IF Rome be indeed the Babylon of the Apocalypse, and the Madonna enshrined in her sanctuaries be the very queen of heaven, for the worshipping of whom the fierce anger of God was provoked against the Jews in the days of Jeremiah, it is of the last consequence that the fact should be established beyond all possibility of doubt; for that being once established, every one who trembles at the Word of god must shudder at the very thought of giving such a system, either individually or nationally, the least countenance or support. Something has been said already that goes far to prove the identity of the Roman and Babylonian systems; but at every step the evidence becomes still more overwhelming. That which arises from comparing the different festivals is peculiarly so.
The festivals of Rome are innumerable; but five of the most important may be singled out for elucidation--viz., Christmas-day, Lady-day, Easter, the Nativity of St. John, and the Feast of the Assumption. Each and all of these can be proved to be Babylonian. And first, as to the festival in honour of the birth of Christ, or Christmas. How comes it that that festival was connected with the 25th of December? There is not a word in the Scriptures about the precise day of His birth, or the time of the year when He was born. What is recorded there, implies that at what time soever His birth took place, it could not have been on the 25th of December. At the time that the angel announced His birth to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they were feeding their flocks by night in the open fields.
Now, no doubt, the climate of Palestine is not so severe as the climate of this country; but even there, though the heat of the day be considerable, the cold of the night, from December to February, is very piercing, * and it was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October. * It is in the last degree incredible, then, that the birth of Christ could have taken place at the end of December. There is great unanimity among commentators on this point. Besides Barnes, Doddridge, Lightfoot, Joseph Scaliger, and Jennings, in his "Jewish Antiquities," who are all of opinion that December 25th could not be the right time of our Lord's nativity, the celebrated Joseph Mede pronounces a very decisive opinion to the same effect.
After a long and careful disquisition on the subject, among other arguments he adduces the following;--"At the birth of Christ every woman and child was to go to be taxed at the city whereto they belonged, whither some had long journeys; but the middle of winter was not fitting for such a business, especially for women with child, and children to travel in. Therefore, Christ could not be born in the depth of winter. Again, at the time of Christ's birth, the shepherds lay abroad watching with their flocks in the night time; but this was not likely to be in the middle of winter. And if any shall think the winter wind was not so extreme in these parts, let him remember the words of Christ in the gospel, 'Pray that your flight be not in the winter.' If the winter was so bad a time to flee in, it seems no fit time for shepherds to lie in the fields in, and women and children to travel in." *
Indeed, it is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties * that the day of our Lord's birth cannot be determined, * and that within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December the 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ.
This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed; and we find Tertullian, even in his day, about the year 230, bitterly lamenting the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect, and contrasting it with the strict fidelity of the Pagans to their own superstition. "By us," says he, "who are strangers to Sabbaths, * and new moons, and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia, are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year's day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion, who take special care to adopt no solemnity from the Christians." * Upright men strive to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostacy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition.
That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, "about the time of the winter solstice." * The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves--Yule-day * --proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin. "Yule" is the Chaldee name for an "infant" or "little child;" * and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, "Yule-day," or the "Child's day," and the night that preceded it, "Mother-night," * long before they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character. Far and wide, in the realms of Paganism, was this birth-day observed. This festival has been commonly believed to have had only an astronomical character, referring simply to the completion of the sun's yearly course, and the commencement of a new cycle. *
But there is indubitably evidence that the festival in question had a much higher reference than this--that it commemorated not merely the figurative birth-day of the sun in the renewal of its course, but the birth-day of the grand Deliverer. Among the Sabeans of Arabia, who regarded the moon, and not the sun, as the visible symbol of the favourite object of their idolatry, the same period was observed as the birth festival. Thus we read in Stanley's Sabean Philosophy: "On the 24th of the tenth month," that is December, according to our reckoning, "the Arabians celebrated the BIRTHDAY OF THE LORD--that is the Moon." * The Lord Moon was the great object of Arabian worship, and that Lord Moon, according to them, was born on the 24th of December, which clearly shows that the birth which they celebrated had no necessary connection with the course of the sun. It is worthy of special note, too, that if Christmas-day among the ancient Saxons of this island, was observed to celebrate the birth of any Lord of the host of heaven, the case must have been precisely the same here as it was in Arabia.
The Saxons, as is well known, regarded the Sun as a female divinity, and the Moon as a male. * It must have been the birth-day of the Lord Moon, therefore, and not of the Sun, that was celebrated by them on the 25th of December, even as the birth-day of the same Lord Moon was observed by the Arabians on the 24th of December. The name of the Lord Moon in the East seems to have been Meni, for this appears the most natural interpretation of the Divine statement in Isaiah lxv. 11, "But ye are they that forsake my holy mountain, that prepare a temple for Gad, and that furnish the drink-offering unto Meni." * There is reason to believe that Gad refers to the sun-god, and that Meni in like manner designates the moon-divinity. * Meni, or Manai, signifies "The Numberer." and it is by the changes of the moon that the months are numbered: Psalm civ. 19, "He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth the time of its going down." The name of the "Man of the Moon," or the god who presided over that luminary among the Saxons, was Mane, as given in the "Edda," * and Mani, in the "Voluspa." *
That it was the birth of the "Lord Moon" that was celebrated among our ancestors at Christmas, we have remarkable evidence in the name that is still given in the lowlands of Scotland to the feast on the last day of the year, which seems to be a remnant of the old birth festival for the cakes then made are called Nur-Cakes, or Birth-cakes. That name is Hogmanay. * Now, "Hog-Manai" in Chaldee signifies "The feast of the Numberer;" in other words, The festival of Deus Lunus, or of the Man of the Moon. To show the connection between country and country, and the inveterate endurance of old customs, it is worthy of remark, that Jerome, commenting on the very words of Isaiah already quoted, about spreading "a table for Gad," and "pouring out a drink-offering to Meni," observes that it "was the custom so late as his time [in the fourth century], in all cities especially in Egypt and at Alexandria, to set tables, and furnish them with various luxurious articles of food, and with goblets containing a mixture of new wine, on the last day of the month and the year, and that the people drew omens from them in respect of the fruitfulness of the year." *
The Egyptian year began at a different time from ours; but this is a near as possible (only substituting whisky for wine), the way in which Hogmanay is still observed on the last day of the last month of our year in Scotland. I do not know that any omens are drawn from anything that takes place at that time, but everybody in the south of Scotland is personally cognisant of the fact, that, on Hogmanay, or the evening before New Year's day, among those who observe old customs, a table is spread, and that while buns and other dainties are provided by those who can afford them, oat cakes and cheese are brought forth among those who never see oat cakes but on this occasion, and that strong drink forms an essential article of the provision.
Even where the sun was the favourite object of worship, as in Babylon itself and elsewhere, at this festival he was worshipped not merely as the orb of day, but as God incarnate. * It was an essential principle of the Babylonian system, that the Sun or Baal was the one only God. * When, therefore, Tammuz was worshipped as God incarnate, that implied also that he was an incarnation of the Sun. In the Hindoo Mythology, which is admitted to be essentially Babylonian, this comes out very distinctly. There, Surya, or the sun, is represented as being incarnate, and born for the purpose of subduing the enemies of the gods, who, without such a birth, could not have been subdued. *
It was no mere astronomic festival, then, that the Pagans celebrated at the winter solstice. That festival at Rome was called the feast of Saturn, and the mode in which it was celebrated there, showed whence it had been derived. The feast, as regulated by Caligula, lasted five days; * loose reins were given to drunkenness and revelry, slaves had a temporary emancipation, * and used all manner of freedoms with their masters. * This was precisely the way in which, according to Berosus, the drunken festival of the month Thebeth, answering to our December, in other words. the festival of Bacchus, was celebrated in Babylon. "It was the custom," says he, "during the five days it lasted, for masters to be in subjection to their servants, and one of them ruled the house, clothed in a purple garment like a king." * This "purple-robed" servant was called "Zoganes," * the "Man of sport and wantonness," and answered exactly to the "Lord of Misrule," that in the dark ages, was chosen in all Popish countries to head the revels of Christmas. The wassailling bowl of Christmas had its precise counterpart in the "Drunken festival" of Babylon; and many of the other observances still kept up among ourselves at Christmas came from the very same quarter.
