on the pages of

ecclesiastical history, from the time of Constantine even to the present

day.[444:1] This Christian emperor and saint was the first to check


"We search in vain," (says M. Renan), "in the collection of

Roman laws before Constantine, for any enactment aimed at

free thought, or in the history of the emperors, for a

persecution of abstract doctrine. Not a single savant was

disturbed. Men whom the Middle Ages would have burned--such as

Galen, Lucian, Plotinus--lived in peace, protected by the


Born and educated a pagan, Constantine embraced the Christian faith from

the following motives. Having committed horrid crimes, in fact, having

committed murders,[444:3] and,

"When he would have had his (Pagan) priests purge him by

sacrifice, of these horrible murders, and could not have his

purpose (for they answered plainly, it lay not in their power

to cleanse him)[444:4] he lighted at last upon an Egyptian

who came out of Iberia, and being persuaded by him that the

Christian faith was of force to wipe away every sin, were it

ever so heinous, he embraced willingly at whatever the

Egyptian told him."[444:5]

Mons. Dupuis, speaking of this conversion, says:

"Constantine, soiled with all sorts of crimes, and stained

with the blood of his wife, after repeated perjuries and

assassinations, presented himself before the heathen priests

in order to be absolved of so many outrages he had committed.

He was answered, that amongst the various kinds of expiations,

there was none which could expiate so many crimes, and that no

religion whatever could offer efficient protection against the

justice of the gods; and Constantine was emperor. One of the

courtiers of the palace, who witnessed the trouble and

agitation of his mind, torn by remorse, which nothing could

appease, informed him, that the evil he was suffering was not

without a remedy; that there existed in the religion of the

Christians certain purifications, which expiated every kind of

misdeeds, of whatever nature, and in whatsoever number they

were: that one of the promises of the religion was, that

whoever was converted to it, as impious and as great a villain

as he might be, could hope that his crimes were immediately

forgotten.[445:1] From that moment, Constantine declared

himself the protector of a sect which treats great criminals

with so much lenity.[445:2] He was a great villain, who tried

to lull himself with illusions to smother his remorse."[445:3]

By the delay of baptism, a person who had accepted the true faith

could venture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyment of this

world, while they still retained in their own hands the means of

salvation; therefore, we find that Constantine, although he accepted the

faith, did not get baptized until he was on his death-bed, as he wished

to continue, as long as possible, the wicked life he was leading. Mr.

Gibbon, speaking of him, says:

"The example and reputation of Constantine seemed to

countenance the delay of baptism. Future tyrants were

encouraged to believe, that the innocent blood which they

might shed in a long reign would instantly be washed away in

the waters of regeneration; and the abuse of religion

dangerously undermined the foundations of moral


Eusebius, in his "Life of Constantine," tells us that:

"When he thought that he was near his death, he confessed

his sins, desiring pardon for them of God, and was baptized.

"Before doing so, he assembled the bishops of Nicomedia

together, and spake thus unto them:

"'Brethren, the salvation which I have earnestly desired of

God these many years, I do now this day expect. It is time

therefore that we should be sealed and signed with the badge

of immortality. And though I proposed to receive it in the

river Jordan, in which our Saviour for our example was

baptized, yet God, knowing what is fittest for me, hath

appointed that I shall receive it in this place, therefore

let me not be delayed.'"

"And so, after the service of baptism was read, they baptized

him with all the ceremonies belonging to this mysterious

sacrament. So that Constantine was the first of all the

emperors who was regenerated by the new birth of baptism, and

that was signed with the sign of the cross."[446:1]

When Constantine had heard the good news from the Christian monk from

Egypt, he commenced by conferring many dignities on the Christians, and

those only who were addicted to Christianity, he made governors of his

provinces, &c.[446:2] He then issued edicts against heretics,--i. e.,

those who, like Arius, did not believe that Christ was "of one

substance with the Father," and others--calling them "enemies of truth

and eternal life," "authors and councillors of death," &c.[446:3] He

"commanded by law" that none should dare "to meet at conventicles,"

and that "all places where they were wont to keep their meetings should

be demolished," or "confiscated to the Catholic church;"[446:4] and

Constantine was emperor. "By this means," says Eusebius, "such as

maintained doctrines and opinions contrary to the church, were


This Constanti