The candles, in some parts of England, lighted on Christmas-eve, and used so long as the festive season lasts, were equally lighted by the Pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian god, to do honour to him: for it was one of the distinguishing peculiarities of his worship to have lighted wax-candles on his altars. * The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm-tree; in Rome it was the fir; * the palm-tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. * If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognised as the "Man the branch."
And this entirely accounts for the putting of the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas-eve, and the appearance of the Christmas-tree the next morning. As Zero-Ashta, "The seed of the woman," which name also signified Ignigena, or "born of the fire," he has to enter the fire on "Mother-night," that he may be born the next day out of it, as the "Branch of God," or the Tree that brings all divine gifts to men. But why, it may be asked, does he enter the fire under the symbol of a Log? To understand this, it must be remembered that the divine child born at the winter solstice was born as a new incarnation of the great god (after that god had been cut in pieces), on purpose to revenge his death upon his murderers. * Now the great god, cut off in the midst of his power and glory, was symbolised as a huge tree, stripped of all its branches, and cut down almost to the ground. *
But the great serpent, the symbol of the life restoring * AEsculapius, twists itself around the dead stock , * and lo, at its side up sprouts a young tree--a tree of an entirely different kind, that is destined never to be cut down by hostile power--even the palm-tree, the well-known symbol of victory. The Christmas-tree, as has been stated, was generally at Rome a different tree, even the fir; but the very same idea as was implied in the palm-tree was implied in the Christmas-fir; for that covertly symbolised the new-born God as Baal-berith, * "Lord of the Covenant," and thus shadowed forth the perpetuity and everlasting nature of his power, not that after having fallen before his enemies, he had risen triumphant over them all. Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed at Rome as the day when the victorious god reappeared on earth, was held at the Natalis invicti solis, "The birth-day of the unconquered Sun." *
Now the Yule Log is the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the sun-god, but cut down by his enemies; the Christmas-tree is Nimrod redivivus--the slain god come to life again. In the light reflected by the above statement on customs that still linger among us, the origin of which has been lost in the midst of hoar antiquity, let the reader look at the singular practice still kept up in the South on Christmas-eve, of kissing under the misletoe bough. That misletoe bough in the Druidic superstition, which, as we have seen, was derived from Babylon, was a representation of the Messiah, "The man the branch." The misletoe was regarded as a divine branch * --a branch that came from heaven, and grew upon a tree that sprung out of the earth. Thus by the engrafting of the celestial branch into the earthly tree, heaven and earth, that sin had severed, were joined together, and thus the misletoe bough became the token of Divine reconciliation to man, the kiss being the will-known token of pardon and reconciliation. Whence could such an idea have come? May it not have come from the eighty-fifth Psalm, ver. 10,11, "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have KISSED each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth [in consequence of the coming of the promised Saviour], and righteousness shall look down from heaven"?
Certain it is that that Psalm was written soon after the Babylonish captivity; and as multitudes of the Jews, after that event, still remained in Babylon under the guidance of inspired men, such as Daniel, as a part of the Divine word it must have been communicated to them, as well as to their kinsmen in Palestine. Babylon was, at that time, the centre of the civilised world; and thus Paganism, corrupting the Divine symbol as it ever has done, had opportunities of sending forth its debased counterfeit of the truth to all the ends of the earth, through the Mysteries that were affiliated with the great central system in Babylon. Thus the very customs of Christmas still existent cast surprising light at once on the revelations of grace made to all the earth, and the efforts made by Satan and his emissaries to materialise, carnalise, and degrade them.
In many countries the boar was sacrificed to the god, for the injury a boar was fabled to have done him. According to one version of the story of the death of Adonis, or Tammuz, it was, as we have seen, in consequence of a wound from the tusk of a boar that he died. * The Phrygian Attes, the beloved of Cybele, whose story was identified with that of Adonis, was fabled to have perished in like manner, by the tusk of a boar. * Therefore, Diana, who though commonly represented in popular myths only as the huntress Diana, was in reality the great mother of the gods, * has frequently the boar's head as her accompaniment, in token not of any mere success in the chase, but of her triumph over the grand enemy of the idolatrous system, in which she occupied so conspicuous a place. According to Theocritus, Venus was reconciled to the boar that killed Adonis, because when brought in chains before her, it pleaded so pathetically that it had not killed her husband of malice prepense, but only through accident. *
But yet, in memory of the deed that the mystic boar had done, many a boar lost its head or was offered in sacrifice to the offended goddess. In Smith, Diana is represented with a boar's head lying beside her, on the top of a heap of stones, * and in the accompanying woodcut , * in which the Roman Emperor Trajan is represented burning incense to the same goddess, the boar's head forms a very prominent figure. On Christmas-day the Continental Saxons offered a boar in sacrifice to the Sun, * to propitiate her * for the loss of her beloved Adonis. In Rome a similar observance had evidently existed; for a boar formed the great article at the feast of Saturn, as appears from the following words of Martial:--
"That boar will make you a good Saturnalia." *
Hence the boar's head is still a standing dish in England at the Christmas dinner, when the reason of it is long since forgotten. Yea, the "Christmas goose" and "Yule cakes" were essential articles in the worship of the Babylonian Messiah, as that worship was practised both in Egypt and at Rome . Wilkinson, in reference to Egypt, shows that "the favourite offering" of Osiris was "a goose," * and moreover, that the "goose could not be eaten except in the depth of winter." * As to Rome, Juvenal says, "that Osiris, if offended, could be pacified only by a large goose * and a thin cake." * In many countries we have evidence of a sacred character attached to the goose. It is well known that the capitol of Rome was on one occasion saved when on the point of being surprised by the Gauls in the dead of night, by the cackling of the geese sacred to Juno, kept in the temple of Jupiter. *
The accompanying woodcut * proves that the goose in Asia Minor was the symbol of Cupid, just as it was the symbol of Seb in Egypt. In India, the goose occupied a similar position; for in that land we read of the sacred "Brahmany goose," or goose sacred to Brahma. * Finally, the monuments of Babylon show * that the goose possessed a like mystic character in Chaldea, and that it was offered in sacrifice there, as well as in Rome or Egypt, for there the priest is seen with the goose in the one hand, and his sacrificing knife in the other. * There can be no doubt, then, that the Pagan festival at the winter solstice - in other words, Christmas - was held in honour of the birth of the Babylonian Messiah.
The consideration of the next great festival in the Popish calendar gives the very strongest confirmation to what has now been said. That festival, called Lady-day, is celebrated at Rome on the 25th of March, in alleged commemoration of the miraculous conception of our Lord in the womb of the Virgin, on the day when the angel was sent to announce to her the distinguished honour that was to be bestowed upon her as the mother of the Messiah. But who could tell when this annunciation was made? The Scripture gives no clue at all in regard to the time. But it mattered not. But our Lord was either conceived or born, that very day now set down in the Popish calendar for the "Annunciation of the Virgin" was observed in Pagan Rome in honour of Cybele, the Mother of the Babylonian Messiah. * Now, it is manifest that Lady-day and Christmas-day stand in intimate relation to one another. Between the 25th of March and the 25th of December there are exactly nine months. If, then, the false Messiah was conceived in March and born in December, can any one for a moment believe that the conception and birth of the true Messiah can have so exactly synchronised, not only to the mouth, but to the day? The thing is incredible. Lady-day and Christmas-day, then, are purely Babylonian. 2bab014.htm
Then look at Easter. When means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar. * The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, "the priests of the groves." Some have imagined that the Druidical worship was first introduced by the Phenicians, who, centuries before the Christian era, traded to the tin-mines of Cornwall. But the unequivocal traces of that worship are found in regions of the British islands where the Phenicians never penetrated, and it has everywhere left indelible marks of the strong hold which it must have had on the early British mind. From Bel, the 1st of May is still called Beltane in the Almanac; * and we have customs still lingering at this day among us, which prove how exactly the worship of Bel or Moloch (for both titles belonged to the same god) had been observed even in the northern parts of this island. "The late Lady Baird, of Fern Tower, in Perthshire," says a writer in "Notes and Queries," thoroughly versed in British antiquities, * "told me, that every year, at Beltane (or the 1st of May), a number of men and women assemble at an ancient Druidical circle of stones on her property near Crieff. They light a fire in the centre, each person puts a bit of oat-cake in a shepherd's bonnet; they all sit down, and draw blindfold a piece from the bonnet. One piece has been previously blackened, and whoever gets that piece has to jump through the fire in the centre of the circle, and pay a forfeit. This is, in fact, a part of the ancient worship of Baal, and the person on whim the lot fell was previously burnt as a sacrifice. Now, the passing through the fire represents that, and the payment of the forfeit redeems the victim."
If Baal was thus worshipped in Britain, it will not be difficult to believe that his consort Astarte was also adored by our ancestors, and that from Astarte, whose name in Nineveh was Ishtar, the religious solemnities of April, as now practised, are called by the name of Easter--that month, among our Pagan ancestors, having been called Easter-monath. The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish Church, and at that time was not known by any such as Easter. * It was called Pasch, or the Passover, and though not of Apostolic institution, * was very early observed by many professing Christians, in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ. That festival agreed originally with the time of the Jewish Passover, when Christ was crucified, a period which, in the days of Tertullian, at the end of the second century, was believed to have been the 23rd of March. * That festival was not idolatrous, and it was preceded by no Lent. "It ought to be known," said Cassianus, the monk of Marseilles, writing in the fifth century, and contrasting the primitive Church with the Church in his day, "that the observance of the forty days had no existence so long as the perfection of that primitive Church remained inviolate." * Whence, then, came this observance? The forty days' abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, "in the spring of the year," is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, * who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians.
Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, * where he gives account of Mexican observances: "Three days after the vernal equinox.... began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun." Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt, as may be seen on consulting Wilkinson's Egyptians. * This Egyptian Lent of forty days, we are informed by Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. * At the same time, the rape of Proserpine seems to have been commemorated, and in a similar manner; for Julius Firmicus informs us that, for "forty nights" the "wailing for Proserpine" continued; * and from Arnobius we learn that the fast which the Pagans observed, called "Castus" or the "sacred" fast, was, by the Christians in his time, believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her "excess of sorrow" (volentia maeroris), * that is, on account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto, the god of hell. As the stories of Bacchus, or Adonis and Proserpine, though originally distinct, were made to join on and fit in to one another, so that Bacchus was called Liber, and his wife Ariadne, Libera * (which was one of the names of Proserpine), * it is highly probable that the forty days' fast of Lent was made in later times to have reference to both. Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the "month of Tammuz;" in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, some time in April.
To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skilful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity--now far sunk in idolatry--in this as in so many other things, to shake hands. The instrument in accomplishing this amalgamation was the abbot Dionysius the Little, * to whom also we owe it, as modern chronologers have demonstrated, that the date of the Christian era, or of the birth of Christ Himself, was mover FOUR YEARS from the true time. Whether this was done through ignorance or design may be matter of question; but there seems to be no doubt of the fact, that the birth of the Lord Jesus was made full four years later than the truth. * This change of the calendar in regard to Easter was attended with momentous consequences. It brought into the Church the grossest corruption and the rankest superstition in connection with the abstinence of Lent. Let any one only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the "sacred fast" or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, * and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations, "went down to Egypt for help" to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate Church, and who could find no more excellent way to "revive" it, than by borrowing from so polluted a source; the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn. That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation. Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the Carnival, was entirely unknown; and even when fasting before the Christian Pasch was held to be necessary, it was by slow steps that, in this respect, it came to conform with the ritual of Paganism.
What may have been the period of fasting in the Roman Church before the sitting of the Nicene Council does not very clearly appear, but for a considerable period after that Council, we have distinct evidence that it did not exceed three weeks. * The words of Socrates, writing on this very subject, about A.D. 450, are these: "Those who inhabit the princely city of Rome fast together before Easter three weeks, excepting the Saturday and Lord's-day." * But at last, when the worship of Astarte was rising into the ascendant, steps were taken to get the whole Chaldean Lent of six weeks, or forty days, made imperative on all within the Roman empire of the West. The way was prepared for this by a Council held at Aurelia in the time of Hormisidas, Bishop of Rome, about the year 519, which decreed that Lent should be solemnly kept before Easter. * It was with the view, no doubt, of carrying out this decree that the calendar was, a few days after, readjusted by Dionysius. This decree could not be carried out all at once. About the end of the sixth century, the first decisive attempt was made to enforce the observance of the new calendar. It was in Britain that the first attempt was made in this way; * and here the attempt met with vigorous resistance. The difference, in point of time, betwixt the Christian Pasch, as observed in Britain by the native Christians, and the Pagan Easter enforced by Rome, at the time of its enforcement, was a whole month; * and it was only by violence and bloodshed, at last, that the Festival of the Anglo-Saxon or Chaldean goddess came to supersede that which had been held in honour of Christ.
Such is the history of Easter. The popular observances that still attend the period of its celebration amply confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character. The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The "buns," known too by that identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the goddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens--that is, 1500 years before the Christian era. "One species of sacred bread," says Bryant, * "which used to be offered to the gods, was of great antiquity, and called Boun." Diogenes Laertius, speaking of this offering being made by Empedocles, describes the chief ingredients of which it was composed, saying, "He offered one of the sacred cakes called Boun, which was made of fine flour and honey." *
The prophet Jeremiah takes notice of this kind of offering when he says, "The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven." * The hot cross buns are not now offered, but eaten, on the festival of Astarte; but this leaves no doubt as to whence they have been derived. The origin of the Pasch eggs is just as clear. The ancient Druids bore an egg, as the sacred emblem of their order. * In the Dionysiaca, or mysteries of Bacchus, as celebrated in Athens, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. * The Hindoo fables celebrate their mundane egg as of a golden colour. *
The people of Japan make their sacred egg to have been brazen. * In China, at this hour, dyed or painted eggs are used on sacred festivals, even as in this country. * In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposed in their temples. * From Egypt these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians; and thus its tale is told by Hyginus, the Egyptian, the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus, who was skilled in all the wisdom of the native country: "An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, were the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess" * --that is, Astarte. Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter; and accordingly, in Cyprus, one of the chosen seats of the worship of Venus, or Astarte, the egg of wondrous size was represented on a grand scale. *
The occult meaning of this mystic egg of Astarte, in one of its aspects (for it had a twofold significance), had reference to the ark * during the time of the flood, in which the whole human race were shut up, as the chick is enclosed in the egg before it is hatched. If any be inclined to ask, how could it ever enter the minds of men to employ such an extraordinary symbol for such a purpose, the answer is, first, The sacred egg of Paganism, as already indicated (p. 108), is well known as the "mundane egg," that is, the egg in which the world was shut up. Now the world has two distinct meanings--it means either the material earth, or the inhabitants of the earth. The latter meaning of the term is seen in Gen xi. 1, "The whole earth was of one language and of one speech," where the meaning is that the whole people of the world were so. If then the world is seen shut up in an egg, and floating on the waters, it may not be difficult to believe, however the idea of the egg may have come, that the egg thus floating on the wide universal sea might be Noah's family that contained the whole world in its bosom. Then the application of the word egg to the ark comes thus:--The Hebrew name for an egg is Baitz, or in the feminine (for there are both genders), Baitza. Thus, in Chaldee and Phenician, becomes Baith or Baitha, * which in these languages is also the usual way in which the name of a house is pronounced. *
The egg floating on the waters that contained the world, was the house floating on the waters of the deluge, with the elements of the new world in its bosom. The coming of the egg from heaven evidently refers to the preparation of the ark by express appointment of God; and the same thing seems clearly implied in the Egyptian story of the mundane egg which was said to have come out of the mouth of the great god. * The doves resting on the egg need no explanation. This, then, was the meaning of the mystic egg in one aspect. As, however, everything that was good or beneficial to mankind was represented in the Chaldean mysteries, as in some way connected with the Babylonian goddess, so the greatest blessing to the human race, which the ark contained in its bosom, was held to be Astarte, who was the great civiliser and benefactor of the world. Though the deified queen, whom Astarte represented, had no actual existence till some centuries after the flood, yet through the doctrine of metempsychosis, which was firmly established in Babylon, it was easy for her worshippers to be made to believe that, in a previous incarnation, she had lived in the Antediluvian world, and passed in safety through the waters of the flood. Now the Romish Church adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. A form of prayer was even appointed to be used in connection with it, Pope Paul V. teaching his superstitious votaries thus to pray at Easter:--"Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become a wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, etc." * Besides the mystic egg, there was also another emblem of Easter, the goddess queen of Babylon, and that was the Rimmon or "pomegranate."
With the Rimmon or "pomegranate" in her hand, she is frequently represented in ancient medals, and the house of Rimmon, in which the King of Damascus, the Master of Naaman, the Syrian, worshipped, was in all likelihood a temple of Astarte, where that goddess with the Rimmon was publicly adored. The pomegranate is a fruit that is full of seeds; and on that account it has been supposed that it was employed as an emblem of that vessel in which the germs of the new creation were preserved, wherewith the world was to be sown anew with man and with beast, when the desolation of the deluge had passed away. But upon more searching inquiry, it turns out that the Rimmon or "pomegranate" had reference to an entirely different thing. Astarte, or Cybele, was called also Idaia Mater, * and the sacred mount in Phrygia, most famed for the celebration of her mysteries, was named Mount Ida--that is, in Chaldee, the sacred language of these mysteries, the Mount of Knowledge. "Idaia Mater," then, signifies "the Mother of Knowledge"--in other words, our Mother Eve, who first coveted the "knowledge of good and evil." and actually purchased it at so dire a price to herself and to all her children. Astarte, as can be abundantly shown, was worshipped not only as an incarnation of the Spirit of God, but also of the mother of mankind. * When, therefore, the mother of the gods, and the mother of knowledge, was represented with the fruit of the pomegranate in her extended hand , inviting those who ascended the sacred mount to initiation in her mysteries, can there be a doubt what that fruit was intended to signify? Evidently, it must accord with her assumed character; it must be the fruit of the "Tree of Knowledge"--the fruit of that very * "Tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe."
The knowledge to which the votaries of the Idaean goddess were admitted, was precisely of the same kind as that which Eve derived from the eating of the forbidden fruit, the practical knowledge of all that was morally evil and base. Yet to Astarte, in this character, men were taught to look at their grand benefactress, as gaining for them knowledge, and blessings connected with that knowledge, which otherwise they might in vain have sought from Him, who is the Father of lights, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift. Popery inspires the same feeling in regard to the Romish queen of heaven, and leads its devotees to view the sin of Eve in much the same light as that in which Paganism regarded it. In the Canon of the Mass, the most solemn service in the Romish Missal, the following expression occurs, where the sin of our first parent is apostrophised: "O beata culpa, quae talem meruisti redemptorem." * "Oh blessed fault, which didst procure such a Redeemer!" The idea contained in these words is purely Pagan. They just amount to this: "Thanks be to Eve, to whose sin we are indebted for the glorious Saviour."
It is true the idea contained in them is found in the same words in the writings of Augustine; but it is an idea utterly opposed to the spirit of the Gospel, which only makes sin the more exceeding sinful, from the consideration that it needed such a ransom to deliver from its awful curse. Augustine had imbibed many Pagan sentiments, and never got entirely delivered from them. It is wonderful that one so good and so enlightened as Merle D'Aubigne should see no harm in such words!
As Rome cherishes the same feelings as Paganism did, so it has adopted also the very same symbols, so far as it has the opportunity. In this country, and most of the countries of Europe, no pomegranates grow; and yet, even here, the superstition of the Rimmon must, as far as possible, be kept up. Instead of the pomegranate, therefore, the orange is employed; and so the Papists of Scotland join oranges with their eggs at Easter; and so also, when Bishop Gillis of Edinburgh went through the vain-glorious ceremony of washing the feet of twelve ragged Irishmen a few years ago at Easter, he concluded by presenting each of them with two eggs and an orange.
Now, this use of the orange as the representative of the fruit of Eden's "dread probationary tree," be it observed, is no modern invention; it goes back to the distant times of classic antiquity. The gardens of the Hesperides in the West, are admitted by all who have studied the subject, just to have been the counterpart of the paradise of Eden in the East. The description of the sacred gardens, as situated in the Isles of the Atlantic, over against the coast of Africa, shows that their legendary site exactly agrees with the Cape Verd or Canary Isles, or some of that group; and, of course, that the "golden fruit" on the sacred tree, so jealously guarded, was none other than the orange. Now, let the reader mark well: According to the classic Pagan story, there was no serpent in that garden of delight in the "islands of the blest," to TEMPT mankind to violate their duty to their great benefactor, by eating of the sacred tree which he had reserved as the test of their allegiance. No; on the contrary, it was the Serpent, the symbol of the Devil, the Principle of evil, the Enemy of man, that prohibited them from eating the precious fruit--that strictly watched it--that would not allow it to be touched. Hercules, one form of the Pagan Messiah--not the primitive, but the Grecian Hercules--pitying man's unhappy state, slew or subdued the serpent, the envious being that grudged mankind the use of that which was so necessary to make them at once perfectly happy and wise, and bestowed upon them what otherwise would have been hopelessly beyond their reach.
Here, then, God and the devil are exactly made to change places. Jehovah, who prohibited man from eating of the tree of knowledge, is symbolised by the serpent, and held up as an ungenerous and malignant being, while he who emancipated man from Jehovah's yoke, and gave him of the fruit of the forbidden tree--in other words, Satan under the names of Hercules--is celebrated as the good and gracious Deliverer of the human race. What a mystery of iniquity is here! Now all this was wrapped up in the sacred orange of Easter. 2bab015.htm
The Feast of the Nativity of St. John is set down in the Papal calendar for the 24th of June, or Midsummer-day. The very same period was equally memorable in the Babylonian calendar as that of one of its most celebrated festivals. It was at Midsummer, or the summer solstice, that the month called in Chaldea, Syria, and Phenicia by the name of "Tammuz" began; and on the first day--that is, on or about the 24th of June--one of the grand original festivals of Tammuz was celebrated. * For different reasons, in different countries, other periods had been devoted to commemorate the death and reviving of the Babylonian god; but this, as may be inferred from the name of the month, appears to have been the real time when his festival primitively observed in the land where idolatry had its birth.
And so strong was the hold that this festival, with its peculiar rites, had taken of the minds of men, and that even when other days were devoted to the great events connected with the Babylonian Messiah, as was the case in some parts of our own land, this sacred season could not be allowed to pass without the due observance of some, at least, of its peculiar rites. When the Papacy sent its emissaries over Europe, towards the end of the sixth century, to gather in the Pagans into its fold, this festival was found in high favour in many countries. What was to be done with it? Were they to wage war with it? No. This would have been contrary to the famous advice of Pope Gregory I., that, by all means they should meet the Pagans half-way, and so bring them into the Roman Church. * The Gregorian policy was carefully observed; and so Midsummer-day, that had been hallowed by Paganism to the worship of Tammuz, was incorporated as a sacred Christian festival in the Roman calendar.
But still a question was to be determined, What was to be the name of this Pagan festival, when it was baptised, and admitted into the ritual of Roman Christianity? To call it by its old name of Bel or Tammuz, at the early period when it seems to have been adopted, would have been too bold. To call it by the name of Christ was difficult, inasmuch as there was nothing special in His history at that period to commemorate. But the subtlety of the agents of the Mystery of Iniquity was not to be baffled. If the name of Christ could not be conveniently tacked to it, what should hinder its being called by the name of His forerunner, John the Baptist? John the Baptist was born six months before our Lord. When, therefore, the Pagan festival of the winter solstice had once been consecrated as the birthday of the Saviour, it followed, as a matter of course, that if His forerunner was to have a festival at all, his festival must be at this very season; for between the 24th of June and the 25th of December--that is, between the summer and the winter solstice--there are just six months.
New, for the purpose of the Papacy, nothing could be more opportune than this. One of the many sacred names by which Tammuz or Nimrod was called, when he reappeared in the Mysteries, after being slain, was Oannes. * The name of John the Baptist, on the other hand, in the sacred language adopted by the Roman Church, was Joannes. To make the festival of the 24th of June, then, suit Christians and Pagans alike, all that was needful was just to call it the festival of Joannes; and thus the Christians would suppose that they were honouring John the Baptist, while the Pagans were still worshipping their old god Oannes, or Tammuz. Thus, the very period at which the great summer festival of Tammuz was celebrated in ancient Babylon, is at this very hour observed in the Papal Church as the Feast of the Nativity of St. John. And the fete of St. John begins exactly as the festal day began in Chaldea. It is well known that, in the East, the day began in the evening. So, though the 24th be set down as the nativity, yet it is on St. John's EVE--that is, on the evening of the 23rd--that the festivities and solemnities of that period begin.
Now, if we examine the festivities themselves, we shall see how purely Pagan they are, and how decisively hey prove their real descent. The grand distinguishing solemnities of St. John's Eve are the Midsummer fires. These are lighted in France, in Switzerland, in Roman Catholic Ireland, and in some of the Scottish isles of the West, were Popery still lingers. They are kindled throughout all the grounds of the adherents of Rome, and flaming brands are carried about their corn-fields. Thus does Bell, in his Wayside Pictures, describe the St. John's fires of Brittany, in France:--"Every fete is marked by distinct features peculiar to itself. That of St. John is perhaps, on the whole, the most striking. Throughout the day the poor children go about begging contributions for lighting the fires of Monsieur St. Jean, and towards evening one fire is gradually followed by two, three, four; then a thousand gleam out from the hill-tops, till the whole country glows under the conflagration. Sometimes the priests light the first fire in the market place; and sometimes it is lighted by an angel, who is made to descend by a mechanical device from the top of the church, with a flambeau in her hand, setting the pile in a blaze, and flying back again. The young people dance with a bewildering activity about the fires; for there is a superstition among them that, if they dance round nine fires before midnight, they will be married in the ensuing year. Seats are placed close to the flaming piles for the dead, whose spirits are supposed to come there for the melancholy pleasure of listening once more to their native songs, and contemplating the lively measures of their youth. Fragments of the torches on those occasions are preserved as spells against thunder and nervous diseases; and the crown of flowers which surmounted the principal fire is in such request as to product tumultuous jealousy for its possession." *
Thus is it in France. Turn now to Ireland. "On that great festival of the Irish peasantry, St. John's Eve," says Charlotte Elizabeth, describing a particular festival which she had witnessed, "it is the custom, at sunset on that evening, to kindle immense fires throughout the country, built, like our bonfires, to a great height, the pile being composed of turf, bogwood, and such other combustible substances as they can gather. The turf yields a steady, substantial body of fire, the bogwood a most brilliant flame, and the effect of these great beacons blazing on every hill, sending up volumes of smoke from every point of the horizon, is very remarkable. Early in the evening the peasants began to assemble, all habited in their best array, glowing with health, every countenance full of that sparkling animation and excess of enjoyment that characterise the enthusiastic people of the land. I had never seen anything resembling it; and was exceedingly delighted with their handsome, intelligent, merry faces; the bold bearing of the men, and the playful but really modest deportment of the maidens; the vivacity of the aged people, and the wild glee of the children. The fire being kindled, a splendid blaze shot up; and for a while they stood contemplating it with faces strangely disfigured by the peculiar light first emitted when the bogwood was throne on it. After a short pause, the ground was cleared in front of an old blind piper, the very beau ideal of energy, drollery, and shrewdness, who, seated on a low chair, with a well-plenished jug within his reach, screwed his pipes to the liveliest tunes, and the endless jig began. But something was to follow that puzzled me not a little. When the fire burned for some hours and got low, an indispensable part of the ceremony commenced. Every one present of the peasantry passed through it, and several children were thrown across the sparkling embers; while a wooden frame of some eight feet long, with a horse's head fixed to one end, and a large white sheet thrown over it, concealing the wood and the man on whose head it was carried, made its appearance. This was greeted with loud shouts as the 'white horse;' and having been safely carried, by the skill of its bearer, several times through the fire with a bold leap, it pursued the people, who ran screaming in every direction." I asked what the horse was meant for, and was told it represented 'all cattle.' "Here," adds the authoress, "was the old Pagan worship of Baal, if not of Moloch too, carried on openly and universally in the heart of a nominally Christian country, and by millions professing the Christian name! I was confounded, for I did not then know that Popery is only a crafty adaptation of Pagan idolatries to its own scheme." *
Such is the festival of St. John's Eve, as celebrated at this day in France and in Popish Ireland. Such is the way in which the votaries of Rome pretend to commemorate the birth of him who came to prepare the way of the Lord, by turning away His ancient people from all their refuges of lies, and shutting them up to the necessity of embracing that kingdom of God that consists not in any mere external thing, but in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." We have seen that the very sight of the rites with which that festival is celebrated, led the authoress just quoted at once to the conclusion that what she saw before her was truly a relic of the Pagan worship of Baal. The history of the festival, and the way in which it is observed, reflect mutual light upon each other. Before Christianity entered the British Isles, the Pagan festival of the 24th of June was celebrated among the Druids by blazing fires in honour of their great divinity, who, as we have already seen, was Baal. "These Midsummer fires and sacrifices," says Toland, in his Account of the Druids, "were [intended] to obtain a blessing on the fruits of the earth, now becoming ready for gathering; as those of the first of May, that they might prosperously grow; and those of the last of October were a thanksgiving for finishing the harvest." *
Again speaking of the Druidical fires at Midsummer, he thus proceeds: "To return to our carn-fires, it was customary for the lord of the place, or his son, or some other person of distinction, to take the entrails of the sacrificed animals in his hands, and, walking barefoot over the coals thrice after the flames had ceased, to carry them straight to the Druid, who waited in a whole skin at the altar. If the noble-man escaped harmless, it was reckoned a good omen, welcomed with loud acclamations; but if he received any hurt, it was deemed unlucky both to the community and himself." "Thus, I have seen," adds Toland, "the people running and leaping through the St. John's fires in Ireland; and not only proud of passing unsinged, but, as if it were some kind of lustration, thinking themselves in an especial manner blest by the ceremony, of whose original, nevertheless, they were wholly ignorant, in their imperfect imitation of it." * We have seen reason already (p. 51) to conclude that Phoroneus, "the first of mortals that reigned"--i.e., Nimrod and the Roman goddess Feronia--bore a relation to one another. In connection with the fires of "St. John," that relation is still further established by what has been handed down from antiquity in regard to these two divinities; and, at the same time, the origin of these fires is elucidated. Phoroneus is described in such a way as shows that he was known as having been connected with the origin of fire-worship. Thus does Pausanias refer to him:--"Near this image [the image of Biton] they [the Argives] enkindle a fire, for they do not admit that fire was given by Prometheus, to men, but ascribe the invention of it to Phoroneus." *
There must have been something tragic about the death of this fire-inventing Phoroneus, who "first gathered mankind into communities;" * for, after describing the position of his sepulchre, Pausanias adds: "Indeed, even at present they perform funeral obsequies to Phoroneus;" * language which shows that his death must have been celebrated in some such way as that of Bacchus. Then the character of the worship of Feronia, as coincident with fire-worship, is evident from the rites practised by the priest at the city lying at the foot of Mount Soracte, called by her name. "The priests," says Bryant, referred both to Pliny and Strabo as his authorities, "with their feet naked, walked over a large quality of live coals and cinders." * To this same practice we find Aruns in Virgin referring, when addressing Apollo, the sun-god, who had his shrine at Soracte, where Feronia was worshipped, and who therefore must have been the same as Jupiter Anxur, her contemplar divinity, who was regarded as a "youthful Jupiter," even as Apollo was often called the "young Apollo":-
"O patron of Soracte's high abodes,
Phoebus, the ruling power among the gods,
Whom first we serve; whole woods of unctuous pine
Are felled for thee, and to thy glory shine.
By thee protected, with our naked soles,
Through flames unsigned we march and tread the kindled coals" *
Thus the St.John's fires, over whose cinders old and young are made to pass, are traced up to "the first of mortals that reigned."
It is remarkable, that a festival attended with all the essential rites of the fire-worship of Baal, is found among Pagan nations, in regions most remote from one another, about the very period of the month of Tammuz, when the Babylonian god was anciently celebrated. Among the Turks, the fast of Ramazan, which, says Hurd, begins on the 12th of June, is attended by an illumination of burning lamps. * In China, where the Dragon-boat festival is celebrated in such a way as vividly to recall to those who have witnessed it, the weeping for Adonis, the solemnity begins at Midsummer. * In Peru, during the reign of the Incas, the feast of Raymi, the most magnificent feast of the Peruvians, when the sacred fire every year used to be kindled anew from the sun, by means of a concave mirror of polished metal, took place at the very same period. Regularly as Midsummer came round, there was first, in token of mourning, "for three days, a general fast, and no fire was allowed to be lighted in their dwellings," and then, on the fourth day, the mourning was turned into joy, when the Inca, and his court, followed by the whole population of Cuzco, assembled at early dawn in the great square to greet the rising of the sun. "Eagerly," says Prescott, "they watched the coming of the deity, and no sooner did his first yellow rays strike the turrets and loftiest buildings of the capital, than a shout of gratulation broke forth from the assembled multitude, accompanied by songs of triumph, and the wild melody of barbaric instruments, that swelled louder and louder as his bright orb, rising above the mountain range towards the east, shone in full splendour on his votaries." *
Could this alternate mourning and rejoicing, at the very time when the Babylonians mourned and rejoicing, at the very time when the Babylonians mourned and rejoiced over Tammuz, be accidental? As Tammuz was the Sun-divinity incarnate, it is easy to see how such mourning and rejoicing should be connected with the worship of the sun. In Egypt, the festival of the burning lamps, in which many have already been constrained to see the counterpart of the festival of St. John, was avowedly connected with the mourning and rejoicing for Osiris. "At Sais," says Herodotus, * "they show the sepulchre of him who I do not think it right to mention on this occasion." This is the invariable way in which the historian refers to Osiris, into whose mysteries he had been initiated, when giving accounts of any of the rites of his worship. "It is in the sacred enclosure behind the temple of Minerva, and close to the wall of this temple, whose whole length it occupies. * They also meet at Sais, to offer sacrifice during a certain night, when every one lights, in the open air, a number of lamps around his house. The lamps consist of small cups filled with salt and oil, having a wick floating in it which burns all night. This festival is called the festival of burning lamps. The Egyptians who are unable to attend also observe the sacrifice, and burn lamps at home, so that not only at Sais, but throughout Egypt, the same illumination takes place. They assign a sacred reason for the festival celebrated on this night, and for the respect they have for it." * Wilkinson, * in quoting this passage of Herodotus, expressly identifies this festival with the lamentation for Osiris, and assures us that "it was considered of the greatest consequence to do honour to the deity by the proper performance of this rite."
Among the Yezidis, or Devil-worshippers of Modern Chaldea, the same festival is celebrated at this day, with rites probably almost the same, so far as circumstances will allow, as thousands of years ago, when in the same regions the worship of Tammuz was in all its glory. Thus graphically does Mr. Layard describe a festival of this kind at which he himself had been present: "As the twilight faded, the Fakirs, or lower orders of priests, dressed in brown garments of coarse cloth, closely fitted to their bodies, and wearing black turbans on their heads, issued from the tomb, each bearing alight in one hand, and a pot of oil, with a bundle of cotton wick in the other. They filled and trimmed lamps placed in niches in the walls of the courtyard and scattered over the buildings on the sides of the valley, and even on isolated rocks, and in the hollow trunks of trees. Innumerable stars appeared to glitter on the black sides of the mountain and in the dark recesses of the forest. As the priests made their way through the crowd to perform their task, men and women passed their right hands through the flame; and after rubbing the right eyebrow with the part which had been purified by the sacred element, they devoutly carried it to their lips. Some who bore children in their arms anointed them in like manner, whilst others held out their hands to be touched by those who, less fortunate than themselves, could not reach the flame....As night advanced, those who had assembled--they must now have amounted to nearly five thousand persons--lighted torches, which they carried with them as they wandered through the forest. The effect was magical: the varied groups could be faintly distinguished through the darkness--men hurrying to and fro--women with their children seated on the house-tops--and crowds gathering round the peddlers, who exposed their wares for sale in the court-yard. Thousands of lights were reflected in the fountains and streams, glimmered amongst the foliage of the trees, and danced in the distance. As I was gazing on this extraordinary scene, the hum of human voices was suddenly hushed, and a strain, solemn and melancholy, arise from the valley. It resembled some majestic chant which years before I had listened to in the cathedral of a distant land. Music so pathetic and so sweet I never before heard in the East. The voices of men and women were blended in harmony with the soft notes of many flutes. At measured intervals the song was broken by the loud clash of cymbals and tambourines; and those who were within the precincts of the tomb then joined in the melody....The tambourines, which were struck simultaneously, only interrupted at intervals the song of the priests. As the time quickened they broke in more frequently. The chant gradually gave way to a lively melody, which, increasing in measure, was finally lost in a confusion of sounds. The tambourines were beaten with extraordinary energy--the flutes poured forth a rapid flood of notes--the voices were raised to the highest pitch--the men outside joined in the cry - whilst the momen made the rocks resound with the shrill tahlehl."
"The musicians, giving way to the excitement, threw their instruments into the air, and strained their limbs into very contortion, until they fell exhausted to the ground. I never heard a more frightful yell than that which rose in the valley. It was midnight. I gazed with wonder upon the extraordinary scene around me. Thus were probably celebrated ages ago the mysterious rites of the Corybantes, when they met in some consecrated grove." * Layard does not state at what period of the year this festival occurred; but his language leaves little doubt that he regarded it as a festival of Bacchus; in other words, of the Babylonian Messiah, whose tragic death, and subsequent restoration to life and glory, formed the corner-stone of ancient Paganism. The festival was avowedly held in honour at once of Sheikh Shems, or the Sun, and of the Sheik Adi, or "Prince of Eternity," around whose tomb nevertheless the solemnity took place, just as the lamp festival in Egypt, in honour of the sun-god Osiris, was celebrated in the precincts of the tomb of the god at Sais.
Now, the reader cannot fail to have observed that in this Yezidi festival, men, women, and children were "PURIFIED" by coming in contact with "the sacred element" of fire. In the rites of Zoroaster, the great Chaldean god, fire occupied precisely the same place. It was laid down as an essential principle in his system, that "he who approached to fire would receive a light from divinity," * and that "through divine fire all the stains produced by generation would be purged away." * Therefore it was that "children were made to pass through the fire to Moloch" (Jer. xxxii. 35), to purge them from original sin, and through this purgation many a helpless babe became a victim to the bloody divinity. Among the Pagan Romans, this purifying by passing through the fire was equally observed; "for," says Ovid, enforcing the practice, "Fire purifies both the shepherd and the sheep." * Among the Hindoos, from time immemorial, fire has been worshipped for its purifying efficacy. Thus a worshipper is represented by Colebrooke, according to the sacred books, as addressing the fire: "Salutation to thee [O fire!], who dost seize oblations, to thee who dost shine, to thee who dost scintillate, may thy auspicious flame burn our foes; mayest thou, the PURIFIER, be auspicious unto us." *
There are some who maintain a "perpetual fire," and perform daily devotions to it, and in "concluding the sacraments of the gods," thus every day present their supplications to it: "Fire, thou dost expiate a sin against the gods; may this oblation be efficacious. Thou dost expiate a sin against man; thou dost expiate a sin against the manes [departed spirits]; thou dost expiate a sin against my own soul; thou dost expiate repeated sins; thou dost expiate every sin which I have committed, whether wilfully or unintentionally; may this oblation be efficacious." * Among the Druids, also, fire was celebrated as the purifier. Thus, in a Druidic song, we read, "They celebrated the praise of the holy ones in the presence of the purifying fire, which was made to ascend on high." * If, indeed, a blessing was expected in Druidical times from lighting the carn-fires, and making either young or old, either human beings or cattle, pass through the fire, it was simply in consequence of the purgation from sin that attached to human beings and all things connected with them, that was believed to be derived from this passing through the fire. It is evident that this very same belief about the "purifying" efficacy of fire is held by the Roman Catholics of Ireland, when they are so zealous to pass both themselves and their children through the fires of St. John. * Toland testifies that it is as a "lustration" that these fires are kindled; and all who have carefully examined the subject must come to the same conclusion.
Now, if Tammuz was, as we have seen, the same as Zoroaster, the god of the ancient "fire-worshippers," and if his festival in Babylon so exactly synchronised with the feast of the Nativity of St. John, what wonder that that feast is still celebrated by the blazing "Baal-fires," and that it presents so faithful a copy of what was condemned by Jehovah of old in His ancient people when they "made their children pass through the fire to Moloch"? But who that knows anything of the Gospel would call such a festival as this a Christian festival? The popish priests, if they do not openly teach, at least allow their deluded votaries to believe, as firmly as ever ancient fire worshipper did, that material fire can purge away the guilt and stain of sin. How that tends to rivet upon the minds of their benighted vassals one of the most monstrous but profitable fables of their system, will come to be afterwards considered.
The name Oannes could be known only to the initiated as the name of the Pagan Messiah; and at first, some measure of circumspection was necessary in introducing Paganism into the Church. But, as time went on, as the Gospel became obscured, and the darkness became more intense, the same caution was by no means so necessary. Accordingly, we find that, in the dark ages, the Pagan Messiah has not been brought into the Church in a mere clandestine manner. Openly and avowedly under his well-known classic names of Bacchus and Dionysus, has he been canonised, and set up for the worship of the "faithful." Yes, Rome, that professes to be preeminently the Bride of Christ, the only Church in which salvation is to be found, has had the unblushing effrontery to give the grand
Pagan adversary of the Son of God, UNDER HIS OWN PROPER NAME, a place in her calendar. The reader has only to turn to the Roman calendar, and he will find that this is a literal fact; he will find that October the 7th is set apart to be observed in honour of "St.Bacchus the Martyr." Now, no doubt, Bacchus was a "martyr"; he died a violent death; he lost his life for religion; but the religion for which he died was the religion of the fire-worshippers; for he was put to death, as we have seen from Maimonides, for maintaining the worship of the host of heaven. This patron of the heavenly host, and of fire worship (for the two went always hand in hand together), has Rome canonised; for that this "St. Bacchus the Martyr" was the identical Bacchus of the Pagans, the god of drunkenness and debauchery, is evident from the time of his festival; for October the 7th follows soon after the end of the vintage. At the end of the vintage in autumn, the old Pagan Romans used to celebrate what was called the "Rustic Festival" of Bacchus; * and about that very time does the Papal festival of "St. Bacchus the Martyr" occur.
As the Chaldean god has been admitted into the Roman calendar under the name of Bacchus, so also is he canonised under his other name of Dionysus. * The Pagans were in the habit of worshipping the same god under different names; and, accordingly, not content with the festival to Bacchus, under the name by which he was most commonly known at Rome, the Romans, no doubt to pleas the Greeks, celebrated a rustic festival to him, two days afterwards, under the name of Dionysus Eleuthereus, the name by which he was worshipped in Greece. * That "rustic" festival was briefly called by the name of Dionysia; or, expressing its object more fully, the name became "Festum Dionysi Eleutherei rusticum"--i.e., the "rustic festival of Dionysus Eleuthereus." * Now, the Papacy in its excess of zeal for saints and saint-worship, has actually split Dionysus Eleuthereus into two, has made two several saints out of the double name of one Pagan divinity; and more than that, has made the innocent epithet "Rusticum," which, even among the heathen, had no pretensions to divinity at all, a third; and so it comes to pass that, under date of October the 9th, we read this entry in the calendar: "The festival of St. Dionysius, * and of his companions, St. Eleuther and St. Rustic." *
Now this Dionysius, whom Popery has so marvellously furnished with two comparison of the famed St. Denys, the patron saint of Paris; and a comparison of the history of the Popish saint and the Pagan god will cast no little light on the subject. St. Denys, on being beheaded and cast into the Seine, so runs the legend, after floating a space on its waters, to the amazement of the spectators, took up his head in his hand, and so marched away with it to the place of burial. In commemoration of so stupendous a miracle, a hymn was duly chanted for many a century in the Cathedral of St. Denys, at Paris, containing the following verse:-
"Se cadaver mox erexit,
Truncus truncum caput vexit,
Quem ferentem hoc direxit
Angelorum legio." *
At last, even Papist began to be ashamed of such an absurdity being celebrated in the name of religion; and in 1789, "the office of St. Denys" was abolished. Behold, however, the march of events. The world has for some time past been progressing back again to the dark ages. The Romish Breviary, which had been given up in France, has, within the last six years, been reimposed by Papal authority on the Gallican Church, with all its lying legends, and this among the rest of them; the Cathedral of St. Denys is again being rebuild, and the old worship bids fair to be restored in all its grossness. * Now, how could it ever enter the minds of men to invent so monstrous a fable? The origin of it is not far to seek. The Church of Rome represented her canonised saints, who were said to have suffered martyrdom by the sword, as headless images or statues with the severed head borne in the hand. "I have seen," says Eusebe Salverte, "in a church of Normandy, St. Clair; St. Mithra, at Arles, in Switzerland, all the soldiers of the Theban legion represented with their heads in their hands. St. Valerius is thus figured at Limoges, on the gates of the cathedral, and other monuments. The grand seal of the canton of Zurich represents, in the same attitude, St. Felix, St. Regula, and St. Exsuperantius. There certainly is the origin of the pious fable which is told of these martyrs, such as St. Denys and many others besides." *
This was the immediate origin of the story of the dead saint rising up and marching away with his head in his hand. But it turns out that this very mode of representation was borrowed from Paganism, and borrowed in such a way as identifies the Papal St. Denys of Paris with the Pagan Dionysus, not only of Rome but of Babylon. Dionysus or Bacchus, in one of his transformations, was represented as Capricorn, the "goat-horned fish;" and there is reason to believe that it was in this very form that he had the name of Oannes. In this form in India, under the name "Souro," that is evidently "the seed," he is said to have done many marvellous things. * Now, in the Persian Sphere he was not only represented mystically as Capricorn, but also in the human shape; and then exactly as St. Denys is represented by the Papacy. The words of the ancient writer who describes this figure in the Persian Sphere are these: "Capricorn, the third Decan. The half of the figure without a head, because its head is in its hand." * Nimrod had his head cut off; and in commemoration of that fact, which his worshipers so piteously bewailed, his image in the Sphere was so represented. That dissevered head, in some of the versions of his story, was fabled to have done as marvellous things as any that were done by the lifeless trunk of St. Denys. Bryant has proved, in this story of Orpheus, that it is just a slightly-coloured variety of the story of Osiris. * As Osiris was cut in pieces in Egypt, so Orpheus was torn in pieces in Thrace. Now, when the mangled limbs of the latter had been strewn about the field, his head, floating on the Hebrus, have proof of the miraculous character of him that owned it. "Then," says Virgil:-
"Then, when his head from his fair shoulders torn,
Washed by the waters, was on Hebrus borne,
Even then his trembling voice invoked his bride,
With his last voice, "Eurydice,' he cried;
'Eurydice, the rocks and river banks replied." *
There is diversity here, but amidst that diversity there is an obvious unity. In both cases, the head dissevered from the lifeless body occupies the foreground of the picture; in both cases, the miracle is in connection with a river. Now, when the festivals of "St. Bacchus the Martyr," and of "St. Dionysius and Eleuther," so remarkably agree with the time when the festivals of the Pagan god of wine were celebrated, whether by the name of Bacchus, or Dionysus, or Eleuthereus, and when the mode of representing the modern Dionysius and the ancient Dionysus are evidently the very same, while the legends of both so strikingly harmonise, who can doubt the real character of those Romish festivals? They are not Christian. They are Pagan; they are unequivocally Babylonian. 2bab016.htm
If what has been already said shows the carnal policy of Rome at the expense of truth, the circumstances attending the festival of the Assumption show the daring wickedness and blasphemy of that Church still more; considering that the doctrine in regard to this festival, so far as the Papacy is concerned, was not established in the dark ages, but three centuries after the Reformation, amid all the boasted light of the nineteenth century. The doctrine on which the festival of the Assumption if founded, is this: that the Virgin Mary saw no corruption, that in body and in soul she was carried up to heaven, and now is invested with all power in heaven and in earth. This doctrine has been unblushingly avowed in the face of the British public, in a recent pastoral of the Popish Archbishop of Dublin. This doctrine has now received the stamp of Papal Infallibility, having been embodied in the late blasphemous decree that proclaims the "Immaculate Conception." Now, it is impossible for the priests of Rome to find one shred of countenance for such a doctrine in Scripture. But, in the Babylonian system, the fable was ready made to their hand. There it was taught that Bacchus went down to hell, rescued his mother from the infernal powers, and carried her with him in triumph to heaven. *
This fable spread wherever the Babylonian system spread; and, accordingly, at this day, the Chinese celebrate, as they have done from time immemorial, a festival in honour of a Mother, who by her son was rescued from the power of death and the grave. The festival of the Assumption in the Romish Church is held on the 15th of August. The Chinese festival, founded on a similar legend, and celebrated with lanterns and chandeliers, as shown by Sir J.F. Davis in his able and graphic account of China, is equally celebrated in the month of August. * Now, when the mother of the Pagan Messiah came to be celebrated as having been thus "Assumed," then it was that, under the name of the "Dove," * she was worshipped as the Incarnation of the Spirit of God, with whom she was identified. As such as she was regarded as the source of all holiness, and the grand "PURIFIER," and, of course, was known herself as the "Virgin" mother, "PURE AND UNDEFILED." * Under the name of Proserpine (with whom, though the Babylonian goddess was originally distinct, she was identified), while celebrated, as the mother of the first Bacchus, and known as "Pluto's honoured wife," she is also addressed, in the "Orphic Hymns," as "Associate of the seasons, essence bright, All-ruling VIRGIN, bearing heavenly light." *
Whoever wrote these hymns, the more they are examined the more does it become evident, when they are compared with the most ancient doctrine of Classic Greece, that their authors understood and thoroughly adhered to the genuine theology of Paganism. To the fact that Proserpine was currently worshipped in Pagan Greece, though well-known to be the wife of Pluto, the god of hell, under the name of "The Holy Virgin," we find Pausanias, while describing the grove Carnasius, thus bearing testimony: "This grove contains a statue of Apollo Carneus, of Mercury carrying a ram, and of Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, who is called 'The HOLY VIRGIN.'" * The purity of this "Holy Virgin" did not consist merely in freedom from actual sin, but she was especially distinguished for her "immaculate conception;" for Proclus says, "She is called Core, through the purity of her essence, and her UNDEFILED transcendency in her GENERATIONS." * Do men stand amazed at the recent decree? There is no real reason to wonder. It was only in following out the Pagan doctrine previously adopted and interwoven with the whole system of Rome to its logical consequences, that that decree has been issued, and that the Madonna of Rome has been formally pronounced at last, in every sense of the term, absolutely "IMMACULATE."
Now, after all this, is it possible to doubt that the Madonna of Rome, with the child in her arms, and the Madonna of Babylon, are one and the same goddess? It is notorious that the Roman Madonna is worshipped as a goddess, yea, is the supreme object of worship. Will not, then, the Christians of Britain revolt at the idea of longer supporting this monstrous Babylonian Paganism? What Christian constituency could tolerate that its representative should vote away the money of this Protestant nation for the support of such blasphemous idolatry? *
Were not the minds of men judicially blinded, they would tremble at the very thought of incurring the guilt that this land, by upholding the corruption and wickedness of Rome, has for years past been contracting. Has not the Word of God, in the most energetic and awful terms, doomed the New Testament Babylon? And has it not equally declared, that those who share in Babylon's sins, shall share in Babylon's plagues? (Rev. xvii.4.)
The guilt of idolatry is by many regarded as comparatively slight and insignificant guilt. But not so does the God of heaven regard it. Which is the commandment of all the ten that is fenced about with the most solemn and awful sanctions? It is the second: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them? for I the Lord thy God am jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." These words were spoken by God's own lips, they were written by God's own finger in the tables of stone: not for the instruction of the seed of Abraham only, but of all the tribes and generations of mankind. No other commandment has such a threatening attached to it as this. Now, if God has threatened to visit the SIN OF IDOLATRY ABOVE ALL OTHER SINS, and if we find the heavy judgments of God pressing upon us as a nation, while this very sin is crying to heaven against us, ought it not to be a matter of earnest inquiry, if among all our other national sins, which are both many and great, this may not form "the very head and front of our offending"? What though we do not ourselves bow down to stocks and stones? Yet if we, making a profession the very opposite, encourage, and foster, and maintain that very idolatry which God has so fearfully threatened with His wrath, our guilt, instead of being the less, is only so much the greater, for it is a sin against the light. Now, the facts are manifest to all men. It is notorious, that in 1845 anti-Christian idolatry was incorporated in the British Constitution, in a way in which for a century and a-half it had not been incorporated before. It is equally notorious, that ever since, the nation has been visited with one succession of judgments after another.
Ought we then to regard this coincidence as merely accidental? Ought we not rather to see in it the fulfillment of the threatening pronounced by God in the Apocalypse? This is at this moment an intensely practical subject. If our sin in this matter is not nationally recognised, if it is not penitently confessed, if it is not put away from us; if, on the contrary, we go on increasing it, if now for the first time since the Revolution, while so manifestly dependent on the God of battles for the success of our arms, we affront Him to His face by sending idol priests into our camp, then, though we have national fasts, and days of humiliation without number, they cannot be accepted; they may procure us a temporary respite, but we may be certain that "the Lord's anger will not be turned away, His hand will be stretched out still." * 2bab017.htm